The House


Sons of Anarchy

Chess pieces move and bodies drop. One could easily imagine Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) having this credo tattooed onto his perfectly sculpted chest as a reminder of his Machiavellian ways. Sons of Anarchy has mastered this kind of cause and effect one head shot at a time. Cagey strategies occasionally play a role in taking out enemies foreign and domestic, but SAMCRO prefers all-out blitzkrieg.

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TAGS: Annabeth Gish, Billy Gierhart, charlie hunnam, Drea de Matteo, jimmy smits, Katey Sagal, kenneth choi, peter weller, recap, rockmond dunbar, Sons of Anarchy, theo rossi, toil and till


Robin Thicke

1. "Robin Thicke Admits Drug Abuse, Lying to Media in Wild 'Blurred Lines' Deposition (Exclusive)." Interrogated for allegedly ripping off Marvin Gaye, the singer attempts a rock 'n' roll defense: "I didn't do a single interview last year without being high"

"Thicke says he was just 'lucky enough to be in the room' when [Pharrell] Williams wrote the song. Afterward, he gave interviews to outlets like Billboard where he repeated the false origin story surrounding 'Blurred Lines' because he says he 'thought it would help sell records.' But he also states he hardly remembers his specific media comments because he 'had a drug and alcohol problem for the year' and 'didn't do a sober interview.' In fact, when he appeared on Oprah Winfrey's show with his young son and talked about how weird it was to be in the midst of a legal battle with the family of a legendary soul singer who 'inspires almost half of my music,' Thicke admits he was drunk and taking Norco—'which is like two Vicodin in one pill,' he says."

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TAGS: alaska, annette insdorf, blurred lines, canon, jewish, jonathan glazer, leonard maltin, matt zoller seitz, poland, rape, Robin Thicke, rogerebert.com, tony auth


Doctor Who

Since taking over Doctor Who in 2010, showrunner Steven Moffat has been preoccupied with writing the "big" episodes—season openers, finales, Christmas specials, and so on—which have dwelled on major turning points in the Doctor's life. This year, he deliberately reserved a slot in the schedule where he could tell a small-scale story filled with the kind of creepiness he displayed during the Russell T Davies era, with episodes like 2005's "The Empty Child" and 2007's "Blink." Rather than simply duplicate his past successes, though, "Listen" combines the two approaches—big and small—to produce the best episode of the season so far.

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TAGS: doctor who, jenna coleman, listen, peter capaldi, recap, remi gooding, Samuel Anderson, steven moffat


The Imitation Game

1. "The Imitation Game wins Toronto top prize." The Alan Turing biopic has won the People's Choice award at the Toronto Film Festival.

"Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the drama about the British code breaker who helped decrypt the Enigma machine during World War Two. In a message, director Morten Tyldum said it was 'an amazing honour' to win the prize. 'For film fans to support The Imitation Game means so much to me, the entire cast and film-making team,' he said. Turing was credited with bringing about the end of the war and saving hundreds of thousands of lives after decoding German Naval messages. He is also considered to be the founding father of the modern-day computer. However his later life was overshadowed after a conviction in 1952 for gross indecency when homosexuality was illegal in Britain. He was chemically castrated and committed suicide in 1954. Earlier this week Tyldum described the film as 'a tribute to being different'."

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TAGS: a.o. scott, Adam Sternbergh, alan turing, amy taubin, andrew o'hehir, benedict cumberbatch, david fincher, film comment, gone girl, lena dunham, serena, slate, the imitation game, toronto international film festival, vulture


The Knick

The Knickerbocker Hospital's putative mission to help New York City's neediest gets its most interesting stress test yet in "They Capture the Heat." An earlier episode of The Knick showed hospital administrator Herman Barrow (Jeremy Bobb) getting his teeth plied out by his loan shark, Bunkie (Danny Hoch); now, one of Bunkie's lieutenants may need his leg amputated in the dead of the night, putting his boss in Barrow's debt for once. After seeing Dr. Algernon Edwards (Andre Holland) scrub in for surgery, Bunkie tells Barrow, "That black bastard better not get too familiar with my man if he don't wanna find himself hanging from a lamppost," and both Algernon and Thackery narrow their eyes in unspoken disgust—a flicker of solidarity between the two men never before seen in the hospital's surgical theater. It's a collision of two of the show's up-to-now isolated environs, and even Clive Owen's haggard, seen-it-all drug addict Dr. Thackery manages to be appalled by the stench surrounding Bunkie. It's been a pleasure watching Steven Soderbergh stress Thackery and Algernon's unspoken shifts in opinion of one another, and "They Capture the Heat" skirts it on the margins.

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TAGS: andre holland, Cara Seymour, chris sullivan, clive owen, colin meath, Danny Hoch, Eric Johnson, jeremy bobb, Juliet Rylance, michael angaro, recap, the knick, they capture the heat


ISIS

1. "Legal Authority for Fighting ISIS." The New York Times editorial board hammers Congress, Obama over ISIS war.

"The cowardice in Congress, never to be underestimated, is outrageous. Some lawmakers have made it known that they would rather not face a war authorization vote shortly before midterm elections, saying they'd rather sit on the fence for a while to see whether an expanded military campaign starts looking like a success story or a debacle. By avoiding responsibility, they allow President Obama free rein to set a dangerous precedent that will last well past this particular military campaign. Mr. Obama, who has spent much of his presidency seeking to wean the United States off a perpetual state of war, is now putting forward unjustifiable interpretations of the executive branch's authority to use military force without explicit approval from Congress."

