Friday January 11, 2019

Million Dollar Listing should really be 2 hours each week. 90 minutes still doesn’t suffice.

A new season of True Detective premieres on HBO on Sunday. More below.

Julie Chen is back at work at the Big Brother house.

And Michael J. Fox got his 1st tattoo.

Wednesday’s Masked Singer slipped 23 percent in ratings from its first week, and was down 24 percent in terms of total viewers.

Season 15 will be the last for CBS’ Criminal Minds.

Season 2 of Friends From College is now available to stream on Netflix.

Season 1 of Sex Education is available to stream on Netflix as well.

Netflix has also released a trailer for FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened. It will be available to stream January 18.

“Amazon’s authoritative online movie and television database IMDb is launching a a free streaming video channel called IMDb Freedive, providing access to such TV shows as Heroes and Fringe, and movies like Memento. The ad-supported channel will let users watch films and television shows on the IMDb website, using their computers or Amazon Fire TV devices. It’ll be available soon on IMDb’s mobile apps. The service expands IMDb’s video offerings beyond short-form original series, trailers and celebrity interviews.”

Platinum blond hair is the hot new trend for Hollywood men?

I don’t find Ken Jeong amusing in any way, shape or form. Am I missing something?

“Wheelhouse Entertainment, the talent and content venture launched last year by Brent Montgomery, has secured an investment and partnership deal with San Francisco- and Los Angeles-based digital content studio Portal A. Under the deal, Wheelhouse will exploit its large-scale production capabilities, industry relationships and talent roster in an attempt to boost Portal A’s youth-driven original content geared toward a millennial audience. The two companies will also offer their combined resources to traditional and new media platforms, and to brands, CMOs and ad agencies.”

18 TV (and movie) adaptations that are hitting screens in 2019.

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From The Hollywood Reporter: “It's been nearly 11 years since cancer-stricken chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) first decided to break bad and bring ex-student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) into a fateful meth-making partnership. As the popularity of prequel spin-off series Better Call Saul has proven though, the decade-plus passage of time has done little to assuage fans' appetite for the show and its iconic characters.

“Soon, Breaking Bad: Criminal Elements will offer fans a fresh way to get their fix. Criminal Elements will be a free-to-play mobile game from publisher FTX Games and developer Plamee. The strategy-focused offering will toss players into the deep end of Vince Gilligan's absorbing, morally ambiguous universe.

“Gilligan had the following to say in a statement accompanying the game's reveal: ‘[FTX Games] care as much about the details as our creative team, and I have been very impressed with their commitment to building an authentic extension of the series' story universe. I think this will be a fun experience for fans, to interact with characters from Breaking Bad in a completely new way.’

“In addition to Walt and Jesse, characters will include fan-favorites Gus Fring, Saul Goodman and Mike Ehrmantraut. Players will interact with these familiar faces as they attempt to build and grow a criminal operation that could put Heisenberg's to shame. Gameplay specifics are guarded tighter than Walt's blue meth recipe, but Criminal Elements official description hints at fans navigating moral dilemmas and volatile personalities, all while keeping their illicit biz in the black.

“Breaking Bad: Criminal Elements is expected to land later this year.”

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Per Deadline, “ Al Pacino is nearing a deal to make his episodic television debut. He’s committing to a 10-episode season of Amazon’s The Hunt, a vengeance-driven Nazi hunting series executive produced by Oscar-winning Get Out writer-director Jordan Peele. The project, produced by Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions and Sonar Entertainment, was created by David Weil (Moonfall), who will write and executive produce. Nikki Toscano executive produces and co-showruns with Weil. The Current War‘s Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is in talks to direct.

“Pacino will star with Logan Lerman, who was previously cast. Pacino’s deal should be done this week and he’ll become the latest movie star to line up for a series. He has played real people in the telepics Paterno about the Penn State head football coach, Phil Spector about the music producer convicted of murder, the Jack Kevorkian biopic You Don’t Know Jack, and portraying Roy Cohn in Angels In America. He won Emmys for the latter two performances.

“The Hunt follows a diverse band of Nazi Hunters living in 1977 New York City. The Hunters, as they’re known, have discovered that hundreds of high ranking Nazi officials are living among us and conspiring to create a Fourth Reich in the U.S. The eclectic team of Hunters will set out on a bloody quest to bring the Nazis to justice and thwart their new genocidal plans.

