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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    This past year saw an enormous growth in podcast scale and scope. Serial, a podcast with two female producers (Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder) and a female host (Koenig), became the most downloaded podcast in history with nearly 70 million downloads. 

    Though podcasts have long been a male-dominated medium, more and more women are taking the mic. And the podcasts they’re churning out are hilarious and witty must-listens. Here are five podcasts you won’t regret downloading for your morning commute.

    1) Guys We Fucked

    Comedy duo Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson describe their podcast as “one candid story of intercourse at a time.” The show is high-energy, but Fisher and Hutchinson never shy away from tough questions about sex, relationships, how we feel about our bodies, and what we do with them.

    And nothing is off the table. Over the past two years, the co-hosts have explored all manner of topics and sexual acts with guys they’ve slept with. In a recent episode, they even explored asexuality with a panel of asexual guests.

    2) Another Round with Heben & Tracy

    Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton are writers at BuzzFeed, and on Another Round, they discuss everything from race to politics to pop culture to their favorite alcoholic beverages. They share stories from their own lives in a segment called “What Had Happened Was,” such as Clayton’s memorable first visit to a Cracker Barrel. They also interview guests, investigate their colleagues' feelings and reactions to current events, and tell “Tracy’s corny jokes.” 

    3) Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig

    A wave of podcasts like Marc Maron's WTF and Pete Holmes' You Made It Weird  are built around earnestness. Grace Helbig promises to focus on “the laffs more than the feels” in this very enjoyable podcast featuring delightfully superficial interviews. The questions are incredibly silly and fun. For example: “If you could watch one celebrity fall down without getting hurt, who would it be?”

    Fans of Helbig’s YouTube channel will not be disappointed, and if you haven’t seen Helbig’s work, the podcast is a perfect introduction to her lighthearted, irreverent lens.

    4) Womp It Up!

    Womp It Up! is a hilarious fictional podcast from Playing House’s Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair. They revisit their beloved Comedy Bang! Bang!characters Marissa Wompler (St. Clair) and her teacher/mentor/former sniper (Parham). The podcast is Wompler's year-long senior project that will culminate in graduation from her Marina Del Rey high school.

    Episodes include visits from guests played by other Comedy Bang! Bang! favorites such as Jason Mantzoukas and Seth Morris. The podcast, which is produced by Scott Aukerman, is full of absurd characters that will delight fans of Comedy Bang! Bang!’s zany brand of comedy.

    5) The Real Housewives of Bohemia

    The Real Housewives of Bohemia is the podcast your cool cousin who lives in Brooklyn made with her even cooler roommate. Episodes open with variations on audio art and what follows is engaging and experimental, but never too hip to be enjoyable.

    Hosts Lauren Besser and Becca Klaver are friends, feminists, and lovers of all things artsy, girly, and witchy. The podcast is full of giggles and earnest conversations about things these women care about deeply. The most recent episode, “The Drinking Game,” features a fascinating retelling of what happens when a friend delivers you a message from across the country using Miranda July’s Somebody app.

    Photo via Garry Knight/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    Scarlett Johansson hosted Saturday Night Live last night, and we all know what that means: an Avengers parody.

    SNL poked fun at Marvel's track record with female characters, giving us a trailer for a Black Widow movie casting the superhero as a stereotypical romcom heroine. Her love interest? Ultron, of course. With the tagline "Marvel gets women," Black Widow navigates her new job at a fashion magazine with support from her pals the Avengers.

    Since the 2004 Catwoman movie reimagined its hero as a graphic designer working at a cosmetics company and battling Sharon Stone's evil skincare magnate, this Black Widow trailer brings back some horrible memories. Too real, SNL. Too real. 

    Over the past few years, the campaign for a solo Black Widow franchise has developed from a Marvel fandom daydream into an SNL punchline. But has all this publicity made the movie any more likely to happen? Judging by this leaked email from Marvel boss Ike Perlmutter rejecting "female movies," probably not.

    Screengrab via Saturday Night Live/YouTube

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    The words “video game” and “movie” seldom bring up emotions of anticipation, hype, or satisfaction. But maybe Assassin’s Creed will get it right.

    The Assassin’s Creedmovie had been rumored for years, and this February it entered its production phase. It looks like the project is moving forward and filming will begin in September.

    The movie will star the rather excellent Michael Fassbender (12 Years a SlaveX-Men: Days of Future Past) and French actress Marion Cotillard, known for her cringeworthy performance in The Dark Knight Rises. Anybody else remember that death scene?

