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Jack the Giant Slayer Is a Giant Flop

3 March 2013 3:07 PM, PST

After celebrating Argo's Best Picture win, Warner Bros. has a possible John Carter-sized disaster on its hands with Jack the Giant Slayer. The CGI-heavy film, which cost a whopping $200 million, has only earned $26 million since Friday (though that was still enough to come in first at this weekend's generally weak box office.)  Also debuting this weekend were Hangover-lite 21 and Over ($9.1 million) and The Last Exorcism Part II ($7.9 million), which failed to outshine Identity Thief, now in its fourth week and holding onto second place with a $9.7 million haul. The only good news this weekend: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has become the fifteenth film to ever break $1 billion in global ticket sales. »


- Andre Tartar

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X-Men: Days of Future Past Adds The Intouchables’ Omar Sy

3 March 2013 1:34 PM, PST

Director Bryan Singer has been busy recruiting new talent to join the original X-Men gang in Days of Future Past. A few weeks ago, Peter Dinklage signed on for a role in the sequel, and now it seems that Omar Sy will be joining him. On Saturday afternoon, Singer welcomed the "brilliant" star of the hilarious French comedy-drama The Intouchables to the cast via Twitter. There's still no word on who Sy will play, or what superpowers that character will possess. »


- Andre Tartar

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Saltz on Critic Thomas McEvilley, 1939–2013

3 March 2013 10:41 AM, PST

In some ways, art historian, critic, teacher, translator, and studier of Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, and classical philosophy Thomas McEvilley started multiculturalism as we know it in the art world. In 1984, MoMA organized "Primitivism" in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern.  In a series of brilliantly reasoned scathing letters to the editor of Artforum, McEvilley blasted MoMA, all museums of modern art, and the entire art-historical infrastructure as it then existed. His claim, which was then correct, was that European and American art history was using third world art and artists as footnotes to Western art history without recognizing the primacy of these formal cultures. Asian and African works were rarely not seen in lower hierarchical position to western art — which played the role of masterpiece and genius to tribal art's perpetual role as influence or antecedent. McEvilley's role as spokesperson was elevated to general »

- Jerry Saltz

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Variety Unveils Digital Face-lift

3 March 2013 10:37 AM, PST

Ever since Penske Media (owner of Deadline) bought Hollywood trade paper Variety five months ago, people have wondered how the company plans to revive its struggling acquisition. Five days ago, we learned that Penske is shutting down Variety's print edition to focus on a new, snazzier website, which went live on Sunday. The publication's traditional green palate was lost in the redesign, though the old, swoopy logo was left in place. But, most importantly, the site has ditched its hated paywall, which had cost it readers and profits. Other features include: mobile and tablet compatibility; Wall Street Journal-esque pointillist portraits for each columnist; and (coming soon) a new vertical called VScore for Tinseltown's data junkies. »


- Andre Tartar

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Saturday Night Live Recap: Kevin Hart Palms Your Sandwich

3 March 2013 9:02 AM, PST

I'll get to the Kevin Hart stuff in the sketch-by-sketch analysis, but two things: The imitation Don Pardo we got during the introductions distracted me for probably the first 30 minutes of the show. So many questions! Is Don okay? Is he ill? Am I adequately prepared to accept the reality that one day Don Pardo won't be there to do the SNL intros anymore? Maybe Don's just on vacation? In which case my existential dread seems a bit dramatic. I guess this means that Don reads these live every week? That's weird. You'd think he'd just record one master of the season's cast, then come back in on, like, Wednesday and lay down the week's host/musical guest?  I wonder what Don Pardo does with the rest of his week. These questions continued, until they gave way to a second set of questions, mostly involving whether Macklemore can actually be »


- Joe Reid

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Your Sunday Long Reads: Jimmy Kimmel and Auto-Tune

