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Cargo – Trailer

CargoIt appears that the zombie genre has greater legs than anyone might have anticipated  (AMC’s The Walking Dead–despite a ratings decline–still shuffles on while spawning a sequel–Fear The Walking Dead–a somewhat unnecessary admonition) and along the way appears to have discovered a legitimacy few horror genres have had prior.

Though that shouldn’t be a surprise in that George Romero has long used the zombie genre to tell tales of class warfare and as metaphors for consumerism, among other things.

The latest example: Cargo, starring Morgan Freeman (Sherlock, Black Panther) which is coming on Netflix (Yay!) May 18.

What–if the trailer is to be believed–separates Cargo from it’s grisly siblings is that Freeman’s character appears to be be infected himself (and in search of a cure among the Aboriginal people of Australia) while the baby he carries (likely the ‘cargo’ of the title)–isn’t.

 

‘The Equalizer’ Review

The Equalizer movie poster

“Having OCD Was Probably Never So Awesome.”

Boyhood ran for 2 hours and 45 minutes, and after awhile it felt as if Richard Linklater had it in for me because what started out as an interesting theatrical experiment devolved into a bizarre and inhumane form of punishment.

By way of comparison, Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer ran for an hour and half, yet felt significantly shorter.

Now, to be fair, no people are killed in Boyhood–though there should have been at least one death, especially during what I like to call the ‘chainsaw blade scene’–but the violence in The Equalizer more often than not happened to people that deserved it, so it came off as cathartic, as opposed to gratuitous (which isn’t to say that there wasn’t a lot of it).

In fact, it’s odd to see a movie where the audience is actively rooting for someone to kill someone else, which wasn’t uncommon (at least at the showing I caught).

Part of what made Denzel Washington’s portrayal of Robert McCall so interesting is that the character has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which means that he’s developed quite a few repetitive behaviors and rituals, the point being that his condition was what made him such an efficient killer.

I have read reviews that compared this tendency to that of Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbach) in the BBC’s Sherlock, though it’s not a valid comparison because in the case of Sherlock you’re watching a representation of a mental process Holmes is going through to arrive at a certain conclusion, while in the case of McCall you’re looking at him plot the motion of what physical action he’s about to commit to.

The Equalizer, based upon a CBS television series that aired in 1985, starring Edward Woodward, moves briskly and almost feels like a guilty pleasure of sorts, which isn’t a bad thing.

 

 

‘Happy Valley’ Review


Happy Valley trailer

Seeing The Women That Turn Up On British Television, I Think I Better Understand The Culture That Produced Margaret Thatcher

I don’t know what’s in British water, but they have a knack for creating engaging, dynamic female characters for television.  For me one of the best is Supt. Jane Tennison (Hellen Mirren) from multiple seasons of Prime Suspect.  After Tennison I wasn’t expecting to find any other strong women on television any time soon.

That is, till I saw Happy Valley, which also like Prime Suspect was created and written by a woman; the former by Sally Wainwright, the latter by Lynda La Plante

So now I am honored to add Sgt. Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) to those esteemed ranks.

Though what I initially found interesting is that Euros Lyn directed the initial two episodes of Happy Valley, since he also did an episode of Sherlock, The Blind Banker, easily the weakest of the first (if not the entire) series.

As you can probably guess, Happy Valley is anything but, as Sgt. Cawood works to partrol the streets of a small town in Yorkshire, while raising her grandson, Ryan (Rhys Connah), who was born of the rape of her daughter.  As if that weren’t a difficult enough task, she also lives with her sister, Claire Cartwright (Siobhan Finneran), a former heroin addict.

Though to be fair to Claire, she’s actually a great character, and the only mistakes she makes tend to be out of love, not malice.

And I know that that sounds a bit like drama overkill, but it’s presented in a natural fashion, in easily easily-digesitble chunks and doesn’t come off as either maudlin or ham-fisted.

It’s good stuff, and great television, which justifies comparisons between Netflix and HBO.

Happy Valley is currently on Netflix.

Binge, and be happy.

 

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