    No plot details have been revealed by the cast or publisher Ubisoft. The Assassin’s Creed series takes place through multiple time periods with various leads throughout each game, and the inclusion of Fassbender and Cotillard could suggest that the film will take place in Europe. That narrows it down to Assassin’s Creed 2, which took place in Italy, and the recent Assassin’s Creed: Unity, which took place in France.

    The movie will hit theaters December 21, 2016.

    H/T Gamespot | Photo via MarverlousRoland/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    How well does actor Kit Harington, known for playing Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, know his bastards throughout history?

    During the IGN UK podcast, they found out just that. They asked the actor, who also plays a bastard, whether famous historical figures like Confucius or Leonardo da Vinci were bastards.

    He did a lot better than we would have done.

    H/T IGN | Photo via Heather Paul/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    Josh Trank has had a whirlwind few years. With the overnight success of his debut movie Chronicle when he was just 27, he became one of the youngest directors to have a film open at No. 1 at the U.S. box office. Studios took notice, and he was hired to direct the Fantastic Four reboot and one of the upcoming Star Wars spinoffs.

    It looked like Trank was heading for a successful career in the blockbuster sci-fi genre, but on Friday he announced he was leaving his new Star Wars job, saying, "I’m making a personal decision to move forward on a different path." Lucasfilm is now on the hunt for a replacement director.

    Soon enough, the Hollywood Reporter claimed that Trank may actually have been fired, citing Hollywood sources who described him as "erratic" while working on Fantastic Four. Producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker allegedly had to assist with reshoots to get Fantastic Four back on track, disrupting other filming commitments for members of the cast and crew. Kinberg is a veteran of numerous big-budget franchises including X-Men, and THR reports that he "communicated his displeasure with Trank" to Lucasfilm.

    If these reports are accurate, they paint a picture of a talented but inexperienced director who couldn't handle the pressure of helming a huge franchise. And even if you take Trank's official statement at face value, there must have been a good reason for him to leave such a prestigious opportunity.

    Thanks to the recent scramble to launch as many lucrative franchises as possible, studios are keen to recruit directors who found success with low-budget or indie cinema, partly because Hollywood is literally running out of experienced blockbuster directors. In Lucasfilm's case, this meant hiring Gareth Edwards (Monsters), Rian Johnson (Looper), and Trank to head up the next few Star Wars movies after The Force Awakens.

    Looking at the crop of up-and-coming filmmakers hired to revitalize old franchises, most fall into the same category: white men in their thirties or forties who achieved cult success with lower budget sci-fi. Studios hope one of these guys will be the next Joss Whedon, but there's a risk that they could have more in common with Edgar Wright, who is acclaimed as an original filmmaker but quit Ant-Man due to "creative differences" with Marvel. Trank may be one of the Edgar Wrights.

    Photo via Fantastic Four/20th Century Fox

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    Just last month, the Internet went absolutely bonkers over an image showing off Jared Leto in his full Joker makeup for next year’s Suicide Squad film. Fan reactions were mixed, to say the least. It seems that director David Ayer needed to show the Internet something to quell detractors.

    On Sunday night, he graced us with a new image showing the entire Task Force X—with the Joker notably absent—on Twitter.

    From left to right, the image shows off Adam Beach as Slipknot; Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang; Karen Fukuhara, most likely as Katana; Cara Delevingne as Enchantress; Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg; Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn; Will Smith as Deadshot; Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc; and Jay Hernandez as El Diablo. IMDb shows Jim Parrack as Deathstroke and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. There are rumors fluttering around that Ben Affleck might make an appearance after photos were released showing him on the set.

    The image might debunk theories that the Joker was actually a part of the Suicide Squad. With him absent, it could mean the character will play a more adversarial role than collaborative. Of course, the red herring of the group is Harley Quinn, who’s far from sane or rational. I mean her boyfriend is pretty undeniably insane.

    Either way, the conversation around Suicide Squad just got very interesting.

    You can also find a higher resolution image here

    H/T Comic Book | Photo via David Ayer/Twitter

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    There’s a scene early in Montage of Heck, director Brett Morgen’s documentary on Kurt Cobain, in which we see home video footage of the Nirvana frontman at around 3 years old, playing guitar and smiling. Elsewhere, he’s drawing. His mother says he was a hyper child. His sister Kim remarks she’s “so glad I never got that genius brain.” For those who know how the story ends, that comment is heartwrenching.

