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The Must-Read Stories of the Week: Sean Penn Interviews El Chapo, Werner Herzog Slams VR and More

The Must-Read Stories of the Week: Sean Penn Interviews El Chapo, Werner Herzog Slams VR and More

Why Sean Penn’s El Chapo Interview Is His Best Work in Years
By humanizing El Chapo, reducing a mythological super-villain to the level of a savvy businessman, Penn delivers his most perceptive storytelling achievement since “Into the Wild” — another project that peered beyond the mystique of an elusive character to find the flawed, driven personality beneath. – Eric Kohn, Criticwire

Werner Herzog Has Seen the Future of Virtual Reality and Finds Nothing But Man’s Futility
For now, Herzog is treading lightly. He told The New Yorker that he had seen documentary-like VR footage of “ice floes near Greenland,” but the footage “tired him” very quickly. “What was more convincing was animated films,” he said. “Digitally created landscapes and events made a better impression on me.” – Zack Sharf

Oscar Nominations 2016 Snubs and Surprises, Stats, and Winner Picks 
One unfortunate narrative is 2016 Oscar voters’ lily-white selections. Yet again, as last year, among the actors there were no people of color, as Idris Elba did not land an expected supporting nomination for Netflix’s “Beasts of No Nation,” which was shut out. The one nomination for Ryan Coogler’s “Creed” was for Sylvester Stallone, reprising his role as Rocky Balboa, while “Straight Outta Compton” scored only a Screenplay nod (for its four white writers), but no Best Picture slot. – Anne Thompson

How ‘Lost,’ ‘The Wire’ and ‘Battlestar Galactica’ Paved The Way for USA’s ‘Colony’
On the surface, “Colony” doesn’t look all that much like sci-fi — and that’s kind of the point. The USA Network drama created by Carlton Cuse and Ryan Condal tells the story of a family living in an occupied Los Angeles. Who (or what) has Los Angeles under its control? That’s not as important a question as how this new world order affects ordinary lives — even though as we find out pretty quickly, Will and Katie Bowman (played by Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies, two of the hottest parents on television since Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell of “The Americans”) are far from ordinary. – Liz Shannon Miller

The Magical David Bowie Performance Nobody Appreciates Nearly Enough
David Bowie’s character was the only real magician in “The Prestige.” Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman’s top hatted rivals were conjurers of cheap tricks, masters of picking locks and applying spirit gum, but Bowie’s Nikola Tesla built machines that could do the impossible. – Scott Beggs

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