Tag Archives drama

Actor Akeem Mair Shares His Story

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Named after an Eddie Murphy character, actor Akeem Mair shares his story on his journey into the acting world. LA-based Mair has been in many award-winning Indie films and takes on smaller roles in music videos and commercials. The versatile actor works in drama, action, and romance roles and dreams of working alongside his inspiration, Denzel Washington. After gaining attention from an appearance on the Ellen Show, Mair was reinvigorated to one day be nominated for an Oscar and threw himself back into the industry. For now, he celebrates an upcoming project he worked on with his father, and hopes to be a motivation to younger generations seeking to achieve their own dreams. 

Cliche: What have been some of your favorite accomplishments as an actor?    

Akeem Mair: My most favorite accomplishment had to be when I was on the Ellen Show. The thing about it is I didn’t book it!! It was all by chance! I remember my cell blowing up in David Rountree’s Phase 2 On Camera/On Set class. Texts were popping up like, “you were on The Ellen Show??? Call me ASAP!” The segment is called “Speak The Lyrics.” A show where one of Ellen’s writers walks up to a complete stranger and begins speaking to them in song lyrics.

I literally had no idea I was even being filmed to be on The Ellen Show. I remember walking into a Barnes and Noble in Burbank. I noticed a bunch of film crew standing outside speaking to one another. So I asked them, “What are you guys filming?” But None of them had any information about what was going on which I thought was weird. I walked inside and still to this day I don’t understand why I hadn’t noticed the cameras before. I looked around at some books and then I decided to leave. But 2pac’s “ All Eyes On Me” record stopped me.. That’s when Lauren quietly walks up to me. She started talking and almost threw me completely off. 

But in the back of my mind I was hearing Coach Mike telling me to not disagree with anything she says. Just be in the moment, so I hit her with some funny humor right back at her. Next thing I know after she walks away, I get swarmed by those same crew members who claimed they didn’t know anything and now they were asking me to sign a bunch of papers. I guess they finally answered my question. 

Then it airs on TV and Ellen Degeneres calling it, “The best episode she’s ever seen!” She put it on her instagram page and boom!!! It generates over 5 million views in one day! Then by the grace of God it lands in my future agent’s feed, Sarah Angeli from Commercial Talent Agency. The Timing was crazy because I had just submitted my headshots and resume to her last week. 

So as I walked into her office for my agent meeting, guess what she was watching?? My episode cued up on her computer screen. She was like, “I just saw this yesterday and here you are!” So we talked and then she played it again and we both laughed at it. I’ll never forget that moment in my life. 

Your resume shows a variety of roles and accomplishments, what is your favorite genre to work in?

Action, Drama or Romance.  Definitely drama because that’s where most of my chances of winning the Oscar will come from and it’s the hardest to perform. I especially love drama roles because they challenge me and bring out the best in me. But I also love playing the hero like Batman or James Bond, with all of the fighting and shooting guns and winning the love interest’s heart at the end. It’s funny to me because my main thing in movies is I want the lead to fall in love and win the main girl at the end. I hate it when he doesn’t because I feel like he failed after going through so much for her. Sometimes I stopped the movie before the big fall and he loses it all just to savor the good times haha. For me, characters are like a living and breathing being and I aim to relate that to my own life as if I’m actually that person. Each role is real to me so when he feels pain I personally feel it. I love roles that bring that out of me. 

Who has inspired you in your acting career?

Denzel Washington and Eddie Murphy. You’ll understand why Eddie Murphy is such a big inspiration to me in the next question but for this question, Denzel Washington. I just love the way he approaches his craft. I mean his confidence, swag, fearlessness, and mental toughness literally screams through the screen. He just has you in awe with a feeling like it’s impossible to act that good. He’s just on a whole different level and I have to get there someday. His role in Training Day as detective Alonzo Harris was just out of this world. He definitely deserves the Oscar he won in 2002. You felt everything about his character from selfishness, greed, carelessness, betrayal, ruthlessness, liar, etc. And yet with all of that going on, you still fell in love with his character. Usually you’re turned off by the bad guys and want to see them lose. But I found myself rooting for him and hoping the best for him. It’s kind of why the last scene was so good, the scene that single handedly earned him the Oscar. When you get the audience to love you no matter what side you are on, you truly won! And that’s the biggest inspiration I can take from Denzel. 

You are named after Eddie Murphy’s role in “Coming to America”, do you find inspiration from him as you have developed your own acting career? 

