Stats for Thanksgiving weekend often center on worst times to drive (Wednesday from 3-5 p.m.), numbers of spectators expected to line the streets of New York City to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade (3.5 million!) and the choice between watching football all weekend or going to the movies.
If the latter is your cup of tea there’s no better pick than to see “Knives Out,” a sly little mystery written and directed by Rian Johnson.
Who is Rian Johnson? Well, his debut feature was also a mystery, only this one dived into the seedy underworld of high school crime played like a hard-boiled Humphrey Bogart-style thriller. It was called “Brick” (2005) and it starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lukas Haas. He also did a little picture called “Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi,” along with a few “Breaking Bad” episodes and a forgettable sci-flick called “Looper.” So, you can see he can handle mega-budget movies along with smaller flicks.
This one might seem like a low budget production as it opens, but there are no credits so you don’t know who’s in it at first or even what it’s called. This is a clever way of getting the audience interested in the story before finding out that the cast includes the likes of Christopher Plummer, Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon and Chris Evans.
Because this is a mystery and the joy of watching it lies in discovering clues and shocking revelations, I shall go light on the description. I liked this movie so much I certainly don’t want to drop any spoilers.
The movie centers on the family of a highly successful mystery writer. Patriarch Harlan Thrombey’s (Plummer) books are considered the cream of the crop and as such he has become very wealthy. So, has his family, who have evolved as a rather dysfunctional lot as a result of all that money. Some are openly avaricious, others more quietly mercenary, but all want to continue living a luxurious lifestyle complete with obedient servants.
A death, which may or may not be suicide, brings the attention of famed detective Benoit Blanc (Craig), along with police Lieutenant Elliott (LaKeith Stanfield) and Trooper Wagner (Noah Segan), to investigate. Interestingly, Benoit does not know who hired him, only that an envelope full of cash showed up with a peculiar note, which piqued his curiosity. As the investigation begins to peel away layers of deceit and intrigue, we find there are an abundance of characters who seem likely suspects. But, even when we’re presented with what appears to be the truth and the solution to the mystery, there are even more tantalizing layers.
If you love a good mystery, one that keeps you guessing right up to the end, this is it. I loved it.
Tempo grade: A+
“Knives Out” is rated PG-13 for thematic elements including brief violence, some strong language, sexual references and drug material.
It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For showtimes, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.
Also showing in Taos.
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
MPAA rating: Not rated, but does contain some mature content.
Taos Community Auditorium
Miles Davis: Horn player, bandleader, innovator. Miles was a singular force of nature, the very embodiment of cool. The central theme of Miles Davis' life, and of this film is Davis' restless determination to break boundaries and live life on his own terms.
This documentary feature by Stanley Nelson Jr. explores archival photos and home movies shot by Miles and his colleagues, his manuscripts and Miles' original paintings, to explore the man behind the music.
Featuring interviews with some of the most well-known musicians on the planet, including Jimmy Cobb, Lee Konitz, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Carlos Santana, The Roots, and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers; the film explores why Miles continues to be a relevant voice in today's world.
This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 1) and at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday (Dec. 2-4) at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.