Tag: Mini Series

2010, Movies, TV

Carlos (2010, Oliver Assayas)

This is one of those innumerable high end European miniseries that got transformed into a movie in North America, both in its full version and in a shortened version. I watched the full version because I really don’t get why we should be satisfied with cuts that are just a little bit more than a …

2018, TV

Wild Wild Country (2018)

This is a crazy story about a cult, but not necessarily the kind of cult you might expect (i.e. not a death cult). Perhaps the most remarkable thing about it is how much film there is of the cult.  But the film is problematic; to paraphrase one critic, it’s incredible that at over six hours …

2018, Movies

Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist (2018, Barbara Schroeder)

This is a documentary miniseries about an absolutely bonkers crime, which shouldn’t be called America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist, but rather American’s Craziest Bank Heist, or America’s Worst Bank Heist. If you are interested in true crime, I would strongly recommend watching this, both for how it tells the story and how this particularly story – …

2013, Movies, TV

Horici ker [Burning Bush] (2013, Agnieszka Holland)

Burning Bush is a 21st century version of those unaccountably good European TV mini series which are released in North America as films (often in abridged form). Though we have been living in a golden age of television in North America since right before the beginning of this century, it wasn’t always like that here. …

2017, TV

Five Came Back (2017)

Five Came Back is an affecting and interesting mini-series about five major Hollywood directors who helped the US propaganda efforts in World War II. Each of the five directors is paired with a modern director/admirer who helps tell the story. That conceit is a neat one which helps distinguish this documentary from the numerous others …

2017, TV

The Vietnam War (2017, Ken Burns, Lynn Novick)

This mammoth, 17+ hour documentary about The United States’ war in Vietnam is not perfect; it is a flawed film in at least two ways. But it is essential viewing for anyone alive today who hopes to understand the United States, its role in the world and its continued (seemingly endless) foreign policy mistakes, which …

1981, TV

“Brideshead Revisited” (1981)

This is a nearly unprecedented 700 minute TV adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. It is about as good as it gets for these British “chamber” TV shows, and is a reminder (when you watch it) that we are seriously missing out because more classic literature isn’t adapted into TV miniseries.

2001, TV

The Blue Planet (2001)

This is a beautiful nature documentary about the world’s oceans. Having watched the excellent Planet Earth earlier, this feels like a bit of a let down, just because I think Planet Earth is more magnificent. That isn’t the fault of The Blue Planet, but I can’t help feeling some deja vu and also, that the …

2013, TV

The Great Train Robbery (2013)

I like the conceit of this very brief miniseries (two episodes): first, tell the story of the crime, then, tell how it was solved. And the results are reasonably good, the show is well acted and reasonably well made (for TV, of course). There are a few issues with the direction – particularly in the …

1980, Movies, TV

Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)

In 1980, there was no real way for for North American audiences to digest non-English language television. So, on occasions when multiple-episode television programs made there way over to North America, they were screened at film festivals as “films.” A number of European “art house” films from the ’70s and ’80s are actually made-for-tv. It …

2015, TV

Show Me a Hero (2015)

I have to say I sort of screwed myself here; my expectations were sky-high. This is a compelling, affecting and incredibly relevant miniseries about a public housing crisis in Yonkers in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. (I say it’s relevant because as it was airing, a government employee has made the news refusing to …

2003, TV

Angels in America (2003, Mike Nichols)

There is a part of me that wants to say this is one of the great works of American literature of the late 20th century but I don’t know enough late 20th century literature to say that with any kind of authority and, specifically, I can’t tell you how few American plays I’ve seen written …

2011, TV

Prohibition (2011, Ken Burns, Lynn Novick)

Prohibition is the shortest Burns mini-series yet, and I am tempted to say it is the best, or at least the most consistent of the mini-series he has helmed to date. It also feels the least mythological, which is refreshing coming from Burns, a man who can never avoid mythologizing or re-mythologizing his country’s history.

2009, TV

The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (2009, Ken Burns)

This is probably Burns’ most over-mythologized documentary to date, and that alone should make it kind of bad. I mean, it’s practically insufferable how over-the-top some of these interviewees are with The Meaning of the National Parks. All of Burns’ other mini-series that I have seen have done this to an extent, but this one …

1994, TV

Baseball (1994, 2010 Ken Burns, Lynn Novick)

Burns and co.’s constant mythologizing is a lot more appropriate here than it was in The Civil War, and as such I feel like this effort is the more successful one, despite the greater historical importance of the first series. And to their credit, they only mythologize about certain things: for examples, the game’s ludicrous …

2003, TV

State of Play (2003)

For about all but a half hour of its run-time, this is a fantastic – if occasionally unbelievable – miniseries about political corruption and journalism. It’s like the British All the President’s Men – yes it’s that good – but with a little bit of soap thrown in (apparently they couldn’t resit). The one thing …

2008, TV

Generation Kill (2008)

Generation Kill bears an uncanny resemblance to Jarhead. Yes, it’s a different war. And yes, these soldiers actually do get to fight. But we are still following overly intelligent but somehow still dehumanized, over-trained soldiers given inappropriate missions and placed in bizarre situations that don’t make any sense, even in the context of their mission …