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Watch the First Teaser For Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens

4 hours ago

The highly anticipated trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (also known as Episode VII) just debuted online, offering the first official look at some of the big characters and exotic places we're going to see when the J.J. Abrams-directed film bows next year. Picking up thirty years after Return of the Jedi left off, The Force Awakens brings back original stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher, though it falls to new additions like John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver to lead the series into the future (even if that future takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far away). This teaser runs a mere 88 seconds, but as a tasty little morsel of Force-related goodness, who can quibble? Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be out December 18, 2015. »


- Kyle Buchanan

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Red Band Society Recap: Punch Me in the Morning

27 November 2014 8:00 AM, PST

Red Band Society, as a whole, mainly gets by on a) the strength of Octavia Spencer's performance, b) the likability of the teenage performers, and c) the inherent drama of having a bunch of sick kids waiting around, hoping to get better, knowing they might not.  Its main drawbacks, at the moment, are a) a tendency toward gimmicks for gimmicks' sake (I don't mind coma boy as a narrative thread, and I guess I'm all right with everyone visiting him in their dream state, but the idea of him as all-seeing narrator just doesn't work), b) heavy-handed writing that makes sure you always Understand What the Scene Is About (I'm sure the thinking here is that shows about teenagers tend to mostly attract teenage viewers, but it's really condescending to assume kids can't figure out subtext and themes on their own), and c) all the adult characters besides Nurse »


- Michael Tedder

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Australian Horror Movie The Babadook Is In the Running For My Favorite Movie Of the Year

26 November 2014 1:15 PM, PST

In the running with Boyhood as my favorite movie of 2014 is another work that turns on the challenges of parenting. This one is a tad more insane. It’s Jennifer Kent’s phenomenally scary Australian chiller The Babadook.The film centers on a widowed mother, Amelia (Essie Davis), her fragile seven-year-old son, Sam (Noah Wiseman), and a demon out of a twisted bedtime story—literally out of it, since the thing announces its presence in a rhyming, black-and-white pop-up book that appears on the boy’s shelf. It’s called Mister Babadook, and the monster in its pages has a black undertaker’s coat, a top hat, a pasty white face, and elongated, talon-like fingers. The book says that once the Babadook comes, you can’t get rid of him. You can’t deny him, either—denying him makes him stronger. “You start to change when I get in/The Babadook growing under your skin. »


- David Edelstein

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The ‘Serial’ Podcast Is Getting a Second Season

26 November 2014 11:41 AM, PST

Thanks to the donations of many eager listeners, "Serial" will get a second season. Who knows what it will be about? It may be another mystery. It may not be a mystery at all! The greatest mystery is when it might air, which producers don't know yet. "Serial" is off for Thanksgiving this week. Let's all take an informal poll and see how many relatives are listening. »

- Lindsey Weber

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Director John Boorman on Young Christopher Walken, Lord Of the Rings, and Violence in Film

26 November 2014 11:30 AM, PST

If the movies of Irish filmmaker John Boorman have a common theme, it's their shared interest in the restorative value of violence. That central theme, of finding rebirth from the ashes of destruction, isn't easy to swallow, but it's at the heart of many of Boorman's most notable films, including Point Blank, Deliverance, Hell in the Pacific, and even Exorcist II: The Heretic. Boorman was honored at MoMA recently with special screenings of two of his most radical films: Leo the Last, a comic allegory about class warfare starring Marcello Mastroianni; and Excalibur, Boorman's spectacular reimagining of the Arthurian legend. Vulture talked to Boorman about his science-fiction film Zardoz, young Christopher Walken, and Lord of the Rings.Of the two movies you're presenting at MoMA, Leo the Last is unfortunately the lesser-known. It's striking in that it's like several of your other films in its concern with destructive rejuvenation. It's also a comedy! »


- Simon Abrams

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Let’s Take Bets on Who Will Die on Parenthood

