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Tipping Point: Our picks and pans ('Chasing the Boogeyman,' 'Dear Evan Hansen,' 'Only Murders in the Building')

BOOK TIP

Chasing the Boogeyman

Richard Chizmar

By all appearances, "Chasing the Boogeyman" is a true crime memoir by novelist/magazine publisher Richard Chizmar recounting a post-college period in his life when a serial killer preying on young women terrorized his small hometown. An aspiring journalist at the time, Chizmar wrote about and investigated the murderer — ultimately becoming a target himself. Except: this isn't a memoir. It just looks and reads like one with photographs and newspaper stories and interviews — and Chizmar utilizes these meta fictional devices to cast a spectacular and terrifying spell. Though the murders and the hunt for the killer are tense and wonderfully developed, it's Chizmar's affection for his past and boyhood that shine — along with the bittersweet reality that Life Moves On. With elements of "Boy's Life," "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and "The Body" recast through the prism of Chizmar's very real past, "Chasing the Boogeyman" is a masterpiece.

— Rick Koster

MOVIE TIP

Dear Evan Hansen

Some stage musicals manage the transition to the big screen with grace (see “In the Heights”). Others flounder ferociously (see “Cats”). “Dear Evan Hansen” lands somewhere in the middle. It feels as though the energy of the stage has been deadened on screen, with direction and pacing that makes it feel more like a kitchen-sink drama. Even the singing seems too toned down, leaning into whispery talk-singing instead of some good ol’ belting. A lot has been made of star Ben Platt being too old for the role of a high schooler; he’s now 28. The real problem is that his attempts at acting like a teen are so jarringly effortful, especially compared with, say, the naturalistic honesty of co-star Kaitlyn Dever. On the upside: Amy Adams is touching as a mother whose son has died, and Nik Dodan is low-key hilarious as Evan’s one (kind of) friend.

— Kristina Dorsey

TV TIP

Only Murders in the Building

Hulu

I have this image of close pals and comic geniuses Martin Short and Steve Martin sitting around and, rather than do a bucket list movie or codger buddy picture, they come up with the concept for "Only Murders in the Building." It's a very funny, clever and intriguing new show in which the pair play residents of a Manhattan apartment building who come together with a third resident, played by Selena Gomez, over their shared affection for true crime podcasts. Not a bad premise — but it's heightened considerably when someone in the building is immediately murdered and the trio decide they can solve the crime that seems to be summarily dismissed by police. Secrets start to unravel, and the result is brilliant fun.

— Rick Koster

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