TIME movies

Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall Look Terrified in the Trailer for The Gift

Bygones do not stay bygones in this new thriller

What starts as an innocent-seeming gift left on a front porch spirals into massive tension and deceit in the new thriller The Gift.

Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall star as a couple that move to a new town where a man from the husband’s past (played by Joel Edgerton) tries to befriend them. When he’s rebuffed, he threatens the couple with a secret that could ruin their lives.

Edgerton also wrote and directed the movie, which is due to hit theaters July 31.

TIME Music

Morgan Spurlock ‘Shed a Little Tear’ When Zayn Malik Left One Direction

(L to R) Zayn Malik, Morgan Spurlock, Liam Payne and Harry Styles attend the World Premiere of 'One Direction: This Is Us 3D' in London, England on Aug. 20, 2013.
Dave M. Benett—Getty Images (L to R) Zayn Malik, Morgan Spurlock, Liam Payne and Harry Styles attend the World Premiere of 'One Direction: This Is Us 3D' in London on Aug. 20, 2013.

He directed the 2013 documentary 'One Direction: This is Us'

Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock spent a lot of time with One Direction for his 2013 documentary One Direction: This is Us—six months to be exact. So it’s no surprise that he, like many a teenage girl, was disappointed to hear Zayn Malik left the group last week. “Like everyone else, a little piece of my heart broke the day Zayn left,” he told EW. “I shed a little tear.”

On a more serious note, Spurlock said that “being on the road like they’re on the road is a really hard thing.”

“I was with them for six months and it’s an exhausting lifestyle,” he said. “And I think that it just gets hard after awhile, for someone, probably like Zayn, who is a homebody already, but is also incredibly talented, the allure of being able to potentially leave and become a solo artist in the midst of all your success is probably better than waiting till the end.”

Malik released a statement when he left saying he wanted “to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight,” but that relaxation period didn’t seem to last too long: A solo demo of his leaked Tuesday.

This article originally appeared on EW.com.

TIME Television

The Kardashians Are Getting Another Reality Show

Television personalities Kim Kardashian, left, Kourtney Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian Odom, right, attend a Generation NXT Dream Foundation benefit event in New York on Feb. 16, 2014.
Evan Agostini—AP Television personalities Kim Kardashian, left, Kourtney Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian Odom, right, attend a Generation NXT Dream Foundation benefit event in New York on Feb. 16, 2014.

The new show will follow the Kardashian sisters and their employees

The Kardashian TV empire is expanding once again.

E! has ordered a new reality series, this time mainly following the Kardashian sisters’ employees.

The network has picked up Dash Dolls, which goes behind the scenes of a boutique owned by Kim, Kourtney and Khloe. The pitch:

“Kim, Kourtney and Khloé Kardashian made a mark on the fashion industry with the opening of their upscale DASH boutiques. Now viewers will have the opportunity to follow the lives of the Kardashian sisters’ young, fun and hot employees as they navigate the hectic life of a twenty-something in Hollywood while representing the Kardashian brand. This new generation of boutique girls takes on the glamorous lifestyle that comes with managing one of today’s most recognizable franchises, owned by three famous and often demanding bosses, while juggling romances, parties, family drama and other career aspirations. The new eight episode, one-hour series features Khloé Kardashian’s best friend Malika Haqq and her twin sister, Khadijah Haqq.”

Dash Dolls is planned for this fall. We’re told the Kardashian sisters will make appearances on the new show too. While flaghship series Keeping Up with the Kardashians is currently in its 10th season. The new series joins a long list of spin-offs in the franchise – Kourtney and Khloé Take The Hamptons, Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, Kourtney and Khloe Go Hawaiian, Kourtney and Kim Take New York and Khloé & Lamar (okay, so one of those isn’t real).

In addition, the network has ordered a show about a different Hollywood family, titled Stewarts & Hamiltons. This show follows the interconnected families of musician Rod Stewart and actor George Hamilton. The pitch:

“Leading the pack are model and young mother Kimberly Stewart who is the daughter of author and philanthropist Alana Stewart and musician Rod Stewart. Hollywood icon George Hamilton, who is the ex-husband and best friend of Alana, will also be featured on the show along with actor, musician and reformed bad boy Ashley Hamilton and his 15 year-old half-brother George Hamilton Jr. Also appearing throughout the series are Kim’s brother Sean Stewart and her half-sister Ruby Stewart, an aspiring musician, as well as Kim’s live-in best friend Dean Geistlinger, a former music exec, and Ali Stepka, Ashley Hamilton’s model girlfriend.”

