THE BATMAN THE REVIEW

HOLLYWOOD – With the release of Matt Reeves’ The Batman, the review is here. The Studio Exec delves into what worked well and didn’t work so well in THE BATMAN THE REVIEW.

Holy Shoegazing Batman!

Thankfully, The Batman spares us yet another origin story. If you’re going in to this film unaware Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed yada-yada-yada, then congratulations on living on a desert island for the last 50 years and maybe this film might be a bit much for your introduction into post studio-system cinema. Perhaps try Bonnie and Clyde, and then work your way up from there. But we join our caped crusader as he investigates a mysterious murder at the invitation of Jeffrey Wright’s Lieutenant Gordon. The murder is gruesome and there clues aplenty, even a riddle or two. And as he leaves the scene the cheery Nirvana ditty Something In The Way strikes up. The mood is set.

Holy Floppy Hair!

Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne is a billionaire emo who is sad. We can tell he is sad by the angle he holds his head and how he walks, like a teenager who has been told to be home by midnight and not to spend all night standing outside that 7-Eleven smoking Marlboro Golds all night long.

Holy Imperial March!

The music and score is wonderful, but the main theme’s melody owes a great deal to the Star Wars Imperial March, which can be a little distracting. As the music plays you expect to see a completely different black cape clad iconic character emerge from the darkness.

Holy Sore Throat!

Most of the male characters in the movie are attempting to out-do Pattinson’s rough sounding Batvoice except for all of the lower ranked ‘toughs’ and ‘hoods’ who all sound like they’ve been plucked straight from Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham series of games.

Holy Bang For Your Buck!

The action set pieces are spectacular and this version of the Batmobile is wonderful. It’s no indestructible Tumbler as in Nolan’s trilogy, but that makes it all the more thrilling to see it in action. The fight scenes are brutal and bone crunching. And the villains’ gallery is well populated with turns by Colin Farrell as The Penguin, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone. Paul Dano reprises his Prisoners role as The Riddler. Zoe Kravitz does all she can with what she’s given as Catwoman, but more could have been made of her character. And why does it always have to be ‘sexy skin-tight Halloween costume’? Why not a practical boiler suit and steel toed flat boots? Oh well.

 

Holy Summary!

There is more than a whiff of Fincher’s Seven in the art design, which is no bad thing and Pattinson is likely to develop nicely in future outings. So, pretty good if you like that kind of thing. Now let’s all funk it out to Prince’s Batdance.

The Batman Is Currently In Cinemas EVERYWHERE!

RICHARD KIND SLAMS COLIN FARRELL FOR NORM-FACING

HOLLYWOOD – Colin Farrell slammed by Richard Kind for “norm-facing”.

Richard Kind has launched a broadside against fellow thespian Colin Farrell following the publication of onset photographs from The Batman. In an interview with the French Cultural Magazine Chapeau, Kind said:

It’s appalling. I saw it and I was appalled. You see, a chap like me we don’t get the handsome leads. We don’t get to kiss the girls. With our chops, we fight and scratch just to get small parts, best friends, angry bosses, characters in other words. Farrell is a fine lad and I like his work. But he’s a pretty boy. What right does he have to come along and take a part like The Penguin? He hasn’t lived our life experience. He hasn’t earned it. It’s just “norm-facing” is what it is.

Norm Facing?

The only me and me mates have is that we look normal. Ask Tom Wilkinson or Ciaran Hinds. We’re not winning any beauty pageants. But then they slap on a bucket of makeup on some pretty Irish boy and he snaffles one of the prime roles from us ugs. Look at Batman Forever. Danny Devito played that role. Perfect. Imagine how he would have felt if Robert Redford had put on a mask and taken it from him.

Colin Farrell however has not taken the criticism lying down. He told Deadline last night:

Richard Kind should keep his stupid fat mouth shut. I’m doing him a favour. Everytime he dines out now he’s going to be surrounded by young women thinking he’s me. Plus Kind and his kind are hypocrites. You didn’t see me whining when Richard Kind some years ago, put on a Colin Farrell mask and starred in Alexander, a role Oliver Stone had promised to me.

