“Unauthorized Cinnamon” is a fantastic episode that provides some of the most exciting revelations and funniest moments in Deadwood thus far.
Deadwood winds itself up tight in “A Rich Find,” placing newcomer Odell square in the lion’s den as he seeks out Hearst against his mother’s wishes. Esther and Søren discuss.
“A Two-Headed Beast” is a showdown between Deadwood’s two chief rivals – but it also features the conclusion to one of the saddest, and most prescient, storylines in the series so far. Esther and Søren discuss.
“Full Faith and Credit” delicately balances Deadwood’s racial dynamics while offering some deeper introspection about who its leading characters really are. Esther and Søren discuss.
On a technical level, “True Colors” is often bizarre and always interesting; narratively, this is some of the most exciting material we’ve seen in Deadwood.
“I Am Not the Fine Man You Take Me For” is an episode that makes a frightening declaration about who Hearst is and what Seth and Al are up against.
In “Tell Your God to Ready for Blood,” director Mark Tinker revels in Deadwood’s brewing conflict between George Hearst, Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen. Esther and Søren discuss.
However (un)satisfactorily “The Iron Throne” concludes Game of Thrones, it also brings our podcast series, “Stark Contrast,” to a bittersweet end. This week, Esther and Søren close out Stark Contrast.
In Game of Thrones’ “The Bells,” Miguel Sapochnik once again uses every visual trick he can find to try reanimate a show long past its prime. Esther, Søren and guest host Josh Lewis discuss.
“The Last of the Starks” struggles to justify its own existence as Game of Thrones meanders in the wake of its climactic battle with Death itself.
Release the confetti, folks: Miguel Sapochnik is back for “The Long Night.” This week we’re treated to 80-ish minutes of Game of Thrones‘ best remaining director choreographing the largest and most complex battle sequence in the show’s history. The results are immediately evident as a striking opening shot of Sam Tarly’s (John Bradley) shaking hands […]
After a rough season premiere, Game of Thrones veteran Bryan Cogman turns the show in a positive direction with “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” Cogman is responsible for writing some of the show’s best episodes (including Season 1’s “Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things” and Season 4’s “Oathkeeper”). His dialogue and character work shows a […]
Welcome back to Stark Contrast! We’re happy to return to our perennial podcast show where we discuss Game of Thrones. This week, we’re kicking off with the Season 8 premiere, “Winterfell.” It’s a slow burn re-introduction to the denizens of Westeros and Essos that never managed to get J and me excited about the series […]
After last week’s dirge, Deadwood closes out Season 2 with the fantastic “Boy the Earth Talks To.” Director Ed Bianchi is back and it’s immediately apparent. His clever use of depth of field and of framing immediately permeate event he more mundane scenes. Tonally the show also strikes a contrast with its predecessor, trading day […]
Watching “The Whores Can Come” in such proximity to the finale, “By the Earth Talks To,” draws a striking contrast. This episode is a funeral: a sunny daytime tale where black clothes contrast with a bright backdrop. The joy of its successor is nowhere to be found; Seth (Timothy Olyphant) and Martha (Anna Gunn) languish […]
J and I both enjoyed “Advances, None Miraculous” from writer Sarah Hess and Deadwood film director Dan Minahan, J going to far as to call it their favorite episode. The episode features a distinct technical touch, embracing techniques like rack focus and dolly shots to set emphasize characters and set scenes, respectively. These little moments […]
Director Ed Bianchi does excellent work with “Amalgamation and Capital.” The episode focuses on Seth’s (Timothy Olyphant) nephew and adopted son, William (Josh Eriksson), whose amiable interactions with different players in the camp put a lighter spin on the Deadwood cast. To build the tension of several plot threads, Bianchi uses clever editing reminiscent of […]
“Childish Things” is outstanding television. Director Tim Van Patten and writer Regina Corrado offer beautiful vignette-like portraits of human relationships within Deadwood. Meanwhile, the denizens of the camp — enemies and allies alike — coalesce around a charming wager as to whether or not Tom Nuttall (Leon Rippy) can ride his newfangled bicycle across the […]
“E.B. Was Left Out” is a generally fantastic episode of Deadwood, even if both J and I found the subplot about the new prostitutes in the Chinese part of camp to be distasteful in presentation. Director Michael Almereyda adds small touches here and there to keep things interesting, particularly in his framings of otherwise ordinary […]
“Something Very Expensive” is an explosive episode that finally delivers on the foreboding promise of Mr. W (Garret Dillahunt). Here we finally see his truest colors, only hinted at before. He sees the world as transactional; there are proclivities he would like satisfied, and George Hearst provides the capital to cover for his indulgences. Sometimes […]
