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The Playlist

Recap: Memes & A Paul Simon Parody Does In The 'Veep'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 5, 2013 10:30 PM
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  • 2 Comments
The second season of "Veep" is finally on the upswing after stumbling out of the gate, with last week's episode showing what the writers can do with just a little bit of focus. And this week's "The Vic Allen Dinner" mostly takes the same tack, finding comedic potential in a simple premise and then driving to the hoop and while it might not be a slam dunk, it's a solid alley-oop.

Review: 'Manhunt' A Decent Companion To 'Zero Dark Thirty,' But Doesn't Stand On Its Own

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 1, 2013 6:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments
For a classified mission, executed in secret, and monumentally changing the face of the war of terror, there is an awful lot of public knowledge about the the hunt for and killing of Osama Bin Laden. Books, magazine articles and more have proliferated at a steady pace, and then of course there's Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty," a feature film account of the intensive search for the terrorist leader all the way up the raid on the compound in Abbottabad. That film gave a narrative to the decades long investigation, involving dozens of people, multiple branches of government, false leads and more, and turned into a compelling piece of historical cinema. As such, it takes some liberties for dramatic purposes, but the basic arc is there, however for those looking for an account from those who were actually involved, "Manhunt: The Inside Story Of The Hunt For Bin Laden" doesn't quite live up the comprehensive documentary the title suggests.

Review & Recap: Magic Returns To Westeros In 'Game Of Thrones' Season 3 Episode 5 'Kissed By Fire'

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • April 29, 2013 10:00 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Greetings, Gameheads. Thanks for reading my little rant last week about media images of violence. It's just important to talk about, and I think one of the things that "Game of Thrones" does really well is offer up those topics for discussion. I mean, like BODIES, right? They are so weird and gross and awesome and cool, and thank you Throne Games for letting us to reconcile a bit of that corporeal tension that is constantly surrounding us in the zeitgeist. Speaking of serving body, this episode is ass-tastic, so let's get booty rockin' everywhere in the comments (who's got the best butt? Trick question, they all have the best butt, I can't choose).

Recap: 'Veep' Delivers A "Robust" New Episode

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 28, 2013 10:30 PM
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  • 0 Comments
If the first two episodes of the second season of "Veep" left us wanting for sharper humor, richer characterization and plots tackling some higher stakes, then tonight's effort is the one we've been waiting for. While the show has a tendency to get bogged down in subplots that often feel saggy, "Hostages" is an example of lean, efficient writing that comes together in a tight knot of fast jokes, and story threads that pay off. It's certainly one of the better entries in the season so far, and it's probably the only show you'll watch this year where the word "robust" plays such a central role.

Recap: 'Veep' Again Chooses Lower Stakes Humor Over Richer Comedic Potential

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 21, 2013 10:30 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Having barely survived the midterm elections in the season opener, Vice President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) has now finally been granted a greater say in the West Wing, starting with a chair on Foreign Policy. So, would we finally see Armando Iannucci try and tackle some bigger political themes, and perhaps grapple with potentially richer comic material? The answer is: not really. Essentially, this episode is basically A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Meeting, detailing the wide range of mishaps and crisis management Meyer and her team have to undergo on the way to getting her to an important, key strategy deliberation regarding a hostage situation overseas.

Review & Recap: Khaleesi Fires It Up in 'Game Of Thrones' Season 3 Episode 4 'And Now His Watch Is Ended'

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • April 21, 2013 9:00 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Game Of Thrones - Daenerys Targaryen - Season 3
Hello again everyone. In light of this past week’s events, I have to just jump up on this soapbox for a hot minute, so please humor me. I think that it’s an unfortunate coincidence, but also a relevant one to consider, when last Sunday night we experienced the brutal amputation to close out “Game of Thrones,” and then on Monday afternoon were forced to grapple with the shocking reality of amputation in the wake of the tragic Boston Marathon bombing. The graphic images of the bombing’s aftermath shattered our screens, in Tumblr dashboards and Facebook newsfeeds, and offered a sobering reality to the images of gore we experienced the night before on HBO. I don’t condemn “Game of Thrones” for showing us violence and gore, because violence and gore confronts us on the news everyday. To relegate violence to a fantastical world of dragons and forests and 3-eyed ravens and magic can be a coping mechanism for an audience like us, who must reconcile horrific acts in our own world on a regular basis.

Review: 'Mary And Martha' Starring Hilary Swank Plays Like A Dramatized Charity Infomercial

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 20, 2013 11:56 AM
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  • 11 Comments
"Did you know, that if you take every single person killed in a terrorist act around the world in the last twenty years, and you add to that all the lives lost in the Middle East since 1967 -- the 6 Day War -- and you add to that every single American life lost in Vietnam, in Korea, and in every single American engagement since then -- Iraq, Afghanistan... If you take all those lives and you multiply by two, that's the number of children that die of malaria every single year," James Woods gravely intones in "Mary and Martha." That this audience educating factoid comes during one of the climactic moments of the movie should tell you everything you need to know about the intentions and storytelling choices in this sentimental, misjudged, one-note clunker, that's yet another wide misstep by two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank.

Recap: 'Veep' Returns With Lots Of Jokes, Little Characterization

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 14, 2013 10:30 PM
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  • 0 Comments
At this point you're either watching "Veep" to keep up with the endless one liners, in order to cherish the handful that make it through and result in a good belly laugh...or you're not. One complaint that we had following season one was that Armando Iannucci often put the gags in front of any kind of characterization, and he's not changing his game plan with season two. But if the season two opener is anything to go by, it results in another uneven mashup of sitcom setups in a show that always wants cut a slice through the absurd world that is DC politics.

Review: 'Mad Men' Returns With A Confident 2-Hour Premiere That Proves It's Still The Best Show On TV

  • By Cory Everett
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  • April 7, 2013 11:00 PM
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  • 16 Comments
At this point, few would argue that "Mad Men" doesn't deserve to be listed as one of the greatest television shows of the modern age, but what not many have considered until now (perhaps for fear of jinxing it) is that if it continues to be as strong as it has been, it may just top them all. Now entering its sixth season, fans of the show have been holding their breath wondering if creator Matt Weiner and co. can possibly keep this up. After all, not many shows have been able to maintain this kind of quality and consistency this far into their run. Even hall-of-famers "The Sopranos" and "The Wire" started to falter a bit by season 5, but so far "Mad Men" hasn't lost a step.

Review & Recap: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 3 Begins To Coalesce With Episode 2 'Dark Wings, Dark Words'

  • By Katie Walsh
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  • April 7, 2013 7:05 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Joe Dempsie, Ben Hawkey and Maisie Williams in Game of Thrones
After episode one, "Valar Dohaeris," reminded us of what half of our Seven Kingdoms are up to in “Game Of Thrones,” episode two, “Dark Wings, Dark Words,” catches us up with the remaining characters not featured in the inaugural episode and moves the story forward in a more decided fashion, introducing new, significant characters and teaching us a bit more about some of the more mysterious aspects of story.

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