Eddie Murphy inspires me everyday to pursue my passions to become a legendary actor like him. Being named after his character it seems my parents knew I was destined to be in the entertainment business. My mom, Queen, told me how she and my dad, James, went out on a Sunday evening to see the hit movie “Coming to America” when it came out in theaters on June 26, 1988. She was about 6 months pregnant with me and my parents were still unsure of what my name would be. After seeing the movie, my mother fell in love with Eddie Murphy’s character Akeem.  She talked it over with my dad and they were both in agreement. She loved how he was this African Prince who’s extremely rich but he didn’t walk around like that. He wanted to find a wife who loved and respected him for who he was and not because of his title or his money. He was humble enough to work at a low paying job  and always had something wise to say to people at the right times. He stood up for what he believed in and was completely generous at heart to everybody. When you watch that movie you find yourself saying, “ I want to be like that guy.” I would watch that movie over and over again for inspiration, learning as much as I could to develop into that kind of person. I am so grateful and honored to be named after Prince Akeem.

Who do you hope to work with on a project next?

I really hope to work with Denzel Washington or Eddie Murphy next! Haha I know it’s a stretch but I want to be able to work with those two legends while there’s still time. It kinda reminds me of that rookie season of Kobe Bryant where he went up against Micheal Jordan when he was still on the bulls. That moment was epic! It’s just crazy to me how God had set them up and now looking back you’re amazed by those two legends going head to head. I want to experience something like that, the same epic moment feeling with Denzel or Eddie. To be on set and be able to pick their brains about acting and how they each prepare for their roles. Their tone of voice or gestures…I want to learn what it takes to be an Oscar winning actor from Denzel and how to play so many multiple characters with different personalities from Eddie. Ultimately, the Oscar and to one day be a legend in this game are the only goals I have my mind set on. It sucks that it took me 5 years to get back into my craft but now that I have a new supreme hunger, I’m gonna let go of the past and do whatever it takes to make that happen.

What impacts do you hope to have during your career? 

I hope to inspire the kids throughout my entire career through my movies or commercials. I want my impact to be monumental. I want to be a role model to everyone and I want my movies to motivate, to boost confidence, to build faith, to inspire kids or adults to go after their dreams, to lift people out of dark places in their lives, to strengthen the courage of young people to not let this world push them around, to bring positive energy into a world that is so negative, to change the way people feel about themselves negatively. I want my impact to be global and international. Not just in the U.S but the entire world! When people are trying to find an example of someone who went through adversity and persevere, one of the actors they can think of is Akeem Mair!  

What upcoming projects are you most excited for?

I can’t really tell who it’s from because of the NDA contract I signed but it’s exciting because my dad is a part of it. Kind of like that Kobe-Jordan moment I was speaking about earlier, it has that same epic feeling. It was definitely a surprise to me and my father because the project made me call him right there on the spot. I haven’t spoken to my father in a minute so you can almost feel the tension of calling him and hearing his voice. I love this project a lot because it helped me reconnect with my father and it’s something I’ll never forget. Sometimes in life you need something to push you to do some of the important things in life you keep putting off because you expect it to take care of itself. It’s great we got to talk while we still have that opportunity. Whoever is reading this if you’ve got something you’ve been putting off, I suggest you go do it. Nobody knows when their last day on Earth is, I can say it’s a great feeling when you do it.

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Images by Michael Bezjian, Todd Tyler, Greg Doherty

Top 5 Crime Documentaries To Binge on Netflix

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When it comes to finding shows that enthrall the audience, crime shows on Netflix have been on the rise. Despite creating popular romantic comedies, Netflix has an array of crime shows that make you scratch your head in absurdity. You’re also inclined to turn into your own detective trying to figure out who could have possibly done the crime. These are our picks for the top five crime shows on Netflix that will lead you down a dark path of mystery.

 

1. The Keepers

Released in 2017, The Keepers follows the investigation of the disappearance and murder of a nun, Sister Cathy Cesnik. The beloved Catholic high school teacher in Baltimore, Maryland went missing on November 7th, 1969 and was found dead two months later. The series takes you on a journey through the dark world of the Catholic church and its institutions, as well as the dedication of Sister Cesnik’s former students to find the truth after all these years.

 

 

2. Delhi Crime

The heinous rape of a young woman shook India to its core in 2012. Delhi Crime, starring Shefali Shah as Deputy Commissioner Vartika Chaturvedi, is based on the aftermath of this gang rape in South Dehli. The series follows the investigation to find the men responsible, as the country tries to find guilt in the police department. The story and show will make you shiver.

 

 

3. Abducted In Plain Sight

The show Abducted In Plain Sight will absolutely baffle you! In 1974, twelve-year-old Jan Broberg was abducted by a family friend, not once, but TWICE. Robert Berchtold, “B”, infiltrated and blind sided the Broberg family into being able to manipulate and get close to young Jan. The show takes you on a roller coaster of emotions between shock, intrigue and utter bewilderment.

