Author's posts

Zoe Kravitz Stars in Brilliant Reboot of High Fidelity on Hulu

All-time, top-five, desert-island stories in which the protagonist directly addresses the audience, adding a level of intimacy and immediacy to the telling it might not otherwise achieve. One: “Hamlet.” Obvious, maybe, but a classic’s a classic for a reason. Go ahead and fold “Macbeth,” “Richard III,” and some of the comedies in there too if …

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Netflix’s Locke and Key Adaptation Lacks Edge

Some of our most engrossing stories share one very specific strand of DNA: They begin with a child discovering the impossible. The Narnia books. The Harry Potter series. Many of the great (or at least, the most enduring) family films spring forth from such a point: “E.T.,” “The Neverending Story,” “The Iron Giant,” “Coraline,” “My Neighbor Totoro,” the …

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HBO’s Strange, Sexy The New Pope is Never Dull

HBO’s “The New Pope” is never dull. That doesn’t mean it always works. As was the case with the limited series it follows—let’s be real, this is season two of “The Young Pope” with a shiny new title—creator and director Paolo Sorrentino starts at a nine out of ten and sustains or exceeds that level …

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Jay Roach on Bombshell, the Appeal of Polarizing Figures, Turning Charlize Theron into Megyn Kelly and More

There’s no avoiding the contradictions in “Bombshell.” They’re baked into the film’s DNA. It’s story about a pervasive culture of abuse affecting countless women whose lives were irrevocably changed by the acts of powerful men, centering on women who would, by and large, reject the term “feminist”; a portrait of three women working within an …

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Hulu Comedy Dollface Not as Clever as It Thinks

I’ll say this for Hulu’s “Dollface,” the new comedy series from first-time showrunner Jordan Weiss and star and executive producer Kat Dennings: It doesn’t shy away from the big swings. A half-hour single-cam comedy that begins with protagonist Jules (Dennings) getting surprise-dumped while sharing a meal with her unexceptional boyfriend of five years, the series …

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HBO’s His Dark Materials Adaptation Offers a World Worth Exploring

Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy is a masterpiece of high fantasy, a work of fiction that, like the very best examples of the genre, manages to combine enthralling, world-enveloping storytelling and unforgettable characters with themes and ideas so rich and complex that readers will be chewing over them until there are no readers left. …

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Apple TV+ Offers Goofy, Exuberant Take on Emily Dickinson

There’s an early moment in “Dickinson,” the exuberant, messy new Apple TV Plus series from creator Alena Smith (“The Affair”), when Emily sits down to write. This is no “I couldn’t help but wonder” Carrie Bradshaw moment, nor is a scene of feverish scrawling, words spilling over in an outpouring of emotion. She’s got an …

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CW’s Nancy Drew is Just Ridiculous Enough

It’s hard not to root for Nancy Drew, in all her iterations. She finds clues! She solves mysteries! She keeps a level head! That remains true—unlike a certain old clock, she is timeless—but beyond that, it’s hard not to root for “Nancy Drew,” a new addition to The CW’s lineup of shows in which hot …

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Walton Goggins Carries Surprising CBS Sitcom The Unicorn

For a CBS sitcom, “The Unicorn” is surprisingly, well, surprising. First of all, there’s that title, defined here by a character as “that elusive creature that all single women are looking for,” a widower and devoted father who, because he’s only had sex with one person for the last 20 years, is “factory fresh.” Denizens …

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TV Review: New CBS Series EVIL is a Show You Should Watch

Every so often, a show comes along that earns, even demands, a little something extra in a review. It’s a chip you rarely throw down because every time it’s used, its potency is lessened. Even off the page, with friends and colleagues, you don’t want to toss this one out recklessly. It nearly always follows …

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Ken Burns’ Country Music Series is Thought-Provoking, Joyful

In RogerEbert.com’s list of the best TV shows of 2017, managing editor Brian Tallerico asked: “Have we started to take Ken Burns for granted?” That was written in regard to “The Vietnam War,” one of Burns’s finest films to date, a predictably sprawling, yet sharp and deliberate, look at a political quagmire that was also a …

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Amazon’s Grounded, Fantastical Series Undone Worthy of Deep Examination

Alma’s voice cracks as the sky explodes; her rage peaks as darkness envelops her like a blanket, like paint slowly spilling toward her, and the glass, or stars, or clouds, or ceiling, or walls of her mind shatter and rain down. She sits at her kitchen counter, her dead father breathing at her side, and …

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Amazon’s Carnival Row is a Messy, Satisfying Distraction

There’s a certain kind of book you read, even though you know it’s maybe not great. It’s got the things you like in abundance, maybe—one example, murders in quaint English villages where the love interest might be but is probably not the murderer and everyone is constantly having tea or port—or it’s just ridiculous enough …

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HBO’s Acerbic Marvel Succession Returns in Top Form in Season Two

Sometimes the stomach boils just a little, like a cauldron over an almost-dead flame. Whatever’s in there feels like a putrid brew, a concoction made of battery acid and flat Coke, something inactive yet vindictive. Bitter leftovers. If that shallow pool of bile were a person, it would be one of the Roys, the family …

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Veronica Mars Returns to Hulu in Rare Successful TV Reboot

This moment—the TV revival moment—has had, to this point, meager upsides. True reboots can be wonderful (see “One Day At A Time,” lately at Netflix and now migrating to PopTV, as one such example) but most of the shows that have taken the “Will & Grace” route have stumbled, at best. That’s the only question …

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Rachel Bloom on Saying Goodbye to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Emmy Campaigning and More

In April, Rebecca Bunch sat down at a keyboard, and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” ended, with a perfect final moment in a bold, thoughtful, surprising finale for a bold, thoughtful, surprising series. The screen cut to black, and that was it for Rebecca. But moments later, Rachel Bloom walked on screen, there to sing Rebecca’s songs but …

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My Favorite Roger: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Roger’s Great Movies Review of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” Why did I pick this review? What a magnificent piece of writing this is. When you start reading, it seems as though the conceit—a letter to his grandchildren, who’d just seen “E.T.” for the first time at his side—is a piece of cleverness, a fun way of …

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Krysten Ritter is a Powerhouse in Final Season of Jessica Jones

This is the end of “Jessica Jones”—of the series, at least, if not the character—and its end marks the demise of the Defenders-verse, Netflix’s corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jessica was not the first to arrive, but her first season remains the high watermark of the whole shebang, a visceral, subtle story of trauma …

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FX’s Pose has Glamour and Righteous Rage in Second Season

“Wake the f**k up,” Pray Tell (Billy Porter) urges one of the bright lights of the ballroom scene, after they skipped an ACT UP die-in protesting the role the Catholic Church was playing in the AIDS crisis to rehearse a big performance. His message is not a subtle one: Like ACT UP, the organization he …

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HBO’s Big Little Lies Knows How to Walk the Line of Fan Service

One of the most honest, fascinating things about the first season of “Big Little Lies” was how many of its important conversations took place in cars. The Monterey, California painted so carefully by author Liane Moriarty, show creator David E. Kelley, and director Jean-Marc Vallée is a place where “behind closed doors” doesn’t always mean “in …

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