1-20 of 113 items from 2014 « Prev | Next »
The structure of the whodunit was cemented, if not entirely created, by Agatha Christie. The mystery writer par excellence penned 66 detective novels and twelve short stories in her lifetime, and regardless of whether they starred the deceptively doddering Miss Marple or the magnificently moustachioed Hercule Poirot, they tended to follow a similar formula: a murder, a murder scene, and a whole police line-up’s worth of suspects, of which the sleuth at the centre had to accuse of the crime. The genius of Christie’s work was that she gave the readers just enough to, potentially, solve the mystery themselves.
It’s an approach which has permeated murder mysteries in all forms since. Part of the fun is not just seeing the genius detective unravel the case, but also to try and figure things out yourself. Not quite in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” sort of way, »
- Tom Baker
The Post-1960S, Pre-Digital Age: Real-time One-offs, 1975-1998
British filmmaker John Byrum is responsible for the first (and in some ways only) real-time period film. Inserts (1975), set in the early 1930s, is about a Boy Wonder movie director (called Boy Wonder, played by Richard Dreyfuss fresh from American Graffiti (1973) and Jaws (1975)) now washed up before the age of 30, resigned to making porn because of Hollywood’s conversion to sound. Not only is Inserts scrupulously real-time (with the exception of the opening credits sequence, which offers glimpses of the stag film we’re about to see made) and period, but it’s rather long for such a film, just shy of two hours. To tell the entire story would be spoiling the fun, but the Boy Wonder deals with recalcitrant actresses, the problem of his own potency, career problems, death, sex, after-death and after-sex…and in the end, as »
- Daniel Smith-Rowsey
Nobody makes movies as unrepentantly manly as David Ayer. The director started his career writing "Training Day," a script that would ultimately win Denzel Washington an Academy Award for Best Actor, and went on to write and direct similarly gritty crime movies "Harsh Times" and "End of Watch." Earlier this year, he co-wrote and directed "Sabotage," a modern day drug world variation on an Agatha Christie story that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. All of Ayers movies up until now have been about men —sweaty, foul-mouthed, violence-loving men, with female characters serving as another way in which those men communicate with one another. But his most macho movie yet is this week's "Fury," a mud-and-blood-covered World War II yarn about a squad of soldiers in a tank (commanded by Brad Pitt) during the waning days of the European theater (read our review). We sat down with Ayer earlier this week and talked. »
- Drew Taylor
Box Office Mojo is back – and how tons of information online can vanish when you least expect it By now, everyone who cares about movie box-office information is aware that the website Box Office Mojo, the Web's premier source of box-office news and data, is back online after disappearing for much of Friday and Saturday, October 10-11, 2014. During that period of total silence, Twitter was abuzz with speculations — a technical glitch? A hacker attack? An alien invasion? — lamentations, and eulogies. For a brief while, the ever-reliable (sarcasm) Wikipedia referred to Box Office Mojo in the past tense. How did it all happen? Well, some time on Friday, journalists, bloggers, and box-office aficionados noticed that Box Office Mojo was being redirected to an Internet Movie Database page featuring the latest box-office information — which, on that site, isn't either much "latest" or much information at all. But why would Box Office Mojo be redirected to the IMDb? »
- Andre Soares
Viewers of a certain age may remember a quirky kids TV show called Grandad in which Clive Dunn played Charlie Quick, an absent-minded old caretaker who would almost certainly end each episode by drowning his spluttering boss in a tidal wave of fizzy drinks spurting from a malfunctioning dispenser unit.
Good times. And refreshingly free of the moronic TV programming that viewers have to endure these days. This ratings-driven disease has conveniently eaten its way into good old Doctor Who, which has been pushed back to 8.30 in order to make way for two tacky hours worth of Z-list celebs moving around a big floor. Considering that Doctor Who is supposed to be a family programme, pushing it back to make way for the lowest-common-denominator trash of Strictly Come Dancing makes about as much sense as a man trying to give directions with 100 gobstoppers in his mouth. That's the whole junior audience left out for starters. »
This week's Doctor Who may not be the strongest episode of the current run, but it leaves us with plenty to mull over...
