Film

9 of the Funniest Women on the Planet

Julie Hinds - Detroit Free Press (MCT)

Who are some of the funniest women right now, besides those "Bridesmaids"? Behold and guffaw.

Tina FeyShe's a TV and movie star, a best-selling author, a wife and mother. She can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, probably to make one of the sandwiches that obsess her 30 Rock character, Liz Lemon.

 

Amy PoehlerAlthough it took Parks and Recreation a while to find its comedic rhythm, the show -- guided by Poehler's small-town civic superstar Leslie Knope -- has quietly become the best thing about NBC's Thursday night of offbeat sitcoms.

 

Kelly RipaShe's evolved into one of the wittiest talk show hosts on the air, gracefully taking on a leadership role during the chat portion of Live with Regis & Kelly without hogging the spotlight. And she makes substitute host Anderson Cooper laugh as much as Kathy Griffin does.

 

Amy SedarisThe quirky entertainer has become the alternative version of Martha Stewart with her wacky books on entertaining and crafts. When she's talking about her imaginary boyfriend to David Letterman, there is no better late-night guest.

 

Kathleen MadiganFor women, reaching the top tier of stand-up comedy is still like climbing Everest. But Madigan, a veteran of the art form, makes it look like a walk in the park. Here's Madigan on the U.S. role in Afghanistan: "How much money would it cost to fix the moon, with mean moon people throwing things at you while you tried to help them?"

 

Yvette Nicole BrownShe hits all the right notes on NBC's Community as Shirley, a nice, religious woman who's taking classes, raising her kids and coping with a very weird study group. Loved the episode where she dressed up like Samuel L. Jackson for a Pulp Fiction-themed birthday party.

 

Martha PlimptonThe rebellious teen from the movie Parenthood grew up to be a versatile actress who's found her comic groove as youthful grandmother Virginia Chance on Fox's Raising Hope. Plimpton is superb as a woman who may not have money, class or a husband who behaves like an adult, but sure knows how to enjoy life.

 

Sofia VergaraDon't hate her because she's beautiful and has great dialogue. As Ed O'Neill's trophy wife on Modern Family, Vergara's looks are overshadowed -- almost -- by her ability to get more laughs per scene than her talented co stars.

 

Samantha BeeAs senior correspondent of The Daily Show, the Canadian actress maintains her composure through the strangest of interviews. And she has a spouse who understands her work -- she's married to another show regular, Jason Jones.

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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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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Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

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