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Eli Roth Loves Sharks

1 hour ago

Eli Roth may be known as the guy who takes perverse glee in mutilating human bodies in his films (he is, after all, the guy who ostensibly created "torture porn"), but you may not know that he also has a soft spot for sharks. He’s working on a shark movie right now, Meg, an adaptation of Steve Alten's 1999 bestselling novel, “about a giant megaladon shark that escapes from the bottom of the ocean and wreaks havoc on the ecosystem," which he sees "as an opportunity to re-educate and re-brand scary sharks in movies.” It will purportedly make use of CGI sharks instead of real ones (feeding actors to sharks is banned by the Actors' Equity Association). But Roth's love goes beyond the artifice of CGI sharks in horror movies; he was asked to swim with real sharks for Discovery Channel’s beloved Shark Week. Speaking with Vanity Fair, »


- Greg Cwik

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Dave Grohl Did More Awesome Stuff While Having a Broken Leg

2 hours ago

Trying to keep up with Dave Grohl is exhausting. The guy makes most people half his age look lazy. Even with a broken leg, the dude just keeps going, like a tattooed Energizer Bunny with pure rock 'n' roll coursing through his veins. To kick off the Foo Fighters’ North American tour, Grohl, his leg swaddled in an awesomely purple cast, played from a custom-made, light machine-equipped throne. You can watch a fan-recorded video of the concert below and feel bad about how you're just sitting in a regular chair watching a guy with a broken leg rock out. Keep on keeping on, King Grohl. »


- Greg Cwik

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Philly Mayor Michael Nutter Performs 'Rapper's Delight' With The Roots

3 hours ago

At last night’s July Jam in Philadelphia, the city’s super-cool mayor Michael Nutter, who used to be a DJ before entering politics, performed Sugar Hill Gang’s iconic “Rapper’s Delight” with gusto and poise. He was joined by The Roots. Of course, he ended the performance with a mic drop, just in case you forgot who the coolest mayor was. »


- Greg Cwik

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Moviegoers Preferred Dinosaurs and Emotions to Arnold Schwarzenegger This Weekend

4 hours ago

Americans apparently had better things to do this Fourth of July weekend than watch Arnold Schwarzenegger fight himself: Terminator Genisys, which has received pretty dour reviews, had a disappointing five-day weekend, pulling in $28.7 million domestic, and a bit more than $44 million worldwide, coming in third at the box office. Despite James Cameron’s unrepentant praise for the film, over five days the movie still failed to beat Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’s three-day gross. Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day made a killing in 1991, breaking the five-day record and becoming one of the highest-grossing films of all time. Rise of the Machines remains one of the 20 highest-grossing R-rated films worldwide.Jurassic World, meanwhile, made more money on top of its already ginormous amount of money, devouring another $43.8 million. With a $558.1 million domestic haul so far, it’s the highest-grossing film of the year, and one of the »


- Greg Cwik

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Blood Orange's New Song Is the First Great Piece of Art About Charleston

5 hours ago

While it conjures up feelings of deep-seated sorrow and Sisyphean hopelessness, Dev Hynes’ new 11-minute masterpiece “Do You See My Skin Through the Flames?” is less a protest song, ala Prince, than a self-vivisection. He's deconstructing himself, figuring out who he is in the wake of the Charleston shooting. The way it deals with tragedy and pain is achingly of-the-moment, yet that pain feels, sadly, timeless. Released under the Hynes' Blood Orange moniker, the song is a pensive meditation on his feelings during this time of sustained anxiety. He eschews anger, a staple of the protest song, and instead sounds exhausted at having to explain this "depression" again. The vocals echo with the fleeting quality of a dream:Let me break this down for you and tell you how we feel again,Your fear is all you hold on to, so when you see me it's not fairI have nothing left »

- Greg Cwik

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The Immersive, Intimate Stray Dog Casts America in a Different Light

