Reviews written by registered user

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4541 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Above-average TV movie, 18 May 2017

This 2015 film is Canadian and also called "Maid for Murder."

The movie stars Devin Kelley, Aaron Ashmore and Stephen Bogaert. Morgan Sher (Devin Kelley) is a crime scene cleaner. On a job, she finds evidence that the police left behind which may help find the murderer. She works with a brand new detective, Nick (Aaron Ashmore), who has been assigned to the case.

The murder that took place where Morgan cleaned was done by a serial killer, and there is a strange ritual that takes place before the person kills.

It takes Nick a long while to find a clue that can help him.

Very good film but a poor ending that absolutely would not have happened. The story was intriguing nonetheless, part mystery, part a little horror.

Equity (2016)
Slimeballs come in both sexes, 18 May 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Anna Gunn, who played Walt's wife on Breaking Bad, stars in "Equity," a 2016 film. Directed by Meera Menon, it was written by Sarah Megan Thomas, Alysia Reiner, and Amy Fox. The film also features both Thomas and Reiner, as well as Craig Bierko and James Purefoy.

The title has a dual meaning: It's about Wall Street, and it's about women in what used to be man's world.

Gunn is Naomi Bishop, an investment banker brought into her current firm to be a "rainmaker." It hasn't been going great for her since her last initial public offering didn't go very well. Her job is to bring private companies public by selling to institutional investors at a good price, and those investors sell the company on the stock market.

Naomi has an excellent prospect to bring public, a company called Cachet, which deals in keeping information private. And the waters are shark-filled. First, there is her ambitious, pregnant assistant Erin (Thomas), Naomi's broker boyfriend, Michael (Purefoy), and an old friend who is now a prosecutor looking into insider trading (Reiner). On top of all of it, the owner of Cachet doesn't like her and prefers working with Erin. Before she knows it, Naomi is on the defensive.

The way these IPOs work when there is chicanery involved is the following: Someone gets some negative insider info and gives it to the press, driving the price way down before the offering goes to the public. After the offering goes on the stock market at, say $13 less than was promised, all these people buy it. Then whomever gave them the info retracts her statement. The price goes up. The buyers clean up.

I guess the moral of this story is that women are as driven and as underhanded and as untrustworthy as men are in certain businesses. You can't trust anyone, your friends most of all.

The acting was good. For me the script was underdeveloped. It took us into the lives of three women but didn't go quite far enough for me. This situation was presented in a simplistic manner, but one certainly did feel the pressure the main character was under. No such thing as a free lunch.

Problems at the annual small pet show, 16 May 2017

A young man, Seb Huntington, is found murdered, and Barnaby is summoned to Belville Hall's Annual Small Pet Show to investigate. The rabbit cages have been opened, and there are rabbits all over the place. "Well, they look happy," Barnaby says. "Yes," answers the wife of one of the people showing, "perhaps a little too happy." Meaning there will be many more rabbits to come.

Seb, it turns out, was embroiled in a fight with Tim Benson regarding the sale of his house since he separated from his wife. He also wants to sell Belville Hall for the owner, author Delphi Hartley, who organized the show. She doesn't want to sell, although she can no longer afford to carry the house. No one has an alibi.

Then Tim Benson's constant prize-winning rabbit is stolen. He blames Cleo Langton, a fellow exhibitor. However, Cleo winds up dead just like he did.

It's a confusing case for Barnaby, but as usual, he sorts it out. As it turns out, there are a few perps with a few agendas.

This was a good episode, again, similar to the episode before this where some sleight of hand directs us away from the real perpetrator and the real reason for the deaths.

Have to say I love the Barnaby family, including Barnaby, his wife, Betty, and the new pooch.

wow, 14 May 2017

I only gave this an 8 for two reasons: some of it was hard to follow and there were parts that were too slow.

This is an AMAZING multilayered and complicated story, performed by AMAZING actors, using the background of London, loaded with atmosphere.

Ben Whishaw is Danny, a gay young man who meets Alex (Edward Holcroft) while the latter is jogging. They fall in love. Then Danny finds Alex dead, and the police haul him in. He's shocked to learn that he knew nothing about Alex at all - not even his name.

This series will keep you on the edge of your seat - I watched all of the episodes in one sitting.

I won't go into the intricacies of the story, but watch it closely - some of it is in flashback, and some of what you see and don't understand (if you're like me) will be explained later.

