12 True Crime Documentaries You Should Stream Right Now

The popularity of true crime as a genre continues to grow, especially as Netflix’s hit docuseries Making a Murder returns for a second season on Oct. 19. Audiences have grown addicted to podcasts that re-examine cold cases like the Peabody-winning In the Dark, while books like Michelle McNamara’s memoir about her obsessive search for the Golden State Killer, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, top bestseller lists. Even parodies of true crime series, like Netflix’s American Vandal and The Onion’s A Very Fatal Murder, have found legions of fans.

The best docuseries about true crime have brought about real change or justice, attracting new lawyers to take up the cases of some of these documentary subjects. Others of these works probe our judicial system for flaws. And many simply mine the prurient and disturbing details of a real tragedy for entertainment value. Either way, there’s no denying the mass appeal of these types of stories.

If you’re looking to spend a night in watching a documentarian try to unravel a complicated case, there are plenty of options, from recent hits like Wild Wild Country and Evil Genius to classics like The Staircase and Paradise Lost. Here are the best true crime documentaries and docuseries.

Making a Murderer (2015)

This was Netflix’s breakout true crime hit. The docuseries’ filmmakers have been praised for their dedication (they filmed over 10 years) and criticized for their possible bias in favor of subject Steven Avery, a man twice accused of murder, and his nephew Brendan Dassey. But few real-life stories have this many twists and turns. The saga will continue with Making a Murderer: Part 2, which will follow Avery’s and Dassey’s respective appeals processes.

Where to Watch: Netflix

The Jinx (2015)

If you haven’t seen The Jinx—or read about the revelations from the documentary in the news—you need to watch the “Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.” The six-part series explores the life of a wealthy man implicated in the disappearance of his wife, the murder of a family friend and the death of a neighbor. The final episode of The Jinx nearly broke the internet, and with good reason.

Where to Watch: HBO

The Staircase (2005)

The Staircase, a 2005 documentary series by French filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, is often held up as one of the best examples of the genre. Novelist Michael Peterson becomes the center of a criminal investigation after his wife is found dead at the bottom of a staircase. Lestrade never tries to solve the murder, but rather examines how the criminal justice system treats Peterson. Lestrade added two more episodes to the original eight in 2013 and another three in 2018.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Into the Abyss (2011)

Ostensibly about two teenagers who commit a triple homicide, Werner Herzog’s Into the Abyss is really an examination of the morality of the death penalty. The famed director is able to get his subjects—including both those who would be subject to the death penalty and those who would carry it out—to open up for an emotionally wrenching film.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Paradise Lost Trilogy (1996)

In three movies (made in 1996, 2000 and 2011), the filmmakers follow the courtroom drama surrounding three teenage boys—Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. and Jason Baldwin, known as the West Memphis Three—accused of killing three eight-year-olds. The trilogy was one of the first documentaries to have a major real-life impact on a trial.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

Wild Wild Country (2018)

The Netflix original show veers from the structure of most traditional true crime series by examining a cult that moves from India to Oregon. Before the cult’s leaders are accused of criminal behavior, Wild Wild Country is one of the rare docuseries that lends sympathy to both sides, in this case members of the cult and their unhappy new neighbors. A true pop culture phenomenon, the series catapulted an esoteric cult into the mainstream.

Where to Watch: Netflix

There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane (2011)

A mom drives the wrong way on the highway and causes an accident that kills eight people, including herself, her daughter and her three nieces. After medical reports claimed that Diane Schuler had alcohol and drugs in her system at the time of the crash, director Liz Garbus investigates alternative scenarios.

Where to Watch: HBO

The Thin Blue Line (1988)

One of the most influential documentary films ever made focuses on the murder of a policeman and the hitchhiker accused of committing the crime. Filmmaker Errol Morris builds a near-unassailable case for Randall Dale Adams’ innocence.

Where to Watch: Netflix

The Aileen Wuornos Movies (1992)

Charlize Theron won an Oscar playing serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. But before Theron’s portrayal made the case famous, Nick Broomfield filmed Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1992). Wuornos never denied her guilt, so Bloomfield focuses on Wuornos’ rising notoriety. His follow-up film, Aileen: Life & Death of a Serial Killer centers on Wuornos’ last interview in her prison cell in 2003.