6 hours ago

Debra Granik’s Stray Dog enters the life of one man who could easily become a caricature and gives us a portrait novelistic in its depth and breathtaking in its humanity. On the surface, Ron Hall, the subject of Granik’s documentary Stray Dog, is a kind of cultural Rorschach test: Depending on which part of the country you come from, and your own background, you might see him and arrive at any number of assumptions. Here’s a gruff, heavy Vietnam vet and biker, leathered up and covered in tattoos, living in a trailer park in the Ozarks. Are you intimidated? Attracted? Curious? Terrified?  Granik met Hall when he came on to play a small part in her gripping 2011 drama Winter’s Bone, an indie hit that gave Jennifer Lawrence her breakout role and scored an unlikely Best Picture Oscar nomination (Exhibit A in why it was a good »


- Bilge Ebiri

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Ed Sheeran Was So British at T Swift's Fourth of July Party

6 hours ago

This weekend, Taylor Swift threw a Fourth of July party with her friends, most of whom wore red, white, and blue, and all of whom are unfairly gorgeous individuals. But British singer-songwriter and card-carrying team T-Swift member Ed Sheeran showed up to the party in a British red coat, because no one tells Ed Sheeran who won the Revolutionary War. »


- Greg Cwik

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Lil Wayne Drops New Mixtape on Tidal

4 July 2015 1:04 PM, PDT

Tidal's quest for streaming dominance has been making headway lately. A few days ago, Prince announced that he was removing his music from all of the streaming services, save Tidal, which left a lot of fans teary-eyed and angry (though depriving someone of "When Doves Cry" is cruel and unusual). Now Lil Wayne has dropped a new mixtape, The Free Weezy Album (Fwa), exclusively on Tidal, which you can listen to here. »


- Greg Cwik

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Beautiful Funny Women Are ‘Impossible to Find,’ According to the Very Unfunny Michael Eisner

4 July 2015 12:38 PM, PDT

Speaking with Goldie Hawn at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Michael Eisner, the polarizing former Disney CEO, made some ill-considered remarks regarding women. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Eisner said, “From my position, the hardest artist to find is a beautiful, funny woman. By far. They usually—boy am I going to get in trouble, I know this goes online—but usually, unbelievably beautiful women, you being an exception, are not funny.”Whatever possessed Eisner, who is neither funny nor beautiful, to make these inane remarks is unknown. Hawn pointed out that she’s funny, but she doesn’t consider herself beautiful, hence her success. The joke was lost on Eisner, however, as he went on: I know women who have been told they're beautiful, they win Miss Arkansas, they don't ever have to get attention other than with their looks. So they don't tell a joke. In the history of the motion-picture business, »


- Greg Cwik

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Malia Obama Is Interning With Lena Dunham

4 July 2015 11:10 AM, PDT

Perpetually outraged conservatives, hold on to your hats: Malia Obama, daughter of Barack, is interning with Lena Dunham, creator of the licentiously liberal show Girls, which has been corrupting our youth for four seasons. According to the Root, Malia, who turns 17 today (on America’s birthday!), has been seen on the the show's Williamsburg set “delivering coffee for the cast and crew and helping block the public from entering scenes during shoots,” which is probably a lot easier when you're flanked by armed Secret Service agents. The First Daughter previously worked as a production assistant for Halle Berry’s CBS show Extant and aspires to become a filmmaker, according to her mother, who described Malia as a movie lover and voracious reader, like her father.  »


- Greg Cwik

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Puzzle Master Will Shortz Played Ping-Pong for 1,000 Days in a Row

4 July 2015 9:11 AM, PDT

We know him as the master puzzle-maker, his New York Times byline synonymous with imminent frustration. But away from the newsprint grid, Will Shortz moonlights as a devoted ping-pong player and the founder of the Westchester Table Tennis Center. After being told by a neuroscientist a few years ago that ping-pong has more cognitive benefits than even crossword puzzles, Shortz decided to intensify his commitment to the game: He set out to play it for 1,000 days straight.On Tuesday night, a crowd gathered at the Wttc to celebrate the completion of that goal. To commemorate the occasion, the filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost (the team behind Catfish and Paranormal Activity 3 and 4), screened their new short film about Shortz’s nearly three-year table tennis marathon. Under the filmmakers’ guidance, Shortz shot all the footage himself, using four basic camera angles to document his efforts in cities as far afield »