The Batman will be out in 2043.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY WILL RETURN TO TRUE DETECTIVE 3 BUT NOT AS RUST COHLE

HOLLYWOOD – Matthew McConaughey will come back to True Detective 3, but not as Rust Cohle.

True Detective 3 is getting a boost this week with the casting of Mahershala Ali and now Matthew McConaughey agreeing to return. However, fans should be cautious. McConaughey popped in to the Studio Exec Bungalow to discuss his non-Rust Cohle role.

Aright aright aright!

Hi Matthew. So True Detective 3 is on?

Yeah. To tell you the truth I was on for True Detective 2 as well but Nic Pizzolatto wanted to take it in a different direction. And I respected that. He got his ass handed to him though and now he comes back to me.

So the return of Rust Cohle is here. 

No, not at all. I will not play Rust again. I like what Nic was doing with the anthology series and I thought it would play much better if I came back as another character.

Wait, what?

I’m playing Tripp from Failure to Launch.

The comedy?

Yeah. I guessed the idea is that I want to expand the Failure to Launch universe and have it intersect with the True Detective universe too. I got the idea from Marvel movies. And they seem pretty successful.

How did Nic Pi…?

He hated the idea. That’s why he went off and did the second season without me. But now I kind have him over a barrel. And now we have Mahershala who’s going to play the Sarah Jessica Parker role. We haven’t told him yet. So shhhhh.

That’s nuts!

Isn’t it? The tone is going to be different. We’ll still do the crime stuff but with a lighter edge like Manimal but without the guy changing into an animal. Zooey Deschenal and Stephen Tobolowsky are going to come back and some of the others. I want to find a role for Colin Farrell, just so I can show him how it’s done.

True Detective 3 will drop on HBO in 2018.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM – REVIEW

REVIEW – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a Harry Potter-themed Pokemon Go for people too lazy to play Pokemon Go.

Following a sex change operation and a bout of Motor Neuron Disease, Eddie Redmayne is back. This time he’s off to New York with a suitcase of magical creatures which he accidentally lets loose. After bumping into a baker. With the help of a magical police woman Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and her telepathic sister, he and Kolawski (Dan Fogler) the baker hunt down the magical creatures while a anti-magic zealot and Colin Farrell vaguely threaten. Jon Voigt turns up and no one looks happy.

There’s something exhausting these days about going to see a film, assured there are four more of these assholes to come. It’s not only do I like this one, but can be bothered watching the others? Short answer: no. Never has magic been more dull, magicians so annoying and a quest, so literally like a walk in the park. JK Rowling can take more blame than usual ass the screenwriter and producer. Also Redmayne is one of the most over-rated actors currently working. His smirking, gurning and blinking oddball is a charisma-free hole where an actor ought to be. Fogler is okay but is asked to do the same thing time and time again. And poor Colin Farrell is shunted aside in a final twist that reveals he was another actor who you’d apparently much prefer to see. At least before he started beating up his wife.

The franchise machine churns on and the sequels are probably already shooting. But this overlong, tedious, unfunny monster hunt fills me with dread. Dread and a wish to die.

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NIC PIZZOLATTO AND ROBERT DOWNEY JR TEAM UP FOR WEDGER

HOLLYWOOD – It was the most successful role of Robert Downey Jr’s career and now True Detective scribe Nic Pizzolatto has joined the team to make Wedger better than ever.

Two years ago Wedger broke records and became the apotheosis of water cooler TV, but star Robert Downey Jr decided to take a break and there were rumors that he would never return to the role:

I did Wedger. I gave it my all, my best, and it almost killed me. I didn’t start drinking again or anything like that, but GodI found myself driving past Woody Harrelson’s house late atnic pizzolatto night, when it wasn’t on my way home.

However, it seems like fans are going to get their wishes granted and a second season of Wedger has been announced. It will be written by True Detective Season 1 genius and True Detective Season 2 schmuck Nic Pizzolatto.

I’ve always admired Wedger. There was so much Wedger in True Detective, perhaps too much at times.

