Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bright Star

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I’ve seen most of the musicals on Broadway from this past season and ‘Bright Star’ is a shining achievement. It closes on Sunday and I, for one, will miss it as a New York theatre option. I usually don’t write things like this, as we’ll just “pour one out” for a closing show on our theatre podcast, Broadwaysted. However, for ‘Bright Star,’ I felt the urge (need?) to say something more about this beautiful show. I’ve dedicated most of my life to the art form of musical theatre—acting, writing, etc. I can get snobby sometimes, I mean, I spell theatre with an ‘re,’ but when it comes down to it, I just want to sit in a theatre and be taken away somewhere. That’s why I’m writing this piece. ‘Bright Star’ genuinely took my heart somewhere that most shows haven’t recently had the ability to do.

‘Bright Star,’ without getting into plot detail, is essentially the story of how happiness can be restored from even from the darkest of moments. How can innocence be torn away from you and yet the magic of love stays ingrained in your soul, regardless of how your life turns out? What is love in its purest form? ‘Bright Star’ tells this story in its pre and post war North Carolina folk story setting. “Love let me lift this veil of darkness,” is a lyric in the show that rings truest to what the show conveys.

It’s elegant by being simple, showcased by the ‘Our Town’ sensibility. It’s a classic, golden age type of original show and Broadway needs these shows to couple withbright-star-21 “contemporary” musicals. ‘Bright Star’ elicits an aura of nostalgia for a place you’ve never been, while reminding you where you’ve come from. The songs are top-tappingly delightful and yet full of emotional power. The sounds of the banjo, fiddle, bass, and piano are built in the fabric of the show, as the band is onstage—a part of the action. The sounds add to the sense of nostalgia. It’s lovely.  On top of that, the book is extremely funny in only the way Steve Martin knows funny. Is the show perfect? No, not at all, but it has so much heart that the lack of perfection doesn’t matter in the slightest.

The plot is based on a true event and extremely predictable, but Steve Martin and Edie Brickell have written it that way. It’s explosively uplifting and earns every tear, laugh, and smile. There’s much to take away from ‘Bright Star’—thematically and emotionally, but what sums it up perfectly is the opening song of Act II, “Sun is Gonna Shine.” We’re currently living in a very tense, scary, and powder-keg of a time and quite frankly, it’s nice to see something so beautiful and happy. Everything is going to be okay, but we have to actively be searching for answers.

We semi-joke on Twitter that Carmen Cusack is a #nationaltreasure, but she really is, as Alice Murphy in this production. I don’t know if the show works as a whole without her 81076-3caliber of talent. Carmen Cusack shifts effortlessly (and believably) from adult to child and the versatility of her voice is unlike anything out in the world now. She nails every song on multiple levels. Her plethora of songs should be sung by different voice types, but  “If You Knew My Story,” “Way Back In The Day,” “Woah, Mama,” “Please, Don’t Take Him,” “I Had a Vision,” and “At Long Last” are all delivered with technical precision and emotional power of a true professional. I mean, “Woah, Mama,” sounds like a completely person on the recording, as she’s playing a younger version of herself. It’s amazing. Other actresses wish they had one of those songs in their own show. Cusack knocks each one out of the park. There’s so much detail and layering behind her belt and top and that’s not even taking her acting into account. She’s really putting herself through the wringer at every performance. She leaves everything out there in the house. It’s special. Her on stage vulnerability and emotional life radiates into the house, enveloping and penetrating the audience. I cannot wait to see her in future performances.

That being said, the talent on the stage around her is superb. The personalities of the performers ooze into this heartfelt musical. Nobody is going through the motions or “doing a job.” From Hannah Elless’ bookshop owner, Margo to AJ Shively’s Will and Paul Alexander Nolan’s Jimmy Ray (his songs and voice are emotionally piercing), every performance is infused with love, care, and humor; layered people in a folktale setting. “Asheville” and “Always Will” maybe two of the better musical numbers of this entire Broadway season. They’re sweet, kind, and full of hope, love, sadness, and the kind of 25BRIGHTSTAR-master675magic that only memories can provide. Expertly performed by Hannah Elless and AJ Shipley, the soft touch of the “rewind staging” in “Asheville” is extraordinarily effective.

I’ve seen it twice and I’m sad that it’s closing this Sunday. I believe ‘Bright Star’ would have had a realistic shot of winning Best Musical had this not been Hamilton’s season. Yet, in today’s Broadway musical landscape, I understand why it’s closing. ‘Bright Star’ is hard to market, other shows are flashier with bigger names, it’s not “important” like some of its great white way neighbors, and it doesn’t present that ‘wow’ factor that the average theatre goer is attracted to for their night out.  It’s quaint and lovely, but that’s all I want sometimes. We all need our heart strings plucked like the onstage banjo.

