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Payne’s Picks September 2018

By Sarah Payne

Movies Release

A Simple Favor – September 14th – Could A Simple Favor be this year’s Gone Girl? I sure hope so. Directed by Paul Feig – who brought us classics like The Heat and Bridesmaids – A Simple Plan appears to be a much darker comedy in comparison. It stars Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, who play mothers that befriend each other in a small town, until Lively’s character, Emily, mysteriously disappears.

Hold the Dark – September 28th (Netflix) – This may be the first time I’m looking forward to original content from Netflix (except for Stranger Things). In general, I get frustrated with Netflix for producing so much content that it’s difficult to sift through it all to find something worth watching. It seems like such a waste and inevitably leads to a lot of subpar movies and TV shows. Hold the Dark is a thriller set in Alaska, based on a book with the same title. It tells the story of a hunter attempting to save a boy who was taken by wolves. There isn’t even a trailer yet and I get goosebumps just reading about it. I haven’t read the book, but many readers are calling author William Giraldi a “young Cormac McCarthy,” which is promising. In an interview with Indie Wire, director Jeremy Saulnier compares the film to his other work: “Not only did it have the most intense dialogue, and also the highest body count, it had a first war scene, it had an aerial sequence, and by far the most animals I’ve worked with … We’ve had a couple of test screenings … There [were] audible gasps in the theater.”

TV Review

Better Call Saul – Season 4 Premiere – Last month brought the long-awaited return of my favorite Breaking Bad spin-off series, Better Call Saul. We’re four seasons in, and I wonder how many people have stuck with the show all these years, just waiting for Jimmy McGill to complete his transformation into Saul Goodman? We finally have a taste of what’s to come, based on Jimmy’s cold and distant reaction to his brother’s death. I love how he’s always scheming, too (we get a taste of that at the end of the premiere). His character is like Walter White in that way. He’s always looking for a way to cut a corner to make an extra buck, whereas Walter White is always brainstorming ways to grow his empire. I often wonder, though, what Jimmy’s partner Kim Wexler sees in him. The characters have great chemistry, but Kim seems so earnest and hardworking. She takes the total opposite approach to work than Jimmy and perhaps that will catch up to them as a couple this season. I’m really enjoying Mike Ehrmantraut’s storyline play out, too, and watching the tension between him and Lydia play out on screen. Each of them has an intensity – Mike’s is subtle and Lydia’s is frenzied. And for those who pay close attention, watch for one of Gus’ henchmen, who you may remember from the chilling box cutter episode in Breaking Bad.

Movie Review

Mission Impossible – Fallout – My mom and I always get very excited whenever a new Tom Cruise movie comes out, because as she puts it, Tom Cruise enjoys movies. He enjoys taking the audience on a wild ride – giving them an experience. That’s why he does all his own stunts. He does not disappoint in Mission Impossible – Fallout. The scene where he jumps out of an airplane (which I described in my column last month) took weeks to film for just a few minutes of screen time. There’s also a really great fight scene between three men in a bathroom that is choreographed nearly perfectly. And finally, one of my favorite actresses, Rebecca Ferguson (from Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) , makes her return as the ever-elusive British spy. My one complaint about the film is that it is a bit too long, with a run time of two hours and twenty-eight minutes. When will movie producers understand no one likes sitting for more than two hours at a time?