Tribune News Service
Entertainment Budget for Friday, November 13, 2020
Updated at 4 p.m. EST (2100 UTC).
Adds CLIMB-MOVIE-REVIEW:MS, MUS-ROBINSON:MS, MOVIE-ZURAWIK-COLUMN:BZ, MOVIE-CLIMB:LA, VID-MANDALORIAN-BOKATAN:LA
^PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X: How to decide which one is right for you<
^VIDEOGAMES-PLAYSTATION5-XBOX-COMPARISON:LA_<After an almost eight-year run, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One eras are coming to an end. Taking their place with new releases from Microsoft and Sony this week are the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 _ the two consoles that will officially herald the start of the next video game generation.
The timing could not be better. Many, after all, will no doubt relish an escape after monitoring election news this week.
Granted, among the debates and choices that Americans have had to face in recent weeks, the discussion over which piece of video game technology to plug into your TV may seem relatively minor. But while the release of new home game consoles from Microsoft and Sony were destined for this year regardless of the pandemic and the increased political tensions it brought, their arrival as 2020 nears its end feels more than a little serendipitous.
3250 by Todd Martens. MOVED
^’The Climb’ was a hit at Cannes in 2019. Almost two years later, will anyone see it?<
^MOVIE-CLIMB:LA_<Somewhere in another universe, two dudes were trying to navigate their way up a French mountainside in fog as thick as pea soup.
“We’re gonna murder you, sorry,” one of them, Kyle Marvin, joked. He anxiously tried to peer through the window of the Peugeot Traveller, which was ensconced in clouds. He seemed to be relieved that his friend, Michael Angelo Covino, was the one who had been tasked with driving the van up the Col de Vence.
The winding road, a six-mile stretch that contains little more than roaming cattle, is one of the French Riviera’s most famous cycling routes. In 2018, Marvin and Covino filmed the opening scene of their film “The Climb” here. It was now May 2019, and that movie was premiering at the nearby Cannes International Film Festival to a warm reception. On this very drive, in fact, the men were lamenting their lack of cellphone service, because they were in the midst of negotiating a deal with Sony Pictures Classics to acquire the comedy.
1750 by Amy Kaufman. MOVED
^’Wonder Woman’ may go to HBO Max shortly after theater opening<
^MOVIE-WONDERWOMAN-1984:BLO_<“Wonder Woman 1984,” the only big movie still scheduled to debut in theaters this year, may appear on AT&T Inc.’s HBO Max just a week or two after its release, according to people familiar with the matter, a move that could help the new streaming service add subscribers quickly and keep cinemas open at the same time.
AT&T’s WarnerMedia is in the final stages of deliberations over the fate of the film, which is currently scheduled to open in theaters on Christmas Day. While the studio could delay the movie until next year, the quick-to-home-video release is another option gaining support, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations. The plans haven’t been set and could change, they said, adding that some cinema owners are open to the idea in this instance.
650 by Lucas Shaw and Kelly Gilblom. MOVED
^Commentary: Joe Biden won the election, but Jim Carrey’s impression of him is ‘SNL’ fans’ loss<
^TV-SNL-CARREY-COMMENTARY:LA_<The election is over, at least for 80% of Americans polled or anyone who can count past 270. We’ve celebrated and/or mourned the outcome. Now we must address the toughest challenge facing our country: How do we have a peaceful transition of power without setting off a national crisis?
I’m talking, of course, about the fate of “Saturday Night Live.” To borrow a line from President-elect Joe Biden, how can I say this tactfully? The late-night institution, with its rich history of presidential impersonations dating all the way back to Dan Aykroyd’s hilarious portrayal of Richard Nixon, is struggling to meet the challenges of a post-Trump presidency.
The show that so brilliantly portrayed a philandering, fast food-loving Bill Clinton (courtesy of Phil Hartman) and an in-over-his-head George W. Bush (via Will Ferrell) is now struggling to find its comedic footing in time to greet the forthcoming administration, even with the usually formidable talent of Jim Carrey in its arsenal.
