Tagged Mystery

TIFF Review: Bacurau (Mendonça Filho & Dornelles, 2019)

Kleber Mendonça Filho is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today—and Bacurau is only his third feature. Despite his minimal output thus far, I do believe I’m right in saying so. His debut, Neighboring Sounds, is a remarkably lived-in tapestry of a working-class neighbourhood in the grips of a heatwave, while Aquarius is a decade-spanning rumination on…

The Souvenir (Hogg, 2019)

I have read criticisms of Joanna Hogg’s formal austerity, particularly as it pertains to audience connection. What good is it, they say, if the film purposely frustrates our ability to unlock these characters and their milieus? Why watch these lives if we are prevented from fully accessing them? And it’s true, Hogg is not keen…

Murder Mystery (Newacheck, 2019)

I’ve gobbled up my fair share of mystery novels when I was growing up. I still do, on occasion. I even took a class on detective novels in university because I thought it’d be fun. So this latest Netflix original was kind of irresistible to me, since it promised to pay homage to a genre…

Greta (Jordan, 2018)

Grande Dame Guignol lives on! Maybe not with the same panache as the films from the ‘60s, or the same level of insanity, but a film like Greta is worth it for the camp spectacle alone. Here it is provided to us by an extremely game Isabelle Huppert, playing a spidery widow who leaves expensive-looking purses lying…

Velvet Buzzsaw (Gilroy, 2019)

If Velvet Buzzsaw was going for incisive critique of the art world’s myriad frivolities, it doesn’t work well. The best it can do is to emulate the kind of dead air that’s generated by those who equate premium connoisseurship with maximum pretension. And even then it can only go so far without looking incompetently cartoonish—and oftentimes it…

The Wild Boys (Mandico, 2017)

What if Guy Maddin remade The Island of Dr. Moreau and it made it super gay? It’d probably be something like Bertrand Mandico’s The Wild Boys, which is an all-out unusual experience. Part coming-of-age narrative, part gay fantasia, part ripping sea yarn, the film follows a group of five boys who get out of hand and commit a…

A Simple Favor (Feig, 2018)

I’ve been sitting on this film for almost a day now, trying to figure out what to write about it. My mental list just has the words KENDRICK, LIVELY, COSTUMES and DIABOLIQUE scribbled in earnest, and I must say, I loved so much of it. So much of it, in fact, that I fear this…

The ABC Murders (Gabassi, 2018)

Sarah Phelps does not hold Agatha Christie as sacrosanct, that much is for certain. Her fourth BBC adaptation of the Queen of Crime is, like the ones before it, a version stripped of the source material’s cozy charms. It is, in fact, her most anti-nostalgic adaptation to date, drawing distinguishable parallels between the rise of…

Searching (Chaganty, 2018)

Reader, when that Up-inspired prologue kicked into gear, with that inanely sentimental score blaring away as a mother was diagnosed with lymphoma and then swiftly killed off, I was tempted to switch this film off and go to bed. The moment I saw someone typing “How to fight lymphoma as a family” into Google, and heard…

Cam (Goldhaber, 2018)

This film does a good job of fooling you into thinking you’ve pressed play on a low-rent affair, with sets that look like they were assembled on a tight budget, and a premise that feels pulled from the dark recesses of the Internet. Camming (a form of online sex work) has not been an especially…

Nancy (Choe, 2018)

Christina Choe’s Nancy is surely one of the year’s most pleasant surprises. Its subject matter is familiar, dealing with a family who had lost their five-year old daughter to a kidnapper thirty years before, and a woman (the marvelous Andrea Riseborough) who steps forward as a possible solution to the trauma that has hounded their lives ever…

Atomic Blonde (Leitch, 2017)

Um, so, I’m going to be one of the few people to admit that I enjoyed Atomic Blonde more than John Wick: Chapter 2… even though I’ll concede that the latter had a better plot (or, at the very least, one that wasn’t as convoluted). The fight scenes in this one were more fun, with part of the…

All the Money in the World (Scott, 2017)

This is as competent as you’d want from a Ridley Scott picture. A very slick procedural and real-life thriller (with some fictionalized elements) that boasts a game ensemble and a compelling examination of capitalism’s dehumanizing qualities. What do you do when someone is so enamored with his amassed earnings that he won’t spare you a…

Loving Vincent (Kobiela & Welchman, 2017)

It takes a bit of time to get used to the animation of Loving Vincent, hand painted as it is in the style of van Gogh’s artworks. Overhead shots of towns and fields, and any fast or abrupt movement in general, cannot really be captured with much grace through this technique, so there are a few…

The Cloverfield Paradox (Onah, 2018)

I’m not averse to schlock if it’s entertaining. And there are definitely moments in The Cloverfield Paradox that are fun in a schlocky sense, like Chris O’Dowd’s arm being… ripped? sliced? bitten? from his body, and then ending up as some sentient, disembodied Addams Family reject. Or when the Russian (of course) crewmember is somehow invaded by the worms…