Month: March 2019

My Film Notes: The Highwaymen (2019) directed by John Lee Hancock

US / 132 min / Color / Casey Silver Productions, Media Rights Capital (MRC) and Universal Pictures. Dir: John Lee Hancock. Pro: Casey Silver Scr: John Fusco. Cin: John Schwartzman. Mus: Thomas Newman. Cast: Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson, Kathy Bates, John Carroll Lynch, Kim Dickens, Thomas Mann, William Sadler, Billy Slaughter, David Furr, Dean Denton, Edward Bossert, Emily Brobst, Jane McNeill, Jason Davis, Jesse C. Boyd, Sheenan Cole, and W. Earl Brown. Synopsis: The outlaws made headlines. The lawmen made history. The Highwaymen follows the untold true story of the legendary detectives who brought down Bonnie and Clyde. When the full force of the FBI and the latest forensic technology aren’t enough to capture the nation’s most notorious criminals, two former Texas Rangers (Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson) must rely on their gut instincts and old school skills to get the job done. Distributed by Netflix. Release dates: 10 March 2019 (South by Southwest Film Festival); 15 March 2019 (USA limited); 29 March 2019 (Stream digitally on March 29, 2019 on Netflix). Spanish title: Emboscada final. IMDb Rating: 7.1.

bb80a132ee00b3fd120f100953ec5377-250hThe film had been in development for many years, with producer Casey Silver looking into the project as early as 2005. Originally pitched by Fusco as a possible Paul Newman and Robert Redford project, the film began development at Universal Pictures but never came to fruition. In February 2018, it was reported Netflix had picked up the rights to the film and that Costner and Harrelson would star. Filming took place later that month and in March, shooting around Louisiana and at several historical sites, including the road where Bonnie and Clyde were killed. (Source: Wikipedia)

Kevin Costner plays legendary lawman Frank Hamer and Woody Harrelson will play his long-suffering sidekick Manny Gault. Though both men were out of the Rangers by the time Bonnie & Clyde started their robbery reign, they were commissioned as special investigators, coaxed back by a consortium of banks to assemble a posse and end the robbery spree of the notorious gang reputed to have killed 13 cops – and others. The Highwaymen takes the vantage point of the formidable posse headed by Hamer, an old style Texas Ranger who’d survived 100 gunfights and killed 53 people. (Source: SXSW)

My take: Last night Begoña and I has the opportunity to watch The Highwaymen in Netflix. I found the film thoroughly entertaining and very well-made. The only snag, for my taste, is that the film is too long. It would have gained with a few minutes less.

Netflix Official Website

‘The Highwaymen’ Review at Hollywood Reporter

Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The ABC Murders (TV Episode 1992)

1569383618The ABC Murders was aired in Season Four Episode 1 of Agatha Christie’s Poirot, a British television series broadcasted from 8 January 1989 to 13 November 2013 with a runtime of  103 minutes. The series is made up of 13 seasons of 70 episodes in total; each episode was adapted from a novel or short story by Christie. This episode was produced by London Weekend Television Productions, Picture Partnership Productions. The story is based on the homonymous novel by Agatha Christie, adapted by Clive Exton and directed by Andrew Grieve. It was released in the UK on 5 January 1992 starring David Suchet as Hercule Porior with Hugh Fraser,  Philip Jackson,  Donald Sumpter,  Donald Douglas, Nicholas Farrell,  Pippa Guard,  Cathryn Bradshaw,  Nina Marc,  David McAlister, Vivienne Burgess,  Ann Windsor,  Michael Mellinger,  Miranda Forbes, Peter Penry-Jones,  Lucinda Curtis,  Jeremy Hawk,  Allan Mitchell,  Philip Anthony, Andrew Williamson,  John Breslin,  Clifford Milner,  Claude Close,  Alex Knight, David Fox,  Campbell Graham,  Gordon Salkilld,  Norman McDonald, and Jane Birdsall in supporting roles.

Synopsis: Three bodies are found. Beside each lies a copy of the ABC Railway Guide. The police are baffled. But the killer has made one mistake. He has challenged Hercule Poirot to unmask him.

My take:I recently had the opportunity to view this 1992 TV film again, probably one of my favourite episodes in the series. It does follow quite accurately the novel’s plot.

