‘Kung Fury’: The Most Absurdist Film Gets a Sequel, and We’re Ready

Kung Fury

The ‘Kung Fury’ YouTube short gained cult status almost immediately, and now its filmmakers want to keep the nostalgic callbacks coming with a film starring A-list talent. It’s the kind of polarizing short film you either love or find incredibly stupid. I’m in the former camp, having grown up with ’80s schlock TV and absurd sketch troupes such as Monty Python. The 2015 short Kung Fury, which has 30 million views at the time of this writing, worked as a hilarious throwback to the ’80s. Now it’ll get the feature-film treatment, with high-profile actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Fassbender joining the cast. For the uninitiated, here’s a quick rundown of Kung Fury. David Sandberg, who created and directed the short, stars as Kung Fury, a detective who mastered the art of kung fu and gained superpowers thanks to being struck by lightning and bitten by a cobra. After being paired        …read more

Fantasy Meets High Adventure in These Incredible Tree House Hotels

tree house hotel

Go out on a limb at the 6 best tree house hotels in the world. There’s not a kid in the world who hasn’t dreamed of a hideaway high on the branches of the backyard tree. The notion of a rustic, secret tree house, long idealized in literature and film, has typically been the province of children — but why should kids have all the fun? They don’t have to. With tree house hotels popping up all over the world, adults can enjoy the same private retreat deep in nature’s embrace, with the added benefit of high-thread-count sheets and good WiFi. Many of these properties offer close encounters with wildlife, and all promise incredible views and an immersive journey into native ecosystems. Take experiential travel to new heights with one of these unique tree house hotels sure to awaken the child within. 1. Chewton Glen In the ancient woodlands of        …read more

Top 6 Free Art Apps to Help You Create Anything

free art apps

These free art apps can help you realize your vision, whether you’re into screenwriting, audio production, music, design, animation or video editing. When I was growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of brand-name items in the house. We drank cola, not Coke or Pepsi. We blew our noses on facial tissues (or paper towels), not Kleenex. When we got sick, we took cold medicine, not NyQuil. So when I became interested in screenwriting in high school and asked my parents for Final Draft, the industry-standard screenwriting app, I wasn’t surprised to learn they weren’t going to buy it for me. Back then, I wasn’t aware of any free art apps. The cost of Final Draft at the time was several hundred dollars. Suffice it to say, I learned script formatting the hard way. Then I discovered that someone on the internet had created templates for Microsoft Word to        …read more

11 Spa Treatments to Heal Whatever’s Hurting You

spa treatments

There’s a whole world of spa treatments designed to cure colds, depression, stress, wrinkles and more. Instead of tea, tissues, and chicken noodle soup when you’ve got a cold, how would you like a spa treatment? Or if you’re carrying around emotional baggage, try curing it the way our ancestors have been doing it for generations: with a specific tree used in a spa treatment. There are some super-cool (literally) spa treatments available today, which are said to do everything from easing muscle pain, to zapping evil spirits, to helping with depression. Select your ailment, and then book your treatment. 1. To Reduce Inflammation: Cryotherapy Strip down to your underwear while standing in an odd contraption that works like a freezer, getting down to about -250 F (yes, that would be colder than Mars but, no, you won’t get frostbite). The point of forking over about $50 for the three-minute        …read more

Missing Children: Learn the Risks and How to Help Bring Kids Home

missing children

Learn the most common reasons children go missing and how to help bring them to safety. National Missing Children’s Day is May 25. Almost exactly four years ago, on a sunny June day in a beautiful Atlantic beach town, I thought my life was ending. My son, Raymond, who was just a few weeks from his third birthday, disappeared on a crowded boardwalk. We’d just gotten off the Jolly Trolley at the boardwalk — Raymond, his two older sisters, my husband and I. For less than a minute, my husband and I took our eyes off the kids while we discussed where we wanted to eat dinner. Less than a minute. How many times have you taken your eyes off your child in a public place for a few seconds? You dig through your purse at the grocery store. You text your spouse. You crane your neck, searching for the        …read more

