The 20 Best Film Performances By Actresses in 2019 – IndieWire

Some of the most greatest acting feats of the year belonged to women who owned every moment in front of the camera, from the star-crossed lovers of Portrait of a Lady on Fire to the stripper team-up of Hustlers. While its an understatement to say that blockbusters underserved women this year (bring on Black Widow!), the year as a whole was hardly a disappointment, with elaborate period pieces (looking at you, Little Women, A Hidden Life, and Portrait) and genre efforts (hey, Us and Midsommar) placing powerful women at the center of the frame and showcasing their talents in ways that will resonate for generations to come.

Of course, there were plenty of exciting breakout stories this year, as weve already documented, but the women who qualify for a list of the best film performances by actresses have fully arrived in every sense of the term. Ahead, the 20 best performances by actresses in 2019.

The Farewell

A24/ screenshot

The Farewell is a masterful film, but its also the type of nuanced storytelling that could have easily failed by reaching for a delicate tone that is hard to establish and even harder to maintain. Anchoring director Lulu Wangs long-take, widescreen shots of a family struggling to hide the truth is a remarkable breakout and star-making performance by Awkwafina, until now known only for her comedic chops. Playing Billi, a young woman who has never felt at home in New York nor the Chinese community she left at an early age Awkwafina brings a fish-out-of-water physicality and emotion-on-her-sleeve sincerity that acts as a catalyst for the family to address issues theyd rather leave unspoken. Theres a comedic patience in Wangs camera and Awkwafinas performance as they work in harmony, letting humor naturally emanate from awkwardness and the ruse of throwing a wedding to mask saying goodbye. CO

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

NEON

Let no critic tear asunder a love this pure and enduring. It would be impossible to single out just one of the exquisite performances at the heart of Cline Sciammas period masterpiece, which paints in gorgeous detail the tender and ill-fated romance between a portrait artist (Merlant) and her reticent subject (Haenel). At 120 minutes of pure cinematic beauty, every stunning moment is ripe with unspoken desire; the film is built on the kinetically charged glances that pass between the two women.

Its no easy task for an actor, but Merlant and Haenel fill every silence with a pulsing attraction, simmering just below their stolid propriety and stubborn resistance. But Sciamma loves a good crescendo, and she unleashes the floodwaters with unbridled sensuality in the films (multiple) climaxes. Haenel and Merlant excel here, too, falling fervently into the others embrace with teenage voraciousness. Then, in their inevitable separation, expelling every heartache with a resolute wisdom beyond their years. Together, their performances make a kind of cinematic alchemy that belongs on the walls of a museum.JD

Marriage Story

Few movie stars are more taken for granted than Scarlett Johansson, who has managed to juggle some of the highest-paid acting gigs in the world with some of the riskiest over the past 20 years. Johanssons ability to blend simmering frustrations with emotional fragility in Ghost World and Lost in Translation keyed into the unique balance act inherent to her screen presence, but memories of that talent are often obscured by the blinding light of her role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Lest we forget, Johansson took one of the wildest swings in acting history by going from The Avengers to Under the Skin and Her in a one-year period.) With Marriage Story, Johansson once again emerges from a giant MCU-shaped cloud to hold the screen on her own pure terms. Noah Baumbachs wrenching divorce drama gives a lot to her co-star, with Adam Drivers experimental theater honcho belting out Sondheim in one scene and melting into a puddle of regrets in the next.

However, Johansson delivers the subtler turn, from the pensive eight-minute long monologue she delivers to her attorney documenting the characters initial attraction to her husband and eventual disappointment in his lack of commitments, to the single tear that crawls down her face while her soon-to-be-ex reads their child a bedtime story. Its Johanssons Nicole who works overtime to keep her cool when Drivers Charlie loses his, as she thinks through every step of a tumultuous process to chart out the next phase of individuality that will define the rest of her life. Through it all, Baumbachs script does its best not to take sides but in Marriage Story, Johansson delivers such a sophisticated paean to being a woman in the industry, pushing back on biases from every direction, that you cant help but root for her to take charge. And she does. EK

Hustlers

Jennifer Lopez has been rightly lauded for her career-best work in Lorene Scafarias fact-based stripper-centric dramedy, turning the tired with a heart of gold! trope into something far more complex and challenging. As Ramona, J-Lo is tasked with bringing the dizzy Destiny (Constance Wu) under her wing (or into her fur) and teaching her the ropes (and poles) of a professional path that could break even the toughest of customers. But as good as Lopez is and yes, shes more than good enough for the Oscar talk that has followed her since the film debuted this fall shes better because of the canny pairing of her with Wu.

As Destiny (real name: Dorothy), Wu is the wide-eyed neophyte desperate for a mentor, a friend, a sister, and Ramona gives her all of that and more as the duo steadily move from simply stripping to a wide-ranging criminal enterprise. The bond between the pair, one that both Lopez and Wu bring to life through their physicality a flick of their eyes, a grasp of each others hands, a private smile isnt just the heart of the film; its in the movies very spine. Scafarias energetic and intelligent feature would move like a freight train without the unlikely BFF-ship, but with both Lopez and Wu turning in their best work yet, it also has the power to hit like one, too.KE

Her Smell

Donald Stahl

Moss third collaboration with director Alex Ross Perry following Listen Up Philip and Queen of Earth marked one of the best performances of the Emmy winners career. Moss sinks her teeth into the role of Becky Something, a destructive punk rocker whose addiction struggles cost her professional and personal achievements. The power of Moss work is the high-wire act she walks between Becks loudest moments and most intimate struggles. Moss can be a noxious force of nature when Becky is in free-fall (her manic state made all them more agitated by Perrys claustrophobic close-ups and long takes), but her performance is at its peak when Moss goes acoustic and strips Beckys forcefulness to reveal a scared, lonely woman fighting to survive a lifetime of regrets. The latter comes through most powerfully during Moss fragile piano cover of Bryan Adams Heaven. Its one of the best movie moments of 2019. ZS

