The House


The Knife

Though bittersweet, the Knife's decision earlier this year to call it quits after 15 years seemed like a sensible conclusion to a musical career that was quickly resembling a runaway mine car. After all, where else could Karin Andersson and Olof Dreijer take a project predicated on such reckless abandon? The only thing stunning about this bit of news was the tidiness of the announcement, or that the Knife bothered with any announcement at all.

Formed in 1999 by the Swedish siblings, the Knife released their underrated self-titled debut in 2001 and made their breakthrough two years later with Deep Cuts, an album of tawdry, neon-soaked excess that spawned their biggest hit, the joyous "Heartbeats." Following the post-rave phantasmagoria of 2006's acclaimed Silent Shout, the duo spent the next seven years largely absent from the music scene (with the exception of 2010's Darwinian electro-opera Tomorrow, In a Year). They returned last year with Shaking the Habitual, which was either remarkably ahead of its time or antiquated in stone. Where else could they go from there except to honorably fall on their swords?

The Knife began their final round of shows last night in Stockholm, then follow that with five dates across Europe, culminating on November 8th in Reykjavik at Iceland Airwaves. To celebrate, we took back at the Knife's catalogue to compile a list of their very best tracks.

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TAGS: a colouring of pigeons, a tooth for an eye, deep cuts, fever ray, full of fire, heartbeats, i just had to die, karin dreijer andersson, marble house, networking, olof dreijer, pass this on, raging lung, shaking the habitual, silent shout, stay out here, the captain, the knife, tomorrow in a year, we share our mothers' health, you make me like charity


Braving Ebola

1. "Braving Ebola." Portraits of those who labor and those who survived at an Ebola treatment center in rural Liberia.

"The patients arrive, at first fearful of the people in spacesuits whose faces they cannot see. They wait for test results, for the next medical rounds, for symptoms to appear or retreat. They watch for who recovers to sit in the courtyard shade and who does not. They pray. The workers offer medicine, meals, cookies and comfort. They try to make patients smile. Very, very carefully, they start IVs. They spray chlorine, over and over, and they dig graves. They pray. These are the people of one Ebola clinic in rural Liberia. Run by the American charity International Medical Corps, the clinic rose in September out of a tropical forest. It now employs more than 170 workers, a mix of locals and foreigners, some of them volunteers. There are laborers trying to make money for their families, university students helping because Ebola has shut down their schools, and American doctors who, after years of studying outbreaks, are seeing Ebola's ravages in person for the first time. A mobile laboratory operated by the United States Navy has set up shop at a shuttered university. Now, test results come back in a matter of hours instead of several days. Some of the workers will stay a few more weeks, or until the end of the year. Many of the Liberians vow to remain until the disease is gone, when they can go back to their old jobs or resume their former lives. They work toward a time after Ebola."

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TAGS: academy awards, christopher nolan, crash, ebola, flying lotus, foster hirsch, grantland, interstellar, James Bell, katie rife, liberia, mark harris, method acting, ready err not, sight & sound, stephanie zacharek, the a.v. club, the village voice, vhs


Tourist Trap

Halloween is a time for horror, and if you're no stranger to Carpenter, Argento, Lewton, Romero, Hitchcock, the Italian giallo, or Universal Horror, then you may be hankering to unearth a few obscure sleepers made by directors and stars half-forgotten in the sludge of time. This list of 13 weird movies all seem to reflect fear of their own obscurity: aging actresses camping it up before the mirror with highballs and axes; younger actresses having Antonioni-esque meltdowns; and space ships following the Alien slime breadcrumb trail. They throw normal reality to the wind, yet never lapse into whimsy or sentiment. They explore collective human mythos with a stout heart of darkness, and with scant budgetary means. At the very least, they can hold your attention, and deliver decent chills, especially with a nice buzz and low expectations.

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TAGS: after midnight, burnt offerings, creature, let's scare jessica to death, messiah of evil, ruby, seven deaths in a cat's eye, the black pit of dr. m, the evil, the oregonian, tormented, tourist trap, vampire and the ballerina


Tim Cook

1. "Tim Cook Speaks Up." Apple's chief executive says he is "proud to be gay."

"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven't publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I'm proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me. Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It's made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It's been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It's also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you're the CEO of Apple. The world has changed so much since I was a kid. America is moving toward marriage equality, and the public figures who have bravely come out have helped change perceptions and made our culture more tolerant. Still, there are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation. There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies. Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation."

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TAGS: alejandro gonzález iñárritu, angelo muredda, apple, birdman, catcall, chuck bowen, cinema scope, fandor, film comment, grady hendrix, hanna rosin, kaiju, nick cave & the bad seeds, pj harvey, red right hand, slate, tim cook


American Horror Story: Freak Show

"Edward Mordrake (Part 2)" finds Freak Show wallowing in the sort of dull, meaningless outlandishness that usually sets in right around the halfway mark of any given season of American Horror Story. Creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk seem to forget that if everything is "shocking" and "subversive," then nothing is, as there's no contrast between conventionality and deviation to produce the sort of dramatic friction that's necessary to sustain something like 95 percent of all fiction. The problem with American Horror Story writ large is that there's never any patience exhibited, never any sense of shocks being actively prepared for. For a few episodes, this speed-freakiness doesn't necessarily matter, as TV shows are obviously playing the long game and need to instill in the viewer a notion of the stakes from the outset. But it's becoming clear that there aren't any stakes in Freak Show, and that the characters, who are barely characters, are going to say and do things whenever it's convenient, because Murphy and Falchuk can't ever be bothered to construct a coherent scenario with which to govern their admittedly impressive sense of atmosphere.