750 by Lorraine Ali. MOVED
^Vince Vaughn eyes a career resurgence with ‘Freaky.’ But don’t call it a comeback<
^MOVIE-FREAKY-VAUGHN:LA_<Vince Vaughn has been starring in movies for a quarter of a century, ever since his breakout as a swaggering wannabe actor in the 1996 indie comedy “Swingers.” But in these strange and stressful times in which we find ourselves, his life is perhaps not as different from yours as you might imagine.
In his career as well, Vaughn has come somewhat down to earth. Since the mid-2000s, when a string of hits including “Old School,” “Wedding Crashers” and “Dodgeball” made him one of the most bankable stars in town, Hollywood has largely backed away from the type of R-rated, male-oriented comedies that were once his bread and butter.
Now, in the midst of a pandemic that has brought the movie business to its knees, Vaughn finds himself looking for laughs again in his highest-profile film in years: the Blumhouse horror-comedy “Freaky,” which opened Friday.
1550 (with trims) by Josh Rottenberg. MOVED
^SPECIAL REPORT: EARLY MUSIC RECORDINGS<
^Meet the guardians of the world’s earliest musical recordings<
^MUS-EARLY-RECORDINGS-GUARDIANS:LA_<The voice seeps in as if from another dimension, hissy and distant, like an AM radio broadcaster transmitting through late-night static.
“‘The Ambassador March’ by Brown’s Orche-streee for the Los Angeles Phonograph Company of Los Angeles, California,” a man announces with a gentlemanly accent. After a moment’s scratchy pause, a violinist opens with a melody, and a small orchestra jumps in. Led by a Long Beach-based bandleader named E.R. Brown, the song dances along for two minutes.
The fidelity is primitive by today’s high-definition audio standards, a quaint toss-away. But “The Ambassador March” and the Coke-can-sized wax cylinder upon which it was etched into permanence in the late 1800s open a portal to another era.
That wax cylinder and others like it _ rescued from rural estate sales and dusty attics _ have survived earthquakes, heat waves, mold and indifference. They feature Mexican folk songs; military band marches; minstrelsy songs of the kind that preceded American blues, folk and country music; and the voices of former Lincoln cabinet members, Southern senators, popes, preachers and comedians. Their survival is emblematic of a revolution that allowed sound to be freed from its origins. Once untethered, the world would be forever changed.
2450 by Randall Roberts. MOVED
^A temple of sound awaits in the UCSB’s collection of early music and sound recordings<
^MUS-EARLY-RECORDINGS:LA_<Located in a wing of the UC Santa Barbara Library, about a quarter mile from the Pacific Ocean, the university’s collection of early music is the most extensive on the West Coast. Descend in an elevator a few stories underground with David Seubert, curator for the Performing Arts Collection at UC Santa Barbara Library, into the Cylinder Audio Archive, a windowless, climate-controlled storage facility purpose-built to hold wax cylinders and 78-rpm records and, after adjusting to the 10-degree temperature drop, a temple of sound awaits.
Say what you want about the millions of digital songs stored in the cloud and awaiting your Spotify spin. Strolling through the rows of shelving units, each packed with cylinder recordings, overwhelms the imagination. Writer Nick Tosches described listening to ancient minstrelsy songs on these formats as visiting a realm “where dead voices gather,” and you can almost sense the ghosts inside these vessels.
900 by Randall Roberts in Santa Barbara, Calif. MOVED
^Early music recordings: How I got the story<
^MUS-EARLY-RECORDINGS-ROBERTS-COLUMN:LA_<This story started in early 2019 with a toothache and the rumor of a Pasadena dentist obsessed with wax cylinders, the earliest commercial recording format.
I’d been aware of Dr. Michael Khanchalian for a while, a man who, in addition to working on root canals, spends his off-hours using his expertise with bonding agents and wax molding to repair broken or cracked wax cylinders.
I was between dentists, so I decided to make an appointment. By the time he’d checked my chompers, I knew he’d be the focus of a story, although I was still vague about the specifics. Khanchalian was long on details _ he told me I needed a crown.
