Review: Shannon Alexander’s candid covid dating doc ‘Sex, Love, Misery: New New York’ has a title that says it all.

Synopsis:
Swiping. Dating. Ghosting. Have you wondered what was really going on in your date’s head? “Sex, Love, Misery” reveals candid thoughts and encounters between singles looking to mingle or marry, from initial texts to hook ups and beyond.


Dating in the city was a complicated nightmare when I was in college. That was 20 years ago now. I do not envy Millenial/Gen Y’s attempts to find love nowadays. Certainly not with the complexities of COVID added into the mix. Filmmaker Shannon Alexander gives audiences a new documentary, SEX, LOVE, MISERY: NEW NEW YORK, in which he follows six people navigating relationships with one another during the pandemic. An up-close and personal confession booth through the lens of modern dating manages to be fresh and timeless all at once. 

The film follows Troy, Camilla, Jack, Izzie, Aisha, and our French transplant Emile. The openness these young people have with Shannon speaks to the power of his humanity. They feel comfortable sharing their most intimate thoughts and insecurities. They are totally unfiltered. It is their willingness to take chances that creates an engaging viewing experience. 

There are glaring differences in communication. Hearing each reaction to the exact same date is eye-opening. The assumptions made about one another by the forms of communication and interaction are like watching a modern-day version of the HBO docu-series Taxicab Confessions. If you don’t know what that is, let me explain. From 1995 to 2006, the cable network aired a show that featured hidden camera conversations from the back of a cab. Often sexual, it was a series that aired late at night and was one of a kind. SEX, LOVE, MISERY feels similar, except that our six subjects speak directly to Shannon in true cinéma vérité style.

What makes SEX, LOVE, MISERY so intriguing is even though these people are ten to fifteen years my junior, I know them. I was them. We all were. SEX, LOVE, MISERY: NEW NEW YORK is a fantastic proof of concept. I would watch this expanded into series form in a New York minute.


Sex, Love Misery: New New York is a light-hearted/comedic piece covering dating and relationships in NYC during the pandemic,
now streaming on TubiTV.

Review: HBO Documentary Film: ‘TONY HAWK: UNTIL THE WHEELS FALL OFF’

TONY HAWK: UNTIL THE WHEELS FALL OFF

Centering around intimate new interviews with Tony Hawk himself, the film is an all-encompassing look at the skateboarder’s life, legendary career, and relationship with the sport with which he’s been synonymous for decades. Hawk, a pioneer of modern vertical skating who is still pushing his limits at the age of 53, remains one of the most influential skateboarders of all time.


Tony Hawk kicks off his big HBO documentary by falling down. A lot. Like, 5 solid minutes of eating it all over the ramp. It’s a bold, remarkably human way to start a documentary about a 53-year-old icon who many in the non-skating community would still consider the most famous skateboarder of all time (this reviewer raises his hand). Heck, my wife knows more about Tony Hawk than I do.

The complete list of things I knew about Tony Hawk before watching this documentary:

  • He was (probably) the most prominent skater in the world
  • He was the first skater to land a 900 (a crazy trick where you shoot off a ramp and spin 2.5 times in the air before landing)  I also learned this from his video game series, Tony Hawk Pro Skater
  • He has a hilarious Twitter feed

And yet, I left Sam Jones’ Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off feeling pretty invested in skateboarding. Jones’ documentary benefits not only from extensive access to Hawk and his skating peers but also from a wealth of archival footage and clips that help these interview recollections resonate. Sure, you learn about Hawk’s upbringing in San Diego, and his dynamic with his strict father – but what really resonates is the sense of purpose uniting these passionate young skateboarders. You really get the spirit of the community. Tricks and success in this sport are the product of individual inspiration, yes, but also due to watching and learning from both your rivals and teammates. Hawks’ contemporaries are real unique characters, too. I particularly loved hearing from Rodney Mullen, who applies the principles of Nietzsche to the act of launching yourself off a skate ramp without a hint of irony.

I also appreciated the documentary’s balanced romanticism surrounding skateboarding. There are the obligatory skating montages, but there’s also a blunt assessment of the risks (and honestly, the near foolishness) of Hawk refusing to set aside his board at 53 years old. We’re talking about guys for whom broken bones and near-constant concussions seem to always be part of the deal – it takes a lot to make these folks nervous. Hawks’ peers speak frankly and graphically about the risks he’s taking on. Given Hawks’ prominent association with this documentary, I was surprised he didn’t push to edit some of those comments out of the final product. I appreciated that Jones included them.

Ultimately, this feels to be an honest portrait of a complicated legend who became a pro athlete before he had his learner’s permit. It strives to connect viewers to the deep connection skaters have with their art, it clues you in on Tony Hawk’s countless contributions to the sport, and acknowledges that most guys in their 50s shouldn’t be on fast-moving, narrow objects.

You see Tony Hawk falling down a lot. But he also executes tricks that seem to scratch the surface of immortality. Unless you’ve skated a mile in his shoes, can you really pass judgment? One thing’s for sure – after seeing this documentary, I’ll be firing up my wife’s copy of Pro Skater.


Debuts Tuesday, April 5 on HBO and will be available

to stream on HBO Max

Director: Sam Jones

Executive Producers: Mel Eslyn, Jay Duplass, and Mark Duplass


ABOUT SAM JONES
Sam Jones is a director of documentary films and narrative television. He most recently directed an episode of “Ted Lasso” and a film in post-production: “Running With Our Eyes Closed, A Film about Jason Isbell,” which is being co-produced by the Duplass Brothers and Jones.

