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Entries in TV (413)

Saturday
Apr302016

Best of April Watching ICYMI

We're mixing up the month-end ICYMI post to hopefully make it more enticing/interesting with random awards and different categories like so...

5 Most Discussed Posts
Current Stars Who Deserve an Oscar Nod - they've earned momentum
Q&A -Animals & late 80s/early 90s films
Posterized: Tom Hiddleston - where to post-Loki?
Posterized: Melissa McCarthy - she's having quite a career
Pfeiffer & Aronofsky - yup, they'll be working together 

5 Favorite Posts
Bob's Burgers & The Birds - Hitchcock references for the win 
The Furniture: The Force Awakens - that myth-making forest! 
Witness - So pleasurable to revisit this for the Best Shot roundup
Please Switch Off Your Phone - the actresses are actressing, for chrissakes 
April Showers Blue Valentine - oh I need to see this again

Best of Nathaniel's Random April Watching
Best Old Thing: Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood (1957)
Best New Thing: The Fits (2016)
Best Actor: Ben Whishaw in The Crucible on Broadway
Best Actress: Geraldine Page in The Beguiled (1971)
Best Supporting Actor: Idris Elba in The Jungle Book 
Best Supporting Actress: Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt S2
Best Miniature Thing: Katya Zamolodchikova's I'm Not A Doctor
Best TV Episode: Drag Race S8.E8 "RuPaul Book Ball" (with Untucked)
Best Cameo: Scott Gill's penis in John Barrowman's live chat 
Cutest: Keanu in all the commercials for Keanu
Sexiest: Tom Hiddleston in High-Rise (runner up: Tyler Hoechlin, Everybody Wants Some !!)
Funniest: Titus Andromedon, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt S2
Spookiest: Lady Asaji Washizu and The Silent Chamber in Throne of Blood

Congratulations are in Order!
Jose was quoted in the ads for the fashion documentary The First Monday in May after his interview here! How about that?

 

Getting your first big pull quote on your birthday week = priceless #criticslife #thefirstmondayinmay #annawintour

A photo posted by Jose Solis (@josesolismayen) on Apr 13, 2016 at 4:31pm PDT

 

Ongoing conversations
Tribeca - Manuel & Jason celebrated the highs / warned us of the lows
Actor Month -Viggo, Willem, Matthias, Andrew, and many more
April Showers - Gone Girl, Sicario, Margaret, Law of Desire, Carrie, Pee Wee's Big Holiday

April Downers
If we hadn't lost Chus Lampreave, and Ronit Elkabetz and had to say Farewell to Prince it would have been much much better month. But sometimes it snows in April. (Runners Up: The steep steep quality decline for "The Flash" of late which is so much mopier and with the slowest storyline --Zoom & Earth 2-- imaginable for a show about super-speedsters. And, of course, that Snatch Game episode of RPDR.)

How was your April?

P.S. Yes, yes, I'm finishing up the April Foolish charts today. Only the acting categories remain.

Friday
Apr222016

"Time 100" is Oscar-Obsessed

Magazines may be a dying business but the few mega magazines that remain all have annual traditions to entice buys. And so it is with the "Time 100" an annual list of "Most Influential" though as with any such list it's highly subjective.

Here is a list of the movie & television people who made it this year in one of their five sections (the only section that does not include at least one actor is "Leaders")

Pioneers Aziz Ansari and Gina Rodriguez

Titans Dwayne Johnson, Wang Jianlin, and Kathleen Kennedy 

Taraji is the modern-day Bette Davis, touching audiences with her honesty and intensity. When you are on set with Taraji, she listens, but she also questions. She challenges everyone to go the extra step to get it right. She has a deep understanding of the human condition, and she displays it with her eyes—the pain, the happiness, the love, the laughter. She probably would have been a great silent actor, but then the world wouldn’t have had Cookie.