Inside Olan Rogers’ Journey from YouTube to ‘Final Space’

Final Space cartoon

Olan Rogers on his career milestones from BalloonShop to his own YouTube channel to ‘Final Space’ and beyond. Before 2018, odds were if you knew the name Olan Rogers, you knew it from any of the multimillion-hit YouTube videos featured on his namesake channel. “Ghost in the Stalls / STORY” — arguably the most widely known of Rogers’ many anecdotes, about a misadventure in the bathroom of a Target — is a common go-to in referencing his work, made all the more famous by GIFs featuring Rogers crouched over his own knees, whispering, “It’s a Monday.” Whether you’re uninitiated to the Tennessee-born YouTuber or you’re among his many die-hard fans since his earliest work with his first YouTube channel, BalloonShop, you may be familiar with the animated series Final Space, which Rogers created and stars in. The show premiered on TBS in February and aired its season finale on April 30.        …read more

7 Royal Weddings & How Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Will Compare

royal weddings

Royal weddings rarely diverge from tradition, but Prince Harry and Meghan Markle plan on shaking things up. As the world eagerly anticipates the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19, a recurring theme in the news coverage thus far has been a focus on how their ceremony will diverge from royal wedding tradition. Perhaps this is partly because Prince Harry is quite far down the line of succession to the throne (he will be sixth in line after the birth of Prince William’s third child), and maybe partly because the actress Meghan Markle has shown herself to be a modern woman comfortable with her own agency. Whatever the case may be, as plans for their wedding are slowly revealed, it’s becoming clear that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials — while no Tiki island–themed occasion, to be sure — will be somewhat more relaxed than previous royal        …read more

HBO’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Reignites Bradbury’s Dystopian Nightmare

Fahrenheit 451

On May 19, HBO will release the Michael B. Jordan–starring movie that reimagines Ray Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451.’ In these uncertain times, people are turning to fiction that challenges them rather than pure escapism. Last year George Orwell’s 1984 rose to the top of the Amazon best seller list, prompting a new printing of tens of thousands of copies. At the same time, TV shows like The Man in the High Castle and The Handmaid’s Tale, both based on dystopian novels, gained popularity. Enter Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451. Set in an unspecified time in the future, Fahrenheit 451 tells the story of Guy Montag, a fireman who doesn’t put out fires — he sets them. All firemen do. They burn books, which ignite at 451 degrees Fahrenheit. In Bradbury’s future, books are outlawed. People stare at flat-screen TVs or listen to earbuds all day. They turn in their neighbors        …read more

Superhero 101: Deadpool

Deadpool 2

Ahead of 'Deadpool 2,' learn more about the comic book origins of the crass and witty superhero. Deadpool wasn’t the first R-rated Marvel movie to land in theaters (Blade, then Punisher) but it was the first of its kind in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ryan Reynolds’ portrayal of Deadpool was lauded by critics and gobbled up by audiences. It was a different kind of Marvel movie, one rife with vulgar language and not-so-subtle sexual innuendos. Deadpool joyfully poked fun at superhero movie tropes, all the while becoming another smash hit in Marvel’s long line of box office successes. Those who’ve seen Deadpool know he falls under the X-Men umbrella, but he’s not exactly like the mutants we’ve come to know and love throughout the myriad of X-Men films. We’ll see more of that differentiation in Deadpool 2, as the foulmouthed hero continues to carve his own path by forming        …read more