In addition, the network ordered a new show called WAGS following the “Women and Girlfriends of Sports.” E! also picked up new seasons of #RichKids of Beverly Hills, Total Divas and Christina Milian Turned Up.

This article originally appeared on EW.com.

 

TIME movies

Review: In Furious 7, Gravity Is for Wimps

Film Title: Furious 7
Scott Garfield—Universal Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Paul Walker and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges star in Furious 7

In another sensational episode of the motor-movie series, Vin Diesel and his gang bring improbable buoyancy to the serious work of elegizing a lost friend

The rainbow coalition of hard drivers, grease monkeys and ultimate fighting women that make up the Fast and the Furious universe are charged with capturing a device from multinational miscreants bent on conquering the world. First, though, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) has to arrange a rendezvous with his current nemesis Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). They meet under an L.A. highway — Dom’s beloved ’69 Dodge R/T Charger growling at Deckard’s Aston Martin DB9 — and steer their vehicles into a high-speed head-on collision. Boom! It looks like mutually assured destruction, but nobody’s seriously hurt. It’s really just a workout for a couple of testosteronic gearheads, doing what manly men do best — crashing the cars they love.

The Fast and Furious movies — those odes to torn asphalt, crunching car-nage, auto-eroticism and, as the characters kept insisting, family values — have often shown a cavalier attitude toward death. Moviegoers in the theater must pretend that they are cocooned by film fantasy: that this universe is one that courts fatal impact without ever making good on the threat that may await audience members from some highway maniac on the drive home.

That blithe belief endured a toxic hit on Nov. 30, 2013. Paul Walker, who had played undercover cop Brian O’Conner since the original 2001 The Fast and the Furious, died when the Porsche Carrera GT driven by Walker’s friend Roger Rodas, a financial planner and amateur racer, crashed into a Valencia, Calif., light pole at a reported 80 to 90 m.p.h., igniting the car and killing both men. The star’s sudden death at 40 put a halt to the Furious 7 shoot and left series screenwriter Chris Morgan with two dreadful dilemmas: how to work Walker’s footage into a revamped movie and how to keep romanticizing the series’ theme — speed thrills — when it was also painfully evident that speed kills.

Furious 7, opening nine months after the initial July 2014 release date, proves how splendidly, if preposterously, movie fiction can trump human tragedy. Without stinting on the greatest hits of the earlier films, it underlines the first law of cinema: that movies — and the people, stories and machines in them — have to move, collide, combust. Secure in this knowledge, 7 meets the demanding standards of the two previous entries, the crazy-great Fast Five (2011) and its amped-up, purified sequel Furious 6 (2013), while providing a tender onscreen farewell for the fallen Walker. It’s an enormous, steroidal blast, and as much ingenious fun as a blockbuster can be.

James Wan, the Saw and Conjuring magician who succeeded Justin Lin, director of the previous four entries, says he chose the Furious 7 title as a reference to Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 martial epic The Seven Samurai. Here, as there, rugged souls do humanity’s dirty work for the satisfaction and the fun. But in the Furious cosmos, these seven include two women. Brian has gone domestic with the foxy Mia (Jordana Brewster), and Dom is reunited with his lost love Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), still stricken with a telenovela case of amnesia. Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), the computer whiz, and Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), the resident motormouth, are joined by federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who enlisted back in Fast Five and infused the skein with his cartoon gravitas.

As if to challenge the audience’s stomach for stark violence in a PG-13 film, Furious 7 begins with the fiery, almost Walker-like death of one of the series’ regulars (Sung Kang’s Han) and the totaling of Brian’s and Mia’s home. The villainous Deckard is supposed to be avenging the incapacitation of his brother Owen (Luke Evans), the prime bad guy from Furious 6, yet as he leaves Owen’s hospital he blows up his bro and the building that houses him. But this is just a crash test for sensitive viewers. The series long ago expanded from a drag-strip Götterdämmerung to a globe-circling showcase for spectacular stunts in exotic locales.

