Has Jennifer Lawrence Outgrown Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games?

Categories: Film and TV

Photo: Murray Close
Jennifer Lawrence in Mockingjay
Can The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 keep up with the first two films? Why was the final book split into two movies? Does Katniss even want to be part of this revolution? On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, we discuss all things Hunger Games before moving on to a documentary about Sheffield, England's Pulp, and finishing with a recommendation for Happy Valley, a documentary on the fallout after the Penn State scandal. Be sure to follow our hosts on Twitter: Alan Scherstuhl (@studiesincrap), Stephanie Zacharek (@szacharek), and Amy Nicholson (@theamynicholson).

Here's a full rundown of the show:
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (11:50)
Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets (31:00)
Happy Valley (35:46)

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A Proposed Fee for Plastic Shopping Bags Has Council and City Officials Taking Sides

Categories: The Planet

Katie Toth
Councilman Brad Lander speaks in front of City Hall about a proposed bill on plastic bags.
New York City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia knows trash.

So it's not surprising that she has a lot to say about the nuisance -- and dangers -- that plastic shopping bags can pose to the city.

During a City Council hearing on November 19, though she stopped short of giving a full-throated endorsement of a new bill to impose a 10-cent fee for single-use shopping bags, Garcia said that the city is certainly sick of dealing with the plastic vessels that litter our streets, choke our storm drains, and get stuck in our trees. "They're nearly impossible to get out of trees," she told the council during the hearing. Worse yet, they end up in the city's rivers, she added, "posing a threat to marine animals that confuse them with a food source."

See more:
Environmental Activist Daniel McGowan, Jailed for Blogging, Is Suing the Bureau of Prisons

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New Wi-Fi 'Payphones' May Include Controversial Location-Tracking Beacons

Categories: Technology

Jim Pennucci via Flickr
On November 17, New York City announced an ambitious new plan to replace payphones across the five boroughs with nine-and-half-foot pylons beaming free Wi-Fi to any device within a 150-foot radius, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The new network, Mayor de Blasio declared, would be "the fastest and largest municipal Wi-Fi network in the world."

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NYPD Can No Longer 'Neither Confirm Nor Deny' Whether It Was Spying on Muslims

Categories: NYPD

The NYPD has been going to the legal mat recently to protect records that might shed light on a now-infamous spy program targeting Muslims in the New York City area.

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The FDNY Now Has More Female Firefighters Than Ever. Is That Good Enough?

Categories: FDNY

Irene Chidinma Nwoye
Three of the four graduates with members of the United Women Firefighters

History was made in the Fire Department of New York on Tuesday after four female firefighters graduated from the FDNY Fire Academy, raising to 44 the number of women in a department of more than 10,500 members -- the most ever in the FDNY's 149-year history.

See also: The FDNY Is a Force of More Than 10,000. Can You Guess How Many Are Women?

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Reverend Billy Is Headed to St. Louis to Battle Monsanto and Ferguson Cops

Categories: The Planet

Courtesy Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir via IndieGogo
"Honeybeelujiah!" is secular pastor Reverend Billy's go-to worship catchphrase.

Reverend Billy Talen is taking his merry band of rabble-rousers to Missouri. Not surprisingly, he's prepared to get arrested.

The environmental and anti-capitalist activist and his Stop Shopping Gospel Choir are setting out for the Gateway to the West, where they plan to make separate appearances to protest genetically modified food producers and, in Ferguson, civil-rights-violating cops.

First stop: Creve Coeur, an affluent St. Louis suburb that's home to agricultural-chemical and -biotech giant Monsanto -- or as Talen calls it, "the world headquarters of the Devil Monsanto."

See More:
Mayoral Candidate Reverend Billy Says 'It's Bloomberg vs. New York City!'

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Bridge-Climbing Tourist Will Face Jail Time, Because Terrorism

Categories: NYPD

Photo credit: Rick Elkins via Compfight cc
So a French guy, two Germans, and a Russian climb to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. Stop us if you've heard this one.
Did Lonely Planet add "top of the Brooklyn Bridge" to its list of New York City attractions?

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Here's the 1969 Bill Cosby Routine About Wanting to Drug Women's Drinks

Categories: Film and TV

Bill Cosby's It's True! It's True! album.
Time was, this country responded to rape accusations against America's Sweater Dad, Bill Cosby, the same way Cosby's Noah did to God's command that he put two of each animal onto a boat: by saying, "Riiiiiiiiiiigghhhht" and then moving on.

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A Brief History of the Police Unions' Campaign to Take Down City Hall Aide Rachel Noerdlinger

Categories: NYPD

It's been a rough year for Rachel Noerdlinger. New York City first lady Chirlane McCray's chief of staff has had her love life, her family, her family's friends, her home, and even her parking tickets -- pretty much everything except the actual work she did as a City Hall aide -- dragged out as evidence that she was unfit for the job.

The coup de grĂ¢ce came on Friday, when Noerdlinger's 17-year-old son was arrested and booked on a trespassing charge after he and some friends were caught drinking in the lobby of a building in Washington Heights. It was her 44th birthday. On Monday morning, Noerdlinger announced she will be taking a leave of absence from the administration.

