Film

David Tennant Will Be the Breakout from 'Fright Night’

Apart from a pint-sized but pivotal role as Barty Crouch Jr. in 2005’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and some voice work for How to Train Your Dragon, the upcoming remake of the 1985 vampire romp Fright Night marks Scottish actor David Tennant’s first major foray into Hollywood. For his portrayal of the tormented Time Lord with the fantastic hair, Tennant earned heaps of critical praise and a legion of adoring British and Anglophile fans. But it’s reasonable to presume that still much of America remains unsubscribed to BBC America programming, and thus has no bleeding idea who Tennant is. Such would probably be the explanation provided by the Fright Night marketing department if questioned about the near-absence of Tennant from the recently released trailer. Blink and you’ll miss him in just one shot. Are they just saving the goods for later?

Scripted by Buffy the Vampire Slayer writer’s room alum Marti Noxon, and with evident departures from the original, Fright Night pits nice-guy teenager Charlie (Anton Yelchin) against new next-door-neighbor Colin Farrell (aka Jerry the Vampire) after Charlie connects his neighbor to a series of missing persons reports. Tennant later enters the fray as Peter Vincent (a role originated by Roddy McDowall), playing a leather-and-eyeliner Vegas magician modeled after Criss Angel whom Charlie seeks vampire-staking help from after Jerry sets his sights on Charlie’s mother (Toni Collette) and girlfriend (Imogen Poots).

The trailer is all Colin Farrell, all the time. And that’s okay. Here he seems perfectly cast as the fanged antagonist with slithering sexuality and subsurface malice. The Farrell of late appears more focused on his craft, with a comedic turn in the upcoming Horrible Bosses, and well received character acting in such films as In Bruges and Crazy Heart compensating for the gum-chewing Hollywood bad-boy baloney he cultivated for a time between SWAT and Alexander. And while newcomer Anton Yelchin has scored roles in some prominent films the last couple years, Fright Night looks to be the memorable movie of the bunch to raise him out of supporting casts.

But let’s be frank: The real breakout of this flick will be David Tennant, likely the biggest scene-stealer and wit of the cast whose appeal as both a charming ham and keen dramatic actor will be on full display.

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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Gallagher's work often suffers unfairly beside famous husband's Raymond Carver. The Man from Kinvara should permanently remedy this.

Many years ago—it had to be 1989—my sister and I attended a poetry reading given by Tess Gallagher at California State University, Northridge's Little Playhouse. We were students, new to California and poetry. My sister had a paperback copy of Raymond Carver's Cathedral, which we'd both read with youthful admiration. We knew vaguely that he'd died, but didn't really understand the full force of his fame or talent until we unwittingly went to see his widow read.

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