Critic’s Notebook: Louis C.K. and Hollywood’s Canon of Creeps

In his new film “I Love You, Daddy,” the comic surveys male pathologies, nods at Woody Allen and reaffirms cinema’s long history of exploiting women.
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Critic’s Notebook: President Trump Finds His TV Niche in Softball Interviews

The president styles himself a fighter, but when it comes to television, he prefers allies who help mold his image like “The Apprentice” once did.
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Critic’s Notebook: How the Myth of the Artistic Genius Excuses the Abuse of Women

To some, assessing an artist’s work in light of his biography is blasphemous. But it’s time to do away with the idea that they’re separate.
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Critic’s Notebook: Why the Obamas’ Portrait Choices Matter

The Obamas have chosen Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald: one established artist, one on her way.
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Critic’s Notebook: Harvey Weinstein Is Gone. But Hollywood Still Has a Problem.

Women helped build the movie industry, but it has long been a male-dominated enterprise that systematically treats women — as a class — as inferior.
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Blade Runner 2049: What are the critics saying?

Critics have had a first peak at the new Blade Runner – and they’ve “seen things you people wouldn’t believe”.
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Critic’s Notebook: A Silent ‘Macbeth’ in Manhattan, a Vodka-Charged One in Brooklyn

“Macbeth Muet” is a frolic through tragedy with puppetry, while “Makbet” is a darkly gregarious production (shots included).
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Critic’s Notebook: Best Pictures, Maybe, but Telluride Is Not About Oscars

The film festival has become a showcase for ambitious mainstream filmmaking, like new work from Guillermo del Toro and Greta Gerwig.
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We Haven’t Seen That Before: A Critics’ Conversation About ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’

James Poniewozik and Manohla Dargis talk about “Twin Peaks: The Return,” which was much more than a simple sequel series.
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PSNI hired cyber firm to unmask Twitter critics

The Police Service of Northern Ireland hired a private cybersecurity firm to investigate alleged Twitter accounts of officers mocking senior management.
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Critic’s Notebook: 10 Days at the Salzburg Festival, Music’s Disneyland

The venerable festival, the center of classical music each summer, ends its first season under Markus Hinterhäuser, viewed as a change agent.
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Critic’s Notebook: This Podcast Is a Love Story, for Your Ears Only

The new podcast “36 Questions” sets a standard for the future of musical theater.
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Critic’s Notebook: In France, Melania Trump Flies the Fashion Flag of Friendship

A wardrobe in red, white and blue signified a new stage in the first lady’s relationship with political image making.
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Our TV Critics Debate the 2017 Emmy Award Nominations

James Poniewozik and Margaret Lyons hash out this year’s snubs, surprises and most worthy Emmy nominations.
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Critic’s Notebook: Skip It: Why It’s O.K. to Start a TV Show in the Middle

More and more you hear, “It really gets good in Season 2.” So maybe that’s where you should start watching.
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Critic’s Notebook: At G-20, Beethoven Sends a Mixed Message to Trump

The Ninth, and its “Ode to Joy” finale, were featured in a concert in front of world leaders on Friday, but the work’s meaning is far from clear.
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Critic’s Notebook: How to Think About Bill Cosby and ‘The Cosby Show’

What to do with our fondness for the show is profoundly difficult — especially for African-Americans. Mr. Cosby knows what his work means, and he used it during the trial.
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Critic’s Notebook: New Energy at Versace, Ralph Lauren and Emporio Armani

“It’s the millennials who decide what’s going to happen,“ Donatella Versace said.
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Critic’s Notebook: The Teenage Life, Streamed Live and for Profit

Influencers on the platform Live.ly occupy the gap between celebrities and friends, skating between performances and perceived accessibility — and they get paid.
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Critic’s Notebook: Thoreau: American Resister (and Kitten Rescuer)

A model of resistance for our time, Thoreau was not just the antisocial man of legend. He was a sensualist, his journal, a New York treasure, shows.
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Critic’s Notebook: Robert Pattinson Knows What You Think, but He Can Work With That

“Twilight” is in the rearview mirror, but he stands by the series even as he’s celebrated at Cannes for his turn as an inept bad guy in “Good Time.”
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Critic’s Notebook: No More Gang Rape Scenes in Ballets, Please

Violence against women is pervasive in contemporary works of ballet. Enough is enough: It’s time to give women as much power and agency as men.
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Critic’s Notebook: In Conservative Prime Time, It’s Now Fox and Enemies

After a personnel upheaval, the Fox News Channel’s new evening lineup is not so much pro-Trump as it is anti-anti-Trump.
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Critic’s Notebook: Cuomo Has the Opportunity to Fix Penn Station, but Will He?