The ABC Murders (TV mini series, 2018)

The ABC Murders (Mammoth Screen and Agatha Christie Productions, 2018) is a 3 episodes TV mini series, of 60 minutes each one, based on the homonymous novel by Agatha Christie, adapted by Sarah Phelps, produced by Farah Abushwesha, and directed by Alex Gabassi. It stars John Malkovich as Hercule Poirot, with Eamon Farren, Michael Shaeffer, Rupert Grint, Conrad McCroddan, Freya Mavor, Shirley Henderson, Anya Chalotra, Andrew Buchan, Tara Fitzgerald, Bronwyn James, Christopher Villiers, Jack Farthing, Suzanne Packer and Eve Austin, in main supporting roles. It was aired by BBC One in the UK, over three consecutive nights beginning on 26 December 2018 and by Movistar #0, in Spain, on Friday evenings starting 15 March 2019.

MV5BYmJmNzU0NTgtOGM5Ni00MWJiLTgwZmMtNDIyNjYzZDAzNzI5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjExMjk0ODk@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Synopsis: Set in the 1930s, a time when Britain is dangerously divided and suspicion and hatred are on the rise, the story sees Poirot face a serial killer known only as A.B.C. As the body count rises, the only clue is a copy of The ABC Railway Guide at each crime scene. Poirot’s investigations are continuously thwarted by an enemy determined to outsmart him. If Poirot is to match his nemesis, then everything about him will be called into question: his authority, his integrity, his past and his identity. (Source: IMDb)

My take: Last Friday, Begoña and I finished watching the third episode of The ABC Murders (2018 TV mini series) starring John Malkovich as Hercule Poirot. I can assure you I tried to watch it without bias and with an open mind. I was prepared to understand it was a recreation of the famous novel and it didn’t have to be necessarily faithful to the original novel. I was expecting it will reflect, in some sense, the spirit of the book, albeit in an up to date version. However, despite all the originality and brilliance in its execution and interpretation, I’ve been rather disappointed. At no point I felt interested in the series. I found its excessive realism quite disproportionate, or perhaps gratuitous and unnecessary. And I can assure you I’m not shy on sex related issues. Besides some sequences were disgusting and in the verge of bad taste. I also wonder what was the need to introduce a Poirot’s past, entirely artificial and invented. But I might be completely wrong and I would like to hear your views.

My Book Notes: Artists in Crime, 1938 (Inspector Alleyn #6) by Ngaio Marsh

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2009. Format: Kindle Edition. File Size: 725 KB. Print Length: 298 pages. ASIN:  B002RI90UE. eISBN: 9780007344444. First published in Great Britain by Geoffrey Bles, in 1938.

x298Synopsis: One of Ngaio Marsh’s most famous murder mysteries, which introduces Inspector Alleyn to his future wife, the irrepressible Agatha Troy. It started as a student exercise, the knife under the drape, the model’s pose chalked in place. But before Agatha Troy, artist and instructor, returns to the class, the pose has been re-enacted in earnest: the model is dead, fixed for ever in one of the most dramatic poses Troy has ever seen. It’s a difficult case for Chief Detective Inspector Alleyn. How can he believe that the woman he loves is a murderess? And yet no one can be above suspicion…

The novel was televised in 1990 as the pilot for the television series The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries, starring Simon Williams as Inspector Alleyn.

My take: One always doubts which book to begin with when faced with a long series, but after a short search in the Internet, I finally arrived at this title, the sixth instalment in Roderick Alleyn book series. And I believe it is a good choice, even though, strictly speaking, I had previously read Off with His Head (1957) by Ngaio Marsh (Roderick Alleyn #19) my review is here. In my opinion, there’s always the possibility to return back to previous titles, if the series ends up interesting us as much as to read it as a whole. Anyway, you can find here the Ngaio Marsh books  I have picked to start reading shortly.     

