Kristen Bell

50 Great Pre-Fame Performances by Famous Actors

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

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‘Veronica Mars’ Spinoff ‘Play It Again, Dick’ Is Aimless, But Great Fun

The Veronica Mars movie was inevitable, and you can even make the argument that the novels were, too, because the show’s themes lend themselves well to a mystery series. A web series spinoff seemed less likely, especially one premiering ten years after the original’s run, starring a side character, and hosted by the network that canceled the show. But somehow today marks the premiere of Play It Again, Dick. Did we need a Veronica Mars web series? Not at all — but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. … Read More

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The Surprising Musical Theatre Pasts of Your Favorite Movie and TV Actors

I saw Matilda: The Musical on Broadway recently, and it was overwhelming. The set and songs were captivating, of course, but what truly had me floored was the titanic force of the child actors — many of whom were navigating their very first decade of life. They sang with more passion than some trained adults, and danced with that particular type of high-octane energy only available to schoolchildren on a sugar rush. It was impossible not to feel like the audience was being treated to a sneak preview of tomorrow’s superstars. … Read More

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What the ‘Veronica Mars’ Flixster Fail Tells Us About Big Media and the Web

Happy Monday, Marshmallows — did you enjoy the Veronica Mars movie that you paid for? Were you thrilled to see Ms. Veronica back in action? Were your expectations met w/r/t the Logan vs. Piz conundrum? Were you delighted by its “everybody’s back, plus James Franco!” casting? Most importantly, were you, y’know, able to watch the movie? As we noted Friday, Warner Brothers made the dubious decision to make the digital reward promised to Kickstarter backers available only via their Flixster app and Ultraviolet service, an interface that is, to put it mildly, problematic. (To put it less mildly: it blows.) And your film editor wasn’t the only one kicking and screaming over the endless logins and failed downloads; by 11:30 Friday night, director/creator Rob Thomas was emailing us with fixes and apologies. But was it too little, too late? … Read More

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The Best and Worst Films of SXSW 2014

The conference portion of the SXSW Film Festival has drawn to a close (though films will continue to run through the weekend), so alas, your film editor’s time in the lovely city of Austin is just about over. This year’s was an intriguing and entertaining slate, lacking the kind of breakout hits I’ve seen here in years past, but nonetheless filled with films that you’ll want to seek out in the weeks and months to come. Here’s a quick jaunt through the 15 movies I saw… Read More

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“Mars vs. Mars”: Revisiting the Episode You Need to See Before the ‘Veronica Mars’ Movie

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with Veronica Mars. I was intrigued by the tone of the show: an inventive mix of teen drama and murder mystery. It’s a film noir in a high school cafeteria, a thriller that breaks for final exams. It immediately draws viewers into this seedy adolescent world where there is a culture clash between the haves and the have-nots, and it doesn’t hesitate to show the way that money and influence have the power to tear friends, schools, and entire towns apart. … Read More

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SXSW 2014: ‘Veronica Mars’ Returns, Triumphantly

AUSTIN, TX: Well, thank whatever deity you hold dear, they didn’t fuck it up. The long-awaited, much-anticipated, crowd-funded Veronica Mars movie is the kind of project that could spin into disaster in any number of ways, yet carefully avoids all (well, most) of them; it’s a good thriller, a great comedy, and an excellent reunion, and the rowdy crowd at its Saturday SXSW world premiere couldn’t get enough of it. … Read More

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10 SXSW 2014 Movies People Will Be Talking About

Confession: though I love Sundance and know it’s the preeminent domestic film festival, etc., my heart belongs to SXSW. It’s a warmer (literally — Texas in March is immeasurably more pleasant than Utah in January), friendlier, more relaxed and enjoyable fest, and the food doesn’t even compare. But that’s not what we’re there for, of course; what matters is the movies, and as usual, this year’s SXSW Film Festival offers a wide variety of studio fare, thoughtful indies, gutsy genre pics, and general weirdness. Here are just a few of their selections that you’ll be hearing more about in the weeks and months to come: … Read More

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