The Post-Truth World (罪後真相/Zui Hou Zhen Xiang) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A compelling tale of murder and coverup, where there are many potential suspects, and in the end, the truth might be the biggest casualty.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.

The computer monitor.

The Post-Truth World Review

One of the most essential topics in modern times is the notion of truth and whether we can find it in our news anymore. Can you trust what you see in the news, read in the papers, or skim from the internet? With people yelling fake news at everything, how can you find the real in all the noise? Does the media care about the truth or just a narrative that can sell papers or subscriptions? It is within these questions we find our film today.  

So to set the scene, it is 2012, and all the bases are loaded, as a stadium dresses in yellow to support their team. As the game plays out below, different people’s lives start intersecting and collapsing. It is here where Zhang Zheng-yi (Edward Chen) walks out covered in blood, the blood of his now-dead girlfriend Wang Shi-yun (Tzu Hsuan Chan) and is promptly arrested and incarcerated for life. In 2019, Chang escaped jail by luring Liu Li-min (Joseph Chang), a journalist who ran the popular Dissecting the Society program back in 2012 and was at the stadium at the time of the murder. Today Li-min is trying to get a new title, True Standpoint, off the ground, and the biggest story of the year just kidnapped him. As the city begins a manhunt for Li-min, it is a moment of reflection on whether the truth matters.        

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The Pale Blue Eye – Movie Review

TL;DR – It has a mood and the performances to match, but the narrative just didn’t hook me.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.

Warning – Contains scenes that may cause distress.

Cadets in formation.

The Pale Blue Eye Review

It is time to jump back in time when women’s dresses came in many layers, the army was dressed in blue, and mutton chops were everywhere. It is an era I like when we jump into mysteries because it feels like a world where everyone is prim and proper, but that is just a veneer. It is in this world we find ourselves in as people start dying in the most unpleasant ways.   

So to set the scene, it is a foggy night, but from the gloom, we can see a man hanging from a tree. It is 1830 in Hudson Valley, New York, and Det. Augustus Landor (Christian Bale) has just been summoned to West Point Military Academy by Superintendent Thayer (Timothy Spall). They need someone with discretion. A cadet killed himself, and then his body was violated. This is a political timebomb, and the academy is desperately trying to get the case solved before certain senators in Washington find out.                   

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7 Women and a Murder (7 Donne e un Mistero) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A whimsical romp of a film that I wish just had a touch more substance.    

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There are some mid-credit scenes

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.

A murder most foul.

7 Women and a Murder Review

The stampede of new murder mysteries comes onto the scene. I have gotten a chance to see a lot of English-language films dancing in this space. But it is time to branch away from that and explore how the rest of the world is dabbling in this space. Our first stop is Italy, where the bigger scandal is not that someone is having an affair but that someone has an unrequited love.  

So to set the scene, it is a cold and wintery Christmas Eve as several women make their way to an estate in the Italian countryside. There are seven different women in that house that day. The Daughter Susanna (Diana Del Bufalo), The Maid Maria (Luisa Ranieri), The Mother-In-Law Rachele (Ornella Vanoni), The Wife Margherita (Margherita Buy), The Aunt Agostina (Sabrina Impacciatore), The Little Sister Caterina (Benedetta Porcaroli), and The Lover Veronica (Micaela Ramazzotti). But when they wake up the patriarch of the house, Marcello (Luca Pastorelli), The Maid finds him dead with a knife in his back. A murder most foul. But who is the killer? Is one of them? Or is someone else prowling the house, waiting to strike? Which is right when the electricity starts to flutter.   

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See How They Run – Movie Review

TL;DR – A delightful romp through post-WW2 London as a murder reaches into the heights of polite society.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed the film.

Mousetrap

See How They Run Review

We are seeing a resurgence of the Murder Mystery on our screens, which I have generally found to be an absolute delight. We have witnessed straight adaptations like Murder on the Orient Express, musical romps like The Bob’s Burgers Movie, and genre deconstructions like Knives Out. Today we’ll look at a film that is a lover of the genre and dances with a light touch while delving into some delightful meta-commentary.    