Jones is the creator and host of the documentary series “Off Camera with Sam Jones,” which had a 219 episode run on DirecTV’s Audience Network from 2013-2020. Jones is also an acclaimed commercial director and recently wrote and directed a series of commercials for OnePlus featuring Robert Downey Jr. He directed the Showtime series “Roadies,” created by Cameron Crowe, and also directed and produced the feature-length Showtime documentary “Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued,” a film that reexamines Bob Dylan’s “The Basement Tapes.” In 2002, Jones started his documentary career with “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart,” which chronicles beloved indie-rock band Wilco’s tumultuous recording of their acclaimed fourth album, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” Rolling Stone named “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” one of the best rock films of all time.

Jones began his career as a photographer and quickly gained acclaim for his seminal portraits of cultural icons. His work has appeared on the covers of Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Esquire, GQ, Time, and many others, and he has had several books published. Jones lives in Los Angeles with his daughters and still loves to skateboard.


 

HBO documentary series review: ‘The Lady and The Dale’ tells the unbelievably true story of a transgender entrepreneur.

The Lady and The Dale

This four-part documentary series from Emmy®-winning producers Mark and Jay Duplass (“Room 104”) traces the audacious story of Elizabeth Carmichael, a larger-than-life entrepreneur who took the world by storm with her promotion of a fuel-efficient, three-wheeled car known as The Dale in the middle of the 1970s oil crisis. Liz’s promotional zeal thrust her into fierce public and media scrutiny which uncovered a web of mystery and suspicion about the car’s technology and her own checkered past.

This HBO docu-series about a mad genius who happened to be a trans woman, The Lady and The Dale comes from Emmy-winning Mark and Jay Duplass and is co-directed by Nick Cammilleri and Zackery Drucker. Who is Elizabeth Dean Carmichael? Perhaps the first question should be, “Who is Jerry Dean Michael?” Smart, fearless, and loyal, Jerry might as well be the subject of Catch Me If You Can. Then everything changes as entrepreneur Liz arrives on the scene. She would be the one to rule. Using eye-catching 2D animation and archival footage to illustrate intimate sit-down interviews, it’s insanely engaging. The way this family was brought up sounds like it cannot be true but boy, is it entertaining. The FBI, the mob, the police, the media all wanted a piece of Jerry or Liz… or both. And this is only the first episode of this docu-series! To think this is merely a set-up for what is coming in Liz’s story is surreal. Last night, The Lady and The Dale debuted with back to back episodes. They are explosive and completely unreal. If you’re not completely hooked a few minutes into episode 1, I would be flabbergasted. The amount of information thrown at the audience is massive and completely intriguing. How do one woman and a three-wheeled car make history? Just you wait and see. This is a captivating story of a woman who wouldn’t take no for an answer. Elizabeth Carmichael would take on the auto industry and the world, for better or for worse. The final two episodes of The Lady and The Dale will air over the next two Sundays and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

HBO’s four-part Original docuseries review: ‘Murder on Middle Beach’ episode one airs tonight.

HBO Documentary Films’ MURDER ON MIDDLE BEACH, a four-part documentary series directed by first-time filmmaker Madison Hamburg, presents Hamburg’s complicated journey as a young man determined to solve an unspeakable crime and absolve the people he loves, while looking for answers within his fractured family and community.

 

On March 3, 2010, single mother Barbara Hamburg was found violently murdered near her home in the upper-middle-class enclave of Madison, Connecticut. Investigators speculated her murder appeared to be a crime of passion, but without enough evidence, the case grew cold.

Over the course of 8 years, Barbara’s son, Madison Hamburg, interviewed his family members and many others, longing to learn more about his mother and gathering evidence in hopes of solving her murder, sending him into a deep web of buried familial secrets, connections to shadowy criminal figures, and the uncovering of years-old resentments in his deceptively serene hometown. While Madison wrestles with troubling revelations about his mother, the most unsettling conflict comes from Madison’s obligation to bring into question those inside his community and members of his own family.

Madison Hamburg wants to know what happened to his mother in 2010. Growing up in an affluent Connecticut town myself, I found it shocking that I had not heard about this case. Who would want to kill a stay at home mother? What are the motives for such a brutal act? The theories seem straight forward until you’re steered down another road due to lack of evidence. The things that went wrong in this initial investigation will frustrate you to no end. You have to give Madison credit for having the courage and, for lack of a more eloquent way of putting it, balls for putting his entire childhood and now adulthood on the line to solve this mystery and deal with his trauma.

Creative editing places you inside the family dynamic of the Hamburgs. Not just Madison’s odd relationship with his estranged father, but his aunt’s and uncles, grandparents, and his sister Barbara, the 4th of that namesake on his mother’s side. Madison uses home videos and still photography to invite you into the years he had with his Mom. Some of the most unique moments come in the form of vintage voiceovers from what seems like those creepy 1950s classroom movies. It is eerily effective. Intimate sit-down interviews play the largest part as the mystery grows. There are constant hints of family secrets but we only get a tease in the final moments of episode one. You’re so invested in this story, it’s frightening. There is no doubt Madison Hamburg wants the truth. I know I’ll be watching the final 3 episodes on HBO to find out if he gets it. Murder on Middle Beach will air episode 1 tonight at 10:00-11:00pm ET/PT.

Stream on HBO Max: http://itsh.bo/hbo-max

MURDER ON MIDDLE BEACH debuts on November 15 on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

NYFF57 review: ’45 Seconds of Laughter’ Tim Robbins’ doc brings levity to the lives of those who need it most.

45 SECONDS OF LAUGHTER

  • Tim Robbins
  • 2019
  • USA
  • 95 minutes

North American Premiere

In his contemplative, pared-down, and wildly engaging documentary, Tim Robbins captures a series of extraordinary sessions in which a group of inmates at the Calipatria State maximum-security facility take part in acting exercises that enhance bonding and emotional connection.