Us

Universal/ILM/Kobal/Shutterstock

The dual role nature of a character or characters like the one Lupita Nyongo plays in Us will always call attention to an actors raw skill and range. One moment shes the coolest, most adoring mom, and a frightening monstrosity the next sometimes in the same scene, or even the same frame. But the film is also a testament to how much writer-director Jordan Peele is dependent upon Nyongos physicality, grace, and nuance that allow her to move through the films dense literal and metaphorical layers. She arrives at emotional outbursts with acute insight, translating unspoken thoughts with such clarity she turns a horror premise into something much bigger than a single genre can hold. The greatest roles in horror movie history are the ones where we see the humanity inside the monster, but Nyongo and Peele take that to the next level the same actress recognizing herself in that monster. CO

A Hidden Life

When Terrence Malick took on the true story of war resister Franz Jgersttter for this timely World War II romantic drama, he cast two fluent English-speakers, German star August Diehl and Austrian actress Valerie Pachner, to play the films central couple, the pacifist Austrian farmer and his devoted wife Franziska. Shooting long weeks in the picture-book Dolemites in Northern Italy, Malick introduced Diehl and Pachner to his idiosyncratic long-take filmmaking techniques. Working from a bare bones script, Malick would tell Pachner to use a heavy scythe in the tall wheat, or roll happily with Diehl in the sunlit grass, run around the house with their three small children, or react to pleasant townspeople and then angry ones. She would have to fill the frame for 20 to 30 minutes with activity, followed by hand-held cameras, but it was often an unprepared, relaxed moment that would catch Malicks fancy.

Pachner is exquisitely intimate with Diehl, often in closeup when he returns from army training she throws herself into his arms as if to devour him. After her husband refuses to declare a loyalty oath to Hitler, he brings the wrath of the village down on his family, and is sent off to jail for refusing to fight. Franziska sticks by him and must persevere on the farm alone, without social support. Also accompanying Malicks stunning cinematography for this chilling anti-Hitler narrative are Diehl and Pachners voiceovers recorded over and over again during the three-year editing process that express their inner feelings, posing philosophical, spiritual questions that are as relevant today as they were in Hitlers prime. AT

Diane

Its been a very long time since the world was given a new reason to celebrate Mary Kay Places acting talents, at least as the central force behind one of her many projects stretching back through the decades, but Diane makes up for missed time. Kent Jones narrative directorial debut finds Place as the eponymousaging woman as she grapples with a world coming apart from every direction, contending the imminent death of her cancer-stricken cousin (Deirdre OConnell) and the heroin addiction of her grown son (Jake Lacy) while working to keep her cool. Place gives Diane the uncertainty of a woman who can hear the ticking time bomb of old-age settling in even as she wrestles with whether theres anything she can do to diffuse it.

Shes not always so successful, but thats where Places remarkable transformation comes into play: The actress portrays the contradictions of being older and wiser while still at the mercy of an ambivalent existence that tosses her around and dares her to lose her composure. Jones perceptive script gradually drifts into Places subjectivity, as the actress brings so much richness to her role every closeup takes on a remarkable naturalistic quality that borders on documentary. Place works wonders with her eyes, as she often gazes into the abstract nature of the dwindling world surrounding her. Its the ultimate OK, boomer character study: a window into what it means to get old and wrestle for some solid terrain. Diane may not have the easiest time finding some measure of stability, but at 70, Place has delivered one of the most grounded, nuanced performances of the year. EK

Midsommar

Theres a moment in Ari Asters Midsommar in which Florence Pughs performance becomes so horrifically real that to watch her is to experience unrelenting suffering. Pughs Dani has just witnessed her boyfriend Christian (Jay Reynor) cheating on her in a ritualistic cult sex orgy. Dani, surrounded by many of the women from the village she has been staying in, drops to the floor and lets out a series of screams that push her far over the edge of a nervous breakdown. Pughs outburst embodies an unbearable and sickening agony that is impossible for the viewer to shake. The entirety of Midsommar builds to this emotional break, and its how Pugh balances Danis naivety with the characters increasing urgency to control her own relationship that makes her work a standout of 2019. The scariest thing about her screams might be the shades of rehabilitation Pugh sneaks into them. Dani is at once broken and putting herself back together, albeit in disturbing fashion.ZS

Little Women

At just 25 years old, this three-time Academy Award nominee has yet to turn in a flat-footed performance. The rare child actor who arrived on the big screen full-formed and preternaturally mature (her work in Atonement isnt simply kid actor good, its great), Ronan has only continued to evolve over the past decade, getting better with every part. Shes avoided pigeonholing, easily moving from compelling contemporary projects (How I Live Now, Lost River) to beautiful period pieces (Brooklyn, Mary Queen of Scots), eschewing any attempts to age her up or keep her playing kiddos.

The main thread between Ronan roles: playing unique women who often defy easy categorization. Just two films into what looks to be a long-term cinematic bond with director Greta Gerwig a partnership that has notably included both the contemporary (Lady Bird) and this years handsomely-mounted throwback Little Women and Ronan is continuing to work her magic, again cast as a trailblazing woman making her own way in the world. While Jo March has been dramatized many times before, Ronan adds a vibrancy and modernity to the role that is wholly new, and a perfect fit for Gerwigs meta-textual, updated take on the classic Louisa May Alcott novel. Gerwigs film also affords Ronan the chance to bounce between the usual Jo affectations (the fiery ambition, the desire to help her family, a real panache for striving across big open fields) and a softer side that is forced to reckon with her mistakes and misdeeds. During a final-act speech that weaves together the films themes, Ronan avoids cliches and histrionics, delivering big emotional bluster alongside nothing less than world-weary truth-telling. She looks exhausted by the end, but also freed, open, honest just as Jo should be. KE

Atlantics

Leave it to a one-time actress to know how to cast and direct a newcomer to such a dazzling performance. Filmmaker Mati Diops breathtaking feature debut is full of richly textured performances, but undoubtedly they all hang around Mame San, who plays Ada, the films central figure. In the delicately rendered first half, Ada serves as a spirited and sympathetic guide through the atmospheric world Diop so artfully crafts. San plays Ada with a grounded innocence, almost as if she is watching the events of her life swirl around her.