 So to set the scene, we open on London’s West End in 1953, where Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap is playing its 100th performance. Hollywood has tasked Leo Köpernick (Adrien Brody) to create a film adaptation of this dull play. After flirting with the star of the show Richard Attenborough’s (Harris Dickinson) wife, Sheila Sim (Pearl Chanda), Leo ends up backstage, where he is brutally murdered by someone dressed in black. But as Leo states as the narrator, it is always the most unlikeable characters that get bumped off. Now Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and Constable Stalker (Saoirse Ronan) are on the case, but as Leo laments, if you have seen one Whodunit, you have seen them all.

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Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Murder Mystery – TV Review

TL;DR – This special shows that they have learned from performing the first season and put those lessons into designing one of the funniest things I have seen in a while.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this show.

Santa's Dead.

Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Murder Mystery Title Review

Earlier in 2022, there was the odd show that dropped on Netflix. It was a bunch of comedians being dropped in a murder mystery, but they don’t have a script. I thought the first season of Murderville was fine, but you could feel the story wrenching people in one direction rather than organically developing. I didn’t think much of it after I watched it. However, when I saw there was a Christmas special, well, I had to give it a look.

So to set the scene, Detective Terry Seattle (Will Arnett) is home alone, feeling bad about Christmas. Still, Mayor Palmer (Tawny Newsome) needed security at a Christmas event, and Chief Rhonda Jenkins-Seattle (Haneefah Wood) ain’t gonna do it because she is on holiday. But Seattle can’t do this by himself, bring on his new trainee Jason Bateman (Jason Bateman). Everything was going fine until lights went out, and when they came back, Santa, aka John ‘Johnny’ Blaze, aka Sean Hayes, was dead with a candy cane sticking out of his chest. They need to find out who the killer is, but they have to do it before the Sun comes up, or the orphans will not get their presents.  

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Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it took a long time to get started, it triumphed when it found its voice.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

Everyone looks in shock as Benoit Blanc arrives

Glass Onion Review

It is no secret that I love the first Knives Out film, one of those rare films that improve with each rewatch. It waltzed onto the screen full of pomp and circumstance before subverting the whodunit genre. It could have worked perfectly as a stand-alone film. It would have been satisfactory to quit while you were ahead. But to be honest, I always wanted to jump back into this world, and I am glad we did.

So to set the scene, one day, Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.), Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), and Duke Cody (Dave Bautista) all received a mysterious parcel in the mail. It is from reclusive billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton), a long-time friend and controversial figure. The box invited everyone to a murder mystery, his murder, in Greece. But when everyone turns up at the dock, surprisingly, there is a Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) there as well. Even more surprising is that Cassandra “Andi” Brand (Janelle Monáe) also arrives. Because Andi was just betrayed by everyone, publicly, and well the stage is set for murder.    

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The Bob’s Burgers Movie – Movie Review

TL;DR – This was so full of charm and joy that I had a smile on my face for the entire runtime, well, when I was not laughing, that is.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film

Bob pats a burger

The Bob’s Burgers Movie Review

When I walked in to see The Bob’s Burgers Movie, I had two main concerns, one personal and the other professional. The personal being that I had kind of fallen out with Bob’s Burgers. During the Covid pandemic, when they finally released it easily here in Australia on Disney+, I binged that series hard, which might not have been for the best. Professionally, I had to wonder, could it make a show that was deserving of a feature-length runtime. The last show to do this on a similar scale was Simpsons, and even Family Guy fell back on that Star Wars riff when doing something similar. However, as I walked out of the cinema, I was glad to say that neither of these concerns was an issue because the film was a blast.  

