The Maid’s Room (2013)

Director: Michael Walker

Writer: Michael Walker (Screenplay)

Starring: Paula Garces, Annabella Sciorra, Bill Camp, Philip Ettinger

 

Plot: THE MAID’S ROOM is a psychological thriller that explores the complex relationships between truth and justice, hubris and power, wealth and fear.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lifetime Movie 101

 

Story: The Maid’s Room starts as the Crawford family Mrs (Sciorra), Mr (Camp) and their son Brandon (Ettinger) hire a maid Drina (Garces) to keep their weekend residents clean, offering money, room and board for Drina.

When Drina is left alone with Brandon, he is involved in an accident resulting in a death, the family tries their hardest to pay Drina off to stay quiet but hold her prisoner as the family look to cover up their own crimes.

 

Thoughts on The Maid’s Room

 

Characters/PerformanceDrina is an immigrant from Columbia working as a maid for a rich family, she wants the best for her family but finds herself in the m idle of a moral question about what to do when asked to cover up a murder. Mr and Mrs Crawford will do anything to cover up their son’s crime while Brandon is the typical rash rich kid that thinks he can get away with anything.

Performance wise, this doesn’t have anything great in it, we have solid enough performance without being scene stealers from everyone involved.

StoryIf I am being honest, this film feels like it is a special in a soap opera, it tries to play itself of as a thriller and does have a fresh twist in its own way but that twist sucks all the life out of the film make you not really care what is going on.

ThrillerTries to keep us guessing but in the end, is nothing we haven’t seen before.

Settings – Nearly the whole film is set in and around the rich resident house which works but also adds to the soap opera feel.

Final ThoughtsIf I wanted to watch a long version of a soap opera I would watch one but in the end this doesn’t offer too much of a mystery and whichever direction is goes you are left think ‘so what, do I care’

 

Overall: TV movie that sky seems to be showing.

Rating

 

 

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Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Writer: Michael Green (Screenplay) Agatha Christie (Novel)

Starring: Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kenneth Branagh, Olivia Colman, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Lucy Boynton, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi

 

Plot: A lavish train ride unfolds into a stylish & suspenseful mystery. From the novel by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express tells of thirteen stranded strangers & one man’s race to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.


Tagline – Everyone is a suspect

Runtime: 1 Hour 54 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Drawn Out Mystery Thriller

 

Story: Murder on the Orient Express starts as we meet the great Hercule Poirot (Branagh) as he solves another mystery but is summoned back to England for another mystery, where he catches the Orient Express from Istanbul. On the train we have a host of character, Miss Mary Debenham (Ridley), Dr Arbuthnot (Odom Jr), Bouc (Bateman), Marquez (Garcid-Rulfo), Pilar (Cruz), Hector (Gad) Ratchett (Depp), Masterman (Jacobi), Count Andrenyi (Polunin), Countess Andrenyi (Boynton), Mrs Hubbard (Pfeiffer), Princess Dragomiroff (Dench), Higegarde (Colman) and Gerhard (Dafoe).

Half way through the trip one of the passengers is murdered leading to Poirot needing to get to the bottom of this mystery, that looks unsolvable with every passenger a potential suspect, this could be his greatest case yet.

 

Thoughts on Murder on the Orient Express

 

Characters – Poirot is considered the greatest detective in the world, he solves the unsolvable but has a quirky side to him too, he needs order in his life. He uses his skills to figure out the truth about the suspects in solving the murder. To be honest I found this character annoying, and I like quirky detectives, Monk was one of my favourites but the style he presents himself just didn’t click for me. As for the passengers we have the people from different walks off life which makes them all suspects in their own way but until the end we don’t learn enough about any of them, which is guess is the point as we only learn what Poirot is learning.

PerformancesKenneth Branagh takes the roles as Poirot and for me he doesn’t deliver, he isn’t quirky enough to be quirky but is proper enough to feel proper, he just seems plainly odd. Much like with the characters it is hard to say anything bad about the cast which is an all-star cast, nobody stands out and nobody seems out of place, they are just fine.

StoryThe story is considered one of the greatest novels of all time, well it might be and I am sure when you read it, you will be left on the edge of your seat not wanting to put it down. The problem is that is doesn’t work on screen because we are trying to over play the eccentric sides of these characters in a mystery that when you stop and think about it and how it is shot doesn’t add up by the end. I am not saying the novel is bad, just how this movie tells the story.

Crime/MysteryThe mystery is who murdered someone on a train, this works I like a good mystery but the final outcome while great in its own way, doesn’t work for someone who likes to try and solve the mystery as they go along.

SettingsOnce we get to the train it is all plain sailing for the settings which work for the audience knowing the killer would have nowhere to run.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Certain parts don’t add up.

Final ThoughtsHere is a classic case of trying to make a classic novel into a movie and failing, the style the film is shot it doesn’t click, the performances are just average, while the mystery doesn’t add up once you get to the final reveal.

 

Overall: Disappointing adaptation of the classic novel.

Rating

 

 

Murder Made Easy (2017)

Director: David Palamaro

Writer: Tim Davis (Screenplay)

Starring: Christopher Soren Kelly, Sheila Cutchlow, Jessica Graham, Daniel Ahearn, Emilia Richeson, Edmund Lupinski, Paul A Rose Jr

 

Plot: Joan and Michael invite their dearest friends over for a cordial dinner to discuss the passing of Joan’s husband Neil. But as each guest arrives, dark secrets are revealed and the main course turns out to be murder!

