Natalie Portman

The Campy Joys of Watching ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,’ 15 Years Later

We knew from the start that The Phantom Menace was not a Great Movie. It wasn’t even a good one, arguably; when it hit theaters 15 years ago today, the prequel was greeted with such ringing praise as “certainly adequate” and “has a lot of stuff.” The movie made tons of money, but then again, the only way it wouldn’t have raked in the cash is if George Lucas had produced two hours of nothing but scrolling, bright-yellow-scripted exposition (or even more bone-dry Galactic Senate scenes, á la a brilliant Simpsons parody that is unfortunately nowhere to be found on YouTube). But the consensus seemed to be that thanks to its eye-popping special effects, Phantom Menace was a wash: bad acting, worse writing, OHMYGOD POD RACING! … 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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13 Great Anti-Valentine’s Day Movies You Can Stream Right Now

If you’re dating or married, Valentine’s Day can be a high-stress holiday: figuring out what to get your partner, how much is trying too hard, how much isn’t trying enough, where to go, what to do, what not to do, and whether this really is the right night to bring up that previously unmentioned lovechild. But if you’re, shall we say, between partners, February 14 is a miserable day indeed, an interminable blizzard of flowers and candy and bullshit. Who needs it? So if you’d like to shy away from the syrupy romantic fare typical of Valentine’s Day movie-watching, fear not; here are a baker’s dozen anti-romantic movies for your weekend… Read More

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What 10 of Your Favorite Cultural Icons Were Up To in College

Thanks to BuzzFeed’s entertaining roundup, we’ve discovered Mindy Kaling’s college comic strip, Badly Drawn Girl. A shrewd look at the facts of coed life, from frat bros to dining hall food, it’s a peek at what Kaling’s comic sensibilities were like long before she wound up in The Office‘s writers’ room. Other cultural notables have had their fair share of cool college projects, too. We took the liberty of looking up what some of our favorite famous people were up to while they were still living in dorm rooms. … Read More

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Breathtaking Mashups of Old and New Hollywood Stars

It’s pretty common, when a new Hollywood player arrives on the scene, for journalists and fans to proclaim that they’re the Next TK — comparing each up-and-coming actor or actress to be a resurrection of some classic star. Artist George Chamoun plays with this notion in his collection of digital collages, Iconatomy (spotted via Faith is Torment). Mashing up stars like George Clooney with Cary Grant or Scarlett Johansson with Marilyn Monroe, Chamoun finds images of Hollywood past and present and creates one flawless photograph that combines those two eras. Take a look at his work after the jump. … Read More

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Tom Hiddleston Livens Up an Otherwise Dull ‘Thor’

There is exactly one reason to see Thor: The Dark World, and his name is Tom Hiddleston. Save for his too-brief supporting turn, this is mighty forgettable stuff, a by-the-numbers sequel to what was already the slightest and least entertaining of the Avengers components (sorry, Iron Man 2 haters). But Hiddleston, whose Loki was enjoyable in the initial outing and even better in The Avengers, is on fire here. From his first appearance, standing before his parents in chains and purring, “Hello mother, have I made you proud?,” he demands your attention, flashing his wickedly playful eyes and that distinctive grin/sneer hybrid. He’s stealing the picture — and he knows it. … Read More

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10 Film and TV Actresses on the State of Female Characters

A recent study from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism reported that only 28.4% of the 4,475 speaking characters in 100 of the most successful films in 2012 were female. It was a 4.4% drop since 2009. On-screen women are still struggling to have a voice in media, but the actresses who play them have plenty to say off-screen about the state of female characters in Hollywood and television. We looked to ten different actresses for their thoughts on the difficulties and successes women experience when playing women. … Read More

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