TV Series: Chicago PD

The latest new serise from Law & Order creator Dick Wolf shows that he hasn’t run out of steam in reimagining the police procedural as the moral and ethical tales of our times and its crimes.
Sure, there’s his formula of mixing genders, true-to-life milieus, long-term character development and bringing both shock and warmth to the table. But it’s still fresh and at its edgiest yet and most morally ambiguous with a Windy City special intelligence unit run by a hard-bitten veteran who carries some stains of being a dirty cop.
Hence it’s also likely Wolf’s most real depiction of what happens in a big city cop shop, and as always, well written and acted and peppered with plot twists. I’m hooked.

Movie: Nebraska

Great filmmaking that finds big and significant things in seemingly small yet pungent stories is alive and well in this standout from 2014, and in black & white no less (which can be as much a visual treat as the splashiest color films and in ways that only the two-tones can offer). Bruce Dern gives a performance of a lifetime as a crotchety oldster on a mission whose old-school logic and honesty have a revelatory power, and Bob Odenkirk as one of his sons continues to prove as he did in Breaking Bad that he’s a comic actor with genuine range and depth.
It gently runs a gamut of emotions from humor to sadness to touching and points in between, feels like real life, makes the bleak midwest scenic in a fashion that express the character of those that live here, and ultimately makes the most of modesty in cinematic to create a lovely resonant gem.

TV Series: Vice

I find it highly ironic that my least favorite, tacky and shallow major modernist web publications has somehow spun off an often urgent, daring and challenging TV news magazine on HBO that shows how far the likes of 60 Minutes has fallen.
It travels the globe to hit hot spots, uncover scandals, show genuine cultural oddities and bring the rest of the globe as it really is into American households.
Now in its second season, Vice continues to keep it real and pull no punches in ways that many of the veteran TV news gathering operations could and should take a few clues from.

From The Progressive Populist, May 1, 2014


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