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GLASS ONION – Nathan Johnson

November 29, 2022 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The unexpected success of the film Knives Out in 2019 led to immediate calls for a sequel; fans fell in love with Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Benoit Blanc, the master detective with an accent that sounds like a Cajun Foghorn Leghorn, and the disarming manner he solves murders in a way that would impress Agatha Christie. Writer-director Rian Johnson put Glass Onion into production almost immediately, but was knocked on the back foot by the COVID pandemic, before eventually deciding to incorporate elements of it into the plot of the film. The story is a labyrinthine whodunnit that revolves around a ‘murder mystery’ party held at the exotic island home of an Elon Musk-like billionaire, played by Edward Norton, where all the guests (Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista) have a motive to kill him. The Glass Onion of the title, by the way, relates in several ways: the Beatles song that plays on the soundtrack, the literal design of the billionaire’s home, and the more philosophical concept about how sometimes things that initially appear to have multiple layers of depth can actually be unexpectedly hollow. Read more…

KNIVES OUT – Nathan Johnson

December 17, 2019 2 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Knives Out is a super-fun Agatha Christie-style murder mystery, given a contemporary twist by writer-director Rian Johnson. Daniel Craig stars as Benoit Blanc, a master detective with a Foghorn Leghorn accent, who is called to help the police solve the murder of wealthy novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), who is found dead in his Connecticut mansion on the night of his 85th birthday. Blanc encounters a motley crew of family and staff members – played by an astonishing supporting cast including Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, and Ana de Armas – all of whom have sufficient motive and means to want Harlan dead. As the story progresses Blanc discovers an intricate web of lies, deceit, familial in-fighting, blackmail, and so much more, eventually leading to an ending when he deduces the facts of the crime and the guilty parties are revealed. It’s a tremendously entertaining story – less a whodunit, and more of a whydunit – featuring enjoyable performances, clever writing, and plenty of twists and turns. It’s a marked difference from Johnson’s last film – the polarizing Star Wars: The Last Jedi – and reminds viewers why his earlier films, like Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and Looper, were so well-received. Read more…

LOOPER – Nathan Johnson

October 9, 2012 1 comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Looper is a high-concept science fiction action movie, directed by Rian Johnson and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt. The film takes the concept of time-travel and mixes it with organized crime; in the future, when the mob wants to take someone out, they use the newly invented but highly illegal time-travel technology to send someone back in time, whereupon they are immediately killed by a Looper – an assassin in the past. Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is one such looper, and is good at his job – until he realizes that his latest victim, just sent back in time, is the future version of himself… Critics have called Looper one of the most intriguing science-fiction movies in several years, and young director Rian Johnson is quickly becoming heralded as a new and exciting cinematic visionary. Read more…