Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

June 30 2016 5:07 PM

Serial’s Adnan Syed Will Get a New Trial With New Evidence

A judge for the Baltimore City Circuit Court ruled on Thursday that Adnan Syed, the man imprisoned more than 15 years ago for the murder of high-schooler Hae Min Lee, will be granted a new trial.

Syed became a household name thanks to Serial, a world-entrancing podcast put together by the team behind This American Life; the show heaped serious doubt on the competence of Syed’s then-defense attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, and unearthed new evidence to suggest that he may have been in the Woodlawn High library at the time of Lee’s slaying.


In February 2016, a five-day hearing for post conviction relief saw key alibi witness Asia McClain step forward to vouch for Syed. Members of the defendant’s new legal team also criticized Gutierrez for failing to cross-examine the state’s cell tower expert effectively (the prosecution’s case rested in large part on Syed’s cell phone records and what they appeared to reveal about his location). These two factors seem to have swayed judge Martin P. Welch, who today vacated the 35-year-old prisoner’s convictions and approved his request for a re-trial.

June 30 2016 3:19 PM

Christina Applegate Rules the PTA With an Iron Fist in New Trailer for Bad Moms

We got our first look at Jon Lucas and Scott Moore’s Bad Moms back in May, with a trailer that offered a glimpse at the Hangover-style debauchery we could expect from Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn. Now, a new trailer shows us more of their “bad mom” self-indulgences—from going to the movies in the middle of the afternoon (unthinkable!) to an alt-PTA meeting that turns into a rager.

The trailer also shows us more of the reign of terror of actual PTA leader Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), who mocks the “bad moms” and is livid at Kunis’ refusal to conform. “Nobody takes a class or plays a clarinet unless I say so,” she warns, flanked by her cronies, played by Annie Mumolo and Jada Pinkett Smith. The stakes of a bake sale have never been higher.


Bad Moms will be released in theaters July 29.

June 30 2016 1:59 PM

Why Him? Is Meet the Parents Plus Bryan Cranston and James Franco as a Silicon Valley Billionaire

James Franco is every parent’s nightmare in the new trailer for Why Him?, which sees him square off with Bryan Cranston in a very awkward Meet the Parents situation. Ned (Cranston) is horrified when he meets his daughter’s boyfriend Laird (Franco), a Silicon Valley billionaire with a lavish lifestyle and a total lack of social skills. Even worse, he learns that Laird plans to propose, and wants his blessing. Zoey Deutch plays the unfortunate young woman caught in the middle of it all.

The trope of overprotective fathers who hate their daughters’ boyfriends has been played out for a long time, but Franco’s Laird is so wonderfully weird—he tattoos the family’s Christmas card on his back, “Happy Holidays” and all—that he makes it feel almost new again. Also noteworthy in the trailer: Keegan-Michael Key as Laird’s estate manager and Megan Mullally (a delight, as always) as Ned’s wife.


Why Him? comes to theaters December 25.

June 30 2016 12:31 PM

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Roasts Lin-Manuel Miranda in Song for #Ham4Ham

This week’s #Ham4Ham featured Lin-Manuel Miranda teaching cast members how to say goodbye: The live show began with a singalong of “Happy Trails” to send off two departing Hamilton family members: Jon Rua, one of Miranda’s understudies, and assistant company manager and “Ham4Ham mistress” Kaitlin Fine, who will be joining the show’s Chicago production. (Miranda led the singalong, but it’s musical director Alex Lacamoire gleefully playing the melodica we can’t take our eyes off of.)

Next, Robert Smigel brought out his canine puppet, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, to roast Miranda, who will soon be leaving Hamilton himself in what the comedian declared a “Mirexit.” Addressing the crowd, Triumph took shots at the near-impossibility of getting a $10 ticket: “You have about as much chance of winning the lottery as [Miranda, who is Puerto Rican] has of staying in the country after Trump wins.” He then went on to serenaded the Hamilton creator about his future prospects—all to the tune of “You’ll Be Back.”


June 30 2016 11:26 AM

The Trailer for Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time Is Here, and It Only Took Four Decades

Few projects in the history of filmmaking have spent as long gestating as Terrence Malick’s IMAX movie The Voyage of Time, which explores our universe “billions of years in the making” and took about as long to produce. But after decades of stops and starts and at least one lawsuit, the movie is finally set to come out this fall, in our own geologic period!

Malick has always excelled more with imagery than narrative, and that’s become especially true in recent years, with 2012’s To the Wonder and this year’s gorgeous-but-puzzling The Knight of Cups polarizing critics more than ever. But while Voyage of Time represents a dramatic departure that appears to make a quantum leap even further in that direction, it looks like it will most closely resemble what might be his greatest masterpiece, 2011’s The Tree of Life.

