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Author: Jess Cagle (1-8 of 8)

Joan Rivers' final interview: Warm, gracious, and funny 'til the end


Joan Rivers was a kind woman—as gracious, wise, and generous as she was funny. That might sound strange to hear about a woman who could eviscerate any actress who made a misstep on the red carpet, and who famously described Elizabeth Taylor as standing in front of a microwave oven screaming “Hurry!” Her biting comedic sensibility—her art and craft—came from feeling like an outsider among Hollywood stars and New York society, even after she herself became very rich and very famous. And she sincerely believed that by skewering you in her act she was paying you a great compliment; it meant you were relevant, worth talking about. The “smart ones” got it, she said, and indeed many of her victims, including Prince Charles, counted her as a friend. READ FULL STORY

J.J. Abrams releases part 2 of that mysterious trailer -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Last month, J.J. Abrams released a very cool, very mysterious teaser called “Stranger” for a new project he was working on. He didn’t say what project it was, so much excitement and speculation ensued. Today, he released the second half of the trailer to EW. This time, he’s being way more forthcoming, and the project is … a truly unique, fascinating book called S. conceived by Abrams and written by Doug Dorst, to be published by Little, Brown on Oct. 29.

I got a brief look at the novel, and it’s a bear to describe, but here goes: S. is basically about the relationship between a grad student named Eric and a college senior named Jennifer. They trade notes in the margins of a (fictional) 1949 novel by a mysterious author named V.M. Straka. S. contains the novel within the novel; copious handwritten notes between Jennifer and Eric (“a conversation that plunges them into the unknown,” according to the book jacket); and dozens of pieces of ephemera between the pages like newspaper clippings and a napkin with a map drawn on it. (S. will come shrink-wrapped so none of this extra material falls out.) It looks like a dense but often funny mystery — and exactly the kind of novel you’d hope for from Abrams. “I could not be more excited for people to get their hands on this book,” Abrams tells EW. “It is difficult to describe because while it is a compelling mystery and love story, it is also much more than that. The work that everyone has done on S. is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Frankly, I’m amazed it was even possible to do this project at all.”

Here’s the second half of the trailer …

J.J. Abrams releases mysterious new teaser trailer -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

J.J. Abrams just released to EW a teaser (video below) for a new project from Bad Robot. What project? We asked, but he’s not telling. At least not yet. Is it a new film? A TV series? A digital endeavor? Let the speculation begin! (And let us know what you think.) READ FULL STORY

Entertainment Weekly welcomes new film and TV critics

One of the best things about being editor of EW is getting free stuff — like the scary doll from The Conjuring that’s sitting on my desk; it looks like Lindsay Lohan and freaks me the hell out every day. The other great thing is working with an incredibly fun, talented staff. Speaking of which, I want to share some exciting news with you. Today I announced three new critics: Jeff Jensen (TV), Melissa Maerz (TV), and Chris Nashawaty (Movies). Please wish them well and tweet them your best wishes. Here’s the announcement that went out to the staff:

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in congratulating Entertainment Weekly’s new film and TV critics. Chris Nashawaty brings his good humor and deep knowledge to our movie reviews alongside, of course, Owen Gleiberman; our TV reviews, meanwhile, are now in the very capable and talented hands of Jeff Jensen and Melissa Maerz. All of them will play a key role for the magazine, our site, our tablet edition, and a ton of brand extensions. Here’s all the buzz on our three new critics:

This Week's Covers: Arnold and Liz

What a week. An exclusive interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger. A tribute to Elizabeth Taylor. Both in the same issue. Which one do you put on the cover? Ultimately we decided to give you both — a “flip” cover with Arnold on the front and Liz on the back. In Benjamin Svetkey’s Arnold story (Arnold’s first major interview since leaving the governor’s office) the action hero-turned-politican announces his new Stan Lee animated series, The Governator (no, we’re not joking), and talks about his plan to return to movies. Click here for more details. Our Liz tribute celebrates the movies and crazy life of the legend, and includes personal remembrances about her from friends and colleagues like Debbie Reynolds (Liz stole her husband, but they later reconciled), Dr. Mathilde Krim (founding chairman of amfAR), and Al Jean, the executive producer of The Simpsons, which used Taylor’s voice for baby Maggie Simpson in 1992. Our critics Owen Gleiberman and Lisa Schwarzbaum also weigh in with her 10 must-see films. The issue is on stands Friday.