“Lerman plays Jonah Heidelbaum, who, when his grandmother is slain by a mysterious intruder in their apartment, sets out to track the culprit — only to find himself swept up in the mysterious organization known as The Hunt, a group of justice-seeking individuals dedicated to rooting out the Nazi murderers living in the U.S. under assumed identities. Pacino will play the Nazi hunter who mentors him.

“Based on an original idea, drawing from real-life events, The Hunt originated as a hot drama series spec, which was taken out to the premium marketplace by Sonar Entertainment last fall, garnering interest from multiple buyers. The company had been in discussion with another network when Amazon recently stepped up and secured the project. It received a straight-to-series 10-episode order in May.”

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Per The New York Times, “True Detective Season 1 told us that time is a flat circle. True Detective Season 3 proves it.

“How many ways does the new season of HBO’s noir dirge return to familiar ground? The new case, like the first season’s, involves brooding Southern police and a horrifying crime against children. It takes place over three time periods, decades apart: an investigation, a re-investigation and a re-reinvestigation. We meet, again, hardscrabble poor folk and ambitious politicians; we find, again, creepy totems left at the crime scene and intimations of the occult.

“Even the jokes repeat themselves. In Season 2, Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) declared: ‘I support feminism. Mostly by having body issues.’ Now, Roland West (Stephen Dorff) tries to persuade his partner, Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali), to go to a brothel, saying: ‘I’m a feminist. They want to sell me a piece of ass, they’ve got the right.’

“If you score True Detective Season 3 on originality, it fails — for repeating both its own history and the already-dated cable genre of glum loners confronting the evils men do.

“But if you treat it as a do-over — if the series, like one of its haunted antiheroes, is retracing its steps to try to get things right — then it’s fine. Often quite good. Far more consistent.

“Consistency, though, is an odd achievement for a series in which the creator Nic Pizzolatto has insisted on swinging hard and hitting or missing big. Season 1 suffered from florid dialogue and stereotyped characters, especially the women — but when it connected, especially in Matthew McConaughey’s performance as the haunted Rust Cohle, it was breathtaking. Season 2 was an admirable effort to change scenery, but it fell apart like a handful of California desert dust.

“The new story returns to the South, a scrubby, hard-luck patch of Arkansas where the partners Hays and West catch a case involving two children who disappeared on a bike ride. They crack the story open like a rotting log, and all manner of sadness scurries out: the local dead-enders who come under suspicion, the spiraling marriage of the children’s parents, Tom (Scoot McNairy) and Lucy Purcell (Mamie Gummer).

“The season is nominally a story of partners, as if to keep up the tradition (and honor all those True Detective 3 internet memes). But the show really belongs to Ali (who just won a Golden Globe for Green Book), and he’s coolly magnetic.

“As Hays in 1980, he has a dry, outsider affect; he served in Vietnam as a solo reconnaissance tracker, and as a black man in a largely white community, he stands apart. (The season’s exploration of race is intriguing but can feel forced, like the treatment of gender in Season 2.) In 2015, he is shaky and guarded, his memories splintered by dementia, as he tries to recall the case, and what may have gone wrong, for a Making a Murderer-style documentary.

“Of course, acting talent has never been the problem with True Detective, give or take a miscast Vince Vaughn. Overacting, or at least speechifying, is another matter, and both Ali and Pizzolatto (who writes the first five episodes, with an assist from David Milch of Deadwood in Episode 4) rein it in. The dialogue is more streamlined but keeps the leavening banter. (‘You know how many times rats almost ended civilization?’ Hays asks, in a tangent about vermin. ‘How many?’ West answers. Pause. Distant stare. ‘I don’t know. At least two.’)

“The dementia twist complicates a familiar story. We’re not so much flashing back and forward in time as joining the elder Hays — who hangs on to his memory by recording messages to himself — while he wanders about in his past. In the premiere episode, his 1980 self, while combing a house for clues, pauses, stares into the camera and says: ‘I’m ready to go now. I don’t want to be here.’ They’re the words of the elder Hays, speaking to the film crew, overcome by the burden of his history.

“But as the episodes wear on (the first two, evocatively directed by Jeremy Saulnier, air Sunday), they become more dour, and some of the old pretensions return. Hays is visited by a vision from the past that asks him: ‘Did you confuse reacting with feeling? Did you mistake compulsion for freedom?’ Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail? A smile from a veil?

“As compelling as Hays is, the season struggles with its supporting characters. Hays meets Amelia (Carmen Ejogo), a schoolteacher, in 1980; by 1990, they’re in a troubled marriage and she has become a writer — her book on the missing-children case is considered a nonfiction classic by 2015. On paper, she’s an intriguing quasi-partner, a cerebral foil to the methodical Hays, but the script never develops her beyond an accessory to his story.

