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Film,

Obvious Child Director Gillian Robespierre Explains Her Abortion-Themed Romantic Comedy

When first-time director Gillian Robespierre's festival favorite Obvious Child makes its theatrical debut in June, it could herald the sweetest, funniest, most unassuming cinematic revolution in years. Starring former Saturday Night Live bit player Jenny Slate in a ravishing star turn, the romantic comedy quickly grabbed attention at Sundance for...…
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Film,

HBO's Doll & Em Takes on Women's Spontaneous Friendship Combustion

Why can't women stay friends? That's a trick question, of course, but also one that British actresses Emily Mortimer and Dolly Wells — lifelong pals in real life — attempt to answer earnestly and honestly in their new HBO cringe comedy, Doll & Em. In the six-episode series, Mortimer and...…
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Film,

Why the Cesar Chavez Movie Fails

Chicano labor leader Cesar Chavez now can join Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela in the pantheon of heroes whose world-altering achievements are dutifully recounted in timid, lifeless films any substitute can pop into the school DVD player when the regular history teacher is out with the flu. With Cesar Chavez,...…
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Film, TV

Three Reasons Why HBO's Looking Is the Perfect Show for Women

(Spoiler alert: The following piece discusses up to the Feb. 16 episode of Looking.) HBO's Looking has had a tough time winning over its intended fans. Upon its premiere, Gawker's Rich Juzwiak yawningly summed up the political achievement of creator Michael Lannan's wonderful half-hour dramedy about three homosexual men in...…
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Film, The Trouble with <i>The Wind Rises</i>

The Trouble with The Wind Rises

In today’s era of global box offices, few studio films are made for just one country, especially by a director of Hayao Miyazaki’s international stature. But the beloved animator’s latest and last work, The Wind Rises, is a film whose meaning and power vary so greatly in different cultural and...…
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Film, Chris Lilley Transforms Himself into Australia&rsquo;s Worst Import for <I>Ja'mie: Private School Girl</I>

Chris Lilley Transforms Himself into Australia’s Worst Import for Ja'mie: Private School Girl

Few men wear a dress as meaningfully as comedian Chris Lilley. Since 2005, he has sported the pinstriped schoolgirl uniforms of his native Australia to play Ja'mie King, a perfect little monster created by an ungodly mix of wealth, vapidity, and cheerful cruelty. Ja'mie returns to HBO on November 24...…
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Film,

Aziz Ansari: Dudes, the Number of Dick Pics You Send Is Startling

"Imagine if marriage didn't exist, and you're a guy and you ask someone to get married," proposes comedian Aziz Ansari in his new Netflix stand-up special, Buried Alive, which premieres Nov. 1. “‘Hey, so we've been hanging out all the time, spending a lot of time together. I want to...…
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Film, <i>Metallica: Through the Never</i>'s Weird Provocation of White Aggrievement

Metallica: Through the Never's Weird Provocation of White Aggrievement

In their experimental new film, Metallica endeavor to translate the anger and pain in their music into a visual medium. Directed by Nimród Antalis, Metallica Through the Neveris the band's second big-screen effort, the first being the 2004 behind-the-scenes documentary Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. That debut, created by filmmakers…
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Film,

On FX's The Bridge, Serial Killers Are a First-World Problem

Mild spoilers up to The Bridge's ninth episode below. Artisanal murders are all the rage these days. On Showtime's Dexter, NBC's Hannibal, and Fox's The Following, small-batch, labor-intensive, sold-with-a-story slaughters have become TV's equivalent of the Cronut. Handsome, intelligent, and mannered as court eunuchs, serial killers have become the new...…
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Film, TV <I>Orange Is the New Black</I>'s Radical Critique of American Prisons

Orange Is the New Black's Radical Critique of American Prisons

All manner of spoilers below. Nearly anyone with a grievance against America's dysfunctional prison system can find a scene to illustrate their protest in the first season of Orange Is the New Black, Netflix's women-behind-bars dramedy. Admittedly, the wonkiest or most disheartening issues, like prison privatization or endemic sexual assault,...…
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Film, TV Ten Fascinating Facts from <i>Slimed!</i>, the New Oral History of '90s Nickelodeon

