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Review – Boss (Season Two)
Rating 4 (out of 5). Kelsey Grammer continues in a second season of “Boss” after last year’s Golden Globe winning portrayal of corrupt Chicago mayor Tom Kayne. While some find “Boss” too harrowing and inaccessible, most appreciate the show’s depth, ambition and style. Returning viewers will find Kayne reaps perhaps even more than what he sowed in the first season, even as he battles a fatal, hallucination-inducing brain disease.
The Chicago Tribune summarizes Grammer’s work as “a spellbinding, brooding force that will surprise those who think of him only as Frasier.” Clearly absorbed by the show’s drama, the reviewer tosses out juicy tidbits from both seasons, mentioning that Kane’s “estranged daughter (Hannah Ware) was dating a gangbanger, maybe using drugs again” and Kitty O’Neil (Kathleen Robertson) assesses “herself, all of herself, in the mirror in the new season’s first episode.”
While finding it “smart, absorbing and particularly well done,” Newsday explains that “TV’s best series that no one’s watching” remains so because “’Boss’ wants to crush you under the sheer weight of Kane’s brutality. It wants to jab your brain with the mendacity of the Chicago machine…”
The Huffington Post finds the show unforgiveable with a “sour atmosphere.”
Despite political controversy surrounding the Emmys passing Kelsey Grammer over for a nomination, the New York Daily News proclaims this fact “more unfathomable than the Cubs’ inability to win a World Series for 104 years.” A “triumph” of the show, the Daily News states unequivocally that viewers will “care … about what kind of Chicago [Kane] will leave behind.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s reviewer revealed his complicated feelings toward “Boss”: “still hooked” despite the show having “lost” him last season when its “last vestige of a crusading good-guy agreed to look the other way on a Kane story…” Describing season 1 as “super-frustrating,” season 2 “pulls viewers back on board with intriguing plot twists, more light moments and strong performances.”
The Australian refers to it as “the best new drama around” – the “full-on Shakespearian study of power and mortality.”
The San Francisco Chronicle refers to the show as “a gift to discerning TV viewers.” Saying that while “the characters have only scant or fleeting redeeming personal values, we continue to buy into their machinations…” But it did criticize the illustration of Kane’s Lewy body dementia hallucinations as “gimmicky,” while still granting that they “work in part.”
HitFix seems to find the show too cerebral. The reviewer says despite “flashy incidents,” “all of it tends to wash over me without generating a response beyond, ‘Interesting.’” Even so, “Grammer is outstanding enough on his own to merit watching.”
USA Today’s headline reads “’Boss’ employs new stars, dirty tactics.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer describes “Boss” as “perhaps the first series since HBO’s groundbreaking The Wire to attempt an in vivo dissection of the complex political and economic workings of a modern city.”
The Daily Herald quotes Grammer as saying “I’ve heard from other mayors,” “saying that they basically can’t watch the show, because it’s just too true. It’s a little unnerving, isn’t it?”
Slant Magazine says “though the series has its share of larger-than-life moments that ring hollow, its knack for extracting quiet beauty from all the mayhem lends Boss’s best scenes the precision and artistry of a monstrous ballet.”
The Wall Street Journal concludes the show is “not flawless.” But grants that it is “buoyed by strong performances and a haunting score,” making “for deeply affecting television nevertheless.”
The Winnipeg Free Press finds the show “entertaining,” labeling Gammer’s work “some of the most compelling of his long and stellar … career.” The show is “a unique undertaking that has the epic ambitions of a Shakespearean tragedy and … bloody-knuckled nastiness…”
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Our daily pick for tonight, Wednesday, December 11, 2013, is the "20th Nobel Peace Prize Concert" on AXS at 5:00 PT/8:00 ET.
- Boardwalk Empire
- Ray Donovan
- Three Stooges repeats
- Breaking Bad
- Black Mirror
- Ray Donovan
- The Mindy Project
- Children's Hospital
- South Park
Morris Levy is the producer of the HBO film, "Seduced and Abandoned" in which actor Alec Baldwin and director James Toback’s attempt to raise financing for a new film. When not busy producing movies, here's what Levy likes to watch:
Check out our interview with Levy for more insights.
Glenn Howerton plays Dennis Reynolds on FX's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (on which he is also a writer and executive producer). For a guy that funny, you might be surprised (or not) to learn that he's also a fan of dark dramas. Here's what he likes to watch:
More insights on the actor/writer and It's Always Sunny can be found in our interview with Glenn.
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New on VOD
Here are the new VOD films for the week of December 10, 2013. Click on a movie title for more information, trailers and reviews.
Fast & Furious 6. Rating: 4 (out of 5). The sixth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise, the film follows a professional criminal gang led by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) who have retired following their successful heist in Fast Five(2011), but remain wanted fugitives. U.S. Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) offers to clear the group's criminal records and allow them to return home in exchange for helping him to take down a skilled mercenary organization led by Owen Shaw and his second-in-command, Dominic's presumed-dead lover Letty Ortiz. The film premieres on VOD on Tuesday, December 10. According to Chicago Tribune, “it’s a surprising, unlikely delight.” Reviews, video and more.
The Hunt. Rating: 4 (out of 5). Things are finally starting to look up for Lucas, after a tough divorce and the loss of his job. But a lie that he molested a child starts to shatter his life, and he is forced to fight for his life and dignity. This Danish film will be available on VOD starting December 10. USA Today gives it 4 stars (out of 4), and writes, “Unsettling, forthright and thought-provoking, The Hunt is also brilliantly titled.” Reviews, video and more.
Some Velvet Morning. Rating: 4 (out of 5). A man, Fred, arrives on the doorstep of his mistress, Eve, after four long years, and says that he finally left his wife. When she rejects him, his persistence turns into obsession, and a dark history between them is revealed. Neil Labute writes and directs. The film will be available on VOD starting Tuesday, December 10th. Film.com describes it as “A horror film with no blood, a rough ride that kicks you in the stomach.” Revies, video and more.
Here Comes the Devil. Rating: 2 (out of 5). Felix and Sol’s preteen son and daughter get lost overnight after taking a casual hike to a desolate, cave-riddled mountainside. The children return but things turn for the worse, though, when their behavior changes. The film will be available on VOD starting Friday, December 13th. According to Screen Crush, “This is a hardcore midnight cult WTF-fest that’s odd, noisy and weird.” Reviews, video and more.
Battle of the Year. Rating: 2 (out of 5). The Olympics of breakdancing called Battle of the Year, held every year, attracts the best teams from around the world. The US hasn’t won in fifteen years. B-Boy Dante (Laz Alonso), a Los Angeles-based Hip Hop mogul, wants to put America back on top, so he enlists the help of his championship basketball coach friend, Blake (Josh Holloway), to train his team. “Battle of the Year” comes to VOD on Tuesday, December 10th. The Hollywood Reporter thinks “The young dancers' undeniable skill and athleticism is squandered in this formulaic, overly familiar dance movie.” Reviews, video and more.
Hours. Rating: 1 (out of 5). Nolan Hayes (Paul Walker) arrives at a New Orleans hospital with his wife going into early labor. The day that is supposed to be one of the happiest turns into one of the worst, as Hurricane Katrina hits and forces an evacuation from the hospital. Nolan and his premature newborn were told to stay in the hospital and wait for the ambulance. But when no one returns to help, Nolan is forced to make life-and-death decisions. The film will be available on VOD starting Friday, December 13. According to We Got This Covered, ““Hours” is one of the most relentlessly tedious films of the year, despite star Paul Walker's valiant efforts.” Reviews, video and more.