Archive for the ‘steve soderbergh’ tag
September is the launch of the yearly television cycle, the start of the Oscar-baiting films, and the chance to release books and music in time for the holidays. Here’s a quick summary of what I am most looking forward to this fall.
Glee is the story of a band of high school outcasts joining together to make a name for themselves by doing the very thing that made them outcasts. When Fox showed the pilot last fall after the finale to American Idol, it was a risky bet to build moment for a show that wouldn’t get aired for another three months. It may have paid off as an estimated 25 million people have now seen the pilot, and the second episode attracted a healthy 7 million watchers, many in the all-important 18-49 demo. This may be one of the few critically adored shows of the last few years to find a broad audience. Even if it doesn’t, Fox is hoping all the promotional tie-ins (cast albums, for instance) will keep this financially lucrative. But why should you watch it? Combining the rigid social hierarchies of high school and the accompanying desires to both fit in and stand out for the right reasons gives you all the drama and comedy you need to make a successful musical. The pilot was one of the strongest in years, deftly reimagining stock characters (the pot-smoking gym teacher, the closeted drama nerd, the bitchy cheerleader) and zipping along at a pleasing pace (helped along by a wonderful vocal score).
The Informant!, Friday, September 18
Steven Soderbergh reunites with Matt Damon in a retelling of a whistle-blower who worked at ADM. But rather than play up the most Grishamesque aspects of the piece, Soderbergh goes for a comic character study of a person who becomes enraptured with his James Bond self-importance. Soderbergh has long achieved a quality I’ve admired in a director, which is the ability to work both inside and outside the studio system. He can make stylish diversions like the Ocean’s Eleven films or gritty indie dramas. Based on Kurt Eichenwald’s book, and with a pudgy, mustachioed Damon, I’m hoping for a really strong comedy with just a hint of social commentary.
Monsters of Folk, Tuesday, September 22
Monsters of Folk is M. Ward, Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket), and Mike Mogis. The “get a bunch of folks together to do fun music” has worked well for Beck’s Record Club and it sounds promising here. Traces of Drive-By Truckers and The Jayhawks should shape the sound of this indie-roots supergroup.
The only regular web video series I’ve found worth staying up on, The Guild is the show that launched writer/producer/star Felicia Day to the pinnacle of nerd stardom (and Twitter). The show centers on online companions who try interacting offline, with very mixed results. You’ll get more of the jokes if you have some familiarity with World of Warcraft and lonelygirl15. If you prefer your television on television, wait until September 29 when seasons one and two are released on DVD.