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The Playlist

Recap: 'Girls' Delivers Best Episode Of Season 2 Yet With The Touching "It's A Shame About Ray"

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 4, 2013 10:04 AM
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  • 2 Comments
With the second season of "Girls" arriving less than a year after the first season wrapped, and with the third season slated to start production in March, we've been wondering if the quick turnaround has had a detrimental effect on the show. So far season two has been good, just not great. The first three episodes have hopscotched around a bit, setting up the characters again in the premiere, quickly dealing with an interracial relationship by the end of the second episode and last week, the show dipped toward novelty with cocaine-fueled hijinks. However, last night Dunham delivered an episode that harkens back to the heart and humor that made the first season so winning, in what is easily this season's best instalment so far.

Review: David Fincher's 'House Of Cards' Is A Beautiful, Bedazzling Political Thriller (At Least In Its First Two Episodes)

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • February 1, 2013 12:27 PM
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  • 4 Comments
When Netflix announced that they would get into the scripted programming game, with three high profile projects all lined up for the first half of 2013 (including the Eli Roth literary-based Gothic horror project "Hemlock Grove" and the hopefully rapturous return of oddball comedy classic "Arrested Development"), it seemed that the possibilities, in theory, were endless. Netflix would be unburdened by the restraints, in both content and form, of the tired old ad revenue-dependent television model (premium cable, while remaining fuzzier, still depends on subscribers), free to provocatively reshape our formalized notion of "television" and "shows." Except, that didn't happen. At least not yet. It's first big, splashy original production, a David Fincher, Kevin Spacey and Eric Roth produced remake of the British miniseries "House Of Cards," doesn't take any bold structural or stylistic detours. But it is totally fucking brilliant just the same.

Recap: 'Girls' Tries Cocaine & Discovers A Bad Friend

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 28, 2013 10:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The first season of "Girls" was both entertaining and refreshing simply by the virtue of Lena Dunham's voice, which found a milieu of New York City life for young women that was perhaps more real and honest than anything we've seen on television in quite some time. Spanning flawed to fabulous, sometimes in the same episode, these characters were not only three dimensional and complex, so too were the episodes around them, which rarely fell back on novelty gimmicks.

Recap: Minor Key 'Girls' Finds Hannah & Marnie Getting Some New Ideas

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 21, 2013 10:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
If the season premiere was a bit of shakeup to reorient the gang in "Girls" for wherever the new season will take them, the second episode almost seems like an addendum. It's as if Lena Dunham and company decided they needed to make yet another shift to get the show in the direction they needed, and a couple of characters who we figured might be in play a bit longer definitely get sidelined. So yeah, spoilers ahead.

Sundance Preview: Jane Campion’s ‘Top Of The Lake’ Feels Like ‘The Killing’ Only With Haunting, Lasting Sustain

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • January 20, 2013 5:00 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Moody, without being oppressively dark or atmospheric, compelling and mysterious, Jane Campion's seven-part Sundance Channel series, "Top Of The Lake" – based on two episodes thus far – is an intriguing crime drama and mystery that's got this writer hooked.

Recap: Marnie Becomes Hannah In Season 2 Premiere Of 'Girls'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 14, 2013 10:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Adam (Adam Driver) got hit by a car, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) lost her virginity, Marnie (Alison Williams) moved out of her apartment with Hannah (Lena Dunham), Jessa (Jemima Kirke) got married....change was is in the air for the characters of "Girls" at the end of season one. And as season two opens, Hannah is (literally) waking up as a woman with a reoriented set of ways to take control of her life. But not without first making some bad decisions.

Review: 'My Brother The Serial Killer' Offers Thin Alternate Theory About The O.J. Simpson/Nicole Brown Murder

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 21, 2012 3:02 PM
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  • 8 Comments
Few court cases captured the public imagination in recent memory quite like the O.J. Simpson trial. An American football hero, part-time movie star and color commentator, a whole different side to his public persona came through when he was charged with murdering his ex-wife. And when the not guilty verdict reverberated throughout the nation, it hardly put an end to the story. Some folks said it was an example of the justice system's failings, others pointed the finger to the ineffectual prosecution, while others declared that Simpson was innocent all along. And now the waters get muddier with "My Brother the Serial Killer," which is arriving on screens and heated up by the news that its titular subject is linked to the slaying of Nicole Brown Simpson. Does it let O.J. off the hook? Not exactly, but it also doesn't make much sense either.

Review: 'Inventing David Geffen' Is Wildly Entertaining, But Never As Insightful As It Should Be

  • By Christopher Schobert
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  • November 20, 2012 9:56 AM
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  • 3 Comments
David Geffen is so powerful, wealthy and connected that he could probably kill this review right now were he so inclined. He is a show business titan; a controversial figure who is revered—and feared—by equal measure. He is perhaps the closest thing we have to the kingpins of old, the Selznicks, the Zanucks. (How fitting that Geffen now lives in Jack Warner’s stunning old mansion.) But like Harvey Weinstein, what most differentiates Geffen from the other powers-that-be in his ranks is an ability to spot talent. As “American Masters: Inventing David Geffen” reveals, he helped break artists as far reaching as Laura Nyro, Jackson Browne, and even Guns N’ Roses.

Review: David Frankham & Michael Mann's 'Witness' A Raw & Powerful Look At The Front Lines Of Photojournalism

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 8, 2012 11:05 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The news media hasn't been in good shape in the past few years, particularly when it comes to on the ground, investigative journalism. Dwindling budgets, an audience shift from newspapers and television to the internet, and some would argue a lack of drive from the media themselves to do hard reporting, has made it a grim time to be involved in the industry. But as producer and director David Frankham told us recently, he hopes that the HBO series "Witness" (also produced by Michael Mann), is able to enact the kind of change that the classic reportage of "60 Minutes" managed to achieve. And while it doesn't quite go that far, "Witness" is an eye-opening, riveting look at conflicts raging around the world, and the complex and mostly ignored narratives that are unfolding.

Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Builds Up To An Explosive Finale In Episode #8, 'The Pony'

  • By Edward Davis
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  • November 5, 2012 12:07 PM
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  • 3 Comments
"Jimmy deserved better than this," Richard Harrow (Jack Huston) says with disgust. The "funeral" for Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt) is equal parts sham, disgrace and an utter joke. Shockingly killed off at the end of season 2 by his mentor and only real father figure Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) as vengeance for an earlier betrayal, Jimmy's mother Gillian (Gretchen Mol) has spent the last few months in delusional mourning, claiming Jimmy was off on one of his "adventures" rather than acknowledging his death. But when faced with practical matters -- her brothel business is failing, the house being in Jimmy's name stopping her from acquiring a loan -- Gillian proves her head's not entirely in the clouds and she can be sinisterly lethal. Buried in lieu of Jimmy is the dead-ringer Roger McAllister (Billy Magnussen), a handsome bumpkin Gillian lured into her web for the specific purposes of having a surrogate body to bury. It's ruthless stuff and it makes Harrow, Jimmy's dear friend, ill and sickened by the charade Gillian puts on.

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