With Doctor Strange, Marvel pries open a doorway to a new realm, one filled with magic and mysticism, dark dimensions and malevolent deities. Filled with heady three-dimensional visuals and eye-bulging psychedelic set pieces, Doctor Strange fulfills the promise of its inspired marketing push. That is, it is as close as Marvel has come to being Inception on crack. And let me assure you, that is a good thing. Led by a game Benedict Cumberbatch playing on type as a smarmy elite member of the intelligentsia, Doctor Strange nonetheless suffers the Marvel formula, the “portal problem” and yet another utterly disposable single serving villain. Read More
That Spotlight feels like the epitome of a Law and Order episode genetically crossbred with a 70s-style political thriller is both its salvation and its glass ceiling. A real Indominus Rex of drama, Spotlight is a fleet-footed arcane beast attacking with precision and blunt deadly force. Its movements however are about as predictable as a 40-foot dinosaur. With its classical movie trappings, there’s other reasons it may be likened to a dinosaur. On the one hand, the formula is soothing in its familiarity – anyone who’s seen an episode of network television over the last half-century can immediately tap into the procedural structure at play – but in dealing up this very specific, very familiar hand, Spotlight also affixes a rev limiter to its emotional combustion engine. That it is then able to color in more shades than the finite Crayola 8 without devolving to sentimentality or cheap heroics is what allows Spotlight to stand tall. To peer out from the brush and declare its potency. To be the king of the jungle. Read More
Another way of understanding the existential undertow of the flat circle and how it particularly drove this season’s narrative is a simple application of physics: an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Can a subsequent generation will itself out of the inertia spun onto it by its predecessor? Perhaps it can, as the Omega Station has been reached with an answer to the series’ ongoing thesis: only the right people in our lives can alter our directed courses. Read More
All the characters are trying to find their way out with black maps as we’re seeing the end of DaVinci’s beginning. Bez and Velcoro accept the circle, Frank tries to undo it, and Woodrugh attempts to outrun it.
New evidence emerges from the stolen documents that link Catalyst and McCandless to Osip. Velcoro directs the link to Davis, but he finds her in a cold motionless revelation marked by blood, the predictable fate of everything and all that tries to be an anthesis to what will always be. DaVinci is a derelict child, like Velcoro (Collin Farell), Bez (Rachel McAdams), and Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch). But can they, will they, turn something bad into good? Read More
hurch in Ruins is why True Detective was worshipped to begin with. So far, the best episode of the season is reminiscent of Rust’s extended action sequence through the ghetto. Bez’s (Rachel McAdams) subplot’s climax evoking–either a Kubrickian or Lynchian (either way, brilliantly twisted and atmospheric) tone–matches Velcoro’s unbridled snowy Cuervo bender. Read More
It’s been since 2001’s Training Day that Antoine Fuqua has delivered a true knockout. Southpaw is no exception. The Pittsburg-born director has faced no challenges scraping together talent; amassing casts and crews that regularly featured A-listers at the top of their game, screenwriters on the fast track to success, composers in highest demand. He also hasn’t been treated to a movie falling on the fresh side of the spectrum since 2001. Sure, The Equalizer eeked by on Denzel Washington’s cool, collected killing spree antics but critics (and audiences) knew that Fuqua’s product was less than perfect. And this gets us to Southpaw, a film that’s definitively less than perfect. Read More
As the first season dictates, crime predestines characters into its fold; their adopted second selves aren’t themselves, and the inevitability of the crime’s determinism has approached. In season one, after they ostensibly solved the crime, we saw Rust and Marty’s interlude draw out seemingly grounded as repaired people then pulled back into the crime’s undertow as they re-disintegrated. We only experienced a blip in this season, not even an episode, as this iteration re-awakens half way through.
And like the first season, the bad men seem amorphous, but there’s always one face formed of many like a mosaic from a distance, one singular expression–and it will reach for everything inside of them–at least, that’s what I’ve been hoping for. With three more episodes left, this dark experiment has a chance for redemption to have its potential culminate in entirety. To pull it off, every character needs to be at the end of themselves and turn back as they face new lengths in human amorality.
Post shoot-out mortem, a new stasis with new self has settled in. The investigation’s been shut down by State Attorney General Geldof, pinning Caspere’s murder on Amarilla from the Mexican outfit–and, strangely announcing his run for governor.
Thus, Velcoro evades his conscience by dropping the good-cop, bad-cop posture and fully commits to ambiguity by becoming a private investigator while still holding enforcer title with Frank in the midst of an ongoing custody battle; Bez is demoted to the sheriff’s office evidence lock up while pursuing Vera’s disappearance on her own timetable; Woodrugh is promoted to detective but withdrawn from the field to insurance fraud while facing extortion from Lindel; Jordan questions Franks recidivist business practices as the only way out.