Thats a powerful choice for what Diop is setting up; such is the harsh reality for a girl of no means growing up in Senegal. But as things start to take a turn toward the ephemeral, and Ada begins putting the pieces together, San turns Adas teen rebelliousness into a fierce determination to uncover the mystery. Her poise, naturalism, and magnetism suggests the skills of a far more experienced actor. With any luck, her career is just beginning. JD

Wild Nights With Emily

Greenwich Entertainment

Molly Shannon as gay Emily Dickinson. Can you name a more deliciously unpredictable casting decision? Shannon lights up the screen in everything she does, from the unhinged comedy of Superstar to the wrenching fearlessness of Other People. In Wild Nights, she teamed up with college buddy and independent filmmaker Madeleine Olnek to bring both qualities to an oddball comedy about Emily Dickinson. In Shannons hands, Dickinson is eccentric, lustful, and ambitious. The stripped down production gives her the space to shine, there are no fancy lights or make-up to hide the way Emilys wildly fluctuating emotions register on her expressive face. In one moment she is high with love, the next despondent, the next giddy like a schoolgirl. These are qualities at the core of Shannons being, and they are as present in all of her roles as they are here. She has always been a performer who leaves everything on the field, no matter how small the arena.JD

The Souvenir

Okay,its true: Honor Swinton Byrne is Tildas daughter. But any shadow that might cast on the newcomers film debut in Joanna Hoggs intimate and autobiographical character study melts away from the moment this astonishing young performer takes over the screen. As Julie, a British film student working towards sorting out her career while enmeshed in an ill-fated romance with drug addict Tom (Tom Burke), Swinton Byrne delivers a role defined by quiet snippets of intellectual yearning, sexual curiosity, and existential confusion. Hogg often lingers on the actress face as she processes new information about the people around her while uncertain how to chart a path forward. Its a wondrous experience to watch Julie waking up to the world around her and coming to terms with its limitations; few star is born moments feel this raw and real, to the point where one has to wonder if Hoggs personal experiences behind the drama are less relevant than Swinton Byrnes own coming of age experiences as they unfold in front of the camera. With a Souvenir sequel on the way, the story of this breakthrough talent is just getting started, but the first installment leaves no doubt that shes already arrived. EK

Ash Is Purest White

Chinese master Jia Jhangkes Ash Is Purest White drops us into a pocket of thejianghuunderworld, where small-time gangster Bin (Fan Liao) owns a decent little nightclub. Its not hard to understand what Qiao (Zhao Tao, Jias wife and favorite actress), might see in him. By all indications the most beautiful girl in town, Qiao flits around like a newly hatched butterfly the insect is embroidered into most of her shirts, just in case we dont catch her preening confidence. But Jia has a real love for his characters, and would never dare to write them off as arrogant or intimidating. Bin has reservoirs of hidden mercy, while Qiao tenderly cares for her father, whos fallen into drunken disrepair since the local mine went under.

An illegal gun triggers the problem, sending Quiao to prison; shes released into a very different world. As the movie grows more episodic from there, Zhao takes control of the narrative as she wends her way through Chinas Three Gorges area in search of resolution. Theres a feeling that were being treated to a revue of all the women who Zhao has played for her husband, as the actress early scenes recall her work in 2001s Unknown Pleasures before the 2006 section finds Qiao maturing into a character who more closely resembles the one Zhao played that year in Still Life. Above all else, this movie is a monument to her talents. DE

Bombshell

Lionsgate / screencap

The statuesque South African movie star makes what she does look too easy. But sometimes a dramatic physical transformation can be the key to Oscar attention. Theron won her first Oscar when she shocked Hollywood by destroying her beauty in order to play serial killer Aileen Wournos in Monster. Egregiously overlooked for her athletic (and laconic) role as one-armed Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road, Theron can do anything: action, drama, comedy, romance.

Now shes on the verge of landing her third Oscar nomination for channeling powerful Fox anchor Megyn Kelly in Bombshell, which she also produced. She first asked director Jay Roach for notes on Charles Randolphs script about the three women at Fox News who brought down sexual harasser Roger Ailes. She then brought on the Emmy-winning director (Game Change, Recount), and saved the film by finding financier Bron and distributor Lionsgate when Annapurna fell out weeks before production. And after meeting makeup artist Kazuhiro Tsuji on the set of Netflix series Mindhunter, which she produced, Theron lured him to Bombshell to morph her into Kelly. This could be a repeat of Gary Oldmans Darkest Hour, when both the actor and the man who turned him into Winston Churchill took home Oscars. That would make all of Therons struggles with her false eyelids worth the trouble.