The transportation hub serving about 650,000 daily passengers desperately needs an overhaul. So far, the New York governor’s plans don’t begin to address the problems.
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Paula Hawkins’ new novel Into The Water confuses critics

The follow-up to The Girl on the Train “doesn’t pass the second-book test”, according to reviewers.
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What Critics Said About ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Back In The 1980s

In 2017, Margaret Atwood is ascendant. The New Yorker has dubbed her the “Prophet of Dystopia.” The upcoming Hulu adaptation of her most well-known book, the feminist speculative novel The Handmaid’s Tale, long in the works, has turned out to be almost ludicrously well-timed to the political moment. Atwood, who has also written chilling speculative fiction about other timely issues (such as climate change), seems prescient to rattled liberals in a post-Trump election world. Everyone wants her thoughts on what’s happening and what’s to come.

The media can be fickle, however. The Handmaid’s Tale has become an oft-studied and -cited modern classic, but its initial reception didn’t necessarily foretell its induction into the canon. The New Yorker, per a perusal of its archives from the time, didn’t review it at all; The New York Times published a sniffy takedown by Mary McCarthy. At the time, the Christian Science Monitor described the book as mostly well-received by critics; meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle suggested that reviews had been poor enough as to make Atwood “defensive” during an interview with the publication.

We dug through the archives to remember what critics were saying about The Handmaid’s Tale back in 1986, when it was published in the U.S., and we found everything from tepid reactions to outright pans to glowing odes. The concept of a dystopia premised on the theocratic oppression of women, perhaps unsurprisingly, has always been polarizing.

Below, check out a selection of the original reviews of The Handmaid’s Tale:

The Ecstatic:

“Just as the world of Orwell’s 1984 gripped our imaginations, so will the world of Atwood’s handmaid. She has succeeded in finding a voice for her heroine that is direct, artless, utterly convincing. It is the voice of a woman we might know, of someone very close to us. In fact, it is Offred’s poignant sense of time that gives this novel its peculiar power. The immense changes in her life have come so fast that she is still in a state of shock and disbelief as she relates to us what she sees around her.” 

-Joyce Johnson, The Washington Post

“[A]mong other things, it is a political tract deploring nuclear energy, environmental waste, and antifeminist attitudes.

“But it so much more than that ― a taut thriller, a psychological study, a play on words. It has a sense of humor about itself, as well as an ambivalence toward even its worst villains, who aren’t revealed as such until the very end. Best of all, it holds out the possibility of redemption. After all, the Handmaid is also a writer. She has written this book. She may have survived.”

-Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

“Margaret Atwood’s cautionary tale of postfeminist future shock pictures a nation formed by a backlash against feminism, but also by nuclear accidents, chemical pollution, radiation poisoning, a host of our present problems run amok. Ms. Atwood draws as well on New England Puritan history for her repressive 22[n]d-century society. Her deft sardonic humor makes much of the action and dialogue in the novel funny and ominous at the same time.”

NYT Editor’s Choice pick, 1986 

The Ehhhh:

“Atwood, to her credit, creates a chillingly specific, imaginable night-mare. The book is short on characterization ― this is Atwood, never a warm writer, at her steeliest ― and long on cynicism ― it’s got none of the human credibility of a work such as Walker Percy’s Love In The Ruins. But the scariness is visceral, a world that’s like a dangerous and even fatal grid, an electrified fence. Tinny perhaps, but still a minutely rendered and impressively steady feminist vision of apocalypse.”

Kirkus

“Some details of Atwood’s bizarre anti-Utopia are at least as repellent as those in such forerunners as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World in 1932 and George Orwell’s 1984 16 years later. Those two novels have come to be seen as fiercely moral tracts that jarred their readers to awaken them. Will Atwood, as different from Huxley and Orwell as they were from each other, join them in the accepted ranks of those disguised idealists who image the future as a nightmare in order that it may remain just that ― a fantasy? Certainly the early reviews of her book have been mainly positive.”

-Marilyn Gardner, The Christian Science Monitor

“Margaret Atwood’s new novel is being greeted as the long-awaited feminist dystopia and I am afraid that for some time it will be viewed as a test of the imaginative power of feminist paranoia […] As a dystopia, this is a thinly textured one. […] But if Offred is a sappy stand-in for Winston Smith, and Gilead seems at times to be only a coloring book version of Oceania, it may be because Atwood means to do more than scare us about the obvious consequences of a Falwellian coup d’état.”

