Today, 20th Century Fox released the trailer for Widows, Steve McQueen’s first feature-length film since 12 Years a Slave. The film is co-written by McQueen and Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, and is adapted from the 2002 ABC series Widows written by Lynda La Plante that starred Mercedes Ruehl, Brooke Shields, Rosie Perez, and N’Bushe Wright. The film is set in present-day Chicago and concerns four women who take fate into their hands in the wake of their criminal husbands’ deaths, forging a future on their own terms.
Colin Farrell (#1–10 of 33)
Jerusalem Film Festival
Jerusalem is a city of beige and tan, a vast barren sprawl that is, despite the brutal heat and muted colors, quite beautiful. Its odd mix of orthodoxy and modernity pair like sand and cement to create something singular and undeterrable. There’s a kind of delirious, heat stroke-induced grandeur to its aesthetic uniformity, the caramel-colored homes enclosing you and the occasional swaths of trees providing much sought-after shelter from the sun, the tan and green recalling the colors of Israeli military uniforms. All of the buildings are finished with Jerusalem Stone (which is mostly made up of limestone) to marry the new to the old, to transcend date and age. A parched and pale sky settles over sun-baked façades stacked upon sandy expanses. Feet wrapped in leather sandals slap against the sidewalk and air conditioners spittle from above. “Drink water,” everyone advises. At its apogee, the sun abuses unrepentantly, with cruel omnipotence, yet people persist and keep going where they’re going, water bottles in hand. They are stubborn.
Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, the writer-director’s adaptation of Thomas Cullinan’s 1966 Civil War-set novel A Painted Devil, begins as a straightforward Southern Gothic psychodrama. The filmmaker, though, distinguishes her version of the source novel from the 1971 Don Siegel-helmed adaptation starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page by treating Union soldier Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) as a more enigmatic catalyst for the changes that take place inside Miss Martha Farnsworth’s Seminary for Young Ladies upon his arrival. Rather than primarily focus on McBurney and the horrifying consequences of his unchecked horniness, Coppola intensely homes in on her heroines’ conflicted feelings about sex.
Siegel’s film pulpily fixates on McBurney and his outsider status, and how his unchecked lust drives him to monstrously stalk the seminary—like a fox in a hen house. But Coppola’s take is more interested in the boarding school’s all-female residents’ personal struggles to accept that they’re allowed to be sexually attracted to an enemy soldier. Women like headmistress Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman) and her school’s head teacher, Edwina Dabney (Kirsten Dunst), are obviously drawn to McBurney, though they go to great lengths to avoid admitting that attraction. The film is set, after all, in Virginia in 1864, and McBurney is, as Edwina cautions, the kind of man they’ve been warned about: one with a predilection for raping Southern women.
A blackly comic performance by Colin Farrell provides the emotional anchor for Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer. As clinically detached surgeon Steven Murphy, Farrell effortlessly switches from arch, quasi-robotic line readings to frantic, plate-smashing furor. His skillful transition from deep-in-denial emotional repression to manic rage is crucial to the film’s success, as Lanthimos and co-screenwriter Efthymis Filippou’s characters don’t talk like anyone you’ve ever met in real life.
When Steven, his family, and a mysterious friend, Martin (Barry Keoghan), speak to each other, they fixate on nothing of real importance. They dwell on trivial subjects, and the questions they ask each other—about everything from gauging someone’s fondness for lemonade to whether or not someone else prefers leather or metal as a watchstrap—are bleakly funny when you consider that the film begins with a confrontationally gross close-up of a beating human heart, exposed during one of Steven’s characteristically dangerous procedures. It’s clear right away that this atmospheric horror-thriller’s dramatic stakes are as high as life and death. So why is it that these characters can’t stop talking about food and household chores?
Late in the meandering, unsatisfying conclusion to True Detective, “Omega Station,” Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) attempts to record one final message to his son, a last will of sorts. “You turn here, turn there, and it goes on for years, becomes something else,” he says, trying to apologize. In actuality, he’s describing Nic Pizzolatto’s writing style: Caspere’s murderer is revealed to have been Len, an assistant from that movie studio visited in “Maybe Tomorrow.” Len’s motivation was simple revenge, given that once upon a time, Caspere used his position within IA to help cover up the robbery and execution of Len’s parents at the hands of Holloway (Afemo Omilami) and Burris (James Frain). Both of these are straightforward enough, and yet because of Caspere’s corruption (and perhaps the complexity of Californian traffic, for Caspere’s corpse was left roadside), the season twisted and turned down so many detours and side streets that by the exhausting end, it was hard to keep track of what, if anything, True Detective had been about in the first place. Ultimately, given the repetition of idealistic stories and false promises shared between lovers in this final episode, the season goes out as the sort of perverted fairy tale in which plenty of people—good and bad—end up dying, but there’s no “ever after”; just a road stretching on into infinity.
The problem with mysteries, especially fair-play ones, is that if you’ve paid close enough attention and solved it ahead of schedule, then a table-setting episode like “Black Maps and Hotels Rooms,” in which characters constantly explain how the pieces fit together, is nothing short of irritating. That’s because solving a jigsaw puzzle, for instance, can never be as satisfying as the act of physically putting it together. (After all, if you’d wanted a finished picture, you could’ve just bought one.) That, of course, is just one perspective, and the real heart of the episode comes from the constant reminder that we all have different needs and wants.