Do yourself a favor and make some time this week to see it. You can enter the lottery here before Sunday, but don’t take a chance. Go on Today Tix or the ‘Bright Star’ site and buy a $45 seat. My biggest regret, if I’m allowed to have one for a show I have no involvement in is that you probably didn’t see it at all. Bye, ‘Bright Star,’ thanks for coming to hang out, even if for just a moment.

Keep on Watchin’

-Bryan

The Goldbergs (aka My New Favorite Thing, Ever)

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I don’t know how this show slipped by me. Multiple people begged me to watch it and I didn’t. The original reviews were not terrible and the positive elements happen to feature aspects of the show that speak directly to my inner TV/Movie nerd. I mean, it’s a show about a Jewish family growing up just outside of Philadelphia in the 1980s–based on a Adam F. Goldberg’s real life experiences. He went to the same camp as me (sort of) for crying out loud! But here I am, having just binged watched three and a half seasons of what is now one of my favorite sitcoms on TV.

It was a dark and stormy Wednesday night in January and I was alone in my New York tumblr_ncssomsGPW1rdutw3o1_400City Harlem apartment. As I delicately sipped on my whiskey on the rocks while furiously writing my newest novel, I had the overwhelming urge to take a break. So I flipped on the midweek rerun machine: the TV. Of course, what else was I going to do. It’s my MO. There, right in front of me, was the cold opening of a show that I had ignored for too long, “The Goldbergs.” From the first two minutes, I was hooked. It didn’t matter that it was a third season episode, I felt as if I’d know these crazy whippersnappers forever. Immediately after that episode was over, I started my marathoning journey via our friends at Hulu.

I’m now obsessed with this show. I can’t help it. Murray (Jeff Garlin), Beverly (Wendi McLendon-Covey), Erica (Hayley Orrantia), Barry (Troy Gentile), Adam (Sean snuggle monsterGiambrone), and Pops (George Segal) all feel like family at this point. Let’s face it, growing up Jewish in the metropolitan area, I can see qualities of both my actual family and friends in every single character. From the relationship of the three siblings to each other, their friends, and parents, this show hit home pretty hard. It’s more thoughtful and belly laughingly funnier than any of the other family-based sitcoms on any station right now.

I really want to say that Adam’s actual home videos are the star of this show, but that would be a complete lie. They make the overall viewing experience feel more personal, as it’s nice to think you’re watching a version of revisionist history. Obviously the videos infuse another layer of humor into every plot and character moment, but when it comes down to it Wendi McLendon-Covey’s Beverly “sMother” Goldberg is one of the best Best studentpeople/characters/things/stuff/anything on TV right now. Nobody makes me laugh harder and it’s not even the over the top moments that make her the quintessential Jewish overprotective, overbearing mother: a sMother. In the detail of her character (and in all the characters, really) is where the true nuggets of brilliance lie. The sweaters, the way she can change emotion on a dime, side looks, the way she sits down, scrapbooks, her made up words to show affection, and the specificity of her threats are so ingrained in my being even before I met this person. It’s what happens when you grow up in an environment similar to what’s being depicted. It’s offensive that Julie Bowen is continually nominated for Claire Dunphy on “ Modern Family” when McLendon-Covey’s Bev is the greater achievement.

All jokes surrounding Barry’s (aka Big Tasty’s) stupidity and heartfelt demeanor are always a crowd pleaser. (And his running arms.) Murr-man’s pants habit? Hilarious. How quickly Bev can get things done? Always a belly laugh. Covering up Sean enhanced-13828-1410134601-7Giambrone’s puberty, while highlighting Adam’s awkwardness by making fun of him (and essentially giving him less screen time)? Fantastic. Erica’s fights with her brothers and mother couldn’t be written and executed with more realism. George Segal’s Pop and his close relationship and Adam’s strikes an incredible emotional chord with me.

I’m a 90s kid who is obsessed with pop culture from any generation. I would try and reenact my favorite movies as a kid and film or audio record everything, so it may be strong armthat Adam, as a viewer’s entry point, is built directly for me. Sure I see a lot of myself and my family tied into the Goldberg household, but there’s something very universal about this family. Coming together in times of need and looking out for one another are always prevalent themes in the last act of each episode. These lessons can’t be defined by one time period or another–1980s or 2010s. Family as a foundation has always been an important part of my life and it’s nice to see it portrayed closer to the way I grew up.