Ten Fascinating Facts from Slimed!, the New Oral History of '90s Nickelodeon

After Jimmy Savile, Amanda Bynes, Lindsay Lohan and that Christian puppeteer who wanted to kidnap, kill and eat little boys, it's hard not to think of the children's entertainment industry as a fount of unimaginable filth and degeneracy. But for those who'd prefer to remember their childhoods happily, Mathew Klickstein...…
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Film,

Short Term 12 May Seem Depressing, But It's Actually One of the Year's Best Films

Like The Wire or Romanian director Cristian Mungiu's oeuvre, Short Term 12 is the kind of film that sounds agonizingly depressing on paper but mesmerizes on-screen. It's a delicate yet passionate creation, modest in scope but almost overwhelming in its emotional intricacy, ambition and resonance. Easily one of the best...…
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Film, <I>The World's End</I> Creators Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright Versus Starbucksification

The World's End Creators Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright Versus Starbucksification

Like so many screenplays, The World's End has its origins in a Starbucks. As director Edgar Wright tells it, the ideas for the upcoming sci-fi action-comedy starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost came to him while shooting the trio's last film, the buddy-cop parody Hot Fuzz. That film takes place...…
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Film, 5 Ways <I>The To Do List</I> Is a Radically Feminist Film

5 Ways The To Do List Is a Radically Feminist Film

This article contains major spoilers. A white suburban teen, urged on by friends, makes the decision to finally get laid, maybe by the end of summer. That's the premise of Sixteen Candles, American Pie, Superbad and now The To Do List. Comedy pin-up Aubrey Plaza gives a characteristically low-wattage performance...…
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Film, TV

How Friends Illustrates the Depressing Insularity of Our Lives

Friends ended less than a decade ago, but it's already a relic of a bygone era--a critically respected network sitcom that enjoyed massive ratings. That's the central irony of the Must-See TV show's legacy: It was one of the last programs to enjoy a national audience before cable and the...…
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Arts, Public Spectacle

Rex Reed Still Not the World's Worst Film Critic by Any Measure

V/H/S/2, the film in question.New York Observer film critic Rex Reed is such a reliable source of outraged blog posts he's probably just a neck lipo away from getting his own E! reality show. His review of V/H/S/2, written after he skipped out on the latter three-quarters of the film,…
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Film, <i>The Way, Way Back</i> Directors on Thinking You're a 6 but Hearing You're a 3

The Way, Way Back Directors on Thinking You're a 6 but Hearing You're a 3

Nat Faxon and Jim Rash didn't set out to make a comedy about divorce. Eight years ago, when the improv comedians–turned-actors-turned–Oscar-winning screenwriters started writing a coming-of-age script based on a particularly upsetting moment from Rash's childhood, they just wanted a happy ending. Yet almost all of the characters in The...…
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Film,

The Way, Way Back Review: It's Like Watching Pinocchio in Reverse

The Way, Way Back is a crowd-pleasing summer treat, predictable in its sweetness but satisfying all the same. It's like the multinationally branded ice cream sandwich you get on any pier in the western hemisphere — market-tested to appeal to as many people as possible (but you don't mind gobbling...…
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Film,

Pedro Almodóvar's Forgotten Films: 5 of the Spanish Maestro’s Best Comedies

Before he was one of cinema's finest dramatists (All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Volver, Broken Embraces), writer-director Pedro Almodóvar was a provocateur and a satirist. The 63-year-old filmmaker harks back to that past with his first comedy in nearly 25 years, I'm So Excited!, a lighthearted, ensemble-driven bit...…
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Film, To Actresses on the Brink of 40: Go Bad or Go Home

To Actresses on the Brink of 40: Go Bad or Go Home

Last week, EW columnist Mark Harris tweeted a statistic disturbing to anyone who cares about gender equality on the big screen: "It's now been 61 days since the last wide release of a major studio movie starring a woman." Unfortunately, that number will only increase—to 84 days—until Sandra Bullock and...…
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