Television

BBC America

Every TV show should be so lucky as to have their own Tatiana Maslany. The Canadian actress has been working steadily since 2003, mostly on television and the occasional blink-and-you’ll-miss-her film appearance, but she became a bit of a sensation last year with her lead role (roles?) in BBC America’s new series, Orphan Black. It helped that the show is entertaining, twisty and surprisingly funny, but the key to each and every episode is Maslany’s incredibly diverse and nuanced performances. That may be confusing if for some inexplicable reason you haven’t watched the show yet, but Maslany plays clones. Each one is unique in character and characteristics, in movement and expression, and she does masterful work bringing them each to individual life. Things get even more impressive when she plays one character impersonating another. And don’t even get me started on her frequently displayed derriere. Season two premieres tonight, and since I’ll be reviewing the episodes going forward I wanted to take a quick look back at the first season to bring everyone up to speed. I re-watched all ten episodes and was reminded of the show’s numerous strengths, its handful of weaknesses and the seemingly limitless power of Maslany.

read more...

Orange Is The New Black Season 2

Ahhh, prison. Orange is the New Black makes it seem so appealing. You and a bunch of your buddies (divvied up exclusively by race, of course) hanging out, rewiring lamps and only occasionally fighting off a potential stabbing. The second season of Netflix’s simultaneously-upbeat-and-disturbing series debuts on June 6th. And to ring in the new, they’ve released a shiny new trailer, a full-length one that finally gives us all a clue to what we’ll be binge-watching a month and a half from now (beforehand, all we had were these particularly ominous seventeen seconds). This full-on, “Official” trailer actually has a little story to it. Looks like Season 2 will start with Piper (Taylor Schilling) released from solitary (probably something to do with that potential stabbing) and Lorraine Toussaint showing up as a new (and from the looks of it, extremely villainous) resident of Litchfield Correctional. Cue the montage of characters becoming alternately enraged and sassy.

read more...

Allison Tolman in Fargo TV Series

It may not be the best movie of 1998, as its Best Picture honor claims it to be, but Shakespeare in Love is a delight for any drama nerd with a boner for the Bard. Hardly acceptable as a true account of the inspiration for and writing of “Romeo and Juliet,” John Madden’s film is really just a celebration of the work of William Shakespeare by being a pastiche of themes, tropes and lines from his plays. Another proper title for the movie would be “Mark Norman (and Tom Stoppard) in Love With Shakespeare.” In their script are direct reverential references — some of them nods of foreshadowing for things later to be written, others familiar devices employed as general homage — to “Hamlet,” “Twelfth Night,” “The Merchant of Venice” and more. Some of it is kind of silly if you find that sort of celebratory amalgamation and obvious, literal allusion to be a cheap reduction of an artist’s genius (at least Shakespeare got off better than The Beatles did in Across the Universe), and now that same kind of imitative collage is being done for Joel and Ethan Coen in the new TV series Fargo (making them modern day equivalents of the Bard, apparently deserving of equal admiration and tribute). Despite sharing its name with the filmmakers’ 1996 Best Picture nominee, the FX show is not quite an(other) adaptation or spin-off or remake of the story of Marge Gunderson and Jerry Lundegaard. It is not even set in the same Minnesota […]

read more...

Mad Men Season 7 Time Zones

Accutron: It’s not a time piece. It’s a conversation piece. The first Accutron hit the markets long before Freddy Rumsen was pitching it in such surprisingly elegant language. Actually, it had been selling for about ten years, debuting in October of 1960 (just around the time Mad Men‘s first season was drawing to a close). Watches of the time, and for several centuries previously, were built around a “balance wheel,” a little pendulum that shifts back and forth and keeps the watch’s hands moving. Watchmaking company Bulova did away with the balance wheel for their Accutron watch, inserting a fancy electric tuning fork and cementing Accutron as the first electronic watch in history. Those tiny metal forks also made the Accutron the most accurate wristwatch ever made, and a “horological revolution” (thanks, Wikipedia!). At least until 1969, when Astron debuted the quartz-powered Astron and Joel Murray, as Rumsen, sat down to do his best Don Draper impression in the offices of Sterling Cooper & Partners (technically, this episode was set in January of ’69 and the Astron didn’t come out until December, but who’s to say Bulova didn’t have a little insider knowledge about the competition?). But at the time of Rumsen’s pitch, the Accutron was the cutting edge, and hearing such a sharp pitch about such a sharp watch sounds so very peculiar from a character best known for peeing his pants and collapsing into a sad, drunken heap. Scott Hornbacher, the director of last night’s episode, knows this. […]

