A Haunting in Venice

Poirot in the dark with a crucifix in the background

A change of gear for Kenneth Branagh’s third Agatha Christie adaptation. A Haunting in Venice isn’t as starry as Murder on the Orient Express or Death on the Nile, doesn’t start out with a captive roster of possible murderers and murderees and, to an extent, abandons the strict rationality of previous Hercule Poirot adventures for something a bit more supernatural. All three turn out to be changes for the better. This is probably the best of the bunch so far, though, full disclosure, I’m not really a fan of these things. Whether it’s Peter Ustinov, John Malkovich, Albert Finney, Ian Holm, David Suchet, Tony Randall, Alfred Molina or even Austin Trevor (first of … Read more


Paramedics Mackie and Dornan

Synchronic is Christopher Nolan knock-off fronted by a pair of decent actors – Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan – and directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, who gave us the intelligent indie psycho-thriller The Endless. Mackie and Dornan play a pair of paramedics who start noticing that weird cases are coming their way. One badly injured man appears to be suffering from a drug overdose but also has a massive sword wound from front to back through his chest. The sword appears to be the sort of thing a conquistador might carry. Another man is lying at the bottom of a lift shaft, dismembered but with a big smile on his face. … Read more

Wild Mountain Thyme

Anthony and Rosemary at the gate

From the very first shot of Wild Mountain Thyme I was thinking “Good god, surely people aren’t still making films like this!” The opening shot being an overhead of the lush slopes of rural Ireland while the soundtrack twiddled away in madly shamrocky fashion. It got worse. A beejaysus-Irish voiceover announces “I’m dead”, by way of an introduction. The whimsy-ometer starts climbing into the red zone. And then I realised it’s Christopher Walken doing the bad Irish accent. The letters W, T and F start to appear in the air. What the actual, it actually gets even worse, as we’re introduced to one Oirish character after another. Enter Walken as old farmer Tony … Read more