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Tufts University recently interviewed Frank Lehman, one of their assistant professors of music, to ask why so many of John Williams’ scores are so memorable—and why the Star Wars themes, in particular, are so darn earworm-y. Lehman talked about how Williams’ approach emphasizes character motifs in a way that many modern composers have moved away from, and he also revealed how some fans are using those motifs to try and figure out Rey’s backstory and fate.

Lehman explained, “[John Williams] focuses a lot of his energy on creating memorable melodies and themes, going through a lot of different combinations until he has exactly the right sort of phrase structure and melodic contour so that it really becomes an earworm … That’s not common anymore, though. Film compositions over the past ten to twenty years have moved away from very memorable themes in favor of more ambient and more mood-setting music.”

In Star Wars, in particular, Williams also uses character themes that reoccur and interact throughout the movies. This technique, known as a leitmotif, goes all the way back to nineteenth-century opera. “In Star Wars, character is important—perhaps more than narrative coherency. There are very striking archetypal characters, and Williams writes striking archetypal themes for them,” Lehman said, “Both the original movies and the sequel trilogy have a character-theme approach. In the prequel trilogy, the music was a little less character-theme defined— maybe because the characters...

Google has an app that will more-or-less perfectly (more often less, which is often more amusing anyway) match you up against portraits in museum collections with facial recognition, and present you with a side-by-side comparison. It’s not quite Gilmore Girls’ painting-recreating “Festival of Living Art” episode, but at least you don’t have to worry about involuntary muscle spasms or ruining things with an unexpected phone call!

Most people won’t wind up with a Lorelai Gilmore/”Renoir girl”-level match, but the app will give you a few options, with a percentage of accuracy for each. And hey, if you don’t get anywhere close to a 100% match, you’re just unique! … Right? Anyway, the highest I managed to land was 43%, and honestly, I can see where the app is coming from on this one:

Fellow TMS staffer Teresa Jusino also managed a 43% percent match:

(image: Teresa Jusino)

On the other hand, my friend’s 4-year-old looks nothing like her 32% Robert Dodsley match, so your mileage may vary. If you saw people playing with the app all...

Yesterday, we reported on the fact that a photographer named “Grace” came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Master of None‘s Aziz Ansari. Now, we have an apology from Ansari. As I’ve read “Grace’s” account and Ansari’s apology, and listened to the discourse around them, both publicly and among those in my personal network, the disconnect with which men seem to view women when in sexual situations is alarmingly clear.

As reported by Time, here is Anzari’s “apology” (which is really more of a statement) in full:

“In September of last year, I met a woman at a party. We exchanged numbers. We texted back and forth and eventually went on a date. We went out to dinner, and afterwards we ended up engaging in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual.

The next day, I got a text from her saying that although “it may have seemed okay,” upon further reflection, she felt uncomfortable. It was true that everything did seem okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I took her words to heart and responded privately after taking the time to process what she had said.

I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.

-Aziz Ansari”

Now, he expresses concern, but doesn’t seem to own that he...

When I was younger, Martin Luther King Jr Day was like a preview for Black History Month. We were taught about King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the March on Washington, and how he took his inspiration from Gandhi to pursue non-violent tactics towards Civil Disobedience. I was not taught that, in his time, King was seen as an extremist.

American History tends to mythologize its heroes to the point where it becomes blurry as to what was the actual truth about the men, women, and movements that helped shape this country. Martin Luther King Jr. has been used as the equivalent of rolling a D20 (D&D reference there) in discussions about groups like Black Lives Matter, The Black Panthers, or other Civil Rights leaders like Malcolm X. During the election, I would see Bernie supporters complain that black people who were voting for Hilary over Bernie were “choosing a Goldwater girl over someone who marched with MLK!!” They complain that groups like BLM should take a page out of King’s book and be softer, kinder, less aggressive movements. Which completely ignores that just because King was non-violent did not make the movement he founded unaggressive. Deciding to stand up for your rights, while allowing yourself to be brutalized without reciprocating violence is aggressive.

Let’s not forget that Martin Luther King Jr. was being watched by the FBI because since the dawn of time the thing our government...