Grace Jones Is Still Doing Whatever She Wants, and We Love Her for It

Grace Jones

La Vie en Rose: Happy birthday to singer, model and actress Grace Jones. Here’s the question: What happens at Grace Jones’ 70th birthday party? Arriving nude to the party has already been checked off her list. Perhaps Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake will create a custom cape for her that somehow perfectly describes her no-nonsense feelings of age? Feelings which, not surprisingly, scoff at age altogether. As her 2015 memoir states, “There are more important things about me than my age that will give you a better idea of who and what I am. I was born. Let’s take it from there.” Grace Jones’ memoir, by the way, is amazing. Titling it with her lyrics “I’ll never write my memoirs,” she made the choice to do the unexpected. The result? A voyeuristic glimpse into her mind and a lucky chance to live vicariously through her thrilling experiences as an international        …read more

This Sex Podcast Could Bridge an American Divide

sex podcasts

Sex podcasts are demystifying one of America’s favorite pastimes. A man who’s married to a RealDoll. A trans performer who’s fearful for her future. A former United States Surgeon General who was fired for suggesting Americans teach children about masturbation. These people couldn’t seem more different, but their stories can help us reexamine the way we view sex in the United States, which is exactly what sex podcasts such as American Sex aim to do. He’s into clown play, and she fancies mimes. Much like their guests, one might not imagine American Sex creators and hosts Sunny Megatron and Ken Melvoin-Berg to fit into a traditional love story narrative. Yet, somehow, the sexuality educators have found a way not only to make their relationship work but to also inspire their listeners each week. Though they’re perhaps best known for their work on the Showtime series Sex with Sunny Megatron, the        …read more

The Slender Man: The Demon the Internet Created

Ahead of the new Slender Man film, catch up on the creature’s mythology, a product of our time. Much of America learned about the “existence” of the Slender Man through the horrific crime in May of 2014 when two 12-year-old girls stabbed a classmate 19 times in a Wisconsin park. It’s a sad story made sadder by how young the victim and the assailants were, as well as the assailants’ tenuous mental health (one of the assailants was diagnosed with schizophrenia shortly after the crime). But what made it more troubling was that the girls who stabbed their friend were sure they were doing it in homage to an internet bogeyman, the Slender Man. The Slender Man film, directed by Sylvian White, is set to release August 10, and for those of you still catching up on the mythology, we’re laying out the backstory of one of the Internet Age’s        …read more

5 Less Flashy Endangered Species That Need Our Help

endangered species

We’re rooting for pandas as they make their big comeback, but here are five lesser-known endangered species that need our support too. In sixth grade science class, I was assigned a report on an endangered species. The idea was simple: each student would research an animal and report on why it was endangered and why it was important to save them. In practice, students competed over a handful of very popular animals, scarcely even bothering to look at the rest of the list. I was on Team Giant Panda, and our teacher eventually relented and let a whopping three of us tackle the majestic black-and-white creature. The details I learned about giant pandas stunned me and stayed with me. The experience also left me with questions about how we interact with endangered animals: Are the animals who need the most help getting the most attention? An endangered species is a        …read more

Buried Alive: 4 True Stories That Will Shock You

buried alive

Exhuming historical accounts of people being buried alive. The idea of being buried alive is horrifying. Though the possibility of waking in your coffin after being mistakenly buried alive is rare these days, years ago terrifying incidents like these were far more common than you might think. In fact, during the 18th and 19th centuries, inventors patented safety coffins designed to assist people who might be accidentally buried alive. Some included a bell with a cord that the prematurely buried person could ring to signal to the outside world that they were, in fact, alive. Some people have suggested that the phrases “dead ringer,” “saved by the bell” and “graveyard shift” began with the use of these safety coffins, but others dismiss the connection as urban myth. What is true is that records exist of people having been accidentally buried alive. Below are just four of those disturbing cases. 1.        …read more

The Many Faces of Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dalí, Salvador Dali

“I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.” On Salvador Dalí’s birthday, May 11, we remember the surrealist painter’s equally surreal life. In 1924 French poet André Breton published the Surrealist Manifesto, in which he explained an emergent post–World War I movement in art and poetry called surrealism. The goal of surrealist art was to “resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality into an absolute reality, a super-reality,” which was often achieved by contrasting the mundane and the fantastic. French poets may have created surrealism, but Spanish artist Salvador Dalí perfected it. Born May 11, 1904, Dalí was an intelligent but easily distracted child. He later said, “At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.” Dalí was a natural with a paintbrush whose talents were evident early on. At the        …read more

