Television Show Review: The Night Of

The Night Of

The Night Of created by Richard Price and Steven Zallian (BBC Worldwide Productions, HBO, Film Rites) Starring Riz Ahmed, Peyman Moaadi, Poorna Jagannathan, John Turturro, Jeannie Berlin, Paul Sparks, Amara Karan, Bill Camp, and Michael Kenneth Williams. Put the Kettle On Surprise! The systems around which you operate influence you. Example: I work with a British expatriate. My lexicon now skews toward sayings like “Put the kettle on” instead of “Boil water” and “Two weeks’ time” instead of “Two weeks from now.” It’s a small example but it goes to show how external influences alter who we are, how we act, and what we believe. When it comes to murder mysteries, most narrative arcs focus on the “whodunnit” aspect of… Read More →

Television Show Review: Vinyl: Season 1

Vinyl Season 1

Vinyl: Season 1 created by Rich Cohen, Mick Jagger, and Martin Scorsese (Paramount Television, Sikelia Productions, Jagged Films) Starring Bobby Cannavale, Paul Ben-Victor, P. J. Byrne, Max Casella, Ato Essandoh, James Jagger, J. C. MacKenzie, Jack Quaid, Olivia Wilde, Juno Temple, and Ray Ramano. Design Failure In my line of work, we like to discuss the weight of organizational identity. In particular, the visual mark of a company cannot carry the entire strategic sensibility of the business. If a logo represents every last detail of the organization, it will crumble under the pressure. The design will fail. For this reason, I think of logos when I consider the effectiveness of HBO’s Vinyl. At its core, Vinyl depicts the shifting music… Read More →

Television Show Review: House of Cards: Season 4

House of Cards Season 4

House of Cards: Season 4 created by Beau Willimon (Media Rights Capital, Panic Pictures, Trigger Street Productions, Netflix) Starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Nathan Darrow, Mahersala Ali, Molly Parker, Jayne Atkinson, and Elizabeth Marvel. All Hail the Death of Political Drama Political drama is dead. We have killed it. Over the previous three seasons of House of Cards, the Achilles’ heel of an addictive show emerged in its suspension of disbelief. The viewer can only go so far before the murder, betrayal, and political scheming becomes absurd. And yet, our current political climate suggests we aren’t going far enough to push the absurdity of our political drama. Granted, none of our current Presidential runners go to the depths… Read More →

Television Show Review: American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson

American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson

American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson created by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (20th Century Fox Productions, Ryan Murphy Productions, Color Force) Starring Sterling K. Brown, Kenneth Choi, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Christian Clemenson, Bruce Greenwood, Nathan Lane, Sarah Paulson, David Schwimmer, John Travolta, and Courtney B. Vance. But a Quarter We are but a quarter into 2016 and I would suggest the current cultural milieu continues to ask questions about the meaning of justice and diversity in our modern age. Perhaps in part to the demagogues running for president, society asks questions about non-white perspectives on the world. What does life mean for those without privilege? Culture wants this question answered. Ta-Nehisi Coates publishes a critically acclaimed… Read More →

Television Show review: The Leftovers: Season 2

The Leftovers Season 2

The Leftovers: Season 2 created by Damon Lindelof (Warner Bros. Television) Starring Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley, Regina King, Kevin Carroll, Jovan Adepo, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Carrie Coon. *SPOILER ALERT FOR PREVIOUS SEASONS* So That You Might Believe What are the parameters of your belief? In a post-modern society, many might not consider belief to be a warranted pursuit. But, in truth, we all believe something. For the rationalist and the naturalist, that faith might connect to scientific pursuits. For others, belief might correspond with a person—the savior of a certain group, or the benefactor of another. And many channel belief into an organized religion. But at its core, faith is required… Read More →

Television Show Review: BoJack Horseman: Season 2

BoJack Horseman Season 2

BoJack Horseman: Season 2 created by Ralph Bob-Waksberg (Netflix, Tornante Company, ShadowMachine Films) Starring Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul, Amy Sedaris, and Paul F. Tompkins. Surprisingly Human Can you recall a tag line? Any tag line. Seriously. Not many are memorable. There are the classics, like “Just Do It.” But for the most part, tag lines represent vanilla pudding. While most tag lines provide bland descriptions of a good or service, some stand out for distinct reasons. Animal Planet, for example, has the tag line, “surprisingly human.” It’s a good tag, albeit a little odd. It attempts to draw the connections between our quadrupedal brethren. It also fits considering the myriad of reality television now residing on the channel…. Read More →

Television Show Review: Bloodline: Season 1

Bloodline Season 1

Bloodline: Season 1 created by Glenn Kessler, Todd A. Kessler, and Daniel Zelman (Netflix, KZK Productions, Sony Pictures Television) Starring Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Linda Cardellini, Norbet Leo Butz, Sissy Spacek, and Sam Shepard. A New Kind of Show If you haven’t logged on to Netflix lately, you’ll be surprised at the amount of Netflix-specific programming. The manner in which content releases creates new viewing experiences. The first hint at this new frontier occurred with House of Cards as the whole season released at once caused binge watchers to… well… binge. The release-the-season-all-at-once strategy allows the writers and producers to reconsider how to approach a show. While Bloodline isn’t the binge-watching cocaine addiction of its Netflix brethren, the medium provides… Read More →

Film Review: The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game written by Graham Moore and directed by Morten Tyldum (The Weinstein Company, Black Bear Pictures, Bristol Automotive, PG-13, 114 min) Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kiera Knightley, Matthew Goode, and Charles Dance. The Weight of Story In my line of work, we like to remind clients that a logo cannot bear the full weight of a brand. If you try to inject every little part of the business into your visual expression, it will break under such immensity. The same principle applies to many forms of art. If you try and do too much, it’s going to be a mess. It doesn’t matter if it’s a song, a story, or a sculpture, throw too much into the mix and… Read More →

Television Show Review: Parks and Recreation: Season 7

Parks and Recreation Season 7

Parks and Recreation: Season 7 created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur (Deedle-Dee Productions, 3 Arts Entertainment, Universal Media Studios) Starring Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Aziz Ansari, Jim O’Heir, Retta, and Adam Scott. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Seasons* Job Satisfaction A recent Gallup poll exhibits the stark issues America faces in the workforce. Approximately 70% of the workforce hates their job. Even worse, around 40% of the workforce actively inhibits performance in the workplace due to poor job satisfaction. We are afflicted with unhappiness. We barely put up with the people around us for 40 hours a week. Given these trends, the pure joy and wish fulfillment at the core of Parks and Recreation represents an… Read More →

Film Review: The Skeleton Twins

The Skeleton Twins

Skeleton Twins written and directed by Craig Johnson (Duplass Brothers Productions, Venture Forth, Roadside Attractions, R, 93 min) Starring Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell. A Special Bond? Rumor has it that twins share a special connection. Some even create their own language. What does that bond look like as they grow up and start their own families? The relationship between twins functions as the central theme to Craig Johnson’s The Skeleton Twins. Twins A dark comedy, the film begins with Milo (Bill Hader) finishing a suicide note before reclining in a bath tub to slit his wrists. Simultaneously, his twin sister Maggie (Kristen Wiig), three time zones away, prepares to swallow a lethal dose of pills. Before… Read More →