Murder on the Orient Express (2017) – Review

Kenneth Branagh crafts a Poirot-laden blockbuster for Orient Express redux to secure his future gigs.

Review: Kenneth Branagh knows that modern viewers don’t fancy over-exposition in crime-mystery story as in Agatha Christie’s original whodunit classic, Murder on the Orient Express. Therefore, the actor/director adjusts the premise and crafts a more energetic, carefree version of the story which focuses more on the main protagonist, Hercule Poirot, more than anything else in the story.

Details are altered; but, the basic things are intact. The titular Orient Express still leaves from Istanbul to London during a cold winter; and, Poirot boards in the train along with dozen strangers. As the title might suggest, there’s a murder on board. The detective must solve the case by interrogating other passengers of the train before the train stops on the nearby station. Staged within limited area with limited access, Branagh presents a non-stop series of investigation that goes back and forth at full-speed. At that speed, we might get the illusion that the train (and the case) is going somewhere enticing; while it hasn’t actually moved a bit. Continue reading “Murder on the Orient Express (2017) – Review”

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Justice League (2017) – Review

DC has found its fun serum that does no justice

Review: Let’s break down Justice League into good news and bad news first. The good news is Justice League shows that DC has actually learned how to concoct a story out of their metahumans (yes, for them, the word ‘superhero’ is overrated) extensively since Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and how to sweeten up their preferably dark universe with proper humors, too, ever since Suicide Squad. While the bad news: the good news only slightly helps the film from being a total mess.

Following rave reviews showering Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and news of reshoots along with post-production galore to Avengers’ helmer, Joss Whedon, expectation flown high on how Justice League would finally do the justice to DC. At some points, it might live up the expectation; thanks to balance between Zack Snyder’s grim visions and Whedon’s holly jolly. Snyder, who left during post-production, still gets the sole director billing for his extensive work; but, we know that it’s Whedon who invents and injects the fun-serum. The cahoots result in a fun, energetic, light and more accessible crowdpleaser using DC’s properties. Regardless, Justice League apparently not a back-to-back victory. Continue reading “Justice League (2017) – Review”

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) – Review

Review: Taking up where the first film left, Kingsman: The Golden Circle revolves around the downtown-boy-turned-secret-agent, Eggsy (Taron Egerton), as he finally joins the rank of Kingsman.  While the young agent calibrates into his new secret life—including living in his deceased mentor’s (Colin Firth) mansion and secretly dating a Swedish princess he once saved, the secret service is undergoing a massive attack from a colossal crime organization called The Golden Circle. To cope up with the attack, Eggsy must enlist the help of the Statesman a.k.a. Kingsman’s American counterpart.

Matthew Vaughn apparently got highly invested in making Kingsman that he finally made his first sequel. This time, Vaughn—along with his frequent collaborator, Jane Goldman—takes the liberty in expanding this globe-trotting espionage bravura. His passion can be seen from his eagerness to amplify what he achieved best in the first film into double-powered action panache. It’s bigger in scale and in duration (clocking in at 141 mins); but, is it more fun? Barely.

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The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017) – Review

Review: The LEGO Ninjago Movie unfolds how the exhilarating idea of presenting a pop-culture-laden animation based on brick toys could falter quickly. It’s only been three years since Chris Miller and Phil Lord first spawned The LEGO Movie in 2014; but, this third film in LEGO franchise shows that the formula starts getting worn off.

It still offers electric bantz, refreshing gags and zillion references to pop culture—making it an enjoyable joyride. However, Ninjago’s lack of innovative formula starts showing the symptoms when it is often caught playing and recycling ideas used in LEGO Movie and LEGO Batman Movie to use in a different terrain. You’re not wrong when you think you have a déjà vu while watching this.

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It (2017) – Review

Review: New rendition of Stephen King’s 1986 novel, It, scrutinizes half of the 1000-something-page story into an effective two-hour thrilling ride with occasional scarefest. Despite the novel’s unfilmability (due to the richness of its content), this latest adaptation by Argentinian Andy Muschietti (Mama) could live up the expectation as a decent King’s adaptation and as a proper horror.

While It actually feels more like a coming-of-age adventure tale—with nods to classic ventures like The Goonies and other King’s adaptation, Stand by Me—the horror earns its gruesome portion; thanks to its legendary villain, Pennywise the Dancing Clown (oh, hi, coulrophobes!) who is said to always haunt the small town of Derry every 27 years. With intentionally shifted settings (adjusting 30 years from the novel’s 50s setting into 80s. Do the math and you’ll know why), sympathetic kid characters, rural summer vibes and a necessarily evil clown, you definitely won’t wish to float down there.

it-2017-03 Continue reading this review in English

Death Note (2017) – Review

Review: So, why bother remaking a story that feels Japan through and through in a same old brand new American setting? Or, why bother retelling a story that might venture well in nowadays internet-advanced world in a world which feels no different to early internet day? Why bother remaking Death Note in an all-American high school drama?

Those questions keep linger in my head while I watched Adam Wingard’s Death Note, an Americanized version of Japanese manga series written by Tsugumi Oba and Takeshi Obata. In presenting this story, Wingard (The Guest, You’re Next) keeps trying to impress audiences with his eye for stylish visual violence.  Without ever losing his touch, there’s practically nothing wrong with the directorial effort; but, judging from the director’s adamant persistence in making the film and the end-results, there lies a much bigger question: is this all Adam Wingard’s vision to Death Note?

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