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Miss Marple: The Body in the Library (1984)
Director: Giorgi Ovashvili
Crime
Drama
Mystery

Amateur detective Miss Jane Marple investigates the murder of a young woman whose body is found in the library at Gossington Hall, home of Colonel and Mrs. Arthur Bantry.

The Switch Detective mysteries are one of the most lavishly adventuresome experiences in literature, if one is interested in how narratives are constructed. The contract between reader and writer is rather complex, often involving virtual contracts with some of the characters as well. Christie is a...


Published February 1, 2024
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Daredevil (2003)
When the streets have gone to Hell, have faith in the devil.
Fantasy
Action

A man blinded in a childhood accident fights crime using his superhumanly-elevated remaining senses.

Vision All of a sudden, Hollywood films have discovered that making a visually smart movie could be good business. The second “Harry Potter” film was notable with its architectural eye. Cost a tiny bit extra to get some good people on the case, but a trivial...


Published January 23, 2024
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Dark Command (1940)
A drama of undying love.
Director: Raoul Walsh
Drama
Romance
Western

When transplanted Texan Bob Seton arrives in Lawrence, Kansas he finds much to like about the place, especially Mary McCloud, daughter of the local banker. Politics is in the air however. It's just prior to the civil war and there is already a sharp division in the Territory as to whether it will remain slave-free. When he gets the opportunity to run for marshal, Seton finds himself running against the respected local schoolteacher, William Cantrell. Not is what it seems however. While acting as the upstanding citizen in public, Cantrell is dangerously ambitious and is prepared to do anything to make his mark, and his fortune, on the Territory. When he loses the race for marshal, he forms a group of raiders who run guns into the territory and rob and terrorize settlers throughout the territory. Eventually donning Confederate uniforms, it is left to Seton and the good citizens of Lawrence to face Cantrell and his raiders in one final clash.

Before the Pattern John Wayne ruined the western for me. The whole idea of the western until Leone was in constant repetition, walking the same route every time so that subtleties could be emphasised. Since everything else was given, we could focus on the smallest things. Real...


Published January 23, 2024
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Alice in Wonderland (1999)
Director: Eloy de la Iglesia

Alice in Wonderland is a television film first broadcast in 1999 on NBC and then shown on British television on Channel 4. It is based upon Lewis Carroll's books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Tina Majorino played the lead role of Alice, and a number of well-known performers portrayed the eccentric characters whom Alice meets during the course of the story, including Ben Kingsley, Ken Dodd, Martin Short, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Ustinov, Christopher Lloyd, Gene Wilder, and Miranda Richardson. The film won four Emmy Awards in the categories of costume design, makeup, music composition, and visual effects. The film was re-released as a special edition DVD on March 2, 2010 featuring an additional five minutes of footage.

Veronica Boff The ‘Alice’ stories are several things at once: a remarkable fantasy, a collection of intriguing jokes and puzzles, a Bulwer-Lytton influenced cabalistic journey, and off-hand satire. It is deep no matter what direction you plumb, and that's the magic of it. But most all, it...


Published January 21, 2024
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The In-Laws (2003)
He's not losing his daughter. He's gaining a madman.
Action
Comedy

Right before his daughter's wedding, a mild-mannered foot doctor discovers that his new in-laws are international smugglers.

Hidden Agent Albert Brooks breaks my heart. Every time I encounter him I see near greatness. All he has to do is decide. But there must be some price he is unwilling to pay, because every outing (acting, directing, writing) there is a palpable holding back, an...


Published January 20, 2024
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Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? (1980)
Thriller
TV Movie
Mystery

This intriguing story is set in the 1930s at a country house, where two amateur sleuths, Bobby Jones and Lady Frankie Derwent, try to unravel the mystery behind a tale of murder, suspense and false identities. And the only clues the two have to go on are the puzzling last words of a dying man. Featuring characters created by Agatha Christie, Why Didn't They Ask Evans is a classic crime thriller sure to please murder-mystery fans.

The Boomerang Clue I make a habit out of examining film adaptations of classic mystery novels for clues. I’m looking for clues about why the narrative works. There is a reason Christie is the best selling writer in history, even now as print runs are huge. I...


Published January 19, 2024
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Black Narcissus (1947)
A story of exquisite yearning in a strange and beautiful land. Towering over the screen ... as the mountains that saw it happen.
Director: Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell
Drama

A group of Anglican nuns, led by Sister Clodagh, are sent to a mountain in the Himalayas. The climate in the region is hostile and the nuns are housed in an odd old palace. They work to establish a school and a hospital, but slowly their focus shifts. Sister Ruth falls for a government worker, Mr. Dean, and begins to question her vow of celibacy. As Sister Ruth obsesses over Mr. Dean, Sister Clodagh becomes immersed in her own memories of love.

Black and White but Not Red All Over “Red Shoes” is a truly important film, significant enough to be on my short list of films that changed film forever — and to some extent life. It is rich and complex with all sorts of nested realities...


Published January 18, 2024
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The Birth of a Nation (1915)
The Fiery Cross of the Ku Klux Klan!
Director: D.W. Griffith
Drama
History
War

Two families, abolitionist Northerners the Stonemans and Southern landowners the Camerons, intertwine. When Confederate colonel Ben Cameron is captured in battle, nurse Elsie Stoneman petitions for his pardon. In Reconstruction-era South Carolina, Cameron founds the Ku Klux Klan, battling Elsie's congressman father and his African-American protégé, Silas Lynch.

Bad Influence This film marked a disastrous turn in American society. No, I’m not talking about the overtly racist content. Any nitwit can see that and adjust, though I suspect that my grandchildren will decry with equal vehemence the content of the films I now casually...


Published September 11, 2023
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The Big Sleep (1946)
The picture they were born for!
Director: Howard Hawks
Crime
Mystery
Romance
Thriller
Drama

Private Investigator Philip Marlowe is hired by wealthy General Sternwood regarding a matter involving his youngest daughter Carmen. Before the complex case is over, Marlowe sees murder, blackmail, deception, and what might be love.

Camera in the Head I’m an enthusiast of film, the kind of film that uses the uniquely cinematic qualities of the medium. From time to time, I see a non-cinematic film which I like. This is one such. By non-cinematic, I mean that the film is not...


Published August 12, 2023
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The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
The Most Horror-Dripping TALE EVER WRITTEN!
Director: Terence Fisher
Mystery
Thriller
Horror

When a nobleman is threatened by a family curse on his newly inherited estate, detective Sherlock Holmes is hired to investigate.

Mongrel Sherlock was an invention of the times, following the new idea of evolution. The notion of pure reason being able to perceive and comprehend everything in life was especially novel. This was contrasted to the bumbling inductive logic of doctors like Watson. Handling Holmes is...


Published July 27, 2023
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