The House


Peter Gallagher

Peter Gallagher and On the Twentieth Century each made their Broadway debuts during the same 1977 to '78 season. Since then, the musical has rarely been seen, but the actor has had one of those rare careers in which he's perpetually popped up in most every performance medium and genre without wearing out his welcome or curdling into type. On Broadway, he's run the gamut from Hair, in which he made that debut in the love-rock musical's short-lived first revival, to the tragic Long Day's Journey Into Night with Jack Lemmon and Kevin Spacey, to the golden-age musical Guys and Dolls with Nathan Lane. He's played key roles, usually as a slickster, in films that helped define their times, like Sex, Lies, and Videotape and The Player. On television, Gallagher has matured into authority figures—mostly trustworthy, sometimes not—on such series as The O.C. and Togetherness. He's even put out an album, 7 Days in Memphis, and toured the country with a cabaret act peppered, like his conversation, with spot-on impersonations of the many legends he's known.

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TAGS: Adolph Green, Betty Comden, cy coleman, guys and dolls, hair, kristin chenoweth, mike nichols, on the twentieth century, Peter Gallagher, robert altman, roundabout theatre company, the o.c., the player, togetherness


True Detective

Despite its poor rendition at the hands of a cheap Elvis impersonator, "The Rose" is the perfect song for Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) to hear as he dreamily drifts between life and death at the start of "Maybe Tomorrow." It's a song that hints at the ability of love to be both beautiful and violent, and which speaks directly to the episode's insistence on looking toward the future. Ray awakens in a puddle of his own urine, his shirt a mess of buckshot, but he's alive: "And the soul afraid of dyin'/That never learns to live."

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TAGS: colin farrell, maybe tomorrow, rachel mcadams, recap, true detective, vince vaughn


Hannibal

Last night's episode of Hannibal, "Contorno," is both conveniently and poetically ludicrous. Repetition has inescapably set into this season's Italian sojourn, which partially accounts for why last week's superb American flashback episode, "Aperitivo," felt so sharp. It's beyond time for Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) to be caught in Florence by Will (Hugh Dancy) or Jack (Laurence Fishburne), or even Mason (Joe Anderson), and returned to America to face his sins while presumably counseling a variety of enforcers on the behavior of other ingenious master killers. The show's dream logic has nearly reached a breaking point, as certain visual motifs are coming dangerously close to courting self-parody, such as when Inspector Rinaldo Pazzi (Fortunato Cerlino) uses a payphone and the audience is treated to a rapturous, slow-mo sequence of the quarter tumbling down the change slot. When Jack spreads Bella's ashes in a canal, the visual device makes emotional sense, but this is...a quarter. One awaits the pornographic opening of a Sprite bottle.

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TAGS: bryan fuller, contorno, fortunato cerlino, gillian anderson, hannibal, hugh dancy, Joe Anderson, laurence fishburne, mads mikkelsen, recap


Jason Segel

1. "The Rewriting of David Foster Wallace." Christian Lorentzen on the author's ever-morphing legacy.

"Nobody owns David Foster Wallace anymore. In the seven years since his suicide, he's slipped out of the hands of those who knew him, and those who read him in his lifetime, and into the cultural maelstrom, which has flattened him. He has become a character, an icon, and in some circles a saint. A writer who courted contradiction and paradox, who could come on as a curmudgeon and a scold, who emerged from an avant-garde tradition and never retreated into conventional realism, he has been reduced to a wisdom-dispensing sage on the one hand and shorthand for the Writer As Tortured Soul on the other."

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TAGS: a poem is a naked person, angelo muredda, christian lorentzen, david foster wallace, ela bittencourt, film comment, gaspar noé, gay marriage, john lasseter, les blank, Love, piotr szulkin, pixar, supreme court of the united states


Summer of '90: Die Hard 2

Die Hard 2

"What if a demon crept after you into your loneliest loneliness some day or night, and said to you: 'This life, as you live it at present, and have lived it, you must live it once more, and also innumerable times; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and every sigh, and all the unspeakably small and great in thy life must come to you again, and all in the same series and sequence—and similarly this spider and this moonlight among the trees, and similarly this moment, and I myself. The eternal sand-glass of existence will ever be turned once more, and you with it, you speck of dust!'—Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth, and curse the demon that so spoke? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment in which you would answer him: 'You are a God, and never did I hear anything so divine!'" — Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 1882, trans. Thomas Common

"How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice???" —John McClane, Die Hard 2, 1990

Most sequels try to hide from their derivative essence. This holds especially true for action sequels in the 1980s and 1990s, where plots, characters, and especially catchphrases are recycled once, twice, even five times, exalting in the security of their cookie-cutter form while pretending their predecessors hadn't done it all before. The Rambos of the world seemed to fit the latter answer to Nietzsche's hypothetical; eternal return gave them superhuman power, and big box-office revenues. What's one more sequel if it means a profitable new Paul Kersey adventure? But Die Hard 2 is no ordinary sequel. In almost every way, it embraces the former answer to Nietzsche's question. Die Hard 2 and its hero, John McClane (Bruce Willis), both revel and despair in the poetic absurdity of the story's premise.