6 Reasons Stevie Wonder’s Life Should Be on the Big Screen

Stevie Wonder's life

His music has accompanied over 50 years of our collective lives, so isn’t it about time it became the soundtrack to Stevie Wonder’s life at a theater near you? One August afternoon in North Carolina, nearly 45 years ago, we almost lost Stevie Wonder in a car accident. He was 23 and had just released his 16th studio album. The details of the accident are fuzzy — some say a log slid from the back of a flatbed truck, crashed through the windshield and hit Stevie square in the head. Others say there were no logs in the back of the flatbed truck at the time the two vehicles made contact. But what is certain is that Stevie was in a coma for a few days, and there was a chance he wouldn’t make it. It’s the stuff movies are made of. But even without a near-fatal car crash, Stevie’s        …read more

Summer Blockbusters Are Here! Time to Join Fantasy Movie League

blockbusters

Make this season of movie blockbusters even better with Fantasy Movie League. Sports fans obsess over their fantasy teams. Movie fans obsess over upcoming releases and debate the potential box office success or ultimate failure of a film. With Fantasy Movie League, created by ESPN senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry and other gaming industry veterans, movie fans around the world have a place to take the prediction talk further and get competitive in an online social gathering setting. Fantasy Movie League puts you in charge of a virtual theater and tests your predictive box office skills. The game sounds very simple, but it’s actually a huge challenge and, most importantly, great addictive fun. With the arrival of summer blockbusters, jump into the game now for the exciting ups and downs that’ll keep you coming back for more. Here’s what to expect when you join the hundreds of thousands of        …read more

‘Dark’ Season 1: ‘There’s Something Uniquely Creepy about Germans’

Dark: Season 1

Everything is connected in ‘Dark’ season 1, the hypnotic German sci-fi show filled with lost children, time travel and a complex multigenerational family history. In recent years, European shows gained international fans with their quality productions, which often led to an American remake. See the Danish show Forbrydelsen (The Killing) or the French show Les Revenants (The Returned). The German sci-fi show Dark is the latest Netflix Original series that the streaming service has developed outside the United States. Sci-fi, mystery, time-travel, whodunit — the German drama has it all. Why should you start binging Dark season 1? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy0b9e40tK8 German television never took off compared to Scandinavian noir, French thrillers, or British costume dramas. Only in 2015 was the first German-language drama broadcast on an American network, with the spy drama Deutschland 83 on SundanceTV. Now Germans are stepping up their game. In 2017 Amazon launched the cybercrime drama You        …read more

How 6 Top Futuristic Movies, Shows & Novels Imagine Our Interplanetary Life

futuristic movies

We’re fast approaching the final frontier. These futuristic movies, TV shows and books envisioned what it might be like when we get there. Imagining interplanetary life is a hot topic, and rightfully so. At some point in the not-too-distant future we’ll no doubt be left with little choice but to up sticks and leave ol’ Mother Earth to her own devices. Either that or face certain destruction at the hands of an Amazon delivery drone revolution. Personally I’m quite attached to my two-day shipping, so colonizing a bunch of aliens is an ethical fence I’m willing to hop over if push comes to shove. And perhaps it won’t be so hostile? Who knows — maybe one day humans, Martians and the android birds and bees will shack up together in some 22nd-century robot-hippie lovefest, introducing a trans-species of flesh-droid Klingon into the next millennium. A (posthu)man can dream… …of electric        …read more