Before Empire, she was underappreciated by white America and Hollywood, while African Americans heralded her as our Meryl Streep. I’m so proud that Cookie has moved her into the zeitgeist. What Taraji has done with the role made the world finally appreciate who she is—quite simply, a tour de force on and off the screen.
-Lee Daniels on Taraji P Henson 

 

I offered Mark Rylance a significant supporting role in 1987 in my film Empire of the Sun—and he turned it down. A play had caught his fancy, and anyway, I sensed he was suspicious about film acting. Who could blame him? For actors who have given their lives to theater, making movies must be like lurching in the backseat of a car while the driver keeps working the brake. When Mark does a play, nobody says, “Cut,” only “Curtain” after a few uninterrupted hours. Legions of young thespians look to Mark as their muse and inspiration. From Boeing-Boeing to Jerusalem to Twelfth Night, the impact he’s had on classical and contemporary theater is the stuff of legend. A winner of three Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and now an Oscar, Mark glimpses these honors with gratitude and humility, but his heart belongs to a good story. His soul is pure. He just loves to act.
-Steven Spielberg on Mark Rylance 

Artists Gael García Bernal, Taraji P Henson, Melissa McCarthy, Ryan Coogler, Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mark Rylance, Charlize Theron, and Priyanka Chopra 

Icons They went full Revenant here honoring both Leonardo DiCaprio & Alejandro González Iñárritu

What's the takeaway?
It always amuses us when people call the Oscars "irrelevant" since the very fact that people get so up in arms about them every year is quite the indication that they remain the most relevant of movie institutions (even if movies themselves aren't as central to pop culture as they once were). They matter to people. Even the act of rising up against The Academy is underlining their stature as the house of the definitive golden idol of Hollywood. Time's movie lists are extremely unsubtle about sticking it to the Academy yet again over #OscarsSoWhite. Note that they ignored all but three Oscar nominees (the three big male winners) while honoring both Ryan Coogler & Idris Elba. Not that Coogler and Elba aren't worth honoring as they did have great years! But if they weren't trying to shame the Academy yet again they might well have considered Cheryl Boone Isaacs for this list since she's in the media so much of late and has been trying so hard to make a difference on the issue of diversity in Tinseltown. On the other hand, even as Time slaps Oscar's hand, they're embracing its other status quo #OscarsSoMale (in a manly back-patting kind of way) since they included all three of the Academy's most high-profile male winners (Rylance, DiCaprio, and Iñárritu) and neither of the big female winners.

Do you think of all these people as influential? Whose part do you suppose Spielberg wanted Rylance to play in Empire of the Sun? 

Wednesday
Apr202016

Review: Confirmation

Kieran, here. Politics, even at their most abstract are ultimately personal. At its best moments, HBO's Confirmation directed by Rick Famuyiwa’s (Dope) and written by Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) understands this. Anita Hill’s (Kerry Washington) 1991 allegations of sexual harassment against Justice Clarence Thomas (Wendell Pierce) on the eve of his confirmation to the US Supreme court is a subject about which few who can remember are indifferent. Who was lying and about what? What did the Anita Hill’s testimony say about the positions of gender, race and political alignment in this country? These are the kinds of questions that evoke vociferous, often angry opinions and the film doesn’t offer up easy answers.

The truth of whether Clarence Thomas sexually harassed Anita Hill is secondary. Thomas, as rendered by Pierce in what is actually a small role with few spoken lines, is a beleaguered public figure, forced to defend himself and deal with the consequences these allegations had on his personal and professional life. I say this not to imply that Thomas is innocent (I’ve always thought he was guilty). But, as is often the disgusting and sad truth about men who commit these crimes, they’re not always technically lying when they maintain their innocence under oath. In order for it to truly be a lie, these men would have to believe that they did anything wrong in the first place. Whatever mental gymnastics Clarence Thomas had to go through in order to get to this place, his own words and Pierce’s subtle but precise performance clearly illustrate that Thomas does not believe he was guilty of any wrongdoing. When the film is examining the implications of a culture that allows men to make these leaps and how it turns victims into villains, it shines and Pierce is a key component of what makes this element works. He opts not to turn Thomas into a monster for it’s not the “monsters” who violate women and irrevocably damage lives. They are simply people, a much truer and scarier fact to fathom.

more...

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Wednesday
Apr202016

Lukewarm off the Presses: Hamilton, Banks, Anastasia, Cloak & Dagger. Plus Tony Buzz!