-Barbara Ehrenreich, The New Republic 

“[Atwood’s] regime is a hodgepodge: a theocracy that’s not recognizably Christian, that most Christians don’t accept; a repressive measure borrowed from South Africa; an atrocity adopted by the Romanians. With no unifying vision, the center doesn’t hold.”

-Alix Madrigal, The San Francisco Chronicle

“As a cautionary tale, Atwood’s novel lacks the direct, chilling plausibility of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World. It warns against too much: heedless sex, excessive morality, chemical and nuclear pollution. All of these may be worthwhile targets, but such a future seems more complicated than dramatic. But Offred’s narrative is fascinating in a way that transcends tense and time: the record of an observant soul struggling against a harsh, mysterious world.”

-Paul Gray, TIME

The Harsh:

The Handmaid’s Tale is watchable, but it’s also paranoid poppycock — just like the book. The actors are imprisoned in Atwood’s grimly inhuman design. […]

“What finally takes the cake for absurdity is a subplot featuring Aidan Quinn as Richardson’s handsome savior. It’s as if Atwood, after all that didactic scrubbing, couldn’t quite wash the princess fantasy out of her story. The Handmaid’s Tale is a tract that strives for sensitivity ― it lacks even the courage of its own misanthropy.”

-Owen Gleiberman, EW (on the 1990 film adaptation)

“The writing of The Handmaid’s Tale is undistinguished in a double sense, ordinary if not glaringly so, but also indistinguishable from what one supposes would be Margaret Atwood’s normal way of expressing herself in the circumstances. This is a serious defect, unpardonable maybe for the genre: a future that has no language invented for it lacks a personality. That must be why, collectively, it is powerless to scare.” 

-Mary McCarthy, The New York Times

“This cri de coeur is certainly impassioned, and Atwood’s adept style renders the grim atmosphere of the future quite palpably. But the didacticism of the novel wears thin; the book is simply too obvious to support its fictional context. Still, Atwood is quite an esteemed fiction writer, the author of such well-received novels as Surfacing (1973) and Life before Man (1980). Demand for her latest effort, therefore, is bound to be high; unfortunately, the number of disappointed readers may be equally high.”

-Brad Hooper, Booklist

“Offred’s monotonous manner of expression just drones and drones.”

-Robert Linkous, San Francisco Review of Books  

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Twitter forces US to drop demand for Trump critic’s details

A government agency wanted the identity of a Trump critic, but has withdrawn their request.
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Critic’s Notebook: ‘Legion’ and the Rise of Surreality TV

A new breed of television shows fits right in with the current environment of fake news, gaslighting and contested objectivity.
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Critic’s Notebook: A Wheelchair on Broadway Isn’t Exploitation. It’s Progress.

Some people are calling Sam Gold’s “The Glass Menagerie” manipulative. I call it vital theater.
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Critic’s Notebook: In Chicago and Philadelphia, the Difference a Park Makes

Cities across the country are making a priority of improving their parks. “Housing alone doesn’t make a neighborhood,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago said.
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Critic’s Notebook: Sean Spicer’s Briefings, Cringe TV for an Audience of One

Millions tune in to watch the White House press secretary spin for President Trump. But the real story is what he can’t say and how he doesn’t say it.
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Top Gear: What did the critics think of the new series?

The latest series of Top Gear is praised by critics, although many say there is room for improvement.
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Critic’s Notebook: Sean Spicer Fixed His Suits. What About the Ties?

The curious style of the White House press secretary has fashion experts scratching their heads.
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Adele hits back at ‘Shrek dress’ critics

Adele has slated critics who said the outfit she wore to the Grammys made her look like Princess Fiona from Shrek.
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Critic’s Notebook: For Migrants Headed North, the Things They Carried to the End

The exhibition “State of Exception/Estado de Excepción” at the Parsons School of Design follows the migrant trail across the treacherous Sonoran Desert in Arizona.
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Yeezy Season 5 Reviews Are in: Why Critics Are Praising Kanye West’s Latest Collection

Kanye West, Blond HairIt’s New York Fashion Week, and the living’s Yeezy.
Hours ago, Kanye West unveiled Yeezy Season Five, his fifth design collaboration with Adidas that (according to critics) is…

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How did critics react to Shannon Matthews TV drama?