Zip. Zap. Zop. This is one of the most familiar improv games for theater nerds all over the country. In the first 20 minutes of Tim Robbins‘ new doc we watch a group of maximum security prisoners experience their very first acting class with The Actor’s Gang Prison Project. Ordinarily divided by race and gang affliction out in the yard, these men from all different backgrounds allow themselves to be free. They allow happiness, vulnerability, doubt, fear, and reflection into their normally regimented day and existence. The human connections and breakthroughs made in an acting class can change the very way you think and process information. It is an outlet that is unique and to see the effect it has on this particular group of people is profound. As the classes progress, they are challenged to emote, not just feign happy or sad, but truly feel anguish, rage, glee. To see men who are oftentimes not allowed to express themselves because of toxic masculinity and their specific surrounding, finally, feel safe enough to do so is truly breathtaking. Robbins and his teaching team, which includes an ex-prisoner, give us a masterclass in this documentary. 45 Seconds of Laughter (which is also how they end each class) is more than a film, it is a brilliant human experience. You will see transformations right in front of your eyes. Destroying boundaries through art, building friendships through mask play, and repairing relationships with loved ones by taking a chance on something completely outside of their comfort zone is nothing short of extraordinary. 45 Seconds of Laughter is a joyous film. Bravo to all.

 

‘Long Gone By’ premiering at HBO’s New York Latino Film Festival

LONG GONE BY tells the tale of Ana Alvarez, a single mother from Nicaragua living in Warsaw, Indiana with her teenage daughter, Izzy. When a routine check in leads to a deportation order, life as Ana knows it ends. The timing could not be worse as Izzy has just been accepted to Indiana University, a dream that becomes a nightmare when she discovers that because of her immigration status she will not qualify for the needed scholarships or federal aid. Faced with an impossible reality of a lifetime away from her daughter, Ana decides to risk everything in a last chance effort to leave Izzy’s tuition paid before her time runs out. An intimately unnerving portrait of a woman willing to sacrifice everything to give her daughter the chance at a life she never had.

Said director, Andrew Morgan, “There is nothing in my life that comes close to relating to what we witness Ana and Izzy go through in this film. The prospect of facing a lifetime away from my children is a nightmare I have never had to imagine. For me that reality, as I listened to the stories of families being torn apart gave me the motivation to do something in my own way to shine a light on these issues and ideas.” Said lead Erica Muñoz, “I’ve seen people forced into impossible situations. Parents having to make unthinkable decisions in order to try to give their children a better life. Since we shot the film, the horrors are only amplified.” These issues are what drove the cast and crew to create LONG GONE BY, and the effect of the film is palpable.
The film was set and shot on location in Warsaw, Indiana. Morgan wanted to portray the classic small town America through the eyes of an outsider. He said “I absolutely loved working there, the entire community was so helpful and it gave the film a look and feel that I really love.”
“Andrew is focused, driven, kind, incredibly patient, and ridiculously talented.  Working with him was, without question, the most rewarding professional experience of my life,” said lead and Associate Producer, Erica Muñoz. “The rest of the team – in particular, Emily Morgan, his wife and producing partner, created an environment where everyone felt so supported in every conceivable way.”
The filmmakers responsible for LONG GONE BY are very excited to be premiering at the 16th year of HBO’s New York Latino Film Festival. Muñoz has been following the festival since its inception. She says “the spotlight on Latinx creatives has created opportunities for so many filmmakers like myself. It’s by passing the gate keepers and opening the door for unknown talent to be seen.”
LONG GONE BY premieres at HBO’s New York Latino Film Festival August 17, 2019 at 2pm at AMC Times SquareTickets can be purchased here.

8 movies from 2018 Tribeca Film Festival Available on Netflix, hulu, HBO or Showtime

Just 1 year later, there are so many movies that are now available to stream from last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. There’s something for everyone in here whether it be the young women who dreamed up Frankenstein or a desperate man stopping at nothing to save his child.

All About Nina (2018)
Nina Geld’s passion and talent have made her a rising star in the comedy scene, but she’s an emotional mess offstage. When a new professional opportunity coincides with a romantic one, she is forced to reckon with the intersection of her life and her art
[Streaming: Netflix] [Rent or Buy]


Cargo (2018)
In the aftermath of a global pandemic, Andy (Martin Freeman) is focused on keeping his wife and their infant daughter alive as they travel across the Australian Outback. A terrible accident, however, forces him to set off on foot: A zombie bite has given Andy a mere 48 hours before he, too, is undead. Andy struggles to both find a refuge for his child and stave off the disease as the clock runs out on his humanity. On his journey, Andy crosses paths with an indigenous youngster, Thoomi (Simone Landers), who brings him into her Aboriginal community and offers a much-needed bit of hope: Her people may have a cure for the sickness.

Filmmakers Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke defy genre fans’ zombie-based expectations with their co-directing debut. Cargo pulls no punches in its intensity, yet the duo’s thoughtful film offers a deep, emotional meditation on intimate issues, like a parent’s love, as well as larger themes, like environmental protection and cultural strife. Injecting fresh life into zombie cinema’s often cold bloodstream, Cargo is tailor-made for sophisticated horror fans.–Matt Barone

[Streaming: Netflix] Review by: Melissa Hanson


Duck Butter (2018)
When Naima (Alia Shawkat) and Sergio (Laia Costa) meet at a club, they hit it off instantly, connecting over their disdain for the dishonesty they have experienced in their respective romantic relationships. High on their fast chemistry, the two women concoct a romantic experiment: They plan to spend the next 24 hours together, having sex on the hour. Above all, they commit to perfect honesty with each other, a theoretical remedy to the deceit they believe to be an element of modern relationships. But their relationship in a vacuum doesn’t go as planned, and soon the weight of their commitment begins to close in, threatening the ideals of the daylong experiment and their chances for a romantic future tomorrow.

