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Rating: 4 (out of 5). Showtime brings together big names such as James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Harrison Ford to make “Years of Living Dangerously” a documentary about global warming. These celebrities travel to different locations around the world to investigate what is happening and to talk about what we can do to solve the problem. The critics all had good things to say about it whether it is because of the thought provoking questions asked by the celebs that actually seemed to make relatively good reporters, or the real scientists involved in the series.
The Hollywood Reporter calls it “an expertly approached lavish and compelling documentary that presents its evidence through an inclusive and conversational tone, creating the right delivery for its urgently conveyed message.”
Variety thinks that bringing celebs such as Schwarzenegger into this documentary is a “double-edged sword”. They say “big-name stars obviously call attention to a project that otherwise might be lost in the shuffle, but they also make it easy to deniers to dismiss the message because of the messengers.”
The New York Times thinks we can all learn a lesson from Indiana Jones. They say “The most engaging scenes in the first two episodes involve Harrison Ford, as feisty as he was when he played Indy or Han Solo, checking out the illegal burning of Indonesia’s forests and promising to kick some bureaucratic tail.”
The Philadelphia Daily News thinks the documentary “does a good job in its premiere of widening the discussion of global warming.” And even though the series is filled with big name celebrities, they find “the real star turns out to be a climate scientist named Katharine Hayhoe.”
The Chicago Sun-Times says this documentary is a “cinematic story whose focus isn’t polar bears and receding glaciers. It’s about people around the world whose lives have been affected by deforestation, droughts and global warming.”
Time thinks the docuseries “uses celebrities like Cheadle and reporters like Tom Friedman to tell the story of how climate change is impacting the world today. And that story is heavy on disaster.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says “Showtime puts a face on climate change” with this series.
The Los Angeles Times says “Top Hollywood names turn the nine-part
Showtime documentary, ‘Years of Living Dangerously,’ into a globe-trotting action-adventure story to attract a wider audience.” They say it “focuses not on melting glaciers or polar bears but instead tells unexpected, character-driven stories about people directly affected by or involved in the climate-change crisis.”
TV Guide talks about how “Years of Living Dangerously” is trying to “shine a light on a real-world issue that could be just as dangerous: global warming.”
The Wall Street Journal says the series is “emphasizing stories from the front lines of climate change impact.”
Vanity Fair thinks “Years of Living Dangerously” is successful as it ‘weaves together several strands of storytelling, Homeland style.”
The Detroit News gives the series a B, saying it “tries to transcend politics.”
The Huffington Post thinks that this might be “the most important premiere of 2014.”
The Los Angeles Daily News says while “Years of Living Dangerously diligently refers to science in examining the often dire effects of climate change, its discussion of the politics and beliefs involved adds perspective to the issue.
Rating: 5 (out of 5). The center of HBO’s new comedy, “Silicon Valley,” is Richard, played by Thomas Middleditch, a shy, mousy programmer who finds himself in the middle of a bidding war between two tech companies who want the algorithm that he created. Rather than sell the code, Richard, along with his friends and fellow outcasts (who he also lives with), decide to try build their own business based on his creation, thus putting Richard in an awkward management position as they work together. The critics loved the show, calling it hilariously funny, and extremely relevant with some noting that it is one of the best comedies they have seen all season.
“Prepare to laugh your ass off” says The San Francisco Chronicle. They are calling it “not only the best show about the culture-dominating tech world to date but one of best new shows of the season.”
TV Guide likes Middleditch’s character calling him “an endearingly flustered quality of suppressed but escalating panic in this breakout role of a timid computer programmer whose ahead-of-the-curve compression algorithm turns him into a suddenly and unexpectedly hot commodity.”
USA Today says “Silicon Valley” is a show that “is smart, true, authentic, emotionally resonant and — here’s the kicker — laugh-out-loud funny, well, that’s a show that’s worth using a search engine to find.” They say it is “reliably well acted, and extremely well-observed.”
The Los Angeles Times comments on the fact that “Silicon Valley” is Mike Judges’s first live action series and says it “in its deceptively modest way, is a great one.
Time says this is “the funniest out-of-the-box pay cable comedy in a good while. ”
The Wall Street Journal indicates that even though the plot of “Silicon Valley” is about computer codes and business, “the writers balance that with dirty jokes and blundering characters.”
The Seattle Post Intelligencer calls the series “stingingly funny” with a “geeky zing.” They say “The deft, resonant satire that helped make Judge’s Office Space a cult hit takes on farcical new dimension in Silicon Valley, which introduces a socially maladroit posse of computer misfits every bit the comic equal of The Big Bang Theory‘s science nerds.”
The New York Daily News says the show “racks up plenty of hits as it deflates the pomposity and lampoons the neuroses of computer geek culture.” Their only concern is “Some of the resulting tech and geek jokes feel accessible to all. With others, we feel like we need a password, and that could limit the long-term appeal of “Silicon Valley.” But if it only settles in as niche humor, it’s solid there.”