3 March 2013 8:51 AM, PST

It's Sunday afternoon, your last chance to read all that stuff you meant to read last week before Monday brings a new deluge of things you will want to read. Below, some of our recommendations: "Here's Jimmy Kimmel" by Jonah Weiner (Rolling Stone): Bro-ing out with Jimmy Fallon's late night competition. "Seduced by 'perfect' pitch: how Auto-Tune conquered pop music" by Lessley Anderson (The Verge): Auto-tune is artificial, but is that such a bad thing? "By Any Other Name" by Teddy Wayne (The New York Times): Would you rather read a book by a John or a Jonathan?  "Partial Magic in Pat the Bunny" by Ed Park (Slate/The Believer):On the scary infinite regression contained in classic children's books about rabbits. "I’m not here to make friends" by Daniel D'Addario (Salon): Survivor has been on for 24 seasons, and some people are still showing up to the casting calls. »


- Andre Tartar,Caroline Bankoff

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Shirley MacLaine Returning to Downton Abbey

2 March 2013 2:00 PM, PST

While Downtown Abbey has lost Matthew Crawley (a.k.a. Dan Stevens), Lady Sybil (a.k.a. Jessica Brown Findlay), and "thoroughly despicable human being" Sarah O'Brien (a.k.a. Siobhan Finneran), Dame Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess will continue to enjoy the company of shrill American matriarch Martha Levinson. On Saturday, Carnival Films and PBS announced that Shirley MacLaine is confirmed for the show's next season, along with a whole new crew of aristocrats played by opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tom Cullen, Sense & Sensibility's Dame Harriet Walter, Julian Ovenden, and Joanna David. The Granthams will also have a new valet, played by EastEnders' Nigel Harman. »


- Andre Tartar

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Ex-Model Sues Mad Men Over Opening Credits

2 March 2013 12:04 PM, PST

Gita Hall, a fifties-era model and actress, claims that a Revlon hairspray ad she shot with photographer Richard Avedon is used in Mad Men's opening title sequence without her permission. "The Main Titles were integral to the success of Mad Men," the lawsuit against production company Lionsgate reads, and "[Hall's] likeness appears more prominently and directly than any other image in that sequence." The complaint, which seeks unspecified damages, also explains why it took Hall so long to notice the issue: She doesn't have cable TV, so she didn't see the shot until Mad Men came out on home video. »


- Andre Tartar

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Ten Pop Culture Questions Answered by Vulture This Week

2 March 2013 9:00 AM, PST

Every week, Vulture faces the big, important questions in entertainment, and comes to some creative conclusions. This week, we began a long search to determine the best sitcom of all time, asked why, exactly, Seth MacFarlane was so misogynistic at the Oscars, and talked with Enlightened's Mike White about why men won't watch shows about women. You may have read some of these stories below, but you certainly didn’t read them all. We forgive you.Q: How were the Oscars?A: They — or Seth MacFarlane, at least — were misogynistic. But we loved it when Jennifer Lawrence fell down, and not in a mean way. The Fug Girls liked some of these dresses and disliked some others. Plenty more Oscar coverage here. Q: What is the best sitcom of the past thirty years?A: We are so glad you asked, since we have a whole bracket devoted to that very subject! »


- Vulture Editors

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NBC Denies Rumors of Jay Leno Departure

2 March 2013 8:40 AM, PST

The Battle for Late Night has been mostly quiet since Conan O'Brien switched to cable, but unnamed people tell The Hollywood Reporter that NBC is preparing its next attack. The network's target? ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, which recently moved into the same 11:35 p.m. slot as the slimmed-down Tonight Show. "The more time Jimmy Kimmel is in that slot, the more the young audience goes that way," said a source. That person went on to say that NBC is planning to win back the youth with a May announcement that Jay Leno will be replaced with Late Night host Jimmy Fallon in the summer of 2014, when Leno's Tonight Show contract is up. Of course, it's difficult to imagine Leno leaving the air before his rival, David Letterman, whose contract also ends in 2014. Perhaps the old generation is ready pass the torch, but for now NBC says that the »


- Andre Tartar

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Disconnect Trailer: The Internet Hates You

