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Bryan Cranston

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  • TV Picks: 'Party Down,' Funny or Die video selection, 'Manhattan'

    TV Picks: 'Party Down,' Funny or Die video selection, 'Manhattan'
    "Party Down" (Hulu). This comedy about a less than merry band of caterers, which went for two seasons on Starz in 2009 and 2010, was created by "Veronica Mars" mastermind Rob Thomas with "Mars" cohorts Dan Ethridge and John Enhom and actor Paul Rudd, who appeared in the pilot but was a movie star by the time the series came around. Even so the cast reads like some retrospective supergroup whose album you can't believe you've never heard (unless you did): Adam Scott (in for Rudd), recent Rolling Stone cover girl Lizzy Caplan, Ken Marino, Jane Lynch (who left near the end of the first season for "Glee" but returned for what turned out to be the series' finale), Martin Starr, Megan Mullally and Ryan Hansen (now going from the axed "Bad Teacher" to the new "Bad Judge"), but with appearances also from cool kids Ken Jeong, Joey Lauren Adams, Kristen Bell, June Diane Raphael, and various cool kids like Jim Piddock, Paul Scheer, Thomas Lennon, J.K. Simmons and Rachael Harris among others. (My original review is here.) Every episode is set at a different Southern California party or event, bringing in a fresh group of guest stars and a new theme to explore, while the servers work out their own messy business, their antipathies and affinities, as they remind one another and themselves that this is just a job and what they Really Do is act, play music, write. The series, which punches above its weight, has a guerrilla swing to it -- well-finished, but not overtly slick in the way even shoestring productions manage to look now -- and one can sense the actors' delight beneath their characters' dissatisfaction.
  • Emmys 2014: Deaths, weddings: Additional categories for this year's awards

    Any group of awards bestowed by one group of humans on another will inevitably be considered arbitrary, political, meaningless, myopic or absurd (unless, of course, you win one, at which time they become shiny symbols of wisdom and insight). The Emmys...

    'The Great Society' a bustle of history lacking full LBJ picture

    'The Great Society' a bustle of history lacking full LBJ picture
    When last seen in Robert Schenkkan's "All the Way," Lyndon B. Johnson was being serenaded with "Happy Days Are Here Again." After brokering the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with an iron fist and a good ol' boy smile, he managed to escape...

    James Garner was the perfect fit in 'Rockford Files'

    If all famous lives come down in the end to the lead sentence in an obituary, James Garner was put on Earth to play Jim Rockford, the life-sized private eye hero of "The Rockford Files." There was more to it, of course, before and after, on big screen and...

    Review: 'Godzilla' ★★★ 1/2

    Review: 'Godzilla' ★★&#9733 1/2
    In one fell swoop, and a pretty swell fell swoop it is, the new "Godzilla" makes up for the 1998 Godzilla movie, the one with Matthew Broderick up against the sea beast klutzing around New York like Jack Lemmon in "The Out-of-Towners." The latest...