It’s the Movie Hit of the Summer: Why ‘The Kissing Booth’ Clicked

The Netflix movie is based on a book by a real teenager, adapted by a fan of ’80s teen rom-coms and features stars who actually became a couple.
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Police: Operator in Self-Driving Uber Crash Was Streaming ‘The Voice’

The test operator of a self-driving Uber car that hit and killed a pedestrian in Arizona last March was streaming the TV show “The Voice” on her phone just before the collision, police say.
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Critic’s Notebook: How to Save ‘The Conners’ From Roseanne

Maybe the troubled “Roseanne” revival should have just ended. But if it won’t, here are some ways it could get better.
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Richard Greenberg, Title Designer of ‘Superman’ and ‘The Matrix,’ Dies at 71

Oscar-nominated title designer Richard Greenberg, who lent his artistry to classic films and franchises like “Superman,” “Alien,” and “The Matrix” died of appendicitis on June 16 his New York home. He was 71. Greenberg received multiple award nominations for his creative work throughout his career, including a visual effects Oscar-nomination in 1988 for “Predator” and […]

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Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino Loves the ‘Sweet Spot’ of Wedding Planning: ‘Most Guys’ Don’t Get It

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is having a blast planning his upcoming nuptials to fiancée Lauren Pesce.

“We are in the sweet spot right now and having fun planning the wedding,” the Jersey Shore Family Vacation star tells PEOPLE at the Lunch with the Jersey Shore event at Little Dom’s restaurant in Los Angeles on Friday.

While Sorrentino, 35, admits that he’s been leaving most of the big decisions up to his bride-to-be, he says he’s really enjoyed checking out different venues — and tasting all those wedding cakes!

“I don’t think most guys realize how much goes into planning a wedding. I told her, ‘Babe, just do whatever you want to do,’ ” he adds.

RELATED: Jersey Shore‘s Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino & Lauren Pesce Want to Get Married in Italy — Soon

Sorrentino and Pesce, 33, who got engaged on Valentine’s Day, met in 2004 in college and dated for about four years, splitting before the original run of Jersey Shore premiered in 2009. After the MTV series wrapped in 2012, they rekindled the romance and have been together for over four years.

While Pesce previously told PEOPLE the couple didn’t “have a date” picked out yet, she revealed the couple’s “dream was always to go to the motherland and get married in Italy.”

RELATED: Jersey Shore’s Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino Celebrates Being 28 Months Sober: ‘We Do Recover’

Sorrentino, who is also celebrating 30 months of sobriety, went on to tell PEOPLE that his time with his Jersey Shore castmates was vastly different this time around.

“I was able to make good decisions, stay faithful to my girlfriend back home and stay positive,” he remarks. “I was definitely a little worried about going to the clubs with these guys who can drink and being back in that environment, but I was able to do it.”

RELATED VIDEO: Jersey Shore‘s Mike ‘the Situation’ Sorrentino Pleads Guilty in Tax Evasion Case

Sorrentino, who has battled with a prescription painkiller addiction in the past, previously told PEOPLE that he credits his fiancée with helping him turn his life around.

“What I dreamed of, the expectations I had set for him, him getting healthy and sober — I didn’t know that our relationship would survive had those miracles not happened, and they did,” Pesce said. “He put in the hard work and thanks to the faith in God that we have, we’re in the position we’re in today.”

“She’s definitely my better half and the reason why I strive to be the best version of myself and to fight for our future,” Sorrentino added. “And to show a good example to her, her family and everyone watching — because my life has been under a microscope. I have a lot to prove.”

And as Sorrentino awaits his June 20 sentencing after pleading guilty to tax evasion in a New Jersey federal court in January, he’s maintaining a positive outlook and is hoping for the best — even though he’s facing up to five years in prison.

“I’ve done everything in my power to better myself,” he told PEOPLE prior to the season premiere of Jersey Shore Family Vacation. “I really feel that I’m in the best situation possible.”

“We should receive some closure,” he added. “And I’ll try to move forward with my life.”


PEOPLE.com

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Drake’s ‘I’m Upset’ Video Was ‘The Reunion We’ve Always Wanted,’ Says ‘Degrassi’ Cast

Drake’s former castmates from “Degrassi: The Next Generation” had a blast reuniting for his latest video, “I’m Upset,” shot this past weekend in downtown Toronto from the Air Canada Centre, where the rap star’s beloved Raptors play basketball. He released the video Wednesday night and it already has more than 2.5 million views on YouTube. […]

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How Orin Wolf Orchestrated a Tony Coup With ‘The Band’s Visit’

He wasn’t a big-league producer. But he fell in love with a small Israeli film and spent years getting it to the stage. His musical won 10 awards on Sunday.
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‘The Americans’ Cast & Creators on the ‘Heartbreaking’ Series Finale: ‘It Just Felt Right’

It’s barely been two weeks since their critically acclaimed series wrapped its six-season run on FX, but the cast and creators of “The Americans” reunited Sunday at the ATX Festival in Austin, TX to deconstruct the “heartbreaking” series finale. On hand were showrunners Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, executive producer Chris Long and series stars Keri Russell […]

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‘Empire’ Alum Grace Byers Joins ‘The Gifted’ Season 2 at Fox

Grace Byers is staying in the Fox fold, with the now former “Empire” actress joining the Fox-Marvel series “The Gifted” for its upcoming second season. Byers will play Reeva, described as a smart, charming, authoritative, elegant, beautiful woman who is ruthless in her efforts to fight for her people. She leads an elite band of followers […]

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Film Review: ‘The Story of a Summer Lover’

With his third feature, rising Romanian director Paul Negoescu (“A Month in Thailand,” “Two Lottery Tickets”) reaches back to a time when Woody Allen’s name was associated with intelligent romantic comedies and jazz, delivering a film drenched in Allen-esque situations replanted in Bucharest. That in itself is fine, yet while “The Story of a Summer […]

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Critic’s Notebook: In ‘The Americans’ Finale, the Deepest Cuts Don’t Leave a Mark

The finale, like the series, raised questions of who deserved sympathy and why. As always, the answer was complicated.
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Ariana Grande: Manchester Arena attack showed ‘the worst of humanity’

The singer speaks about the Manchester Arena bomb in an interview for the first time.
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Books of The Times: In ‘The Restless Wave,’ John McCain Says America Is Still Exceptional

In his latest and likely last book, McCain expresses concern about the state of the union, but generally stops short of calling out President Trump.
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Fiction: Rachel Kushner’s ‘The Mars Room’ Offers a Blackly Comic Take on Prison Life

The author’s much-anticipated new novel, a page turner set in a women’s correctional facility, reveals an imagination Dickensian in its amplitude — and in its reformist zeal.
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‘The Late Show’ Shoots Facebook’s Upcoming Dating Service Down In Flames

Ouch.
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Books of The Times: In ‘The Moralist,’ Woodrow Wilson and the Hazards of Idealism

Patricia O’Toole’s book about the 28th president examines his long-lasting effect on American foreign policy and his complicated relationship with racial politics.
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Trevor Noah ‘Fires’ Michelle Wolf From ‘The Daily Show’

“Michelle should have had the decency not to comment on women’s appearances in any way, shape or form.”
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‘The NHS treatment that caused my cancer’

Thousands want answers after being infected with hepatitis C and HIV from contaminated blood products.
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Profile: In ‘The Pisces,’ a Woman and a Merman Fall in Love. Aquatic Erotica Ensues.

In her new book, Melissa Broder manages to knead together the genres of magical realism — a merman presumed to be real — and erotic literature.
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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Showrunner Wishes The Show Was Irrelevant

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is A Horror Movie Women Can’t Stop Watching

Let’s break down the show’s eerie parallels to our current news cycle. And attempt to avoid having a panic attack.
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Hank Azaria Is Happy To ‘Step Aside’ From Voicing Apu On ‘The Simpsons’

“The idea that anyone young or old, past or present, being bullied based on Apu really makes me sad.”
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‘The Rock’ shares first photo with new daughter

The birth of one baby has dominated headlines – but another famous family has also welcomed their third child.
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Books of The Times: Rachel Kushner’s ‘The Mars Room’ Offers Big Ideas in Close Quarters

Kushner’s gritty and persuasive book about a woman sentenced to life in prison recalls works by Mary Gaitskill, Denis Johnson and Charles Bukowski.
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Diary of a Song: ‘The Middle’: Watch How a Pop Hit Is Made

Using voice memos, demos, texts and interviews, we reconstruct the wild ride of how Zedd, Maren Morris and a 23-year-old songwriter turned a few chords into an enormous hit.
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Books of The Times: After Disaster, Japan Seals Itself Off From the World in ‘The Emissary’

Yoko Tawada’s new novel imagines a time in which language starts to vanish and the elderly care for weakened children.
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‘The Female Persuasion’ Is Another Mirror For Privileged White Women Like Me

Culture and Arts
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‘The Simpsons’ Jabs Back At Apu Stereotype Claims In New Episode

The star of “The Problem With Apu” documentary said the show’s response was a slap “at what many of us consider progress.”
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How Meg Wolitzer Built The Parallel America Of ‘The Female Persuasion’

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4 Instagrammers Show Us How Many Photos They Took Before Nailing ’The Shot

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Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Butterfly Snap Finally Becomes The Meme It Deserves

It was well worth the wait.
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Mike ”The Situation” Sorrentino Plans to Set a ”Good Example” for Sober Living on Jersey Shore

Mike SorrentinoExpect to meet a completely different Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino when Jersey Shore Family Vacation premieres.
Almost a decade has passed since the MTV reality series first…