Fans of Wedger have expressed mixed feelings at the news. Hammersmith Ione, head of the internet pressure group the Wedgies, told the Studio Exec:

On the one hand we want more Wedge, on the other Nic Pizzolatto? I’m not sure I’d let him organize a wedding video after that Colin Farrell steam he pulled last time.

To read the recaps of all the episodes of the first season of Wedger, Click Here.

TRUE DETECTIVE SEASON 3 TO HAVE TITLE CHANGE

HOLLYWOOD – Nic Pizzolatto revealed today that True Detective Season 3 will have a title change and some significant differences to the first two seasons.

“A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet” wrote Julian Fellowes or someone, but HBO seem to disagree and are hoping that the title change of True Detective 3 will create a much needed in critical and audience reaction. The second season indeed was so poorly received that its still quite high ratings were explained as being due to ‘hate watching’.

Nic Pizzolatto, close friend of the Studio Exec, popped in to the Studio Exec bungalow to explain his thinking:

I think I’ve got bogged down in certain genre aspects of what I was trying to do. The first show had this Lovecraft type thing going on. The second I was Los Angeles bound and I was very influenced by James Ellroy. But with the next season I’m going to take George Romero as my primary influencer.

That sounds like a real change.

Oh it is. And it will be reflected in the action of the story. I can’t tell you too much as we’re in the process of casting and still developing the scripts, but my thoughts are clear that what people want is something much more direct, less dense, packed with action as well perhaps.

But George Romero is more famed as a horror director. 

And we will be going more in that direction and why not? We had element of that in the first season and I’d like to bring it back. I feel it was something that a lot of people missed from the second. Don’t get me wrong. I’m extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish in the second show. We managed to Taylor Kitsch, Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell and no one laughed. Not once. At least not intentionally.

Fear the True Detective will be broadcast June 2016.

TRUE DETECTIVE SEASON 2: FINALE ‘OMEGA STATION’ REVIEW

TRUE DETECTIVE SEASON 2: FINALE ‘THREE SHOOT OUTS AND A BABY’ REVIEW – So the 90 minute show  finally slopes off to a half-baked demise, trudging toward a horizon it has no hope of reaching and taking some consolation in the wonderful geographical diversity of California.

‘I can hear you, I just don’t find you convincing,’ says  Jordan, Vince Vaughn’s girlfriend. She’s already told him he’s a bad actor and I was applauding this meta-moment of honesty when I realized she was writing my review. I get it Nic Pizzolatto. I can see all the ambitions of the series; I can hear the pitch that must have had HBO bosses so excited. ‘It’ll be LA Confidential meets Chinatown, meets the Long Goodbye,’ he said. ‘Red woods, salt flats, Michael Mann inspired action shoot outs, snappy dialogue, career redefining roles!’ The boldness of putting John Carter, a Mean Girl, Alexander the Great and the guy from Hall Pass together must have been breathtaking. Exhilarating almost.

So what went wrong?

First off, in this kind of series the crime has to be a character. It has to be well defined and have a shape. That doesn’t have to be at the forefront. In Chinatown the real crime is revealed only very late, but for a show like this – 8 and a half hours of it – we need to know what is making all these car rides necessary. Here we had land deals, a guy with burnt eyes, a bit of aimless spook and ultimately nothing. The resolution revealed nothing we didn’t already know from the pilot episode.

Secondly, the career redefining didn’t happen. Rachel McAdams was AWFUL. She just look constipated and miserable. There was no humor and though I know humorless people do exist, I don’t believe in them. Colin Farrell’s accent actually changed in the finale into something cowboy-ish when he donned a Cowboy hat, as if the accent was so random it would be swayed by his headgear. Vince Vaughn brought a melancholy. Faltering delivery. That rivaled William Shatner when he was pondering. Something philosophical. In Star Trek.  Taylor Kitsch was basically gay Rachel McAdams and made me long for the old fashioned definition of gay, which Webster’s defines as ‘men having joyous sex with men’.

