ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING was a 2021 comedy-mystery series from Hulu. Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez star as three residents of the Arconia apartment building. When one of Mabel’s friends is murdered, the trio strike up a friendship; discovering they’re all fans of true-crime podcasts, they launch their own. Which, of course, requires investigating the mystery: could fellow resident Sting be the killer? What is Mabel (Gomez) hiding from the guys? Who poisoned a neighbor’s obnoxious cat? Solidly cast (Nathan Lane and yes, Sting) this was a great deal of fun. I genuinely did not see how it would play out (I spotted a couple of twists along the way) which is a plus. While I normally find climactic reveals that the killer is insane disappointing, the show even got that to work. “I understand now why all those doctors were so mean to Doogie Howser.”
NANCY DREW only had 13 episodes this season (S3 — reviews of S1 and S2 at the links) which I hope isn’t a bad sign. That said, it was a solid season as Nancy and the Drew Crew become entangled with Nancy’s ancestor Temperance (Olivia Taylor Dudley), having broken the spell laid by the Women in White that kept Temperance away from Horseshoe Bay. All she wants, though, is help reuniting with the spirit of her deceased daughter — surely that’s not so bad, is it? There were also some great humorous bits such as crashing a mystery convention and learning George Fan (Leah Lewis) has “Fan Fans” who see her as a daring ghostbuster ably supported by her sidekick Nancy. This has enough cliffhangery stuff in the final episode I really want it back — but hey, I’m a fan so I’d have wanted it back anyway (the CW has yet to confirm or deny S4). “So they’re evil relic-hunters who also sell their homemade crafts online?”
After watching that Sherlock Holmes collection I got for Christmas, I decided to rewatch the other Arthur Wontner Sherlock Holmes films in my library. Unfortunately one of the DVDs fell out of another boxed set so all I have on hand is Wontner’s THE SIGN OF FOUR (1932). As I remembered, a much stronger film than Wontner’s first, The Sleeping Cardinal (review at the link), adapting the second Holmes story well. “If you absolutely insist on weeping, may I offer my shoulder?”
Shifting away from mystery — THE EMPIRE OF CORPSES (2015) is a steampunk anime set in an alt.history where Victor Frankenstein’s research has led to reanimated corpses functioning as everything from the servant class to cannon fodder (“It’s said only The One that Frankenstein created had a soul.”). M of British intelligence recruits medical student Jon Watson to race the Russian scientist Karamazov to obtaining Victor’s Lost Notebooks and attaining true power of life over death. This mash-up of Doyle and Mary Shelly sounded intriguing but the film’s a generic adventure for two-thirds of the running time. “The sublime won’t be missed in a world unable to contemplate it.”
With the core Fast and Furious series winding down, the franchise branched out with FAST AND FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS AND SHAW (2019). Squabbling tough guys Hobbs (Duane Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Stathairn) go up against cyborg Idris Elba (“We’re being chased by the Terminator?”) to save Shaw’s sister, who’s fleeing Elba with a capsule containing a doomsday virus (like No Time to Die, it can be tailored to wipe out people with specific DNA strains). This is way more tedious than any of the main series, with Hobbs and Shaw playing endless rounds of Whose Is Bigger and long stretches of mindless action. Hobbs and his daughter were much more engaging in conversation. “What I’m upset about is that Jon Snow had sex with his aunt, then killed her and nobody seems to care.”
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