Exercise is Murder (Five Star Mystery Series)

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Anthony Powell won an Oscar for the film's ornate costumes. Approved 83 min Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery. Frank Bigelow, told he's been poisoned and has only a few days to live, tries to find out who killed him and why.

Votes: 9, In this clever twist on the genre, poor Edmond O'Brien has to solve his own murder. He's dying from a slow acting poison, and he has about two days left to figure out who slipped him the lethal Mickey and why. Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan starred in a not-bad remake, but stick with the bleak original. PG min Drama, Mystery. Trying to find how a millionaire wound up with a phony diamond brings Hercule Poirot Sir Peter Ustinov to an exclusive island resort frequented by the rich and famous. When a murder is committed, everyone has an alibi.

Peter Ustinov is back as Hercule Poirot in a whodunit set at a remote Mediterranean resort. It's worth the price of admission just to see him squeeze his hefty frame into a period swimsuit and dip a toe into the water, more out of obligation than leisure. After all, there is a murder to solve. In Victorian-era London, a troubled clairvoyant police detective investigates the murders of Jack the Ripper. The Hughes brothers' adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel about the Jack the Ripper case is suitably bloody and apocalyptic.

Johnny Depp is the opium- and absinthe-addled Scotland Yard man assigned to the case, with Robbie Coltrane his stalwart partner and Ian Holm the creepy royal surgeon who offers his advice.


When the search leads Depp to the royal family, paranoia sets in, vast conspiracies are hinted at, and a "Chinatown"-like despair sets in. Underrated and not for everyone, but thoroughly chilling. A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel. Andrew Niccol's elegant, austere sci-fi tale of a future where DNA determinism runs rampant is also, at heart, a murder mystery. Ethan Hawke borrows DNA traces from genetically superior Jude Law in order to join an astronaut training program, but when a killer strikes, Hawke knows his impostor status will make him the prime suspect.

Worse, the lead detective is his own genetically-engineered brother. The unraveling mystery, along with Hawke's own perseverance, is meant to put the lie to the notion that we can only be as good as our genes. R min Drama, Fantasy, Horror. A woman with extrasensory perception is asked to help find a young woman who has disappeared.

It's more like a curse to Cate Blanchett, playing a Southern widow who's haunted by clairvoyant visions. In this swampy gothic drama written by Billy Bob Thornton and directed by Sam Raimi , she tries to use her powers to solve the disappearance and, not a big spoiler, the murder of local rich girl Katie Holmes, only to open herself up to a host of violent horrors at the hands of various disturbed locals. A journalist is aided by a young female hacker in his search for the killer of a woman who has been dead for forty years. David Fincher did a fine job with the English language version of Steig Larsson's novel, the first of the author's celebrated Millennium trilogy, and Rooney Mara was a revelation as hacker heroine Lisbeth Salander.

Nonetheless, the original Swedish version, starring Noomi Rapace, is superior. She's on fire as the vengeful sleuth who, along with journalist Mikael Blomkvist Michael Nyqvist , investigates the apparent murder of a missing heiress. The two sequels are similarly gripping and horrific. R min Comedy, Drama, Mystery. The lives of upstairs guests and downstairs servants at a party in in a country house in England as they investigate a murder involving one of them. In Robert Altman's hands, the mystery is the jumping-off point for a perceptive social satire, and the joke is that no one on screen is all that interested in the murder mystery either.

No one seems to mourn the dead man, and the fatuous detective a hilarious Stephen Fry sent to solve the case seems resigned to the notion that the murder will go unsolved.

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The only one who figures out what happened is wide-eyed maid Kelly Macdonald, and when she confronts the killers, they freely confess, knowing that she's in no position to blab to anyone. The movie owes a debt to Jean Renoir's classic "The Rules of the Game," whose stated theme was "Everyone has his reasons," but here, the theme seems to be that everyone has his dirty secrets.

Not Rated min Crime, Drama, Mystery. An African-American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town. This Best Picture Oscar-winner was seen as a pioneering civil rights parable at the time, but it's also a crackling murder mystery. When a factory owner is killed in a sweltering Mississippi town, the local sheriff Rod Steiger immediately suspects black visitor Sidney Poitier, but he turns out to be a visiting big-city detective who helps Steiger track down the real killer.

It's no buddy movie, though each cop develops a grudging admiration for the other.

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R min Action, Comedy, Crime. A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor. The title of Shane Black's shaggy-dog crime tale is taken from an anthology of Pauline Kael's film reviews, a description of the visceral thrills she treasured in movies. Not sure what she would have thought of Black's film, which offers a little kiss kiss, a lot of bang bang, and a heaping helping of WTF? Robert Downey Jr. The film wasn't a hit, but it remains a cult favorite for a devoted few.

As corruption grows in s Los Angeles, three policemen -- one strait-laced, one brutal, and one sleazy -- investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice. Curtis Hanson's majestic adaptation of James Ellroy's novel owes a debt to "Chinatown," a movie it equals in sheer paranoid dread. When the denizens of a late-night diner are massacred, three mid-century Los Angeles detectives Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, and Kevin Spacey follow different leads but all stumble upon the same vast conspiracy.

The best film of sorry, "Titanic" fans , it won an Oscar only for Kim Basinger's performance as a reformed femme fatale. A year after Sheila is killed in a hit-and-run, her multi-millionaire husband invites a group of friends to spend a week on his yacht playing a scavenger hunt-style mystery game. The game turns out to be all too real and all too deadly.

