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”
The story of four Marrowbone siblings conceals a sentimental twist under piles of familiarity.
Review: Writer of The Orphanage and The Impossible, Sergio G. Sánchez crafts an overly solid yet convoluted story—about four Marrowbone siblings—which conceals deeply sentimental twist under piles of familiar elements.
In his directorial debut, Marrowbone, Sánchez again utilizes supernatural elements within emotional family drama frame as in his previous works. Set in seaside America of the 1960s, this period drama revolves around the lives of four siblings who recently move to the States from England, to the childhood house of their mother, Rose Fairbairn—nee Marrowbone (Nicola Harrison). Starting over their lives in a foreign land, the siblings—Jack (Captain Fantastic’s George Mackay), Billy (Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton), Jane (Mia Goth), and Sam (Matthew Stagg)—bear their mother’s maiden name to disguise from something that has been haunting them all along. Continue reading “Marrowbone (2017) – Review”
Review: A college student, Tree (Jessica Rothe), woke up in a random guy’s (Israel Broussard) dorm room before she went on and did what all mean girls should do: screwing everyone she encountered. There’s no stopping for her sinister behavior until she finally got herself into trouble: being killed by a masked killer, only to find herself waking up to the same room she woke up earlier and relived her final day again, again and again.
In short, Happy Death Day does Groundhog Day with teen-slasher tropes. Director Christopher Landon and writer Scott Lobdell utilize time-loop formula to showcase their references of old-school slasher films in creating tension. But, more to it, they also utilize the same formula to formulate a fun whodunit thriller with the victim as the center. It looks campy and a little generic, but it never stops bringing funride for its whole duration.
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Review: The idea of reliving the same day in a loop a la Groundhog Day gets a South Korean treatment in Cho Sun-ho’s (writer of Killer Toon) directorial debut, A Day (a.k.a. Ha-roo). When I said ‘South Korean treatment’, it means that this film has some touch of melodrama and another shade of revenge thriller wrapped in a moving, time-loop story about life, death and grudge that glues them together.
In A Day, a glorified surgeon Jun-young (Kim Myung-min) keeps living the same day when he loses his daughter in a traffic accident. He’s en route to reconcile with the daughter when a taxi hit the poor girl and instantly killed her. Soon, as the doctor began to get engulfed by sense of helplessness and trauma, he found out that he’s not the only person to suffer the looping fate. Continue reading “A Day (2017) – Review”
Review: It’s year 2049—30 years following the events in the original Blade Runner (1982). A new story embarks as a next-gen ‘Replicant’, now working as a ‘Blade Runner’, retires an older ‘Replicant’ model and unravels a decade-long mystery in the process.
Blade Runner 2049 comes as a genre-bending late follow-up, which appears as a slow-burning detective story to reveal answers to both philosophical and ‘physical’ mystery presented in the premise. Denis Villeneuve’s cyberpunk sequel deliberately yet subtly mirrors Ridley Scott’s original in terms of plot and general elements, but confidently delves into a new territory at the same time. All of those are wrapped exquisitely in one of the most stunning 164 minutes in the history of life.
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Review: Gerbang Neraka a.k.a. Firegate (literally ‘Hell Gate’) combines an urban legend about Gunung Padang in West Java with sci-fi bravura and horror apparition into making a rare genre-bending Indonesian film. The film focuses on an excavation process of the allegedly oldest pyramid structure in the world (said to be older than Giza in Egypt and Mayan in Mexico), which lies underneath a mountain. Like in other ‘pyramid films’, the excavation was plagued from beginning to end, with body counts start to rise from day to day.
There came the film’s trinity: a young archeologist who believes in no supernatural power, Arni (Julie Estelle), a struggling heresy-laden tabloid reporter, Tomo (Reza Rahadian), and a celebrity ‘demon hunter’ Guntur Samudera (Dwi Sasono). Intertwined by their own ambition in regards to Gunung Padang pyramid, those three protagonists began to intersect each other’s life and unravel a hideous secret about the mega-structure. Continue reading “Gerbang Neraka (2017): Genre-defying mess”