C47Houston Flix Review:

"Murder Book"



A down on his luck Detective suffering from a tragedy in the line of duty finds himself thrust into a case where a couple of his past girlfriends are being brutally murdered. With the Captain and his partner looking for fault, this detective must pull himself together, become "social-network" intelligent and catch a killer before he strikes again.

Written by Juan C. Vazquez this feature crime thriller follows Detective Rich Rodriquez (played by Neal Kodinsky), a cop who has seen better days. His career starts to spiral downward when the detective gets involved with criminals, drugs and prostitutes. Internal Affairs is investigating his actions when a drug deal goes bad, money and drugs turn up missing, a raid is blotched and criminals are all killed. Having his reputation on the line and a once rising star in the ranks of the department, his colleagues back away from him. Even his partner Ben Lopez (played by Danny Trevino) is apprehensive and has been reassigned. 

During the good times, Detective Rodriguez takes a fresh new cop under his wing for training. Detective Lisa Antonelli (played by Heather Williams) is an aspiring and ambitious officer who is being promoted, is over-shadowing Rodriquez and has taken over the job that Detective Rodriguez once lead.  The Junior Detective is now the lead detective and Rodriquez is having problems adjusting.

Detective Rich Rodriguez has the ability to get into the "mind" of a criminal. He is able to piece together a crime scene, think like his criminal suspects and bring them to justice. 

When Rodriquez is assigned to baby-sit the Mayor's daughter, Jessica (played by Cara Cochran) a troubled and rebellious young woman, it seems that his career is headed to an end. When the young woman turns up brutally and viciously murdered, Detective Rodriguez realizes that this murder scene is similar to an unsolved murder a few months back. But, lead Detective Lisa Antonelli is in charge. Rodriguez requests, with his tail between his legs, to be assigned to this case: The Murder Book Serial Killer Case.  Twists and turns this movie follows Detective Rodriguez as he gets into the mind of someone that seems to be taunting him. The Detective must transform himself and set himself up as a high-fashion marketing business owner. Living the life of glitz and glamour Detective Rich Rodriquez must catch a killer before he kills again, and, he must restore his reputation as a smart and good cop.

Our take on the story: Written by Juan C. Vazquez "Murder Book" is a crime thriller. Basically, a rouge cop, down on his luck, isolated from his colleagues and involved with crime in the streets. A murder of someone he knows and is acquainted crosses his path and he is determined to solve the case. Typical story plot for a thriller crime story with a bit of twist.  C47Houston News & Entertainment Magazine was invited to the screening and we viewed the movie from beginning to the end.  Although the storyline should have been simple to follow, we can't say that about the movie we saw. We were confused as to what was happening. From what we could ascertain, the movie seemed to jump from present to flashbacks without some sort of bridge to transition that change. Trying to keep up with what was happening was, in our opinion, quite a chore.  Also, the story seemed to linger on with no point and to be honest, could have been edited to shave off almost 15-minutes of useless and gratuitous sexual performances and nudity on top of a club scene that just dragged on to no end. This is not to say that we couldn't grasp the storyline, but this particular story was a bit hard to follow. We are of the opinion that we will have see it again, just to figure it out. 

What we did find interesting, however, was the director's use of the main character delivering his lines directly to the camera as he was trying to "get into the mind" of a serial killer. That was an interesting way of hammering the professional quality of the main character as an astute and intelligent detective willing to go that extra length.

Our take on the technical side: Directed by Juan C. Vazquez, the production value, we believe was pretty good compared to some studio movies we have seen. Camera work was excellent for an independent feature motion picture.  Behind the camera is Cinematographer and photographer David Nguyen who used his camera with ease and skill. His camera movements were smooth and creative. The Director and Cinematographer were able to get some excellent shots. We did see a little blurriness in one scene, but overall the movie was focused and clear.  Set design, framing and composition was consistent with budgeted feature motion picture.  Clean lines and balanced.  Light was excellent. Time was taken to light up the set and characters or to use ambient lighting to create atmosphere and mood.  Prior to the screening the Director did say that the movie's sound was still being fine-tuned. WE will not say anything about the sound. Editing was good. Aside from our lack of understanding of what was going on with the story, cuts, transitions and wipes were were seamless and unremarkable (and as it should be). 

