Category: mystery

Two Movie Reviews: Slumdog Millionaire and Tell No One

Two very different movies for you today. The first is the very well-known Slumdog Millionaire. I’d say it’s reputation is well deserved. The movie was an eye opening look at a way of life I really didn’t understand before seeing the movie. To think that there are people living in these conditions, day after day, is more than upsetting. I’d seen some poor living conditions in Eastern Germany and then even worse ones in Egypt, but this blew those away by a mile. The movie’s R-rating is deserved, but just for the level of maturity I think someone needs to have to be able to watch the film. No sex, no swearing–just very disturbing violence. Not in a graphic way, but in a realistic “I can’t believe human beings do this to other human beings” way. Slumdog isn’t a movie I plan on watching again anytime soon, but I’m glad I did watch it. Four stars.

The second film is the French independent movie Tell No One. (If I wanted to be all snooty, I’d say I watched Ne le dis à personne, and then you’d all be impressed with how cultured I am.) The film was everything I wish The Fugitive had been. Very intense, with a nice twisted plot that kept me guessing from beginning to end. A man’s wife is murdered. He’s wrongfully accused of the crime, but exonerated. Eight years later, someone emails him–someone who might be his wife. Two hours plus of taut thriller. But it’s French, which means it’s also not really for the faint of heart. Three and a half stars.

Poll the Readers (and some Movie Reviews)

Alright, trusty blog readers. The time has come. I need some help from you. What I’m asking for is simple: I’d like to know what your favorite mystery films are. When I say mystery, what films come immediately to mind? As I’m working on the Ichabod screenplay, I’m starting to see that more than anything else, the book is a mystery. Yes, it has a very unique setting, and yes, there are fantasy elements in it. But in the end, it all boils down to the mystery aspect of it. (Incidentally, if any of you Ichabod readers out there just read that statement and firmly disagree, I’d be interested to know that, too.)

So anyway–I’m trying to get the balance right for the movie, and to do that, I’d like to remind myself of the really good mysteries out there. I don’t want to post the ones I’m already thinking of–nothing to taint your suggestions. And please, don’t go scouring the internets for suggestions. I can do that on my own. Just keep it simple.

I say “mystery” and “movie,” you say: [fill in the blank]

Thanks so much!

And just to make sure I don’t leave you feeling unfulfilled this Monday morning, here are some movie reviews for you.

Duplicity–In what feels like forever, DKC and I actually got to go out and see a movie opening night. And this one wasn’t a waste of time and money, which was good. Of course, it also didn’t blow me away, which was too bad. Really, all it would have taken to make me really satisfied with the movie was one twist fewer or one twist more. It stars Julia Roberts and Clive Owen as two spies. Think Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but without the guns. Three stars, but be warned: it’s a tangled web of a movie. Take about six plots, tie them all up in a massive jumble, then edit them together in a manner that makes you continually reevaluate all of them. You’ve got to stay on your toes to even hope to have a clue what’s going on. But don’t worry, all will be made clear (more or less) by the end.

High Plains Drifter–Clint Eastwood in his prime, playing a Man with No Name, come to a seemingly random town in the West. The plot soon thickens, with Clint seemingly being hired in the stereotypical “gunfighter must save the town from impending doom in the form of other gunfighters come to get revenge on the people who sent them to prison” vein. But there are hints that more is at work than a simple stereotypical plot, and those hints soon take control of the movie, and it becomes much more than a simple Western. Highly recommended. Three and a half stars–but it’s pretty darn dark, even for an Eastwood.

Woman in the Green Dress–A classic Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes film. Maybe I was in a bad mood, or too tired, but this one completely failed to hold my interest. The plot was just too slow, and the drama too limited. Maybe I’ve been ruined by more modern films with quicker pacing and higher stakes. Just two stars on this one for me. Maybe even just a star and a half. I fell asleep for part of it–and I never fall asleep in movies.

Be Kind Rewind–Jack Black being directed by Michel Gondry, the same guy who brought us Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Really, I maybe expected too much from this. The plot is that Black wrecks an entire video store, and to cover his accident, he and a friend refilm movies for people. Those refilmings are the highlight of the movie–especially the most elaborate one they do: Ghostbusters. But this is all couched in a sentimental shell that really drew away from the zaniness that could have been. I didn’t want to watch a movie about a run down neighborhood coming together. I wanted zany recreations of classic films. Two and a half stars, but the Ghostbusters bit is definitely worth watching.

Michael Clayton–Actually directed by Tony Gilroy, the same director as Duplicity. This is a much better film that Duplicity, though. Tighter, and with a much bigger “pow”, if that makes sense. George Clooney is a lawyer who cleans up messes for other lawyers. Think of it as Erin Brockovich, with less playing on the heartstrings and more tension and intrigue. I really liked it–three and a half stars, and nominated for a slew of Oscars. Great flick.

Testing Testing

I’m working on getting a bit more into Goodreads, a website that lets you review books and then share those reviews with others. There’s a feature that lets you post your reviews to your blogs. I’m testing that out right now. See how it goes.

Flesh House (Logan McRae) Flesh House by Stuart MacBride


My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Interesting book. I’m not sure how much of it I missed since it seems to be one of a series, and I’m not up to date on the series. However, I enjoyed the way the plot developed and unfolded in a fairly realistic manner. In so many police procedurals, the main character is the focal point of the entire investigation, present for every step of the way. Not so in this one–the main character sometimes misses out on important scenes and has to catch up on what happened. In any case, I liked that it was different in that manner, even if the actual plotting didn’t captivate me as much as I’d prefer.

View all my reviews.

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