But the performance isnt just about hair and makeup. Theron plays Kelly as a strong, charismatic, driven achiever who strides across a room with authority, gets along with her boss Ailes at this stage of her career, and does not want to lose her place at the top. She must make the choice of whether to do the right thing. Theron knows what she is doing.AT

Little Woods

Neon

Tessa Thompson is the strongest asset in Nia DaCostas North Dakota-set indie drama Little Woods, which follows two estranged sisters who are driven to extremes when their mother dies, leaving them with one week to pay back her mortgage. Thompson is compelling as a woman who has to make hard choices, in a performance that elevates a rather pedestrian script, getting right to the heart of a character that reflects the struggles of women trying to simply exist within a patriarchy. Its a world in which socio-economic insecurities outweigh any worries about sexual predators and drug dealers. Thompson puts a human face on critical timely issues in a leading lady showcase that allows her to demonstrate her range as an actress, in ways that she just doesnt get to in any of her more mainstream Hollywood movie roles. Its a challenge she clearly relishes, understanding and communicating the films ambitions. Both actress and filmmaker undeniably create some truly magnificent moments that rank as some of the years finest. TO

Queen & Slim

In Queen & Slim, model-turned-actress Jodie Turner-Smith is compelling as an aloof and conscientious criminal defense attorney who is both sincere and pessimistic in equal measure. As Queen, shes captivating in a character arc that sees her grow from being initially impermeable, to unguarded, and, in the end, a courageous warrior. Her chemistry with co-star Daniel Kaluuya is natural. As the yin to the others yang, their moments of affection beautifully punctuate what is an extremely stressful narrative. Her gradual realization that their fate is sealed reaches a heartbreaking extreme.

And while Kaluuya is of course solid as the wide-eyed, earnestly sweet Slim, its Turner-Smith who surprises: She delivers an elegant, layered performance, depicting her characters interiority with effortless confidence as she evolves. In her first feature film lead, she makes a grand debut that is sure to help put her on the map, even though shes been acting for a few years now. Her characters tiger-striped mini-dress and reptile skin boots are almost destined to become iconic, and no matter what she does next, this role will mark a key turning point. TO

Clemency

NEON

Clemency is the type of film that succeeds or fails on the basis of its lead performance alone. The character of Bernadine Williams, a prison warden responsible for overseeing executions, has a steely persona she projects to the world: She cares about the inmates she oversees but cares about carrying out their sentences just as much. Then theres how she really feels about her work and its fuzzy morality, which she has to keep hidden.

Leave it to Alfre Woodard to pull off this dynamic: Shes the kind of actor who projects the richest of internal lives for her characters, and Bernadine Williams is her greatest achievement to date. When the wall between her external and internal self finally collapses during one of the more harrowing, heartbreaking scenes in recent memory, its captured entirely in a long-take close-up of her face. And even still, its Woodards restraint, her lack of histrionics, that truly brings you into the emotion of the moment. Its not acting youre watching, but genuine empathy imbued with a moral urgency by Woodard and her director Chinonye Chukwu that makes Clemency the closest 2019 equivalent to last years First Reformed. How do we know what were doing is right? If they arent right, do our actions have any meaning at all? Clemency gets to the heart of that question through Woodards affecting turn. CB

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‘The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It’ Announced as Third Film’s Official Title – Bloody Disgusting

New Line Cinema announced today The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It as the official title to the third main film in the franchise.

Directed this time by The Curse of La Lloronas Michael Chaves

The Devil Made Me Do It reveals a chilling story of terror, murder and unknown evil that shocked even experienced real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. One of the most sensational cases from their files, it starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes them beyond anything theyd ever seen before, to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defense.

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return to star as Ed and Lorraine Warren, with Ruairi OConnor, Sarah Catherine Hook, and Julian Hilliard.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is the seventh film in the Conjuring Universe, the largest horror franchise in history, which has grossed more than $1.8 billion worldwide. It includes the first two Conjuring films, as well as Annabelle and Annabelle: Creation, The Nun, and Annabelle Comes Home.

The film opens in theatres nationwide on September 11, 2020.

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All the Different Kinds of Vampires in "V Wars" – Seventeen.com

The world of V Wars changed when all of a sudden a group of people started turning into vampires and killing various humans in their path. However, thanks to Dr. Luther Swann, some more details about these new vampires and what makes them become who they are have become more clear. Unlike any other vampire show or TV show that you've seen, there's actually more than one type in this world.

*Major spoilers for season 3 of Stranger Things below!*

The new vampires of the world are able to be split up between Bloods and Vourdalaks. While one of them tends to be the typical vampire that we're used to seeing, the other is one that's not seen or heard of so often. So what's the difference between them? And are there other vampire types in V Wars? Find out about the different types of vampires in V Wars here...

The Bloods are thought to be normal vampires that we're used to seeing in everything. They are able to feed on anyone and everyone, although, those who they feed on don't survive the attack. They are also able to infect someone just by being around them through the pathogen that was discovered in the arctic that also affected Michael. According to Dr. Swann, the pathogen only turns some people into Bloods and it all links back to their genes that get altered once they come close to the pathogen.

Bloods typically look like humans except for when they feed and they seem to take on another form that includes their face changing into a creature and their teeth getting longer. They are also able to heal, particularly after feeding. After killing their victim, they have a chance of turning them into a vampire or, if the pathogen doesn't affect them, they stay dead.

The Vourdalaks are a different kind of vampire species that are separate from the Bloods. They are able to feed on someone without completely killing them and they produce a special kind of venom that gives their victim a similar high to a drug, making them actually enjoy getting their blood sucked by a Vourdalak.

Unlike Bloods who are able to feed on anyone and everyone, a Vourdalak is only able to feed on someone who they have a deep connection to. Danika realizes that she is able to keep her victims alive by not completely draining them of their blood and also keeping them hooked to her venom. However, if she accidentally kills one of her victims and they become a vampire, they also become a Vourdalak and the cycle continues.

Dr. Luther Swann mentioned that it all comes down to genes. Just like how some people are not affected by the pathogen that Dr. Swann found in the arctic, others are affected in other ways. Since Danika and Mila are sisters, they share common enough DNA that it makes sense that they all turned into Vourdalaks. Meanwhile, Michael and the other Bloods' DNA turned them into that species of vampire instead.