The dental work coincided with a conversation I’d had with Richard Martin and Meagan Hennessey, a married couple from Champaign, Illinois, whose label, Archeophone Records, has earned 18 Grammy nominations for its efforts in resurrecting some of the earliest recorded American music. Martin told me that during Grammy weekend, they usually stayed at the Los Angeles home of a wildly knowledgeable collector of wax cylinder recordings named John Levin.
500 by Randall Roberts in Los Angeles. MOVED
^Review: Kate Winslet gives her best performance in years in the striking, passionate ‘Ammonite'<
^AMMONITE-MOVIE-REVIEW:LA_<Some of the most expressive close-ups in “Ammonite,” Francis Lee’s intelligent and passionate new drama, are not of faces but hands. They belong to the 19th century English paleontologist Mary Anning (played by Kate Winslet), and they’ve been coarsened by years of hard work and exposure: We notice their roughness when she’s peeling potatoes for a stew, sketching in her notebooks by firelight or scooping up rocks from the beach at Lyme Regis, England, the small Dorset town she calls home. Before long, those same hands will clutch the waist of another woman, Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan) and pull her close with a raw, tremulous hunger that says more than any whispered endearments could.
1300 by Justin Chang. MOVED
^Review: ‘Fatman’: Here comes Santa Claus and he’s got a gun<
^FATMAN-MOVIE-REVIEW:LA_<Whoever cut the trailer for “Fatman” deserves a little something extra in their stocking this Christmas. Mel Gibson playing a despairing, bad Santa railing against the ballooning number of naughty kids while fending off a hitman hired to kill him offered some promise of perverse pleasure that, alas, the movie itself doesn’t deliver.
550 by Glenn Whipp. MOVED
^Review: ‘The Climb’ is a comedy of discomfort about two friends who maybe shouldn’t be<
^CLIMB-MOVIE-REVIEW:MS_<If you were involved in a friendship that was bad for you, would you know it?
That’s the premise of the comedy of discomfort, “The Climb.” It plays out in a series of long takes, beginning with a tricky, bicycling-up-a-mountain scene in which Mike (Michael Angelo Covino, who also directed) confesses to Kyle (Kyle Marvin) that he had sex with Kyle’s fiancee and then, because he’s in better shape, sprints off. The lengthy scenes, separated by months or even years, are often funny because of the way they situate the frenemies within the frame, but they also make us pay close attention to every little detail of their toxic dynamic, hoping that something will change.
550 by Chris Hewitt. MOVED
^David Zurawik: ‘Lights of Baltimore’ illuminates the history, poetry and depth of problems plaguing the city<
^MOVIE-ZURAWIK-COLUMN:BZ_<From the very first words and images that appear on-screen in the documentary “Lights of Baltimore,” you know you are in the hands of a skilled filmmaker with some poetry in her soul.
“When I arrived in Baltimore, I saw its beauty, its strength, and its pain,” director-producer Sabrina Bouarour writes on-screen during the film’s opening. “I wanted to hear its voices.”
1300 by David Zurawik. MOVED
^Smokey Robinson talks about Bob Dylan, ‘My Girl’ and why he doesn’t like the term ‘African American'<
^MUS-ROBINSON:MS_<He’s been cutting two records, one in Spanish, the other in English. Playing a little golf, too. And he checked on the grape harvest in the pre-fire Napa Valley for his eponymous wine company.
But during the pandemic, Motown legend Smokey Robinson is performing only one concert _ Saturday in a virtual gala for the PACER Center, the Bloomington, Minnesota-based nonprofit that works with children with disabilities and combats bullying. It will be a streamed performance.
Even though he hasn’t been performing during quarantine, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer keeps his voice in shape because he sings all the time. In the car, in the shower, on the golf course.
1750 by Jon Bream. MOVED
^MUS-BLUEGRASS:OW_<Not moving this week.
