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Boardwalk Empire Recap: Money and Relationships, Clunky Dialogue

Boardwalk Empire Recap: Money and Relationships, Clunky Dialogue
Because everyone we know is watching and debating the merits of Boardwalk Empire every week, TOH critic Tim Appelo is keeping the conversation going. He favors Tim Van Patten's slick camera moves, but worries about some clunky over-familiar dialogue. (Spoiler Alert!)Everybody made a big deal about the Scorsese-directed pilot of Boardwalk Empire, but Timothy Van Patten’s followup is in some ways better. No muzzle-flash valentines to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre this time, but instead of endless setups and proud pans of HBO’s multimillion-dollar period set, we get some actual storylines unspooling. Last week we saw Nucky’s nooky naked; this week we get a peek at his unguarded heart. And Van Patten beats Scorsese’s bookend iris shots with the opening scene (pan down with the Chicago snow to mob boss Big Jim’s funeral) and the finale (a Baltimore flapper rolls her averted eyes and mechanically works the crankshaft of crass businessman Baxter in his Tin Lizzie – until the gory, half-dead survivor of the first episode’s massacre staggers zombielike out of the woods and into their headlamps). And Van Patten’s old-time movie moves work as well as Scorsese’s: I like the wipe from the closeup of Capone stomping reporter Eddie Corrigan’s face to Nucky at his desk.
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • September 27, 2010 6:13 AM
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  • 2 Comments
More: Reviews, TV, HBO

Oscar Watch: Waiting for Superman Meets Zuckerberg on Oprah

Oscar Watch: Waiting for Superman Meets Zuckerberg on Oprah
Paramount has sent out "for Your Consideration" six-city screening invites for Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island and Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for Superman, which got serious Oprah Winfrey love this week, with two shows devoted to the controversial American education expose. The second show also featured Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who didn't say much as Winfrey explained that he was reluctant to appear and had wanted to make his contribution to the Newark city schools anonymously.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 25, 2010 11:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment

NBC Universal Chairman Jeff Zucker to Step Down When Comcast Deal Closes

It's official. In a staff memo, NBC Universal chairman Jeff Zucker, 45, announces that he will leave his post when the Comcast takeover of NBC Universal is complete, probably by year's end, reports the NYT. The writing had been on the wall for some time. Zucker admitted that Comcast wants to bring in their own management team. NBC is the only place Zucker has ever worked, for 24 1/2 years. He tells the NYT he's a producer at heart; his happiest time was producing The Today Show. And yes, Zucker is interested in politics.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 24, 2010 3:23 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Video: Phoenix on Letterman

David Letterman welcomed a slim and shaved Joaquin Phoenix back on The Late Show after a year and half, saying that on February 11, 2009, "he looked like he was sitting on a piece of cheese and swallowed a live mouse." Letterman wasn't in on the act, but said, "I'd be half a dumbbell not to be in on it," he said. "He was a side of beef in a suit. It's like he brought out the heavy bag and turned me loose. What else could I do?" Letterman played into Phoenix's hands, he told him: "You came out looking for a beat-down and you got one."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 23, 2010 9:25 AM
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  • 1 Comment
More: Video, TV

Contraband Stars Beckinsale, Wasikowska vs. Phoenix, Panettiere as Amanda Knox

- Working Title is remaking 2008 thriller Reykjavik-Rotterdam (Iceland's 2009 Oscar submission) for American audiences. Kate Beckinsale will reportedly star opposite Mark Wahlberg in the retitled Contraband. He plays an alcohol smuggler-turned-security guard being lured back into below-ground business. Actor-director-producer Baltasar Kormákur, who produced the original and has directed six films (Inhale, starring Diane Kruger and Dermot Mulroney, comes out next month) will direct. Release is set for 2012.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 20, 2010 4:11 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Trailer Watch: Kate Winslet as Mildred Pierce

One of the great, satisfying page-turners is James M. Cain's 1941 Mildred Pierce, which was turned into an excellent 1945 movie starring Joan Crawford. (Several of Cain's hardboiled novels worked as films, including The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity). Well, the Killer team of Christine Vachon and Todd Haynes have adapted the novel into a five-part HBO mini-series. The trailer ran before HBO's debut of Boardwalk Empire Sunday night.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 20, 2010 3:25 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Boardwalk Empire: Best TV Pilot of 2010 and Third-Best Scorsese Movie of This Century

Boardwalk Empire: Best TV Pilot of 2010 and Third-Best Scorsese Movie of This Century
I have ordered my TiVo Season Pass to Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter's Boardwalk Empire, which starts on HBO tonight. TOH critic Tim Appelo has already seen it. "(Steve) Buscemi and (Michael) Pitt have roles to kill for, their best career catapults yet," Appelo writes in his rave review:In the Scorsese-directed kickoff episode of Boardwalk Empire (HBO, Sundays 9 pm), the nude flapper floozy Lucy (Paz de la Huerta) flops her boobs at the camera, bouncing atop Atlantic City gangster Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi), and bellowing nasally, “GIDDYAP, COWBOY!” “Stop with the ‘cowboy’ shit!” snaps Nucky.
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • September 19, 2010 7:44 AM
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  • 14 Comments

Garner/Renner Get Addicted, Boardwalk Empire's Williams, Jacki Weaver, The Fighter Trailer

- Jennifer Garner will play the trophy wife addicted to prescription drugs and Jeremy Renner will play the lifeless pharmacist catering to (and falling for) the woman and the addiction via their disastrous extra-marital affair in Better Living Through Chemistry. (This seems to be a trend: another upcoming title is Love and Other Drugs.) THR is calling it a dramatic thriller, not a romantic comedy. Garner was at her post-Alias best in 2007's action/drama The Kingdom. This picture seems the most promising of her handful of projects in development (mostly comedies). And Renner's role sounds like a treat for The Town star to crack and crumble with. Writers Geoff Moore and David Posamentier will make their directorial debuts with this project.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 17, 2010 12:10 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Daily Show vs. America, Reality TV Wins, HBO Subscriber Drama

- Has Jon Stewart's career benefited from the fall of America? New York Magazine points out that America's decade of domestic decline has provided The Daily Show with plenty of material, and "unfortunately things are getting even funnier." Stewart says he likes to figure out "where the media is trying to build the narrative and where the story lines are going to go,” in order to position his political satire a bit higher on the joke spectrum than a kick in the groin. Since the beginning of the new century, with politicians increasingly appearing as mouthpieces for cable producers and the media transforming the way it is delivered and processed, Stewart has built longevity via counter-culture-political-comedy: "As truth has been overrun by truthiness and facts trampled by lies, he and The Daily Show have become an invaluable corrective—he’s Cronkite, the most trusted man in America."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 13, 2010 5:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Ebert Relaunches At the Movies on PBS with Lemire, Mitchell

Ebert Relaunches At the Movies on PBS with Lemire, Mitchell
Roger Ebert announced his relaunch of At the Movies, a month after the demise of his former show on Disney/ABC, in his blog, naturally, and on Twitter. Critics Christy Lemire (AP) and Elvis Mitchell (KCRW-FM), who were guest hosts on At the Movies with Richard Roeper after Ebert fell ill from cancer, will be the show's principal co-hosts. Bloggers Kim Morgan and Omar Moore will also contribute to the program, writes Ebert on his site:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 10, 2010 5:57 AM
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  • 10 Comments

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