Relative newcomer Michael Lannan and acclaimed director Andrew Haigh ("Weekend") have created a remarkable new series with "Looking" that just wrapped up its first season Sunday night. Already picked up by HBO for another season, the show centers on Patrick (Jonathan Groff), a somewhat naive video game developer in San Francisco on the cusp of turning 30 and finally coming into his own. He's surrounded by two friends who have some issues of their own; Dom (Murray Bartlett) and Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez).
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Jonathan Groff is an amazingly nice guy. No, really. It's not just an act. There are many actors who would blow off an interview after a scheduling mishap, but not Groff. Either he was raised by saints or he really believes in his new HBO series "Looking."
Or, maybe it's a combination of both.
A week ago the 86th Academy Awards wrapped up what was one of the closest Best Picture races in history. An awards season full of unexpected distractions, pretenders and results came to an end. Many in Hollywood could finally take a deep breath and exhale.
Earlier tonight, "True Detective" concluded its first season — and, with it, the stories of Rust Cohle and Marty Hart. I reviewed the finale here, and as a bookend to a conversation we had before the season started, I spoke with the show's creator, Nic Pizzolatto, about the finale and the season as a whole (along with a vague but intriguing hint about season 2, which hasn't been officially ordered yet, but only because I suspect HBO is waiting until they've signed the actors they want before announcing). That's coming up just as soon as I strike you as more of a talker than a doer...
The list of top per-screen averages tends to be dominated by Disney fare, everything from "The Lion King" to "Frozen" putting up staggering numbers. But sometimes something on the art house circuit can put up a whopper of a number, such as "Red State" or "The Master." Late last year, "American Hustle" surged in this frame, and just a few years ago, Wes Anderson proved his fan base was hungry for "Moonrise Kingdom" on just four screens, averaging over $130,000 per screen.
Well, this weekend Anderson broke his own record and entered the top 10 of limited releases as "The Grand Budapest Hotel" averaged over $200,000 on four screens for an opening weekend tally of $800,000.
Denis Villeneuve's "Enemy" won the most hardware at this year's Canadian Screen Awards, as the freaky psychological thriller (which Villeneuve shot back-to-back with his Hollywood debut "Prisoners") took home five awards, including Best Director, Supporting Actress and Cinematography. But it lost the top prize to something a little more warm and fuzzy. The tender, sentimental "Gabrielle" -- a love story between two special-needs choir singers -- took Best Film, as well as Best Actress for developmentally disabled lead Gabrielle Marion-Rivard. (The film was Canada's savvy submission for the foreign-language Oscar last year, but didn't make the shortlist.)
A review of tonight's "True Detective" season finale coming up just as soon as I ask you what "scented meat" is...
Just so that we know "Lindsay" (Sundays at 9:00 p.m. on OWN) is not a trashy reality show, somber black-and-white text greets us to set the stage. On July 30, 2013, Lindsay Lohan ended her 90-day stint in rehab. Four days later, she began filming this show. About two minutes after that, she started a deeply sublimated quest to make her handlers, sycophants and slave labor intensely crazy by stirring up drama in the most mundane tasks you can imagine. I half expected to see Lindsay arguing with the coin slots at the laundromat, but we can all assume Linsday does not do her own laundry.
You've got to have some sympathy for the minds behind HBO's "Looking." It's not easy to create three-dimensional characters with less than 30 minutes of story over eight episodes. Especially, when you have - in theory - three "main" characters whose stories you are trying to tell. Patrick, the centerpiece of the show, has been expertly crafted by co-creators Michael Lannan and Andrew Haigh as well as star Jonathan Groff. As we reach the conclusion of the first season, his BFF's Dom and Agustin finally beginning to feel almost as real.
Wes Anderson is on fire lately, what with "Moonrise Kingdom" (for my money his best film to date) finding welcome waters in the 2012-2013 film awards season and with "The Grand Budapest Hotel" lighting up critics upon its Berlinale arrival. Our own Greg Ellwood pondered whether it might just be the first serious awards season player of this year, while Guy Lodge found it to be "dizzy but unexpectedly touching" (and had high marks to offer star Ralph Fiennes besides). The film opened in limited release this weekend, so many of you will have had a chance to see it. If so, tell us what you thought in the comments section below and feel free to vote in our poll.
I suppose that certain factors on "The Amazing Race" are out of the control of the producers.
If your teams are in China and you're determined to get them to Malaysian Borneo, if there are only two evening flights, there are only two evening flights. And if there's a three-hour gap between the arrival of the two flights, then there's a three-hour gap between the arrival of the two flights. And if there are only six tickets available on the first flight or perhaps only three tickets available on the second, then that's just what it is.
But if you then design a Leg in which the Roadblock is a straight-forward one-at-a-time task and the Detour includes at least one option that requires basically no effort at all, you've constructed a Leg in which six teams have almost limitless margins-for-error and the other three teams have no margin-for-error at all and could be eliminated based on one silly -- albeit pretty big and, apparently, pretty predictable -- error.
It took a lot of the drama out of a Leg with lots of really good elements, including the pleasure of watching several unappealing teams nearly drown (but the guiltless relief of knowing that if anybody had actually died, we wouldn't be seeing the season).
I'm probably gonna keep this recap brief, because I want to go watch the "True Detective" finale. Click through...