Angelina Jolie

A Brief History of Hollywood Being Totally Terrified of Computers

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“Our world interconnected. Our systems interconnected. Our identities vulnerable.” So goes the on-screen tagline in the trailer for Michael Mann’s new cyber-thriller Blackhat, and as the word “identities” is replaced by “security,” “homes,” “secrets,” “money,” “privacy,” “safety,” and the like — along with a giant close-up of a cable plugging in — it’s easy to chuckle along with Hollywood doing one more fear-mongering thriller about hackers taking down sacred cows and exposing private information, as if such a thing were actually plausible. (Oh, wait.) Yes, the Sony hack suddenly made Blackhat’s potentially worrisome January release suddenly timely and relevant, but it’s part of a long tradition of films that looked at the capabilities of computers, artificial intelligence, and the Internet — and shit their collective pants over it.
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How ‘Unbroken’s’ Laura Hillenbrand Writes Her Epic Nonfiction

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Laura Hillenbrand has written two nonfiction books: Seabiscuit: An American Legend and Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. Each is a major work, and they’ve sold ten million copies between them; they’ve also both been turned into movies, the latter serving as the basis of this year’s Angelia Jolie-directed Oscar-bait. I wrote earlier this year that Hillenbrand is the greatest nonfiction writer working today, and I stand by that assessment.
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‘Unbroken,’ ‘Still Alice,’ and the Desperate Pursuit of Oscar Gold

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One of the many ingenious running gags in Ben Stiller’s scathing 2009 Hollywood satire Tropic Thunder is Simple Jack, a widely derided, financially disastrous attempt by Cruise-style action star Tugg Speedman (Stiller) to be taken seriously as an actor by making a film that panders, with comic desperation, for Academy Award recognition. We see clips from Simple Jack, and the parody is dead-on: the faux-inspirational music, the sepia-tinged photography, the “tear-jerking” storytelling. We laugh, because the intentions are so transparent — and because we’ve seen films that clamor for that Oscar with no less sophistication. Now, I’m not saying that the inspirational drama Unbroken is a 137-minute version of Simple Jack, or that the Julianne Moore vehicle Still Alice is Moore’s Tugg Speedman moment. But let’s just say I’ve been thinking of the spoof movie a lot lately.
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50 Great Pre-Fame Performances by Famous Actors

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This week, the Criterion Collection is releasing a double bill of the mid-‘60s Westerns The Shooting and Ride the Whirlwind, a treat not only for fans of revisionist Westerns and director Monte Hellman, but also for those who admire Jack Nicholson, here seen in two terrific performances that predate his breakthrough in Easy Rider. There’s a specific kind of pleasure in revisiting the early work of actors who would later become famous — not the roles that made them stars, but their earlier, quieter gigs, in which we glimpse an actor just trying to do good work, yet already exhibiting the spark that would mark them for fame. Here are a few of our …Read More

50 Cultural Icons on What They Were Like as Teenagers

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It’s hard out there for a teenager. It’s even kind of hard out there for those of us who used to be teenagers — especially in these back-to-school months, when the nostalgia comes creeping up like those floods we used to wear and never, ever should again. But you know who was probably even stranger than you in high school? Your favorite cultural icon. Or maybe not — as is only to be expected, some had joyful (and/or prank-filled) teenage years, some suffered tragedies, some were completely weird, some were popular, and some deserve our respect for even getting through. Click through to read 50 cultural icons on their teenage …Read More

Longform You Have to Read: Notorious Celebrity Profiles, From M.I.A. to Chris Evans

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In a world where you have more options for satisfying your longform reading needs than ever, your friends here at Flavorwire are taking the time once a week to highlight some of the best that journalism has to offer. Whether they’re unified by topic, publication, writer, their status as classics, or just by a general feeling, these articles all have one thing in common: they’re essential reading. This week, we’re looking some of the most notorious celebrity profiles from then and now.
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Clever Photoshops of Contemporary Magazine Covers Into Classic Artworks

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Filipino artist Eisen Bernard knows Tilda Swinton belongs in a work of art — which is why he Photoshopped her into one, along with dozens of other celebrities featured on magazine covers, for his Tumblr Mag + Art. The concept is simple and the execution flawless: highly stylized magazine portraits are blended seamlessly into masterworks from the likes of John Singer Sargent, Jacques-Louis David, and Rene Magritte. Click through to see for yourself that Achilles has never looked better than with James Franco’s face. All images courtesy of Eisen Bernard.
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