So far, so meh. I had high hopes for this award season contenders when they were just amuse bouches as trailers, but few if any are living up to expectations.
I suspect we might be seeing a minor cultural shift in entertainment preferences with this amicable, incestuous tug of war going on between premium TV and feature film. Theatrical releases are becoming the short stories, the scripted dramas the more satisfying epic novels. Like me, many people are downloading entire seasons and watching them back to back over a few nights, unless they can’t put the series down and pull marathon all-nighters to get them finished, just the way you might read a novel.
Case in point: last week’s episode of Homeland. The interrogation scene between Damian Lewis and Claire Danes positively stomped a similar one in The Master; by comparison, Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman seem like two puffer fish in a Mexican standoff over a choice piece of coral. Both scenes are meant to be showcases of psychological brinksmanship, performance, and the delicate art of making rather humdrum over-the-shoulder reverse-angle editing exciting.