But to blame them would be unfair as they were lumbered with the worst dialogue, asinine characterization,  and dumb scenes. Daniel Day Lewis would have struggled to make Ray Velcro’s relationship with his fat ginger-haired asshole of a son, Chad, interesting or moving.

These characters didn’t do anything because that’s what the character would have done; they did it all because that’s what Nic Pizzolatto had written. Just like they all spoke the same way. When Velcro gets together with Benzedrine, I was sure he should at least have said ‘Sorry about that sucking a robot’s dick line’, but he actually wasn’t the same person as the person who said that in … what? … episode 2? The jumping into bed was to give his death emotional weight. Just as the goodbye with Jordan was supposed to ‘tragically foreshadow’ Frank’s demise. But hey, at least they got out of the city for the day! The beauty of those final scenes – especially Vince Vaughn’s trek through the Tree of Life desert – were fatally undermined by the stupidity that put them there. Velcro’s salute to his son was so unnecessary it literally showed a signpost when they signposted it. Frank gets to stumble around and it was nice but I never cared for Frank and I never saw him do anything particularly smart. Even the heist he pulled off with Velcro was as uneventful a shoot out as I’ve ever seen.

And the epilogue, hinting at a new family was rendered ridiculous by the presence of Nails (first name Nine Inch), the goofy hard man who seems happy to hang around Venezuela indefinitely.

Okay, I did it. I got to the end. Of reviewed shows which have disappointed. Game of Thrones irritates me almost the same amount that it impresses, but it is never dull. True Detective was a severe disappointment but I got to the end because of you, dear reader. It was you. Feel free to use the comment box to sling flowers or shuriken.

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: BLACK MAPS AND MOTEL ROOMS

TRUE DETECTIVE SEASON 2: EPISODE 7: BLACK MAPS AND MOTEL ROOMS  – So we’re almost at the light at the end of the tunnel, but that unfortunately means – we’re still in the tunnel.

The penultimate episode of the second season of True Detective finally got rid of a major character, but my nonchalance was almost unbearable. Let’s rewind to the motel room where the now framed Velcro (Colin Farrell) and Euripedes (Rachel McAdam) basically recreate the inside of Nic Pizzolatto’s writing room of a head as he desperately tries to remember what happened in all the other episodes as a way of bringing out some closure. As they do this the sexual tensions fizz, leading them to some of the silliest dialogue – ‘You’re not a bad man’ ‘Yes, I am’, ‘Oh no you’re not’  ‘Oh yes I am’ etc. There is a sense that finally the show is becoming leaner as David Morse and the sister split along with Paul’s (Taylor Kitsch) mom and girlfriend. Velcro’s fat son was busy watching Friends so we saw not a whisker of the grumpy lad (my favorite character of the whole show thus far).

Frank (Vince Vaughn) is finally getting smart and violent. Even though having just been told everyone has been bought, he entrusts his wife with shady henchman #5. His showdown with Zee Roooshun is going to be fun. I hope he shoots Osip while the nasty man is elongating one of those endless vowels of his.

Next week we have the last 90 minute episode – which I hope begins with Paul on a stretcher being told by Ray, ‘Lucky he hit you with one of those fancy paint balling guns and not an actual bullet’ (from an idea suggested by @pennywisereject).

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: ‘CHURCH IN RUINS’ REVIEW

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: EPISODE 6: ‘CHURCH IN RUINS’ REVIEW – You know the old Chekhov, ‘If a character practices stabbing a man in five vital points in act one by two someone is going to have to bleed out.’

