Saturday, 18 May 2024

‘Marlowe’ strives for film noir; molesters exposed on ID TV



‘MARLOWE’ Rated R

A writer of detective pulp fiction, Raymond Chandler made his literary mark with fictional private eye Philip Marlowe in a series of novels, several of which were adapted into films starring Humphrey Bogart, Robert Montgomery, and Robert Mitchum, among others.

The spirit of the hard-boiled detective lives on with Irish novelist John Banville who chooses to publish under the pen name of Benjamin Black, at least for crime fiction, including “The Black-Eyed Blonde,” subtitled “A Philip Marlowe Novel.”

If film noir is defined by stylish crime dramas featuring characters with cynical attitudes, then any movie with gumshoe Philip Marlowe qualifies for the genre. Just take a look at Bogart in “The Big Sleep” or Mitchum in 1975’s “Farewell, My Lovely.”

A dedicated cinephile of the film noir genre would most likely choose Humphrey Bogart’s 1946 “The Big Sleep” as the definitive Philip Marlowe film, with no small measure of help from a starring role for Lauren Bacall.

Liam Neeson, the man with a “special set of skills” in recent action films, is now the brooding, down on his luck detective, the titular character in “Marlowe” and not to be confused with the 1969 film of the same title starring James Garner.

This new “Marlowe” is not based on a Raymond Chandler novel, but rather the contemporary work of Benjamin Black’s first foray into imagining the private eye’s involvement with a wealthy heiress’ search for a missing lover.

While Black’s story is set in the early 1950s, “Marlowe” hews to a fitting time of 1939, where the fedora-wearing sleuth seems to be more appropriately situated in the milieu of a film noir environment.

Peering out his office window on to a street that’s probably in Hollywood, notwithstanding the fictional Bay City setting, Marlowe spots a leggy beauty making her way in the direction of his building.

Of course, this beautiful woman, Clare Cavendish (Diane Kruger), is the type of femme fatale that’s bound to need the services of a detective, in this case to locate Nico Peterson (Francois Arnaud), an ex-lover gone astray.

Initially, the case appears to be solved as a death after a hit-and-run outside the Corbata Club, but then there’s been an apparent sighting of Nico very much alive, maybe in Mexico.

The search for the truth results in Marlowe tangling with an assortment of sinister characters, from the slimy owner (Danny Huston) of the Corbata Club, to a drug smuggler (Alan Cumming) and the usual thugs hired as muscle.

Figuring into the mix of other players are Clare’s mother (Jessica Lange), a film star with an unhealthy interest in her daughter’s personal life, and a couple of Marlowe’s pals from the police force (Colm Meaney and Ian Hart).

The storyline gets convoluted enough that it’s easy to lose track of how sex, drugs, a corrupt studio system and some Mexican gangsters figure into a bigger picture that looks conceivably conspiratorial.

One can’t help but think that Liam Neeson, fittingly world-weary here, may have aged too much for the physical necessities of the role, which he confirms by saying “I’m getting too old for this” after dispatching a bad guy.

The one compensation for Neeson’s senior status is being taller than most of the others, even though we must suspend disbelief that his Marlowe would get the best of thugs half his age.

The saving grace to “Marlowe,” if there actually is one, is that the production’s aesthetic style captures the essence of film noir and the period look of the shady underbelly of Los Angeles as well as the glitzy Golden Age of Hollywood.

‘JARED FROM SUBWAY: CATCHING A MONSTER’ ON ID TV

Remember when Jared Fogle became recognizable as the pitchman for Subway due to his story of overcoming obesity through a diet of the chain’s sandwiches? He was a model of inspiration for people struggling with weight problems.

But in 2015, Americans were stunned when authorities brought multiple charges of child endangerment against Jared Fogle and his business partner Russell Taylor.

ID TV’s new three-part series, “Jared from Subway: Catching a Monster,” reveals the shocking, previously untold story of the investigation that exposed the monster insidiously lurking behind Fogle’s charming persona and how his true nature as child sex predator was finally revealed.

Charting Fogle’s rise from morbidly obese teenage outcast to beloved Subway spokesman, “Jared from Subway” offers exclusive access into the rise and fall of the disgraced weight loss sensation and the investigation that brought him down.

Over the course of three parts, the docuseries provides key insight from local Florida journalist Rochelle Herman, a single mother of two who later worked with the FBI to investigate Fogle, revealing her secret recordings of his disgusting and disturbing confessions.

The series also explores the charges against Russell Taylor that ultimately led to the raid on Fogle’s home that uncovered child pornography. Emotional interviews with Russell’s stepdaughters reveal how they were victimized by Fogle and their stepfather.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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