Latest News • At the White House Correspondents’ Dinner
sami   Jan 17, 2016   Damian Lewis, Events

See a first and very dapper and elegant Damian Lewis attending the critic’s choice award in Santa Monica

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sami   Jan 17, 2016   Billions

Not long to wait now …

Is it harder to be a billionaire, or to catch one? Follow the savvy Chuck Rhoades, and the ambitious Bobby Axelrod in their explosive collision course to come out on top in the new Showtime Networks series, Billions.

Billions starting  with a battle on the highest level about power,money and greed…Wall Street meets government and Bobby Axelrod meets Chuck Rhoades … two men, two worlds!

Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti leading an amazing cast with a brilliant creative team behind the camera lead by Brian Koppelman and David Levien and Andrew Ross Sorkin…

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Billions starts TODAY!

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sami   Jan 16, 2016   Billions

Read extracts from another fabulous Billions review and description…LA Times

“Billions” is very good television. How could it not be? Created by Brian Koppelman, David Levien (“Ocean’s Thirteen”) and Andrew Ross Sorkin (“Too Big to Fail”), it crackles with the self-confident repartee of those accustomed to high stakes and giddy heights delivered against backdrops that seem lifted from Esquire’s “Interiors We Love” issue. (If there were such a thing. Which there should be.)

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More important, “Billions” pits Damian Lewis as Bobby Axelrod, a self-made billionaire, hedge-fund king and shark about town, against Paul Giamatti Chuck Rhoades, the equally ruthless if far less soignee attorney general who has sworn to have Axelrod’s scalp.
To which “Axe” (why name a character
Axelrod if he’s not going to go by “Axe”?) replies: I double-dog dare you, dude.
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Lewis and Giamatti are two of the best actors working
no doubt they will soon be battling each other for an Emmy — and their presence together is great wealth of its own sort.
Axe is one of Lewis’ more voluble roles, but the actor maintains his power over stillness by allowing his character to say much while giving little away.
Giamatti may splutter and spit a bit more, but he is just as menacing, albeit much more human.
They are surrounded by a fine supporting cast, including a Machiavellian David Costabile as “Wags,” Toby Leonard Moore as Rhoades’ right-hand man and so many other white men in suits that it’s often hard to keep track.
full review: 
sami   Jan 15, 2016   Billions

Brilliant review with a detailed description of the characters especially Bobby Axelrod….

Billions, money isn’t money, but a scorecard signifying a theoretically cold and objective qualification of bitterness and one-upmanship. The show’s dominating characters are too well-off for currency to matter to them in the visceral fashion that it does for most people. As a struggling investigator says to an inexplicably rich female co-worker at one point, “Only people with money forget about money,” and the woman in question presumably doesn’t have anywhere near the kind of capital that hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis) possesses.

 

Axe’s background, which involves mysterious connections to 9/11, is the show’s shrewdest touch. This guy isn’t the crass, heartless monster often offered up by greed fables like Wall Street, Boiler Room, and The Wolf of Wall Street. No, Axe is a white-collar gangster who only destroys people who play his game, and he gives benefits back to the poor, which signifies that he’s smart as well as burdened with a palpable and relatable blue-collar chip on his shoulder. Contrastingly, Axe’s most significant opponent, Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, is a man who can afford to self-righteously spout off about laws and ethics because he’s got a trust fund and the connections necessary for an eventual run at national politics.

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Axe and Chuck represent the U.S.’s persecution of corrupt hedge fund players as a vast pissing contest. Lower-class citizens have little to do with either’s motivations. Chuck is ironically shown to do more collateral damage to the proletariat than Axe, as he relentlessly crushes desperate people who’ve given Axe’s men illegal inside tips for the sake of survival. Billions doesn’t divide its characters into binaries as banal as that of “good” and “bad,” but Chuck’s purposefully less appealing than Axe, and quite a bit of that bluntly has to do with looks. Axe is a sexy, fit, virile man with laser-beam eyes and a smooth, insinuating voice, while Chuck is hairy, overweight, and viscerally uncomfortable with himself in the tradition of many of Giamatti’s best characters, though his intelligence and his fearlessness, not to mention the backing of the government, render him a formidable ally.

 

The discrepancy in the protagonists’ appearances physically literalizes their resentment of one another. Chuck is an heir to political royalty, but Axe is the sort of apparently self-made alpha that truly commands our society’s respect. Axe symbolizes our country’s uneasy relationship with large-scale con men, who represent the American dream of transcending a broken social system while simultaneously further breaking said system, while Chuck illustrates that elections merely allow voters to choose from among a limited group of socially preordained candidates. Billions is disinterested in conventional “morality,” which is the paradoxical wellspring of its moralism. Both men are revealed to be alike as obsessive elitists who only (partially) reveal themselves in negotiations with their dearest.

full review:

sami   Jan 15, 2016   Billions

The New York Times review is out and it is…different, good and Billions worth:)

Americans used to love watching stories about those guys, in the years before the excesses of Wall Street spawned a great recession and before Bernie Madoff brought abject fear back to personal investing. Once their shortsighted shell games toppled the world economy, though, it was a little harder to get into that high-capitalist gambling spirit.

But if anyone can save hedge fund billionaires from the cultural penalty box, it’s Showtime, the premium cable channel for skin-deep splashiness (see also: “The Affair,” “Californication”). That’s not to mention Damian Lewis. Just as he saved the C.I.A. melodrama “Homeland” from its own histrionic urges, Mr. Lewis pulls “Billions,” which begins on Sunday, back from the brink of macho outlandishness with his natural gravitas. As the hedge fund titan Bobby Axelrod, Mr. Lewis might spend most of his on-screen time spitting out cocksure zingers, but he’s that rare TV actor with the self-possession to make even overdramatic lines sound organic.

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Where Mr. Lewis’s Axelrod is all top-dog calm confidence, Giamatti’s Rhoades is pure underdog neurotic rage, alternately barking furiously and rolling over when his dad or his wife asserts dominance. As engrossing as such psychosocial dynamics might be, once you throw in sexual proclivities that feel a little too obvious for even network TV, you’ve got a drama with all the subtlety of a Wall Street-themed ride.

Mr. Lewis and Ms. Siff deliver magnetism, composure and loads of restraint.

the creators of “Billions” are determined to paint Axelrod as something between a minor deity and a rock star. And why not? When Americans love the player, they tend to turn a blind eye to the game.

Full NYT review here: