One of the best films of the year will be available through the streaming service Netflix starting today (Dec. 23). It tops this week’s new entertainment options.
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” Grade B+: This entertaining whodunit was the kind of offering that most often has been the bailiwick of Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. It is the super sleuth Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) who now has the duty of cleverly leading the audience through the mystery maze to the solution.
This follow-up to the 2019 streaming service production “Knives Out” has Blanc being accidentally invited to a murder mystery weekend being held on a remote island by billionaire Miles Bron (Ed Norton). The guest list was only supposed to include Bron’s closest friends but it is fortunate Blanc was drawn in as the fake murder scenario gives way to a real killing.
The suspect pool includes: Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe), Bron’s former business partner; Connecticut governor Claire Debella Kathryn Hahn; Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), former model and social flit; scientist Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.); and influencer Duke Cody. All have a motive to create the murderous mayhem.
Each is considered a suspect by Blanc and his mystery partner. The way Craig plays Blanc, he has the investigative skills of Sherlock Holmes but hides his skills with a dash of Inspector Clouseau. That makes this big-name version of “Clue” so much fun.
“Glass Onion” can be enjoyed simply for watching Blanc solve the case. If you prefer to do your own investigation by watching, it is important to note there is a massive clue shown prominently during the movie. If you see that moment, then the conclusion will not be a surprise.
Either way, there is no mystery as to why this latest offering from writer/director Rian Johnson works so well. “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” is a standard murder mystery elevated by a very talented cast.
It is now available for viewing on Netflix.
New on DVD and Blu-ray as of Dec. 20
“The Banshees of Inisherin” Grade B+: Colin Farrell’s performances lifts this quirk and dark comedy from Martin McDonagh. Farrell plays a man who has had his heart broken because his best buddy (Brendan Gleeson) has ended their relationship.
The battle to mend fences or keep them down goes into some gruesome moments. But, it works because Farrell is so good at playing a wounded soul and Gleeson is masterful in dealing with the confusion that comes when a person realizes their lifetime is truly limited.
“Tar” Grade A-: Cate Blanchett turns in a master class of acting with this tale of a broken orchestra conductor.
This Oscar-worthy performance by Blanchett gets its power from her complete embrace of the character. She goes so deep into the character, the film begins to feel more like fact than fiction.
“Secret Headquarters” Grade C: Owen Wilson struggles to hold together this tale of a group of teens who discover the headquarters of a superhero. The discovery forces one teen to face an unbelievable reality about her father.
The film has a few interesting moments but Wilson’s laid back style coupled with a weak performance by Michael Pena as the major nemesis leaves this tale in a state of blah.
“House of Dragon: The Complete First Season”: This set includes all ten episodes of the hit HBO series plus more than an hour of bonus features and two featurettes.
“The Loneliest Boy in the World”: Young man decides to literally dig up some new friends.
“Cinema’s First Nasty Women”: The four-disc set features 14 hours of rarely-seen silent films about feminist protest, slapstick rebellion and suggestive gender play.
“The Last Bookshop of the World”: Four Europeans from different fields of art set off in search of a remote place to establish the world’s last bookshop.
“The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales”: Filmmaker Abigail E. Disney grapples with America’s profound inequality crisis.
“Paradise City”: Crime boss (John Travolta) and bounty hunter (Bruce Willis) go head-to-head.
Available on digital platforms:
“Inu-oh”: Inu-oh and blind musician Tomona are threatened when their performances together are noticed by those in power. The animated tale will be available on DVD starting Jan. 24.