Murder on the Orient Express (1974) Movie Review

Director: Sidney Lumet

Writer: Paul Dehn (Screenplay)

Starring: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassell, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave

Plot: In December 1935, when his train is stopped by deep snow, detective Hercule Poirot is called on to solve a murder that occurred in his car the night before.


Tagline – The greatest cast of suspicious characters ever involved in murder.

Runtime: 2 Hour 8 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow, but Well Acted

Story: Murder on the Orient Express starts as the great inspector Hercule Poirot (Finney) hitches a ride on the famous Orient Express from Turkey back to London, only on his journey a passenger is murdered one night.

Hercule is pushed into investigating the case, which sees him talk to everybody on board as each one has a secret including the victim that might well have been involved in a famous crime that the murdered is believed to have been captured.

Thoughts on Murder on the Orient Express

Characters – Hercule Poirot is the world famous inspector that is known for solving nearly every case that comes his way, he can pick up on clues like nobody else and after his train journey to London he is given his latest case. He goes through the whole train’s passengers to figure out who committed the murder taking in each and every detail before solving the case. When it comes to the rest of the characters, we have a string of different suspects, with their own stories, they come from different backgrounds, with each being questioned by Poirot.

PerformancesAlbert Finney in the leading role is strong, he is much more watchable than the 2018 version of the character, keeping the character a lot more realistic. When we dive into the supporting cast, we have a star cast, who all get a scene or two with Finney, where they get to bring the characters to life.

StoryThe story here follows a world famous inspector that gets thrown into his latest case after his train journey sees a murder, this case will become one of his most complicated ones of his career. This is based on a classic novel, one of the best, but it is one that always seems to struggle to be transferred to film, it does have plenty of twists and turns along the way, but sadly the ending is one of the weakest of all the mysteries you will see. The ending does seem to take away any of the mystery about what we are watching, leaving us feeling very flat with the outcome.

Crime/MysteryThe crime is a murder that leads to the mystery about who committed it and why, one that Poirot must solve.

SettingsThe film keeps everything on board the train, it leads to the murder happening and with nowhere for the murder to run to, when the investigation starts.


Scene of the Movie – Finney is a good watch.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The ending always feels flat.

Final Thoughts This might well be a classic novel, it just doesn’t transfer to film very well at all, even with an amazing cast.

Overall: Just falls apart at the end.

Monsters and Men (2018) Movie Review

Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green

Writer: Reinaldo Marcus Green (Screenplay)

Starring: John David Washington, Anthony Ramos, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Chante Adams, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Nicole Beharie, Rob Morgan

Plot: The aftermath of a police killing of a black man, told through the eyes of the bystander who filmed the act, an African-American police officer and a high-school baseball phenom inspired to take a stand.


Tagline – One moment can change everything

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Has a Point, Fails to Capture It

Story: Monsters and Men starts when Manny (Ramos) witnesses and records a police shooting on one of his street corners, he has just put his life back in order with a job, preparing to have everything ready for his girlfriend and daughter, only he gets framed for a crime he never commits. Officer Dennis (Washington) has been on the force for a while now, he sees this happening, while having questions against the cop that was involved in the shooting he doesn’t want to step in until he knows the truth, we finally meets Zyrick (Harrison Jr) a young baseball star of the future that ends up finding himself the latest target of the cops, this time Dennis is going to take a stand.

Thoughts on Monsters and Men

Characters – Dennis is a African American cop that has always kept his head down on the job, he has experienced the problems off duty, when he starts to think everything is going too far, he starts to question where he stand on what is going on. Manny is a young man that has just turned his life around, he films a wrongful killing and after he released the footage, becomes targeted by the cops himself, without standing a chance to fight back. Zyrick is going to become a mega star in baseball, he is caught in between trying to take a stand or follow his own future away from the troubles.

PerformancesWe do have three strong performances in the film with John David Washington, Anthony Ramos and Kelvin Harrison Jr all giving us everything we need from their performances in the film.

StoryThe story here follows three different point of views which have experienced police brutality from different backgrounds and how they are left feeling helpless about what is happening. This does show us the important problems going on with police action towards minorities in America, we get to see how even the people on the force can’t do anything without being seen as an enemy. The problem with the story comes with how the three stories don’t seem to have any true connections, with each one playing out just after the previous one finishes, instead of standing up, they are almost just three occurrences that have happened.