26 November 2014 11:15 AM, PST

With Parenthood on hiatus until next year, you still have plenty of time to set up your betting pool on who will (as promised!) be kicking the bucket. All signs seem to be pointing toward Zeek, who, at the end of the last episode (Spoiler!), asked that Camille call an ambulance. But maybe the writers of Parenthood are planning a little twist? Here are your odds. Have a happy Thanksgiving with your family.Kristina Braverman (Monica Potter): 100:1 Kristina already had a death scare in season four, but it’s perfectly possible that the cancer could come back. Or maybe this is just wishful thinking, because she’s turned into a monster, letting Max get away with murder at the Braveman-run charter school and still (!) parading around like opening that thing was the best thing she and Adam could’ve done for him. We all realize now that this isn’t true. »


- Lindsey Weber

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Will Arnett, John Mayer Among the Many Men Asked to Guest-Host The Late Late Show

26 November 2014 11:11 AM, PST

Will Arnett, Judd Apatow, John Mayer, Thomas Lennon, Wayne Brady, and The Big Bang Theory regular Kunal Nayyar are among the men who will take turns guest-hosting CBS’s The Late Late Show this winter during the two-month gap between Craig Ferguson’s departure and James Corden’s arrival as his replacement. And yes, at least as of now, they’re all dudes: The list of ten Late Late Show guest hosts announced by the Eye network Wednesday includes no women. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any female representation in CBS late night during the January 5 through March 6 Ferguson-Corden interregnum. Eye sources tell Vulture that there are still conversations going on with possible female guest hosts, and that several other women were approached about the gig (but couldn’t be booked). CBS will also air a late-night edition of its female-hosted daytime show The Talk in the »


- Joe Adalian

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What the Hell Is Going On in This Game of Thrones Teaser?

26 November 2014 11:04 AM, PST

While you were schlepping on a train to your mother's house yesterday afternoon, HBO released this very mysterious teaser for Game of Thrones season five. It's ten seconds of footage we've already seen of Arya being a badass, narrated by Melisandre saying, "I see a darkness in you." It ends with a link to www.threeeyedraven.com, where fans can sign up to receive "visions of the future." Maybe it's a reminder that Bran now has the sight and will be filling us in with those rumored flashbacks? Maybe Arya has the power of sight now, too? Or maybe it's just a promo for the European leg of Hodor's DJ tour. »

- Tara Abell

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Take a Look at the Criterion Collection’s New Cover Art Coffee Table Book

26 November 2014 10:30 AM, PST

"When people come to visit the Criterion Collection, their first stop is often the art department," writes Criterion Collection president Peter Becker in the introduction to the film company's new coffee table book, Criterion Designs. "We have a white wall covered with metallic paint and magnets where we put up the latest iterations of the cover designs we’re working on. It’s right in the heart of the office, and it is where we end up having many of our most important conversations about movies." Cover art and design for Criterion releases have become such a meme that there are several blogs devoted to mocking up fake Criterion art. Criterion Designs has hundreds of alternate sketches and final designs for cinephiles to browse through. Here are three movies: Stanley Kubrick's The Killing, On the Waterfront, and House. »


- Vulture Editors

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These Are the Movies Expiring From Netflix on December 1

26 November 2014 10:00 AM, PST

Move that Thanksgiving feast to the couch, because you have a lot of Netflix-watching to do before December 1, when these movies will disappear from the streaming service. (But given how Netflix has worked in the past, they may be back at some point in the future.) Here they are, in alphabetical order, though if you only have a limited amount of time, can we steer you toward Spice World? No? Well, take your pick.1941 (1979)An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)The Apostle (1997)Audrey Rose (1977)The Believers (1987)Better Than Chocolate (1999)Blood & Chocolate (2007)The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)Chaplin (1992)The Choirboys (1977)The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County (1970)Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)The Constant Gardener (2005)Count Yorga, Vampire (1970)The Return of Count Yorga (1971)Cry-Baby (1990)Dirty Dancing (1987)Double Indemnity (1944) En la Cama (2005)Event Horizon (1997)Eye for an Eye (1996)Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997)First Knight (1995)Five Easy Pieces (1970)Free Men (2011)Funny Lady »


- Lindsey Weber

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PSA: The Bam Sunshine Noir Fest Is This Weekend, Sounds Awesome

