Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

Aug. 25 2016 5:25 PM

David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike Fight for Love (and Oscars, Probably) in the Trailer for A United Kingdom

Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom stars David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike as real-life married couple Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams. In 1947, Khama, a member of Bechuanaland’s royal family, fell in love with a white British woman while studying in United Kingdom. Their interracial marriage in the era of apartheid led to backlash from both nations’ governments and led to Khama’s exile, but love eventually triumphed, and Khama became the first president of Botswana in 1966.

As Oscar bait, it’s pretty much irresistible: a true story about race, injustice, and love overcoming the odds. And if A United Kingdom’s plot sounds vaguely familiar, it might be because there’s another movie coming out this year about a famous forbidden interracial marriage, and it’s also based on a true story: Jeff Nichols’ Loving, another strong Oscar contender. Asante’s last film, Belle, was a masterful period piece (and one that landed a spot in Slate’s black film canon), and given A United Kingdom’s star power and subject matter, it’s hard to imagine A United Kingdom won’t be similarly worthwhile.


A United Kingdom will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Aug. 25 2016 2:42 PM

Why Orange Is the New Black Fans Should Be Watching This Children’s Show on the Cartoon Network

How much longer can Orange is the New Black really run for? Not from a production or industry standpoint–if showrunner Jenji Kohan’s last series Weeds is any indication, Orange can run essentially forever, and Netflix, with its seemingly bottomless coffers, has already renewed it through seven full seasons. But how long can it keep its premise going before the show collapses on itself?

Taylor Schilling’s Piper Kerman, the ostensible protagonist of the show, is going to get out of prison eventually. Though the series could, in theory, keep introducing new characters and phasing out old ones, Kohan seems too attached to the show’s core cast to take this tack, keeping the focus tightly on the characters we’ve already spent four seasons with, up to and including the show’s continued insistence that we should care about Piper’s relationship with Alex (Laura Prepon). Thankfully for OITNB fans, even if the series goes off the rails, there are quite a few other shows currently on the air that approximate the show’s best qualities, from Transparent’s surrealism to latter-day Girls’ cutting zingers.  But the best one is a children’s show airing on Cartoon Network: Steven Universe.

Aug. 25 2016 2:12 PM

Natalie Portman Is an American Medium in Paris in the Planetarium Trailer

Natalie Portman and Lily-Rose Depp, daughter of Johnny, play American sisters who are seemingly able to communicate with the dead in the first international trailer for Planetarium. The film from French director Rebecca Ztolowski follows the mediums (media?) during a trip to Paris, where their entanglement with a film producer may lead to trouble (and possibly Nazis).

The trailer for Planetarium is, quelle surprise, mostly in French, but there’s still plenty to be gleaned by English-speaking audiences, including the lush 1930s Parisian setting and a chance to see whether Depp has inherited her father’s acting abilities. As for Portman, she may have said goodbye to her role as Jane Foster in Marvel’s Thor movies, but she’s been keeping more than busy—in addition to Planetarium, her upcoming roles include Xavier Dolan’s The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, Alex Garland’s Annihilation, and Jackie, in which she’ll play Jackie Kennedy.


Planetarium will premiere at the Venice International Film Festival. No release date in the U.S. has been announced yet, but the film will be released in France Nov. 16.

Aug. 25 2016 11:25 AM

Prince’s Paisley Park Estate Will Be Opened to the Public in October

Prince’s private estate, Paisley Park, will open to the public in October, less than six months after the artist’s death from an overdose on painkillers. The complex, located just outside Minneapolis, will now act as a museum showcasing Prince’s wardrobe, instruments, cars, motorcycles, and other artifacts, according to USA Today, while also offering daily tours of the artist’s studio, soundstages, and concert hall.

“Only a few hundred people have had the rare opportunity to tour the estate during his lifetime," Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, said in a statement. "Now fans from around the world will be able to experience Prince's world for the first time, as we open the doors to this incredible place.” Nelson affirmed that Prince had always intended for Paisley Park to be turned into a museum, and longtime collaborator Sheila E. has said previously that the singer had already begun to collect memorabilia for that purpose during his life.


The company that oversees Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate in Memphis is managing the project. Paisley Park’s opening is planned for Oct. 6, pending approval from the city of Chanhassan, Minnesota. Chanhassan’s mayor has said that he believes “the plans for Paisley Park are in full accordance with Prince’s wishes.”