I think it must be from his essay ‘On Predictability’. The episode begins with something of a cliffhanger. Vince Vaughn and Ray Velcro sit down to have coffee – will Ray have sugar and milk? of course not, he likes his black. How do you say black in French? Noir! Coincidence? I don’t think so – and discuss Ray’s vengeance killing of the wrong guy off of Frank’s tip. Such is the faux (French for fake) drama of this whole set up, that they even end up leaving as friends but without anything that had Ray hammering on the door being actually resolved. I’m coming to the conclusion that Ray’s a bit dim. Nic Pizzolatto really missed a trick when he had Ray go and visit the actual rapist in jail. I would have given him a pass for the whole season if the rapist had been a fat carrot top with a penchant for sulkiness and sitcoms of the 90s. At least Ray is beginning to get the fact that his son is a bit of an amorphous blob who has zero interest in model airplanes. They sit and watch the quietest episode of Friends I’ve ever seen – I mean it was silent – and Friends proves to be the last straw, sending Ray off on a coke and whisky binge. I don’t want to be too judgmental, but Ray looks like he really doesn’t know how to do drugs or alcohol. He even destroys his room!

Meanwhile, Ani (Rachel McAdams) and her sister have knife practice conversation while setting up for the Eyes Wide Shut party.  Ani is so avid about going despite the fact that it is unclear what can be gleaned from such a dangerous move – and in fact Taylor Kitsch’s Paul does the best police work by simply breaking in – that you have to wonder if Ani just wants to take part in an orgy. Again we knock up against the cold fact that what David Lynch could show as the dangerous dark underbelly in the 80s is now simply the belly. This wild orgy involves lesbianism (horrors!), drug taking, voyeurism and sex. In other words, it’s a Tuesday.

Frank (Vince Vaughn) is still stumbling around from trap to trap, looking menacing and sorrowful in equal measure, but his machinations are seriously undermined by the revelation that Ray is his best friend. Vince Vaughn’s staccato delivery of lines. is becoming similar. to the way. William Shatner used to speak. as Captain Kirk.

So Paul has some contracts, Frank has some Mexicans, Ray has some broken furniture and Ani has stabbed someone because of a poorly developed backstory.

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: ‘OTHER LIVES’ REVIEW

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: ‘OTHER LIVES’ REVIEW – True Detective: why do I bother? Part 5.

The second half of True Detective felt like a reset, with everyone getting a costume change, a mustache shave and the possibility to all stand around saying why they’re doing though we no longer care about what they’re doing. The big shoot out happened and rattled the box. Ani has been demoted; Velcro has quit the force; Paul has been promoted to a bad suit and Frank has been dragged back in just as he thought he was out. I honestly don’t remember from week to week who got killed and there are literally zero emotional stakes. Half way through the episode a black lawyer (DA, police, I don’t remember) has Velcro, Paul and Ani meet in the middle of the street so she can have everyone state baldly their motivation for continuing the show, or be given it by her if they had trouble remembering why they should give a shit.

People have talked a lot about what doesn’t work this season, comparing it to what worked last season, but it goes through the whole DNA of the show. It isn’t simply too many characters, or an uncompelling drama, piss-poor dialogue or acting that simply doesn’t know what to do with what’s been given. It’s all of those things, but what is most irritating is there is somewhere here a really good idea.

What Nic Pizzolatto needed was a very good script editor, a writers room maybe, and another year of rewrites. The Chinatown, LA Confidential stuff is there it just needs someone to say go back and do over. And it helps if the twists are surprises for the audience as well rather than being the characters discovering something the audience guessed back in episode one.

 

 

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: ‘DOWN WILL COME’ REVIEW

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: ‘DOWN WILL COME’ REVIEW – Halfway through the second season of True Detective we are served up with a Michael Mann style shoot out, but does it actually make any sense?

I try and I try and I try to like Nic Pizzolatto’s second season of True Detective. I admire the anthology form. I think the stunt casting of Vincent Vaughn is courageous. I love the setting of an updated Chinatown Los Angeles, with its arterial freeways and empty nighthawk spaces. But whereas True Detective 1 was The Matrix –  a lifetime in the making – True Detective 2 is TV’s Matrix Reload. That same cold sweat of watching talented people being disappointing. The same fear that the first one that impressed you so  much won’t stand a re-watching.

Episode 4 is the halfway point and nothing much has happened since the first one. Taylor Kitsch is still gay; still pretending not to be. Velcro is still soulful. Rachel McAdams still hasn’t had that shit; constipated expression remains. Vince Vaughn is still unconvincing as an unconvincing gangster. Everyone still talks in that all-our-dialogue-has-been-written-by-the-same-teenage-poet-way.

