pop culture

The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Martin Freeman

American audiences are familiar with Martin Freeman from his time in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit film trilogy, FX’s Fargo, Sherlock, and the British version of The Office. But he seemed like a bit of a strange choice for SNL host over someone like Sir Ian McKellen (since it’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies time and everything). This is SNL’s 40th season and the celebrations are supposed to be stupendous. Freeman also lost fans when he made that weird rape joke during press rounds for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. He’s a gifted actor and comedian, but let’s see if he can be on his best behavior during tonight’s episode and still keep it funny. … Read More

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Guessing Game: Historical Hotties Edition

The wit and wisdom of humorist, author, and orator Mark Twain has secured his place as the father of American literature. Today is the mustachioed writer’s birthday. In the process of revisiting his writings and photographs — images of a bushy-haired gent in a white linen suit that matched his locks — we spotted a pic of a barely recognizable, handsome young Twain. We went searching for other photos of historical figures (and a few pop culture icons for good measure) who looked vastly different when they were younger and decided to make it a game. See if you can guess the identity of these historical oldheads, several who have always seemed eternally ancient in our minds, by looking at their photos as fine young things. Feel free to confess your new crush, below. … Read More

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Fascinating Photos That Capture Famous Artists’ Friendships

French photographer Lucien Clergue, who penned the autobiography Picasso My Friend, passed away this month. “I had a good fortune to meet Pablo Picasso at a bullring. I had stopped playing violin, and for the lack of funds I could not go to school in Paris. I started taking photographs with different cameras owned by a man close to my home,” Clergue wrote. “Picasso signed one of the print, not my best, but now it is the most expensive. When I reached the age of 20 I was still working in a factory, but I was taking photographs of five children dressed with clothes designed by me [inspired by Picasso’s circus paintings]. I was trying to make Picasso happy: he had said at the bullring, ‘I want to see more prints.’” Their relationship lasted until Picasso’s death in 1973, and that close friendship is revealed in photos of the artists together and Clergue’s portraits of the painter in his studio. Inspired by Clergue, we gathered other photos of famous artist… Read More

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The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Cameron Diaz

Trailers for the Annie remake featuring a tarted-up Cameron Diaz as the mean Miss Hannigan are cringeworthy (highlighting some of the problems actresses over 40 face), but Diaz has proven to be a gifted comedian so perhaps she stands a chance. It was disappointing to see that SNL followed suit by shoving her into a few tight skirts and some lingerie for tonight’s episode, but Diaz’s energy and professionalism steal the spotlight. This is her first time on the Studio 8H stage since 2005 (she’s hosted three times before), but Diaz doesn’t miss a beat. Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars bring the funk in a flashy set. See how it all went down, below. … Read More

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The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Woody Harrelson

In a post-True Detective season one world, it’s great to see Woody Harrelson take the SNL stage tonight. His career path has taken some unexpected turns — from a role as a bartender on the beloved sitcom Cheers and a serial murderer in Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, to mega franchise star in The Hunger Games and his sad-sack cop in Nic Pizzolatto’s HBO drama. Will a glassy-eyed Woody be rusty after 25 years since his last hosting stint? Find out how it all went down, below. … Read More

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Films You Didn’t Know Were Ripped from the Headlines

In the annals of actors wearing radical facial prosthetics is Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carell as millionaire and wrestling enthusiast John Eleuthère du Pont, boasting a fake schnoz that requires its own zip code. The film, co-starring Channing Tatum, hit theaters this week. Our own Jason Bailey called Carell’s performance haunted and harrowing, and explored the tragic real-life story behind the movie. Foxcatcher is based on the 1996 murder of Olympic champion Dave Schultz in 1996 by his wrestling coach, John Eleuthère du Pont, who had displayed bizarre behavior leading up to the crime. This is the first time the story has appeared on the big screen. We gathered other movies based on true-crime cases that you might not realize had real-life roots. … Read More

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The Dark Side of LEGO: Creepy Scenes Built with Blocks

New York City-based designer Mike Doyle has a talent with building blocks. We’re talking about Legos, of course. The artist even created a massive piece titled Contact I, which was composed with more than 200,000 Lego blocks. It’s part of the inaugural collection at the Museum of Realist Art in Boston. Doyle is also an author — and his Beautiful Lego book, published last year, showcased some of the most intricate designs across the world by Lego artists. On November 20, Doyle is publishing a follow-up book, Beautiful Lego 2: Dark, which we learned about on Beautiful/Decay. Think of it as Beautiful Lego’s evil twin. From creepy things that crawl and spooky houses, to sci-fi monsters and horrific scenes, Dark delights in Legos gone bad. See a preview of the book in our gallery. … Read More

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Exciting Posters for Cult Movie Sequels That Never Happened

The powers that be in Hollywood have been working overtime and turning the crank on the sequel machine for decades. Sometimes it’s hard not to be cynical about a part two when many movie follow-ups are made simply for the money. But what about a sequel that fans actually want? Enter iam8bit’s latest exhibition, Sequel — part tribute to the cult movies we love, part commentary on Hollywood’s obsession with sequels. Our fellow pop culture-loving friends at the West Coast gallery invited more than 40 artists to imagine movie sequels that never were. If you’ve had your fingers crossed for another Goonies, Blade Runner, or Labyrinth, then this is your happy place. We have a preview of these fictional follow-ups, below (prints will be available for purchase at iam8bit). If you’re in the Los Angeles area, RSVP today for the opening of Sequel on Thursday, November 13 at 7PM. The show runs through November 23. … Read More

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Miniature Pop Culture Portraits on Coins

Brazilian designer Andre Levy’s Tales You Lose series transforms currency into miniature pop culture paintings. New York City playwright J. Julian Christopher brought the fun collection of colorful coins to our attention. “The paint brings to the faces of kings and presidents borrowed narratives from other famous characters and unleash individual alternative stories,” writes the artist on his Tumblr. The famous profiles of historical figures are given a makeover — and the results are surprisingly spot-on. The tiny artworks also make us ponder a future in which John Waters’ muse Divine is featured on our dollars and cents. That’s a world we’d like to live in. … Read More

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Cinema’s Talking Animal Ids, Ranked

“There are elements of Goodbye to Language you might find in any Hollywood movie — people arguing, a shootout — and even a dog, the director’s own. (Roxy wanders the countryside [“conversing”] with the lake and the river that want to tell him what humans never hear.)” writes NPR of Jean-Luc Godard’s new film. The director’s “meditation on love and history, nature and meaning” will be playing at New York’s IFC Center until November 4.

“One of the reasons the dog Roxy is very prominent in the film … is that he’s trying to get people to look at the world in a kind of an unspoiled way,” critic David Bordwell stated of Godard’s animal companion. ”There are hints throughout the film that animal consciousness is kind of closer to the world than we are, that language sets up a barrier or filter or screen between us and what’s really there. And although the film is full of language, talk, printed text and so on, nevertheless I think there’s a sense he wants the viewer to scrape away a lot of the ordinary conceptions we have about how we communicate and look at the world afresh.”

Animal-centric films tend to fall into the absurd or terrible categories, especially those where the beasts talk or act as a foil for a human character’s inner world. But Godard’s latest demonstrates one way directors can make the concept of the animal id work. Here are eight others, ranked for your convenience. … Read More

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