Please Baby Please

Please Baby Please

8

Dec

2017

I've been defending the films of Spike Lee for a long, long, long time.  I'm old enough to remember having very deep thoughts (well, as deep as could be expected for a 16-year-old suburban white kid) about the first incarnation of She's Gotta Have It, his very first full-length feature film, and being fascinated with t ...
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King of the Castle

King of the Castle

29

Nov

2017

How do you solve a problem like Maria?  Or, to put it in a less cryptic way, how do you say that the new Netflix Punisher series is probably the best Punisher adaptation, and arguably the best of the streaming service's Marvel series, while acknowledging that these are both extremely high bars to limbo under?  I'm sure I ...
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Spoiler Alert

Spoiler Alert

14

Nov

2017

Noir is a hard thing to parody, because noir itself is so close to parody even in its purest form.  We like to talk about it as a gritty, realistic form of cinema -- and it is!  At least, sort of. But in other ways, it's so attenuated and abstracted, with its stylized visuals inherited from German expressionist cinema and ...
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What Else is On?

What Else is On?

26

Oct

2017

Folks, you know me.  You're the same six people who keep reading this site throughout the years, so I can say with total confidence that I love you one hundred million times more than I love my own family or even a dog.  It doesn't matter which dog, that's not relevant.  The point is, you know that I normally provide in- ...
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It Had Been Made Bitter

It Had Been Made Bitter

23

Oct

2017

A lot of factors can contribute to a filmmaker delivering the best work of his career.  Circumstances from finding the right cast to discovering the right project to getting the ideal financing can combine to make all the difference in the world.  Other times, it's waiting until exactly the right medium comes along.  Err ...
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The Teeth Are the Best Part

The Teeth Are the Best Part

30

Aug

2017

Watching classic TV of a previous era is always a dicey proposition.  People can get distracted by out-of-date fashions, technologies, haircuts; even the rhythms of speech and the way audiences laugh at things can seem terribly archaic to a younger viewer.  The lack of immediacy and the somewhat unchanging nature of the t ...
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The Curate’s Egg Awards

The Curate’s Egg Awards

21

Aug

2017

We are living, you know, in an age of quality television.  Everyone knows it.  I know it; you know it; that one guy on Twitter who won't stop gassing on about The Americans knows it.  Television is so good that it would be worth giving up sex for, if anyone ever had sex anymore.  Television is so goddamn great that the ...
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So Why Don’t You?

So Why Don’t You?

27

Jul

2017

Louis C.K. has his fingers in a lot of pies these days.  The great auteur figure of 21st-century comedy maintains, in addition to a robust touring schedule as a stand-up comedian, a production company that shepherds his own television projects.  These include straight-up documentaries, stand-up specials by himself and som ...
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Hey Ladies

Hey Ladies

26

Jun

2017

Today's question:  how good can a show about wrestling be if the wresting in the show isn't very good?The answer, at least if the show under discussion is Netflix's new series GLOW, is...well, pretty good, actually!  Maybe that's because of the show's many other strengths, or maybe it's because of the extremely game natu ...
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Laugh? I Thought I’d Die

Laugh?  I Thought I’d Die

14

Jun

2017

Showtime's new dramedy series, I'm Dying Up Here, is definitely a product of its time.  The question is, what time is that?  Is it the early 1970s, when the series is set? Is it the mid-1980s, when any schmuck with a colorful shirt and a rap about bad drivers could get his own TV series?  Is it the late 2000s, when we a ...
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Fix Your Hearts or Die

Fix Your Hearts or Die

6

Jun

2017

There is a school of thought which says that an artist, to do truly effective work, must always keep the audience -- any audience, even an imaginary one -- in mind.  I've never quite believed this to be true. Except in the case of explicitly commercial work, an artist can (I do not say must) create entirely for himself; h ...
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Make It Last All Night

Make It Last All Night

30

May

2017

Neil Gaiman is in the news again.  Some concatenation of dullards is trying to raise half a million dollars for charity, in exchange for which the dreamer of dreams and seller of stories will – and, I am not, I can assure you, making this up, though I wish I were – read the entire menu of a casual dining chain restaura ...
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Crashing Bore

Crashing Bore

11

May

2017

I've always been a little distrustful of the critical language of rejection when it comes to our current wave of 'difficult men'.  Sure, there's no doubt that the last thing in the world we need is another story about misbehaving white males; it's not like there's a dearth of them.  On the other hand, a good show is a goo ...
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If the Right One Don’t Get You

If the Right One Don’t Get You

13

Apr

2017

One of the most common -- and accurate -- criticisms of the Netflix series based on Marvel comics characters is that they're so dreadfully long.  At a baker's dozen episodes, each clocking in at an overstuffed hour, even the best of them can become a terrible slog.  (Netflix seems to have responded at least partially to ...
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And You’ve Got Me Hating You

And You’ve Got Me Hating You

16

Mar

2017

It is a canard often, and falsely, leveled at Hollywood that it has no new ideas.  In fact, Hollywood has innumerable new ideas; they're just all bad.  If you're in the television or film business and have a really shitty idea that nobody asked for or could possibly want, you can make gobs of money, especially if your gar ...
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