A terrific cast elevates the thoughtful, stripped-down sci-fi of Marjorie Prime

B+

Sci-fi effects extravaganzas are a dime a dozen, but bona-fide sci-fi films—that is, movies that exemplify the so-called literature of ideas and not just the sci-fi aesthetic—are rare. Marjorie Prime, the offbeat indie stalwart Michael Almereyda’s thoughtful adaptation of a Pulitzer-nominated play by Jordan Harrison,…

Tim Robbins to play the hapless dad in Alan Ball’s latest HBO show

Tim Robbins is teaming back up with HBO, with Deadline reporting that the actor—who recently starred in and produced the network’s short-lived nuclear comedy The Brink—will take the lead role opposite Holly Hunter in Alan Ball’s untitled new show for the network. True to Ball’s non-vampire M.O., Robbins will play Greg…

Robert Altman affectionately skewered Hollywood with The Player

A-

Robert Altman’s adaptation of Michael Tolkin’s The Player—a novel that eviscerates ’80s Hollywood—begins with a lengthy joke that only cinema could make. As a studio security chief (Fred Ward) bitterly complains about the era’s ADD aesthetic (“All this cut, cut, cut,” he grumbles, blissfully unaware that Michael Bay…

Just how far did Tim Robbins tunnel in The Shawshank Redemption anyway?

Adapted from a Stephen King short story and originally released in 1994 to a middling reception, Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption currently tops the IMDB’s Top 250 and is probably playing on TNT right this minute. The whole world now knows how wrongfully accused Andy Dufresne (a never-more-earnest Tim…

The Brink: “Who’s Grover Cleveland?”

B

If “Sticky Wicket” was The Brink’s “the shit hits the fan” episode, then “Who’s Grover Cleveland?” is the “fallout from the shit hitting the fan” episode. It features a lot of intense discussions about Big Ideas, “tense” sequences involving fractured allegiances, some unnecessary nonsense about drug dealing in order…

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