^TV, DVD, STREAMING<
^With Netflix’s ‘Jingle Jangle,’ Forest Whitaker finally returns to singing<
^VID-JINGLE-JANGLE-WHITAKER-QA:LA_<The most memorable characters have the most melodic names: Willy Wonka, Caractacus Potts, Mary Poppins and, now, Jeronicus Jangle.
The last is the leading man of the Netflix musical “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey,” which reinvigorates the fantasy storybook elements of beloved family films with a powerhouse, and majority Black, cast _ including Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose and Keegan-Michael Key. But it’s Oscar winner Forest Whitaker who delivers a surprisingly delightful turn as Jangle, whether flying through his magical toy shop or dancing in the middle of a snowball fight.
1650 by Ashley Lee. MOVED
^Karla Peterson: New season of ‘The Crown’ is packed with TV riches<
^VID-PETERSON-COLUMN:SD_<As soon as the rain hit the pavement last weekend, my heart lit up. I was born and raised in Southern California, but nothing makes me happier than a day when my native land looks totally unlike its usual sunny self.
For me, rain means it’s time for hot tea and a warm(ish) sweater. It means Mother Nature is washing my car and the heat-seeking cat is coming back to my lap. Most importantly, rain means winter and winter means it’s time for “The Crown.”
1200 by Karla Peterson. MOVED
^Review: Season 4 of ‘The Crown’ is a royal pain<
^VID-CROWN-REVIEW:MS_<Other than having loyal followers, “Game of Thrones” and “The Crown” wouldn’t appear to have much in common. Look closer. The hit Netflix series, which returns Sunday for a fourth season, is all about a call to duty in a kingdom that isn’t much more glamorous than Westeros.
The difference is that the gladiators in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy managed to conduct their business without stiff upper lips.
Her majesty’s sniffling service whines more than ever in new episodes covering the period between 1977 and 1990.
550 by Neal Justin. MOVED
^Commentary: Confessions of an MSNBC junkie: How I’m withdrawing from the Trump news cycle<
^TV-MCNULTY-COMMENTARY:LA_<Monday was supposed to be the start of a new era for me. Monday came and went and I was my same old politically preoccupied, Twitter-loitering, MSNBC-glued self.
After Joe Biden was declared president-elect by the networks on Saturday, I gave myself the weekend to celebrate and recover. But already, I was drawing up plans. One hour of news would be my nightly allotment. It was time to say goodbye to the all-you-can eat buffet of liberal angst hosted by Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Brian Williams and return to Judy Woodruff and the more sober meal of the “PBS NewsHour.”
Some progress has been made. I did turn to the “NewsHour” on Monday evening, but I watched with my laptop open and my finger on the retweet trigger. And then I followed up the program with an MSNBC chaser. Eventually, I muted the television so I could do a little reading, but my eyes kept flitting back to the chyron in case Donald Trump declared martial law.
1050 by Charles McNulty in Los Angeles. MOVED
^’The Mandalorian’ just introduced a key ‘Star Wars’ figure. Here’s her back story<
^VID-MANDALORIAN-BOKATAN:LA_<Mando’s search for other Mandalorians this season just took a giant leap forward.
In “The Heiress,” the third episode of “The Mandalorian” season two, Mando and the Child find themselves in a bind. Thankfully, a small team of jetpack-clad warriors arrive just in time to save them.
For fans of the animated “Star Wars” TV shows, the leader’s armor (and voice) is unmistakable: It’s Bo-Katan Kryze.
450 by Tracy Brown. MOVED
^TV-QUESTIONS:MCT_<Television Q&A: What happened with the change of child actors on ‘American Housewife’?
750 by Rich Heldenfels. MOVED
^VID-NEWONDVD:MCT_<New on DVD: Geraldine Viswanathan’s charm is a fine art in ‘Broken Hearts Gallery’
750 by Katie Foran-McHale. MOVED
^TV-REMOTE-ADV15:CC_<Around the remote: Chuck Barney’s TV and streaming picks for Nov. 15-21
600 by Chuck Barney. MOVED
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