This review contains spoilers. Our spoiler-free review is here.
8.8 Kill The Moon
"Do you come round to peoples' houses for dinner?"
It seems a shame to start with something a little downbeat, given that Mummy On The Orient Express was really quite good fun. But after that ending to Kill The Moon, we can't have been the only ones hoping for things to be picked up more directly than they were here. Just seven days ago, Clara sent the Doctor away and was bellowing at him, fed up with his patronising ways and treating her as a regular human, who just makes the same choices as everyone else. Internet fire was certainly lit.
Clearly things have happened by the time Mummy On The Orient Express starts, but »
With ten episodes to tell its crime story -- something some series do weekly, in an hour -- one might think Gracepoint would take its time when it comes to plot or pacing. Instead, the investigation surrounding Danny Solano's murder flows forth with incredible speed. Details emerge quickly, change, betray more depth, and then mutate again into something else. Clues are not hard to find, either. For detectives Carver and Miller, the problem is not in finding the information, but in knowing what to do with the deluge. Hit the jump for why you should never lie to the police. Though "Episode Two" touched some on how the Solanos, particularly Beth, are grieving after Danny's death, the hour was mostly spent around characters we hadn't yet met -- but who were teased -- from the first episode. Particular time was given to a local Priest, Paul (Kevin Rankin), who is an old friend of Beth's. »
- Allison Keene
A classic monster. A classic train. The clock is ticking. Here's our spoiler-free look at Mummy On The Orient Express...
You'd hardly say that the horror theme running through this series of Doctor Who has been an undercurrent, but in Mummy On The Orient Express, it bubbles right to the fore. As the Doctor tells us early on, there are many trains that have taken the name the Orient Express, but there's only one in space. And that's where we find ourselves for the vast bulk of the episode. It just happens to be the one where a Mummy is wreaking havoc.
Penned by Jamie Mathieson, making his Doctor Who debut, Mummy On The Orient Express thus mixes in solid ingredients. There's an Agatha Christie-esque mystery, with a bunch of passengers who get drawn into what's going on. It also has a play with the Universal horror movies of »
London – Dakota Fanning starrer “Effie Gray,” which is the first original screenplay written by Emma Thompson, world premieres on Oct. 5 in London, and opens in the U.K. on Oct. 10 through Metrodome Distribution. Variety has been given an exclusive clip from the film. The U.S. distributor is due to be revealed on Oct. 9.
The film, which is directed by Richard Laxton, explores the true story of the relationship between Victorian art critic John Ruskin, his teenage bride, Euphemia “Effie” Gray, and Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais. It reps Fanning’s first adult starring role as Effie.
Other thesps in the film include Thompson (“The Remains of the Day,” “Howards End”), Julie Walters (“Harry Potter”), Tom Sturridge (“On the Road”), David Suchet (“Agatha Christie’s Poirot”) and Greg Wise (“Walking on Sunshine”).
- Leo Barraclough
Doctor Who returns to Earth with a covert adventure from Gareth Roberts, writer of Agatha Christie-inspired episode “The Unicorn and the Wasp.” This episode, while genuinely as entertaining as this season’s most recent tales, very well may be the most integral in terms of solidifying Capaldi’s brilliance as the iconic Time Lord (and vindicating Moffat for… lesser times).
“The Caretaker,” written by Roberts and Steven Moffat, marks the return of the Doctor’s (Peter Capaldi) alter ego, John Smith, who must go undercover as the caretaker of Clara’s (Jenna Coleman) school in order to save the Earth from a misplaced alien known as the Skovox Blitzer. To help matters further, a suspicious Danny ...