Coming back to the book at hand, we find Inspector Roderick Alleyn on board the ship that is bringing him back home from New Zealand, where he had moved on to solve the previous case. Following a layover in Suva (Fiji), Alleyn fixes his attention on a young woman who is making a preliminary sketch of the landscape. After awhile, he realises she is Agatha Troy, whom he had seen a year ago at a solo exhibition in London. From now on, she will be known as Troy only. Back in England, Troy is directing a course for a diverse group of young artists at her house in Tatler’s End. One day, while making a sketch of a model laying on the floor next to a knife, they discuss the different alternatives by which she, the model, could have been really murdered. Much to their surprise, she ends up being truly murdered. One Monday, after spending the weekend in London to attend a theatrical performance, everything thing is ready to start a new session. The model gets ready to pose. Regretfully, the knife had been disposed in such a way that when she leans her back over a drape, the knife pierces her, killing her almost instantly. Coincidentally, Alleyn  is close to Tatler’s Ends, spending a few days with his mother, before getting back to his duties in Scotland Yard. But he must put an end to his holidays when his superiors order him to get a handle on the case.

Artists in Crime is a thoroughly entertaining book, nicely written and, at its core, a neatly crafted intelligent enigma. Although its pace might seem a bit slow at times, that doesn’t prevent us to fully enjoy its reading. A classic detective story, a mystery novel littered with red herrings that plays fair with the reader and with a denouement that, I’m sure, will astound the most perceptive reader. Highly recommended.  Next, I look forward to reading Death in a White Tie, 1938.

My rating: A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book)

Artists in Crime has been reviewed at Mystery Mile, Classic Mysteries, My Reader’s Block, Death Can Read, Gadetection, among others.

About the Author: Dame Ngaio Marsh was born in New Zealand in 1895 and died in February 1982. She wrote over 30 detective novels and many of her stories have theatrical settings, for Ngaio Marsh’s real passion was the theatre. She was both actress and producer and almost single-handed revived the New Zealand public’s interest in the theatre. It was for this work that she received what she called her ‘damery’ in 1966.

HarperCollins Publishers UK publicity page

Felony & Mayhem US publicity page

Ngaio Marsh House & Heritage Trust

Ngaio Marsh: A Crime Reader’s Guide to the Classics

audible

Artists in Crime (Artistas del delito), de Ngaio Marsh

Sinopsis: Uno de los más famosos misteriosos asesinatos de Ngaio Marsh, en el que el inspector Alleyn conoce a su futura esposa, la indómita Agatha Troy. Comenzó como un ejercicio de aprendizaje, el cuchillo debajo de la cortina, la postura de la modelo marcada en su lugar. Pero antes de que Agatha Troy, artista y profesora, regrese a clase, la pose ha sido recreada de verdad: la modelo está muerta, inalterable para siempre en una de las posturas más dramáticas que Troy haya visto. Es un caso difícil para el inspector jefe inspector Alleyn. ¿Cómo puede creer que sea la asesina la mujer a la que ama? Y sin embargo, nadie puede estar por encima de toda sospecha ….

La novela fue televisada en 1990 como la prueba piloto de la serie de televisión Los misterios del inspector Alleyn, protagonizada por Simon Williams en el papel del Inspector Alleyn.

Mi opinión: Uno siempre duda con qué libro comenzar cuando nos enfrentamos a una larga serie, pero después de una breve búsqueda en Internet, finalmente llegué a este título, la sexta entrega en la serie de libros de Roderick Alleyn. Y creo que es una buena opción, aunque, estrictamente hablando, anteriormente había leído Off with His Head (1957) de Ngaio Marsh (Roderick Alleyn # 19), mi reseña está aquí. En mi opinión, siempre existe la posibilidad de volver a los títulos anteriores, si la serie termina por interesarnos tanto como por leerla en su totalidad. De todos modos, aquí puede encontrar los libros de Ngaio Marsh que he elegido para comenzar a leer en breve.

