Of All the Movies in All the World: Chris Matthews Compares Valerie Plame Flick to… “Casablanca”?


“Casablanca” is perhaps the most beloved, easily the most quoted, and probably the closest the American cinema has come to Shakespeare other than the first two “Godfather” films. (It ranks 3rd on the AFI’s top 100 list, and depending on my mood, it’s somewhere between 1 and 3 for me, rotating places with”Godfather” 1 and [...]

Tom Selleck’s “Blue Bloods” Reflects the Conservatism of its Star


The television season’s best surprise is easily Blue Bloods starring Tom Selleck as the New York City Police Commissioner, and the head of a multi-generational family of cops.   What looked in trailers to be a clunky cop drama is both a surprisingly original take on the genre  and a provocative look at some hot-button issues. [...]

Burn Notice: TV’s Coolest Veterans


TV’s coolest veterans, Michael Westen (former Army Ranger and unjustly disgraced covert operative) and Sam Axe (retired Navy SEAL) return this Veterans Day to the USA Network, just when their country needs them to rescue a bland Fall season. I’ve always had a problem with spy stories where the U.S. government is trying to kill [...]

Triple Play: Keith Olbermann’s 3 Non-Apologies in 1 Segment


So, upon his return from a 2 episode “indefinite suspension” from MSNBC—which mainly served to give him a “four-day weekend,”and a “universal hug,” Keith Olbermann made himself the apex of the “Countdown,” saving his apology for the spot reserved for the “Number 1 Story.” If that wasn’t a clue… Keith’s “apologies” went like this: Brag [...]

“The Good Wife” Goes for Greatness


The CBS lawyer drama The Good Wife, is so smart and politically incorrect, that it’s hard to believe it is on one of the dinosaur broadcast networks.  In fact, the only television series I have seen be this smart and brutally honest about big-city politics is The Wire—a comparison I don’t make lightly. This is [...]

NRB Book Club: Now We Are Enemies: The Story of Bunker Hill


Years before Michael Shaara wrote his Civil War classic, The Killer Angels, about the friends who faced each other at Gettysburg, Thomas Fleming launched his stellar career with this terrific– and similarly themed and gripping– narrative about the first battle of our first civil war, the American Revolution. In Now We Are Enemies: The Story [...]

Olby Fired for THIS? Nope.


I’ve held off dancing on Keith Olbermann’s broadcast grave for two reasons:  One, because I wasn’t sure I believed it; and two, because I wasn’t sure it was cause for celebration. Of all the compilations and commentary about the abrupt “indefinite suspension” by MSNBC of their most prominent personality, Keith Olbermann, perhaps the above video [...]

Ultra-Patriotic “Hawaii Five-0” One of the TV Season’s Best Surprises


When I first heard there was to be a Hawaii Five-O reboot with younger actors, my first reaction was the groan of a man tired of television and movies mining his childhood to mostly lame and usually campy effect. Not that the original Hawaii Five-O holds up incredibly well, probably ranking somewhere between Kojak and [...]

Brilliant! Wildly Entertaining “Sherlock” Update is Wittily Un-PC


The PBS/BBC Masterpiece Mystery this month is “Sherlock” which has Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson—along with supporting characters Inspector Lestrade and landlady Mrs. Hudson—operating in modern day London. The show is simply ingenious– true enough to the character for purists and modern enough to attract a new younger audience—from the team that did much the [...]

NRB Book Club: Dexter is Delicious


For a couple of seasons now, I’ve been saying that Showtime’s Dexter (reviewed excellently here by Walter Hudson) has surpassed the series of books they are based on. And since the producers of the television show have been more willing than author Jeff Lindsay to kill of certain characters, it’s sometimes confusing to read the [...]