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Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
Manners maketh man.
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Crime
Comedy
Action
Adventure

The story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

Not that Kind of Tailoring From time to time in these comments, I remark on my surprise at how sophisticated young viewers are, and how they demand ever more complex and subtle self-referential folds. It gives me pleasure to realise that my flower children cohort were...


Published March 5, 2023
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Sherlock Holmes (1954-1955)
Mystery
Drama

The first American television series of Sherlock Holmes adventures aired in syndication in the fall of 1954. The 39 half-hour mostly original stories were produced by Sheldon Reynolds and filmed in France by Guild Films, starring Ronald Howard as Holmes and Howard Marion Crawford as Watson. Archie Duncan appeared in many episodes as Inspector Lestrade. Richard Larke, billed as Kenneth Richards, played Sgt. Wilkins in about fifteen episodes. The series' associate producer, Nicole Milinaire, was one of the first women to attain a senior production role in a television series.

Sluggo Yet another appropriation of the Holmes character. In this case, they had 23 minutes to fill with enough attractiveness to sell stuff. The form demands light banter, very simple plots and secondary characters, and lots of slugging. Slugging is required. Like other appropriations of the Holmes...


Published March 4, 2023
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Margaret (2011)
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Drama

A young woman witnesses a bus accident, and is caught up in the aftermath, where the question of whether or not it was intentional affects many people's lives.

Situations Okay, I’ve been through both edits of this now, after recommendations from several readers. I get what he is trying to do. I am writing as someone who prefers the Cannes edit of ‘Brown Bunny’ and who eagerly sat through 3 1/2 hours of ‘The...


Published March 2, 2023
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A Night of Terror (1937)
Caught in the web of a madman!
Director: Rowland V. Lee
Mystery
Thriller
Romance

Ann Harding plays a lovely but somewhat naive young woman who goes on a European vacation after winning a lottery. Swept off her feet by charming Basil Rathbone, Harding finds herself married before she is fully able to grasp the situation. Slowly but surely, Rathbone's loving veneer crumbles; when he casually asks Harding to sign a document turning her entire fortune over to him, she deduces that her days are numbered.

Talking while Leaving Theater When I heard that 3D would be going mainstream a few years ago, I hoped for a revolution in what we think films are. I believe we are seeing some radical rethinking, because with 3D and CGI, we get a less encumbered...


Published February 27, 2023
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Memories of Murder (2003)
The worst of them will stay with you... forever.
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Crime
Drama
Thriller

During the late 1980s, two detectives in a South Korean province attempt to solve the nation's first series of rape-and-murder cases.

Watchers Excepting Snowpiercer, this filmmaker has a distinct style. He surveys watchers and watching by creating and weaving layers. So far as I know, this is his masterwork. This filmmaker sees differently. He sees people seeing, weaves stories around this to keep us engaged, then simply...


Published February 27, 2023
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The Lego Movie (2014)
The story of a nobody who saved everybody.
Director: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Animation
Family
Adventure
Comedy
Fantasy

An ordinary Lego mini-figure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil Lego tyrant from conquering the universe.

Gamer Gate The outer story is about a kid and his dad who doesn't understand play. An inner story has tokens that elaborate on this, a story that is mostly flashiness. The animation is based on Lego and I am sure there is a large franchise...


Published February 26, 2023
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Lady Maiko (2014)
What does it take to be a lady?
Director: Masayuki Suō
Comedy
Drama
Music

Country bumpkin Haruko only ever wanted to become a maiko, an apprentice geisha. Initially rebuffed for lack of references, Haruko's strong accent intrigues a linguistics professor, who undertakes to coach her.

Adaptation The story itself is about adapting from a not ideal Japanese state to the purest state, a Geisha. In Japan, the rural north is considered to consist of country bumpkins, something like in the US we associate with the South. A Geisha’s training includes many...


Published February 24, 2023
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Nightcrawler (2014)
The city shines brightest at night
Director: Dan Gilroy
Crime
Drama
Thriller

When Lou Bloom, desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A. crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story. Aiding him in his effort is Nina, a TV-news veteran.

Wet Spots There are some fine things about this that you can read elsewhere, There seems to be no lack of appreciation for the obvious things. What struck me was the role that Russo has. I am interested in films where the filmmaker — usually a man...


Published February 24, 2023
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Murder by the Book (1967)
Director: Mel Damski
Comedy
Crime
Mystery
Thriller
TV Movie

Mild-mannered mystery writer D. H. Mercer has become so immersed in his material that his creation, hard-boiled private eye Biff Deegan, constantly appears to him as a hallucination. Intent on getting rid of Biff, and replacing him with a more civilized detective, Mercer soon finds himself in a genuine mystery involving art fraud, murder, and a beautiful lady in peril.

Double Folds This isn’t worth watching for what it is, but I count it as a notable example, more so because it is a cheap TeeVee production with low aspirations. The overall story is about art forgery. The structure is adventuresome. The story we see is written...


Published February 24, 2023
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Murder Ahoy (1964)
New mischief amidst the mizzen-masts!
Director: George Pollock
Drama
Thriller
Crime
Mystery
Comedy

During an annual board of trustees meeting, one of the trustees dies. Miss Marple thinks he’s been poisoned after finding a chemical on him. She sets off to investigate at the ship where he had just come from. The fourth and final film from the Miss Marple series starring Margaret Rutherford as the quirky amateur detective.

Jerry Lewis’ Mutiny The good: well it has a jaunty theme song. At least it honors the original form in that the order we see things in is roughly the order of discovery by the detective. By this entry in the series, they had seriously lost their...


Published February 22, 2023
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