Tag Archives: murder

Movie Review – Murder On the Orient Express (2017)

God damn.  Hercule Poirot is one bad ass baller.  Kickin’ ass, takin’ names and givin’ free mustache rides.

BQB here with a review of “Murder on the Orient Express.”

New life has been breathed into Agatha Christie’s long lasting tale of murder most foul.

Have you ever been to a murder mystery party?  A series of interesting characters are introduced, someone is murdered, and a wise detective spells out how he cracked the case?

Well, you can thank Ole Aggie for that.  Here, the classic formula is revisited.  In the 1930s, internationally infamous detective/Frenchman/mustache enthusiast Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) boards a train, headed for his next case.

Alas, our mustachioed friend can’t catch a break.  Instead of catching some “Zzz’s” on his trip, he catches a case when of the passengers is murdered.  Yes, murder!  Murder, I say!

Poirot is a cursed genius – a genius because he can focus in on key details that most gloss over, but cursed because this makes life very hard for him.  Most people are able to set aside life’s little flaws whereas Poirot sees disorder and disarray wherever he goes, to the point where it makes him uncomfortable to see a disheveled tie.

Throughout the investigation, he puts the screws to a rogue’s gallery of potential murderers.  It’s a star studded cast with the some pretty big names – Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dame Judy Dench, Willem Dafoe, Josh Gad, just to name a few.

Overall, it’s a fun walk back into time.  There are some social justice twists for the modern viewer.  The film largely takes place on the train so at times it feels like a play unfolding before your eyes.  Poirot is one of the more beloved characters in the mystery genre, perhaps even in literature, so Branagh has a big score in this role.

God, I remember having the hots for Michelle Pfeiffer when I was a kid, watching her play Catwoman in “Batman Returns.”  Now she likes Granny-ish, though honestly, she’s held up pretty good.  I’d still do her.  Call me, Michelle.

It’s fun, at times a bit dark and gloomy.  The story itself is a master class in how mystery stories are crafted so any aspiring writers out there should check it out.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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Top Ten Warning Signs Your Girlfriend Might Be an Axe Murderer

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Ahh, the axe.  That most important wood chopping tool.  Good for cutting trees down to size.

Oh those pesky trees.  They think they’re so smart.

Alas, every tool with a good use can be misused.  People use forks to eat spaghetti…but they also use them to eat tuna noodle casserole.  Bleh.

People use their remote controls to tune in to Game of Thrones...but in the earlier part of this decade, they also used them to tune in to Whitney.  Double bleh.

The axe!  Yes, when it comes to providing us with wood, it’s second only to Blake Lively in the buff.  Punny!

But axes can also be abused.  Why, for all we know, your girlfriend might be using to chop up people into itsy, bitsy, teeny, tiny pieces right now!

(NOTE:  My lawyer advises me that statically speaking, it’s highly unlikely that she is.  However, if you think she is, you shouldn’t confront her directly but rather, should take your concerns to the police.)

Yikes.  Gotta cover your butt in this ridiculously litigious society.

Anyway, from BQB HQ in Fabulous East Randomtown, here are the Top Ten Warning Signs Your Girlfriend Might Be an Axe Murderer:

#10 – She Owns an Axe

That’s pretty suspicious.  Unless she lives in Canada, where the trees grow tall and thick and people have to chop down twenty trees every day just to get to work, there’s really no reason for her to own one.

Is she a wood chopping enthusiast?  Does she make a lot of fires in the fireplace?  No?  Hmm…not entirely conclusive but still, very curious.

#9 – You Wake Up Every Night to the Sound of Blood Curdling Screams Coming From Your Basement

Sure, those could be the last desperate cries for help from your axe murdering girlfriend’s many, many victims.  However, it’s probably just her crying about what a terrible boyfriend you are.  I mean, I don’t want to tell tales out of school, but I’ve heard that you really suck at boyfriendery.  You should work on that.

#8 – There’s Blood on the Axe

Depends.  Do you live on a farm?  Maybe she just lopped off a chicken’s head so she can make you a delicious dinner.  Oh, stop being so dramatic!  Where do you think chicken nuggets come from?  Do you think that Ronald McDonald magically pops those things into a cardboard box with some tasty dipping sauces with his magic clown wand?

