Murder on the Orient Express, a remade version of the 1974 Sidney Lumet film which is also an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s revered novel, is about a crime most foul. Aboard a lavish passenger train barreling through the snowy mountains in the 1930s several parties find themselves in close quarters. One patron is a man named Ratchett (Johnny Depp) whose slimy contemptuous demeanor oozes vile. Ratchett has identified a celebrity of sorts aboard—Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh), a world-famous detective, and approaches the sleuth with a work proposal. Claiming to be a quasi-legal carpet salesman, Ratchett is convinced his life is in danger and seeks Poirot’s protection. Poirot’s honor makes refusal easy. The murder ensues. Continue reading Murder on the Orient Express is an Enjoyable Ride Lacking a Destination
20th Century Women is a narrative of growing—older, wiser, and up. The story focuses on Dorthea (Annette Benning), a single mother living in Santa Barbara, California during 1979. Dorthea raises her son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) in a bed and breakfast style house which is also frequented by Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a budding photographer and feminist, Julie (Elle Fanning) a precocious young adult finding her way through life, and William (Billy Crudup) the maintenance man with ambition to do more with his career. Feeling the burden of raising a young man on her own, Dorthea enlists the help of these residents to help Jamie learn about the world. Continue reading 20th Century Women Educate on the Female Experience
The opening of Our Kind of Traitor finds Perry (Ewan McGregor) doing anything he can to save his marriage to Gail (Naomi Harris) and bring a spark back to their romance. While abroad on holiday, Perry crosses paths with Dima (Stellan Skarsgard), a charismatic Russian who befriends the typically timid poetry professor. Alarmingly and casually, Dima reveals that he has strong ties to a powerful criminal organization, and now fears for his family’s safety. To escape this life, he implores Perry to help him defect to England. Continue reading Our Kind of Traitor Is a Spy-Lover’s Kind of Film
The Shallows is a terrifying tale about a young woman in the wrong place at the wrong time. Seeking a journey of self-discovery Nancy (Blake Lively) has ventured out to a secret beach to surf—a place whispered about by her recently deceased mother. Upon finding the locale, Nancy enjoys a day of riding waves, and even makes a few friends. However, when the beach empties and Nancy decides to go out for one last ride, a shark attacks leaving her wounded and stranded on a rock roughly 200 yards from shore. With high tide impending, Nancy must find a way to survive if she hopes to stay alive. Continue reading The Shallows Offers Deep Dives into Suspense
The Legend of Tarzan is a sequel. When it begins, the film assumes the audience knows the basics of the classic tale (although a series of brief summative flashbacks also serve as a reminders)—Tarzan was an affluent infant after his family survived a shipwreck, only to succumb to the dangers of the jungle shortly after his birth. Raised by apes to speak the language of the wild, Tarzan grew into a man, met Jane, fell in love, and became both myth and legend in the process. Continue reading The Legend of Tarzan: A Refreshing Tale with Stale Visuals
Batman: The Killing Joke is the adaptation of the wildly popular and critically successful graphic novel written by Alan Moore in 1988. The central story revolves The Joker, following his most recent escape from Arkham Asylum, seeking to prove that all people can devolve to the level to insanity and depravity where he currently, knowingly, resides. To test this theory, The Joker captures and psychologically tortures Commissioner Jim Gordon, taunting him using lurid imagery of his daughter, Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl).
This weekend your fearless leader is making the annual sojourn to Vegas. I’m flying a red eye on Frontier Air – it’s going to be fine, it’s going to be fine. If I say it enough I’ll believe it. It’s going to be fine…. Who am I kidding; Frontier Air sucks monkey balls. Only the annual National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) convention CinemaCon can get me on Frontier again. CinemaCon is where Movie Theater Owners get together and celebrate their love of movies (as well as whine) directly to the studios. Considering everyone talks about the death of the industry, there are more and more fancier theaters coming to my area – not soon enough and most are too far away. There will be studio presentations, partaaaays, and some cool interviews.
Fox Searchlight has acquired worldwide rights (less France and French-speaking territories) to Oscar®-winning director Davis Guggenheim’s documentary He Named Me Malala – the story of the teenaged girl who has become a formidable spokesperson on behalf of girls’ education since being wounded by Taliban gunmen when they targeted the schoolbus in which she was riding.
For further details, follow the jump.
Principal photography has begun on Ben-Hur, the Timur Bekmambetov-directed based on the Lew Wallace novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.
Ben-Hur stars Jack Huston (American Hustle) as Judah Ben-Hur, Morgan Freeman as Ilderim (Red, Lucy), Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) as Messala and Nazanin Boniadi (Homeland) as Esther.
Bekmambetov directs from a script by Keith Clarke (The Way Back) and John Ridley (12 Years a Slave). Ben-Hur is slated for a February 26, 2016 premiere. For further details, follow the jump.
Disney’s live-action take on Beauty and the Beast has cast its female lead – Emma Watson will be Belle. (Perfect casting, if I do say so myself – check out the photo after the break.)
Once again, the Oscar® nominations are unveiled and, once, again, there are some moments of controversy. This year, more than most, the concept of a Best Film nominee apparently directing itself will spark a ton of controversy – making the argument that the nominee list for directors should be expanded to match that of Best Film.
Also once again, a lot of the nominees are films that haven’t been seen by anyone outside the academy and residents of Los Angeles and New York City who felt inclined to see them over the holiday crush.
For now, though, here are the nominees and a few thoughts that wandered lonely across my mind as I encountered them for the first time.