Tapping into the talents of comic voices like Reggie Watts, Baron Vaughn, and Chappelle’s Show’s Neal Brennan (plus the rapping and acting acumen of “My Vag” performer Awkwafina), Comedy Central has rolled out an ambitious slate of new shows and pilots for its upcoming season, mixing silliness and political satire with a strong focus on bringing more diverse voices into its fold. First up on the confirmed list: Watts’ Taskmaster, which sees the musical stand-up and former Comedy Bang! Bang! bandleader serving as the host (and all-seeing judge) for a bunch of comedians committing a series of inventively asinine jobs. Based on a British series of the same name, the show will see Watts and the show’s original creator, Alex Horne, forcing people to do things like “hide a pineapple on their person in the most discrete way” or “empty a bathtub as fast as possible.” From watching clips of the British show, it looks like lateral … [Read more...] about Comedy Central taps Reggie Watts, Awkwafina, Baron Vaughn for new shows
New York City in the summer of 1977 must have felt like the end of the Roman Empire. Sweltering heat waves turned daily life into a sticky struggle, while rising inequality and poverty levels stoked social unrest, crime, and violence. At large was the Son Of Sam, a serial killer who stalked around with a revolver in search of brown-haired female victims, and one steamy July day, a city-wide power outage plunged the island into complete darkness. The smell of apocalypse was in the air. It’s in this rare moment in American history that writer-director Alistair Banks Griffin sets his sophomore feature, The Wolf Hour, a gloomy psychological thriller interested in the distinct paranoia of a woman living in self-exile in the South Bronx. The movie, which premiered at Sundance in January, takes place almost entirely in a derelict apartment. It’s unclear just how long June Leigh (Naomi Watts), whose now-deceased grandmother owned the place, has been squatting there, though from the … [Read more...] about Naomi Watts comes unglued in the claustrophobic but thin psychological thriller
I’ve never been able to muster that much enthusiasm for the bitter leafy greens of winter. Do I like them? Sure. Do they enthuse me? Not in the slightest. It’s been over a decade since we discovered that kale can actually be edible, and what sort of exciting advancements in green-eating have we had since then? Other leafy greens, like curly endive, need breakout recipes that will convince us they can be so much more than side salad. This, dear reader, is that sort of recipe: the kind that actually makes you excited about eating leaves. Like many bitter greens, curly endive—which your supermarket might label as “chicory” or “frisee”—tastes better when it’s generously seasoned with acid or salt. So, why not make something that goes the extra mile with both? A quick dip in piping hot water wilts the endive enough to be malleable, and it also gets this notoriously dirty vegetable sparkling clean. After wringing out the excess water, … [Read more...] about Curly Endive Piccata will make you believe in leaves again
This week’s question comes from reader Patrick Simpson: I’ve long thought that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would have made the perfect Spiderman, but he’s now a little too old to convincingly play a high school or even college age version of our friendly neighborhood web slinger. So, my question is this: Is there an actor who you think would have been perfect for a role, but is now just too old to play that part? Advertisement Ignatiy Vishnevetsky Even if he were still alive, the late Raúl Juliá would be way too old to play Max Linder. Besides being a dead ringer for the silent-era legend, Juliá had the right balance of ham charisma and actorly grace to play the tragic figure of Linder in a biopic, charting the dandy-ish French comedian’s life from his rise to fame as one of film’s earliest stars to his traumatic experiences during World War I and his eventual spiral into depression, which ended in a double suicide with his young wife. Though … [Read more...] about What’s your “if only they were younger” dream casting?
There’s a scene early inLuce, a riveting new psychodrama about race and preconceptions, that’s as tense as any thriller, and all it really comes down to is two people talking in a classroom, their deceptively polite conversation shading into passive-aggressive antagonism. One of the two is the title character, a beaming A-student played by Kelvin Harrison Jr. The other is his government and history teacher, Ms. Wilson (Octavia Spencer), the only instructor at their Virginia high school who ever seems to challenge the star athlete, debate-club champion, and soon-to-be valedictorian—though she, too, views him as an “important example to the school,” a B Advertisement Harrison, who previously starred in the post-apocalyptic thriller It Comes At Night, perfectly captures the poise and charisma of an academic golden child, the kind who Written by JLuce pivots around the concealed motivations and actions of its protagonist. The assignment in question is a … [Read more...] about Kelvin Harrison Jr. delivers one of the great performances of the year in the gripping