The acting is superb: Jim Broadbent is superb as Danny's older gay friend Scottie; Charlotte Rampling plays Alex's mother, and she's brilliant. Harriet Walter is Scottie's good friend Claire - I remember her from Inspector Allyn -- she's terrific. And I can't leave out Mark Gattis, executive producer and Mycroft in the Cumberbatch Sherlock as an old boyfriend of Danny's, as sinister as they come.

The series makes for excellent viewing - the whole thing will knock your socks off.

Burnt (2015/I)
Bradley Cooper, Master Chef, 13 May 2017

The film Burnt came out in 2015 and won six awards here and there. Nevertheless, it did not do particularly well at the box office.

It must have been badly marketed, because I found it delightful and well acted by Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Bruhl, Matthew Rhys, Emma Thompson, and Uma Thurman.

Cooper plays Adam Jones, a highly successful chef in France who wrecked his life with drugs, booze, and women. He comes to London to reinvent himself as a premiere chef and wants a third star from Michelin. He looks up people he worked with in Paris and attempts to convince them to work for him, and he also looks for new people. He's impressed with a sous chef (Sienna Miller), who doesn't like him at first.

Adam decides to take over his friend Tony's (Daniel Bruhl) restaurant by showing up the night that Michelin is in the restaurant. With his reputation on the line, Tony has no choice but to let him cook.

With a team in place, Adam shows himself to be a complete perfectionist who yells, screams, and breaks dishes when the food isn't the way he wants it. One night, after what he thinks is a complete disaster, he shows up wasted at the restaurant of a rival (Matthew Rhys) who tries to help.

Such a fun and interesting film, and who minds looking at Bradley Cooper? We get to see some of what goes on in the kitchen of a top restaurant - the film used top people as consultants - and learn just enough to make us curious about what is a truly fine art.

Highly recommended.

I thought it was pretty good, 12 May 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In response to a previous reviewer, I didn't think Jason Hughes, returning for an episode as Ben Jones, looked bad at all. I kind of liked the scruff. Men do wear beards after 40.

This is an odd episode in a way, concerning the murder of a star cricket player, Leo Henderson, after a tournament called C10. C10 is a format violently opposed by a retired player, Germaine Troughton (Susan Jameson) and committee members of St. John Beachwood.

When Barnaby investigates the murder, he notices that Leo has a huge amount of cash in his account. And then who should come along to play cricket - Jones! Using the name Jack Morris and swearing Barnaby to secrecy. He also can't divulge his reasons for being there, but he is staying with Germaine Troughton.

When Leo's widow's house is robbed, who should Barnaby find with her but Jones. As far as his assistant, Jamie Winter, is concerned, Jones as Jack Morris is the prime suspect. And he wonders why Barnaby keeps shutting him down when he brings it up.

The murders don't end there, and soon Jones confesses he's there about match-fixing with Geraldine's cooperation and needs Barnaby's help.

It doesn't take long to realize that if the murderer isn't found and soon, Jones is at risk. He plays too well, and he too is approached about throwing games.

A subplot concerns a disappearance 20 years earlier, which is marked by people carving into a tree.

This episode was not without its problems. One of the last scenes was physically impossible without help, and one of the motives for an attempted murder is weak.

This story has a major twist. The writer used the magician's trick of drawing one's attention to one place while the real story was elsewhere. I liked it.

sort of a sequel to the Guns of Navarone, 12 May 2017

Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford, Barbara Bach, Edward Fox, Franco Nero, and Carl Weathers star in "Force 10 from Navarone" based on a novela by Alistair MacLean and a follow-up to "The Guns of Navarone."

Mallory is now played by Shaw instead of Gregory Peck and Miller is now Fox instead of David Niven.

It seems there was a traitor with them at Navarone, a man they believe to be dead. But it turns out he escaped. He was a German spy. The Intelligence service thinks he is in Yugoslavian with the Partisans, and Mallory is ordered to find him and kill him.

Since only Miller and Mallory know him, they are sent along with a unit, Force 10, run by Colonel Barnsby (Ford) who doesn't want either man as he believes they will slow him down.

Force 10's mission is to blow up a bridge. En route their plane is shot and everyone has to bail out. They wind up prisoners of German sympathizers. In order to be released, they tell a lot of lies that the commandant doesn't believe. But unbeknownst to them, they have a friend there.

I thought this was pretty good and entertaining and boy, could they blow things up! Lots of special effects and good performances. Amazing seeing how young Harrison Ford was! Recommended. It's not a blockbuster but it is good.

