4 items from 2015
Arrested Development: Katz’s Debut an Affectionate Familial Dramedy
A familiar yet generally charming vehicle that impressively utilizes a pair of actors known mostly from a mainstream comedic realm, Adult Beginners is a low-key dramedy assembled from unpredictable voices. Premiering at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival before making its Us bow at SXSW earlier in 2015, it serves as producer Ross Katz’s feature debut (previously he directed the 2009 television drama Taking Chance, starring Kevin Bacon), with Nick Kroll credited with the story, and a screenplay penned by Liz Flahive (“Nurse Jackie”) and Jeff Cox (Blades of Glory, 2007). Neither as broadly comedic or serious minded as the credits would seem to indicate, the title serves as an estranged sibling reunion film that plays like the lighter, rosy faced cousin of last year’s The Skeleton Twins. Produced by the increasingly philanthropic Duplass Bros., the film displays the sort of vibrant charm »
- Nicholas Bell
Dirty Snow: Espinosa’s Ungainly Yet Enjoyable Soviet Era Mystery
Grazing lightly over the Soviet era politics of the period and featuring a handsome, gussied up cast that features a tad too many problematic instances of accented English, Swedish helmer Daniel Espinosa still manages to make an utterly watchable film out of Child 44, his second studio picture since breaking into Hollywood with 2012’s Safe House. A cadre of diverse actors from Sweden, Poland, France, Denmark, the UK, the Us, Switzerland, and more, portray period Soviets, some to better effect than others.
Based on Tom Rob Smith’s novel, the first in a trilogy, Espinosa and screenwriter Richard Price have clearly tried to retain the source material’s sprawling scope, though the film sometimes gets tripped up in its own skirt layers. Considering the richness of the material, it’s too bad that our seemingly unwavering preference for shorter running »
- Nicholas Bell
The Blacklist is always at its best when the villain-of-the-week is a compelling presence with an easy to understand motivation and paired with an actor with the right kind of talent to draw you into the character. “T. Earl King VI” was a great example of all of that, as it featured a number of outstanding guest stars, an easy to understand mission, and a solution that didn’t call for the dumbing down of the FBI in order to highlight the smartiness of Red.
This week, the mission was Red. Or more to the point, a mission to save Red from the one of a kind auction put on by the titular Blacklister and his unique method of estate management.
The Kings, according to legend, steal things great and small, but all objects are, to a degree, priceless. Whether the object is a piece of art or a person of high value, »
- Adam A. Donaldson
Spoiler Warning: Do not read on unless you’ve seen “The Walking Dead” season five, episode nine, titled “What Happened and What’s Going On.”
No one can accuse “The Walking Dead” of holding on to characters too long. It was just two months ago that fans said goodbye to Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) in the midseason finale. In tonight’s midseason premiere, they had to do the same for Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), who joined the show back in season three and leaves behind his sister, Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green).
It was a powerful, potentially divisive, installment, and Variety asked executive producer and the episode’s director Greg Nicotero to talk us through the decision to lose Tyreese at this point, what it was like for Coleman on set, working with some very special guest stars and what lies ahead for the survivors after these brutal back-to-back losses.
Why Tyreese and why now? »
- Geoff Berkshire
4 items from 2015
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