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A Caribbean Mystery (1983)
Filmmaker(s): Robert Michael Lewis

Aging Major Palgrave, an idiosyncratic but charming mystery writer, reveals to Miss Jane Marple that one of the guests at a luxurious Caribbean resort they're staying at is a Bluebeard-type wife murderer. Unfortunately, the Major succumbs to an apparently accidental overdose of alcohol and blood pressure medication before revealing the killer's identity. When it's discovered that the medicine belonged to another guest and the revealing photograph the Major was carrying is missing, Miss Marple realizes that the serial killer has struck again and more murders will follow.

Glass Eye To my mind, Christie’s novels are inherently cinematic. Most of them have key events: a murder or clue, that are spatially constrained, which is an attractive hook for a filmmaker. Here there are three such setups. A man tells a story about a...
Published April 22, 2024
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Train to Busan (2016)
Life-or-death survival begins.
Filmmaker(s): Yeon Sang-ho

When a zombie virus pushes Korea into a state of emergency, those trapped on an express train to Busan must fight for their own survival.

Ahead of schedule This is simply a hectic escape film, where all the attention is toward anticipating where the viewer thinks it is going and staying a half step ahead. I’d say it is remarkable in how well it succeeds; I cannot recall it ever...
Published April 20, 2024
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65 (2023)
65 million years ago, prehistoric Earth had a visitor.
Filmmaker(s): Scott Beck, Bryan Woods

65 million years ago, the only 2 survivors of a spaceship from Somaris that crash-landed on Earth, must fend off dinosaurs to reach the escape vessel in time before an imminent asteroid strike threatens to destroy the planet.

Kylo’s Curse Peril by the numbers. If this were not Adam Driver, it would be even less interesting. We have two people, clearly intended to be as like modern humans as the creaky backstory allows. A man who has lost his daughter, and a newly...
Published April 20, 2024
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Lost in the Stars (2022)
Filmmaker(s): Rui Cui, Xiang Liu

He Fei's wife, Li Muzi, disappears during their anniversary trip. When she reappears, he insists that she is not his wife. As Chen Mai, a top lawyer gets involved in this bizarre case, more mysteries start to emerge.

Film within I think I have seen this plot twice before, and pretty sure one was a TeeVee movie. In that case, the orchestrator was the local police chief. What we have here is a combination of noir that turns out to be what I...
Published April 20, 2024
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Missing (2023)
No one disappears without a trace.

When her mother disappears while on vacation in Colombia with her new boyfriend, June’s search for answers is hindered by international red tape. Stuck thousands of miles away in Los Angeles, June creatively uses all the latest technology at her fingertips to try and find her before it’s too late. But as she digs deeper, her digital sleuthing raises more questions than answers... and when June unravels secrets about her mom, she discovers that she never really knew her at all.

Extra data feeds This is a great idea, presenting an entire long form film through computer/phone screens. There’s a bit of a cheat at the end where we are shifted among surveillance cameras where the focus follows the action. I’ve seen a few experiments along...
Published April 20, 2024
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Boxing Helena (1993)
Beyond love, beyond obsession, there hides something beyond reason.
Filmmaker(s): Jennifer Lynch

A top surgeon is besotted with a beautiful woman who once rebuffed him. Unable to come to terms with life without her, he tries to convince her that they need each other. She has other ideas, but a horrific accident leaves her at his mercy.

Children Oh what a problem adult children are. What do you do with children who become people? I’m thinking here are of children of friends who you admire and respect in some way, who are worth living and being with. Who enrich your life so...
Published April 20, 2024
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Murder in Paradise (1990)
Filmmaker(s): Fred Walton

A stressed-out, big-city cop seeks refuge in Hawaii, only to become embroiled in a serial murder case that appears to be identical to his last case in New York City.

Cheap Hotels If you study film, you study it all — at least for the elements I value. Sometimes these hack jobs that just don’t work, have all the structure of folding that the big boys use. It shows you that some conventions are just...
Published April 20, 2024
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Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One (2023)
We all share the same fate.
Filmmaker(s): Christopher McQuarrie

Ethan Hunt and his IMF team embark on their most dangerous mission yet: To track down a terrifying new weapon that threatens all of humanity before it falls into the wrong hands. With control of the future and the world's fate at stake and dark forces from Ethan's past closing in, a deadly race around the globe begins. Confronted by a mysterious, all-powerful enemy, Ethan must consider that nothing can matter more than his mission—not even the lives of those he cares about most.

The Women I’m sensitive to situations where women are the drivers. What we usually have in these kinds of films is a superhuman guy, often going ‘rogue’ (a movie term) dealing with bad guys. There’s a minor shift here where the opponent is not a...
Published April 2, 2024
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The Beekeeper (2024)
Expose the corruption. Protect the hive.
Filmmaker(s): David Ayer

One man's campaign for vengeance takes on national stakes after he is revealed to be a former operative of a powerful and clandestine organization known as Beekeepers.

Unchoreographed Say what you will about the Wick movies, but at least the standard was on tradecraft. Wick’s movements through bad guys was designed within the scope of actual martial arts and arms training. I think that is the standard now for western fight scenes;...
Published April 1, 2024
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Searching (2018)
No one is lost without a trace.
Filmmaker(s): Aneesh Chaganty

After David Kim's 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened and a detective is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept today: his daughter's laptop.

Folded Detection As you will know, this is ostensibly all from a few computer screens, manipulated by the father of a missing teen girl. He is searching her various histories, supplemented by internet searches. As a detective, this constitutes the clues. The actual story is...
Published March 1, 2024
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