John Sayles’ LONE STAR (1996) has border-town sheriff Chris Cooper realizing the corpse that recently turned up outside town with a sheriff’s star by it is actually infamously corrupt, long-missing lawman Kris Kristofferson, which could indicate Cooper’s own father, Sheriff Mathew McConaghey, is the one responsible. The strength of the movie is less the mystery than the way it drives Cooper to explore the community around him (as always, the social backdrop is a key part of Sayles’ films) which includes hardcase military officer Joe Morton, Elizabeth Peña as Cooper’s Lost Love and Frances McDormand as his unstable ex. “And there we were, your father and me, standing with a dead cop leaking blood on the floor between us.”
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007) is the Coens’ noir adaptation of Cormac Macarthy, with Josh Brolin as a cowboy who stumbles across a couple of million in drug money, only to find he’s in way over his head when murdering sociopath Javier Bardem goes looking for the cash (I wish Bardem had been half this scary in Skyfall). Tommy Lee Jones plays an aging sheriff aghast at confronting pure evil, which made me think of Frances McDormand’s similar turn in Fargo. This is really strong up to the end when it goes soft: I can’t see why Bardem doesn’t kill Jones at one crucial point and I could have done without Jones’ explaining What It All Means (I don’t know if that’s something that carried over from the original) “If the road you followed led you to this, of what use was the road?”
24: Live Another Day brings back Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer along with most of the cast from his last season when a terrorist takes over a half-dozen American drones to force President William Devane to give himself up. Enter Jack who finds himself launching one last mission despite the usual mix of treachery, enemy agents and booby-traps ahead. This has the series’ usual political issues (not only torture but the Julian Assange-counterpart here really turns out to be an enemy of the America); a bigger problem for me is that I’d have preferred a final end, rather than leaving this open for more adventures (which Fox hasn’t ruled out).
While I was disappointed in AGENTS OF SHIELD‘s first half-season, it really picked up after CAPTAIN AMERICA II hit the theaters: Tying in with that, we have SHIELD collapse as Hydra destroys it from within, with the rot even infecting Coulson’s team. While I still think the SF level of the show could be higher, the added drama made up for it. Hopefully they’ll keep that running next season. And to give them credit, the secret of Coulson’s resurrection wasn’t what I predicted at the link.