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Whodunit? Kenneth Branaugh Done It

Sleuth
Sleuth; courtesy of Sony Pictures

… In the Kitchen … With The Revolver


Greetings and salutations* cinephiles from the creaky Pacific Heights manor of Lionel Twain, a hare-lipped bastard billionaire turned mystery novelist who (tonight) is throwing a gala shindig for S.F. Stuffed Shirts where swank attendees pay hefty sums to play a game of bloody intrigue. Oh, dinner and a murder … where have you been all my life? Check please.

Guess who’s the Dead Man Walking at my table? Here’s a hint: it ain’t Wadsworth the butler. This guy Twain has hated me for years, ever since he caught me and his ex-trophy wifesucking face” at a Golden Globes afterparty in plain view of God, Pat O’Brien and multiple Access Hollywood cameras. Was that wrong? Probably. My only hope is he’s forgotten the unpleasantness because I can’t find a fire exit anywhere. All the doors are locked, all the windows have bars …*

Now, this guy Twain wouldn’t really have the balls to (gulp) serve me up as the proverbial cooked goose, would he? That was a long time ago and I’m Heroin Sheik, designer skin and bones. Doesn’t he know this film lover’s lithe frame wouldn’t fill half-a-belly of a peckish Tiny Tim?

Sleuth
Sleuth; courtesy of Sony Pictures

Whatever Happened to “Adult Popcorn Movies?”


While I summon the courage to fake a seizure, it occurs to me, today’s “popcorn movies” are all kinda like this party, overblown big budget extravaganzas with reheated, lame-ass scripts. What ever happened to “adult popcorn movies” and genres like: Adult Drama, Adult Suspense and Adult Mystery? Why don’t they make movies like Deathtrap, Rope, Jagged Edge and Presumed Innocent anymore? They still do my little detectives (sort of) … you just gotta know where to look.

Sleuth’s Cinematic Game of Cat-N-Mouse

If you’re a cinematic gumshoe who always wants to know “whodunit,” get your Agatha Christie lovin’ ass on down to your local art house October 12th to check out Sleuth, a cool serving of “cat-and-mouse” stew from acclaimed British auteur Kenneth Branaugh. A remake of the 1972 film with the same name, Sleuth stars Michael Caine and Jude Law as two men locked in a giant mansion in a winner-take-all game of devilish one-upmanship.

When wealthy old mystery novelist Andrew Wyke invites young upstart Milo Tindle to his country manor to talk business, Milo asks Andrew to sign divorce papers. But why?  Milo's been having an affair with Andrew's wife. Before granting Milo's wish, Andrew proposes a little game. Is the game sincere or is there a scheme afoot? That’s for you Sherlocks to find out.

Sleuth
Sleuth; courtesy of Sony Pictures

Now don’t get your Miss Marple knickers in a complete tizzy, 2007’s Sleuth isn’t as taut as the original (which pitted Michael Caine as Milo Tindle against Laurence Olivier) but the remake gets “two-daggers-up” because it does a few things right: Kenneth Branaugh is at the helm (ding), Sir Michael Caine shines in his second run in a Sleuth thriller (double ding), and the script was written by the greatest living playwright in the English language, Harold Pinter (ding ding ding ding ding). Those are heavy-hitters film nerds. You better recognize.

As for the Lionel Twain Murder Party, turns out the swine fancied himself the killer, what a shock. After a few dozen gin gimlets, he went on a virtual rampage, killing Professor Plumb, Colonel Mustard and his new Miss Scarlett in the pool with a shark with a frickin’ laserbeam attached to it’s head. Bravisimo! 

Poppa Scoundrel gets off easy and lives to write another day. As for who killed this perfectly good weekend? I did by showing up. Since I’ve still got two more days with the Sword of Damocles dangling over my head, which of you knows how to cut through metal bars with a nail file? Until next time, this is Poppa H signing off.  Be bad and get into trouble baby. * MRF

Mystery Manor Movies
•    Murder By Death (1976) Dir. Moore
•    Clue (1987) Dir. Lynn
•    Deathtrap (1982) Dir. Lumet
•    Sleuth (1972) Dir. Mankiewicz

Happenings Round Town
•    Klimt (2007) Dir. Ruiz - Lumiere
•    Milarepa: Magician, Murderer, Saint (2007) Dir. Neten Chokling - Lumiere
•    Pete Seeger: The Power Of Song (2007) Dir. Brown - Embarcadero
•    2 Days in Paris (2007) Dir. Delpy - Embarcadero

Volume 30 Footnotes*
•    “Greetings and salutations.” – Heathers (1991): Christian Slater doing his best Nicholson impersonation to a monacle-lovin’ Winona Ryder
•    “All the doors are locked, all the windows have bars.” – Clue (1987): Wadsworth the Butler threatens to release the hounds on a house full of murder suspects. 
•     “Let’s get into trouble baby.” – Tapeheads (1988): Soul Train host Don Cornelius (as Hollywood Producer Mo Fuzz) to upstart filmmakers Tim Robbins and John Cusack.