    To fans of Nirvana, Montage of Heck is a goldmine of intimacy. Since Nirvana formed, there have been several attempts to tell the story of the band and Cobain’s legacy via unauthorized bios and documentaries, but none have the archival weight of Montage of Heck. Morgen was also behind the Robert Evans doc The Kid Stays in the Picture, and Montage of Heck has the same aesthetic, veering between animation, archival footage, and interviews.

    The film is part bio and part ephemera: Morgen slowly pans across Cobain’s artwork, scrawled notebooks, and self-recorded audio clips, animated for maximum emotional effect. When the film debuted at South by Southwest in March, many viewers left Austin, Texas’s historic Paramount Theatre with tears in their eyes. Strangers gathered outside to talk about seeing Nirvana just blocks away at Liberty Lunch in 1991. The Nirvana fandom is a strong one.

    We spoke with Morgen after the premiere, and he said his approach to the film was an “immersive experience that’s felt more than learned.”

    The film progresses chronologically, exploring a childhood in which Cobain was tossed around between families and stepfamilies and a teenage existence of alienation and depression, expressed via his chaotic drawings and journals. Cobain’s first girlfriend, Tracy Marander, supported his art, and while they were living together in Olympia, Wash., in the late ’80s, he recorded songs that informed the 1988 “Montage of Heck” mixtape, which includes a devastating cover of the Beatles’ “And I Love Her.” (Morgen recently revealed he's going to release an album of the home recordings this summer.) Around this same time, journal entries reference Cobain’s growing stomach problems, and we’re told he started using heroin as a palliative measure.

    There’s a focus on Cobain’s sudden fame with Nirvana and especially his “spokesman” status, which was mainly ascribed to him by the media. And there’s a large volume devoted to his relationship with Courtney Love Cobain, whom many still blame for Cobain’s demise.  

    Kurt and Courtney’s public relationship was bookmarked by two magazine stories: an April 1992 Sassy cover that introduced the world to this new kind of power couple, and the damning September 1992 Vanity Fair article in which Love’s alleged heroin use while pregnant with daughter Frances Bean was used as evidence to take custody away after she was born. In the film, we get the context of that chaos, but we also get two people who grew up in isolating towns, converging in a supernova of love and fame and junk. In one scene, they read hate mail about the Sassy cover in their L.A. apartment, which you can now apparently rent on Airbnb.

    In another clip, Cobain and Love stand naked in the bathroom, razzing each other. Elsewhere, Love talks about the media and how she’s the most hated woman in America. Cobain shoots back: “You and Roseanne Barr are tied for most hated woman in America.” We never see who’s filming when both are in frame; we’re just silently sitting in the dark watching them, and the intimacy is uncomfortable.

    And you’re right to feel uncomfortable: Even as we attempt to unlock who Cobain was through his impressively archived art, words, and music, we still see him framed as a pained, mythological creature who burned too bright for this world. By passively viewing these home videos, can we truly experience what he was going through? Would he want us to?

    “There was a conscious effort on my part to present Courtney through his eyes,” Morgen explained. “What I found in their private home movies was totally different than what [Vanity Fair writer] Lynn Hirschberg experienced, from what the public experienced. Lynn wrote about this sort of domineering woman and this meek guy, but I saw a very symbiotic relationship. I saw two kids who were 23 years old and in passionate, fiery love.”

    There’s a surprising amount of footage of him doting on his newborn daughter, who recently revealed she’s not really a Nirvana fan. In earlier clips, he stares lovingly at her with the kind of soft-eyed awe only new parents know. Toward the end of the film, there’s a scene in which Cobain is holding Frances as Love gives her a haircut. He’s clearly unwell, nodding off but trying so hard to keep his daughter in sight by singing to her. Morgen says it was important to show: “That scene isn’t exclusively about Kurt’s drug use,” he said. “It’s about a conflict between the love he has for his child and his addiction. In that one shot, you see how much he wants to be a doting father and how he’s let his addiction get the best of him.”

    Frances doesn’t appear in the film, but she did executive produce it. Morgen explains that she didn’t know her father like the rest of the people in the film did, but she wanted it to be honest. And there are some very honest moments, like when Love casually comments that Cobain’s goal with Nirvana was to “earn $3 million then be a junkie.”

    Love was the catalyst: She approached Morgen in 2007, and stated her case for doing a documentary.