CrimeThe crime side of this film focuses on the action that are taken towards the innocent people and how that will affect their lives.

SettingsThe film is set in a city where you can see the clear divide between race, authorities and money, which will see different levels of discrimination going on towards people.


Scene of the Movie – Dennis argues his case to a family friend.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The stories are not connected enough.

Final Thoughts This is a film that wants to bring the message about police brutality towards minorities, only for it to not connect the stories well enough.

Overall: Unconnected Hate Crimes.

The Sisters Brothers (2018) Movie Review

Director: Jacques Audiard

Writer: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain (Screenplay) Patrick DeWitt (Book)

Starring: John C Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed, Rebecca Root, Allison Tolman, Rutger Hauer

Plot: In 1850s Oregon, the infamous duo of assassins, Eli Sisters (John C. Reilly) and Charlie Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix), chase a gold prospector and his unexpected ally.


Tagline – Make a killing. Make a living. 

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow

Story: The Sisters Brothers starts by following Eli (Reilly) and Charlie (Phoenix) as the two brothers are travelling across a developing America in search of Hermann Kermit Warm (Ahmed) who John Morris (Gyllenhaal) is escorting to show of his latest formula which could help America grow.

As the two pairs continue their journey, they start to seen the strengths and weaknesses coming through more, showing how they could see the mindset changing over time.

Thoughts on The Sisters Brothers

Characters – Eli is the calmer of the two brothers, he is willing to try a new invention and will do anything to watch over his brother. Charlie has always enjoyed a drink, which usually shows him letting his guard down, getting into fights, though he will become important during any battle. John Morris is meant to be tracking Warm, only he starts working with him trying to allude the Sisters brothers. Hermann Kermit Warm has created an idea which could bring the country together more than ever, his ideas will help, though it has also drawn a target on his back because of it.

PerformancesWe have four of the best actors in the business today in the leading roles, not even with their abilities, could we get saved from the mostly boredom this film puts us through.

StoryThe story here takes us the 1850s America where four men are trying to make their way in the world, with two hunting the other two, only to learn that there is more in working together than killing each other. This is a story that drags along and is trying to put a highlight on the prospecting era in America. We don’t seem to get very deep into this idea before things start getting slow early and it just doesn’t really because that interesting in how things unfold.

Crime/WesternThe crime and western themes balance well here showing us how both will be used to achieve what the men want from the story.

SettingsThe film does have the nice backdrops where we get to see how the men are travelling open plains trying to get to the next locations on their story.


Scene of the Movie – Water side shootout.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The pace is so slow.

Final Thoughts This is an uninteresting western that moves are a poor pace which never gets going, despite having a brilliant cast.

Overall: Dull.

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema – Y – The Blind Spot (2017)

This movie is under Y because of the directors surname.

Director: Nabil Ben Yadir

Writer: Nabil Ben Yadir, Laurent Brandenbourger (Screenplay)

Starring: Peter Van den Begin, Soufiane Chilah, Jan Decleir, David Murgia, Ruth Becquart, Jurgen Delnaet, Bert Haelvoet

 

Plot: Dode Hoek (Blind Spot) is the story of Jan Verbeeck, the uncompromising commissioner of the Antwerp drug squad. Known as Mr. Zero Tolerance, he is hugely popular with the people and the media. The country is thrown into commotion when he announces that he is leaving the police force just before the elections to join the extreme right party, VPV. On his last day as a policeman, he leads an investigation that takes him to Charleroi where a raid on a drug lab sets in motion a series of unforeseeable and fatal events.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow-Burn Thriller

 

Story: Blind Spot starts as police chief Jan Verbeeck (Begin) is about to step down from the force to lead a political career, he is known for his zero-tolerance approach to fighting crime. On his final night one of the detectives Dries (Chilah) approaches him about a potential bust of a massive drug case, which sees him take the front line on the bust.

When something goes wrong with the bust, Jan, no longer on the police force looks to clean up what happened, which sees him falling on the wrong side of the law, the events of that night might become fatal to his political career if he can’t figure out the truth.