- Casey Schwartz

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Bubba Watson to Paint Over Confederate Flag on his Original Dukes of Hazzard Car

4 July 2015 8:54 AM, PDT

Thirty-six-year-old Bubba Watson, the popular Masters-winning professional golfer from Florida, has decided to expunge the Confederate flag from his original Dukes of Hazzard production car, according to the New York Times. He plans on replacing the Confederate flag with an American flag on the roof of the iconic 1969 Dodge Charger called the General Lee. The particular model Watson owns is nicknamed the Lee 1, as it’s one of the first three original Chargers used in the Southern outlaw show.When Watson bought the car in 2012 for $110,000, it was in pretty bad shape and needed extensive repairs, having been salvaged from a scrap yard. The show, with its unrepentant Southern pride (and its legion of fans who continue to hold the show up as an epochal moment in pop culture), has been embroiled in controversy since the tragic mass murder in Charleston: Warner Bros. recently announced that it would stop »


- Greg Cwik

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Jimmy’s Hall Wins You Over Honestly

4 July 2015 7:00 AM, PDT

Ken Loach’s new film starts off with archival footage of New York City in the 1920s — dense, concrete skylines, the streets awash with people, bread lines, homeless men sleeping in the streets, urban vitality giving way to urban despair. Then it slams right out of that opening credits sequence into a verdant expanse of road in rural Ireland. The immediate effect is one of relief, like someone just allowed us a deep breath of fresh air. An ironic way to kick off a story that’s all about running away and liberation and the looming presence of the past. Also, perhaps, an ironic way to start off a movie that’s more Footloose than The Wind That Shakes the Barley. But more on that in a bit.Jimmy’s Hall tells the story of Irish activist Jimmy Gralton (Barry Ward), who fled his wartorn country for America in the 1920s. »


- Bilge Ebiri

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Ava DuVernay Will Not Be Directing Black Panther, According to Ava DuVernay

3 July 2015 2:20 PM, PDT

When Marvel announced several months ago that it was courting Ava DuVernay to helm one of its upcoming features, particularly Black Panther, the internet went nuts. DuVernay would have been the first black woman to direct a Marvel movie (she was already the first black female filmmaker to be nominated for Best Director at the Golden Globes, for her acclaimed Selma). Also, DuVernay directing a Marvel movie would’ve been the coolest and arguably the most interesting thing to happen to a Marvel movie in a long time — maybe ever. But there was never any confirmation, and for months rumors eddied around the internet. Now we finally have legitimate confirmation from DuVernay herself, via an interview with Essence: “I’m not signing on to direct Black Panther...I think I’ll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be. Marvel has a certain way of doing »


- Greg Cwik

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The Sharknado 3 Trailer Gets Political, Sort Of

3 July 2015 1:28 PM, PDT

The new full trailer for the latest Sharknado sequel pretty much explains itself. There’s yet another tornado full of sharks coming, and this time it’s going to destroy the entire "feast coast." There’s really no need to give any sort of plot synopsis for Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, a movie concerned exclusively with CGI sharks spilling from the sky and eating people. It stars Tara Reid, Frankie Muniz, and David Hasselhoff, with guest appearances by Ann Coulter (as the vice-president of the United States), Michele Bachmann (as herself), Anthony Weiner (as a lifeguard, hopefully with his pants on), and other, less political people. Until the movie airs on July 22 and we can all drink ourselves silly while watching Ann Coulter maybe get gobbled by flying sharks, we have this trailer to tide us over: »


- Greg Cwik

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Jackie & Ryan Is Like Nicholas Sparks.Lite