There's a good chance that these won't be the only kinds that fans will get to see. According to the V Wars graphic novel, that are more kinds of vampires out there depending on their DNA and where they come from. If the show does come back for season two, then we might get to explore them more and meet other kinds of vampires along the way.

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Vampire Weekend Makes the Best Pop-Political Album of the Year – National Review

Vampire Weekend lead singer Ezra Koenig performs during the Big Night Out music festival in Singapore in 2013. (Timothy Sim/Reuters)Father of the Bride features the Beltway lyric Wicked snakes inside a place you thought was dignified.

To answer the question: What is the best pop album of 2019?

Its easily Father of the Bride by the impetuously named Vampire Weekend. I commend this album to your attention for the richness of its melodic variety and its surprising emotional and political expression.

You may have given up listening to pop music for being irrelevant, a product of the eras fame-seeking moneygrubbers robotically asserting liberal inanities. But Father of the Brides delight comes from its openly relevant complexities.

In Sympathy, the double albums midway track, this New Yorkbased band put forth its expectations of listeners those Millennial pop fans now at the forefront of the culture who justify the pleasure of their lifestyles by their presumed political awareness. This rumbling dance track is a rubric: While urging fans to dance, it also widens their sense of fellow feeling, a virtue that has been lost in our current political upheaval. But Vampire Weekend brings back sensitivity through musical vibrancy; the erotic-kinetic impulses of dance pop are used as a model for communication what politicians used to call crossing the aisle.

I didnt have your sympathy / But I knew where to start / Explaining to you patiently / That the one who broke my heart / Would have broken yours / And thrown the pieces in the river.

Accompanied by reverberating rhythm, these lyrics explain the political experience that confounds our age: so many aggrieved people feeling unfulfilled and betrayed by past political choices that they no longer identify their national or humane commonality. This dance track releases their frustration and their aspirations. (I take myself too serious / Its not that serious.) What once was an underground or subcult genre offers irresistible expiation via this track thats what pop music is for.

Composer-vocalist Ezra Koenig (age 35) takes the idea of emotional reparation in Sympathy from one of Britains great post-punk bands, New Order, who revolutionized politicized dance pop in the Eighties and Nineties (with such devout political recordings as Temptation, True Faith, and Technique). Here, Vampire Weekend echoes New Orders versatility, rhythmic ingenuity, and its romantic-social undercurrent. Its what, in less fragmented times, was once called folk music but now for an era when the term folk needs to be redefined.

That endeavor gives the 58-minute Father of the Bride its surprise, excitement, and grandeur. Over 18 tracks, Koenig and company work through the sophistication that defeats us, experimenting with assorted song styles plus high-information worldliness without losing the insouciance of their eponymous 2007 debut. Initially known for their preppy eclecticism, Vampire Weekend expands into miscellany as never before. The groups signature audacious Afropop (a cheeky, bright, guitar-based cross-culturalism) blends into melodies that are closer to home and so it seems quirky to audiences who are unaccustomed to what used to be classic and traditional.

While moving forward, Vampire Weekend dares go back to forgotten sounds of American sustenance. Despite the groups flaunted urbanity (promoted as Columbia University graduates, they freely and frequently boast privileged Manhattan indeed cosmopolitan consciousness), Father of the Brides major motif is country-western music. Its an appeal to lost custom and striving.

The opening track, Hold You Now, is, frankly, astonishing. It alternates Koenigs solitary musing on infidelity alongside a woman (singer Danielle Haim) who contemplates her wedding day. Their egotism and remorse over impossible longings dramatize a classic country-western theme. (The male-female harmonies heard across the album improve on Vampire Weekends regular boyishness with vocal richness reminiscent of Fleetwood Macs late-Seventies melodrama on the esoteric double-album Tusk.) But the warring couples verses announce Vampire Weekends modern crisis, especially when contrasted with a Micronesian chorale (actually a sample of Hans Zimmers movie soundtrack The Thin Red Line). From here, theres no telling where the album will go, but its not scattershot. Its musical juxtapositions convey cultural disparity not shallow diversity as well as a spiritual gulf.

Its possible that the cause of Millennial strife is our over-sophistication. Self-righteousness prevents most contemporary pop artists, whether in music or film, from realizing that the nature of their social polarization goes deeper than politics. Vampire Weekend grasps this fundamental problem as initiated in the ex-lovers counterpoint You just watch your mouth / When talkin bout / The father of the bride.

On previous albums, Vampire Weekend repeatedly returned to the quandary of Koenigs ethnic foundation and the source of his identity and moral fealty. This insecurity peeks through some of the bands jauntiest, most unassuming tracks. The disarming M79 pondered racist dreams you should not have in between casual descriptions of class advantages. Not since Public Enemy has an American pop group dared articulate such predicaments. These issues also stymie politicians. Koenig may have supported Bernie Sanders in 2016, but Sanderss mollycoddling platform never approaches the real-life perplexities that Koenig a pop poet sings about.

Koenigs light, boyish vocals are deceptive like Paul Simons keening entreaties that soft-pedaled erudition to both flatter and challenge listeners. I wager that Koenig is, fittingly, more impudent if only from the necessity of taking on this peevish world in his own way. Thats how Father of the Bride breaks through disingenuous politics.

Vampire Weekends songs, which stem from patrilineal culture, are also about its fracture. On This Life, Koenig and a mate sing I been cheatin-on cheatin-on you / You been cheatin-on cheatin-on me / I been cheatin my way through this life / And all its suffering /Oh, Christ /Am I good for nothing? Invoking the deity harkens back to the first tracks confession-and-liturgy. In addition to being a record with political aspects, Father of the Bride deals with religion as, ultimately, a moral exploration.