The latest film from Miguel Arteta, the director behind Beatriz at Dinner and The Good Girl, Duck Butter is a blistering look at intimacy in a pressure cooker. Co-written by Shawkat and executive produced by the Duplass Brothers, the film offers a searing interrogation of modern romance, with all its dizzying highs and heartbreaking betrayals, all packed into an intense 24 hours.—Cara Cusumano

[Streaming: Netflix] [Rent or Buy] TFF Award: Best Actress, Alia Shawkat


In a Relationship (2018)
Long-term couple Owen and Hallie are breaking up—or maybe not?—and just as their relationship reaches a turning point, Matt and Willa embark on a romance of their own. A funny and deeply felt chronicle of one summer in the lives of two couples in Los Angeles.
[Streaming: hulu, hoopla] [Rent or Buy]


Mapplethorpe (2018)
In the late 1960s, art-school dropout Robert Mapplethorpe moves into the Chelsea Hotel with dreams of stardom. He quickly becomes the enfant terrible of the photography world as the downtown counterculture of 1970s New York reaches its zenith.
[Streaming: HBO, kanopy] [Rent or Buy] TFF Award: Narrative Second Place


Mary Shelley (2018)
Raised by her kindly bookseller father and tormented by a villainous stepmother, young Mary Wollstonecraft (Elle Fanning) longs for a life bigger than her sheltered upbringing. As she embarks on a whirlwind romance with the charismatic but mercurial poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (Douglas Booth), Mary’s dreams of a sophisticated life among the intellectual elite seem to be within her grasp at last—but this fantasy quickly dissipates when she realizes the harsh reality of her new husband’s moody and dissolute ways. That is, until one stormy night, when a friendly challenge among a rained-in cadre of Romantic writers leads her to invent one of the most iconic horror stories of all time, before she’s even 20 years old.

Saudi female filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour (Wadjda) returns to Tribeca with this lush portrait of the author of one of Gothic literature’s most influential stories. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s enduring work, has remained a seminal story of creation and destruction, but al-Mansour’s film goes deeper, to depict the fraught tale of a teenage girl’s shattered romantic dreams that brought a monster to life. —Liza Domnitz

[Streaming: Showtime] [Rent or Buy]


O.G. (2018)
An inmate entering the final weeks of a twenty-plus-year sentence must navigate between old loyalties and a new protégé, while he also grapples with the looming uncertainty of his return to life outside bars.
[Streaming: HBO] TFF Award: Best Actor, Jeffrey Wright


The Party’s Just Beginning (2018)
Lucy is a sharp-witted, foul-mouthed, heavy-drinking twenty-something who is still reeling from a recent loss. This surreal coming-of-age tale is a love letter to Gillan’s hometown in the Scottish Highlands.

It’s dark, it’s tragic. It’s fantastic.
[Streaming: hulu] [Rent or Buy]


12 Tribeca Film Festival movies already picked up

HBO has already snagged two documentaries: The Apollo (Opening Night), about the legendary Harlem theater, and At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal, which is pretty much self-explanatory. Introducing younger audiences to the delightful Dr. Ruth Westheimer will be Ask Dr. Ruth acquired by hulu. At 90 years old, she’s still leaving her mark on the world. IFC Films will release Charlie Says from director, Mary Harron. I’m just glad they waited to make a movie until after his death. Same goes for the Ted Bundy story starring Zac Efron, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which Netflix picked up at Sundance.

After premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, Goldie looks to be a promising tale of the pursuit of happiness. The latest Halston documentary seems to be less talking heads than Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston, which played at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. Dan Krauss won best documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013 for The Kill Team and has now made a narrative of the same with Nat Wolff and Alexander Skarsgård from A24.

In the documentary, Leftover Women, the story surrounds the effects of the gender imbalance of the “one child” policy in China. A24’s second release is the summertime drama, Low Tide. The documentary acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, Maiden, tells of an all-female crew in 1989 who competed in a prestigious yacht race. And last but not least, is The Quiet One from Sundance Selects, telling the story of Bill Wyman a founding member of The Rolling Stones that walked away from it all to be his own legend.

  1. The Apollo (HBO)
  2. Ask Dr Ruth (hulu)
  3. At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (HBO)
  4. Charlie Says (IFC Films)
  5. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (Netflix)
  6. Goldie (Vice Media, Fox)
  7. Halston (The Orchard, CNN Films)
  8. The Kill Team (A24)
  9. Leftover Women (MetFilm Sales)
  10. Low Tide (A24)
  11. Maiden (Sony Pictures Classics)
  12. The Quiet One (Sundance Selects)

‘Miss Sherlock’ from HBO ASIA® streams for US subscribers today

MISS SHERLOCK pays homage to the classic by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes, with bold interpretations of the iconic characters, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. MISS SHERLOCK is set in modern day Tokyo and both lead characters are Japanese women – Dr. Wato Tachibana, a surgeon recently returned from a volunteer doctors’ mission in Syria and Sara Shelly Futaba, an investigation consultant to the police department who solves bizarre and difficult cases. Throughout the series, the pair solves mystery after mystery with Miss Sherlock’s extraordinary observation and reasoning skills.

The HBO Asia series MISS SHERLOCK will be available to HBO’s U.S. subscribers across all of the channel’s platforms, including HBO GO®, HBO NOW®, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming portals, starting SATURDAY, SEPT. 1. MISS SHERLOCK is the latest programming from HBO’s international partners to be made available to U.S. subscribers, joining critical hits such as HBO Europe’s “Wasteland” and “Aranyélet”; HBO Asia’s “Halfworlds” and “The Teenage Psychic”; and more.

ICYMI – New HBO drama series directed by Adam McKay, Tilda Swinton’s next movie & new Whitney doc

Really looking forward to the new HBO drama series, Succession, releasing 10 episodes June 3rd at 10 p.m. It’s directed by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell is among the numerous executive producers. PLUS check out this cast! Starring: Brian Cox (very anti-super trooper), Jeremy Strong (oh, that guy), Hiam Abbass (averages over 5 movies per year, she’s a pro), Sarah Snook (she is absolutely amazing in everything), Kieran Culkin (all of the Culkins are great, and Kieran has a smirk that works), Alan Ruck, Nicholas Braun, Matthew Macfadyen, Natalie Gold, Peter Friedman and Rob Yang star.

