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All "Red Roads" Lead To Momoa

19 July 2015 6:52 PM, PDT

What did ya think? It was all going to work out for you?

Strange as it is to say this, but Jason Momoa is going on my watch list. Not a great watcher of television, it would seem that Momoa has been cast as a giant brute, but in The Red Road (2014-) series on the Sundance Channel shows that he's actually a person when he isn't exclusively staring out from under his massive dark brows. Momoa plays Phillip Kopus, a Native American drug dealer that has returned to his small New Jersey town after leaving prison to start dealing drugs there. It doesn't sound too promising, but it's enough that he gets to speak in his own voice, not have a ponytail, and seem capable of nuanced ethical views. Kopus is the bad guy in a show without good guys.

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- Jason Ratigan

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Try Not To Fall Asleep On Your Way Through "Cedar Cove"

19 July 2015 6:46 PM, PDT

I changed my mind, I think we should put it up for adoption.

Such is the sort of dilemma that good ol' Olivia Lockhart (Andie MacDowell) is here to fix in the second season of Cedar Cove (2013-), based on the series by Debbie Macomber. Macomber writes more books in a year than I get haircuts. The Cedar Cove series got a new member about once a year from 2001 to 2011. She even wrote some of the scripts for this show. How she ever found time to knit and then write a book on the subject boggles the mind. Then again, if her books are as full of banal common sense and low drama as the Hallmark "original" series, then I'm pretty sure all you need is a life supply of adderall to put together one of these manuscripts at typing speed. Reading them must be like eating paste. Some people like paste. »

- Jason Ratigan

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"Tony Duran" Doesn't Need An Encore

19 July 2015 6:41 PM, PDT

Nobody gives a shit about act one.

That's not entirely true but the point is well taken. A life and a movie might well overcome poor beginnings. Ironically, lives that start with a rough act one make better movies than movies with a rough act one. That's the difference between emotions and craftsmanship. Emotions make for nuanced beauty, but there isn't much you can do with a polished turd. The Encore of Tony Duran (2011) isn't a turd, but it is a rough hewn chunk of unglamorous stone. It's an independent film that suffers from so many of that genre's faults and hardly takes advantage of its possibilities. Because The Encore of Tony Duran doesn't come from an independent spirit or story, it's a conventional TV-movie story without the budget or craft to make it slick or real.

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- Jason Ratigan

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Have You Heard From "Timbuktu"?

19 July 2015 6:37 PM, PDT

Where is God in all of this?

I paraphrase the director of Timbuktu (2014), Abderrahmane Sissako: you can read "music is prohibited" but that is an abstraction, but when you see how music is prohibited, you understand what it means. If you are a westerner--and one suspects that is underinclusive--to see and understand is also to be outraged. However, there's a great deal more to it than that. The people of Timbuktu, a small city in Mali and former trading hub, were used to playing their music and sharing it, living their lives as best they could. Then, from 2012 to early 2013, an Islamist group, with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqmi), took control of Timbuktu and instituted sharia law. People left, people stayed. Tyranny never lasts forever, but people don't live forever. Even then, life under tyranny is only a half life.

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- Jason Ratigan

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