boardwalk empire

Emerging from the wilderness of August in search of anything worthy to write about, one of the brightest beacons on the horizon is HBO’s new Jazz Age gangster series, Boardwalk Empire. It kicks off Sept 19th with a premiere episode directed by Martin Scorsese, and screenrant has found a featurette to whet our appetites.

News from last week, but well worth a delayed post. David Milch (NYPD Blue, Deadwood), and Michael Mann (Miami Vice, Heat. Collateral) have produced a winning pilot for HBO which Deadline calls “a provocative look at horse racing ‚Äì the owners, gamblers, jockeys and diverse gaming industry players.” The series has been been picked up for a full season and begins production around Santa Ana this fall.

‚ÄúMichael Mann delivered a pilot from David Milch‚Äôs brilliant script that took our breath away,‚Äù said HBO’s programming president Michael Lombardo. ‚ÄúWe are truly excited that these two artists, and our extraordinary cast headed by Dustin Hoffman, will be bringing Luck to life.‚Äù

Extraordinary cast indeed. Costarring with Dustin Hoffman are Dennis Farina, John Ortiz, Kevin Dunn, Richard Kind, Jason Gedrick, Ritchie Coster, Ian Hart, Tom Payne, Kerry Condon, Gary Stevens and Nick Nolte.

[UPDATE: Director Josh Fox is Jon Stewart’s guest on The Daily Show tonight and part of the segment involves the natural gas industry’s smear campaign to try to discredit GasLand.]

Sasha gave us a preview of GasLand a few weeks ago, featuring excerpts from an NPR interview with the film’s director, Josh Fox. The provocative documentary airs tonight on HBO at 9 p.m. on the east and west coasts, 8 p.m. Central. The NPR post stirred up a lively discussion, so I hope we can show some of the same interest in actually soaking up a few facts to back up our rhetoric.

There will be dozens of other chances to see GasLand over the next several weeks. I think this link will take you to a full schedule of future air dates. Check out the trailer after the cut.

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If you’re thinking, ‘Hey those people don’t look like Clive and Nicole,’ you’d be quite right. Let’s try not to get hung up on a lookalike contest. Let’s focus instead on Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen directed by Philip Kaufman in a quality HBO film together. Because even having them in the same room together is enough to pique my interest. Deadline has the “EXCLUSIVE”:

In 1936, Ernest Hemingway was already a legend when he met Gellhorn, a novelist and one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th Century, in a local bar in Key West. Their tumultuous romance and subsequent 5-year marriage took them to the Spanish Civil War as Gellhorn stood toe-to-toe with the literary master, putting his famous bravado and iconic style to the test. Gellhorn’s competitive nature inspired the novelist to pen one of its most famous novels, For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Originally envisioned as feature film until somebody realized studios don’t make feature films about grownup romance anymore, Hemingway & Gellhorn was offered to HBO by James Gandolfini, who once upon a time was set to star. (ok, ok, what did I say about not getting hung up on a lookalike contest?) Filming begins next year, a long way off, but that’s another difference between most production houses and HBO. When they announce a project we know it’s actually gonna happen.

The most recent addition to HBO’s rogue gallery of lovable losers is former baseball pitching sensation Kenny Powers, whose gaffe-induced fall from grace is summed up bluntly in the flashback montage of the intro episode: “Several Shitty Years Later.” Reviews for Eastbound & Down appreciate the spectacle of shit-kicker Danny McBride barely maintaining his teetering balance with oblivious misfired bluster:

“McBride’s new sitcom about a broken-down ex‚Äìpro baseball player, is the funniest thing he’s done to date.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“…there’s a winning, vox-populi tone to much of the comedy that has elements of Frank Capra and Preston Sturges lurking within, even though it has no qualms about stooping to potty humor.” (Washington Post)

Production on the series’ second season has been underway since May. This time around the sports comedy is taking the team on the road to Mexico (pinch-hitting for Mexico locations: Puerto Rico). Fresh faces recruited for season two include Michael Pe√±a as the owner of a Mexican baseball team, and Ana de la Reguera as Kenny’s new paramour. Most of the first season’s Shelby County cast stays behind in North Carolina, but Steve Little returns as star-struck follower Stevie Janowski — because behind every assholing Ari Gold stands a loyal Lloyd. Providing a wickedly disturbing twist on Eve Harrington’s character arc, Janowski’s transmogrification is one of the many unrepentant misfit pleasures of Eastbound & Down. Returning to HBO in September.

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