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TV Reviews

  • Caryn James
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    TV Review: Samuel L. Jackson, Tommy Lee Jones Film Cormac McCarthy

    Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson are confined to a single room in The Sunset Limited, but this film version of Cormac McCarthy’s play distills the same questions that explode in action in his best-known novels and the movies made from them. Just as No Country for Old Men can be seen as a parab...

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    TV Review. Bad Title, Funny Show: Matthew Perry's Mr. Sunshine

    Strange as this sounds, Matthew Perry’s horribly-titled new ABC series, Mr. Sunshine, is pretty funny, his thoroughly unsunny character like a comic version of House. I actually laughed out loud twice during the pilot, which is twice more than with most sitcoms.

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    TV Review: Jarecki's "Reagan" Rises Above the Centennial Chatter

    Actors are lying all the time, projecting a made-up persona, yet you have to be able to look in their eyes and see something true. That paradoxical job description goes a long way toward explaining the actor-turned-politician phenomenon, and no actor was ever more politically successful than Ronald ...

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    TV Review: Eye-Opening HBO Doc About “An Afghan Fallen Star”

    Afghan Star, Havana Marking’s illuminating 2009 doc about the Afghan version of American Idol, leaves you wondering what happening to its most compelling character: not the young man who won the competition, but Setara, who responded to being voted off by doing more than singing in her modestly veil...

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    TV: Skins Returns, Resembling The Little Fockers

    Since MTV’s Skins premiered last week, the show about sex-drug-and-alcohol-fueled teens has hit the headlines in a snowball of outlandish responses, beginning with an inflammatory front-page story in the New York Times. According to the story, unnamed MTV executives suddenly worried that the show might violate child pornography laws, which say children cannot be shown in sexually explicit or suggestive situations. And (whoops!) MTV had already made a big deal of the fact that its actors are actual teenagers. Since then, several advertisers dropped out of the series, including Taco Bell, GM and Wrigley. (Even though the first show had a substa...

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  • Caryn James
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    Rickygate, Day 5: Ricky Speaks. Video Highlights.

    Piers Morgan was trying – more like straining – to be clever when he deadpanned his intro to Ricky Gervais’ appearance on Piers Morgan Tonight: “Some say his crime was worse than Watergate.” But it does feel like we’re in Day 5 of Rickygate, the post-Golden Globes dissection of his brilliant skeweri...

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    TV Tonight: Amy Poehler's "Parks and Rec" and Other Smart Sitcoms

    There are so few really smart network sitcoms -- I'd count four, including ABC's Modern Family -- it's hard to say whether it's good or bad that three of them are back-to-back on NBC on Thursday. The network has been floundering for years, but it has also been steadily redefining its comedy with ...

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    TV Review, Onion News on IFC

    The Onion’s website promotes its new mock-news show, Onion News Network, with a pitch-perfect skewering of cable blowhards and anchors: the fake network’s stereotypical blonde anchor, Brooke Alvarez, is “Smugger than Keith Olbermann. Louder than Sean Hannity. Prettier than Anderson Cooper.” That ad...

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    TV Review, "Piers Morgan Tonight"

    After rivers of annoying self-promotion, Piers Morgan Tonight finally arrived on CNN to replace Larry King, and while there’s not a lot you can learn from one episode – especially when the guest is the thoroughly atypical Oprah Winfrey -- here’s what I do know. Piers was much less smarmy than his ...

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    TV Review: Ricky Gervais' Golden Globes Implosion

    If you were watching Ricky Gervais host the Golden Globes on Sunday, for the first hour you could tell you were watching a go-for-broke performance that would become -- and I‘m not exaggerating – legendary, a benchmark by which other flameout hosting gigs are measured. In his opening ...

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