Two Generations, One Actress: Sutton Foster on Her Empowering Role in Younger

Categories: Film and TV

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TV Land
Sutton Foster
Doing everything right in one generation just makes you old-fashioned, even obsolete, in the next. That’s the harsh reality that confronts 40-year-old Liza — played with spirited, sarcastic élan by Tony-winning actress Sutton Foster — when she attempts to re-enter the workforce after a decade and a half of stay-at-home motherhood. Finding herself shut out of the industry where she’d once been hailed as a wunderkind, Liza passes herself off as a 26-year-old to start again at the bottom of the publishing ladder in the peppy and observant Younger, the new sitcom from Sex and the City creator Darren Star.

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The Fury Road Not Taken

Categories: Film and TV

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Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
"I remember a time of chaos."
2015 promises to be a big year for movies, with some predicting box office returns of the all-time record variety. Indeed, any one of these three movies has the potential to break $1.5 billion worldwide.

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Jurassic World
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

And it's not out of the realm of possibility to see $2 billion+ from Avengers and Star Wars. Throw in new installments of the James Bond (Spectre, Hunger Games (Mockingjay, Part 2) and Fast/Furious (Furious 7) franchises, and this year is shaping up to be lucrative indeed.

But while the first Avengers was good fun, and I've been an occasionally reluctant Star Wars fan since my mom got me out of 2nd grade early to see it on its theatrical run, the 2015 movie I'm most excited about isn't listed above, it's Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth movie in the series and the first in 30 years.


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Will Pixels Finally Give Us a Sandler/James Film Worth Watching?

Categories: Film and TV

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When was the last time you were actually excited for an Adam Sandler movie?

Funny People (2009)? Reign Over Me (2007)? Punch-Drunk Love (2002)?

I jest -- kinda -- but the reality is that while he's continued to put out movies over the past five years, it feels like it's been awhile since any of them were worth getting excited for. They might have made money and you might have gone to see them because there was nothing else worthwhile at the theater that weekend, but were you really excited about it?

And still, I don't begrudge Sandler or Kevin James for their success or what they've decided to do with their careers. They found their hustle and they're making money with it. It may not be capital-a-Art, but apparently it works for some people.

As for Pixels, this may actually be something to get excited about.

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The Perils and Promises of Revolving Doors

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Photo courtesy of AMC.
Vaya con Dios, Noah.
I've watched The Walking Dead since it debuted, because a) I have been an unabashed zombie fan since the first time I snuck out of my bedroom to watch Dawn of the Dead on cable while my parents slept, and b) I am a glutton for punishment.

AMC's most famous show not about chain smoking advertising execs gets slagged for many things: Lori, long stretches where not much happens, Carl, any member of the Grimes family not named Rick or Little Ass Kicker, really. But one thing you haven't been able to complain about this season is the lack of zombie action. Last Sunday, Noah -- who'd recently joined the group after leaving Atlanta -- suffered arguably the most horrifying death we've seen on the show to date. Trapped in a revolving door with Glenn, he's dragged to his doom by walkers when Nicholas panics and forces the door open.

Noah's death can also be seen as another example of one the most persistent criticisms of the show, i.e. its habit of killing off black characters (or, at least, the weird racial equilibrium that the survivors' group maintains: introduce Gabriel, kill Bob, introduce Noah, kill Tyreese). Hell, even the horse that died this season was black.

Whatever. All I want to do is talk about other revolving door scenes.


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The Roar Trailer is the Best Trailer You'll See This Year

Categories: Film and TV

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As long as humans see themselves as the dominant species on this floating ball of dirt and water, they'll will attempt to prove their might by taming nature. They'll build golf courses in the desert. They'll put homes on hills that have mudslides. They'll tame savage beasts.

Due to our hubris as a species, humans sometimes put themselves in to situations that are often awful for them but hilarious to us who don't have to live through it.

Which leads us to the case of a little film known as Roar.

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Police and Thieves: Assessing the Cultural Impact of 26 Years of COPS

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Photo courtesy of Spike TV
Never a dull moment with the men and women of law enforcement.
You may not have been aware of it at the time, but on this very day 26 years ago, a historic event that would shake the foundation of Western civilization took place. On March 11, 1989, the very first episode of COPS aired on FOX.