    “She said to me in our first meeting, ‘Everyone knows Kurt the singer, songwriter, rock star,’” Morgen said. “‘But what most people didn’t know was Kurt was an artist, and artist with a capital A.’ And she had all this material that she thought would warrant the basis for an interesting film experience. That was about eight years ago this week, and from there I went off on the journey.”

    When Love and Frances offered him access to a storage facility, he says he expected to find art. He ended up finding a box with 108 cassettes, which is used as the soundtrack for much of the movie.

    “Not only were there hours upon hours of Cobain material, a lot of which was in a completely different style than I’d experienced with Nirvana,” he said. “It was a lot of beautiful, acoustic music that we used as a sort of score throughout the movie. There was all this incredible spoken word and his audio autobiography of his youth. His cover of the Beatles’ ‘And I Love Her.’ Just this incredible stuff that really, to me, is what elevated the film, because Kurt was an artist first. And like all artists, he left behind this autobiography in this life. The fact that he worked in both visual and oral media meant it was one of the most complete visual and oral autobiographies.” 

    As I stood in line for the movie at SXSW, I noticed there were people waiting alongside me who were likely born the year Cobain died, who didn’t get to experience Nirvana as a teenager like I did. And yet, Cobain’s influence continues with a new generation that’s found intimacy and solace in Nirvana’s music. 

    “Kurt represents the misfits, the geeks, the ugly, the downtrodden, the disenfranchised,” Morgen said. “That’s how it’s been since 1991. It doesn’t surprise me at all that his music transcended various generations. … He provides comfort through his music to people who feel alone. I think it will hopefully carry forth for several generations.”  

    Montage of Heck debuts May 4 on HBO.

    Photo courtesy of HBO Documentary Films 

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    Harry Potter’s Fred Weasley might still be dead, but at least J.K. Rowling feels super bad about it. On Saturday (May 2), which happens to be the 17th anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, the author took to Twitter to apologize for the death that left fans in endless tears.

    “Today I would just like to say: I'm really sorry about Fred. *Bows head in acceptance of your reasonable ire*,” writes Rowling.

    Fred, one half of the beloved Weasley twins, was shockingly killed off in 2007’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows at the hands of one of Voldemort’s lackeys. And although his death was surely a terrible one, he wasn’t the only character fans were sad to see go. In response to Rowling’s admission, one Twitter user asked if the author was sorry about killing Tonks and Lupin. 

    “I thought I might apologize for one death per anniversary,” Rowling tweeted in response. “Fred was the worst for me, so I started with him.”

    RIP, Fred. 

    Screengrab via DutchHPfan1992/YouTube

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    All your chanting and vision boarding has paid off, because Iggy Azalea and Britney Spears just released a song together. 

    Azalea and Spears both took to Twitter around midnight to announce the song’s official release, though the track leaked a couple days earlier, in accordance with the laws of the Internet. 

    And if you happen to be taking an Uber in Los Angeles yesterday, you might have gotten a first listen

    Yes, the beginning of the song sounds a lot like Azalea’s “Fancy,” but the fanboys and girls don’t seem to care. And though the video is yet to come, the concept art gives us hope that they both get shot into space and film a reality show there. According to Billboard, however, the video will be an homage to ’80s film Earth Girls Are Easy

    H/T Billboard | Photo via Laura Murray/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    Ryan McHenry, the 27-year-old man behind the brilliant Vine series "Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal," has passed away after a two-year battle with cancer. 

    McHenry, who was based in Scotland, starting creating the mashups—which consist of clips of Gosling resisting a slowly moving spoon filled with cereal—in 2013, the same year he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. His meme quickly became popular on Vine, but he also used the platform to speak honestly and openly about his battle with fans. And his friends in the Vine community rallied around him

    The tributes from those inspired by him have come pouring in since the sad news broke.

    Gosling also recently broke his silence on the matter and even admitted that he loves cereal. 

    On April 21, McHenry released his last Vine compilation. Take in the magic:

    Screengrab via Ryan McHenry/YouTube 

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    Bernie Su wants to broaden his horizons.

    Su, one of the core creative minds behind The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, an Emmy-winning transmedia adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, has partnered with veteran TV and digital video executive David Tochterman to launch Canvas Media Studios.

    The new shop, which has already sold a digital series to StyleHaul, will give Su the opportunity to pursue creative and storytelling endeavors beyond the transmedia adaptations he’s currently known for. (In addition to Lizzie Bennet, Su was also behind shows such as Emma Approved, Welcome to Sanditon, and Frankenstein, MD.)

    Canvas will develop original, scripted, and multi-platform entertainment properties for a broad range of clients, from advertisers to publishers and even traditional studios and TV networks. These “digital content franchises” will include video as well as a variety of interactive elements that spur direct engagement with viewers and fans across platforms, the company said.

    “Canvas is an entertainment studio that designs narratives for any and every ‘canvas,’” said Su in a statement. “We’re storytellers, whether we’re telling an original, adapted, branded, experimental, social, long-form, or short-form story.”

    Su obviously has a lot of success on this front. Lizzie Bennet generated more than 60 million views on YouTube and in 2013 netted the Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media — Original Interactive Program. Emma Approved, which was an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, featured a variety of brand integrations for clients such as Samsung, and resulted in Su and Tochterman getting an opportunity to present at the international Cannes Lions advertising festival.

    Read the full article on the VideoInk.

    Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

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    Although it's not out in the U.S. for another week, we're big fans of Mad Max: Fury Road, mostly because itlooksamazing

    But now there's another reason to root for George Miller's piece de resistance to do well at the box office besides the high-concept chase scenes: feminism.

    In an interview with Esquire, actress and model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who plays a character named Splendid in the new film, dropped the mild bombshell that Vagina Monologues' playwright Eve Ensler had spent a week on set consulting with the film's gang of post-apocalyptic women.

    On any other film, the reasons for wanting a feminist theorist as a consultant might not be immediately obvious. But the subjugation of women is central to the plot of Mad Max, which features Huntington-Whitely as the leader of a band of women who escape from sexual slavery, an act which catalyzes the conflict that propels the rest of the film.

    After describing her character, who becomes pregnant as the result of rape at the beginning of the film, Huntington-Whitely shared a unique fact about the research that took place for her and the other four actresses who comprise the escaped harem. Miller flew Ensler, best known for compiling and fictionalizing the real-life accounts that make up the Vagina Monologues, to the Mad Max set:

    We did extensive research with her. Eve herself has had a very intense life. She's spent time in the Congo working with rape victims and women who have had unthinkable things happen to them through the power of men's hands. We were able to pick her brain for a week. She told us the most tragic stories I've ever heard in my life, which gave us so much background to our characters. We really wanted to kind of showcase that. It was a privilege to have her around to make these characters something more then just five beautiful girls.

    This is a really interesting revelation for a number of reasons. For starters, it's awesome that Miller prioritized making sure that the traumatic experiences of his characters were grounded in reality. Traditional Hollywood narratives (see Taken and many others with similar tropes) often exploit the suffering of women in order to foreground a man's story—a.k.a. manpain. And since the title of the film is still about a guy named Max, it could be easy to expect that a plot involving an escaped gang of sex slaves might be more of the same. So it's encouraging that Miller has taken pains to make sure that the experiences of real women and rape survivors are represented on screen.

    On the other hand, Eve Ensler is a squarely second-wave feminist whose ideas can seem outdated in today's thoroughly intersectional world. And instead of having a privileged American represent the experiences of women in developing nations to the actresses, perhaps Miller could have allowed some of those women to speak for themselves.  

    Still, given how intense the set seems to have been, perhaps having a filtering voice was a good thing. In addition to having her character cut herself, Huntington-Whitely stated that Miller had the actresses design their own costumes from scraps of bandages, and that the freezing temperatures combined with their skimpy clothing gave one of her fellow actresses "pneumonia or hypothermia." Yikes. 

    You can read the rest of the interview at Esquire.

    H/T io9 | Screengrab via Movie Clips/YouTube

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    Miss Piggy as a beauty vlogger, Gonzo as a prank artist, and Animal playing speed-defying drum solos—there's a lot of potential for the Muppets as YouTube stars, so they're teaming up with YouTube Space L.A. to bring their brand of entertainment to a whole new world of fans.

    The Muppets announced their partnership on YouTube, naturally, with a video in which Kermit gets invited to a "shoot" with fellow muppet Walter. 

    "YouTube wants to shoot the muppets into space from Los Angeles!?" Walter exclaims when Kermit tells him the news.

    Well, not exactly, but the company does want to pair them up with big-name YouTube talent like Lindsey Stirling, VSauce3, Mental Floss, and Barely Political.

    These collaborations will go live on YouTube from now through June. The Muppets will also release original, independent content on their own channel.

    “With YouTube and the Muppets – anything goes and you never know what’s going to happen next,” Kermit the Frog said in a press release. “It’s a perfect match! We’re excited to work with all their amazing talent and we’re eager to prove that you do not have to be a cat to make great videos. Pigs, frogs and bears can make them too!” 