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An Activism Start-Up at Columbia University Wants to Turn Protesters Into Paid Journalists

Photo credit: tripletstate via Flickr
"Because our generation cares about more than cat videos" - #protestify
In a world of more than 7 billion people, we can probably assume that at any given time, somebody somewhere is protesting something.

And although it's not for lack of trying (journalists love themselves some protests), reporters are simply not able to cover each and every one. Sometimes this is just because there isn't enough time to cover everything that goes on in any city on a given day. But often it's because organizers have difficulty getting their content to appropriate news agencies. One group from Columbia University, calling itself "Protestify," has taken it upon itself to solve this problem by making it easier for organizers to spread the word.

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Window Washing Is A Terrifying Gig: A Brief History

Photo credit: angeloangelo via Compfight cc
Cleaning windows in New York City is a tough, thankless, and, quite frankly, terrifying job. The city saw that last week when window washers Juan Lopez and Juan Lizama found themselves trapped on a dangling scaffold outside the 68th floor of 1 World Trade Center. For more than 90 minutes, the two were suspended hundreds of feet in the air outside the tallest building in North America, to the horror of onlookers below, before they were rescued by members of the FDNY and Port Authority police department.

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World Trade Center Window Washer Says the Emergency Brake Failed

Categories: FDNY, Manhattan

Juan Lizama, left, and Juan Lopez
When the scaffolding suspending window washers Juan Lopez and Juan Lizama outside the 68th floor of 1 World Trade Center began slipping, Lopez followed the procedures he remembered: He hit the emergency brake. But it didn't work.

He recounted the moment to a room of reporters gathered at the 32BJ SEIU union headquarters on Friday.

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Eight Movies Opening This Weekend You Don't Know About but Should

Categories: Film and TV

Each week new movies open in New York (and online) by the dozen. The Voice reviews all of 'em. Here are some you might not have heard about that got our critics excited, for better or worse (click on the movie title to read the full review).

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City Council Bill Would Create Criminal Penalties for Cops Who Use Chokeholds

Categories: NYPD

Timothy Fadek
An apparent chokehold during an arrest in September.
In the months since the death of Staten Island man Eric Garner sparked an intense debate about the use of chokeholds as an acceptable police maneuver, Rory Lancman has been adamant that officers who administer chokeholds should be criminally charged. On Thursday, Lancman, a New York City Councilman from Queens, introduced a bill that would allow the city to do just that.

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The Third Rail: How It Feels to Support New York City FC, the Team That Doesn't Yet Exist

The Third Rail is the name of the supporters group for New York City FC, a team that has yet to play a game, put together a full squad, or find a permanent stadium. And up until the 11 a.m. hour on Thursday, they didn't know what their team's jersey would look like.

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Can Higher Salaries in Albany Stop Corruption? Sheldon Silver Is Willing to Find Out

Categories: Politics

Photo credit: New York NOW via Compfight cc
Sheldon Silver is willing to trade less Albany corruption for a higher salary.
The perennial call for higher salaries in the New York legislature was heard again this week, although it's probably more of a whisper at this point.

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Literally No One Is Happy About the Massive Parole Center Being Built in Gowanus

Categories: Brooklyn

Katie Toth
Construction continues on November 12 at the Brooklyn parole headquarters in Gowanus.
If a good compromise is one in which neither side is happy, then New York's prison system leaders should be proud of themselves for angering just about everyone with their decision to build a giant facility for ex-criminals in the middle of Gowanus. Except it kind of wasn't really a compromise at all. And they're actually being sued.

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The Word Those 'Wimps' at the New York Post Won't Publish

Categories: Media, Tab Libs

The lead story on the New York Post's website a little before 9 a.m. on Tuesday was headlined "Osama bin Laden 'died like a pussy.' " After 9 a.m., the headline became "Osama bin Laden 'died like a wimp.' "

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Yes, It's Going to Be Freezing This Weekend. No, It's Not a 'Polar Vortex'

Categories: Weather

Photo credit: Jonathan Percy via Flickr
Winter 2013-14 was a real pain.

Last winter, after parts of the eastern United States, including NYC, suffered an extended cold snap that broke all-time records in some places, the media latched onto the term: "polar vortex." It sounded movie-title-ish, like a sequel to The Day After Tomorrow, and so was bound to catch on. And it did.

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Podcast: It's Our All 'Daily Show' Week With 'Foxcatcher' and 'Rosewater'

Categories: Film and TV

Steve Carell and Channing Tatum in Foxcatcher.
It's a special Daily Show edition of the Voice Film Club podcast, as we talk about Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher (starring Steve Carell) and move on to Rosewater, the movie Jon Stewart left The Daily Show for three months in 2013 to direct. Both are in theaters starting November 14.

Here's a full rundown of this week's podcast. Click on the links to read more about each topic.

- The Hobbit movies aren't just movies, they are play dates (3:30)
- Foxcatcher (8:10)
- Rosewater (21:41)
- The story of a group of kids who re-shot Raiders of the Lost Ark in the '80s (35:05)
- Beyond the Lights (51:50)

Be sure to follow our hosts on Twitter: Alan Scherstuhl (@studiesincrap), Stephanie Zacharek (@szacharek), and Amy Nicholson (@theamynicholson).