Last Update10/14/18

 

Mr Mercedes Season 1 (2016)

Season One is actually the first novel in the Bill Hodges trilogy. The story pits a retired police detective against a mass murderer who was never caught, and who decides to taunt the man who failed to track him down. The killer is a computer whiz and a really unbalanced headcase who is planning a major atrocity in addition to the lesser incidents he is causing along the way. Hodges is assisted by the young man who mows his lawn and by an autistic woman who finds a real purpose for the first time in her life. The acting is excellent across the board, but there are lots of long shots of people doing nothing important, apparently so that the story could be stretched out to ten full episodes. There are some liberties taken with the book, though not enormous ones, and a couple of scenes left out confused me a bit, particularly when a flashback is thrown in without warning. Season 2 is the second novel, Finders Keepers. 10/17/18

The Burning Court (1962)

This is the French movie of the John Dickson Carr novel, although it has a much simpler and less interesting plot. It is dubbed, not very well, and not terribly well done. It opens with a note about a family cursed by a witch generations earlier. A family of mostly unpleasant friends and family members convene at the family mansion. One of the guests, a young woman, is a direct descendant of the witch. She is uneasy being there, even aside from their family history. The story takes rather a while to get going even though the characters have all been fairly well introduced. The family patriarch, already ill, is poisoned the first night they are there, although at first everyone believes it was a natural death. Two of the guests had planned the murder, but it appears to have been carried out by a third party, who disappeared by walking through a wall. Physical violence erupts among the heirs. Watchable, but not recommendable. 10/14/18

Venom (2018)

In a nutshell, without spoilers, absolutely horrible. There were so many plot holes and implausibilities in the first few minutes that I could never accept it as the real world after that. The special effects and many scenes are so fast moving and dark that I could not tell what exactly was happening. People had information that they seemingly plucked out of the air - I saw a lot of this in the Predator reboot as well. At one point the parasite tells our hero that it has absorbed all of his memories and literally minutes later it does not know who his ex-fiancÚ is. The villain is incredibly stupid and his evil is exaggerated even more than in comic books. SWAT teams appear without being summoned and without an emergency. People always seem to be in the right place at the right time. The whole premise is based on a plan by the parasites that was completely unnecessary to achieve their goals. The effect of parasitic invasion varies dramatically depending upon the needs of the story line. Should have been direct to video. 10/11/18

Hereditary (2018)

I had heard good things about this one. The story opens with the somewhat odd funeral of an elderly woman whose family considered her secretive and hard to understand. The beginning is very subdued, the soundtrack low or nonexistent, and other than an odd shape in the darkness - and a seriously creepy kid - not much really happens, but there is an implication that some unseen plan is being revealed. The little girl's horrible death came as a complete shock. One problem I had was the complete lack of sympathetic characters. No one in the family is playing with a full deck except maybe the father. I kind of figured out what was going on half way through and the ending did not come as a big surprise. Excellent acting, but viewers who like gore and jump scares and lots of action are going to get awfully tired watching what is essentially a two hour plus psychological drama. 10/5/18

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