“Her profession does, however, provide an excuse for some literary references, including a quote from a Robert Penn Warren poem that restates the show’s favorite theme: ‘The name of the story will be Time / But you must not pronounce its name.’

“Which returns us to the beginning. Three seasons in, it’s clear what True Detective is: a platinum-cast anthology of moody crime stories in which familiar cops with familiar demons chase familiar devils. How many times do you really need to see it?

“If your answer is ‘Once every couple of years,’ then you’re in luck. This new True Detective should hold you over perfectly well, until time circles back once again.”

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From TheWrap: “Starz announced on Thursday that it has acquired four new documentaries, including Daughters of the Sexual Revolution, about a controversy surrounding the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, and the Oscar-shortlisted documentary feature Of Fathers and Sons.

Daughters of the Sexual Revolution: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, is a behind-the-scenes story of how the original Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders became a controversial pop culture phenomenon at the height of the sexual revolution. The documentary originally premiered at the SXSW film festival in 2018, and it will be available for download or streaming via the STARZ app on Jan. 14. at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Of Fathers and Sons won the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary at Sundance in 2018, and it is now on the Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary Feature. It’s about a man who gains the trust of a radical Islamist family and follows them over the course of two years. It will air on Starz on March 11.

“Starz also acquired Inside My Heart and Antonio Lopez: 1970: Sex, Fashion & Disco, which will premiere March 4 and in May, respectively. Finally, Starz also set release dates for two other recent documentary pickups, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, which airs Feb. 11, and White Boy, which airs April 8.

“See the full list of premiere dates and synopses for the documentaries via Starz below:

Daughters of the Sexual Revolution: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders – January 14, 2019

Daughters of the Sexual Revolution is the never-before-told story of Suzanne Mitchell, the fiercely loyal den mother of the original Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Seen by many as regressive and exploitative, this diverse sisterhood of small-town “girls next door” became a controversial pop culture phenomenon at the height of the Sexual Revolution, changing the game of football – and America – forever. Directed by Dana Adam Shapiro.

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood – February 11, 2019

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood is the deliciously scandalous story of Scotty Bowers, a handsome ex-Marine who landed in Hollywood after the Second World War and became confidant, aide-de-camp and lover to many of Hollywood’s greatest male – and female – stars. An unsung Hollywood legend, Bowers would cater to the sexual appetites of celebrities – straight, gay and omnivorous — for decades. In 2012, he finally spilled his secrets in the bestselling memoir Full Service, which revealed a dramatic counter-narrative about Hollywood’s Golden Age. GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics recently named Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood a nominee for “LGBTQ Documentary of the Year” for its 10th Annual Dorian Awards.

Inside My Heart – March 4, 2019

At the peak of the refugee and migrant crisis, three families are forced to flee war-torn Syria and Afghanistan, seeking safe harbor on foreign shores. In the wake of witnessing unthinkable atrocities and having the lives they’ve known wrested away, these people – mothers, fathers, sons and daughters – exhibit remarkable resilience as they fight for survival. Inside My Heart allows us to witness the families’ struggles and frustrations over the course of three years and better understand the hopes they have for their children. Ultimately, it serves as a vital reminder about the human beings who have been swept up in a global crisis that involves 68 million refugees and represents the largest human exodus since the Second World War.  Directed by Debra Kellner and produced by Lionsgate founder Frank Giustra.

Of Fathers and Sons – March 11, 2019

After his Sundance award-winning documentary The Return to Homs, Talal Derki returned to his homeland where he gained the trust of a radical Islamist family, sharing their daily life for more than two years. His camera focuses mainly on the children, providing an extremely rare insight into what it means to grow up with a father whose only dream is to establish an Islamic Caliphate. Thirteen-year-old Osama and his 12-year-old brother Ayman are in the center of the story. They both love and admire their father and obey his words, but while Osama seems to follow the path of Jihad, Ayman wants to go back to school. The film captures the moment when the children have to let go of their youth and are finally turned into Jihadi fighters. No matter how close the war comes–one thing they have already learned: they must not cry. Of Fathers and Sons transports viewers behind “enemy” lines for a rare glimpse of a world that seems exotic and threatening. Foreign language.

