Reviews  

TV Show Review – All the Way

TV Show Review – All the Way

May 21, 2016

HBO’s new film All the Way follows LBJ the year after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, primarily looking at his push for the Civil Rights Act and his re-election.  The film stars Bryan Cranston as LBJ, reprising the role he played in the stage version.  Good reviews for the film as a whole and outstanding reviews for Cranston’s performance.

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TV Show Review – Allegiance

TV Show Review – Allegiance

February 05, 2015

Rating:  3 (out of 5).  NBC’s new spy drama Allegiance tells the story of Alex O’Connor, the only son of Mark and Katya O’Conner, and an up and coming analyst at the CIA.  What he doesn’t know is that both of his parents are part of a Russian sleeper cell and they are former Soviet spies.  The critics compared this show to The Americans and in most cases it came up short.

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TV Show Review – Almost Royal

TV Show Review – Almost Royal

June 21, 2014

Rating:  4 (out of 5).  BBC America debuts its first original comedy series on Saturday night with “Almost Royal.”  The series follows the mock brother and sister team of Georgie and Poppie Carlton as they travel around America.  Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart play Georgie and Poppy as they honor their father’s wish to visit the U.S. and “mingle with the natives.”  Most of the critics were amused by the series, calling it a a nice diversion for the summer.

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TV Show Review – Alpha House, Season Two

TV Show Review – Alpha House, Season Two

October 24, 2014

Rating:  4 (out of 5).  Season two of Amazon’s original series “Alpha House,” much like the first, centers around three senators who live together in a house in Washington, D.C.   The comedy, from creator Gary Trudeau, stars Mark Consuelos, Clark Johnson, and John Goodman. The critics like what they see so far this season, calling it very funny, and say it gets off to a great start.

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TV Show Review – Amanda Knox

TV Show Review – Amanda Knox

September 30, 2016

Rating:  4 (out of 5).  Netflix’s Amanda Knox is a documentary about the mystery surrounding the American student accused of killing her roommate while on an exchange program in Italy. The film contains a combination of never before seen vintage footage along with interviews with the important players in the scandal to bring us a new look at the events. The critics found this to be provocative and eye-opening and thought that even if viewers were familiar with the story, they would come away with something new.

The Hollywood Reporter says “Amanda Knox makes for succinct, involving viewing — a true-crime doc that acknowledges the lingering debates over its subject’s guilt while prompting one to ask: Why did anyone ever believe this outrageous stuff in the first place, much less cling to it for years?”

The Telegraph calls it “provocative.” They think “though the movie offers no new bombshells the filmmakers have nonetheless wrought a spare and unflinching feature that offers a fresh perspective on Knox without descending into the sensationalism that attended original coverage of the trial.”

The San Francisco Chronicle describes it as a “sobering, illuminating, yet still mysterious.” They also call it a “substantive, even-handed and eye-opening film.”

Variety writes “Amanda Knox, directed by Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn, revisits the saga by burning off the lurid overkill and, for the first time, getting the facts right.” They call it a “resonant documentary, with a reach far beyond this case” and say it “captures how the unreality of tabloid journalism has slid through digital portals into the mainstream, becoming part of the toxic air of misinformation that we all now breathe.”

The Guardian thinks “This film could have looked harder at the authorities’ murky and compromised mindset, and made that the focus of their film” but instead it “does a steady job of interviewing most of the main players, keeping a deadpan if spurious air of mystery”

Entertainment Weekly calls this “a largely straightforward account of an American college student swept up in an Italian murder investigation and the media circus that erupted around it.” They think it is “briskly paced and well-organized examination of Meredith Kercher’s gruesome 2007 death.”

The Washington Post describes this as “a crisp, straightforward digest of a lurid true-crime story.” They think “ even those familiar with Knox’s story are likely to come away from “Amanda Knox” with a deeper understanding of the young woman.”

The New York Times thinks “You don’t have to remember the gutter headlines inspired by its namesake to find the true-crime documentary “Amanda Knox” completely riveting.” They feel this is “a tightly edited, coherently structured and ultimately moving reassessment that burrows beneath the lurid in search of the illuminating.”

The Los Angeles Times calls this a “strong documentary” and thinks it “sheds a powerful light on this particular case while emphasizing the ultimate unknowability of absolute truth.”

The Wall Street Journal writes “the directors, Brian McGinn and Rod Blackhurst, are quite obviously convinced of her innocence (as were the Italian courts, finally). They take great pains to illustrate her years-long prosecution-by-media: The coverage of the Knox case is portrayed as nothing less than fiendish.”

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TV Show Review – American Crime

TV Show Review – American Crime

March 05, 2015

Rating:  5 (out of 5).  ABC’s new crime drama American Crime deals with the issues of race, religion, and class in America, against the backdrop of a home invasion gone wrong in which a young man is murdered and his wife is left near death.  Both victims are white and the police quickly target two Mexican-American suspects.  The series stars Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton as Matt’s parents.  The critics were unanimous in their praise for all aspects of this drama, the writing, the directing and especially the cast saying this is a standout performance for Huffman.  As one critic wrote, “this one’s got Emmy written all over it.”

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TV Show Review – American Experience: Walt Disney

TV Show Review – American Experience: Walt Disney

September 14, 2015

Rating:  4 (out of 5).  On Monday and Tuesday nights PBS airs American Experience: Walt Disney as part of its American Experience series. This documentary takes a look at the life of the legendary man who created the media company and brand that are known around the world.  Filmmaker Sara Colt used footage from the Disney archives, photographs, and straightforward narration to tell the story.  Most of the critics found this to be a well made and fascinating documentary, leaving the viewer with a new appreciation for the man behind the Disney name.

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TV Show Review – American Gothic

TV Show Review – American Gothic

June 22, 2016

Rating:  2 (out of 5).  In CBS’s new summer drama American Gothic, Madeline Hawthorne stars as the matriarch of a prominent Boston family, at least one of whose members is linked to a serial killer case that has been cold for the past 14 years.  Fair to middling reviews with more than one critic comparing the show to a trashy summer novel.

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