business news in context, analysis with attitude

I was an enormous fan of the original Knives Out, and am pleased to be able to say that the sequel - Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery - is completely up to the task of satisfying those of us who love a good murder mystery written, directed and performed with style and panache.

In some ways, Glass Onion is very different from the original;  Knives Out was a classic whodunit, set in a New England mansion, with a Southern detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig, having a ball), charged with figuring out which family member may have killed a rich, famous mystery novelist.  Glass Onion, on the other hand, is a sort of whodunit/whydunit/howdunit, set on a Green island where a group of old friends has been brought together by a tech billionaire to play a murder game.  Naturally, things go awry - Blanc is there for seemingly unexplainable reasons, and as the plot goes forward and backward (and occasionally sideways), we get different perspectives on ther characters' past and present, which leads to varying revelations about motives and opportunity.

Craig, once again, is stylish as Blanc, and the rest of cast - including Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista and Leslie Odom Jr. - matches him with enthusiasm and highly specific characterizations.  The writing and directing, by Rian Johnson, are both diverting and satisfying, offering a fabulously effective piece of entertainment.

Two additional pieces of good news:  Glass Onion is available on Netflix.  And, Johnson and Craig have signed a deal that will bring at least one more Benoit Blanc mystery to the streaming service in the not too distant future.


I loved the first season of "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan" on Amazon Prime Video, because I thought it did a terrific job of portraying Ryan as an everyman CIA analyst thrust reluctantly into field work by geopolitical circumstances.  I was less enthralled by the second season, because it seemed to leap frog character development to turn Ryan into a James Bondian action hero.

Season three, out now, seems to split the difference a little more effectively.  Ryan - played by John Krasinski with elements of the guys who previously played the character (Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, Chris Pine) - is an effective field agent who still relies on his ability to analyze obscure information and reach critical conclusions.  Wendell Pierce brings gravitas and a bit of insolence to the role of James Greer, Ryan's boss (played in the movies by James Earl Jones), and Michael Kelly bring some world weary comic relief to the role of as former CIA agent who ends up helping Ryan.

What's really interesting is the plot.  The movie was written and shot before Russia invaded Ukraine, and yet there are many plot points that echo the sad reality we've seen unfold there.

Spend some time with "Jack Ryan."  I think you'll find it a satisfying streaming experience.

I found a terrific Italian wine during the holidays - the 2020 Nespolino, a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot, which is easy-drinking and smooth, and goes with pretty much anything (though I particularly liked it with my lasagne).

That's it for this week.  Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.