 

 

4. Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Ted Bundy is one of the most notorious serial killers in history. There have been numerous shows made about Bundy, but this series delves deeper and Bundy gets even more chilling. The show features audio of Ted Bundy while he was on death row, conducted by reporters Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth. The murderous layers of Ted Bundy’s mind are peeled away even more.

 

 

5. The Innocent Man

Based on shocking murders that changed Ada, Oklahoma, this docuseries follows the investigation of two murder cases between 1982 and 1984. The show looks into first hand accounts and testimonies of friends and family of both the victims and the accused. The kicker? The investigation leads to the possibility of false confessions coerced by the police on the potential perpetrators that, at the time, were found guilty.

 

 

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Top 5 Crime Documentaries To Binge on Netflix: Image Credits: Netflix

The Characters We Love: Andrea “Andy” Herrera from ABC’s Station 19

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For every project that is touched by the legendary Shonda Rhimes, there’s a very good chance it will be a huge success. Just take a look at Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder. ABC really hit the jackpot with these iconic television series. Station 19 is one of the newest shows on Rhimes’ résumé that is also airing on ABC. While she did not create the show herself (that credit goes to Stacy McKee), Rhimes is playing her part – and playing it well – as the executive producer of the show. As a spin-off to Grey’s Anatomy, and also set in Seattle, the series centers on the lives of the men and women at Seattle Fire Station 19. Only in its second season, the ensemble stars Jason George, Grey Damon, Barett Doss, and Jay Hayden, among others. However, at the helm is Jaina Lee Ortiz, who portrays Andrea Herrera, or simply: Andy. A firefighter, as well as a qualified EMT, Andy is confident, independent, and badass, and that’s why we love her!

There is no Station 19 without Andy Herrera, and Ortiz portrays her with authenticity and power. She lost her mother at the young age of 9, and her father (and former Captain) practically raised her at the station. Saving lives and making a difference is all she ever knew and wanted to do. She’s resourceful, often finding herself in the toughest of situations, but knowing just what to do to get out of them. In almost every episode, her friends, colleagues, and even potential lovers all look to her for guidance simply because she’s seen it all from such an early age.

Jaina Lee Ortiz in uniform, and on the scene, as firefighter Andy Herrera.

Jaina Lee Ortiz can relate to her character greatly. Born Jessica Ortiz in California and raised in the Bronx, her father, Joe Ortiz, is an NYPD 1st Grade Detective. Because of this, she got accustomed to hearing crazy stories nearly every day growing up. In addition, Ortiz is one of the very few Latina leads on television, something she had to learn to embrace. “When I got my first headshots, I felt like I needed to blend in,” Ortiz said on a 2018 episode of The View. “I felt like I needed to dye my hair a lighter blonde and I considered sticking some blue contacts in my eyes. It’s sad that I didn’t feel accepted and included. Women and minorities are really underrepresented in the media. So just to be a part of knowing that Shonda Rhimes has created this environment where women get to be their own heroes and their own stories, it’s refreshing and empowering.”

Station 19 airs Thursday nights on ABC. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all things Jaina Lee Ortiz, check out both her Instagram and Twitter.

 

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The Characters We Love: Andrea “Andy” Herrera from ABC’s Station 19: Featured Image Credit: abc.com

Why Hulu’s Upcoming ‘Ramy’ is an Important Show To Watch

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Comedian Ramy Youssef first made a splash appearing on The Late Show With Stephan Colbert when he performed 5 minutes of stand up that spoke about his Muslim identity in a witty way that had the crowd laughing 10 seconds in. It is no surprise that he is now executive producing and starring in his own Hulu show titled Ramy, which is set to premiere April 19th.  Early reviews of the show have been overwhelmingly positive, making it a show that will be a necessary watch. The series of this magnitude is long overdue and for that reason alone, its arrival is important.  

The show is also executive produced by Jerrod Carmichael, whose own series on NBC made waves as it tackled social issues ranging from race, gender, and even school shootings. In its three-season run, The Carmichael Show never shied away from uncomfortable topics, and from the Hulu trailer, Ramy seems to be following in its brave footsteps. The series has 10 episodes and each episode is rooted in Ramy’s real-life stand-up.

Much like his own life, Ramy follows a first-generation Arab-American Muslim living in New Jersey who is struggling to find himself. In the just-released trailer, you can see Ramy speaking with friends about being 30 years old and still grappling with the identity issues that arose from being caught between two cultural expectations. The culture clash emerges from a post-9/11 world that believes the term ‘Muslim-American’ is an oxymoron. In the previews, you also see him questioning whether he’s even a good enough Muslim to be accepted into his own community while dealing with explaining his beliefs to his non-Muslim friends.