Sheridan Smith plays Julie Bushby, the mother who led the community search for missing Shannon.
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Mandy Moore’s Toughest This Is Us Critics? Her Parents

This Is Us, Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy MooreWho are Mandy Moore’s harshest This Is Us critics? Her parents. Right after “I Call Marriage,” the latest episode, aired, Moore’s parents adorably texted their daughter. But it…

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Mandy Moore’s Toughest This Is Us Critics? Her Parents

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Critic’s Notebook: Men’s Runways Are Threaded With Dissent

At New York Fashion Week: Men’s, John Varvatos, Raf Simons and Willy Chavarria make the case for internationalism during a fraught political moment.
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Critic’s Notebook: Political Fashion Statements at the Men’s Wear Shows

At a Private Policy presentation models had “refugee” stenciled on their faces; Billy Reid revives the beats, Steve Aoki goes punk, and other designers comment on the recent executive order.
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Critic’s Notebook: Why ‘1984’ Is a 2017 Must-Read

The George Orwell dystopian novel is a best seller because so much of what it describes can be seen in the early statements and actions of the Trump administration.
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Trainspotting sequel wins over critics

Trainspotting’s long-awaited sequel T2 has won over most critics’ hearts, but expectations were far from great.
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Critic’s Notebook: Mr. Reality TV Goes to Washington

On Inauguration Day, news broadcasters seemed unnerved by the prospect President Donald J. Trump would remain as combative as he had been while the host of “The Apprentice.”
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T2 Trainspotting: Critics praise film sequel

Critics broadly praise T2 Trainspotting, but many note it will not have the same impact as the original.
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Patchett, Chabon among nominees for book critics prizes

FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2010, file photo, author Michael Chabon poses for a photo in New York. Ann Patchett, Chabon and Zadie Smith were among the nominees announced Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, for the National Book Critics Circle Awards. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)NEW YORK (AP) — Ann Patchett, Michael Chabon and Zadie Smith were among the nominees announced Tuesday for the National Book Critics Circle Awards.



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Critic’s Notebook: Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books

In an interview seven days before leaving office, Mr. Obama talked about the role books have played during his presidency and throughout his life.
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Critic’s Notebook: How Clothes Defined Michelle Obama

No one understood the role of fashion, and the potential uses of its power, better than the first lady.
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Critic’s Notebook: Donald Trump and the State of Conflict

At a news conference, his language is the language of pre-emptive strikes and confrontation — competing, hitting, winning. And the whole world is his stage.
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Critic’s Notebook: The Lights Are On in Detroit

With 65,000 new streetlights, the city sends a message: It’s O.K. to come out after dark. Restaurants feel the glow. So do schoolchildren.
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Why Apple’s Critics Are Right This Time

Almost since the birth of Apple, critics have declared it was headed in the wrong direction. Today, the most pressing example is Apple’s seeming struggle to execute on its vision for artificial intelligence, writes Christopher Mims.
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To celebrate inaugural or not? Trump critics are divided

To celebrate inaugural or not? Trump critics are dividedIt's typically an unquestioned honor to participate in the inauguration of an American president. Who wouldn't want to be part of such a historic event? This time, though, it's different. The sharp divisions …



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Critics, Ratings, and Society

Critics, Ratings, and Society


How do we make choices in an information-saturated world? Prior studies often assume that the problem is coping with the volume of information. They rarely ask how people judge the validity of new information. But we are all forced to depend on secondary sources that no one has the time or resources to verify. In Critics, Ratings, and Society Grant Blank confronts these issues through an investigation of independent evaluations and reviews. Reviews are widespread; they rank products ranging from books and films to automobiles and computers. They are important not just because they influence success and failure of products, they also make or break reputations and careers, and often play a critical role in stratification, power, and status. Reviews are shaped by the interaction of media editors, product makers, and consumers into credible cultural objects. These are processed into two types of rating systems: connoisseurial reviews that depend on the unique skills and experience of a single reviewer, a connoisseur; and procedural reviews that are based on the results of tests, well-defined procedures that allow reviewers to rank groups of similar products. Both rating systems construct hierarchies of products. Blank develops a new theory explaining the circumstances where economic concerns like price are overshadowed by review-constructed hierarchies. When this happens, culture constructs markets. He argues that review-constructed hierarchies are widespread as a consequence of inherent structural characteristics of contemporary capitalism and, as a result, reviews will become more important in the future.