The Roy family — Logan Roy and his four children — controls one of the biggest media and entertainment conglomerates in the world. SUCCESSION tracks their lives as they contemplate what the future will hold for them once their aging father begins to step back from the company.

Succession was created by Jesse Armstrong, with the pilot written by Armstrong and directed by Adam McKay. Jesse Armstrong, Adam McKay, Frank Rich, Kevin Messick, Will Ferrell, Jane Tranter and Mark Mylod executive produce; Armstrong serves as showrunner.


Favorite movie website of the week is for SUSPIRIA.Not only is it an intriguing website, the URL utilizes the new .movie as seen here: suspiria.movie

Ok, so intriguing website, but here’s where it turns up a notch. Starring Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mia Goth and Jessica Harper. Directed By Luca Guadagnino

A young American ballerina comes to train at a prestigious German dance academy and uncovers the school’s dark and menacing secrets.


Another Whitney documentary is premiering at Cannes only 8 months after one at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Whitney. “can i be me” is now streaming on Showtime. I wonder which is better.

Westworld Season 2 Official Super Bowl Ad Debuts

                                                    A new chapter begins.

The Emmy®-winning drama series WESTWORLD returns for its ten-episode second season SUNDAY, APRIL 22 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Youcan now see the WESTWORLD spot that premiered during Super Bowl LII, marking HBO’s first Super Bowl ad in 20 years. The WESTWORLD Season 2 Official Super Bowl ad was directed by series co-creator Jonathan Nolan.

All ten episodes of the critically acclaimed first season of WESTWORLD are available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming platforms. The pilot episode is also available for nonsubscribers to watch for free on ‪HBO.com. In addition, fans and first-time viewers can catch up on  hbo.com/Westworld with episode guides, character profiles, exclusive behind-the-scenes videos and more.

Debuting on HBO in 2016 to become HBO’s most-watched freshman series ever, WESTWORLD is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin. The season one cast included Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Tessa Thompson, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Jimmi Simpson, Rodrigo Santoro, Shannon Woodward, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Ben Barnes, Simon Quarterman, Angela Sarafyan, Luke Hemsworth, Clifton Collins, Jr., Talulah Riley and Louis Herthum. Joining the season two cast are series regulars Katja Herbers, Gustaf Skarsgård and Fares Fares.

Season two credits: Created for television by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, who are executive producers with J.J. Abrams, Athena Wickham, Roberto Patino, Richard Lewis and Ben Stephenson. Production companies, Kilter Films and Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television; based on the film written by Michael Crichton.

This year’s Oscar-Nominated movies on HBO

Get Out

A black photographer’s weekend meeting his white girlfriend’s parents takes a terrifying turn in this horror hit from Jordan Peele.

  1. Performance by an actor in a leading role: Daniel Kaluuyain
  2. Achievement in directing: Jordan Peele
  3. Best motion picture of the year: Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr. and Jordan Peele, Producers
  4. Original screenplay: Written by Jordan Peele

Kong: Skull Island

An expedition to a mythical island finds the place crawling with prehistoric dangers, led by the giant ape himself, King Kong.

  • Achievement in visual effects: Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus

Logan

A broken-down Logan (Hugh Jackman) comes to the aid of a young mutant girl who is just like him in this 3rd ‘Wolverine’ film.

  • Adapted screenplay: Screenplay by Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green; Story by James Mangold

HBO announced a bunch of stuff – Find out when ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ finally returns

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm – New Season October 1st
  • Jon Stewart to headline 2 comedy specials
  • Drama series The Deuce, starring James Franco (x 2) and Maggie Gyllenhaal, debuts Sept. 10
  • Documentary lineup for second half of 2017

 


Curb Your Enthusiasm – New Season October 1st

The Emmy®– and Golden Globe-winning comedy series CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, starring Larry David, returns for its ten-episode ninth season SUNDAY, OCT. 1 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), on HBO. The show stars “Seinfeld” co-creator David as an over-the-top version of himself in an unsparing but tongue-in-cheek depiction of his life.

The new season brings back cast favorites Cheryl Hines as Cheryl, Jeff Garlin as Jeff, Susie Essman as Susie and J.B. Smoove as Leon, as well as series veterans Richard Lewis, Bob Einstein, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen.

Also appearing on CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM this season are Elizabeth Banks, Ed Begley, Jr., Carrie Brownstein, Bryan Cranston, Lauren Graham, Jimmy Kimmel, Nick Offerman, Nasim Pedrad and Elizabeth Perkins.

Season nine directors include Jeff Schaffer, Larry Charles, Robert B. Weide, Jessie Nelson and Bryan Gordon.

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM was created by Larry David; executive produced by Larry David, Jeff Garlin and Jeff Schaffer.


Jon Stewart to headline 2 comedy specials

Jon Stewart is set to headline two HBO comedy specials, it was announced today by Casey Bloys, president, HBO Programming. He will return to HBO for his first stand-up special since the 1996 HBO presentation “Jon Stewart: Unleavened,” with the date and location to be announced as they are confirmed.

Additionally, this fall Stewart will host the latest “Night of Too Many Stars” all-star benefit for NEXT For AUTISM, to be presented live from The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday, Nov. 18. The special will feature stand-up performances, sketches and short films. The comedy event was created by comedy writer and performer Robert Smigel to support autism schools, programs and services. NEXT for AUTISM (formerly New York Collaborates for Autism) is a non-profit organization that strategically designs, launches and supports innovative programs to improve the lives of people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“We’re excited to bring Jon to the network with this pair of specials,” said Bloys. “We’ve all missed his uniquely thoughtful brand of humor.”

