Saturday, October 24, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 34
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
13TH (2020)
AVA
BINGABLE: ABANDONED (2016)
BINGEABLE: Barry
BINGEABLE: CASA DE LAS FLORES
BINGEABLE: FLEABAG
BINGEABLE: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTARIES
BINGEABLE: OUTLANDER (2014-present)
BINGEABLE: STRANGER THINGS 3
BINGEABLE: THE SINNER (SEASON 2)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: COOL RUNNINGS (1993)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: FISH TANK (2009)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: HOUSE
BLAST FROM THE PAST: OLDBOY
BLAST FROM THE PAST: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE MATRIX
BLAST FROM THE PAST: THE PRESTIGE (2006)
BLAST FROM THE PAST: WILD AT HEART (1990)
BLOW THE MAN DOWN
CLASS ACTION PARK
COASTAL ELITES
DA 5 BLOODS
FIRST COW
GREYHOUND
GUILTY PLEASURES: CHEER (2020)
HAVE A GOOD TRIP: ADVENTURES IN PSYCHEDELICS
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
JUST MERCY
LYING AND STEALING
MESSAGE FROM THE KING
MY OCTOPUS TEACHER
NATURETRACK FILM FESTIVAL
ONLY
PALM SPRINGS
PROJECT POWER
PURPLE MOUNTAINS
SHUT UP LITTLE MAN! AN AUDIO MISADVENTURE (2011)
TENET
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND
THE NIGHT EATS THE WORLD
THE OLD GUARD
THE VAST OF NIGHT
TREAD
TV REVIEW: BOSCH
TV REVIEW: CATCH-22
TV REVIEW: COBRA KAI
TV REVIEW: DEFENDING JACOB
TV REVIEW: FEAR CITY
TV REVIEW: GENERATION KILL (2008)
TV REVIEW: HANNIBAL (2013-2015)
TV REVIEW: HELL ON WHEELS (2011-2016)
TV REVIEW: HOMECOMING
TV REVIEW: I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE
TV REVIEW: I MAY DESTROY YOU
TV REVIEW: I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK
TV REVIEW: LENOX HILL
TV REVIEW: LITTLE AMERICA
TV REVIEW: LOVE ON THE SPECTRUM
TV REVIEW: LOVECRAFT COUNTRY
TV REVIEW: MRS. AMERICA
TV REVIEW: NORMAL PEOPLE
TV REVIEW: PANDEMIC: HOW TO PREVENT AN OUTBREAK (2020)
TV REVIEW: PERRY MASON
TV REVIEW: RAMY
TV REVIEW: RUN
TV REVIEW: SOCIAL DISTANCE
TV REVIEW: SPACE FORCE
TV REVIEW: TABOO
TV REVIEW: THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD
TV REVIEW: THE LAST KINGDOM
TV REVIEW: THE MIDNIGHT GOSPEL
TV REVIEW: THE MORNING SHOW
TV REVIEW: THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL OF ALL
TV REVIEW: THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA
TV REVIEW: THE THIRD DAY
TV REVIEW: THE VOW
TV REVIEW: UNDONE
TV REVIEW: WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
TV REVIEW: ZEROZEROZERO
UNDERRATED: BATMAN BEGINS
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
[UN]WELL

Lovecraft Country mixes a sociopolitical examination of American racism with pulpy B-movie horror

TV REVIEW: LOVECRAFT COUNTRY

PHOTO BY , COURTESY OF MONKEYPAW PRODUCTIONS

TV REVIEW: LOVECRAFT COUNTRY


Where is it playing?: HBO & HBO Max

What's it rated?: TV-MA

What's it worth?: $Full price (Anna Starkey)

What's it worth?: $Full price (Glen Starkey)

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Creator Misha Green teams with producers J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele to bring this fantasy horror series to life. Based on a novel by Matt Ruff, it’s set in 1950s Jim Crow-era America, and Black Korean War vet Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) teams up with his Black travel-guide-writing Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) and friend Letitia “Leti” Lewis (Jurnee Smollett) to go in search of his missing father, Montrose (Michael Kenneth Williams). Drawn to Ardham, Massachusetts, a town famed horror writer H. P. Lovecraft supposedly set many of his fictional tales in, they discover they’re battling both the racist terrors of white America and horrifying Lovecraftian monsters. (10 53- to 68-min. episodes)

Glen: This clever mashup mixes terrifying monsters, ghosts, secret occult organizations, magic, and supernatural phenomenon with racist police, sundowner towns, and cross-burning neighbors. It’s filled with all the B-movie fun of drive-in horror flicks and a timely examination about America’s original sin—slavery and racism. Each episode is connected, but they can also feel separate. For instance, episode 7, “Meet Me in Daegu,” is set in 1949 South Korea and follows Ji-Ah (Jamie Chung), a beautiful young woman who turns out to be a mythical monster, Kumiho, who must kill 100 men to become human again. She decides to seduce and kill Atticus, thus connecting to the previous episodes. Expect a lot of gore and a lot of insightful examination of racism in America. Another episode is about a potion that allows a Black woman to become white, as she revels in the way she’s treated by other white people. It’s fun and serious at the same time.

Anna: What a ride Lovecraft Country is, a chef’s kiss blend of drama and horror. When we first meet Atticus, he’s bound and determined to find his missing father and sets out with his Uncle George and Leti, and soon enough it becomes clear that their journey has taken a wild turn. There are forest monsters and invisible force fields; blond-haired, blue-eyed captors; and occult magic in the works. You definitely need to be OK with gore to get through this series; besides monster attacks there is enough blood, guts, and skin-shedding to make anyone squirm. Beyond the bigger story, Lovecraft Country gets personal with Atticus and his wounded past as a veteran and the budding relationship between himself and Leti. It’s hard to peel your eyes away from the screen. 

Glen: Smollett and Majors are really compelling as the two leads. Despite the B-movie shlock of a lot of the story, the two never waiver in their commitment to the material. I guess Smollett came to fame in the TV series Full House (1992-94), which I’d never seen. I’ve seen her in a number of films but never put together it was the same actress, which to me is a testament to her ability to disappear into a role. Here she plays a strong, talented Black woman struggling to find her place in a white world. Majors is a relative newcomer. I first noticed him in The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019), where he turned in a quiet, sublime performance, and then in Da 5 Bloods (2020), Spike Lee’s newest. He’s a natural and brings a vulnerability and inherent nobility to Atticus, who it turns out is somehow connected by blood to a weird cult. The implication is that his bloodline was conceived in rape by a white slave owner and cult member. We’re seven episodes into a 10-episode season, and it’s so interesting and well done that I’ll probably watch it through again.

Anna: I’ll be right there re-watching with you. There’s so much going on, and the story seems to come out in chunks that the audience pieces together week after week. Added to the mix is William (Jordan Patrick Smith), who seems to be the appointed leader of the cult, and mysterious Christina Braithwhite (Abbey Lee), who seemingly knows secrets about everyone. There’s time loops and shapeshifting, downright creepy ceremonies, and rooms full of mystery. With names like J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele behind it, you know it’s gonna get weird. It’s just the kind of weird I’m here for though, not just a shock of gore and horror, but an actual story to back it up. I loved that episode you mentioned that took us to South Korea and out of the world we were previously in yet still connected to Atticus’ character while building his backstory. Majors is just great here, and Smollett brings the same game to her performance. The costuming is fantastic, the gore is visceral, and the story just keeps on giving. I can’t wait to see where the rest of this season goes. 

New Times Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Sun Screen. Glen compiles streaming listings. Comment at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.









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