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DIY Rapper Russ Gives Career Advice to Students at NYU Talk: ‘The Root of Everything Is Self-Belief’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Confidence, self-sufficiency and a certain amount of audacity were the themes of an hour-plus-long appearance by DIY rapper Russ at New York University’s Steinhardt School on Wednesday, where he told the story behind his own path to success and gave advice on the positives and pitfalls along the way. The 25-year-old Atlanta-based MC’s official debut […]

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‘The moment I gave Reese Witherspoon my Legally Blonde dissertation’

Meet the reporter who gave the actress “a 15,000 word love letter” to Legally Blonde.
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Books of The Times: In ‘The People vs. Democracy,’ Trump Is Just One Populist Among Many

Yascha Mounk’s new book shows how populist insurgencies can undermine democracy in the long run.
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Bob Mackie Designing Wardrobe for ‘The Cher Show’ Coming to Broadway

Bob Mackie is once again collaborating with Cher in designing costumes for “The Cher Show,” a forthcoming musical based on the singer’s life and career, which debuts with a yet-to-be-announced cast at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago on June 12 before making its way to Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre in the fall.
For decades, Mackie has designed glitzy stage costumes and red carpet looks for the 71-year-old Grammy winner, notably the barely there black-sequined gown Cher wore in 1988 when she took home the best actress Oscar for her role in “Moonstruck.” Cher has also won two Golden Globes and an Emmy Award, but this project — which features a musical score comprised of the California native’s chart-topping hits — could land the singer her first Tony Award.
Most recently, Mackie has created Cher’s flashy onstage wardrobe for her “Cher at the Colosseum” residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, which ran from 2008 to 2011, and “Classic Cher,” her current residency at The Theater at MGM National Harbor, also in Vegas. For “The Cher Show,” Mackie will re-create and reimagine many of her  iconic looks from her more than 50 years in show business.
The 77-year-old designer, who has also

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The Endless and Painful ‘Most Dramatic Finale Ever’ of ‘The Bachelor’

Happiness in love, and happiness watching TV, both come with a price.
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Books of The Times: A Monster in the Mold of Hannibal Lecter Haunts ‘The Sandman’

In this thriller by Lars Kepler, the pen name of a husband-and-wife team, a man returns home after 13 years missing and offers clues to a serial killer’s crimes.
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NHS pressure: Hospital corridors ‘the new emergency wards’

Warning comes as figures show January was one of the worst months on record for A&Es in England.
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Robert Arthur, Music Director for ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ Dies at 89

Robert Arthur, the music director for “The Ed Sullivan Show” from the 1950s through the ’70s, died on Jan. 21. He was 89. A Long Island native, Arthur graduated from Colgate University with degrees in economics and Spanish, and began a career as an accompanist, conductor, and arranger. He was drafted into the United States […]

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‘The Shape of Water’ Leads Oscar Nominations With 13

“The Shape of Water,” a lyrical love story about a mute woman and an amphibious creature, racked up 13 Oscar nominations, followed by “Dunkirk” with eight and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” with seven.
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Live Briefing: 2018 Oscar Nominations: ‘The Shape of Water’ Leads the Race

Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy led the nominations, including one for best picture. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Dunkirk” also emerged as strong contenders.
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Books of The Times: ‘The Monk of Mokha’ is Dave Eggers’s Latest PG-13 Story About the American Dream

Eggers’s new book is about a man, the son of Yemeni immigrants, who becomes obsessed with restoring the honor of Yemeni coffee.
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How an Artist Learned About Freedom From ‘The Negro Motorist Green Book’

For 30 years, black travelers navigating the swamp of Jim Crow laws relied on guides to find safe places. Derrick Adams conjures their experiences in art.
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‘The gift and the curse’ fueling Paul’s competitive fire

Chris Paul is a basketball drill sergeant who demands the same kind of determination and commitment he gives, a leadership style that hasn’t always meshed with teammates.
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Meryl Steep says Oprah Winfrey has ‘the voice of a leader’

“That is how you rouse people. That is how you lead.”
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‘The Rider’ Director Chloe Zhao Receives Inaugural Bonnie Award

Chloe Zhao, who produced, directed and wrote the Western drama “The Rider,” has won Film Independent’s inaugural Bonnie Award, given to recognize a mid-career female director. The trophy, which includes a $ 50,000 grant, was presented to Zhao at the organization’s Spirit Awards brunch at Boa Steakhouse in West Hollywood. Her film, which debuted at the […]

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Books of The Times: ‘The Woman in the Window’ Nods to Classics Old and New, From Hitchcock to ‘The Girl on the Train’

A. J. Finn’s psychological thriller is about a woman who believes she’s witnessed a crime in a neighboring building.
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Who’s Who in ‘The Post’: A Guide to the Players in a Pivotal Era

The newspaper drama revolves around the Pentagon Papers and other real-life events. But how much is real? We sort fact from fiction.
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Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Post’ Performs Powerfully in Limited Opening

Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” has debuted strongly in its platform opening with $ 495,000 at nine sites for Friday-Sunday for an impressive $ 55,000 per location average. “The Post,” starring Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep as Katherine Graham, is projected to take in another $ 215,000 on Christmas Day on Monday for a $ 720,o00 four-day […]

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Broadway Review: ‘The Children’

Pack your bags, people — the apocalypse is coming. This warning comes to you courtesy of Lucy Kirkwood, whose cautionary disaster drama, “The Children,” scared the wits out of audiences at London’s Royal Court Theater and promises to do the same on Broadway, where it recently opened in a Manhattan Theatre Club production. Its sterling […]

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‘The Shape of Water’ Leads Golden Globes

Many establishment names received nods while some critically lauded newcomers went empty-handed as Monday’s Golden Globe nominations kicked off the awards season.
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Live Briefing: 2018 Golden Globe Nominations Led by ‘The Shape of Water’ and ‘Big Little Lies’

“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy, led the way with seven nominations, while the newspaper drama “The Post” had six.
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‘The Crown’ Star Vanessa Kirby on the ‘Privilege’ of Playing Princess Margaret

If the first season of “The Crown” probed the sibling rivalry between Queen Elizabeth (Claire Foy) and her sister Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby), the second season takes the gloves off. The two women are driven even further apart as the ever-more headstrong Margaret continues her ill-fated search for love. Yet Kirby says the more she’s […]

Variety

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Legal Expert Thinks Cyntoia Brown Has Chance of Early Release: ‘The National Focus Helps’

The advocacy surrounding the case of Cyntoia Brown — the sex-trafficked teen serving a life sentence for murdering a man who solicited her — might help her obtain early release, a legal expert tells PEOPLE.

University of Memphis professor Steve Mulroy tells PEOPLE that Brown — the 29-year-old woman who, at the age of 16, murdered a 43-year-old man — could have her life sentence commuted by this time next year.

The decision to free her rests entirely with Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

Haslam has been Tennessee’s governor since 2011, and his term in office ends after 2018.

“Usually, a governor will wait until the end of their second term to make any commutations. If he takes any action at all, it would not be until late next year,” Mulroy says, noting that Haslam has not granted a commutation while in office.

Last month, interest in Brown’s case spiked online when Kim Kardashian West and Rihanna both shared a post on social media featuring an image of Brown, and a statement about her case.

Rapper T.I. and actress Cara Delivigne have also used their platforms to shine new light on the case, and are calling on lawmakers to intervene. Kardashian West vowed in a social media post that she would have her attorneys look into Brown’s conviction to see if anything can be done to help her.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Brown, who was raped several times as the child of an alcoholic mother, was a teen victim of sex trafficking in Tennessee in 2004 when she fatally shot Johnny Mitchell Allen. The middle-age man had solicited sex from her, according to court documents. Brown becomes eligible for parole after she turns 69.

Brown said she was forced to prostitute by an older boyfriend who essentially became the underage girl’s pimp, taking the money that she would make. She admitted she shot Allen in the back of the head, but claimed she shot him in self-defense because she allegedly saw him reach for his gun.

Brown told cops she did not know who Allen was before he solicited her for sex. After driving to his home, she alleged he showed her his guns before they got into his bed together. Subsequently, she said, he reached underneath his bed for what she thought was a gun, so she pulled a .40-caliber handgun out of her purse and shot him.

However, the jury rejected her claim of self-defense and found her guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery.

Brown’s attorneys have stated their intention to file a clemency petition before Christmas.

Mulroy tells PEOPLE commutations are something of a rarity in Tennessee, with less than 1 percent of all such requests granted.

“But in this case, I think the national focus helps,” Mulroy explains. “There is also a compelling argument for commutation here. The governor only has a year left in office, and has tended to be more moderate than your average Tennessee Republican, who are tough on law and order issues. I suppose there’s a chance it could happen.”

Typically in Tennessee, parole boards consider commutation requests. But Brown won’t be eligible for parole for decades, says Mulroy, who has been teaching law at the University of Memphis for 17 years.

• For more compelling True Crime coverage, follow our Crime magazine on Flipboard.

According to Mulroy, Haslam could move to commute Brown’s sentence entirely, reducing it to time served, or he could shave off enough time to make her “parole eligible, which would allow the parole board to consider her case.”

From what Mulroy’s read about Brown, she’s a good candidate for early release by the parole board.

“The legal standard for commutation of a sentence is someone who makes exceptional strides in self-improvement and rehabilitation, to the point where they are no longer considered to be a threat,” he explains. “She appears to be a model prisoner and got a bachelor’s degree. In addition to the tragic circumstances that got her to commit the crime in the first place, and the national spotlight she now has on her case, since she has been incarcerated, she really seems to have turned her life around.”


PEOPLE.com

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Review: ‘The Crown’ Season 2 Takes the Queen From Scandal to Scandal

Netflix’s award-winning series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II covers war, sex and the difficulties of managing a royally messed up family.
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Miss Jamaica Celebrates Being ‘the First Afro Queen to Make It Thus Far’ in Miss Universe Pageant

 

The 2017 Miss Universe pageant host Steve Harvey correctly announced the winner’s name without any confusion (unlike in 2015). But if you were to go on social media during last night’s show, you would have thought Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett took home the crown because Twitter was going wild for her.