“I’m really thrilled to be able to return to stand-up on HBO,” adds Stewart. ”They’ve always set the standard for great stand-up specials. Plus, I can finally use up the last of the Saddam Hussein jokes left over from my first special.”

Jon Stewart became the host of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” in 1999, stepping down from the show in 2015. The series received 23 Primetime Emmys® and two Peabody Awards. Stewart hosted the Academy Awards® twice, in 2006 and 2008, and wrote the New York Times bestselling books “Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race” and “America (The Book): A Guide to Democracy Inaction,” which was on the New York Times bestseller list for 18 consecutive weeks. He also wrote and directed the 2014 feature film “Rosewater.”

In addition to “Jon Stewart: Unleavened,” his first HBO stand-up special, his previous HBO credits include hosting the special “George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy,” “Mr. Show with Bob and David” and a recurring role on “The Larry Sanders Show.”


Drama series The Deuce, starring James Franco (x 2) and Maggie Gyllenhaal, debuts Sept. 10

THE DEUCE chronicles that moment in time when sex went from being a back-alley, brown-paper-bag commodity to a billion-dollar universal in American life, a moment when ground zero for the earliest pioneers in the flesh trade was the midtown heart of the nation’s largest city, New York’s Times Square.

Titled after the local slang for New York’s fabled 42nd Street and starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, THE DEUCE begins its eight-episode season SUNDAY, SEPT. 10 (9:00-10:20 p.m. ET/PT), followed by other episodes subsequent Sundays at the same time. The show was created by George Pelecanos and David Simon; George Pelecanos, David Simon, Nina K. Noble and James Franco executive produce.

THE DEUCE follows the rise of the porn culture in New York from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s, exploring the rough-and-tumble world of the sex trade from the moment when both a liberalizing cultural revolution in American sexuality and new legal definitions of obscenity created a billion-dollar industry that is now an elemental component of the American cultural landscape, with sites where you can see naked girls online all the time. Beginning in 1971, the show follows a cast of barkeeps, prostitutes, pimps, police and nightlife denizens as they swirl through a world of sex, crime, high times and violence and the porn business begins its climb from Mafia-backed massage parlors and film labs to legitimacy and cultural permanence.


Documentary lineup for second half of 2017

Upcoming HBO documentaries include (in chronological order):

BRILLO BOX  (3¢ OFF) (Aug. 7) blends a humorous family narrative with Pop Art history, following an iconic Andy Warhol work as it makes its way from a New York family’s living room to the contemporary global art market. Exploring the ephemeral nature of art and value and the decisions that shape a family’s history, the film debuts the week of Warhol’s 89th birthday. An official selection of the 54th New York Film Festival.  Directed by Lisanne Skyler.

CLINICA DE MIGRANTES (Sept. 25) is an affecting portrait of a volunteer-run health clinic that treats uninsured, undocumented immigrants, many of whom have left their families behind to come to America and perform physically exhausting labor for meager wages. With extraordinary access and moving vérité footage, it highlights these admirable doctors and the patients who have nowhere else to turn for health care. Directed by Max Pozdorovkin (HBO’s “Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer”).

SPIELBERG (Oct. 7) pulls back the curtain on the remarkable career of Steven Spielberg, one of the most famous filmmakers in the world.  Producer-director Susan Lacy conducted nearly 30 hours of interviews with the director for the documentary, as well as interviewing members of Spielberg’s family, close friends and A-list colleagues. The result is a remarkably intimate portrait, combining personal narrative with an in-depth exploration of Spielberg’s creative process and craftsmanship. Directed by Susan Lacy.

ROLLING STONE DOCUMENTARY (untitled) (Nov.) chronicles the last 50 years of American music, politics and popular culture through the story of the magazine that understood rock‘n’roll was more than music – it was a cultural force that re-shaped America. Drawing on previously unheard recordings provided by some of Rolling Stone’s greatest writers, as well as original interviews, rare photos and footage, this two-part special is an inside look at how the magazine helped define the zeitgeist and has endured for a half-century. Directed by Alex Gibney and Blair Foster.

BALTIMORE RISING (Nov.) goes deep behind the scenes of a city on edge in the wake of the 2015 death of Freddie Gray in police custody, which sparked protests and destructive riots. Director Sonja Sohn, one of the stars of the HBO series “The Wire,” follows local activists, police officers, community leaders and gang affiliates, many of whom had previously only seen each other as adversaries, as they fight for change and struggle to hold Baltimore together. Directed by Sonja Sohn.

HAPPENING: A CLEAN ENERGY REVOLUTION (Dec.) follows filmmaker Jamie Redford on a colorful journey to discover the leading edge of clean energy across the U.S. Unlikely entrepreneurs in communities from Georgetown, Tex. to Buffalo, NY reveal pioneering clean energy solutions that are creating jobs, turning profits and making communities stronger and healthier. Reaching beyond a story of technology and innovation, his discoveries underscore issues of human resilience, social justice, embracing the future and finding hope for humanity’s survival. Directed by Jamie Redford.

HBO News: New drama series ‘Confederate’ from creators/showrunners of ‘Game of Thrones’ announced

Series Will Be Executive Produced And Written By David Benioff And D.B. Weiss; Nichelle Tramble Spellman, Malcolm Spellman, Carolyn Strauss And Bernadette Caulfield Will Also Executive Produce

“Game of Thrones” creators/showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will return to HBO with their new original series CONFEDERATE, it was announced today by Casey Bloys, president, HBO Programming. For more updated news, check out this blog post about Jimmy John Shark.

CONFEDERATE chronicles the events leading to the Third American Civil War. The series takes place in an alternate timeline, where the southern states have successfully seceded from the Union, giving rise to a nation in which slavery remains legal and has evolved into a modern institution. The story follows a broad swath of characters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Demilitarized Zone — freedom fighters, slave hunters, politicians, abolitionists, journalists, the executives of a slave-holding conglomerate and the families of people in their thrall.

