A double agent, a rocker and a regicide: movies and TV

The last two seasons of BLIND SPOT both left me frustrated with the story arc’s finish. This year, not a problem.

The season opened with Jane (Jaimie Alexander) having had a memory glitch due to the drugs in her system, leaving her convinced she’s still an agent for the Sandstorm terrorist network. She doesn’t quite remember how she infiltrated an FBI strike force, but she’s ready to destroy them from within. Meanwhile new big bad Madeline Burke (Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio) launches a mysterious scheme of her own, using former team member Zapata (Audrey Esparza) as her chief enforcer.

Normally the master villain’s plan is a let down; this time they pulled it off as Burke takes over the FBI, the entire team is forced on the run and Jane sees everyone apparently blown to bits by a drone strike (the solution to that detail is pretty obvious). With next season the finish, it looks like they’ll be pulling out all the stops. “We wouldn’t be in this boat if you hadn’t married a terrorist.”

I wound up using SCHOOL OF ROCK (2003) as a talking lamp, partly because of time constraints, partly because Jack Black’s character starts out as such a selfish, entitled jerk I couldn’t really stomach him. Neither can his rock band, who kick him out in an early scene; frustrated, Black uses his best friend’s name to become a substitute teacher (he needs the cash), turns his elementary school class into a new band for an upcoming contest, then slowly begins to see them and uptight principal Joan Cusack as more than just means to an end. So not without its charms, but I still found Black too hard to take; it doesn’t help that when Sarah Silverman (the best friend’s girlfriend) suggests Black actually pay rent for crashing on their couch, she’s the one we’re supposed to hate (a good example of the woman as buzzkill cliche). “Excuse me, excuse me, I’ve just been informed that all your children are missing.”

MACBETH (1971) was Roman Polanski’s adaptation of The Scottish Play with Jon Finch as the Scottish nobleman who would be king, Francesca Annis as his ambitious wife (she mentions in one of the special features that this is the only time she’s been completely nude on screen) and Martin Shaw as the doomed Banquo. Polanski is a rapist and possibly a serial rapist, but he’s an excellent filmmaker. This is good-looking, well-acted, vividly violent and with some striking scenes; when the soldiers arrive to kill MacDuff’s family, they take the time to relish their power.

The special features are interesting if you want more background detail, though none are particularly stand-out. It is striking, however, how much the murder of Polanski’s wife Sharon Tate by the Manson family came up repeatedly (one interviewee says an extra bludgeoned to death in a fight scene was a dead ringer for Manson). Though discussions in a 2014 documentary of how people can now watch the film without Polanski’s personal life shaping their reaction felt like they were ducking the elephant in the room.. “Be bloody, bold and resolute — for none of woman born may harm Macbeth!”

#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with curren tholder.

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