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Surprise Package

 

Story: Murder Made Easy starts as Joan (Graham) and Michael (Kelly) hold a dinner party for Joan’s ex-husband who passed away a year ago, the guest including family friends Marcus (Lupinski), Cricket (Richeson), Damien (Ahearn), Angela (Cutchlow) and Henderson (Rose Jr) who all have a gift left for them.

As the evening rolls on and the course are presented and the events of the evening are played out just how they were planned.

 

Thoughts on Murder Made Easy

 

Characters – Joan is the grieving wife who is hosting the party for her husband’s friends and family, she has gifts for them all, while also knowing secrets about them. Michael is joining Joan in the hosting duties and has been planning this night that they will never forget. We also have a colourful selection of guests at the party each with different connections to the past.

PerformancesChristopher Soren Kelly is one of our two main leads and he is good throughout the film, you can see his character ticking in every scene. Jessica Graham is great as Joan, she keeps us believing each decision through the film. the rest of the cast are good bringing the colourful characters to life.

StoryThe story is about a dinner party with a twist, it follows a group of friends grieving a lost loved one. The story is hard to go into detail without giving too much away. The story does go in a direction that could easily surprise by the end which is enjoyable to see and it does have a dark comic tone to moments in the film.

ThrillerThe thrilling side of this movie is keeping us guessing to what is going on through the night.

SettingsThe film is set in one house, for one night, this helps keep everything needing the suspicious feeling in what is happening.


Scene of the Movie –
Mr Police Officer.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Cricket’s character was frustrating in the new worldie way.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable thriller, it keeps you guessing until the final scene.

 

Overall: If you want a contained, calm thriller, this is for you.

Rating

 

 

Murder on Cape Cod (2017)

Director: Arthur Egeli

Writer: Ian Bowater, Arthur Egeli, Heather Egeli (Screenplay)

Starring: Jade Harlow, Josh Walther, Heather Egeli, Tim Misurandze, Chris Lazzaro, Kevin Cotter

 

Plot: Based on the Christa Worthington case. An out of work fisherman has an affair with a fashion writer wintering on the Cape. She returns two years later with his child, and when she is murdered, the fisherman is the prime suspect.


Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Drama

 

Story: Murder on Cape Cod starts as we see how Mike Luna (Walther) has been struggling to make ends meet for his family in a sleepy fishing town. His wife Nancy (Egeli) is researching their options while famous writer Elizabeth Baldwin (Harlow) arrives in town capturing his attention.

When Mike gets a job collecting permits for clam fishing he ends getting involved in an affair with Elizabeth putting his own marriage at risk, but after a couple of years pass, Elizabeth returns with his child bringing new problems for Mike to face.

 

Thoughts on Murder on Cape Cod

 

Characters – Mike is the out of work fisherman, who gets given a chance to work Denton Harbour Sheriff Department but the strain on his personal life leads him into an affair which gives him new problems to deal with.  Elizabeth is the writer moved to the area who gets involved in an affair with Mike, but she doesn’t know he is married to start with but when she gets pregnant things take a turn for her. Nancy is the wife and mother of Mike’s children, she has supported him through his struggles knowing his true nature.

PerformancesThe performances do feel real, Jade Harlow and Josh Walther in the leading roles both shine showing they could carry this story. the supporting cast do a good job too as they help build the world our leading two characters are in.

StoryThe story follows the hard times in small town where marriages can be strained leading to an affair. Seeing how one man could risk his family for an affair and the consequences of it are shown in a more realistic way because no one overreacts to what has happened knowing the problems. The only disappointing side to the story is final outcome feels like we could have had something more to it.

SettingsThe small-town setting shows us just how difficult the time can be for the people involved, we see how everyone seems to know everyone too.


Scene of the Movie –
Saving the stranded Peter.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does seem to end quickly with what happens to Elizabeth.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good drama that shows us the effects from struggling in small town America and being drawn into affairs.

 

Overall: Good strong drama

Rating

 

 

The Monster (2016)

monsterDirector: Bryan Bertino

Writer: Brian Bertino (Screenplay)

Starring: Zoe Kazan, Scott Speedman, Ella Ballentine, Aaron Douglas, Christine Ebadi

 

Plot: A mother and daughter must confront a terrifying monster when they break down on a deserted road.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Creature Horror

 

Story: The Monster starts teenage daughter Lizzy (Ballentine) having to tidy up and prepare for a trip with her alcoholic mother Kathy (Kazan). With tension growing between the two the journey across country so that Lizzy can stay with her father. On the journey, they end up involved in an accident during the rainy condition leaving them stuck in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.

When it appears, they have hit a wolf we continue to see flashbacks of the troubling relationship between mother and daughter but it is only amplified by the fact there is a monster outside the car lurking in the woods.

The Monster comes off like a very interesting horror thriller concept because the trapped with a monster lurking has been done before and well doesn’t come off to original as we run through the usual issues like ‘stay quiet’ ‘don’t go outside’ ‘we need to try and escape’. It is the look at the very bad relationship between the mother and daughter which would come off abusive in most places that put the true cat amongst the pigeons here. We see however bad the relationship is the maternal instinct will always kick in when it comes to protecting a child.

This is pretty much a two person show and I think Kazan and Ballentine both do a great job in the roles dealing with the abusive side and the horror side. Anyone else who appears in the movie is only in a couple of scenes never really making an impact. The monster itself looks terrifying and it is good to see practical effects being used by the film.

 

Overall: Horror film I would be suggest to the horror fans out there reading this post.

Ratingcard