Click to continue reading ‘Doctor Who’ Season 8, Episode 6 Review: A Future So Bright
- Anthony Ocasio
★★☆☆☆The last two films in Arnold Schwarzenegger's comeback tour have provided schlocky but enjoyable titillation, with The Last Stand edging out Escape Plan as the better of the two. Directed by David Ayer, Sabotage (2014) has loftier ambitions, but despite some solid work from its leading man the film is tripped up by its messily executed plot. Loosely based on Agatha Christie's novel Ten Little Indians (yes really), Schwarzenegger stars as John 'Breacher' Wharton, leader of an elite team of DEA agents looking to swindle $10 million from a cartel. What initially looks to be a successful heist proves anything but; the stolen loot goes missing, and the team fall under heavy scrutiny from their superiors.
- CineVue UK
Don’T Blink Poster
There’s something easy to latch onto with films that take the Agatha Christie written “And Then There Were None” (or Ten Little Indians) and give it a brand new spin. I happen to love films that fall into that category, as it’s always a lot of fun to watch a film based on a group of character getting picked off, one by one, and trying to solve the mystery of who’s doing it and why. It’s a gamble with each one though, for every Identity, there’s a Mindhunters, so like every film, you take your chances.
The Travis Oates-helmed Don’T Blink (hitting VOD September 18th) looks like another take at the classic story, and judging from the trailer, it looks like it could be a lot of fun. Filled with characters played Mena Suvari (American Beauty), Brian Austin Green (Chromeskull: Laid To Rest II, »
- Jerry Smith
Woody Allen’s latest offering is rather a perplexing beast. Packed to bursting point with talent, played out against an exquisite French Riviera backdrop and benefitting from a witty story, it ought to be fabulous. But it isn’t. Instead Magic In The Moonlight – the story of a skeptical magician and an artful clairvoyant – is something of a conjuring act itself. From an amiable muddle of misdirection, Agatha Christie adaptation aesthetic, lopsided performances and grand affectations, the veteran director still somehow extracts a dazzling ending which warrants applause.
World renowned conjuror Wei Ling Soo is better known to his very few friends as Stanley Crawford (Colin Firth) – an opinionated Englishman with a tangible disdain for the weak, gullible and “mentally defective”. Flattered by the extravagant compliments of lifelong friend and fellow illusionist Howard (Simon McBurney) – and abandoning plans to holiday with his pragmatic fiancée Olivia – Stanley agrees to a trip »
- Emily Breen
Screentime.s Anzac Girls will premiere in the Us next month on Us subscription streaming service Acorn TV.
The WW1 miniseries based on the true stories of five Australian and New Zealand nurses at Gallipoli and the Western Front will launch on October 6, with a new episode screening each Monday until November 10.
In early 2015 Acorn will release the 6-part series on DVD and syndicate it to public television stations nationwide.
Owned by Rlj Entertainment, Acorn TV bills itself as the first British-tv focused streaming service in North America.
Its programming this year includes Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries series 2, Jack Irish, Midsomer Murders, Murdoch Mysteries and Rlj-owned series George Gently, Agatha Christie's Poirot: Curtain and Poirot's Last Case. Anzac Girls stars Georgia Flood (House Husbands), Antonia Prebble (White Lies), Laura Brent (Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader), Anna McGahan (House Husbands) and Caroline Craig (Underbelly) as the five nurses. »
- Don Groves
Stars: Lexi Giovagnoli, Wesley Scott, Debbie Rochon, Natalie Peyton, Blair Jackson, Elyse Bigler, Melody Herron, Jesse Ferraro, Kiarra Hogan, Chris Hlozek, Payton Wood, Fabian Watkins, Elle Lamont | Written and Directed by Jake Helgren
Quick question. This is 2014 right? You wouldn’t guess that from watching Varsity Blood!
It would seem that the trend for producing horror movies that harken back to the 80s and the golden age of the slasher, has officially become the “norm” for modern examples of the genre. Every month there seems to be another slasher movie that hits DVD and/or VOD which looks and feels like the self-referential post-Scream years never happened. But I’m not complaining, oh no! As a Huge fan of slasher movies (even the likes of Iced and Terror at Tenkiller) I relish the opportunity to watch each and every new entry into the much-maligned genre.
