Is Chelsea Handler really planning on leaving E!, or is she after a better deal from the network she calls a “sad, sad place to live.”
Apparently Chelsea Handler isn’t kidding this time.
The 39-year-old comic, whose latest book Uganda Be Kidding Me is No. 3 on the New York Times Bestseller List, is making noises about leaving her E! channel late-night show, Chelsea Lately, when her contract is up nine months from now.
NBC’s agonizingly schizophrenic drama is almost unwatchable in the absence of the mesmerizing James Spader. How to fix it? Kill Agent Keen, a flimsy version of Clarice Starling.
Rookie FBI profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) tracked a suspect to a building, not realizing she was actually at a “watch post” manned by her husband Tom (Ryan Eggold), who appeared to be a mild-mannered schoolteacher but unbeknownst to Keen, is actually an baddie hired to marry and spy on her. As Keen investigates (without first drawing her gun or calling for backup, but we’ll get to that in a moment), at one point she is just inches away from her cornered husband, whose secret is seemingly about to be revealed.
Will Hart/NBC, via Getty
This moment in last Monday’s episode of The Blacklist should have been one of the most harrowing moments of the year, but instead, the near-showdown was almost completely devoid of tension. It highlights the biggest problem with The Blacklist as the show barrels towards the conclusion of its debut season. The NBC drama is one of this year’s few true breakout hits: it regularly draws 11 million viewers each Monday night, and adds another 7 million when Live + 7 ratings (which include seven days of DVR and video on demand viewings) are factored in. But the agonizingly schizophrenic show has failed to even marginally develop its characters aside from James Spader’s mesmerizing central turn as Raymond “Red” Reddington, who after spending 20 years brokering deals for the world’s most sinister criminals, now helps the FBI catch them.
The ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ star wants you to laugh, as long as you’re ready for jokes about sexually active tweens.
Amy Schumer knows you're expecting her to top herself. She's prepared to deliver, providing you’re prepared for her to make jokes about tweens "finger blasting" each other.
Schumer's baby, the Comedy Central sketch series Inside Amy Schumer, served as the vehicle the 32-year-old raunchy writer-actress-standup-comedian rode to breakout-star status last year, when it became the typically male-driven network's highest-rated new series. Showing off a unique perspective that’s less interested in the usual shock value of a woman saying something dirty, and more in delivering acute observations about the insecurities that go along with being a (strong, sexual, smart, and maybe a little messy) woman, Inside Amy Schumer made waves by proving that there's a place for woman on Comedy Central, too.
When we spoke at the end of her show's stand-out first season run last year, I asked Schumer if she thought she was making a point about women and their place in comedy with her show. She told me, "Do I want women to watch and I am sending a message? My instinct is a little bit to whisper 'yes.' That doesn't seem like something you'd have to whisper, but it really is." Now, speaking in advance of her show's second season premiere this Tuesday, Schumer seemed more than happy to state things with confidence. "This season definitely has a stronger point of view," she tells me. "I'm saying some things, and I'm saying them with more confidence."
That should excite anyone who relished in last year's standout sketches, be it "P.O.V. Porn," which shows a sex tape from the female point of view, and how unsexy and awkward it is. Or a bit in which a girl, after a magical night with who she thinks is "the one," starts sampling wedding cakes and choosing adjoining burial plots, while the guy can't even remember her name. What's in store for this year, then? The aforementioned "finger blasting" sketch, for one, which needs to be seen to be believed, and another in which she tries to pay her way out of her herpes—complete with some hard negotiations with God himself, played by Paul Giamatti.
And if there was any doubt that the success of Season 1 didn't raise Schumer's star quotient, she's also in the casting process for Trainwreck, the R-rated comedy she wrote and will star in…and will be directed by a certain comedy kingmaker by the name of Judd Apatow.
On the surface, it may raise an eyebrow that controversial comedian Sarah Silverman’s sister is a renowned rabbi. That is, until you get to know them.
At this point, there are few things that Sarah Silverman could say or do that would shock people. But mention that the consistently controversial—and consistently hilarious—comedian’s sister is one of the world’s most renowned and influential rabbis, and watch those who thought they’d seen or heard everything from the professional button-pusher react, once again, with surprise.
But learn more about Sarah’s sister, Rabbi Susan Silverman, and it becomes abundantly clear that even though “I’m godless and she’s godfull,” as Sarah puts it, audacity runs in the family.