The 23-year-old contestant embraced her natural hair, wearing an afro hairstyle during the competition and the social media response was overwhelming. Fans gave the second runner-up an outpouring of love and even started the hashtag, “#MissJamaicaShouldHaveWon.”

“I did not win but I got what I was seeking,” Bennett wrote on Instagram. “I won the hearts of many, I got to highlight Deaf awareness, I stand as the first afro queen to have made it thus far, I represented my little island and I received allll the love one could possibly wish for…. THANK YOU!!! I came, I conquered and if you know me, then you know that’s just another story and you will be seeing a lot more from me💃😉👑 To all the queens that represented, congrats and to our new Miss Universe @demileighnp go conquer the world you are indeed a gem!😍😙

RELATED PHOTOS: Brilliant Gifts For the Beauty-Obsessed Girl (Who Already Has Way Too Much Makeup)

From the time she stepped on stage, viewers were applauding her choice to wear her natural hair. And we gathered a few of our favorite reactions, below.

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Miss South Africa Has Been Crowned Miss Universe 2017

The 2017 Miss Universe pageant was full of contestants with inspiring stories. In addition to Bennett’s empowering move, the winner, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters from South Africa, teaches self-defense after being held at gunpoint one month after winning the Miss South Africa pageant.


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‘The seizures have got more frequent and more violent’

Services to diagnose, treat and provide on-going care are failing patients across the spectrum of neurological disorders, according to a latest report
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‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Review: Not So Kosher

Amy Sherman-Palladino’s latest show features great one-liners, endearing performances and a visually opulent representation of New York in the nascent “Mad Men” era—but its Jewish milieu make no sense.
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Books of The Times: Marguerite Duras’s ‘The Lover,’ and Notebooks That Enrich It

Duras’s best-known novel has been reissued in an Everyman’s Library edition, alongside her “Wartime Notebooks” and “Practicalities,” a collection of essays.
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Diddy, DJ Khaled, Meghan Trainor, Charlie Walk to Judge Fox’s ‘The Four’

New Fox singing competition show “The Four: Battle for Stardom” has locked in its judges’ panel. The network announced today that Sean “Diddy” Combs, DJ Khaled, Meghan Trainor and music executive Charlie Walk will make up the “Four,” which premieres on Jan. 4. Never one to humblebrag, Diddy, who also served in a similar capacity […]

Variety

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Whitney Cummings Comedy ‘The Female Brain’ Sells to IFC (EXCLUSIVE)

IFC Films has nabbed U.S. and Canadian distribution rights to Whitney Cummings’s “The Female Brain.” The ensemble comedy is based on a book of the same name by neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine — it’s a bestseller that made the controversial argument that women’s behavior differed from that of men because of hormonal differences. “The Female Brain” […]

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In ‘Raising Trump’ and ‘The Kardashians,’ Two Portraits of Modern American Matriarchy

James Wolcott on two books about the larger-than-life dynasties shaping our cultural and political lives.
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Critic’s Notebook: On ‘The Good Doctor,’ the Anti-Antihero Is In

A decade after the rude genius of “House,” ABC’s sentimental hit drama focuses on the “care” part of health care.
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Netflix Acquires ‘The Open House’ Starring ’13 Reasons Why’ Actor Dylan Minnette (EXCLUSIVE)

Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to the thriller “The Open House” starring “13 Reasons Why” breakout Dylan Minnette, sources tell Variety. Written and directed by Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote, “The Open House” centers on a teenager (Minnette) and his mother (Piercey Dalton) who find themselves besieged by threatening forces when they move into a […]

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Review: All Life’s a Swirling Proscenium in ‘The Red Shoes’

The staging is the star in Matthew Bourne’s pass-the-popcorn adaptation of the movie.
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Review: If You See One Opera This Year, Make It ‘The Exterminating Angel’

The composer Thomas Adès’s audacious new opera based on Luis Buñuel’s surreal 1962 film “The Exterminating Angel” triumphed at the Metropolitan Opera.
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Books of The Times: John Grisham Prosecutes For-Profit Law Schools in ‘The Rooster Bar’

Grisham’s new novel translates the ethical and economic issues raised by student-entrapping practices into the high drama of a swift legal thriller.
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Books of The Times: ‘The State of Affairs’ Examines Our Cheating Hearts

The sex and relationship guru Esther Perel’s new book is about the variety of reasons that people stray, and about the paradox of reconciling the erotic and the domestic.
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Broadway Box Office: Promising Start for ‘The Band’s Visit’

“Springsteen on Broadway” had the megabucks launch — and continues to do huge business — but the other show to begin previews around the same time, “The Band’s Visit,” is showing its own signs of (admittedly more modest) promise, with sales fueled by its well-received Off Broadway run last season. The weekly gross for the […]

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Alfonso Cuarón on the Lumière Fest, ‘The Shape of Water,’ His Upcoming Film, and Mexico Earthquake Fundraising

For Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, the Lumière Film Festival in Lyon is not only an event that celebrates cinema but also a relaxing opportunity to catch up with old friends without the stress of the film industry’s business aspects. “It’s beloved by filmmakers because it’s a cinephile festival,” Cuarón told Variety. “It’s not competitive. It’s […]

Variety

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Weinstein Co. Considers Delaying Release of ‘The Current War’

Weinstein Co. is considering delaying the release of “The Current War,” the only remaining prestige movie on its 2017 schedule, amid the fallout from allegations of sexual assault against ousted co-chairman Harvey Weinstein.
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Books of The Times: ‘The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick’ Gives Off a Bright Light

Hardwick scrutinized the work of American writers ranging from Melville and Wharton to Capote and Didion, as well as topics like the civil rights movement and feminism.
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Theater Review: ‘The Honeymooners,’ The Musical

Even those who are favorably inclined toward nostalgic recreations of beloved TV shows will find their affections tested in “The Honeymooners,” the lumbering, scattershot musical premiering at the Paper Mill Playhouse.  Musical stage adaptations of TV sitcoms have had a history of disappointing at-bats (“Happy Days,” “The Addams Family”) and this outing — which has […]

Variety

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On ‘The Rundown,’ Robin Thede Is Filling a Void in Late-Night Talk

With her BET series, Ms. Thede, former head writer of “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore,” will be the first black female host in the format in several years.
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Telltale’s Batman: The Enemy Within Episode 2 – ‘The Pact’ Review

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 1 FOLLOW

What happened, Telltale? After a promising Season 2 premiere – which came on the back of a thoroughly entertaining first season that refreshingly flipped a number of Batman character conventions on their heads – the second episode of The Enemy Within falls flat. An uneventful storyline, surprisingly poor voice acting, and an ending that has no immediate payoff besides teasing a hopefully better episode 3 have stalled out what was a promising Batman adventure.

‘The Pact’ picks up right where ‘The Enigma’ ended, with The Agency’s Amanda Waller revealing to Batman that she knows his true identity. But where episode 1 shined with bringing many background characters to the forefront, this episode pushes almost all of those storylines aside in order to introduce a swath of Batman’s Rogues Gallery to this version of Gotham City. Bane, Victor Freeze, and Harley Quinn all have prominent roles here as Bruce Wayne is more or less forced by Waller to infiltrate the gang sans costume.

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Books of The Times: ‘The Far Away Brothers’ Breathes Vivid Life Into Immigration Issues

Lauren Markham’s impeccably timed and intimately reported book follows twin teenage brothers on their journey from El Salvador to California.
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Books News: Looking for Buddhist Wisdom in ‘The Princess Bride’

In a new book, Ethan Nichtern divines lessons about love, family and Buddhism from the cult classic. Just don’t expect Inigo Montoya to find enlightenment.
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HTC, Variety Celebrate ‘The Deserted’ Director Tsai Ming Lang at Venice Film Festival

Tsai Ming Lang, the Taiwan-based auteur director of “The Deserted,” one of the most buzzed about virtual reality experiments which competed at this year’s Venice Film Festival, was celebrated during a cocktail organized by Variety in association with pioneering cell phone and tech company HTC. The event, which took place on Sept. 3 at the… Read more »

Variety

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‘The President Show’ Takes Donald Trump To A Charm School For Manners

No school can hold this man.
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Books of The Times: ‘The Bettencourt Affair,’ a Buffet for Scandal Aficionados

Tom Sancton’s book recounts the implications and intrigue that surrounded the L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt’s relationship with a younger man.
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Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation’s ‘The Dollar Campaign’ Gives Fans the Chance to Attend Her Annual Diamond Ball

Rihanna continues to shine bright like a diamond through her generous charitable work.

On Tuesday, the singer kicked off the Clara Lionel Foundation’s (CLF) “The Dollar Campaign,” a fundraising effort that continues her ongoing support for global education, health and emergency response programs.

Every dollar donated now through Sept. 5 will be a chance for one fan to win a trip to attend her charity’s upcoming Diamond Ball in New York City on Sept. 14.

This year, the event will be hosted by Dave Chappelle and feature Kendrick Lamar and Calvin Harris. One winner (and their friend!) will be chosen by Sept. 7 to receive tickets to the gala, as well as roundtrip airfare to and from New York City and hotel accommodations.

Every $ 1 donated will provide one brick to a school in Malawi, $ 5 will provide five bricks to a school in Malawi, $ 10 will provide ten books, $ 15 will provide a female student with essential school supplies and $ 20 will provide a month of schooling for one student.

In February, Rihanna stood before a crowd at Harvard University to accept the Humanitarian of the Year Award and encouraged the audience “to make a commitment to help one person.”