I was in college when the show debuted, and from the beginning, I developed something of an unhealthy fascination with it (I wasn't alone in that regard, but more on that later). It aired early enough on Saturday evenings I could watch it while eating dinner and getting ready to meet friends for social interaction. And by "meet friends" I mean "drink beer on my couch." And by "social interaction" I mean "until I passed out."

COPS has filmed in some 140 U.S. cities, plus a handful of international locations like the UK and Russia, because of course. It ran for 25 years on Fox, and then was picked up in 2013 by Spike TV. They're 27 seasons in, and the good news is, as long as wages remain stagnant relevant to cost of living increases, there'll be no shortage of poor people for the police to oppress for our amusement.


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With Champs, Mike Tyson Is Trying to Warn Younger Boxers Not to Repeat History

Categories: Film and TV

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“Mark Twain said boxing is the only sport where a slave, if he's successful, can rub shoulders with royalty,” says former heavyweight Mike Tyson, who once knocked out nineteen opponents in a row. “Can you imagine that? Just by fighting another human being, he can meet a king, a prince, a queen, eat at the same table with them, be invited to the castle.” Or in modern times, make $30 million in one fight, build your own castle, stock it with tigers, and still wake up every morning the pawn of powerful men who make money off your sweat.

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The Sound of Music Is Turning 50, and I Have Never Seen It

Categories: Film and TV

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Imagine running into this on a dark Alp.
On March 2, 1965, a movie about an almost-nun who becomes governess to a forbidding Austrian widower's seven Aryan kids on the even of World War II opened in U.S. theaters. Although it was famously panned upon release (Pauline Kael called it "the sugar-coated lie that people seem to want to eat"), it nonetheless won Best Picture at that year's Oscars and eventually went on to become the fifth highest-grossing movie (adjusted for inflation) of all time.

And I've never watched it.

Somehow, over all the decades it was aired annually on network TV (on a Sunday night, when I was usually scrambling to complete an entire weekend's worth of homework in two hours), the advent of VHS, DVD and the interwebs, and even an ill-advised live version, I still managed to miss it. Did such an oversight contribute to my disinterest in blonds? Or perhaps lead to my current oft-surly persona? Perhaps, but it's hardly the only so-called "classic" film I haven't seen.


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Podcast: Here's Why Fox's Empire Rules

Categories: Film and TV

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Chuck Hodes/FOX
Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard in Empire.
There are five reasons why Fox's Empire has become a breakout hit, and on this week's Voice Film Club podcast, we run down why the show, introduced as a mid-season replacement, has surged to nearly 14 million viewers an episode by its eighth week. Joining Voice film editor Alan Scherstuhl are Voice TV columnist Inkoo Kang, Brooklyn bon vivant Meave Gallagher, and LA Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson. We also ask why Focus, the Will Smith-Margot Robbie vehicle, flopped at the box office, and wrap up by recommending three mighty little TV shows Mike Tyson Mysteries on Adult Swim, RuPaul's Drag Race on Logo, You're the Worst on FXX, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. As always, send barbs, jabs, claims, or jokes to filmpod@villagevoice.com and follow us on the Twitter at @voicefilmclub. Read all of our movie reviews, interviews and news over at houstonpress.com/movies.

[Subscribe to the Voice Film Club podcast on iTunes]

Tina Fey's Weird and Winsome Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Channels Liz Lemon and Leslie Knope

Categories: Film and TV

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The world is a terrible place. That's the uncompromising truth with which Tina Fey and Robert Carlock begin Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix), their follow-up to the under-seen but culturally monumental 30 Rock. The very first scenes of Unbreakable's first season, which will be released in its binge-able entirety on March 6, find 29-year-old Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) being rescued from the doomsday cult she's been trapped in for fifteen years. If you do the math, that's a harrowingly young age for a girl to be groomed into a sister-wife. "Yes, there was weird sex stuff," blurts the PTSD-ridden middle-school dropout, who's spent more than half her life in a basement (with three other women).

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