Is Any Part of Bill Cosby's Legacy Worth Salvaging?

Categories: Film and TV

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A promotional image for the The Cosby Show.
BY INKOO KANG

Bill Cosby's present is secure. Despite the 17 women (so far) who have publicly come forward with notably similar allegations of drug-enabled sexual assault, the comedian received standing ovations for his stand-up performances in the Bahamas and in Florida recently. His comeback tour will likely continue over the next few months. A handful of venues have canceled his engagements, but more than two dozen shows remain on the schedule.

Cosby's legacy, however, may be marred forever. Unsurprisingly, it's the cultural critics who grew up worshipping his TV family -- those who feel the betrayal of The Cosby Show's wholesomeness most acutely -- who have led the charge in renouncing everything the comedian has ever done. Roxane Gay powerfully (if not entirely convincingly) argued that, in the case of Cosby, the choice is "art or humanity": "There is only one side that matters ... We have to stop supporting any of his endeavors. His art does not absolve him. Art is nothing compared to humanity, nothing at all." Mike Ryan was no less absolute: "All the good he did -- and his contributions to popular culture really did do a lot of good -- is now ruined."

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Bob's Prop Shop in Dallas Gets Reality Show Treatment on the Reelz Channel

Categories: Film and TV

A car shop that only builds screen-accurate reproductions of famous cars like The A-Team van and Doc Brown's DeLorean from Back to the Future sounds like a much more interesting target for a reality show than a group of white trash, beauty pageant freaks without a moral compass.

Apparently executives at the Reelz Channel agree with us.

Robert Moseley, owner and operator of Bob's Prop Shop in Flower Mound, says Reelz will debut Screen Machines, a reality show based around his movie car business, Tuesday, Dec. 2nd. The series will also get its first public screening at a special premiere on the same day at the Alamo Drafthouse in Richardson.

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Has Jennifer Lawrence Outgrown Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games?

Categories: Film and TV

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Photo: Murray Close
Jennifer Lawrence in Mockingjay
Can The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 keep up with the first two films? Why was the final book split into two movies? Does Katniss even want to be part of this revolution? On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, we discuss all things Hunger Games before moving onto a documentary about Sheffield, England's Pulp, and finishing with a recommendation for Happy Valley, a documentary on the fallout after the Penn State scandal. Be sure to follow our hosts on Twitter: Alan Scherstuhl (@studiesincrap), Stephanie Zacharek (@szacharek), and Amy Nicholson (@theamynicholson).

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How Reality TV Went From Launchpad to Dumpster

Categories: Film and TV

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A Season 1 Kardashian
BY INKOO KANG

Minor spoilers for the second episode of The Comeback's sophomore season.

It's no mystery why The Comeback, which returned for its second season this past Sunday after a nine-year hiatus, never became a big hit for HBO. Other mockumentaries like The Office, Parks and Recreation and Modern Family have thrived, but Lisa Kudrow and Michael Patrick King's Hollywood-based cringe comedy centers on a protagonist who's uniquely difficult to relate to: a middle-aged, out-of-work actress whose career depends on eating shit with a polite grin, and who doesn't mind making certain other people eat shit too when she's in the position to do so.

The Comeback's eight-episode sophomore season is powerful and amusing and sad, and Kudrow is astoundingly good as Valerie Cherish, the gratingly chirpy has-been sitcom star barely suppressing her enormous desperation and rage. Season 2 finds Valerie signing up for a co-starring role in an HBO drama that's written by and based on the experiences of her hateful ex Paulie G. (Lance Barber). Valerie plays Mallory, a misogynistic caricature of herself, while omnipresent cameras hired by the actress film her every move and humiliation, like being told by a network exec that she "still look[s] real," i.e., old. 

It's telling, though, that these eight new episodes take their aim not at reality TV (like the first season did) but at the testosterone-fueled, sexually exploitative, auteur-driven cable dramas that HBO's proudest offerings comprise. The season premiere does feature cameos from RuPaul, Top Chef's Carla Hall, and Beverly Hills Housewives cast member Lisa Vanderpump, as well as name-checks of other Housewives Bethenny Frankel and Teresa Giudice. But as anxious and reckless as Valerie is with her professional choices, even she's over reality TV: "I was there at the beginning [of the genre] with The Comeback [Valerie's reality show]. Back then, it was just me and people eating bugs on Survivor." Cameras still follow Valerie around everywhere, but it's no longer for a shot at Bravo's schedule; rather, they're creating behind-the-scenes footage for Valerie's new show, Seeing Red.

