The House


Errol Morris

1. "Truth Be Told." Wesley Morris, for Grantland, on Errol Morris as prosecutor.

"Morris's movies have come to seem like polygraphs, and Morris has come to seem like a one-man lie detector. After his first two movies, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he spent time working as a private investigator, and his hunt for answers, for truth, is a partial source of the exhilaration in a typical Morris movie. Sometimes the case seems too unwieldy for Morris's dismay to do its best. So it was with 2008's Standard Operating Procedure, which conjures the immense moral horror of the prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib but never reconciles its fascination with and repulsion by the grotesque staging of guards and prisoners captured in photographs. That was a movie in which Morris's senses of humanity and outrage could never locate even a speculative explanation, let alone a concrete answer, for what the images were saying. He seemed caught off guard by the surrealism of the scandal."

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TAGS: 2001: a space odyssey, aaron cutler, aliens, damon smith, dave tompkins, errol morris, john carpenter, matt zoller seitz, mr. holmes, reverse shot, tasha robinson, the dissolve, the paris review, the thing, thom andersen, wesley morris


The Americans

Tonight's episode of The Americans is quieter than usual, with the most suspenseful sequence sandwiched into the space between a teenager's bedroom and her father's home office, but "Born Again" carries the weight of the truth through its series of tremulous encounters. Though cloaked in the familiar guise of dissimulation, used to pry a strategic advantage from each terse exchange, the admission, the confession, and the honest assessment all emerge here as singularly effective modes of persuasion, as if to suggest the limits of lying. "When we immerse ourselves in these baptismal waters, we symbolically allow God's grace and forgiveness to wash over us," Pastor Tim (Kelly AuCoin) says as Paige (Holly Taylor) prepares for her new birth in Christ, and "Born Again" is indeed a turning point. Whether the characters will turn further toward truth or retreat into fiction remains to be seen, but the moment of decision is upon them.

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TAGS: annet mahendru, born again, frank langella, Holly Taylor, Julia Garner, katja herbers, Keidrich Sellati, kelly aucoin, Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, mira rakhmanova, recap, the americans


Björk

1. "Björk Is on Display, Up Close and in 3-D at MoMA." For the New York Times, Melena Ryzik on the Björk retro at MoMA.

"[Klaus] Biesenbach, who like Björk is 49, called her the paradigm of a '90s artist, a compliment. 'The '90s, my generation, said it's all about relational aesthetics, it's all about collaboration,' he said. Many tried to cross over to art, film and design; 'she lives that.' A centerpiece of the exhibition is 'Songlines,' a labyrinthlike audio tour through Björk's music and psyche. Visitors wear headphones connected to Bluetooth beacons, which locate them through the space, cuing the proper songs and visuals. The technology was adapted by Volkswagen, a sponsor of the show, from a hands-free program it made to soundtrack driving. (The geolocation obviates the problem of continually looking down at a device, rather than up at the exhibition.) For 'Black Lake,' the architect David Benjamin and his team, working with the firm Autodesk, turned the song into a literal blueprint, mapping the music's volume and frequency. Then using that for a 3-D topography to place the cones."

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TAGS: björk, erika balsom, focus, going into the city: portrait of a critic as a young man, gregory j. markopoulos, ivan kreilkamp, melena ryzik, museum of modern art, new york times, noah michelson, rebels of the neon god, richard brody, robert christgau, Russell Tovey


Stephen King

1. "A Death." Stephen King's latest story for The New Yorker.

"Jim Trusdale had a shack on the west side of his father's gone-to-seed ranch, and that was where he was when Sheriff Barclay and half a dozen deputized townsmen found him, sitting in the one chair by the cold stove, wearing a dirty barn coat and reading an old issue of the Black Hills Pioneer by lantern light. Looking at it, anyway. Sheriff Barclay stood in the doorway, almost filling it up. He was holding his own lantern. 'Come out of there, Jim, and do it with your hands up. I ain't drawn my pistol and don't want to.' Trusdale came out. He still had the newspaper in one of his raised hands. He stood there looking at the sheriff with his flat gray eyes. The sheriff looked back. So did the others, four on horseback and two on the seat of an old buckboard with 'Hines Mortuary' printed on the side in faded yellow letters."

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TAGS: a death, aliens, Isis, madonna, matt zoller seitz, nick pinkerton, orphan black, pitchfork, rebel heart, stephen king, t. cole rachel, the new yorker


Cymbeline

In Cymbeline, director Michael Almereyda, working with cinematographer Tim Orr, strikingly calls attention to the flimsiness of the story's settings. Characters hatch out a plan at a Chinese restaurant and the audience is allowed to ineffably sense that this location was selected, perhaps the week before shooting, for the strip-mall bareness of its interior and for its overall chintziness, which contrasts with the heightened poetic dialogue that's taken from Shakespeare's play of the same name. Other locations, which include warehouses, dilapidated mansions, bridges, and spartanly furnished cabins, exude a similarly purposefully contrived aura of isolated, cherry-picked formality: They're theatrical sets as found objects, and Orr often casts them in silvery hues that convey a nihilistic impression of decay and apocalyptic impermanency.

