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

 

 

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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Director: Bill Condon

Writer: Stephen Chbosky, Evan Spiliotopoulos (Screenplay)

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Hattie Morahan, Hayden Gwynne, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci

 

Plot: An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Beauty and the Beasty CGI

 

Story: Beauty and the Beast starts as we learn about the curse placed upon the selfish prince who becomes the Beast (Stevens). Years, an unknown number of which never gets explained either pass, as the castle, the Prince and his memories are forgotten.

Meanwhile in the small French village is Belle (Watson) a British young woman who reads and that is taboo in this town, she is considered different but her father Maurice (Kline) continues to encourage her to remain different. Enter the arrogant Captain Gaston (Evans) who wants Belle’s hand in marriage but she isn’t having that.

When Maurice gets captured after taking the wrong path by the Beast, Belle goes in search of him, taking his place as the prisoner of the Beast, learning about the curse and the household objects that are alive, candlestick Lumiere (McGregor), clock Cogsworth (McKellen), teapot Mrs Potts (Thomspon), tea cup Chip (Mack) and many others who are trying their hardest to break the curse on the Beast.

We know the story is all about love and that is the only way to break the curse, as time goes by, I say time I think it is more days Belle learns that the Beast isn’t all his appearance appears and he is also much like her struggling to fit in because of he is different and love blossoms in a battle for freedom.

 

Thoughts on Beauty and the Beast

 

Characters/PerformanceBelle is a character I think is good because it does encourage women to be different regardless of what people say, she is a dreamer who isn’t willing to marry just for status. Where I don’t think this character is good is the way she acts like she is better than other people because she is willing to be educated. The Beast is also a mixed feelings character, he was selfish and got what he deserved but he does learn his lesson about his ways going nervous when getting to know Belle. Gaston is by far my favourite character in the film as the typical arrogant captain who thinks he can get what he wants, he is willing to fight rather than hide but you are never meant to root for him. Maurice is fun but I feel plays into my own issues with the film as it plays into time between the village and castle. We also have a lot of fun with the Lumiere character who is trying to make love happen between the two with the other household items all being the highlights of the film.

Performance wise, I found myself wondering why Watson was cast in the lead because she doesn’t convince to the levels needed, while I do think Dan Stevens is a good actor but couldn’t buy him as the Beast. Luke Evans is great in his role pulling off the singing and actor wonderfully. The voice talents are all great too with well established stars in the roles.

StoryLooking at the story we get something that is fully Disney styled, we have the woman who is different in a good way, falling in the love with the outside to avoid the asshole captain/prince, the story encourages individualism and has plenty of fantasy elements about curses. It is all fine and kids could enjoy as well as nostalgic fans.

Family/Fantasy/MusicalThe family can all enjoy this movie, the fantasy elements are good the curse is all great and work for the film. the music is also good with solid singing throughout.

SettingsThe settings all work good, they are mostly CGI creation but are working for how the story is going.

Special EffectsHere is my biggest issue with the movie, the CGI special effects look weak throughout, you can see the green screen throughout which took me out of the film most of the time.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film for the fans out the 1991 version of the film, they will get enough out of this film, I found it too long in places being over an hour long and the CGI left me losing the fantasy side of the film.

 

Overall: Disney will make money but that is the only positive they want.

Rating

 

 

The Angry Birds Movie (2016)

casting cardDirector: Clay Kaytis, Fergal Reilly

Writer: John Cohen, Mikael Hed, Mikko Polla, Jon Vitti (Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn, Kate McKinnon

 

Plot: Find out why the birds are so angry. When an island populated by happy, flightless birds is visited by mysterious green piggies, it’s up to three unlikely outcasts – Red, Chuck and Bomb – to figure out what the pigs are up to.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Animated Film

 

Story: The Angry Birds Movie starts as we follow Red on the island on flightless birds who always finds himself getting into trouble finding himself in anger management run by Matilda where he meets over birds with anger issues with Chuck, Bomb and Terence.

When the mysterious green pigs led by Leonard turn up on the island Red becomes suspicious about what they real plan for visiting is. When the pigs steal all of the eggs the birds must turn to Red and his angry side and go into battle with them.

The Angry Birds Movie does create a story from the phone app that actually works really well. The story follows how the games play where the pigs steal the eggs and the birds attack them be angry if you want. The story is filled with bird related puns which all works keeping everything light hearted even if a lot of ideas are taken from other films.

 

Character Review

 

Red: Red is your typical angry bird living in a world where all the other birds are happy go lucky. He likes to isolate himself from the rest of the birds but when the pigs turn up he instantly questions their motive while the rest of the birds welcome them. Red leads the battle against the pigs to bring the eggs back home. Red is an important and strong leading character even if I did feel like he was Brian Griffin from Family Guy.