“I want to challenge each of you to make a commitment to help one person, one organization, one situation that touches your heart,” she said during her acceptance speech. “My grandmother always used to say if you have a dollar, there’s plenty to share.”

Fans can support “The Dollar Campaign” by visiting the Clara Lionel Foundation website to donate.


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Books of The Times: ‘The Burning Girl,’ About Intense Pre-Teenage Friendship, Never Catches Fire

In her new novel, Claire Messud writes about “secret sisters,” “umbilically linked and inseparable,” and about how their bond dissolves.
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Books of The Times: Review: ‘The Dark Dark,’ Beguiling Tales of Women in Metamorphosis

In this short-story collection by Samantha Hunt, dreamlike images operate in service to feminist themes and earthbound ideas.
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Unpacking ‘The Emoji Movie’s’ $25 Million Box Office Opening

What to do with “The Emoji Movie’s” box office debut? Should it get a thumbs up? A thumbs down? Should we simply throw up our hands and leave it alone? Here are the facts: Sony Animation’s latest opened this weekend in second place at the domestic box office behind “Dunkirk,” and as recently as Saturday was… Read more »

Variety

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‘The Emoji Movie’ Has A 0 Percent Rating On Rotten Tomatoes So Far

And somehow, even that doesn’t adequately summarize how bad the reviews are.
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‘The Emoji Movie’ Starts Strong as ‘Dunkirk’ Stays at No. 1

A panned animated film scored at the box office while “Atomic Blonde” sputtered, a reminder of the disconnect between critics and the masses.
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‘The President Show’ Brings Mario Cantone’s Scaramucci Into The Family

This is our new reality.
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Guido Van Helten, Mr. Estes And Changing ‘The Nations’ In Nashville

Brian Siskind documented on Guido Van Helton painting for 17 days to complete the enormous figures. This is his record the
Arts
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‘The Emoji Movie’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Columbia Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “The Emoji Movie.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $ 5.8 million through Sunday for 1,497 national ad airings across 37 networks…. Read more »

Variety

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‘The Big Sick,’ South Asian Identity and Me

The hit movie reflects the world that one New York Times writer grew up in. But does it do so at the expense of South Asian women?
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‘The Simpsons’ Predicted A Female Doctor Who And Knew Some Fans Would Freak

Previously, the show predicted Donald Trump’s presidency and Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl performance.
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‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8 Trailer Is Here To Make You ‘S**t’ Your Pants

And so is an “all-out war.”
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It Seems ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8 Trailer Just Trolled Everyone

Is “The Walking Dead” all a dream?
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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Has Apparently Turned Elisabeth Moss Into An Activist

The book and show made her wonder, “What happens if I don’t speak up?”
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‘The Bachelorette’ Fans Are Heartbroken Over One Man’s Exit

Noooooooo!
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Saks, Sony Team Up With ‘The Emoji Movie’

EMOJI MOMENT: “We love partnering with of-the-moment pop culture experiences,” said John Antonini, director of stores, New York Metro, at Saks Fifth Avenue, who was standing on the red carpet outside the Saks flagship Monday night. He was pointing to “The Emoji Movie” windows that were installed along 50th Street — so appropriate, considering it was World Emoji Day. “They really bring emojis to life,” he said.
“Anytime we can bring technology into the windows is exciting,” he added, pointing out that customers can interact, play and dance with the emojis.
Saks has partnered with brands such as Jason Wu, Mackage, Del Toro Footwear, Orlebar Brown, Gents and Havianas to create “The Emoji Movie” merchandise, ranging from swimsuits and bomber jackets to sweaters (with removable emojis) and flip-flops.
“The Emoji Movie,” which opens July 28, has a pop-up on the fifth floor in the Collective, and items are scattered throughout the store in both the New York flagship and Beverly Hills store. The merchandise is geared to men, women and children.

One of “The Emoji Movie” windows at Saks. 
Clint Spaulding/WWD

The 3-D computer-animated comedy features the voices of such actors as T.J. Miller, Anna Faris, James Corden, Jennifer Coolidge Patrick Stewart, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Sofia

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‘The Unemployed Show’ Is What Happens When Creatives Don’t Have Jobs

You can still watch even if you work during the day.
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Meaning of ‘The Last Jedi’ Will Evolve Throughout the Film

Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has come forward to shed additional light on the movie’s title, saying it’s meaning will evolve throughout the film.

“It has, not even necessarily multiple meanings, but its meaning evolves over the course of the film,” the director told Good Morning America.

‘The Last Jedi’ Behind-The-Scenes Footage Will Give You Chills

“It’s about family, and that’s what’s so powerful about it,” Carrie Fisher said.
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Donald Jr. Joins ‘The President Show,’ But He Cannot Be Contained

Containment is an issue for this administration. The disease? Proof.
Comedy
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‘The Walking Dead’ Stuntman, John Bernecker, Dead After Tragic On-Set Accident

He was hospitalized earlier this week following a nasty fall.
Entertainment News, Photos and Videos – HuffPost Entertainment
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Snapchat Show Earns First Emmy Nomination for NBC’s ‘The Voice’

While the stock of Snapchat’s parent has taken a beating this week, the messaging and media app got a tip of the hat from Hollywood with its first-ever nomination for an Emmy Award. The Snapchat Show from NBC for “The Voice” picked up a 2017 Emmy Awards nomination for creative achievement in interactive media within an… Read more »

Variety

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A Rare Conversation About Class Brings ‘The Bachelorette’ Into the Real World

One of Rachel Lindsay’s suitors tells her about the challenges he faced growing up in Baltimore, forcing the show to face its blind spot about class.
NYT > Arts

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Netflix Greenlights ‘The Umbrella Academy’ Series Based on Comic Books

Netflix is bringing another superhero story to life. The streaming giant has greenlit a series based on “The Umbrella Academy” comic books, Universal Cable Productions announced on Tuesday. Universal Cable Prods. is producing the series along with Dark Horse Entertainment and Bluegrass Television for Netflix, which has ordered 10 episodes for the first season. The… Read more »

Variety

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Two Years Later, Science Has Another Theory About Why We All Saw Different Colors Of ‘The Dress’

At least we’re at least a little closer to possibly understanding the phenomenon than we were before.
Fashion News, Celebrity Style and Fashion Trends – HuffPost Style
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‘The Defiant Ones’: How Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine Made a Lot of Music and, Yeah, Money

So the focus falls on music, both separately and in their alliance. That’s not a bad thing. The creation of the music is
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‘The Cradle Will Rock’ Returns With Its Brazen Politics Intact

Opera Saratoga is staging Marc Blitzstein’s opera on its 80th anniversary, in a year when political messages onstage are under acute scrutiny.
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Of Course Tequila Is Part Of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Skincare Routine

Can you smell what The Rock is slathering on?
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Books of The Times: In ‘The Sisters Chase,’ They’re Starting Over After Mom Dies

In Sarah Healy’s cunning thriller, a charming, deceitful 18-year-old woman takes her 4-year-old sister under her wing after the death of their mother.
NYT > Books

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Drake is no longer ‘the king of streaming’

Drake has been overthrown as the UK’s king of streaming, with his 2016 hit One Dance being topped by none other than…
Entertainment News – Latest Celebrity & Showbiz News | Sky News

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Karlovy Vary Film Review: ‘The Cakemaker’

Pastry dough is far from the only thing that requires — and duly receives — delicate handling in “The Cakemaker.”

Variety

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‘The House,’ ‘Rough Night,’ and Why the R-Rated, Raunchy Comedy’s Box Office Partying Days Might Be Over

In the near decade since “The Hangover” earned over half a billion dollars worldwide, R-rated comedies have chased the sensation, but few have come close. This summer has been especially punishing for adult comedies. Most recently, “The House,” starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler as a couple that starts an underground casino to put their… Read more »

Variety

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Books of The Times: Keeping Up With New Delhi’s 1 Percent in ‘The Windfall’

In Diksha Basu’s debut novel, set in a wealthy enclave of New Delhi, characters with old and new money feel status anxiety.
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A Word With: Who Needs ‘The Tonight Show’? Jay Leno Still Cares About Tonight’s Show

Mr. Leno, the former “Tonight Show” host, explains why he performs over 200 stand-up shows a year, and discusses the challenges of political joke-telling.
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Q. & A.: Tell Us 5 Things About Your Book: ‘The Mind of God’

The neurologist Jay Lombard discusses the brain and its connection to what he describes as our deeper, spiritual underpinnings.
NYT > Books

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‘The Big Sick’ Wins Top Award at 2017 Nantucket Film Festival (Complete List)

Kumail Nanjiani’s semi-autobiographical romantic comedy “The Big Sick” was the big winner at the 2017 Nantucket Film Festival, which announced its award winners on Monday. Taylor Sheridan’s “Wind River” was the runner-up. Best of the Fest awards went to “The Big Sick,” “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Alexandra Dean,” “Monkey Business,” and “Wind River.” Stars… Read more »

Variety

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Review: ‘The Beguiled,’ Sofia Coppola’s Civil War Cocoon

Ms. Coppola won best director at the Cannes Film Festival for her film starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell, an update on the 1971 movie with Clint Eastwood.
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Books of The Times: In ‘The Changeling,’ the Dark Fears of Parents, Memorably Etched

Victor LaValle’s latest hybrid of the supernatural and the literary is rooted in the anxiety families feel over the safety of their children.
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Critic’s Notebook: How to Think About Bill Cosby and ‘The Cosby Show’

What to do with our fondness for the show is profoundly difficult — especially for African-Americans. Mr. Cosby knows what his work means, and he used it during the trial.
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Q. and A.: Tell Us 5 Things About Your Book: ‘The End of Advertising’

Andrew Essex discusses his new book about the fate of traditional advertising and what might replace it.
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‘The President Show’ Visits Trump’s Childhood Homes, And Tantrums Ensue

Traditionally, adults accumulate a lifetime of experience, lessons and knowledge to become wiser, more complete human beings. That being said, if Donald Trump is the 71-year-old giant baby president we ended up with, can you imagine what kind of actual baby he was?