Where to Watch: Netflix

The Central Park Five (2012)

Ken Burns and his daughter Sarah Burns teamed up to investigate the infamous “Central Park jogger murder.” Five black and Latino boys (Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise) landed in prison for the beating and rape of a white woman, even though evidence showed they did not commit the crime. The documentary doesn’t pick apart the crime scene; instead, the Burnses zoom in on the social and political tension surrounding the racially-charged case.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

The Keepers (2017)

The emotional Netflix true crime series centers on the unsolved murder of young nun Sister Cathy Cesnik. Cesnik knew about cases of sexual abuse in the Catholic church, and many of her former students posit that she was silenced. Most true crime series focus on the suspects, but The Keepers gives a voice to the survivors.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Evil Genius (2018)

This documentary series is not about our broken criminal justice system or society’s ills. It’s about a truly bizarre crime involving a collar with a bomb attached, a scavenger hunt and a gun hidden inside a cane. It’s an outrageous case that only becomes more captivating—and bizarre—in the final episode when a crucial witness makes an appearance.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Source: Entertainment – TIME | 19 Oct 2018 | 8:41 am

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Source: E! Online (CA) - Top Stories | 19 Oct 2018 | 8:00 am

Halloween: Jamie Lee Curtis reboot gets mixed reviews
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Source: BBC News - Entertainment & Arts | 19 Oct 2018 | 6:55 am

Elle faces backlash over false Kim Kardashian and Kanye West breakup tweet
No, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West did not breakup.

Source: CNN.com - RSS Channel - Entertainment | 19 Oct 2018 | 6:44 am

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So, Meghan Markle's Family Feud Is Over Now, Right?
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Peaky Blinders: Hunger Games star Sam Claflin joins cast
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Tina Turner opens up about son's suicide
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Tina Turner from hardship to happiness
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Rachael Bland's cancer podcast wins posthumous award
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Jo Brand on Strictly, strippers and... staying safe
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Source: BBC News - Entertainment & Arts | 18 Oct 2018 | 11:49 pm

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Olivia Colman adds royal touch with 'The Favourite' at London Film Festival
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Source: Reuters: Entertainment News | 18 Oct 2018 | 7:43 pm

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Source: Reuters: Entertainment News | 18 Oct 2018 | 5:38 pm

'Halloween' sequel is up to its old tricks
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Source: CNN.com - RSS Channel - Entertainment | 18 Oct 2018 | 4:31 pm

Maisie Williams Says Her Game of Thrones Journey Ended on the ‘Perfect Scene’

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones.

From defeating the Waif to feeding Walder Frey a pie made out of his own sons, Arya Stark has had some memorable moments on Game of Thrones. But according to Maisie Williams—who plays the young faceless assasin—a scene from the show’s forthcoming eighth and final season may be her character’s best yet.

In an interview with The Guardian that was published on Wednesday, Williams shared her thoughts on the very last sequence she shot for Game of Thrones, even going so far as to describe it as “beautiful.”

“I ended on the perfect scene,” she said. “I was alone—shocker! Arya’s always bloody alone. But I was alone and I had watched a lot of other people wrap. I knew the drill, I had seen the tears and heard the speeches.”

Williams went on to explain why those final minutes on set were so special to her. “It wasn’t something I planned,” she said of her wrap speech. “But in that moment I realised what the show meant to me.”

Source: Entertainment – TIME | 18 Oct 2018 | 4:15 pm

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Source: CNN.com - RSS Channel - Entertainment | 18 Oct 2018 | 3:12 pm

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Source: CNN.com - RSS Channel - Entertainment | 18 Oct 2018 | 2:47 pm

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Source: CNN.com - RSS Channel - Entertainment | 18 Oct 2018 | 2:18 pm

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Cardi B and Fran Drescher may team up for a reboot of 'The Nanny'
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Source: BBC News - Entertainment & Arts | 18 Oct 2018 | 12:43 pm

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Source: CNN.com - RSS Channel - Entertainment | 18 Oct 2018 | 12:21 pm

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Source: BBC News - Entertainment & Arts | 18 Oct 2018 | 9:44 am

One for the Road. A Man Allegedly Robbed a Subway Before Returning to Grab His Sandwich

Crime doesn’t pay, but it might make you hungry.

Zachary P. Miller walked into a Subway restaurant in Norcross, Georgia and ordered a sandwich.

He then allegedly climbed over the counter, tried to open the register, and demanded the cashier hand over the cash, Fox 5 D.C. reports.

Miller managed to flee the scene with around a $100 in cash and was already out the door when he remembered something—the sandwich.

According to Georgia police, Miller wasn’t content with just the cash, he wanted the sandwich, too. So he turned around, returned to the scene of the crime, and grabbed the sandwich he had ordered. He left the scene on foot, holding what was presumably a delicious sub.

No word on toppings, but hopefully it was a good combination, because deputies arrested Miller soon after. He reportedly had multiple warrants out for him in both Tennessee and Georgia and now faces the warrants as well as multiple charges from the Subway robbery.

