PBS’ Ensemble War Drama World on Fire Will Envelop You in Another Time and Place

It’s likely that one might read the title “World on Fire” in this particular moment in time and think, “nah, gonna steer clear of that one.” I can’t blame you. It hardly sounds like escapist fare, and it must be said that this war drama isn’t exactly comfort food or pleasant in a kind of …

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Escape to the Hellscape of Doom Eternal

It’s hard to say a game that’s as violent and intense as the excellent “Doom Eternal” should be used as an escape, but it’s visceral approach to the First-Person Shooter has been exactly that for millions in the last two weeks. As the world shut down due to COVID-19, gamers jumped into the suit of …

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Slay The Dragon

No fairy tale prince ever took on a more terrifying monster than the “dragon” in this documentary about the massive Republican redistricting following Barack Obama’s first Presidential election and the 2010 census. The dragon here refers to the anything-but-square, lizard-like shapes of the new districts, the lines drawn to make sure that even if the …

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Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children

HBO documentary series are typically a tier above other networks and “Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children” is no exception. Over five hours, the producers of this series detail the Atlanta Child Murders of 1979 and 1980, in which dozens of Black children were kidnapped and murdered in the Georgia city. Forty years after …

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Coffee & Kareem

Let’s set one thing straight: “Stuber” was a good movie. Yes, the title for that 2019 action-comedy with Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista was silly, but that was part of its self-deprecating approach to cop comedies and knowing product placement. With its slapstick-y action sequences and potently mismatched duo, “Stuber” proved that these movies can …

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Into the Dark: Pooka Lives!

Believe it or not, Hulu’s series of original horror films under the “Into the Dark” banner has its first sequel! Nacho Vigalondo’s “Pooka!” gets a tongue-in-cheek update in “Pooka Lives!,” a movie that’s at its best when it seems to be playfully mocking its very existence and is less effective when it tries to be …

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Elephant

“Elephant,” about an elephant herd crisscrossing the African veldt in search of water, is a variation on the same nature documentary that has been the Walt Disney Corporation’s default since the 1960s, when the company aired similar tales on its weekly omnibus program “The Wonderful World of Disney.”  These episodes were built from attentive photography of animals in their …

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Lazy Susan

It’s hard to tell how “Lazy Susan” feels about Lazy Susan. Sean Hayes stars as the frumpy, stunted woman and co-wrote the script that follows the title character as she stumbles out of her self-absorbed shell and into the harsh daylight of the real world. Theoretically, Hayes feels affection for Susan, as do co-writers Carrie Aizley and …

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Almost Love

“Why is it so hard all the time?” Adam (Scott Evans) moans during “Almost Love,” an ensemble romantic comedy/drama written and directed by Mike Doyle. It’s difficult to see what is so hard, and granted I am writing this from isolation, worrying about my sick and/or at-risk friends and family, wishing I could go out …

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Clover

If nothing else, the lightweight gangster thriller “Clover” is a quaint throwback to that period in in the mid- to late ‘90s when a legion of dinky genre filmmakers flooded video stores with “Pulp Fiction” and/or “Goodfellas” ripoffs. Thankfully, “Clover”—which follows two feuding Irish brothers Mickey and Jackie (Jon Abrahams and Mark Webber) after they …

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The Other Lamb

Malgorzata Szumowska’s “The Other Lamb” opens with a number of tell-tale signs that something is not quite right. While women and girls in prairie dresses and uniformly braided hair attend to daily chores around a remote camp in a picturesque forest, they are all singing the same hymn under the watchful painted image of their …

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It is All An Illusion: Malgorzata Szumowska on The Other Lamb

Cults are in vogue right now. No, not joining them, but absorbing all you can learn about them, and trying to understand the psychology of charismatic yet manipulative cult leaders. But in focusing so heavily on the man who runs such a group, true-crime fanatics have lost sight of those directly impacted by such manipulation. …

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Home Entertainment Guide: April 2, 2020

10 NEW TO NETFLIX “Alpha Dog””Lethal Weapon””Malcolm X””The Matrix””Minority Report””The Natural””Road to Perdition””School Daze””The Social Network””Taxi Driver” 4 NEW TO VOD  A number of studios have released movies early to VOD because of COVID-19. We already ran a piece highlighting our reviews of most of them, but wanted to make sure you knew about the …

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Shudder Launches Clever Series About the Legacy of Cursed Films

Horror fans have always been drawn to the idea that a film could be so powerful that it would transcend celluloid and impact the real world. Legends have sprouted around some of the most famous genre films of all time that have elevated their historical standings being “just a movie.” It’s common sense that some …

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Creating Hilde-Vision: Dana Fox and Jon M. Chu on Home Before-Dark

It’s not particularly easy to classify “Home Before Dark.” It’s simple enough to say what it is, because it’s a lot of things: a show about a scrappy kid and her aggrieved but affectionate older sister; a grown-up mystery series; a family drama; a crime story; a marvelous example of the plucky-lone-journalist-pursues-truth trope. Its influences …

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How to Fix a Drug Scandal

Rarely have I been more frustrated by a documentary production’s formal choices and how they interfere with the engaging content of the story they’re trying to tell than I was during Netflix’s latest true crime docu-series, “How to Fix a Drug Scandal.” There’s a fascinating story here about addiction, corruption, injustice, and poor work practices, …

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Talented Comedian Carries First Season of Iliza Shlesinger Sketch Show

If you’ve seen Peter Berg’s “Spenser Confidential” on Netflix, you know who Iliza Shlesinger is. She’s the actress who pretty much steals the movie away from Mark Wahlberg and Winston Duke, playing Spenser’s passionate ex. Shlesinger has been building a following on the stand-up circuit for years, getting good buzz from audiences and critics for …

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The Unloved, Part 76: Juggernaut

Well folks … there’s nothing I can say you don’t already know about what a damned madhouse March 2020 became. The future is uncertain and the present is enervating. Be safe, and take some comfort in knowing you’re not alone. We’ve been through awful things as a species, and we’ll be ok again eventually. This …

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Apple TV’s Home Before Dark is an Excellent Family Mystery

The first episode of “Home Before Dark” has nine-year-old investigative journalist Hilde Lisko (Brooklynn Prince getting the gig she deserves after “The Florida Project”) going head-to-head with a modern menace: a hateful comment section. Using her own blog, she’s just reported about a mysterious death in her town of Erie Harbor, a place where snide kids all …

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Amazon’s Tales from the Loop Aims to Break Your Heart

The slow, rhythmic sound emanating ominously from an unknown source has always been a reliable hook in science fiction, taking such forms as the encroaching footsteps of a dinosaur in “Jurassic Park” or the radio signal from deep space in “Contact.” In the case of Amazon’s new sci-fi series, “Tales from the Loop,” based on …

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