Enchanted 2 has been in the works for so long it’s had to believe it’ll actually arrive, but a recent update suggests it might be closer than we think. Adam Shankman, who’s set to direct the sequel, spoke at a Television Critics Association panel recently, and afterwards said about the project, “We are handing in a script in a couple weeks that I’m super happy with … Then gotta get the music written.”

Amy Adams is still set to reprise her 2007 role (has it really been that long?). The official title, Disenchanted, says it all. Shankman said the story would take place a decade after the first, expanding, “The fundamental story has changed a little bit, but not from the base story of it. It’s about Giselle 10 years later going, ‘What is happily ever after?’”

As for the musical/animation elements that the film used to expertly both pay homage to and make fun of Disney classics? “There’s a lot more songs this time than there were in the original, at least in the planning phase right now,” he added, and “As for the animation, it’s probably about the same amount.”

What do you think about Disenchanted finally bring us an Enchanted sequel?

(via /Film, image: Walt Disney Studios)

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This week we’ll be seeing the release of Mary and The Witch’s Flower, the debut film of Studio Ponoc, a new studio made largely of former Studio Ghibli employees. Fans of the iconic animation from Ghibli will no doubt be thrilled to watch the film, which will be familiar in its dynamic style, thoughtful young characters, and spellbinding magical world.

Based on Mary Stewart’s 1971 children’s book, The Little Broomstick, the story follows a young girl named Mary who’s bored by everyday life with her Great-Aunt Charlotte. Mary is then thrown into a magical world when she discovers a rare flower and an old broomstick which take her to Endor College—a school of magic run by headmistress Madam Mumblechook and the brilliant Doctor Dee. Mary is soon to find that “there are terrible things happening at the school, and when Mary tells a lie, she must risk her life to try to set things right.” 

Far from a break from Studio Ghibli’s style, fans will find images and scenes in Mary and The Witch’s Flower reminiscent of Howl’s Moving CastleKiki’s Delivery Service, or Spirited Away. Rather than feeling redundant, however, these scenes remind us of the magic we loved in Miyazaki’s films and assure us that Ponoc will carry on this beloved heritage. With a translator, I had the opportunity to speak to founder and producer Yoshiaki Nishimura (The Tale of Princess Kaguya) and animator/director...

Recently, Eliza Dushku came forward and shared an account of stunt coordinator Joel Kramer molesting her during the shooting of 1994 James Cameron film True Lies. The account was then corroborated by her legal guardian on the set Sue Booth-Forbes, who said she reported Kramer’s behavior towards the then-12-year-old Dushku and claims she was “met with blank stares and had the sense that I wasn’t telling that person anything they didn’t already know.” Kramer has denied the allegations.

Now, other adults from True Lies are sharing their accounts, and how they must come to terms with the realization that their team failed a child and put her in danger—whether they knew or not, it’s terrible that such a thing could happen at all. Dushku writes that Kramer had nicknamed her “Jailbait” and “brazenly called [her] in a sick flirty way in front of others.” Whether or not the extent of his predatory behavior was known, there was clearly some level of intervention or action that should have been taken.

Cameron called Dushku “brave for speaking up” and the incident “heartbreaking”, saying that he was oblivious. “Had I known about it”, he claims, “there would have been no mercy.”

Jamie Lee Curtis, who starred in True Lies alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, wrote a post for the Huffington Post titled “Truth and Lies” where she writes,...

I feel a deep affinity with sloths. They speak to my soul. But a baby sloth? That’s almost too much. He’s so slow-moving and tiny at the same time. And he has a special friend.

B-rad, appropriately found in a video called “Cutest Baby Sloth EVER,” lives up to that title. Visited in Costa Rica by the Brave Wilderness folks, B-rad is a wee three-toed sloth, and he likes to give high fives (well, threes).

B-rad can be seen in the video cuddling with his stuffed sloth—yes, the baby sloth has a stuffed sloth for a friend, which just a little more than I can handle.

We also learn some important Sloth Facts(tm): that sloth hair grows from the sides and backwards, so that when they’re hanging upside down (as they do), when it the water runs right off of them. I now imagine sloths as having natural built-in rain gutters.