Anthony Atamanuik and “The President Show” visit President Trump’s childhood homes to find out.

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Books of The Times: Review: A Corrupt Cop Is Up Against the Wall in Don Winslow’s ‘The Force’

A police task force leader and his crew aren’t much better than the criminals they pursue in this gritty thriller, set in New York.
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Joseph Fiennes Says ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Made Him An Even Bigger Feminist

It’s hard to work on a TV show like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and not be “jolted” into a “state of consciousness,” according to Joseph Fiennes. 

Fiennes plays Commander Fred Waterford, the leader of the oppressive dystopian republic called Gilead in Hulu’s hit series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” based on the book of the same name by Margaret Atwood. The book has been heralded as a feminist classic and (after some initial back and forth) the show seems to be following suit. So it comes as no surprise that Fiennes says he’s become an even bigger feminist after playing the Commander on a set full of iconic women like Elisabeth Moss (the show’s protagonist Offred) and Yvonne Strahovski (Serena Joy, the Commander’s brilliantly sadistic wife).

In a June 15 interview with Marie Claire, Fiennes said the series has really awoken him to women’s issues ― especially since the “most important people” in his life are his wife and two daughters. 

“Certainly the show has jolted me into a much more alert state of the inequality amongst the sexes,” he said. “By virtue of that, I feel much more switched on to feminism, and what it means and stands for. I want my daughters to live in a world where there is equality and parity of pay. We’ve got a long way to go. I read a statistic that if you’re a Hispanic woman it’ll be over 200 years until you achieve parity of pay. So yes, the show has jolted me into a state of consciousness.” 

The show has jolted me into a much more alert state of the inequality amongst the sexes. By virtue of that, I feel much more switched on to feminism, and what it means and stands for.
Joseph Fiennes

Fiennes also spoke about the eery way the dystopian future depicted in “The Handmaid’s Tale” has begun to feel closer to real life over the last year. From the U.S. pulling out of the Paris climate deal to the constant war over women’s bodies and reproductive autonomy, Fiennes pointed to the parallels between fictional Gilead and the United States in 2017.

“When you wake up and you see that America has pulled out of the climate deal in Paris, that sends huge messages about putting coal before the planet. Gilead has suffered from a fragile ecology that is now toxic and affecting fertility rates,” Fiennes told Marie Claire. “There is truth to it ― there is connection, themes, and parallels, sadly. It’s getting sharper and sharper, especially for women ― the autonomy of their bodies, and pro-choice vs. pro-life. Look at the administration, the imbalance of the female presence ― there’s a lot to draw on.”

One silver lining? The protests and resistance the U.S. has seen since President Donald Trump took office. 

“It was wonderful seeing the woman’s marches, and seeing numbers bigger than the president’s inauguration,” Fiennes said. “It gives one great heart that there are people present, alert, and awake, and voicing their frustrations. We need more of that.”

Head over to Marie Claire to read the rest of Fiennes’ interview. 

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5 Reasons Why Tom Cruise’s ‘The Mummy’ Disintegrated at the Domestic Box Office

“The Mummy” has been buried. This weekend, Universal’s latest opened at No. 2 domestically behind the second weekend of “Wonder Woman.” With Tom Cruise in the lead, the revival was poised to be a beat-the-heat, popcorn-flinging summer blockbuster, a nostalgia grab for millennial fans of the 1999 title, and the launchpad for the studio’s “Dark… Read more »

Variety

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Another Victory For ‘Wonder Woman’ As ‘The Mummy’ Gets Buried At The Box Office

“The Mummy” is no match for “Wonder Woman.”

During its first weekend in theaters, the Tom Cruise monster movie debuted at No. 2, earning a tepid $ 32 million in North American grosses. “Wonder Woman” retained the top spot, collecting an impressive $ 57.2 million.

That “Wonder Woman” figure is especially noteworthy because superhero flicks tend to see steep declines ― about 60 percent ― during their second weekend in theaters, once the most faithful fanboys and -girls have already scurried to the multiplexes. The first major comic-book adaptation directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins’ film fell by only 45 percent, the least of any modern superhero movie.

“Woman” has now accrued about $ 205 million domestically and another $ 230.2 from foreign markets. 

This weekend’s tallies are as much a victory for “Wonder Woman” as they are a defeat for the critically derided “Mummy.” Other recent big-screen iterations of the character ― 1999’s “The Mummy” (starring Brendan Fraser), 2001’s “The Mummy Returns,” 2002’s “The Scorpion King” and 2008’s “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” ― premiered to heftier sums.

Universal Pictures has a lot riding on this latest reboot, as it is meant to launch the Dark Universe, an expensive franchise that’s slated to span several movies. Stateside audiences were largely uninterested in the inaugural installment, putting the Dark Universe in a precarious position. That said, major studios often rely on international grosses to support tentpole releases nowadays, and this weekend’s $ 141.8 million in overseas revenue means Universal can, on some level, ignore domestic patrons’ ambivalence. 

Holdovers “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” ($ 12.3 million), “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” ($ 10.7 million) and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” ($ 6.2 million) round out the Top 5. 

Another winner: “It Comes at Night,” a low-budget horror film that trendy indie studio A24 released nationwide. The post-apocalyptic chiller collected $ 6 million, a decent total for a low-budget title costing $ 5 million. 

“Baywatch” ($ 4.6 million), “Megan Leavey” ($ 3.8 million), “Alien: Covenant” ($ 1.8 million) and “Everything, Everything” ($ 1.6 million) complete the Top 10. 

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Vaquera Stages ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Fashion Show

Before fans of the Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale” have to say goodbye to the eerily topical dystopia of Gilead June 14 when the show’s season finale airs, Vaquera codesigners David Moses, Patric DiCaprio, Bryn Taubensee and Claire Sully gave fans in New York a little extra fix of white bonnets and red robes. They staged a “Handmaid”-inspired fashion show/performance art piece Thursday that rivaled the show/Margaret Atwood’s book’s plot line for riveting weirdness. Shown at the Angel Orensanz Foundation, the show featured a lineup of handmaids — male and female, all ages, sizes and ethnicities — in deconstructed versions of the show’s red robe/white bonnet uniform. One wore a white robe draped in cone bras; another held an umbrella shrouded in white gauze. Another wore what looked like red couch cushions. One by one they aggressively stomped around the square white stage, eventually standing in the center and giving a little personal performance. “We wanted people to come into the middle and express themselves in different characters,” said Sully. “It was taking the forced identity of the handmaid and subverting it,” said Moses.
Lest anyone think the show was the result of creative superfans, the Vaquera collective started work on the

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Box Office: ‘Wonder Woman’ to Slay Tom Cruise’s ‘The Mummy’

Not even Tom Cruise can save “The Mummy” from box office necrosis. What was intended to launch an entire “Dark Universe” for Universal could be left stumbling if the film scores in the anticipated domestic range of $ 35 million to $ 40 million in its opening weekend. Overseas grosses should fare better — the movie is… Read more »

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‘The Office’ Clearly Wasn’t Clowning Around With This Subtle Joke

Whether it’s Jim pranking Dwight or Michael Scott saying, “That’s what she said,” the jokes on “The Office” have led to some memorable TV moments. Still, subtle jokes are sometimes the most satisfying.

That’s where Redditor MichaelMan122 comes in.

“The Office” series finale aired in 2013, but the Redditor seems to have pointed out a gag that’s largely gone unnoticed. 

In Season 5, Episode 9, “Frame Toby,” Jim (John Krasinski) buys his parents’ house for Pam (Jenna Fischer). While showing it to her, they come across a picture of a clown that Jim can’t seem to get off the wall.

Years have passed since that moment, but finally we have a discovery

Congrats, Jim and Pam! It appears you finally got it down!

In Season 7, Episode 19, “Garage Sale,” while Kevin (Brian Baumgartner), Darryl (Craig Robinson) and Andy (Ed Helms) play a board game based on the TV show “Dallas,” you can clearly see the clown picture in the background. Jim and Pam are selling it at the garage sale.

The Redditor told HuffPost, “It was just one of the little things I noticed while rewatching the show. One of my favorite parts about the show is all the small things the producers have put in the show like this.”

Another Redditor timeless9696 pointed out that a moment where Jim and Pam say they got the picture off the wall is apparently in a deleted scene

There’s a chance the scene was originally included in the episode when it aired in 2011, as at least one review mentions Jim and Pam having the clown picture. (It’s unclear if the reviewer just saw the picture in the background at some point.)

Netflix, which gives many people the option to watch “The Office” nowadays, told HuffPost there can be changes from when episodes aired to what winds up on the streaming service:

We get the episodes from the distributor; if there have been any changes between the TV airing and what we received there could be change, like for other series adding or removing censorship.

The scene where Jim and Pam mention the picture isn’t in the version on Netflix. If anything, the supposed deleted scene confirms the pictures are the same and that this is an eagle-eyed spot by MichaelMan122.

When it comes to jokes, “The Office” clearly wasn’t clowning around.

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These Were The Cutest Kids On ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ This Season

Ellen DeGeneres is known for featuring some pretty awesome kids on her show.

This week, one of her favorites ― the “apparently kid,” Noah Ritter ― helped Ellen host the show, and he presented an awesome montage of adorable, hilarious and impressive clips featuring children from this season.

