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Acclaimed writer and director Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi) pays tribute to mystery mastermind Agatha Christie in KNIVES OUT, a fun, modern-day murder mystery where everyone is a suspect. When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan's dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan's untimely death. With an all-star ensemble cast including Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford and Jaeden Martell, KNIVES OUT is a witty and stylish whodunit guaranteed to keep audiences guessing until the very end.
Moira Macdonald - Seattle Times arts critic
Count me among those who wouldn’t have guessed that Rian Johnson would follow up his “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” success with an old-fashioned whodunit — but count me delighted. In this season of Big, Serious Movies, what a treat to find this wonderfully silly, perfectly paced hall of mirrors hanging out at the multiplexes. It’s as if Agatha Christie came back for a visit, after getting caught up on pop culture in the beyond. The plot is absolutely what you think it is, and exactly what it should be: Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) — a bestselling crime-fiction author and wealthy patriarch of a squabbling family — is found dead in his gothic New England mansion, just after the clan had gathered for his 85th birthday. Enter detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) — a sort of Hercule Poirot, minus mustache and plus syrupy drawl — who intends to get to the bottom of this, yaaas indeed he does. And off we go, through a thicket of characters and motives and clues scattered all over the house (it’s as if Harlan lives inside an extremely lavish solve-the-mystery board game; pay attention to the details). But it’s Craig who steals the show here. He’s having even more fun than we are — and that’s saying a lot, because “Knives Out” is a kick. By the time it was finally revealed whodunit, I just wanted to start over and play again.
In 1862, daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) teams up with pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) to advance human knowledge of the weather and fly higher than anyone in history. While breaking records and advancing scientific discovery, their voyage to the very edge of existence helps the unlikely pair find their place in the world they have left far below them. But they face physical and emotional challenges in the thin air, as the ascent becomes a fight for survival.
Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne endure ‘Gravity’-style thrills in a charming Victorian ballooning caper.
Four Stars (out of five)
Ellie Walker-Arnott / Time Out
It’s hard to work out where facts end and the fantasy begins in this charming ballooning adventure set against a sweet version of Victorian London. The historic expedition the movie is all about – an attempt to break the world flight altitude record – did happen, just not quite like this. But you’ll want to suspend all disbelief, hold tight to the wicker basket and go along for the ride. Eddie Redmayne is James Glaisher, a meteorologist, who, in 1862, really did travel closer to the stars than anyone had done before. Redmayne’s ‘The Theory of Everything’ co-star Felicity Jones plays his pilot Amelia Wren, a daredevil balloonist with glitter in her bra and a tiny dog. Wren is an engaging amalgamation of genuine balloonists such as Sophie Blanchard and Margaret Graham. The pair’s ascent is tracked in very close to real-time, the minutes ticking by as the balloon rises and rises. There are beautiful moments as the pair pass above the clouds to find a sea of fluttering butterflies and a circular rainbow. But the tension ramps up as the air thins while the temperature drops, and the frequent moments of peril are breathtaking in a very literal sense.
‘The Aeronauts’ may stretch the phrase ‘inspired by true events’ to new, erm, heights, and its characters remain unknowable until the final stretch, but the visuals, derring-do and on-screen chemistry is all fizz. Catch this unusual period piece on the big screen and you’ll find such liberty-taking easy to forgive.
An understated and wonderful St. Louis gem, the Hi-Pointe Theatre was built in 1922 at the incredible intersection of Interstate 64, Clayton Road, Clayton Avenue, McCausland Avenue, Forest Avenue, Oakland Avenue and Skinker Boulevard, today also the home of the world’s largest Amoco sign and just at the southwest corner of Forest Park. Continue Reading