Ah, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, that tricksy little hobbit. The shortlist of Oscar nominees released this morning made it clear that it would take a modern-day Alan Turing to decode the mysterious workings of the collective mind of the Academy (The Imitation Game, incidentally, managed to score eight Oscar nods). I can’t even talk about the injustice that is the Academy’s decision to leave Ava DuVernay out of the Best Director race. And The Lego Movie snub! Well, I’m ambivalent about that one, to be honest, but my Twitter feed tells me it is an outrage. … Read More
A new year is upon us, and a peek ahead at 2015’s cinematic offerings is… well, kinda depressing. As you peruse the many 2015 preview pieces on movie sites, there’s a noticeable sameness — namely because they’re chock full of sequels. And some of those sequels (The Avengers, Mad Max, The Hunger Games, Pitch Perfect, Magic Mike, Mission: Impossible, and, yes, Star Wars) might be great! But their domination of said lists speaks to the weakness of said lists; we’re banking anticipation almost exclusively on known quantities, from earlier films and filmmakers. And with Sundance and the rest of the spring festivals still on the horizon, we can’t yet guess at the smaller sleepers. BUT, nonetheless, we present this look at a few slightly off-the-grid and out-of-the-box movies that might be worth talking about this… Read More
Dear readers, the holidays are here! Perhaps your family is squabbling, or your friends are worrying about where to go and whom to kiss when the ball drops, and the youngest folks in your life are playing with their toys and…you can’t take it anymore. You just want to spend some quality time with people who really get you.
People with British accents, bad or good. People in elaborate costumes. People who reappear in multiple-episode arcs. People, dear readers, who are the characters in sentimentality and scheme-saturated British television.
Well, we’ve got your back. So don your favorite wearable blanket, pour yourself a glass of something delicious, and check out these streaming British (or British-ish) period drama mini-series that are available right now.
(Note: we’re linking you to paid services but plenty of these can be watched with a clever Google search or two. Shh!) … Read More
What better a way to avoid thinking about the fact that the Republicans overtook Congress (and, honestly, what better a way to be a good Democrat than to avoid thinking about such a thing, leading, possibly, to the next dreaded Republican victory?) than to stare at some funny and perhaps even informative (but decidedly unpolitical) shit from around the internet? I can’t think of anything. So here’s some funny and perhaps even informative but decidedly unpolitical shit from around the internet. … Read More
Ever since Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe has been taking bold steps to Avada Kedavra our notions of him as Harry Potter, applying… Read More
Hollywood is famous for its treatment of writers. They are the low man on the totem pole, the person banned from the set, the guy who wrote the Great American novel drinking himself to death in Los Angeles, rewriting dumb scripts. It’s funny, as Hollywood is also obsessed with portraying “writers” on screen. Flavorwire’s definitive, ranked list of the 50 Best Films About Writers of all time features the requisite mix of biopics, book adaptations (what’s up Stephen King and John Irving), foreign films that actually feature female writers, po-mo meta surrealist studies of madness (very frequent), and the works of Woody… Read More
Everybody loves a good book. Yes, everybody — even the rich, famous and culturally relevant. And since there’s nothing better than a book recommendation from someone you already idolize, why not check out which ones they count as their favorites? Maybe you’ll wind up finding out that you have even more in common with Lady Gaga than you thought. Click through to find out which books your favorite cultural icons, from Bill Murray to Joan Didion to Nas, love best — and get to padding that reading… Read More
A Young Doctor’s Notebook is a show that risks being overwhelmed by its own premise. The SparkNotes version: Harry Potter and Don Draper! Harry Potter and Don Draper, playing the same person! Harry Potter and Don Draper, playing the same person, based — sort of — on Mikhail Bulgakov! The high-profile casting and source material, however, belie the series’ stakes (small) and its scope (smaller). Such cognitive dissonance may make A Young Doctor‘s Notebook a disappointment to some, but when taken on its own terms, the show is a brilliant, black-hearted character study that’s only improved in its second four-episode run, which premieres tonight on Ovation. … Read More
Normally an early press screening is a fine opportunity to assess a movie with an abundance of lead time — a gift, really. But in the case of Michael Dowse’s new romantic comedy What If, the June screening date made the picture the victim of (initially, at least) an unfortunate bit of timing: it was the first romantic comedy your film editor saw after They Came Together, David Wain’s endlessly funny and mercilessly savage send-up of the entire, tired genre. As I watched the film’s insanely attractive, high-chemistry couple Meet Cute and spend the next 90-plus minutes narrowly missing each other, the Wain film rattled around in my head. Can the traditional romantic comedy even work anymore? … Read More