Murder on the Orient Express Review

Agatha Christie, 20th-century’s master crime novelist, is the highest-selling novelist of all time.

All. Time.

With 2-billion books sold, she’s behind only the Bible and Shakespeare.

But a quick survey of my inner and outer circles would either show that people in general just don’t read anymore or that pop-culture — in America — has room for Sherlock Holmes but not for Hercule Poirot, Christie’s master sleuth who’s appeared in 33 of her novels and a set of films, cinema and television, the last being 2013’s Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case with David Suchet ending a 24-year turn as the detective for the United Kingdom’s ITV.

Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in Murder on the Orient Express, a movie with a stacked ensemble cast featuring the likes of Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Willem Defoe, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley. It could have done no less — watch any crime procedural on television, and you can spot the master criminal just by the guest appearance.

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Justice League Review

Marvel has Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in the Avengers, but DC has the Trinity — arguably, the three most important and popular comic book heroes in comic book history.

Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck), and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) — who made an appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice join forces with Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to fight cosmic invaders in an action-packed but fluffy movie that tries to shoulder the momentum of this year’s breakout Wonder Woman film.

With Superman dead and the world in turmoil over losing its brightest beacon of hope, fear has risen to new heights. With no protector to keep alien forces at bay, the powerful Mother Boxes awaken and call outside forces to come and claim them.

Hoping to unite the boxes into one construct that will redesign Earth into a fiery landscape more fitting for his kind, the alien Steppenwolf assaults Themyscira and Atlantis and takes the boxes.

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Thor: Ragnarok Review

Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) tries to stop the end of the world in Thor: Ragnarok, a conflicted mess of a film that showcases some of the best that Marvel Studios has to offer along with some of their cringiest.

If you’ve seen the trailers, you have the main gist of it all — Hela (Cate Blanchett), the goddess of death, has come to take her place on the throne of Asgard after Odin’s death releases her from the prison his life-force created.

As Odin’s firstborn, she is the strongest of his children, and she makes her mark within moments by destroying Mjolnir and sending Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) into retreat. As the brothers attempt to teleport back to their homeworld with the help of the Bifröst Bridge, Hela follows them and send them off course.

Hela appears in Asgard, where her claim to the throne hits deaf ears — that’s what happens when an entire era’s history is wiped away or covered up. Viewed as an invading force, Asgard’s army tries to hold her at bay but fails miserably.

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Blade Runner 2049 Review

It only took 35 years for Hollywood to create a sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner — a critical and commercial failure at launch that eventually turned into one of the most influential culture pieces this side of the 20th century. 

Not that we asked for a continuation or a reboot — we all know know how those have turned out. Look at what’s happened to the Alien franchise. See Alien: Covenant review here

When it was first announced, I had my reservations. Blade Runner is one of my most favorite movies. And while I was resigned to accept the notion that no sequel — spiritual or otherwise — would be as good as the first, news of Denis Villeneuve being attached to direct gave me hope that it could come close. 

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Dunkirk Review

The battle and escape at Dunkirk was a defining point during the first stages of World War II — it ultimately rallied the British who were at one point considering a conditional surrender to Germany. The safe return of 330,000 British and allied soldiers with the help of civilian forces spurred a counterpoint to Germany’s blitzkrieg that was pushing its way through Europe with relative ease.

But the movie is a collection of parables that uses the event as a backdrop to explore the paradigm of human existence. Compressing time and space, Dunkirk is a microcosm of chaos, beauty, and the circle of human life.

The movie opens with a literal bang as German soldiers open fire on Allied troops who have, so far, maintained an uneasy and untenable position with their backs to the French oceanside in Dunkirk. A few hundred-thousand troops wait on the beach as, one by one, ships pick up the wounded first.

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