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story.lead_photo.caption Bryan Cranston and Fort Smith’s Hunter Doohan star in Showtime’s “Your Honor,” a series set in New Orleans and derived from an award-winning Israeli criminal justice procedural.

Joke's on me; there are no new movies opening this week.

Traditionally, there aren't many new releases the week after Christmas. Everything that opened last week is available, and Ridley Scott's classic "Alien" is being re-released to theaters, so it's not like there's nothing to run out and see if you're feeling cabin feverish.

Usually this section kicks back a little in the first weeks of a new year -- we run a lot of year-end wrap-ups and Top 10 lists.

In a normal year, we'd soon start to see some of the award-seeking films that didn't open in our market in the just-past calendar year start to show up. While it's unclear if we'll ever quite get back to the old normal, we can expect some of that.

"Nomadland" and "Minari," two of the best-reviewed releases of 2020, will open here in February. Arkansas-set "Minari" might make it sooner than that.

In catching up on 2020 releases:

I am disappointed with "Wonder Woman 1984."

"Promising Young Woman" is better than some of its reviews indicate, though there is a certain archness to it that approaches Ryan Murphy territory.

"One Night in Miami" didn't do it for me, but some (USA Today) are calling it the best movie of the year. Huh.

I can't see everything, which is OK because there's so much worthwhile content out there. And I'm perfectly willing to enjoy content that isn't genuinely good, like the Showtime series "Your Honor," which has a great cast -- Bryan Cranston, Michael Stuhlbarg, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Carmen Ejogo, Hope Davis and Hunter Doohan, who lived in Fort Smith growing up -- and is set in New Orleans but feels like it is produced by a white Englishman reworking an Israeli television series.

Which is exactly what it is -- Peter Moffat ("Criminal Justice," "Silk") acquired the rights to award-winning Israeli series "Kvodo," which the new series reportedly tracks pretty faithfully.

So it's no wonder it has no real feel for New Orleans or any grasp of how Louisiana jurisprudence works. Instead we get Davis spouting dialogue like: "This is New Orleans, Jimmy. The graves are above ground so the dead can hear what's being whispered about them."


I keep watching this dour roller-coaster soap opera of a series to see how things play out for characters I'm not at all invested in. And to see the locations. (Typical comment from our peanut gallery: "There's no restaurant in New Orleans that has a view like that.")

We watched most of the first season of Netflix's glamorous Manhattan-set "Gypsy" and two seasons of Sundance Now's sunny and elegant Monaco-based "Riviera" for the same reasons. I'm not ashamed to admit I sometimes eat Cheetos too.

It's educational to look around the sides of overheated dramas like"Your Honor." Everybody here is at least trying (they say that nobody sets out to make a bad movie on purpose, but that's a lie), and that a lot of the people involved are very talented.

It's just that there's something off in the writing and the pacing. And you will think that a show that's so much about white privilege and guilt would do better at understanding what New Orleans is about. You'd think they'd have at least binged "Treme."

Maybe something better will come along. A lot of what we stream these days comes from overseas. We've watched enough bad French and Swedish TV to understand subtitles are no guarantee of quality. But there's also value in seeing other places, other cities, other lands, especially when you're locked down in your own backyard.

Anyway, 2020 is in the rear view. We have a fresh sheet in the typewriter. There will be 53 Fridays this year. Let's get after it.



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