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Podcast: It's Our All 'Daily Show' Week with 'Foxcatcher' and 'Rosewater'

Categories: Film and TV

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It's a special The Daily Show edition of the Voice Film Club podcast, as we talk about Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher (starring Steve Carell) and move onto Rosewater, the movie Jon Stewart left The Daily Show for three months in 2013 to direct. Both are in theaters starting November 14.

Here's a full rundown of this week's podcast. Click on the links to read more about each topic.

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Found Footage Festival Returns to Texas Theatre With an Armload of Awkward

I never thought the DVD would fall from grace so quickly. The digital media revolution was inevitable but who knew it would happen so fast? Places like Netflix, Crackle and Hulu haven't just eliminated the need for a DVD player to watch movies. Traditional broadcast and cable television may very soon become obsolete. At this rate, it won't be long before you won't need a television to watch your favorite shows. Someone can just beam a broadcast directly into your central cortex and you can watch anything you've ever wanted until your mind literally melts from all the radiation such a signal would produce.

It's a shame because it wasn't that long ago when VHS tapes were still around and even the most horrid productions gave us hours of awkward, hilarious entertainment. Thankfully, the folks behind The Found Footage Festival are out there collecting these relics of poorly lit productions from garage sales and thrift shops to present them the way God intended them to be seen: in a theater by a crowd of drunken voyeurs.

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Film Podcast: Interstellar Is Grand But It Doesn't Connect

Categories: Film and TV

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Christopher Nolan's space epic Interstellar is a big, ambitious picture but it didn't connect with our critics. We discuss the film at the top of this week's podcast before moving onto a few other notable films on screens large and small this week.

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The Fall Season's 5 Best New Series and Its 5 Biggest Disappointments

Categories: Film and TV

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Jane the Virgin is this fall's most charming new show.
BY INKOO KANG

There's more television today than at any other point in the medium's history, but there's a good chance you're stuck in a TiVo rut. That's because, with a handful of exceptions, this fall has delivered a truckload of mediocrity and dead-on-arrival trends. (Goodbye, "rom-sit-coms" like the already canceled A to Z and Manhattan Love Story. Farewell, hopefully forever, comedies about women whose defining characteristic is their poor job performance, like spring's Bad Teacher and autumn's Bad Judge.)

Fortunately, there are a few new shows with fresh perspectives, novel conceits, encouragingly diverse casts, and/or deep emotional undercurrents worthy of your Hulu queue. And, of course, there are the season's letdowns -- not necessarily the worst the small screen has to offer, but the ones that suffer the greatest lapse between expectations and execution. Here are this fall's five best new series -- and its five biggest disappointments.


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Film Podcast: John Wick Restores Our Faith in Violent Movies

Categories: Film and TV

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Keanu Reeves in John Wick
On this week's Voice Film Club podcast, we welcome Village Voice contributor and filmmaker Zachary Wigon, who tells us about his paranoid thriller The Heart Machine (iTunes).

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Alamo Drafthouse to Break Ground on Its Downtown Location With A Free Movie

Categories: Film and TV

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Courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse

The Alamo Drafthouse is about to launch a massive invasion on the Dallas-Fort Worth area, opening several new theaters, and it starts downtown with a new movie house on South Lamar Street. Developers for the new theater announced plans to break ground on the construction next month but a gathering of geekdom like the Alamo Drafthouse would never let a gaggle of rich guys break ground on theater.

No, fans of the Austin-based institution just wouldn't stand for it. There would be an uprising with torches and pitchforks that would make the raid on Dr. Frankenstein's monster in the original 1931 classic look like a high school pep rally.

In keeping with the theater chain's reputation for cinematic good times, it will celebrate the groundbreaking on Saturday, November 8 on the South Lamar Street site with a free outdoor screening and plenty of chances to fill up on food and drink.

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