Author: Michael Cook

A theatre kid dabbling in the art of reviewing the things he reads, watches, listens to, and sees.

Kristen Chenoweth is Killing It on “Trial & Error: Lady, Killer” (S02E05-06 Review)

Trial & Error: Lady, Killer - Season 2Tonight’s episodes of Trial & Error: Lady, Killer were unexpected in the best possible way. It would have been so easy for the show to just do what it did last year and have the trial last the entirety of the season, but nope. That’s too easy for this team and Trial & Error is a better show because of it. Created by Jeff Astrof and Matt Miller, Trial & Error: Lady, Killer follows the fictional trial of Lavinia Peck-Foster (Kristen Chenoweth) as she’s defended from murder charges by lawyer Josh Segal (Nicholas D’Agosto) in the town of East Peck, South Carolina.

A Change in the Team: After Dwayne testifies on the prosecution’s behalf and dismantles the timeline they established, Lavinia pressures Josh to fire Dwayne. Dwayne redeems himself when he stumbles onto a big break in the case leading to a shocking confession and Josh winning Lavinia’s case. (Written by Patrick Kang and Michael Levin and directed by Jeffrey Blitz)

New Case, Old Murder: In the aftermath of winning Lavinia’s case, the town finally embraces Josh as a real Pecker. However, Josh agonizes over whether or not Lavinia may have done it and, unable to try Lavinia again for Edgar’s murder, Josh takes a big swing by trying to open an old case. (Written by Melanie Boysaw and Nora Nolan and directed by Jeffrey Blitz)

(Spoilers ahead)

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“Christopher Robin” is super cute and enjoyable, though not particularly memorable.

christopher robin posterWhen I heard that Disney was gonna make a live-action version of Winnie-the-Pooh with a grown-up Christopher Robin, I was a bit skeptical. Was that something anybody wanted to see? Didn’t it sound a bit too much like Hook? Would it be good? Then Ewan McGregor was cast as Christopher Robin and I was intrigued. Then the first teaser trailer came out and it looked somewhat generic, but still really cute. Then the second trailer came out and I was totally sold. Every piece of promotional material since then has just made me more and more interested in and excited about the movie. The big question is: is the movie actually good? The short answer is: yeah, it’s alright. Written by Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, and Allison Schroeder (from a story by Greg Brooker and Mark Steven Johnson) and directed by Marc Foster, Christopher Robin tells the story of a grown-up Christopher Robin (played by Ewan McGregor) as he deals with work and familial problems.

In the heatwarming live action adventure “Disney’s Christopher Robin,” the young boy who loved embarking on adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood with a band of spirited and loveable stuffed animals, has grown up and lost his way. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin remember the loving and playful boy who is still inside.

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“MTowne: Where Murder Happens” – Trial & Error: Lady, Killer’s official podcast – is a whole lot of fun

MTowne_ Where Murder HappensSince there are no new episodes of Trial & Error: Lady, Killer airing this week, I thought I’d dedicate a post to talking about the official companion podcast to the show, MTowne: Where Murder Happens. Hosted by Nina Rudolph (played by Amanda Payton), MTowne is a podcast that’s set within the universe of Trial & Error. It’s frequently mentioned throughout the second season and the host of the podcast, Nina Rudolph, is a main character in the season. In the same way that Trial and Error parodies true-crime TV documentaries, MTowne parodies true-crime podcasts (such as Serial). It’s a whole lot of fun and really offers a lot of new information about this season of Trial & Error.

“M-Towne: Where Murder Happens” is a narrative podcast companion series to the NBC summer comedy “Trial & Error: Lady, Killer.” Hosted by podcast producer character Nina Rudolph, “M-Towne” parallels the on-air season, exploring juicy details in the murder case of Lavinia Peck-Foster, the honorary matriarch of the small Southern town of East Peck. Parodying podcasts like “Serial,” “M-Towne: Where Murder Happens” pokes fun at all the tropes of the true crime podcast genre in this hilarious, yet bonus-content-rich send-up.

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NBC’s “Trial & Error: Lady, Killer” is Full of Delightful Plot Twists (S02E03-04 “The Murder Clock” and “A Hole in the Case” REVIEW)

Trial & Error: Lady, Killer - Season 2A good ongoing mystery show is only as good as its twists, turns, and red herrings. Trial & Error: Lady, Killer continues to provide us with countless twists and turns and cliffhangers. Created by Jeffrey Blitz and Matt Miller, Trial & Error: Lady, Killer is the second season of NBC’s true-crime satirizing comedy Trial & Error. This season follows the trial of Lavinia Peck-Foster (Kristen Chenoweth) as Josh Segal (Nicholas D’Agosto) and his Associates (Anne (Sherri Shepherd) and Dwayne (Stephen Boyer)) defend her against prosecutor Carol-Anne Keaton (Jayma Mays).