26 November 2014 9:52 AM, PST

When you think of noir, you probably think of darkness: the shadowed alleyways, the mean city at midnight, the gunshots that sound unseen just outside the spill of the street lamp. But there’s a sun-bleached counter-narrative in noir — actually, it’s arguably the main narrative, once you consider that Chandler’s Philip Marlowe stalked the streets of Los Angeles, The Maltese Falcon takes place in San Francisco, and James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice unfolds in rural California. Noir itself was largely a counter-narrative, of course, and not primarily to the starchy history of the tradition-choked East Coast. So much classic noir, instead, is about the underbelly of the American frontier — which, in the 20th century, meant California. It’s the dark side of the sunny side, as it were.So it’s especially thrilling to see that Brooklyn’s Bam Cinematek has collected 21 classic Cali-noir »


- Adam Sternbergh

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18 Movies to See (or Not to See) This Thanksgiving

26 November 2014 9:45 AM, PST

The holiday season kicks into full gear tomorrow with Thanksgiving. That means food, family, and awkward conversations about why you haven't visited your cousins in so long. So why not avoid talk altogether and go to the movies? Here’s a list of which films are out now and what our critics have said about them.The Imitation GameOf this WWII drama that stars Benedict Cumberbatch, the internet’s boyfriend, as Alan Turing, David Edelstein wrote: “The Imitation Game is a highly simplified version of the highly complex life of proto-computer genius, World War II code breaker, and gay martyr Alan Turing — but even with all its elisions and distortions it tells a cracking good story.” The Babadook This Australian horror movie with an exorcism twist involves a widowed mother, her 7-year-old son, and a demon from a pop-up book who may or may not be real. Edelstein called it »


- Marcus Jones

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Ridley Scott Explains Exodus’s Whitewashing

26 November 2014 9:30 AM, PST

Ridley Scott's upcoming Exodus: Gods and Kings has an awfully white cast for a movie set in ancient Egypt: Christian Bale plays Moses, Joel Edgerton plays Ramses, Aaron Paul plays Joshua, and Sigourney Weaver plays Tuya. But Scott says he has a perfectly good explanation for the whitewashing. "I can't mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such," the director tells Variety. "I'm just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn't even come up." Well, there you have it. Better luck next time, all actors who were apparently never even considered. »


- Margaret Lyons

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Jerry Seinfeld Talks to YouTube Star Colleen Ballinger About Why the Internet Is Better Than TV

26 November 2014 9:15 AM, PST

Jerry Seinfeld first heard of comedian Colleen Ballinger when his 13-year-old daughter Sascha suggested he watch a YouTube video of Ballinger's obnoxious, tone-deaf, spiteful persona Miranda Sings. He was instantly impressed by her ability to make both him and his daughter laugh. As a result, he invited Ballinger to appear on his web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, in character as Miranda. The episode, which the pair shot in October, debuts tomorrow. (Watch a trailer for the episode here.) Earlier this week, Vulture spoke with Seinfeld and Ballinger to get the scoop on their surprising and intriguing partnership and learned why Seinfeld insists TV is a “small” medium.So, Jerry, how, exactly, did you come to do this episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Miranda Sings?Jerry Seinfeld: Well, I remember sitting in my daughter’s room. She said, “Hey, you want to see something funny? »


- Dan Hyman

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Sorry, People: Here’s the Real List of Sexiest Male Artists

26 November 2014 9:10 AM, PST

After People magazine recently awarded photographer Javier Gomez as 2014’s Sexiest Artist Alive, we here at Seen collectively scratched our heads and muttered, “Who?!” Google informs us that he’s a 34-year old fine-art photographer based in New York, but we’re unconvinced that Gomez, who seems like a lovely person, is actually all that sexy, creatively speaking. We here at Seen are not above making lists. Or finding people sexy. Or doing both at the same time. While sexiness is rolled up with emotional unavailability, perfect aesthetic sensibilities, brilliant work, and an unbelievable career, we've had our eye on a couple of you for some time (and not just for your accomplishments). So listen up, People: Here are the Top 10 Sexiest Male Artists Alive. »


- Julie Baumgardner

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A Brief History of the Food Coma in Art

