The good news for a lot of comedy fans today is that NBC renewed Community for a fourth season. There’s a catch, however. That season is a truncated 13-episode order at this point. And while EW reports the renewal, the site says that the returns of series creator Dan Harmon and actor Chevy Chase are still to be confirmed. Presumably there would be no show without Harmon, but given recent statements by Chevy Chase, perhaps there is still reason to be concerned about his return.

Still no word on Parks & Recreation, though that could arrive later this evening. But we do have promo pics from NBC’s new shows, renewal announcements for 30 Rock and Parenthood, and word on returning stars for The Office. Also after the jump:

  • Fox unveils a trailer for Fringe‘s fourth season finale
  • FX is developing Heartsick, about a female serial killer
  • AMC renews Comic Book Men and The Talking Dead
  • HBO drops new character posters for True Blood
  • VICE developing weekly newsmagazine series on HBO

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Premiering at next month’s SXSW Film Festival in the movie mecca of Austin, Texas is The Ride, a thorough and serenely choreographed doc on young professional bull riders, rodeo entertainers, and the lucrative, tradition-heavy subculture that supports them. To some, the flick will appear an unlikely release from VICE Films, part of the media-and-culture empire that has expanded out of flannel-crowded Brooklyn to 15 countries. But their film offshoot, which boasts no less than Spike Jonze as its creative director, has taken a shining of late to the heartland; a heady Virginian outlaw feature from the company entitled White Lightnin’ is also on deck for oh-ten.

Paced with the bucolic ease of downing beers on a front porch at sunset (the acronym of the Professional Bull Riding circuit is conveniently PBR), the film is interspersed with shit-kicker action and road-life but follows many riders on through candid disappointment, injury, and even tragedy (one rider died during production). After the jump, we have the official trailer for The Ride, images, and thoughts from /Film’s exclusive screening…

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Move over Dune, your time is up. Iain M. Banks‘ The Culture is finally coming to the big screen.

The first of Banks’ science fiction novels to portray ‘The Culture’ was Consider Phlebas, published back in 1987. That was when I was a young teenager and always keen to find the next big thing in genre literature, so having loved Banks’ The Wasp Factory, I scooped it up hungrily and was almost instantly sucked into something so much bigger, more complex and awesome than I had dared to expect.

The scope of this one novel was extraordinary, introducing readers to a quite incredibly sophisticated portrayal of a socialist-anarchist utopia, but Banks didn’t stop there and kept filling out the details of his world in a long running series of short stories and novels that continue to this day. Both gripping reads and astute philosophical and political debates, The Culture stories are, for my money, the best thing in modern sci-fi publishing. If you’ve so far got no idea about Banks but are a sci-fi fan, I’d strongly recommend getting a grounding in the milieu from Wikipedia – and then rushing out and buying a heap of books.

The first realisation of The Culture in cinema will be an adaptation of the brilliant short story A Gift From the Culture.

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Obviously, the staff at /Film collectively views Spike Jonze‘s Where the Wild Things Are with a certain reverence. The film is simply a win all around, tastefully exploring and modernizing the notions of imaginative nostalgia and vice versa that are so often exploited these days in the name of “geekdom” and “hipsterdom.” On a related note, I’ve always found it a bit profound that Ain’t It Cool and Vice magazine were started within two years of one another (’96 and ’94, respectively); both went on to make a positive, DIY impact on culture in the aughts unlike anything in new media this side of negative influencers like Matt Drudge and Rupert Murdoch. Back then, I remember thinking that Austin’s Harry Knowles was fat off movies (and ‘shrooms?) and the Brooklyn staff at Vice was lithe off drugs and deadlines, but there was something in common: they both ignored Old Media (now dying), didn’t give a damn about design trends, and did things the way they should be done, with knowledge, a cultivated attitude, and enthusiasm.

One the main and most important guys who has helped Vice see its way to 23 offices around the globe, millions of readers, and untold cultural influence is the mag’s long-term Editor-in-Chief Jesse Pearson. He also plays a role in the company’s video website, VBS.tv, where WTWTA director, Spike Jonze, serves as the creator director. On the eve of Vice‘s 15th anniversary and a coinciding $250K Halloween party in Brooklyn, we spoke with Pearson about the future of the company’s Vice Films (where Jonze is also involved) and regarding the mag’s recent, highly recommended Film Issue. He also shared a few of his favorite films and welcome ideas about the state of cinema, the ever-controversial fast-moving zombie, and the “Chaos Reigns” fox in Antichrist (not to mention the fetching photo shown above.)

Hunter Stephenson: Hi Jesse. Vice has released a film issue that arrives during a very interesting, chaotic time for cinema, especially in the States. And Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are is an important film that I think signifies a steamy unification between two of the aughts’ biggest influential youth movements; to the eye rolls of many on both sides: the geeks and the hipsters. And as such, it seems a great time for /Film and Vice to have a chat. Since Spike is the creative director at Vice‘s VBS.tv, what are your thoughts on his latest film in terms of its cultural relevance and do you agree with these notions?

Jesse Pearson: Right now, all I really feel qualified to gauge in terms of cultural relevance is the film’s trailer and all of the general advance expectations surrounding the movie. I know that I have rarely, maybe never, seen a trailer create so much visceral excitement in so many people. Friends have told me that they cried watching it. That seems a wee bit over the top to me. But, to partially answer your question, I think that the amount of drooling going on in advance of Where the Wild Things Are is very interesting and very telling. What it means to me is that people, lots of people, maybe people in the two much-maligned, very amorphous and perhaps not-really-existing-in-the-way-that-most-people-mean-it-when-they-say-it groups that you mentioned, geeks and hipsters… Wait, where was I going with this?

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