‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’ Review: Animals, Nazis & A Superb Jessica Chastain Make For Memorable WWII Story
Nazis, zoo animals and a remarkable true and uplifting story of one woman’s courage and resistance in sheltering 300 Polish Jews during World War II combine for a powerful, riveting and emotionally devastating film The Zookeeper’s Wife, which chronicles yet another little-known aspect of that momentous time. As I say in my video review above, director Niki Caro (Whale Rider, McFarland USA, North Country) and screenwriter Angela Workman have crafted an inspiring and… Read
‘Nobodies’ Review: Melissa McCarthy-Produced Comedy Low Wattage Despite Big Cameos
Debuting on March 29 and already renewed for a second season, TV Land’s Nobodies executive produced by Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone is a near-perfect example of what having famous friends can do for you in this town – and how that doesn't always work out for the best.
With its first episode already online and having previewed at SXSW, the single-camera comedy series from and starring Groundlings vets Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf and Rachel Ramras is just not that… Read
Broadway Review: ‘Miss Saigon’ Returns, ‘Copter & Caddie Intact; Glittering ‘New Yorkers’
The lumbering whirlibird with the dragonfly eyes and the glittering Cadillac have returned to Broadway, possibly, to steal a phrase from that other big revival down the street, back where they belong. Produced by Cameron Mackointosh, Miss Saigon landed here in 1991 with a record-breaking $32 million in the bank. But as fans of Babe Ruth learned on April 8, 1974, records are made for breaking, and this season the Bette Midler-led revival of Hello, Dolly! is playing the… Read
‘Life’ Review: Jake Gyllenhaal & Ryan Reynolds Fight Creepy Alien In Killer Space Adventure
Life falls smack into the sci-fi alien genre of movies, so it is my prediction that every single review of it will somehow lead to comparisons in particular with Ridley Scott’s Alien — especially since that sci-fi classic owns this piece of the cinematic pie with numerous sequels and yet another (Alien: Covenant) coming from the man himself in May. And with the more cerebral Arrival having just tackled the alien-vs.-humans theme all the way to a Best Picture Oscar… Read
‘Harlots’ Review: Samantha Morton Lets Loose In Hulu’s Bawdy Brothel Drama
With battling brothel madams, anti-vice crusaders, ripping bodices and intimate transactional relations galore (carnal and otherwise), the March 29 debut of Harlots on Hulu delivers a very different look at the world's oldest profession.
Led by a fantastic Samantha Morton as madam Margaret Wells, the eight-episode first season of the series co-created by Jane Eyre screenwriter Moira Buffini and Alison Newman is, as I say in my video review above, a smart romp. More Fox's… Read
‘Five Came Back’ Review: Hollywood Filmmakers On Front Lines Of WWII As Told In Brilliant Netflix Series
Usually my colleague Dominic Patten covers the TV review beat, but he graciously let me steal this one from him since it really is all about movies and their directors. Netflix’s new three-part, three-hour documentary series Five Came Back chronicles the not-so-well-known efforts of five extraordinary Hollywood directors who put their careers on hold to join with the U.S. government in creating propaganda films during World War II.
The five iconic helmers, Oscar winners… Read
‘Song To Song’ Review: Terrence Malick’s Star-Laden Drama Takes A Long Time To Go Absolutely Nowhere
When you have a movie starring Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman, you might think that would be cause for celebration this weekend. But it turns out that the film they are in, Song To Song, is more like a cause for pain. As I say in my video review above, this latest piece of cinematic indulgence from director Terrence Malick is a waste of talent and time that basically is just the latest in a series of diminishing efforts… Read
Mark Ruffalo And Danny DeVito Square Off In ‘The Price’ – Broadway Review
From the moment he climbs onstage, cane in hand, specs at tip of nose, a snowy mustache and goatee encircling his mouth, and looking jauntily proper in three-piece pinstripe suit, Danny DeVito has us in the palm of his hands. Huffing as if this breath might well be his last, he surveys the scene, making small talk with the suspicious couple who have asked him here. Producing a notebook and pencil, he begins jotting down figures. That harp in the corner? Beautiful gilding… Read
‘Desus & Mero’ Review: Viceland’s Bronx Duo Are The Real Late-Night Deal
With Donald Trump in the White House, there is a lot happening on late-night television these days. But if you aren't watching Desus & Mero, then you’re not really paying attention to what’s going on. I wanted to wait a while after the Viceland show debuted on October 17 to see where things would go – and it has gone to good places, night after night.
The half-hour show airing at 11 PM Monday-Thursday and featuring Bodega Boys podcasters Desus Nice and The Kid Mero has… Read
‘Wilson’ Review: Woody Harrelson Hits Manic Button In Absurdly Funny Comedy
The press notes describe the character Wilson as a “big-hearted slob, lonesome bachelor, devoted father and husband, idiot, sociopath, delusional blowhard, and delicate flower.” Except for the last one it sounds like he could be President of the United States. But seriously (which this insanely amusing new comedy is thankfully not, for the most part), director Craig Johnson and writer Daniel Clowes have crafted in Wilson a quirky and offbeat delight about the kind of guy… Read
David Byrne’s Inspired ‘Joan Of Arc’ Rocker & ‘The Outer Space’ At The Public: Review
David Byrne’s boisterous segue from Imelda Marcos (Here Lies Love) to Saint Joan (Joan of Arc: Into the Fire) is the ultimate example of crab-walking from the ridiculous to the sublime. It’s also true that in Here Lies Love, his shape-shifting disco dance-a-thon about the imperious Philippine First Lady (co-authored with Fatboy Slim), aimed higher than a comic-book rehash of a life lived in gossip columns might have. It resonated in a timely parable of power, greed and… Read
‘Shots Fired’ Review: Fox’s Ambitious Limited Series Stays Too Safe For Comfort
Set in a fictional North Carolina town ripped apart by two fatal shootings, Fox’s new limited series Shots Fired starts on the precipice of a politically charged and multi-perspective plot, but it doesn't ultimately take off much beyond the bounds of Big 4 procedurals. Debuting on March 22 right before the winter-break return of Empire, the 10-episode Shots Fired has, as I say in my video review above, good and smart intentions but simply should have taken more… Read