Watch the video above for the best kid moments from season 14 of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

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‘The Leftovers’ Leads Television’s Musical Golden Age

On some of best series, the song selections are as nuanced, ironic and transcendent as the acting and writing.
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Books of The Times: ‘The Long Haul’ Is a Trucker’s Slangy Tour of the Road

Finn Murphy opines about the transcendent pointlessness of material possessions, among other topics, in this memoir.
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Books of The Times: ‘The Answers’ Runs Down the Rabbit Hole of Love

Catherine Lacey’s second novel is a meditation on fame and art as well as affection.
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41 Perfect Tweets About ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 13, Episode 2

For more on “The Bachelorette,” check out HuffPost’s Here To Make Friends podcast below: 

Do people love “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” or do they love to hate these shows? It’s unclear. But here at “Here to Make Friends,” we both love and love to hate them — and we love to snarkily dissect each episode in vivid detail. Podcast edited by Nick Offenberg.

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Books of The Times: Grayson Perry’s ‘The Descent of Man’: Deconstructing the Masculine Mystique

Perry’s book has its own failure built into it. The men who need it most are unlikely to take advice from him.
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30 Perfect Tweets About ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 13 Premiere

For more on “The Bachelorette,” check out HuffPost’s Here To Make Friends podcast below: 

 

Do people love “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” or do they love to hate these shows? It’s unclear. But here at “Here to Make Friends,” we both love and love to hate them — and we love to snarkily dissect each episode in vivid detail. Podcast edited by Nick Offenberg.

Want more “Bachelor” stories in your life? Sign up for HuffPost’s Entertainment email for extra hot goss about The Bachelor, his 30 bachelorettes, and the most dramatic rose ceremonies ever. The newsletter will also serve you up some juicy celeb news, hilarious late-night bits, awards coverage and more. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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Cannes Film Review: ‘The Venerable W.’

As Barbet Schroeder well knows, there are times when only the word “evil” properly conveys the insidious nature of intolerance and carnage robed in the trappings of power.

Variety

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Books of The Times: ‘The End of Eddy’ Captures a Savage Childhood and a Global Movement

Édouard Louis’s deeply autobiographical novel recounts growing up gay among the white underclass in rural France.
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Yvonne Strahovski Finds The Victim In The Villain On ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

It’s been months since “The Handmaid’s Tale” wrapped filming, and Yvonne Strahovski still can’t get Serena Joy out of her head. 

As the resident baddie in Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s celebrated novel, the Australian actress is discovering new depths to a character whose inner life was largely absent from the text. 

For Strahovksi, her first introduction to the world of “The Handmaid’s Tale” was the pilot script ― she went back and read the book later ― and what inspired her wasn’t the character’s cruelty, but her pain. Capturing the humanity of a woman complicit in the subjugation of her gender under an oppressive regime was an opportunity to make the role her own. 

Until the sixth episode “A Woman’s Place,” released on Wednesday, the series utilized flashbacks as emotionally-driven viewpoints to juxtapose what life was like for Offred (Elisabeth Moss) before she was forced to bear children for the ruling class to which Serena belongs. 

This week, Strahovski delivered some of the finest work of her career, as the series veered away from the book and back to a time where Serena more than lived up to her surname, something that has been stamped out in the totalitarian state she helped create. 

HuffPost recently caught up with the actress.

The series paints Serena as a more complex character as compared to the book. In this version, we understand her as tragic figure. Was that something that attracted you to the role? 

It was definitely something that was important to me after reading the book and having the series flesh out Serena by humanizing her a little more. Yes, she’s the villain. Yes, she’s the evil character, but she also has feelings. It was important for me to try to attempt to have audiences connect with her in some way, shape or form emotionally because she is so unrelatable in every other way. I was going to say in a lot of ways, but I’m gonna say she’s unrelatable because she’s evil.

There’s a real sense of sadness with Serena.

On paper she is so evil, but where does she draw the line? I feel like Serena is so complicated because she is one of those authority figures who created this society, but now she has to live in it. She’s realizing it’s not so great for her either. On some level, she’s also dealing with a lot oppression as a female because she’s been stripped of her rights, to a degree. How do you deal with the complexities of trying to negotiate the fact that you did this to yourself, but also you’re living it and it doesn’t feel so good anymore?

This week’s episode was particularly flashback-heavy and shifted the POV to Serena. What was it like to explore her life before Gilead? 

It felt really unnatural and weird. It really did. It felt like a big giant leap, but I think it’s an important one, because it’s heartbreaking. We’re following the story of Offred and Ofglen and all these amazing characters who are suffering in some way, shape or form, but I think this is a story about how everyone is suffering.

Having those flashbacks with her finding some sort of happiness and meaning and place for herself in the world is important to show, even though I personally struggle to not judge her and totally disagree with what she’s doing as a passive bystander when women are totally losing their rights. 

The flashback scene where Serena isn’t allowed to speak in a meeting about the creation of this new society because she is a woman stood out to me. 

That scene was hugely important to me because it bridged that gap between Serena Joy pre-Gilead, as we see in those flashbacks, and then Serena Joy in Gilead. We spend so much time focusing on the current Gilead, so suddenly in Episode 6, the flashbacks were really hard to imagine after setting up this pent-up, very uptight character. The biggest thing on my mind was at what one point did Serena Joy exit the conversation about how Gilead was going to be set up.

I think that’s the beginning of the demise of her former self and the demise of her and the commander’s relationship. That’s where her rights started getting taken away and she no longer has a voice. It’s this weird line she walks of having a pure intention to begin with of saving the world and creating more babies in a religious-based way. Somewhere along the line, it got obviously really messed up.

Serena and the Commander (Joseph Fiennes) actually share a consensual and loving sex scene in the flashbacks. What was it like to film a sex scene that wasn’t so dark? 

It kind of felt like a normal day of a different show that wasn’t “The Handmaids Tale.” It wasn’t rigid. The walls are very thick and high in Gilead and as each character, we live bound by those parameters, so to have those parameters let go and just shoot a scene that seems pure, loving, passionate and intimate just kind of seemed like a normal day at work instead of working on material that’s really confronting very potent issues and themes. 

How did it differ from the ceremony scenes you share with Elisabeth Moss and Joseph Fiennes? What goes through your mind when you’re all in bed together? 

In the actual moment, it’s pure rage for Serena. She’s lost a lot also. She’s lost her ability to do her work as an author or a spokeswoman. She’s lost her right to connect to her husband sexually. She’s got a lot of emptiness inside her, so she holds onto the one thing that will make her life better there, and that’s having a baby. Serena also has no way out. It’s not like she can leave her house, the country or the Commander. In a way, it’s her own story of survival, but she just happens to be doing really shitty things while she’s surviving. 

I’ve always had this image of her as a boiling pot of water on a stove with the lid tightly on. Every so often, the boiling water inside gets [to be] too much and it has to release and the lid lifts and she releases her rage. There’s just no release in Gilead, so when she can abuse her power and release some of that pent-up rage, she does. 

Did you stay in character during the ceremony scenes? How did you break the tension?

No, I think I would go insane if I stayed in that mode the whole time. We have to let go. Although, I do have to say mentally it was hard to let go of Serena because she is so complex and has all these dualities that feels like a puzzle sometimes. She did stay with me in my brain for the most part of shooting the show. 

We’re not, like, freaky-deaky toward each other on set. It’s a very normal cast and crew and we all like to come to set because it’s just a workday for us. After we get past “How was your weekend?” and “How was your night last night?” we switch gears and get into this kind of stuff. 

What do you make of Serena’s smoking habit? It seems to be one the few obvious cracks in her “perfect wife” facade. 

I sort of saw it as a calming thing and also something to do. There’s just not a whole lot that she has to do in this society. She’s the master of the house and she’s supposed to take care of all things domestic. But I just feel like there would be that element of boredom if you’re in that situation. What do you do? She paints, knits and she smokes because there are no other things to do our outlets. The smoking thing did really seem to me like a time-passing mechanism or a calming mechanism when things get too much for Serena when she’s about to blow. 

Hulu has renewed “The Handmaid’s Tale” for a second season. What are your thoughts on the series moving away from the text and into uncharted territory?  

I’m excited by the prospect. I feel like each of these characters have so much to offer and there’s a lot to explore. I love that we’ve been given this opportunity to spend these 10 episode reflecting what Maragaret Atwood’s book originally told us, but now we have these established characters, so we can take them places. It feels like there are a lot of places to go because we are in such a rigid society, so when everything is so pent up and rigid there a lot of rules to be broken. For someone like Serena, it would be really interesting to see her belief system challenged against her own will. I would love to see her own walls that she built herself crumble around her.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

New episodes of the “The Handmaid’s Tale” are available every Wednesday on Hulu. 

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Review: U2 Revisits ‘The Joshua Tree’ in the Here and Now

The Irish band shakes a Seattle stadium with 30-year-old songs and a new one, opening a tour that shows the concerns of its 1987 album have persisted.
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‘The Crown’ Loses Out at BAFTA TV Awards; ‘Happy Valley’ Scores

Netflix’s “The Crown” lost out in all the categories it was nominated in at BAFTA’s British Academy Television Awards, which were handed out Sunday night. The Netflix show had gone into the night a favorite after scoring five nominations in four categories, the most nominations of any show this year. “The Crown” lost out to… Read more »

Variety

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‘The Great Indoors’ Canceled After 1 Season at CBS

Comedy series “The Great Indoors” has been canceled after one season at CBS, Variety has learned. The series starred Joel McHale as a renowned adventure reporter for an outdoor magazine who must adapt to the times when he becomes the desk-bound boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the publication. The series also… Read more »

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Kelly Clarkson Joins ‘The Voice’ Season 14 as Coach (EXCLUSIVE)

Kelly Clarkson will join NBC’s “The Voice” as a coach for season 14, Variety has learned. The pop star and season-one “American Idol” champion will join longtime coaches Blake Shelton and Adam Levine for the NBC talent-competition series’ spring 2018 cycle. A fourth coach for the season has not yet been set. Jennifer Hudson and… Read more »

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Of Course There’s a Script for ‘The Fyre Festival Movie’ Starring Leonardo DiCaprio

Another item to add to the growing Fyre Festival debacle.