Also, the soundtrack and movie/TV references are so well executed that it’s hard not to fall in love with it based on that alone. I hope there are more dark and stormy Wednesday to take a break from writing and check in with my new favorite family (on TV–nah, my new favorite family). I’m so happy I only let this show slip by me for so long. Shame on me.

Now, go eat some shrimp parm you little snuggle monsters. Also, thanks ABC for airing this show. 

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

TV State of the Union

 

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The second half of this TV season is upon us and so I figured that a hangover-ed morning was a great way to catch up on all of the TV I’ve missed lately. Today was that day. It’s been a busy couple of months in the entertainment industry. A lot of content to consume in order keep up with, well, everything. The award ceremonies, the water cooler talks, the artistic expressions of our favorite filmmakers, and, of course, the FOMO. After casually keeping up with my favorite shows amidst all of my movie going excitement, it seemed like the right time for a Bryan’s Not Lyin’ TV State of the Union.

While I have pared down what I watch on a weekly basis substantially, my TV time is still way above the average viewer. This includes not just what my DVR records, but sporting events, Netflix and Hulu and Amazon and HBO binges (aka my Apple TV playland), as well as the youtube videos of hilarious late night tv antics. There a lot going on and I need to see it all. It’s a blessing and a curse. Mostly a curse, sometimes a blessing. (Curse, let’s be honest.)

So below, I’ve written a few blurbs on what I’m currently watching and how I think their current seasons are fairing. Note: SPOILER CITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Not like an actual city, but there are a lot of spoilers below.)

Once again: Next Stop, Spoiler City! (Like I said, not an actual city…)

Arrow

It’s much better than last season. Much, much better. Now, it’s been well documented that fJIcdG2this show takes itself waaaay too seriously and while this season is no different, there’s a bit more character empathy. The reason? Neal McDonough as Damien Darhk. Not only is his baddie more engaging to watch then Matt Nobel’s Ra’s al Guhl from last year, but his ruthlessness and relentless raises the stakes of everything Team Arrow takes on. Some plots I’m down on (aka Speedie’s bloodlust), but mostly Oliver and Felicity’s current situation is incredibly watchable. They’re the characters I am most drawn to and Darhk brings out the most interesting storytelling.

The Flash

It’s convoluted, ridiculous, and out there, but damn is it so much fun. Every character (minus Caitlin and Jay) are clicking on all cylinders. In a way, The Flash season two has done an interesting flip flop. At first the emotional lives of the characters, aside from Barry, were shallow and based on the fact that The Flash’s secret was being kept to frustrating means. Essentially, Iris and a few other characters didn’t pop off the screen well and
the-flashseemed like filler or at least a forced obstacle for Barry and company. The fun bad guys, silly quips, and good TV special effects were the reason to stay. Now the show borders on (or sometimes crosses over into) the absurd, but it is grounded in such wonderful human moments. Now that all of the core characters know that Barry is the Flash, we don’t have any super cliched plots that just don’t read to the audience. That has allowed us to connect more with the plights of these people and be affected by their hardships. Iris and her mother. Barry and Patty. Harry and his daughter. I look forward to hanging out in Central City every Tuesday nights (and when they are in Star City for crossovers with Team Arrow.)

Supergirl

I’m really enjoying what this show is dishing out. The Berlanti DC TV shows are very strong across the board and Supergirl, in its first season, has only strengthened his hold on the Stronger Togethersmall screen comic book landscape. This show is earnest, heartfelt, and melodramatic in a way that the other shows can’t offer. Some characters are more likable than others, for instance, I enjoy an episode with less James Olsen and more Cat Grant. The addition of The Martian Manhunter through a Hank Henshaw fake out is brilliant and adds a whole new DC layer to the show that it needed. Especially to act as a mentor and foil to Melissa Benosit’s wonderful take on Supergirl. (The gchats with Clark Kent weren’t exactly cutting it.) It’s a really fun way to end my Monday nights. Jeremy Jordan is also pretty dreamy.

Nashville

Yes, I still watch it. Why? I JUST DON’T KNOW. The music isn’t as good, the plots keep getting more and more insane, but I can’t not watch it!

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It’s truly impressive how in it’s 11th season, this show is funnier, more gruesome, and smarter than it has been in what would be considered it’s best years. It’s rare for a halfstatic1.squarespace hour comedy to come back from some lesser quality seasons, but the past three seasons have done that like 30 Rock in it’s last season. Granteed, there have only been a handful of episodes so far into the season, but Mac, Dee, Frank, Dennis, and Charlie are delivering left and right. RUM HAM!