What makes this new series so special is that it has never been done before. There has never been a show quite like Ramy that centers around the voices of young Arab-Americans like this. And as Ramy has said in his own interviews, Arabs have never had their ‘pop-culture’ moment. These truthful characters are finally taking the main stage, and the creators promise that they are going to have actual depth to them. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Ramy said his goal with this series is to not display his community as squeaky clean and polished people, nor is he playing into the harmful stereotypes we’re so used to seeing on screen. He’s simply showing his community as they are. “Meeting at our fault lines is much more interesting to me than meeting at shared values. I’m not trying to sell you something. If anything, I’m trying to show you where we are. There is nothing to hide.”

If a Hulu series isn’t enough, Ramy also has his first stand-up special set to premiere on HBO this summer. Between a stand-up special and this upcoming Hulu series, Ramy Youssef is making important strides for his community. Make sure you press play on April 19th to finally see Arab-Americans have their pop-culture moment!

 

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Why Hulu’s Upcoming ‘Ramy’ is an Important Show To Watch: Featured Image Credit: @Hulu on Instagram.

Is The Path Your Next Show to Binge?

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Are you on the hunt for a mysterious TV series with the right amount of drama and a dash of spookiness? Then The Path is definitely your next show to binge!

The Path, created by Jessica Goldberg, is a series packed with drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The show focuses on Eddie Lane (Aaron Paul) and his experience in the shaman-esque cult, Meyerism. Eddie returns from a spiritual retreat in Peru causing him to have doubts about his faith which he has to keep secret from his Meyerist family and community. Meanwhile, his best friend Cal Roberts (Hugh Dancy) is trying to expand the cult following by going against the recently deceased founder, Stephen Meyer’s, instructions. As the episodes go on the conflict between characters becomes more intense, revealing secret after secret, that will keep you constantly surprised.   

Goldberg keeps you wondering whether or not Meyerism is a scam; are members having meaningless hallucinations caused by drug use, or are people having legitimate spiritual epiphanies? She also has created an unclear moral standing explored through Eddie Lane’s internal struggles and doubts. Throughout the series you question if the Meyerist cult is just a small strange group of people who believe in doing good deeds to aid those in need, or if it’s only meant to exploit others for power. You’ll never want to stop watching The Path until these mysteries are solved.

The Path has just finished its third and final season on Hulu, so there’s plenty of episodes to binge if you haven’t started already. It’s a great show to satisfy your need for drama, and its mysterious nature makes it fun to create conspiracy theories with your friends and fellow watchers.

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Is The Path Your Next Show to Binge?: Featured Image Credit: Hulu.

Characters We Love: Jack Pearson of ‘This Is Us’

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There are times when we watch our favorite television shows and we find characters that embody all the qualities a person wants in an actual human being. The compassionate husband and father from This Is Us, Jack Pearson (played by Gilmore Girls and Heroes alum Milo Ventimiglia), is one of those characters that many of us just love and some are still trying to figure out. He possesses all the unique qualities that make women wish they could be with him and men wish they could be him.

I received the initial hype for This Is Us from my friends and family who were following the NBC drama and added it to my list of Must-Watch TV Shows for the Year. They did not give a significant amount of information about the show; instead, all they told me was that it focused on a special set of individuals whose lives intersect because of a shared birthday. But there is more to the story than one would have guessed. At the beginning, the audience is introduced to a husband named Jack and his pregnant wife, Rebecca; an actor named Kevin who faces some sort of existential crisis about what direction his life is going; a woman named Kate who has a goal of losing weight; and then there is Randall, a gifted husband and father of two that has a hard-to-explain job and who recently discovers the identity and the location of his biological father. After watching the first episode and being surprised by the intriguing twist that links the characters, I, like many other viewers, was then immediately taken on an emotional ride.

Every Tuesday night, I was always excited to see what story or what direction each episode was going to take, and after the first three episodes, it became very clear that my favorite character was Jack Pearson.

One reason to love Jack is his commitment to his wife, Rebecca (Mandy Moore) and his family. He also knows what to say and do at the right time. There were many times when his wife or three children, Randall, Kate, and Kevin were facing extremely tough and tense situations. There is one scene where he addresses his adopted son Randall’s sense of isolation and insecurity by taking Randall to work for Take Your Son to Work Day and he says to Randall, “You are every part my son,” proving to Randall how much he means to him. Even though Randall is Jack’s adopted son, it is clear that he is still his son who has the same qualities and quirks of Jack.

When he is with Rebecca, he is committed to supporting, comforting, and loving her. Even when she feels down, confused, or misguided, Jack always finds some way to be committed to her happiness, either through pieces of memorabilia or abrupt bursts of energy or excitement with the family. Rebecca sees these different exhaustive efforts from Jack and understands the lengths and the risks he would go for her to bring her happiness. For this reason, Jack and his commitment to his family and others around him have inspired many viewers, and it makes them want to work harder to be a better spouse or parent.

