claire danes

Carrie and ‘Homeland’ Are Moving to Germany

Claire Danes’ Carrie Mathison is making a major lifestyle change — and thus, it seems, Homeland is, similarly, drastically shifting its focus.… Read More

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Netflix Gives Aziz Ansari Comedy 10-Episode, Straight-to-Series Order

Tom Haverford may now be but a memory, but Aziz Ansari will soon be a more major cultural presence than ever: Netflix… Read More

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Dream Casting a New ‘Little Women’ for the Millennial Generation

The lovely 1994 adaptation of Little Women featured Gen-X angst icons Claire Danes and Winona Ryder, playing beloved sisters no less. With a pre-angry Christian Bale as Laurie, a smoldering Gabriel Byrne as Professor Bhaer, and Susan Sarandon as the feisty feminist Marmee, the film could not be a better period drama — for the ’90s. … Read More

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‘Cymbeline,’ Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo + Juliet,’ and Why Shakespeare Is So Hard to Adapt for the Screen

When a director does Shakespeare today, it seems there are three options most commonly selected, each of which has its drawbacks. The first is to do a loyal interpretation, maintaining the original setting and time specified by the Bard (for if you’re the type that chooses loyalty, you also may use this insufferable term), but risking the adaptation seeming like an ostentatiously astute encapsulation of a period and lifestyle that’s now irrelevant. The second is to set it in the present day,  underscoring the barbarism, archaism, and/or hilarity of a current societal norm by aligning it with Elizabethan text, but also risking bifurcating the text and its original meaning. The third is to set it somewhere and sometime else completely, avoiding the distraction of current day trappings (Lady Macbeth discovers Seinfeld emojis!), not to mention the equally distracting trappings of Elizabethan imitation (vocal fry is especially noticeable when it’s coming from a ruff-encased throat). … Read More

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Every ‘My So-Called Life’ Episode, Ranked

The teenager as we know it in contemporary pop culture was invented 20 years ago, when My So-Called Life made its debut on August 25, 1994. A show noted for its emotional realism and pinpoint-perfect voice, My So-Called Life introduced us to introspective, average Angela Chase (Claire Danes), a girl growing up in the suburbs. In the midst of a very recognizable teenage reinvention phase, she ditches her familiar friends — “good girl” Sharon Cherski and Brian Krakow, the brainiac boy next door who’s hopelessly in love with Angela — in order to dye her hair red and hang out with “bad girl” Rayanne Graff (A.J. Langer), Rickie Vasquez (Wilson Cruz), whose coming-out story was quietly revolutionary for the era, and the dreamboat to end all dreamboats, blue-eyed hunk Jordan Catalano (played by future Oscar winner Jared Leto, who is now 42). … Read More

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‘Homeland’ Season 3 Finale Recap: “The Star”

This week’s Homeland jettisons the show’s usual lengthy opening credit sequence (plenty moody at first, but a reach-for-the-remote button by midway through year one), presumably due to the episode’s full-hour length—there’s no time to lose, and that urgency carries through its opening scenes, as Brody literally cleans blood from his hands. “The Star” is the season finale, so appropriately enough, it begins with a series of exits: Carrie out through the back door of her hotel, Javadi making a nervous escape of his own (not yet sure if Brody sold him out), and Brody being escorted out solemnly, then stopped—for his visitor’s pass. His escape through the gates intercut tightly with the discovery of Akbari’s body, and he just barely squeaks out. It’s another close call for Brody, but he gets away, as he always had, and (as we discussed last week), as he always does. Which is what made this finale so surprising and, ultimately, affecting. … Read More

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‘Homeland’ Season 3 Episode 11 Recap: ‘Big Man in Tehran’

Following last week’s action-heavy Homeland, Slate’s Willa Paskin ran a bizarro recap insisting that the series on the verge of crossing the line into “fantasy.” “If Brody survives this mission, Homeland is a fantasy,” Paskin writes. “Homeland is ridiculous, but a word like ‘fantasy’ is a red flag. Even Homeland’s writers don’t want the show to be a ‘fantasy.’” When I read that assertion, my eyebrows furled with enough force to cause a migraine—wait a second, Homeland is just now becoming a fantasy? A show predicated on the writer’s construct/Glenn Beck wet dream of a kidnapped U.S. Marine transformed into a secret Muslim terrorist? A plot twist that revealed two different Marines had been brainwashed, and one of them faked his own death (even convincing his own would-be killer)? A series whose second-season climax concerned an assassination via remote pacemaker? (Oh, wait, maybe that’s not so fantastical.) The point is, Homeland has always been fantasy. What’s interesting about this week’s episode, “Big Man in Tehran,” is how keenly aware its creators are that it’s fantasy, and that we’re aware of it too—and how that colors where it’s going next. … Read More

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‘Homeland’ Season 3 Episode 10 Recap: ‘Good Night’

When Zero Dark Thirty was released last December, there was a good deal of sneering among “TV is better than movie” types that for all of its praise and awards recognition, the picture was little more than an above-average episode of Homeland. The criticism was a dopey one, borne out of an apples-and-microwaves comparison that (as we’ve discussed before) is fundamentally silly. But the idea of putting that film and this show up against each other is impossible to escape in the most recent episode of Homeland, “Good Night,” which seems explicitly modeled on the climactic passage of Kathryn Bigelow’s movie. … Read More

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‘Homeland’ Season 3 Episode 9 Recap: “One Last Time”

After sputtering, stalling, and sometimes all together stopping, we thought that Homeland was finally picking up speed on its way to the finale. Not quite. On last night’s episode “One Last Time” we’re once again in build-to-big-finish mode. The show greets us with Carrie Mathison in the hospital post-Quinn shooting her last week, leaving us with the question: is there no other way to stop a person walking toward someplace they shouldn’t be? Carrie seems to agree with Quinn’s course of action; when the doctor says that she’s lucky the wound wasn’t worse, she responds, “No, he’s just a great shot,” with a look on her face that suggests she doesn’t entirely disagree with Quinn’s well-placed bullet. … Read More

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‘Homeland’ Season 3 Episode 8 Recap: “a red wheelbarrow”

The deeper we get into season three of Homeland, the more it seems that you can neatly classify each year thus far as being, primarily, about one of its leads. Season one was about Brody, season two about Carrie, and season three—after threatening, terrifyingly, to be about Dana—has turned out to be mostly interested in Saul. Its most compelling plotlines have concerned his tenure as head of the CIA, his conflicts with Senator Lockhart, his savvy use of Carrie, and his (it seems so far, anyway) strategic brilliance. And if his marital woes have been a bit of a drag, a soapy sidebar on a show that seldom does that kind of thing well, last night’s episode, “a red wheelbarrow,” indicated that there may be more to that subplot as well. … Read More

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