New Girl

It still consistently cracks me up. Now that the cast has been streamlined again (and the title card), it’s back to what I enjoyed before Nick and Jess got together. Semi-plotless, but new-girlso much fun and the one-liners kill. Everybody’s friendship chemistry is profoundly real and palpable. The show refound that their characters and those relationships are why the show works in the first place, so they’ve relied on that in a major way.  Cece and Schmidt together works better than any other pairing of ‘lovers’, so to have that solidified for the moment adds a lot of comic value. I love these people and the crazier Winston is, the more I love everything and everybody.

Billions

I’ve watched the first two episodes and can’t get enough of Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff, and even Malin Akerman. The story itself isn’t the most engaging I’ve ever Billionsseen. If anything it’s retread of the usual bad boy, super smart hedge fund CEO and the questionably moral government employee out to get him. But simply put: the scene work, writing, and acting is top notch. As of now, I like it a lot, I just hope that it can stay the course and not become the same old same old banker vs government story.

The Big Bang Theory

It delivers exactly what it promises: nerd laughs. This season has had some extremely solid The Raiders Minimizationepisodes, all character based, which is both nice and unexpected for half hour sitcom. The types of character pieces they’re building around Sheldon/Amy and Leonard/Penny tell a much more interesting story of friendship and growth, so our time investment in these lives is rewarded. This season is enjoyable on multiple planes (or Sheldon’s favorite thing: trains).

 

 I’ll hopefully have more TV related reviews up in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Keep On Watchin’!

-Bryan

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

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Oh, how nice to have Mr Holmes and Mr Watson back! The hour and a half special brings back our two favorite detectives, but in 1895 London, as opposed to the usual contemporary setting. After a bride kills herself on her own wedding anniversary, her ghost goes on a killing spree around London. Holmes and Watson are on the case, while the former works out a parallel case in his head. Watson and Mary do their usual marriage troubles dance along the way as well.

Except for the the time period, it’s the same basic show we all know and love. The opening credits, our characters’ backstories, and more are all familiar, yet with its original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle spin. (I truly enjoyed the Mycroft surprise.) It’s a fun change of pace for the show in a rare appearance.

All of the actors are back in their roles or at least their Victorian England counterparts, male or female or swapped. The episode keeps the same quirks as the previous seasons: the on screen text, flashback set pieces, and unique transitions. Of course, it’s all just the cherry on the Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch chemistry sundae. I much prefer their Sherlock and John over Smaug and Bilbo. sherlock-abominable-bride-trailer-2They’re still as sharp as ever, clearly having a great time having slipped back into these comfortable characters. Their banter, camaraderie, and working relationship is all on point, as is the writing for most of the episode. It flows nicely with the main mystery over shadowing any of the smaller plots for most of the running time. Beautifully shot, the episode’s style stays true to the previous iterations in this BBC series.

Thematically, the episode deals with ghosts and how the past affects our present. Everything that has happened throughout the run of the show still exists in this timeline, so our favorite characters are still dealing with their same demons. Moriarty, drug abuse, and Irene Adler all come back into play, some more than others. And then the twist that could have been called from a mile away happens, but it’s still pretty rewarding.

*SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT. SKIP TO THE LAST PARAGRAPH TO AVOID THEM.*

Again, spoilers. Okay. You good? Great. So, the 19th century sequences are actually Holmes in his mind palace while on the plane at the end of the series 3 finale. He’s attempting to solve how Moriarty can be back, but by understanding the centuries old mystery of the bride. (Of which the answer is a little lame.) Once we’re back in Victorian England, Holmes gets a telegram from Mary conveniently leading him and Watson to the church of pissed off wives. Holmes easily solves the case, which in another episode would seem pretty dull, but here, since it’s in his mind palace and we’re now engaged in the Moriarty storyline, it’s forgivable.

The final ten minutes are extremely entertaining, if not a little convoluted. The idea that Moriarty is so in Holmes’ head that he infects every dark corner of his mind palace is interesting. The writers explore it nicely, if not unevenly. It’s always an maxresdefaultadded bonus when Andrew Scott gets to reprise the role of the crazed professor, Moriarty. However, what I found the most fulfilling is how Sherlock allows Watson to help him. Holmes may be the same arrogant, narcissistic sleuth, but his acceptance of Watson’s help in this dire situation is a rewarding character development. Of course Watson is always there to help, but Holmes calling upon him in his own mind’s eye was pretty sweet. Additionally, the episode ended on a fun note, blurring the lines between which time period is reality and which is the mind palace. Essentially it doesn’t matter because he’s a man of many times, but it answered my biggest pet peeve of the entire episode: How does Sherlock of the 19th century know what a jet is and why didn’t Watson question the word/ concept earlier?