Vampire Weekend most notably pursued this religious question on 2013s Finger Back (a song about intermarriage), where the line I dont want to live like this / But I dont want to die first appeared, announcing Koenigs sociopolitical-ethnic position. Finger Back was a quasi-rap, daring the most outrageous social proposition since Public Enemys interracial satire Pollywanacracka.

Father of the Brides delicately moving closing track, New York, Jerusalem, Berlin spells out modern Jewish paradox in an increasingly non-orthodox world. This may partly account for the Sanders fixation, but other tracks test its practicality. On Sympathy, Koenig explains Judeo-Christianity / I never heard the words / Enemies for centuries until there was a third . . . / Cause I was looking in the mirror. For all his poetic undertakings, Koenig never stops self-examination. Father of the Bride charts an Every Millennial journey to discover ones spiritual, social, moral place.

The albums sweetest track, We Belong Together, borrows Kanye Wests nonchalance to make simple rhyming sentiment into political profundity (We go together like Keats and Yeats) then hikes up the significance: We stay united like these Ol States / Its how we go together. Koenig and Haim are reunited for our Republics most wised-up wishing: Baby, theres no use in being clever / It dont mean we stay together. While recalling a nursery-school chant, the song is also politically sobering. Hallelujah, youre still mine . . . / Howd this pair of stars align?

Theres lament inside Vampire Weekends wonderment, which gives substance to the albums first single, Harmony Hall. Summarizing 21st-century discontent, the song is lively while containing our conflicting instincts: Anger wants a voice / Voices want to sing / Singers harmonize / Till you cant hear anything. Political cacophony is not excused, but our recognition of what it is, is enriched, made sumptuous.

Koenig critiques our corrupted institutions: The stone walls of Harmony Hall bear witness / Anybody with a worried mind could never forgive the sight / Of wicked snakes inside a place / You thought was dignified / I dont want to live like this / But I dont want to die. This Millennial jeremiad supplies the righteousness thats been missing from much current deranged discourse. Like the Hallelujah! in We Belong Together, it is uniquely satisfying. No op-ed pundit has accomplished the emotionally generous detachment of Harmony Hall. (The songs title references a Columbia dormitory, evocative for alumni like me but an institutional metaphor for others.) Koenig continues the moral obligation that Morrissey revived in his cover of Phil Ochss Days of Decision on California Son. Every line is more poignant, and each measure more lovely, than the preceding. Beneath gentle pianissimo is the rhythmic rumbling of communion it is spiritually soaring and makes you want to dance-out everyday anxiety. How a song this extraordinary, this buoyant and rousing, failed to be the No. 1 record on everyones mind is the great artistic mystery of 2019.

Vampire Weekend states our political condition perfectly: Now we got that sympathy / What Im to you / You are to me / Lets go. We need a twelve-inch dance-club remix right now.

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Identifying Emotional Vampires – Thrive Global

Emotional vampires. Theyre everywhere and ready to suck your creativity, self-esteem, energy and, essentially, your life force. YUCK. Lets begin by discussing what an emotional vampire actually is. They could be a narcissistic boyfriend or girlfriend, a family member, a co-worker, a best friend or, God forbid, a husband or wife. Till death do we part will take on a whole new meaning if you exchange vows with a vampire.

You know youre dealing with a human who preys on the energy of other humans when every time youre in their presence, you feel sort of (or very) off. This is a completely different feeling than how your body, mind, and soul naturally reacts to a person whos either neutral or supportive, someone who builds you up and gives you more energy. If youd like some tips about how to identify an emotional vampire, lets break it down.

#1 Youll Feel Confused

When youre in the presence of an emotional vampire, youll feel disoriented, confused or off-balance. Suddenly, you may not know up from down or left from right. Your ability to think for yourself will take a backseat to the actual bewilderment that has set in, seemingly out of the blue. The thing is, it isnt really out of the blue, since when youre in the presence of an emotional predator, this is simply what happens.

#2 Youll Begin to Doubt Yourself

The emotional vampire will drain you of your confidence. Theyll do a number on your emotions and your energetic body, which is both connected to the divine flow of information coursing through your veins. Your inner wires will inevitably get crossed, leaving you wondering if you ever really knew anything about the situation at hand.

You see, a healthy person makes you feel as though you can do or accomplish anything, and you can be anyone. An emotional vampire will have you wondering whether youre even capable of dressing yourself.

If your self-esteem begins to take a nosedive after being in someones presence, sound the alarms because what youve got right there is a mean wolf in sheeps clothing.

#3 Youll Become Dependent on the Vampire

An emotional vampire loves to feed off the energy of any sensitive or positive person as much as they can. So what better way for them to make that happen than to make you believe you need them for survival? It will, of course, begin innocently. Maybe the emotional vampire says they want to spend more time with you. Theyll ask plenty of questions or show concern for your well-being. All the while, theyre slowly sucking you into their world, so smoothly youll hardly notice. But dont be fooled. Theyre studying and scanning you, searching for weak spots, trying to find the best angle to get inside your very soul. And once that happens, BOOM! Youre screwed.

These master manipulators are straight-up ninjas when it comes to this process, as they do it day and night. Youre no match for their savvy ways unless youre hyper-aware about how this process works and are ready-to-roll with a game plan or should I say an anti-vampire plan.

If you ever suspect the presence of someone like this is in your life, you must get informed on the subject of emotional vampires. Read books (I have a whole chapter on the topic in Enlightenment Is Sexy), watch YouTube videos, talk to a counselor or reach out to a solid friend to support you in your efforts against these spirit-suckers. Remember, knowledge is power and youre going to need all the ammunition you can get when walking into battle with an emotional vampire.