"Widows" (2002)
American remake of a Laura LaPlante story, 8 May 2017

Laura LaPlante is a wonderful writer, but if you've ever seen a British and American version of one of her stories, you know the British are superior.

I did not see the British "Widows" but I did see the American one from 2002, starring Mercedes Ruehl, Rose Perez, Brooke Shields, N'Bushe Wright, Colm Feore, and Jay O. Sanders. The DVD for the American version is shortened from 273 minutes to 168; the original seems to have been a TV series rather than a TV movie that went over several nights.

The story concerns four women whose husbands were killed during an art heist, tied in to the Gardner Museum robbery of 1990. None of those paintings have ever been found. One of them, The Concert, by Vermeer, is worth $300 million. The men were breaking into a gallery to steal the Vermeer, and their deaths were no accident, but murder. The women, led by Dolly (Ruehl) decide to finish stealing the painting and find out who killed their husbands.

The presence of several actors here, particularly Colm Feore, indicates the film was done in Canada.

The original series could not have been about the Gardner robbery, nor did it take place in Boston as this one does.

I enjoyed this film in part because of the acting by Ruehl and also Brooke Shields, though everyone did a good job. And it's always a pleasure to see Feore, an acclaimed stage actor in Canada. Also, it's a good story that draws you in, and knowing about the Gardner Museum heist, I liked that it was part of the plot.

I look forward to seeing the original.

18 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
Netflix, please tell me you're kidding, 7 May 2017

This pathetic Netflix original makes me wonder if they're running low on product.

"Handsome" is a murder mystery starring Jeff Garlin (who also co-wrote and directed). It concerns the murder of a neighbor's babysitter. The murderer tells you who he is before the actual story starts - don't ask.

This film tried to be wacky and funny, but it wasn't. The characterizations and the dialogue went too far so that instead of wacky and offbeat, it came off as forced, as if someone sat down and said, what can I throw in here to make it seem wacky and offbeat. Unfortunately, that someone was not the Coen Brothers.

There were cameos by Joe Kenda of the ID Discovery Channel and Kelly Cuoco. As far as I'm concerned, Leah Remini also had a cameo, and it was less than Kenda and Cuoco had.

Some people on this board stopped watching. I was tempted but persevered to see just how bad it could get. Verdict: Pretty bad.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A kind of mess, 5 May 2017

Patrick Wilson is a two-time Tony Award winner who bears, at certain angles, a resemblance to Paul Newman. He has enjoyed a very good career. But if he doesn't stay away from films like this, I fear for him.

"A Kind of Murder" takes place in 1960 and actually begins in a movie theater where "Butterfield 8" is being shown. A Chevrolet commercial can be heard from the screen; I'm not familiar enough with the film to say it took place in the movie, nor am I aware of commercials being shown in theaters, but I found it odd.

The story concerns two men, architect and some time writer Walter Stackhouse (Wilson) and a bookstore owner, Marty Kimmel (Eddie Marsan). Kimmel's wife is murdered and found near a tavern, and an aggressive cop, Laurence Corby (Vincent Kartheiser) is positive Kimmel is the killer. However, a young man has given him an alibi - he and Kimmel were both in the theater to see Butterfield 8 at the same time.

Then Walter's wife Clara (Jessica Biel), a beautiful but deeply disturbed and unhappy woman, winds up dead in the same location. Both women had taken the same bus, which stopped near the tavern. Walter, tired of Clara being neurotic, had told her he wanted a divorce. She threatened suicide, then left abruptly to be with her sick mother.

Detective Corby harasses both men mercilessly, and when he finds out that Stackhouse has clippings of the Kimmel murder as a resource for the writing he does on the side, he doubles up the harassment.

I'm not sure why this was set in 1960 except that it was based on a Patricia Highsmith novel probably written then. I wonder if the screenwriter (or Highsmith) realized that the Fourth Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1790 so that Corby could not have walked into Stackhouse's home and started going through his house without a warrant. And what idiots allow such harassment and never retain an attorney?

The film had some atmosphere but was slow and dull. It took forever to get to the plot. Now, modern screen writing demands this. I have no problem waiting for the point of the movie if the film is moving along. This one didn't.

Patricia Highsmith was a wonderful mystery writer, but she wasn't perfect. I haven't read her novel but somehow I feel it had to have been better than this.

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