once upon a time in hollywood first look

Last week, we got our first look at Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The project has been steeped in controversy since its announcement, as it will pair the notoriously provocative director with a subject matter undeserving of glorification or gratuity: the Manson Murders.

At least, that was the initial concern. As we’ve learned in the meantime, and in Tarantino’s own words, the film is “not Charles Manson, it’s 1969.” Indeed, as more information comes out, we can see that the film is the story of a Hollywood – and an America – in a great metamorphosis. Not a Manson story, but a story where those famous murders are one facet of a grander tale, about the abrupt end of a free-loving, free-wheeling decade where every renaissance was tainted by inconceivable retractions.

To drive home the intended perception of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, let’s take a look back at all of the confirmed production and casting announcements, and use those confirmations to speculate what kind of movie Tarantino might have in store.

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(Welcome to Small-Screen Stream, a feature where we share the best television shows streaming and where you can watch them.)

For this week’s column, I’m sticking to a theme once again. I plan to ditch the hyper-specific lists and get a little more random with my pickings going forward – so as not to limit my selections – but I couldn’t resist another one-genre list this time around. I blame it on Stephen King.

Something about the late summer – when the humidity levels reach a putrid density, when the days are long and the nights velvet-dark – puts me in the mood for good horror. Obviously, fall is what we most associate with spooks and scares, but summer has a far eerier quality, like there’s something off in the air. Hulu capitalized on that late-summer spookiness with their new Stephen King anthology series, Castle Rock, which – along with some news from TCAs about American Horror Story – influenced the theme of this weeks’ column.

Here is a compilation of some of the best horror series – old and new – currently available to stream.

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bob fosse and gwen verdon

Last week, news broke that FX is producing a limited series based on the relationship between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, with Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams in the lead roles. Fosse/Verdon will be executive produced by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is also composing the score. This is thrilling news for fans of musical theater, but should excite even the non-initiated. Fosse and Verdon’s story is one of absolute passion; for their work and for one another. Together, they created beautiful, iconic films and performances, and watching their story unfold with such talent backing it will be a treat for all.

If you’re not familiar with Fosse or Verdon, here’s a look back at who they were, how their paths crossed, what they created together, and how their love produced a golden age of musical splendor. And, of course, why their story will make for must-see TV.

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barry review

(Welcome to Small-Screen Stream, a feature where we share the best television shows streaming and where you can watch them.)

Emmy nominations were announced two weeks ago, and the usual suspects are back to claim more awards. Shows like Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Crown, and The Handmaid’s Tale topped the list of nominations, and will no-doubt decimate their competition. While all of these shows are great, many that snuck into big categories aren’t, necessarily, big shows themselves. In an effort to highlight some of the underdogs – or at least, some series that don’t get quite as much buzz and love in social spaces – this week’s Small-Screen Stream column is dedicated to the underrated series that could go home with gold when the Emmys air later this fall.

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TV Shows About Complex Women

(Welcome to Small-Screen Stream, a feature where we share the best television shows streaming and where you can watch them.)

The premiere of Sharp Objects inspired me to do something a little different with this week’s streaming column. Watching Amy Adams in HBO’s incredible new miniseries made me yearn for other complex, layered, broken female characters, ones who don’t fit into the neat little boxes where women in media so often reside. Ones who drink when they shouldn’t or speak out when it feels uncalled for or let their makeup smear, their hair tousle. Silly little things, maybe, but things we so rarely see in a sea of perfectly manicured cable characters.

So I set out to compile a list of streaming shows filled with a-typical TV women. They’re not all complex in the same way – and some are still pretty manicured – but instead offer some variety. These are women who don’t behave the way society might want them to, and that’s exactly why they’re so endlessly watchable.

I also wanted to emphasize shows with largely female creative forces behind-the-scenes (as much as I could). Because female creators, directors, and writers lend their shows a unique quality, one of truth and experience. We need more of them, but these are the women who have already started paving the way.

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little women remake

What makes a story timeless? It’s a loaded question, with infinite answers, but there are certain through-lines when you take a monocled look. The stories that get retold, over and over ad nauseum, are elemental: hero’s journeys, love stories, arch enemies. Easily adaptable, impressionable by nature; no matter how they are told, how closely they adhere to origin, they feel new. Jesus, Hamlet, Jane Eyre. They are fables ripe with possibility.

When it was announced last week that Greta Gerwig’s follow-up to Lady Bird – her first solo feature as a writer and director, which earned her dual Oscar nods as a result – would be an adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s seminal novel Little Women, there was a bit of a backlash. There are, to date, six film adaptations of Little Women, with a seventh – a modern retelling starring Lea Thompson – due later this year. Additionally, there have been four BBC miniseries based on the book – including one that came out just last year – a made-for-TV musical in 1958, a 2012 Lifetime movie, and several anime spinoffs. Why, some wondered, do we need another?

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(Welcome to Small-Screen Stream, a feature where we share the best television shows streaming and where you can watch them.)

It’s been a hard few weeks.

No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, there’s an exhausting onslaught of things going on that have made it very difficult to remain positive, focused, and productive. It’s also been hard to watch television lightheartedly; things like The Handmaid’s Tale and Westworld – about body politics and oppression and challenging ideologies – are a little too real in the wake of all that’s happening around us.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been tuning out the noise with whatever lighthearted entertainment I can. Whether that means re-visiting old favorites or discovering new comedic gems, I’ve been making my way through an array of shows, and wanted to theme this week’s column around that. Because we could all use a little lighthearted escapism right now.

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Best TV Streaming Now

(Welcome to Small-Screen Stream, a feature where we share the best television shows streaming and where you can watch them.)

Summer is here, and with it comes a pretty eclectic group of impulse watches. Whether you’re drowning out the heat with the AC or anxiously awaiting the warmth, that distinct summer feeling is already in the air. And sometimes, the only thing that satiates it is shows about people basking in the heat, same as you. Or true crime. Or fluffy comedies. Or a Twin Peaks marathon.

Okay – there isn’t one true way to get in the summer mood, but if you’re like me, and enjoy an eclectic mix of media, here are my suggestions for the best shows to binge on streaming services this week.

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Star Wars Fandom

I love Star Wars.

In our current defensive, insular fandom climate, that’s a contentious thing to admit. But I love it still, and I love its fans, and I love the warmth the movies – all of them, even the bad ones – give me, and have always given me, and will continue to give me forevermore. I’ve always been a fan, but it reached a crescendo in 2015, when The Force Awakens resurrected what had sat dormant for more than a decade. A special, familial, dreamlike pleasantness that starts with a blue serif font before catapulting my heart and imagination into a galaxy beyond.

I’m speaking so romantically of Star Wars because it’s easy to forget what brought us to these movies in the first place. As the Twitter war machine loads another round of ammunition, as the new creators are forced to protect themselves and their talent from vitriolic personal attacks, as conversations about the brokenness of fandom poison our timelines – and our spirit – we slip further and further into an empty void of endless, cyclical diatribe. Nothing changes, nothing gets better, things just dredge on with a savage melancholy that clashes diametrically with the essence of the thing we’re fighting about.

It’s called Star Wars. It’s about love.

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con of thrones 2018

Winter is here for Game of Thrones fans, who are in the midst of a great content drought; the show isn’t back until next year, and George R.R. Martin may never finish his A Song of Ice and Fire book series. But for three short days in May, those things didn’t matter, as a contingency of fans gathered in Dallas for the second annual Con of Thrones, a convention dedicated to celebrating Martin’s rich, fantastical world.

And judging from the passion radiating off of the walls of the Hyatt Regency, this is a group that could survive the longest of winters – so long as they’re in each other’s company.

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