read more...

Game of Thrones: Joffrey

This recap includes spoilers up to and including season four, episode two, “The Lion and a Rose.” Watch the episode first, then come back. We’re not going to tell you again. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: this episode changes everything. In past seasons, the single episode written by author George R.R. Martin has always been one of the pivot points of the show. He penned the “Blackwater” episode in season two (source of a monumental battle) and “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” (an episode that was packed with foreshadowing). For his season four work, he’s given us a royal wedding and perhaps the show’s most triumphant death. But before we get to the big nay, huge moment at the end of “The Lion and the Rose,” there is so much else to talk about. Because so much happens all over Westeros before the wedding.

read more...

Stephen Colbert

Last week, the news of David Letterman‘s imminent retirement (gently) shook the late night scene, and before anyone could actually mourn the end of the Late Show host’s career, speculation as to who would replace him hit overdrive. We’re guilty of it, too, though our speculative bits were centered around picking a host that could switch up the generally male-dominated late night scene. Our immediate attention turned to women who could take over the desk — women like Chelsea Handler, who already has a late night talk show and is nearing the end of her contract over at E!, along with other (probably high-shooting) picks like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Essentially, we wondered if the late night world was ready for a woman host (and, yes, although there have been female hosts in the past, none of them have stuck like the dudes have) — and, a week later, we’ve got our answer. They’re not. They are, however, ready for Stephen Colbert, who will now host The Late Show.

read more...

Jim Carrey in The Truman Show

It was over a year ago that Paramount first declared its intent to “get back, with very little investment, into the television production business.” But it’s not enough just to announce to the world that you want to make TV and you don’t want to spend a lot of money doing so. Eventually, you actually have to make that TV. And to their credit, Paramount has finally announced just what shows constitute their minor TV footprint. The winners are: An adaptation of Caleb Carr’s novel, “The Alienist,” (which is about late-19th century police psychology, and not someone who’s racist against aliens, as the name might suggest). A “limited series” (like a mini-series, but more prestigious-sounding) based on a biography of  Charles Lindberg. An Amerification of Peter Moffat’s BBC Series The Village Narc: The Show Ghost: The Show Terminator: The Show The Truman Show: The Show Par for the course as far as original ideas are concerned, but one stands out in particular (Hint: it’s the one mentioned in the title of this article). Unlike all the other book and movie and TV adaptations on Paramount’s TV slate, this Truman Show show has the potential to be something different, something more than just a previously written work squashed and stretched into 13-ish episodes, something astoundingly, soul-erodingly meta.

read more...

Mad Men Season 7 Promo Peggy and Don

Some TV shows adhere to our thoughts, like glue, tape or that brand of putty known for extreme silliness. These are shows where half the cast might be killed off during a formal wedding feast or where the protagonist’s Great Big Secret is discovered by his brother-in-law while on the can. Mad Men is not one of those shows. It’s something slower, more prone to introspection and a slow simmering burn than graphic violence and CGI dragons. It’s no slight against Mad Men. It’s just a way of saying that a series that opened its sixth season with two hours of Dante’s Inferno allegory is not built for the same kind of cliffhanger anticipation that dragon shows are. Add in the ten(ish)-month gap between the last new episode of Mad Men and today, and you may be a little rusty on the comings and goings of Sterling Cooper & Partners (you may also have forgotten that the series’ ad firm is now called Sterling Cooper & Partners, which has been the case ever since Don Draper and Ted Chaough got drunk and decided to smoosh their two firms together). No worries, that’s why we’re all here: for a quick look back at the old Mad Men and one last look ahead at this year’s shiny new Mad Mens.

read more...

