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Archive for the ‘Josh Gad’ Category

murderOne of my big complaints when it comes to humans and movies that are based on books is that invariably most humans I know will say, “It isn’t as good as the book.”   I have many problems with this statement not the least of which is that it is impossible to turn a 400+ page book, or whatever sized book, into an enjoyable 2 hour movie.  The biggest example of this for me is I remember when the Lord of The Rings Trilogy was released I had people telling how much was left out.  But when they decided to turn The Hobbit into three movies, I heard bitching that there was barely enough material for two movies let alone three.  So my suggestion to you all who have read or enjoying reading books and then worry whether or not the movie will be just as good I say STOP.  Just enjoy the movie for what it is and keep it separate from whatever book it is based off of because chances are if you are still reading books you are going to it more than the movie.

Now I know what you are asking, “What does any of this have to do with your review of Murder on the Orient Express?”  Well my dear readers, all two of you, I mention this because I know that this movie is based on a book by the famous author Agatha Christie.  It is also a book I have never read so this was a blank slate for me.  What amazes me about this story is that it is entertaining but the ending left me with an almost overwhelming feeling of sadness.  Justice was served but it left me with an empty feeling and I just don’t know how to feel about that because I wasn’t expecting it.  But it doesn’t make it a bad, quite the contrary I did enjoy the film and hope that director/lead actor Kenneth Branagh does another of these films because I would definitely go to see another one.

World famous detective Hercule Poirot, played by Kenneth Branagh (Peter’s Friends) has found himself aboard the passenger train The Orient Express travelling from Istanbul to Paris with an eclectic group of fellow passengers.  The train runs in to issues in the mountains when an avalanche blocks the tracks and strands the train and its passengers for a few days until it can be cleared.  The morning after the avalanche one of the passengers is found murdered and Poirot is hired by the manager of the train to solve the murder before the train makes its next stop.

murder2The strength of the movie is the cast as almost all of them do an excellent job of portraying their characters.  I believe the best of the good group was Branagh as Poirot. For being a Brit he was able to pull off French quite well.  He also was quite entertaining bringing emotion to the character both with the humor in the beginning and the sadness /anger at the end of the film.  While Branagh set the pace of all the cast I felt the next closest was Josh Gad (Pixels) as Hector MacQueen who was the assistant to the murdered passenger and the first suspect.  I felt uncomfortable as he felt uncomfortable during his interrogation.  I also want to make special note to actress Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens,) who is Mrs. Mary Debenham.  While her performance is fine but not spectacular there is something about her that I find oddly attractive.  I mean she is a lovely woman and she can definitely act but there is just something about her that just stokes the fire.  If I were to rank her in forms of sweets I like and Olivia Munn is my Easter Peeps, Daisy would be a DQ Reese’s peanut butter cup blizzard.  If there is one actor whose performance I can’t quite figure out if it was excellent or horrible it would surprisingly be Johnny Depp (Mortdecai.)  He plays an obviously crooked art dealer name Edward Ratchett.  Depp plays Ratchett in such a way that I actually hate him and I can’t tell if it’s an awesome performance played perfectly or he hated being in this film and it showed.  The reason I have for this is that at the beginning of the film he played his character just as sleazy and as horrible as any human could be which didn’t make sense to me not knowing the story.  But as the movie went along and followed the story it turns out that Ratchett is a horrible human so it made the performance brilliant…I think.  Don’t get me wrong, I think Depp is amazing and I believe his Jack Sparrow performance in Pirates of the Caribbean is tied for the best character performance in movie that I have seen (tied with Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone.)  The last performance I would like to mention is that of one of my crushes in the 80’s and early 90’s Michelle Pfeiffer (Hairspray.) While her performance as Caroline Hubbard was uninspiring it always makes me happy to see her.  I still have fond memories of her in Batman Returns in that Catwoman uniform and she is downright Goddess like in the movie Wolf. murder3

I know I wasted a bunch of paper earlier talking about not knowing the story of the book.  I decided to do the online Cliffnotes version i.e. Wikipedia and looked up the story of the book and it appears that the basic story of both match.  Which I must admit is interesting idea (If you haven’t figured it out I am purposely being vague as to not spoil the ending if you, like me, had not seen the 1974 film or read the book.)  I will say that the beginning seemed to be a little slow and it did appear somewhat obvious who was going to be murdered as we were introduced to the characters. That being said the mystery kept me interested and the ending was surprising and as I have already mentioned somewhat unhappy in the final result.

Despite the sadness of the ending of the movie I was moved by it and that is due to how Branagh shot the final scenes as well as the music put to it by Patrick Doyle, who is used in most if not all of Branagh’s movies.  The ending stuck with me as I walked out of the theater, in and out of the bathroom, and through the traffic on the way home.  As for the rest of the production I thought visually it was quite nice with lovely wide shots of Jerusalem and Istanbul in the beginning of the film which are greatly contrasted with the close quarters of the train and the choices Branagh made in showing the murder scene and other areas of the distressed train.

