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The Playlist

Recap: 'The Leftovers,' Season 1, Episode 1, Teasingly Sets The Stage For A Fascinating Supernatural Drama

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 29, 2014 11:15 PM
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  • 11 Comments
The Leftovers
“There might be a lot of noise around the show, and people might love the pilot, but it might completely and totally sputter and burn out,” Damon Lindeolf told New York Times Magazine about “The Leftovers.” “We have not written a script or produced an episode yet where I go: ‘Booyah! That’s what I’m talking about!’ They’ve all been a gargantuan struggle.” And indeed, the first episode of HBO’s latest hopeful, won’t make anyone exclaim in excitement. Running 75 minutes long, much of the pilot is mere placesetting, establishing the scope and world the show will take place in, and the characters that will be our conduit into something that, at least from the outset, will be drawing comparisons to “Lost.”

Review: Award Winning Gay Rights Documentary 'The Case Against 8'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 23, 2014 10:05 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The Case Against 8
"This to me was a defining civil rights issue," attorney David Boies recently told The Wall Street Journal about taking on the legal fight to strike down Proposition 8. "A wide variety of rules and regulations…were generated from the idea that somehow gays and lesbians were different in a defective or inferior way. By going for marriage equality, you struck at the heart of that bias." It's an accurate summary of the approach Boies and co-counsel Ted Olsen used in their long, long journey from California all the way to the Supreme Court, in fighting the ruling that eliminated the right for same-sex couples in the state to marry. It was a case that didn't just rock The Golden State, but the entire country, with the ruling a potentially game-changing, precedent setting one that would have an effect across the whole country. It was an issue that touched on politics, religion, "traditional" family values and more, and forced a conversation about how inclusive and tolerate a society America was ready to be. Unfortunately, you won't find any of those latter issues at the front of center of the award winning documentary, "The Case Against The 8."

Recap: 'Game of Thrones' Season 4, Episode 10 'The Children' Bids Farewell

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • June 16, 2014 6:56 AM
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  • 28 Comments
Game Of Thrones, Season 4 finale, The Children, lead image
Here we are, time to bid farewell to another season of "Game of Thrones," just as soon as we get through this extra long (66 minute) episode — with slim chances that all of our characters are going to make it out intact. If anyone checked out the news about the Emmy submissions last week, you might have noted that this week's finale "The Children" was the only episode that HBO submitted for best writing, so we were expecting a lot from this one (though last week's episode "The Watchers on the Wall" would have made a fine submission too, as though it was rife with action and bloodshed, had some damn fine speeches and story moments. Also giants). But this finale definitely lived up to the hype, with some incredible twists, turns and monologuing along the way as well.

5 Reasons Season 2 Of 'Orange Is The New Black' Is Better Than The First

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 9, 2014 3:41 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Orange Is The New Black
If you were at the movies this past weekend, you were likely weeping over "The Fault In Our Stars" or thrilling to Tom Cruise in "Edge Of Tomorrow," while small-screen viewers gathered around for the giant battle for The Wall in "Game Of Thrones." But plenty of us were getting our binge on, because Friday brought one of the most hotly-anticipated events of the summer: the arrival of the entire second season of Netflix's "Orange Is The New Black."

Review: 'Silicon Valley' Season 1 Boots Up Unique Premise, But Comedy Is Still Loading

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 2, 2014 10:05 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Silicon Valley
Earlier this spring in our preview of the first season of HBO's "Silicon Valley," we wrote that "Office Space" mastermind Mike Judge had "booted up something with a lot of promise, but it's success will be determined on how the latter half of the season lands." And indeed, the tech world comedy has had a wobbly ride to the finale, but the good news is "Optimal Tip-To-Tip Efficiency" closed out the eight-episode season one with arguably its best entry. The bad news is that while the show has been quickly renewed, the longevity will require Judge and co. balancing their ambitions for realistically skewering the industry and the tendency to indulge in broader gags on which entire subplots hang. Essentially, the more pointed the satire, the better "Silicon Valley" becomes, but whenever it strays from those intentions, the thin framework of the show is clearly seen.