Lifestyle – Esquire

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Q. & A.: Tell Us 5 Things About Your Book: Kate Moore’s ‘The Radium Girls’

The stories of a group of company workers whose exposure to a seemingly magical luminescent paint became deadly.
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Francis Ford Coppola Says ‘The Godfather’ Wouldn’t Get Made Today

You haven’t seen devotion until you’ve been in a room with nearly 6,000 “Godfather” disciples. The manic fandom typically reserved for Comic-Con and “Star Wars” assemblies was front and center when Francis Ford Coppola and the cast reunited Saturday at the Tribeca Film Festival’s closing night. 

Capping off a nine-hour event that included screenings of “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II,” a 45th-anniversary panel discussion found Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, James Caan, Talia Shire and Rubert Duvall recounting the messy process of making a movie they never expected to become such a defining Hollywood signature.

The sold-out crowd at Radio City Music Hall had been boisterous throughout both films, cheering at iconic dialogue and almost every gruesome death or Corleone victory. Just imagine how enthusiastic they were by the time this A-list group took the stage. 

“The Godfather” is one of the most chronicled movies in history, as proven by the nearly 800-page annotated book Coppola published last year. Much of Saturday’s panel retread well-told stories: Paramount’s resistance to casting the crotchety Marlon Brando, the studio threatening to fire Coppola out of fear that his directorial choices would jeopardize the success, the fateful single take in which Coppola added a cat to the opening scene

Frenzy erupted when moderator Taylor Hackford asked the audience to shout out questions. One fan posed something that further explained the film’s fervent following: Could “The Godfather” be made today?

The answer, according to Coppola, is no.

Well, it could be made, he said, but it would be an offer major studios would have to refuse.

The first “Godfather” cost $ 6.5 million, Coppola explained. That’s the equivalent of about $ 38 million today, which would make it a mid-budget project in a market that’s overrun by tentpole titles costing well over $ 100 million apiece, he said. The “Godfather Part II” budget swelled to “$ 11 or $ 12 million,” or about $ 64 to $ 70 million nowadays. 

“It would never get through the process of getting an OK, or what they now call a green-light,” Coppola said. Contemporary Hollywood studios, he pointed out, are mostly interested in movies with built-in franchise potential ― “pretty much a Marvel comic,” a comment that provoked chuckles from the audience. 

“Basically there’s not enough wires,” Caan joked, referring to the suspension technique used to film superheroes and Hogwarts wizards in flight. 

Coppola and Caan’s assessment is painfully accurate: Original movies are no longer Hollywood’s breadwinners. The mid-budget adult release ― ranging from about $ 10 million to $ 70 million ― has become something of a relic over the past 15 years, replaced instead by comic-book adaptations, reboots and pre-determined cash cows. 

Even though it’s based on the popular novel by Mario Puzo, were Coppola to pitch “The Godfather” today, he would have a tough time securing the funds and support needed. The first installment made $ 245 million worldwide, which today amounts to $ 1.4 billion. For a film without animation or dazzling technical effects, that seems impossible in 2017.

Coppola said former MGM owner Kirk Kerkorian once asked how one makes a movie that is both financially and artistically successful. “I said to him, ‘Risk,’” he said. “Nobody wants the risk when you get into business.”

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Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino Says His College Sweetheart Lauren Pesce Has Stayed with Him Through His Darkest Times

 

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino has seen a lot of change in his life since he found fame as a breakout star of MTV’s Jersey Shore, yet through most of those times, his constant has been college sweetheart Lauren Pesce.

While opening up exclusively in this week’s PEOPLE about his escalating legal woes and recent relapse with painkillers, Sorrentino revealed how he’s leaned on Pesce in the last several years — and what he hopes for their future.

The pair met and dated for nearly four years while they were in college but took a break as Sorrentino rose to household name status on Jersey Shore.

They rekindled their relationship after the show and it was Pesce, who’d seen Sorrentino grapple with prescription pill abuse leading up to a 60-day stint in rehab in 2012, who most recently tried to help him avoid falling into another addiction spiral.

They were driving to the hospital after he cracked his ribs at the gym in June 2015, Sorrentino recalls, and Pesce “was pleading, ‘You know  are not good for you — whether they’re doctor prescribed or not. You’ve been down this road before.’ ” But, he says, “I really had the excuse at the time, you know, that it was under doctor’s orders.”

And while Sorrentino acknowledges that his struggle with addiction has taken a toll on his relationship, Pesce has continued to stand by his side — even finding herself in the reality TV spotlight at points. The pair took their issues publicon Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars just before his relapse in 2015 and, according to Sorrentino, “It really helped us out and it still helps us out to this day.”

He continues, “You sort of learn how other people communicate and they’re coming from a different perception or a different view, and you have to value that view and listen to respond.” And that experience inspired Sorrentino to enlist his older brothers Marc, 36, and Frank Jr., 40, to join him on Boot Camp‘s Family Edition.

For more about Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino’s journey to overcoming addiction and how longtime love Lauren Pesce has stood by him through years of legal battles, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now

RELATED VIDEO: Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino Charged with Tax Fraud

 

As for what’s next, Sorrentino — who was once notorious for his hard partying — is happy to “Netflix and chill” with Pesce most nights (they even watch old episodes of Jersey Shore some days).

And after finding fame, traveling the world and finding his partner, Sorrentino says, “I’ve definitely attained a lot of the goals that I’ve set out for myself. Now one of the most important ones is having a family and kids.”

Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars — Family Edition premieres Friday at 9 p.m. ET on WE tv.


PEOPLE.com

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How Hulu and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Revived 2 Careers

Daniel Wilson and Fran Sears hadn’t worked together in years. But they still owned partial rights to a certain 1990 movie based on Margaret Atwood‘s book.
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Review: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Creates a Chilling Man’s World

This new Hulu show is based on the 1985 Margaret Atwood dystopian novel that feels scarily current.
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Trump Becomes a Late-Night Host on Comedy Central’s ‘The President Show’

The new show, starring Anthony Atamanuik as Donald J. Trump, will test whether audiences will spend a half-hour with a satirical commander in chief.
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‘The Fate Of The Furious’ Cruises To No. 1 Again At The Box Office

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – “The Fate of the Furious” is racing to defend its title at the top of the box office, while a number of new releases including “The Promise” and “Unforgettable” are being left in the dust.

Universal’s eighth installment in the Fast and Furious franchise proved to be a global box office titan when it opened last weekend to a record-shattering $ 532.5 million. This time around looks to tell mostly the same story ― while domestic grosses slipped 61% from its first to second weekend, the movie is still easily topping the box office with $ 38.7 million from 4,329 locations.

But slipping domestic earnings (and lower U.S. grosses than “Furious 7,” which pulled over $ 250 million in its first two weekends versus “Fate’s” current sum of $ 163.6 million) are majorly overshadowed by the movie’s international appeal. A bankable, diverse cast including Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel and Charlize Theron is leading the film, directed by F. Gary Gray, to a two-frame global total of $ 744.8 million and worldwide sum of $ 908.4 million.

While studios wait for summer season to commence, there are no surprise hits to come of this weekend’s releases. Warner Bros.’ “Unforgettable” seems to have slipped audiences’ minds, earning $ 4.8 million in its first weekend from 2,417 theaters.

 “It just didn’t resonate with the intended audience,” said Jeff Goldstein, the president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. Goldstein stressed that the movie was made for a moderate price, and the marketing was “targeted and appropriate” for the audience.

The directorial debut of Denise Di Novi stars Katherine Heigl as a scorned ex-wife, and Rosario Dawson as a woman who is newly engaged to the same man. In his review for Variety, critic Peter Debruge lauded Heigl’s “terrific” performance, and wrote that her casting “savvily exploits the actress’s prickly reputation within the industry.”

“Unforgettable” joins a string of so-so to disappointing releases from Warner Bros. so far this year, including “Chips” and “Fist Fight.” At least the Heigl movie had a low production budget ( about $ 12 million) to minimize losses.

“The Promise,” too, couldn’t follow through, despite a social media push from stars including Leonardo DiCaprio, the Kardashian sisters and Cher. The movie, from Open Road Films on behalf of Survival Pictures, looks to round out the weekend with about $ 4.1 million from 2,251 locations ― barely cracking the top ten for the weekend.

While “The Promise” could be considered a massive disappointment for its $ 90 million price tag, the film’s backers hoped it would raise awareness more than earn money. Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon and Christian Bale make up the central love triangle in the movie directed by Terry George (”Hotel Rwanda”). The film is set during the Armenian Genocide, and bankrolled by the late businessman Kirk Kerkorian who wanted to bring visibility to the systematic extermination to 1.5 million Armenians at the order of the Ottoman empire in 1915 ― a politically fraught subject that Turkey continues to deny happened. All proceeds made from the movie will be donated to charity.

“We certainly hoped for a better box office result,” said Open Road’s president of marketing Jonathan Helfgot, adding that the film’s mission was not purely box office-related. “It was about bring the world’s attention to this issue,” he said. “And looking at the amount of conversation … it’s undeniable that there’s been more focus and attention in the past two weeks than the past hundred years since the atrocity took place.”