White Boy – April 8, 2019

White Boy is based on the story of 17-year-old Richard Wershe, Jr. who allegedly ran a vicious, sophisticated underground cocaine operation throughout inner-city Detroit. Arrested as a teen and sentenced to life without parole, Wershe remains imprisoned 30 years later and is the subject of the 2018 Sony feature film White Boy Rick starring Matthew McConaughey. Directed by Shawn Rech, the documentary White Boy follows filmmakers as they investigate the subject of 1980’s crime folklore – interviewing journalists, police, FBI agents and hit men – to set the record straight on the urban legend known as “White Boy Rick.”

Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco”– May 2019

The feature documentary Sex Fashion and Disco about Antonio Lopez (1943-1987), the most influential fashion illustrator of 1970s Paris and New York, and his colorful and sometimes outrageous milieu. A native of Puerto Rico and raised in The Bronx, Antonio was a seductive arbiter of style and glamour who, beginning in the 1960s, brought elements of the urban street and ethnicity to bear on a postwar fashion world desperate for change and diversity. Counted among Antonio’s discoveries– muses of the period–were unusual beauties such as Cathee Dahmen, Grace Jones, Pat Cleveland, Tina Chow, Jessica Lange, Jerry Hall and Warhol Superstars Donna Jordan, Jane Forth and Patti D’Arbanville among others. Jessica Lange, Karl Langerfeld, Grace Jones, Yves Saint-Laurent and more are featured in the documentary.”

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Per The New York Post, “I’m Sorry creator and actress Andrea Savage has revealed the secret behind the chemistry with her on-screen husband Tom Everett Scott.

“‘Spoiler alert, Tom and I are not actually married. We’re both happily married to other people, I’m sorry,’ Savage, 45, said during a Q&A at the Season 2 premiere of I’m Sorry Tuesday at the Crosby Street Hotel. ‘But you [speaking to Scott] always said that I was a little bit like your wife and the dynamic you guys have and you’re a little bit like my husband so … we kind of already naturally were [in] those roles a little bit in our own relationships.’

“On the show, Savage plays a crass comedian who is the mother to Amelia (Olive Petrucci,) and married to Mike (played by Scott), her level-headed spouse who has a charming appreciation for her vulgar sense of humor.

“For Scott, the TV romance was there since the beginning.

“‘Since day one … we hit it off and I think that when you see the relationship between Mike and Andrea you believe they’re a real couple and you enjoy that they enjoy each other,’ the 48-year-old actor said at the event hosted by Bustle and truTV.

“Savage disclosed how Scott was cast, joking that he “sort of forced his way in’ after she wrote him a letter.

“‘I didn’t know Tom and we’d never met before but there was something about what I knew about him and I didn’t necessarily want someone who was deep in my comedy circle who was going to be playing it big for the comedy,’ she said. ‘I wanted a really good actor who could also do comedy who we could play against and I literally wrote [Scott] a random letter and was like, ‘Here’s the script. Do you want to do this?’

“‘It was a very nice letter,’ Scott added. ‘I was like, “who is this person who really wants to work with me?” … Then I read the script and the first scene, season one about the vagina being large and then small, and I was in.’

“Season 2, which premiered Wednesday, continues to explore complex and cringe-worthy moments parents encounter while raising a child, like racism, puberty, and bullying.

“Savage also revealed that guest stars this season include Adam Scott, Lennon Parham, June Diane Raphael, and Paul Scheer. New episodes air on Wednesdays at 10/9c on truTV.”

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Per The Hollywood Reporter, “Netflix's heavy push into genre programming has netted another series order, this time for fantasy series Shadow and Bone.

“Based on the Grishaverse novels by author Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone will be adapted by Bird Box and Arrival writer Eric Heisserer. The eight-episode series is set in a world divided in two by a massive barrier of perpetual darkness that hides monsters who feast on human flesh.

“The lead character is a young soldier who discovers she has a power that could unite her country, but dangerous forces plot against her. The series will incorporate elements from Bardugo's Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows novels, which are set in a shared world populated by Grisha, people with supernatural abilities.

“Bardugo's books have sold more than 2.5 million copies and have been translated into 38 languages, giving them an international reach fitting for Netflix's global business.

“Heisserer, whose Bird Box script helped make the film a huge draw for Netflix audiences, will be the showrunner. He will executive produce with Bardugo, Pouya Shahbazian of New Leaf Literary & Media and Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Dan Cohen and Josh Barry of 21 Laps. Heisserer previously worked with 21 Laps on Arrival, which earned eight Oscar nominations, including one for Heisserer's screenplay.

“The streaming service has made a concerted effort to expand its genre programming of late. Netflix has made a big commitment to Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and has numerous sci-fi, fantasy and horror shows in the pipeline, including The OneThe Witcher and a Dark Crystal prequel.”