In short, it may be a while until he gets another chance to choose the toppings on his $5 foot long.

Source: Entertainment – TIME | 18 Oct 2018 | 9:37 am

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Source: BBC News - Entertainment & Arts | 18 Oct 2018 | 8:02 am

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Source: Reuters: Entertainment News | 18 Oct 2018 | 7:04 am

“I Never Think of Myself as Public.” Why Melissa McCarthy Relates to Her Reclusive New Character

Lee Israel was an extraordinarily difficult woman to like, but Melissa McCarthy loved her instantly. Not that they ever actually met; Israel, an author and literary forger, died in 2014. But McCarthy fell hard for the quintessential New Yorker depicted–in all her desperate, curmudgeonly glory–in filmmaker Nicole Holofcener’s script for the big-screen adaptation of Israel’s memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me?

“I was shocked that I so quickly cared about her, although I didn’t have a real reason to,” McCarthy says between sips of a latte on a brisk autumn day in Manhattan. Even her friends knew Israel as a bitter woman with a drinking problem–and that was before she turned to crime. Her early successes, with in-depth biographies of women like Estée Lauder and Tallulah Bankhead, had given way to poverty and isolation by the early 1990s. “I wasn’t sure why her actions weren’t matching up to how I felt about her, which really intrigued me,” McCarthy says. She became obsessed with Israel’s story, even though the script wasn’t intended for her: it was sent, instead, to her husband and frequent collaborator Ben Falcone, who has a small role as a bookstore owner.

It’s certainly the kind of tale that can suck you in: the film recounts the rise and fall of Israel’s career fabricating letters from famous wits of eras past, which she turned to after her efforts to hold down a straight job failed. But its emotional core is the fragile friendship that develops between Lee and her hedonistic, similarly destitute accomplice, Jack Hock (an elegantly declining Richard E. Grant). Two lonely, middle-aged, queer misfits who squandered their youthful potential and now have to hustle to survive, they speak each other’s language–especially after a few drinks at their favorite gay bar.

But an early incarnation of the project, with Holofcener slated to direct and Julianne Moore attached to play Israel, stalled out. Worried that the movie would never get made, McCarthy finally expressed her interest: “I said, ‘I feel like I have a very strong connection to Lee, and I think about her a lot. So I’m going to throw my name in.'” With the addition of director Marielle Heller, whose excellent 2015 debut, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, was a coming-of-age film about another complicated female protagonist, Israel’s story was saved.

(McCarthy) and Jack (Grant) bond over a stiff drink—or 10
Mary Cybulski—20th Century FoxLee (McCarthy) and Jack (Grant) bond over a stiff drink—or 10

McCarthy isn’t exactly known for playing gloomy (or, for that matter, literary) types. Though she got her first big break in 2000, nabbing the role of the lovably neurotic chef Sookie St. James on Gilmore Girls, it was more than a decade later that her Oscar-nominated performance in 2011’s Bridesmaids made her a household name. Since then, McCarthy’s boisterous characters and flair for physical comedy have made her not only one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars but also one of its highest-paid women. Writing many of her most successful, if not necessarily best-received, projects–Tammy, The Boss, this year’s Life of the Party–alongside Falcone, who also directed those movies, has allowed her far greater control of her image than most actresses ever enjoy.

Yet it’s hard, even sitting with her, to pin down McCarthy’s personality. It’s clear that she’s a consummate family woman; an unmistakable fondness creeps into her voice when she talks about Falcone and their daughters, 11-year-old Vivian and 8-year-old Georgette. In conversation, she’s warm and thoughtful but measured. Scrupulously charitable in her comments about others, she has even been known to extend sympathy to critics who’ve insulted her appearance, diagnosing them as unhappy. “We all do some weird thing to make us feel more secure,” she says. “And I don’t think it’s usually in our best interest.”

Though she’s embraced her role as one of Hollywood’s few avatars for plus-size women, which has sometimes forced her to absorb our culture’s ugliest anxieties about women’s bodies, McCarthy is not an activist in the traditional sense. And that’s probably prudent, considering that she’s also the rare celebrity whose appeal transcends partisan political lines, with as many fans in red states as blue. When asked a mild question about her habit of choosing projects, including Can You Ever Forgive Me?, where women wield power behind the camera, she answers carefully: “I think it rights the balance,” she says. “If you only tell [a story] from one perspective, if nothing else, it gets boring. I wouldn’t want it to be all and only women. And I certainly don’t love it when it’s 98% men.”