26 November 2014 8:34 AM, PST

There’s a very good reason gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. Eating and drinking are two of life’s greatest pleasures — our only problem seems to be not knowing when to stop. Of course, Thanksgiving wasn't the first event in history that caused the unbutton-your-pants-at-the-table move (or, in the case of the Romans, loosening your robe) at the end of the night. Lucky for us, art history provides countless depictions of our descent into food-related madness. So, before you indulge in a tryptophan-fueled evening, let us walk you through a more vivid display of what your Thursday night with the family (or friends) has the potential to become. We'll start, for the sake of brevity, with Bacchus, who was the Greco-Roman god of wine but also served as a spiritual metonym for feast and fortune. The naughtiest mementos of the Romans' proclivity for debauchery existed in Villa »

- Julie Baumgardner

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What TV Should You Watch With Your Family Over Thanksgiving?

26 November 2014 8:30 AM, PST

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, it's time to turn our attention to the true meaning of the day: TV marathons. Perhaps you are cocooning yourself away from society for a brief respite, or perhaps you are in charge of entertaining a gaggle of toddlers. For those instances, and several instances in between, we're here to help. This post doesn't contain any spoilers, so fear not, those of you who, for a variety of wacky reasons, "save up" TV to watch over holidays.If you need a reminder that all families are weird: I mean, just look around and be honest with yourself, but also Transparent. The ten-episode Amazon show, about a family whose patriarch comes out as transgender, is so intimate, you'll feel like you're right there in the thick of it with all the characters. Gorgeous, moving, but better to watch with people who can be quiet during »

- Margaret Lyons

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Jian Ghomeshi Surrenders to Police on Sexual-Assault Charges

26 November 2014 8:25 AM, PST

Yesterday, Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi dropped the $55 million lawsuit he and his lawyers filed against the CBC, his former employer who fired him after sexual-abuse allegations started coming to light. Today, the Toronto police said in a statement that Ghomeshi has turned himself over to the police. He has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcome resistance — choking. Ghomeshi is set to appear in court later this afternoon. »


- Jesse David Fox

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European Art Collective Trawls the Darknet With Bot, Gets Creepy Packages

26 November 2014 7:45 AM, PST

By now you’ve probably heard about the internet’s shadowy “Darknet” black-market sites, where Bitcoin-rich shoppers cloaked in anonymizing software can buy everything from hackers’ services to Mdma. The FBI clamped down on the most famous of the sites, Silk Road. Another site, Utopia, was shuttered this year by Dutch National Police after undercover agents bought “several thousand” ecstasy pills and were even offered an assassin. A third site, Agora, has reached a critical mass, with more listings than any other; shoppers there can find everything from “Pakistani Culero hash” to semiautomatic firearms.Now Agora’s become the virtual realm of a new art project, by a Zurich- and London-based art collective called !Mediengruppe Bitnik. The group — Domagoj Smoljo and Carmen Weisskopf — created a bot that crawls along through the site’s contraband offerings. With a weekly budget of $100 in Bitcoins, the bot randomly makes one purchase per week. »

- Dawn Chan

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All Penguins of Madagascar Wants Is for You to Laugh at Its Silliness

26 November 2014 7:45 AM, PST

You have to respect a kids’ cartoon that kicks off with a Werner Herzog joke — even one so willfully, wondrously stupid and lighthearted as Penguins of Madagascar. The latest installment in Dreamworks Animation’s surprisingly lucrative, globe-hopping, talking-animal franchise is refreshingly devoid of subtlety or emotional resonance or even proper story structure. Its most nuanced joke is its very existence: The penguins were always the best part of the Madagascar series, so now they have their own movie, and the other animals are not particularly pleased about it.Specifically, the penguins’ popularity has driven one particular creature, Dave the Octopus (voiced by John Malkovich), mad with jealousy and resentment. The new film is a James Bond–ian adventure involving the Dr. Evil–like Dave’s deviously inane plan to kidnap and turn New York’s penguins into gruesome monsters, thus extinguishing their cuteness and, hopefully, their public appeal. Along the way, »


- Bilge Ebiri

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