Posts Tagged ‘ entertainment ’

Rust Cohle, The New Mike Hammer — True Detective Takes on Its Influences

So many words have been spilled about True Detective in the last few months, it’s hard to get one in. Whether you’re taken by the show’s red herrings (or yellow herrings, as it were) or disgusted by the lack of strong female characters, there’s no escaping that something about the show’s dark world view has grabbed people, much like the middling abyss we all desperately stare into awaiting the answers.

One of the things that seems amiss, though, in all the conversation about the show is where it sits in the pantheon of detective fiction. Obviously, for a show called True Detective this would be an obvious place to start. Rarely does the conversation shift over to genre traits or character archetypes. The show’s darkness comes from pushing  the ideas of Raymond Chandler, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mickey Spiliane, and, hell, Dick Wolf and Shane Black onto premium cable. All of detective fiction plays a role in HBO’s hit series, which is part of what makes it so compelling. Continue reading

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Brilliantly Canceled: The 1/2 Hour News Hour

Here’s a friendly reminder to check out my latest piece over at Splitsider. In the article, I take a look at the Fox News “Daily Show” The 1/2 Hour News Hour.

Check out  a taste below:

The 1/2 Hour News Hour premiered on February 18, 2007 on Fox News. A response to the overwhelming success and ever-growing influence of fake news shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, Fox News’s parody of the media’s liberal bias opened to 1.4 million people tired of left-leaning outlets and curious bystanders looking to see if conservative comedy actually had legs — a question finally answered in David Zucker’s atomic bomb, An American Carol.

Sketches usually avoid the headlines and instead put bastardized versions of liberal stances on display. One sketch entitled “Gun Free Zone” shows a world where signs that read “Gun Free Zone” stop a bad guy with a gun. Another where an anti-gun activist sets himself up as a victim of gun violence, only to reveal that he’s a career criminal tired of getting shot. The jokes celebrated the conservative view, but offered little commentary or insight as to why they think that way. While The Daily Show screamed for sanity in an insane world, The 1/2 Hour News Hour satiated audiences by assuring them that what they believe is right.

See the rest at Splitsider.

 

200 Words or Less: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

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The Man Who Knew Too Much is Hitchcock’s first crack at this story; he would later remake with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day in 1956. There’s still a lot to like in this one—though, most of that has to do with one creepy performance from Peter Lorre. Having recently escaped the Nazi Germany, Lorre couldn’t even speak English when Hitchcock cast him as this skunk haired deviant. Nevertheless, he turned in a supremely weird performance that both harkens to his child-hunter in M and the future-weirdo Joel Cairo.

The Man Who Knew Too Much follows a family of clay pigeon shooters and wealthy cynics who have their daughter kidnapped after stumbling on a clue in a dead secret agent’s hotel room. To get her back, the girl’s parents must keep their mouth shut long enough for a pack of gang of political activists to, well, I wouldn’t want to spoil it.

This is Hitchcock before he really got rolling. With an early use of his “Accidental Secret Agent” plot, Hitch does what he does best, though, in more primitive form. Still, the twists, laughs, and suspense are all there. And at 75 minutes, it’s definitely worth your time.

Recap: Boardwalk Empire “Resignation”

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If last week’s Boardwalk Empire was about mixing new cocktails—but not too strong—, “Resignation” reminds you to tip your bartender. Servants and henchman of all colors took center stage, and they want respect. “Resignation” shows the relationships of those in power, those who want it, and those just looking for recognition in a compelling and succinct hour.  Continue reading

Big Budget Godard: How Contempt Tells Us How He Really Feels

Fritz Lang directs his

Fritz Lang directs his

In 1963, French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard was hired by an Italian production company to make a movie. Godard decided to adapt the Italian novel The Ghost at Noon and was asked by his producers to cast Bridget Bardot and Jack Palance and include some nudity—because why else would people see a movie. What they got was pure Godard, a critique on commercial filmmaking and a reflection of his long-suffering marriage to Anna Karina.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Continue reading

Need More Time: Past, Present, and Future of Before Sunset

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Richard Linklater’s followup to 1995’s Before Sunrise,  appeared quietly in 2004. Picking up nine years after the original, Linklater wastes little time connecting his new movie, Before Sunset, to the past. In the first scene, he catches up with Jesse (Ethan Hawk), now a novelist on tour in Europe, who tells critics that his book, curiously about two travelers who spend one romantic night together in Vienna, encapsulates the sum of his life. His collective experiences inform who his book’s characters. Linklater tries a similar effect with Jesse and Celine, Jesse’s unforgettable one-night stand. Through his editing, script, and actors, Linklater connects points in time to create one single moment.

Continue reading