VEEP For President!May 04, 2012

VEEP For President!


Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies and shows on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: "VEEP" (HBO).

A Woman for All Seasons

By Jean Tait


Julia Louis-Dreyfus is great. Just try to imagine “Seinfeld” without Elaine. “The New Adventures of Old Christine” would never have even gotten the greenlight without her involvement (I certainly hope!). I know I never would have watched it. As it was, JLD’s delightful presence was the only worthwhile part of “Christine.” Now, finally, a show that stars Louis-Dreyfus that lives up to her talent! Julia Louis-Dreyfus is Selina Meyer, Vice President of the United States, in “Veep.”

Surrounded by a staff that all seem to have an agenda of their own, Madame Vice President is multi-tasking her multi-tasks. Cooly efficient Sue (Sufe Bradshaw), laser-focused and ambitious Dan (Reid Scott), harried but keenly observant chief of staff Amy (Anna Chlumsky), and “looks like a police sketch of a rapist” White House liaison Johah (the creepily good Timothy C. Simons) all juggle their competing and complementing interests while stepping on and/or over each other to get to the top. In addition to trying to manage her staff, and her agenda, Selina has problems of her own with a neglected daughter who can’t seem to get her attention, except as an additional agenda item.

While this is not a laugh out loud sitcom, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is comic gold. She never goes for the obvious (this is NOT a Sarah Palin impersonation, nor a Nancy Pelosi, nor a Hillary Clinton). JLD is mesmerizing, especially when there is a chance that the President is seriously ill, and she has step into his shoes. The myriad of emotions that fly across her face as she tries to keep it straight on concerned is truly amazing.

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BESIDE STILL WATERS - On DemandNovember 20, 2014



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: BESIDE STILL WATERS (Tribeca Film).

A group of childhood friends reunite after one member of the circle experiences the sudden death of his parents in a car accident in the indie film BESIDE STILL WATERS. It’s Daniel (Ryan Eggold, THE BLACKLIST) who’s lost his folks and the gang meets at his family lake house one last time before all is packed up and the house is sold. This is a location filled with nostalgia for everyone, and now it’s simmering with the intense need for mourning, and plenty of guilt as none of Daniel’s friends made it to the funeral.



THE BIG CHILL will certainly come to mind as you watch this film: old friends together again in a remote location, recent death in the air, past relationships rekindled. The kinds of conflicts you’d expect from such a scenario are on display early. Daniel’s ex-girlfriend Olivia (Britt Lower) arrives with a new fiance in tow, played by Reid Scott (VEEP). Martin and Abby are the married couple who have seen their passions cool, although Martin hopes this weekend can turn up the heat. Some of the pack have become successful, like reality TV star James (Brett Dalton, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.). Other are struggling, like Tom (Beck Bennett, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE) who was fired by his Dad just before the trip.

Overall the film succeeds in stirring up wistful longing for days gone by, like any sentimental story of this kind should. It does fall into some stereotypical traps, though. For example, a musical montage of the hilarious, drunken fun everyone is having during their first night in the house. One segment built around a drinking game named Whiskey Slaps is the comedic highlight of the film. If you can’t guess what a Whiskey Slap is, you’ll pick it up quickly once you see the concept in action.

Despite some of its emotional missteps, the film does hit a few notes exactly right. During a one conversation a character offers the cliche, “All’s fair in love and war” to which Tom questions, “What do we know about love and war?” A poignant commentary on this privledged pack. Director Chris Lowell also created a device wherein we see Danilel’s stream of consciousness memories in a quick series of black and white images. It’s the best choice from a craft/chatacter perspective in the film, and it continues to add dimension to Daniel through the picture.



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