Volviendo al libro que nos ocupa, encontramos al inspector Roderick Alleyn a bordo del barco que lo trae de regreso a casa desde Nueva Zelanda, donde se trasladó para resolver el caso anterior. Después de una escala en Suva (Fiji), Alleyn fija su atención en una joven que está haciendo un bosquejo preliminar del paisaje. Después de un rato, se da cuenta de que ella es Agatha Troy, a quien había visto hace un año en una exposición individual en Londres. De ahora en adelante, será conocida solo como Troy. De vuelta en Inglaterra, Troy está dirigiendo un curso para un grupo diverso de jóvenes artistas en su casa en Tatler’s End. Un día, mientras hacen un boceto de una modelo tendida en el suelo junto a un cuchillo, discuten las diferentes alternativas por las cuales ella, la modelo, podría haber sido realmente asesinada. Para su sorpresa, ella termina siendo asesinada de verdad. Un lunes, después de pasar el fin de semana en Londres para asistir a una representación teatral, todo está listo para comenzar una nueva sesión. La modelo se prepara para posar. Lamentablemente, el cuchillo había sido dispuesto de tal manera que cuando se recuesta sobre una cortina, el cuchillo la atraviesa, matándola casi instantáneamente. Casualmente, Alleyn está cerca de Tatler’s Ends, pasando unos días con su madre, antes de volver a sus tareas en Scotland Yard. Pero debe poner fin a sus vacaciones cuando sus superiores le ordenen que se haga cargo del caso.

Artists in Crime  es un libro muy entretenido, bien escrito y, en esencia, un enigma inteligente perfectamente elaborado. Aunque su ritmo puede parecer un poco lento a veces, eso no nos impide disfrutar plenamente de su lectura. Una historia de detectives clásica, una novela de misterio llena de pistas falsas que juega limpio con el lector y con un desenlace que, estoy seguro, asombrará al lector más perspicaz. Muy recomendable.  A continuación, espero leer Los aristócratas también asesinan (Death in a White Tie, 1938).

Mi valoración: A+ (No se demore, consiga un ejemplar de este libro)

Sobre el autor: Dame Ngaio Marsh nació en Nueva Zelanda en 1895 y murió en febrero de 1982. Escribió más de 30 novelas de detectives y muchas de sus historias se desarrollan en un entorno teatral, dado que la verdadera pasión de Ngaio Marsh era el teatro. Fue actriz y productora, y casi sola resucitó el interés del público de Nueva Zelanda por el teatro. Fue por este trabajo que recibió lo que ella denominó su “damery” (título honorífico de Dama del Imperio Británico) en 1966.

Mis destectives favoritos Roderick Alleyn – Ngaio Marsh

Dorothy L. Sayers

Although intended as a private note, I’m posting it here, as it may be of some interest to regular or occasional readers of this blog.

Dorothy SayersDorothy L. Sayers, in full Dorothy Leigh Sayers, (born June 13, 1893, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Eng.—died Dec. 17, 1957, Witham, Essex), English scholar and writer whose numerous mystery stories featuring the witty and charming Lord Peter Wimsey combined the attractions of scholarly erudition and cultural small talk with the puzzle of detection. Sayers received a degree in medieval literature from the University of Oxford in 1915; she was one of the first women to graduate from that university. Her first major published work was Whose Body? (1923), a detective novel in which Lord Peter first appeared as a dashing gentleman-scholar. The book was followed by one or two novels a year for about 15 years. Sayers wrote short stories that featured not only Lord Peter but also another detective creation, Montague Egg. She also published an anthology of the detective story, The Omnibus of Crime (1929). In her later years Sayers turned from detective fiction to writing theological plays and books such as Creed or Chaos? (1947). She made scholarly translations of Dante’s Inferno (1949) and Purgatorio (1955); her translation of the third book, the Paradiso, was incomplete at her death. (Source: Britannica)

So far I’ve read and enjoyed Murder Must Advertise and The Nine Tailors (see my reviews clicking below on the book title), but I’m still not very familiar with Lord Peter Wimsey book series. I look forward to reading shortly the titles marked in bold

Lord Peter Wimsey book series in order

  • Whose Body? 1923 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #1)
  • Clouds of Witness, 1926 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #2)
  • Unnatural Death,1927 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #3) 
  • Lord Peter Views the Body, 1928 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #4)
  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, 1928 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #5)
  • Strong Poison, 1930 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #6)
  • The Five Red Herrings, 1931 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #7)
  • Have His Carcase, 1932 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #8)
  • Hangman’s Holiday, 1933 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #9)
  • Murder Must Advertise, 1933 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #10)
  • The Nine Tailors, 1934 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #11)
  • Gaudy Night, 1935 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #12)
  • Busman’s Honeymoon, 1937 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #13)
  • In the Teeth of the Evidence, 1939 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #14)
  • Striding Folly, 1972 (Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery #15)

Read more: The Dorothy L Sayers Society