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‘Rent’ Review: Live Or Not, The Show Goes On…And On…

Tech glitches, broken bones, ghosts of stage productions past and, worst of all, live television’s unfortunate and intrusive vogue for giving studio audiences far, far too much screen time couldn’t do overmuch damage to Rent, Jonathan Larson’s beloved-by-many ’90s musical that added another chapter to both TV’s refound love of Broadway and the show’s own against-the-odds trouper legend. In what turned out to be a fortuitous move, Fox had not been calling the new Rent… Read


‘True West’ Broadway Review: Ethan Hawke, Paul Dano Find Direction In Sam Shepard Classic Of Brotherly Hate

As Sam Shepard’s True West brothers grim, Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano dig deep into the loamy earth of that macho post-hippie neo-cowboy near-masterpiece, mucking about the desert-edge-of-suburbia drama and surviving (we assume) to face another tequila sunrise. Shepard’s 1980 near-Pulitzer elegy for an authentically brutal frontier that’s faded into a brutally make-believe dreamland might not carry the same are we not real men urgency of the panicky sensitive-male era in… Read


‘The Kid Who Would Be King’ Review: A Junior ‘Camelot’ Strictly For Kids

The Kid Who Would Be King

After the brilliantly funny and caustic Attack the Block, which pitted invading aliens against a gang of British teens, it has taken eight years for director Joe Cornish to follow it up with a second film. Unfortunately, The Kid Who Would Be King is more influenced by the success of the Harry Potter films than anything resembling the cult-ish delights of Attack the Block. Having said that, there is nothing about this kids film that its intended audience won’t find… Read


‘Glass’ Review: M. Night Shyamalan’s Superhero Trilogy Concludes Not A Moment Too Soon


Few contemporary filmmakers have come out swinging as impressively as M. Night Shyamalan did when he was heralded as the “new Spielberg” after a series of successes near the start of this century, including most notably his Oscar-nominated The Sixth Sense, Signs and Unbreakable, the latter being the 2000 film with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson that kicked off Shyamalan’s accidental superhero trilogy now finishing with Glass. It has been an interesting couple of… Read


The Show To Watch This Week: ‘The Punisher,’ ‘Brexit,’ ‘Black Monday’ & ‘Dynasties’ Reviews

As today's devastating Brexit defeat for Theresa May in the British Parliament proves, fact can be as much of a drama as fiction. In fact, it is reality of sorts that makes up most of the cream of the small screen crop for the latest the show to watch this week. For instance, there is the January 19 debuting Benedict Cumberbatch starring Brexit movie on HBO about the man behind the campaign that has brought political chaos to the UK. The same day, BBC America hosts the… Read


‘A Dog’s Way Home’ Review: Pitbull Star Triumphs Over Human Actors Kept On Short Leashes

A Dog's Way Home

I am a sucker for dog movies. From Old Yeller to my favorite My Dog Skip, and from Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey to Benji, I just can’t get enough of them. Emotionally I am a wreck after seeing a good one. That was also the case with 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose, which was the first in a planned series of canine films based on W. Bruce Cameron’s books. Although not directly a sequel to that movie (Universal is actually opening that one from Cameron, A Dog’s Journey in… Read


The Show To Watch This Week: ‘True Detective’, ‘Deadly Class’, ‘Sex Education’ & ‘Trigger Warning’ Reviews

True Detective Deadly Class Sex Education Trigger Warning

Awards season has truly kicked off and Sundance is just around the snowy corner, but on the small screen midseason debuts are popping up almost every night. It’s plenty reason to weigh in on what show you just can't miss this week. Like a grand messy table, it's a pretty rich selection, with Netflix's Asa Butterfield- and Gillian Anderson-led teen drama Sex Education launching tomorrow and the unconventional wisdom-seeking Trigger Warning with Killer Mike… Read


‘The Upside’ Review: Kevin Hart & Bryan Cranston Make 2019’s First Buddy Film Work As Well As It Does

The Upside

I first saw The Upside at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival. At the party afterwards, Harvey Weinstein, who was the distributor, was lapping up the strong reaction and talking an Oscar/Globe qualifying run for late fall of that year. However, one of the producers told me they thought it was just a commercial play and planned to get The Weinstein Company to stick to the plan of a spring 2018 opening. Well, one month later, things changed, and I probably don’t have to tell you… Read


‘Choir Boy’ Review: ‘Moonlight’ Writer Reaches For High Notes In Heartfelt Coming Of Age Drama

When Choir Boy, the coming of age story from Tarell Alvin McCraney that predates his Oscar-winning, co-written screenplay for Moonlight, finds its sweet spots – and they are many – the drama, the humor and the music take off for parts unknown. This is a play that, like its unstoppable main character, never quits reaching for the high note, even when perfection is beyond its grasp. Set in a prestigious prep school for African American boys, Choir Boy – a Manhattan Theatre… Read


‘Good Trouble’ Review: ‘The Fosters’ Socially-Aware Spinoff Gives Realistic Charm To Adulting

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details from the premiere episode of Good TroubleGone are the days of the enjoyably schmaltzy and sugar-coated melodramatic coming-of-age series about young adulthood (I love me some Dawson’s Creek) and welcome to a new era of millennial-driven shows that are inclusive and tackle issues that don’t play out like “lesson of the week” but rather give us a fresh — and much-needed — perspective of the modern world we live in today… Read


Golden Globes TV Review: Andy Samberg & Sandra Oh Succeed By Playing Nice

With the clock ticking and options looking thinner every passing day, the Oscars may have just found themselves a couple of hosts tonight at the Golden Globes to replace the still scrapped Kevin Hart. That short but near perfect mock marriage proposal and Emmys homage from Maya Rudolph to Amy Poehler put the two Saturday Night Live alums at the top of the list if the solidly middle of the road Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg say no. Sure, nothing remarkably Earth shattering… Read


Pete Hammond’s Top 10 Movies Of 2018 Part 2: The Countdown Continues & No. 1 Is …

2018 Top 10 Films

It is New Year’s Eve and time for one final look back at the films that moved me most in 2018. On Thursday my video recap revealed Part 1 of the year’s Top 10 films, and in case you didn’t watch, that list included No. 10, Morgan Neville’s transcendent documentary on Fred Rogers called Won’t You Be My Neighbor? No. 9 was Private Life, my favorite 2018 Netflix offering (first at Sundance), the Tamara Jenkins dramedy of a couple addicted to fertility treatments in their… Read