Leonard Nimoy Represented the Best of Humanity

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Nimoy in a publicity still for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock .
Leonard Nimoy has died at the age of 83. Both on camera and off, he exemplified the best of what Star Trek, and thus humanity, could represent.

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Here's That Non-Jewish 2015 Annie Hall Remake the World's Been Waiting For

Categories: Film and TV

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Maybe he needed the eggs.

That's our best guess as to what's going on in this confounding — but sometimes funny — video that just turned up online. Brooklyn-based filmmaker J.D. Oxblood has posted the trailer to an unfinished romantic comedy he's calling #AnnieHall, a Brooklyn-based, present-day find-and-replace riff on Woody Allen's epochal 1977 film.

In this iteration, Annie Hall is Minnie Wohl, a "nice Yeshiva girl" who resists being dragged by her lover to see The Battle of Algiers, Oxblood's replacement for The Sorrow and the Pity. Allen's Alvy Singer, meanwhile, is now a blond goy, a comedy writer whose paranoia that the world's prejudiced against him now has a tinge of Tea Party dada: Rather than insist that he was subjected to the question "Jew eat?" this tanned schlemiel carps that a Pakistani called him "Whitey."

Yes, this cover/adaptation/whatever changes Annie Hall around to re-tell the story from a perspective we just never get to hear in our society: a Brooklyn dude who's into Woody Allen movies. But it's easy to carp. What Oxblood has whipped up is fascinating, and it offers some legitimate laughs:

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Podcast: Winners, Awkward Moments, and Losers From the 2015 Oscars

Categories: Film and TV

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Screenshot from Oscars red-carpet coverage on ABC
Griffith and Johnson during an awkward moment on the red carpet
There was an awkward moment between Fifty Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson and her mom, Melanie Griffith, on the red carpet before the Oscars on Sunday. But the world got to see Johnson's impressive talent for pretending uncomfortable situations don't seem to bother her (see also: Fifty Shades of Grey). It was an eventful Oscars, and that was only the start. Your Voice Film Club hosts Amy Nicholson, Alan Scherstuhl, and Stephanie Zacharek break down the 2015 Oscars winners and losers, while Amy and Stephanie unveil their all-time favorite Oscar dresses. Plus, Amy tells us about how Channing Tatum is going to blow our minds in the new Coen Brothers movie, Hail, Caesar! As always, send mail to filmpod@villagevoice.com and follow us on the Twitter at @voicefilmclub. Read all of our movie reviews, interviews, and news over at villagevoice.com/movies.

[Subscribe to the Voice Film Club podcast on iTunes]

Oscars: Here's How Not to Be Like Sean Penn

Categories: Film and TV

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Screen shot from a video posted to the Academy's Facebook page

Can I talk directly to my people for a moment?

Hi, white folks! Glad you're doing well! Or, I should say, I'm glad we're doing well, since I'm totally one of you. The Oscars last night was kind of a wash for those of us who think of us as an "us": Neil Patrick Harris couldn't save his pitiable jokes, American Sniper got shut out of the major awards, and Common and John Legend proclaimed with power and urgency truths that many of us spend our lives avoiding — truths that make the dumbest of our ilk freak the hell out:

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Film Pod: Kevin Costner Eases White America Into the Present With McFarland, USA

Categories: Film and TV

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Ron Phillips/© Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Disney's McFarland, USA
Kevin Costner eases white America into the now with McFarland, USA, we hear about the Berlin Film Festival's highs (Queen of Earth) and lows (Knight of Cups) and dip into the lukewarm waters of a second Hot Tub Time Machine movie, and there's much praise for teen comedy The DUFF and Wild Tales, a film filled with stories of humans acting badly. We also hear about the plight of Fluffy, the cat owned by director Alex Ross Perry. Your hosts (Amy Nicholson, Alan Scherstuhl, and Stephanie Zacharek) are joined by film critic Jordan Hoffman for this week's feature-length pod. As always, send barbs, jabs, claims, or jokes to filmpod@villagevoice.com and follow us on the Twitter at @voicefilmclub. Read all of our movie reviews, interviews, and news over at villagevoice.com/movies.