“The Murder Clock”: Josh’s team continues to hunt for the potential murder weapon that would seal their timeline. The case takes a dramatic turn as their search leads them to two new suspects and some shocking news about Lavinia. (Written by Liz Astrof and directed by Jeffrey Blitz)

“A Hole in the Case”: As the trial begins, Josh and his team experience some hiccups in proving Lavinia’s innocence to the judge. As soon as Josh thinks he’s been able to find cause for dismissal of the case, Carol Anne argues to test the timeline herself, leading them to uncover a hidden passageway on Lavinia’s property. (Written by David Booth and directed by Yana Gorskaya)

NOTE: There will be spoilers for episodes 3 and 4 of Trial & Error: Lady, Killer.

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The New “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” Trailer is Beyond Exciting

DipbR_SXcAETQLXToday was the Warner Brothers panel at Comic-Con and the first thing they did was debut a new trailer for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. It’s our first look at the film since the teaser trailer was released back in March. This trailer is nearly double the length of the first one and features a whole lot of new footage and much better look at both the tone and content of the film. Written by J.K. Rowling and directed by David Yates, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the sequel to 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It continues the story of Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) as he is tasked by Dumbledore (Jude Law) to help track down and defeat wizard terrorist Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). It is due to be released on November 16, 2018, and also stars Katherine Waterstone as Tina Goldstein, Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski, Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein, Ezra Miller Credence Barebone, Zoë Kravitz as Leta Lestrange, Callum Turner as Theseus Scamander, Brontis Jodorowsky as Nicolas Flamel, and Claudia Kim as a currently unnamed Maledictus.

At the end of the first film, the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured by MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), with the help of Newt Scamander. But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escaped custody and has set about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise wizards and witches up to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.

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“Trial & Error: Lady, Killer” is just as wonderfully funny as the first season! (S02E01-02: “The Suitcase”, “The Timeline” Review)

Trial & Error: Lady Killer - Season 2It may be more than a year after the first season of NBC’s Trial & Error finished airing, but the second season makes it feel like no time has passed. Season 2 of Trial & Error is a perfect continuation of the first season in every way and the writers and directors haven’t missed a beat. Trial & Error is a comedic anthology series that follows defense attorney Josh Segal (Nicholas D’Agostoa), and his associates: Dwayne Reed (Steven Boyer) and Anne Flatch (Sherri Shepherd) as they go toe-to-toe against town prosecutor Carol Anne Keane (Jayma Mays) in a new murder trial in the small town of East Peck, South Caroline. This season’s defendant: Lavinia Peck-Foster (Kristen Chenoweth), First Lady of East Peck.

“The Suitcase”: Josh Segal and Associates get their first case, defending Lavinia Peck-Foster, the eccentric First Lady of East Peck who was found with husband Edgar’s corpse in a suitcase in her trunk. Lavinia is surly, entitled, larger than life and, instead of hugs, her currency of connection is a face slap. On the other hand, she is wealthy so she can pay him. Winning this case could be Josh’s ticket for his true goal, to be considered a “Pecker.” Unfortunately, complications and bodies keep piling up and there are more questions than answers. (Written by Jeff Astrof and directed by Jeffrey Blitz)

“The Timeline”: When Judge Kamiltow rules that Lavinia must stand trial for the murder of her husband, Josh and the team try to poke holes in the timeline of the case Carol Anne will present. But when a clock is determined to be the murder weapon, they are forced to seek help from two unlikely sources — the convicted murderer of Lavinia’s brother and the host of a popular murder podcast called “M-Town.” (Written by Craig Gerard & Matthew Zinman and directed by Jeffrey Blitz)

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“Doctor Who” WOWS at Comic-Con With a New Trailer and Lots of Reveals

promo image 2Today’s the first official day of San Diego Comic-Con and Doctor Who was one of the first (and biggest) panels! Naturally, if you’re gonna go to Comic-Con, you’re gonna bring out the big guns, and that’s exactly what Chris Chibnall did at Doctor Who’s panel. Debuting new promo pictures, a look at the new Sonic Screwdriver, and even a brand-new trailer for the upcoming eleventh series, the Doctor Who Comic-Con panel was definitely a delight to behold and I’m gonna break it all down right here. The eleventh series of Doctor Who is the first to be executive produced by new showrunner Chris Chibnall and the first to star Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor. It has been filming since late last year and is expected to premiere this fall on BBC One and BBC America. It will continue the adventures of the Time Lord known as the Doctor as she meets new friends and takes them on exciting adventures throughout time and space!  (more…)

