Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

July 30 2015 3:32 PM

Hear Fiona Apple’s Raucous Cover of “When I Get Low, I Get High” With Members of Nickel Creek

Last week, jazz quintet Postmodern Jukebox released a sultry, vintage-style cover of Fiona Apple’s breakout hit “Criminal”—and it seems appropriate that around the same time, Apple herself was covering a 1930s jazz standard. Apple has been on tour with the folk group Watkins Family Hour (which includes Sara and Sean Watkins from Nickel Creek) to promote their new album, and during their set at the Newport Folk Festival, the band performed the swing-era number “When I Get Low, I Get High.” The frenetic tribute to drug use, written by silent film star and musician Marion Sunshine, was first recorded by a teenaged Ella Fitzgerald and the Chick Webb Orchestra in 1936.

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July 30 2015 2:47 PM

The New Black Mass Trailer Offers an Extra Helping of Johnny Depp’s Creepy Whitey Bulger

The first trailer for Whitey Bulger drama Black Mass centered around one tense dinner scene, but in the new full-length trailer, Johnny Depp finds lots of new ways to be creepy. There’s creepy swaggering down the street! A creepy military salute! Creepy stomach crunches! Directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) the movie follows the true story of the infamous Boston gangster (Depp) as he does the usual gangster stuff: Threatening people, killing people, and maintaining complicated relationships with the FBI.

July 30 2015 1:32 PM

The Trailer for Cary Fukunaga’s Next Movie Has More Suspense Than All of True Detective Season 2

Ever since Cary Fukunaga made his name directing the first season of True Detective,  fans have been eager to see what the writer-director would do next. Now, his adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s acclaimed novel Beasts of No Nation is set to come to theaters and to Netflix this October, and today Netflix released the first trailer.

July 30 2015 11:25 AM

Emma Donoghue’s Room Is Now a Movie, and the Trailer Will Give You Chills

Emma Donoghue’s best-selling Room, the story of a kidnapped woman raising her son in captivity, has been adapted into a movie that looks just as harrowing as its source material. In the film, directed by Lenny Abrahamson (who also helmed last year’s acclaimed Frank), and adapted by Donoghue herself, Brie Larson plays Ma, a woman who’s held captive with her son, Jack, and allows him to believe the single room they’re being kept in is the only thing that’s real. But when she sees a chance for escape, Ma must convince Jack to help her—and pray that he isn’t overwhelmed by the outside world. The best-selling novel, which is narrated from Jack’s perspective, was short-listed for the 2010 Man Booker Prize. The movie hits theaters Oct. 16.

July 30 2015 10:13 AM

Here’s Why You Should Use Cornbread in Your Panzanella

This post originally appeared on Food52.

Cornbread and tomatoes are often at the same party—cornbread at one end of the table, near a sweating stick of butter, and tomatoes (in the salad bowl) at the other—but never dancing. Always involved in separate conversations, but flitting their eyes over to check the other one out from time to time. The sexual tension is hard to ignore—I’ve got a sense for stuff like this. It seems like it’s meant to be. Time for these kids to make out.

Panzanella is my favorite way to bring cornbread and summer tomatoes together in perfect union (I know, they’re moving really fast). A tomato-centric salad with more than a few cubes of toasted bread means that both parties shine in equal measure; the cornbread adds a lovely rustic-ness, and bulbous heirloom tomatoes are just weird and fun. 

July 30 2015 8:02 AM

Why Are Movie Trailers Using So Many Creepy Pop Covers? A Music Director Explains.

There’s a formula to making movie trailers, the many ingredients of which (quirky indie music, dramatic title cards, and so on) have been pointed out, and parodied, again andagain. Lately, though, we’ve noticed the rise of a different recurring trailer trope: Familiar pop songs remade as creepy, dirge-like soundtracks.

The most recent example is the Suicide Squad trailer, which premiered at Comic-Con earlier this month. As Viola Davis’ Amanda Waller describes assembling her crew of villains, the ominous music bubbles beneath her monologue until an echoey, child-like female vocal chimes in. The song lyrics are, in fact, from one of the Bee Gees’ lesser-known hits, “I Started a Joke.” And several other recent trailers have taken a page from this book: Avengers: Age of Ultron (“I’ve Got No Strings”), Amy (“Back to Black”), andBirdman (“Crazy”), among others.

How did we go from simply using pop songs in trailers to refashioning them as haunting, melancholic tunes? 

July 29 2015 9:23 PM

There Are Few Things More Beautiful Than Hayao Miyazaki’s Worlds Rendered in 3-D

Earlier this month, Hayao Miyazaki unretired—again—to announce his first computer-animated movie, a 10-minute short about a very hairy caterpillar. Before blasting the director’s surrender to CGI, though, purists should drop the pitchforks, draw a deep breath, and watch Dono’s tribute to Miyazaki, which renders Studio Ghibli’s most famous films in three sumptuous, jaw-dropping dimensions.

Dono, an up-and-coming animator who counts Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich among his fans, used software like Blender, Gimp, Octane, and Natron to make the video. I claim no knowledge about what any of those programs do, but here they’ve been deployed to deepen and illuminate Miyazaki’s worlds, bringing beloved characters like Totoro and No-Face just a shade closer to reality. Maybe that hairy caterpillar won’t be so tough to take after all.   


Via the Creators Project.

July 29 2015 6:19 PM

Watch an Unaired Saturday Night Live Sketch That Feels Like a George Saunders Story

Saturday Night Live is currently on summer hiatus, but NBC recently shared a video of a weird, charming sketch that was intended to air last fall but ended up being cut for time. If George Saunders wrote sketch comedy, he’d probably end up producing something like this. In it, a perfectly conventional bourgeois couple, played by Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer, come home after date night to discover that his parents have sent them a gift called an Alan (Bill Hader), which is purported to be “the future of casual entertainment.”

July 29 2015 5:26 PM

Watch Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton Uncover the Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal in Spotlight    

Thomas McCarthy’s Spotlight assembles a staggering array of stars, including Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Stanley Tucci, to tell the true story of the Boston Globe’s groundbreaking investigation into child abuse by Catholic priests. The titular “Spotlight” team of reporters spent a year unearthing the scandalous details of the cover-up, which reached across Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishments. “We’ve got two stories here,” Keaton warns a lawyer played by Billy Crudup in the trailer. “A story about degenerate clergy, and a story about a bunch of lawyers turning child abuse into a cottage industry. Which story do you want us to write?”

McCarthy has more experience as an actor than as a writer or director, but the caliber of Spotlight’s cast and the high-stakes nature of the story might make it a contender come Oscar season. The movie hits theaters in November.

July 29 2015 4:49 PM

Cara Delevingne Did an Interview With a Sacramento News Station, and It Was a Hilarious Train Wreck    

Press-junket interviews are usually boring—a chance for actors to hone their sound bites as they’re asked the same questions hundreds of times by a never-ending line of journalists. But sometimes, they go off the rails. Such was the case when 22-year-old model, actress, and Taylor Swift pal Cara Delevingne called into local news show Good Day Sacramento to promote her new teen drama Paper Towns. The interview goes from banal to train wreck in 60 seconds flat—and while Delevingne could have been a little more animated and receptive, Good Day Sacramento’s anchors get credit for turning a lackluster interview into a disaster by asking the stupidest questions imaginable and basically ignoring Delevingne’s answers.