Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (2014)
Ashley Jensen starts in this Sky1 pilot based on a series of books. May it go no further. PR woman Agatha Raisin quits her job and buys her dream house in the Cotswolds. Agatha has infinite weariness and thinks this social revolution will stop her oozing cynicism. The local church has a sign declaring: ‘open all hours, like the pub’ and the locals seem to be salt of the earth naifs. Agatha expects a sensitive rural drama but her psychodramatic toddler with a god complex personality earns her moralistic censure.
‘Poolhall Junkies’ was better than this. Agatha cheats in the local quiche contest which is the social highlight of the year. There is no gritty neo-realism just lowbrow humour as Agatha’s sense of privilege and her fatuous, shallow, parasitic and prejudiced self earns the wrath of the local apoplectic professional offence takers.
Agatha dresses like an inexpensive hooker and is an irredeemably silly woman. When the judge of the quiche contest dies, Agatha embarks on an absurdly camp murder solving quest. Her pathetic attempt at credibility only earns the hyperactive narcisstic diva more odium. Her nonconformisim and stupidity is nauseating. This mess had no fascination, I despised it.
The townsfolk have a strangely moral streak and shun Agatha who deserves all the odium she gets. Everyone is nasty. Agatha’s heartfelt intervention somehow makes people affable to her again as she wallows in tender self pity, unearths legacy issues, is oblivious to copper Bill’s languorous love and haughtily abandons her one friend. A cute kitten features, things get a bit ‘Wicker Man’ and all sorts of unpleasantness lurks under the puritanical climate. Agatha has a paranoia alert, there are gossipy old people and the other ‘big name star’ is the obvious killer.”
“Are they deniable?”
“Do your Jack Bauer.”
“What a nightmare woman.”
“Symbolising sex orgies.”
“Unlawfully killed by your quiche.”
“You pathetic provincial plod.”
“Pipe down and go away.”
“You might even be liked.”
“I’m going to wring that woman’s neck.”
“You uneducated ape!”
“Mad as a cat.”
J Edgar (2011)
J Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) wears bad old age makeup and tells of his war on Bolshevik communism. This affected, retro-aesthetic movie shows Hoover’s distrusting isolationist tendencies and his liking of co-worker Clyde (Armie Hammer). But all interest is bleached out by DiCaprio’s blatant Oscar bait actings. This was non-linear, Hoover clashes with RFK and Clyde is hot. This was okay.
“Change that suit of yours.”
“Pardon me John?”
“Your suit, sir, your suit. This isn’t a saloon. You have some respect for yourself.”
“I decline to answer.”
“I refuse to answer.”
“You seem to have no social life.”
“I am determined to summarily dismiss from this bureau any employee whom I find indulging in the use of intoxicants.”
“Not 1920 anymore.”
The Raven (2012)
There is no kitchen sink-grit in this 19th century melodrama. Edgar Allan Poe spews shrill rhetoric and has often misplaced confidence in his own literary abilities. A squalid killer runs around murdering people based on Poe’s work. Poe’s star has withered into obsolescence due to his drinking. Can he solve the deplorable murders in-between screaming at a cop, getting drunk, screaming unreasonably and pining over a blonde bimbo? I feel incomprehension that this movie exists. It has no grit or purpose and the ‘hero’ Poe is loutishly ill-mannered and unpleasant. This was bad and full of mansplaining.