Hoffman

A Few Words on “Death of a Salesman”

Last weekend, I was in New York to see the Broadway revival of “Death of a Salesman,” directed by Mike Nichols (“The Graduate,” “Catch-22”) and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willie Loman. I was blown away by his performance, became even more enamored of another actor in the show, and walked out of the theater…

VeepBaseball

“Veep” – Season 1, Episode 6: “Baseball”

Because Tony Hale spends much of “Baseball,’ the sixth episode of HBO’s “Veep,” awkwardly trying to impress his macho father and because there was a reference to “afternoon delight,” it was hard not to think of “Arrested Development.” Since AD is basically the funniest sitcom of all time, any show that finds itself compared to…

Will Smith

Third Cut is the Deepest for “Men in Black”

“Where has Will Smith been?” Despite a four-year absence from film that has ended with the recent release of “Men in Black III,” it’s a question no one has been asking. Smith is clearly a movie star; the box-office numbers prove it. Everyone likes him. People go see his movies. But he inspires no rabid…

Dark Knight

6 Movies That Will Impact Obama’s Re-Election

People are naturally more interested in politics during a presidential election year. Frankly, the subject is hard to avoid. Come fall, the evening news will lead with the campaign every night. “Saturday Night Live” will all of a sudden be considered relevant again. Lastly, movie studios will take advantage by releasing movies with political themes…

THe Dictator

Who is “The Dictator”?

Sacha Baron Cohen is a childish filmmaker, and I mean that in the most non-judgmental sense. His humor in movies like “Borat” and “Bruno” pushes the viewer far out of his comfort zone, almost as if he is trying to see how far he can go before he gets in trouble. The stories from the…

Timothy Simons as "Jonah"

“Veep” – Season 1, Episode 5: “Nicknames”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is always at her funniest when she’s pissed off. She can do a lot as an actress (she specializes in desperation), but her anger has a wonderfully madcap, absurd quality to it. In this regard, she has always been held back by the limits of network television. Here on HBO, she can let…

Spike Lee Do the Right Thing

How Obama Killed Spike Lee’s Career

Director Spike Lee has not released a film during the Obama presidency. This was the man who helmed groundbreaking, commercially successful films on race like “Jungle Fever,” “Malcolm X,” and “Do the Right Thing.” When he arrived on the scene with 1986’s “She’s Gotta Have It,” he was hailed as a brave new voice in…

Veep-4

“Veep” – Season 1, Episode 4: “Chung”

This was the week that I really started to like Selina Meyer. The fourth episode of “Veep” miraculously accomplished two things that are hugely important to creating a successful television narrative: it humanized its protagonist and raised the stakes. Last week, I wrote that “Veep” was going down a dangerous road by making Selina too…