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Links for the Day: Matt Zoller Seitz’s 10 Best TV Shows of 2014, Police in America Are Becoming Illegitimate, Bombast: George Armitage, It Follows Trailer, & More

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Links for the Day: Matt Zoller Seitz’s 10 Best TV Shows of 2014, Police in America Are Becoming Illegitimate, Bombast: George Armitage, It Follows Trailer, & More

1. “The 10 Best TV Shows of 2014.” This week, Vulture will be publishing its critics’ top-ten lists. Today, Matt Zoller Seitz’s favorite TV shows of the year.

“Bryan Fuller’s TV adaptation of Thomas Harris’s fiction is a total vision—mournfully expressionist, shockingly violent, and strangely tender. Virtually alone among television dramas, network or cable, it demands that viewers make an imaginative leap and see its nightmarish action as both figurative and emotionally real. It’s also one of the scariest shows in TV history, delivering images every week so potent that they lodge in the viewer’s memory like rusty barbs. And yet for all of its ugliness and horror, it is an intensely pleasurable experience, appallingly sensual, laying out food, furniture, clothes, windows, doors, and landscapes with painterly exactness. The ensemble cast is one of the best on television, and one of the most heroic, considering the ludicrousness they are expected to put across: Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Laurence Fishburne, Caroline Dhavernas, and Gillian Anderson, and a regular stream of superb guest-actors counteract the extremity of Fuller’s images with understated, wryly funny performances. Two seasons in, it’s already a pantheon series.”

2. “The Police in America Are Becoming Illegitimate.” Matt Taibbi on the crooked math that’s going to crash American law enforcement if policies aren’t changed.

“This policy of constantly badgering people for trifles generates bloodcurdling anger in ’hot spot’ neighborhoods with industrial efficiency. And then something like the Garner case happens and it all comes into relief. Six armed police officers tackling and killing a man for selling a 75-cent cigarette. That was economic regulation turned lethal, a situation made all the more ridiculous by the fact that we no longer prosecute the countless serious economic crimes committed in this same city. A ferry ride away from Staten Island, on Wall Street, the pure unmolested freedom to fleece whoever you want is considered the sacred birthright of every rake with a briefcase.”

3. “Theories of Everything.” Matt Patches on why Interstellar, The Imitation Game, and the year’s other science-driven movies can’t stop explaining themselves.

The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything, the cardigan-clad indie rock stars of the science movie boom, contend with the same fear. Their solutions are passivity. Explaining how a Turing machine works or what big bang theory could even begin to describe is a can of worms best left sealed. With Turing and Hawking’s well-documented legacies engraved in history books, both films resist scientific characterizations. The choice is understandable: Exposition-heavy biopics—or ’VH1 original movies,’ as they’re often called—offer the emotional depth of a Wikipedia page. The only problem is that, like Malcolm, the duo’s occupational and emotional lives are intertwined. Divorcing science from the scientists leaves them vacant, a sacrifice that feels as reactionary to what audiences might think as Nolan’s excessive explanations.”

4. “Bombast: George Armitage.” Nick Pinkerton on the undervalued writer-director.

“It’s a great movie [Miami Blues] for mouths, those telltale indicators of class: [Jennifer Jason] Leigh’s uncorrected lisp and overbit frown, Ward’s denture routines, [Alec] Baldwin’s put-’er-there come-on smile, a rehearsed-from-infomercials cover barely concealing impatient ex-con wariness. (Junior is only sincere when first seen, gaping out the window on what’s presumably his first airplane ride.) While never acquiring the social graces to correspond to his ambition, Junior drags Susie into his white-trash fantasy of upward mobility financed by banditry. (In fact, Miami Blues parallels another superb Reagan/Bush I–era snapshot, Raising Arizona.) The film contains a marvelous scene where Junior and Susie, play-acting at being yuppies, meet for a terrace brunch overlooking a water ballet. Junior shows up in a pastel Coogi sweater and lemon-colored slacks, asks for separate checks, enthuses over the Spencer’s Gifts T-shirt she’s bought him (’Shit Happens When You Party Naked’), then spits up the yogurt on his salad (’This ice-cream dressing is sour as shit’). The ’Party Naked’ bit, I should add, is Armitage’s invention.”

5. Mister Babadook: An oral history of 2014’s most terrifying movie prop.” The creative team behind the book at the center of the year’s best horror movie pull back the curtain on Mister Babadook.

“I’m a real purist, and I hate the idea of Babadook Happy Meals or whatever. I didn’t want to capitalize on the film that way, because it’s not that kind of film. But the book is a work of art…It was always in the back of our minds: we could produce that. We made sure, in the contract before we started filming, that we were in charge of [the book rights]. And it’s worked out really well because now we can do what we want with them. We don’t own the film, so we can’t go and do what we want with the film.”

Video of the Day: The highly anticipated It Follows gets a French trailer:

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Watch: Two Episode Trailers for Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone Reboot

Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes.

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The Twilight Zone
Photo: CBS All Access

Jordan Peele is sitting on top of the world—or, at least, at the top of the box office, with his sophomore film, Us, having delivered (and then some) on the promise of his Get Out. Next up for the filmmaker is the much-anticipated reboot of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, which the filmmaker executive produced and hosts. Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes, “The Comedian” and “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet.” In the former, Kumail Nanjiani stars as the eponymous comedian, who agonizingly wrestles with how far he will go for a laugh. And in the other, a spin on the classic “Nightmare at 20,0000 Feet” episode of the original series starring William Shatner, Adam Scott plays a man locked in a battle with his paranoid psyche. Watch both trailers below:

The Twilight Zone premieres on April 1.

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Scott Walker Dead at 76

Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde.

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Scott Walker
Photo: 4AD

American-born British singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer Scott Walker, who began his career as a 1950s-style chanteur in an old-fashioned vocal trio, has died at 76. In a statement from his label 4AD, the musician, born Noel Scott Engel, is celebrated for having “enriched the lives of thousands, first as one third of the Walker Brothers, and later as a solo artist, producer and composer of uncompromising originality.”

Walker was born in Hamilton, Ohio on January 9, 1943 and earned his reputation very early on for his distinctive baritone. He changed his name after joining the Walker Brothers in the early 1960s, during which time the pop group enjoyed much success with such number one chart hits as “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore).”

The reclusive Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde. Walker, who was making music until his death, received much critical acclaim with 2006’s Drift and 2012’s Bish Bosch, as well as with 2014’s Soused, his collaboration with Sunn O))). He also produced the soundtrack to Leos Carax’s 1999 romantic drama Pola X and composed the scores for Brady Corbet’s first two films as a director, 2016’s The Childhood of a Leader and last year’s Vox Lux.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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