Jada Pinkett Smith Joins Fox’s GOTHAM as Villainous Gangster Boss; Wendell Pierce to Recur on RAY DONAVAN Season 2

by     Posted 56 days ago

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Casting continues on Fox’s highly anticipated Batman prequel series Gotham.  After setting Ben McKenzie (Southland) in the lead role of James Gordon, the network recently filled roles for The Penguin, Gordon’s boss, and Gordon’s fiancée, and they also set Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy) in the role of Detective Harvey Bullock.  Now Fox has set another villainous role for the series, as Jada Pinkett Smith has landed the series regular role of Fish Mooney.  The character is described as an imposing and hotheaded sadistic gangster boss and nightclub owner who has “the street smarts and almost extra-sensory abilities to read people like an open book.”  It’s certainly nice to see a female land a major role for once, and I’m interested to see what the actress will bring to the role.  Smith recently starred in the leading role of the TNT series Hawthorne for three seasons, before the show was canceled in 2011.

Gotham was scripted by Bruno Heller (The Mentalist), who will also serve as showrunner.  Fox has already ordered the show to series.  Hit the jump for casting news concerning a The Wire alum joining the second season of Ray Donovan.

RAY DONOVAN Season One Finale Recap: “Same Exactly”

by     Posted 206 days ago

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Ray Donovan had an interesting inaugural season.  After a lot of unevenness and missteps in what it seemed to want to be: a show about a fixer, but not every week, or a show about a family, but with a lot of ancillary and unimportant characters to start?  Ultimately, Ray Donovan‘s world and focus became very narrow indeed — in the end, not even Lee or Ezra mattered, or had any bearing on the thrust of the story.  Van, the FBI, Marvin Gaye Washington … none of them really mattered.  What Ray Donovan ended up being was drawn-out and nuanced portrayal of systemic sexual abuse, an incredibly surprising fact given where the show started.  Hit the jump for more.

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Bucky Fuckin’ Dent”

by     Posted 213 days ago

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Ray Donovan has had shades of many other successful series — Boardwalk Empire, Six Feet Under — but “Bucky Fuckin’ Dent” shared some things with Breaking Bad.  Particularly, that show’s bottle episode, “Fly.”  “Bucky Fuckin’ Dent” wasn’t nearly so artistic or suffocatingly insular as that offering, but it did trap the brothers Donovan together with one horrible cretin from their past, and marked an important moment in Ray’s personal history.  Ray Donovan has always married past and present together in a way that elevates it beyond just a gangster show.  Ray having to deal with his past at the same time as everything in his present falls apart made for a difficult but great hour.  Hit the jump for more.

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Fite Nite”

by     Posted 220 days ago

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As Ron Burgandy might say, Ray Donovan this week “escalated quickly.”  After weeks of slow build up regarding a number of things, they all came crashing to earth in “Fite Nite.”  The tables were turned on Ray, and we got an answer to the question about Mickey’s future.  Ray bringing in Sully was always going to be a mistake, but how exactly that would happen remained to be seen, until tonight.  “Fite Nite” narrowed its focus to just the Donovan family, and what might be their last night all together.  Hit the jump for more.

Josh Pais Talks TOUCHY FEELY, Researching His Role, Acting Opposite Allison Janney, RAY DONOVAN, ARE WE OFFICIALLY DATING, and More

by     Posted 229 days ago

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Josh Pais plays a buttoned-up dentist with social anxiety running a flagging dental practice with the assistance of his daughter (Ellen Page) in Lynn Shelton’s new indie dramedy, Touchy Feely.  When rumors spread that he’s suddenly developed a “healing touch,” his practice as well as his life outside the office is miraculously reinvigorated and he discovers a whole new side of himself he never knew existed.  Meanwhile, his sister (Rosemarie DeWitt), a popular massage therapist, undergoes a similar soul searching identity crisis.  Now available on iTunes/On Demand, and in theaters September 6th, the film boasts a strong ensemble cast that also includes Allison Janney, Scoot McNairy, Ron Livingston and Tomo Nakayama.

At our recent interview, Pais talked about how Shelton approached him to do the movie, his research for the role, how he used his physicality to reveal his character’s transformation and allowed the voice of his character to inspire his improvisation, why he thrives on the unknown, how he had a blast acting opposite Janney, and what he enjoyed most about the experience of working with Shelton.  He also discussed playing Stu Feldman in the Showtime series Ray Donovan, his upcoming comedy Are We Officially Dating? with Zac Efron, and his plans to direct Plum Island, a zombie comedy-adventure-thriller.  Check out the interview after the jump.

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Road Trip”

by     Posted 234 days ago

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In Ray Donovan, Ray and father Mickey began at odds and have been plotting against each other ever since.  They both have their allegiances and their grudges, but have the overlapping interest of family.  Yet the idea of taking the other one down — something they’ve been fantasizing about for years — is turning out to be easier said than done.  Both Ray and Mickey have tied themselves to surrogates to help them get the job done, and while both have had trouble controlling the situation to their liking, “Road Trip” drew some definite lines in the sand about where things are headed from now on.  Hit the jump for more.

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Bridget”

by     Posted 241 days ago

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Ray Donovan excels is having a fluidity of time; past and present meld together, and either one can change the other (or one’s perspective on it at least).  The past is alive and the present fully beholden to it.  “Bridget” was full of parallels, not only between Bridget 1.0 and Bridget 2.0, but among the other storylines as well, like Lena and Terry’s lover quarrels and Sully and Mickey’s attempts at some action.  It was a reflective hour that was emotional, but not in the dark way that “Happy Birthday” was.  The secret ingredient to such a heavy drama series is humor, and another highlight of “Bridget” was that is showed Mickey doesn’t have to be the only person to bring the fun.  Hit the jump for more.

