Michael K. Williams

‘The Gambler’ Tests the Limits of the Mark Wahlberg Persona

There is a scene, late in Rupert Wyatt’s new remake of The Gambler, where Mark Wahlberg is getting a serious beating. This isn’t unusual in the back half of the picture, during which Wahlberg sports a steadily pulpier mug, but he does something interesting in the midst of the trouncing: he leans into it. On one hand, that’s entirely in character, all of a piece with the self-destructive instincts of his character, an ultra-privileged nihilist with a serious gambling problem. On the other, it’s a metaphor for what Mark Wahlberg is doing as an actor with The Gambler, a film where he plays — get ready — an English literature professor. … Read More

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Mark Wahlberg Gets Beaten Up by Stellar Cast in ‘The Gambler’ Trailer

The first trailer for The Gambler, a Rupert Wyatt-directed remake of the 1974 original—has been released, and it’s fantastic. Mark… Read More

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‘Boardwalk Empire’ Season 5 Episode 6 Recap: “The Devil You Know”

“Get yourself ahead,” Nucky Thompson muses after a drink or seven. “For what, though? For what? No one ever talks about that.” Boardwalk Empire, like so many other antihero shows, is not exactly known for celebrating high-minded idealism over moral ambiguity—which is exactly what makes “The Devil You Know” such a standout episode. Character deaths are hardly unusual, and par for the course in the run-up to a series finale. But characters asking what’s worth dying for, and who deserves to die, and for what? For a show centered around someone as stubbornly amoral as Nucky, that’s as far off course as it gets. … Read More

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Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’ Is a Breezy, Bizarre Blast

Paul Thomas Anderson took five years to make his 2007 oil epic There Will Be Blood. He took another five years to make 2012’s Scientology-inspired The Master. He banged out his adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice in two, and you can feel the difference—in the best possible way. The two films that preceded it marked the filmmaker’s transition from wunderkind to Serious Artist; by turns wrenching, challenging, and borderline impenetrable, they plunged the depths of American history and the American soul. Vice, by contrast, is a slang-y, breezy lark, a picture whose two-and-a-half-hour running time, Oscar-friendly release date, and premiere as the Centerpiece selection at the New York Film Festival make it sound like a more important movie than it is—or, more importantly, than Anderson seems to think it is. After a decade spent making two films that are like pressure cookers, he was clearly ready to blow off some steam. … Read More

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25 Must-See Movies For the Fall

Hey there reader, been to the movies lately? If the box office reports are any indication, I’m guessing not — and who can blame you? We’re currently in the weird dead zone between the tentpole blockbusters of the summer and the prestige, Oscar-friendly pictures (and, increasingly, tentpole blockbusters) of the fall. But relief will be here soon enough, so in the interest of helping you mark up your movie-going calendar, we’re looking ahead to the fall films we’re anticipating most. … Read More

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‘Boardwalk Empire’ to Jump Seven Years Ahead for Final Season

In a Parks and Rec-like move, HBO’s well-regarded period drama Boardwalk Empire will begin its final season a full seven years after its… Read More

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’12 Years a Slave’ Bears Witness to the Harrowing Reality of Slavery

“Your story, it is amazing. And in no good way,” Bass (Brad Pitt) tells Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) near the end of 12 Years a Slave, the remarkable new film from director Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame). He’s right; Northup was a real man, an educated, sophisticated, free black man from Saratoga, New York who was kidnapped in 1841 and sold into slavery in Louisiana. Yet his extraordinary narrative (adapted by John Ridley from Northup’s memoir) is not why 12 Years a Slave is such a powerful experience. It is because of the vividness with which McQueen dramatizes the utter brutality of Northup’s everyday life as man treated as though he were less than one. … Read More

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Watch the Goosebump-Inducing Trailer for ’12 Years a Slave’

Steve McQueen’s second feature film (and second collaboration with actor Michael Fassbender), 2011’s Shame, was a controversial and somewhat… Read More

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Watch Funny or Die’s ‘The Wire: The Musical’

You know you have to watch The Wire sooner or later, like every other politically progressive fan of quality television. It’s basically a social responsibility. But every time you’re just about to take the plunge, some other, inferior but more fun-sounding show beckons to you. How do you live with the guilt? Well, now you don’t have to, because Funny or Die has created The Wire: The Musical, a 90-minute song-and-dance extravaganza — OK, a four-minute trailer for a 90-minute song-and-dance extravaganza — that condenses all five seasons into one entertaining spectacle. The hilarious clip stars none other than Omar himself, Michael K. Williams, along with a slew of other The Wire stars and features songs with such lyrics as, “There are complex problems / Inherent in the bureaucratic institutions of the state / But there’s no one to blame / It’s a vast array of personal interests that conflict in a way that undermines the overall system.” Watch it below, and laugh harder at The Wire than you ever thought possible. … Read More

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