But all of the character’s now independent lives and investigations evolve to one focal point of conspiracy. Frank orders Velcoro to snoop on Blake when he discovers him trafficking Frank’s prostitutes to his adversary Osip at a clinic with Pitlor and Tony present. The story takes a hard turn when Bez finds a political connection to Caspere’s hotsheet pawned blue diamonds. With plenty of evidence on the table, state investigator Davis reopens the investigation incognito. Davis wants evidence of collusion between Chessani’s political machine and the state attorney general’s chest full of campaign money–thus, no surprise to Velcoro that the state’s investigation was smoke and mirrors. Woodrugh and Bez match Caspere’s former movements to an a rural abandoned commune fitted with a bloodied sexual dungeon. Velcoro bitch slaps Pitlor around when he spits up old business between Caspere and Chessani involving escorts and real estate deals–all filmed and kept in Caspere’s pilfered hard drive to blackmail influential guests if threatened.
While Frank has Velcoro by the strings, he attempts to leverage his former place into the corridor by blackmailing a business associate who now operates the development company that holds the land to be bought by the government. He was complicit with Frank and his former waste company in dumping contaminants on the farmland that Bez and Woodrugh discovered to lower its purchase value for the railway. But the person whom Frank then sold it to had his life tampered with involving a car that never ends well with a cliff. Frank is given a quid pro quo back into the corridor if he finds Caspere’s stolen hard drive inspired by cinema verite–this same associate that attended the escort parties Pitlor divulged to Velcoro.
As Velcoro confronts Davis about his grit, another self is revealed. Davis tells him his wife’s rapist was forensically affirmed a few weeks ago–a different lead than what Frank lured him into. As Frank holds Jordan after thinking about selling their stakes and starting over, he looks up at the ceiling and says, “No more water stains.” The dark eyes have closed for the moment.
For prior Silver Screen Riot True Detective coverage, find archive reviews below:
TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2 Episode 1 Review “The Western Book of the Dead”
TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2 Episode 2 Review “Night Finds You”
TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2 Episode 3 Review “Maybe Tomorrow”
TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2 Episode 4 Review “Down Will Come”
Down Will Come is already here. DaVinci’s desecrated water table has waned Frank Semyon’s (Vince Vaughn) land as it tries for purity out of its poisoned seeds. We further wind down the dark spine into DaVinci’s ethos as the show’s symbology continues to open up like the liquid fingers of a black ink stain.
Velcoro (Colin Farrell) and Bez (Rachel McAdams) make a blip to her father’s spiritual commune to flesh out Irving Pitlor’s (the slithery, creepo psychiatrist that succinctly analyzed Caspere’s sexual depravity) backstory. They discover Pitlor came from the Chessani lodge, the family’s branded spiritual sect that crossed paths with her father’s fledgling movement. After divulging Caspere’s picture and their investigation, her father completes the circle with a hippie flashback picture of the wicked trifecta–another bad avocado, but re-stated in quite a stark yin and yang way–revealing what was obscured but obscuring what will be revealed. Continuing with the drama’s unfolding, we’re now seeing the intertwining histories mainlined to the present and inevitable future.
Velcoro and Bez track down Caspere’s former movements in vast tracts of land contaminated with various metal pollutants, as Velcoro hands Bez a determinism her state investigation won’t change–money and how the hand holds it. Bad land with the glint of a high-speed silver bullet cutting through it makes it badder, and they need a hangman as DaVinci’s dynasty follows through with its century old logical conclusion.
The dark pair of eyes grow darker as they follow Frank. The worse self is becoming his best self as he strongarms old associates to keep from bottoming out and continuing the series’ deep theme. We even watch Velcoro’s inner light tested under Frank’s shadow as Frank tries to lip him out of being a cop and into his fold. Frank’s recidivism is humming with current as he nails his fate to the retrofitted nightclub.
Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) is accosted by journalists for his secret part in a black ops expose, but more so by his conscience for sleeping with his former combat lover. But his prost canvassing reveals a hooker that tried to pawn some of Caspere’s trinkets. Another pair of fingerprints is dusted off belonging to a Mexican cartel underling as they track down an infinite omen.
Bez speaks of memories like the figurines staring back at her. How her dead mother tried to buff them to a shine out of driftwood.
For prior Silver Screen Riot True Detective coverage, find archive reviews below:
The Conway Twitty impersonator lip syncing “The Rose” deified by the David Lynchian purple blue nebula, may superficially seem like a cheap dressed up redneck mind-fuck, Lone-Star laced with LSD, as season two intentionally commits a slow suicide into the oblivious junkyard of one-hit wonders; not to mention the trippy and densely codified dialog between Velcoro (Colin Farrell) and his father. But it challenges the audience to lift its eyelids and contemplate a different and deeper sphere of influence. The ditty “The Rose” defines love as a flower, which grows with courage into spring with little sunlight through the bleak winter or, in other words, an endless trial–the song is about change. Read More
The town of DaVinci looks like it’s day, but it’s really night–in other words, it was born in the darkness as it tries for the light. The first scene’s cold tint hangs over like the pallor of a corpse–literally, as Semyon’s (Vince Vaughn) introspection match cuts to Caspere’s melted eyes. Semyon’s abuse story isn’t just significant as a character piece, it’s the unfolding of what’s to come. Read More