3 July 2015 12:39 PM, PDT

Could Jackie & Ryan even be called a movie? And does it really matter? This underdeveloped romance seems to be lacking an act, or two, or maybe even three. But it’s filled with such great music that the emotions are there regardless. Not unlike Once, the movie itself feels like an excuse for the music. And as with Once, that’s not always a bad thing.The film follows Ryan (Ben Barnes), a modern-day hobo riding the rails, guitar in hand, busking along the way as he makes some vague noises about maybe starting a recording career. One day in Ogden, Utah, he finds himself playing on the street for Jackie (Katherine Heigl), a former country star now going through a messy divorce and living with her mom (Sheryl Lee). A minor car accident brings them together, and soon enough, they’re making eyes at each other while he fixes »


- Bilge Ebiri

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New Video Shows Nic Cage As ’90s Superman

3 July 2015 12:02 PM, PDT

A long time ago, in the ’90s, filmmaker Tim Burton infamously planned on making a Superman movie starring Nicolas Cage. At the time, Burton had yet to devolve into a parody of himself, and Cage … well, at that point in his career he was still known more as an actor than a recurring internet meme. The film, which never took off, was called Superman Lives, and you can just imagine the bizarre iteration of the Man of Steel that Burton and Cage could’ve conjured. A new documentary chronicling the film’s failure called The Death of Superman Lives (which is a most excellent title) is coming out July 9, and, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times, you can now watch a clip from the documentary showing the "holy grail" footage of Cage's costume test:Here is the trailer for The Death of Superman Lives, which will be shown at Comic Con: »


- Greg Cwik

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Zarafa Is Wise and Elegant, for Kids and Adults

3 July 2015 9:25 AM, PDT

A sweet and sad African adventure with some admirably dark overtones, Zarafa is a Belgian animated film being released Stateside with English subtitles by GKids, the same company that has brought us extraordinary films like Ernest & Celestine and The Tale of Princess Kaguya. (They’re also the folks responsible for the wonderful New York International Children’s Film Festival, which I wrote about last year.) GKids has done an admirable job of bringing to the U.S. youth-oriented films, usually animated, that tackle potentially unsettling, grown-up issues. These tend to be limited releases, often subtitled and screening in small theaters — a far cry from the behemoths of Pixar and Dreamworks. It’s a curious, maybe even crazy idea: bringing together children’s movies and the art house. But over the past few years it’s paid some wonderful dividends. Zarafa, which was originally released in Europe in 2012, is one of them. »

- Bilge Ebiri

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Some of the Best Back to the Future Fan Theories

3 July 2015 9:00 AM, PDT

Robert Zemeckis’s beloved sci-fi comedy and coming-of-age period piece Back to the Future has spawned a lot of strange speculation from fans over the years. The film, now celebrating its 30th anniversary, seems to come alive again with each new generation, and each generation also seems to find new, bizarre conspiracies skulking in between the figurative lines. The folks at the A.V. Club have collected a bunch of the most prevalent online theories, and amid the usual JFK and Illuminati codswallop are some fun, if bonkers, ideas. Here are a few of our favorites:Perhaps the most innocuous theory is that Marty wrote two letters to Doc Brown warning Emmett that he would be killed by the Libyan nationalists on October 21, 1955. The letters are visually different, most likely because the filmmakers didn’t have the same exact prop letter Doc tore up in 1955, sheets of paper being so easy »


- Greg Cwik

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Harry Styles Dishes Details on Zayn Malik

3 July 2015 7:45 AM, PDT

One Direction, a very popular boy band that has sold a lot of records and whose posters adorn the walls of so many teenage girls, lost one of its key members, Zayn Malik, earlier this year. Fans were devastated, and theories and rumors on his return have circulated since. How’s the band doing without Zayn? Harry Styles, talking to Entertainment Weekly, has some updates:How has the production of the concert changed without him? The only changes have been that the parts Zayn sang have been picked up by different people. Other than that, the shows have been going absolutely great. Have you had to modify the set list at all? Malik has a big solo on “Story of My Life,” for instance. It would be pretty devastating if we took that song out. Liam [Payne] stepped up to do the high notes. He kicks them in the bollocks every show. »


- Greg Cwik

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