Overrated/Underrated: The raw comedy of ‘The Bisexual,’ and ‘The Lion King’ goes ‘live action’
“The Bisexual” on Hulu: Created by and starring Desiree Akhavan (of the Sundance favorite “The Miseducation of Cameron Post”), this U.K. series is notable for examining a form of sexuality not commonly seen on mainstream TV but more importantly for being exceptionally funny and heartfelt while doing it. With a distinctive, fearless perspective that at times can recall Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s dryly delivered “Fleabag,” Akhavan’s character embarks on a journey of personal self-discovery and unexpected friendship after breaking up with her longtime girlfriend, and the results are as awkward and honest as the best in comedy can deliver.
Medeski Martin & Wood’s “Omnisphere”: A fixture around the downtown NYC jazz scene that briefly crossed into the mainstream with a jam band-friendly, improv-heavy sound, this trio hasn’t been heard from often before this recent release. Partnered with the contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound in a live concert from 2015, this album reveals just how deeply this genre-skipping organ trio can go in upending expectations, whether in accenting the chamber orchestra’s haunting new framework around songs from the MMW catalog or unfettered ventures into music where no labels dare approach, such as the rambunctious, 20-minute tribute to one of the trio’s musical idols, “The Eye of Ra.”
“Game Night” (2018): A twin beneficiary of the low expectations that come with early-year releases and adult comedies, this movie led by Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman aims for a sort of off-kilter play on the twisty role-playing of David Fincher’s “The Game” but with considerably less engrossing results — and only a few more laughs. Most egregiously, the movie squanders so much promise in its lead actors along with a strong supporting ensemble that includes Jeffrey Wright, Kyle Chandler and “Catastrophe” co-creator Sharon Horgan, who should have enjoyed at least twice as much screen time as she’s granted here.
The new “Lion King” trailer: Thanksgiving came alive with more nostalgia than usual last weekend as the first look at Disney’s “live action” reworking of “The Lion King” was revealed in advance of its debut next summer. While a few new voices (Donald Glover, John Oliver and, of course, Beyoncé) sound promising, the teaser showed only what appears to be a successful photocopy of the 1994 original that spares no digital animation expense. Hopefully the actual movie will have more to offer, but based on first impressions, the studio appears to have made the same movie except with more (virtual) fur and less dynamic color.
Follow me over here @chrisbarton.
Inside the business of entertainment
The Wide Shot brings you news, analysis and insights on everything from streaming wars to production — and what it all means for the future.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.