It’s difficult to know how to review Murder on the Orient Express. Should it be judged against the 1970s film? Should it be held against the Agatha Christie novel it adapts? In the end, I decided to judge it on its on merits as a standalone film. To that standard, the picture is well-acted with a great ensemble. Kenneth Branagh does well as the lead, but in the direction and especially the screenplay the film is choppy and almost unbearably expository in its climax. It looks absolutely fantastic, but I doubt Murder is going to inspire a Christie renaissance or have a tremendous impact on the box office. It’s not awful, but it’s not anywhere near what it should be, and that won’t be enough to attract an audience not already in love with the source material.
Continue reading Movie Review: Murder on the Orient Express (2017) *The Scenery Is Nice, But The Ride Is Bumpy*
I think the second trailer for Kenneth Branagh’s remake of Murder on the Orient Express is a lot more promising than the first trailer was. He certainly has a tremendously talented ensemble cast (it’s weird to see Daisy Ridley and not think of her as Rey since this is her first non-Star Wars movie). The first trailer sparked some lively debate on the site, and one of the things that came out of it was the feeling that-at least in the US-Agatha Christie has fallen out of cultural mainstream. I doubt many people under 30 have read her or may even know who she is. I’m hoping the movie will be good, but it would be tremendous if it sparked new interest in Christie’s huge body of work. She’s one of the seminal authors of mystery and crime fiction in modern history, and she should be mandatory reading in schools as much as Hemingway or Faulkner. Orient Express or 12 Little Indians should certainly be hit in college lit classes at the very least. We’ll see how Branagh has done when Murder on the Orient Express pulls into theaters on November 10, 2017.
*Featured photo from EW; text from Geek Tyrant
What starts out as a lavish train ride through Europe quickly unfolds into one of the most stylish, suspenseful and thrilling mysteries ever told. From the novel by best-selling author Agatha Christie, “Murder on the Orient Express” tells the tale of thirteen strangers stranded on a train, where everyone’s a suspect. One man must race against time to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.
It doesn’t hurt that the movie has a star-studded cast that includes director Kenneth Branagh as Detective Hercule Poirot; Penelope Cruz plays Pilar Estravados; Willem Dafoe as Gerhard Hardman; Judi Dench portraying Princess Dragomiroff; Johnny Depp takes on the role of Ratchett; Josh Gad appears as Hector MacQueen; Derek Jacobi is Edward Masterman; Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. plays Dr. Arbuthnot; Michelle Pfeiffer portrays Mrs. Hubbard; and Daisy Ridley plays Mary Debenham.
Murder on the Orient Express is scheduled to be released in theaters on November 10th, 2017. Watch the trailer below and let us know what you think of its first impression.
If you haven’t read the Peregrine series of books by Ransom Riggs, by all means, do so! When I read it, I thought, “This is kind of Tim Burton’s X-Men as a period piece.” So it’s appropriate that Burton will direct the film, which I hope will mark his return to AAA status as a director.
The movie is based on the novel by Ransom Riggs and it stars Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Terence Stamp, Kim Dickens, Rupert Everett, Judi Dench, and Samuel L. Jackson. Continue reading Trailer Time: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Trailer #1 (2016) *Is Burton Back?*
By the time of Daniel Craig’s third go-round as Bond, he had already owned the role, but he hadn’t been given a legendary villain. Sam Mendes fixed that when he cast Oscar-winner Javier Bardem as Silva, and gave us-arguably-the best Bond film of them all. Skyfall tells more about Bond’s boyhood and maturation than the previous 22 films combined without actually giving him an origin story. I know they’re going deeper down the rabbit hole in SPECTRE, but I always felt Wolverine lost a lot as a character when his whole origin was neatly laid out, and I think Bond would, as well.
This really is as much Judi Dench’s picture as it is Daniel Craig’s and after six films as M, she certainly earned a co-starring role as she and Bond hunt and are hunted by Silva. Bardem is certainly flashy and over-the-top in the Bond villain tradition, but unlike most, he’s every bit as good as James, and spends most of the film beating him quite handily. There’s so much good and done right in this film that it’s hard to nail a scene as my favorite, but I love a good entrance. When you get your villain making monologues from the get-go, you know you’ve got a good one. I’m going to cheat and also stick in Silva’s reunion scene with M, because I can’t decide between the two. Bardem should have at least gotten an Oscar nomination for this film. Just brilliant.