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Critic’s Notebook: Presidential Portraits: Staring History in the Face

The National Portrait Gallery, which is displaying a series of such pictures, will soon show a 1989 studio photograph of a self-confident 40-something Donald J. Trump.
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Critic’s Notebook: ‘The Man in the High Castle’: An Alternative America Hits Home

The series, which returns with its second season on Friday, has a new relevance in a postelection United States.
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Times Critics’ Top Books of 2016

The Times’s critics give their choices of the best fiction and nonfiction works of the year.
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Critics’ Choice: Big winners and sore losers

La La Land took home best picture and best director at the Critics’ Choice Awards, while Natalie Portman and Casey Affleck got the two main acting honours.
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Critics’ Choice Awards Red Carpet

The Critics’ Choice Awards are taking place in Los Angeles on Sunday. See what nominees wore.
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22nd Critics' Choice Awards, Arrivals, Bryce Dallas HowardBryce Dallas Howard looked like a million bucks at the 22nd Critics’ Choice Awards.
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Our Top 3 Favorite Looks At The Critics’ Choice Awards

Ready or not, here comes awards season. 

While you sat on the couch in pajamas fighting off the Sunday scaries (just us?), a slew of well-dressed celebs took the blue carpet by storm at the Critics’ Choice Awards in Santa Monica.

Following in last year’s stylish footsteps, attendees looked more fashionable than ever, notching win after win before even stepping inside the venue. Picking favorites was a daunting task, but there were three dresses in particular that really tugged our red carpet-loving heartstrings.

Behold, our three, hands-down favorite looks of the evening: 

Jessica Biel in Elie Saab

Any Jessica Biel/Justin Timberlake sighting is a treat, but Biel stole the show with her Elie Saab gown. The flowing, low-cut, long-sleeve dress, which was cinched with a belted waist and paired with perfectly tousled locks, is a home run. 

Nicole Kidman in Brandon Maxwell

There’s a reason Brandon Maxwell is beloved by both Lady Gaga and Michelle Obama: His edgy yet elegant designs have best dressed written all over them. Kidman totally knocked it out of the park in this off-the-shoulder cut-out gown that had just the right amount of slit. 

Viola Davis in Michael Kors

Can Viola Davis do no wrong? She cannot, and this custom Michael Kors look is further proof. Not only is that shade of turquoise flawless against her skin, but the fit ― a sleeker cut than we’re used to seeing her wear ― is that of a glove. This is perfection. 

Check out more great looks from the blue carpet below. 

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Musical set for Oscars after critics’ picks

Musical La La Land has scored the most film nominations by the US Broadcast Film Critics Association, picking up 12 nods.
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Robert Rauschenberg: Critics hail ‘must-see’ Tate Modern retrospective

The Tate Modern’s new Robert Rauschenberg retrospective is described as “the exhibition of the year”.
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Critic’s Notebook: How Conservative Sites Turn Celebrity Despair on Its Head

Breitbart News Network’s postelection Hollywood coverage appears largely to be a cool cataloging of aggrieved celebrities who are inadvertently energizing the opposition.
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Critic’s Notebook: Richard Rorty’s 1998 Book Suggested Election 2016 Was Coming

In this book, “Achieving Our Country,” Mr. Rorty predicted an electoral shift that would leave an opening for a Trump-like figure to emerge as a savior.
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Critic’s Notebook: ‘Hamilton’ Duel: Addressing the President-Elect on His Own Blunt Terms

In delivering his plea to Mike Pence after the show, the Broadway actor Brandon Victor Dixon was also speaking to Donald J. Trump, meeting directness with directness.
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‘Hamilton’ Faces Social Media Backlash From Confused Pro-Trump Critics

There’s “Hamilton,” the hit Broadway musical seen by Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Friday. And there’s Hamilton, the Canadian city which has a theater donning the same name. One is @HamiltonMusical on Twitter; the other, @HamiltonTheatre

It’s not hard to see how right-wing supporters might confuse the two. After President-elect Donald Trump criticized “Hamilton” over the weekend for delivering a political message to Pence from the stage, supporters aimed dozens of angry tweets at the Canadian theater instead of the New York production. 

“If they only had looked at our profile, it says Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, several times. That just goes to show something about hate-mongering on the internet and the lack of effort people put forward,” Riane Leonard, who handles the theater company’s Twitter account, told local news outlet The Hamilton Spectator.

“Hamilton,” the musical, covers Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s role in the establishment of the United States and is comprised primarily of actors of color. After Friday’s performance at New York’s Richard Rodgers Theatre, star Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Aaron Burr, voiced a message for Pence from the show’s cast and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Trump later called it “very rude” in his demand for an apology while Pence did not mind the speech at all. 

“We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” Dixon said.

Trump’s criticism of what he called an “overrated” show mobilized his followers online ― and offline.

Hashtags including #BoycottHamilton and #BanHamilton trended over the weekend, with supporters dredging up an insensitive, 4-year-old tweet by Dixon to wield as a morality critique of the production he joined in August. 