“As the brilliant ‘Game of Thrones’ winds down to its final season, we are thrilled to be able to continue our relationship with Dan and David, knowing that any subject they take on will result in a unique and ambitious series,” said Bloys. “Their intelligent, wry and visually stunning approach to storytelling has a way of engaging an audience and taking them on an unforgettable journey. CONFEDERATE promises to be no exception, and we are honored to be adding the talented team of Nichelle and Malcolm Spellman to the mix.”

“We have discussed CONFEDERATE for years, originally as a concept for a feature film,” add Benioff and Weiss. “But our experience on ‘Thrones’ has convinced us that no one provides a bigger, better storytelling canvas than HBO. There won’t be dragons or White Walkers in this series, but we are creating a world, and we couldn’t imagine better partners in world-building than Nichelle and Malcolm, who have impressed us for a long time with their wit, their imagination and their Scrabble-playing skills.”

CONFEDERATE will be written and created by Benioff and Weiss, who will also serve as showrunners on the series. Partnering with them as executive producers and writers on the series will be Nichelle Tramble Spellman (“Justified,” “The Good Wife”) and Malcolm Spellman (“Empire,” the forthcoming “Foxy Brown). Carolyn Strauss (“Game of Thrones”) and Bernadette Caulfield (“Game of Thrones,” “Big Love”) will also join as executive producers.

Production will begin following the final season of “Game of Thrones.”

HBO has acquired U.S. TV rights to the feature documentary ‘MAY IT LAST: A PORTRAIT OF THE AVETT BROTHERS’

HBO has acquired U.S. TV rights to the feature documentary MAY IT LAST: A PORTRAIT OF THE AVETT BROTHERS, co-directed and produced by Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio, ahead of its March 15 world premiere in the 24 Beats Per Second section of the 2017 South by Southwest Film Festival. MAY IT LAST is an Apatow Production (HBO’s “Crashing” and “Girls”) in association with RadicalMedia (“Hamilton’s America,” “What Happened, Miss Simone?”) and marks Apatow and Bonfiglio’s second collaboration, following last year’s acclaimed “Doc & Darryl.”

Filmed with extraordinary access over the course of more than two years, the film chronicles the band, fronted by brothers Scott and Seth Avett, on the long journey from their rural North Carolina childhoods to topping the charts and selling out arenas, experiencing heartbreak, tragedy and joy along the way. The film also provides an inside look at their collaboration with legendary producer Rick Rubin while recording the 2017 Grammy-nominated album “True Sadness,” which was released on American Recordings/Republic Records.

With the recording process as the backdrop, MAY IT LAST intimately depicts the deeply personal, lifelong bond between brothers, and shows how that dynamic helps shape their creative process as musicians and songwriters.

“This film has been a true labor of love for us for more than three years now, and we could not be happier that HBO – with their incredible lineage of documentary programming – believes in it as much as we do,” say Apatow and Bonfiglio.

“The accuracy with which Apatow and Bonfiglio present this moment in our lives and process is stunning,” says Seth Avett. “From the vantage point of my brother and I, the film is almost surreal in its level of personal truth-telling.”

Featuring a wealth of exclusive footage of the Avetts in the studio and at home, never-before-seen family photographs, concert footage and revealing interviews with band members Scott (banjo, lead vocals) and Seth (guitar, lead vocals) Avett, Bob Crawford (bass), Joe Kwon (cello), Tania Elizabeth (fiddle), Paul DeFiglia (keyboards) and Mike Marsh (drums), as well as producer Rick Rubin and intimate family and friends, the film takes an in-depth look at the personal and creative relationship between the brothers that helps define America’s biggest roots band.

Apatow and Bonfiglio previously co-directed the ESPN documentary “Doc & Darryl” as part of the network’s “30 for 30” series, which was Apatow’s first foray into the documentary world.

MAY IT LAST: A PORTRAIT OF THE AVETT BROTHERS is an Apatow Production in association with RadicalMedia; directed and produced by Judd Apatow, Michael Bonfiglio; executive producers, Jon Kamen, Dave O’Connor, Justin Wilkes; cinematographer, Jonathan Furmanski; editor, Paul Little.

Game of Thrones Season 7 Premiere Date Announced

HBO has confirmed that GAME OF THRONES will return for its seven-episode seventh season SUNDAY, JULY 16 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT).

Based on the popular book series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” by George R.R. Martin, this hit Emmy®-winning fantasy series chronicles an epic struggle for power in a vast and violent kingdom. Members of the ensemble cast for the sixth season included Emmy® and Golden Globe winner Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Aidan Gillen, Kit Harington, Diana Rigg, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams and Jonathan Pryce. Season six credits: executive producers, David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Carolyn Strauss, Frank Doelger, Bernadette Caulfield; co-executive producers, Guymon Casady, Vince Gerardis, George R.R. Martin.

HBO Renews Westworld, Divorce and Insecure

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HBO has renewed WESTWORLD, DIVORCE and INSECURE for second seasons, it was announced today by Casey Bloys, president, HBO Programming.

            “I am thrilled to announce the pickup of our three fall series, all of which have distinctive, original voices,” said Bloys. “Critics and viewers alike have welcomed WESTWORLD and INSECURE, as well as the return of Sarah Jessica Parker to the network after 12 years with DIVORCE.”

Season-to-date, WESTWORLD is averaging a gross audience of 11.7 million viewers, outperforming “Game of Thrones” and “True Detective” during similar times in their first seasons. DIVORCE and INSECURE are averaging 4.4 million and 3.2 million viewers, respectively, on par with other HBO half-hours like “VEEP” and “Girls.” Divorce has become a common trend for all couples who hates their present life and needs a change for a happy future. Some lawyers offer help with handling a divorce before they file it and face it in court. They try their best to sort issues out by talking to them both personally and together. After they refuse a change of heart and are firm in divorce, they will ensure that their need is satisfied. For the best divorce attorneys, people can get in touch with divorce in Newport Beach

Set at the intersection of the near future and the re-imagined past, the drama series WESTWORLD is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin, exploring a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged.

