Tag Archives: The Affair

Film & TV News: September 29

News

  • The Prometheus sequel is moving forward as Ridley Scott’s next film under the official title Alien: Paradise Lost. Hard to pass judgement on title alone, but for the moment we’re cautiously pessimistic.
  • Speaking of Alien, Sigourney Weaver has confirmed a cameo in the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot, which you probably know as “the all-female Ghostbusters reboot” to such a degree that the title could be The All-Female Ghostbusters Reboot.
  • Spectre‘s theme song “Writing’s on the Wall” has been released, featuring the crooning vocals of Sam Smith, and can be heard in full over on Spotify. I haven’t actually listened to it, and won’t until I’m firmly in my seat in the theater for Spectre, but apparently it’s divisive so far without any of the visual/story context. On another note, isn’t it weird that so few photos of Christoph Waltz’s villain have leaked?
  • Some beautiful new stills from The Revenant hit the interwebs yesterday, teasing the exclusive use of natural light throughout Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman follow-up. For those of you who have been pining for a shot of Leonardo DiCaprio standing before a mountain of buffalo skulls, today is your lucky day.

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Film & TV News: July 16

Happy End-of-Comic-Con! In lieu of our traditional news posts (which contain, you know, news) and to make up for a missed post this past weekend (was on a bender — duty calls) we’re bringing you a special SDCC-centric news post comprised exclusively of the best trailers from this year’s legendary Con. What’s that you say? This sounds like a lazy way to “write” an article? Well, shit. Aren’t you a perceptive one.

First up are the big ones: amid the onslaught of superhero flicks on display in San Diego, DC Comics properties finally stood out with two impressive trailers. The first is Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice:

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Bloodline – Season 1

Bloodline is one of the latest original series produced by the ever-strengthening Netflix (it’s alive!), and by all accounts it’s a unique outing for the media giant. Set in and around the sweltering Florida Keys, the first season is less like fellow Netflix pal House of Cards and more like Showtime’s The Affair, another drama that zeroes in on family dynamics and household hostility. At best, though, comparisons aside, Bloodline is a true family drama with well-drawn characters and a driving central premise.

The family in question is the Rayburns, an island institution known and respected for operating the beachfront resort Rayburn House for decades. Father (Sam Shepard) and Mother (Sissy Spacek) are vitally influential in the lives of their four children and, as a bonus, are supportive of any conspiracy theories related to casting actors with alliterative fore- and surnames as husband and wife. They’re pillars of their community, and snippets of conversation and glances at newspaper headlines clue us in to the fact that the Rayburns are the public face of their little stretch of Key West. But Bloodline starts early in the slow uncovering of the real ways in which good ol’ Mum and Dad molded their children.

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The Affair 1.8

Another relatively slow episode of The Affair comes at the exact wrong time, in the eighth hour, with only two more to go before season one wraps. Episode seven was solid and did much to dispel fears that the show had been strong out of the gate only to lose steam along the way to the finish line. Hour eight, however, seemed to lose a bit of that footing.

One thing that the show kind of flirted with early on but never fully succumbed to was the way-too-common device of having every family member have a massive number of personal problems. The elder Son of Solloway Martin is angsty and inimical in the way most teenage boys are, Whitney is angsty and inimical in the way most teenage girls are, and poor little Trevor just wants someone to pay attention to him — this was the set-up, more or less, over the first chunk of episodes, and it was believable and relatable.

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The Affair 1.7

After last week’s episode of The Affair I had an acid flashback to the first season of Homeland. Appearances to the contrary as Noah and Alison lounge around Montauk for the summer, The Affair moves pretty quickly. They meet, they imagine themselves with each other, they make love, they make love a lot more, and then they fall in love. They also bring the affair to a screeching halt along the way, essentially calling it quits last week and then going one step further this week by telling their respective spouses about the whole thing. The Affair just deployed an entire series worth of plot in the first seven episodes.

Nevermind what season two or three or four could hold — what the hell could possibly even go down in the final three episodes of this rookie season? Aside from simply knowing that three more hours of story will be told, this seventh episode is concerned with that uncertain ending too. “Looks like you got away with it,” taunts Oscar as he proceeds to blackmail Noah. But no one, not Noah nor we viewers, actually believe that to be true.

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The Affair 1.6

The Affair took home a few surprise awards at the Golden Globes this past weekend, including Best Drama Series (beating out the likes of Game of Thrones and House of Cards) and a Best Actress trophy for Ruth Wilson. Dominic West was nominated as well, but lost out to Kevin Spacey for Cards. As a consolation prize (and because episode six was very much The Dominic West Show), this review will be very Noah-centric. You’re welcome, Dominic.

