Tag Archives: HBO

In 7 days…

During this fortnight that is Wimbledon, I can’t get enough tennis.

7DaysInHell-720x1066But that’s not why I loved and fervently recommend 7 Days in Hell, the hilarious mockumentary scheduled to air this Saturday night on HBO.

(I saw it early OnDemand. Gotta love OnDemand.)

Andy Samberg (SNL, Brooklyn 99) is Aaron Williams, a washed up former tennis star long removed from the game who returns for one last epic match against his bitter rival, young tennis phenom Charles Poole, played by Kit Harington (the late — or is he? — Jon Snow of Game of Thrones).

The match goes the full five sets and, since it is played at Wimbledon, does not have a tie break in the final set. So the play goes on and on — for a variety of bizarre reasons — for seven long days.

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut will be a tad jealous when they see why.  (They hold the real record for the longest match at Wimbledon, iffin you didn’t know — 11 hours, 5 minutes of play over three days.)

There are tons of cameos by celebrities from television, film, tennis, even the world of magic. The story is outrageous, but the documentary format is honored, so it looks right…

Even though it is gloriously wrong.

I hear voices

It’s hard to believe it’s been over three years since I first saw The Trip starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.

the-trip-movie-posterI saw it in the theater then. Today was a chance encounter on HBO.

And I watched it again.

I still laughed at the two comedians’ competitive conversations and celebrity impressions.  But this time I found myself trying out a few of the characterizations — with very limited success.

Why can’t I do impressions better?  And why are they so darn good?

Obviously they have invested far more than 90 minutes towards this endeavor, but I wonder if I would be able to achieve any success with a lifetime of practice.

Do the Brits just have an edge?

I say yes.  (This stance saves me a lot of time and effort.)

Cold justice

I was lucky enough to catch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on HBO over dinner tonight.

eternal sunshine

Such a wonderfully inventive story, and perhaps Jim Carrey’s most powerful and controlled performance.

As I watched, I questioned yet again why he didn’t win an Oscar…or even get nominated.  So I used the Google machine to remind me — who did take the prize in 2005?

The Oscar nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role were:

  • Don Cheadle in “Hotel Rwanda”
  • Johnny Depp in “Finding Neverland”
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Aviator”
  • Clint Eastwood in “Million Dollar Baby”
  • Jamie Foxx in “Ray”

Foxx took home the prize; it was no shock.  His portrayal of the musical legend was spot-on. He sang and played the piano, too.  I wasn’t a fan of the film, but of him, yes.

I concede defeat.

But I would argue that Carrey’s performance deserves to be on that list as much if not more than Leo.  Or Johnny.  In fact, the list would be stronger for it.

Isn’t it funny how quickly you can become bitter about something that happened 10 years ago?

(Imagine how Jim must feel.)

Renewed vows

It’s no coincidence that most movies end with the wedding.

That’s when reality kicks in.
112 WeddingsThe documentary 112 Weddings (HBO OnDemand) gives audiences the opportunity to see how that reality measures up.

Filmmaker Doug Block shot wedding videos for 112 couples over his career, and in this documentary, revisits some of those couples a decade or more later after the ‘I do’s.’

Most are still married. One couple is in the process of divorcing and agreed to be interviewed separately.  But all agree that marriage is far different from any idea they may have had at the start.

Many have faced real challenges.  Seriously ill children.  Depression.  But all answer the simple question: would we do it all again, knowing what we know now.

The film manages to be both sobering and joyful at the same time…which is how couples should probably approach such an important life choice.

If you stop and think about it.

Creature feature

I have a home office, and often keep the TV on for a little background noise in the apartment.

This afternoon I am working on the couch in front of the TV.  The sound is down low, so it’s more of a pleasant hum than a distraction.

But then this image filled the screen during a commercial break —

natalie portman black swan

Geez oh pete, HBO…don’t throw around the Black Swan willy-nilly.

That’s some seriously scary shit.

Hat’s on

Congratulations to Ray Romano!

He’s signed a deal to appear in the pilot of a new HBO drama that centers on the world of rock-and-roll in the sexy, druggie 1970s.  Ray will play the right-hand man to a record executive (portrayed by Bobby Cannavale).

This is amazing news!  I think someone deserves a new hat…

ray romano lauren

 

Not a game for all ages

My friend Beth and I were browsing the clearance items at Barnes & Noble after lunch today, when we came upon this gem:

Games of Thrones toysGame of Thrones figurines.

In the children’s section

I looked — these POP! toys are also prominently featured on the GOT website homepage.  Are the show producers really trying to encourage small children to watch this series?

I readily admit to not watching Game of Thrones.  But based on the promos, marketing materials and magazine articles I have seen, I feel I can confidently say —

This isn’t a kiddie program.

Craig Ferguson doesn’t watch it either.  But when he interviews cast members during their visits to The Late Late Show, he always shakes his head in regret saying, “There are boobies on that show!”

Which kinda makes ya think babies shouldn’t be watching…right?

Let’s go exploring

Can you believe it has been eight years since Bill Watterson stopped drawing Calvin & Hobbes?

The comic strip itself was only published for 10 years — from November 18, 1985, to December 31, 1995 — and yet somehow it feels that it was always in newspapers.

It’s that iconic.

A new documentary is now in theaters and OnDemand that examines the Calvin and Hobbes legacy:

dear mr watterson

Director Joel Allen Schroeder examines the comic strip for the phenomena that it was — artwork that was miles ahead of its neighbors on the page, and story lines that tackled issues like environmentalism, education and philosophy.

To build his case, Schroeder interviews everyone but Watterson — fans, his syndication partners, comic experts, and fellow cartoonists.  It’s very much a love fest, as they all agree on the comic strip and its creator’s instrumental role in cartooning history.

They also discuss Watterson’s controversial decision NOT to merchandise Calvin & Hobbes.

I highly recommend the 89 minute film.  It brings back great memories, gives you access to lots of Calvin & Hobbes comics, and will leave you thinking:

“I need to make a bookstore run!”

Oh, what a beautiful morning

I started my Sunday morning cleaning the apartment while watching Les Miserables on HBO.

It was my third viewing.

I obviously love the film, but I know there are many naysayers who poo-pooed the movie adaptation — because of changes made to the story and perceived imperfections in the songs because they were recorded live on set.

How dare emotions choke their voices.

But for those who question Hugh Jackman’s pipes in Les Miz, take a gander at his performance in the 1998 Royal National Theatre’s production of “Oklahoma!” in London’s West End, for which he earned an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

‘Nuff said.