1 March 2013 3:08 PM, PST

Everyone these days has gadgets and gizmos a-plenty, and every single one is at best ruining your life, right? That's at least what the trailer for Disconnect seems to suggest. The film looks has a smorgasbord of web crimes: catfishing – check; identity theft – check; webcam statutory rape —  check. Jason Bateman and Alexander Skarsgård are just two of the many victims. The film was directed by the man behind the Oscar-nominated documentary Murderball and is set for an April 12 release. After which, never go on your computer or phone ever again ... unless you're checking Vulture, of course. »


- Jesse David Fox

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Nicholas Hoult Has Always Been Obsessed With Beans

1 March 2013 2:50 PM, PST

At first glance, Jack the Giant Slayer might look like the kind of blockbuster that agents for an up-and-coming actor like Nicholas Hoult would sell him on by saying, "I know it's no X-Men, but the studio's behind it and you'll make some good cash!" But it turns out that this is much more than just a payday for Hoult: This project is the culmination of one of his lifelong passions. No, not swordplay or fairy tales — the man loves beans, whether on the stalk or not! Going all the way back to his Skins days we found pictures of Hoult discussing, pontificating, and thinking about beans with everyone from Freida Pinto to his ex, Jennifer Lawrence. See the images below and learn a thing or two about beans in the sexiest way possible. February 28, 2008, NME Awards, with Skins costar Larissa Wilson: "All the press wants to ask »


- Jesse David Fox

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10 Things Hal on Malcolm in the Middle Did That Walter White Never Would

1 March 2013 2:15 PM, PST

Today's Sitcom Smackdown eliminated Malcolm in the Middle, but no conversation about that show would be complete without a trip down Hal-memory lane. Bryan Cranston is so iconically Walter White from Breaking Bad at this point that it's almost hard to picture him as the silly, high-strung father of five. Walter White does plenty of stuff Hal would never consider — murder people, for example — but it turns out Hal does plenty of things outside Heisenberg's comfort zone, too.Tough to picture Ww buying sequins. Walter spends a lot of time gazing at himself in the mirror, but he never seems delighted by it. Would Walter make a blood oath? Perhaps. But he would never wear a Cosby sweater. Hal loves washing the car. (Well, this car.) Walter White owns a car wash, but gets absolutely zero joy from it. Hal's talking about cutting down a tree. But Walter wouldn't even »


- Margaret Lyons

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Taylor Kitsch Joins Ryan Murphy’s The Normal Heart

1 March 2013 12:30 PM, PST

Deadline reports that Taylor Kitsch is joining the star-studded cast for Ryan Murphy's HBO adaptation of Larry Kramer's Tony-winning play The Normal Heart. The cast includes Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, and now Kitsch. The story focuses on the onset of the AIDS crisis in 1980s New York City. Kitch will play a closeted investment banker who eventually becomes an AIDS activist. Just like his character in Battleship. »


- Jesse David Fox

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8 Fresh Picks to Host Next Year’s Oscars

1 March 2013 11:45 AM, PST

Jimmy Fallon. Neil Patrick Harris. Jimmy Kimmel. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. You hear these names bandied about every year to host the Oscars, but aren't they a little too ... expected? Over the past five years, the Academy has endeavored to surprise us with its ultimate pick to emcee the Oscars, eschewing the comedians who've hosted rival telecasts in favor of movie stars (Hugh Jackman, James Franco, Anne Hathaway) or fresh faces with a strong appeal to young men (Seth MacFarlane). Even when the Academy brought back Steve Martin in 2010, they paired him with awards hosting newbie Alec Baldwin, and while Billy Crystal came onboard for last year's, it was only after the more surprising choice, Eddie Murphy, fell out of the job. With that in mind, let's brainstorm who's likely to be in the mix for next year's Oscar hosting gig, with eight picks who haven't already »


- Kyle Buchanan

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Enlightened’s Amy Jellicoe: TV’s Most Tragic Heroine

