Posts Tagged ‘mystery’

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And that secret is it’s a bad movie: “Secret in Their Eyes”

February 25, 2016

SITE-Official-Poster

Secret in Their Eyes wants to be a prestige Oscar-bait picture really badly. I mean, really, really badly. Like Blofeld-wants-to-kill-James-Bond bad. I mean, look at everything stuffed into it: The War on Terror, the death of a child, a mystery, cops, and about as many of Hollywood’s heavy-hitters as you’re legally allowed to have in a film before you have to register as a chapter of the Church of Scientology. This is a movie that would gladly throw anyone into a piranha tank if it meant that statuette. I’m pretty sure if was possible (and more importantly, feasible) this movie would blow every Academy member. It just wants to be taken seriously so bad….Bwhahahaha! Too bad it’s just really overcooked and ridiculous.
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Arliss Howard also pwns! “Plain Clothes”

October 14, 2015

Plain_Clothes_FilmPoster

This is the latest in my “pwns!” series in which I extol the virtues of under-recognized or under-appreciated actors. Previous installments covered Stephen McHattie and Bob Hoskins.

And now for a different Seattle cop story…

I suppose I’ve been seeing Arliss Howard in stuff for decades, but I never really noticed him until his amazing turn as the ice-blooded former spook Kale Ingram in the late, lamented Rubicon. With his laid-back style and flatter-than-the-topography-of-Illinois Midwestern accent, Howard manages to simultaneously anchor and enliven any scene he’s in. So when I discovered he starred in a little-seen 1987 comedy about a detective that goes undercover in a suburban high school, well, I don’t know what deity I need to make a pagan offering to, but this goat’s sure not gonna sacrifice itself.

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Quoth the…really, really bad movie: “The Raven”

April 22, 2012

I don’t get it. Edgar Allan Poe is melancholy incarnate. He is the epitome of the darkness that comes from tragedy. His macabre stories don’t come from a mind simply acutely attune to the  twisted like Stephen King, but from a personal tragedy he could never recover from. So, um, somebody decided that wasn’t bad enough that they also had to urinate all over his corpse by making a movie in which he has to hunt a serial killer who’s copying his stories? The hell?
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Dames, bulls, guns, and the meaning of love: “Give ’em Hell Malone”

February 12, 2012

The nice thing about trawling through the cinematic detritus is that every so often you find a diamond in the rough. Yeah, that’s a pretty low bar to clear, but, hey, if life has taught me anything it’s that the lower your standards, the happier you are. If you expect every movie to a Citizen Kane, you’re going to turn into a perpetually-dissatisfied misanthrope. If, however, you merely expect a movie to match or surpass, say Robot Jox, you’re gonna be a pretty happy guy most of the time. The movie I found in the 70 baht bin at the local Boomerang store was Give ‘em Hell, Malone, a low-budget genre mash-up that isn’t quite good, but is much more entertaining that it has any right to be.
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Get a room! “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”

January 9, 2012

Okay, so when we last left venerable sleuth Sherlock Holmes, he was being portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC series which smartly and successfully transplanted the character to present-day. Ah, but we’re not talking about that show (which just returned for its second season), but instead Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the tepid sequel to the first Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey Jr. outing two years ago. I wish I could be as enthusiastic about this movie as I was about that one, but it’s sort of hard to get into a good Holmes mystery when the leads spend the whole movie looking like they’re on the verge of making out.
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Falsely advertised, but still good: “Freaky Faron”

August 24, 2010

Okay, a quick one this time, since the movie I’m reviewing doesn’t really bear a huge amount of analysis–a slight little DIY venture called Freaky Faron. Now, the Netflix description of the movie promises a supernatural thriller about a teenage girl with a violent past fending off an alien invasion. Sounds neat, huh? Yeah, you mostly don’t get that. Still, once you shake off the disappointment of false advertising, you grow to appreciate the movie writer/director John Ross created on a shoestring budget.  He may not have made the X-Files clone the ads promised, but he did deliver a neat ‘tweener mystery. If you’ve ever wondered what a Dashiell Hammett short story would be like if the Continental Op was not a fireplug-shaped bruiser, but instead a red-haired 16 year-old girl (and, really, who hasn’t wondered that from time to time?) then this is your movie.
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The renegade at Baker Street: “Sherlock Holmes”

January 4, 2010

I am sure that the new big screen treatment of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s immortal detective has already sent Sherlock Holmes purists into fits of apoplexy. Personally, I’m okay with that, since purists are almost always apoplectic about something (there are 007 fans who are upset that Bond’s housekeeper, May, has never been worked into the scripts). Besides, it was high time that Holmes was liberated from the deerstalker-hat (which he never wore in the original stories) and “Elementary, my dear Watson!” (which he never said).  To this end, Robert Downey Jr. is loosed like a wrecking ball on the popular image of Holmes, with the result of creating an interesting, compelling, endlessly watchable new take on a classic hero.
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