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MATT ZOLLER SEITZ: Why, After 500 Episodes, Slagging The Simpsons Is Unfair

At some point, a show stops being a show and becomes a utility: gas, electricity, water, "The Simpsons." That’s not my line; it’s cribbed from a quote about "60 Minutes" by its creator, the late Don Hewitt. But it seems appropriate to recycle a point about one long-running program in an article about another when it’s as self-consciously self-cannibalizing as "The Simpsons."
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • February 10, 2012 4:15 AM
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  • 0 Comments

'SHOULD WIN' VIDEO ESSAY SERIES: PRESS PLAY picks the Oscars

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Press Play presents "Should Win," a series of video essays advocating winners in seven Academy Awards categories: supporting actor and actress, best actor and actress, best director and best picture. These are consensus choices hashed out by a pool of Press Play contributors.]  
  • By Press Play Staff
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  • February 7, 2012 6:21 AM
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  • 1 Comment

OSCARS REVISITED, 1981: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK

For years after the release of his box-office breakthrough "Jaws," Steven Spielberg fantasized about directing a James Bond picture. He finally got his chance, sort of, with "Raiders of the Lost Ark," his first team-up with his old film school classmate and fellow "movie brat" George Lucas.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • February 2, 2012 7:47 AM
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  • 3 Comments

OSCARS 2012: PRESS PLAY contributors argue for their favorites

After last week’s announcement of this year’s Oscar nominees, a handful of Press Play contributors gathered together via email to discuss the highs and lows in some of the major award categories. Below are some of the highlights of the conversation, and as always, we encourage you to keep the discussion going.
  • By Press Play Staff
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  • February 1, 2012 7:27 AM
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  • 21 Comments

MATT ZOLLER SEITZ RECAP: LUCK: If Wishes Were Horses ...

Before we delve into HBO's "Luck," I need to get some housekeeping out of the way. I wrote about it in a very general way for New York magazine, then asked to recap the first season for Vulture. "Luck" is a rare TV drama that benefits from wonky auteurist scrutiny, and that's how I'm going to approach it. I'm fascinated by series creator David Milch and have written extensively about his great western drama Deadwood for the Star-Ledger, The House Next Door, and Salon.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • January 30, 2012 2:28 AM
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  • 0 Comments

MATT ZOLLER SEITZ: The Sexy, Gory, Low-Rent Spectacle of SPARTACUS: VENGEANCE

"Spartacus" is back with a new Spartacus. Both the new actor and the revamped series take some getting used to. For the most part, the reincarnation works, in large part because this cable franchise doesn't have a pedigree to sully. The latest edition, "Spartacus: Vengeance," picks up where the original 2010 hit "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" left off, with the title character and his lusty band of former slaves afflicting their former Roman masters, and the Romans trying to contain the rebellion.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • January 29, 2012 1:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments

MATT ZOLLER SEITZ: The Fan-Made Star Wars Uncut Is the Greatest Viral Video Ever

"Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut," a full-length sweding of the original Star Wars made by hundreds of participants, might be the greatest viral video in the still-young history of the Internet. It's also the best argument I've seen for an overhaul of outmoded copyright laws which, if enforced to the entertainment industry's satisfaction, would make such works illegal and essentially un-viewable.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • January 23, 2012 11:12 PM
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  • 0 Comments

MATT ZOLLER SEITZ: PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY Offers Only a Fleeting Sense of Relief for the West Memphis Three

By all rights, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" (HBO, 9 p.m. Eastern) should feel more triumphant than it does. It is, after all, about the release of the West Memphis Three, men who were imprisoned — wrongly, it now seems — for murdering and mutilating three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, nearly two decades ago. When convicted killers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelly, Jr. were sentenced back in 1993, they were mere boys themselves, high school kids with pimply skin and uncertain voices.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • January 12, 2012 6:59 PM
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  • 0 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: DEEP FOCUS: SUPERMAN RETURNS, Angel of America

Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns" is no masterpiece. The movie's first act is hobbled by weird misjudgments (including a criminally underused Eva Marie Saint as Ma Kent), and it's so choppy that it seems to have been edited with a meat axe. Kevin Spacey's snidely campy performance as Lex Luthor unbalances the film's otherwise sincere tone. It's also so dependent upon our knowing what happened in 1978's "Superman: The Movie" and its follow-up, "Superman II," that at times it feels like a long-delayed sequel in which the principal cast has been replaced.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz & Ken Cancelosi
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  • January 9, 2012 4:20 PM
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  • 68 Comments

SLIDE SHOW: Movies for a desert island

You don’t need much of a setup for this one: It’s a Desert Island List of visual media that I’d like to have with me if I were shipwrecked.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • January 6, 2012 9:41 PM
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  • 8 Comments

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