June 30 2016 8:32 AM

The Female Cinematographers of Neon Demon, Creed, and Dope Discuss Their Experiences in a Male-Dominated Field

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Over the last year, there have been a number of encouraging conversations about diversity in Hollywood, including one about the dearth of female directors. But even as progress is made regarding the women calling the shots, a remarkable fact still stands: No woman has ever been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. The cinematographer—also known as the director of photography, and one of the most important roles in a film’s production—remains an overwhelmingly male field, with only 2 percent (!) of the top 250 highest-grossing films of 2013, for instance, featuring female DPs.

While the new movie from Nicolas Winding Refn, The Neon Demon, has divided critics (to say the least), the one thing everyone does agree on is the beauty of the visuals, which come courtesy of DP Natasha Braier. Vulture spoke to Braier and two other prominent female DPs, Maryse Alberti (The Wrestler, Creed) and Rachel Morrison (Fruitvale Station,Cake, Dope), about the challenges, opportunities, and absurdity of being a woman in cinematography.

June 30 2016 8:02 AM

A Genius, Calmer Way to Cook Mushrooms

Most of the time, cooking mushrooms is the story of trying to understand—of texture management, shrinkage, and wait … where did all the butter go?

If you’re looking for classic sautéed mushrooms, Julia Child’s no-nonsense method will coax you through all this—hot butter, dry mushrooms, and an uncrowded pan are the keys.

But say you want to cook a lot of mushrooms at once, really outrun the shrinkage. Or to be less active in your cooking, and less hot. Then Alex Raij, chef-owner at Txikito, El Quinto Pino, La Vara, and Tekoá has a more scalable, meditative approach, with just as compelling an outcome: Cover all your mushrooms in olive oil with salt and a bit of smashed garlic in a big pot, then let them cook as slowly as you can until they’re tender.

June 30 2016 7:32 AM

The One Scene In Tig Notaro’s Memoir That Captures Exactly What Makes Her Comedy So Unique

There’s a common wisdom that humor is the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down. The idea is that people will listen to a deep or difficult reality—like Tig Notoro’s experience with cancer—if you wrap it in a joke. But Notaro’s new memoir, I’m Just a Person, shows that at its most powerful, humor is not a spoonful of sugar: It can be a bitter medicine itself. Notaro helps us understand the loneliness and alienation of her post-op experience, not by describing it in terms of something silly or clever and therefore more digestible. Instead Notaro describes her horrifying situation in terms of another more horrifying situation: “A nonstop stream of friends came by, but I was so jacked up on painkillers that my hospital room looked like a party going on around someone who had overdosed before the guests had arrived.” Tig Notaro’s comic lens turns up the focus on the absurd futility of her experience, making it more real and powerful, giving us an understanding that is just as comic as it is tragic.

June 29 2016 9:40 PM

Tom Hanks Plays Captain Sullenberger in the First Trailer for Clint Eastwood’s Sully

Tom Hanks is in full voice-of-authority mode in the trailer for Sully, Clint Eastwood’s upcoming film about Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who successfully ditched US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River, saving everyone aboard. The landing, from the plane’s initial encounter with a flock of geese to touchdown, took only three minutes and ended with everyone alive, which leaves a lot of time for the film to fill—it looks like Eastwood will be filling it with the aftermath: Sullenberger’s post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and the subsequent Federal Aviation Administration investigation into the crash.

This seems like a tough structure to pull off, honestly; it’s Flight with a protagonist who did everything right. But the film is directed by Clint Eastwood—you can tell because of all the Gran Torino marquees in the shot of Times Square—so it’s a sure thing he’ll find something to say about courage under fire and second-guessing authority figures. If all goes well, he’ll follow it up with a full-length sequel telling the same story from the perspective of the geese.

June 29 2016 5:31 PM

Miles Teller Gets Oscar-Baity as Boxing Legend Vinny Pazienza in the Trailer for Bleed For This

In 1991, Vinny Pazienza, a young boxer with a promising career ahead of him, was in a car accident that broke his neck. Never one to quit when he was down, Pazienza, strapped to a Halo device, refused to heed doctors’ warnings to rest, instead continuing to train so that he could defy the odds and get back in the ring.

It’s a classic comeback story that was just waiting for someone to put it on film, and sure enough, Miles Teller will star as Paz in Yet Another Boxing Movie—er, Bleed For This, produced by Martin Scorsese.