Following a more by-the-numbers episode last week, Deadwood is back with a vengeance in “Complications” under the excellent direction of Gregg Fienberg. Al (Ian McShane) has risen from the near-dead and summoned Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) back into the fray. But as their yin and yang begin to take shape again and set the camp to […]
“Requiem for a Gleet” lives up to its name this episode, highlighting a deeply agonized Al (Ian McShane) as he struggles to hold on to consciousness in the face of extreme pain. Indeed, this episode serves as a finale to the Kidney Stone Arc, as it were, finally offering Al a gleet-ful release from his […]
After a two-part transition from Season 1 to Season 2, we’re finally off to the races with “New Money.” This episode sees the unlikely return of Garret Dillahunt to Deadwood. He previously portrayed the coward Jack McCall, but here he debuts an equally consequential character: Mr. Wolcott, also known as Mr. W. He enters the […]
If “A Lie Agreed Upon, Part 1” is the mountain of conflict, “Part 2” is the valley. The episode plays like a series of deflations. As Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) slowly makes his way across camp to retrieve his weapon and badge from the Gem, he’s waylaid by friends and supporters who do what they can […]
After a literal year away from the mic, J and I are very happy to be back! For the next few weeks, we will be covering Season 2 of Deadwood, beginning with “A Lie Agreed Upon, Part 1.” Since last we entered the frontier town, a lot of news — both positive and negative — has emerged around the show. This […]
Cartoon Saloon has knocked it out of the park ever since they hit the scene in 2009 with The Secret of Kells. Their feature-length movies have consistently garnered praise from critics. Nora Twomey, who co-directed Kells, is back as a solo director on the studio’s third film: The Breadwinner. The Breadwinner is an adaptation of […]
In a garage somewhere in Folkestone in Kent, a grey squirrel named Dot begins to move, blinking and stumbling forward as she comes to life. Dot looks around an impenetrable, foreboding forest, rife with do-it-yourself artistry. A human hand reaches over to adjust her fabric-covered arms just so. The hand belongs to Astrid Goldsmith, an […]
In contrast to the previous episode’s elegiac tone, “The One-Armed Man” is a heated affair. Several plotlines kick into gear, and the lives of the town’s residents begin to intersect. Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) spends most of the episode following up on the leads from his dream. He meets up with the eponymous one-armed man, who […]
The London Film Festival sprawls across the city, from the café-laden streets of Shoreditch to the glamour of Southbank, by the Thames. Cult cinemas like the Prince Charles and megaplexes like the Odeon off Leicester Square premiere films from around the world. This year, festival darlings like Sally Potter (The Party) and Azazel Jacobs (The Lovers) found themselves front […]
“Rest in Pain” is a melancholy installment of Twin Peaks. This week we see many of Laura Palmer’s friends and family cry out in anguish as she is finally put to rest. Meanwhile, Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) uses the funeral as a litmus test as he continues to scope out suspects for her murder. Prior to the […]
Twin Peaks continues to juggle the jovial tone of last week’s episode with the crime serial seriousness in “Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer.” In this episode, Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) employs a special technique for identifying the next lead in his case. His bizarre antics lead him to Leo (Eric DaRe), an abusive and violent […]
In this week’s episode of Twin Peaks, we see a shift from the pilot. A lighter tone has begun to seep into the show with “Traces to Nowhere,” with obvious moments of levity, a bouncier soundtrack and a brighter, more colorful visual palette. For my part, I welcomed the change from the dour season opener […]
Grab some of that damn good coffee, folks — we’re headed into Twin Peaks! Join us for our new series, “Ghostwood Radio,” in which we’ll be discussing the wildly influential show from David Lynch and Mark Frost. J is a longtime fan of Twin Peaks, a show which in many ways changed the landscape of […]
“Sold Under Sin” reveals the shattered backstories of several key character in Deadwood. From Joanie’s (Kim Dickens) abuse at the hands of her father and subsequently Cy Tolliver (Powers Boothe) to Alma Garret’s (Molly Parker) chattel-like status in Otis’s (William Russ) eyes, we begin to see how Deadwood tells the story of characters breaking free of […]
Game of Thrones caps off a landmark season with “The Dragon and the Wolf.” Jeremy Podeswa’s feature-length conclusion certainly exceeds the episode that came before, although it never quite matches the import of its reveals and final moments with the level of filmmaking we know the show can achieve. “The Dragon and the Wolf” finally […]
