“Transparent” Season Two: Brilliant

Violence and hatred against transgender people in this country is at such alarming levels that I applaud anything that provide counterbalancing imagery to the negativity. Especially when that imagery is well-crafted. Thus the second season of Amazon’s series “Transparent,” which THR says is as ‘brilliant, complicated, exquisitely detailed and surprising as ever.’

Krampus: The Scary Side Of Saint Nick

At last: something about Christmas I can like! The Atlantic explains: ‘While Saint Nicholas may bring gifts to good boys and girls, ancient folklore in Europe’s Alpine region also tells of Krampus, a frightening beast-like creature who emerges during the Yule season, looking for naughty children to punish in horrible ways—or possibly to drag back to his lair in a sack. In keeping with pre-Germanic Pagan traditions, men dressed as these demons have been frightening children on Krampusnacht for centuries, chasing them and hitting them with sticks, on an (often alcohol-fueled) run through the dark streets.’

John Malkovich: This Is Just Nuts!

Composer Eric Alexandrakis had an idea. He had written an ambient piece of music called “Cryogenia X” and decided that he wanted – or perhaps needed – actor John Malkovich to read Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” over it. The result of their collaboration is “Like a Puppet Show,” a vinyl-only, limited edition Read more »

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Sings To Miss Piggy

First, Janet Jackson. Now, Frank Sinatra. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is showing himself awfully adept at channeling the greats. The Sinatra bit — “Fly Me to the Moon” — is a serenade tonight on the “The Muppets” with Miss Piggy. Watch here.

Will “Spotlight” Peak Too Soon?

“Spotlight” was the big winner at last night’s Gotham awards, and I expect it to do well with today’s National Board of Review citations and tomorrow’s New York Film Critics’ Circle voting. So the question becomes: is “Spotlight” peaking too soon to make it straight through to the Oscar for best picture? The awards season is now so Presidentially long that it’s almost impossible for a movie to do what an actor (Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore) can do: zoom straight through to the finish. I still think “The Martian” — a brilliantly made popcorn movie which is doing brilliantly at the box office, including a spectacular debut last week in China — has a shot. But we shall see.

ANOHNI (F.K.A Antony) Shares New Song

Antony Hagerty‘s album under the name ANOHNI—which she co-produced with Hudson Mohawke and Oneohtrix Point Never—is HOPELESSNESS. Today, she’s shared “4 Degrees,” the album’s debut single. She shared the song with the following note: Read more »

US “Baking Show” Not As Good As British

I thoroughly agree with the Guardian on this one: ‘The Great Holiday Baking Show, which premieres last night on ABC at 10pm EST, tries very, very hard to be The Great British Bake Off – which aired in the US as The Great British Baking Show for the first four series on PBS before Netflix acquired the rights to series five. As in the original Bake Off, there are three “bakes” per episode: a signature bake, where contestants produce Read more »