I have been watching HBO’s The Outsider with cautious optimism. Because while the series is gloriously dark, moody, often chilling, and garnering praise as 2020’s first great TV show, frankly we’ve been here before. Last year’s True Detective Season 3 kicked off 2019 to a similarly strong start before it went out with a solid, if otherwise slow conclusion. The Outsider has nothing to prove as a debut miniseries boasting impressive viewership. But with one episode left in the chamber, can The Outsider succeed where True Detective S3 did not? (Light spoilers below.) Continue reading
I was about ten minutes into Rampage when I realized I had seen this movie before. The situation will be built up to extreme peril. Dwayne Johnson will utilize the skills conveniently part of his character’s makeup. He will be convincing, charismatic. He will save the day. Sure, there are giant video-game monsters in Rampage, but the concept is basically a fill in the blank. You could substitute the scenario with the biggest earthquake of all time, or the tallest building in the world and get basically the same movie. In watching Rampage, I longed for something smaller, muted, more serious that allows Johnson the actor to take center stage. I realized we already had such a movie – 2013’s Snitch. Continue reading
The opening minutes of Big Little Lies are as familiar as they are misleading. Cop cars and ambulances shine a spotlight on a grisly murder, the show setting itself up as a murder-mystery surrounding the lives of the privileged elite. The proceeding interrogations of those involved reveal a procedural, but what the show is actually investigating isn’t murder, but the seemingly Plain Jane life of domesticity. Big Little Lies examines the pain and vulnerability that women share, and the bruises they’re attempting to mask beneath concealer and Instagram filters. Because marriage takes work. And work is murder. Continue reading
Legacy, in its broadest sense, is what we leave behind. It’s what we pass on to our children and so forth. The choices we make, the sins we commit, or perhaps the conflicts we leave unresolved; the things we do in our lifetime can echo across generations. The Place Beyond The Pines takes the notion of legacy and reveals its devastating impact on the lives that follow one another down a disastrous road. Using a three-part structure, writer and director Derek Cianfrance tells the story of two separate fathers, and how a small coincidence has huge repercussions for their respective sons. Think twice before seeing this film. This is not for the hopeful. Pines will take you to a place filled with guilt, tragedy, and no easy answers. It will leave you broken.