5 Razors

Knives Out

by Alan Rapp on November 22, 2019

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Knives Out
  • IMDb: link

Knives Out movie reviewRian Johnson delivers a devilishly good time in this fantastically entertaining whodunit set around the apparent suicide of the patriarch (Christopher Plummer) of a wealthy family. Set almost entirely in the Thrombey home, the writer/director makes excellent use of both setting and a talented cast featuring Daniel Craig as private investigator Benoit Blanc who has reason to believe murder has been committed. Part Hercule Poirot and part Columbo, Craig is in good form as the smartest man in the room.

The suspects include every member of the dysfunctional Thrombey family (Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Katherine Langford, Michael Shannon, Jaeden Martell, and Riki Lindhome) each of whom has motive for murder. To help unravel the family’s dysfunction, Blanc enlists the help of the deceased’s nurse (Ana de Armas). The large supporting cast offers opportunities for several of its stars to steal scenes including Evans playing a role as far removed as possible from Steve Rogers and Johnson as a perfect rich douchebag completely oblivious to his own behavior.

[click to continue…]

The Irishman

by Alan Rapp on November 15, 2019

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Irishman
  • IMDb: link

The Irishman movie reviewDirector Martin Scorsese assembles several familiar faces in examining the life of Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro). While the structure of the film is a tad odd, flashbacks within flashbacks, the story (adapted from Charles Brandt’s book) slowly peels the onion of Sheeran’s life and his close connection to both Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).

Despite it’s 209-minute running time, there’s little I would cut from Steven Zaillian‘s screenplay, although an argument could be made for trimming the outer layer of the film focused on Sheeran’s elderly years. However, even that plays into the film’s larger narrative about what kind a man the Irishman was and the toll of living the life he did took both on himself and his family.

While there some minor issues (such as De Niro not exactly moving like a young man in the earliest flashbacks), the story Scorsese weaves is a fascinating one that includes some pleasant surprises along the way (such as casting Pesci against type as the level-headed negotiator of the group).

[click to continue…]

Usagi Yojimbo #5

by Alan Rapp on October 10, 2019

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #5 comic reviewTragedy comes in the conclusion of “The Hero.” True to his word, Miyamoto Usagi helps see Lady Mura back to her father, but there is little comfort the honorable elder can offer. Instead honor insists she return home with her husband, whose sudden appearance does nothing to lessen Usagi’s opinion of the man.

The end of the comic mirrors the opening pages from Mura’s story, just as tragedy befalls the hero in her tale so does it the author who the husband kills on the road back home (blaming the same bandits Usagi fought off earlier in the comic). Usagi doesn’t act on his suspicions, but karma has a role to play in the killer’s future.

[click to continue…]

Patriot – Milwaukee, America

by Alan Rapp on September 17, 2019

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Patriot – Milwaukee, America
  • IMDb: link

Patriot - Milwaukee, America television review

The opening episode of Patriot introduces us to burned-out intelligence officer John Tavner (Michael Dorman), and the son of the head of the agency (Terry O’Quinn). Since the end of his last assignment, John has been hanging out in Amsterdam getting stoned and writing autobiographical folk songs which are becoming more and more about his botched missions. With Iraq elections holding the key to the continued stall or reinvigoration of the country’s weapons program, the elder Tanner tasks his son with a new mission. He also enlists the help of his other son (Michael Chernus), a Congressman from Texas, with helping keep his brother on task by providing him a role of an attache overseas. As with John’s previous assignment, things go wrong rather quickly.

[click to continue…]

  • Title: A Nero Wolfe Mystery – Christmas Party
  • IMDb: link

A Nero Wolfe Mystery - Christmas Party TV review

Today’s Throwback Thursday post takes us back to mid 20th Century New York and the private detective offices located at 454 W. 35th Street. Making terrific use of Francie Swift, who so perfectly fits the role as fatale in the show’s setting, “Christmas Party” is one of my favorite episodes of the series in which Archie (Timothy Hutton) is able to put one over on his boss and Nero Wolfe (Maury Chaykin) makes an out-of-character mistake that puts them both in the middle of a murder investigation. Invited to a Christmas party by his sometimes dancing partner Margot Dickey (Swift) who plans to use Archie (and the fake marriage licence he was able to procure) as a needed push to get her boss (Robert Bockstael) to marry her, Archie is front-and-center when their host drops dead of poison. So is Nero Wolfe, disguised as the party’s Santa Claus in order to get a good look at the woman Archie has informed his boss he plans to wed.

[click to continue…]