As McCarthy frames it, she’d rather cede the spotlight to her characters than be an outspoken figure in her own right. “I never think of myself as public,” she says. “I’ve always just been like, ‘I’m a character actress.'” By inhabiting a character, McCarthy says, “I can put a veil of someone else in front of me, and I can make very distinct decisions through them.”

In fact, that impulse to disappear into the lives of people very different from herself is something she does share with Lee Israel. “It would be so incredibly awkward to have someone say, ‘Just play it exactly how you would in your own house.’ It would rattle me with insecurities,” she says. Similarly, when Israel was writing a biography, she could hide behind her subject; she “could be witty and smart and engaging and all the things she couldn’t be person to person.” But when Israel was drafting her memoir, McCarthy notes, it pained the author to write about herself. “I thought, It’s funny; we both live through other people and feel more comfortable doing that.”

 

Can You Ever Forgive Me? has, inevitably, been framed as a new direction for McCarthy. Instead of a madcap caper, it’s a talky, often melancholy indie whose chances of approaching The Heat‘s roughly $160 million box-office take seem unlikely. Her Lee is an offbeat personality but not a larger-than-life one. McCarthy underplays in many scenes with Grant, letting his theatrical Jack take center stage; it’s a generous choice from an actor with such a powerful presence. And her humanistic read on Lee suffuses the character with tenderness, in a performance that is more captivating in quietly devastating scenes than it is in the film’s darkly humorous moments. By making Lee as multidimensional as any misbehaving male author might be, McCarthy pre-empts yet another round of debate on “unlikable” heroines. The Oscar buzz for McCarthy’s performance, which has already escalated to a roar, is well deserved.

Yet there’s always been more nuance to her performances than her critics tend to acknowledge. On Gilmore Girls, she tempered Sookie’s manic perfectionism with sweetness. The best comedy she’s fronted, Paul Feig’s 2015 movie Spy, cast her not as a zany wild card but as a hypercompetent CIA office drone yearning to prove her mettle in the field. Even her swaggering Bridesmaids character ultimately shows some self-awareness. “So often people present themselves in a way that is not really, truly who the heart of that person is,” McCarthy says. “That’s the main thing that always intrigues me.” From that perspective, it doesn’t seem crazy that she doesn’t think of Lee as a dramatic departure from her past roles.

The film’s ’90s New York City setting is also familiar territory for 48-year-old McCarthy, who moved to the city on a whim at 20 and, despite intending to study fashion design, quickly found her calling in the local stand-up scene. Her first apartment was a fourth-floor walk-up in Hell’s Kitchen, where, she remembers, she and her roommates “slept on the floor on a futon and had mice who ate through tin cans–which is terrifying when you think about how strong their teeth and jaws must have been.” She admits to harboring some nostalgia for those days: “I found the not so cleaned-up, shiny and pretty New York pretty romantic.” The best thing about those years, McCarthy says, was that “you could still be surrounded by all these people working three or four jobs at a time, but everyone was really trying. And you could still struggle and get somewhere.”

Can You Ever Forgive Me? can be viewed as a requiem for that transitional decade, when Manhattan was safer than it had been in the ’70s but hadn’t become the sanitized bubble it is now. For McCarthy, Lee represents a time when rent was cheap, the publishing industry didn’t have to rely so heavily on celebrity authors and an artist’s work could speak for itself. There’s dignity, she notes, in this aversion to self-promotion: “Why can’t the writing be enough?” she imagines Israel demanding. “Why do I have to sing and dance as I present it?” McCarthy herself might be interested in these questions, so relevant to a figure of her stature in our fame-obsessed present, when stars are expected to keep the song and dance going even after the curtain falls. But she’s much too polite to say so.


This appears in the October 29, 2018 issue of TIME.

Source: Entertainment – TIME | 18 Oct 2018 | 6:34 am

Provocateur Stormy Daniels Takes an Unexpected Turn in the National Spotlight

To understand what it means to be famous like Stormy Daniels, for the reasons she is famous, spend time with her in a public space. She walks quickly, her head down, blending in with the neighborhood moms at an upscale Manhattan mall–petite, hardly noticeable in jeans, sneakers and a gray, long-sleeved T-shirt. But her anonymity is deliberate. She avoids eye contact, folding into herself as if pressing into a fierce wind.

Once inside the shelter of a photo studio, she unfurls, becoming yet again the woman we know from the media: wry, unflinching and lightning quick with a snarky retort. It has been an incendiary year. On Oct. 15, a California judge threw out the defamation case she filed against Donald Trump. Her other lawsuit against the President, over a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) that forbade her to talk about their alleged 2006 affair, continues to wend its way through the court system.