Listen to your body and its subtle signals. Be on the look-out for signs your inner mechanisms provide when youre spending time with new people. Our bodies never lie. Theyre always on our side, giving us the brilliant signals we need to navigate these particularly treacherous waters. Your body is your greatest ally in this combat zone. I promise that once you start learning how to tap into the nudges your body is giving you, you can jump off the struggle bus because youll be profoundly empowered and armed with the knowledge, psychic power, and presence of mind to take on any bastard who tries to make you his or her energy source.

So, go out into the world and live your dreams. Be wild, be rebellious, be YOU, but also be aware of the people around you. When you meet anyone on the street, at the dinner table or at your office, recognize who youre dealing with. If you sense theyre an emotional vampire, quickly acknowledge they have no place in your world. You are too smart, too beautiful and too amazing for all of that jazz.

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Martin Kaymer: ‘It was exhausting to be around the energy vampires’ – National Club Golfer

Martin Kaymer looks back on his days as the World No. 1 at the start of the decade and explains why it isn't everything that people make it out to be

Its fair to say its been something of a mixed decade for Martin Kaymer. He began it by winning his first major and getting to World No. 1 and hell end it now not exempt for Augusta and the Open.At this years Open at Portrush he was the first reserve which meant that he had to sit around by the 1st tee until 4pm on the Thursday only to find out he could go home.

In between there was that putt at Medinah and, two years later, the Players win and one of the most impressive victories in a US Open, by eight shots, at Pinehurst No. 2.

These days, as he explains inhis European Tour blog, a big thing is to try and be in the present moment.

When I won the US Open by eight shots in 2014, he writes, that was a week when I was in the moment as much as I could possibly ever be. The whole week. And I know how I did it, so I need to find my way back to that. It was nothing to do with being good, it was a mindset.

So when he looks back at his time as the best in the world he doesnt just remember things the usual way, instead he presents a more balanced and interesting view of things.

Its obviously a very proud moment and an intimate thing for yourself, he tells NCG. Its a real team effort to have got there but, at the end of the day, its just a title and a result next to your name, it doesnt mean much as a person.

It doesnt make you a better or worse person. You can say that nobody on earth was better than me but its not as fulfilling as people think.

And what of those around him, how differently was he treated when he was the top dog?

There were not many people who treated me the same way other than my close family or friends, Kaymer explains. When you went to restaurants strangers want to talk to you and they want your energy.

It was exhausting to be around people who are those energy vampires who suck every bit out of you and then leave you. They tell you all their issues and you have to pretend that youre interested. Close friends give you that energy so I found that a tricky part of it.

From the outside looking in the 34-year-olds game doesnt look too far away, for Kaymer he needs to get the off-course bits right to have a chance of adding to his 23 wins as a pro.

My swing hasnt changed much. My preparations have been a big distraction in the last few years as Ive played so much in the States.

For me mentally I need to think I can win that week and when I got to a tournament I was already at 60 per cent and then I had 40 left by Thursday or Friday. So I havent been happy with my energy levels and my whole planning. It was so exhausting.

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‘Parasite’ Helmer Bong Joon-ho Makes First U.S. Late Night Appearance on ‘The Tonight Show’ – Hollywood Reporter

The director showed up with his translator to discuss the buzzed-about film, which earned three Golden Globes nominations including best director and screenplay.

Bong Joon-ho made his first-ever U.S. talk show appearance on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon onMonday night.

The director arrived with his translator to discuss his buzzed-about film Parasite the film earned three Golden Globes nominationsearly Monday which he emphasized was a "funny and scary movie."

After being asked to describe his film, Bong said that he preferred not to say much about it. "I'd like to say as little as possible here because the film is best when you go into it cold," he said. After Fallon reminded him that he was on a talk show, the director simply described the film as "a story about family."

Earlier this year, Parasite won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, where it also received an eight-minute standing ovation and prompted Jury president Alejandro G. Irritu to state that the Palme d'Or decision was "unanimous." After Fallon celebrated the director for having the first Korean film to receive the honor, he questioned why Bong was quick to tell the crowd "let's go home "after receiving a long applause.

"The standing ovation lasted very long but the actors and I were very hungry because we couldn't eat dinner," he explained. "We were all saying to each other, 'we're so hungry,' and they ended up subtitling it in the video."

After the clapping continued, the director quipped that that was when he decided to finally say "let's go home."

Bong's dark comedy has drawn raves, including being voted best picture by the New York Film Critics Online and the L.A. Film Critics Association. The film revolves around a man and his unemployed family as they take a peculiar interest in a wealthy family, which ultimately leads them into an unexpected incident.

Parasite will be eligible for the Oscars international film category and for the best picture category.

Watch Bong's appearance below.

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Whats on TV Monday: Bridesmaids and It Comes at Night – The New York Times

Whats Streaming

BRIDESMAIDS (EXTENDED VERSION) (2011) Stream on HBO. Rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. Paul Feig directs as Kristen Wiig stars as Annie, the disastrous maid of honor for the wedding of her lifelong friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph). The movie, written by Wiig and Annie Mumolo, follows the chaotic gaggle of bridesmaids through the ups and downs of matrimonial rites of passage dress fittings, bachelorette parties, bridal showers and twists each ritual into a new catastrophe. As Manohla Dargis wrote of Bridesmaids in her Times review, Ms. Wiig and Ms. Mumolo want to make you giggle and snort but they get at the layers of insanity in weddings as well as the joys.

