November 7, 2013 |
The depressed farming community of Medora, Ind., is the focus of the often-somber documentary appropriately titled "Medora. " The film, directed by Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart, works as an earnest snapshot of a certain kind of small town that's struggling to exist amid economic downturns, shuttered workplaces and a stultifying lack of hope or progress. It's a sad commentary about people and places that get left behind - the wholesale disappearance of the American dream. As a compelling viewing experience, however, "Medora," which counts actors Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci among its executive producers, falls short as it follows members of the town's hapless high school basketball team over the course of a single school year.
September 5, 2013 |
"Boardwalk Empire" (HBO, Sundays). I have not kept up scrupulously with "Boardwalk Empire," from the sheer demand of trying to keep up with everything on television -- which is now not merely television, but anything you can see on a screen (not counting "the movies," but including, soon, your wristwatch). There are time-management choices even the non-professional viewer must make. But unlike some shows I do not keep up with, because they have nothing to say to me, or because what they have to say to me is disagreeable, or so poorly expressed as to be disagreeable, I am always happy to check back in with this series, now entering its fourth season, to bask in the luxuriousness of its assured tone, quietly evocative period work, impeccable acting and the richer-than-usual emotional life of its characters.
July 19, 2013 |
Predicting the whims and quirks of Emmy voters isn't that hard. (For proof, see Exhibit A here . If that guy can do it, anyone can.) Still, Thursday's nominations produced a fair share of surprises and undoubtedly bruised a few egos. What's the fallout? And what might be in store when the television academy hands out the awards Sept. 22? Let's sweep through the six main categories while pondering an upside-down universe where those crazy cutups from "American Horror Story: Asylum" can win 17 nominations but zombie-fighting members of "The Walking Dead" can manage but one. ( Yay for the makeup team!
July 15, 2013 |
Emmy nominations arrive Thursday morning, so it's time to do one last sweep through the high-profile categories to see who might be waking up early to field phone calls and talk about how honored they're feeling, how they heard the news and precisely how much caffeine they drank before the announcement came down. Let's have a look at the drama categories, shall we? DRAMA SERIES Surprise: "House of Cards" arrived with plenty of hype, but by the time Kevin Spacey did you-know-what to you-know-who (sorry ... but we don't know if you've binged yet)
May 29, 2013 |
It's no spoiler (hopefully) to note that in the world of television, sometimes even prominent characters and fan favorites meet an untimely end. In this clip from the recent Envelope Emmy Roundtable, five heavyweight showrunners - Alex Gansa of "Homeland," Terence Winter of "Boardwalk Empire," David Benioff of "Game of Thrones," Glen Mazzara of "The Walking Dead" and Vince Gilligan of "Breaking Bad" - speak to the Times' Martin Miller...
March 14, 2013 |
What is it with Hollywood and hyperbole these days? Last week saw "Oz the Great and Powerful" and now we have "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. " Calling it "The Mildly Diverting Burt Wonderstone" would have been more accurate, but how many tickets is that going to sell? Neither as good as you might hope nor as dreadful as doubters may fear, "Wonderstone" has in Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey and Alan Arkin four of the funniest men working in movies today. But it doesn't seem to know how to consistently get the best out of them.