*END OF SPOILERS*

It’s not my favorite of the Sherlock episodes, but I had a great time delving back into this world regardless. The first two acts are a little stronger than the third and Holmes doesn’t really do any detective work, per se. Everything is handed to him, 404246-sherlock-the-abominable-bride-fb-cropwhich may or may not be the point, but things are a little too easy and clear cut. It’s heavily reliant on his drug use than any other season and the twist almost cheapens the whole experiences, even though it ties a lot together. All of the smaller plot lines are lost along the way, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as they didn’t have a strong introduction. However, these characters, the chemistry between actors, and witty writing are always welcome, even if they come in fits and stops. I will wait for however long it takes Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss to get the gang back together, as there are still mysteries afoot.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

Review: The Jinx – The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

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Is Robert Durst a sociopath who has been slipping through the cracks of justice with his lies and money or is he truly the most unlucky person in the world–always in the wrong place at the wrong time? A Jinx? The HBO Docu-series, ‘The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst’, ended this past Sunday night and I’m sure you’ve read plenty of headlines since. I won’t be commenting on what has happened post show or how the filmmakers’ timelines must have played out. I’ll be writing about the cinematic excellence of this six part series. Move over ‘Serial’, here comes ‘The Jinx’.

The incredible tension, excitement, and viewer obsession is derived from the bizarre story.
thejinx_2_1200_article_story_largeBorn into an incredibly wealthy, New York City real estate family–as tumultuous as any of the tv show clans we love to hate–Robert Durst’s concept of consequence is completely skewed. Starting with his most recent crime, the documentary then jumps to the
beginning to Durst’s timeline. In 1982, his wife, Katie McCormack, went missing under mysterious circumstances. Her body was never found. The obviousness of this man’s crimes are overshadowed by his ability to never be convicted for them–a microcosm for our justice system as a whole. Is he actually guilty? Most likely yes. Is he guilty? Not with the evidence on file. Lawyers were paid, cops made mistakes, and murdering sociopaths go free. This is ‘Dateline’ on crack.

The-Jinx-New-York-Premire-TRTGMxRtLhelAs a person who knew very little of the history of this lifelong liar, I was sucked in immediately. Producer and director, Andrew Jarecki (‘Capturing the Friedmans’), has crafted an intense, (semi) non-biased recounting of the history of Durst and the crimes that have become his legacy. Jarecki was contacted by Robert Durst and asked to be interviewed on the subject of his life after seeing Jarecki’s film ‘All Good things’, which is based on Durst’s first wife’s disappearance. It’s an insane idea, but maybe it came from an insane person looking for attention? Or was he trying to actually explain his side of the story? Who knows what his motivation was to finally speak out publicly. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that we get to watch in a beautifully put together piece.

Along with the show’s Durst interview centerpiece, Jarecki allows for the facts, people, and history to speak for themselves. It’s just that all of the facts, people, and history point to Durst. The eerie, faceless re-enactment B-Roll and ominous editing all supplement the true insanity of the life of Durst. The music and opening credits sequence supports this too. The docudrama is sleekly put together, regardless of the third and fourth episodes’ penchant for dragging. (These don’t heavily feature mystery or interviews with Durst.)

Aside from the pulse pounding, breath stealing, adrenaline rush of a last 10 minutes of the final hour, what I really took away from this series is the pain and perseverance of the people affected by the terrible crimes of Durst. The lives of the friends, family, and law enforcement that were directly involved in all of Dursts’ (unproven) wrong doings have been turned upside down without answers. If you look at their body language, peer into their eyes, and listen to the anger and sadness in their voices, you can feel their all-consuming frustration with the justice system and Dursts’ inability to get caught. As viewers, we want answers so badly. These people have desperately needed them for years.

Okay, fine, I’ll talk about the last 10 minutes with spoilers. SPOILER ALERT. The last episode pandered and dealt with the ethics of the filmmaker, who had to confront Durst with the new letter evidence. I mean, that hand writing? That misspelled word? The Mead-The-Jinx-Durst-1200burping? The blinking? I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that last two minutes of this program. “What the hell did I do?” He whispers to himself in the bathroom, forgetting his hot microphone. “Killed them all, of course.” Woah. This possible bathroom confession is one of the most insane, amazing moments on television. Robert Durst was willing gave these men an interview. He has no ability for apathy or sympathy and therefore lying comes easy to him. (Apparently, he even wore contacts that enlarge his pupils to make him come off as more innocent.)  At this point, does he even believe that he did it? Obviously, yes based on his bathroom words. He just can’t keep it together long enough to not leave a mark. He may very well have been talking to the voices inside his head. Then again, a little part of him may have wanted to be secretly caught. Well, he perhaps got what he wanted.

