Showing posts with label detective. Show all posts
Showing posts with label detective. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Whodunnit Watch: Knives Out (2019)




Watched:  11/21/2020
Format:  Amazon Prime Streaming
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  2010's
Director:  Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson is one of those directors we need more of.  He's smarter than his audience (sorry, he is), and he's making stuff he'd want to see, and if we happen to come along and like it, too, great.  If not, it doesn't matter.  He made something *interesting*.  

On the heels of his stupidly controversial gigantic Star Wars movie that followed his usual way of doing things and managed to make maybe the only interesting Star Wars movie since Empire, he turned to the all-star murder mystery - a la Inspector Poirot films.  But not a murder mystery that relied on nostalgia, an exotic setting and romantic period in which the film occurs.  It's a family all brimming with motivations to take out the patriarch as they gather in the family a mansion in a wealthy Massachusetts suburb.  

Monday, November 2, 2020

Elementary Watch: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)


 

Watched:  10/31/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's
Director:  Terence Fisher

Frankly I'm surprised I'd never seen this movie before, except:  I've always been embarrassed to not have actually read the novel, which I usually like to do first on things like this.  For a while as a kid I read my brother's Sherlock Holmes collections, and like many a 13 year old kid, was a fan.  Frankly haven't read much since, so if anyone is doing any Christmas shopping for me... could use a nice Holmes collection.

Anyhoo...  Peter Cushing was TCM's Star of the Month, and they aired the movie and I decided: heck, now is the time.  It's Halloween-ish.  Ghost hounds and all.

Cushing plays Sherlock Holmes (to perfection, I might add).  Andre Morell is Watson.  I was further delighted to find out it co-starred Christopher Lee is the heir to the Baskerville manor and fortune, Sir Henry.  

The mystery surrounds a longstanding curse of the Baskerville family, that a demon hound occasionally gets them out on the moors surrounding their manor house.  When the latest occupant dies, killed by some large creature, the next in line is summoned home from South Africa to take his place.  In London, a Dr. Mortimer enlists the aid of Holmes and Watson to sort things out before Sir Henry falls to a similar fate.

The scope of the story plays well to the strengths of Hammer studios - access to solid actors, a limited number of locations, a grisly murder and kind of crazy story.  It has that Terence Fisher touch to it of not being overly stuffy, but also not ever feeling exploitative regarding the horror or grisly details while also painting a picture of what has occurred off screen or which was hinted at.  

If I have *any* complaint, I could have stood *more* of this movie.  It runs 87 minutes, and feels like it could have spent more time building suspects, detailed a bit more here and there, and given more room for Sir Henry's budding romance/ infatuation with the neighbor's comely daughter.  And, of course, with Cushing as Holmes such a delight, it would have been great to get more Holmes/ Watson time.  


Thursday, October 8, 2020

Mystery Watch: Enola Holmes (2020)

 


Watched:  10/5/2020
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020
Director:  Harry Bradbeer

I am *pretty* sure this wasn't aimed at me, but it was kind of delightful.  

This is one highly-nit-pickable movie, and I won't say I didn't have a few times I didn't say something out loud during the movie to Jamie - but it always seemed in poor taste and not in the spirit of the thing.  

Enola Holmes tells the story of Sherlock Holmes' (Henry Cavill) younger sister - a prodigy in her own right (Millie Bobby Brown), but just 16.  She's been raised in the Holmes family manor entirely by her mother, her brothers having had departed shortly after their father passed when Enola was very young.  

Her mother (the always wonderful Helena Bonham Carter) has raised her outside of social norms, recognizing her capacity and aware that a late Victorian-era England will ruin her with its expectations and limitations.  But on her 16th birthday, her mother disappears.  Flat out seems to have ducked out, leaving not exactly clues, but a few items which will provide comfort and perhaps a means of communication.  

Monday, April 6, 2020

Disney Watch: Timmy Failure - Mistakes Were Made (2020)




Watched:  04/04/2020
Viewing:  First
Format:  Disney+
Decade:  2020's
Director: Tom McCarthy


My guess is that you're sleeping on Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (2020).  This would be a mistake.  This will be one of the finest movies you could watch this year.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Signal Watch Reads: "The Long Goodbye" (1953) and "Playback" (1958)



At long last, I read both The Long Goodbye (1953) and Playback (1958), the last of Raymond Chandler's novels centered upon detective Philip Marlowe.

You'll note a lengthy dry spell between books here, and there's a precipitous drop-off between the two in depth and strength.  It's curious as The Long Goodbye feels less like a detective novel and more like an author wrestling with himself, working through the point in his life where he'd enjoyed success and some fame and found neither amounted to much as he was still living with himself as an alcoholic, a writer of genre fiction, and now a widower.*

Friday, January 25, 2019

Noir Watch: Murder, My Sweet (1944)


Watched:  01/25/2018
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Viewing:  4th
Decade:  1940's

Murder, My Sweet (1944) is a favorite and one of two Dick Powell movies that made me a fan.  Based on the classic detective novel Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (not yet a classic, obvs, at the time), this movie has as many or more twists and turns than The Big Sleep and maybe doesn't have the popping-off-the-screen chemistry of Bogart and Bacall, but Powell feels more like the Philip Marlowe of the books in my book.

Anyway, I promised not to write up every movie this year, and I'm sure I've written this one up before, so aside from adding that Claire Trevor's evening-look with her up-do is something else, I'll just give the movie a solid rec and what I love about Chandler boiled down to work in a movie.  Oh, and Mike Mazurki is pretty great.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Noir Watch: Mystery Street (1950)



Watched:  04/25/2018
Format:  Noir Alley on TCM/ DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's

Noir Watch: Brick (2005)


Watched:  04/24/2018
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  third
Decade:  2000's

There's probably plenty to say about this movie, but I'm saving it for a podcast.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Signal Watch Reads: Pietr the Latvian (Inspector Maigret #1 - 1931)


After completing the two Maigret mystery movies, I decided to check out some actual Inspector Maigret novels.  Not as big of a deal here in the states, but in Europe, they appear to be quite popular.  I found a set on deep discount and after waiting for a month for them to make their way from a shop in the UK to my doorstep (amazing world we live in, what one mouse click sets in motion), I got to crack the set for my plane ride to San Jose.

After reading Hammett and Chandler, it seemed fair to see what was going on with mystery books across the ocean.

Georges Simenon was a Belgian writing in French about a Parisian detective circa 1930 when this book appeared.  I am unclear when the translation occurred or how much was changed in meaning - I would expect that after 80 years, everyone is satisfied with what's on the page.  It seems reasonable to trust Penguin to do right by these books.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Second Maigret Post Up at Texas Public Radio



Watched:  02/24/2017
Format:  Kino-Lorber BluRay
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1950's

I watched not one, but TWO Maigret mystery movies.  And, shockingly, wrote them both up.

Here's my post over at Texas Public Radio.