Browse Articles by J. Don Birnam

Downton Abbey: A New Era Review: A Nostalgia-Filled Exploration of the Ever-Changing Nature of Showbiz

April 2022
<i>Downton Abbey: A New Era</i> Review: A Nostalgia-Filled Exploration of the Ever-Changing Nature of Showbiz

The Crawley family dynasty returns at the turn of another decade (the beginning of the 1930s) in the historical dramedy Downton Abbey: A New Era. The period referred to in the title is a very specific one — the moment in which the motion picture industry switched from silent movies to “talkies,” came with... »

Tags: ,
Posted in Featured, Film, Film Releases, Industry Sector, Reviews |

The Northman Review: Robert Eggers Delivers a Visually Stunning Viking Revenge Movie

April 2022
<i>The Northman</i> Review: Robert Eggers Delivers a Visually Stunning Viking Revenge Movie

Director Robert Eggers has quickly made a name for himself in Hollywood thanks to his first two features, the somber yet entrancing horror films The Witch and The Lighthouse. But with his third feature, The Northman, Eggers has definitively proved that he’s a cinematic force to be reckoned with. The Northman is a revenge tale based loosely... »

Tags: ,
Posted in Featured, Film, Film Releases, Industry Sector, Reviews |

Bel-Air Pilot Editor Jennifer Barbot on Setting the Tone for Will Smith’s Peacock Series

April 2022
<i>Bel-Air</i> Pilot Editor Jennifer Barbot on Setting the Tone for Will Smith’s Peacock Series

We recently spoke to Corey Kaplan, the production designer behind Season 1 of the new Peacock series Bel-Air. This week, we chat with Jennifer Barbot, who edited the Bel-Air pilot and has worked on shows as varied as The Man in the High Castle, Ugly Betty, and Revenge. Bel-Air stars Jabari Banks as Will Smith, a well-meaning... »

Tags: ,
Posted in Awards, Crafts, Editing, Emmy Watch, Featured, Industry Sector, Interviews, Television |

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore Finds the Magic Nearly Extinguished From Harry Potter Franchise

April 2022
<i>Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore</i> Finds the Magic Nearly Extinguished From <i>Harry Potter</i> Franchise

They say that only two things are certain in this world — death and taxes — but I propose we add a third to the list of universal mathematical certainties: the fact that movie studios will make an endless stream of typically lesser sequels, prequels, or remakes for any franchise that makes them significant... »

Tags: ,
Posted in Featured, Film, Film Releases, Industry Sector, Reviews |

Bel-Air Production Designer Corey Kaplan on Recreating Sets for Fresh Take on Will Smith’s Star-Making Series

April 2022
<i>Bel-Air</i> Production Designer Corey Kaplan on Recreating Sets for Fresh Take on Will Smith’s Star-Making Series

It’s impossible to write about the new Peacock drama Bel-Air without mentioning Will Smith and the fact that it’s a fresh take on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which made the newly-crowned Oscar winner and former Academy member a household name back in the ’90s. Smith is an executive producer on the streaming series, which finds... »

Tags: ,
Posted in Awards, Emmy Watch, Featured, Industry Sector, Interviews, Production Design, Television |

Severance Production Designer Jeremy Hindle on the Minimalistic Set of Lumon Industries and His Work on Top Gun: Maverick

April 2022
<i>Severance</i> Production Designer Jeremy Hindle on the Minimalistic Set of Lumon Industries and His Work on <i>Top Gun: Maverick</i>

In case you haven’t noticed, the Apple TV+ series Severance has been drawing rave reviews over the course of its mysterious first season. Ben Stiller (Escape From Dannemora) has been directing the sci-fi thriller, which hails from creator Dan Erickson and stars Adam Scott, Britt Lower, Zach Cherry, John Turturro, Christopher Walken, and Patricia Arquette. Severance takes place in a... »

Tags: ,
Posted in Awards, Crafts, Emmy Watch, Featured, Industry Sector, Interviews, Production Design, Television |

Morbius Review: Jared Leto’s Vampire Anti-Hero Is Caught in Disorienting Maze of Latest Marvel Movie

March 2022
<i>Morbius</i> Review: Jared Leto’s Vampire Anti-Hero Is Caught in Disorienting Maze of Latest Marvel Movie

After nearly two years of pandemic-related delays, Morbius finally hits theaters on Friday, arriving on April 1 like some kind of really expensive April Fools’ joke. The film stars Jared Leto as the titular living vampire and the latest anti-hero to emerge from Sony’s Spider-Man universe with his own movie following Venom. Since this is an origin film,... »

Tags: ,
Posted in Featured, Film, Film Releases, Industry Sector, Reviews |

Everything Everywhere All at Once Review: Michelle Yeoh Wins the Multiverse in Brilliantly Inventive A24 Film

March 2022
<i>Everything Everywhere All at Once</i> Review: Michelle Yeoh Wins the Multiverse in Brilliantly Inventive A24 Film

Marvel may have its multiverse but it is Michelle Yeoh and her two directors who have mastered the concept with their new A24 movie Everything Everywhere All at Once. The film was written and directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, who call themselves, simply, “Daniels.” The duo made a splash at the 2016 Sundance Film... »

Tags: ,
Posted in Featured, Film, Film Releases, Industry Sector, Reviews |

The Lost City Review: Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum’s Chemistry Can’t Rescue Film from Jungle of Cliches

March 2022
<i>The Lost City</i> Review: Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum’s Chemistry Can’t Rescue Film from Jungle of Cliches

Sandra Bullock recently announced that she’d be taking a temporary break from acting, which is a bummer for movie lovers, especially fans of her unique comedic talents. Her knack for comedy is on full display in The Lost City, in which she and Channing Tatum play an opposites-attract-type couple stuck in an improbable jungle adventure worthy of the cheesiest Hollywood blockbusters.... »

Tags: ,
Posted in Featured, Film, Film Releases, Industry Sector, Reviews |

The Outfit Review: Mark Rylance Stitches Together Another Strong Performance in Gangster Movie That’s a Tad Too Soft

March 2022
<i>The Outfit</i> Review: Mark Rylance Stitches Together Another Strong Performance in Gangster Movie That’s a Tad Too Soft

Mark Rylance‘s skills as a “cutter” — methodically drawing patterns with disturbing precision, carving up fabric with startlingly long shears, and sewing the pieces together into a dapper suit — is perhaps the highlight of The Outfit, the stylish new crime thriller from Focus Features that marks the directorial debut of The Imitation Game scribe... »

Tags: ,
Posted in Featured, Film, Film Releases, Industry Sector, Reviews |