Throughout the winding structure of the show’s timeline in the first season, it was never doubtful how hard Jack worked to overcome any obstacles he faced in his life. In this series, he does everything he can to find solutions to problems he faces with his children, job, wife, or self. He is able to seemingly energize his three triplet children by naming them “The Big Three” and focuses an equal amount of attention and care to each of them as much as possible.

This is especially seen during the “Three Sentences” episode where Jack and Rebecca decide to host three separate birthday parties for the triplets’ tenth birthday. Throughout the episode, he runs back and forth between parties, trying to ensure that each of the children’s events is equally entertaining.

Later in the season and further into his marriage, Jack tries to juggle his job at the construction company while also paying attention to his wife’s dream of being in a band and his children’s struggling teenage years. Jack’s time with Rebecca was beautiful and romantic and viewers can see that he put as much effort as he can into his relationship, especially when Rebecca tries to travel with her band on tour and Jack is left in full care of the children. Viewers can see that he is understanding with Rebecca and tries to be the support she needs.

The one thing that is not addressed as much during the show is Jack’s care of himself. Throughout the first season, Jack struggles with alcoholism and uses his hard work to stay sober for his wife and children. Unfortunately, he does stray a little around the later half of the season, but as the first season ends, viewers are left to wonder if Jack will rise from this downfall or if it will, inevitably, lead to his untimely death. It seems we’ll have to wait until season two to find out what becomes of everyone’s new favorite TV husband.

This Is Us returns to NBC on September 26.

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Characters We Love: Jack Pearson of ‘This Is Us’: Photograph courtesy of NBC

‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Review: A Rightful End to a Film Trilogy

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This third installment in this Planet of the Apes prequel-ish trilogy is deeply layered in emotion, relationships, and gives the importance of unity—a rightful end to a film trilogy. The complex characterizations, well-paced plot, moving music, and the incredibly intricate special effects reveal the true essence of humanity through a society of highly intelligent apes.

 

The film takes place 15 years after a deadly virus wipes out most of humanity and evolves apes to become smarter. The experienced ape leader of the evolved apes known as Caesar (Andy Serkis) faces an emotional blow to his family after an army of humans led by the malevolent “Colonel” (Woody Harrelson) attacks his tribe. The heartbroken Caesar then travels on a vengeful road to kill the Colonel.

From the beginning to end, the film’s equilibrium of intensity and character development was provided significantly by the cast of actors. Serkis’ performance of Caesar revealed the ape as conflicted, broken, and caring. Serkis was able to use his motion-capture suit to convey even the smallest detail of emotion to the point where Serkis looked and sounded like a realistic ape. His third time with this endearing character made me actually feel that Caesar was a tangible character that tries to see the best in people and first and foremost puts his family and group before himself.

Other standout performances include Steve Zahn’s portrayal of Bad Ape, an unlikely ally to Caesar. Zahn balances emotions expertly while also standing as a slight comedic relief. Woody Harrelson also plays a cold and psychopathic role as the Colonel, committing awful acts for his own reasonings to save humankind.

From the beginning to end, the film’s equilibrium of intensity and character development was provided significantly by the cast of actors

Director Matt Reeves is able to combine a Western type of film with a vengeance story and has a well-paced plot that rises gradually. The plot never feels dull and is intriguing with allegorical themes of the Holocaust placed well throughout the film. At the same time, the plot does not rush its time for action and never feels like it has to. Composer Michael Giacchino’s work yet again feels essential to the film that conveys the tension, heartbreak, excitement, and sadness of each scene to the audience.

Reeves gives the audience beautifully descriptive shots that provide even more to the characters when special effects are added. The use of special effects in this film was incredibly complex to the point where each movement from every ape character felt fully real.

My only small gripe was that some scenes were dragged out a little long at times, making the film feel longer than it actually was.

Overall, this film is layered with detailed characters, plot, music, and special effects that can finally make the third film in a trilogy feel like the most compelling and vital installment. That is why War for the Planet of the Apes deserves an A.

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‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Review: A Rightful End to a Film Trilogy: Featured image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

‘Paterson’ is an Underrated Must-See

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Paterson was released late in 2016 and flew under the radar, but is certainly not a film to miss! It depicts the everyday life of a blue collar poet, beginning on a Monday. Paterson, played by Adam Driver, is a bus driver from the city of Paterson, New Jersey who gets up early and goes to work to drive his bus. While he drives his daily route, he eavesdrops on passengers’ conversations and, during breaks, writes poetry. Each day when he walks home after work, Paterson adjusts their crooked mailbox on his way in, he takes his dog out for a walk and makes a stop at his favorite bar for a beer, where he observes the patrons and chats with the owner, Doc (Barry Shabaka Henley).