So to set the scene, it is 6-years beforehand, and one night, in the dark night, there is a scuffle, and then a bang as someone is murdered. Flash forward to the present day, and there is a feeling of nervous cheer in the Belcher family. Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and Linda (John Roberts) are going down to the bank to ask for an extension on their loan payment, and Bob is making a special burger to help seal the deal. However, as the kids Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Mirman), and Louise (Kristen Schaal) go to school, Louise is called a baby because she still wears bunny ears. Well, Bob didn’t get the loan, and worse, a pit hole opens up in front of the restaurant, but in that hole could be the Belcher’s salvation or their doom.    

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Death on the Nile – Movie Review

TL;DR – A sequel that boosts in individual performance while lacking in the ensemble.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ streaming service that viewed this film

Poirot sitting in front of the Sphinx.

Death on the Nile Review

When COVID struck, nearly every major film was bumped from the schedule. For many, this gave them a moment to release in a time when people could see them safely. However, for others, the delay meant that it was released after a significant scandal decoupled one of its major stars. Alas, with this outing, we get a film that was the latter. But the question I had when going in was, could it overcome it?  

So to set the scene, we open in the trenches of WW1, where a well-moustachioed Captain is told that they need to take a bridge, a death note. However, a young Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) tells of a different way to attack the bridge that won’t leave them exposed. It worked, but a tripwire kills the captain. After the events of Murder on the Orient Express, Poirot finds himself in Egypt and the company of his friend Bouc (Tom Bateman) and Bouc’s mother Euphemia (Annette Bening) as they tour down the Nile. They are part of a wedding party, of a whirlwind marriage of Linnet “Linny” Ridgeway-Doyle (Gal Gadot) and Simon Doyle (Armie Hammer). But there is more danger on the Nile than the crocodiles lurking under the water.

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Murder on the Orient Express (2017) – Movie Review [Exploring the Past]

TL;DR – A perfectly pleasant presentation of Poirot’s perceived peculiarities as he pertains the proceeds of a pernicious passing.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ streaming service that viewed this film

The Orient Express on a mountainside.

Murder on the Orient Express Review

Every year, you intend to see one or two films, but they manage to slip out of your hands like the one fish they need to eat in Alone. In 2017, one of those films was Murder on the Orient Express, a modern adaptation of the classic book and film. Indeed, if nothing else, the cast list alone merits giving this one a watch. Today, given that I am about to watch the sequel, it felt like a better now than never prospect, so let’s dive in.  

So to set the scene, it is 1934, and we start in Jerusalem at The Wailing Wall, where hotel staff are making eggs for a painfully precise Poirot (Kenneth Branagh). A Rabbi, a Priest, and an Iman are accused of stealing a relic, and the city is about to explode into a riot. Well, one arrested police chief later, and a boat ride to Istanbul, Hercule Poirot and an assortment of colourful characters board the famous/infamous Orient Express, three days of peace and no crime, bar for a bit of murder discovered after an avalanche derails the train. A train full of people, one of them a killer, and the threat that more may die before the snow is cleared.

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Fatale – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film with a solid concept that hits hard early and then gives diminishing returns after that.    

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.

Fatale. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Fatale Review

When writing a movie, I would take it that one of the more difficult parts of any screenplay is to know when that wow moment will be and how that moment affects the whole film. I think we have all watched that movie where that wow moment has fallen flat, or when it came at the wrong part of the film. Well, today, we have an interesting case of a movie making a big statement with its wow moment that had me on the edge of my seat and then did very little with it from that point onwards.

So to set the scene, Derrick Tyler (Michael Ealy) is a basketball agent who has worked to build his company from a small operation to one of the big players in the industry. But while his professional life is reaching for the heights, his marriage with Tracie (Damaris Lewis) is on autopilot. All of this is made worse when Derrick, enabled by his business partner Rafe Grimes (Mike Colter), has an affair with a woman in Las Vegas. This was a turning point for Derrick, but he has to look in horror when the women Val Quinlan (Hilary Swank) turns out to be Detective Val Quinlan.

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