The 15 Best Britney Spears Singles

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The 15 Best Britney Spears Singles

RCA

The 15 Best Britney Spears Singles

Britney Spears rode the late-'90s teen-pop wave to superstardom, setting records and defying the odds by making the transition from child celebrity to bona-fide pop star to gay icon—all in the first 10 years of her career. She kicked off her second decade, which came on the heels of a very public personal and professional near-implosion, with a string of smash singles that rivaled her initial run of iconic hits. The singer's 2013 album, Britney Jean, was met with a lukewarm reception from critics and audiences, but even if her ninth album, Glory, out this Friday, fails to reignite the charts, she's already cemented her status as America's premier pop princess. To prove it, we've compiled a list of Britney's 15 best singles.

Feeling Emotions: Mariah Carey’s Underrated Sophomore Album Turns 25

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Feeling Emotions: Mariah Carey’s Underrated Sophomore Album Turns 25
Feeling Emotions: Mariah Carey’s Underrated Sophomore Album Turns 25

At the time of its release, Mariah Carey's sophomore effort, Emotions, was considered a commercial disappointment, failing to reach the top of the charts and selling just half of what the singer's blockbuster self-titled debut did. In his review of the album, Rolling Stone's Rob Tannenbaum deemed Mariah's singing “far more impressive than expressive,” a criticism ostensibly borne out by the album's titular lead single, on which she proclaims that she's been “feeling emotions.” Not to put too blunt a point on it, she then tells us, rather than shows us: “I feel good, I feel nice!”

Locarno Film Festival 2016 By the Time It Gets Dark, Mister Universo, Pow Pow, Rat Film, & More

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Locarno Film Festival 2016: By the Time It Gets Dark, Mister Universo, Pow Pow, Rat Film, & More

Locarno Film Festival

Locarno Film Festival 2016: By the Time It Gets Dark, Mister Universo, Pow Pow, Rat Film, & More

At most festivals, such curious objects as João Pedro Rodrigues's The Ornithologist or Eduardo Williams's The Human Surge would likely remain the exception rather than the rule, but then Locarno isn't most festivals. As the competition moved into its second half, two equally strange, equally challenging films continued the tradition of the festival's opening days. The starting point for Thai director Anocha Suwichakornpong's second feature, By the Time It Gets Dark, is the 1976 massacre carried out by police on protestors at a Bangkok university. One of the film's opening scenes restages this shattering event while adding an extra representational layer: Not only are the prostrate students shown moaning and shuddering before their tormenters, but also flashed on the screen are grainy black-and-white photographs that freeze their anguished gestures in time.

Watch Cate Blanchett’s Face Melt in John Hillcoat’s Music Video for Massive Attack’s “The Spoils”

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Watch Cate Blanchett’s Face Melt in John Hillcoat’s Music Video for Massive Attack’s “The Spoils”
Watch Cate Blanchett’s Face Melt in John Hillcoat’s Music Video for Massive Attack’s “The Spoils”

Director John Hillcoat, best known for his genre-driven films The Proposition, which was written by Nick Cave, and The Road, has enlisted two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett for his music video for Massive Attack’s “The Spoils,” the title track from the U.K. trip-hop pioneers’ new EP. The clip opens with a stark close-up of the Carol star donning minimal makeup; as the image slowly degrades, so does Blanchett’s famously steely face, first morphing into a plaster cast of her head before gradually turning into a mask with hollow eyes and a wig on top. Ultimately, the actress’s face is unrecognizable, as guest vocalist Hope Sandoval (of Mazzy Star fame) sings, “I somehow slowly love you/I wanna keep you the same.” By the video’s end, Blanchett has become a digitally rendered bust made of porous rock, eventually so eroded that any trace of her visage has vanished.

Locarno Film Festival 2016 Hermia & Helena, The Ornithologist, The Human Surge, and Scarred Hearts

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Locarno Film Festival 2016: Hermia & Helena, The Ornithologist, The Human Surge, and Scarred Hearts

Trapecio Cine

Locarno Film Festival 2016: Hermia & Helena, The Ornithologist, The Human Surge, and Scarred Hearts

Perhaps the ultimate measure of a film festival's success is how its program looks not just before and during the event, but also after its culmination, once the swirl of hype, expectation, and kneejerk reactions has subsided and the films must speak for themselves. Though it's too early to talk of the true test of time, a look back at Locarno's lineups over the last few years reveals a collection of films that have pushed cinema in new directions, brought established directors their due and put emerging ones on the map, and provided hope that experimentation can be rewarded. With Cannes having turned its back on the challenging or potentially confounding in favor of more immediate, market-friendly fare, Locarno has swiftly taken up the slack, offering an increasingly unique platform where the likes of Chantal Akerman, Pedro Costa, and Hong Sang-soo can still happily thrive. While its lineups aren't without more predictable festival fare and its risk-taking automatically means that some gambles work better than others, the sheer height of Locarno's peaks does more than enough to distract from its valleys.

