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Knives Out

‘Knives Out’ takes its cue from multiple murder mystery comedies. ‘Murder by Death’ and ‘Clue’, are a few films amongst others that have continually garnered audiences for their witty whodunnits. Unlike those, ‘Knives Out’ is set in the modern era in spite of its Agatha Christie-style trappings. As fun as trying to work out who the evil doer is, ‘Knives Out’s is a consistently enjoyable ensemble romp sure to please even the darkest of viewers.

Crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) invites his extended family to his 85th birthday party. Among his brood are grandson, Ransom (Chris Evans), and daughter, Linda (Jamie Lee-Curtis). The day after festivities are over, Harlan is found dead. Suspecting foul play, seasoned private investigator Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is tasked with uncovering the crime as a potential killer lurks in the shadows.

‘Knives Out’ is a fun, twisty turny mystery full of style. Rian Johnson directs with the perfect light touch needed to tease out the comedy and small thrills. He’s clearly a fine student of similar works and uses the best of them to conjure fine viewing. He is ably assisted by an excellent ensemble with Craig clearly having a grand time in a rare comedic role.

An effective whodunnit, ‘Knives Out’ expertly keeps you guessing until the end. Not many of these films know how to blend humour and thrills well. ‘Knives Out’ does this with ease. The ‘old dark house’ location aids in crafting the typical thriller atmosphere as does the stirring music score.

An amiable journey to suspense and mirth, ‘Knives Out’ is consistently entertaining. The direction and cast are top notch with all giving the script the energy it needs for a successful production. There’s no need to have murderous thoughts against the film-makers as ‘Knives Out’ is devilish fun for any secretly blood-thirsty audiences.

Rating out of 10: 8

Stuber

Buddy comedies heavily rely on chemistry. Whether it’s two or more in the cast, how they interact is crucial in making the comedic situations work. If they don’t the film can quickly fall apart no matter how good a story. ‘Stuber’s script may not be original or totally engaging, but the leads’ chemistry ensures it remains watchable until the last reel.

Uber driver Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is having a boring day driving around ungrateful clients. When LAPD detective Victor (Dave Bautista) suddenly commandeers Stu’s car, all hell breaks loose. Determined to catch a notorious drug baron, Victor also has to deal with dodgy eye-sight as well as an irate Uber driver. Stu’s day goes from bad to worse with guns and explosions following him and Victor in a day he’d rather forget.

‘Stuber’ doesn’t always work with profane humor wrecking a few of its set-ups. Generally it’s entertaining though with Nanjiani and Bautista displaying that all important chemistry in spades. It’s easy going along with their partnership as both actors inject plenty of pathos and charisma into their characters. ‘Stuber’ isn’t perfect but its slightly low-brow aims are softened by Michael Dowse’s astute direction.

The action set pieces give ‘Stuber’ much heft. These plus the stunts are the other stars of the film and don’t disappoint. The screenplay is wafer-thin with a ‘seen it all before’ mentality occasionally surfacing. But the leads’ ability to play to their strengths go a long way in not making ‘Stuber’ an unwatchable mess.

‘Stuber’ can’t be taken too seriously with the comedy and action mixed reasonably well. It won’t change the world anytime soon but it isn’t a piece of celluloid junk either. Sort of like cinematic fast-food where you feel slightly guilty in watching it but having fun anyway.

Rating out of : 6