music friday: stones in my passway
film fatales #69: le bonheur (agnès varda, 1965)

geezer cinema: knives out (rian johnson, 2019)

I guess when you've done something 20 times, it's more than a goof. Knives Out is the 20th movie my wife and I have watched under the "Geezer Cinema" category, wherein we try to go to the movies once a week, beginning when she retired.

Knives Out isn't a great movie, but it's better than you expect, and that is good enough. You expect one of those all-star nostalgic Agatha Christie movies, that work their way through retread material that appeals to the extent is reminds you of all the other such movies you've seen. What makes Knives Out different is that it uses the format as a template, but the cast and the tricks aren't stale. Rian Johnson makes it all seem fresh, which wouldn't seem possible. There is enough to satisfy the fans of the old school, but Johnson goes beyond the old, and everyone is having so much fun, you can't help but be entertained.

As is often the case with all-star casts, some people get the short end of the stick ... otherwise, you'd have a four-hour movie. Among the actors who deserved more, if not better: Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, and even Frank Oz. Most movies would kill for such a cast, yet in Knives Out, those are the ones who have the smallest parts. Meanwhile, people like Christopher Plummer, Michael Shannon, Chris Evans, and especially Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas really get to shine (if anyone is the true standout, it's de Armas ... it's her movie).

Johnson gives his movie a modicum of class consciousness ... not enough to rattle the nostalgia fiends, but enough to give the film something extra. There's really nothing remarkable about Knives Out, but it's very well done and it's just quirky enough to raise it above the normal giant-cast mystery.

Here is a Letterboxd page with all 20 Geezer Cinema movies so far:



Watched this on a plane yesterday and 'good enough' is about where I'd place it as well. I tried to remember the last of these whodunnit-type movies I'd seen and couldn't really come up with anything. Despite that, the formula felt very well-worn. Maybe my conditioning around this kind of plot is more rooted in TV crime procedurals than film? In any case, it was impressive to see the cast and that lent it a certain "Oh, that's kinda remarkable" quality.

Steven Rubio

Yes, I think this movie sneaks up on us ... most people I know have said it was better than they expected, no matter what those expectations were.

And happy birthday!

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