His supportive wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), is an unemployed artist/baker/country musician, who each day seems to be up to a new project, like painting their shower curtains in what we come to learn is her signature black and white design. Paterson and Laura share a sweet and loving home life together that’s best described as cozy. Though they are two very different people,  they balance each other out. It’s refreshing that there isn’t any romantic drama whatsoever.


The film does a great job of adding reoccurring touches that highlight the pleasant repetitive comforts of everyday life. For example, Laura leaves Paterson a photo of herself in his lunch box each day, and Paterson chats with his coworker Donnie at the start and end of his shifts. The scenes with Donnie are silly as he takes Paterson’s polite “How’s it going?” question very literally and goes on to list the number of things that aren’t going so great for him without one hint of sarcasm. One particular recurrence that is used well to show how coincidences are constantly popping up in daily life, is the appearance of twins throughout the film. Early in the movie, Laura tells Paterson about how she dreamed that they had twins.

The poetry (by real life poet Ron Padgett) is lovely and the way in which we get to hear Paterson labor over each word perfectly captures the focus of his talent. The poems echo the film’s theme of highlighting everyday occurrences via thoughtful and heartwarming imagery.

Paterson is a delightful film if you want a break from the usual dramas, or if you happen to be a budding artist who can relate to the main character. If the repetitiveness gets to you and you find yourself waiting around for some big moment, you have missed the point of this film – life is not about being saddled with daily problems, it’s about trying to be as perceptive and aware as a poet, to find beauty all around you.

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‘Paterson’ is an Underrated Must-See. Photo: Courtesy of Bleeker Street/Amazon Studios

“The Crown” Review: Netflix’s New Hit Drama Reveals Hidden Cracks in the Crown

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The Netflix original series, “The Crown” depicts the beauty and delicacy of the early royal reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Through this season viewers will take in all the beauty and grace of British royalty. However, Netflix’s new hit drama also reveals the hidden cracks in the crown. This series offers a deeper reflection into the Queen’s exclusively tumultuous family life and the significantly difficult choices Elizabeth had to make as a queen. The rough consequences of these choices are heavily focused on in each episode and reveal how they leave cracks in not only the lives of the royal family but in the lives of the individuals in parliament that surround the family as well. The historical drama does sometimes stray away from the accurate portrayal of the royal family in this period. However, the combination of emotional performances from the actors, symbolic uses of cinematography, a beautifully composed soundtrack and a great number of intriguingly detailed designs and locations outweighs the errors in the historical representations.

 


This series begins with a distinctly serious tone that makes it clear the significance of moves made by the royal family, more specifically the moves made by Queen Elizabeth II (played by Claire Foy) in her political and private life once given the burden of being queen. In this fantastic group of actors, Foy shines spectacularly as a young Elizabeth; she provides a certain vulnerability, reliability and imperfection to this woman that has not really been seen in a series before. The viewers can sympathize with her and the difficult responsibilities that are suddenly placed on this woman in her 20s which included paths made by her, leaving her loved ones either pleased or disappointed. Foy also does a masterful job with the dynamics of this woman in these social and political circumstances of the time period. She portrays Elizabeth’s insecurities as queen as well as her bravery and boldness in her decisions during tough times with both her personal and political relations with her family and parliament. Foy’s performance as Elizabeth gives viewers a clear understanding of why she deserves her Golden Globe win for Best Actress in a TV Drama. She did well in presenting the other side of Elizabeth’s life that is rarely seen.


Matt Smith (well-known for his role as a past Doctor on BBC’s “Doctor Who”) plays Elizabeth’s lively husband, King Philip, he highlights Phillip’s acts of kindness and care with Elizabeth and also reflects Phillip’s faults of obliviousness and selfishness when Elizabeth is in need of a partner to help her face her obstacles. Smith reveals the likable and irritable personality of King Philip which can be a challenge for many actors to pull off.


From the incredible cast, some great picks are John Lithgow as the famous Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Jared Harris as the late King George VI. 
Lithgow’s portrayal of Churchill is caring and determined but also stubborn and sensitive especially when he tried to keep hold of his position post-WWII. Jared Harris’ portrayal of King George VI may only be part of the show for a short time but takes up each scene by balancing George as a loving father and a slowly deteriorating king with lung cancer.

