Pacino as Phil Spector, Power Player Extraordinaire
March 23, 2013
The HBO biopic Phil Spector isn't a truthful work—but it gets some things very right.
An "Enlightened" Mike White Wants to Change TV
January 17, 2013
The show's creator, like its main character, was born anew after a breakdown.
The Most Famous Tongue in America
November 01, 2012
Anthony Bourdain has the most famous tongue in America: for the tasting, talking, and lashing it does.
HBO's Creepy and Revealing Take on Hitchcock
October 23, 2012
"The Girl" is like a real-life version of "Vertigo": it's about a man who falls in love with an actress and tries to remake her.
October 05, 2012
From Lena Dunham to "FUCK! I'm in My Twenties," inside the cultural fixation with the worries of privileged twentysomethings.
From Howard Beale to Aaron Sorkin
July 01, 2012
We think we know what an “anchor” is—that quaint tri-form hunk of heavy metal that vessels throw overboard when they want to stop. That action and the word promise stability and security. So “anchor” has passed into the collected metaphors of our survival: A sentence is anchored to its main verb; a country is kept steady by its constitution; Citizen Kane holds the cause of film history in place. Your family is what keeps you where you should be in the rising swell and cross-currents of life. Aaron Sorkin is a mainstay of old-fashioned adult optimism.
June 22, 2012
THE RIVETING DRAMA and moral risks that are part of TV journalism offer a fertile field for artists. Paddy Chayefsky in Network told us the story of “the first known instance of a man who was killed because he had lousy ratings.” In Broadcast News, James L. Brooks showed us the real dangers to the soul of journalism when vacuous flash is valued over substance.
The Last of Girls?
June 18, 2012
Mothers and fathers can breathe again, and leave their children of a certain age to the liberty of their own devices, and parental innocence. What age? Well, I’d suggest that it’s the under-26s, that being the new limit at which “kids” or fully grown adults, subject to STDs and other menacing acronyms, can remain on their parents’ health insurance.
Sex and the Single 'Girls'
April 16, 2012
It has been widely acknowledged that HBO’s “Girls” features what is likely the worst sex ever seen on the small screen—or, at least, the worst sex with a female mind at its emotional center. This is fumbling, incompetent sex, performed on a dirty couch in yellowish lighting and filmed from unforgiving angles. Hannah, the character played by Lena Dunham, who is also the show’s creator, gets mounted from behind by her terrible not-quite-boyfriend, Adam.