Over the past year, Daniels, 39, has become the Zelig of White House scandals. Her NDA, in which she and Trump were both referred to by pseudonyms, was first reported in January, and in August, the President’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen admitted to working with Trump to pay her $130,000 in hush money. A day later, Trump reversed his previous story, saying he’d known about the deal with Daniels and paid Cohen back himself.

And while the saga has barely ruffled the President’s poll numbers, it has transformed Daniels’ life, making her simultaneously a target of vitriol and a hero for feminists, depending on which side of the Trump divide you’re on. “Who would have thought that 90 seconds with Donald Trump would turn into 90% of my life?” she asks.

Lost somewhere in all this is the story of a girl who grew up in Baton Rouge, La., deep in what is now Trump country. The childhood she describes in her new memoir, Full Disclosure, a New York Times best-seller, was marked by resilience in the face of deprivation, neglect and sexual abuse. She was a smart kid who got A’s at the local magnet school but went home to a house that had rats and roaches and not enough to eat. She writes that she has already beaten the odds because, by all accounts, she should be “living in a trailer with no teeth.” As with a lot of people who grew up without resources, her unease about money lingered long after she didn’t have to worry about her next meal: “It used to be that a hunger pang would create panic,” she says.

For those reasons and more, Daniels defends using her current spotlight to her advantage, stacking up paid performances and unpaid interviews, in the name of building her brand. “I’m doing the same thing I’ve always done,” she says. “But if you drive an ice cream truck and the city has a heat wave, you’d be an idiot not to drive your ice cream truck.” Almost nothing makes her angrier these days than being called a “retired” porn star, as several reporters have done, as if the revelation of l’affaire Trump offered her a comeback. She points out that the story about her NDA broke last January, and weeks later, she was nominated in multiple categories at the Adult Video News awards for her previous work. “How is that retired?” she says.

 

But her new perch in the global limelight has taken a toll she couldn’t have foreseen nearly two years ago, when lawyer Michael Avenatti offered to help her challenge her NDA. There has been the wave of death threats and the sudden need for bodyguards. But worse, there was the repeated publication of her given name, annihilating the already flimsy wall of privacy between her profession and her home life. (TIME has published Daniels’ legal name in the past, and it is readily available online.) She worked for years to escape the instability of her youth, to build a career, however unorthodox, to create a home in Texas and buy horses and teach her 7-year-old daughter to ride. And now that life has been overturned, perhaps permanently. She shields the girl from the news–no TV, no radio–but there’s inevitably a limit to how long she can protect her.

Daniels grieves over the way her sudden fame has affected the people in her life, even near strangers, like the two young women who were arrested with her at a Ohio strip club in July. It was a controversial raid that Daniels insists was politically motivated and that Columbus police chief Kim Jacobs later admitted was a mistake. (Charges involving touching patrons were later dropped.) But the damage was done, Daniels says, not so much to her as to the other two women. “Those girls’ lives are ruined because their mug shots and real names are printed in the paper, and printed in a story that has my name in it,” she says. “So they’re forever attached to the ‘dirty porn star.'”

Perhaps most painful, Daniels says, is that her marriage has not withstood the drama that her life has become. That alleged encounter in a hotel with Trump happened years before she and her husband began dating around 2010, but Daniels says she never told him. Instead, he found out on the news. “If I could do it over, I would have tried harder to find an appropriate time to tell my husband,” she says. (Her husband filed for divorce in July.)

 

In her book, Daniels makes the case that she is a lot more than that one encounter with a reality-TV star. But when I ask if she worries she’ll share the fate of Monica Lewinsky, who struggled for decades to escape the shadow of a relationship with a President, the answer is yes. “I’d like to be remembered for being a fair and good leader” of her film-production crew, she says. “But let’s face it, I’m going to be known as the porn star who slept with Donald Trump.” That reputation, she fears, will not only define her; it will likely preclude any other romantic relationship. Any future partner would “be teased and tortured relentlessly,” she says.

It’s a profoundly sad revelation, complicated in part by Daniels’ unflappable resolve. She does not regret coming forward, she insists. She does not regret “telling the truth.” But the fallout has lasted longer than she ever expected. When her defamation suit was tossed out, Trump attacked her on Twitter, going after her looks, as he often does with female foes. “Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas,” he wrote, referring to her ongoing lawsuit. The tweet ignited a cable news frenzy. Daniels responded quickly and in kind: “Game on, Tiny.” Though powerless in any traditional sense, Daniels is clearly no shrinking violet. Label her a whore and she just laughs, impervious to that kind of shaming. “That’s rich whore,” she counters, thankyouverymuch.

