A big thanks goes out to Gordon for finishing last week’s pick for me. I had actually written an entire article and submitted it with Broadchurch: The Complete Second Season as my pick. I was then informed that despite what Amazon said the release date had been pushed back a week. No problem, I thought I’ll just pick something else, write on it, and use what I’d said for Broadchurch the next week, and all would be well.
Then my computer died. Gordon was kind enough to step in, chose a new pick, and all was right with the plan. Then I received a copy of Broadchurch: The Complete Second Season. Then I started watching it. My whole article was about how I feared the worst for additional seasons of Broadchurch as its whole concept didn’t really lend itself to sequels. But having now watched over half the season, I can’t really stand by my initial fears. Or, I guess I could by just publishing what I’d wrote and pretending I’d not seen what I’d seen, but that’s not really how I roll. So now I suppose I must start afresh with the whole thing.
I’ll be giving a full report of Season Two in a few days so I’ll not go into details here (he does here - Ed.), but I’m happy to say the show found a way to stay fresh and interesting without wholly relying on new murders. The whole point of Season One was how a terrible murder can wreak havoc upon a small community. Creating a new second murder for Season Two would have lessened the first season's impact.
They do some interesting things to keep the viewer interested without resorting to the same old cliches. It stays true to its genre roots while delving deeper into its old characters and introducing some interesting new ones.
David Tennant and Olivia Coleman still do masterful jobs with their characters and the drama still works on a very emotional level. It doesn’t work quite as well as Season One did, but there is still plenty to love and I’m very much looking forward to seeing where it winds up.
The best thing I can say about it is that its now become my pick of the last two weeks. I chose it last week, and then when I discovered its release date had been delayed, I picked it yet again without hesitation. It's just that good.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Still Alice: Julianne Moore got rave reviews (and won a ton of awards) for her performance as a woman recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. As someone whose seen far too many family members struggle with that horrible disease, I’m both interested and absolutely afraid of seeing this.
Blackhat: Chris Hemsworth stars in this Michael Mann-directed cyber thriller about a crook given release from prison in exchange for helping the authorities catch a master hacking criminal. The reviews have not been kind but I very much like Mann and I’m interested in seeing what Hemsworth can do outside of Thor.
Bob’s Burgers: The Complete 4th Season: I have to admit that I generally don’t dig the new wave of animated comedies directed at adults. I tend to find them too loud and obnoxious (I’m looking squarely at you, Archer) but I find Bob’s Burgers hilariously delightful. I think because, much like the best season of The Simpsons, it has a sentimental (but not overly schmaltzy) heart.
Vampyros Lesbos: Growing up in the pre-Netflix, pre-torrent, pre-IMDB days I had to work hard for my cult horror and ridiculously terrible B-movie flicks. I had to find them all on my own. I used to order catalogs from big-city movie places that listed all kinds of weird movies I’d never heard of. Most of the catalog was just a long list of fascinating-sounding titles, but they’d also highlight a few films with lurid descriptions. One of their favorites was Vampyros Lesbos which quickly became my favorite too. Not that I could ever afford to actually order it (and not that my mother would have every allowed me to get anywhere near to watching it) but that title was so exotic- (and erotic-) sounding that I’d stay up at night fantasizing about what the film would actually be like. Somewhere I actually have an old bootlegged copy, but strangely I’ve never sat down with it (or not that strangely considering my wife carries with her a mom-like view of such things.) This version has lot of special features and has been restored in HD for the first time. Now to just find something for the wife to do while I watch it.
Mortdecai: Somewhere, somehow Johnny Depp has gone from that interesting guy who plays the fascinating, quirky characters to that crazy dude who plays all the weirdos in every movie ever. I really wish he’d play a perfectly normal character. Now that would be different.