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TAGS: apple, barack obama, cannes film festival, forbes, Isis, jessie ware, lars von trier, luke white, metamorphosis, new york magazine, nick pinkerton, nymphomaniac, remi weekes, reverse shot, say you love me, snowpiercer, songs of innocence, stray dogs, tell no one, the new york times, tsai ming-liang, u2, venice film festival


Eden

Filled with retro house cuts, Eden insists upon a good time whenever Paul (Félix de Givry) or his DJ peers spin in various house parties and clubs, yet the prevailing atmosphere of Mia Hansen-Løve's film is melancholic. One of the more sensitive contemporary directors of youth, Hansen-Løve flips the dynamic of Goodbye, First Love, a film in which the passage of time is keenly felt in the protagonist's maturation and regression occurs from the reintroduction of outside elements. In this film, it's everything around Paul that changes and outpaces him while he remains resolutely, depressingly, the same person at 34 that he was at 20.

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TAGS: daft punk, eden, félix de givry, gael garcía bernal, jauja, jon stewart, Kim Bodnia, lisandro alonso, liverpool, mia hansen-løve, rosewater, the daily show, toronto international film festival, viggo mortensen


John Hamm

1. "The Death of Adulthood in American Culture." A.O. Scott on Tony Soprano, Walter White and Don Draper, the last of the patriarchs.

"The widespread hunch that Mad Men will end with its hero’s death is what you might call overdetermined. It does not arise only from the internal logic of the narrative itself, but is also a product of cultural expectations. Something profound has been happening in our television over the past decade, some end-stage reckoning. It is the era not just of mad men, but also of sad men and, above all, bad men. Don is at once the heir and precursor to Tony Soprano (fig. 2), that avatar of masculine entitlement who fended off threats to the alpha-dog status he had inherited and worked hard to maintain. Walter White, the protagonist of Breaking Bad, struggled, early on, with his own emasculation and then triumphantly (and sociopathically) reasserted the mastery that the world had contrived to deny him. The monstrousness of these men was inseparable from their charisma, and sometimes it was hard to tell if we were supposed to be rooting for them or recoiling in horror. We were invited to participate in their self-delusions and to see through them, to marvel at the mask of masculine competence even as we watched it slip or turn ugly. Their deaths were (and will be) a culmination and a conclusion: Tony, Walter and Don are the last of the patriarchs."

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TAGS: a.o. scott, amy nicholson, bill hader, breaking bad, comic books, mad men, matt zoller seitz, new york film festival, robert christgau, robin williams, the skeleton twins, the sopranos


Madonna

Confession: I've never cared much for "Like a Virgin." Madonna's 1984 single may be the first, if not the, signature song of her career, but it's a trifle—a novelty, really—with its plucky, noncommittal guitar licks, sub-"Billie Jean" bassline, and the singer's helium squeak of a voice. That last, integral element in particular has always irked me, as, from "Express Yourself" to "Don't Tell Me," Madonna has proven she's capable of some deep, soulful performances. Of course, the vocals on "Like a Virgin" were allegedly employed by design, sped up to render Madonna's voice more childlike and "virginal." (It's a trick she's lamentably reprised on some of her more recent recordings.) I'm in fairly good company, however, since both producer Nile Rodgers and Madonna herself aren't particularly fond of "Like a Virgin" either, and she's chosen to completely reinvent the song in masterful ways nearly every time she's performed it. Madonna infamously unveiled "Like a Virgin" to the world 30 years ago this Sunday, at the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards. To commemorate this milestone, we're taking a look back at three decades of a song Madonna has mercifully, perpetually made shiny and new by sheer force of will and ingenuity.

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TAGS: blond ambition tour, britney spears, christina aguilera, confessions tour, gene kelly, guy ritchie, jean paul gaultier, like a virgin, love spent, madonna, marlene dietrich, Maurice Chevalier, mdna tour, mtv video music awards, singin' in the rain, the girlie show, vmas


Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition

Last year's Dead Rising 3 was and still is the best argument for owning a next-gen console, so PC owners are in for a treat with the release of Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition, a game-of-the-year-type compilation of the main game with its four downloadable content packs. Set across several days in an open world overrun by the undead, the story introduces survivor Nick Ramos, a mechanic who can conveniently strap together nearly any two objects to make a lethal zombie-killing weapon, racing to escape the fictional Californian city of Los Perdidos alongside other B-movie stereotypes before the entire area is nuked. While each previous Dead Rising has been notorious for its crazy level of difficulty and tricky time-restricted gameplay, Dead Rising 3 is a sequel that builds on the series's strengths and narrative while refining core mechanics to render it accessible to newcomers as well as fans. Playing the game's campaign on the standard settings frees up timed events to allow a more casual and manageable playthrough, wherein everything the game has to offer can be experienced without restriction, retaining its infamous difficulty in a separate Nightmare mode, featuring the demanding time limits and cutthroat RPG elements for series veterans.

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TAGS: capcom, dead rising, dead rising 3, dead rising 3: apocalypse edition, super ultra dead rising 3 arcade remix hyper edition ex plus alpha






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