Must-See & New In Documentary & TV: The Febuary Edition

9 02 2011

Documentaries:

Restrepo:

Director(s): Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger

Rating: R (for language throughout including some descriptions of violence)

Length: 93 minutes

IMDB Rating: 7.6/10

One of the films nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary, Restrepo tells the story of a Platoon deployed in Afghanistan from the time of their deployment, to their return. Think The Hurt Locker, except if The Hurt Locker was made by National Geographic. The war in the Middle East is usually a hard thing to predict, but since it seems like this focuses more on the personal side of the men, I’ll give it a try. The good reviews don’t hurt that much either.

Exit Through The Giftshop:

Director(s): Banksy

Rating: R (for some language)

Length: 87 minutes

IMDB Rating: 8.2/10

Also nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary, Exit Through The Giftshop is a look at Street Art, the modern art scene in general, and the ‘supposed’ people behind it. I say ‘supposed’ since the question of the realism of this film and the authenticity of its events is in question. Nobody even knows exactly what the director, Banksy looks like. Still, his legend in the art scene and its message about said art scene probably makes this worth a watch. I’ll let you know for sure when I check it out for myself.

TV Shows:

Community Season 1:

Starring: Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Gillian Jacobs and Donald Glover

Rating: TV-PG

Length: 25 22-minute episodes

IMDB Rating: 8.9/10

Set-Up: When it’s discovered his degree is from the country of Columbia, and not the University, a smooth attorney must go back to community college in order to reclaim his old life. There, he starts a Spanish study group with the various other eccentric students. The show usually revolves around the antics and relationships of the members of this group.

Community is essentially the new Arrested Development. In that, I mean that it’s currently the best comedy on TV right now, that you’re not watching. It’s not quite as bizarre as Arrested Development, but there’s always the great cast of characters to hang onto if a joke doesn’t quite work. And if that fails, a brilliant pop culture reference or three isn’t far behind. The first-half of the season is very rough at times, but when it finally finds its comedic grooves and dynamics, the show is nearly unstoppable. If you only try one episode though, pick “Modern Warfare.” Directed by Justin Lin, who has worked on the last three Fast and Furious films, the episode is an all-out parody of action films set during a fierce game of paintball at the school. It showcases all the best elements of the series and might be one of the most memorable episodes of a comedy series you’re likely to see. I liked this season so much that I went out and bought it.

Modern Family Season 1:

Starring: Ed O’Neill, Sofía Vergara and Julie Bowen

Rating: TV-PG

Length: 24 22-minute episodes

IMDB Rating: 9.1/10

Set-Up: Exploring the dynamics of the modern family, the show follows the Pritchetts, who include the father married to a much younger wife, the son who along with his partner try to raise a daughter they just adopted, and the homemaker daughter who’s married whose sometimes-juvenile husband describes himself as the “cool dad.”

The savior of the family sitcom, Modern Family is a light and breezy sitcom in the same vein as the Office, except with less awkwardness.  The laughs are frequent, the characters are lovable, and frankly, its nice to see this amount of diversity on an American TV show. It’s well-written and enjoyable for all ages.

Sherlock Season 1:

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman

Rating: Not Rated

Length: 3 90-minute episodes

IMDB Rating: 9.0/10

Set-Up: Set in modern-day London, John Watson has recently returned from military service in Afghanistan when he’s introduced to unofficial police consultant Sherlock Holmes.  The two soon become flatmates and partners in investigating various crimes.

Created by the brilliant Steven Moffat, Sherlock is a clever and fast-paced update on the classic character. It may seem like there’s already too many Sherlock derivatives already gracing TV today, but Moffat’s version pits Sherlock as an eccentric man not too far off from the serial killers he tracks down. The 2nd episode might be worth skipping, but the 1st and 3rd episodes are mind-blowingly good.