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"Miss American Dream": Medium's Taffy Brodesser-Akner tells the tale of "how Britney Spears went to Vegas and became a feminist role model."

“What if [‘Work Bitch’] is a personal song? The song’s sentiments are certainly the only ones in current pop that I can relate to. Its message is that nothing comes easily, that you can’t keep your kids in private school and your community gated and your ex-husband in his nation-building ambitions without work. Britney isn’t the f--k-up we decided she was during a relatively short but well-publicized period of her life. She drops off her kids and picks them up from school just about every day. She shows up on time, hits every mark, is polite and soft-spoken. She rehearses five or six hours every day, saying, ‘Let’s run through it one more time.’ Britney works. So, are we prepared to dismiss our preconceived notions of her as some sad gum-chewing has-been to make room for another interpretation? What if Britney has somehow become a feminist role model for single working mothers here and everywhere?”


"Guillermo del Toro Reveals 'Hellboy 3' Plot, But Doesn't Think It Will Get Made": Russ Burlingame of reports on the potentially unrealized third installment of the beloved franchise.

“It is a question that I myself ask of the world many times, but we have gone through basically every studio and asked for financing, and they are not interested. I think that the first movie made its budget back, and a little bit of profit, but then it was very very big on video and DVD. The story repeated itself with the second already, it made its money back at the box office, but a small margin of profit in the release of the theatrical print, but was very very big on DVD and video. Sadly now from a business point of view all the studios know is that you don't have that safety net of the DVD and video, so they view the project as dangerous. Creatively, I would love to make it. Creatively. But it is proven almost impossible to finance. Not from MY side, but from the studio side. If I was a multimillionaire, I would finance it myself, but I spend all my money on rubber monsters.”


"Philly artist brings peace in 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'": Steven Rea of reveals the "cameo" made by Philadelphia artist Charles Burns in Matt Reeves' blockbuster.

“Things aren’t going well between humans and the primates in ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,’ the new sequel to the 2011 reboot of the classic late-’60s/’70s ‘Planet of the Apes’ sci-fi franchise. Mistrust, wariness, bloodshed abounds. But Kodi Smit-McPhee, who plays Alexander, the teenage son of  good guy Jason Clarke, has found a way to bond with the simians – notably the sage old orangutan Maurice (a motion-captured Karin Konoval). Alexander has been reading a book called ‘Black Hole’ in his pup tent, and when Maurice drops by, the kid shows the furry orange ape a few panels, even reading dialogue aloud from the gorgeously creepy graphic novel about a strange plague that befalls a band of suburban teenagers in 1970s Pacific Northwest. ‘Black Hole’ is the work of Philadelphia artist, illustrator and writer  Charles Burns, who had 'signed off' on letting the 20th Century Fox film production use his book -- so long ago that he completely forgot about it.”


"Zohra Sehgal, Centurian Bollywood Actress, Dies": Variety's Shalini Dore pens an obit to the veteran actress, who died last Thursday at age 102.

“A favorite of helmer Gurinder Chadha, Sehgal played a censorious grandmother who later unbends in ‘Bhaji on the Beach,’ as well as a fun-loving older relative in ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ and ‘Mistress of Spices,’ which was written by Chadha and directed by her husband, Paul Berges. With her charming smile and twinkling eyes, she made the perfect aged relative in film and TV. Born Sahibzadi Zohra Begum Mumtaz-ullah Khan, the vivacious woman preferred a career over marriage at a time when that was considered revolutionary. She studied ballet in Dresden, Germany, but after meeting classical Indian dancer Uday Shankar, she became a principal dancer in his troupe in 1935 and later became a choreographer. She married a fellow dancer, Kameshwar Sehgal, over her parents’ objections (he was Hindu, she Muslim) and they had two children. Sehgal also taught at Shankar’s dance academy in Almora, Punjab, until India was partitioned in 1947 and the family moved to Bombay.”


"The Sad, Strange, True Story of Sandy Allen, The Tallest Woman in the World": BuzzFeed's Sandra Allen explores the amazing life of a "7'7'' Indiana woman who died a folk hero."

“The 1981 Canadian documentary ‘Being Different’ shows how Sandy spent her eight years at the museum. She is announced and comes out from behind a curtain. She wears blue eye shadow and pink slacks. Seated, she is still tall. She holds a Superscope microphone into which she begins her very rehearsed-sounding spiel: ‘Good afternoon, all you short people. How you doing today? My name is Sandy Allen and I’m the tallest living woman in the world.’ It’s peppered with tame jokes, many of which she’d repeat throughout her life, in interview after interview. She asks short guys to ‘eat their hearts out.’ She recites her 450-pound weight, ‘give or take an ounce.’ She then opens it up for questions. ‘Don’t hesitate,’ she commands after a pause. ‘I’ve been asked everything from ‘How is your sex life?’ to ‘How big is your toothbrush?’’ The room chortles. One woman asks if she has kids. She replies she doesn’t; Michael is the boy who’s entered alongside her. A man asks whether she eats more than average. ‘Well, for breakfast this morning I only had three short people, so that’s not too much,’ she answers, a little too breezily.”

Image of the Day

The Huffington Post's Priscilla Frank features a spine-tingling array of photographs taken by Arthur Tress (from the series "Daymares") inspired by children's nightmares.

Video of the Day

APEHOOD trailer (Boyhood & Dawn of the Planet of the Apes mashup) from Nelson Carvajal on Vimeo.

Nelson Carvajal has a knack for creating video essays at the perfect cultural moment. His acclaimed satirical trailer blends footage from Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" and Matt Reeves' "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," illuminating their shared themes.

Matt Fagerholm

Matt Fagerholm is the Literary Editor at and is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association. 

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