Charlie, The Sheen Is Gone: No amount of rehab -- drug, image, or otherwise -- can repair his reputation

charlie-sheenImage Credit: RS/X17online.comI got a very big kick out of Charlie Sheen for a very long time. I don’t mean I thought he was a good guy or an upstanding citizen, or that I was a huge fan of Two and a Half Men. But Sheen himself was fascinating: a celebrity unhinged and uninterested in making himself warm and fuzzy to the public. He has never seemed admirable or even decent, but he was authentic and never boring. We imagined we might live the way he did, if we were powerful and beloved and exceedingly wealthy and free of conscience or any moral code whatsoever — sex, drugs, world-class hotels. And except for the occasional arrest or stint in rehab, he always ended up back on our TVs, hitting his marks on his top-rated series, playing a PG-13-rated version of himself.

But the Good Time Charlie we believed in was laid to rest by his mind-boggling radio and morning-television media tour. READ FULL STORY

'The Dilemma' is already one of the most important films of 2011

dilemmaBased on the trailers I’ve seen, I’m guessing Ron Howard’s comedy The Dilemma won’t shatter any box-office records when it hits theaters in January. And yet The Dilemma is already one of the most memorable films of 2011. And all because it offended Anderson Cooper, who last week, during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, criticized the film’s trailer for a line in which Vince Vaughn insults electric cars by calling them “gay.” Maybe it was the authority of Anderson Cooper, or maybe it was the timing of the controversy — during the same week that horrible, real-life cases of anti-gay bullying and torture were making headlines — but Universal quickly took notice. The studio pulled the trailer from circulation and said it wasn’t meant to cause anyone “discomfort.” READ FULL STORY

Tom Cruise made our Summer Must List!

Tom-CruiseImage Credit: Nina MunozWhy does Tom Cruise belong on our Summer Must List? Because we’re rooting for him. Because we stopped caring ages ago about his religion and those few months back in 2005 when he went crazy. Because we’re tired of people dumping on him. Because at 48, he looks amazing. But mostly because we love movies and we love filmmakers who care about movies — and that would be Tom Cruise. No movie star has a longer, better track record for surprising and delighting us, whether he’s dancing in his briefs in Risky Business or playing a graying hitman in Collateral or losing his s*** in Magnolia or giving his masterpiece of a performance in Jerry Maguire or stealing Tropic Thunder as the profane studio exec Les Grossman. His sketches on the MTV Movie Awards last month remain a highlight of the summer. His new film, Knight and Day, goes well with a box of popcorn, but it isn’t a blockbuster. The truth is, movie stars aren’t the commodities they once were, and Cruise’s name above the title doesn’t guarantee massive box office. But it does mean that even if a film isn’t great, even if it’s not your cup of tea, it’s probably at least as good as it can be. Cruise is one of the most intuitive filmmakers in the business. That’s why the best directors (like Steven Spielberg, Michael Mann, J.J. Abrams, Stanley Kubrick, the list goes on) have signed up with him. And he has learned a lot from them. We’re looking forward to the day when Cruise isn’t expected to jump off buildings and generate huge opening weekends. We’d like to see him direct, and see him in more character roles that tap into his own anger and complexity and sense of humor. He’s on his way to becoming a kind of elder statesman of movies. Now he’s the guy who can teach young filmmakers a thing or two — and not just that it’s really hard to live down showing too much of yourself to the public.

For 116 more things we love, check out our Best of Summer special double issue, on newsstands now!

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