The actor appeared on CBS This Morning Monday to defend his message.

“There’s nothing to apologize for,” Dixon stated, later adding, “Conversation is not harassment.”

During a Saturday performance of “Hamilton” in Chicago, a front-row audience member reportedly yelled profanities and political statements after the line “Immigrants ― we get the job done” in the song “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)” and during another number, before being escorted out of the theater.

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Are Critics The Real Dinosaurs In Jurassic World?

I have to admit it – I read critics. The last thing I want to do is take one of my rare evenings off and spend it in a three-hour movie experience that disappoints. So before I decide to commit my time and money to a film, I read what is written, I look at the Tomatometer, and I try and make an informed judgment.

And that’s why Jurassic World may be the end of an era for critical film reviewers.

This story begins in the week before the Dino-Blockbuster was to hit theaters.

Reviewers – who get special early access to preview screenings – had their pencils sharpened. And the reviews were, to put it kindly – brutal.

The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis wrote: “There’s more flab than muscle packed on this galumphing franchise reboot, which, as it lumbers from scene to scene, reminds you of what a great action god Steven Spielberg is. Too bad he didn’t take the reins on this.”

Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern “Mr. Pratt’s charm is no match for the crude filmmaking or the stupid plot that keeps him running around in a constant state of artificial animation.”

The Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday wrote: “The most enjoyable moments of an otherwise oddly joyless film actually belong to Jake Johnson and Lauren Lapkus, who steal the show in an especially amusing scene during a panicked evacuation.”

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“It’s fun enough while it lasts, but somehow, finally, all too much and not enough. The problem isn’t that dinosaurs have ceased to impress us, but that dinosaurs alone are not enough to sustain us,” said Scott Foundas writing in Variety.

As I read the reviews my heart sank. I loved Jurassic Park, and certainly the Hollywood machine was counting on that. But how could Steven Spielberg allow his reputation and legacy to be tarnished so?

The decision was made for me. I wasn’t going to be robbed of my cash, my time, or my fond memories of dinosaurs just so the Hollywood machine could cash in my nostalgic chips.

The critics it seemed were angry at the product placements for BMW, the sexist storyline of Claire Dearing.

Said Marlow Stern in The Daily Beast: “Jurassic World is not good. In fact, it’s aggressively bad.” (LINK)

Says Marlow: Claire Dearing is the park operations manager. “Claire is so careerist, unfeeling, and apparently ‘unmaternal’ that she clacks her heels around barking orders in bangs and a white pantsuit, and when her two young nephews arrive on the scene, she’s so buried in her work mobile that she shoos them away.”

That did it for me, sexist, and overly commercial. I had given up – no DinoDollars would be clawed from my wallet.

Then, with a painful 59 out of 100 on metacritic – the film opened.

And as Scott Mendelson reported here Forbes, the numbers told a very different story.

Thursday Previews: $ 18.8 million. Totally unexpected, and a clue that all the critic’s negative reviews wouldn’t scare away early fans. Friday’s opening day numbers of $ 63.1 million where strong, making it the top Friday gross of all time. By Saturday ticket sales of $ 69.4 million and Sunday with $ 57.2 million made Jurassic World the top Saturday and Sunday grosses of all time. What matters here is that even after the critics slams, early audience came out happy, and shared their feelings on social media. On RottenTomatoes the gap is clear, audiences giving it an 84% thumbs up, while Top Critics have it just 61%.

Monday’s box office of $ 25.3 million and Tuesday’s $ 24.3 million showed continued strong box office as positive world of mouth grew.

In the end Jurassic World had a $ 296.21m seven day total – making it the highest seven day box office of all times.

So, what did I do in all this?

I read all the reviews, and after the Times biting criticism – I decided to take the risk and go anyway, fully expecting to be disappointed at the crass commercialism and sexist storytelling.

And then – I wasn’t. At all. I liked it. It was fun. The dinbansources were big and fierce. The action and popcorn no more (or less) than I was expecting. The product placements no worse than any one big summer action film. James Bond had a BMW logo in it – as well as Heineken Beer.

I came out entertained, and a bit concerned that the Critics may have made a critical mistake. They thought they were going to see a “film” when audiences understood implicitly that they were going to see a movie. A romp. A 90 minute journey into an escapist land of absurdities that didn’t need to make any political points or illuminate any world issues.

OK, sure – the storytelling was a bit soft, and there were some odd bits of editorial where it seemed like some logical links had been left on the cutting room floor. (Example: where did those matches come from?)