Please, do yourself a favor and watch this if you haven’t.

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

All Over The Map: Movie and TV News

There’s been a ton of fun movie and TV news in the past few days, so I’ll just lay it all out for you.

‘Jurassic World’ Trailer and Website

Aside from pretty good Super Bowl spot (above) that centered around the new dinosaur created for the park (oh humans, when will we learn?!), the ‘Jurassic World’ website went live the other day. No, no, no: I mean the site for the fictional park. Take the time to look through it as it displays island temperature, ride wait times, live feeds, group rates (aka links you out to Fandango), and more. It’s pretty impressive. Check it out HERE.

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 The park is open on June 12th, 2015.

Felicity Jones Cast in ‘Star Wars’

Felicity Jones at Burberry Body Fragrance LaunchMs. Jones, like Hansel, is so hot right now. She’s potentially on her way to becoming Black Cat in Sony’s messy ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ series, earned an Oscar nomination for her incredible work in ‘The Theory of Everything’, and now has been cast as the lead in Gareth Edward’s ‘Star Wars’ spin-off. I personally love this move, as Jones has shown what a great presence she has on screen. The idea of a female leading the charge in a ‘Star Wars’ film is potentially great. Even with the likes of ‘The Hunger Games’ and other current high grossing female-centric action adventure films, we need genuinely need more. First we have an African-American start of ‘The Force Awakens’ and now a female ‘Star Wars’ lead. Good on Disney for making thing happen! Princess Leia is such a bad ass hero for girls (and boys) to look up to, so hopefully Jones’ character will follow in her bunned-hair filled shoes. So far, Disney hasn’t disappointed in casting our new “Galaxy Far, Far Away.”

The first ‘Star Wars’ spin off will tentatively be released in December of 2016.

First Image of Brandon Routh in A.T.O.M. Gear

The CW’s ‘Arrow’ is getting a new hero! Below is our first look at Brandon Routh in his tech gear. In the comics, The Atom can  shrink down to a teeny tiny size to fight crime. I’m digging the outfit and wonder if the clear face shield will contain some sort of digital dashbard ala Iron Man. If anything, it could obscure his face for his identity hiding needs. Since the CW’s ‘The Flash’ has been doing so well (for good reason), giving Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) his own A.T.O.M. show has been discussed. Regardless of whether ‘Arrow’ creates another superhero spin-off, I’m looking forward to a triple team up of DC heroes in some crossover form on the CW.

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 Palmer is THE ATOM in this season of ‘Arrow’.

New ‘Minions’ Trailer

Bee-DOO!

‘Minions’ will be released this July.

 

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

The 20 Best ‘Parenthood’ Moments (Top 10)

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Tonight is the finale of NBC’s ‘Parenthood’ and I couldn’t be more excited to see the episode, yet devastatingly sad to see the show go. In anticipation for one of my favorite shows on TV to go bye-bye, my mom, sister and I listed our top 20 best moments. Braverman favorites from my family to yours. You can see #20-11 HERE, but without further ado, our Top Ten. WARNING: TISSUES NEEDED (also, spoiler alert).

10. Adam and Kristina’s Cancer/Wig Fights – S6, Ep12 “Keep On Rowing”

deddb41b7249def9_TWOAdam can only keep a smile on for so long. He’s been a huge source of Kristina’s strength and normalcy and as she suffers the fallout from chemotherapy. When he tries to help with her wig selection, Kristina snaps. She can’t take his comforting tone because everything isn’t okay. Adam then drops his guard and in a moment of vulnerability, we get to see past his ‘perfect husband’ facade, learning what he’s actually feeling–fear. A tender moment from a great character. (He then picks her up in a limo for a night out!)

9. Max Finding Out He has Aspergers – S2, Ep17/18 “Do Not Sleep With Your Autistic Nephew’s Therapist” & “Qualities And Difficulties”

0AcjYgMax overhearing Crosby and Adam yelling about his autism was only the jarring precursor to the moment that really takes the #9 spot on this list. Adam and Kristina sitting Max down in an attempt to explain to him243679_512x288_generated what he has convey’s the weight of the moment within the episode and in the course of Max’s life. In their careful spin on his issues they both change his life and break their own hearts.