I ask if the omnipresent Avenatti is using her to build his career and a possible presidential bid. “If he runs for President, I’m going to run against him,” she jokes. But no, he’s not exploiting her, she insists. If anything, it’s the other way around. “I’ve paid him all of $20, though he doesn’t like me telling anyone that,” she says, laughing. “If he wasn’t already bald, he would be bald by now because of me.” (And no, she says, there’s nothing between them.)

In mid-October, Daniels flew to Berlin to continue her book tour. Inevitably she will be asked about the President and his private parts. She’ll answer gamely, pushing her memoir, punching above her weight, and then pack up for the next city. It’s a bargain she made willingly, even if she didn’t quite know the price. So there’s nothing to do but to keep moving, head down, not knowing exactly what her life will look like when the winds let up.

 

 

In an earlier version of this story, the age of Daniels’ daughter was incorrect. She is seven.


This appears in the October 29, 2018 issue of TIME.

Source: Entertainment – TIME | 18 Oct 2018 | 6:30 am

The Best—and Worst—New Halloween Shows on Streaming

As drugstore candy displays have been reminding us since August, Halloween is fast approaching–and, as always, TV is on it. Family sitcoms are going wild with topical costumes. The Food Network has draped itself in spun-sugar cobwebs. Freeform is wall-to-wall hocus pocus. But you needn’t be privy to Netflix’s closely guarded audience data to understand why the holiday has a unique appeal for streaming platforms: suspenseful shows are ideal for binge watching, and the cost-effective horror genre is a safe investment for sites stockpiling original content.

One reason horror can be so cheap is that it doesn’t have to be good to be entertaining. In lieu of adequate writing, acting and production values, gory set pieces will usually do. Unfortunately, Hulu is banking on that low barrier to entry this year, with schlocky Halloween titles that aren’t even fun. On Oct. 5 it launched Into the Dark, a monthly anthology, courtesy of the horror-hit factory Blumhouse, with feature-length installments tied to holidays. The series naturally begins with a Halloween episode: “The Body.” The bloody tale of a hit man at a costume party is based on a short–and it shows in a plot stretched too thin over 90 minutes and stock horror characters whose vapidity defies belief. (The listless performances don’t help.) Equally dull is Hulu’s half-hour Pretty Little Liars knockoff, Light as a Feather, about four high school friends and the creepy new girl who knows how they’ll die.

Netflix may be the platform taking fullest advantage of the holiday. As is its custom, the streaming monolith has churned out seasonal content for every type of viewer–true-crime addicts (Making a Murderer), kids (Creeped Out, Super Monsters), home cooks (The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell)–plus a mess of original fright flicks. But it has also invested in a pair of quality dramas: The Haunting of Hill House and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

the haunting of hill house: Netflix reimagines Shirley Jackson’s classic novel in an emotional horror story that uses a haunted house as a metaphor for mourning.
Steve Dietl—NetflixNetflix reimagines Shirley Jackson’s classic novel in an emotional horror story that uses a haunted house as a metaphor for mourning.

Debuting on Oct. 12, the 10-episode Hill House, from horror master Mike Flanagan (Oculus), reframes the Shirley Jackson novel as the story of five adult siblings whose fates have been shaped by their family’s traumatic stay in the haunted home when they were kids. Between effective jump-scares, a cast led by the great TV actors Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones) and Elizabeth Reaser (True Detective) breathes life into an allegory for collective mourning.

But it’s Sabrina, a dark coming-of-age drama from Riverdale‘s corner of the Archie Comics universe that drops on Oct. 26, that’s the best show of the bunch. Forget Melissa Joan Hart’s saccharine teen witch; as played by the steely Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men‘s Sally Draper), Sabrina Spellman could be Buffy the vampire slayer’s sardonic, supernaturally powerful cousin. This Sabrina has substance, too: pressured by her aunts to sign over her soul to Satan, the half-witch heroine must consider her own spiritual beliefs. Allusions to infamous heretics like Aleister Crowley and Faust only lightly obscure a portrait of a young woman wrestling with universal questions of faith.

Horror juggernaut Blumhouse teams up with Hulu on a holiday-­themed monthly anthology that kicks off with a lackluster Halloween episode.
Richard Foreman—HuluHorror juggernaut Blumhouse teams up with Hulu on a holiday-­themed monthly anthology that kicks off with a lackluster Halloween episode.

Horror merely needs to exist to draw a Halloween crowd, so it’s easy to imagine plenty of viewers pressing play on both Hulu and Netflix before October is over. The trouble is, the streaming business thrives not on ratings for individual episodes but on attracting and retaining subscribers. Among this year’s offerings, only Sabrina and Hill House seem capable of luring in new viewers–even after the candy displays give way to shelves sparkling with tinsel.


