Ramin Setoodeh

Stories by Ramin Setoodeh

  • celebs-tattoo-tease

    Kat Von D: Are Celebrities Driving Tattoo Culture?

    Two decades ago, the only cultural icons with tattoos were rowdy and extreme: Dennis Rodman, Steven Tyler, Cher. Their inked-up arms conjured images of rebellious behavior, life on the road, Hells Angels. But today, even the most elaborate tattoos have gone mainstream.
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    Naomi Watts Talks 'Fair Game': Secrets of the CIA

    Valerie Plame, the CIA operative whose identity was compromised by an internal leak in 2003, is the subject of an engrossing new drama, "Fair Game," which stars Naomi Watts as the fallen spy. Watts discusses the movie with NEWSWEEK.
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    Can 'Toy Story 3' Win the Oscar?

    The critically lauded feature is the most successful movie of the year, and the top-grossing cartoon of all time. Chances are very good that the Pixar hit will be nominated for a best-picture Academy Award. But could it win?
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    Who Needs 'Jackass'? We've Got the Internet.

    The stunt is called "The Propeller," and it's a high—and low—moment of Jackass 3D. A gang of male doofuses stand in a grassy field, as an airplane propeller revs up to full speed just a few feet away. By the force of the propeller wind, the guys tumble and fall, splattered in red tomatoes pitched at them like softballs. Is it over yet? Not until the artist known as Bam—to fans of the Jackass phenomenon, he's a certified star—decides the only logical thing to do in a windy field is to take a leak. Needless to say, the entire screen is drenched in urine, and so are your 3D glasses. "That's the story of Jackass right there," Johnny Knoxville proudly declares. "Pissing in the wind."...
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    How Paris Hilton Can Fight Prowlers

    In the wake of a second break-in at Paris Hilton’s home, a celebrity security expert weighs in on how celebs can stay safe.
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    The Music Video Is Back Thanks to Lady Gaga

    Many of us keep track of what tops the box-office and iTunes charts, but can anybody even guess what’s the most-viewed YouTube video of all time? No, it doesn’t involve a baby or a kid doing something hilarious. The answer is “Bad Romance,” the music video starring Lady Gaga shimmying in what looks like an underground brothel. As of press time it had been viewed 244,529,375 times. The Web site has singlehandedly revived the genre—with a little help from a woman who wears soda cans in her hair.
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    Will Leonardo DiCaprio Ever Smile Again?

    Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the most respected actors of his generation (he’s 35), so why is he always so pissed off in the movies? It’s not for lack of admiration.
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    Why the Summer Movies Are About to Rebound

    In case you hadn’t heard, the world is ending! This always happens during summer-movie season (e.g., "Armageddon," "Independence Day," etc.), but this summer, it’s Hollywood itself that’s facing the apocalypse. According to the latest press reports, nobody is going to the movies. Memorial Day–weekend box-office numbers were at a 15-year-low, after both "Sex and the City 2" and "Prince of Persia" tanked. In the first weekend of June, tickets were down 19 percent from the same period in 2009. Let’s look at the silver lining: it would be fun to stand next to Katherine Heigl in the unemployment line.
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    Ralph Macchio,You Have Finally Been Replaced

    Hollywood has always been green-friendly, but now it’s one of the world’s biggest recyclers. The latest example: The Karate Kid. (Wait—there’s also The A-Team. Is it 1984 again?)
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    Lightyears Ahead of Its Time

    If you expect to have trouble letting go of your son when he heads off to college, perhaps there’s solace in this: imagine how crummy his toys must feel. That’s the premise behind 'Toy Story 3.'
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    Hollywood's Summer Fetish: The Middle East

    On the nightly news (for the six people who still watch that), the Middle East is often a barren land of despair, where the women are cloaked in shawls and the men look armed and angry. More often than not, Hollywood reinforces that perception.
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    'American Idol': Why Crystal Never Had a Chance

    After Tuesday night’s final face-off, the voting just seemed like a formality. All the judges piled praise after praise on Crystal Bowersox. But Lee DeWyze was destined to win.
  • Newsweek Responds to Kristin Chenoweth

    When Sean Hayes, from Will & Grace, made his Broadway debut in Promises, Promises playing a heterosexual man, the New York Times theater review included these lines: “his emotions often seem pale to the point of colorlessness ... his relationship with [his costar Kristin] Chenoweth feels more like that of a younger brother than a would-be lover and protector.” This, to me, is code: it’s a way to say that Hayes’s sexual orientation is getting in the way of his acting without saying the word gay.
  • Country Singer Chely Wright Comes Out as Lesbian