No.  We’re talking mass chicken murder here.  Ronald McDonald and Colonel Sanders are like the Hitler and Stalin of chicken-dom.

But I can’t complain.  They make tasty bird meat.  Actually, KFC does.  McDonalds, I’ll just eat those nuggets because they’re there and then I’ll wonder why I hate my body so much to do such a terrible thing to it.

At any rate, I wouldn’t just automatically assume that the blood on the axe is a human or has some kind of sinister origin.  When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me, but mostly you, because I’m not the one dating an axe murderer, chief.

Moving on…

#7 – Screams, “I’m Going to Kill You!” On a Regular Basis 

Maybe she means that she’s literally going to kill you with an axe but then again, what woman has never screamed this sentence at her man before?  Let she who has not threatened murder of her significant other in jest cast the first stone.

#6 – She Named the Axe

Did she give the axe a name?  Mr. Choppy, perhaps?  Hmm…a sentimental attachment to a possible murder weapon.  Suspicious…though inconclusive.  Maybe she’s just weird.

#5 – Takes Selfies with the Axe

This could be a problem though axe or not, if she makes that stupid duck bill smoochie face in said selfies, I’d dump her anyway just on principle.

#4 – Sleeps with the Axe

Maybe she does this because she’s planning on axing you while you sleep.  I recommend the following line of questioning:

YOU:  Honey, you wouldn’t happen to be planning on chopping me to pieces in a gruesome manner with that axe, would you?

GIRLFRIEND:  No, silly!  Tee hee!

Although, do keep in mind, people who are able to chop up other people with axes are usually not above lying.

Tread lightly, as maybe there is a legitimate reason why she sleeps with an axe.  Maybe when she was young, an axe murderer tried to axe her and now she sleeps with an axe in case she has to spring to her feet in the middle of the night and take on an axe murderer in a furious round of axe on axe combat.  Bet you never thought of that, did you, you paranoid, insensitive prick?

Still…either way, might be best for you to sleep somewhere else.  One wrong move in a bed with an axe in it and you could end up singing soprano.  Mi mi mi mi mi!!!

#3 – She Has Told You That She is An Axe Murderer

Hmm, a rare axe murderer who has decided to be honest with you and invite you into her world of axe murdery.  Or, maybe she told you in a moment of weakness and later she will realize that she must axe you in order to cover her axe tracks.

Ultimately, every person has their moral failings and it will be up to you to decide whether or not you can handle all of the horrendous moral implications of dating an axe murderer.

I mean, think about all of the ethical dilemmas you will face.  Should you turn her in?  If you don’t, you’re as guilty as she is because you could have stopped her victims from being axed by calling the cops yet you did nothing.  Could you really be with someone so evil?  How could you ever sleep knowing she might axe you?

On the flip side…does she have big boobs?

No!  No!  Stop it!  You CANNOT stay with a lady axe murderer for any reason and not even if she has gigantic sweater cannons.

But seriously, motor boat those puppies on the way out the door, then go tell the cops.

#2 – There’s a Head in the Freezer

What kind of bullshit is this?  Why would you stay with a woman that would put an axe chopped human head in a perfectly good freezer, right on top of all your frozen deep dish pizzas and Lean Cuisines?

You should leave her for getting blood all over your popsicles…oh and also, because she chopped off a dude’s head and stuck in the freezer.  That goes without saying.

#1 – She’s Standing Over You Right Now…As You Are Reading this Fine Blog!

Argh!  OMG!

Whatever you do, DO NOT PANIC.  Stay right there.  Be cool.  Don’t make any sudden moves.

Just listen carefully and I’ll tell you what you need to do.  Very slowly, very carefully….reach for your computer…and then click on my website a hundred times because I could really use more hits on this excellent blog.  My genius is going unrecognized, here.

Oh, and then run or something.  I don’t know.  What do I look like?  An anti-axe murderer combat expert?

DISCLAIMER:  Sure, this post was meant as a joke but axe murderer is no laughing matter, people.  According to the Fake Institute for Bogus Statistics, 11,000 people are gruesomely axe murdered every three seconds.

Don’t go around being some wacko vigilante, accusing your girlfriend of being an axe murderer.  But, if you think your girlfriend might be an axe murderer, then contact the nearest anti-axe murderer law enforcement agency.  Ask them to send their best axe murderer catchers right away.

