THE LAST MOVIE STARS – Review by Susan Granger

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.

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HACKS – Review by Susan Granger

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.

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HACKS SEASON 2 – Review by Martha K Baker

The writing in Season 2 is just as sharp as in the mother series. When Ava asks Deborah how many stalkers she actually has, Deborah fires back: “Living?” Ava and Deborah develop into characters who mesh more often than they abrade. They talk sex. One sues and one teaches the other to float. They laugh at each other’s lines. Or not. The subplots introduce strong storylines, including Ava’s burden of her father’s ashes and, at the fair, Deborah’s finding a woman she’d betrayed years before.

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MINX – Review by Martha K Baker

Minx, a 1970s magazine, presents gents in the buff in the centerfold. To select the right bulked firefighter or buff athlete, menfolk have to audition. There’s nothing coy about these auditions, and that’s one of the most honest aspects of the 10 episodes. Minx jostles down memory lane, complete with polyester clothes, typewriters, and the rhetoric of the Seventies. However, one grating anachronism is generic use of “guy,” rarely heard in 1971. The music, including, of course, Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman,” signifies throughout, and allusions to Gloria Steinem fit neatly. Minx works on so many levels.

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AND JUST LIKE THAT: SEASON 1 – Review by Susan Granger

Six sassy seasons and two movies later, Sex and the City is back, streaming on HBO Max in its new incarnation: And Just Like That. Yes, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda Hobbs (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte York-Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis) have remained close friends.

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CRY MACHO – Review by Diane Carson

Clint Eastwood has directed and starred in some very good films. His latest, Cry Macho, is unfortunately not one of them. While it is impressive to see a ninety-one-year-old Eastwood still sufficiently robust to direct and anchor a production with his character, Mike Milo, in almost every scene, the script is disappointing and downright insulting in too many instances.

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CRY MACHO – Review by Susan Granger

At 91, Clint Eastwood is still throwing punches, riding horses and directing movies. Amazing! In this contemporary Western, set in 1980, Eastwood plays Mike Milo, a former horse trainer/rodeo rider, on a mission to cross the Rio Grande, rescue and kidnap his boss’s estranged 13 year-old son, Raphael (Eduardo Minett), who was abandoned by his Texan father (Dwight Yoakum) and abused by his alcoholic Mexican mother (Fernanda Urrejola).

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HACKS – Review by Susan Granger

Jean Smart plays Deborah Vance, a legendary stand-up comedienne who is struggling to retain her Las Vegas residency. Much to her dismay, the casino CEO (Christopher McDonald) tells her that she has to work with Ava Daniels (Hannah Einbinder), a 25 year-old Los Angeles TV comedy writer with a very different approach to crafting humor.

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THE WHITE LOTUS – Review by Susan Granger

As the plot of Mike White’s new HBO series unfolds, it’s as if Fantasy Island merged with The Love Boat. In the opening shot, a casket is being loaded onto a plane. It’s a mysteriously ominous beginning that soon shifts to a tropical island where smiling Armond , the smarmy resort manager, and his newly hired assistant Lani prepare to welcome new guests as they arrive at the luxurious White Lotus Hotel.

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MARE OF EASTTOWN – Review by Susan Granger

New season = new series to stream. Kate Winslet stars as an exhauted detective in this compelling seven-episode HBO mystery set in a small, working-class town in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Life isn’t easy for Mare Sheehan (Winslet), who is desperately trying to solve a perplexing murder case revolving a teenage girl found sprawled in a creek deep in the woods. Townspeople are wondering whether this grim discovery has anything to do with another young girl-gone-missing a year ago.

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