This appears in the October 29, 2018 issue of TIME.

Source: Entertainment – TIME | 18 Oct 2018 | 6:27 am

‘It’s Heart Expanding.’ Paul Dano on Becoming a Family Man, In Film and In Real Life

Paul Dano is hiding his hair under a trucker hat and carrying a few days’ stubble. Six weeks ago exactly, his partner, actor Zoe Kazan, gave birth to their first child. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super tired,” he says, walking into Central Park on a recent sunny morning in New York City. “But it’s heart expanding.”

After taking a monthlong break to focus on the baby, Dano is promoting another manner of child: his directorial debut, the moody, beautifully shot period drama Wildlife (out Oct. 19), which he wrote and produced with Kazan. It’s a film about family dysfunction, based on Richard Ford’s novel of the same name, which unfolds against rural sunsets and forest fires in 1960s Montana. The Brinsons are new to their small town, and struggling. Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal), a husband and father, reels after losing his job. When he runs away from his problems to fight fires outside town, his wife Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) implodes and sparks a new romance. They unravel through the eyes of their son Joe (Ed Oxenbould), who is horrified to discover his parents’ fallibility. Oxenbould, 15 during filming, captures Joe’s anguish with the skill of an adult–a great surprise for Dano. “Directing is kind of like parenting–you just try to get the best out of everybody,” he says. “Push them a little left or right, and catch them when they fall.”

Dano himself started acting so early he remembers agonizing over finding time to travel with his basketball team while also performing in A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden. Now 34, he has proven himself across genres–playing bookish types in Little Miss Sunshine and The Girl Next Door, artists in Love & Mercy and Youth, and a maniacal preacher in There Will Be Blood. (His IMDB page says his trademark is getting beaten up. He doesn’t agree but thinks that’s funny.) He’ll return to Broadway this winter in True West. And he plays a real-life prison escapee in the upcoming Showtime series Escape at Dannemora.

Mulligan and Gyllenhaal star as parents who set their marriage ablaze
Scott Garfield—IFC FilmsMulligan and Gyllenhaal star as parents who set their marriage ablaze

But Dano always wanted to work behind the camera. He tried to come up with a story, but nothing stuck. Then in 2011, he read Ford’s 1990 novel. “Ford somehow was able to capture a great amount of love with a great amount of struggle,” Dano says. He relates to Joe’s feeling of fighting to steady a rocking boat. “The idea of trying to hold things together, to not let things tip in the wrong direction, felt true to who I am.”

Dano obsessed for a year before reaching out to Ford to option the film rights with Kazan in 2012, and wrote the first draft himself, adapting its deeply internal story as best he could. He handed it to Kazan, an experienced screenwriter. She tore it apart. The couple spent years passing drafts back and forth between jobs before settling on the final version.

Joe is 14 in the movie–the age when Dano himself moved with his own family. “When you move to a new place, your family is your life–it’s all you have,” he says. His was always close, once sharing a single bedroom between his parents, sister and himself. “There’s a great quote,” Dano says, tossing a stray volleyball back to its owners. “About how right outside the doors of home is the edge of the world.”

For now, Dano is happy to keep his focus inside. He’s up with Kazan for every feeding at night. He’s figuring out how to help their daughter become a critical thinker. Maybe he’ll get married. Dano and Kazan have been together for a decade, and he says calling her his girlfriend now feels “insufficient.” He’ll throw himself into his next role soon. “But right now,” he says, “I have to learn how to be a parent.”


This appears in the October 29, 2018 issue of TIME.

Source: Entertainment – TIME | 18 Oct 2018 | 6:09 am

Noel Gallagher scoops two prizes at music Q Awards
British rocker Noel Gallagher triumphed at the Q Awards in London on Wednesday, scooping two prizes at the annual ceremony hosted by UK music magazine Q.

Source: Reuters: Entertainment News | 17 Oct 2018 | 8:01 pm

'After The Screaming Stops' films reunion of 1980s band Bros
Last year, 1980s British pop band Bros took to the stage for the first time in more than 25 years, since singing twins Matt and Luke Goss went their separate ways.

Source: Reuters: Entertainment News | 17 Oct 2018 | 7:25 pm

Kanye gives Ugandan leader sneakers, gets African name
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian gave Uganda's leader a pair of the rapper's sneakers on Monday and he gave them both "Ugandan" names, at a meeting aimed at promoting tourism in East Africa.

Source: Reuters: Entertainment News | 17 Oct 2018 | 6:29 pm

Singer Buble says life changed after son's cancer diagnosis
Singer Michael Buble, who releases his new album "Love" next month, has spoken about putting his career on hold after his son Noah was diagnosed with liver cancer.