 

 

 

 

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A Note On Toilet Gator

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Writing a book is a lot like running a marathon.

I’m not talking about stamina.  I’m talking about dealing with mishaps along the way.

Suppose you’re running a marathon and you drop your keys.  You don’t realize until your five miles away from where you dropped them.

Are you going to circle back and look for them or are you going to keep going?

You’ve got to keep going if you want to get across that finish line.  Cross the line, then take a breath, get in the car and go back and look for them.

Same with writing.  You think of something that would have been good after you write certain chapters.

Should you go back and change those chapters?  Not necessarily.  You could…but you might realize other changes need to be made down the line.  You’ll be rewriting chapters forever.

So here’s my note.

I didn’t think at first how Natalie finds out that there are other “murders” with similar circumstances.  I decided too late that she would be getting mysterious text messages.  So, in the rewrite, I’ll have to add that earlier.

This note is more or less for me…though if you are one of the 3.5 people actually reading the chapters, there’s some info for you.

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Making a Murderer

Anyone watch it yet?

I’ve only watched the first half hour so please, NO SPOILERS!

Generally speaking, is it as good as everyone says it is?

I mean, so far, it seems like bad police work but as far as the show goes, its not blowing me away so far, though like I said, I haven’t seen much of it.

Does it get better?

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Movie Review – Foxcatcher (2014)

Steve Carrell.  Channing Tatum.  Mark Ruffalo.

And so many scantily clad dudes rolling around on the floor that I swear I caught Aunt Gertie staring at the screen just a little too longingly.

Bookshelf Q. Battler here after FINALLY having had the chance to catch last year’s Foxcatcher.

I’m loathe to use the word “SPOILERS” for a film about a horrific crime that’s nearly 20 years old but honestly, while I’d generally heard about the case, I didn’t know the specifics until I began reading about the film.  If you’d like to find out on your own as you watch, you might want to rent it first and then read this review later.

Movieclips Trailers – Foxcatcher – Sony Pictures

Wealth.  For some it’s a blessing.  For others it’s a curse.

Throughout history, there have been people who have been born into great circumstances, their lives preordained before they even opened their eyes and took a look at the world for the first time.

Some individuals take the vast resources at their disposal and do their families proud, achieving new levels of greatness.

Others party hearty and are destined to become paparazzi fodder.

In the middle, there are folks who enjoy their riches, coast along and somehow manage to make jackasses of themselves.

Then there’s John du Pont.  Heir to a massive chemical company fortune, he’s an odd duck to say the least.  He’s socially awkward, almost painfully so.  It’s like he knows what he wants to say but has a hard time expressing himself, assumably because he’s lived such a sheltered life.

The majority of the film takes place in the late 1980’s, when du Pont is in his late fifties.  He lives on a sprawling estate which he dubs Foxcatcher Farm, fox hunting having been a popular activity for well-to-do visitors to the grounds.

The movie makes it clear – du Pont believes himself to be a great man and he wants the rest of the world to agree.  He doesn’t really want to do anything to achieve that goal.  He just wants to spend large sums of money and purchase the acclaim he believes he deserves.

At the heart of his need for glory?  A rivalry with his mother Jean (played by one of the few remaining Old Hollywood stars Vanessa Redgrave) leaves him with a burning desire to prove his worth to her.

One gets the impression that the rivalry is one sided.  Jean trains show horses on the estate and proudly displays her trophies in the family mansion.  du Pont envies the horses and wants his mother’s attention.  Despite being almost 60 years old, he’s like a little kid yearning for Mommy’s approval.

Meanwhile, brothers David (Mark Ruffalo) and Mark (Channing Tatum) Schultz have each won an Olympic gold medal for wrestling.  Keep in mind we’re talking about real wrestling, the kind that involves knowledge of various moves and techniques, and not the scripted garbage on Monday night.

From the film, it’s clear the brothers have a deep love and admiration of one another, but while David has found happiness with a loving wife and family, Mark is alone, living on ramen noodles in a tiny house and at the start of the film, earning a twenty dollar gratuity for speaking at an elementary school (it’s made obvious that Mark needs that twenty bucks).

Mark feels that even though he’s earned his notoriety, anything he does is overshadowed by his brother.  If he has success, the public attributes it to David’s mentorship of Mark and not Mark himself.  Mark wants to accomplish something on his own, and to make matters worse, he needs money.

