There’s something fitting in the work of Zach Braff — the star of successful television comedy series Scrubs,
which sang, danced, and laughed its way through the madcap years of med
school residency for its hapless trio of would-be doctors — because
Braff, settling in at the helm of his second feature film, has a
not-exactly morbid curiosity with life and death.
For the past four years, comedians Jonah
Ray and Kumail Nanjiani have hosted a weekly show from NerdMelt, a small
space in the back of Los Angeles comic book shop Meltdown. Launched by
Chris Hardwick (creator of blog/podcast-turned-digital entertainment
network The Nerdist; Talking Dead host) — NerdMelt may not be
your typical L.A. comedy club.
Instead of starting off with questions
about what I learned about international film culture from attending the
Munich Film Festival, it would be far more instructive to kick off with
a discussion about what the experience made me think about in terms of
what it means to be modern.
The line of dialogue is whispered during a couple of key sequences in Third Person, the new film from Paul Haggis, the Academy Award-winning director of Crash
(Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay). As you might imagine, the
phrase insinuates itself dramatically into the hearts of the characters
who hear it, as they attempt to heed the call.
Sex may still be considered a taboo topic
in America today, but 60 years ago many were completely in the dark
about what was going on “down there.” Researchers Bill Masters and
Virginia Johnson pushed to relate activity between the legs to activity
between the ears with the science of sex.
Earth to Echo wastes no time
setting up its premise. Three young teens — Alex (Teo Halm), Tuck
(Astro) and Munch (Reese Hartwig) — as awkwardly nerdy as can be, land
themselves in the middle of quite an adventure when they begin
investigating cell phone disturbances in their soon-to-be redeveloped
community in Nevada.
Prank shows are nothing new. Candid Camera spanned seven decades, Punk’d targeted celebs and now even Betty White has a prank show for old people called Off Their Rockers. Nathan For You (10:30
p.m. Tuesdays, Comedy Central) is pegged as a prank show or parody of
the dime-a-dozen business-rescue programs on today, but it’s actually
I love Donna Stern (Jenny Slate), the protagonist of Obvious Child,
the new indie dramedy from co-writer and director Gillian Robespierre
(working from her 2009 short of the same name), because Donna is
wickedly smart and engaging, a cute Jewish woman we rarely get to see in
mainstream romantic comedies.
The haunting trailer for The Leftovers
(Series Premiere, 10 p.m. Sunday, HBO) sets the scene perfectly: A busy
mom, on the phone, secures her fussy infant son in his car seat before
buckling up and heading home. As she details the day’s schedule on the
phone, the baby cries in the background.
Based on his work as a filmmaker, David
Michôd, Australian partner of the brothers Edgerton (Joel and Nash),
channels into the darkest corners of his heart to investigate the
primal, animalistic urges that take mankind far away from the civilized
façade we’ve constructed for ourselves.
What started as a fun, hot addition to
the YA vampire lit craze with a killer concept — the invention of
synthetic blood sparks a population of vampires “coming out of the
coffin” to mix with the humans they no longer have to feed on to survive
— has become quite the crazy train of otherworldly drama.