Director John Michael McDonagh has returned to the big screen with another small-town Ireland caper Calvary, the story of a righteous parish priest Father James Lavelle played by Brendan Gleeson. Standing alone against the moral decay of his flock, Lavelle is informed during confession that he will be murdered in one week by a disgruntled parishioner who we are told was the victim of child abuse at the hands of the clergy. From this premise unfolds a suspenseful, archetypal who done it or rather who will do it murder mystery.
The last few weeks I’ve been near obsessed with the new HBO show, True Detective and I’m not ashamed to say that this is being written in order to convert the uninitiated; both those of you that haven’t yet heard of it and those who just don’t feel it would sit right in your cinematic tea cup. If you were to glance at the show from a distance you could (mistakenly) categorise it as just another cop show that can join the legions of others out there that provide a satisfying episode where everything is neatly tied together by the time the credits role. What sets True Detective apart from these other shows is its intelligent thought provoking script that explores interesting themes, the fantastic cinematography that can rival and in some cases outshine full movies, and the leg up it receives from having Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson both immerse themselves in their leading roles so completely you forget about How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days and White Men Can’t Jump.
I love cinema but the cinema is a place I rarely trudge to these days. No not because I’m down with the kids and steal everything on my laptop, but rather I find it quite a scary place to be right now. Never ending sequels, comic-book franchises and U.S. military propaganda abound and the mostly enormous publicly traded corporations that comprise Hollywood, now more than ever, are beholden to the maxim of making profit before art. People go to see movies, but not films. Case in point the luscious There Will be Blood, one of the strongest films of the past decade, lost a huge sum of money despite its critical acclaim and awards haul.
The season three premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead aired stateside last Sunday to 10.87 million viewers, smashing its own record and by default AMC’s too. In the process of rendering these benchmarks I mentioned last week redundant, the show displayed, through its ever growing popularity, that both it and the zombie theme as a whole, aren’t just a passing phase, but a lasting one.
The episode itself didn’t disappoint, it was one of, if not the best episode to date. It was a lot more satisfying with regard to both plot and character development than most of season two. Which, as well performed as it was, had gotten fairly stagnant and repetitive midway through the season. Hopefully this one will be able to carry on its momentum and will manage to avoid getting stuck in the mud that plagued Hershel’s farm.
If you haven’t seen it, John Carpenter’s Escape From New York is set in a “futuristic” New York city circa 1997 (Keep that date in mind). The city itself has been turned into a national prison. Yes you read that correctly As we learn in the opening sequence, the crime rate in the US had risen over 400% by 1988 so the powers that be decided to turn the big apple into a walled orchard. Just in case that premise alone wasn’t exciting enough for an 80’s action romp, air-force one crash lands inside this incarcerated metropolis. With the president now a hostage of the hostile inmates and an official rescue mission off the cards, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’s Lee Van Cleef has but one option: To send in Kurt Russel’s reluctant Snake Plissken, the same character that inspired the Metal Gear Solid video game series, eye-patch and all.