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Thompson on Hollywood

'Game of Thrones' Review and Recap, Season Three Episode 1: 'Valar Dohaeris'

As the third season of HBO's epic drama series of back-stabbing ambition and dynastic intrigue, "Game of Thrones," launches on Sunday, it's just possible that the trace elements of generic fantasy in GoT -- a dragon here, some evil sorcery there -- could be jettisoned without much impact on the viewer’s pleasure.
  • By David Chute
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  • March 29, 2013 7:10 PM
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'Top of the Lake' Recap 2: Bringing Out the Dead and Missing

While last week's two-hour premiere of "Top of the Lake" dealt with the blunt one-two shock of a pregnant pre-teen girl and then her disappearance, this week's episode deals with the classic detective-story trope of obsession with a missing person. As is often the case, an obsession with the missing brings out an obsession with the dead.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 25, 2013 10:00 PM
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Review Roundup: 'Phil Spector' a Sinfully Entertaining Treat Starring Wigged-Out Al Pacino

HBO's "Phil Spector" (March 24) directed by David Mamet and starring a tantalizingly wigged-out Al Pacino and Helen Mirren, is mostly receiving praise from critics. Pacino's performance is being touted as "compelling, both despite and because of the wigs," while Mamet's direction is called "sinfully entertaining." But not every outlet is impressed: Variety describes the film as "essentially a Lifetime movie gussied up with an Oscar pedigree." Review highlights below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 21, 2013 12:20 PM
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HBO's Accidental Feminism, From Lena Dunham's Hannah Horvath to Laura Dern's Amy Jellicoe

With the recent finale of the second season of “Girls,” and the “Enlightened” season finale still resonating in my mind, I’ve been thinking more and more about the characters from both shows. The upcoming new season of “Veep” is only a few weeks away, too, and, even though it’s a more stylized comedy half-hour, it’s another example of what I’ve come to think of as HBO’s inadvertent nod to feminist sensibilities; these three shows have female protagonists who are far from lovable -- but we love them. What’s going on here?
  • By Julia Chasman
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  • March 21, 2013 11:37 AM
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'Girls' Recap 10: Saving the Worst for Last

If last week’s episode dealt with body horror (ass splinters! lodged Q-tips!), this week’s episode deals with the horror of finishing things. Hannah struggles -- but not too hard -- with wrapping up her barely inchoate manuscript, while “Girls” struggles with capping off its second season in a coherent, consistent fashion. It fails.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 18, 2013 12:30 AM
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  • 3 Comments

SXSW 2013: ‘Bates Motel’ Preview a Few Cuts Under Its Pre-‘Psycho’ Potential

“Who’s gonna rent a room in the rape/murder hotel?” smokin’ hot Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) rhetorically asks her introverted son Norman (Freddie Highmore) after a grizzly scene has just unfolded in their creaky house. Based on the first episode of “Bates Motel,” which was unveiled March 11 at SXSW, a number of clunkily-drawn characters will probably swing by the infamous rest-stop, less in the service of true creepiness and more for generic thrills.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 11, 2013 11:46 PM
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  • 2 Comments

Now and Then: 'Enlightened' and the Perfect TV Ending

Saying farewell to a beloved series is tough going, so I was gratified to have "Enlightened" do it for me. Even if its cancellation isn't yet assured, "Agent of Change," the second season's finale, felt like a goodbye nonetheless -- and a perfect one at that.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • March 5, 2013 12:29 PM
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'Girls' Recap 8: OCD and AA in an Episode That's All Over the Place

“It’s Back” works hard to juggle four different storylines. Two are successful, and two are cringe-inducingly out of left field.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • March 4, 2013 12:33 AM
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  • 2 Comments

'Girls' Recap 7: In 'Video Games,' Ben Mendelsohn Guest Stars as Jessa's Flaky Father

In Season One’s “The Return,” we see Hannah and her parents in their natural Horvath habitat, Michigan. In Season Two’s “It’s About Time,” we’re offered a brief glimpse of Jersey girl incognito Marnie’s passive-aggressive relationship with her mother. In this week’s episode, “Video Games,” we’re introduced to Jessa’s father (Ben Mendelsohn) and gain some insight into his character, and the characteristics he’s transferred to his daughter.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 24, 2013 9:30 PM
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'Girls' Recap 6: The 'Boys' Aren't in Kansas Anymore, Toto

One of the things I’ve admired about this season of “Girls” is that it has no obligation to regularly check in with each of the four “leads” of the show. Instead, certain characters are more central in certain episodes, in an organic way, while supporting characters are given a surprising amount of interiority.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 17, 2013 9:30 PM
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  • 1 Comment

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