No matter how fantastical and surreal Midnight, Texasgets the show is actually rooted in a very grounded place. A group of outsiders find themselves in a small town that’s actually a locus for evildoing. Each of these denizens take pride in their extended family, and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep each other safe.
Jason Lewis is Joe, a fallen angel who believes Midnight will play an important part in the fate of humanity. Though Joe’s wings obviously are the first thing you’ll notice, Lewis adds that the show’s main focus lies on a much larger plane.
“I think the supernatural, these elements of mythology are articulations for our humanity – especially in the form of storytelling” said Lewis. “(Joe’s wings) are a character attribute – does it affect (Joe’s) life? But the greater struggles are how do you fit in with the reasoning that’s presented to you? Do you agree with this tyranny? And if not, what are you going to do about it?”
Click on the media bar to hear Jason Lewis talk about how a Bansky work reminded him of one of the themes behind Midnight, Texas:
Midnight, Texas, co-starring Yul Vasquez and Parisa Fitz-Henley, airs Monday nights on NBC (10/9c).
In a summer filled with big budget bombs, it’s refreshing to come across a film that relies on story and emotion rather than super powers and CGI to connect with a crowd. One such standout in the latter moments of summer is Wind River, a dark murder mystery as far from light and shiny as you can get.
The film centers on the death of a young Native American woman named Natalie (Kelsey Asbille) on the desolate wintery landscape of the Wind River reservation in Wyoming. Discovered by stoic local tracker Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), the case starts to unravel deeper emotional woes in the primarily Native American community. It doesn’t take much to realize that this was no case of being ill prepared for the climate, as the woman had wounds consistent with an assault and had run barefoot for miles before succumbing to the natural effects of exposure. The loss clearly affects Lambert, whose bond to the woman is just the first layer peeled back on a deeper sorrow that has permanently affected his life.
With a snowstorm fast approaching, the FBI is called in and a junior agent named Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) appears from the Las Vegas office, a true fish-out-of-water ill prepared not only for the elements outdoors, but also for the world she just walked into. She serves the viewpoint of the audience, plopped into a land filled with loss and grief all around with people dealing with little options who mostly just try to survive. If that message wasn’t clear enough, the local reservation police chief (Graham Greene) drives that home with platitudes like, “This isn’t a land of waiting for back up. This is the land of you’re on your own” and talk of driving 50 miles to go five miles.
Banner is a young agent with passion for the case, who quickly realizes she’s in over her head both with the culture and how the bureaucratic system is set up to let Natalie become another statistic. So she turns to Lambert for assistance, with the tracker having his own reasons for joining the search. Their pairing starts off a little abrasive, but there’s a trust earned there over time and a comfort level where Lambert eventually reveals why he is so drawn to the case.
While writer/director Taylor Sheridan doesn’t really present the viewer with many twists and turns in the case and the actual reveal is not overly surprising as things are laid out, he does deliver a slow burn of a film building heightened suspense to the climactic final battle and a cathartic payoff that feels carefully crafted and well earned.
Sheridan also delves into the crushing loss of youth and hope in a brutal land and the introspection of how to deal with that. There’s an excellent supporting turn by Gil Birmingham as Natalie’s grieving father and a brief but pivotal appearance by Jon Bernthal as Natalie’s significant other, but the real heart of this movie is Renner’s Lambert, looking at the case as a possibility for a redemption that may never come, and Olsen, whose passion, empathy and survival instinct help in the fight to find the truth and get justice in the case.
The director also uses the barren but beautiful landscape to help build the vibe, much like he did with fellow Western-set dramas Sicario and Hell or High Water. Add in a Nick Cave / Warren Ellis score that works effective well, and Wind River is one of the year’s more rewarding watches and worth seeking out.
It was an extremely weak box office weekend, as The Hitman’sBodyguard was the only movie to break the $10 million mark to take the top spot. Newcomer Leap!, though it finished in third place, managed just $5 million. Here’s this weekend’s top 10:
1. The Hitman’s Bodyguard– It makes $10.1 million this weekend and to date it’s collected $39 million domestically.
2. Annabelle: Creation – $7.3 million
3. Leap! – Elle Fanning animated flick has a $5 million debut.
4. Wind River – $4.4 million
5. Logan Lucky– Steven Soderbergh’s latest takes in $4.36 million
6. Dunkirk – $3.9 million
7. Spider-Man: Homecoming – This latest iteration of the oft-rebooted series has been a box office success. This weekend it makes $2.7 million.
8. Birth of the Dragon – Newcomer does dismal business with just $2.5 million.
9. The Emoji Movie – Critically drubbed flick takes in $2.3 million and to date it’s collected over $130 million worldwide.
10. Girls Trip – The summer’s biggest surprise (it’s made over $108 million domestically) collects $2.3 million.
Starsailor are back with a new album, as All This Life comes out September 1 via Cooking Vinyl. In prep for the release, the outfit has released “Take A Little Time,” a standout single which features splashes of a James Walsh falsetto and a catchy chorus.
As Walsh sings “don’t caught up in being someone else,” one can surmise the frontman and his bandmates are growing into the wizened years of adulthood. This, after all, is their first album since 2009’s All The Plans (that effort featured the memorably heartbreaking track “Tell Me It’s Not Over”). In support of their upcoming album, the band played this year at the Isle of Wight Festival and at British Summer Time in support of Phil Collins and Blondie.
Star Trek has been a huge part of intergalactic pop culture for nearly 51 years now. Why? There are as many reasons as there are fans, because Trekkies tend to take the shows and movies very personally. But we pay special attention when the theory is coming from the original Capt. James T. Kirk, William Shatner. (Click on the media bar below to hear William Shatner)
The Star Trek saga continues this fall as Star Trek: Discovery debuts on the CBS All Access streaming service, though non-subscribers will be able to get a look when the CBS television network broadcasts the series premiere Sunday, September 24 at 8:30/7:30c.