Now Streaming: THE OFFER You Can't Refuse, UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN Respects As It Digs

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas (@peteramartin)
Now Streaming: THE OFFER You Can't Refuse, UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN Respects As It Digs

I'm gonna make him.

The Offer
The first three episodes are now streaming on Paramount Plus.

Do you love Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather? I love Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather. But did you know that the person who was really responsible for the movie was its unsung producer, Al Ruddy?

Yeah, me neither.

Yet that's the supposition driving The Offer, a ten-episode series that dramatizes the making of one of the greatest films of all time. Created by Michael Tolkin (The Player), based on experiences recounted by Albert S. Ruddy, the series positions Ruddy as the brilliant mastermind behind the movie, floating between the vastly different, though wildly related, worlds of the executives, filmmakers, and real-life Mafia members.

In this version -- and perhaps in real life, what do I know? -- Ruddy, played by Miles Teller, is a dynamic and charming man who stumbled into creating Hogan's Heroes on TV and kept improbably stumbling in a semi-successful, highly confident manner until he ended up as the producer of Paramount Pictures' adaptation of Mario Puzo's popular novel The Godfather.

The story behind the movie and who, exactly, is most responsible for its success, has been told many different times, and the story keeps changing to best suit the storyteller. Since Albert S. Ruddy is the storyteller here, as interpreted by Michael Tolkin, showrunner Nikki Toscano, and directors Dexter Fletcher (first two episodes) and Adam Arkin (third episode), The Offer makes him the hero as he bounces from studio head Robert Evans (Matthew Goode) and his boss Charlie Bluhdorn (Burn Gorman) to writer Mario Puzo (Patrick Gallo) and writer/director Coppola (Dan Fogler) to notorious crime boss Joe Columbo (Giovanni Ribisi).

Oh, and Ruddy's assistant, the supremely capable Bettye McCart (Juno Temple) and the love of his life, the supremely capable Francois Glazer (Nora Arnezeder), play important roles in his daily affairs, and let's not forget Frank Sinatra (Frank John Hughes) and Al Pacino (Anthony Ippolito).

Realistically, the show shouldn't work, because it's so darn busy, and sometimes seems like it may be reckless with what may really have happened. It's so crazy, though, that I easily binged the first three episodes.

Subsequent episodes will become available every Thursday. It's probably only for people like me who have all three movies mostly memorized -- okay, probably not the third -- and remain eager to read and see more about them and the people who made them.

sa_fxnetworks_under-the-banner-of-heaven_430.jpgUnder the Banner of Heaven
The first two episodes are now streaming on FX Networks via Hulu.

The first two episodes of a new true-crime series quickly get under the skin.

Adapting Jon Krakauer's book, first published in 2003, writer Dustin Lance Black meticulously constructs a portrait of Pyre (Andrew Garfield), a devout police detective near Salt Lake City, Utah, who must investigate the savage murder of Brenda (Daisy Edgar-Jones), a devout young wife, and her infant daughter.

Her blood-spattered husband Allan (Billy Howle), a member of the locally well-known and grudgingly respected Lafferty family, falls under immediate suspicion, though he claims innocence. His extended family, however, bears further investigation, especially his somewhat independent brother Ron (Sam Worthington) and his other brothers, Dan (Wyatt Russell), Robin (Seth Numrich), and Sam (Rory Culkin).

Pyre's relationships with his beloved wife Rebecca (Adelaide Clemens) and his non-Mormon partner Detective Taba (Gil Birmingham) also play key roles. Director David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water) sets a propulsive pace, while still allowing for frequent historical flashbacks to the beginnings of Mormon belief, which become more relevant as the story progresses.

The first two episodes balance an exploration of faith among Mormons and how some deeply-held, fundamental beliefs may have led some members of a devout family astray. The tone is thoughtful and the show quickly becomes absorbing. The writing and performances strive to be respectful.

Now Streaming covers international and indie genre films and TV shows that are available on legal streaming services.

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Andrew GarfieldDaisy Edgar-JonesFX NetworksHuluJuno TempleMatthew GoodeMiles TellerParamount PlusUSBiographyDramaDustin Lance BlackRohan MeadTaylor St. PierreCrimeMystery

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