Nathaniel, back from the Nashville Film Festival where I juried on the "New Directors" competition. More on that once our awards are announced. Until then, I'm under hush order. But let's catch up on all sorts of movie & entertainment news that happened over the past handful of days that we didn't cover here.

• Lin-Manuel Miranda won the Pulitzer for his Broadway smash Hamilton and, giddy squeal, The New Yorker's television goddess Emily Nussbaum won the Pulitzer for criticism. If you haven't read her, you must. She's just wonderful.
The Golden Globes have clarified their rules for what drama and comedy mean in a probably futile attempt to get campaigns to stop trying to game the system.
• I forgot to mention that teen superhero duo Cloak and Dagger are getting their own TV show (yay! always loved them in the comic books) but Kate Beaton has two words for you "tit windows"
• Elizabeth Banks plans to direct a revival of the Charlie's Angels franchise and she's also playing the villain in the new Power Rangers movie resulting in a horrifying photo.
• Beloved bossy TV mom Doris Roberts has died. The supporting actress won 4 Emmys for her role on Everybody Loves Raymond and also had memorable roles on St. Elsewhere (another Emmy win), Remington Steele, and Angie. She was not only well loved by audiences but co-stars too.
• Carrie Fisher has officially blamed George Lucas for inspiring her writing career because his Star Wars dialogue was so terrible
• Johnny Depp and Amber Heard made some sort of weird apology video for that dog business in Australia
• Adapting animated features into Broadway musicals isn't just for Disney anymore. Anastasia (1997) becomes a stage musical this summer in London and is eyeing the 2016/2017 Broadway season
• There are some who are suspicious that this news is not really official but Nicole Kidman is supposedly returning to Broadway this fall with Photograph 51, after its London run
• Industry people got really excited about 3D high frame rate footage from Ang Lee's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk at a Future of Cinema Conference
• The Academy is STILL trying to explain their new voting rules. So do we get it now?

RANDOM CASTING & DATE SHIFTS
No links just news ICYMI: Daisy Ridley will headline a new film from Marielle Heller, director of Diary of a Teenage Girl called Kolma, a 'mystical' romance; Willem Dafoe joined Justice League (role unknown); Walton Goggins has replaced Joe Manganiello (they're so alike. um...) in History Channel's forthcoming Navy SEALs series Six; Naomi Watts will headline the Netflix psychological thriller series Gypsy (not the musical!) in which she plays a therapist who gets mixed up in her client's lives; Kurt Russell & Kate Hudson will star in the TV series Barbary Coast, a period drama about the gold rush in the 19th century; Kate McKinnon may star in the new back-to-school comedy Senior Year; Nicole Beharie, who was so amazing in Shame (2011) and then starred in TV's Sleepy Hollow, will play the lead female role in the remake of 90s thriller Jacob's Ladder; The Golden Globes will take place on January 8th, 2017 this coming awards season. 

THIS JUST IN
Slightly fresher news before we go

Two of Broadway's Funniest Ladies: Laura Benanti & Jane Krakowski, in "She Loves Me"

• Doug Kraner, a production designer on TV's "Gotham" and several movie hits including Uncle Buck, Sleeping with the Enemy and Enough, has passed away.
• A24 is on board a new James Ponsoldt (Spectacular Now) project a true story drama based on the book "I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution"
• The Tonys are coming. The Tonys are coming. That means precursor madness. Yes, as with the Oscars there are many precursors to the Tony Awards. The Outer Critic Circle Nominees and Drama League have already announced their nominees (with Drama Desk to come next week). Since all the groups have slightly different rules for eligibility Hamilton is out of the way for some of the precursors (though obviously not for Tony) since it was eligible while it was Off Broadway last season. With the 800 lb gorilla caged (for the moment) that means good news for other musicals: She Loves Me, American Psycho, Bright Star and The Color Purple all appear strong going into the Tony nominations. The schedule is as follows:

April 28th. Drama Desk Nominations
May 3rd. Tony Award Nominations
May 20th. Drama League Awards (Hosted by Megan Hilty & Zachary Levi)
May 26th. Outer Critics Circle Awards 
June 5th. Drama Desk Awards (Hosted by Michael Urie)
June 12th. Tony Awards (Hosted by James Corden)

P.S.
Meryl Streep also recently spoke at the "Women in the World" summit and at the end of her speech she sings a snippet from Hamilton making this an even better week for Lin-Manuel Miranda and the upcoming Tony Awards.

