The best thing about the second season of “True Detective,” two episodes in, is Colin Farrell. It helps that his character, the bent detective Ray Velcoro, has so far received the most screen time out of the ensemble cast, but Farrell is responsible for the logical nakedness that completes the role. When you’re a dirty cop with nothing to lose, working for a police department whose systemic corruption is widely known and the subject of a state investigation, why waste energy pretending you’re not totally exposed?
If its first episode is any indication, the second season of “True Detective” is about dealing with ghosts, but not the literal kind Bill Murray might list on his résumé. These are not the peevish phantoms of “Ghostbusters,” or the wispy sheets inclined to turn up at a seance. These are far, far worse — sins from the past that won’t stay there — because this is “True Detective,” a show so convincingly grim that last year, inspired by a character from the first season, I often described my life to new friends as “a cycle of violence and degradation,” hoping to find a kindred spirit similar to the one I found on HBO.
“Insidious: Chapter 3,” the latest entry in the horror franchise first brought to life by master of scarimonies James Wan, is a rare kind of cinematic treat: a prequel with a purpose. Moviegoers acquainted with the first two “Insidious” films will find much to recognize in this installment, but the movie works on its own terms. Instead of clumsily nodding to its predecessors at every opportunity, the film spends more energy providing scares at regular intervals and using genre to talk about death and grief. The scares are by no means original, and neither are the themes, but “Chapter 3,” despite the title, is a good place to start.
David Lynch, a filmmaker so idiosyncratic that the best way to describe his work is by invoking his name, said movies can compensate for the limitations of language. In a New York Magazine article from 1990, he’s quoted as saying, “When you can talk about it, you’re not using cinema.” And yet it’s impossible not to talk about “Mad Max: Fury Road,” surely a piece of cinema in every sense of the word: it’s art and it’s definitely (one hell of) a movie.
In the way of vapid spectacles, created to generate ungodly revenue and maintained by an unreasonable sense of hype, there are worse entertainments than “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the latest box-office explosion from Marvel Studios and the sequel to the superhero recruitment promo “The Avengers.” Consider the boxing match this past weekend between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. It was the fight of the century right up until the first punch was thrown. The rest really is history: something from the past that will be vaguely recalled by some, if only for the price of the Pay Per View ticket. “Age of Ultron” won’t break your bank, but its true cost is still brain damage.