Friday, November 10, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express

My View:  Murder on the Orient Express  (2017)  PG-13  A murder has been committed on the Orient Express, and the world’s greatest detective, Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh), is on the case. Branagh makes a perfect Poirot, highlighting his quirks (like wanting his two hard boiled eggs the same height) without making it seem weird. The first half of the film works, especially the opening scenes where Poirot solves a crime in Jerusalem, but once he gets on the train and starts to solve a murder, the film slows down. I like when films don’t spell out everything, but, unfortunately, this movie does just that and gives us far more information than we need. There are some brilliant performances that stand out:  Josh Gad, as a bookkeeper to a gangster, does a magnificent job, flop sweat and all, Willem Dafoe gives a clever performance as a German businessman, and the chemistry between Tom Bateman, who plays the train’s manager and is an old friend of Poirot and Branagh, is one of the best things about this film. All characters play off each other exceptionally well, with most of the humor of the film coming from the conversations. Daisy Ridley gives the worst performance of the bunch with a shallow portrayal of her character.  If you are interested in this film, then see it on the big screen because the cinematography is gorgeous. Overall, it’s an interesting murder mystery, but I just wish it hadn’t felt the need to give us so much information.    My Rating:  Bargain Matinee     Murder on the Orient Express Website
Indiefest:  The Square  (2017)  R   Christian (Claes Bang) runs a contemporary art museum and is a devoted father of two. His world will change when his phone and wallet are stolen. This is an uncomfortable film to watch, scenes go on too long, the humor in the film is due to absurdity (like a chimp in a reporters room that is never even acknowledged), and the film deals with how we see the homeless in our daily life. The film is two hours and twenty-two minutes, and you feels it’s length. I enjoyed some of the absurd moments of the film but much like it’s contemporary art work in this film (like a pile of chairs with sounds of them crashing or piles of pebbles in a room), it might be something you like, but it’s not for me.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee    The Square Website
Indiefest:  Tragedy Girls  (2017)  R    Best friends Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand) and McKayla (Alexandra Shipp) are on a mission to boost their social media status as they track down a local serial killer. This is a strange and funny black comedy that uses the tropes of horror/slasher films and turns them upside down. Hildebrand and Shipp have superlative chemistry, making their friendship feel genuine. There are lots of blood and body parts, but the humor makes it seem a bit surreal. The film is helped by a stellar supporting cast including Josh Hutcherson, Craig Robinson, and Kevin Durand. If you liked Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, you will like this film.    My Rating:  Full Price    Tragedy Girls Website
In Case You Missed It (Movies that Just Released on DVD/Blueray):  Ingrid Goes West  (2017)  R  An unhinged social media stalker (Aubrey Plaza) moves to LA and figures out a way to become part of an Instagram Star’s (Elizabeth Olsen) life. Not quite a comedy, more like a drama with a few light-hearted moments, Ingrid Goes West works because Aubrey Plaza is a chameleon of an actress. You both pity her character at the same time that you are rooting for her against all the odds that she will find happiness. The film doesn't always work, but those moments that do work are magical. There is great chemistry between Olsen and Plaza, making their almost instant friendship seem real, though you feel that both characters aren't genuine or telling the truth. The film covers a lot of ground in this day of instant gratification and celebrities that make their living endorsing products online. Aubrey Plaza makes this movie worth seeing, and if you follow some of the 'Instagram stars' you just might find that you want to unfollow them after seeing this film.    My Rating: Full Price   Ingrid Goes West Website
Forgotten Film:  Dead Presidents  (1995)  R    A Vietnam Vet (Larenz Tate) struggles to adjust to life after the war while he tries to support his family. Things become so bleak that he has to turn to a life of crime to survive. The Hughes Brothers wrote and directed this tough-to-watch but touching tale highlighted with an exceptional performance by Larenz Tate. The first half of the film works better than the second as we get to know Tate’s character and how he became the way he is in the present.  This is a flawed film but still worth watching because the main character is so interesting.    My Rating: Bargain Matinee   Dead Presidents Info

Weird Credit:  From the credits of Murder on the Orient Express:  Drapes Supervisor

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Wonder  (2017)  PG  The story of August Pullman (Jacob Tremblay) who was born with a facial deformity, who has been in and out of hospitals for years. Previously homeschooled by his mother, Isabel (Julia Roberts), she decides that August should go to public school so he can try to be an ordinary kid. Based on the best-selling book by R.J. Palacio, the trailer looks like this could be a winner.   Wonder Website
Until Next Time!

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