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.

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

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From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

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This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

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Scholar Judith May Fathallah's work blurs lines between author and ethnographer, fan experiences and genre TV storytelling.

In Fanfiction and the Author: How Fanfic Changes Popular Culture Texts, author Judith May Fathallah investigates the progressive intersections between popular culture and fan studies, expanding scholarly discourse concerning how contemporary blurred lines between texts and audiences result in evolving mediated practices.

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Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

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