So I’m going to begin this post with a shout out to my friend and fellow blogger Michael over at moonknight65.wordpress.com. Michael is a very good writer, a knowledgeable film buff and connoisseur of retro television. He also knows music and–if I’m not mistaken-has worked in the music industry.
Michael likes the band X, which makes him very cool in my book.
That being so–Michael has very questionable movie watching habits…
Okay. I’m just going to come out with it:
He’ll watch almost anything. I’m not kidding…He is the most indiscernible, educated film watcher I’ve ever known. He confounds me. And confuses me. That’s one of the reasons we get along.
Here’s a for instance: Michael watches Hallmark movies. Okay, I’ve seen a couple myself. Literally two. Michael watches them frequently. Then he’ll turn around and watch Midnight Meat Train. I’m serious. He is an independent film fanatic and a proponent of the micro movie. He savors the avant garde.
At the same time he’s very hip to the classics. Same thing with his reading material. It’s all over the place. Eclectic. Smart.
Michael is a searcher for the diamond in the rough, the unexpected; the little movie that could. He’s always mining for gold. Sometimes he finds it.
He inspired this this post. After all, Midnight Meat Train is early Bradley Cooper.
See… There’s that diamond in the rough I’m talking about.
Actor Logan Marshall-Green is a very handsome man. He has an interesting aura; it’s different. Quirky, yes. But not condescendingly so. More distinct than quirky, I think.
Like Mark Ruffalo. And Ryan Gosling.
Greene’s aura–presence, what ever you want to call it–is probably the most sincere and serene of the aforementioned. His eyes are kind.
Sometimes that can be distracting, like when he plays Mac Conway, a Vietnam Vet recently returned home from the war. Out of sorts. Jaded. Newly ambiguous. Conway becomes a paid assassin navigating the wiles of the Dixie Mafia circa 1972.
The series is Quarry. Stuck on Cinemax, where it can still be accessed, it survived only eight episodes. September 2016- May 2017.
Quarry is both interesting and uneven, potential follows it around like a lost dog. The acting rates a solid B–and that’s because the actors are trying too hard. They seem intimidated by the pervasive theme of 70s grit glam. As such, Quarry is interesting–to look at.
Set primarily in Memphis, Director, Greg Yaitanes is clearly taken with the ambiance, i.e., everybody sweats a lot as they perform their tasks–extraordinary and mundane–in buckskin and flared denim, with pecks and cleavage exposed. Oh, yeah…The hair…It’s greasy.
Everybody’s hair is greasy in Quarry. And everybody looks like they haven’t bathed in two days.
See what I mean? Grit glam.
Too bad it doesn’t pass the smell test. At least, not to those of us who are actually from the South. We barely recognize the accents as they are on the end of the spectrum at extreme. Still, it’s worth a look–especially if you don’t know any better.
Logan Marshall-Green is better cast as Will, in Karyn Kusama’s brilliant and startling psychological horror film, The Invitation (2015). Set in the affluent, new age otherworldliness of Hollywood Hills, we are introduced to Will and his girlfriend, Kia (Emayatzy Corinealdi) as they are driving up the steep and winding incline of an estate. They are accompanied by dread. Kia urges Will to make the best of it.
The estate turns out to be Will’s former home and the woman of the house is Will’s former wife. Her name is Eden (Tammy Blanchard). She’s rich and she’s weird.
Dressed in a figure hugging floor length frock, Eden glides along like an an early forties ballerina on oxys. She radiates Stepford Wives. Her new husband, David, (Michiel Huisman) is too polite–too polished–in a too cool guy, kind of way. He flashes the glint of a control freak.
Inside the rambling Richard Neutra inspired house, there are more guests–all mutual friends of Will and Eden with the exception of a clearly mentally ill, child-like, twenty’s something house guest, Sadie, who likes to walk around naked from the waist down. (I know, I’m exhausted too, but the sentence stays in the post.) She’s a friend of David’s.
Then there’s the backstory of Will and Eden’s relationship that comes crashing to the forefront, like an animal that leaps into your windshield on a road less traveled. They once had a son. Their son was murdered.
Will deals with his grief in a tragic, yet, normal way–he experiences anxiety attacks, hopelessness and cynicism. In other words, he experiences pain. He allows himself to feel it.
On the other hand, Eden is determined to escape pain. And she is so selfless and empathetic that she doesn’t want anyone else to experience pain either–especially those she loves–because the little pain that she has allowed herself to feel is just–well frankly– it’s too painful. (That’s Eden in a nutshell. You wouldn’t want to be trapped inside a car or a house with her, Richard Neutra or not.)
If you think you know where this is headed–you’d be right…And wrong. And that’s the existential grey zone that Will finds himself wandering in for three quarters of the film. When that barrier is broken, all hell breaks loose and it’s brutal–and at that point it switches genre to thriller. I liked that flourish, you may not.
And that brings me to Leigh Whannel’s ambitious Sci Fi, body horror, thriller Upgrade, (2018.) This a superb film from start to finish. It achieves all of it’s objectives, e.g., an atmospheric cyberpunk current that binds up loose ends, special effects that hold up, (despite a paltry three million dollar budget) a mesmerizing color palate and soundtrack–and, this above all, a sexy everyman lead, (Logan Marshall-Green) that every man, woman and child can root for. Theoretically, of course.
I’m not going to delve into plot here, I’ll just reveal that it’s my favorite of the three exercises in Logan Marshall-Green. I’d be willing to bet that if you like action and can at least tolerate cyberpunk…If you like your violence with a dash conscience and and a smattering of humor…If a touch of medical espionage and body horror doesn’t turn you off…Upgrade is for you.
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed One To Watch. And don’t forget to checkout Michael at http://moonknight65.wordpress.com