adaptation

"Murder" Most Foul: Review for "A Murder Is Announced"

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A Murder Is Announced is part of the PBS/Mystery! series Marple. It is a series of Miss Marple mysteries adapted from the works of her creator, the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie. This particular film is based on the novel of the same name. “A murder is announced and will take place on Friday, October 29th, at Little Paddocks, 6:30. Friends, accept this as the only intimation.” This little notice appeared in the daily newspaper, where the classifieds are. 10 people arrive at Little Paddocks, the house of Letetia Blacklock. At 6:30, the lights go out and someone tries to kill Letitia, only to end up dead himself. It is up to Miss Jane Marple to solve the crime! Geraldine McEwan, the newest incarnation of Miss Marple, plays her brilliantly and emotionally. In the final scene, as the killer is being revealed, Miss Marple weeps with such emotion (for her niece was also murdered) that your stomach with tremble with great sorrow. But somethings are unnecessary: Mrs. Hinchcliffe and Mrs. Myrgycroft, who arer fond friends in the novel, are in a relationship. Totally unnecessary. Grade: B+

Pretty Good Room Service: Review for 1408

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John Cusack is a good actor. In 1408, the new horror movie based on the Stephen King short story, he gives the performance of the year for horror movies (which, I guess, isn’t really sayng much, considering the acting mess that is Hostel and Saw). But the point is, that when he is trapped in the hell-bent room, his acting is soectacular and powerful. 1408 is about Mike Elinson (Cusak), a skeptical writer that researches haunted houses and basically debunks them. Among the famous Mote-hells is the Dolphin Hotel in New York. It’s not the actual hotell that’s evil, but it’s room 1408 that gives reason for 53 people to commit suicide in the room (est. 1952). Mike doesn’t take the dire warnings from the hotell’s manager, played brilliantly and maliciously by Samuel L. Jackson. It is said that no one can stay an hour in the room without commiting suicide. Mike ignores him and goes to the room…ad he’s fine. The first couple of minutes are completely normal, but the rest of the hour is one hell of a ride. But when the subject of his dead daughter and his estranged wife is brought up (by the room), you cand feel his pain; his need of someone he loved. Yet the room taunted him by giving him his daughter back, and then torturing him by having her die again. But there are parts that the cinematography is sometimes very cheesy. Also, there’s the cliche of him waking up to find none of it was true, then realize that he was still in the room the whole time. But other than that, it’s all pretty good.
Grade: B+
Stars: 3.5/5
Stars: 7/10

"Death" Becomes Her: Review for "Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Death on the Nile"

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David Suchet returns as the dapper Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. This “film” is part of the A&E series Agatha Christie’s Poirot. This is a rather accurate adaptation of the Christie novel of the same. Lynette Ridgeway, played brilliantly by Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) has everything one could imagine. Her friend, Jacqueline de Belfeur, is engaged to Simon Doyle, but poor Doyle is out on his luck. He needs money, so Jaquie decides to be Lynette to give Simon a job on her new estate as land agent. But a few months later, it is announced that Lynette is engaged to Mr. Doyle: she’s stolen Jacquie’s fiancee! Jacquie is filled with anger and wants revenge, so she follows the two wherever they go: Italy and abroad.When the couple are relaxing peacefully in Aswan, Egypt. Jacquie surprises them with a drunken visit in a ballroom. Miss Ridgewat tries to convince Poirot to try to get Jacquie to use her common sense. The couple then decide to take a trip up the Nile, trying to evade Jacquie; but surprise, surprise, Miss de Belfeur shows up to make the trip misserable, while Poirot watched in earnest. Lynette and Simon take a look at some of the sites, and while they sre restinng, someone dislodges a large ruin which almost kills Lynette! But Jaquie was far from the scene, so she couldn’t have done it! That night Jacquie feels unbelievably depressed and gets drunk. In her state, she shoots Simon! During the night Lynette is shot throught the head, and again Jaquie could not have done it! It is up to Monsier Poirot to catch the killer. This adaptation of the classic crime is very good, and pretty accurate. Jacquie’s performance is not emotional enough (e.g. she “begs” Lynette to give Simon the job, but she sounds too bored and dull and not enough excited). David Suchet’s pervormance is unforggetable, but this Poirot is not as humorous or soft spoken as was in the original PBS Mystery! series.
Grade: B+
Stars: 3.5/5
Stars: 7/10

Fa-Sin-ista: "The Devil Wears Prada"

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This chick flick based on the bestseller about a woman who works with a boss from hell was based on Lauren Weisberger’s real relationship with former boss, Anna Wintour of Vogue Magazine. Young Andy (Anne Hathaway) is looking for a job in the Big Apple, and the last place she applies is the famous Runway Magazine, the fashion Bible, run by the ruthless devil Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). Once getting te job as receptionist, she is taught the basics by fellow hater Emily (Emily Blunt) and learns that she would rather have gone to Hell than work for the Queen of Fashion Mean. She is met a promotion, while Emily is fired. It goes all to Hell and a hand basket from there. Meryl Streep’s preformance an the Editor in Chief from Hell is sinfully delectible, while Hathaway’s Andy is pretty good, judging from her past workd in The Princess Diaries series and Ella Enchanted. The film gets kind of yuppie toward the end and Stanley Tucci as the fashionista who works with Priestly is marvelous. Grade: B+ Stars: 3.5/5 Stars: 7/10 Since its a “boss from hell” story, it has to be here: having a boss from hell is scary.

Purr-fectly "Horror"-fying: Review for "Masters of Horror: The Black Cat"

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The Black Cat is one of the episodes in the Showtime series Masters of Horror. It appears in season 2. The film is beautifully crafted by Stuart Gordon, director of the classic Re-Animator. The film does not feature any gratuatisque scenes, like most of the other episodes in the series. It does feature blood, but with good reason to the storyline: Virginia Poe is suffering from TB. The film is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s tale of self destruction. It is about a man who is mentally tormented by this black cat, and in result, does unspeakable acts. The film plays out fantastically, pretending that Poe, very poor and depressed because of his wife’s disease, is slowly descending into madness. The accounts in the film are either something that happened in Poe’s life or taken directly from the short story. The thing I liked about it is that the film didn’t feature unneeded amount of blood or nudity, that all the elements were important to the story and not just thrown it for fun. Gordon did a great job with Re-Animator, so it was interesting to see a splatter director take on a piece of classic Gothic literature, much like he did in the first season of Masters with H.P. Lovecraft’s Dreams of the Witch House, which (no pun intended) was almost as well done as this one. The picture is almost black and white for the time setting except for scenes in which you see blood or anything truly colorful. This is the best one of the series. Poe is the Master of Gothic Horror, while Gordon remains the Master of Cinematic Horror. Grade: A- Stars: 4.5/5 Stars 8.5/10