TV critic at The New York Times. Also, the occasional film. Theater too.

Review: ‘Boomtowners’ Visits a North American Fracking Zone

nytimes.com — You expect a certain tone from a workplace reality show, whether it's about long-haul truckers or tuna fishermen or microbrewers. The underlying sensibility is that the job, however quirky or unheralded, is important and interesting and that the people doing it deserve respect.

Review: ‘Chef’s Table’ Profiles Top Culinary Talents

nytimes.com — It has been years since a cooking show could get by with merely demonstrating how to prepare a particular dish, but these days a lot of entries in the genre are tarted up absurdly. Which of three competing chefs can cook the best five-course meal in 10 minutes using nothing but seaweed, paprika and a live chicken?

Review: ‘Emptying the Skies’ Follows the Rescue of Songbirds at Most Any Cost

nytimes.com — Two types of people will be tempted to ignore " Emptying the Skies," a documentary about bird poaching based on a Jonathan Franzen article: people who don't care about birding, and people who care passionately about birding. Both groups would be missing out on a thoughtful bit of filmmaking, one that at heart is not really about birds at all.

Ex-detento leva espetáculo a antigos companheiros de presídio

www1.folha.uol.com.br — A cena de retorno ao lugar de origem é familiar: um artista de sucesso volta ao bairro onde vivia e faz uma apresentação no ginásio local.

On TV, Ecological Themes for a Small Planet

nytimes.com — Earth Day, which this year falls on Wednesday, is an occasion for celebrators, castigators and celebratory castigators. And for television that does all three of those things. The celebrators use the occasion to note the beauty and variety of the natural world.

The Messengers: Angels intriguing, but wings need clipping

dispatch.com — If you're eager for the reboot of Heroes that NBC is planning for this year, you might not want to miss The Messengers - which has some of the same elements. And the premiere tonight on the CW will grab viewers' attention. The angel wings, however, are a red flag.

Review: ‘Monkey Kingdom’ Invests a Wild Chimp With Girl Power

nytimes.com — Imposing human motives, emotions and story lines on wild animals is probably never a good idea for a nature documentary, but it's done to especially annoying effect in " Monkey Kingdom," a new feature from Disneynature aimed at younger children. The film looks at a troop of toque macaque monkeys in Sri Lanka, and of course it's attractively filmed.

Review: In ‘Beyond the Reach,’ Michael Douglas as a Greedy Ogre in the Desert

nytimes.com — How many times can a guy lose his marbles? If the guy is Michael Douglas, apparently as many times as he wants. Mr. Douglas does his unhinged thing again in " Beyond the Reach," a sun-baked suspense tale that doesn't add anything to the human-hunts-a-human genre but is effectively served.

Cedric’s barber reality show not as sharp as ‘Barbershop’

seattletimes.com — Host Cedric the Entertainer has the "Barbershop" franchise behind himj, but there's a big difference between scripted barbershop chatter delivered by actors and improvised trash talk attempted by real barbers. More interesting than watching grass grow, less interesting than chain-saw sculpturing. That's "Cedric's Barber Battle," reality television's latest "Can we make a TV show out of that?"

Review: ‘Cedric’s Barber Battle,’ a New CW Reality Show

nytimes.com — More interesting than watching grass grow, less interesting than chain-saw sculpturing. That's "Cedric's Barber Battle," reality television's latest "Can we make a TV show out of that?" experiment, which begins Friday on CW. It's a haircutting competition series with Cedric the Entertainer as ringmaster. This isn't a-little-off-the-sides haircutting.
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Apr 23, 2015

@TraciHillWillis You might be able to score tickets at the half-price booth for that one, esp if it's a weeknight, since it's a long run.

Apr 23, 2015

RT @TheDaveSinclair: Today's kids don't know about recording a song off the radio only to have the DJ talk over the end of the song. They'll never know real pain

Apr 23, 2015

@TraciHillWillis No, but our Ben Brantley loved it, and so did everyone else I know who's seen it.

Apr 23, 2015

@MildlyBitter You'd think the actors' unions would have something to say about all these unpaid puppets taking roles from humans.

Apr 23, 2015

RT @TraciHillWillis: In my next life, I'm going to be completely surrounded by people who reply to the few texts & emails I ever send.

Apr 23, 2015

I dunno if this @HISTORY series is any good, but gotta love 78-yr-old Kristofferson covering Petty: bit.ly/1KamjsJ

Apr 23, 2015

Would someone please tell my computer's auto-alert that I JUST CHANGED THE DAMN MOUSE BATTERIES FOUR DAYS AGO. Thank you.

Apr 23, 2015

RT @TheOnion: Maybelline Introduces Line Of Injectable Makeup To Enhance Appearance Of Internal Organs onion.com/1EwgNlo pic.twitter.com/9QsYa39YmB

Apr 23, 2015

@casamuels What the fu?? There are no public schools in Bryn Athyn, only the church schools, which are privately funded. Again: What the fu?

Apr 22, 2015

RT @IsabelXKeating: I really like @genznyt's regard for & writing on 'Emptying the Skies' @tweet4songbirds documentary:

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