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TAGS: bruce willis, Dennis Franz, die hard 2, friedrich nietzsche, Renny Harlin, summer of 90, William Sadler


Supreme Court

1. "Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide." In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the court ruled, 5-4, that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage

"'No longer may this liberty be denied,' Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. 'No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.' Marriage is a 'keystone of our social order,' Justice Kennedy said, adding that the plaintiffs in the case were seeking 'equal dignity in the eyes of the law.' The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and resistance—or at least stalling—in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions."

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TAGS: adam cook, amir ganjavie, gay marriage, jelani cobb, jia zhang-ke, legend, rape, Sean Baker, sonia saraiya, supreme court of the united states, tangerine, tom hardy


True Detective

There's stigmata of sorts forming on the ceiling above Frank Semyon's (Vince Vaughn) bed. Two water-stained eyes stare down at him, transfixing and keeping him awake, for in that casual decay he sees the fragility of the world. As he puts it, "It's like everything is papier-mâché." After all, he had "gone liquid" for his land deal with the Catalyst Group, and now that his middleman, Ben Caspere, has been tortured and murdered, all he has to show for his five-million-dollar investment is a double mortgage on his home and his poker room; his possessions, in other words, are as paper-thin as the money that bought them. And if his physical belongings aren't real, as he muses to his wife (Kelly Reilly), then isn't it possible that his life is also a dream? That he's still locked in a childhood nightmare, staving off rats in the darkness while waiting for his drunk of a father to come home?

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TAGS: Abigail Spencer, adria arjona, C.S. Lee, colin farrell, night finds you, rachel mcadams, recap, Ritchie Coster, taylor kitsch, true detective, vince vaughn, w. earl brown, yara martinez


Hannibal

The title of last night's episode of Hannibal, "Aperitivo," is a reference to an alcoholic drink served at the beginning of a meal to stimulate the appetite. Correspondingly, the episode functions as a tone-setter and palette cleanser, sketching in the events that immediately transpired in the wake of the titular character's rampage at the end of the last season. Conventionally, this should have been the first episode of this season, but what fun would that be? Up until now, creator Bryan Fuller and his collaborators have cast a disorienting pall over the series by pointedly refusing to provide us the American context of the events following last season's finale, leaving us feeling as estranged and uprooted as Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen), Will (Hugh Dancy), and Jack (Laurence Fishburne). Resisting a chronological structure, shunning a typical "procedural" narrative in which events cleanly flow into one another, Hannibal captures the irrationally circular nature of grief, which inspires the mind to go searching about randomly, looking at events of both great and seemingly minor consequence, replaying them and recasting them in sheens that serve to accommodate emotional realms in constant flux.

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TAGS: aperitivo, gina torres, glenn fleshler, hannibal, hugh dancy, laurence fishburne, mads mikkelsen, Raul Esparza, recap


Barack Obama

1. "Just a chat with your friendly neighborhood president." President Obama spent an hour Friday in a garage in Highland Park with comedian Marc Maron, taping an episode of Maron's "WTF" podcast.

"There were limits, of course. An unguarded politician is a contradiction in terms, where oversharing is a comic's stock in trade: You take your darkest garbage and spread it around on the table for a laugh. And yet the curious mix of introspection and extroversion that creates a comic is surely not foreign to many politicians—though one senses from this president that, like some performers and politicians, he does not need to look for approval outside himself. (Obama: 'Stuff that was buggin' ya, by the time you're 53, either you've worked it out or you've just forgiven yourself and you've said, 'Look, this is who I am.' 'Maron: 'Oh, I've got to write that down—I can just forgive myself?') Politicians live in the future; they plan, they predict, they promise. What the president says in light of a tragedy like the Charleston shootings, which the two discussed, has to consider both the awfulness of the moment and the better, saner place we might get to; declaring himself an optimist, Obama described Americans as 'overwhelmingly good, decent generous people' who are divided by politics and 'a media that is so splintered now that we're not in a common conversation.' Comedy can also take you to a better, saner place, by making you think and by making you laugh, but it is not in the business of delivering hope. It has a different slant on the human condition."

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TAGS: barack obama, eli roth, garden of allah, inside out, manohla dargis, marc maron, pixar, richard brody, seth macfarlane, ted 2, the green inferno, wesley morris


The Third Man

1. "Martin Scorsese on The Third Man: The best revelation in all cinema." The Hollywood director Martin Scorsese reveals how Carol Reed's classic British noir from 1949 has influenced him and why it feels as fresh as ever.

"[That] leads right into the great revelation of Harry Lime in the doorway with the cat—which is iconic. But it's more than that—it's one of the great epiphanies in movies: the cat turning the corner and nestling itself on those wing-tip shoes, and then Harry Lime being revealed when the light is turned on in the doorway and it shines in his face. Remember Walker Percy's great novel The Moviegoer? He refers to that moment in such a beautiful, special way. It became a moment internationally, a shared experience for a vast audience seeing that film. It's not just a dramatic revelation—there's something about Orson Welles' smile at that point that shifts everything to another level, and it sustains no matter how many times you see it. Welles comes into the picture about halfway through. That's the first time you actually see him, after you've spent so much time picturing him in your mind because everyone has been talking about him and thinking about him. So that might be the best revelation—or the best reveal, as they say—in all of cinema."

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TAGS: Ashley Clark, carol reed, hbo, james cameron, james horner, Jennie Livingston, los angeles review of books, marlon brando, martin scorsese, michelle chihara, Paris Is Burning, richard brody, sleeping with other people, terrence rafferty, the third man, titanic, true detective







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