Chuck: Chuck is the yellow and fast bird all keeps getting in trouble for speeding. He is very hyperactive and gets fully involved in help Red just because he wants something to do. Chuck gets most of the laughs in this film.

Bomb: Bomb struggles with being able to control his explosions and with the help of Red and Chuck he does learn as the film unfolds. Bomb is a good character that has good odd couple chemistry with Chuck.

Matilda: Matilda is the anger management councillor that is help the three with their issues but deep down she is really just as angry as them. Matilda is also a good character that works well as the supporting character for laughs.

Support Characters: The Angry Birds Movie has a great set of supporting characters with Leonard being a good villain and Terrence getting plenty of laughs.

Director Review: Clay Kaytis, Fergal ReillyThe directors give us all we need without really pushing the story to the elite level of animation story.

 

Animation: The Angry Birds Movie has almost flawless animation throughout.

Comedy: The Angry Birds Movie has jokes that will work for all different audiences that watch this.

Family: The Angry Birds Movie is something you can show the whole family where everyone can enjoy it.

Music: The Angry Birds Movie uses music very well to show the mood of each scene.

Settings: The Angry Birds Movie creates the islands which all come off looking like what you would expect form the game.
Suggestion
: The Angry Birds Movie is one for the family to enjoy. (Family Time)

 

Best Part: The story actually working.

Worst Part: Quicksilver rip off scene.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $73 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

Tagline: Playtime’s over

 

Overall: Enjoyable and simple to watch animation film.

Ratingcard

 

 

Pixels (2015)

logoDirector: Chris Columbus

Writer: Tim Herlihy, Timothy Dowling (Screenplay) Patrick Jean (Short Film)

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Matt Lintz, Brian Cox, Sean Bean, Dan Aykroyd

Plot: When aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth in the form of the video games.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Never Really Levels Up

Story: Pixels starts in 1982 with Brenner and Cooper as the first video game arcade opens in their town where Brenner shines before entering the world championships. At these Championships Brenner and Cooper meet Eddie for competition and Ludlow as a new friend, these games get filmed and sent into space. Even though Eddie wins the championship Brenner and Cooper remain long term friends.

Move forward to the current time Brenner (Sandler) works as an engineer, while Cooper (James) becomes President (yes it is true Kevin James is the president). Brenner meets fellow divorcee Violet (Monaghan) to start to potential romantic angle but more to the problem comes aliens invading using 80’s video games which leads to Cooper calling in Brenner to help with the situation.

Ludlow (Gad) finds the answers and the alien race wants to challenge Earth to the video game with the losing planet being owned by the winning planet. Brenner ad Ludlow need to train the soldiers to go into battle against the aliens, before they take over the assault with the former champion Eddie (Dinklage).

Pixels tries to play on the nostalgia levels on the gaming fans, and on that part of the story the film really works but then you add the Sandler factor which sucks all the fun out of the film. I want to give this a positive review because I do think the idea is a great idea but I just think they used the wrong humour throughout the film. You could see this film reaching the levels of 21 Jump Street with they had played the correct comedy level and used smart jokes but in the end just stick to Wreck it Ralph. (5/10)

Actor Review

Adam Sandler: Brenner is the former gaming prodigy who never used his skills in life. He now works as an engineer but when the alien video games invade his skills come to the forefront as he leads the attack against the video games. Adam give us his used lazy comedy that really doesn’t work for the film world created. (2/10)brenner

Kevin James: Cooper is the best friend on Brenner who is now the President of the USA, when the alien games invade he calls to his best friend and former gaming community to save the world. Kevin does work in the role and that fact it is him adds to the comedy. (6/10)coopr

Michelle Monaghan: Violet starts off as just a random customer for Brenner before we discovery that she works for the President and is the romantic interest for Brenner. Michelle is just used for eye candy never really being a major part of the film. (5/10)

Peter Dinklage: Eddie is the former champion who now is a criminal but he is the best so Cooper turns to him to help with the battle where his ego still hasn’t changed. Peter gives us a solid performance getting extra laughs but just not to the level he could reach. (6/10)eddie

Josh Gad: Ludlow is the former gamer who has turn into a conspiracy theorist who joins Brenner in the battle for the planet, he gets most of the funny lines because he will change mood instantly. Josh is the highlight of the film that easily gets all the laughs. (7/10)ludlow

Support Cast: Pixels has plenty of supporting cast members that all try to add extra comedy that works sometimes in the Sean Bean character but doesn’t in others.

