James Spader

‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and the Inevitable Onset of Superhero Fatigue

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Superhero movie fatigue is a real thing, and I’m afraid your correspondent has come down with a case of it. Sure, there have been dribs and drabs before, in the grim solemnity of Zack Snyder’s joyless Man of Steel or the endless recycling of the Spider-Man franchise. But amidst all the clutter, the Wolverines and Ghost Riders and Green Lanterns, the Marvel movies have been an oasis (y’know, Thor movies aside). Iron Man gave us a hero with real dimension, acted sharply by Robert Downey Jr. and directed with intelligence by Jon Favreau. Captain America: The First Avenger had a golden glow of nostalgia and a giant heart at its center. Joss Whedon injected the series with a shot of genuine wit in the first Avengers — he insisted that blockbusters could be (in fact, should be) funny, a notion taken up well by Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He’s back at the helm of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which has several thrilling action sequences, a great many good jokes, and an unshakable sense that everybody is just going through the paces.
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How ‘sex, lies, and videotape’ Changed Indie Filmmaking Forever

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It began with three brief items in his notebooks. “A film about deception and lost earrings,” went one. “Everybody has a past,” went another. And finally, “Friend on the couch. Affair with the wife.” The filmmaker jotted down those three ideas in 1986; three years later, the movie those three ideas spawned became the sensation of the nascent Sundance Film Festival, the winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and an international box office smash. The young writer/director was Steven Soderbergh, the film was sex, lies, and videotape, and its release 25 years ago was, author Peter Biskind would later write, “the big bang of the modern indie film movement.”
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Compelling Tales of Sexual Exploration in Cinema

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If you’re interested in watching another studio comedy that tries very hard to make married sex appear really cool, therefore making it seem incredibly lame, Sex Tape hit theaters this weekend. For the rest of us, read on.

Sex-obsessed cinema is rampant in Hollywood, but few films actually capture the honesty, anticipation, and sometimes dark side of sexual experimentation. Here are ten films that feature characters who explore their sexuality and venture to brave new worlds.
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‘The Blacklist': Why James Spader’s Red Reddington Isn’t America’s Next Top Antihero

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The Blacklist, which premiered last night on NBC, is something like a mash-up of Silence of the Lambs, Alias, and Homeland. All of which makes it a little schizophrenic and the kind of thing that might have sailed out there and died within three episodes in other circumstances. But in these circumstances, the ones that led to James Spader being cast in the role, it’s hard to tear your eyes away from the screen. He’s as oily as you’d expect, and possibly even a little more so, in the role of Raymond “Red” Reddington, a spy-turned-rogue now come in from the cold. His motives for turning crimehunter are a little opaque in the pilot, but by being so deliciously slimy Spader doesn’t need the script to give them to him. It’s all there in those heavy eyelids.
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