WESTWORLD kicked off its ten-episode first season Oct. 2 on HBO, debuting hour-long episodes Sundays at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT). Created for television by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy, both of whom executive produce and write, with Nolan directing, the series is based on the 1973 film “Westworld,” written by Michael Crichton.

The cast for the first season of WESTWORLD includes Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Jimmi Simpson, Rodrigo Santoro, Shannon Woodward, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Ben Barnes, Simon Quarterman, Angela Sarafyan, Luke Hemsworth and Clifton Collins, Jr.

Vanity Fair called the show “a rare kind of truly transporting television,” while People hailed it as “ingenious.” TIME said WESTWORLD is “Fall’s most promising drama,” and USA Today praised the “compelling stellar performances.”

Season one credits: WESTWORLD was created for television by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy, based on the film written by Michael Crichton. Production companies, Kilter Films, Bad Robot Productions and Jerry Weintraub Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, J.J. Abrams, Jerry Weintraub, Bryan Burk.

The comedy series DIVORCE follows Frances, who has suddenly begun to reassess her life and her strained relationship with her husband after more than a decade of marriage and two children. But she soon discovers that making a clean break and a fresh start is harder than she thought. Serving as an executive producer, Sarah Jessica Parker stars as Frances in the series, which is created by Sharon Horgan. Thomas Haden Church stars as Frances’ husband, who is struggling to cope with their marriage falling apart. The Yaffa Family Law Group divorce attorneys are known to deal with such cases.

DIVORCE kicked off its ten-episode first season Oct. 9 on HBO, debuting half-hour episodes Sundays at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT).

Newsweek said the show is “funny, heartening and chockful of strong performances,” while the Washington Post noted, “Sarah Jessica Parker is terrifically on point.”

Season one credits: DIVORCE was created by Sharon Horgan, with Paul Simms serving as a showrunner; executive produced by Paul Simms, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sharon Horgan, Alison Benson and Aaron Kaplan.

Created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, the comedy series INSECURE explores the contemporary black female experience in an unclichéd and authentic way. Rae and Yvonne Orji stars as best friends who must deal with their own real-life flaws as they attempt to navigate different worlds and cope with an endless series of uncomfortable everyday experiences. The family law attorneys practicing in the Tri-Cities area is whom you can get in touch with to get legal aid regarding family matters.

INSECURE launched its eight-episode first season Oct. 9 on HBO, debuting half-hour episodes Sundays at 10:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

USA Today praised the show as “bright, cutting, funny,” and Entertainment Weekly called it “smart, funny and unfailingly real.”

Season one credits: INSECURE was created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore; executive produced by Issa Rae, Prentice Penny, Melina Matsoukas, Michael Rotenberg, Dave Becky and Jonathan Berry. Larry Wilmore serves as a consultant.

 

Review: Unveiling an international empire in the astounding documentary “Tickled”

TICKLED

Catfish meets Compliance in David Farrier and Dylan Reeve’s jaw-dropping documentary Tickled. David Farrier is a New Zealand journalist who stumbled upon what seemed like just an unusual sport of men’s competitive tickling but instead triggered an incredibly, threatening backlash as he decided to dig deeper for more information on this funny entertainment piece.

After Farrier discovered the world of men’s competitive endurance tickling he felt compelled to interview Jane O’Brien Media who hosted the tickling videos. After reaching out, Farrier and Reeve started receiving defensive responses from the company stating that the videos are of an “exclusively heterosexual athletic endurance activity”. Amazed by some of the responses Farrier felt even more compelled to dig deeper into his research. After the two journalists began receiving legal threats, they knew there was so much more to this story; together they unveiled an empire.

I highly recommend this documentary. Not only is this an oddly enticing film, but on top of it all, it has amazing cinematography. It is just incredible how far these two journalists went to understand the world of Jane O’Brian’s competitive tickling only to discover so much more. It is one of the best films that I have seen all year, and for those of you who get reeled in by the trailer, I am certain that you will enjoy it as well. Check out Tickled on VOD, iTunes and Amazon Video on November 1st, 2016. 

4.5 / 5 Stars 

Game of Thrones Season 6 Episodes 9 & Season Finale Titles Have Been Released!

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HBO has released the titles for the ninth and tenth episodes of Game of Thrones Season 6 and we have it for you!

Episode 9 is entitled “Battle of the Bastards” and it debuts on Sunday June 19th (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT). The episode is written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss and directed by Miguel Sapochnik.

Episode 10, the season finale, is entitled “The Winds of Winter” and it debuts on Sunday June 26th (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT). The episode is written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss and directed by Miguel Sapochnik.

 

Game of Thrones Season 6 Episodes 6 & 7 Titles and Synopses Released!

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HBO has released the titles and synopses for the sixth and seventh episodes of Game of Thrones Season 6 and we have it for you!

Episode 6 is entitled “Blood of My Blood” and it debuts on Sunday May 29th (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT)

An old foe comes back into the picture. Gilly (Hannah Murray) meets Sam’s (John Bradley) family. Arya (Maisie Williams) faces a difficult choice. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) faces off against the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce).

The episode is written by Bryan Cogman; directed by Jack Bender.

Episode 7 is entitled “The Broken Man” and it debuts on Sunday June 5th (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT)

The High Sparrow eyes another target. Jaime confronts a hero. Arya makes a plan. The North is reminded.

The episode is written by Bryan Cogman; directed by Mark Mylod.

The executive producers of Game of Thrones are David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Carolyn Strauss, Frank Doelger and Bernadette Caulfield; co-executive producers, Guymon Casady, Vince Gerardis and George R.R. Martin; supervising producer, Bryan Cogman; producers, Chris Newman, Greg Spence and Lisa McAtackney.