None of the escalations actually seem to escalate. When Paul is mobbed by the press, they seem remarkably un-persistent. They seemed to be there only so that Rachel McAdams could also be put in further trouble and Velcro’s comment about them all being scapegoats to be proved likely. Pizzolatto himself seems to have got bored with this episode and so provided us with a WOW moment of a shoot out.  This is what Game of Thrones lapses into at its worse i.e. Season Four. It really was unnecessary, but it was fun and it escalated amusingly. The CGI head shots made it a bit too video gamey, but still … it woke me up and Frank didn’t talk about his dental care.

 

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: ‘MAYBE TOMORROW’ REVIEW

TRUE DETECTIVE SEASON 2: EPISODE 3 REVIEW – The ‘plot’ deepens, I think, as someone does something somewhere. Meanwhile somewhere else some other people doing other things.

F*cking sh*t! Colin Farrell is not dead. The survival of Colin Farrell felt like a kick in the chest. So we’re not going with the bold move. He didn’t even wake up in hospital. Though it was funny that he pissed himself. The danger element that would have added greatly to the show if Velcro had been offed is now removed and then some. Now we know the creepy murderer isn’t going to hurt people who need to be around for contractual reasons.

In other news, Nic Pizzolatto continues to own dick dialogue with the impeccable ‘suck your own dick’ delivered to Vince Vaughn in something that looked like a dark out take from his hit comedy Delivery Man. Vince’s Frank is still looking hassled and petulant by turns. But at least he gets to punch someone and gets the best line of the show so far: ‘Don’t take off your rings, it won’t be a problem for me.’

Velcro and Rachel McAdams stalk around a studio back lot where something like Mad Max is being made. The on set photographer sneers that they’re making a load of shit. To which I wanted to scream, Mad Max: Fury Road was a million times better than this bull crap. This show just isn’t good enough to sneer at anything else. The desultory plotting continued as people wandered around a bit more. Taylor Kitsch’s repressed gay is right out of one of James Ellroy’s LA Quartet, but those were set in the fifties, when it made sense. This sense of anachronism plagues the whole show. Despite a hoarding of American Sniper in the background, this feels like a show that should have been set in the eighties. When Kitsch goes into a nightclub and looks traumatized at the depravity he finds – girls and boys dance unchaperoned – we’re supposed to feel in touch with an underbelly, as if internet porn doesn’t exist. There is no underbelly. It’s all belly now.

The final foot chase was a bit of much needed dynamism and looked good, but like the rest of the episode led nowhere. All we know of the prime suspect is he can’t kill people even when he shoots them twice in the chest with a shotgun, and he failed ninja camouflage school, with his high visibility mask.

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: NIGHT FINDS YOU REVIEW

TRUE DETECTIVE ‘NIGHT FINDS YOU’ REVIEW – There follows a review of the second episode of season 2 of True Detective. There are spoilers.

I’m not sure if I’m going to review every episode. I don’t know if I have the energy. I feel like every single character on the show, darkly brooding, vaguely incompetent and humorless to the point of rigor mortis. This week’s episode began with an opening monologue by Vince Vaughn – to put beside all those other Vince Vaughn monologues – and herein we have some of the problems with this season so far. Vince’s gangster lies in bed with his wife and starts muttering about the water stain on the ceiling. Cut! Leave it there. We get it, everything is falling apart. No, now we have long monologue about a childhood of neglect, locked in a cellar for a few days. It’s a bit needy, and the feeling is we’re being positioned to feel sympathy for this character, before he has done anything to earn it. We’re supposed to root for him, because of this. Just to make sure we got it, Vince makes sure we know not only that he is still in that cellar, but that the water stain was a symbol of this. If Nic Pizzolatto was a first time writer, this scene would have been slashed by red pen – ‘show not tell’ would be written in the margin, but as it stood the overwritten grandstanding was allowed to stand.