    A few videos have already launched, with many more to come throughout the summer.

    Screengrab via The Muppets/YouTube

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    Summer's premiere punk festival is getting a taste of the digital with the addition of several YouTube stars to the Vans Warped Tour lineup, which kicks off in June.

    YouTube musicians Austin Jones, Johnnie Guilber, and Jordan Sweeto signed on for the summer trek, playing with the likes of Pierce the Veil and Metro Station. However, musicians aren't the only YouTubers that Warped is including. VloggerDamon Fizzy is also included in the lineup, as well as Bryan Stars, whose channel features interviews with musicians. 

    This is not the first time YouTube and Warped Tour have mixed. Last fall Fullscreen tapped Warped Tour creator Kevin Lyman to consult on its INTOUR event, which looked to transform the traditional YouTube meet and greet style event into more of a performance for fans. Now momentum is moving in the other direction, with Warped dedicating some of its stage space to what they are calling "Warped YouTubers."

    Before they join the tour, fans can get a taste of the new additions on their respective channels.

    H/T NewMediaRockstars | Photo via Wikimedia | Remix by Max Fleishman

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    In the wake of YouTube pouring money and attention into films centered around YouTube stars, Fullscreen debuted teaser trailers from two of its upcoming films—one documentary and one feature.

    While the boys of Our2ndLife—a collaborative channel with a boyband-like fanbase—have gone their separate ways and are no longer producing content as a group, the film #O2LForever takes a nostalgic look into the phenomenon surrounding the band. The name might be ironic, but the teaser shows why even apart, the O2L boys might have a lasting digital legacy.

    The Outfield is a coming-of-age film starring two of Vine's biggest young stars, Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas. Dallas has already starred in one YouTuber film, Expelled. The teaser for The Outfield is extremely cryptic, just showing a boy running onto a baseball field with dramatic music playing.

    Grier and Dallas have both come under scrutiny for their behavior online in the past, but both have continued to enjoy massive popularity despite the backlash.

    Neither film confirmed a release date.

    Screengrab via Fullscreen/YouTube

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    As of May 1, handfuls of Adult Swim and Cartoon Network shows are streaming on Hulu, thanks to a deal between the streaming platform and Turner Broadcasting. No longer are you forced to randomly land on Adult Swim, heavy-lidded, only to stumble into gaping maws like this. Now you can pick and choose your own misadventures. 

    There are currently 23 Adult Swim shows available to stream, but if you need some guidance, here are the six you should check out right now. 

    1) The Eric Andre Show

    Comedian Eric Andre and sidekick Hannibal Buress are the alternate-universe version of late night, in which celebs stop by for awkward, painful interviews and have to enter through (usually) broken doors. Then there are Andre’s offsite bits, which hold tight to the absurd foundation of pranksterism.     

    2) Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!

    It’s unfortunate that Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s first Adult Swim show, Tom Goes to the Mayor, is missing from Hulu, but Tim and Eric Awesome Job, Great Show! expands on that series’ body-horror humor and cast of neighborhood oddballs. With this show, Heidecker and Wareheim positioned themselves as (off-) brand influencers with their Cinco sketches, and now they’ve blurred the line even further. 

    It needed more Zach Galifianakis, though. 

    3) Rick and Morty

    Community creator Dan Harmon’s series about a galaxy-hopping scientist (Rick) and his grandson (Morty) is one of Adult Swim’s sleeper hits, and it’s developed a huge fandom online. Much like Community, the show runs on ridiculous premises and in-jokes, but the unconventional relationship between Rick and Morty is the heart. 

    4) Loiter Squad 

    Odd Future’s music has always masqueraded as a critique of rap and entertainment industry cliches, and Loiter Squad collects bits of the L.A. group's performative, disruptive art. 

    5) China, IL

    Animator Brad Neely is the brain behind soft-spoken manchild Baby Cakes and 2006’s viral George Washington song, and China, IL is all his worlds colliding. The stories originate from the campus of a fictional university in China, Ill., but the vast cast of characters allows for multiple surreal storylines at once. In a recent interview with Splitsider, Neely explained that they have “700 named and designed characters now.” 

    6) The Heart, She Holler

    What’s going on in this show? After watching a whole season of this nightmarish critique of Southern culture and stereotypes, I’m still not sure, but it has Kristen Schaal, David Cross, and Amy Sedaris in it. The production company behind the show is also responsible for MTV’s way-ahead-of-its-time hit Wonder Showzen, so you’ve been warned. 

