CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.
CHICAGO – While there were a few nice surprises (Vera Farmiga! Laura Dern!), the 2013 Emmy nominations were a largely predictable bunch, including most of the nominees from last year, including “Breaking Bad,” “Homeland,” “Downton Abbey,” “Mad Men,” “Modern Family,” and many more.
CHICAGO – Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is no longer the most popular person in the room. Time, depression, alcoholism, and the changing politics have altered this character, once such a vital force of human nature. Remember the days when everything Don said hit with the client? When he could juggle secret pasts and multiple mistresses? One of the most prominent arcs of “Mad Men” overall has been how that Don is fading away as the ’60s head toward the next decade.
CHICAGO – Zombies. Dragons. Gangsters. Meth dealers. David Lynch. It was a weird year for television. Was it a good year? Sorta. It was nowhere near the landmark year of 2011 but there was still a lot to like and it was easy to get to 30 shows worth mentioning.
CHICAGO – It may feel like the bloom is off the rose a little bit for “Mad Men” as the AMC hit has seen some of its acclaim stolen by other cable hits like “Breaking Bad,” “Homeland,” and “The Walking Dead.” And yet this is still a great show with yet another stellar Blu-ray season release from Lionsgate. Complete with commentaries and interesting special features, this release is in keeping with the stellar first four season releases for this multi-Emmy-Award winner.
CHICAGO – The 64th Annual Emmy Awards will go down on Sunday night and this year promises to be more unpredictable than ever…unless it’s not. While most pundits are thinking that this is the year that the Academy will take risks and award new blood, there’s just as much of a chance that we’ll see as many repeat winners as ever, maybe more.
CHICAGO – Do you know what separates AMC from a majority of networks? The art of the ensemble. The multi-Emmy-winning casts of “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” are the bars against which most current dramas are measured. There were issues with some of the writing behind “The Killing” but no one ever complained about the performances. And it’s the people of “The Walking Dead” that keep it interesting.
CHICAGO – Last year represented a notable leap forward for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences as they finally embraced a few critical darlings over popular favorites, finding room for major nominations for shows like “Louie,” “Justified,” “Game of Thrones,” and “Parks and Recreation.”
CHICAGO – So you’re an Academy voter who has put off filling out your ballot for the 2011-12 season. I understand. It’s been a ridiculously tough year for me to pick and choose my dream nominees for the major categories and my votes don’t even count. Maybe you want some help? We’re all about charity here. As someone who’s seen more TV in the last year than most people do in their lives, let me guide the way.
CHICAGO – Joel Murray, as most people know, comes from the Murray clan of Wilmette, Illinois, which includes his fellow actor brothers Brian Doyle and Bill. He has established himself as a memorable TV and movie character actor, and portrays a man gone wild in the Bobcat Goldthwait-directed “God Bless America.”