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In Treatment (#110 of 6)

On the Rise Dane DeHann

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On the Rise: Dane DeHaan

20th Century Fox

On the Rise: Dane DeHaan

The bookish geek and the boyish heartthrob merge in the personage of Dane DeHaan, a 26-year-old Pennsylvania native who’s suddenly swimming in Hollywood deals. DeHaan was largely unknown less than one year ago, when his most famous turn was as Jesse D’Amato on HBO’s In Treatment, the veritable talent factory that also nurtured Mia Wasikowska, the actor’s Lawless co-star. In February 2012, winter’s annual glut of multiplex garbage was given a minor boost by Chronicle, a found-footage genre flick that saw DeHaan play a teen abusing newfound superpowers. Like Leonardo DiCaprio before him, DeHaan has that classic look of cherubic blond innocence, tinged with enough awkwardness (and bottled-up rage) to aid an outcast volatility. It’s a quality that’s given DeHaan a cool dramatic edge, ever since he went all Firestarter in Chronicle and scored ample critical kudos. He also put himself on casting directors’ radar, as proven by the rush of roles that have steadily followed his breakthrough.

Rotterdam 2012: Room 514

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Rotterdam 2012: <em>Room 514</em>
Rotterdam 2012: <em>Room 514</em>

Sharon Bar-Ziv’s debut feature, shot over the course of five days after an intense period of rehearsals, strives for a handheld immediacy and raw emotional power that it only intermittently achieves. More than anything else, Room 514 plays like a stripped-down, if not downright impoverished, version of A Few Good Men, in which an army newcomer’s zeal is pitted against the unwritten, near-atavistic code of old timers and their ruthlessly programmed minions.

When Anna (Asia Neifeld), a Russian-born Israeli soldier serving as an MP, starts to interrogate members of an elite “Samaria Wolves” battalion about an alleged incident of excessive anti-Palestinian violence, she opens a can of worms quite impossible to handle. A young woman standing up to her supposed peers, she has to deal with a torrent of verbal abuse, ranging from sexist remarks (“You cunt”) to political allegations (“You leftie”) to ethnic slurs (“You little Russian”). Her dignity undermined but her resolve undaunted, Anna grows steadier in her sense of purpose after one of the soldiers decides to cooperate. But then things take a unexpectedly tragic turn.

In Treatment Revisited: Week Two

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<em>In Treatment</em> Revisited: Week Two
<em>In Treatment</em> Revisited: Week Two

At the end of last week’s review, I noticed a tag identifying me as a psychology student. While technically correct, I wanted to clarify my point of view a bit beyond that of an aspiring Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne). For most of my adult life, I’ve bounced from therapist to therapist, the success of my therapy being less a direct result of the quality of professional I was seeing, and more manifesting as a direct corollary of how much I was willing to work in therapy.

In Treatment Revisited: Week One

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<em>In Treatment</em> Revisited: Week One
<em>In Treatment</em> Revisited: Week One

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That seems to be what the individuals running HBO’s series In Treatment are telling us with the first batch of episodes of its sophomore season. Back in the therapist’s chair as Dr. Paul Weston is Gabriel Byrne, whose portrayal of Weston manages to make the character the best and the worst therapist of all time.

season two opens on the heels of much upheaval in Paul’s life. He’s relocated to Brooklyn after divorcing his wife and has restarted his practice in his apartment. The premiere begins with an off-hours knock on the door by Alex Prince Sr. (Glynn Turman), informing Paul that the Navy has found no mechanical malfunction with regards to his son’s death and subsequently serving him with papers for a lawsuit.

Television Year Zero: 2008 in Review

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Television Year Zero: 2008 in Review
Television Year Zero: 2008 in Review

I started out 2008 as a paid TV critic with a happily stable and sedate personal life that rarely edged into something all that exciting. After a series of corporate maneuvers seemingly designed to leave me weeping in the street early in the year and a last week of the year that spent most of its time beating the hell out of me, I’ve been more than ready to leave 2008 behind and stride off into the untamed wildness of 2009.

Normally, as bad shit was going down, I would find my solace in the world of television, but television pretty much sucked in 2008. The long, hazy hangover of the strike that we began the year still dealing with cast its pall over the rest of the year with a dread efficiency, and after a while, I just didn’t even want to turn on the TV anymore to watch something like Sons of Anarchy fight its way through its growing pains. Also, I spent a couple of months working for Barack Obama’s election (yay!), inadvertently setting in motion events that would reverberate through the rest of my life, and I just didn’t watch a ton of TV in that time period. So I’m maybe not as caught up as everyone else, but that’s why we have special awards.

Anyway, 2008 was a terrible year for TV. Sweet little shows I actually enjoyed were canceled (Pushing Daisies) while Dancing With the Stars’ ratings hegemony grew ever stronger. One network ceded a WHOLE HOUR of primetime to Jay Leno. JAY LENO! The writers strike shortened seasons of just about everything. Some shows returned and had a problem matching their pre-strike heights (30 Rock), while others went away for nine or ten months and returned when no one could even remember they existed (Pushing Daisies again). Some STILL aren’t back (my beloved Big Love returns in January). I mean, not ALL television was bleak—Mad Men ignored the industry-wide memo and gave us one of the best seasons of television ever, while Lost and Battlestar Galactica each hit new creative highs—but the fact that The Wire and The Shield both wrapped up, with BSG and Lost soon to follow, made things SEEM that much bleaker. Mad Men can only take us so far, especially with Matthew Weiner getting stiffed on a new contract deal.

So rather than make a list of shows that had SEASONS I found uniformly excellent in 2008 (because I get to six or so, and then I just start giving out lower slots to shows I’m effectively patting on the head for just trying so darn hard), here’s a list of 20 episodes and TV moments I unquestioningly enjoyed this year, followed by a few special awards for shows that maybe never pull it all together but offer up a fun element or two for the discerning TV fan.