Newsday simply calls it “funny.” They think “ The surprise is just how funny it can be — wait around a few episodes for Belson’s Hologram adventure to see what I mean. But you never have to wait long.”
Entertainment Weekly calls this a “terrific new comedy.” They say “ the heart of the show is watching Richard and his friends struggle to make sense of themselves and their purpose. They’re good, weird guys you want to hang out with. ”
The Washington Post thinks “Silicon Valley” is a “blunt, delicious example of how to have it both ways, being hilarious while offering a fair indictment of an entire culture. ” They say they enjoy “ a show that revels in the art of extreme caricature rather than ambiguous portraiture. It’s also nice to watch a comedy that really is a comedy. ”
The Boston Globe comments on the idea that this show “does comic justice to that culture, one that can make jabs at toe sneakers and quinoa while mocking everything from hopeful Northern California startups to the Big Brother we call Google. ” They say the show “feels essential right from the very first episode.”
“HBO finds its best and funniest full-on comedy in years” says The Hollywood Reporter. Their thought is this show is set apart from others because it is “quite possibly the most likely to lure a large audience.”
The Chicago Sun-Times gives the show credit because “Not only is it funny, it has an air of authenticity thanks to co-creator Mike Judge.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette calls the show “the superior, prestige network newcomer this weekend. It’s similar in tone and setting to Amazon.com’s “Betas,” but “Silicon Valley” is funnier and more polished.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer says “The humor is clever if a little claustrophobic. The tone is so deeply post-ironic it feels almost morose. It’s a binary show. You will end up either binge watching Silicon Valley or turning it off halfway through the first episode.”
The Philadelphia Daily News calls the show “both smart and funny, making it the perfect pairing with the returning Veep“.
The New Yorker says the show is perfect for someone who is looking for “pure laughs, and a fresh subject for television.” They call it a “high-grade Proustian pot brownie” and say “The show is well structured, with blunt but effective sitcom beats, and, refreshingly, it isn’t an “Entourage”-tinted fantasy.”
The Denver Post indicates that “Initially, it may seem early to satirize a moment when startups are worth fortunes on paper one minute, and nothing in reality the next. We’re still in the midst of the era and can’t know which way it will evolve.” They go on to say “By the end of the second episode, however, the personalities take off, the humor sharpens and there’s no need to reboot.”
Variety says thanks to “Silicon Valley” HBO finally “has its most fully realized and potentially commercial player within the comedy genre.” They think it is “inordinately user-friendly compared too many recent pay-cable offerings.”
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What can we say, we're suckers for the lovable little loser. Our daily TV show pick for tonight, Sunday, April 20, 2014 is "It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown," on ABC at 7:00.
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What I'm Watching - Graham Yost
Justified creator/show runner/writer Graham Yost has more than enough to keep him busy, But, when he does manage to find some free time to watch TV, here's what he sits down to view:
Check out our interview with Graham to learn more about this very talented writer.
When he's not busy portraying bad guy Darryl Crowe Jr. in this season of Justified, here's what Michael Rapaport likes to watch on TV:
Check out our interview with the actor to gain more insights into Mr. Rapaport.
Featured TV Reviews
TV Show Review – Salem
Rating: 3 (out of 5). WGN launches their first original TV series tonight with Salem which brings us back to the 17th century and the notorious Salem witch trials. At the center of the show is Mary Sibley, played by Janet Montgomery, and John Alden, played by Shane West. The two shared a secret tryst [...]
TV Show Review – Fargo
Rating: 4 (out of 5). FX’s “Fargo,” based on the Coen Brothers’ 1996 movie “Fargo,” is a 10 episode series with a new case and new characters, but one that “channels” the original film. The series stars Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo, a drifter who runs into insurance salesman Lester Nygaard, played by Martin [...]
TV Show Review – Years of Living Dangerously
Rating: 4 (out of 5). Showtime brings together big names such as James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Harrison Ford to make “Years of Living Dangerously” a documentary about global warming. These celebrities travel to different locations around the world to investigate what is happening and to talk about what we can do to solve the [...]
TV Show Review – Silicon Valley
Rating: 5 (out of 5). The center of HBO’s new comedy, “Silicon Valley,” is Richard, played by Thomas Middleditch, a shy, mousy programmer who finds himself in the middle of a bidding war between two tech companies who want the algorithm that he created. Rather than sell the code, Richard, along with his friends and [...]
- TV Show Review – Salem
New on VOD
Here are the new VOD films for the week of April 15, 2014. Click on a movie title for more information, trailers and reviews.
