I contributed to the King for a Year blogging site today with my thoughts about Finders Keepers, which is out tomorrow. I also posted the review that will appear in the next issue of Cemetery Dance magazine at News from the Dead Zone online.
My wife was away at a conference last weekend, so I watched some things that she wouldn’t typically enjoy. On Friday night, I went to see Mad Max: Fury Road, and I think my synapses are still firing. I decided against the 3D version, but even so it is visually stunning and appealing. I read that one thing they did to keep everything coherent was to put the major action always at the exact center of the screen so that when there’s a jump cut the viewer doesn’t have to search around. It’s an amazingly coherent movie, given how outlandish and chaotic the action is. It’s an interesting choice to pull Mad Max into the story against his own volition. He’s there more by mischance than design, and he doesn’t really have a dog in the race other than to get free and survive. It’s definitely one that you’d want to see on the big screen. It’s fairly relentless once the action starts, which is about 22 seconds into the film.
I finished Oz, the HBO series that might be considered the precursor to Orange is the New Black. Just about every male actor over 40 who’s been in a TV series in the past decade was probably in this series at some point. It takes place in a Maximum Security prison. One thing it made me think is that it’s a mistake to put prisoners who have committed deliberate acts of violence in with people who have committed “accidental” crimes or non-violent crimes. The through-line character, Beecher, was there because he killed a girl in a DWI accident. During his years of incarceration he is subjected to acts of terrible violence, but is also put in the position of perpetrating them himself.
On Saturday, I binged through the first seven episodes of the third season of Orphan Black. I really liked the first season, but was so-so on the second season. The third one is better than the second so far, I think. Then I watched the two-hour premiere of Aquarius, the NBC series about a cop on the trail of Charles Manson. David Duchovny plays the cop. His face seems to have broadened in recent years, and it’s mottled, which might be a make-up job to indicate his alcoholic past. My first thought was that a cop who can’t find his car keys probably isn’t the best guy to go to when your daughter disappears, but the dynamic between him and his partner is good. It’s all very 60s flower power hippy dippy summer of love, and not quite as strong a series as I’d hoped, but I see all 12 episodes are available on NBC.com so I’ll probably binge through it.
On a recommendation, I also tried out Wayward Pines, which is this summer’s BIG MYSTERY series. It’s about a Secret Service agent looking for a couple of missing agents who ends up in the eponymous little town after having a car accident. Except it’s a strange, strange town that you can’t escape from. The series opens like Lost, with the eyeball shot pulling back to show the protagonist on his back in a remote location, but it quickly switches to full-on McGoohan’s The Prisoner mode. There’s a strong cast (Toby Jones from The Mist, Melissa Leo, Terrence Howard, etc.) and a wacky, off-kilter sense of mystery, so I’ll probably keep up with it.
My wife and I are in the third season of Battlestar Galactica. I can’t believe I was totally oblivious to this series until now. There were cast members at Comicpalooza last summer, and a full-scale viper, and I walked right past them without even a hint of interest. It’s a well done series that tackles a lot of contemporary subjects (war, invading forces, elections where those in the know realize that the populace has made the wrong choice) and has a full slate of fascinating characters.