By David Baldwin
Mark Scout (Adam Scott) works for Lumon Industries. He says he works in an archiving department, but he cannot be certain as he has undergone the “severance” procedure – a controversial surgery that involves a chip being implanted in the brain and separating any knowledge about work and personal lives in half. As he begins to train new employee Helly (Britt Lower), Mark begins to question what is really going on within Lumon Industries at the same time as he starts uncovering a much bigger conspiracy on the outside.
That may sound like a lot to digest, but after two episodes, it gets much easier to wrap your head around the intricacies of SEVERANCE. Both episodes are directed by Series Producer Ben Stiller (yes, I am just as shocked as you are) and boldly blends elements of Horror, Science Fiction, Dark Comedy and Conspiracy Thrillers into one mysterious nightmare that you will not be easily able to shake afterwards. Stiller frames the Series as clinically precise and sterile as he can, echoing the monotonous grind of the 9-to-5 office worker on a much larger scale. There are few brushes of colour, preferring to stay monochromatic in its costuming, lighting and production design. And having the sets be so expansive and high-ceilinged (likely due to Covid restrictions) make the few amount of on-screen characters feel genuinely small and isolated. The dystopic and sinister undertones flow through very well, giving just enough hints at the overarching mystery to keep viewers invested. I doubt the series would feel anywhere near as palpable and tangible had it been filmed prior to our new normal; everything here feels like you are looking into a mirror and the hellscape of our modern lives is looking right back at you.
I would not suggest it captures the Zeitgeist or has its finger on the beating pulse of modern office work, but I was having some serious déjà vu watching many of these scenes and scenarios play out.
The Cast is terrific and genuinely gifted, despite only getting to see fleeting glimpses of their histories and motivations so far. Scott is excellent as Mark, imbuing the greater themes of loneliness and despair quite wonderfully. Lower, who I loved on the short-lived series Man Seeking Woman, is a firecracker just waiting to explode, while character actor Zach Cherry has a lot of fun playing their no-nonsense, straight-and-narrow co-worker Dylan. And though their roles are small so far, I cannot wait to see John Turturro, Patricia Arquette and the legendary Christopher Walken dive into their roles.
I have not quite settled in on any theories about what is happening just yet, and am fearful for how the Series plans on balancing all of its competing tones and genre mashups. For now though, I am optimistic and excited to see just how SEVERANCE plays out over the next few weeks.
The first two episodes of SEVERANCE are available to stream now on Apple TV+, with new episodes arriving every Friday.
Adam Scott and Patricia Arquette star in workplace Thriller SEVERANCE. Ben Stiller serves as Executive Producer. See the new Trailer for the Apple TV+ Series.
In “Severance,” Mark Scout (Adam Scott) leads a team at Lumon Industries, whose employees have undergone a severance procedure, which surgically divides their memories between their work and personal lives. This daring experiment in ‘work-life balance’ is called into question as Mark finds himself at the center of an unraveling mystery that will force him to confront the true nature of his work… and of himself.
“Severance” reunites Emmy and DGA Award winner Ben Stiller with Academy Award and Emmy Award winner Patricia Arquette (“Escape at Dannemora,” “Boyhood”), who stars alongside Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation,” “Step Brothers”), Emmy Award winner John Turturro (“The Plot Against America,” “The Night Of”), Britt Lower (“High Maintenance,” “Casual”), Zach Cherry (“You,” “Succession”), Dichen Lachman (“Jurassic World: Dominion,” “Altered Carbon”), Jen Tullock (“Before You Know It,” “Bless This Mess”), Tramell Tillman (“Hunters,” Dietland”), Michael Chernus (“Orange is the New Black,” “Patriot“) and Academy Award winner Christopher Walken.
SEVERANCE arrives on Apple TV+ February 18, 2022.
(Photo/video credit: Apple TV+)
In a cutthroat Entertainment industry, Shad Moss can be considered a true Survivor. The 28-year-old Actor/Television Host and Rapper first surfaced back in 2000 at age 13 as Lil Bow Wow, gaining a large Fanbase, collaborating with the likes of Da Brat, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Snoop Dogg. Moss then branched into acting, starring in Features like Like Mike and The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift, before hosting popular BET Staple 106 & Park.
After some well-publicized troubles, Bow Wow certainly is back, but returning to himself under his original Birthname. In town this weekend partying up a storm at Bar Code and Uniun Nightclub in support of NDI Vodka, Moss today is promoting new Series CSI: Cyber in which he stars a Brody “Baby Face” Nelson.
