2015 was truly a great year for television. Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu released a slew of original programming, veteran series came to an end, and consistent fan favorites delivered exciting new seasons. Check out what the Buffer Editors loved to (perhaps binge) watch this past year.
“Ask me things, please.” The eager request, posed gently by the titular character in Todd Haynes’s film Carol, embodies the spellbinding atmosphere of the film. Its main characters, Carol and Therese (played by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, respectively), begin to question their claustrophobic, routine lives. Both open and concealed, dangerous yet careful, Carol juxtaposes daring pursuits of love and independence with the tedium of everyday life as it follows Carol and Therese searching for when, where, and how they might be free to love one another.
Ah, the Holidays. A time to indulge in stale cookies and bad eggnog, and watch endless reruns of tired Christmas classics. This year, in the same spirit of mediocre holiday entertainment, comes A Very Murray Christmas. The Christmas special, recently released on Netflix, is directed by Sofia Coppola, and stars, of course, Bill Murray. Murray, along with a gaggle of famous friends, try to recreate old timey holiday variety shows, with a contemporary spin. Unfortunately, this star-studded affair lacks any Christmas magic. Continue reading A Very (Un)Murray Christmas
With a title like Chiraq, the controversy surrounding the preview for Spike Lee’s latest film was inevitable. The title is a portmanteau of Chicago and Iraq, drawn from the estimation that the homicide rate in Chicago has surpassed the death toll of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. In Lee’s trailer, a smiling Samuel L. Jackson in a loud orange suit greets the audience warmly, disturbing the serious tone expected of the film. Luckily, Chiraq is satire, based on the ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata. In Lysistrata, Greek women pledge celibacy until their partners negotiate a peace deal to end the Peloponnesian War. In Chiraq, the women of Chicago aim to bring an end to the city’s gun violence by doing the same. The colorful trailer sets gunshots and funerals against barbershop laughter and men gawking in strip clubs. Lee is asking substantial favors of his audiences: to trust that the comedic elements of Chiraq will not eclipse the severity of the actual gun violence that plagues the city and that he as a director can rise to such a sensitive task. But satire or not, is the city of Chicago prepared for such a film? It was only weeks ago that 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee was shot dead in an alley in the city, a tragic result of gang violence. No matter Lee’s intention, perhaps it is far too soon for the subject to be broached with anything other than a solemn tone.
Chiraq opens in select theaters on December 4th.
The first season of Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang’s new comedy series Master of None has just premiered in its entirety on Netflix for your binge-watching convenience. And binge watch you will. Following the misadventures of Dev Shah (Ansari), a thirty-something small-time actor struggling to make the leap from Go-gurt commercials to feature films, the offbeat comedy addresses the idiosyncrasies of millennial love and life in the Big Apple. In a pilot aptly titled “Plan B,” we watch as Dev holds priceless conversations with friends (single and otherwise) in a desperate effort to confront the existential crisis of his generation: to breed, or not to breed. In a series of stylized silent film montages, we become privy to Dev’s hilariously absurd imaginings of life as a family man, both idyllic and nightmarish. Ultimately, we come to suspect, as Dev does, that the reality probably lies somewhere between the two extremes. Continue reading Master of None Is a Jack of All Trades
In an industry currently headlined by Cara Delevigne, Alexander Wang, and the Olsen Twins, you would think one must be under 35 to ride the waves of fashion. Enter Iris Apfel, 94-year old businesswoman, interior designer, and fashion icon. Apfel, nicknamed “The Rare Bird of Fashion,” has been a consistent and prominent figure in the fashion world for over 60 years, and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Albert Maysles’s 2015 documentary Iris follows the rare bird throughout her day-to-day functions, activities that include consulting Bergdorf Goodman on their window display of her costume jewelry collection, appearing on Martha Stewart’s talk show, and posing for Vanity Fair magazine. This Queens native approaches each task with more energy than someone half her age, firing off inappropriate jokes and throwing out pop culture references at rapid speed. Whenever asked, “How are you?” Apfel is quick to respond, “I’m vertical.” While always aware of her age, she refuses to let it slow her down.