“Rose” and “The Christmas Invasion” Round Out the First Wave of “Doctor Who: The Target Collection” With Enjoyable Stories

target collection - rose and christmas invasionI already reviewed the last two titles in the revamped line of Target Books Novelizations of Doctor Who episodes, so I figured I’d go ahead and review the first two titles in the line. Like The Day of the Doctor and Twice Upon a TimeRose (by Russel T. Davies, based on his script) and The Christmas Invasion (by Jenny T. Colgan, based on a script by Russel T. Davies) are novelizations of two episodes from the 2005 revived series of Doctor Who. Both episodes were written by Russel T. Davies and both novelizations follow the same plot as the episodes, but with added embellishments and asides.

Doctor Who: Rose (by Russel T. Davies)
In a lair somewhere beneath central London, a malevolent alien intelligence is plotting the end of humanity. Shop window dummies that can move – and kill – are taking up key positions, ready to strike. Rose Tyler, an ordinary Londoner, is working her shift in a department store, unaware that this is the most important day of her life. She’s about to meet the only man who understands the true nature of the threat facing Earth, a stranger who will open her eyes to all the wonder and terror of the universe – a traveller in time and space known as the Doctor.

Doctor Who: The Christmas Invasion (by Jenny T. Colgan)
Earth is under attack by power-hungry aliens. This is no time for the Doctor to be out of action. When a British space probe is intercepted by a sinister alien vessel on the eve of Christmas, it marks the beginning of an audacious invasion of the Earth by the Sycorax – horrifying marauders from beyond the stars. Within hours, a third of humanity stands on the brink of death with not a single shot fired. Our planet needs a champion – but the Doctor is not fit for service. He’s just regenerated, delirious in a new body and a dressing gown. Forced into his battered shoes is his friend, Rose Tyler, a girl from a London council estate. Will she save the world from this nightmare before Christmas – or see it destroyed?

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“Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor – The Time War 2” Isn’t Quite as Good as the First Box Set, But Still Rather Enjoyable

DW8DTW02_slipcase_1417SQOverall, I’m just really, really pleased with these Eighth Doctor Time War sets. The Eighth Doctor is one of my favorite Doctors and the Time War is one of my favorite elements of Doctor Who mythology, so I’m really pleased to see it explored so well in these audios. Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor – The Time War Series 2 is the second Big Finish Productions box set in a series of four featuring the Eighth Doctor’s adventures during the Time War. Starring Paul McGann as the Doctor, Rakhee Thakrar as Bliss, Jacqueline Pearce as Cardinal Ollistra, Nikki Amuka-Bird as Tamasan, and Julia McKenzie as the Twelve, The Time War 2 sees the Doctor and Bliss continue to fight for survival during the Time War. As the Time War gets more treacherous the Time Lords and Daleks become more desperate and they’ll use anything and anyone at their disposal… the Doctor and Bliss can only hope to avoid the crossfire. (NOTE: There may be spoilers in this review… read ahead at your own risk!)  (more…)

Big Finish’s “Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor – The Time War 1” Finally Makes the Time War Feel Like a Time War

bf___time_war_1__new_logo_version__by_pej72-dc9boxdIn light of the recent release of Volume 2 of Big Finish’s Eighth Doctor Time War series (review coming later this week), I figured I’d finally give the first set a listen. I really should’ve done this earlier, because it’s the first piece of Doctor Who that’s really made the Time War feel like a Time War. Written by John Dorney and Matt Fitton and DIrected by Ken Bentley, Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor – The Time War Series 1 is the first in a run of four boxsets that serve as a prequel to Big Finish’s four War Doctor boxsets. In Series 1, the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) is pulled into the events of the Time War, a war he has been avoiding as long as he possibly could. A terrible war is being waged through space and time, as two powerful enemies rip the cosmos apart in a final struggle to the death. The Doctor stands apart from this conflict: he is not a warrior, but a healer. But the Time War is snapping at his heels, and soon he will have no choice but to turn and face its horrors… (Warning: spoilers ahead!) (more…)