New Streaming/Broadcast Offerings
“The Interrogation” began streaming on CBS All Access on February 6. The entire 10-episode first season was released. In the first episode, a young man is convicted of brutally murdering his mother. He’s sent to prison for life, but continues to insist he is innocent. The show’s 'gimmick' is described by CBS: “With all episodes dropping at once, viewers will see the day of the crime and then follow the evidence like a cold case detective, abandon the linear narrative and determine their own investigative path by watching the episodes leading up to the finale in any order… Each episode is structured around interrogations informed by real police case files.”
EBON MOSS-BACHRACH, 42, is a co-star in six of the ten episodes. He’s best known for his recurring role on HBO’s “Girls” as Desi Harperin, a talented musician. "Interrogation" was co-created by JOHN MANKIEWICZ, 65. His grandfather, HERMAN MANKIEWICZ, won an Oscar for co-writing “Citizen Kane”. John’s father, DON MANKIEWICZ, was Oscar-nominated for writing “I Want to Live” (1958).
The film “Horse Girl” began streaming on Netflix on Feb. 7. Reviews are almost all positive and almost all say that the film’s star, ALISON BRIE, 37, turned in a great performance. Brie, who is best known as the star of the hit Netflix series “Glow”, also co-wrote the film. PAUL REISER, 63, has a ‘largish’ supporting role. Here’s the official plot summary: “A sweet misfit (Brie) with a fondness for crafts, horses and supernatural crime shows finds her increasingly lucid dreams trickling into her waking life.”
“For Life” started on ABC on Feb. 11 (10PM). It is loosely based on the true story of Isaac Wright, Jr. an African-American who was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. While in jail, he studied legal texts and became a “jail house lawyer”---writing motions and briefs for other inmates. After his exoneration, he went to law school and was admitted to the New Jersey bar. He now acts an attorney for other inmates he believes were wrongly jailed.
The series was created by, and is co-written by HANK STEINBERG, 50. He has long been associated with creating and writing quality TV films and shows (the film “61” on HBO about Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris; the CBS series “Without a Trace”; and the TNT series “The Last Ship”). In “Last Ship”, he wrote a moving scene in which an Israeli soldier says the Shema as she is dying. Here’s hoping that “For Life” isn’t cancelled quickly like so many other “mid-season” replacement shows.
At the Movies
“The Assistant” opens on Friday, Feb. 14. The film is inspired by what went on at Miramax, the company HARVEY WEINSTEIN owned. It follows one day in the life of Jane (Emmy winner JULIA GARNER, 26), a recent college grad and an aspiring film producer. As the film opens, Jane has been working for five weeks as an assistant to a powerful, but unseen film mogul.
Of course, Jane does mundane “assistant things” like making copies. However, as the day goes on we become increasingly aware of the abuse (financial, sexual, etc.) that colors every aspect of her office work day. At the end of the day, Jane decides to take a stand and finds out how strong the resistance to change is. NOAH ROBBINS, 29, has a supporting role as a male assistant. Advance reviews for the film are good, with Garner being singled-out for plaudits.
Opening the same day are “Sonic The Hedgehog” and “Downhill”. Sonic is a family friendly animated film based on the hit video game about the world’s fastest hedgehog. BEN SCHWARTZ, 38, voices Sonic. “Downhill” is a comedy/drama about a married couple (Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) whose lives are upended when they barely survive an avalanche while skiing. ZACH WOODS, 36, a star of the HBO series “Silicon Valley”, has a big supporting role as a work colleague of Ferrell. NAT FAXON, 44, co-wrote and co-directed the film. His mother is Jewish.
Battling Bernsteins on the Big Screen?
On Jan. 22, it was announced that Netflix was fully backing a LEONARD BERNSTEIN bio-pic starring Bradley Cooper as the famous composer and conductor. Cooper, who showed his musical chops in the latest version of “A Star is Born”, will star in the film. He also will direct, produce, and co-write it (with Oscar winner JOSH SINGER, 48). Last July, it was announced that JAKE GYLLENHAAL, 39, would play Bernstein in a film called “The American”. It’s unclear whether that film will be made following the Netflix announcement.