Overall, the technical side and production value of this feature motion picture was pretty good. The production team did an outstanding job in making this movie. 

Our take on the acting:  The Director was able to get some very fine performances from the cast. The ensemble worked very well together. I am certain that we didn't see an out of place actor or performance that was miscast.  We did have a minor problem with a certain aspect of one particular character.  That character narrated parts of the movie through a voice-over.  His accent was a bit heavy and was a little hard to understand. It was only hard to understand through the narration and not when the character was shown on the screen and was talking.  In all, all the actors were professionals, skilled and performed brilliantly. Of special note were the performances by actors Neal Kodinsky who played Detective Rich Rodriguez, Heather Williams who played Detective Lisa Antonelli, Cara Cochran who played Jessica and Danny Trevino who played Rich's former partner Detective Ben Lopez. The chemistry between them was apparent and performances with their respective characters were outstanding. 

We think the Director did a good job in putting this movie together and giving the audience his take on the vision of this crime thriller. This is Director Juan C. Vazquez's second feature endeavor. His first and his directorial feature project came with "Through the Valley" released a couple of years ago. The Director and one of the producer we talked to stated that they are, as of publication, in negotiations with a couple of major distributors that will pick up the movie for release. If Mr. Vazquez continues to make movies, we have no doubt that he will be in demand and his movies will be shown in theaters or online release. 

Our assessment: Despite some of the story's shortcomings, Mr. Vazquez's movie "Murder Book" was nonetheless an entertaining one. It was a bit confusing and one will most likely have to watch it a couple of times to be able to fully appreciate the impact the movie will have on an audience. The Director did a great job in visualizing the story. The picture was crisp and clear, the cinematography was visually composed. Set design was consistent and strong and lighting was on par with cinematography. The movie contained comic relief to break up the tension and although it was a serious movie about a serial killer, there are several twists to the movie that will make you cringe. On a side note the soundtrack to the movie complimented the movie and was not over-bearing.  Don't think our assessment and our comments about the movie are correct? Pick up the movie and watch it for yourself and determine its merits for yourself. Let us know if you agree or disagree. 

C47Houston News & Entertainment Magazine and C47Houston WEEKLY, using the TSIRS scale rated "Murder Book" as a strong 4.1 out of 5 stars. 

C47Houston WEEKLY took some pictures and Director/Writer gave our readers some insight into his thoughts about making movies. WE have that interview and Mr. Vazquez made the cover of the WEEKLY. You can order that issue at:  http://www.c47houston.com/C47Weeklys2015B29.htm 

Title: Murder Book

Houston Premiere: Saturday, March 21st, 2015 at the Alamo-Drafthouse-Vintage Park, Houston, Texas.

Est. Running time: 90-minutes

Production Company: eUgot Entertainment Network

Producers: Juan C. Vazquez, David Nguyen, Joe Becker and Efrain-Abran Gutierrez Jr.

Writer: Juan C. Vazquez

Director: Juan C. Vazquez

Cinematographer: David Nguyen

Editor: Juan c. Vazquez

Special Effects by: Jackson Burns

Cast include: Neal Kodinsky, Heather Williams, Joel Clark Ackerman, Cara Cochran, Amy Lee Creel, Mark Docherty, Samantha Glover, Jessica Honsinger, David Tran Nguyen, Troy Parker, Karen Ann Pavlick, Tommy Poynter, Elizabeth Redpath and Danny Trevino

Website: http://www.murderbookmovie.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eugotmovies 

IMDB Page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3761366/

Trailer: https://youtu.be/AdEjtIcM5kI 

Written by H. Luna / C47Houston News & Entertainment Magazine / C47Houston WEEKLY / All Rights Reserved 03-29-15




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