He sits on park benches scoping out rich middle-aged women for his gigolo. In light of allegations, Woody Allen’s turn as a pimp in ‘Fading Gigolo’ is problematic, to say the least.
The premise of Fading Gigolo, a new film by John Turturro, is simple enough: M. Schwartz & Sons Rare & Used Books, a quaint, red-awninged Mom-and-Pop bookstore in Downtown Manhattan, is going out of business—yet another casualty of modernity, judging by the sprawling Staples next door.
Inside, its aging proprietor, Murray, played by Woody Allen, is chatting with his longtime employee, Fioravante (Turturro, who wrote and directed the film), about a strange episode he’d overheard at his dermatologist’s office. It seems his skin technician, Dr. Parker (Sharon Stone, radiant), is interested in hosting a “ménage”—as in ménage à trois—along with her friend and a man. Murray tells her he knows just the guy, but it’ll cost her $1,000. Since they’re both out of work, Murray tries to sell his boy Friday on the idea of being a gigolo.
Spoilers ahead: In the AMC zombie drama’s season finale on Sunday, a new, killer leader was born and old Officer Friendly left behind.
The Walking Dead’s fourth season finale was the most terrifyingly intense hour the show has produced all season—so why do people feel robbed?
No major characters died. Nagging questions remained unanswered. (Where is Beth? How do we still not know what Terminus is?) Serene flashbacks to the group’s earliest days in the prison, just as peace settled in and Rick gave up his role as leader, made up about half the episode. And the other half comprised of situations so tense, it seemed like they must be escalating toward some bursting point—which, except for Rick’s newfound resolve to kill or be killed, never came.
The DEA agent film 'Sabotage' seemed like a perfect reboot for the former governor but it was awful—though Schwarzenegger is good in ways that suggest he might still have a future in film.
He always said he'd be back.
Open Road Films
Ahh-nold. Arnie. The Austrian Oak. The Governator. On Friday, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to the big screen in Sabotage, only his third starring role since leaving office in 2011. For Schwarzenegger fans like me, the movie had all the makings of a breakthrough. Direction by David Ayers, the Navy submariner who wrote Training Day and helmed 2012's excellent End of Watch. No gimmicks, no supervillains, no tongue-in-cheek nostalgia—just a streetwise story about the deadly suspicions that infect an elite team of undercover DEA agents after the money they stole during a drug bust disappears. And a role for Schwarzenegger as John "Breacher" Wharton—a damaged legend of the drug wars—that seemed to suit his older, craggier persona. Finally, we said. The perfect career reboot.
Starvation, snake venom, “oil pulling”—no wonder Chris Martin didn’t want to live with this woman.
In 2008, Paltrow founded her lifestyle website and brand GOOP, encouraging readers and fans to “invest in what’s real” and “nourish the inner aspect.” With a slew of overly-healthy recipes, pricey beauty treatments, and tough workouts, Paltrow quickly became recognized as the girl we love to hate with an “I’m better than you” attitude.
On Thursday, The Sun reported that Paltrow's obsession with her diet and Kabbalah caused a rift in her marriage to the Coldplay songbird. "Chris felt he was starting to lose the woman he fell in love with," a source told the British tabloid. It’s hard not to believe it when you’re discussing a woman who has said things like, “I would rather die than let my kid eat Cup-a-Soup” or “I’d rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin.”
Director Darren Aronofsky takes plenty of liberties with the biblical myth, but also brings back parts of the story we've forgotten.
With Noah, Darren Aronofsky has made a surprisingly good movie about a man who saves his family and the animal kingdom from a catastrophic worldwide flood. For those who entered the theater expecting to be entertained, and even perhaps made to think, by a cinematic adaptation of a biblical story, they no doubt left happy. For those who expected to see the biblical story rendered into glorious IMAX, every detail preserved exactly as it is told in Genesis, disillusion probably set in around the third minute and lasted until the hundred and thirty-third.
This is the film that will introduce most of the country to the Watchers: fallen angels who, according to Aronofsky’s version, have been encrusted in stone and, with a little persuading, help Noah construct the ark (for giants with gobs of rock for hands, they are extraordinarily dexterous). The Watchers are a very ancient tradition, going back over two thousand years in Jewish and Christian interpretation. But they don’t go as far back as Genesis.