Director Review: Chris ColumbusChris is a class director and I think he could easily have made this great but he doesn’t reach the levels he could here. (5/10)

Action: Pixels has good gaming action used throughout which I think gets created well. (7/10)

Comedy: Pixels has some funny moments but falls from grace when Sandler jokes take over. (3/10)

Sci-Fi: Pixels creates a good idea with aliens using video game characters to attack Earth. (7/10)

Settings: Pixels has basic settings with well known landmarks being the targets of the alien destruction. (5/10)
Special Effects: Pixels has good effects to create the alien invaders which make things look like they have been taken out of the games. (7/10)

Suggestion: Pixels is one to try but I would say you have to deal with Sandler level humour throughout. (Try It)

Best Part: Pacman.

Worst Part: Sandler.

Action Scene Of The Film: Pacman game.

Funniest Scene: Josh Gad in Pacman game.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $68.5 Million

Budget: $88 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

Tagline: Play for the Planet

Overall: Disappointing Effort of smart idea.

Rating 40

 

Frozen (2013)

logoDirector: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Writer: Jennifer Lee (Screenplay) Chris Buck, Jennifer lee, Shane Morris(Story)

Starring: (Voice Talents) Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, Ciaran Hinds

 

Plot: When a princess with the power to turn things into ice curses her home in infinite winter, her sister, Anna teams up with a mountain man, his playful reindeer, and a snowman to change the weather condition.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Let It Go It’s Not THAT Good

 

Story: Frozen starts by introducing princesses Elsa and Anna two sisters who act like normal kids but Elsa has the ability freeze anything, but when they are playing they have an accident and Anna ends up getting frozen. To save Anna, Elsa must be isolated to help control her powers. Grown up into young adults they are finally going to be let out to see the world when Elsa becomes Queen. When Anna falls for charming Prince Hans and wants to get married Elsa secret is revealed to the world leaving the whole world in a permanent Ice Age.

Anna must go after Elsa to bring the world back to normal and on her adventure she meets Kristoff a mountain man and his reindeer Sven. The unlikely couple set out on an unlikely journey and meet a snowman Olaf the snowman that the girls used to build with Elsa abilities.

Frozen tries to spin the traditional Disney princess film here, it does achieve this but only after throwing us the false idea early. I found this very predictable and we have no clear villainous role which is always what Disney princess films have been about, I know we get someone at the end but by then it seems pointless. The story focuses on personal problems rather than power struggle which is a good point because that relaxes what more people are struggling with now. This story is perfect for every little girl out there but otherwise it really is just another plain Disney princess film. (7/10)

 

Character Review

 

Anna: Fun loving princess who just wants to be free and fall in love. After she falls in love she has to rescue her sister who has turned the world into ice. On her journey she learns the meaning of true love and discovers the world. Anna starts off as the traditional Disney princess but soon turns into a much realer woman character. (9/10)

 anna

Elsa: Ice powered queen who after an accident when young is hidden from the world only when she has to face the world again she turns it to ice. Else is what a lot of films are creating now a misunderstood character who was good turns bad but is really good, yeah. (7/10)

elsa

Kristoff: Mountain man who helps Anna along with his reindeer Sven. He soon falls in love with her but doesn’t expect anything to happen. Kristoff is a typical character that turns up in these films where they try not to be about a prince charming. (7/10)

 kristoff

Olaf: Snowman who has magically come to life for comic relief in the story and on Anna’s journey. Olaf really is a poor man’s Sid (from Ice Age) who isn’t in the film enough which lowers his score because he was the best thing about the film. (5/10)

 olaf

Support Characters: Frozen has your very generic supporting characters that never seem to do anything else to the story and would include a couple of bad motivated characters.

 

Director Review: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee – The pair do a standard job directing this attempted twist on the traditional Disney film. (6/10)

 

Adventure: Frozen’s adventure side to the story is not the most exciting and way too short. (4/10)

Animation: Frozen reaches the top levels of animation with ease. (9/10)

Family: Frozen is one for the family, well the female members of a family. (7/10)

Musical: Frozen has the songs that will get stuck in your head and work for the chapters of the story. (8/10)

Settings: Frozen has beautiful settings that end up making generic location for Disney princess films. (8/10)

Suggestion: Frozen is one for all the girls to enjoy, it actually offers guys nothing, not even comic relief like other princess films. (One for the girls)

 

Best Part: Olaf

Worst Part: Not enough Olaf

Funniest Scene: Olaf sneezing.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Ice Age

 

Oscar Chances: Won 2 Oscars including best animated picture and best original song.

Box Office: $1.2 Billion

Budget: $150 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

 

Overall: Don’t Believe the Hype

Rating 70