Source: Reuters: Entertainment News | 17 Oct 2018 | 5:52 pm

Spotify takes minor stake in music distributor DistroKid
Music streaming service Spotify said on Wednesday it had taken a stake in DistroKid, a distribution service that allows recording artists to upload music across online stores and streaming platforms including Spotify's biggest rival, Apple Music.

Source: Reuters: Entertainment News | 17 Oct 2018 | 5:07 pm

The First Episode of The Conners‘ Ratings Drops From Roseanne‘s Premiere Success

Although the debut of ABC’s The Conners managed to outperform the Roseanne finale, its ratings were nowhere near those of the revival’s premiere.

Tuesday night’s episode of The Conners—a spinoff starring the Roseanne cast minus Roseanne Barr—pulled in 10.5 million viewers with 2.3 rating among adults 18-49, beating out This Is Us for the demographic’s top spot of the night.

However, this was still a 35 percent decline from the 18.2 million viewers and 5.1 rating among adults 18-49 delivered by its predecessor’s March premiere, the highest-rated comedy broadcast since a 2014 premiere episode of CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, according to ABC.

Titled “Keep on Trucking,” the premiere of The Conners confirmed previous reports that Roseanne’s absense would be explained by having her character die from an opioid overdose. Following the episode’s conclusion, Barr took to Twitter to remind fans that, in real life, she is still alive and well.

“I AIN’T DEAD, B—HES!!!!” she wrote.

Source: Entertainment – TIME | 17 Oct 2018 | 4:11 pm

Lord of the Rings Actor Had a Major Brush With Danger During This Iconic Scene People Love

The final installment in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy may have come out nearly 15 years ago, but fans are still being treated to new behind-the-scenes tidbits from the beloved movies.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Ian Nathan’s forthcoming book Anything You Can Imagine: Peter Jackson and the Making of Middle-Earth—billed as a “definitive history of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth saga”—reveals that one of the most iconic scenes in The Return of the King was an actual life-and-death situation for star Viggo Mortensen.

Apparently, the sequence in which Aragorn delivers his rousing speech outside the Black Gate of Mordor was filmed in a section of the Rangipo Desert that was once used by the New Zealand military for training and was therefore covered in unexploded artillery shells. The film had designated a safe area away from the bombs prior to the shoot, but an improvising Mortensen rode outside this zone while filming, sufficiently freaking Jackson out.

“Jackson remembers waiting for the explosion,” Nathan writes in the book. “Having found their perfect Aragorn, they were going to watch him get blown up by an unexploded New Zealand bomb.”

Jackson’s latest project, a WWI archive movie called They Shall Not Grow Old, opened at the London Film Festival on Tuesday.

Watch the Return of the King clip below.

Source: Entertainment – TIME | 17 Oct 2018 | 1:05 pm

Roseanne calls TV death 'morbid,' audience slumps for 'The Conners'
Roseanne Barr called the way her character was killed off "grim and morbid" and television viewers stayed away in droves from spinoff show "The Conners" without her.

Source: Reuters: Entertainment News | 17 Oct 2018 | 11:54 am

The Bracing Honesty of Kiese Laymon’s Memoir Heavy

How do you love authentically when lies feel so familiar? That’s the question Kiese Laymon explores in his devastating personal story, Heavy: An American Memoir.

Laymon begins the book with an earnest missive to his mother, a professor who raised him with the help of Laymon’s beloved grandmother. “I did not want to write about us,” he writes of his relationship with his mother. “I wanted to write a lie.” From there he delves headfirst into an unflinching examination of the complex relationship they shared as he came of age as a black man in 1980s and ’90s Mississippi.

Laymon grew up in a household that nurtured his intellect and creativity. His childhood, however, was haunted by poverty and violence. Books were readily available, but his mother bounced checks at the local grocery store; his home life included writing exercises and whippings in equal measure. Throughout, Laymon lays bare the many secrets mother and son kept from each other in their home: addictions, sexual violence, physical abuse, eating disorders, theft, lies and shame. As he recounts this, he holds the culture of the U.S. accountable for its role in creating and fueling the racial violence and toxic masculinity that shaped the struggles of both of them, making it so difficult for them to give and receive love in a trusting and trustworthy way.

This deeply personal exploration of the political is nothing new to Laymon, a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Mississippi, who previously published a novel, Long Division, and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. In Heavy, he writes with a fearless intimacy and bracing honesty, indicting the treatment of black people in the U.S. The book’s a high-water mark for both personal narrative and social criticism.


This appears in the October 29, 2018 issue of TIME.

Source: Entertainment – TIME | 31 Dec 1969 | 7:00 pm