Game of Thrones finally lives up to its namesake novels with “Beyond the Wall” as the forces of ice and fire clash. Josh and I waste no time diving into the episode’s particulars. We generally skate past the timeline issues (1, 2, 3) discussed and debated elsewhere, instead focusing on inconsistencies with characters and narrative. I continue […]
Every episode this season of Game of Thrones has in some way involved a battle sequence, the biggest among them arriving last week. In “Eastwatch,” the show slows down and instead focuses on the fallout of last week’s conflict. In some ways this is to Game of Thrones‘ benefit: we see Davos (Liam Cunningham) demonstrate his smuggling […]
Game of Thrones throws some kindling on the fire this week with “The Spoils of War.” Unlike “The Queen’s Justice,” Josh and I found myriad plots and emotional arcs to interrogate this time around. We pay particular attention to family reunions and how context and time have shaped characters we’ve known since Season 1. We […]
After a drawn-out hiatus, “Hoopleheads” is back with our second to last episode covering Season 1. This week we discuss “Jewel’s Boot is Made for Walking,” an engaging episode that hints at Al’s (Ian McShane) backstory as another side characters take center stage. The titular Jewel (Geri Jewell) gets a particularly intriguing storyline as she […]
J and I enjoyed last week’s “Stormborn” as it both drove the plot forward at an explosive pace while offering something more for us to chew on as viewers. This week, the pace hasn’t let up — but “The Queen’s Justice,” alas, never digs deeper than the surface. In fact, the episode undercuts the enormity […]
Game of Thrones hits hard this week in “Stormborn” as major houses begin to band together and devious enemies already begin making their moves. Before we get into the episode itself, J and I open this week’s podcast discussing the controversy around Confederate, a new show recently announced by HBO from the creators of Game of Thrones. […]
“Stark Contrast” is back! Following an unusually long delay, J and I are once again discussing Game of Thrones. The Season 7 premiere immediately strikes a positive note as Arya (Maisie Williams) executes the family that killed her own. We discuss the bizarre magic of the Faceless Men and how the show missed a chance […]
I Am Not Your Negro, a movie which cannot spell out its own true name, sanitizes itself for the sake of the MPAA and declares itself at once a film catered to a certain audience. And yet that is perhaps where the film’s greatest strength lies. Director Raoul Peck makes an impassioned plea through the […]
Disney’s Mulan came out right around the time my generation started watching movies in earnest. Long after Disney’s Golden Age (1937-1942), Millennials’ grew up during the animation giant’s important soul searching phase: the Disney Renaissance (1989-1999). We saw non-traditional families, people of color in lead roles and a general break from the norms of Disney princess […]
Woody Allen is at his best when he identifies a universal truth of love. In Annie Hall, it was the inevitability of separation. In Midnight in Paris, it was the desperate, idealistic longing for a time that never was. It’s because of this that Café Society never quite stumbles despite its meandering, clumsily delivered story. Cut through the fat and you’ll […]
“Mister Wu” opens up the Deadwood universe to some of the most iconic characters and lines from the show. This week introduces Richardson (Ralph Richeson), Hostetler (Richard Gant) and, most notably, a fully fleshed-out Mr. Wu (Keone Young). For many fans of the show, these names are inextricable from the fabric of the frontier town. I’m terribly excited […]
“No Other Sons or Daughters” puts the brunt of its focus on the new ad hoc government of Deadwood. As the United States begins to move further westward, Al (Ian McShane) and the other leaders in the town worry about what sort of outside forces and order that might bring to the town. In the meantime, Reverend […]
“Suffer the Little Children” earns its darkly ironic title. Flora (Kristen Bell) and Miles (Greg Cipes) finally reveal their true colors to the townspeople and the fallout affects everyone differently. Cy Tolliver (Powers Boothe) immediately reacts with unbridled rage, while Joanie (Kim Dickens) finds herself pitying Flora for her chosen path. Al (Ian McShane), on the other hand, […]
In “Bullock Returns to the Camp,” Deadwood seems to have found its fresh start. Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) has let off some steam and Alma Garret (Molly Parker) is mostly recovered from addiction leading to marked changes in their demeanors (and chemistry). Meanwhile the doctor (Brad Dourif), Jane (Robin Weigert) and Reverend Smith (Ray McKinnon) seem to have […]
A few months ago, I had a chance to make a guest appearance with The Talk Film Society podcast. It was an incredibly fun conversation that covered everything from Song of the Sea and the state of international animation to Sing Street and more. You can find TFS on Soundcloud here or subscribe on iTunes (click here for Hey Whatcha Watchin). […]