We catch up with Noah as his best friend Max visits him out in Montauk. They go drinking, clubbing, and guess who they meet during their night of revelry? I may have said this before, but Noah and Alison running into each other constantly just seems a bit contrived. This time, though, that aspect is at least partially left to the imagination. Noah plays it like he has no idea who Alison is, for the sake of appearances in front of family friend Max — but as Max’s taxi pulls away from the club later that night, Noah spins and scampers back up the stairs like a child on Christmas (in reverse) and promptly and passionately kisses Alison. So it could have been the case that this particular run-in wasn’t at all accidental, and Noah’s getting more and more bold in his fling. More importantly, West absolutely nails that giddy super-romantic childlike glee.

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The Affair 1.5

Last episode we talked structure, as the framing of The Affair began to shift under our feet by placing Noah’s and Alison’s tales end-to-front rather than side-to-side. This week shifts again: Alison’s story comes first, while Noah’s half-hour plays second fiddle. But this episode also contained a lot more story and character development, which served to make that structural flourish just an interesting oddity. While still not as gripping as the pilot, the sheer amount of plot progress in episode five makes it one of the best to date.

And we finally know who’s been murdered! We’ll hold until after the break to reveal the victim’s identity, for the sake of anyone still catching up. But it’s worth mentioning up front that tilting the hand this early can mean a) The Affair has a lot more in store for us or b) The Affair is going to get really boring really fast. Hell, based on some other reviews for the first half of the season, some people already find watching the cat-and-mouse-and-Pacey game akin to watching paint dry. But I’m going with a), Regis, final answer. So far The Affair hasn’t given much reason for distrust.

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The Affair 1.4

There were a couple new story elements and plot revelations in the fourth hour of The Affair, but like the third episode this one didn’t have nearly the same degree of crackle-and-pop as the opening segments. Let’s hope that’s not a new trend, and let’s dive right into episode four.

I’m somewhat surprised it’s taken me this long to mention any parallels to True Detective, as the structure alone is pretty much identical to that of The Affair – future-set interrogations framing a series of flashbacks that may or may not be true, an overbearing sense that the past and the present are linked by something we viewers just can’t grasp yet, etc. Now, though, the comparison is both unavoidable and deeper than the structure. The fifth episode of that first season (“The Secret Fate of All Life”) is the first time that the verbal recounting of the old case by Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle is in direct conflict with what we’re actually seeing. Likewise, the memories of Noah and Alison are now starting to seem more and more dubious (or are they? Dun dun dun).

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The Affair 1.3

Are the accents of Ruth Wilson and Dominic West beginning to bother anyone else? There’s no doubt that this is a great actress and a great actor cast nearly-perfectly as a woman and a man who are naïve and innocent in one moment and devilishly devious in the next. Plenty of Brits can handle the American accent with aplomb, and West in particular has had more than enough practice with The Wire’s McNulty and a few other American characters. Wilson is the more frequent offender in this third hour of The Affair, allowing her English English to show itself in her American English, especially in the framing scenes in the interrogation room.

She’s still perfect for Alison, though, as West is perfect for Noah, and though the third episode isn’t as good as the first or second it still moves the story forward into the promise of next week. That’s really the main reason why this show is working so far – the promise of next week. That’s not to say that the individual episodes aren’t doing enough, because they’re certainly far better than most of the drivel on television today. But the story and structure is so twisty-turny that the extended period of theorizing in between episodes is nearly as exciting as the episodes themselves, and that’s a mark of a solid and lasting series.

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The Affair 1.2

The second hour of The Affair expands on the first episode not only by advancing the story with additional plot complications but, more importantly, by delving deeper into Noah and Alison and their present-day perceptions of the ill-fated affair. The biggest plot-point revelation is the purpose of the investigation that frames The Affair, that being tied to a murder case, and we already know a few bits and pieces of that crime. “Just trying to figure out if anyone might have had a motive to kill this fella,” the detective states, while Alison later mentions something about “whoever ran him down”. This is, of course, only the second episode of the show, so it’s tough to say how much of this is actually truth. Still, The Affair isn’t giving us these pieces for no reason.

And so we begin speculation early, using what we’ve been given so far. An obvious choice of victim would be Joshua Jackson’s Cole, Alison’s husband. If Noah and Alison engage in an affair that becomes increasingly involved, it’s only a matter of time before Cole finds out. This early in the game, that possibility could easily be a red herring. Could it be someone more minor, like Oscar the diner owner? Noah’s father-in-law, perhaps, using the discovery of the affair as blackmail material? The person who ends up being this “victim” might not even have been introduced yet, but it’s a fair bet that they crop up somewhere in season one.

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