1 March 2013 11:30 AM, PST

Critics and the passionate fans of HBO's little-watched Enlightened are clogging Twitter and blogs pleading with it to be renewed for a third season, for more stories of Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern), et al, and her dreamy, mesmerizing process of spiritual, social, and political awakening. The show's co-creator, co-star, and sole writer, Mike White, does not seem overly optimistic that it will come back. I will say that if this Sunday's episode of Enlightened winds up being the show's finale, I'm going to cry. If it winds up being the season and not series finale — ¡Ojalá! — I'm going to cry anyway, because I cry at every episode of Enlightened, because it is a beautiful little tragedy that tricks you into thinking it's a comedy but is actually this haunting fable of the limits of good intentions. Once upon a time, there was a woman named Amy, and she »


- Margaret Lyons

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O’Brien Is Leaving Downton Abbey

1 March 2013 11:15 AM, PST

Downton Abbey's mass exodus continues: It looks like O'Brien is leaving the show, too. Actress Siobhan Finneran says that she's "not doing any more," according to the Press Association, though it's not clear yet how exactly her villainous character will be written off. If she's not around, who will be Mrs. Crawley's maid? Who will do all the scheming? Who will stare down Thomas? Who will have horrific, apparently abortifacient bangs? Big Fat Ugly Bug-Face Baby-Eating O'Brien from Muppet Treasure Island, maybe now is your chance. »


- Margaret Lyons

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One Day at a Time Star Bonnie Franklin Has Died

1 March 2013 11:12 AM, PST

Bonnie Franklin, who played divorced single mom Ann Romano for nine seasons on Norman Lear's One Day at a Time, has died, according to the Associated Press and multiple reports. She was 69 and passed away due to complications from pancreatic cancer. Franklin's Ms. Romano was part of a wave of strong female TV icons that rose up during the seventies and eighties: Maude Findlay, Alice Hyatt, Florida Evans, Mary Richards. What was special about One Day at a Time was that Franklin played a single mom by choice (she was one of the earliest small screen divorcees), and that the show never sugar-coated the challenges of raising kids solo. Those of us who grew up in the seventies being raised by single moms greatly appreciated Ms. Romano (and Franklin). »


- Josef Adalian

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Jonathan Ames on the Bored to Death Movie, His Byliner Book, and Twitter Humiliation

1 March 2013 10:45 AM, PST

Jonathan Ames recently took New York Magazine on an outing to discuss his new Byliner novella You Were Never Really Here as well as the film adaptation of his canceled HBO show Bored to Death (which he's working on in addition to adaptations of Bernard Malamud's Pictures of Fidelman and Donald Westlake's 361). Problem was, we were discussing them, in typical Amesian fashion, in a steam room — not the usual forum for an in-depth interview. So for a more substantial update, we grabbed some chow (He opted for some bratwurst, sauerkraut, and split pea soup), and wound up with more material than we could even fit in the magazine. Here are those outtakes. Enjoy!Jonathan Ames, the character in Bored to Death, is a soft-boiled detective. Joe, in You Were Never Really Here, is pretty hard-boiled. [He's an ex-fbi agent who rescues women from the sex trade.] A little like »


- Jennifer Vineyard

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The Six Movies You Need to Watch to Get Familiar With Stoker Director Park Chan-wook

1 March 2013 10:30 AM, PST

Stoker may seem like just the latest opportunity to inspect the facial plasticity of Nicole Kidman, but for aficionados of international badass cinema, it's something much more important – the Stateside debut of Park Chan-wook, the celebrated South Korean filmmaker responsible for a handful of the most popular, and brutal, genre films of the past decade. (Read David Edelstein's review of Stoker here.) A critic turned director known for tales defined by sleek style and extravagant gruesomeness, Park rose to prominence in 2000 with his military drama Joint Security Area. He then cemented his reputation amongst both fanboys and critics alike with the "Vengeance Trilogy," of which the middle entry – 2003's cult-classic Oldboy – was championed at Cannes by Quentin Tarantino (where it won the second-place Grand Prix award), and is now scheduled for a stateside remake this October courtesy of Spike Lee.Notable for his precise, methodical direction and »


- Nick Schager

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