Will LISTEN UP PHILIP Get Your Attention?October 16, 2014

Will LISTEN UP PHILIP Get Your Attention?


On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today's review: LISTEN UP PHILIP (Tribeca).

Considering that writing is such a singular pursuit, it’s ironic that chasing the elusive muse has long been fodder for film fiction. From WONDER BOYS to BARTON FINK to MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, writers toiling over their works have populated film since the birth of the medium. The life of the scribe is examined once again in Alex Ross Perry’s LISTEN UP PHILIP.

Perry’s film focuses on one Philip Lewis Friedman, (Jason Schwartzman, THE DARJEELING LIMITED) a Brooklyn-based novelist living with his increasingly disengaged photographer girlfriend (Elisabeth Moss, THE ONE I LOVE).

Once something of an enfant terrible and now just a terrible adult, Philip is a narcissistic, self-obsessed writer methodically destroying every one of his relationships, whether romantic, platonic or professional. In need of both a place to work and and an escape valve, Philip accepts an invitation from once-great novelist Ike Zimmerman (Jonathan Pryce, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END), to stay at Zimmerman’s country house for a spell.



Jonathan Pryce and Jason Schwartzman in Listen Up Philip distributed by Tribeca Film.

Once Perry places the two scribes within close proximity of one another, it becomes clear that literary talent isn’t the only thing they have in common. The bitterness and dissatisfaction that both Philip and Ike exude makes them kindred assholes, with each considered such by Ike’s angry daughter (Krysten Ritter, "Breaking Bad"). Her encounters with the two novelists are marked by a surly churlishness that Ritter conveys without alienating herself to the audience.



Krysten Ritter in Listen Up Philip distributed by Tribeca Film.

Schwartzman imbues Philip with a measure of vulnerability that keeps him from being totally irredeemable; he employs the same inflated sense of self that we saw from him in RUSHMORE, keeping the world at arm’s length as a defense mechanism. It’s a daring, if not altogether pleasant performance.

LeBron James Produced SURVIVOR’S REMORSE Airs On StarzOctober 13, 2014

LeBron James Produced SURVIVOR’S REMORSE Airs On Starz

Rich Paul, left, Tom Werner, Maverick Carter, Mike O'Malley, LeBron James, Carmi Zlotnik (Phil Long/Invision for Starz)

Starz has teamed up with NBA superstar LeBron James to create “Survivor’s Remorse,” a comedy based on James’ personal experiences as a basketball phenomenon.



Karen Civil, Tom Werner, LeBron James, Johnny Manziel and Maverick Carter. (Photo by Phil Long/Invision for Starz Entertainment/AP Images)

 The six episode series follows Boston native Cam Calloway, played by Jessie T. Usher (WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL). Cam has just signed a multimillion dollar contract with the unnamed Atlanta basketball franchise. Young and excited, Cam throws down money on a high-rise condo, a truck for his high school coach, and everyday expenses for his uncle, played by Mike Epps (THE HANGOVER III), and sister, played by Erica Ash (SCARY MOVIE 5).



Cam (Jessie Usher), Cassie (Tichina Arnold), M-Chuck (Erica Ash), Missy (Teyonah Parris), Uncle Julius (Mike Epps)

 The series really picks up when Cam and his cousin/agent Reggie, played by RonReaco Lee (MADEA GOES TO JAIL), are confronted with a scandal that could destroy everything they’ve built. Cam’s mother, played by Tichina Arnold (MARTIN), just before leaving her smaller Boston home to go live with Cam, gives away a bunch of stuff to people in the hood. Marcus, played by Mo McRae (LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER), owes money to some gangsters and comes across a video tape of Cam getting high and spewing racial profanities and an old notebook of Cam’s, filled with sexual drawings.



Cam (Jessie Usher), Reggie (RonReaco Lee), Uncle Julius (Mike Epps)

 Cam doesn’t want to forget where he came from. Reggie wants him to distance himself from the problems that weigh heavily on Cam’s mind. Cam feels guilty that he can’t solve every issue that someone from his past faces.

This is LeBron James’ second foray into entertainment. The 29-year-old just filmed TRAINWRECK, a comedy directed by Judd Apatow, staring some of Hollywood’s funniest people, is due July 24, 2015. 

NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC Documentary - Now On DemandOctober 13, 2014

NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC Documentary - Now On Demand


On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC (Tribeca Film).


See the latest Independent Movie On Demand (IMOD) Trailers here...


By Ric Whitney

Public Enemy front man and rap music luminary, Chuck D often described rap as “CNN for Black people.” As such, Nasir Jones’ (Nas) 1994 seminal debut album “Illmatic” was musical reporting at its best live from the Queens, New York projects where he grew up.

Writer Erik Parker and director One9 recount the period and person behind “Illmatic,” NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC in this endearing and special tribute to Nas’ classic album. Nas has been quoted that “New York City wrote “Illmatic.” This suggestion is bolstered by the glimpse this documentary offers into life in Queensbridge both in 1994 and 20 years later.

NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC does a wonderful job of focusing the story on what twenty year-old Nas saw, how he lived and who and what influenced his “NY State of Mind.” One9 beautifully frames Nas, his Queensbridge Projects home, and his family and friends, setting the stage for Parker’s largely positive, but exceedingly informative narrative surrounding “Illmatic.”
NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC distributed by Tribeca Film. Credit: Danny Clinch

Some of the inevitable struggles that first time recording artists face are diminished in the film. However, the manner in which the viewer meets and gets to know the key characters in Nasir’s life far offset this one-sided nature.

Whether learning the details of Nas’ best friend, Willy "Ill Will" Graham’s death and its effect on the young artist, or becoming acquainted with Nas’ father, Jazz legend Olu Jones, and realizing his influence on Nas musically and more; the quality documentary style of NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC showcases an interesting account of Nas’ creativity and character. 
NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC distributed by Tribeca Film. Credit: Nasir Jones

THE AFFAIR - He Said, She SaidOctober 12, 2014

THE AFFAIR - He Said, She Said

The Affair (Showtime)

On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: “The Affair” (Showtime).

A perfect life: four beautiful, healthy children, a gorgeous, funny, smart, sexy wife, a newly published book, a brownstone in New York City and an estate on the beach in the Hamptons at which to summer. So you’re a little sexually frustrated because, well, four kids, and the summer house (and the money that paid for the brownstone) are really your smugly successful father-in-law’s, but it really is a perfect life. Why would you even be tempted to do anything to mess that up? That is both the question and the answers in “The Affair”, Showtime’s new series debuting October 12th.

Dominic West ("The Wire") is Noah Solloway, the man with the perfect life. He is tall, dark, and handsome, but in a rugged/sensitive way that would make him catnip for any predatory female. However, you get the sense he is not easily distracted away from his wife. His wife, Helen, is played by Maura Tierney, whose warmth and intelligence radiate out of her every pore.


Dominc West, The Affair (Showtime)

The other couple whose lives collide with the Solloways are Allison Bailey and Cole Lockhart. Their life is not so perfect. They are barely holding onto their folksy beachside full time home in the rapidly fancifying Hamptons with its weekend estates for the very wealthy. They are also mourning the death of their little boy. Allison works as a waitress in the local diner, which is where she first encounters the Solloways. Ruth Wilson (SAVING MR. BANKS) and Joshua Jackson ("Fringe," "Dawson’s Creek") are well-matched for Dominic West and Maura Tierney.


Ruth Wilson, The Affair (Showtime)

Since Helen (as played by Maura Tierney) is so utterly flawless, it would take quite an actress to be able to portray a character lovely enough and sympathetic enough to make it believable that someone married her would consider cheating on her. Ruth Wilson is well up to the challenge. With her incredible bone structure, her beauty is ethereal, but her tiny overbite brings her down to earth in a very sensuous way. Since her husband is portrayed by the handsome and lovable Joshua Jackson, it makes it hard to believe Allison could be drawn to anyone else. Yet, the attraction of Allison and Noah is obvious, and, at least so far, neither come off as bad people.

Told in a Rashomon-style showing the same events as remembered differently, "The Affair" isn’t in a hurry to get to the action. Instead it lets us get to know the characters, as experienced by Noah and Allison (at least it is their points of view in the first episode). It’s fascinating to see how each remembers the other as much smoother and cleverer than they remember themselves being. Retelling from varying aspects is an intriguing concept for a television series, and except for the heavy-handed voice-overs, it works well.

HOMELAND Season 4 - Her Without HimOctober 11, 2014

HOMELAND Season 4 - Her Without Him

Homeland (SHO)

On Demand Weekly provides new reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review:"Homeland" Season 4 (Showtime).

Seasons 2 and 3 of Homeland both started with Carrie in full lock-down psychiatric treatment. It would not have been surprising for Season 4 to start with Carrie in the hospital in full labor, but no, they skipped right over that and plunged us full into Carrie as Kabul Station Chief.

Carrie is already straining against the leash of her security team and wants to get out into the streets, but her staff is understandably not too happy with the attention an un-head-covered blonde walking around in a pant suit attracts. Back at her headquarters, Sandy (a buffed up Corey Stoll) is urging a hurried drone hit due to his never-been-wrong-before source. Carrie ok’s the hit, which of course kills numerous civilians and gets the ball rolling for Season 4’s Brody-free plot.


So how is our girl Carrie? She seems much stronger: confident and in charge. We see her taking her meds, although she is washing them down with Chardonnay, and needs a mouthguard, eyeshade and ear plugs to sleep. Yet when she successfully eludes her security team, we get to see The Smile for which Season 2’s first episode was named. That wonderful smile that Carrie just can’t contain when she is particularly pleased with herself.

Actually, we get to see that smile with some frequency this season (at least through the first 3 episodes). Carrie is feeling on top of her game, even when she screws up, she manipulates her way back into control. She even rather heartlessly uses Saul and Quinn’s love for her to get what she wants. I smell a big smackdown coming her way.


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