Knives Out is a murder mystery written, produced, and directed by Rian Johnson. Described as a modern take on the whodunit, the film follows a family gathering gone awry, after the family patriarch’s death leads a master detective to investigate. I looked forward to seeing this film and it did not disappoint.
Wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) invites his family to a party at his mansion to celebrate his 85th birthday. The next morning, Harlan’s housekeeper Fran (Edi Patterson) finds him dead, apparently having slit his own throat. An anonymous figure hires private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to investigate. Blanc is accompanied by Detective Lieutenant Elliot (Lakeith Stanfield) throughout the investigation. Blanc learns that Harlan had alienated many of the family: he had threatened to expose his son-in-law Richard Drysdale (Don Johnson) for having an affair; cut off his daughter-in-law Joni’s (Toni Collette) allowance for stealing money meant for Megan (Katherine Langford) his granddaughter’s tuition; fired his youngest son Walt (Michael Shannon) from his publishing company and cut his lazy grandson Ransom (Chris Evans) out of his will. Harlan’s daughter Linda Drysdale (Jamie Lee Curtis), Harlan’s mother Wanetta who is affectionately known as “Great Nana” (K Callan) and Harlan’s nurse Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) are all still in Harlan’s favor.
Knives Out is a typical “who done it” film cleverly put together by Rian Johnson for the modern viewer. I thought this ensemble cast was brilliant as was their story. Clear and comprehensible, the pieces were placed coherently and fit like a glove. If you’re looking for a good brain teaser, Knives Out is your cup of tea. Most of the family had a motive to murder Harlan but only one did it. Find out when you see Knives Out! The film received critical acclaim, particularly for its screenplay, direction, and acting, and has grossed over $132 million worldwide against a $40 million budget. At the 77th Golden Globe Awards, the film received three nominations in the Musical or Comedy categories: Best Motion Picture, Best Actor for Craig, and Best Actress for de Armas. Check It Out!
[KNIVES OUT is Oscar-Nominated for Best Original Screenplay — Totaling 1 Oscar nomination]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged Alicia Cabrera, Ana de Armas, Benoit Blanc, chris evans, christopher plummer, daniel craig, Detective Hardrock, Detective Lieutenant Elliot, don johnson, Donna Thrombey, Edi Patterson, Fran, Harlan Thrombey, Hugh Ransom Drysdale, Jacob Thrombey, Jaeden Martell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Joni Thrombey, joseph gordon-levitt, K Callan, katherine langford, Knives Out, Lakeith Stanfield, Linda Drysdale, M. Emmet Walsh, Marlene Forte, Marta Cabrera, Megan "Meg" Thrombey, michael shannon, Mr. Proofroc, Mrs. Cabrera, Noah Segan, Raúl Castillo, Richard Drysdale, Riki Lindhome, Shyrley Rodriguez, Toni Collette, Trooper Wagner, Walter "Walt" Thrombey, Wanetta "Great Nana" Thrombey
Gifted is a heartfelt story about a seven year old who is a mathematical genius. When someone tells you that, you tend to think algebra, geometry, calculus, trigonometry and maybe algorithms as the child gets older. Gifted went into areas of mathematics way beyond the average. I wondered if a child’s brain could truly be capable of handling some of the problems mentioned in the movie. I found it remarkable that a child’s mind could actually process math as advanced as that. Their living situation was somewhat unique, complete with an over zealous grandmother who is full of tricks and a dead mother, made for an interesting, suspenseful film with a most adorable child.
After much debate, Mary Adler (Mckenna Grace) starts first grade at a normal school, just outside of Tampa, despite her obvious mathematical genius. She had already mastered advanced calculus, which her teacher, Bonnie Stevenson, (Jenny Slate) soon discovered. Mary is offered a scholarship to a private school for gifted children. However, her uncle and de facto guardian, Frank Adler, (Chris Evans) turns it down. According to a promise he made to his sister Diane and his knowledge of schools for the gifted, he thought Mary would have a better chance at a “normal” childhood if she stayed right where she was.
