Movie review: “Crimson Peak” (2015)


“You would know. Our little Jane Austen…she died a spinster, didn’t she?”

“I’d prefer to be Mary Shelley, actually. She died a widow.”

Somebody up there likes Guillermo del Toro, and, really, what’s there not to like? The genial Mexican writer-director, to whose name the appellation “visionary” has been a fixture of press releases for the last decade*, is a furious developer of fantastic (both in subject matter and in practice) ideas, a walking film encyclopedia whose eyes light up when he talks about movies – his or anyone else’s – and what feels like one of the few remaining true auteurs in Hollywood, or at the very least the only one working on quite so grand a scale. If he has never achieved commercial success commensurate with his level of artistry, A) that would be asking a lot, and B) he has nevertheless been afforded generally free reign to bring his daydreams and dark fantasies to life, which, in today’s Hollywood, is already something of a miracle. Continue reading “Movie review: “Crimson Peak” (2015)”

DVR Hindsight #13 (9/16/15): The Bastard Executioner pilot


The Bastard Executioner – “Pilot” – Season 1, Ep. 1 (FX)

Since the days back when The Shield pilot first detonated and announced the network as a surprising new player in cable drama, FX has considered its darkest original programming with a uniform and almost absurd level of solemnity. Just listen to its TV-ratings voiceover guy, that low, gravelly gatekeeper who dutifully appears at the end of each commercial break to absolve the network from liability for all the iniquitous content to which it’s about to expose the many children watching at home. The disembodied voice, lately heard on urban vampire apocalypse saga The Strain and already honed to a near-parodic level of dripping sinister-ness during seven years of hyping Sons of Anarchy, also has a second charge, which is to simultaneously shoo overly sensitive souls back to their knitting and canasta games while tacitly warning more adventurous prospective viewers to hold onto their hats, or, in the case of the overwrought, undercooked Bastard Executioner, their heads… Continue reading “DVR Hindsight #13 (9/16/15): The Bastard Executioner pilot”

DVR Hindsight #8 (11/5/14): Sons of Anarchy backstretch


I replaced my overworked DVR with a slick newer model about a month and a half ago, a span in which the unassuming new kid has proven himself quite a sneaky, adept, and, at times, malicious practical joker. I’m still coming to terms, in fact, with my sudden, frustrating inability to record HBO programming to DVD (discovered, to my horror, during the action-packed Golovkin-Rubio card last month), a fact that has basically stopped a personal boxing match archiving system with seven years of history and momentum behind it (and several hundred fights across dozens of DVDs) dead in its tracks. My inability to preserve fights that I paid for (via PPV or my monthly HBO subscription) is going to have a detrimental effect on my interest in and passion for the sport. That can’t help but be the case. Continue reading “DVR Hindsight #8 (11/5/14): Sons of Anarchy backstretch”