Reviewed this week (2/16 – 2/22) at TVeskimo

Waiting for GuffmanWaiting for Guffman – Waiting for Guffman is a delightful Christopher Guest mockumentary of the drama behind the ‘Red, White and Blaine’ also starring Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, Eugene Levy.  “Corky has a vision,” Libby Mae Brown (Parker Posey) part time employee at the Blaine, Mo. Dairy Queen and newly cast in “Red, White, and Blaine,” a Corky St. Clair (Christopher Guest) production in honor of the sesquicentennial of Blaine.  Filmed in Lockhart, Texas, Waiting for Guffman (1996) is among my favorite movies. A low-budget, Christopher Guest mockumentary, the film is a funny, charming, and loving look at small town America and the passion that the amateur actors bring to the show. Read more

Red Riding TrilogyRed Riding Trilogy – The five plus hours of the Red Riding Trilogy are gripping, dark, violent and cynical. If the brutally murdered women and missing children cases aren’t bleak enough, when the clues point to convicts wrongly accused and a deep and wide undercurrent of corruption and perversion, a repulsive picture of what might really be going on is fitted together piece by piece. In a way, the Red Riding Trilogy reminds me of The Wire – systems that are broken beyond recognition and crushing machinery of corruption that protects the real culprits. As The Wire’s Lester Freamon says, “You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and drug dealers. You start to follow the money and you don’t know where the f— it’s gonna take you.” Read more

TransparentTransparent – Amazon.com has released a new batch of pilots, of which, Jill Soloway’s Transparent is one. The pilot begins by introducing us to each of Mort’s (Jeffrey Tambor) three children; Sarah (Amy Landecker) the oldest, who is married with a couple of children, Josh (Jay Duplass) a single music promoter, who’s involved with a much younger client; and Ali (Gaby Hoffman) a young, unemployed, hypochondriac. Mort has something he wants to share with his three adult children and he invites them over for dinner. But, amidst the bickering and speculation, Mort finally says that he’s done with the house and is going to give it to Sarah. It’s abundantly clear to everyone except his children that there was something else on his mind. Read more

VikingsVikings – “Vikings,” the History Channel’s foray into episodic television drama, begins its second season February 27, 2014, which promises more stories of adventure and mayhem during the Dark Ages when Norse raiders first ranged out from their homeland to raid Christian lands. By all accounts, Season Two promises more of the same. According to Screen Crush, Ragnar’s indiscretions create a rift between himself and Lagertha. At the same time he may have met his match in King Ecbert of Wessex, a Saxon kingdom in southern England. These will no doubt just a few of the dangers Ragnar faces as he hacks and slashes his way to supremacy in the Viking world. Read more

Monuments MenThe Monuments Men – The Monuments Men” feels like one of those movies you’re supposed to like. It’s about a serious topic, stars many talented actors and comes from George Clooney, who has had a pretty good track record as a director. Not like this movie feels like confessing you don’t like things of purportedly high quality or good taste. The truth is, though, that “Monuments Men” (which I saw an advance screening) is a little messy and more than a little dull. The film takes a look at a group of Allied soldiers who are charged with rescuing priceless art that the Nazis have stolen from various conquests. Read more

Ravenswood 1Ravenswood – Caleb is now staying in Ravenswood after promising his girlfriend Hanna that he will watch after Miranda. After experiencing some weird phenomena, Caleb is starting to think this place is a little strange, especially after encountering Miranda’s mysterious uncle Raymond. To make things worse Caleb has been stirring things up with a local student, Luke…let’s just say they don’t get along too well. Luke has been dealing with his own struggles, his dad who was the mayor of Ravenswood had recently been murdered by an unknown killer, Luke’s twin sister Olivia has been caught up in the scandalous murder case as well. Read more

ScoopScoop – There were large chunks of Scoop (2006) that were just painful to watch. It’s a romantic comedy farce set in England about Sondra Pronsky (Scarlett Johansson), a young woman who falls in love with a handsome, wealthy man whom she suspects is a serial killer. Sondra is attending the magic act of Sid Waterman (Woody Allen) when she volunteers to enter the magical box. Once inside, she is face to face with the ghost of the recently dead journalist, Joe Strombel (Ian McShane) who gives her the scoop of a lifetime – that Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman) is a responsible for what is being called the Tarot Card Murders. Read more

A Late QuartetA Late Quartet – The task musicians face when performing Beethoven’s Opus 131 is that the 40-minute piece is to be played without pause. Technically, during the course of the performance, the instruments will become out of tune and the musician will not have a scheduled break with which to make adjustments. There is an inherent challenge to perfect execution given the rigorousness of the piece. Life is like that. The Fugue quartet is made up of Daniel Lerner (Mark Ivanir) first violinist, Robert Gelbart (Philip Seymour Hoffman) second violinist, Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken) cello, and Juliette Gelbart (Catherine Keener) viola. They have been successfully performing together for 25 years. Read more