Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Hong Kong is plagued by a series of terrible murders, of former suspects in cold cases who’ve evaded capture for years, by a vigilante gang calling themselves the Chosen Sleuths.
In order to tell a whole entire story that includes new generations of detectives and villains, the film starts off with a series of murders committed years before most of the (new) Chosen Sleuths were even teenagers, some even not born yet, just bear this in mind. It becomes relevant later, but for now lets keep this information in brain, and introduce the most relevant character of the film too, Jun Lee (Sean Lau). Detective Lee was known for his almost divine inspiration, his bull-headed insistence of always being right, and as such gained a reputation as the Chosen Sleuth of his police station. Sadly after being set up and framed up and not dealing with the fallout of a very-bad guy getting one over on Lee and his fellow cops more than once, Lee’s mental instability boils over and he finds himself tossed from the force, to live on the streets he used to patrol.
Cut to present day, the Chosen Sleuths gang have quite literally immolated their targets and left clues as to their motivations and their next planned victims. The Hong Kong police force have formed their own squad to deal directly with the Chosen Sleuths, but they’re not getting very far without the original Chosen Sleuth, who is, of course, already investigating the executions himself.
And this is where ‘Detectives vs. Sleuths’ really shines – Detective Lee may live on the streets in a dirty yellow raincoat in a beleaguered sort of existence, but he is still somehow the original Chosen Sleuth. Lee’s chance at redemption begins when a former victim shows up to lead Lee to his rain-damaged body, and while no one else can see the ghost, Lee gives it all kind of credence and follows the clues, like a good cop should. In fact, the question of whether or not Lee is actually seeing multiple for-real ghosts or visions his mental illness has drummed up, was never actually answered inside the movie, and I for one was glad of it. However the hell he did it, Lee the former Chosen Sleuth is now hot on a reopened case, the one that effectively ruined him, more then a decade later!
Honestly, saying anything else would give far too much of the plot away and Moxie already left some juicy clues in the bare-bones review setup. The multi-generational murder mystery ‘Detectives vs. Sleuths’ is worth multiple viewings, to see what clues you may have missed last time!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm
SDIFF 2022 presents ‘American Murderer’: Catch me if you can!
The story of how small-time criminal Jason Derek Brown went from scamming his friends and family out of money, to occupying a spot on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for murder!
Meet Jason Derek Brown (Tom Pelphrey), the big kid in an adults body, charming and glib-tongued and maybe just a little dangerous, deliberately vague when it comes to his methods of making money, capable of sweeping the neighborly realtor Melanie (Idina Menzel) off her feet while also seducing her son with video games and secrets. Or is he?
As it actually turns out, Jason is worse than broke, owes fundage to quite a few unsavory characters, and the only real work he’s been doing is practicing his snake-like charisma for the next big scam. He fobs his brother David (Paul Schneider) off for their fathers inheritance, alternately begs and abuses his mother Jeanne (Jacki Weaver) for money, even tries to weasel the only one left in his family who wants to try and help him, his sister Jamie (Shantel VanSanten). The lies and deceits of his profligate lifestyle are rapidly catching up to Jason, who in his brilliance comes up with what he thinks is a big easy score – robbing the security guard of an armored truck company.
But the best laid plans of desperate men rarely have a tendency to work out, and after putting a couple of bullets into the poor security guard and hightailing it with a stupidly small take, Jason is awarded the dubious honor of being stuck in the FBI’s Most Wanted list, with a very determined Special Agent Lance Leising (Ryan Phillipe) hot on his trail!
The whole thing is a series of turning-ever-worse debacles. Because seriously, who thinks they can get away with shooting a security guard in front of a movie theater in broad daylight? Apparently the real-life Jason did, and does, for as we know the film is based on a real-life happening, and the real Jason Derek Brown has never been caught. Director Matthew Gentile found the story of how a small-time con-man made it to the FBI’s Most Wanted list fascinating and made the film as a way to tell the tale.
SDIFF 2022 presents ‘Dotty and Soul’: Who’s the real boss here?
Reviewed by Alicia Glass
After a cancelled Halloween costume scandal, Jewish entrepreneur Ethan Cox decides to try a Trading Places-like attempt at saving his career with Dotty, the charming black lady who sells snacks at his mothers’ hospital!
Who does that anymore? Blackface, really? Especially as a Jewish man, but then, Ethan (director Adam Saunders) seems to have built a reputation out of questionable life choices that somehow work out. The self-driving car business that was poised to take off like a rocket is now nose-diving like a stone, and even his outrageous fashion sense can’t save him. So Ethan conceives of a ridiculous plan, to shoehorn the delightfully black and wise Dotty (Leslie Uggams) into the face of his company, whilst he still runs things from the wings. Because these sort of shenanigans always work out well for their instigators!
Fellow businessman Brannigan (David Koechner) and his yes-man minion Diggy (Gary Owen) just want to sell the burgeoning self-driving car company to interested investor Farhad Ghorbani (Bobby Naderi) and make the big bucks, and are at least initially reluctant to make Dotty the face of their company. She’s a woman, she’s black and not shy about it, oh and yeah, her brains and life experiences won’t allow her to simply sit there in nice suits and smile pretty but mute, Dotty is almost a complete unknown and therefore to be feared. But Brannigan knows the face value of initial impressions and only looking at the surface of things and so reluctantly accepts Dotty as the new face of the self-driving cars biz. Especially when, after a fun montage of makeover mania with Dotty and Bella (Margot Bingham), Dotty begins to run with ideas and actually contribute to the company, coming up with the idea for self-driving buses too, which Brannigan will happily exploit for maximum profit. Much to the detriment of the BIPOC and disabled communities, through a series of likely highly illegal maneuvers, Brannigan is working on making it so the self-driving bus biz is the only game in town, getting him branded the eventual bad-guy of the story, and someone for Ethan and Dotty to actually strive against!
A charming tale of the trials, tribulations, and ultimately triumphs in the journey to authenticity, featuring an adorably genuine cast led by the redoubtable Uggams – who played the hilarious Blind Al opposite Ryan Reynolds in both Deadpool movies – Dotty and Soul will make you cheer for the overlooked, the disabled and the helpless, and the people who step up to champion them with their whole hearts!