B-rad was brought to the Costa Rican sloth sanctuary after he fell out a tree, making him one lucky little sloth. Once he’s properly grown and well-nourished, he’ll be released back into the wild. But for the time being, he gets to hang out and be admired. And eat leaves.

In response to reports that Trump called Haiti, El Salvador, and all of the nations in Africa “shitholes,” protesters reportedly projected the word “shithole,” as well as scores of poop emojis, onto the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Video and photos of the projections were posted on the Twitter account of Robin Bell. Bell previously partnered with The Human Rights Campaign to project a series of “banned” words, which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) were reportedly ordered not to use in budget documents, onto the hotel. These words included “transgender,” “diversity,” and “evidence-based.” Resistance SF, a different organization, have also used the power of projectors to point out Twitter’s complicity over in San Francisco. (via The Root and The Washington Post)

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 now has a release year. According to a tweet from writer-director James Gunn, the movie will come out in 2020. (via

  • Quantic Dream, the developers behind the upcoming PlayStation game Detroit: Become Human, have been accused of fostering an abusive workplace culture where staff are overworked and racist and...

[Content warning: This article discusses sexual misconduct, and the anonymous woman quoted in the article goes into detail about her alleged experiences. Only read if you’re in an okay place for that.]

Aziz Ansari has been accused of sexual misconduct on a recent date. Katie Way at babe spoke to a 23-year-old woman, referred to as “Grace” in the article to protect her identity, who went on a date with Ansari in September of 2017. After the two came back to his apartment, Grace alleges that Ansari repeatedly and aggressively pushed for more sexual contact, despite her repeated verbal and non-verbal cues to stop.

“It was 30 minutes of me getting up and moving and him following and sticking his fingers down my throat again,” she told babe. “It was really repetitive. It felt like a fucking game.”

“Most of my discomfort was expressed in me pulling away and mumbling. I know that my hand stopped moving at some points,” Grace said. “I stopped moving my lips and turned cold … I know I was physically giving off cues that I wasn’t interested. I don’t think that was noticed at all, or if it was, it was ignored.”

For instance, Grace says Ansari immediately began touching and kissing her when they got into the apartment, and she says that when Ansari asked, “Where do you want me...

A suspect has been charged in the SWATting incident that left a Kansas man dead last month. Tyler Rai Barriss of California was charged with involuntary manslaughter and interference with law enforcement for allegedly making the false SWAT call.

The incident reportedly began after an online Call of Duty match, when two members of the losing team began to fight with each other. As the argument escalated, one of the two allegedly asked a third party, who went by the name ‘Swautistic’ on Twitter, to threaten to “swat” the other. Swatting involves calling in a false report of ongoing violence at the intended victim’s house, so that the local police department will descend with a SWAT team. In this case, the threatened player reportedly upped the ante by offering up an address in Wichita, Kansas, basically daring Swautistic to make the call.

However, that address did not belong to the player, but to a man named Andrew Finch and his family. When the SWAT team arrived at the house, believing they had an active hostage situation, an officer fatally shot Finch after he allegedly reached for his waistband. “Due to the actions of a prankster, we have an innocent victim,” said Wichita Police Department Deputy Chief Troy Livingston. “If the false police call had not been made, we would not have been there …...

[Note: This article contains some spoilers for the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale]

Hulu has released new footage from the upcoming second season of The Handmaid’s Tale, their adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s acclaimed novel about a fundamentalist dystopia that develops in the United States. They released some eerie images from the new season earlier this week, and now we have our first look at some actual footage.

We get to see more of The Colonies, the toxic lands where it looks like Janine (Madeline Brewer) has been exiled. We see that Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) still looks powerful and pleased with himself; we see more of the ritual shaming that Handmaids must take part in; we see Offred/June (Elisabeth Moss) gagged and looking like she’s on trial. As ever, the cinematography and directing drive home how haunting and bleak this world is, even in its most idyllic settings.

But we also see some suggestions that rebellion and resistance are brewing. From the pointed RESIST poster, to Offred’s face as she burns something in her wood stove, to the hammer dragging along the wall, this trailer also suggests that a reckoning is coming for the powerful in Gilead. If you’re anything like me, watching this series is a rough but terrifically affecting experience, and so I welcome those raw, angry glimmers of hope.