 

Thoughts on Blind Spot

 

Characters – Jan Verbeeck is the zero-tolerance police chief that is stepping down and moving into a political career, before he leaves, he goes for one more bust, which sees something go wrong, leading to Jan needing to figure out how to cover up before his political career gets ruined. Dries is one of the most trust police officers under Jan, he will get the job done and it is his informant that the case is built on, he will need to decide where he stands after everything unfolds though. Axel is one of the prime suspects in the case, his true identity is a secret and uncovered through the film.

PerformancesPeter Van den Begin and Soufiane Chilah are both the highlights of the performances, they show how desperate the characters are and how they want to stay ahead of the game.

StoryThe story follows a police chief entering a political career where he needs to figure what went wrong with his final bust, which has put his future in danger. This is a story that shows how different career can see you life get turned on its head before you even get started. We are kept guessing to just where things will go and it will leave you wondering just where Jan stand on the moral compass. We do get to see how the Belgium cities are living with crime rate too.

Action/CrimeThe action comes from the police work going on, with the tactical bust going on through the events, which plays in the hands of the crime world that is trying to be cleaned up.

SettingsThe film is set in a couple of different cities in Belgium which shows how different groups can be located and operating within the city.


Scene of the Movie –
Final press conference.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Slightly too much going on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a thriller on how to cover up mistakes that could change a career forever and keeps us guessing to just what happened.

 

Overall: Thriller that keeps you guessing.

Rating

 

 

Ticker (2001)

Director: Albert Pyun

Writer: Paul B Margolis (Screenplay)

Starring: Tom Sizemore, Dennis Hopper, Steven Seagal, Jaime Pressly, Nas, Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas, Peter Greene

 

Plot: After a San Francisco detective’s partner is murdered by Northern Irish terrorists, the officer joins the bomb squad in order to bring them to justice.


Tagline – When the countdown hits zero, you’re dead.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacks That Explosive Nature

 

Story: Ticker starts as Detective Ray Nettles (Sizemore) sees his partner killed in a routine investigation, this sees him join the bomb squad under Frank Glass (Seagal), who has been tracking explosives terrorist Alex Swan (Hopper) who was involved in the senator’s murder a year ago.

When Ray arrests Claire Manning (Pressly), Alex will do anything to get her out of the station, it means he will start playing games with the police forcing Frank to use he own knowledge to take down the terrorist.

 

Thoughts on Ticker

 

Characters – Detective Ray Nettles sees his partner killed in a routine investigation into open warehouse, he needs to try and put his career back together after a previous incident, this could be the case which sees him needing to work with the bomb squad to take down a terrorist. This will give him a redemption that he is determined to have. Alex Swan is the terrorist bomber that has been targeting the city, he ups his aggression once one of his people is taken by the police, he proves to be dangerous to everybody in the city. Frank Glass is the bomb expert that has years of experience taking down bombs, he has been working on this for years and wants his own redemption too. Claire Manning is the woman arrested, she has her own past with Alex that is planning on just being left as the target for Alex.

PerformancesTom Sizemore does his best in what is a poorly written film, he is the only one that looks like he is interested in being here. Dennis Hopper can’t keep his Irish accent up and it soon turns into a parody of what we know he can do. Steven Seagal was never really the star of acting, he doesn’t even get to do any action in this film though. Jaime Pressly does try too but we don’t get enough of her character in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a down on his luck and life detective that must work the bomb disposal unit to track down a terrorist who has been planting bombs around the city. This does complete the basic check list required for the cop needing to redeem himself after personal tragedy, learning to work with others again and dealing with a villain that will do anything to complete their job. The relationship between Ray and Frank is hard to watch because they don’t seem to actually be talking to each other, while the third act twist just doesn’t seem to come to anything satisfying when you think about it. It all falls into late night TV action story, nothing deep, but easy enough to watch.

Action/CrimeThe action we see in the film is mostly just explosions, they are shot for shock value over anything else, which is what the crime side of the film tackles with a terrorist trying to take control of the city.

SettingsThe film is set in San Francisco which gives us easy stock footage to use in the background to fill time, but for the most part you wouldn’t even know you were there.


Scene of the Movie –
Ray trying to disarm a bomb.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of chemistry between Ray and Frank.

Final ThoughtsThis is what you would have to call, a basic late night action movie that just doesn’t get going or give you anybody to be invested in.

 

Overall: Basic action.

Rating