Disney’s latest animal documentary “Born in China,” a co-production between Disneynature and Shanghai Media Group, is making $ 5.1 million from 1,508 theaters. Narrated by John Krasinski, the docu earned more than previous films “Monkey Kingdom” ($ 4.6 Million) and “Bears” ($ 4.8 Million), and is the highest grossing Disneynature opening since 2012’s Chimpanzee ($ 10.7 million).

Cinelou’s “Phoenix Forgotten” opened at 1,592 theaters to an estimated $ 2 million this weekend. A24’s “Free Fire” raked in only $ 1 million from 1,070 spots in its first weekend.

In its fourth frame, Fox’s “The Boss Baby” will bottle up $ 12.8 million from 3,697 locations, putting it in second place behind “Fate.” Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” should hold onto third with $ 10 million from 3,315 theaters.

Warner Bros.’ “Going in Style” should slide into fourth with $ 5 million from 3,038 spots. The heist comedy starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin is targeting an older demo, and saw only a 20% decline in ticket sales from its second to third weekend. “Born in China” looks to round out the top five.

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Pascal Breton’s Federation Entertainment Develops U.S. Remake of ‘The Bureau,’ ‘Joan of Arc’ Series (EXCLUSIVE)

Pascal Breton’s European indie studio and production company Federation Entertainment is developing a U.S. remake of Eric Rochant’s hit spy thriller “The Bureau,” and a series adaptation of iconic French heroine Joan of Arc. Federation Entertainment is teaming with Alex Berger and Eric Rochant’s banner The Oligarchs Productions, which is also the producer of the… Read more »

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is Unequivocally A Story By, For And About Women

With the much-awaited release of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” only four days away, much has been said in the past 24 hours about who the story, in both its book and TV show form, is for.

In Saturday’s New York Times review, executive producer Bruce Miller discusses spearheading the show as a man when its creators initially wanted a woman to do so: 

“Offred spoke to me,” Mr. Miller said. “She’s in this nightmarish situation but she keeps her funny cynicism and sarcasm. She finds really interesting ways to pull levers of power and express herself.”

But Mr. Miller wasn’t a shoo-in for showrunner because producers were looking for a woman, he recalled. “The Handmaid’s Tale” has been a seminal right-of-passage novel for many young women for over three decades; a feminist sacred text.

“It’s sacred to me, too,” Mr. Miller said. “But I don’t feel like it’s a male or female story; it’s a survival story.”

At the show’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, the starring actors placed a heavy emphasis on the show being a “human” story and not a “feminist” one

“I think that any story, if it is a story being told by a strong, powerful woman… any story that’s just a powerful woman owning herself in any way is automatically deemed ‘feminist,’” said Madeline Brewer, who plays handmaid Jane. “But it’s just a story about a woman. I don’t think that this is any sort of feminist propaganda.”

Elisabeth Moss, who plays the show’s main character Offred, echoed Brewer’s comments

“It’s not a feminist story, it’s a human story, because women’s rights are human rights,” Moss said. I never intended to play Peggy [from ‘Mad Men’] as a feminist and I never expected to play Offred as a feminist … I approach it from a very human place, I hope.”

Atwood has since responded by neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the cast. 

“It’s not only a feminist story,” she said. “It’s also a human story.”

While the show doesn’t need to be labeled as “feminist,” and while it’s fine that a man who loves the story spearheaded its televised iteration, a story that a woman wrote about the forced subservience of women and their subsequent survival deserves to be owned by women. We get to claim it. 

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian fiction, sure, but it’s one that has women storming to their local libraries to grab a copies of the book. Last month, women dressed up as handmaids and protested anti-abortion legislation in the Texas Senate gallery. And, at this year’s SXSW festival, women wore handmaids costumes and roamed the streets of Austin, Texas, as performance art. Even though the book was written more than 30 years ago, it is resonating with women all over again.

Rebecca Traister wrote about reading the book in the era of President Donald Trump for New York Magazine in Februrary. “[T]here’s no question that reading about Atwood’s imagined dystopia is far scarier today than it was, I suspect, for adults living in 1985,” she wrote.

For anyone who has read the book, there shouldn’t be much surprise as to why women feel so connected to it in this current political and social moment. After all, it feels closer to reality than the show’s creators wanted.

Moss, who also serves as a producer, acknowledged the eerie and terrifying parallels between Offred’s nightmarish journey and Trump’s America.

“We never wanted the show to be this relevant,” she told Entertainment Weekly in December.

The relevance of story is easy to spot.

In the dystopian theocracy of Gilead, where “The Handmaid’s Tale” is set, women’s bodies are policed and controlled by the male-run state. Handmaids’ only purpose is to bear children ― they have no rights, no freedom, no lives. Women are not trusted with their own bodies. 

America now has a president who brags about grabbing women “by the pussy.” This week, a lawyer in Tennessee said that women are “especially good at lying … because they’re the weaker sex.” A Missouri congressman said last year that becoming pregnant after a rape is a blessing from God. Rooms full of men make legislative decisions about women’s bodies. A panel of men in Maryland decided that rapists can continue to have parental rights over the children who were conceived by rape. And abortion access is under threat across the U.S. 

But the beauty of “The Handmaid’s Tale” ― something that Miller misses and perhaps what women connect to most deeply ― is that it is inarguably, explicitly, a story of women’s survival and audacity. 

The first time I read the novel, in the fall of 2015, I cried. Not because its content was so traumatizing. (It was.) And not because it felt so eerily similar to what was happening in our political landscape. (It did.)

I cried for lines like this:

 “We learned to whisper almost without sound. In the semidarkness we would stretch out our arms, when the Aunts weren’t looking, and touch each other’s hands across space. We learned to lip-read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other’s mouths.”

And lines like this:

“I keep on going with this sad and hungry and sordid, this limping and mutilated story, because after all I want you to hear it … By telling you anything at all I’m at least believing in you … Because I’m telling you this story I will your existence. I tell, therefore you are.”

Atwood’s beautifully constructed prose is at its finest when she is portraying the sheer resilience of my fellow women.

In the wake of the presidential election, the resilience of women is what has kept me going. Women are resisting, calling, volunteering, donating… and living.

And like the fictional Offred ― whether Moss thinks she’s “feminist” or not ― we intend to survive.

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: A Newly Resonant Dystopia Comes to TV

The Hulu series, which stars Elisabeth Moss and is based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, arrives with an unexpected resonance in Trump’s America.
NYT > Arts

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Books of The Times: ‘The New Book of Snobs’ Updates the Shifting Science of Social Cues

D.J. Taylor’s clever and timely work contends that the world would be a poorer place without a bit of insolence and ostentation.
NYT > Books

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Mexican Horror Movie ‘The Untamed’ Picked Up by Strand Releasing (EXCLUSIVE)

Strand Releasing has acquired all North American rights to Amat Escalante’s horror-fantasy “The Untamed” on the eve of its screening at the San Francisco International Film Festival. “The Untamed,” titled “La Region Salvaje” and set in Guanajuato, had its world premiere at the 2016 Venice Film Festival and was then screened at the Toronto International… Read more »

Variety

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Colson Whitehead’s ‘The Underground Railroad’ Wins Pulitzer Prize

Colson Whitehead’s National Book Award–winning speculative history novel The Underground Railroad garnered another top honor on Monday, with the announcement that the book had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for 2017.

The novel reimagines the Underground Railroad as a real, tangible subway system carrying Southern slaves north. Whitehead’s fantastical twist on the nation’s history takes readers on a time-collapsed tour through the horrors visited upon black Americans from slavery onward, including medical exploitation and expulsion from certain territories. Upon its publication in August 2016, the book was well-received by critics, including HuffPost, which praised Whitehead’s “compelling, fluid blend of historical and speculative fiction.”

Lynn Nottage received the prize in Drama for her Broadway debut, “Sweat.” The play follows a diverse chorus of nine working class people in a dying Pennsylvania factory town from 2000 to 2008. After the show’s opening, HuffPost wrote that the timely, emotionally searing play “provided Broadway with a much-needed elemental shake-up.”

Also recognized in the arts were Tyehimba Jess, awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for his collection Olio, and Du Yun, awarded the Prize in Music for her eclectic opera about child trafficking, “Angel’s Bone.” 

Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy by Heather Ann Thompson received the prize for History, and the Biography prize went to The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar. Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City added to its substantial list of awards with the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.

The long history of the Pulitzer Prizes ― this year marked its 101st batch of awards ― has been critiqued for its overwhelmingly white and male honorees. The Pulitzers given out for the arts in 2017 featured five creators of color and three women out of the seven winners. 

The journalism Pulitzers honored several local news teams, including the staff of the East Bay Times in Oakland, California, and Eric Eyre of the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia for their reporting on urgent local matters. Hilton Als, theater critic for The New Yorker, was awarded the Prize in Criticism for “bold and original reviews that strove to put stage dramas within a real-world cultural context, particularly the shifting landscape of gender, sexuality and race.”

Check out the full list of Pulitzer winners for 2017 at the organization’s website.

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Film Review: ‘The Fate of the Furious’

If there were a hierarchy of action cinema, you’d find a masterpiece of speed-demon nihilism like “Mad Max: Fury Road” at the very top, and on the next level a superior Bond or Bourne film or “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.” At the bottom would be the visceral, live-wire kicks of B-movie brutality. Somewhere in… Read more »

Variety

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Will Smith Starring In ‘The Matrix’ Will Totally Melt Your Mind

Will Smith famously turned down the lead role in “The Matrix.”

But how would the mind-melting 1999 sci-fi movie have turned out if the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” actor had actually starred as Neo, in place of Keanu Reeves?

Luckily, YouTube channel The Unusual Suspect is on hand to give a glimpse as to what the film may have looked like.

It posted a recut trailer of the movie online Thursday, which has since garnered more than 700,000 views. Via Reddit, the channel has also revealed just how it created the spoof clip:

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