I do enjoy the film and like I said I hope we do see a follow up with Branagh as Poirot as the ending of the film has him leaving for Egypt for yet another murder.  This film has quite a few well-known actors that I did not talk about but not for nefarious reasons as their performances were fine.  The list includes but not limited to Penelope Cruz (Zoolander 2,) Willem Defoe (Clear and Present Danger,) and Judi Dench (Spectre.) If you like mysteries and are unfamiliar with the story I believe you will enjoy it and if you are familiar with it I hope you do.  With the many bad movies that are out there I do not believe you will be disappointed by this film.  Unless you are my friend Reed who doesn’t like any movie made after 1980 and thinks the 1974 version of this film is better without even seeing this one.  But he is a tool so don’t worry about him.

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angry birdsI must be one of the 250 or so people in North America who has never played the Angry Birds cell phone app game.  Don’t really have a reason other than I don’t like to play games on my phone in case I don’t have my Wi-Fi on for whatever reason and I burn through my data usage on my phone for a silly game.  So I really have no idea what the game is about other than there are Angry Birds and based on the few TV commercials I saw back in the day the birds would fly through the air hitting something.  So it is with a blank slate I walked into the movie theater tonight after shot gunning my choice of new movies that were released today.  After seeing the film I too can say I am angry for wasting my time with the film.

Red, voiced by Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses,) is the one angry bird on an island full of happy go lucky joyful flightless birds.  After an incident involving a cake and another birds face, Red is forced into an anger management class where he meets Chuck, voiced by Josh Gad (Frozen,) and Bomb , voiced by Danny McBride (Pineapple Express,) and the teacher Matilda, voiced by Maya Rudolph (Sisters.)  At the same time this happens a strange ship shows up with two pigs who claim to be visiting.  Red doesn’t by it and sneaks on board the Pigs ship and discover that the ship is full of pigs.  Red runs back to tell the rest of the birds on Bird Island what is happening but they don’t believe the one Angry Bird on the island they believe the pigs.  While Red, Chuck, and Bomb go in search of the hero of the birds, The Mighty Eagle, voiced by Peter Dinklage (The Boss,) the pigs trick the rest of the birds and steal all the eggs and head to Pig Island.  The birds go to Red for help and he must find a way to save the bird eggs from being breakfast.

So it’ll be easy for me to talk about the things I like about the film, because it’ll be brief.  The title sequence in the film plays Black Sabbath.  In fact most of the music in the film is quite good because a lot of it is classic rock songs.  So that was cool.  Oh, also the one funny scene in the movie, Chuck and Bomb swimming in the pool that The Mighty Eagle pees in, you know the one they show in the trailer, that one is still funny even though I saw it in the trailer.  So there are two things that are good about the film.

So to start off with the things that aren’t good about this movie, we can begin with the fact that the only thing funny in the film is a scene that was already shown because of the freaking Trailer.  Now I do will give the caveat that in this theater there were, by the sounds of it, 50/50 split of adults and children under the age of 12.  Those kids under the age of 12 laughed their little butts off.  That’s because the entire humor from the movie comes from silly childish humor.  The Eagle peeing in the pool that the boys were drinking out of a moment early, a bird that sneezes magical snot, or the teacher that farts sparkly bombs.  Basically this was a movie full of dick and fart jokes but toned down for the kids.

The story is an issue just because the writer tried to create a backstory for Red.  This is a movie about a cell phone video game app, there is no back story necessary.  But instead of having an Angry Bird be angry just because, instead we briefly get a scene that show that Red, when he was a chick, being laughed at by the other chicks because he is shy and he has no mom and dad.  Because they didn’t include him, because inclusion is important in our new hellish progressive society, Red is an Angry Bird.  The story is just plain bad as well.  I would say it would be hard to create a compelling story based on a video game, or a game of any kind, but in the 1980’s there was a wonderful movie based on the board game Clue.  So it can be done.  This movie, however, is not an example of that.  Instead we get a story and a plot that is paint by numbers style that reflects its source material.

I will briefly add that while the voice actors did not really make their mark in the film, by no means were any of them bad. In fact the one good thing I will say about them is that because I don’t know who the character names are, I have no idea who Sean Penn voiced and I had no idea that Peter Dinklage was the Eagle, so that’s kind of cool.

To be honest I don’t know of any adult who would like this film.  This movie is a stark contrast from the Disney Pixar films that make the kids laugh but stimulate the adult mind.  Hell, the movie Zootopia isn’t a Pixar film and it’s so far ahead of Angry Birds in every way possible that it’s a crime to compare the two movies together. I will finish by saying that unless your kids are screaming to see this film I would skip it because it is a very forgettable film.  If they kids want to see a movie and you kind find it, take them to Zootopia.

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