Mysteries you’ll WANT to see more than once:

Tenet (2021) with John David Washington, Robert Pattinson

Summary: A CIA agent is forcibly recruited into the most hush-hush of special units. Their goal is to identify and minimize ‘inversion’, a catastrophically damaging element of entropy brought to the regular world on purpose by a megalomaniac. There are manipulations overlaid atop and across each other – you might not realize just how many until the end. Writer/Director Nolan admitted in press notes that they weren’t trying to be scientifically accurate, but the science concepts are amazing. Kidnapping, torture, art forgery, hostage-taking, and bomb defusing under time constraints are only the beginning.

Gush Sesh: Many of Nolan’s works remind one of another – Inception, Memento, etc., yet each has its own personality or flavor. Comparing Tenet’s scientific concepts behind the special effects, I found myself remembering Edge of Tomorrow (2014) and the battle scenes that left my mind spinning in its adrenaline. Tenet has no lightness, no relief from the serious need to save existence, barely any humor. But it thrills the imagination when the viewer realizes the secret behind the enemy’s identity. I’d found all three of the above mentioned movies more ‘entertaining’, but Tenet stretches my understanding of linear time.

Antebellum (2020) with Janelle Monae, Eric Lange

Summary: Avoiding spoilers while one summarizes a mystery movie is difficult so I have, instead, elected to find Monae’s own words within the interview by Marcus Jones of Entertainment Weekly and reproduce them here: { If the debate around Antebellum leaves any particular imprint on Monáe, it may just intensify what’s already a major consideration for her — how necessary it is to expand what stories Black artists are allowed to tell. “So much of my time is spent developing and wanting to tell radical and rebellious stories,” she says. “Stories that highlight marginalized voices who haven’t really particularly been given an opportunity from big blockbusters to quiet films, [from] sci-fi to noir. We’re just trying to remain free in our thinking in the same way that our white counterparts have been.” } Found online 05/28/21:

Gush Sesh: Without giving away any twists, know that this movie is presented in essentially three parts. They are different points in the same person’s life, told from her point of view. That might make it easier to understand what’s happening as the explanations unfold. Some reviews mistake ‘horror’ for slasher and bloody graphics. This story is a very personal, very blatant horror and was thoroughly terrifying for me, a complete outsider, to watch.

Inheritance (2020) with Lily Collins, Simon Pegg

Summary: Lauren, a district attorney, comes from a powerful family – politics and money tend to help when you’re capable of making private deals. Her senses of responsibility and justice both give her a backbone toward self-reliance and get in her way of understanding her father who passes away suddenly. When the family lawyer presents Lauren with a video from her father explaining what he expects her to accomplish, she’s bowled over by the implications. What kinds of secrets has dad been hiding all these years? Does she have an obligation to continue as her father wants or should she rectify what might be a terrible wrong?

Gush Sesh: Don’t look at the popularity scores or reviews before trying this movie – they are deplorable numbers for lots of reasons, the least of which being the Covid-19 crisis and its interference with film festival season in 2020. Watch this story unfold without a lot of expectations. As you are absorbed into the characters’ personalities and their pasts, either one or the other of a two-sided coin will become your focus of interest. Simon Pegg skillfully plays both accent and action beyond his humorous beginnings. Lily Collins is nearly too ‘good’ to be true (or is she)? I’m looking forward to a rewatch already.

Parasite (2019) Academy Award winner for Best Picture from South Korea

Summary: More of a black comedy thriller than a mystery perhaps, Parasite follows a family through their endeavors to get better jobs, increase their status, and escape consequences. The young ‘college’ man is offered an opportunity to replace his friend in a private tutoring role for a rich family. Taking it up, he sees further possibilities for his family members to advance and profit. Each step upward leads to another until the whole caboodle comes crashing down with shock and lament.

Gush Sesh: I am growing fond of South Korea’s filmmaking, especially their horror genre which always seem to be accompanied by a relieving funny point with overacting characters. This remains accurate in Parasite, both the lower-class and the upper-class families being referred to by the title. Of note, the architect’s home – a focus for most of the movie – was never fully built. It was a ground floor with blue screen upper floors added through special effects later. Staircases and levels (both physical and social) are featured beautifully in grand cinematography.

Knives Out (2019) with Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer

Summary: When a powerful patriarch dies mysteriously and alone, who in the grieving family knows to hire a detective beyond the official police investigators for answers? What ultimately was the cause of rich eccentric Thromby’s death and how did anyone else fit into it? Who benefits from his passing per the egregious details of Thromby’s will? Is anyone within his family without sin or crime or really disgusting habit?

Gush Sesh: Knives Out may be the introduction of recurring private detective Blanc (played by Craig) if sequels are already in the making. A send-up of Poirot-esque investigators, Craig’s southern accent is extremely distracting for those of us accustomed to his native Bond-like English. A crazy cast of characters with internecine relations, the film is both over-the-top outrageous (poor Marta!) and a bit madcap mayhem (not your traditional car chase but still a car chase). The palaver gets thick at the end, this mystery looking simpler at the beginning than it really is.

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Smithton Public Library

The Smithton Public Library District is located in southern Illinois, near St. Louis, MO. The library serves nearly 5,000 residents. We hope you visit us soon!