5.22.2018

TV Movie: Fahrenheit 451

It's been a really long time since I read the book. Like, almost 30 years. I remember liking it, and I remember the main character's name is Montag, and that's about it.

Still, I'm fairly certain this version has been updated to showcase a more likely future dystopia than one created by Bradbury in 1953. Bradbury didn't foresee emojis, ya know?

As for the movie itself—taken on its own merits since, like I said, I don't really remember the book—it was kind of slow. I think Michael B. Jordan did an amazing job, as did Michael Shannon. They were stellar. But the story sort of dragged along at the beginning. It took its time establishing the characters and the world, and then it glossed a bit over Montag's (Jordan) starting to spend time with Clarisse (Sophia Boutella) before rushing the ending. The final ~20 minutes were [finally!] intense, but everything before that was mostly tonal and not terribly engrossing.

Still, Shannon's Beatty was perhaps the best character, the most nuanced. I'd like to hear his story. And the suicide book burner? That was a nice turn.

Also, I liked the bird.

Plus, the whole thing isn't very long, which is refreshing in these days of 2.5-hour movies and books stretched to be unnecessary trilogies. That I could watch it on a weeknight without going past my bedtime gives it an advantage.

I'm sure many people loved it. I thought it was just okay, that the story should have been emphasized differently, but that's just me. They did some interesting things with the material, so I'm not sorry I took the time to watch it.

5.02.2018

Television: Elementary, "An Infinite Capacity for Taking Pains"

Oh, look, this show is back. Good thing they gave me that recap because I didn't remember much of anything. I watched the recap thinking, Did I somehow miss the last few episodes of the last season? But then it started to come back to me. Slowly.

If you, like me, don't remember: last season Holmes had begun to hallucinate from time to time. So he went off to be scanned and tested and all those fun things. So this season begins with his receiving the results of those tests. All negative. As Arnold would say, "It's not a tumor."

Then what is it? Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS). From all the times Holmes has been hit over the head, or fallen and hit his head, or whatever. Per Google, it's a "mild form of traumatic brain injury." Symptoms can include headaches, ears ringing, light and noise sensitivity, memory loss, inability to concentrate, dizziness . . . Just all kinds of things, really. So I guess this season we'll get to watch Holmes struggle to get better while Watson endeavors to use her dusty doc skills to help him.

Sometimes this show just feels too, for lack of a better word, direct. It lays things out very plainly. Maybe because most of the viewers are older and might otherwise get confused? I'm serious; I don't know. But this emotional arc is very clearly marked. They verbalized it exactly in this episode, in which Holmes says (paraphrasing): The only thing that keeps me sober is my work, and this PCS is hindering my work, therefore I am concerned I will not be able to stay sober. There's the season's through line in a nutshell.

Additionally, we meet Michael, another recovering addict, who introduces himself to Holmes at a meeting. Words Holmes said 4+ years ago have motivated Michael to stay sober, and he offers to help Holmes in return. But before you say, "How sweet," let's make it clear that Michael is a murderer. So the season it surely going to head in the direction of Holmes having to bring Michael to justice.

All the above, meanwhile, is merely background. No, there's an actual episodic story here, too. A rich socialite (one of those people famous solely for being rich) had a sex tape leaked online with a former boyfriend. She and her husband hire Holmes and Watson to find said ex because he's disappeared. Of course, the ex is dead and the husband did it. I mean, if you're going to hire the guy who played Ward on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we all know he's the bad guy. I think it would have been way more interesting if he hadn't been. But as it stood, we saw it coming the moment he showed up on screen.

Still and all, it wasn't a terrible episode. A fair return, I'd say. Hopefully they'll get more creative and inventive as things go on.

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