“BlacKkKlansman”, directed by Spike Lee

Movie, 2018 A darkly and predominantly comic account if the infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan through the efforts of an afro-touting, colour-barrier breaking policeman. While there are a few moments of heightened time at the beginning of the film, during a dramatised portrayal of a Kwame Ture speech which raises and almost deifies the profiles and faces of audience members, it’s the combination of … Continue reading “BlacKkKlansman”, directed by Spike Lee

“Night Moves”, directed by Arthur Penn

Movie, 1975 A blend looking back and referencing Chandler and Hammett, and placing an everyman character on a hunt for truth and justice spiraling out from a missing daughter case given to him by a fading Hollywood actress. A really great down at heel atmosphere, which seems to grind into rather than comment on and reflect any romantic associations of Marlowe. The styles, excesses and … Continue reading “Night Moves”, directed by Arthur Penn

“A Dog’s Ransom” by Patricia Highsmith

Novel, 1972 Story of an Ivy League graduate who’s somewhat compromised over his life on the beat, and who makes a few choices which are both strange, and which lead him into situations he’s hopeless at trying to deal with. A book where the tension is skillfully ratcheted up with the reader taken on a journey focused on a main character who slips away from … Continue reading “A Dog’s Ransom” by Patricia Highsmith

“Baby Driver”, directed by Edgar Wright

Movie, 2017 What starts off as a an orgy of car chases and music doesn’t really develop into much more. But still, Baby Driver is a treat. If the first section and immediate submersion into action is a little tiring, and the love story and set pieces short of originality, there’s an undeniable force and energy in the film which lifts it a little way … Continue reading “Baby Driver”, directed by Edgar Wright

“Squeeze Play,” by Paul Benjamin

Novel, 1984 That Paul Auster used a pseudonym for this perfectly good book is quite revealing. Squeeze Play is conventional and well told, but doesn’t swoop at and play with form and genre. It’s a charming story, albeit a bloody and twisted one, which Auster may have knocked out in readiness and preparation for his more literary output. But still, if you overlook a slightly … Continue reading “Squeeze Play,” by Paul Benjamin

“Queenie’s Castle,” by Lena Kennedy

Novel, 1994 East End crime novel set around a pub, with a familiar-feeling cast of gang members, coppers and jailbirds and those involved with or affected by them. While this all feels a little old-fashioned, and there are a few issues, maybe, with the technical execution of some of the writing, for the most part, the story chugs along nicely and keeps the pages turning. … Continue reading “Queenie’s Castle,” by Lena Kennedy

“The Turning Point,” directed by William Dieterle

Movie, 1952 Crime drama, in which a newly appointed American police head is given a rough time and some uncomfortable home truths as he tries to sort out a local crime ring. This is a film which clips along reasonably well, except for an overlong courtroom scene. If the film’s not startlingly original, the trials and journey for the main police character give the whole … Continue reading “The Turning Point,” directed by William Dieterle

"The Small World of Sammy Lee," directed by Ken Hughes

Movie, 1963 A film which looks slight and a little kitsch despite its strip joints, thugs and poker games, but which packs a punch all the same, through the tension built around the anti-hero and the cinematography which gives a wonderful black and white, light and shade, multi-faceted portrait of Soho. Anthony Newley’s down trodden sarcastic charm suits the title role and surroundings. Some strange … Continue reading "The Small World of Sammy Lee," directed by Ken Hughes

"The Beckoning Lady", by Margery Allingham

Novel, 1955 Essentially, a country house whodunnit, but with mercantile and business characters and some fairly typical moral and other ambiguities popping up here and there. This is a soothing read which handles a large cast of characters and rather fizzles out just as things threaten to really get going. Enjoyable, though neither oddball, tense or mysterious enough to fully grip the attention. The book’s … Continue reading "The Beckoning Lady", by Margery Allingham

"Watson’s Choice," by Gladys Mitchell

Novel, 1955 Golden age detective novel, which builds an atmosphere and mystery long before a murder is committed, then proceeds to a robust, enjoyable whodunnit. A book which is light and nimble and something of a period piece – particularly noticeable in the treatment of an ‘exotic’ and very psychologically baffling Spaniard. A good example of the morals and morays of an English class, with … Continue reading "Watson’s Choice," by Gladys Mitchell