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.

11 thoughts on “Poll the Readers (and some Movie Reviews)”

  1. Mystery Movies
    Number One of all time is Clue, but I’m sure that’s not too helpful. 🙂
    Rebecca is fantastic – isn’t that a mystery movie? I also remember Gaslight being an awesome movie, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it. Other classics, like To Catch a Thief, Charade, Rear Window, and Vertigo. If The Prestige counts, I’d throw that in there, too, naturally.
    Those are the ones that first came to my mind!

  2. I’m about to lower your opinion of me.
    My gut when you say mystery is Columbo. Quickly followed by Perry Mason and throw in the one hour Murder She Wrote.
    At the end of a dead end road we didn’t get cable growing up, and as an adult, I’m a romantic comedy gal. I know, they are mostly like romance novels, following a generic outline, but occasionally you stumble on the As Good As It Gets and it all pays off.
    I warned you.

  3. Re: I’m about to lower your opinion of me.
    No worries–nothing to apologize for. I’ve watched all three of those regularly myself. It’s a good reminder. I’ll check them out, too.

  4. I haven’t seen that many mystery movies, but I’d list Gaslight, LA Confidential, Dead Again, The Usual Suspects, and Boondock Saints. I’ll also throw in Colombo and House MD from TV land. Sorry, I know that House isn’t really a mystery show, but there are mystery elements in diagnosing a disease.

  5. mystery
    The ones that pop into my head are Memento, Zero Effect, Suicide Kings, and The Spanish Prisoner. Usual Suspects, The Sixth Sense and Primal Fear are good too, but those are more suspense than mystery.

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