The cinematography of the series stands out brilliantly. The series’ cinematographers, Adriano Goldman and Ole Bratt Birkeland, both were able to convey the seriousness and the intensity of each episode. Their use of close-up and extreme close-up shots to convey the palpable social and political tensions between each family member and the various internal predicaments that each face, particularly for Elizabeth and Churchill. The extreme close-ups would highlight the stress and worry of Elizabeth’s decisions as queen, sister, and wife.  The close ups of Churchill reveals the frustration of others, the sadness of loved ones and worry of the stability as his control of his position as well as his health as prime minister.


The mixture of the precisely placed camera angles with the deep reverberating electronic and orchestral sounds of the immensely accomplished composer, Hans Zimmer adds an extra layer of heartfelt emotion to the characters. From his highly regarded past works in films such as “
Inception” and “Interstellar” Zimmer’s distinctive sound in this series is an essential support and feels like a necessary unseen character in each episode.

Each location feels part of the series as well as each place transports the viewers back to the period of the early to mid-1950s. The detail from sets of the press-filled London streets to the lavish halls of Buckingham Palace feels real and elegant. The costume design of each royal dress, suit and casual attire adheres to the period. However, the only huge gripe is that actual severity in some of the historical situations might not be as adherently close to the truth. When checked, some of the events might be too overly dramatized when it comes to specific occurrences of the royal family. Although, the other aspects from the actors to the sets are remarkably done and masks a TV series into a 10-hour film which leaves “
The Crown” with the grade of an A.
 
Read more Entertainment articles at ClicheMag.com
“The Crown” Review: Netflix’s New Hit Drama Reveals Hidden Cracks in the Crown. Photo courtesy of Variety.com

Interview with Ian Anthony Dale

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Murder in the First’s Ian Anthony Dale is no stranger to the suit and tie, having starred in quite a few crime-drama roles throughout his career. The gifted actor is all business on set—his characters who are usually direct and focused on their missions are no nonsense. While Dale is certainly career-driven and takes his job very seriously, he is also an experience-loving traveler who is super easygoing and approachable. While that brilliant smile he sports is hard to look away from, the real eye-catcher is Dale’s incredible talent. Before entertaining viewers as the dashing Lieutenant Jim Koto on Murder in the First, Dale starred in hit series such as CBS’s Hawaii Five-O and NBC’s The Event. His career boasts a laundry list of popular titles, both in television and on the big screen. Not bad for a Minnesota native who once dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player! We’re glad he took his many talents to Hollywood. Get used to this handsome face on prime time, because there’s no toe-tag on this career. He’s on the scene and here to stay.

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Cliché: Is there any particular reason you gravitate towards roles in the crime-drama genre?
Ian Anthony Dale: I wouldn’t say I target them necessarily. Crime-dramas have a tendency to dominate the television landscape, and having worked with a fair amount of regularity over the last 12 years, I was bound to end up on a few of them. I started playing cops early in my career and it’s become a role that the entertainment community, as well as the public, has grown comfortable seeing me in. That’s typically how it works in our industry. About 12 months ago, I played a doctor for the first time, and since then, in just this past year, I have played a doctor two additional times. Perhaps a superhero will be next.

Do you think these roles would enable you to have a career in law enforcement? You already know all the police lingo.
No amount of fake dead bodies could ever prepare you for the real thing. The job of a cop, particularly a homicide detective, can be extremely challenging. I’ve learned that from my brother who works homicide for the Minneapolis police department. Though I have considered what it might be like to pursue a career in law enforcement, I don’t pretend to think that what I do on television in any way makes me more qualified for real police work. I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for the men and women in law enforcement.

What do you love most about your career?
[I love] all of the places I get to travel to and experience, as well as all of the wonderfully talented, interesting, and genuine people I get to meet and work with along the way.

What was the worst scene you’ve ever had to shoot in your career?
The ocean is one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful creations, but also one of her most dangerous, particularly on a stretch of shoreline on the North Shore of Oahu known as the Bonzai Pipeline. Waves upwards of 40 feet high crash down onto razor sharp coral in an awesome display of violence and power. Early on in my career, I shot a pilot called “The Break” in which I played a surfing cop. One of my scenes required me to drop in a half dozen times on Hawaii’s famed wave. Mind you, I had only surfed maybe ten times in my life prior to shooting the scene, so you can imagine my trepidation as I paddled out. Each attempt ended with me going over the falls and getting thrashed like a ragdoll by the underwater currents. I’ve never had to hold my breath so long in my life. I came out of it a little bruised and battered, but also with a massive feeling of exhilaration. It was a harrowing experience to say the least. I probably came a lot closer to death that day than I realized at the time.

How does your new series, Murder in the First, compare with your experience on the set of Hawaii Five-O?
Both shows have a crime element to them, but beyond that they are vastly different. Hawaii Five-O is a procedural with serialized elements, while Murder in the First is entirely serialized. It’s hard to compare experiences. Each set is unique. I’ve had a great time working on both shows.