8. Haddie’s Off To College – S4, Ep1 “Family Portrait”

After Haddie casually say goodbye to her parents at the airport, the underscoring begins and we know the tears are about to follow. She looks back, hesitantly forward, and then breaks from the line for one final hug. As the camera swings away from the three hugging in the middle of the airport, I just want to join them. We’ll miss you too, Haddie.

7. Max’s Student Council Speech – S4, Ep6 “I’ll Be Right Here”


He owns it. Max comes out of his shell a little bit more by explaining what he has and how it hinders and ignites him. As Haddie watches on in place of a surgery ridden Kristina, the pride in her eyes (especially after scenes like “yelling at Max” in S3, Ep11’s “Missing”) and in our hearts is unmatched in Max moments. Cheesy? Yes. Awesome? Yes. This is all followed by Kristina asking Adam ‘How it went?’ when she wakes up from her operation. She isn’t referring to herself. Kristina wants to know how Max did in the election. He won! That’s her first thought and the tears roll on.

6. Adam Begins To Come Terms With Max’s Aspergers – S1, Ep2 “Man Vs Possum”

parenthood102-swing1It actually happens progressively in this episode. Adam deflecting all of Zeek’s questions. Dr. Pelican confirming Max’s diagnosis. Adam not really understand that it isn’t a temporary issue. He and Kristina then have a lovely conversation about how this is going to take their all. When the episode closes, Adam has dressed up as a pirate to play with his son. It isn’t a tearjerker, per say, but in only the show’s second episode it sets the stage for years to come.

5. Max’s Car Ride – S5, Ep18 “The Offer”

max5“Why do all the other kids hate me?” Oh, Max. It’s hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies for Max over the year, but recently it had been getting a little better. When Kristina and Adam finally allow themselves to let Max go on an overnight, they have to pick him up because Trevor peed in his canteen. Max’s break down in the car ride home, coupled with Kristina climbing in the back to comfort him is incredibly painful to watch. He may not want the hug, but we’re sure glad he got one.

4. Adam and Haddie’s Phone Conversation – S4, Ep5 “There’s Something I Need To Tell You”

It’s not just that Haddie steps up and demands to be treated like an adult. No. No. No. It’s when Adam tells her what’s actually happening. When he tells her he’s okay and hanging in there. It’s the tear that falls as he’s saying goodbye to Haddie. It’s the pain behind both of their eyes because the future is uncertain. It’s everything about everything.

3. Zeek’s Junkyard Speech – S2, Ep22 “Hard Times Come Again No More”

“I dreamt you, Amber. And Haddie and Drew and Sydney, Jabbar and Max. We almost lost you, Amber. I know you had some bad breaks; not feeling good about yourself; didn’t get into Berkeley. Well, boo-friggin’-hoo. You got a suck it up, girl. You’re a Braverman. You got my blood in your veins. You ever do something like this again. You even think about doing something like this, I will personally kick your little butt all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. You do not have my permission to mess with my dreams. Are we clear?” Don’t EVER mess with your grandfather’s dreams.

2. Kristina Tells the Family – S4,Ep5 “There’s Something I need to Tell You”

As Kristina looks around at her family, she knows at some point her news will break their status quo. She’ll be the family member with cancer and not Kristina anymore, but it has to be done. When Haddie surprises everybody, there’s a sense in the air that something is wrong. “I love you all so much and I just wanted to say that. Um, and there’s something that I need to tell you.” Then the dialogue cuts out and we are treated to and pained by the silent reactions of her family. It really doesn’t get much better than this scene.

1.The Video – S4, Ep11 “What To My Wondering Eyes”

There was never a question of what the number one spot was going to be. Not only was this moment a cry-fest, it was a truly earned tearjerker and that makes all of the difference. Just watch the video.

Conclusion: Season 4 was the best and Monica Potter’s lack of an Emmy Nomination is outrageous. I will be tragically upset on Thursday. The Braverman family will be dearly missed. Stay tuned for my finale review tomorrow morning!