Thankfully the quality of modern slashers has, »
- Phil Wheat
It all began with an early obsession with Nancy Drew, then I moved on to Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie, and before I knew it I was devouring any book that promised thrills, intrigue, and murder. Is there a detective in it? I'll read it. Bonus points if the protagonist is a woman. And the cherry on top is if the author is British or Scandinavian (or Irish). That said, Gone Girl is one of my favorite books of all time, so if you feel the same, you'll probably love my other picks. Obviously, this isn't an exhaustive list - I've only included books I can vouch for (aka that I've read) - but here are 21 modern mysteries guaranteed to keep you up all night, in order of tame to terrifying. »
Parental failures, lingering filial resentments and obscure French real-estate laws are placed under the microscope in veteran playwright Israel Horovitz’s debut feature, “My Old Lady,” with only the latter yielding any novel discoveries. Handsomely mounted across some well-chosen Parisian locations, and , especially among older auds, though its translation from stage to screen looks to have been a bit rocky, and the film never manages to transcend its actors-workshop aura and develop into something deeper.
Adapted by Horovitz from his own 2002 play, “My Old Lady” stars Kline as New Yorker Mathias Gold, a depressed recovering alcoholic without a penny in the bank to show for his three unpublished novels, or an ounce of affection to show for his three failed marriages. Upon the death of his detested businessman father, Mathias learns he’s been cut out of the will save for a few old books and a multimillion-Euro apartment in Paris, »
- Andrew Barker
Not everything Nordic is noir. BBC4s new Scandi import proves the Swedes can do perky period whodunnits too
Roald Amundsens polar supremacy, the frank 1950s nudity of Ingmar Bergmans Summer With Monika, Abba, crispbread, The Moomins, self-assembly furniture, Olof Mellberg, a model postwar economy based on high taxation and a generous welfare state, Swedish House Mafia the culture of the Scandinavian peninsula has long been regarded as a force for good in the world. But the entries on that list engender only a passing admiration next to the knitwear-copying gusto with which we have embraced 21st-century Scandinavian crime drama, from Swedish detectives to Danish whodunnits, even the Swedish-Danish two-detective one-whodunnit.
The Bafta International TV category was an accepted euphemism for American until 2011, when The Killing beat Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men. Since then, no shortlist has been without at least one Scandi entry. (This year, a frankly disappointing third »
- Andrew Collins
Director and actor Richard Attenborough has died at the age of 90. An acclaimed performer who seamlessly segued from working in front of the camera to behind it, Attenborough earned two Oscars for his illuminating biopic Gandhi, for Best Picture and Best Director at the 1983 ceremony.
That victory came after a long and fruitful career in cinema for Attenborough, which began with an uncredited role as a deserting sailor in 1942 pic In Which We Serve. The British actor’s breakthrough role came five years later, in John Boulting’s adaptation of the Graham Greene novel Brighton Rock. From there, Attenborough’s star continued to climb. He would go on to work prolifically in British cinema, appearing in many comedies including Private’s Progress and I’m All Right Jack. Attenborough also succeeded on the stage, leading the West End production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap for a time.
The actor »
- Isaac Feldberg
Richard Attenborough, who was honored for his helming and production of the 1982 Oscar best picture “Gandhi” but was best known to American audiences for his role in Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” and its first sequel as park creator John Hammond, died on Sunday, his son tells BBC News. He was 90.
The stocky British filmmaker was awarded a life peerage by Queen Elizabeth II in 1993 for his stage work and for his efforts behind and in front of the camera to promote British cinema.
While Attenborough had been a prominent character actor in his native country since the early 1940s, he also achieved much as a producer, motion picture executive and cultural impresario. At various times he was chairman of the British Film Institute, Channel 4, Goldcrest Films, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and Capital Radio and a director of the Young Vic and the British Film Institute. In the late ’70s, »
- Carmel Dagan
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