The HBO documentary A Revolution on Canvas is an intriguing mix of biography, history, psychology, and mystery. Filmmakers Sara Nodjoumi and her husband, Till Schauder, follow the overarching thread of her father’s missing paintings—works that so angered the political regime in Iran circa 1980 that they labeled him a traitor, forcing him to flee the country. Yet the film also dissects his artistic drive and fiery spirit, and the toll these took on his marriage and, it’s implied, her childhood as well.Read more
In You Were My First Boyfriend, filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo returns to her adolescence in Winter Park, Florida to recreate sections of the experiences that she felt defined her as an adult. The opening of the painfully intimate docu-fiction is a hazy recreation of a school dance with Cecilia as an adult dressed as her teen self interacting with young actors playing her contemporaries in the mid-nineties. It feels like a horror film come to life, because for so many going back to that vulnerable period is something we only do in nightmares, especially if for some reason we were outsiders at school. Cecilia, a Puerto Rican woman was not the ideal thin white girl. She wanted a boyfriend, popularity, a feeling of belonging, but could never quite achieve it. Cecelia talks about immersive docu-fiction and other works that inspired You Were My First Boyfriend.Read more
You Were My First Boyfriend might appear to be Cecilia Aldarondo’s personal catharsis, but it is much more. The experiences she describes exist beyond her milieu and are timeless. Few teens are cheerleaders and athletes in the in-crowd. You Were My First Boyfriend will resonate with people of all ages, anyone who felt that they were broken in adolescence and cannot parse why. You Were My First Boyfriend is a painful and beautiful journey where Cecilia Aldarondo lays her soul bare for all to see. We want to hold the hand of the young woman she was and the wonderfully brave woman she is.Read more
HBO’s much heralded, salacious The Idol came and went so quickly that many missed this supposed big-budget backlash in the #MeToo era. The cringe-worthy, now-cancelled six-part series revolves around Jocelyn, a masochistic pop-star played by Lily-Rose Depp. Even with its obvious allusions to self-destructive Britney Spears, the plot is too plain, the narrative disjointed and the dialogue dreadful. It’s unclear why Jocelyn would be so obsessively attracted to creepy Tedros or why the rest of the cast would be seduced into his abusive cult. He exudes zero charisma.Read more
Chronicling the beloved actresses life, loves and legacy, Being Mary Tyler Moore takes us from her introduction to television audiences as the pixie, Happy Hotpoint through her groundbreaking characters that gave women around the world spunk as well. Moore burst onto the scene when women were still depicted as homemakers on the tube. To paraphrase Gloria Steinem, if aliens watched American television they’d think women were servants, sex crazed and man junkies. Mary Tyler Moore changed all that, She believed women were human beings first, wives and mothers second.Read more
Oscar-and-BAFTA nominated for Best Cinematography, Empire of Light is set in 1981 in Margate, a small seaside town in Britain, where middle-aged Hilary Small (Olivia Colman) is the forlorn second-in-command at the Empire Cinema, a fading movie palace. Accepting his 16th Academy Award nomination, cinematographer Roger Deakins explained, “I think this film is about companionship. Hilary has this world with her fellow workers, that sort of friendship beings something more into her life, an existence without a great horizon.”Read more
For its Emmy-winning initial season The White Lotus was set at a luxurious Hawaiian resort. Now, The White Lotus: Season 2 moves to a deluxe Sicilian hotel, perched on the cliffs of Taormina overlooking the Ionian Sea. “It’s a different vibe,” clarifies series creator/writer/director Mike White. The first was focused on the guests vs. the employees – who has the money, who has the power – set against a colonialism backdrop. While still revolving around decadent, rich discontents, the second season is more about sexual politics with elements of a bedroom farce as people sneak in and out of hotel rooms.Read more
So many people wanted to see HBO’s debut of House of the Dragon that they crashed the streaming service! Set in Westeros nearly 200 years before Game of Thrones, this pulpy, 10-episode prequel is based on George R.R. Martin’s novel Fire & Blood – both of which it offers in abundance. The plot revolves around an earlier civil war for the Iron Throne, waged largely among various factions of the silver-haired, incestuous Targaryan dynasty, ancestors of Dragon Queen Daenerys Targaryan, played by Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones. It’s all about family rivalry.Read more
Ethan Hawke’s searing six-part HBO Max documentary, The Last Movie Stars, delving into the tumultuous marriage of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. The Last Movie Stars not only examines the complexity of the Newmans’ marriage but also shows how the trajectory of their individual careers influenced, affected and challenged their bond.Read more
With 32 nominations and 3 Emmys, the second season of Hacks fulfills its promise as a comic examination of female friendship.
The series picks up where it left off – as stand-up comedy legend Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) recovers from bombing in her final Las Vegas performance, losing her long-time residency at the glitzy Palmetto Casino. “It’s not my town anymore,” she sadly admits, acknowledging the rapidly-shifting entertainment landscape.