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On the Rise: Brie Larson

She exemplifies a trend within her generation of rising stars, who weave in and out of each other’s projects like they’re breathlessly party-hopping

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Photo: Cinedigm

If nothing else, 23-year-old Brie Larson exemplifies a trend within her generation of rising stars, who weave in and out of each other’s projects like they’re breathlessly party-hopping. In The Spectacular Now, Larson plays Cassidy, the ex-girlfriend of a reluctant hero played by 26-year-old Miles Teller, who’ll soon star in Divergent with 21-year-old Shailene Woodley, who’s also in The Spectacular Now, and is shooting The Fault in Our Stars (written by—what?—the guys who wrote The Spectacular Now). The new teen romance also features 28-year-old Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who played opposite Larson in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and 16-year-old Kaitlyn Dever, who’ll soon be seen with Larson in the forthcoming Short Term 12. Additionally, Short Term 12 features 29-year-old John Gallagher Jr., who stars on The Newsroom with 27-year-old Allison Pill, who’s also a Scott Pilgrim vs. The World alum. It’s all enough to spin the head of six-degrees king Kevin Bacon, who, come to think of it, just saw his signature movie, Footloose, remade with—wait for it—Miles Teller.

But back to Larson. What makes this blond Sacramento native stand out? In all honesty, that’s something we viewers are only still discovering. What’s immediately clear is the actress isn’t bound at all by genre. Her first real gig was doing comedy sketches on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and she followed that with sporadic jobs on various network sitcoms, from Raising Dad to Hope & Faith, all of which either never went to series, tanked shortly after debuting, or cut her character altogether. (She has done well with guest spots and recurring roles on TV shows like Community and The United States of Tara.) On the big screen, Larson has starred in comedies like Greenberg, Scott Pilgrim, and 21 Jump Street, no doubt skyrocketing her profile by making her comely—and refreshingly not cadaverously thin—face known to the masses. But it’s in her shift to indie drama that Larson has found some serious long-term career foundation. Proving just as dramatically persuasive as she is comedically inclined, Larson is netting a lot of good ink for Short Term 12 in particular, a film she helped steer toward two top prizes at this year’s SXSW Film Festival. Larson’s isn’t the strongest turn in the movie, but it is the sort that’s all but destined to wind up in the Best Actress lineup at the Indie Spirits.

Having also recently appeared in The Trouble with Bliss, Larson is keeping her momentum going with The Spectacular Now and Don Jon, the much-buzzed-about directorial debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which is set for release in September, and will see her balance the funny and the poignant, two tones she’s deftly been toggling between. One thing that may set Larson apart is her formidable musical ability, which goes well beyond a Jennifer-Love-Hewitt-style lark, in which an actress simply gives singing a stab. A singer, songwriter, and musician, Larson genuinely has the pipes and the chops, and in 2005, she released an album, Finally Out of P.E., through Casablanca Records. For what it was (a Taylor Swift-y ode to all things teen-focused), the album was well-received, getting play on Radio Disney and putting Larson on tour with Jesse McCartney. If you ask us, though, Larson’s best musical moment is the performance of “Black Sheep,” a little tune she taunts an audience with in Scott Pilgrim (see below). It didn’t thrust her career forward, and none of her incestuous peers are featured on stage, but admit it: This scene marks the first time Brie Larson held you rapt.

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Let Your Sanity Go on Vacation with a Trip to the Moons of Madness

If you dare, ascend into the horrors of the Martian mind and check out the trailer for yourself.

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Moons of Madness
Photo: Rock Pocket Games

The announcement trailer for Moons of Madness opens with an empty shot of the Invictus, a research installation that’s been established on Mars. The camera lingers over well-lit but equally abandoned corridors, drifting over a picture of a family left millions of kilometers behind on Earth before finally settling on the first-person perspective of Shane Newehart, an engineer working for the Orochi Group. Fans of a different Funcom series, The Secret World, will instantly know that something’s wrong. And sure enough, in what may be the understatement of the year, Newehart is soon talking about how he “seems to have a situation here”—you know, what with all the antiquated Gothic hallways, glitching cameras, and tentacled creatures that start appearing before him.

As with Dead Space, it’s not long before the station is running on emergency power, with eerie whispers echoing through the station and bloody, cryptic symbols being scrawled on the walls. Did we mention tentacles? Though the gameplay hasn’t officially been revealed, this brief teaser suggests that players will have to find ways both to survive the physical pressures of this lifeless planet and all sorts of sanity-challenging supernatural occurrences, with at least a soupçon of H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmicism thrown in for good measure.

If you dare, ascend into the horrors of the Martian mind and check out the trailer for yourself.

Rock Pocket Games will release Moons of Madness later this year.

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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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