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.
Garret Dillahunt (#1–10 of 7)
John Sayles’s human mosaics have always sparked hope for the salvation of American independent film. Yet in the last decade, the director’s historical importance and ambition have rarely equated to lasting, or even good, films. Sayles seems to be moving away from his love for subtext-driven examinations of regional experience and championing blunt leftist slants, outbursts of moral posturing that deaden the usual layers within his character interactions. The middling political satire Silver City and the heavy-handed drama Casa de los Babys border on ideologically stringent, and they force the viewer into submission instead of allowing the spaces and characters to exist freely. Only the wonderfully sublime Honeydripper holds any particular resonance when compared to Sayles’s excellent work in the 1980s and 1990s.
“Back in the game, Mitch Yost.” –John Monad (Austin Nichols)
Here is the revelation: John Monad and Shaun Yost (Greyson Fletcher)—missing for all of a purgatorial day—surfing in unison across the Imperial Beach horizon, a picture-perfect, per the accompanying Bob Dylan song, “Series of Dreams”. The return of the monad and his young prodigy in the final installment of John from Cincinnati’s first season (“His Visit: Day Nine”) sends a similarly unifying shockwave through IB—whether aware of it or not, all are now joined in singular principle and purpose, even if the only explicit example of this, at first, is the prophesied blow job that rocks Meyer Dickstein’s (Willie Garson) world.
“Big pipe’s easy. Dry land’s hard.” –Mitch Yost (Bruce Greenwood)
Concurrent with the moment in John from Cincinnati’s ninth episode (“His Visit: Day Eight”) when Mitch Yost makes contact, on the U.S./Mexico border, with his old friend and shaman Erlemeyer (Howard Hesseman), the inevitable happens: Mitch’s wife Cissy (Rebecca De Mornay) awakes back in Imperial Beach to find their grandson Shaun (Greyson Fletcher) vanished without a trace.
This sets off a viral chain reaction, with Cissy’s fear and paranoia infecting everyone in her path, a surge of emotion that reaches its apex when drug dealer Steady Freddy Lopez (Dayton Callie) goes all Death of a Rat on a leather-jacketed teddy bear belatedly gifted to him by his knockaround sidekick Palaka (Paul Ben Victor). “You do not buy a gift and not give it. That’s the oldest bad luck in the world,” says Palaka before Freddy callously tosses the bear into the Snug Harbor Motel parking lot. Palaka immediately retrieves the gift and timidly pleads with his boss to take it. “For the boy,” he finishes.
If we were to distill John from Cincinnati to a single image, to a single visual trope, it would be the one that kicked off the series’s fourth episode, “His Visit, Day Three.” John Monad (Austin Nichols) stands before the skeletal circular structure that first figured in a brief aside during episode two. Now as then, he looks at the structure knowingly, but the really telling details come from the camerawork. When John is in close-up, the distance between him and the structure is increased, rendered in Citizen Kane-like deep focus; when John is in long shot, the distance between the two objects is suddenly collapsed, so that the structure effectively dwarfs its observer.
The fences go up in the aftermath of the miracle that closed the second episode of John from Cincinnati. In “His Visit: Day 2 Continued”, young Shaun Yost (Greyson Fletcher) is now fully, and inexplicably, recovered from his fatal neck injury. His family and friends spirit him away from the hospital on the roundabout recommendation of the kindly and curious Dr. Michael Smith (Garret Dillahunt), but instead of basking in the joy of the occurrence, this head-on encounter with the unexplained allows all involved to open up past wounds and kindle new fears and prejudices. Creator David Milch and episode scripter Ted Mann’s meaning is clear: old habits die hard.
“Inform your dealers and whores of my credit, and pour me a goddamn drink.”
With his first line in Deadwood, the prospector Ellsworth (Jim Beaver) announces to Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) his blueprint for a satisfying life, unapologetic in its simple construction: pan for gold, then trade it for his “quota of whiskey, pussy, and food.” He thrives in Deadwood’s lethal landscape by sidestepping conflict and peppering his encounters with a self-deprecating wit won over many terrains.
Among a contingent bent on personal reinvention, Ellsworth knows who he is and where he fits. In a camp where alliances are traded like commodities, Ellsworth retains the distinction of being liked by practically everyone, even the most suspicious or traumatized. The whore Trixie (Paula Malcomson), who would as soon shoot a john as befriend him, saves Ellsworth from reprisal when he witnesses a murder. The child Sofia (Bree Seanna Wall), the lone survivor of a highway massacre, engages him in some peek-a-boo in the hotel lobby soon after revealing her name for the first time. A dog whose master is gutted and fed to the pigs takes to Ellsworth like they’ve been together all along. Even the geologist Wolcott (Garret Dillahunt), who sports an inhuman disregard for his fellow man, recalls Ellsworth from a past experience as “a hero,” albeit in his practiced tone of mockery.