With iconic performances by both Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, the first season of True Detective is another trophy on HBO’s ever-prestigious mantle of dramatic storytelling. Understandably, once it was made clear that each successive season of the program would switch out the main cast, there was trepidation as to whether or not HBO could replicate the first season’s strengths.
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As online streaming services continue to grow in developing original programming—Netflix (House of Cards, Orange is the New Black) and Amazon (Transparent) being two examples—other sites have taken on their lead. Vimeo is one such website; last year, the company produced a series called High Maintenance, which documents a pot dealer (Ben Sinclair, show creator along with Katja Blichfield) and the customers he encounters on a daily basis. After facing a surprising success given Vimeo’s status as a relatively underdeveloped player in the realm of original programming, many have taken notice. Enter: HBO.
Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) have a problem. Their husbands (played by Michael Sheen and Sam Waterston) are in love—with each other. When the two men announce their intentions to leave their wives and be with each other, Grace and Frankie’s world gets taken for a spin, and no small one, at that.
In accepting the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature on Sunday night. Laura Poitras focused, as always, on the significance of transparency and visibility. As the film she made with Glenn Greenwald and Ed Snowden reveals, such democratic ideals remain at risk by the American government’s activities and attitudes. For all the daunting information Citizenfour reveals it asks you not only to see, but also to take responsible for what you see. Sometimes, the film offers long, nearly meditative takes of exteriors, the Hong Kong hotel from afar, implacably shiny, or distant views of dully thunk-thunking machinery at a new NSA data collection facility under construction in Bluffsdale, Utah, and near film’s end, a long shot of a kitchen window, showing Snowden and his partner Lindsay Mills, in their for-now home in Moscow, quiet, ordinary, perfectly framed.
In this inaugural edition of PopTalk, a new podcast on PopMatters, Evan Sawdey and Brice Ezell take a look at the controversial slate of Oscar nominations for the 2015 ceremonies. From there, they examine the other problems that occur in large award ceremonies like the Oscars, the Grammys, and the Emmys. Topics include the limited rules for what constitutes a “Best Original Score”, the exclusion of minority artists by predominately white voting blocs, and the refusal of certain award ceremonies to break their predictable trends.
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