Votes: 4, Anthony Perkins and Stephen Sondheim, who used to host elaborate scavenger-hunt parties for their famous friends, turned the idea into a whodunit set on a yacht during a Mediterranean cruise. The parlor game on board involves the revelation of embarrassing secrets, finger-pointing over the mysterious death of Coburn's wife the Sheila of the title the year before, and fresh murders.

Passed 88 min Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery. Everything about Laura is haunting, from her bewitching beauty she's played by Gene Tierney to her theme music on the soundtrack composed by David Raksin. The movie's swoony style smooths over an improbable plot; indeed, Joseph LaShelle won an Oscar for his lush black-and-white cinematography. Not Rated 99 min Crime, Mystery, Thriller.

Cops use murdered woman's Fitbit to charge her husband

When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt. In Fritz Lang's haunting, German-language crime drama, the Berlin police are hunting a whistling killer of children; so is the underworld, since the police manhunt has put a damper on criminal activity. Peter Lorre became an international star as the creepy killer, making him surprisingly human and almost sympathetic in the famous confession speech where he describes with anguish his horrible compulsion.

Not Rated min Film-Noir, Mystery. A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette. Dashiell Hammett's mystery had been filmed before, but John Huston's version was the one that stuck.

Humphrey Bogart is Sam Spade, a hard-boiled private eye investigating the murder of his partner. At the same time, his life is complicated by the arrival of a group of backstabbing fortune hunters including femme fatale Mary Astor, weaselly Peter Lorre, and menacing Sydney Greenstreet , all of them in pursuit of the title artifact. The mystery turns out to be secondary to the colorful assortment of low-lifes Bogart seems to find them more amusing than threatening, but that could be a tough-guy pose and the fatalistic atmosphere, a blueprint for the entire film noir genre that would soon come to fruition.

R min Mystery, Thriller. Christopher Nolan's innovative whodunit unspools in reverse chronological order, since protagonist Leonard Guy Pearce, never better has no short-term memory and forgets things that happened just a few minutes ago. He remembers, though, that he's hunting the man who raped and killed his wife, thanks to clues he's tattooed all over his body. He can't trust anyone — not seemingly sympathetic gal pal Carrie-Anne Moss, not shifty friend Joe Pantoliano, and certainly not himself.

PG min Action, Crime, Mystery. In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder. In Steven Spielberg's adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story, Tom Cruise is a cop in a future where psychics predict murders and Cruise routinely arrests the would-be killers before they strike. But when he is fingered himself as a future killer, he goes on the lam from his colleagues and tries to solve the mystery of a crime that hasn't happened yet. As usual with Dick, there are lots of ethical and existential questions to ponder, as well as an atmosphere of paranoia over the slippery nature of identity.

PG min Crime, Mystery, Thriller. Miss Marple comes to solve the mystery when a local woman is poisoned and a visiting movie star seems to have been the intended victim. Votes: 6, In what now looks like a dress rehearsal for the entire run of "Murder, She Wrote," Angela Lansbury plays Christie's Miss Marple, sent to investigate a poisoning on a movie set involving two squabbling Hollywood divas Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Novak. Along with the typically unflappable Lansbury, the fun here comes from watching Taylor, in one of her last film roles, parodying her own legend.

Best Whodunit Murder Mystery Movies

PG 95 min Comedy, Mystery, Thriller. Five famous literary detective characters and their sidekicks are invited to a bizarre mansion to solve an even stranger mystery. Votes: 30, Everything in the movie is politically incorrect and bizarre like Alec Guinness' performance as a blind butler , but nothing moreso than Truman Capote's turn as the manipulative host of the lethal dinner party. The film's not for everyone, clearly, but for some, it's a hilarious cult favorite.

Janis Patterson (Author of Beaded to Death)

In December , when his train is stopped by deep snow, detective Hercule Poirot is called on to solve a murder that occurred in his car the night before. Votes: 50, A glossy period travelogue set in Europe is not the sort of movie you'd expect from Sidney Lumet, known for his gritty, contemporary, New York City crime thrillers "Serpico," "Dog Day Afternoon," et al. But he does a splendid job with an all-star cast besides Albert Finney's Poirot and Ingrid Bergman's Oscar-winning Swedish missionary, there's also Lauren Bacall, John Gielgud, and Sean Connery and a typically twisty Christie plot with a jaw-dropping solution.

The lives of three men who were childhood friends are shattered when one of them has a family tragedy. In Clint Eastwood's adaptation of Dennis Lehane's novel, neighborhood big-shot Sean Penn finds his grown daughter murdered, and when suspicion falls upon his haunted childhood pal Tim Robbins, he takes matters into his own hands. The result is a whodunit steeped in tragedy, from the scars of crimes long past to the violent tribalism of present-day Boston. Penn and Robbins both earned Oscars as age-old friends torn apart by childhood trauma and lifelong guilt.

An intellectually nonconformist friar investigates a series of mysterious deaths in an isolated abbey. Umberto Eco's novel, a medieval murder mystery set in a monastery, gets a decent adaptation here. Sean Connery is an English monk who is also a Sherlock-like sleuth his name is William of Baskerville , while Christian Slater is a wide-eyed puppy as his Watson-like novice. Murray Abraham overplays it a bit as a ruthless inquisitor, and the movie isn't as lofty-minded as Eco's book, but for a thought-provoking mystery in an unusual setting, you could do worse.

As a lawyer investigates the murder of a colleague, he finds himself more connected to the crime than anyone else.