Philomena. Rating: 5 (out of 5). A political journalist picks up the story of a woman’s search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago, after she gave birth and was forced to live in a convent. The film, based on a true story, will be available on VOD starting Tuesday, April 15. The critics are enamored with this film with New York Observer saying, “Philomena is not only my favorite film of 2013, but one of the most eloquent, powerful and perfect movies I have ever seen.” Reviews, video and more.
The Invisible Woman. Rating: 4 (out of 5). A happily married mother and schoolteacher, Nelly, is haunted by her past, when she had a complicated and fragile, yet exciting, relationship with Charles Dickens. This period drama premieres on VOD on Tuesday, April 15. The critics are impressed with the film and especially the acting though some note that it has a "leisurely pace." As Variety says, “So tastefully mounted and brilliantly acted that it wears down even the corset-phobic’s innate resistance to such things.” Reviews, video and more.
Patrick: Evil Awakens. Rating: 3 (out of 5). A young nurse, who just started working in an isolated psychiatric ward, takes an interest in Patrick, a seemingly comatose patient who is actually a subject of a mad scientist’s experiments. Her innocent fascination turns sinister as Patrick begins using his psychic powers to manipulate her every move, sending her life into a terrifying spiral. Watch for it on VOD starting Tuesday, April 15. Most of the critics enjoyed (though did not love) this remake of the 1978 movie, and FearNet calls the film "a good example of how to remake an obscure but admired horror flick." Reviews, video and more.
Wolf Creek 2. Rating: 3 (out of 5). Another tourist becomes the prey for the serial killer Mick Taylor. The critics have given mixed reviews to this horror film that comes to VOD on Thursday, April 17. Reviews, video and more.
Beneath The Harvest Sky. Rating: 3 (out of 5). Casper and Dominic have been best friends since childhood. Wanting to get out of their quiet hometown on the Maine-Canada border, the boys make a pact to pool their earnings on a car and hit the road. But when Casper is drawn into drug smuggling with his outlaw father to pay his share, their friendship gets strained and both are forced to make adult choices too soon. The film premieres on VOD on Tuesday, April 15. There were more positive than negative reviews on the film and according to Variety, “”Beneath the Harvest Sky” offers a heartbreakingly authentic, vividly realized account of adolescent frustration and yearning.” Reviews, video and more.
Small Time. Rating: 3 (out of 5). Freddy Klein decides not to go to College, and instead joins his father in his used-car business. Premiering on VOD on Friday, April 18, The Village Voice thinks, “The film isn't without mirth and charm: Norris steals a number of scenes as the charismatic Ash, and the banter between Norris and Meloni is charmingly convivial. But as Surnow steers into serious waters, the direction of the storytelling becomes increasingly misguided.” Reviews, video and more.
Ride Along. Rating: 2 (out of 5). Ben, a security guard, joins a cop, James, on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta in order to prove himself worthy of marrying the latter’s sister. Premiering on VOD on Tuesday, April 15, most of the critics are not impressed with this one. New York Magazine (Vulture) is one of the better reviews when they write, “It all mostly works, but you can’t help but wonder at times if it could have been a lot funnier if it had just a bit more edge.” Reviews, video and more.
The Nut Job. Rating: 2 (out of 5). Surly is banished from the park he lives in, and is forced to live in the dangerous city. Lucky for him, he comes across the only thing that can save not only his life, but the rest of the park community as well as winter approaches: Maury’s Nut Store. The film premieres on VOD on April 15. Most of the critics were unimpressed with this animated film, as The Arizona Republic says, “Ever had one of those artificially sweetened candies that taste OK at first but leaves a lingering, bitter aftertaste? That’s sort of how it goes with “The Nut Job.” Reviews, video and more.
A Promise. Rating: 1 (out of 5). Adapted from Stefan Zweig’s Journey into the Past, this film by French director Patrice Leconte centers on the affair between a handsome male secretary and the wife of a wealthy industrialist. Coming to VOD on Friday, April 18, this film has not won the heart of the critics, and IndieWire (The Playlist) thinks, “Leconte’s never been the edgiest of filmmakers, but “A Promise” is so free of anything close to an edge that it’s like watching a beige sphere for ninety-odd minutes—and it feels much longer.” Reviews, video and more.
Kid Cannabis. No rating. A dramatic film that tells the true story of a teen dropout based in Idaho, who builds a multimillion-dollar marijuana ring by trafficking drugs through the woods across the Canadian border. But his many vices may just leave this kid in way over his head. The film comes to VOD on Friday, April 18, the same day as its theatrical release, and no reviews are available as of writing. Video and more.
Bright Days Ahead (Les Beaux Jours). No Rating. A recently retired woman, eager to devote some free time to herself, begins taking part in some events at a local seniors center. When she becomes involved with a man decades younger than herself, she keeps this from her husband, and she soon begins to experience life in ways that she has not in a long time. The film premieres on the same day as its theatrical release, April 15, in French with English subtitles. No critic reviews are available as of time of writing. Video and more.