10 Great Road Movies About Women

Wild, director Jean-Marc Vallée’s film version of Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir, hits DVD and Blu-ray this... Read More
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Why Comedy Central’s Justin Bieber Roast Was Such a Disappointment

“They say you only roast the ones you love,” Hannibal Buress began during his set at The Roast of Justin Bieber, “But I don’t like you at all, man. I’m just here because it’s a real good opportunity for me.” Joking or not, Buress’ comment is the best way to describe the overall feel of Justin Bieber’s roast. The stage was packed with comedians and celebrities — Kevin Hart (as roastmaster), Natasha Leggero, Pete Davidson, Jeffrey Ross, Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart, and more — but the roast itself was tame and shrug-worthy, even with such an easy and arguably deserving target. The problem is that most of these roasters weren’t here to roast someone they love, or even a peer, but instead a 21-year-old pop singer who asked for this as a birthday gift. … Read More

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Why Noah Baumbach’s Attack on “Bohemian” Brooklyn in ‘While We’re Young’ Cuts So Deep

Watching Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, I was struck by a scene where Ben Stiller and Adam Driver take a fedora-clad stroll down Troutman, a street in Bushwick now known as an incubator for Eggs Benedict and a welcome mat for street-art guided tours. It wasn’t the scene itself that snapped me to attention, but rather the absurd critical pregnancy of a restaurant they pass, that’s just in the background. Watching them amble by the recently opened Montana’s Trail House (the name of the spot is not explicit in the film), I recalled perhaps the most disproportionately scathing review I’ve read of anything — ever. … Read More

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Does Magic Stand for Privilege in Harry Potter?

J.K. Rowling may have been writing about Harry Potter before “privilege” (and the checking thereof) became a mainstream idea, with waves of backlash and counter-backlash to its frequent use. But that doesn’t mean the concepts embedded within “check your privilege” discussions weren’t present in her seven Harry Potter books. … Read More

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Sutton Foster Deserves Better Than TV Land’s ‘Younger’

Sutton Foster deserves a great, long-lasting television vehicle. She is more than capable as a performer — as evidenced by her two Tony Awards — but so far she’s had trouble transitioning that success to television. ABC Family’s Bunheads, a sweet and funny ballet-centric teen drama from Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls), was her first starring TV role, but it never made it to a second season. That wasn’t for lack of quality; Bunheads was praised by critics and adored by fans, an immediate inductee into the Brilliant But Cancelled Hall of Fame. Foster’s latest TV attempt is Younger, premiering tonight on TV Land. And unlike Bunheads, it’s an unfortunate waste of Foster’s talents. … Read More

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The 6 Best Movies to Buy or Stream This Week: ‘Interstellar,’ ‘Life Itself’

This week’s 800-pound gorilla on the home viewing scene is Christopher Nolan’s monster hit Interstellar, which gets a gorgeous transfer and a ton of extras. But if that blockbuster space epic isn’t quite your speed, there’s an abundance of other options (even more than we usually spotlight): two rediscovered gems from the ‘40s and ‘50s, one of the classics of international cinema, possibly the best documentary, oh, ever, and the latest from one of the makers of that documentary. … Read More

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Is Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt a Racist Troll, Literary Celebrittante, or Both?

Yesterday morning, Stephin Merritt, literary celebrittante and lead pleonast of The Magnetic Fields, published a snide little report on Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State and Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See for The Morning News’ Tournament of Books. I’ll not take issue (overmuch) with the post’s critical content, mostly because I don’t believe it to be a piece of literary criticism. It’s more just a tedious procession of half-formed and not-argued judgments masquerading as likeable cantankerousness, or a bunch of casuistic setups for one-liners unworthy of a Comedy Central Roast. … Read More

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‘Better Call Saul’ Season 1 Episode 9 Recap: “Pimento”

As antihero protagonists have supplanted good guys who fight bad guys in TV drama, creating that luxury product known as “prestige television,” the greatest debates among audiences and critics have concerned these characters’ muddy morals. And yet, I’ve never heard anyone articulate what unites antiheroes of all varieties (and make no mistake, they do differ widely from show to show) better than Mike Ehrmantraut on last night’s episode of Better Call Saul. … Read More

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How to Steal A Mountain: Links You Need to See

Artistic processes are manifold, and hierarchizing the way we create is futile: but artist Oscar Santillon literally did climb to the top to make a recent work of art: he took a piece of England’s highest mountain. Said accomplishment will provide an incredibly impressive line on a resume, but it’s also angered Cumbria Tourism, who wants him to return it. Regardless of the ultimate decision about what happens to this inch of mountaintop, not many other people can put “Mountain Thief” on their list of qualifications. The only artistic feat that may be more impressive is an entire book of poems about Kanye West. Which exists, and is available for purchase on Amazon. Do with that what you will. … Read More

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Why Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law Isn’t Just Morally Wrong — It’s Bad Law

There’s been an ongoing controversy over Indiana’s adoption of a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), largely because of the potential it grants for the discrimination against LGBT people on religious grounds. This week, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook penned an op-ed for the Washington Post wherein he argued that the laws “go against very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.” He’s right on both counts, but the first is one that warrants exploring further, because the RFRA in all its incarnations isn’t just a bad law — it’s a fundamentally ill-conceived one. … Read More

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Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” Rollout Is Even More Badass Than You Think

There’s a moment towards the end of Rihanna’s game-changing performance of “Bitch Better Have My Money” at last night’s iHeartRadio Music Awards where Bad Girl Ri Ri struts towards the end of the stage, past the shrieking fans set in place for the show’s broadcast. Exuding wealth in a campy yet powerful way via kelly green fur and pleather, Rihanna reaches the end of the platform, where the stage meets banquet tables. She grins. The camera pans out. Nick Jonas applauds. … Read More

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