    Screengrab via Adult Swim/YouTube 

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    Ryan McHenry, the 27-year-old creator of the "Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal" series, passed away on Sunday after a battle with cancer, and the tributes from the Vine community are still coming in. Last night, McHenry received a very special one. 

    Ryan Gosling recently admitted he loves cereal and definitely eats it. But on Monday night, he decided to show the world. 

    H/T Time | Photo via theglobalpanorama/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

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    Every day, dozens of free rap releases hit the Web. These are the moment's most interesting and resonant—interestingly enough, it's all fuming rap music from the American South.

    1) Rich Homie Quan - If You Ever Think I Will Stop Goin' In Ask Royal Rich

    The title of this Rich Homie Quan tape sounds like a spinoff. Ever since his 2012 debut mixtape I Go In on Every Song, each ensuing tape was a new, reworded declaration of the original sentiment. If You Ever Think I Will Stop Goin’ In Ask Royal Rich sounds like he’s sick of repeating himself. It also might be telling that I have no idea who or what Double R, or Royal Rich, is. Quan can no longer rely on the Cash Money and Rich Gang brethren who gave him his biggest song to date. There is no “ask Birdman” or “ask Young Thug.”

    The last tape he did was a collaboration and he was already showing signs of breaking out on his own. This tape starts out unevenly but hits a stride in the middle. “I Get” is both heartwrenching and full of braggadocio, “Flex” is the single with clearly the most expensive beat, and “Stupid Me” samples Kool & the Gang's “Summer Madness." It’s hard to fuck that up. But the emotional songs feel more distant than his best work. The exception is the last track “Daddy,” about Quan’s slain father. It’s incredibly moving when he’s speaking to his father about trying to make him proud or pleading with his killers. There’s not much else that cutting, which makes sense as Quan is a father himself. The last revelation here: Rich Homie Quan is a quietly excellent R&B singer.

    Remarkable reference: "I might slice you with this pimping, coz I’m Zelda with this sword."

    2) Pastor Troy & Playa Fly - The Road Warriors

    Both Pastor Troy and Playa Fly are longtime southern rap veterans from Georgia and Tennessee, respectively. Troy found some success on the darker side of crunk as parts of the South popped off at the turn of the century, with songs like “No More Play in G.A.” and “Vica Versa.” Fly was one of the original members of Three 6 Mafia but left the group with beef before they made platinum and Academy Award-winning songs. It’s not the most obvious pairing but if the Internet is good for anything, it’s unexpected connections.

    Troy and Fly have collaborated on a handful of tracks in the last few years, and even though they haven’t developed perfect chemistry with each other, the two share a knack for uncomplicated song concepts. “Fk Y’all” is an arena-sized track of tunnel vision catharsis, “We Want It All” spares no expense in its consumer thirst, and “Cop and Blow” talks about spending money so much they forget to mention making any. The tape starts off as some type of apocalyptic ride like a Mad Max sequel—with wrestling taunts setting the stage—and ends with a sort of Thelma and Louise suicide pact.

    They show that they still have some magic left, but they also show their age. It seems like every rapper, by the time they get to about 40, has to make a song appreciating hip-hop. “Love of Hip Hop” strays from the topic into some nonsensical skit over a Gap Band song, but there’s also more jazz than would’ve shown up on either rapper’s album 10 years ago.

    “This Is It” samples the New York ‘90s rap classic “Lucini” by Camp Lo. It’s just as comforting to see the duo soften on regional rivalry as it is to see it seething and mean.

    Remarkable reference: "This some of that Miles Davis shit/step in the club with the baddest bitch."

    3) OG Maco & Zaytoven - OG Zay

    OG Maco has been trying to improve as a rapper since last year’s piano-dropped-down-the-stairs Vine hit “U Guessed It.” The problem is, with the style he developed on that song (yelling like the most ignorant and condescending magic 8-ball), it doesn’t lend itself to more complex rapping. When Maco tries to tone it down or rap quickly, he starts to mumble or lose his style completely. That's apparent everywhere here, and it's a bit of a throwaway building block.

    The beats are not to blame. OG Maco’s biggest song is almost completely piano-driven and almost every song has a keyboard in it. The producer of every song and half the tape’s name, Zaytoven, is a hero in the South and taught himself piano at a young age. Maybe Zay should’ve made heavier beats for Maco but even so, the production sounds good.

