ARTS IN LOS ANGELES
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November 2019

Celebrating the Arts since May 2012

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Television!

The Morning Show

The Morning Show is now streaming on Apple TV (Starring Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, and Jennifer Aniston)

The Morning Show

  • By Michael Jacobo
  • Photo Courtesy of Apple TV

It has been two years since Ronan Farrow’s reporting in The New Yorker helped initiate the #MeToo movement. Its ramifications are still being felt in the entertainment industry, and its influence is most definitely being milked. It was only a matter of time before television — or streaming, in this case —  jumped on the train. With the launch of Apple’s streaming platform, Apple+, comes the premiere of their most anticipated series, The Morning Show.

It’s not at all in bad taste; not when you have a strong cast and a sensitive, yet cautiously forward, narrative Jennifer Aniston, stars as Alex Levy, host of the popular news program The Morning Show. After Alex’s co-host of 15 years (Steve Carell) is fired by the network amid allegations of sexual misconduct (and there are hints of some deception by Alex, a trusted source in news) she faces her biggest challenge yet when her producers hire newcomer Bradley Jackson (played by Reese Witherspoon, of whom I’ve run out of words to describe. Can we just give her the Emmy?). Also starring are Billy Crudup (Spotlight), Mark Duplass (Zero Dark Thirty), and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (A Wrinkle in Time). Jay Carson, actual political adviser and consulting producer on House of Cards, wrote the pilot while Mimi Leder (On the Basis of Sex) directed.

For more details, click here.

The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid Live! airs November 5th on ABC (with John Stamos and Queen Latifah)

The Little Mermaid

  • By Arlene Winnick
  • Photo Courtesy of ABC

Get ready for the latest (and coolest) twist on network television’s live airings of Broadway shows – it’s The Little Mermaid Live! Yes, the cherished Disney animated ‘under the sea’ adventure will be given the never-seen hybrid treatment with live musical performances by an all-star cast woven into the broadcast of the original feature film.  Here’s how it works:  the film will be projected onto a giant surface on the Disney lot (in front of a live audience); for each of the 12 song numbers they will cut away from the film and the cast will perform live in full costumes amid intricate sets on a giant sound stage. Sounds incredible? Only Disney can make this happen!

And the cast…Wow. Auli’i Cravalho, the voice of Moana, plays Ariel, the mermaid princess of Atlantica.  Graham Phillips is Prince Eric; Queen Latifah is the hideous sea witch Ursula; reggae master Shaggy is Sebastian, the Jamaican crab, and John Stamos shines as the loveable Chef Louis.

The music including “Under the Sea,” “Part of Her World,” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls” comes from the original film and from the Broadway stage version, originally composed by eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken. The performances are magical with puppeteers bringing some of the sea creatures to life and high flying aerialists adding to the action. What a way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the animated classic!

For more details, click here.

Prodigal Son

The Prodigal Son is now airing on Fox (Starring Michael Sheen and Tom Payne)

Prodigal Son

  • By Michael Jacobo
  • Photo Courtesy of Fox

Countless father-and-son narratives have dominated film and television. Most are derived from the parable of the prodigal son. A tale as old as time (literally) the story goes of a young son who wasted his father’s inheritance, and when he expected to be reprimanded on his return home, he’s instead forgiven and accepted by his father. Cute, however there’s always a good twist to that story that’s worth telling.

Nearing its first season finale, Prodigal Son on Fox delivers a premise where the son is accepted, except that the son does not want that type of relationship. Tom Payne (The Walking Dead) stars as Malcolm Bright, a criminal profiler for the NYPD. His life — and sanity — takes a turn when he’s tasked with catching a copy cat serial killer. The copy cat’s main source of inspiration? The Surgeon, a.k.a. Martin Whitly, Malcom’s father (and a delightfully evil Michael Sheen). Malcolm must now begrudgingly work with his father to be one step ahead of the copy cat, and also of Martin’s criminal mind tricks. Also starring are Lou Diamond Phillips (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The 33) and Bellamy Young (Scandal). The series was created by Sam Sklaver (Deception) and Chris Fedak (Chuck). Seasoned television producer Greg Berlanti serves as executive producer for the series.

Prodigal Son” is now airing on Fox.

THE LAUNDROMAT

The Laundromat is now streaming on Netflix (with Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, and Antonio Banderas)

THE LAUNDROMAT

  • By J. COOK
  • Photo Courtesy of NETFLIX

Steven Soderberg’s The Laundromat is a fascinating yarn about money laundering and the real-life company Mossack Fonseca. It tells three separate stories from around the world. With a screenplay by Scott Z. Burns, it features an impressive cast — Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, Jeffrey Wright, David Schwimmer, James Cromwell, Sharon Stone, Will Forte, Chris Parnell, James Cromwell, Rosalind Chao, and more. This group of actors doing Ishtar 2 would be something most of us would want to check out! The Laundromat had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival this past September and is now streaming on Netflix.

The story is based on elements of the Panama Papers (aka the Mossack Fonseca Papers) and the fictitious business that helped shelter billions of dollars (belonging to both wealthy individuals and some public officials). Direct address, divergent storylines, and colorful characterizations help bring the world of this tale to life and make a difficult topic both entertaining and informative. There are notably strong performances from two lesser known actors — Nonso Anozie and Jessica Allain — who create empathy and intrigue in their segment and encapsulate the takeaway of this ninety-minute gem: that there are still many such companies in existence and the practice of money laundering and corruption through fake trusts and shell companies based in tax havens is still widespread. Go Soderberg! The guy can’t miss.

The Laundromat” is now streaming on Netflix.

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