DVD reviewsTV and Radio Movies
GIRLS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
THIS HBO series, consisting of a pilot and nine episodes, was written and directed by Lena Dunham, who also plays Hannah, a would-be writer who is a provoking mix of self-awareness and self-delusion. The focus is on four young women in their 20s living in New York, but there is no upbeat ''I'll take Manhattan'' feel - it is the shock of recognition, not the allure of aspiration, that draws us to the show. Girls is engaging and funny, but it's also frank, sharp and relentlessly awkward, and it reveals the flaws and vulnerabilities of its characters in ways that are neither adorable nor abject. That's rare for television. There is a good deal of nakedness in Girls, as distinct from nudity, and there's something about that distinction that goes to the heart of why the show is so good, dark and uncomfortably refreshing.
A ROYAL AFFAIR
AN INTELLIGENT Danish period drama set at the repressive Danish court during the 18th century. It is narrated, intermittently, by the clever, beautiful and isolated Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander), brought from England to marry the young, fragile and buffoonish king (a terrific performance by Mikkel Boe Folsgaard). She finds an ally in the royal doctor (Mads Mikkelsen), a man of the Enlightenment who learns he can influence the king into instigating reform. However, in a court teeming with intrigue, this is a dangerous thing to do. And becoming involved with the queen is putting a great deal at risk. Finally, it's not the covert romance that drives the film but the relationship between the doctor and the king, or the doctor and his principles.