Autoimmune Diseases: Why Millions Go Undiagnosed​ & What to Do about It

autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases are more common than you think, but they’re misunderstood in the medical community. In early 2013 I became chronically exhausted for no apparent reason. I began going to bed right after work and sleeping through the weekends, but my fatigue only worsened. Next came the unexplained fevers and rashes, the extreme dizziness when I was exposed to sunlight, and the joint and muscle pain that was so severe it sometimes left me in tears. I explained my symptoms to my primary care doctor and told her about the lengthy history of autoimmune disease in my family. After running the most basic blood work possible, she told me I was physically fine, my symptoms were likely due to “stress and anxiety,” and sent me on my way. I spent the next four years going through the exact same process with four different doctors in New York and Seattle. By        …read more

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid: 6 Cults That Terrified the World

cults

Twisted religious beliefs, UFOs, doomsday, mind manipulation — these 6 cults wreaked havoc on a massive scale. What exactly is a cult? When we hear the word, most of us instantly think of religious activities gone awry — an extreme belief system that gravely affects its followers and even the world around them. While a significant number of cults throughout history have a religious bent, a cult can rise from any devotion to a single idea or goal shared by a small or large group of people. Many are fascinated by cults because, from the outside looking in, it’s hard to imagine how someone could get wrapped up in such a dubious, often incredibly irrational and immoral system of beliefs. The truly horrifying thing about cults is that they are frequently marketed to potential followers as a means to make their members better people and the world a better place.        …read more

5 Reasons to Get Excited about ‘Tully’

Tully

For Charlize Theron’s performance and more, ‘Tully’ is a must-see film with a deep and sincere respect for motherhood. As Marvel’s Infinity War signals the arrival of summer blockbuster season, a bunch of movies worth seeing will slip under your radar if you’re not careful. Tully is one of them, and it’s set for a nationwide release May 4. Listed below are five reasons it’s worth your attention. 1. Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody are back together again https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5D3O4yCmCg&feature=youtu.be Tully is directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody, and it will mark the third time this dynamic duo has collaborated. Their partnership began in 2007 with the indie darling Juno, a heartwarming film about teenage pregnancy that garnered four Oscar nominations and one victory, as the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay went to Diablo Cody. The pair didn’t wait long to work together again, as they reprised        …read more

Superhero 101: The Avengers

Avengers Infinity War, Avengers movies, Avengers cast

Ahead of ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ brush up on the Marvel squad’s comic book origins. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one superhero group brings an assortment of popular superheroes together. No, not the X-Men, who sadly cannot participate in the epic Marvel universe due to licensing issues. We’re talking about the Avengers, who allow Marvel’s ambitious cinematic efforts to feel like one large and ever-expanding group. By now, you’ve probably seen at least a few Marvel flicks in recent years. They are everywhere, after all. If so, you’re already at least somewhat familiar with the Avengers. Chances are you’ve even seen a dedicated Avengers movie…or two. Soon you can see the Avengers in action in their third movie. Avengers: Infinity War comes to theaters April 27. If you watched 2012’s Avengers and its 2015 sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron, you’re probably well-versed on the team that brings some of Marvel’s most        …read more

‘God of War’ Is Action Game Perfection

God of War

‘God of War’ takes the longtime Sony series to new heights with a compelling story and amazing moment-to-moment combat. If I had to pick one current-generation console game that best shows off how much the medium has evolved in recent years, I would pick God of War, hands down. The latest PlayStation 4 exclusive is on a presentational level that would’ve seemed unfathomable not long ago. It pushes Sony’s hardware to a degree that makes many AAA PS4 games before it seem as if they were developed for a different, dated platform. The world is stunning, the animations are crisp to a point that even the little things are gawk-worthy, and the cinematics are breathtaking. All of this, the high production value, and top-notch look and feel, could have very well been wasted on the God of War franchise. It’s not that the series hasn’t been consistently good. God of        …read more

5 Must-See Audrey Hepburn Movies

Audrey Hepburn movies

These Audrey Hepburn movies make it abundantly clear why she’s a legend. When legendary fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy died at 91 on March 10, the photos that accompanied his obituaries featured Audrey Hepburn, his most devoted famous fan, who wore his clothes by special request in her movies. Here was a man who’d spent decades in the fashion industry, and he was most famous for dressing one specific woman. Audrey Hepburn, fashion icon, humanitarian, actor and legend, was born in 1929. Taken far too young by cancer in 1993, she is one of the few classic movie stars, along with John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe, whose image is still recognizable even by younger people who may have never seen her films. There was, of course, much more to Hepburn than her appearance. An actor of deep feeling, she emerged in the early 1950s, when the cinematic acting style shifted        …read more

Dave Pollot Brings Pop Culture to Old Thrift Store Paintings

Dave Pollot creative expressions

Dave Pollot populates thrift store paintings with pop culture icons. Mario, Bowser and other MarioKart characters careen through a pastoral forest. A Gremlin looks out from an otherwise staid collection of fruit bowls and flower vases. X-Men’s Magneto scans a picturesque beach with a metal detector. Welcome to the art landscape of Dave Pollot, who creatively places pop culture icons into thrift store art scenes. The New York artist’s favorite films and TV shows slip into his paintings and murals, from Star Wars to Batman to Ghostbusters to Deadpool. What makes his pieces stand out is how seamlessly these cultural stars find their way into background artwork that you wouldn’t glancest at twice. Pollot embraces that ho-hum thrift store look as the ideal setting to let movie and TV characters display a different shade to their personalities. For example, the creepy girl from The Ring isn’t slinking out of a        …read more

Nintendo Labo & Why Toy Construction Sets Are Great for All Ages

toy construction set

Whether you’re four or 40, toy construction sets have something to offer you. Nintendo Labo, the gaming company’s cardboard toy construction set for use with its Switch system, releases this month, and it’s unlike any video game peripheral we’ve seen before. Combining the “do it yourself” approach to building sets like LEGO and K’NEX with traditional gaming elements displayed on your television screen, Labo aims to stoke your problem-solving and creative fires while providing you worthwhile incentive in the form of a fully playable console game. It’s a brilliant idea, and in the weeks following Labo’s announcement, I saw a number of commenters make the same point: “I wish this existed when I was a kid.” Though it is certainly meant first and foremost for kids, Nintendo also encourages “kids at heart” to try it out. Labo and other toy construction sets are a great way for people of all        …read more

Places to Visit in the U.S. That Feel Like International Destinations

places to visit in the U.S.

Want to feel like you’re a world away without the long flight and jet lag? Check out these places to visit in the U.S. that look and feel remarkably similar to their European counterparts. We’d all love to jet off on international adventures, but sometimes a lack of funds and time can get in the way of our globetrotting dreams. Fortunately, there’s a solution, and it doesn’t have to come in the form of a staycation. There are plenty of beautiful places to visit in the U.S. that look and feel just like European locales, thanks to early settlers who came to America infusing a heavy dose of culture into their designs, food and celebrations. 1. You want to go to Greece The place to visit: Tarpon Springs, Florida Greek divers and crew members immigrated here for the flourishing sponge industry, which mimics that of their homeland. They dive deep        …read more

Fostering Hope: Rising above Adversity in the Child Welfare System

foster, Child Welfare System

In honor of National Foster Care Month, get to know a former foster child now studying for her doctorate to help kids in the Child Welfare System. National Foster Care Month was first established by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Since the creation of National Foster Care Month, it has been designated as a time to acknowledge the hard work of the individuals, organizations and communities pulling together to improve the lives of America’s most vulnerable children. Those unfamiliar with the foster care system or the Child Welfare System as a whole might associate it with unfit parents and poor outcomes. However, while it’s true that the foster care system has a way to go in terms of ensuring the safety and stability of young people, there are successful outcomes to applaud too. Below is an overview of the Child Welfare System, which at times may seem downright depressing, if        …read more