For instance, Dani (Carla Vila) believed that her sister, Vera Machiado (Miranda Rae Mayo), had been kidnapped, and Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) certainly thought as much when she rescued her from last week’s Orgy Mansion. But when Vera’s sobered up from her overdose of champagne and molly, she clarifies that she was happy being on the party circuit and that, in fact, all of the women were there by choice (and well paid for it). Sure, the occasional woman was murdered up in that blood-soaked cabin in the woods that Ani and Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) found in Guerneville, but that was only if they broke the rules and attempted to take blackmail photos of the rich clientele. Echoing a conversation she had with her sister, Athena (Leven Rambin), back in the first episode, Ani suggests from her high horse that Vera was perhaps “put on Earth for more than fucking,” but that’s an uncharitable view of things. Vera’s happy, or, at the very least, she was getting the most out of a bad situation. “Everything is fucking,” she replies, so why not at least profit from it? Then again, this sort of bleak worldview can’t help but work against True Detective: If everything is awful, why bother watching any of it?
- adria arjona
- Afemo Omilami
- black maps and hotel rooms
- carla vila
- christopher james baker
- colin farrell
- daniel attias
- david morse
- James Frain
- kelly reilly
- Leven Rambin
- Lolita Davidovich
- michael hyatt
- Michael Irby
- miranda rae mayo
- Nic Pizzolatto
- rachel mcadams
- Ritchie Coster
- taylor kitsch
- timothy v. murphy
- true detective
- vince vaughn
- vinicius machado
Everything you need to know about the inconsistencies of True Detective—its strengths and weaknesses this season—can be summed up by the two standoffs that occur in this episode. The first follows directly from the previous episode, and bears the weight of the entire season, as Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) and Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn) sit across a kitchen table from one another making brief pleasantries over coffees that go untouched on account of the guns they’re both holding on one another beneath that mundane kitchen-table surface. The second, between Frank and the suave drug-runner (Benjamin Benitez) introduced without fanfare in last week’s episode, is treated as a joke, and ends almost as soon as it begins: “Well, that’s one off the bucket list. A Mexican standoff with actual Mexicans.” There’s admittedly a bit more to it than that, as it comes out that this man has a connection to the deceased Rey Amarillo’s crew, and provides proof that Amarillo was set up—by a “white cop”—to provide plausible closure to the Caspere investigation. But without giving us so much as the man’s name (his henchman is a silent, posturing cross between Kato and Tonto) or motivation, these scenes are hacky and stylized. This is True Detective at its worst, and toward the end of the episode, a riff on “The Monkey’s Paw” is proffered, with the man delivering to Frank exactly what he promised: a glimpse of Amarillo’s woman, but of her corpse, freshly butchered by the dealer’s crew in a moment of needless, show-off cruelty.
Throughout this season of True Detective, a singular point has been drilled into our heads: “We get the world we deserve.” This week, “Other Lives” suggests what we deserve is simply a construct: There’s nothing stopping Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn) from walking away from his nightclub, poker room, and other enterprises. He may have a design, but as his wife, Jordan (Kelly Reilly), puts it, all the work he’s doing to get back to where he was before being robbed is “backslide city.” He may not like the term “gangster,” but he recognizes in a moment of clarity that it may fit; he can’t really put himself above the pimps and dealers he now works with, even if his suits and cologne are fancier. It’s no defense to say that “everything they do, they would do anyway,” because what’s to stop someone from saying the same thing about Frank? “I don’t want to see you lose who you’ve become,” says Jordan—and it’s not a matter of wealth, but of integrity. Even after all the horrors, he can choose to be a new man; he can set down that drink and forget about earning new land parcels through Catalyst by retrieving Caspere’s missing hard drive full of incriminating sex videos. Frank’s already survived moving into a smaller, shabbier place; he doesn’t have to keep dreaming of the idealized “best of all possible worlds” made popular in Candide. (The theme song hints at this too: To what extent can we really distinguish between levels of happiness? At some point, we must just “Nevermind.”)
Good and evil have often been described as two sides of the coin that is humanity, and “Down Will Come” certainly puts that theory into practice. As the title’s play on words suggests, evil things are all but guaranteed to fall upon us, as cyclical as the physical forces that bring dawn (or light) to each new day. Halfway through this week’s episode of True Detective, there’s a return to the very first shot of the season—a series of flags flapping on a parcel of land. This time, however, an EPA specialist is on hand to explain to Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) and Ani Bezzerides (Rachel McAdams) that the flags represent contaminated land. While the detectives don’t put it all together, it’s suggested to the viewer that Mayor Chessani (Ritchie Coster) has been deliberately polluting the water tables so as to force the families who once farmed on them to flip them to the various illicit organizations in Vinci who will then eventually rezone and resell the properties to the federal government.
Despite its poor rendition at the hands of a cheap Elvis impersonator, “The Rose” is the perfect song for Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) to hear as he dreamily drifts between life and death at the start of “Maybe Tomorrow.” It’s a song that hints at the ability of love to be both beautiful and violent, and which speaks directly to the episode’s insistence on looking toward the future. Ray awakens in a puddle of his own urine, his shirt a mess of buckshot, but he’s alive: “And the soul afraid of dyin’/That never learns to live.”