Aug. 25 2016 10:52 AM

Colbert Put on His Tinfoil Hat to Offer Some Karl Rove–Style Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories abound: Donald Trump claims the election will be rigged in his opponent’s favor, and Karl Rove thinks Hillary Clinton is hiding a secret illness—and has many, many whiteboards to prove it. Well, Stephen Colbert is convinced, and he even has a few conspiracy theories of his own in a new segment, “Stephen Colbert’s Tinfoil Hat.” It is sponsored, naturally, by Reynold’s Wrap: “Keeping government signals out of your brain since 1999.”

What exactly is Hidden Valley ranch dressing trying to hide? Is it really just a coincidence that bowling balls and wall outlets both have three holes? And are all the Jason Bourne movies actually just the same movie? Colbert doesn’t know, but that won’t stop him from speculating.

Aug. 25 2016 8:32 AM

What Stranger Things Is Missing From the ’80s Horror Genre

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Saying Stranger Things wears its influences on its sleeve is like saying Barb had a lousy time at Steve’s party: It’s true alright, but it understates the case considerably. Entire articles have been written detailing the themes, concepts, creatures, fonts, sound effects, and imagery swiped more or less wholesale from other films—here’s Vulture’s, just for example. And any fan of genre entertainment, particularly (though by no means exclusively) from the ‘80s, can rattle off the creators whose original visions fueled the Duffer Brothers’ own without breaking a sweat. Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, and John Carpenter are the most obvious touchstones, but you can also spot Judd Apatow, Shane Black, John Byrne, James Cameron, Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, Wes Craven, Joe Dante, Richard Donner, Fred Dekker, Jonathan Glazer, Gary Gygax, Tobe Hooper, John Hughes, Richard Kelly, John Landis, David Lynch, Katsuhiro Otomo, and Robert Zemeckis from a mile away. Any show assembled from building blocks that solid is going to be entertaining, at the very least; factor in universally fine performances from the show’s many child and young-adult actors, the strongest such cast assembled since Game of Thrones, and you’d be tempted to move Stranger Things out of the “hey, that was kinda fun” column straight into “this is a stone classic, gimme season two immediately” territory.

Aug. 25 2016 8:02 AM

Devastating Novel A Little Life to Be Adapted as a Limited Series. Who Should Play Jude?

Before it mysteriously disappeared, a bombshell post went up on the Facebook page for Hanya Yanagihara’s sweeping, shattering novel A Little Life. According to Flavorwire, the post said:

I’m very happy to say that ALL has been optioned by the producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network, The Grand Budapest Hotel, There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, etc.) and the amazing theater director Joe Mantello (Wicked, The Humans, Blackbird, Assassins, Love! Valour! Compassion!, etc.) as a limited series. Now it just has to be sold to a network or streaming service — and we’ll let you know when or if it is. Thank you, as always, for all of your interest and your love for the boys, and keep your fingers crossed! (Also, who should play Jude?) — HY

Aug. 25 2016 12:24 AM

Samara Enters the Flat-Screen Era in the Trailer for Rings

On its face, you’d think a horror series about a viral video would be the least affected by the technological changes of the last decade. Virtually all of those changes, after all, were driven by our desire to watch viral videos. And yet there hasn’t been an American sequel to The Ring since 2005’s lackluster The Ring Two. Ringu, the original Japanese film, has five sequels and a video game for the Sega Dreamcast and has now entered the land of insane crossovers, but for a Japanese series, that’s practically nothing. There was something about the original film that stayed tied to the analog era: This was a horror movie with not only a plot thread about developing photographs but an entire set piece about videocassette tracking. (Ok, it was a set piece based on a completely made-up version of videocassette tracking, but since its made-up technology seemed to have been inspired by the sprocket holes in the Zapruder filmanalog—we’ll allow it.) But now Paramount is finally going back to the well, with Rings scheduled for a Halloween release. And as the trailer shows, its adjustments to modern technology have been, let’s say, uneasy.

Aug. 24 2016 5:10 PM

Daveed Diggs Goes From Broadway to the Milky Way in the Futuristic New Music Video for “Air ‘Em Out”

Daveed Diggs has traded in his 18th-century breeches for a spacesuit in the futuristic new music video for “Air ‘Em Out.” The video, which features Diggs rapping in what appears to be a spaceship as gravity starts to shift, is the latest from Clipping, the experimental hip-hop group made up of Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes.

Aug. 24 2016 1:01 PM

The Trailer for Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea Hints at an Emotionally Searing Experience

The degree of anticipation surrounding Manchester by the Sea rivals that of almost any other movie set for release this year. Marking the directorial return of Oscar nominee Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me, Margaret), the film received outstanding reviews after its Sundance premiere, with special notice—and, naturally, premature Oscar talk—going the way of stars Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams. Making good on the movie’s buzz, Amazon ultimately paid a hefty $10 million to secure rights for domestic distribution.