We spotted the self-admittedly tired Actor leaving KISS 92.5, where he appeared on The Roz & Mocha Show, sporting a WE THE NORTH Cap, in support of the The Toronto Raptors. Moss despite being rushed-in, took his time chatting and doing Selfies with Fans before leaving.
See our Snap:
CTV airs CSI: CYBER starring Academy Award Winner Patricia Arquette Wednesdays at 10 PM.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
Although it was a competitive year, there would be no stopping Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s BIRDMAN from winning coveted BEST PICTURE at the 87th Academy Awards tonight! This latest victory caps-off a Campaign for the Dramedy beginning with a release last October. Since then, among others, it has nabbed several important Best Picture Awards including yesterday’s Independent Spirit Awards, the Golden Globe Awards and several more. Mexican Filmmaker Iñárritu was awarded Best Director for BIRDMAN, his second nomination after getting a nod for 2007’s Babel.
Winning Best Actor, first-time Nominee at the age of 33 was English Star Eddie Redmayne, recognized for his phenomenal work as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. He took a moment to dedicate his win to ALS awareness.
After four previous nominations, a tearful Julianne Moore at long last gets a Best Actress trophy for her turn in STILL ALICE, in which she plays a Professor suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. The Actress stunned in a unique Chanel number, never before seen on a runway. She thanked her Family and took a moment to direct attention to finding a cure for Alzheimers, and also Richard Glatzer, Director/Writer of Still Alice, whom is suffering from ALS.
As expected, J.K. Simmons as expected took Best Supporting Actor for a stirring performance as a psychotic Conductor in WHIPLASH. Patricia Arquette likewise would go on to take Best Supporting Actress for her performance in BOYHOOD, getting cheers from the likes of Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez after making a call to the Industry for equal rights and equal pay for Women.
See it again here:
Why Meryl Streep and J.Lo. freaked out over Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech. http://t.co/v9IxK6xt8r pic.twitter.com/QbmGr1LSeY
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) February 23, 2015
Stars shined bright on the rainy Red Carpet tonight and turning many heads were Rising Star Margot Robbie in Van Cleef and Arpels in a sheer long-sleeve black gown with a deep plunging ‘V’. Seen widely prior as an Oscar Contender for her fantastic performance in CAKE, Jennifer Aniston donned her signature hair, stunning in a shiny Versace number, fitting her perfect. Reese Witherspoon seen for the first time in Tom Ford this Awards Season, looked stunning with an off-the-shoulder dress just days after being spotted at the Designer’s Show. As for the Gentlemen, Performer Adam Levine and Presenter Josh Hutcherson displayed bespoke tailoring and impeccable grooming, both in Armani!
Star of Stage and Screen Neil Patrick Harris, hosted delivering the laughs with a spirited opening number where he was joined by Anna Kendrick and Jack Black, referring to Motion Pictures as “moving pictures”. He even stripped down to his skivvies for the sake of entertainment!
See his Intro here:
Megastar Lady Gaga warmed the heart of Julie Andrews with a flawless Medley Tribute to the Sound of Music, easily one of the evening’s biggest Highlights!
And for a Canadian connection, Craig Mann, whom I am proud to say I went to High School with at St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Pickering – we both took Musical Keyboarding – won Best Sound Mixing for WHIPLASH!
For a complete list of Winners, click here.
(Photo/video credit: Getty Images)
There is no breakthrough Actor getting more acclaim and buzz right now than Ellar Coltrane. The 18-year-old has put forth a few days of year after year, creating Director Richard Linklater‘s Masterpiece, Boyhood.
The Film starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, was filmed over 12 years, documenting the transition of a Boy named Mason (Coltrane) into a Man. It captures the subtle nuances of life as he goes from one Video Game fad to another, loving Coldplay to Pharrell. At two hours and fourty-five minutes, many Critics already are calling the Film a frontrunner for Best Picture in the forthcoming Awards Season. It ends with a new beginning, suggesting Linklater might even follow-up with another based on his fondness of time as seen and loved in his Before Trilogy, also starring Hawke.
This weekend only, Coltrane will be popping-up at screenings of Boyhood around Toronto including TIFF Bell Lightbox and Varsity Cinemas, doing intimate Q&As with Audiences. Refer here for which screenings specifically.
Coltrane, getting comfortable with his new-found stardom, was nice enough to stop for a quick Photo after casually walking up the Escalator with his Publicist to a foyer where a huge display of himself stands. He made a surprise appearance this evening at Varsity Cinemas, which surely will delight the Audience who might not have had the slightest clue he’d be coming!
See our Snap:
Mongrel Media release BOYHOOD, now in theatres.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
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