At least the Watchers have a good long pedigree. The same cannot be said for the antagonistic narrative the film creates between Noah and the movie’s villain, Tubal-Cain (a real biblical character, but I never quite pictured him looking so much like he came out of a Mad Max movie). This is the flood story with fight scenes. Plenty of them. Every movie must have its bad guy, I suppose, but in the Bible the only characters in the Flood story are either on the ark or in heaven. And I’m tempted to say that there is already a bad guy in the story.
Paul Hemphill was one of the great unsung writers of the American South. Here he celebrates the heyday of Birmingham's minor league team, the Barons.
Just in time for Opening Day, here’s a gem about minor league ball in the South. It was written by the late Paul Hemphill, who was often called the Jimmy Breslin of the South. But that doesn’t do him justice. He was more than a brilliant columnist. His first book, The Nashville Sound, remains one of the great books ever written about country music, and his baseball novel, Long Gone, later made into a fun and now overlooked movie (it was shown on HBO the year before Bull Durham came out), is a treat. Leaving Birmingham: Notes of a Native Son, a memoir about coming of age in the South in the ‘50s and ‘60s is tough, honest, and moving.
Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, via Getty
Do yourself a favor and read Hemphill’s classic piece, “Quitting the Paper,” or his beautiful essay about his Old Man, or this story about Catfish Hunter. And next time you’re in a used bookstore, keep an eye out for one of Hemphill’s several fine collections.
From Arnold Schwarzenegger’s QVC appearance to an orchestral cartoon theme song mashup, watch our countdown of this week’s buzziest videos.
5. Do IT for Denmark
Denmark’s got a problem, and this time we’re not talking about the murderous Copenhagen Zoo. The great homeland of Tycho Brahe and Soren Kierkegaard is having a baby-making crisis, with the birth rate reportedly at a 27-year low. But one Danish travel company hopes to change that by promoting sexcentric vacations. This incredible commercial announces Spies Rejser’s ovulation discount and conception contest. You have to see it to believe it.
Peter Guralnick has written biographies of Elvis and Sam Cooke. He could kick back and write fiction or teach. But forget that. He’d still rather sit around waiting for a Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland horn rehearsal in the middle of the night—even if it never happened.
“Long before the existence of Crawdaddy! or Fusion or Rolling Stone,” Peter Guralnick wrote in his first book, Feel Like Going Home, “I wanted to do a history of Sun Records.” That was 1971. Now, more than four decades later, Guralnick’s wrapping up a biography of Sun’s founder, Sam Phillips. “I think I’m something like 27 pages from the end right now,” he said during a recent phone. There’s no firm publication date set, so he’s got time to revise the manuscript—which he describes as “about as long as [Dream Boogie],” his 2005 biography of Sam Cooke, so call it roughly 800 pages—before turning it in to Little, Brown.
What does it feel like to fulfill a lifelong creative ambition? “I haven’t enjoyed instant gratification,” Guralnick admits, but his career has “gone way beyond anything I could have imagined. I mean, to be able to talk to Howlin’ Wolf, to get to interview Merle Haggard, to meet Sam Phillips—these are things that were on my mind from even before I started writing.” Those stories (among many others) are collected in Feel Like Going Home and its followup, Lost Highway, which have been reissued in “enhanced” digital editions that feature audio extracts from Guralnick’s original interviews as well as new video segments. “It was a way, in a sense, of revisiting territory that I’ve never left,” he explains. “I mean, I’m no less invested in, no less passionate about, no less excited by the music of Howlin’ Wolf or Muddy Waters or Jerry Lee Lewis today than I was when I first discovered them, or when I first met them.” During our conversation, we revisited aspects of those two books, and how his approach to music writing—which also includes a definitive two-volume biography of Elvis Presley—has evolved over time.
Lest you think those who remove their clothing for a living are nothing but vacant showgirls, it turns out there’s a lot more underneath those faux-leather bras and furless panties than T&A. Portland's pretty women discuss the likes of health care, Crimea and immigration.
Sometimes, one tires of the incessant cable news punditry; the same talking heads spouting the same talking points. Sometimes, one yearns for a fresh perspective on how issues affect regular Americans. You know, regular Americans who also happen to be dancers at a vegan strip club.
Linda Davidson/The Washington Post, via Getty
So off I went to Casa Diablo, the world’s first vegan strip club located in Portland, Ore. (Of course it is in Portland.)
When Stephen Colbert was announced as David Letterman's successor, Rush Limbaugh and company both criticized and politicized the move. Keli Goff discusses whether they're actually mad.
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