Daniel Powell 2:52 p.m., May 29
Short Takes: Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
Something is making the wrong people burst into flame prior to the Empress’ inauguration, and Detective Dee is summoned to crack the case. Like a good modern detective, he rejects supernatural explanations for the deaths, instead focusing on the thrillingly mundane realms of chemistry, zoology, and political intrigue. Unlike a good modern detective, he is not overly bound by the force of gravity, and doesn’t bat an eye at quasi-magical facelifts. Great fun until plot machinations and special effects bog things down in the final third or so. 2010.