 

Friday
Apr082016

Sterling K Brown: A Star is Born

As we continue celebrating actors this month, here's Murtada on a new one to cherish. He's our TV MVP this week...

Sarah Paulson brought both pathos and steeliness to spare to her portrayal of Marcia Clark. Courtney B Vance was fiery bluster, daring viewers to take their eyes off him as Johnny Cochran. John Travolta was so infinitely alien as Robert Shapiro that he proved fascinating to watch. Almost every single performance was top notch*. What an ensemble.

And yet the clear standout is Sterling K Brown as Chris Darden.

The finale cemented what everyone watching The People Vs O.J. Simpson suspected throughout the past few weeks; we have a new fantastic actor to be excited about. The calm authority he brought to Darden’s closing argument alone should earn him a lot of accolades. Yet he wasn’t finished. At the post-verdict press conference, he goes about delivering a heartfelt speech and then in a split second he realizes words don’t matter, that’s when Brown breaks our hearts. He walks towards the Goldmans with a hunched back and overcome emotions, his body clearly telling us that’s a defeated man. No that’s not all of it. He then earns more of our admiration in his final standoff with Vance. Again bringing an eerie calm to Darden’s final testament.Through him the show delivers its statement about our current world.

Then there’s his final scene scene with Paulson; clasping hands as they walk away as Nina Simone begins to sing. Throughout the series Brown displayed palpable chemistry with his co-stars. The rat-a-tat of give and take acting with both Vance and Paulson, so riveting to watch. But also more. Didn’t you swoon when he took Paulson into his arms for a dance? Their chemistry is already generating both headlines and obsessive fandom! He’s not only a great actor but perhaps a matinee idol? Those don’t come along that often. I bet a lot of us would look at Brown the way Paulson’s looking at him in the photo above if we got the chance.

We shall be seeing a lot more of Sterling K Brown, starting with the Emmys in September. Have you watched the finale?

*I would’ve said all if it wasn’t for Cuba Gooding Jr.

Wednesday
Apr062016

RPDR S8.5: Like a *Blank*

Chris here, filling in for Nathaniel's weekly recap of RuPaul's Drag Race. This week was everyone's perennial favorite: Snatch Game! Past seasons have made this celebrity impersonation challenge a complete game changer, catapulting contenders like Jinkx Monsoon and Chad Michaels straight to the finals. In fact, only one Snatch Game winner has ever placed less than fifth place: season three's Stacy Layne Matthews (performing as Mo'Nique via her Oscar-winning Precious performance).

You could easily argue that this challenge is more anticipated than the season finale's crowning, and after last season's unmemorable edition, fans were hungry for this year's queens to bring the laughs.

S8.05 "Supermodel Snatch Game"

And it brings me no joy to tell you that the episode was an unfortunate dud.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr062016

Tveit Me, Baby. Or Leave Me

We didn't do our usual Stage Door column this past Monday (on account of no theater trips this week) so let's talk Aaron Tveit since we're focusing on male actors for a change this month. While he originally made his mark in stage musicals (including in the DiCaprio role in Catch Me If You Can) the small screen seems to have eaten up his time since. Nevertheless this week's "Miscast" benefit concert reminded us of his inarguable charisma. (More on that concert in a minute)

 

He hasn't done enough movies given how perfect he was as Enjolras in Les Misérables (2012) but at least we got to see him do Grease Live early this year. Unfortunately he's highly vulnerable right now at falling into the trap that many stage stars do where they end up wasted in TV genres like political, hospital, lawyer, or cop shows  that actors with far less broad-ranging gifts could play just as well as they do. Their musical gifts end up completely invisible/wasted. See most of Mandy Patinkin's & Audra McDonald's TV careers. (Obviously Patinkin is excellent on Homeland but his TV career has been... strange)

The gold standard for current stage stars trying to make it on TV is arguably Sutton Foster...

Click to read more ...