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TAGS: cymbeline, dakota johnson, Delroy Lindo, ed harris, film comment selects, hamlet, michael almereyda, william shakespeare


The Walking Dead

"Remember" opens with Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his group hesitantly heading into the Alexandria Safe-Zone, a heavily fortified suburban community run by Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh), a former congresswoman. The title of the episode is significant in that it reflects the caution felt by The Walking Dead's heroes in trying to adapt to life before the biters, and, of course, Woodbury. And much of the storyline teases two opposing possibilities of what Alexandria could come to be for the group, only to then introduce a third and far more chilling route in the episode's final seconds.

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TAGS: alanna msterson, andrew lincoln, chandler riggs, corey brill, danai gurira, daniel bonjour, katelyn nacon, melissa mcbride, recap, remember, steven yeun, the walking dead, Tovah Feldshuh


Leonard Nimoy

1. "Remembering Leonard Nimoy's Mr. Spock." Matt Zoller Seitz on one of history's greatest TV characters.

"This was no coy actor's pose, though. Trekkers who met the actor will tell you that while he could be prickly about the character early on, Nimoy was always respectful of their love for Spock, because he realized how much he'd meant to them, and to him, over the—how they appreciated him and identified with him because of Nimoy's lovingly detailed, obviously personal performance, which in some small way helped illuminate whatever struggles they were going through. Nimoy's attitude toward Spock warmed over time, eventually becoming something close to an unabashed embrace. While I never had the chance to interview him at length, I did speak to him briefly at a Los Angeles screening about 15 years ago, and he didn't scowl or flinch or otherwise recoil from my fanboyish eagerness to discuss the character. I asked, 'Do you ever feel that in some ways the character was as much a curse as a blessing?' He said simply, 'All actors should be so cursed.'"

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TAGS: adam nayman, boris nemtsov, cinema scope, come and see, david cronenberg, diplo, dj snake, elem klimov, graham fuller, keith phipps, lean on, Leonard Nimoy, major lazer, maps to the stars, masha green, matt zoller seitz, , r.i.p., reverse shot, star trek, world trade center


Looking

Though Looking is a series rightly known for its rather frank discussions and depictions of sex, it's also finely attuned to the rhythms of friendship—the type of affection at the center of "Looking for a Plot." The focused three-hander, which finds Patrick (Jonathan Groff), Dom (Murray Bartlett), and Doris (Lauren Weedman) in Modesto for her father's funeral, lends new meaning to Katrina and the Waves' "Walking on Sunshine," piped onto the empty, glittering dance floor of a Modesto gay bar known as the Brave Bull. "I used to think maybe you loved me," we hear, as the main trio lets loose the night before the burial. "Now, baby, I'm sure."

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TAGS: bashir salahuddin, jonathan groff, katrina and the waves, Lauren Weedman, looking, looking for a plot, mary kay place, murray bartlett, recap, Russell Tovey, walking on sunshine


Girls

"Ask Me My Name" traces the course of a single night that spirals unpredictably out of control. The episode opens with a brief prelude to the evening that presents Hannah (Lena Dunham) in a position of newfound stability: She's landed a job as a substitute teacher and displays surprising confidence in the classroom. Following a lesson on Oedipus Rex (the inspiration, she informs her students, "for the whole concept of the MILF"), she has a meet-cute in the teachers' lounge with fellow teacher Fran (Jake Lacy). They flirt, he asks her out, and the show's title card appears on screen accompanied by a burst of exultant melody. Both professionally and romantically, Hannah seems primed to flourish.

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TAGS: adam driver, ask me my name, Gillian Jacobs, girls, jake lacy, lena dunham, recap, zachary quinto


Sigourney Weaver

1. "Sigourney Weaver Interview." For Interview, Jamie Lee Curtis interviews her fellow actor.

"I work so hard, and out of the raw material that is the script and talks I have with the director, the writer, I create, I hope, a very specific person who wouldn't have otherwise existed. However, do I then attach and hang on to the finished product? No. The experience of the creation of the character is what feeds me, what excites me, challenges me. I just finished this movie with J.A. Bayona, called A Monster Calls [co-starring Liam Neeson and Felicity Jones, expected in 2016], which was a challenging movie for all of us. It's from a novel written by Patrick Ness. But, after the experience, I let it go, because I know the director's going to go in; the alchemist will take over and do something else with it."

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TAGS: bidisha, brit awards, daniel engber, envious moons, interview magazine, Jamie Lee Curtis, joyland, madonna, noah baumbach, richard larson, sigourney weaver, steven shaviro, television, the universe of things, vulture, while we're young







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