    On Tuesday, it had been 24 hours since the news leaked: Chely Wright is now the first openly gay performer in country music. “It’s been an interesting day for me,” said Wright, 39, as she was about to launch a press tour that included a stop on the Today show. “Wonderful, dynamic, emotional, and great.”
  • The Private Life of Catherine Keener

    She doesn't blog or tweet. In fact, she rarely talks. In a world where everyone wants to be a star, this may be the last great character actress.
  • Hollywood Keeps Letter Writing Alive

    The postal service lost $3.8 billion last year, but at least it's still got one big booster: Hollywood. Most of us use Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, YouTube, and blogs to communicate, but the movies are still trafficking in old-fashioned, handwritten letters. In Dear John, a soldier overseas has a gushing, epistolary romance with his girlfriend back home. Letters to God is about an 8-year-old boy with cancer who sends dispatches to You Know Who and the mail carrier who befriends him. That's not to be confused with the upcoming Letters to Juliet, about an aspiring journalist (another dying breed!) who discovers a lost "Dear Abby"–like note on a trip to Italy and responds with her own advice on love.Some of this paper fetish has to do with screenwriters showing their age, but most of it has to do with nostalgia. You can't pack the same narrative punch with e-mails, because we don't associate technology with voice (unless that digitized voice-recognition-speak does something for you)...
  • 5 Ways to Fix the Oscar Ceremony

    This was supposed to be the year the Oscars dumbed themselves down, to appeal to the masses. There were 10 nominees for best picture, specifically so that crowd-pleasing films such as The Blind Side, Up, and District 9could make the cut. Neil Patrick Harris wasn't the host, but he still randomly opened the show, with an over-the-top (and strangely unmemorable) song and glittery tuxedo. The list of presenters seemed to be packed with male eye candy: Ryan Reynolds, Bradley Cooper, Zac Efron, Taylor Lautner (presenting a montage of horror movies—huh?), and John Travolta (wearing jeans?!). One of the show's executive producers, Adam Shankman, is a reality-show judge on So You Think You Can Dance, which meant we got a never-ending, Debbie Allen-esque interpretive-dance sequence. There was even an overindulgent tribute to John Hughes, Shankman's friend, with a frightened Molly Ringwald and pale Macaulay Culkin, who looked like he'd been sprung from an underground bunker. If either of them...
  • A History of Oscar Smear Campaigns

    With The Hurt Locker in one scandal after another, the mudslinging has never been this bad. And it could only get worse.
  • Movie Review: Taking the Wonder Out of Wonderland

    One of the best running gags in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland(and there are many; every line of the Mad Hatter's dialogue could be from a Monty Python film) is that our little ingénue is constantly eating. When Alice falls through the rabbit hole, the first thing she does is drink a cherry-tart liquid and devour an entire cake labeled EAT ME. When she meets the hookah-smoking caterpillar, he offers her a mushroom and she nibbles on it for quite some time. No wonder she gets the munchies. But food is really just a setup. Every time Alice eats something in Wonderland, she transforms. One minute she's 10 inches tall; the next she's so monstrous, she can't leave the white rabbit's house. Near the beginning of the story, the caterpillar asks Alice a simple question—"Who are you?"—and she can honestly tell him that she doesn't know. She defies definition.The only way to understand Alice is to use your imagination. Do you even remember how to do that? In our society of...
  • The Death of the Biopic

    Charles Darwin has finally succumbed to the survival of the fittest. Creation, a movie about the creation of On the Origin of Species, was practically extinct on its arrival in late January—it's made only $140,241 as of last week. Nobody expects Darwin to outperform Avatar (or Alvin and the Chipmunks), but a documentary about monkeys at the zoo would make more money. "Darwin is a hard sell, even in my country," said the film's star, the British actor Paul Bettany, in a recent interview, "and that's where Darwin came from." Don't blame Chuck. Darwin is one of many historical figures who couldn't cut it in Hollywood. Last year directors churned out movies about Amelia Earhart (Amelia), Queen Victoria (The Young Victoria), John Keats (Bright Star), Nelson Mandela (Invictus), and Orson Welles (the fictionalized Me & Orson Welles), and not a single one was a hit. The Last Station, which gives us Tolstoy's last years, has made only $723,657 in limited release. The studio says it's...