IT COMES AT NIGHT (2017) Stream on Netflix. Rent on Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. The second movie written and directed by Trey Edward Shults, It Comes at Night focuses on two families who are forced to share a home in a bleak and desperate world. A.O. Scott wrote in his Times review that though the initial premise of post-apocalyptic survival is one weve seen before, the true horror in this film lies in Shultss ability to build dread and refresh classic scary-movie tropes. You may not want to watch this one alone, though. What happens is both shocking and, in retrospect, brutally inevitable, Scott wrote. It Comes at Night is pretty terrifying to sit through, but it may be even scarier after its over, when you sift through what youve seen and try to piece together what it may have meant.

FROM PARIS WITH LOVE (2010) Stream on Hulu. Rent on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and YouTube. John Travolta plays the remarkably bald Special Agent Charlie Wax in this action-packed thriller, running amok as a C.I.A. agent on assignment in the City of Light. As Stephen Holden wrote in his review for The Times, the director Pierre Morels follow-up to Taken is really a one-sided buddy movie in which a leather-clad Mr. Travolta, with a shaved head and an earring, camps it up in the Vin Diesel supermacho style. Though Holden wasnt particularly inspired by the film, he did go on to say that this empty-headed, preposterous, possibly evil mlange of gunplay and high-speed car chases on Parisian boulevards is a feel-good movie that produces a buzz.

HOLIDAY BAKING CHAMPIONSHIP 9 p.m. on Food Network. As the sixth season of the Food Networks Holiday Baking Championship heats up, the host Jesse Palmer challenges the five remaining bakers to create desserts that are inspired by and look like Santa Claus. To secure a place in the final four, the bakers must also create impressive cakes that look like another icy North Pole staple: an igloo. Its up to the judges, Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman and Lorraine Pascale, to decide which bakers move on to the next round and which one goes home.

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Whats on TV Monday: Bridesmaids and It Comes at Night - The New York Times


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Taryn Manning & More Join Indie Comedy Pooling To Paradise; Julie McNiven, Jon Abrahams Topline Heart To Heart – Deadline

Taryn Manning (Orange Is the New Black, Hustle & Flow), Jonathan Lipnicki (The Resident, Jerry Maguire), Dreama Walker (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Gran Torino), Lynn Chen (Saving Face, Go Back To China), and comedian Jordan Carlos (Broad City, Guy Code, Girl Code) are set to star in Pooling To Paradise, an indie comedy directed by Roxy Shih. Written by Caytha Jentis (Bad Parents, The One), the film follows four millennial strangers who take a ride-share pool on a road trip to Paradise, Nevada. Each at a crossroads in their lives, the trek gives them all an unexpected, deep connection that changes the course of their futures. Jentis and Angela Pedraza are producing the project. Executive producers are Linda Evans and Nina Warren. Manning is repped by Innovative Artists and Avalon Management; Lipnicki by Rafterman Media and Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson; Walker by The Gersh Agency and Stone Genow Smelkinson Binder & Christopher; Chen by Sovereign Talent Group, Authentic Talent & Literary Management, and Stone Genow Smelkinson Binder & Christopher; Carlos by CAA, Artists First, and Ginsburg Daniels Kallis.

***

In addition to Pooling To Paradise, Shih is also helming a psychological thriller titled Heart To Heart, which is being led by Julie McNiven (Doom Patrol, Madmen) and Jon Abrahams (Scary Movie). The story centers on Julie and Dennis Cummings who experience a parents worst nightmare: a year ago, their young daughter, Madison, was killed in a car accident. The one silver lining is that her organs were immediately donated, saving the lives of several people. Per federal law, organ donation is anonymous unless both parties want to know the others identity. The Cummings never have wanted to initiate contact but are willing to meet if someone reached out to meet them to, which happens, but the encounter is not what they expected and once again their lives will be altered forever. Clark Freeman and Kelley Jakle co-star. Autumn Federici and Jake Helgren are producing under The Ninth House banner with Fernando Szew and Mike Moran of MarVista Entertainment serving as executive producers. McNiven is repped by DDO Artists Agency and Industry Entertainment; Abrahams by Management Production Entertainment and Paradigm.

Taiwanese-American producer and director Shih is best known for her 2018 indie breakout Painkillers as well as directing the Amazon sci-fi anthology series Dark/Web. She founded the Taiwanese American Film Festival after winning the Best Feature Debut Film at the Female Eye Film Festival for her directorial debut The Tribe, starring Jessica Rothe, Anne Winters, and Michael Nardelli. Shih is repped by Abrams Artists Agency and manager Seth Nagel.

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The Grudge Remake’s Red-Band Trailer Is Seriously Scary And Bloody – GameSpot

The red-band trailer for The Grudge is here. The movie is the latest entry in the horror franchise, about a terrible curse that is passed along like a virus. The series started with a series of Japanese Grudge movies in the '90s and '00s and was followed by three American remakes. The latest movie arrives in January.

While October's first trailer was more about setting a spooky mood, this one definitely delivers the horror goods. The first half of the new video consists of a single scene, in which a cop is called to a house where something terrible has happened to the old lady living there. After that, there's a quickly cut montage of various scares and gruesome imagery, before we cut to star John Cho in the shower--and it seems that something else is in there with him. Check it out below:

The Grudge also stars Andrea Riseborough (Mandy), Demin Bichir (The Nun), Betty Gilpin (GLOW), Lin Shaye (Insidious), and Jacki Weaver (Bird Box). It's directed by Nicolas Pesce, who prevouisly helmed the acclaimed horror movie The Eyes of My Mother, and it hits theaters on January 3, 2020.

This latest Grudge movie does not have the involvement of series creator Takashi Shimizu, who directed the first two American movies as well as many of the Japanese ones. Nevertheless, in a recent interview, Pesce stated that the movie would honor his vision for the series. "I come to filmmaking first and foremost as a fan, and my movies are always sort of love letters to work that I love," he told io9. "If you're a fan of [Shimizu]'s original Japanese films in this franchise, you're gonna see a lot of that and him in here."

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