Category Archives: Television

“Feud: Bette and Joan” Main Title Sequence

One of the most notorious feuds in Hollywood history is that of rival sisters Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. And they’re the subject of my most-anticipated show of 2017, Ryan Murphy’s newest anthology series, Feud, starring Jessica Lange as Crawford and Susan Sarandon as Davis. Have a look at the show’s recently released opening sequence. The pair’s 1962 psychological thriller What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? airs as part of TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar on March 2, just three days before Feud‘s March 5th premiere on FX.

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It’s Funny Because It’s True: SNL “qua” Sketch

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There are few SNL sketches that will top “Schweddy Balls,” based on my personal tastes and sensibilities. That sketch, perfectly written by Ana Gasteyer, is so multi-layered, so well performed, and just plain hilarious.

And then there was “Short Film” (watch here).

No, “Short Film,” which aired on last week’s Emily Blunt-hosted episode, does not top Gasteyer’s and Molly Shannon’s NPR-set sketch, but it comes pretty damn close—again, per my personal tastes and sensibilities (it’s likely not everyone’s cup of tea).

Continue reading It’s Funny Because It’s True: SNL “qua” Sketch

On My DVR: HBO Movies

HBO has long been at the forefront of quality TV movies. Among this year’s offerings are three based on real people, two of which are based on Tony-winning plays. Each is primed for Emmy consideration.

All the Way

Following up his Oscar-nominated performance in Trumbo and four Emmy wins for portraying Walter White on Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston reprises his Tony-winning role of LBJ in this TV adaptation of the 2014 Tony-winning Best Play. I caught this Robert Schenkkan-penned play on Broadway—liked it, but didn’t love it. Schenkkan adapted his own work for HBO, so I’m curious to see how he interpreted this story for a different medium.

Logline (courtesy of IMDb)Lyndon B. Johnson becomes the President of the United States in the chaotic aftermath of JFK’s assassination and spends his first year in office fighting to pass the Civil Rights Act.

Director: Jay Roach
Screenwriter: Robert Schenkkan
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Anthony Mackie, Melissa Leo, Bradley Whitford, Frank Langella
Runtime: 132 min.

Continue reading On My DVR: HBO Movies

On My DVR: “Night Will Fall” (2014)

When I heard that a lost Hitchcock film was found, I knew I had to learn more, even if it were a doc, perhaps unlike anything he had previously made. As a huge Hitch fan, I’m looking forward to learning more about the film that researchers only recently uncovered.

Synopsis (courtesy of IMDb):
Researchers discover film footage from World War II that turns out to be a lost documentary shot by Alfred Hitchcock and Sidney Bernstein in 1945 about German concentration camps.

Director: André Singer
Screenwriter: Lynette Singer
Cast: Helena Bonham Carter (narrator), Alfred Hitchcock, Sidney Bernstein
Distributor: HBO Documentary Films
Runtime: 75 min.

Game of Thrones: Why That Controversial Scene Is Okay in My Book

Before I begin, I must disclose that my day job is working for a company that retains HBO as a client. That said, my company’s affiliation has no bearing on my views regarding HBO or its series.

Warning: This commentary contains spoilers.

This blog has always been wholly dedicated to film, but allow me to take a left turn for a moment and focus on another of my passions: television.

A couple of weeks ago, HBO aired a controversial scene in Game of Thrones in which nobleman Jaime Lannister (portrayed by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) rapes his twin sister and frequent lover Cersei (Lena Headey) in front of the corpse of their eldest son. And then a fan uproar commenced. Diehard fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series—on which Game of Thrones is based—immediately flocked to the Internet to complain that this scene was not accurately depicted on television as it was in the book. I haven’t read the books, but I understand that the novelization depicts a consensual sexual encounter—certainly not a rape. Book lovers, get over it. Television and film depictions are often different than what’s in the source material, and that’s done for a reason. But that’s another commentary for another time. My current interest is in defending the scene as it played out on screen.

Continue reading Game of Thrones: Why That Controversial Scene Is Okay in My Book