Season Two will move beyond the events of the original novel. Season One ended as the book does, with Offred/June in...

[Content warning: This article describes a description of molestation.]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Bring It On actress Eliza Dushku is the latest person to speak up as part of the national reckoning with sexual harassment and assault. Yesterday, she shared a Facebook post in which she alleges that stunt coordinator Joel Kramer molested her during the shooting of True Lies, when she was 12 and he was 36.

“Ever since [the alleged molestation], I have struggled with how and when to disclose this, if ever,” she wrote. “At the time, I shared what happened to me with my parents, two adult friends and one of my older brothers. No one seemed ready to confront this taboo subject then, nor was I.”

“I am grateful to the women and men who have gone before me in recent months. The ever-growing list of sexual abuse and harassment victims who have spoken out with their truths have finally given me the ability to speak out. It has been indescribably exhausting, bottling this up inside me for all of these years.”

In addition to feeling braver thanks to the many other voices speaking out, Dushku wrote that she was also motivated to post her allegations after realizing Kramer was still working in the industry. “Years ago, I had heard second hand that Joel Kramer was ‘found out’...

As part of last night’s “Weekend Update,” Leslie Jones appeared as Oprah Winfrey alongside Chris Redd as Stedman Graham to discuss her potential presidential run. The discussion of ‘Oprah for President’ arose after Winfrey gave an amazing Golden Globes speech in which her grace, powerful words, and clear compassion provided much-needed inspiration. (The contrast to literally anything Trump has ever said is enough to make you despair.) While plenty of people then pointed out that we don’t really need another celebrity president, Saturday Night Live definitely had fun with the idea of a Winfrey run.

In the “Weekend Update” segment, co-host Colin Jost asks Jones’ Oprah: “Why would you ever do this?”

“I’ll tell you, Colin,” she says. “I need to get white women back on track. Ever since I’ve been off the air, they’ve gotten out of control. They voted for Trump. They voted for Roy Moore. They kept twelve different shows about flipping houses on the air. It’s a mess! Somebody needs to look these women in the eye and say, ‘You deserve my three favorite things: love, respect, and a new panini maker!’ … Who else is gonna do that for them?”

Jones’ Oprah also appeared earlier in last night’s episode, popping in at the end of the Cold Open segment. That segment was set on Morning Joe, with Kate McKinnon as Mika Brzezinski and Alex Moffat as Joe Scarborough interviewing Fred Armisen’s Michael Wolff about his book Fire...

The All the Money in the World reshoots, necessitated by the removal of alleged sexual assaulted Kevin Spacey, made headlines recently after it was revealed that Mark Wahlberg was paid 1500 times more than Michelle Williams for the reshoots. The payment discrepancy was particularly egregious because Wahlberg was profiting from a move made to address sexual assault, because Williams’ performance was Golden-Globe nominated, and because Wahlberg and Williams were represented by the same talent agency. 

And so Wahlberg announced that he would donate $1.5 million—the amount he made for the reshoots—to the Time’s Up legal defense fund. To accompany the pledge, Wahlberg issued a statement: “Over the last few days my reshoot fee for All The Money in the World has become an important topic of conversation. I 100% support the fight for fair pay and I’m donating the $1.5 million to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in Michelle Williams’ name.” William Morris Endeavor, the agency representing the two actors, will also donate $500,000 to the legal fund.

While I’m personally still side-eyeing Wahlberg, this is admittedly an excellent use for that money. While Williams absolutely deserves to be compensated as well as her co-stars, funneling more millions to an already wealthy actress doesn’t exactly kickstart systemic change. Sending that money to a legal defense fund for women who otherwise can’t afford justice will accomplish far more.

But pay Michelle Williams what she’s worth...

As you’ve likely noticed, we are fully committed to our beards and haircuts coverage here at The Mary Sue, and I am here to fulfill that content promise. Concept artist Aleksi Briclot recently posted some Thor: Ragnarok concept art on his Instagram, and one his posts revealed an alternate design for Tom Hiddleston’s Loki which would have given him this truly unreal buzzcut/sideburns combo.