Enter du Pont with a miraculous offer for the Schultz brothers.  du Pont wants them to come to his estate, select a wrestling team, train themselves to compete in the upcoming 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and train their team mates while they’re at it. He’ll pay them and give them houses on his property to live in for free.

David, not wanting to uproot his family, isn’t interested.  Mark, seeing a chance to break out of his brother’s shadow, takes the deal.

And for awhile he excels at Foxcatcher.

But alas, it is an understatement to say that du Pont is weird.

He insists that people refer to him as “America’s Golden Eagle.”  He orchestrates a large awards ceremony for himself, and in a sad commentary about society, it’s well-attended by the rich and the powerful.  He wants to be a wrestler too and organizes a senior citizen wrestling competition, only to pay off his geriatric competitor to take a dive.

That’s not all.  du Pont purchases a tank with the ease that one might order a book from Amazon.  When it arrives, he throws a fit that it doesn’t include a 50-caliber machine gun as promised and refuses to sign for the shipment.

He snorts cocaine with reckless abandon, takes his helicopter everywhere, and its not-so-subtly implied that his generosity towards the sport of wrestling might have been a front to allow him to roll around with young sweaty men.

Throughout his Pennsylvania community, du Pont is known as a gracious benefactor, a man who doles out the cash just so he can be a part of everything.  The local police department practice on his shooting range and he shoots guns alongside them.

Poor and crazy?  You’re crazy.  Rich and crazy?  You’re eccentric.  Not to fault the movie, but if you perform a web search on du Pont, you’ll come up with an endless supply of allegations, many of which weren’t portrayed in the film.  That’s not a knock on the film at all.  It’s just that the man was so nuts that there just wasn’t enough time to capture it all on screen:

Some of the allegations I was able to find on the web that weren’t featured in the film:

  • That du Pont put razor wire in the walls of his house because he thought it was haunted by ghosts
  • He crashed multiple cars into a pond on his property
  • He bought a look-alike police car and pulled over people who drove near his property.
  • Believed that Nazis and Russian spies were frequenting the property, often demanding that his employees search for them.
  • Kicked black wrestlers off the team claiming “the KKK runs this place”
  • That du Pont, after his mother’s death, sets her horse barn on fire with the horses inside.  The film only shows Carrell let the horses go.  Perhaps horses being burnt up is too graphic for the screen.

Again, there wasn’t just enough time in the movie, but the film more than manages to portray the fact that the man just was not right in the head.

Steve Carrell is no stranger to playing characters who aren’t exactly grounded in reality.  After all, he played the dimwitted bumbling boss Michael Scott on The Office for years.  But while Scott’s antics were relatively harmless, du Pont’s instability is (and as we see later) a disaster waiting to happen.

Barely recognizable under gray hair and a large prosthetic nose, Carrell earns his Oscar nomination as he plays du Pont, capturing his overall style of a hopelessly depressed ego-maniac slash elderly man child.

If I keep going, I’ll give too much of the film away.  It climaxes when du Pont, spurred on by his ongoing desire to achieve greatness (by letting others earn it for him) makes David an offer he can’t refuse to come be part of the Foxcatcher wrestling program.  Mark, who’s been sucked into du Pont’s unhealthy drugging lifestyle, feels betrayed by du Pont (at one point du Pont tells Mark he understands and supports his desire to win on his own), that he’s lost his chance to win without his brother’s help, not to mention he’s under intense pressure from du Pont to succeed.

Later, Ruffalo as David makes a face as if he’s losing his soul when a documentary film maker du Pont has hired to produce a glowing film about himself asks David to say du Pont is his mentor.  David is perhaps the most genuinely lovable character of the whole film, caring for his family, concerned for his brother’s well-being and at a crucial moment in the film, stands up to du Pont on Mark’s behalf.

SPOILER ALERT (Again, I hate using that term here but I have no idea what else to say.)

After losing in the 1988 Olympic games, Mark leaves the Foxcatcher program and the film ends with du Pont driving his car to David’s house.

Here’s the scary part.  I’ve known for years that du Pont shot David Schultz just because it was a well-known, highly reported on crime.  And I’ve been reading more about it since the movie came out.