Interview: Playwright Bess Wohl and Director Rachel Chavkin Talk Small Mouth Sounds

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Interview: Playwright Bess Wohl and Director Rachel Chavkin Talk Small Mouth Sounds

Ben Arons

Interview: Playwright Bess Wohl and Director Rachel Chavkin Talk Small Mouth Sounds

The silence enforced on six participants of a healing retreat proves most eloquent in Bess Wohl's Small Mouth Sounds. A small theatrical gem, where minimal dialogue is enhanced with acutely observed and honestly portrayed human behavior, the play made an acclaimed debuted at off-Broadway's Ars Nova last year. Directed by Rachel Chavkin, the production, staged alley-style in an intimate setting, has made a welcome return and is now playing for a limited three-month commercial run at the Pershing Square Signature Theater. I talked recently with Wohl and Chavkin about their collaboration on this unusual and compelling theater project.

Jerusalem Film Festival 2016 Julieta, Our Father, Certain Women, Death in Sarajevo, Harmonia, & More

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Jerusalem Film Festival 2016: Julieta, Our Father, Certain Women, Death in Sarajevo, Harmonia, & More

Inosan Productions

Jerusalem Film Festival 2016: Julieta, Our Father, Certain Women, Death in Sarajevo, Harmonia, & More

“Sababa!” Thus did Quentin Tarantino, in the only Hebrew slang every tourist learns, anoint his lifetime achievement award with the most appropriate endearment of the Tarantino ethos: “Cool!” Hoisting aloft a trophy that, from the evening distance, resembled a universal remote control made of coffee-colored glass, there could be no question that the Django Unchained auteur was the photographic and celebrity main attraction of the 33rd Jerusalem Film Festival's opening night. After a brisk acceptance speech punctuated by a nod to the recently departed Michael Cimino, who was absent from the evening's montage dedicated to recently departed notables from the world of film, he resumed his front row seat; a glut of photographers pursued him as iron filings collect around a magnet. Despite his predilection for speaking his mind, and the ongoing unrest in the United States, Tarantino put on his best diplomatic face and kept his opinions to himself.

Summer of ‘91 Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break

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Summer of ’91: Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break

20th Century Fox

Summer of ’91: Kathryn Bigelow’s Point Break

In the summer of 1991, the received wisdom on Kathryn Bigelow—especially in the wake of Point Break—was that she was a rising star, making a mark on Hollywood where other women directors had not, by applying her talent to traditional action genres. Here was a woman who made men’s films, not women’s, and was rewarded for it by both critics and the box office.

Those turned out to be half-truths. Today, anyone who’s been paying attention can see that in adopting the male gaze, and in making two films in which women barely mattered and one in which they barely appeared, Bigelow wasn’t selling out, but was illuminating more about women than a dozen “women’s movies” ever could. It wasn’t about making it in a man’s world; it was about confronting and puncturing the eternally adolescent self-importance of “men’s work”—sabotaging not only the buddy action movie, but the whole testosterone-soaked world of moviemaking both on screen and off.

M83-Scored Trailer for A Monster Calls Summons Another BFG

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M83-Scored Trailer for A Monster Calls Summons Another BFG

Focus Features

M83-Scored Trailer for A Monster Calls Summons Another BFG

In April, it was announced that Juan Antonio Bayona, director of The Orphanage and The Impossible, would be at the helm of Jurassic World 2. Say what you will about the filmmaker, he has a gift for summoning spectacle, as evidenced throughout the new trailer for his upcoming A Monster Calls. Based on the children’s fantasy novel of the same name by Patrick Ness, the film tells the story of 12-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall), who copes with the travails of his coming of age, from his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness to bullying classmates, through his friendship with a tree-like monster that appears at his bedroom window. Given the subject matter, and the impression left by the trailer, aptly scored to the navel-gazing synth grooves of M83’s “Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun,” comparisons to Steven Spielberg’s The BFG and Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are will be inevitable.

New Trailer for Loving Depicts Struggle to Legalize Interracial Marriage

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New Trailer for Loving Depicts Struggle to Legalize Interracial Marriage

Focus Features

New Trailer for Loving Depicts Struggle to Legalize Interracial Marriage

Four years ago, The Loving Story shed light on a part of the civil rights movement that often gets overlooked. It painted a candid portrait of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple from the South whose marriage in 1958 became the catalyst for the landmark civil rights case Loving v. Virginia. Now it's the subject of Jeff Nichols's new film, Loving, which premiered two months ago at the Cannes Film Festival. The film, which celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of the Lovings, stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga. From Cannes, Sam C. Mac praised the film's performances: “Both performances believably progress us through years of a marriage, and if the film never really allows any serious tension between Richard and Negga, the actors stake out scenes to show how their characters' differences in opinion could have caused some distance between them over a long period of time.”