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Ten Little Indians (1987)
Crime
Mystery

A disturbing psychological thriller based on the classic novel by Agatha Christie. Ten strangers are forced to come face to face with their dark pasts after receiving an anonymous invitation to an isolated island off the coast of England.

Invasive You are not likely to find this easily. It is ‘Desyat negrityat’ in its original Russian (Десять негритят), being a comparatively faithful adaptation of an Agatha Christie mystery. Some context why this is interesting. The book is allegedly the largest selling fiction book in the...


Published March 3, 2024
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Searching (2018)
No one is lost without a trace.
Director: Aneesh Chaganty
Thriller
Mystery
Drama

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 also...


Published March 1, 2024
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Elemental
Opposites react.
Director: Peter Sohn
Animation
Comedy
Family
Fantasy
Romance
Adventure

In a city where fire, water, land and air residents live together, a fiery young woman and a go-with-the-flow guy will discover something elemental: how much they have in common.

Spatial Depth I suppose most people will talk about the story. It has the by now standard Father dynamics. The also now standard tension from a systemic (I hesitate to say ‘environmental’) threat rather than a bad guy. And a love story of the typical kind...


Published February 28, 2024
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The Valet (2006)
Director: Francis Veber
Comedy

Caught by tabloid paparazzi with his mistress Elena, a famous and beautiful fashion model, billionaire Pierre Levasseur tries to avoid a divorce by inventing a preposterous lie. He uses the presence of a passerby in the photo to claim to his wife that it's not him Elena is seeing but the other man, one François Pignon. Pignon is a modest little man who works as a parking valet. To make the story convincing, Elena has to move in with Pignon.

Seductive Word Surprises Needing something lightly comic, Veber was my man. His ‘The Closet‘ was trivial, but few trivial things are amusing and fondly recalled. Here, with a different actor, is the same character with much the same quality. I won‘t bother you with the story. It...


Published February 23, 2024
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Layer Cake (2004)
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Drama
Thriller
Crime

When a seemingly straight-forward drug deal goes awry, XXXX has to break his die-hard rules and turn up the heat, not only to outwit the old regime and come out on top, but to save his own skin...

Taking the Drugs One narrative form is the con story. All of these folding tricks are there to engage the viewer, to trick him or her into investing in the story. The idea is that some important things you understand about the story, your platform for...


Published February 23, 2024
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Time of the Gypsies (1988)
Drama

In this luminous tale set in the former Yugoslavia, Perhan, an engaging young Romany with telekinetic powers, is seduced by the quick-cash world of petty crime that threatens to destroy him and those he loves. Long version screened by the Sarajevo television in 5 one-hour episodes.

Telekinetic Turkeys Often, you see a film, write a comment and impressions get frozen. I revisit my comments from time to time and am often sad to see them. I remember films as a dynamic experience. The best ones are not a simple thing but an...


Published February 23, 2024
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Unstoppable (2010)
1,000,000 Tons. 100,000 Lives. 100 Minutes.
Director: Tony Scott
Action
Thriller

A runaway train, transporting deadly, toxic chemicals, is barreling down on Stanton, Pennsylvania, and proves to be unstoppable until a veteran engineer and young conductor risk their lives to try and stop it with a switch engine.

Unmovable Tracks If we cannot get movies that matter, at least we can get movies that engage, and this one does. This one does, and I think there are three devices consciously used. One is plainly obvious, the cinematic energy that Scott knows how to deliver. There...


Published February 23, 2024
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The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
An unsolved crime. A love story. An unwritten ending.
Director: Juan José Campanella
Mystery
Thriller
Drama

Hoping to put to rest years of unease concerning a past case, retired criminal investigator Benjamín begins writing a novel based on the unsolved mystery of a newlywed’s rape and murder. With the help of a former colleague, judge Irene, he attempts to make sense of the past.

You Eyes, Your Love, Your Passion This is a truly lovely film that has potential to change lives. I will consider it for my ‘list of fours,‘ when I report it. You may simply fall into the rather soft world it builds, one in which love can...


Published February 23, 2024
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The White Diamond (2004)
Director: Werner Herzog
Documentary

This 2004 documentary by Werner Herzog diaries the struggle of a passionate English inventor to design and test a unique airship during its maiden flight above the jungle canopy.

Flows, Roosters Watching a Herzog documentary is first a mystery about why it was made. About halfway through you understand why: an obsessed man made a flying balloon, mostly by making stuff up and killed his cinematographer. Now he wants to do it again, in a...


Published February 23, 2024
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