    Remarkable reference: "I’m over there by the such and such/moving with the whatchacallit/if he talking hit him with the… *gun sounds*"

    4) Que - The Sixth Man

    Que (pronounced like the first letter) has sort of floated around Atlanta rap for a couple years. In 2013 he dropped “Young N***a,” featuring Migos before “Versace” and its subsequent Drake verse sent the threesome into infamy. But while Migos got to be bigger than the Beatles, Que remained in relative obscurity. Even after his audible flame emoji “OG Bobby Johnson” came out later that year, it seemed to gain more notoriety for its namesake producer than its ungoogleable performer. Both are hard as hell, as was last year’s “Jungle Fever,” despite not gaining as much popularity. The kid can make songs.

    That said, there’s not a lot here. Que’s singing with autotune on a couple songs, and others are so generic that one even features Young Dolph (a 2K Create-a-Rapper template of a prospect if there ever was one). Que fully commits on the autotune, especially on “Please Everybody,” where he grapples with mortality in the isolation of prescription cough syrup. With only an intestinal-shaking 808 and without really even trying, Que can sound better than the average Atlanta street rapper, but what stands out most on the tape is when he lays a bassline and takes a left turn. On songs like “Type I Am,” where the beat sounds like it goes backward or other ways, Que keeps up like he’s tailgating the low end. On the closer “Type of Party,” it’s more like robbing the party than rocking the party. It’s not straightforward but he hits turns and licks fluidly—and it's beautiful.

    Remarkable reference: "High and I’m stuck watching CatDog/pouring up mud, drinking Ac raw."

    5) Bankroll Fresh - Life of a Hot Boy 2

    Lil Wayne and Cash Money’s influence is extremely far-reaching. In Bankroll Fresh’s case, it reaches from New Orleans to Atlanta, but the point still stands. He got a good look from Mike Will Made It on the Atlanta producer du jour’s last mixtape, Ransom. Fresh delivered on his chance for exposure, his solo song being the moderately popular “Screen Door.” There’s no Mike Will on this tape so the production can leave something to be desired.

    Bankroll Fresh more than once seems to concentrate on keeping up with the beat while while neglecting to make his words sound interesting. There are a couple of songs, “Sydney” and “Fabulous,” that let him sit comfortably aside the beat rather than sounding offbeat. The Travis Porter guys show up to give the tape its best rapping on “Walked In,” and Fresh goes off in the “Free Wop Freestyle,” an ode to the incarcerated Southern legend Gucci Mane. It's more thug motivation than trap god. In a gorgeous example of how musical influences work, Fresh, who wears his Cash Money Records influences on his sleeves, nods their rival No Limit Records with the song “Bout It.”

    Remarkable reference:“Throwback Reggie Miller/I’m the boss man you in the middle/drank Cristal like they millers/moving tons just like the Millers.”

    Screengrab via Maco Mattox/YouTube

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    Tuesday’s Google Doodle is an homage to ceiling-shattering journalist Nellie Bly. But it also features a new coastline for the global gimmick: Said animation boasts an original song from Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O, the first licensed by Google for such an event.

    “Oh Nellie take us all around the world, and break those rules ’cause you’re our girl too,” goes the affecting, twee-drenched, acoustic hook. It’s a highly commercialized sonic arena that you’ve seen co-opted on just about every advertising campaign from Tide to Chili’s. Here, its soft-spoken brevity sticks. 

    Also, Karen O is one of rock’s last great badasses, so she can pluck however she pleases.

    As for Bly, she would be 151 years old today. The groundbreaking reporter’s Wikipedia entry sums up her contributions well:

    She was also a writerindustrialistinventor, and a charity worker who was widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of Jules Verne’s fictional character Phileas Fogg, and an exposé in which she faked insanity to study a mental institution from within. She was a pioneer in her field, and launched a new kind of investigative journalism.

    Two badass women, one simple doodle.

    Screengrab via googledoodles/YouTube

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    If you had a pulse in the '90s, you heard Extreme's 1990 power ballad "More Than Words." You likely also saw the video, which aired on MTV roughly once an hour. 

    Countless awkward middle-school slow dances happened to that song, and now Jimmy Fallon and Jack Black have recreated your memories shot-for-shot, right down to guitarist Nuno Bettencourt's nail polish. 

    Of course, Black adds a bit more energy and physical comedy to this new version. 

    Here's the original, for scale:

    Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube 

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