The Darkness in HBO’s Bright Lights

The Darkness in HBO’s Bright Lights
In the fourth and last feature of HBO’s documentary series at SIFF, we stepped into the lives of two massive stars, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. In the beginning, Bright Lights is lighthearted and pleasant. We meet Carrie Fisher at her Hollywood home and accompany her on a short walk to her mother’s. The two of them are best friends and yet couldn’t be more different. Carrie is almost always nursing a cigarette and cursing like a sailor while Debbie is this radiant older woman who is always dressed in her best. As the documentary progresses, we learn what growing up was like for Carrie and her brother, Todd. It is an experience that I think can be best described as empty. The two of them had everything they needed except for a regular childhood. And when your father runs...
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Inside HBO's Westworld

Inside HBO's Westworld
In a time where virtual reality has truly become our reality, HBO takes it a few steps further with a reboot of the 1973 classic, Westworld . When you enter the new Westworld as a newcomer, anything is possible. You may gamble, visit a brothel, hunt outlaws, rob a bank, kill and do anything else your heart desires. And best of all, you can’t be harmed. You are God. For the androids or “hosts” who inhabit Westworld, it is an entirely different story. You are merely a brush stroke upon a canvas, a sentence in a book that can be enjoyed or destroyed depending entirely on the actions of the newcomers. You might be pampered one day then beaten the next or even worse, murdered. You are simply there to satisfy the customers in any way possible. But no matter...
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HBO premiere of The Trans List and Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution

HBO premiere of The Trans List and Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution
Last week I had the privilege to attend the HBO premiere of The Trans List and Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution last week at SIFF Cinema Uptown. HBO partnered with TWIST, the hosts of the Seattle Queer Film Festival , to put on this very special and important event. This premiere wasn’t exactly a ‘grab your popcorn and friends’ event but more like a ‘shut up, pay attention and learn’ event. Both of these documentaries were extremely eye opening and educational. First we saw Mariela Castro’s March: Cuba’s LGBT Revolution . Mariela Castro is the niece of the Fidel Castro. She is also the director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education as well as a proud activist for the LGBT community. During the documentary, Mariela took a lot of time to share the stories of LGBT people...
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Looking into HBO's The Night Of

Looking into HBO's The Night Of
Your next crime/drama/mystery show is here. The Night Of is reminiscent of Making a Murderer and Adnan Syed’s case in Serial , co-mingled with the unnerving environment of True Detective . And in quite a fitting time, racial and criminal justice issues are quite potent in this new HBO series where details like facts, truth and dishonesty are vigorously stacked against an allegedly guilty suspect. And now with two episodes in the bag, we start to better understand what happened The Night Of . In episode one, we meet Nasir or “Naz” as he likes to be called. Naz is an American born Pakistani attending university and living with his parents in Brooklyn. One night he is invited to a swanky party downtown but his ride bails on him. With dreams of cutting loose and having fun Naz takes his...
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Relaxing with Summer Shows

Relaxing with Summer Shows
Do you feel like vegging out a few hours a day for the rest of the summer? Here are a few new and returning shows that will entertain you when you are in need of some serious down time. Enjoy. Mr. Robot Elliot Alderson is a cyber security engineer by day, computer hacker by night. Throw in a little paranoid schizophrenia and clinical depression and you get a better understanding of who Elliot is. In the first season of Mr. Robot , Elliot and hacker group, society, brought down one of the biggest corporations in the world. And now, Mr. Robot is back. There are so many questions that need answering. Will they be answered or will the audience only be pulled further into Elliot’s unraveling mind? If you are a fan of movies like American Psycho, The Matrix and...
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Scratching the Vinyl Surface

Scratching the Vinyl Surface
In HBO’s new series Vinyl , we are exposed to the raw and gritty world of the record business. We learn how labels make big coin, while artists make nothing. We learn how shady deals are made every day to keep records on the radio. We see the peak of Rock & Roll as well as the birth of Punk and Hip Hop. We hear the explosive sounds that captured the United States during the 1970’s. So, without further ado, let’s throw on the record, drop the needle and crank up the volume. Meet the man with the golden ear and silver tongue, Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale). He owns American Century Records. The year is 1973 and the place is New York. He is steps away from selling his label for millions of dollars but runs into a bit of...
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