The plot: a CIA shadow who calls himself Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) wants the gang to corral some computer MacGuffin guarded by an IT genius named Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel, Game of Thrones’ Missandei) who’s been kidnapped by Deckard and pan-African warlord Jakande (Djimon Hounsou). Honestly, though, who cares? Ramsey is just the excuse for the group to infiltrate an Azerbaijan forest redoubt and recover the van that holds her. This sensational second-act chase, ramping up to Walker’s Brian in a literal cliffhanger, would be the climax of any other action picture, but it’s just a why-not escapade to keep you from going for popcorn during the movie’s two-hour-plus nonstop assault.

On we fly, to Abu Dhabi, where Dom and Brian hijack a sheik’s W Motors LykN Hypersport, vroom it out of the 50th floor of an Etihad Tower skyscraper and into the adjacent high-rise — and then again into a third building, before our heroes land somehow intact. “Cars can’t fly!” Brian keeps saying, but Furious 7 refutes all aeronautic logic with its next stunt, which one-ups the skydiving Elvises from the old movie (and the Broadway musical) Honeymoon in Vegas by dropping five members of the team and their cars 10,000 feet from a C-130 military transport. (Auto coordinator Dennis McCarthy, who deployed about 250 vehicles for the movie, insists that this was no illusion: the cars truly did float to earth, most of them safely.) By the end of the movie, back in L.A., you’re not surprised when a car can serve as surface-to-bad-guy-in-helicopter missile. In such a buoyant enterprise as this, gravity is for wimps.

Retaining one sweetly anachronistic element of the series, the cast goes not just fender-to-fender but fist on fist, bulk on bulk, hulk on hulk. Tough-guy franchise mavens Statham and Johnson mix it up in a fracas that leaves Hooks incapacitated for half of the movie — until he rises from his sick bed, cracks open his arm cast and mutters, “Time to go to work.” Rodriguez tangles with MMA Medusa Ronda Rousey, and Walker (or his stunt-double team) staves off a wondrously savage attack from Tony Jaa, the Muy Thai Warrior. As much as Furious 7 flirts with scenarios from The Avengers, in its heart, it still wants to be Fight Club.

No series with the worldwide box-office horsepower of this one — $2.4 billion so far, with a bonanza awaiting the release of Furious 7 — wants to imagine its own demise. So in its closing credits, each of the recent episodes has introduced a new villain for the next installment. Diesel, a Furious producer and guiding light, has said he sees 7 as the first in a third trilogy. (In strict chronology, the series is a kind of terrestrial Star Wars, in that the fourth through sixth films were one long flashback beginning at the end of the 2006 Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift; Han’s death at Deckard’s hands brings the story back to the present.) Russell’s presence as Mr. Nobody may point toward future chapters, but 7 has no end-of-film tease. It must send its dead co-star on a verklempt trip to Valhalla.

In the series’ multiracial retinue of toughs, Walker’s Brian was the one WASP solid citizen. If the dark, glowering Diesel was the franchise’s engine, the blond Walker provided the ethical brakes — yin to Vin’s yang. Though the early films emphasized the near romantic charisma of this complementary couple, in Fast Five and Furious 6, Walker was really a supporting character, ornamental but not essential to the series’ grand grit. Yet Brian’s mulishness and recklessness sometimes hinted at a desperation in completing his mission. In the first film, when Dom doesn’t yet know that Brian is an undercover cop, Walker tells an FBI agent, “I just need some more time.” The agent snaps, “If you want Time, buy the magazine.”

Finally Walker ran out of it. But not Brian. Making judicious use of outtakes, CGI work and model-doubling from his younger brothers Caleb and Cody, the 7 filmmakers fully integrated the actor into the film. Their improvisatory skill and their feeling for their friend give his final moment a sleek, poignant, unforced grace. In a series that consistently elevates B-movie car crashes and smashes to state-of-the-art epiphanies, it’s only appropriate that a departed star should be able to cruise off to placid immortality.