Mary’s mother, Diane had been a promising mathematician, dedicated to the Navier–Stokes problem (one of the unsolved Millennium Prize Problems) before committing suicide when Mary was six months old. Mary has lived with Frank ever since. However, Frank’s estranged mother and Mary’s maternal-grandmother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) seeks to gain custody of Mary and move her to Massachusetts, believing that Mary is a “one-in-a-billion” mathematical prodigy who should be specially tutored in preparation for a life devoted to mathematics. Frank remains adamant that his sister would want Mary to be in a normal public school and have the childhood she didn’t have. Frank hires a lawyer, Greg Cullen (Glenn Plummer) to fight against his mother in court. Here we learn family secrets and get to see the real character behind the players. Frank and Mary enjoy a close family relationship with Roberta Taylor, (Octavia Spencer) who is also their landlady and Mary’s part-time caregiver.
From this point on, we see some interesting turns and wonder where Mary should end up. I found Gifted to be enlightening, interesting and delightful. Gifted is very well acted (a star is born in Mckenna Grace) and a good family movie. Check it out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged bonnie stevenson, chris evans, diane, Evelyn, frank adler, gifted, glenn plummer, greg cullen, jenny slate, lindsay duncan, mary adler, mathematics, mckenna grace, navier-stokes, octavia spencer, roberta taylor, the gifted
In my opinion, Civil War is the best Captain America to date. I absolutely loved this movie. It even addressed the over the top destruction I often talk about in these types of movies. In fact, you might say destruction, carelessness, and thoughtlessness are the themes of Civil War. It also addressed the diversity issue of giving Blacks better roles, although these types of movies are never nominated for Oscars. This third movie in the Captain America series starts out with Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) trying to displace a blast into the sky using telekinesis. However, a nearby building is destroyed killing several Wakandan humanitarian workers. This causes the US Secretary of State, Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) to expedite preparation of the Sokovia Accords that will establish a United Nations panel to oversee and control the Avengers as well as the Superhuman Registration Act. Due to the deaths of innocent by-standers and guilt about Ultron’s creation and Sokovia’s destruction, Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) supports the Accords. Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) however, places his faith and judgement in himself and the team rather than the government. The Accords causes a major conflict between the two leaders and they end up so divided, they go off in separate directions to fight the good fight. NOTE: [The TV series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. makes mention of the Accords as do the coming attractions of the X-men.] In the meanwhile, at a conference in Vienna where the Accords are to be ratified, a bomb is detonated killing King T’Chaka (John Kani) of Wakanda. Security footage indicates the bomber is Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), who T’Chaka’s son, T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) vows to kill. Information provided by Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), who is the niece of Captain America’s deceased girlfriend, Peggy Carter, informs Rogers of Barnes’ whereabouts and the government’s intention to kill him. Rogers decides to apprehend Barnes himself, since Barnes is his childhood friend and war comrade. Barnes is brainwashed, his handler has been killed and a book containing a series of words that allows one to totally control him is being sought after by the killer. This is just the beginning of an exciting 2 and a half hour movie. Stark and Rogers really go at it, forming two independent teams. James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Scott Lang/Ant Man (Paul Rudd), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Android: Vision (Paul Bettany) and Brock Rumlow/Crossbones (Frank Grillo) make up some other participants of the two opposing teams. Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl; is a Sokovian Colonel turned terrorist obsessed with defeating the Avengers), Aunt May Parker (Marisa Tomei; plays Spider-Man’s Aunt), Miriam Sharpe (Alfre Woodard; is a grieving mother who lost her son and blames Stark. Howard Stark (John Slattery; is Tony Stark’s father) and Maria Stark (Hope Davis; is Tony Stark’s mother). We learn what really happened to Stark’s parents — it wasn’t very pretty and didn’t make matters any better between the super heroes.
As usual, I’ve said enough and have to stop at this point in order not to give away any more of this fascinating story. I can only say there is so much more to come. I found Captain America: Civil War very interesting and highly recommend that you see it on the big screen. Even though I saw it in Real 3D, I didn’t really see a need for it. Your time will be well worth spending to see Civil War. The acting is brilliant, the story is excellent and the outcome is great.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged ant-man, anthony mackie, black panther, black widow, captain america: civil war, chadwick boseman, chris evans, crossbones, don cheadle, emily vancamp, falcon, frank grillo, Iron Man, james rhodes, john kani, king t'chaka, natasha romanoff, paul rudd, peter parker, robert downing jr, rumlow, sam wilson, scarlett johansson, scott lang, sharon carter, spider man, Steve rogers, t'challa, the accords, tom holland, tony stark, war machine