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TAGS: american horror story, american horror story: freak show, brad falchuk, edward mordrade part 2, evan peters, jessica lange, John Carroll Lynch, kathy bates, Michael Chiklis, recap, ryan murphy, sarah paulson, wes bentley


The Other Side of the Wind

1. "Hollywood Ending Near for Orson Welles's Last Film." The New York Times reports that cinema buffs are one step closer to seeing The Other Side of the Wind.

"For more than four decades, Hollywood insiders, financiers and dreamers have been obsessed by the quest to recover The Other Side of the Wind, the unfinished last film of Orson Welles. Cinema buffs consider it the most famous movie never released, an epic work by one of the great filmmakers. Endless legal battles among the rights holders, including Welles's daughter, kept the 1,083 reels of negatives inside a warehouse in a gritty suburb of Paris despite numerous efforts to complete the film—a movie within a movie about the comeback attempt of an aging, maverick director played by John Huston. The quest may be over. A Los Angeles production company, Royal Road Entertainment, said on Tuesday that it had reached an agreement with the sometimes-warring parties to buy the rights. The producers say they aim to have it ready for a screening in time for May 6, the 100th anniversary of Welles's birth, and to promote its distribution at the American Film Market in Santa Monica, Calif., next month."

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TAGS: adrian chen, catcall, christopher nolan, David Lowery, eric schmidt, force majeure, gamergate, google, interstellar, julian assange, new york city, orson welles, Ruben Östlund, the new york times, the other side of the wind, tom shone


Sons of Anarchy

Coming on the heels of "Greensleeves," in which Gemma's (Katey Sagal) confession of murder was overheard by her lobotomized-looking grandson, Abel (Ryder and Evan Londo), and Bobby's (Mark Boone Junior) sudden capture led to forced optical surgery, "The Separation of Crows" seemed primed for further shocking developments. Strangely, the episode merely rehashes much of the same ground, biding time until the bloody series finale and leaving viewers in a state of disorientation.

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TAGS: Annabeth Gish, charlie hunnam, courtney love, Dayton Callie, drea de mateo, evan londo, jimmy smits, Katey Sagal, kenneth choi, Maggie Siff, Mark Boone Junior, recap, ryder londo, Sons of Anarchy, the separation of crows, Tommy Flanagan


Frank Serpico

1. "The Police Are Still Out of Control." And Frank Serpico should know.

"Today the combination of an excess of deadly force and near-total lack of accountability is more dangerous than ever: Most cops today can pull out their weapons and fire without fear that anything will happen to them, even if they shoot someone wrongfully. All a police officer has to say is that he believes his life was in danger, and he's typically absolved. What do you think that does to their psychology as they patrol the streets—this sense of invulnerability? The famous old saying still applies: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. (And we still don't know how many of these incidents occur each year; even though Congress enacted the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act 20 years ago, requiring the Justice Department to produce an annual report on 'the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers,' the reports were never issued.)"

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TAGS: a girl walks home alone at night, ana lily amirpour, barack obama, flavorpill, frank serpico, Harry Shearer, jacques tati, james quandt, nypd, reverse shot, richard nixon, the simpsons


Affordable Care Act

1. "Is the Affordable Care Act Working?" After a year fully in place, the Affordable Care Act has largely succeeded in delivering on President Obama’s main promises, an analysis by a team of reporters and data researchers shows. But it has also fallen short in some ways and given rise to a powerful conservative backlash.

"At its most basic level, the Affordable Care Act was intended to reduce the number of Americans without health insurance. Measured against that goal, it has made considerable progress. A perfect measurement of the numbers of people affected by the law is still difficult, but a series of private sector surveys and a government report reach the same basic estimates: The number of Americans without health insurance has been reduced by about 25 percent this year—or eight million to 11 million people. Of that total, it appears that more than half of people who are newly insured signed up for Medicaid, especially in the states that opted to broaden eligibility for the program to low-income residents. Most of the rest enrolled in private health plans through the new state insurance marketplaces."

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TAGS: 35mm, adrian chen, affordable care act, birdman, citizenfour, dear white people, facebook, i won't let you down, new beverly cinema, nick pinkerton, ok go, richard brody, wesley morris, wired


Doctor Who

Keeping up Doctor Who's tradition of placing its most off-kilter episodes just before the season finale, "In the Forest of the Night" is a rather lyrical fable about trust and fear of the unknown. Writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce is an acclaimed author of children's novels, so it's no surprise that a group of schoolchildren, under the supervision of Clara (Jenna Coleman) and Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson), are at the center of the tale. One morning, they wake up to a startling transformation: A dense forest has inexplicably appeared overnight to cover all of London (and the rest of the world). A baffled Doctor (Peter Capaldi) has landed nearby, and soon joins them to investigate.

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TAGS: abigail eames, doctor who, Frank Cottrell Boyce, in the forest of the night, jenna coleman, peter capaldi, recap, Sheree Folkson






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