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Tell us about your character, Lieutenant Jim Koto (Murder in the First). What sets him apart from the other members of the San Francisco PD?
Jim is a very ambitious young man who straddles the line between cop and politician. He has a tendency at times to let his opportunistic attitude get the better of him and disrupt his relationships. There are a few key characteristics that set Koto apart. For one, he’s the only member of the SFPD sleeping with the District Attorney, at least as far as I know. He also clearly wins the award for most luxurious head of hair in the department.

That he clearly does! There are often little bits of humor sprinkled throughout the episodes. Do you think that’s important for shows with more serious subject matters?
A little levity never hurt.

Do you think real-life cases are ever just as interesting as the fictional one on the show?
I would argue that most cases we see on television were inspired by real events, hence the term “ripped from the headlines,” made popular by the Law & Order franchise. Between my brother the detective and my cousin the lawyer, I’ve heard some pretty fascinating real-life stories.

Unlike other shows of this genre, Murder in the First follows only one case throughout the entire season, rather than new ones for each episode. Will we find out “whodunit” by the season finale?
Definitely. We won’t leave you hanging.

To view the full interview with Ian Anthony Dale and other exclusive stories, be sure to check out our Aug/Sept issue.

Feature image and photos courtesy of Gabriel Goldberg

Hannibal vs. The Following: Which Was Better?

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This year it felt like an all at war of the minds as we watched serials killers try to outwit the good guys. Hannibal Lecter and Joe Carroll took viewers into the darkness of the human soul. They showed us the trouble with trusting people is that you take them at face value. You can fear the unknown all you like, but the true danger can be living next door. But, evil is not created equal and there’s always a darker force waiting in the shadows. The question has to be asked, which is serial killer is better? Hannibal or Joe Carroll?
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When The Following started, it was able to maintain a sense of fear in viewers. The idea that close friends, neighbors, and family members could be apart of a cult, ready to kill at any moment, caused some chills. Trust is an important tool in our survival. Slight debates begun on who would come out as the newest follower in the show. One of the biggest draws to the show became it’s over the top reaching. While Joe Carroll was clever and charming, it is still hard to believe that he could gain as many followers as he did. His obsession with writing “their (Ryan Hardy and his) sequel” took the edge off of him. Joe Carroll quickly devolved in the first season. He lost most of his charm and wit.
Hannibal had the opposite effect. The series started off showing hints to the true nature of Hannibal Lecter. Every week, there was a new serial killer and every week Hannibal would either have to lie, misdirect, or manipulate those working the case. He was quick to find an advantage in any situation and showed no guilt, fear, or worry over being caught. There was a sense of quietness to the character that made him feel like a hunter. His method of murder changed to fit his needs. No one is safe around him. He makes a move and has planned out the next five steps. Mads Mikkelsen is doing a noble job at capturing the character of Dr. Lecter. It feels as though he is always planning, replanning, and trying to find the right course of actions for his needs.
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Both The Following and Hannibal have been renewed for a second season. The two shows have interesting moments, but Hannibal is able to touch on the elements of what makes a true serial killer, while crafting a slightly believable storyline. Joe Carroll is too flashy, too self-centered to be able to function as a serial killer for very long. He seemed to be the kind of killer who would phone the police and tell them they had it wrong. Meanwhile, Hannibal would enjoy the fact that someone else took the blame for his crimes. He enjoys toying with people and his freedom too much to care about gaining credit. This is why Hannibal will always be the better serial killer and a must see next season.

Death In Paradise: Cast Change

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One of my favorite shows is Death In Paradise, a British mystery show set in the Caribbean. When I started watching it, I quickly fell in love with the cast and characters. They have a realistic dynamic that is normally lacking in the mystery genre. It is often that one character is smart then the rest of the cast tries to understand what’s going on. I found it fun watching Ben Miller play Detective Inspector Richard Poole, a man who is amazing at solving crimes, but awkward around other people. I also enjoy Sara Martins as Detective Sergeant Camille Bordey, a smart, charming woman who often lovingly mocks Richard’s odd behavior. Gary Carr’s character of Fidel grows into a stronger investigator as the series goes on, and I like Danny John-Jules as Dwayne as the more laid back, easygoing member of the group. The cast does an amazing job of making the show fun to watch.
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So as Death In Paradise films its third season, I am sad to say that Ben Miller will be leaving the show and replaced by another actor, Kris Marshall. The cast change will be shock to the structure of the show since much of the humor came from watching the very British DI Poole deal with the tropical heat and new cultural when all he wants to do is return to London. I am hopeful that Death in Paradise will still remain an enjoyable past time even without Ben Miller.