Payne’s Picks

By Sarah Payne

The Girl on the Train – October 7

Some people are calling this movie the next Gone Girl. Besides the fact that it also has the word “girl” in the title, it’s also based on a bestselling psychological thriller that was released just last year. I don’t even need to see reviews to know The Girl on the Train will be worth the money. It stars Emily Blunt, who is lovely in basically every role she takes—no matter the genre—and her character’s husband is played by Justin Theroux (Jennifer Aniston’s husband). Last month, Blunt was interviewed by The New York Times and shared a bit more about her character’s addictions: “I don’t think I’ve ever played somebody who is living in such a dark place, who is truly in the depths of despair. And it was such an unusual element for your female protagonist, your heroine, to be a blackout drunk.”

The Accountant – October 14

With one of the more creative trailers I’ve seen in a while (and featuring one of my favorite songs, Radiohead’s “Everything in Its Right Place”), The Accountant stars Ben Affleck as an autistic accountant and possible hitman. In an interview with Marc Snetiker over at Entertainment Weekly, Affleck talks about the quirkiness of his character: “He’s a very distinct and unusual character — a little bit different than your average, everyday person in the way he processes information and social thinking, and the way he sees numbers and logic, and that he’s trapped a little bit in his own mind.” The film also stars Anna Kendrick, who is excellent as a supporting actress in more serious roles (sorry, I’m just not a big Pitch Perfect fan!).


Hell or High Water – What I loved most about this film (and there’s a lot to love) is the fact that there was very little marketing or promotion to overhype it. I was able to go into the theater with an open mind, only knowing that it’s about bank robbers and it stars Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges. So I won’t give too much away, but I will say that every element of the film—from the music, to the cinematography, to the poignant, minimalist acting—is of the utmost quality. It’s set in rural Texas, which almost serves as its own character, providing a beautiful backdrop, as well as a context of economic depression. Some of the best dialogue is between two Texas rangers, played by Bridges and Gil Birmingham, who constantly exchange manly insults. I also really enjoy that the film doesn’t take sides about who’s right or who’s wrong—even when there are criminals involved.

Don’t Breathe – What happens when you put three delinquent teenagers (and would-be thieves) into a blind man’s home? Lots of blood—lots and lots of blood. For the most part, Don’t Breathe is an incredibly fun and terrifying ride. I gasped and nearly jumped out of my seat at several points. But as with too many horror films, the plot eventually crosses the line of reason and takes a crazy turn in the last half hour. Even so, it’s worth a watch this month if you want to get into the Halloween spirit and give yourself a bit of a scare.


Flaked – The only reason I started this Netflix-produced show was because I was vacationing at a bed and breakfast with no TV. I watched the first episode on the screen on my phone and thought, “Meh.” It features Will Arnett as a recovering alcoholic living in Venice Beach, California. Arnett’s character, a lying narcissist, is extremely unlikable. The frustrating part is that he never changes or redeems himself. Some shows can pull this off well (Breaking Bad), but it requires mature writing and multidimensional, lovable characters rounding out the cast. Unfortunately, Flaked accomplishes none of this, limping through eight episodes to an anticlimactic ending. I’d say you can pass on this show for your next TV binge night.