The investigation gets under way as each of the jurisdictions is given a representative on the special squad: Ray Velcro (Colin Farrell) has floppy hair and a tragic mustache, Antigone Flibby-dibbly-dee (Rachel McAdams) smokes an e-cig and Paul Exposition (Taylor Kitsch) has the haunted look of a man who starred in John Carter and won’t be allowed to forget. The latter also revealed himself to be a repressed homosexual  in one of the clunkiest exchanges of the series so far which even had one of the characters commenting on the clunkiness of it. The dialogue is uniformly awful, with everyone saying everything, sometimes twice. ‘There are appointments with his psychiatrist. Looks like he was seeing a shrink,’ says Ray ‘Sherlock’ Velcro.

The ominous soundtrack and the industrial landscape hint that something terrible is lurking here – ‘What is this place?’ Ani says as they drive past what I believe is usually called ‘a factory’. And these are detectives? The final scene offers the first real hook of the series and will probably guarantee that I’ll tune in again next week. I will be hugely disappointed if we open to ‘INT: HOSPITAL. NIGHT. Ray is hooked up to a life support machine.’ Ray dying would be a nice quick twist. And frankly he deserves to die. He walks into a house where a murder might have taken place, sees a large pool of blood and then holsters his weapon? I might not be a ‘true’ detective, but I’ve got a feeling neither is Ray.

For more Reviews CLICK HERE.

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: ‘WESTERN BOOK OF THE DEAD’ REVIEW

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: EPISODE 1 REVIEW – John Carter from Mars and a Mean Girl look moody with Alexander the Great and  Jennifer Aniston’s boyfriend.

I used to be a big fan of James Ellory. I loved the LA Quartet and American Tabloid. But The Cold Three Thousand. Spoiled it for me. There’s a point when you hard boil something that everything evaporates and all of a sudden all you have is the smell of burning. In that book there was nary a sentence longer than four words. Everything was clipped and succinct to the point it suc.t.

The Western Book of the Dead – the first episode of the second season of Nic Pizzolatto’s HBO anthology series True Detective is geographically and tonally in prime James Ellroy territory, a dark noir set in the underworld of Los Angeles and environs. It features a set of characters, none of whom ever go to supermarkets or laugh at reruns of The Simpsons (the first five seasons). None of them have even heard of Game of Thrones. Colin Farrell plays Ray, a corrupt cop who drinks, does drugs and who has a fat dopey ginger haired son who is probably the son of his wife’s rapist. Rachel McAdam is Ani, a police officer whose day’s work seems to be going around the county arresting her own backstory – sister’s a prostitute, dad’s a mystic. Taylor Kitsch is officer Woodrugh, a traffic cop and war veteran who is so troubled that he can’t even have a blow job without a haunted facial expression. And Vince Vaughn is the local mobster with the Corleone urge to get into some legitimate business and leave it to his yet to be conceived heir.

I’m not sure if this anxiety over paternity that goes through the first episode is directly related to the shadow cast by the success of True Detective Season 1, and I do have to remember that I couldn’t stand the first show for at least the first three episodes. However, the incessant soundtrack, clipped dialogue and the constant moodiness feel like they’re covering up something superficial and wrong: ‘I wanted to be an astronaut,’ Ray complains into a voice recorder. ‘But astronauts don’t even go to the moon anymore.’ Well, boo-f*cking-hoo.

The body turns up at the end, giving the impression that this was all prologue and there’s hope this might find its groove, as the characters finally swoop on the story, but the familiarity and Justin Linn’s full immersion in True Detective style is not a good omen. And some of the writing is awful. Police detectives approach the mansion of a local big wig who has gone missing: ‘This is a big house for one man’, which is political commentary + exposition – anything anyone would actually say. The guy lives in Los Angeles and he hasn’t noticed that rich politicians live in big houses? Maybe I’m being harsh but Ray did say ‘I welcome judgement’.

Oh and finally…

[SPOILER PREDICTION: If it turns out that Vince Vaughn set up Colin Farrell’s wife’s rape as a way of compromising a cop and putting him in his debt, and then Colin Farrell finds out in episode 7, I will be very displeased.]