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “New Birthday”

by     Posted 248 days ago

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Quite a few comments have been about Ray Donovan‘s move (or bait and switch) from a show about a fixer to one that makes viewers totally submerged in the comings and goings of the Donovan family.  If you are a viewer who preferred the former, “New Birthday” unfortunately had nothing to offer you.  Even for the rest of us, it was a very slow and very dark episode.  But it did fill in a few blanks about the past, and set up quite a few things for the future.  It was a bog-standard building block, but for those uninterested in why Bunchy is sleeping on the gym floor or Abby suddenly shoplifting, then not even the mobster film that the show turned into later in the episode could save it.  Still, hit the jump for why you should “pipe me, bitch!”

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Housewarming”

by     Posted 255 days ago

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No matter what viewers may think of Ray Donovan (the man) week to week, “Housewarming” proved beyond any doubt that even the most outlying stories on the show always circle back to him, and do so in the most natural of ways.  He is the center of this universe, but is he turning supernova?  Ray mostly drove around this week, angrily confronting people and making terse phone calls (side note: has anyone ever driven around L.A. so quickly and easily to get so much done?)  Ray is ruthlessly efficient at his job, but everything else is falling through the cracks.  He can’t get rid of his father, and he can’t get rid of the FBI.  To compound the issue (which affect both his personal and professional lives), the two are in cahoots.  Hit the jump for more on why “it’s not that simple. He’s still my father.”

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “The Golem”

by     Posted 262 days ago

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“The Golem” hit heavy on consequences, a theme that has been coursing through the season, but was overtly mentioned last week by the woman Ray was spying on as leverage in her divorce battle.  “Do you think about what you do?” is a question that has begun to chip away at Ray, just as his father has come back into town to dredge up more of his past misdeeds.  Meanwhile, Ezra, a father-figure to Ray, is leaving him.  His mental deterioration has left Ray without a guide or mentor, and as his life begins to fall apart around him, Abby steps from out of the shadows to ask him, point blank, “who the fuck are you?”  Hit the jump for more on this and why everyone listens to the same radio station in L.A.

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Black Cadillac”

by     Posted 269 days ago

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Ray Donovan, great as it is, is still having trouble integrating Ray’s job in with the far more interesting and compelling tale of the Donovan family.  “Black Cadillac,” though, was the best effort the show has made thus far.  What was interesting about the surveillance bug being spotted was not that we even knew who the people were who Ray, via Lena, were spying on, or that there would really be any consequences for Ray.  Instead, it was the cool efficiency in which Ray dealt with the situation (“Sit”), and more importantly, the final line that the woman in her lingerie said to him — essentially “I’m a person, too.  Do you ever think about the things you do to people?”  Hit the jump for why “she was mean as hell, but she cooked so good she got six men to marry her.”

Showtime Renews New Drama RAY DONOVAN for a Second Season

by     Posted 274 days ago

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Showtime’s freshman drama Ray Donovan has been a huge ratings success for the premium network.  The series continues getting better week to week as the show finds it footing and relies more on its incredible cast.  Showtime reports that the series currently ranks as their highest-rated original series ever, so naturally they were quick to secure a renewal.  The series, created by Ann Biderman, stars Liev Schreiber as the title character, who is joined by a number of other fantastic actors including Paula MalcomsonKathering MoenningJon VoightSteven BauerEddie Marsan and Peter Jacobson.  Hit the jump for more.

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Twerk”

by     Posted 276 days ago

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Ray Donovan is on the opposite trajectory of Under the Dome.  Every week improves, particularly as the show continues to focus more on the happenings of the Donovan family and less on Ray’s employment.  Now that we have a sense of the principle characters (and there was a ton of character development this week), “Twerk” was also about moving pieces into place for something bigger.  We were introduced to a new character this week who shows that Ray has more to worry about with Mickey than he even knows.  Hit the jump for why, if you’re lonely, you should get a cat!

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “A Mouth Is A Mouth”

by     Posted 283 days ago

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Critics who already viewed the first four episodes of Ray Donovan (I purposefully abstained) swore to its greatness, but the pilot episode didn’t match the hype.  The tropes, the editing, the pacing — there were many things that showed promise, but fell short in execution.  Despite its flaws though, Ray Donovan was still entertaining, and had a quality to it that was fun without being phenomenal.  This week though, in “A Mouth Is A Mouth,” the show settled into a better flow.  There are a lot of old stories the mix in to the present day in Ray’s world, and the show’s odd mix of humor, family moments and violence makes it increasingly compelling.  Hit the jump for why “he said breach again!”

RAY DONOVAN Marks Showtime’s Most-Watched Premiere Ever; DEXTER Returns Strong

by     Posted 289 days ago

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Showtime kicked off new seasons of two original series last night, with the season premiere of the final string of Dexter episodes and the series premiere of the new drama Ray Donovan (read Allison’s recap here).  The Liev Schreiber-fronted series broke Showtime records, scoring the largest audience for an original series debut in the network’s history.  The show’s 1.35 million take eclipsed the previous record holder, Homeland, which nabbed 1.08 million viewers in its season one debut.

Dexter returned strong for its eighth and final season, scoring 2.5 million viewers and marking the show’s largest premiere audience ever.  That tops last season’s 2.4 million viewers, though it’s still down from the season seven finale’s 2.8 million viewers.

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