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan

The 20 Best ‘Parenthood’ Moments (20-11)

parenthood

As we count down to the final episode of ‘Parenthood’, this Thursday at 10pm on NBC, my family, friends, and the internet (in general) have started to recount the best and “tearjerkiest” moments from the run of the show. Like the Braverman need to reminisce of times past, below is my sister, mom, and I’s list of the best moments/things from ‘Parenthood’. From my family, about their family, to yours. I mean, we all are a part of the Braverman family. WARNING: TISSUES NEEDED (also Spoiler Alert)

20. The Addition of Ray Romano as Hank – S4-S6

Whenever a show adds a new, stunt casted, character as a clear pawn for some sort of love triangle, I automatically think it’s a quick grab for ratings or forced plot. I am both shocked a_560x375and pleased with how Hank has fit in with the Braverman clan. His humor, insecurity, relationship with Max, love for Sarah, and ability to learn and grow have been a welcome addition to a show with characters that we’ve loved (and hated) for so long. To finally see the Braverman family through a third person point of view, after years of being tired, fed up, and worn out by some members was and is a real treat. He’s stolen many of the scenes recently in season 6 and I’ll be just as sad to say good-bye to him as I will be the rest of my TV family.

19. Camille in the Hospital – S6, Ep10 “How Did We Get Here?”

She hasn’t had a ton to do over the years as Camille, the Braverman matriarch, but when PARENTHOOD_612x380called upon, Bonnie Bedelia knocks it out of the park. Her sadness, fear, and love throughout the episode permeated through the screen. I wanted to be there to comfort her, but alas, Adam had to come to the rescue instead. Every moment for her in this episode is tear inducing.

 18. The Casting of Monica Potter and Sarah Ramos

I know this may be a lame addition to include on a list of best moments, but the two actresses have so many physical and vocal traits in common that it sells everything about MV5BNTM4MTU3Mzc1MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjQ4OTY5Mw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_this branch of the family tree. To believe that I’m actually watching a mother and daughter pair go through life’s trials and tribulations adds so much to the show. You can see a little bit of Potter’s Kristina in Ramos’ Haddie. This tiny little thing has stuck with me for all six seasons, which is why I may miss Haddie more than most people.

17. Haddie Coming Out – S5, Ep22 “The Pontiac”

In one of Haddie’s few appearances after her season 4 college departure, she arrives home for summer vacation with a “friend.” While a little rushed and out of the blue, the wonderful coming out moment between characters is still a series highlight. This was an untouched area of exploration for the writers, and since we know the Braverman mindset, it was going to be okay. It was still a great moment for a missed character. It was a throw back to the early days of ‘Parenthood’.

16. Amber Breaks Up With Ryan – S4, Ep 11 “What To My Wondering Eyes”

When Ryan shows up outside of the Braverman Christmas, Amber’s recognition that she wasn’t going to allow herself to make the same mistakes as her mother, despite her pure love for him, was absolutely beautiful. Of all six seasons of Amber Holt moments, this shows such a surprising amount of growth and maturity. If you’re not crying over Ryan’s broken heart paired with Amber’s strength, then you just can’t be helped.

15. Jasmine and Crosby’s Rain Reconciling – S3, Ep17 “Remember Me, I’m The One Who Loves You?”

tumblr_mr705qbVdQ1rbgu1so8_r1_250I mean, even the title gives me goosebumps! After sleeping with Gaby, Max’s behavioral aid, Crosby ruins his relationship with Jasmine and does everything in his power to correct it. While the healing and forgiveness process may have been sped up to TV time, the rain soaked cliche of an engagement is a moment that doesn’t get washed away so quickly. If only Jabbar had gone on a camping trip earlier that season!

14. Drew Breaks Down in Front of Sarah – S4, Ep 13 “Small Victories”

This may be Drew’s only appearance on the list, but it’s a doozy. Drew, dealing with the stress of girlfriend Amy’s pregnancy and abortion, comes home to talk to one person: his mom, Sarah. All of the tension that he’s held in, trying to be an adult, is finally released. The mom hug that turns this high schooler into a crumbling baby boy is the importance of family in a nutshell.

 13. Max and Kristina Dance – S4, Ep9 “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

parenthood409-dancing1Maybe I’m just a sucker for season 4 and Kristina, but the thought of this being her only time seeing her boy go to a dance is already heart breaking. When she starts to dance with him–I mean, come on. Max doesn’t understand the complications of this moment, but Kristina and Adam sure do. Have you no soul!?

12. Zoe Decides to Keep the Baby – S3, Ep17 “Remember Me, I’m The One Who Loves You?”

ParenthoodWe knew it was coming. It was completely inevitable that this would happen. But it did and it was just as heartbreaking and it could have been. The back and forth of Zoe, Julia, and Joel led to this powerfully sad moment.

11. The Chemo Shirt – S4, Ep7 “Together”

Camille’s gift of the chemo shirt grounds Kristina’s cancer in a reality she hadn’t felt before. When they begin to discuss the first time Adam brought her home and how much they love each other now, the waterworks begin.

The Top Ten coming soon…

Keep on Watchin’!

-Bryan