But what audiences understood, and the critics forgot, is that the expectations for a summer popcorn blockbuster are pretty simple. Take me to a fun place, don’t make me think too hard, and then bring me back to earth when the ride stops. Jurassic World did that -and did it well.

Is it high art? Nope. Is it Spielberg at his best? Surly not. But that wasn’t ever promised.

So the question here is – how did audiences ignore the scathing critical reviews and shell out $ 300 million. And what does that mean in terms of the value and role of critics going forward. Does social media and instant audience feedback make them obsolete?

It may be – like an evil scientist in the jaws of a Velociraptor – they are toast.

Steven Rosenbaum is serial entrepreneur, author, and filmmaker. His latest book, Curate This! is in print and ebook on Amazon.com. He is the CEO of Waywire.com (enterprise.waywire.com)

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.



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What Critics Thought Of ‘Jaws’ When It Was Released 40 Years Ago

Forty years ago today, summer blockbusters were born. On June 20, 1975, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws arrived in theaters, rewiring Hollywood in ways that are still felt to this day.

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Finding the Force of the Star Wars Franchise: Fans, Merchandise, and Critics

Finding the Force of the Star Wars Franchise: Fans, Merchandise, and Critics


Used – In 1977 a single film called Star Wars exploded on the consciousness of the world. Since then the franchise, created by George Lucas, has become a global entertainment corporation. The merchandise of the original trilogy was largely confined to toys and games, but those games have since become computerized, the toys more sophisticated, and Star Wars has moved into the multi-media environment of the twenty-first century in ways unimaginable in the long-ago world of 1977. Computer games and

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Everything You Need to Know About the Critics Choice TV Awards Sunday Night

Why should you watch the Critics Choice Television Awards this weekend? Well, at last year's awards, Chris Messina broke the news to us that he would be wearing very little on the season premiere of…




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All the Highlights from the 2015 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards

The Critics' Choice Movie Awards is an interesting beast: On the one hand, it's perhaps the only awards show that can open with a male stripper performance and have movies like Birdman and 22 Jump…




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‘Black-ish’ Creator Kenya Barris Defines New Show And Responds To Critics

This fall, ABC will add more diversity to its slate of programming with the new family sitcom “black-ish.” Starring Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne, and executive produced by Larry Wilmore and “America’s Next Top Model” co-creator Kenya Barris, the half-hour comedy series takes a look at one man’s determination to establish a sense of cultural identity for his modern African-American family in suburban California.

Some critics have questioned whether the show, which premieres Sept. 24, will resonate with ABC’s viewers. But Barris hopes that “black-ish” will translate as an applicable lesson on race relations and cultural assimilation in today’s America.

During a recent interview with The Huffington Post, Barris opened up about the creation of “black-ish,” and offered his thoughts on the importance of the show’s airing amid passionate discussions about race in Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere.

How would you define “black-ish”?

I would say it’s an adjective, and I would even say it’s a dynamic adjective. I think some of the controversy has been around the idea that some people think that we’re trying to define what “black” is, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. I think it’s a really inclusive word much less than an exclusionary word, in terms of [how] it really speaks towards the homogenized society we’re living in today … If you look at the main character, Andre Johnson [played by Anderson], from his eyes, he’s raising kids and a family in a time where he looks around at his kids and he feels like their idea of being “black,” from what he remembers growing up, is different from what it was for him…

And I say that in terms of how he looks at his kids, and his kids are at a Macklemore concert or skateboarding. And so the ideology of what he saw, growing up, to be black, there’s a little bit of a filtered, subtracted, watered-down version of that. And so they’re kind of “black-ish” in that version. But then at the same time, he looks around and sees that there’s an additive version when he looks and sees a lot of the cultural impact that black culture has had on what America is today, [how it] has spread beyond our particular race. He sees, Kim Kardashian is “black-ish.” Dirk Nowitzki has a “black-ish” style of playing basketball. And he looks and feels like culture, in general, is at a place where it reached this sort of convergence, where it’s all become sort of this one thing, and we’ve all sort of merged into this big homogenized pot of where we’re [borrowing] from each other. And everyone else, in his eyes, has become a little bit more “black-ish.” So it works both ways.

Did you experience any difficulties or hurdles while shopping the pilot to networks?