Why Female My Little Pony Fans Are Exalted Among 'Bronies'

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Katie Toth, Village Voice
"I told my mom I was going to watch My Little Pony and she said, 'Only weird guys watch that,' " says Brittany Anderson, a female "brony." "That's not true!"
When Savannah O'Connor goes to Star Trek conventions, she braces herself for the inevitable barrage of quizzes from skeptical male fans testing her authenticity.

They're usually shot down quickly: O'Connor, 29, isn't the type to stumble over the difference between Romulans and Vulcans. "Thankfully," she says, "I have an encyclopedic knowledge of Star Trek."

But at conventions for the animated television series My Little Pony, the tables turn.

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Four Things the Movies Have Never Gotten Right About Spider-Man

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This image cropped from the cover of Spider-Verse Part 5
That rejoicing you heard this week? That's fans celebrating the fact that Sony Pictures has finally agreed to share its Spider-Man with Marvel Studios. Despite the creative success of Spider-Man 2, it has long been evident that Sony has little to no idea what to do with the character — there's rumors it even considered developing an Aunt May film. The problems are not limited to trivial matters like whether his webshooters are organic or the spiders genetically engineered. Instead, it's the fundamental way the character has been presented. Can the studios prove that together they understand the core concepts that have made the character Marvel Comics' flagship creation for 50 years? Here is a list of four key things that the movies have never gotten right about Spider-Man:

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Jon Stewart's Five Most Memorable NYC Moments on The Daily Show

For most of the past two decades on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart has been as important a part of our political and cultural discourse as anyone. But he was often criticized for letting his New Jersey and New York City roots bleed into his show, which was otherwise directed at a national audience. He interviewed New York personalities, would sometimes send up the local story of the day, and had an odd fixation with being a vocal champion of the New York utility pizza slice. But what some saw as a show that was "too New York" (a criticism also leveled against Big Apple–based late-night comedy shows like Saturday Night Live and Late Night with David Letterman), we saw as a sign that one of our most beloved voices was also one of us. As he begins his lame-duck period before leaving The Daily Show later this year, let's look back at five of Stewart's best on-air New York City Moments.More »

Podcast: Fifty Shades of Grey, Starring Sex Batman

Categories: Film and TV

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Photo by Chuck Zlotnick
He's rich. He's handsome. He's got a secret. He's Sex Batman.

Fifty Shades of Grey is opening nationwide, and in New York, Village Voice film editor Alan Scherstuhl connects via the magic of the internet with LA Weekly film critic Amy Nicholson to discuss the hotly anticipated movie starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, adapted from the E.L. James novel. Amy also shares her favorite movies from the recent Sundance Film Festival, and Alan goes to bat for The Last Five Years, starring the internet's favorite person, Anna Kendrick. As always, send barbs, jabs, claims, or jokes to filmpod@villagevoice.com and follow us on the Twitter at @voicefilmclub. Read all of our movie reviews, interviews, and news over at villagevoice.com/movies.

This Is the Best/Worst Episode of Reality TV Ever Produced

Categories: Film and TV

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The cast of Big Brother Season 1
Reality TV has always been awful, but at its inception it at least was awful in fascinating ways. In 2000, the first American seasons of Survivor and Big Brother starred everyday folks of the sort no producer could find nowadays: people who had never seen reality TV. On Survivor, that made for high drama, as only Richard Hatch proved savvy enough to recognize that he and his island-mates were contestants on a game show rather than the founders of some lofty new civilization.

Big Brother premiered after Survivor's debut but before its villain's triumph in the finale, and its naifish cast of houseguests turned out to be the most shy, high-minded, and dull in network reality TV history. You know how Real Worlders get that it's their job to get freaky in that herpetic-looking hot tub? The folks on Big Brother season one thought they were there to teach us all a lesson about politeness and decency.

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