Five Cool Things and Season Two of The Handmaid's Tale

This week's cool things include Tom Cruise, George Clooney directing the Coens, and more Stephen King.
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I have a tendency to be watching, reading and listening to multiple things at once.  My wife laughs and scoffs at this as she doesn’t understand how I can keep things straight in my head.  I’m not entirely sure that I do keep things straight, but this is the way I’ve always consumed pop culture.  Right now I’m watching two movies (Salem’s Lot and Robert Altman’s Images) reading at least three books (A Christmas Carol, Freedomland, Pet Sematary) and probably have a few more laying around that I started and have forgotten about. I’m in the middle of more TV shows than I can count and have multiple terabytes of music I’m slowly working my way through.  

I don’t know why I do this as I’m sure it's not the best way to really dig deep into a work of art.  I just have a habit of stopping something after awhile and then instead of picking it back up I grab something else for and eventually rotate my way through.  I mention this because this is one of those weeks where I found myself in the middle of a bunch of things, but not actually finishing all that much.  I had to rush here at the end of the week to cobble some cool things together.  And here we are:

American Made

Doug Liman directed Tom Cruise in this kinda-sorta true story about Barry Seal a drug smuggler for the Medellín Cartel in the '80s who also wound up working for the CIA who were trying to bring the same cartel down. Liman directs it in that Goodfellas style where a whole lot of quick scenes pass by while narration tells us exactly what’s going on.  He’s nowhere near as good at it as Scorsese is, but Tom Cruise uses that massive amount of charm to smooth any bumps out.  It's a little slow at first but by the end it becomes quite compelling even if quite a lot of it is made up.

suburbicon bluray.jpgGeorge Clooney directed this Coen Brothers script about the dark underbelly of suburbia.  It stars Matt Damon, Julianne Moore (as twin sisters), and Oscar Issac.  All of those things mixed together should have made my favorite movie of the years, but instead it's a big of a mess.   Clooney doesn’t quite know how to handle the tone.  It veers wildly from black comedy to social satire to sentimentality.  Clooney and Grant Heslov are credited alongside the Coens as writers and it is readily apparent where they made changes.  And not to the betterment of the story. Still, there are some very nice moments and the scene involving Oscar Isaac is golden.

ichi the killer blu-ray.jpgIchi the Killer

Takashi Miike’s splatter flick got a very nice 4K transfer from Well Go USA.  All that blood and guts has never looked so disgustingly good.  I got an early review copy and will have full thoughts on it soon.

toy story trilogy.jpgToy Story

Sometime last week, after a long day I put on Toy Story as something the whole family could kick back and relax to. Of course we then had to watch the rest of the trilogy.  They still all hold up amazingly well.  The originals CG looks a little bit dated, especially with the humans, but it's still very nicely rendered. The stories remain top-shelf entertainment.  I asked my daughter which was her favorite and she said “all of them.”  I wholeheartedly agree.

it - 2017  blu-ray.jpgIt

My Stephen King obsession continues with this cinematic adaptation of King’s magnum opus.  The book clocks in at over 1,000 pages so I’m quite sure director Andy Muschietti had to cut out a lot of stuff even after deciding to split it into two movies.  I’ve not read the book so I don’t know what was cut or what was changed. What we get is pretty choppy story-wise and often fails under a critical eye but is nonetheless pretty terrifying.  The kid actors are great and Bill Skarsgård is horrifying as Pennywise the Clown.  

The Handmaid’s Tale, Season Two

Season One of this Hulu series based upon Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel was absolutely terrifying.  Season Two will venture beyond the novel which makes me worry just a little bit, but this teaser trailer gets me all kinds of excited.

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