 

TIME Music

Cynthia Lennon, Former Wife of John Lennon, Dies at 75

Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Cynthia, sit in London Airport, England, before flying to the U.S. on Feb. 7, 1964.
AP Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Cynthia, sit in London Airport, England, before flying to the U.S. on Feb. 7, 1964.

She died of cancer in her home

Cynthia Lennon, the former wife of John Lennon and eyewitness to the early days of the Beatles, died in her home Wednesday at the age of 75.

Her death was confirmed by a publicist and on her son Julian Lennon’s Twitter page. She died in her home in Spain after a “short but brave battle with cancer,” according to a memorial page.

The Lennons met in art school before the Beatles got their start in Hamburg, and married in 1962 after Cynthia Lennon realized she was pregnant. Their marriage and subsequent birth of their son Julian was initially kept a secret, to avoid upsetting the growing Beatlemania, but Cynthia and Julian eventually got a front-row seat to the Beatles’ growing popularity in England and the U.S. The Lennons divorced in 1968, when John Lennon became involved with Yoko Ono.

Cynthia chronicled their marriage and her experience with the Beatles in two books, A Twist of Lennon (1978) and John (2010).

TIME Music

This Is Why Joni Mitchell Is Your Favorite Musician’s Favorite Musician

Pre-GRAMMY Gala And Salute To Industry Icons Honoring Martin Bandier - Arrivals
Steve Granitz—Getty Images/WireImage Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell attends the Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute To Industry Icons on Feb. 7, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

The singer-songwriter, who was hospitalized last night, gave voice to musical feminism in an era where women had to fight with tooth and claw for artistic legitimacy

Music fans around the world steeled themselves for tragedy on the evening of March 31 when Joni Mitchell was hospitalized after being found unconscious in her Los Angeles home. Recent updates indicate that Mitchell is doing well and recovering—a tweet from her official account sent early Wednesday morning placed her in intensive care, but “awake and in good spirits”— but still, it provides an opportunity to reflect on the sheer weight of Mitchell’s discography and the breadth of her influence, the tendrils of which snake through the last 40 years of popular music.

Mitchell was born in Canada in 1943 and spent her childhood in rural Saskatchewan, a survivor of a late polio epidemic and passionate about the arts. She moved through Toronto and New York as a young woman and moderately successful songwriter before being discovered by the legendary musician David Crosby in a Florida club. She moved to Los Angeles shortly after and released her debut album, Song to a Seagull, at the age of 25. This marked the beginning of one of the most impressive decades a musician has ever had, one characterized by incredible productivity and spurts of sheer genius. From the stark, largely acoustic folk-pop of her first few records—an approach that climaxed with Blue, a wrenching post-breakup self-examination that stands as her most popular work—to the pioneering, ambitious jazz fusion of The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Hejira, Mitchell forged a new kind of art-pop: lyrics that moved with the delicacy of poetry and challenged both the personal and political; arrangements and melodies that were complex and winding; a voice that cut through unworthy suitors and flimsy sexism like a knife through butter. Alongside contemporaries like Carole King and Carly Simon, she gave voice to musical feminism in an era where women had to fight with tooth and claw for artistic legitimacy. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Steely Dan: Mitchell hung with them all. In many cases, she beat them to the punch.

Though the light began to fade from her solo work after the ’70s closed—her most notable releases in the years since have been reinterpretations of songs written then, newly colored by age and experience—she was already impacting future generations’ leading lights. Joni Mitchell will live forever as your favorite musician’s favorite musician, a position she’s held since the dawn of the ’80s, impacting superstars and hidden gems alike. Prince called The Hissing of Summer Lawns “the last album [he] loved all the way through,” and quoted Court and Spark hit “Help Me” on “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker”; Björk counts her 1977 double album Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter among her all-time favourites. There are entire musical sub-genres it’s tough to conceive of without Mitchell’s spirit hanging over them, like the spectral freak-folk that flowed out of California in the mid-’00s.

And then there’s Taylor Swift, pop’s reigning titan, a disciple of Mitchell in ways both obvious and subtle. There’s her writing, ripe with reflection but capable of sharp evisceration, and her complete ownership of the music she makes; there’s the album she named Red, her cap tipped to Mitchell’s Blue. There are songs like “Blank Space” where Swift sings about changing herself for a man and getting drunk on jealousy with a surprising, stately, clipped sort of grace.