Yet, even though I knew it was coming, I just wasn’t prepared for it and was startled anyway.  While David is standing in his driveway, du Pont pulls up, asks, “Do you have a problem with me?” then shoots David.

An employee riding with du Pont who had no idea what his boss was up to tries to stop him.  David’s wife comes out of the house and du Pont points his gun at her, sending her back in the house.

David struggles to crawl to safety but du Pont shoots him twice more in the back then drives back to his house to hole up.

The expressionless face, the clear lack of interest in the gravity of what he’s done…Carrell as du Pont arguably portrays a villain in that short moment that rivals Hannibal Lecter.

But while Lecter made it clear he wants to eat you, du Pont is one of those people who seems off, but no one realized just how off he was or what he was capable of until it was too late.

Accounts I’ve read online typically describe the situation in that du Pont was known throughout his community as being an oddball but his antics seemed harmless and people were happy to take advantage of the generous donations he offered, thus placating his bad behavior while failing to realize he was a ticking time bomb all along.

One can’t help but feel sorry for the Schultz brothers throughout the film.  Olympic wrestlers are in a tough position.  They’re paid no money to train and yet have to a) train all day in order to compete and b) still somehow find a source of income to pay their bills.

A benefactor swoops in and offers to pay them a salary and gives them houses on his estate to live in while they practice the sport they love?

Hell, be honest.  You’d ignore the tank too.

If you’re interested in reading more about the case, here are two articles I found helpful:

CNN – “Foxcatcher – The Crazy du Pont Next Door” – Reporter Ann O’Neil discusses what her childhood was like living near the Foxcatcher Estate

A Millionaire Madman Murdered My Olympic Champion Brother – Jane Ridley, New York Post.  Mark Schultz provides his account of the tragic loss of his brother.

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Mr. Devil Man

The Los Angeles Courant

Yesterday’s News Today!

August 7, 1949

MR. DEVIL MAN STRIKES AGAIN!

By:  Stan Clarence, Staff Reporter

Mr. Devil Man claims his sixth victim in six days.

A serial killer on the loose!

LOS ANGELES – Women across the City of Angels are locking their doors and sleeping with one eye open as police sources confirm the notorious murderer dubbed “Mr. Devil Man” has claimed his sixth victim in as many days.

Mrs. Cloris Daniels, 24, was found stabbed to death in the living room of her Sunland home late last evening.  Authorities state her husband, Martin, returned home after a night of billiards only to faint upon viewing the gruesome sight.

“At this time we are able to confirm that Mrs. Daniels matches the description of the previous five victims – brunette, blue eyes, slight build and attractive facial features,” said Capt. Thaddeus Talbot, Los Angeles Police Department, Homicide Division.  “My detectives are working diligently to bring the perpetrator of this heinous crime to justice.”

Meanwhile, brunettes across the county are investing in hair dye.

“LA’s getting a new bevy of blondes,” said Sandra Sawyer, owner and proprietor of the Spotlight Beauty Salon, “As if we didn’t have enough of them around here all ready.”

Ms. Laurent went on to note that hair dye appointments are booked solid through September and the line of ladies hoping for a walk-in is out the door and around the corner.

Peaches Durand

Peaches LeMay

The local press have dubbed the killer “Mr. Devil Man” due to the fact that police reports indicate that at each crime scene, the record of the song of the same name sung by legendary Jazz songstress Peaches LeMay was found playing.

Ms. LeMay’s manager, “Step-Aside” Clyde Russell, said his client is heartbroken that her signature song has become associated with such evil deeds.

“That song was never meant to be anything more than playful,” Russell said.  “It’s about a cat that does his woman wrong so she shows him the door.  Nothing more. Ms. LeMay is sick with grief that her signature hit has been twisted around to be associated with violence.”

Rumors abound that Jake Hatcher, the lead detective on the case, and Ms. LeMay, were once an item in the late 1930’s before the critically acclaimed songbird found fame and fortune.

Asked if said speculation requires Detective Hatcher to recuse himself from the case, Capt. Talbot replied, “Don’t you dregs of humanity have anything better to do?  Get the expletive deleted out of my face and don’t print that I said that!”

 Hatcher has his work cut out for him.  No pun intended.  Coming soon to a blog with 3.5 readers near you.

Killer and singer images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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