Silicon Valley

Mike Judge’s fresh out of the box HBO series, Silicon Valley, has only aired a single episode on the premium channel, but the comedy show has already surpassed last year’s star-studded feature outing, The Internship, in nearly every way possible. If you’ve forgotten the 2013 summer comedy, well, good for you, but the first episode of Silicon Valley will likely jog some memories loose for you – especially when main characters Richard (Thomas Middleditch) and Big Head (Josh Brener) head off to work at a sparkly, cultish campus that looks a whole hell of a lot like Google. Shawn Levy’s film centered on a pair of recently laid off old school sale dudes – Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, a reunion that basically served as the film’s only real attraction – who snag internships at Google (and, yes, actual Google, which feels like it just bankrolled the entire production) and attempt to reinvent themselves at the hip company. It’s like a big commercial for Google – a huge commercial – and that proves to be a major problem as the film winds on.

read more...

Game of Thrones: Season Four, Episode 1

As it has done in previous seasons, Game of Thrones has used its first hour of the year to give us plenty to talk about. Because even after so many of the characters we love were killed off at the end of last season, there are still plenty of people with whom we need to catch up. The other primary goal of episode one — a goal it accomplishes swimmingly thanks to the ever-sharp writing of showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss — is introducing season four’s new faces. As Westeros takes a deep breath and begins to pick up the pieces left by The Red Wedding, the world of its fans lets out a long sigh of relief. It’s good to have Game of Thrones back on our TV screens, even better to have it back in top form.

read more...

Late Night Female Host

The late night chat show game has been the victim of some major shakeups and upheavals over the past few years – it’s lucky for Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon that his transition seemed to go so smoothly, because the previous attempt at ceding the show from Jay Leno to Conan O’Brien was eighteen shades of infamous ugly – but leave it to David Letterman to show everyone how classy retirement can (and should) be. Last night, Dave (always “Dave,” never “Letterman”) took to his Late Show to announce that he’s decided to retire sometime in the next year, meaning that the Late Show With David Letterman will end its run (as we know it) sometime in 2015. Letterman’s retirement closes out the end of an era – both his own and the one that saw Leno and Letterman as the only real late night choices – and subsequently signals the beginning of a new one. Who will next host the Late Show? Although Letterman has given no indication of what will happen to the actual brand, it seem impossible that CBS would go without a late night entry, so surely someone will move into the spot soon enough. There are plenty of male hosts and comedians that could take over the gig – names that have been bandied about include Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Craig Ferguson, Conan O’Brien and even Jay Leno – but isn’t it time a woman took her place behind the desk?

read more...

Ned at Baelor in Game of Thrones

So many people have died on Game of Thrones that keeping track of them is quite the undertaking. It’s such a pervasive element of the show (and the books upon which the show is based) that we’ve even resorted to gambling about when characters will die while blogging previous seasons. And with the upcoming fourth season’s tagline of “All Men Must Die,” the marketeers as HBO are assuring us that these next 10 hours of thrones will be the bloodiest and most unpredictable yet. Which is all the reason we need to take a pause and remember fondly those who have died. HBO did this with their Beautiful Death art project, which wraps up this weekend just in time for the season 4 premiere. We are doing it with our own Oscar ceremony style In Memoriam tribute, which can be seen below. But first, we’d like to take a moment to rank the five most important deaths — those that had the greatest to do with moving the show’s narrative forward.

read more...