It can take you back four decades to Mitchell’s “California,” where she asks a partner, “Will you take me as I am? / Strung out on another man?” even as she’s catching sun and drinking wine in Greece. Mitchell asked the question, but the answer didn’t really matter; listeners knew she’d end up fine either way. Swift is the same, walking the trail Mitchell blazed.

TIME Media

Netflix Is Begging You to Take a Shower in These New Binging PSAs

Special Screening Of Netflix's "House Of Cards" Season 2
Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic Actor Kevin Spacey attends a screening of "House Of Cards" at Directors Guild Of America on February 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

This is your brain on House of Cards

“Just say no” to binging — that’s the message behind a new set of Netflix public service announcements conveniently timed for April Fools’ Day.

The PSAs warn of the social, physical and psychological dangers of watching way too many TV episodes back-to-back. If users watch more than two consecutive episodes of a show on April 1, they’ll be greeted with one of 13 PSA’s from stars such as Michael Kelly (Doug Stamper on House of Cards) and Taylor Schilling (Piper Chapman on Orange Is the New Black).

The messages cover a wide range of basic human activities that hardcore Netflix users might often ignore, such as venturing into the outside world, calling their mothers and eating a meal that involves utensils. “Turn off the TV,” Freaks and Geeks star Linda Cardellini says in one ad advocating showering. “You stink.”

Netflix users can see all the ads in one place by searching for “Binge Responsibly” within the service.

 

TIME celebrities

Patton Oswalt Had a Lot to Say About the Trevor Noah Backlash

Try 53 tweets about the incoming Daily Show host's controversial jokes

Within 24 hours of being named Jon Stewart’s successor on The Daily Show, South African comedian Trevor Noah found himself in hot water over some old tweets that critics deemed sexist, anti-Semitic and fat-shaming. “To reduce my views to a handful of jokes that didn’t land is not a true reflection of my character, nor my evolution as a comedian,” Noah wrote in response.

Enter Patton Oswalt, who is no stranger to criticizing what he thinks is unnecessary political correctness infiltrating comedy (for the worse). Last night Oswalt came to Noah’s defense with an elaborate, 53-part Twitter joke that took aim at trigger warnings, disclaimers and the way people talk about privilege on the Internet. The gist of his argument is basically, “So what if jokes are offensive? Deciding who or what is off-limits—or going out of your way to placate—is terrible for comedy.” But you can read the whole thing (excerpted below) over at his account and decide for yourself.

TIME Television

Aasif Mandvi: Controversy Over Trevor Noah Tweets Is ‘Much Ado About Nothing’

The Daily Show correspondent says he trusts Jon Stewart's judgment on the hire

Trevor Noah hasn’t even stepped onto the job as the new host of The Daily Show yet, but thanks to some controversial old tweets, everyone already has an opinion about the comedian. But his new colleague, Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi, says the uproar is “much ado about nothing.”

“I trust Jon Stewart,” Mandvi told The Hollywood Reporter. “Jon seems to want him to take over, so I trust that. I think the only way we’re gonna know is once he does the job.”

He also has some advice for the new host: Take a hint from Jon Stewart and stay off social media. He recounted his boss telling him, “I don’t need to be on Twitter or Facebook because I’m on television four nights a week.”

Hopefully Noah will use those four nights a week wisely when he takes over the host seat.

 

TIME Television

Watch Ethan Hawke and Jimmy Fallon Sing Lullabies in the Style of Bob Dylan

Just sleep tight, it's alright

He wowed critics in Boyhood and just directed a documentary, but now Ethan Hawke is showing off another, completely different talent: impersonating Bob Dylan on The Tonight Show.

Hawke, like host Jimmy Fallon, is a father to young children. And sometimes, when your kids don’t go to sleep when they’re supposed to, you have to get a little creative—perhaps by singing classic songs in the style of the folk icon. “I’ve heard there’s scientific research that points to this,” Fallon says. “Oh, it’s proven,” Hawke answers before the two break out their guitar gravelly-voiced renditions of “Rock-a-bye Baby” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

Watch the full clip below:

 

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