With all the gloomy weather in South Carolina over the past week (please pray for the poor folks in Texas, who are facing truly dangerous weather conditions), it’s been ideal weather for staying home and watching movies. Surprisingly, Hulu has upped its game a bit in terms of selection.
I’m running a tad behind with today’s post, so I figured rather than diving deeply into one movie, I’d give a quick round-up of several movies, with some quick notes on each.
- Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – Stanley Kubrick’s last film, Eyes Wide Shut was billed as an erotic thriller, but it’s really an extended examination of the travails and trials of marriage, with a secretive sex cult thrown in the mix. The film is long, but it doesn’t feel it’s 159-minute runtime; the movie is paced perfectly, and constantly keeps the viewer guessing. Tom Cruise’s portrayal of the stolid, stable, supportive Dr. Bill Harford is arresting, as he attempts to lose himself in a nighttime world of danger and sensuality, all due to his wife’s pot-addled admission to harboring adulterous fantasies. The unnamed secret society at the center of the film is fascinating—as secret societies are—but the mystery surrounding the group and its strange practices is never explained or resolved—a strength of the film.
- Enola Holmes (2020) – A playful adventure movie featuring the spunky younger sister of Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes, Enola Holmes stars Stranger Things‘ Millie Bobbie Brown as the title heroine. Raised unconventionally by her independent, eccentric mother, Enola grows up capable and intelligent, well-versed in hand-to-hand combat and puzzles. After her mother mysteriously disappears, Enola must grow up fast—evading would-be assassins and her overbearing brother Mycroft—as she seeks out her mother and protects a young nobleman intent on casting the deciding vote for a voting reform bill. This movie is quite a bit of fun, even with the social justice-inflected “grrrrrrl power” bits, but that is fairly understated by today’s standards. Everything really happens in the last twenty minutes, but it’s a charming, fun ride.
- Murder Mystery (2019) – Adam Sandler’s production company Happy Madison Productions churns out a lot of sophomoric crap, but Murder Mystery is a humorous romp through the conventions of murder mystery novels in the vein of Agatha Christie. A married couple stuck in a rut take a trip to Europe, where they find themselves invited to join a wealthy family in the midst of a succession crisis on their Mediterranean yacht. When the elderly patriarch dies before signing his will—which would disinherit all of his relatives and sycophants, leaving everything to his inappropriately young Japanese wife—the Americans are quickly implicated in the string of murders taking place. The movie basically explores the idea of “what would it be like if murder mystery novels were actually accurate?”—instead of the spouse being the main suspect (as is usually the case with murders), there’s some elaborate plot to get to the cash. In Murder Mystery, that happens, and Adam Sandler’s wife (played by Jennifer Aniston) uses her vast knowledge of dime-store pulp mystery novels to solve the case.
Here’s hoping you enjoy these films as much as I did. Granted, they’re not all masterpieces, but each have their charms.
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