Murder On The Orient Express (2017), B-. Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in this reboot of the Agatha Christie classic showcasing the whip-smart and renowned Detective Hercule Poirot. Poirot is reluctantly pulled into a murder investigation aboard a train ferrying 12 eclectic and somewhat eccentric personalities of which any one could be the culprit. The film feels good, and it looks good especially the cinematography with the train in motion. The performances are solid, and I admit I had no idea that was Daisy Ridley of Star Wars fame until the credits rolled, even though I knew she was cast in the film. Branagh was capable as Poirot but short of David Souchet from the original. Derek Jacobi made me smile again with his accent ability – that man deserves a lifetime Oscar before he sunsets and I love that he and Branagh circled back to work together after 26 years! (1991’s Dead Again – one of my top 10 American films). Murder/Orient starts full of mystery and wonder but culminates in a slightly lesser version of the original. You’ll love the performances but none are Oscar worthy. Weekend box office prediction: $21 million.
TwitView: A Bad Moms Christmas, B+ If you have a love/hate relationship with your Mom that culminates around the holiday season, this one’s for you. Mila Kunis, Katherine Hahn and Kristen Bell join Susan Sarandon, Cheryl Hines and the divine Christine Baranski in this raucous, insane and if you let it – truly touching comedy. The trio all get surprise visits from their Mum’s who each has their own idea of what Xmas should be and forces it onto their over-worked and under-valued daughters. This one’s a mix of ‘Lampoon’s Xmas Vacation’ (if it were R rated for potty mouth humor) and ‘Love Actually’ as it seamlessly mixes family holiday angst and the insanity that ensues when chasing the perfect Xmas. Hahn is just as zany as the original but not overly done which was a pleasant surprise. It does get emotional, and I shed a tear (shhh, don’t tell anyone). It works as a date movie, but is so much better and relatable to any mom out there who has a mom. #badmomxmas #badmoms #nonuditylotsofpottymouth
TwitView: American Assassin, A- (in theaters now) The popular book series springs to tense and gut wrenching life and you will be gripped from the opening scene to its penultimate conclusion. Story centers on a young, brash and fragmented man recruited into a CIA assassin program ran by Keaton. Together they work to stop a rogue operative whose spinning the globe to assemble the money, brains and tech to make a nuclear weapon. Film is filled with exotic world locales and just the right amount of sass and brass from the lead. This is a spy suspense-thrliler that achieved in one film what the Bourne series couldn’t do in 5 iterations. Keaton shines as the hard ass former Black Ops agent turned instructor. Box office prediction: $24M opening but word of mouth will take this taut thriller to $100m easy #americanassassinBaltimore #keatonstaysabadass#americanassassinreview
TwitReview: Spider-Man: Homecoming is the next chapter in the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe. Great fun! No “origins” told. Surprises for everyone! 4 stars!
Full review after break [Read more…]
TwitReview: Baywatch delivers the laughs while having a serious plot and not taking itself too serious. Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron work well as a comedy duo. Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
TwitReview: The Fate of the Furious is an all out pedal to the metal, NOS infused, take no prisoners, FUN time at the movies. Carries on all that is beloved in this franchise. Grade: 5 stars!
Promising start, horrible-in-a-bad-way finish. In-between is a whole lot of horror padding, and a waste of gorgeous cinematography and production design. If you must head out to see this derivative mess, watch the first 40 minutes, then head home and write the rest in your head. I guarantee it’ll be better than what goes on onscreen.
TwitterReview: Vin Diesel is back as Xander Cage in the third entry of the “XXX” franchise, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. Lots of action and fun. Grade: 3 stars