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“Boardwalk Empire” (2010)

Boardwalk Empire is this Fall’s new HBO drama starring Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Johnson (1883–1968), Atlantic City’s Prohibition-era Mayor. The combination of boardwalk Carney hijinks and organized crime here make this into vintage HBO — an interesting cross between Carnivale and The Sopranos . Martin Scorcese directed the 70 minute pilot.

The unsurprising thing is that it works really, really well. The Prohibition-era paradigm shift is similar enough to our own era of ascendant faith to make it relevant. The first scene features Buscemi’s Johnson speaking before a local Temperance group and the environment is as colorful and bannered as a Baptist tent revival. As colorful as Johnson’s life of whoring, dealmaking as the mayor and political boss of New Jersey’s Sin City. [Read more →]

‘Never Let Me Go’ (2010)

When writer-director Robert Fiveson created ‘ Parts:The Clonus Horror ‘back in 1979, I’m sure he had no idea he was creating one of the most enduring science-fiction memes of the late 20th and early 21st century.

To summarize Parts , a group of young people are born, grow up and live in carefully controlled environment, wherein their every desire is indulged, yet their every behavior is monitored by the powers-that-be until such time they receive a call and it’s time for them to emigrate to the utopia of “America.”

Of course,  America is just a lie and all of these bright, young, ambitious kids are just the spare-parts clone-farm of an aging, wealthy, politically-connected elite that created the desert haven of Clonus as an organ-bank to extend their own lives. But the kids are aware of none of this — they are simply caught up in the celebration of their young lives, until the day that they are summoned to ‘America’. [Read more →]