THE GILDED AGE Season 2 – Review by Susan Granger

The second season of Julian Fellowes’ genteel, rococo soap-opera known as The Gilded Age finds ambitious 19th century NYC aristocrats dressed in bustles and top hats. Ambition meets its match as traditional customs collide with innovative schemes, proving that when the old rules don’t bend, something has to break, And since much of the filming took place in and around New York and Rhode Island, more than 60 of Broadway’s brightest musical stars comprise the cast, giving it a frivolous upstairs/downstairs aura – like ‘Downton Abbey Lite.’

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WE OWN THIS CITY – Review by Diane Carson

Fans of The Wire know the hard-hitting, confrontational social critiques delivered by its creators, George Pelecanos and David Simon. They’ve lost none of their gritty, scathing indictment of dysfunctional communities as proved by the six episode series, We Own This City. Based on real events, to our shocking dismay, sequences immerse us in Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force.

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TOKYO VICE – Review by Diane Carson

Tokyo Vice follows a journalist probing Japan’s yakuza. A bonus of watching a series based on real events set in a foreign country is the immersion in that culture, the opportunity to learn customs while being entertained. This holds true for the HBO series Tokyo Vice based on American Jake Adelstein’s 2009 memoir of his journalistic days on the crime beat at the fictional, daily Meicho Shimbun newspaper.

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NOT SO PRETTY – Review by Martha K Baker

Award winning documentarians Dick Kirby and Amy Ziering instill trust in this educational series Remember that feeling of horror and betrayal while witnessing chief executive officers of major tobacco corporations declare, man for man, that cigarettes are not harmful? Similar scenes are played over and over in Not So Pretty, a series of four half-hour investigative documentaries that tear apart the beauty industry. Not So Pretty moves swiftly and carries a bruising punch.

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DUNE – Review by Diane Carson

We’ve waited a long time for director Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, and, yes, it has been worth the wait in terms of its overpowering visuals and sound design. The technical elements do all but smother the ecological, sociopolitical critique, but it’s there in battles for the rare commodity spice, imperialist incursions affecting the native Fremin culture, and the imperial family skirmishes.

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DUNE – Review by Susan Granger

Since its publication in 1965, Frank Herbert’s epic tale has become one of the most popular sci-fi novels of all time. No wonder that filmmakers have grappled with interpreting its vast, complex story. French Canadian writer/director Denis Villenueve begins his $165 million extravaganza with “Part I.”

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NO SUDDEN MOVE – Review by Susan Granger

Steven Soderbergh’s created a stupefying ‘noir’ trip back to 1954 in Detroit, where ex-con Curt Goynes is eager to pocket $5,000 to re-claim land that was taken from him. When he visits his buddy’s barber shop, he’s sent to the back alley where he’s hired to hold the Wertz family hostage while the husband/father, an accountant at General Motors, is forced to steal engineering specs.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: DuVernay to Produce, Narrate ONE PERFECT SHOT Docuseries – Brandy McDonnell reports

HBO Max has greenlit a new docuseries celebrating iconic movie moments guided by Hollywood’s most exhilarating cinematic voices. One Perfect Shot, a half-hour unscripted series, will be executive produced and narrated by Oscar nominee and Emmy Award winner Ava DuVernay and produced by Warner Horizon Unscripted Television with DuVernay’s production company, ARRAY Filmworks.

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Monique Marvez on THE ART OF COMEDY and Women in Comedy – April Neale interviews

Monique Marvez is author, podcaster, radio host and rescuer of pound puppies headed for the big goodbye. She’s a comic’s comic, a populist player, a fiercely intelligent and funny woman who’s served as San Diego’s top voice on Jack FM’s Monique and the Man, Next up: HBO Max’s HA Comedy Festival: The Art of Comedy.

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