Recap: 'Game of Thrones' Season 4, Episode 8, 'The Mountain And The Viper' Face Off

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • June 2, 2014 8:12 AM
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  • 43 Comments
Game of Thrones' Season 4 - The Mountain and the Viper'
We're back after a week off, and it's time to dive back into the wacky world of Westeros. There's another easter egg in the opening credits this week — Moat Cailin makes an appearance, the geography of the show growing with each episode. "The Mountain and the Viper," directed by Alex Graves (you might remember him from Joffrey's Purple Wedding), has promised us the trial by combat, the showdown and revenge we've been waiting for this whole season, and we're going to get it… right after all of these hideously boring monologues. The episode is a series of rather long, wordy, staid scenes bookended with bursts of bloody violence. A few of the monologues could stand to have been heavily edited, and time was checked during the show, a truly rare occurrence.

Cannes: Bruno Dumont Fascinates With Ambitious 3 ½-Hour Comedy Series ‘P’Tit Quinquin’

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • May 23, 2014 1:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
P'tit Quinquin
Mental disorder, disease, murder, and confounding evil. Not exactly the makings of a slapstick comedy, but this is Bruno Dumont we’re talking about. Known, by the few who dare to know him, as a seriously depressing and morose filmmaker, Dumont is so fascinated by the grotesque side of human nature, he can’t even make a comedy without putting the subject front and center. Dumont is back in television format with the mini-series “P’tit Quinquin.”

Review: HBO's 'The Normal Heart' Starring Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Taylor Kitsch, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 22, 2014 12:25 PM
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  • 0 Comments
The Normal Heart
First staged off Broadway in 1985, Larry Kramer's acclaimed play "The Normal Heart" is undoubtedly a product of its time. Written and performed during the early stages of the 1980s AIDS crisis, a period which saw the gay community gripped by fear of the emerging disease, and ravaged by a shocking death toll, Kramer's work is searing indictment of governmental indifference and those who refused to fight unreservedly to get the necessary resources and funding to foster support groups and research. Kramer's play was also autobiographical, drawing on real-life people as inspiration for the characters, with the end product something as personal as it was polemical. More than 25 years later, "The Normal Heart" was revived on Broadway in 2011, and now it comes to HBO in a star-studded movie adaptation, with an aspiration towards the same fury the material evoked decades ago. But unfortunately, that passion oddly leaves the movie feeling a bit out of time in 2014.

Recap: 'Game Of Thrones' Season 4 Episode 7 'Mockingbird' Flies Us To The Moon

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • May 19, 2014 9:02 AM
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  • 9 Comments
Game Of Thrones
What up, Gameheads. Have you made plans for your Sunday nights after #GOT is over? Just a few more weeks left (though it's not on next Sunday, "The Normal Heart" will be on instead). It’s not like there’s not plenty of other teevees to watch that night—Sunday is overwhelmed with good stuff while there's garbage on every other night of the week. We have free time on Tuesdays, you know!

Recap: 'Game of Thrones' Season 4, Episode 6 'The Laws of Gods And Men'

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • May 12, 2014 8:05 AM
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  • 8 Comments
"Game Of Thrones" Season 4 Episode 6 "The Laws of Gods and Men"
As we enter the latter half of Season 4, “Game of Thrones” eases us into the action with episode 6 “The Laws of Gods and Men” that both sets the stage for the big things to come, and brings the pain for a select few. Director Alik Sakharov balances both bloody action and one-set, dialogue-heavy scenes with a stylish aplomb, maintaining the high-wire tension throughout, and showcasing a bravura performance from a series favorite. And I’m burying the lede here, but we also got a whole NEW LOCATION in the credit sequence! That’s right, after much, much foreshadowing, we finally put Braavos on the map. And that’s where we begin.

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