It takes less than 30 seconds for “Holes,” the latest episode of American Horror Story: Cult, to reference its title. WBNR’s Bob Thompson (Dermot Mulroney) might be a pervert, but he’s not wrong to ream out Beverly Hope (Adina Porter) for her recent on-air editorializing and fear-mongering: “There’s all sorts of goddamn holes in your stories!” And throughout the episode, Crystal Liu’s screenplay goes about addressing the holes that Cult itself created with the revelations from the flashback-filled “11/9,” but the answers here aren’t only unsatisfyingly blunt, but only raise more questions, to the point that the show’s narrative up to this point has been retconned.
Dermot Mulroney (#1–10 of 3)
The process of adapting the Pulitzer- and Tony-winning August: Osage County, Tracy Letts’s vitriolic epic of familial dysfunction, poses, to borrow a phrase from one of its characters, quite a Gordian knot. With its icky revelations, not to mention the fact that nearly every character in the large ensemble is either a naïve nitwit or an aggressive asshole, the material isn’t exactly audience-friendly. Summer Stock with a score, the film gets to the meat of the play while slightly compromising its darker, murkier undertones. Instead of transcending the source material, John Wells, whose only previous feature is The Company Men, toys with packaging the material in a way that maintains the play’s themes while remaining cautious of its vituperative vigor.
Park Chan-wook’s Stoker is one of those films that’s heralded with uniform allure, its bevy of talent advertised in a tantalizing trailer, and now, one artful, remarkable one-sheet. Joining the all-too-slim club of illustrated ads, this black-and-white, apparently pencil-drawn beauty thrives on minute detail, taking the risk of drawing in the eye rather than brashly broadcasting its goods. Sure, there’s bound to be a more marketing-friendly version, with Nicole Kidman’s wrathful face blown up for all to see, but, for now, Chan-wook’s fans can savor Version 1, which, ironically, bears the lines and hues of currency.
Stoker, of course, marks Chan-wook’s English-language debut, and his most buzzed-about work since Oldboy. Co-penned by Prison Break heartthrob Wentworth Miller, it explores the sordid secrets of one very dysfunctional family, whose fan-the-flames surname gives the film its title. The poster, it would seem, depicts a gnarled family tree, dressed with brooding glances, angry birds, and skeletons from closets.