Danaerys in Game of Thrones season 4

When we last left Westeros, it was with a heavy heart, was it not? Fresh off the horror of The Red Wedding, fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones were left with the sinking feeling that a tectonic shift was underway in the narrative landscape built and then often destroyed by author George R.R. Martin. Even those who had read Martin’s books, fully prepared for the events, were shaken by the imagery of watching several beloved characters die violently and unexpectedly. In that moment, the battle for power in Westeros was changed in a manner so irreparable that no matter how much justice is delivered upon those who orchestrated the story’s bloodiest moments, it may never be enough. But that still won’t stop the show from trying. In season four, with this world-altering massacre behind it, Game of Thrones sets an accelerated course toward vicious revenge. If the events of season three took place to show us that no one is safe, season four has arrived just in time to hammer the sentiment home.

read more...

Game of Thrones art

Of course there are spoilers here. How could we even begin talking about the roadmap of Game of Thrones and its first three seasons without talking through some spoilers? It could be like therapy, though. Perhaps we engage in longform conversation over the legacies of those we lost in The War of the Five Kings. We could perhaps even spend an entire 1000+ word article on the aftereffects of The Red Wedding. But let’s face it, we’ve got all of season four to work out those emotions, just as the denizens of Westeros have all of season four to work out their revenge schemes. As we sit on the precipice of another season of Game of Thrones, it’s important to look back at how far we’ve come since episode one, when Ned Stark taught his children about the justice of the world. A justice many of his children — bastard, borrowed or otherwise — would never find before being struck with tragedy. We could spend word upon word walking through just how tortured this Stark clan is, but we don’t have to. The good news is that the Internet is doing the work for us. So let’s watch some video.

read more...

How I Met Your Mother

From its very inception, How I Met Your Mother was based on the execution – often marvelously botched – of the big romantic gesture, most often committed by the eternally hapless Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor). The show’s entire premise, that a middle-aged man would spend what amounts to actual weeks telling his bored teen kids (these poor, poor bored teen kids) about how he met their mother, just reeked of such a gesture. This was big romance! This was a hell of a gesture! It was also one that had some majorly diminishing returns for a long period of time. As the series began to wind down in its final season – a protracted goodbye that has long stretched the admiration of even the most hardcore of fans – the specter of the big romantic gesture loomed both large and literal, with actual objects standing quite effectively in for behaviors and actions. You know them. The locket. The blue French horn. Lloyd Dobler had his boombox, but Ted Mosby had an old piece of jewelry and a stolen instrument – and he almost managed to bury both along with the myth of the Big Romantic Gesture. Almost.

read more...

How I Met Your Mother

On a filmmaking and storytelling level, the How I Met Your Mother series finale “Last Forever” was pretty sloppy. But the central point — killing the finally-named Tracy and having Ted end up with Robin — is the best possible way they could’ve closed this whole big beautiful mess out. Ted and Robin have always been the show’s Ross and Rachel, the “Will They/Won’t They” couple whose conflict drives the series. And yes, it does in fact drive the series: it’s the only inter-character issue that has been present for the entire series. Other things come and go, Ted and Robin’s weird, complicated, sexual and romantic tension has maintained. You might insist that finding “The Mother” is the real point of the show, but I’d argue that that’d be kinda terrible. Remember, “The Mother” isn’t a character until season 9, and doesn’t even get a name until the final minutes. Let me say that again, but with italics for emphasis. She doesn’t get a name until the final minutes. Ted’s pursuit of “The perfect woman” isn’t a romance story, it’s an emotional fetch-quest, shallow, selfish and narcissistic. Tracy just isn’t enough of an entity for the beginning of their relationship to provide the closure we need in a series like this. In storytelling terms, “The Mother” is what Ted wants, “Robin” is what he needs, and you should always give your protagonist what he needs.

read more...

Dyke and Fats

The joke is that it’s hard to say. Well, it’s hard to say (or, hell, even type) if you’re not the sort of person who is prone to spouting off insulting and derogatory terms about people based on their sexual orientation or weight or race or whathaveyou with ease. But the joke is also that it’s about reclaiming words, ideas, prejudices, and the sort of things that liter the kind of commenting sections that no one should ever read. It’s Dyke & Fats! They’re the best cops in Chicago! And they are here to reclaim some loaded words, okay? On this weekend’s Saturday Night Live, repertory players Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant unveiled the sort of project that sure seems like it’s close to their heart – a send up of seventies cop shows that also niftily subverts the genre and combats the kind of hate speech the duo might often be the victim of (the sketch even featured an end credit that proclaimed that it was “Created By Kate McKinnon & Aidy Bryant,” a rarity in the SNL world0. In the skit, McKinnon is fake actress Dutch Plains (who, in turn, is playing the “Dyke” in Dyke & Fats: “Les Dykawitz”), while Bryant is her own fake actress, Velvy O’Malley (the talent behind “Chubbina Fatzarelli”). Tongue in cheek? You bet. And better.

read more...

supersize-me-spurlock

Imagine a nonfiction television series focused on greed, gluttony, sloth, lust, pride, envy and wrath. Well, doesn’t that just describe the whole gamut of reality TV? Yes, but not in a condemnable way that acknowledges these things as the cardinal sins they are. We need someone to take these vices back and put them in their place, and Oscar-nominated documentarian Morgan Spurlock seems to be that person, like a premium cable version of John Doe in Se7en, only without the killing. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he’s got a new show headed to Showtime called Seven Deadly Sins, which he describes as being like Alfred Hitchcock Presents but with true stories. I’d say this joins the new trend this year for major documentary filmmakers hitting the small screen with nonfiction miniseries, but Spurlock has been producing and hosting stuff for TV for years and already currently has the continuing Inside Man on CNN, which kicks off its second season in a few weeks. Seven Deadly Sins will premiere on June 19th and the channel has it scheduled for 11pm, which might indicate this won’t be the most PG-rated program. In a statement, Spurlock said of the show, “You won’t believe it until you see it … and even then, you may not believe it.” Does he mean it’ll be dirty? Gross? Violent? Something too dark for primetime, apparently.

read more...

Girls

The third season of Lena Dunham‘s Girls was put to bed this past Sunday night, and we’re already speculating about what the next run has in store for those eponymous girls (and, more importantly, their awesome boys). The series’ love for ending things on a cliffhanger only heightens anticipation — there’s nothing like some good old-fashioned “will she? won’t she?” to keep people on board — and the third season didn’t back down from putting some possible big changes into motion. What will the fourth season look like? Who will be there? How much of it will we get? Will we get to meet Caroline’s spawn? Is is still going to be in Brooklyn? Loud yelling about Adam Driver! Everyone, get ahold of yourselves. We might not know the answers to all of those questions, but we sure do know a lot. Take a look.

read more...

Girls Two Plane Rides

Do you remember how last season’s Girls run ended? The running? The romance? The OCD reveal? It was a heady time in our lives, back when there was still some hope for Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Adam (Adam Driver), Marnie (Allison Williams) hadn’t lost another boyfriend, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) was trying to spread his wings, and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) had gone MIA. Think of it now! No Caroline! No GQ! No rehab! The good old days! “Two Plane Rides” effectively ends the series’s third season — and probably a whole mess of relationships, too — with the revelation of something just as unexpected as Hannah’s OCD: she applied to the country’s best grad school. And she got in. Elsewhere, Adam bombs his Broadway debut (by his approximation), Marnie goes after another bad boy, Shosh sees her partying come to its logical end, and Jessa tries to kill an old lady. No, really. The series closed out with a truly excellent finale — one packed with fun details like Elijah’s formal shorts, Shoshanna’s sad hair and wholly expected college flunk out, Adam’s “bad” performance, Marnie’s inability to stay away from “emotional property,” Jessa having to face some real consequences, and Hannah proving herself to be some kind of intellectual titan.

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Twitter button
Facebook button
Google+ button
RSS feed

published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
C-
published: 04.18.2014
C

Listen to Junkfood Cinema
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
SXSW 2014
Game of Thrones reviews
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3