Payne’s Picks

By Sarah Payne

Movies Release —

Pet Sematary – April 5th – If you’re a fan of Stephen King, you may already be aware that a new adaptation of his 1983 horror novel “Pet Sematary” hits theaters this month. I remember several intense discussions between my co-workers when the latest adaptation of his novel “It” was released back in 2017. Because King’s work is so popular, there’s already debate about a controversial plot change made in Pet Sematary. In fact, Jason Clarke, who plays the father in the film, spoke to the website Flickering Myth about the change: “The reward will come. People who are upset will hopefully see the benefit of it. But a lot of people didn’t have an issue. Stephen King didn’t have an issue with it.” I won’t give away the specific plot change (which really doesn’t mean anything if you haven’t read the book, like me!), but the premise of the movie is that a family moves to a new area where an eerie pet cemetery resides in the woods behind their house and brings people and animals back from the dead.

Movie Review —

Cold Pursuit – When it comes to on-screen violence, I can only handle a certain type. Torture or anything with children – I’m not a fan. But a few dozen deaths by gunshot or stabbing? I’ll take it – especially if it’s at the hands of a bereaved father seeking revenge and justice for the wrongful death of his son. I’ll never tire of seeing Liam Neeson take men half his age on screen. And Cold Pursuit really allows him to play up that character. Is it a little improbable that a snow plow driver be such a heartless killer without any formal training? Perhaps – but it’s certainly fun to watch. His nemesis, a drug lord named Viking (Tom Bateman) is also a delight, as he balances his criminal duties with being a father to his precocious son Ryan. There’s not much below the surface and body count in Cold Pursuit. In fact, I’m just now remembering that Neeson’s character has a wife, played by Laura Dern, who disappears without much explanation after the first 15 minutes.

Greta – This was another film I actually saw “by accident” last month when I bought tickets to the re-release of A Star is Born, only to find out that the projector in the theater was broken. Greta had just started, so I snuck in completely ignorant to the plot. Chloë Grace Moretz plays a young, naïve girl living with her best friend in New York City. She finds a purse on the subway belonging to Greta (Isabelle Huppert), an older woman she quickly befriends when she returns the purse to her. Greta turns out to be a “stage one clinger,” as they say, and not completely truthful about her personal history. Huppert – a petite woman at five feet three inches – is absurdly terrifying as Greta. There’s certainly a comedic element to the film, too. But my main takeaway is you should never be nice to strangers, especially in New York City!

HBO Review —

True Detective – Season 3 – I’m disappointed to report that HBO has failed, yet again, to capture the magic of the first season of True Detective. I didn’t even give season two a chance because I heard how terrible it was, even with stars like Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn. But last month I figured I would give season three a chance since we just signed up for HBO and I saw that Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are executive producers. Mahershala Ali plays a detective on a missing children case that spans decades – literally. The gratuitous use of time shifting in this season will make your head spin. Scene to scene, in a matter of minutes, it shifts from him as a senile old man (which is just depressing), back to a youthful 30-year-old, and then back to somewhere in between. It’s not artistic; it’s unnecessary. Rather than focusing on the crime and the mystery, most of the focus this season is on the relationship with his wife. It’s utterly boring and uneventful and Ali’s character is humorless. I don’t think he cracked a smile or a laugh the entire season. I watched eight one-hour episodes, waiting for an a-ha moment. It never came. So I’d like to formally ask for eight hours of my life back from HBO, and warn you not to waste your time with this one.