We were really lucky. I’ve sold a bunch of pilots, and this time, when I did this pilot, I was like, I didn’t care who bought it. I was kind of like, “This time I’m going to do it honestly. I’m going to try to say, ‘I’ll make the family white or I’ll just make it about a family who just happens to be black.'” And for some reason, sometimes when you just have to go from a purer place, it hits harder. I went to a bunch of production companies and we decided to do it with Laurence Fishburne’s company, because Laurence said he’d be in it. And based on his own life, he immediately got the story … And we sold it everywhere we pitched. I’ll be honest — we got offers in the room almost everywhere we pitched. It was sort of a competitive situation. And we were actually going to go with FX, because we knew they would let us do what we wanted to do. But I’m so glad that we made the decision we did going with ABC, because they have really stepped up and [done] this show where every week we’re like, “They’re letting us do this?” [laughs]

How important was it for you to highlight modern-day situations in which race relations take place — for example, how African-Americans manage to navigate through the dynamics of office politics?

It’s the fundamental premise of the whole show for me. Dave Chappelle has this great joke of how he doesn’t [like] this sort [of] racism in Hollywood where it’s behind closed doors. He likes that old Southern, “fine-brewed to perfection” racism where it’s just in your face. And it’s something more dangerous when it’s not as malicious or done on purpose, when it’s more institutional. Because they don’t get that they’re doing it, and it’s not being done on purpose. And I want to shed light on it, because it works both ways … There’s sort of a duality and a counterintuitiveness to the main character’s problem, because he wants the promotion, but he’s mad that they gave him the promotion of the “Urban Division.” But like his wife says, “You’re mad that they gave you the Urban Division because you think they gave it to you because you’re black. But if they gave the Urban Division to someone white, you’d be mad that they didn’t give it to someone black.”

There’s a counterintuitive [aspect] and a duality to that type of thinking that we deal with every day […] and I want to shed a light on that. I think that this show is a test study. We don’t get a lot of opportunities like this. Unfortunately, if it works, it becomes […] somewhat of an understood standard. But if it doesn’t work, it becomes, “Oh well, that experiment failed. Back to the norm.” And that’s scary.

What are your thoughts on the relevance of the show airing on network television in the midst of the Michael Brown shooting investigation and other race-related news items?

It’s weird. As the pilot had just gotten picked up for a series, the [Donald] Sterling thing came out. And we were like, “Yooo, this is crazy!” And then as that was happening you had the guy in New York [Eric Garner] get strangled […] and it’s like, this is still a part of the world that we’re in. And people want to say, “Well, [President] Barack [Obama] is this…” I think in some aspects, Barack has shot us 25, 30 years into the future. But at the same time he has given people the ability to say, “Well now you don’t have anything else to complain about … We’re no longer a country that has any type of biases. Because look, we have a black president.” But that’s not the case. Ninety-five percent of the biases against Barack, there’s a lot of that that comes from a place that’s saying, “I personally don’t agree with him because he’s black.” It has nothing to do with his policies, but more of the policies coming from a black man.

So I think it’s a really important time for this show to air. I think that I am not trying to get on a pulpit and preach. This is comedy. At its heart, it’s a family comedy. It’s not a political show … We wanted to make this show the same way for me, growing up, “The Cosby Show” was like, “Oh my God! I want that to be my family.” We wanted to make this show aspirational and we wanted to build off of what Dr. Cosby did in a really positive way.

“black-ish” premieres Sept. 24 at 9:30pm EST on ABC.

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Snag Margot Robbie’s Sexy Hair and Makeup Look from the Critics’ Choice Awards

-by Christa Lee There are many reasons to be in love with fashion and film's latest It girl, Margot Robbie: her amazing acting, her fashion sense and her awesome Aussie accent, for starters. What seals the deal is her ability to nail it with her beauty looks-especially her beachy waves and natural-looking makeup from last night's Critics' Choice Awards. Click through to see how you can easily copy the look with just a few key products. More from Lucky: 8 Outfits Men Love on Women How to Wear a Baseball Cap and Look Cool Fancy Beauty Buys for Under $ 20 The Best Black Shoes in every height



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2014 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards Nominees: ’12 Years A Slave,’ ‘American Hustle’ Dominate

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” and David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” lead the 19th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards nominees with 13 bids each. Both films are nominated for best picture, actor, supporting actor and actress, acting ensemble, director, editing, costume design and makeup.

Alfonso Cuaron’s space odyssey, “Gravity,” starring Sandra Bullock, also tops the list with 10 nominations, including best picture, actress, director and visual effects. Bullock was also nominated for her comedic performance in “The Heat.” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” ”Her,” ”Captain Phillips” and “Nebraska” received six bids each. “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” logged five.

The awards will be held on Jan. 16 in Santa Monica, Calif. The show will air live on the CW Network and will be hosted by Aisha Tyler.
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