Another early concept art for Loki the mischievous God of Lies and Mischief for Thor : Ragnarök! Played by the intense and awesome #twhiddleston. The final concept was signed by @anthony_francisco_art. I was trying something else with the haircut on this one. – #loki #thor #thorragnarok #mcu #marvel #marvelcinematicuniverse #tomhiddleston #asgard #characterconcept #conceptart #instaart #asgard #kirby #marvelstudios #digitalpainting #ragnarok

Liam Neeson has tossed himself on the male-celebrity trash pile with some recent comments about Hollywood’s reckoning with pervasive sexual assault.

“There is a bit of a witch hunt happening, too,” he said on Ireland’s Late Late Show. “There’s some people, famous people, being suddenly accused of touching some girl’s knee or something, and suddenly they’re being dropped from their program or something.”

Neeson specifically mentioned Garrison Keillor, who was dismissed from his A Prairie Home Companion program on Minnesota Public Radio after allegations against him arose. According to Keillor, he was dismissed because he “put my hand on a woman’s bare back. I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it.” However, the alleged victim has not spoken to the press, and Minnesota Public Radio said in a statement that they received “a formal complaint from an individual that includes multiple allegations related to Garrison’s behavior.” So for the moment, we only have Keillor’s side of the story, but the mention of “multiple allegations” seems to suggest...

During the Starz appearance at the winter Television Critics Association (TCA), the network understandably received a number of questions about the future of American Gods, their TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed novel of the same name. The first season was a critical success, fueled in part by the distinct artistic vision of showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, but the two have since departed the show. Actress Gillian Anderson also said she won’t return in her role as the god Media, and actress Kristen Chenoweth was unsure about her return as the god Easter. Fans are wondering just how much will change when their much-loved show returns.

“They were not fired,” said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, when asked about Fuller and Green, “nor did they quit … [They] will be involved as much as they can be; it’s a little bit up in the air as to what their role will be.”

“There is a very good relationship between Fremantle and Michael [Green] and Bryan [Fuller],” Albrecht said, “and everyone’s trying to work this out, everyone wants that to be a win-win for the people involved and the fans, everyone wants to keep as much of the team intact as possible.”

“Our partners at Fremantle are working with Bryan and Michael and their schedules, working out a way for them to continue to be involved,” he continued. He also said...

Back in 2016, then-Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew announced that the U.S. government would be significantly reworking the design of its currency. Harriet Tubman was slated to appear on the front of the $20 bill, with genocidal slaveholder Andrew Jackson moved to the back of the bill alongside a picture of the White House. However, the Trump administration has repeatedly refused to commit to the changes, being evasive when asked about the plans and lamenting the plan as “pure political correctness.”

During a recent interview at the Economic Club in Washington, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin continued to dodge the issue, saying, “We haven’t made any decisions on whether we will change the bill or won’t change the bill.” He’d been similarly evasive in August 2017, saying, “People have been on the bills for a long period of time, and this is something we will consider. Right now, we’ve got a lot more important issues to focus on … Ultimately we will be looking at this issue. It’s not something I’m focused on at the moment.”

However, as of September 2017, the Treasury department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing told Bloomberg that it was “still following current guidance” and proceeding according to the Obama-era plans. “The redesign of the next currency series is still in the early stages,” said spokeswoman...

We heard back in February that John Wick director Chad Stahelski was looking at TV as the next possible venue for the action franchise, after Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 wrapped up. Now, Starz has announced that they’re developing The Continental, a television series based around the world of John Wick and centered on “the inner workings of the exclusive Continental Hotel which serves as a refuge for assassins.”

The Continental promises to include the thunderous fight sequences and intensely staged shootouts between professional assassins and their targets that fans have come to expect in the John Wick movie franchise,” said Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht, “as well as introducing some new, darkly compelling characters who inhabit this underground world.” Producers also promised that the series would keep the “dry humor” that so many fans loved in the films.

Television has traditionally struggled with recreating film-style action sequences, mostly due to budget constraints, so it will be interesting how Starz intends to pull this off. Given that they reportedly lost their American Gods showrunners due to budget arguments, one hopes that they’re not setting The Continental up for a similar rollercoaster.

Then again, Starz was recently acquired by Lionsgate, who also happens to own Summit Entertainment, the studio which distributes the John Wick films. So when budget discussions come up, corporate synergy may just save the day for this...