Movie Review || Murder on the Orient Express

I hardly ever seem to put up movie reviews, so here’s one for the film adaption of one of my fave books! 🙂


Visually lush and studded with a cast of characters each more intriguing than the other played by renowned actors, this 2017 adaptation of Agatha Christie’s most well-known murder mysteries, Murder on the Orient Express rehashes a known story with a wholly fresh veneer and follows the detective Hercule Poirot as he attempts to solve the mystery of a murdered train passenger and uncover the travelers’ secrets.

The cinematography of the film is brilliant: the movie picks up in Istanbul, and extreme long shots are used to show the scape of the city—the color grading here is also quite nice, using deep, warm golds and oranges to give a feel for the richness of the bustling metropolis. Much of the movie also takes place on a train, and aerial view shots are used effectively to show the train’s long journey as it moves across the snowcapped mountains of Europe, and the audience is captivated. Here the lighting is airy and crisp, reflective of the season and setting. When one of the characters is interrogated outside upon the breaking down of the Orient Express, it almost feels as though the viewer is standing outside in the winter air due to the clear brittleness of the light. The inside of the train, in great contrast, is dimly lit by only candles and small lamps.Image result for murder on the orient express

As it is a period film, the costumes are all reflective of the time the story takes place. They are each intricate and unique; the higher-class travelers on the train don thick fur coats and sparkling jewelry while the more common folk wear simpler clothing that is no less detailed. The makeup is mostly kept understated with berry lipsticks and nude eyeshadows to reflect the looks of the day, and the men of the film almost all have the pencil mustaches that were popular then. Hercule Poirot’s is the most prominent, of course, staying true to Poirot’s signature mustache in Agatha Christie’s novels.

The sets are just as sumptuous as the film’s wardrobe. The train, for one, is the Orient Express, which was a historical train that was the epitome of luxury in the 1930s. It is marvelously detailed and stylish, but not lacking any of the claustrophobia that comes with the close-quarters of long distance by train.

Not intruding on the dialogue and happenings of the movie but helping to accentuate the gravity of the situation the movie revolves around, melancholic and dramatic piano and strings make up Murder on the Orient Express’s soundtrack.

Kenneth Branagh stars as Poirot, who utterly dominates the screen with his commanding, visibly intelligent, and somewhat eccentric demeanor. The rest of the star-studded cast performs just as well, playing the roles of the train’s passengers so that the viewers can’t help but be suspicious of them while also rooting for them. They all make much out of very little; that is to say, brief intervals of interrogation are deftly handled to communicate to the viewer each character’s troubles and personality. At the conclusion of the whodunit, Michelle Pfeiffer particularly stands out in an emotional performance that is moving and evocative of the themes of the movie, which deal with how lives can be torn apart, the efforts people will go to avenge those who have been wronged, and, to the obsessive but brilliant Poirot’s horror, the disorder of the world and messiness of people.

Murder on the Orient Express is somewhat slow-paced and rather dialogue-dependent; there is suspense throughout, certainly—it is a murder mystery, after all—but it relies heavily on the actors’ powerful presences as Poirot flits from cabin to cabin interrogating the passengers. The denouement comes at the perfect time—just when most viewers would be completely mystified by the direction the mystery is heading—or when more observant viewers begin to have an inkling of who the murderer may be.

Though this iconic mystery has been made into a film several times, Murder on the Orient Express stuns the senses and does not fail to encapsulate the suspense and richness of this novel.

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Book Haul || B-Fest Goodies + Experience!

Hello folks! Hope all is well! ❤

If you’ve been following me for some time, you might remember this post in which I talked about some books I had won in last year’s B-Fest, a mini YA book festival hosted by Barnes and Noble stores all over the nation.

Well, this year I certainly couldn’t pass it up, so of course I made my way to the second annual B-Fest in my area in the hopes of having some good old fashioned YA fun! 🙂

So, here’s a post about it. It’s sort of like a vlog, I suppose? Except in text form. Which I guess would make it just a blog post, but it’s not a formal blog post, exactly. You know? Anyway, moving on!


book haul

First of all, there was a little presentation by Stacie Ramey, the author of The Sister Pact and The Homecoming. I had a chance to chat with her a little bit and she was an absolute sweetheart and had some really important things to say about the book industry, getting published, and the importance that perseverance has in the life of an author (or an aspiring one). Of course, I had to have a copy of The Sister Pact signed by her and I can’t wait to read it!

There were also several really great YA trivia games which were not only fun to participate in but also yielded very satisfying results. Needless to say, I ended up winning a grand total of two totefuls of books–some of which are ARCs–and I am absolutely ecstatic about it! (The perks of being a Nerd™ is that you can win more books with which to enable yourself.) Here are the books that I am currently gazing at lovingly from across the room.

  • Frostblood by Elly Blake
  • Expelled by James Patterson and Emily Raymond (ARC)
  • People Like Us by Dana Mele (ARC)
  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
  • Orphan, Monster, Spy by Matt Killeen (ARC)
  • Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh (ARC)

Overall, it was a day very well spent, and now in the days to come I’ll be delving into all these wonderful novels, so keep an eye out for reviews! :**

❤ Yasimone

 

Movie Review (Not Really) || Lion

Do you ever watch a movie and are just blown away by how much there is in the world? How many places, people, experiences, relationships exist?

We all live our own little bubbles and go about our little lives and never even cross paths with the rest of the 7 billion people in this world and live oblivious to all the little things that can happen and the miracles and tragedies that occur every single second and completely change people’s lives and sometimes it doesn’t even hit you until you watch the right movie, and then it’s all you can think about. How big everything is, and how strange life can turn out.

Lion‘s that kind of film. I cried so, so much and my heart is so full.

This isn’t even a review really. I don’t know what it is. I’m just kind of in awe.

Please watch this movie. I think it’s my favorite.

❤ Yasimone

Book Review (ARC) || Genuine Fraud

Author: E. Lockhart

Publishing Company: Delacorte Press

Release Year: (ARC) To be published September 5, 2017

Genre(s): YA, realistic fiction, thriller

(Shout out to Penguin Random House, where I received this ARC from!)


Synopsis

From the author of the unforgettable New York Times bestseller We Were Liars comes a masterful new psychological suspense novel—the story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

(source)

My Thoughts

Okay, wow! There’s a lot going on in this novel, and I whizzed through it because it was so intriguing. I love psychological thrillers (although I don’t get to read them very much) and this was certainly a good one!

Genuine Fraud begins with our main character, Jule, who we soon learn is extraordinarily good at makeup and accents and just, well, shape-shifting in general. She is definitely the heroine of her own story and she lets us know it straight off the bat. From there the story progresses not chronologically forward but backward. It makes things a little hard to follow at first but after the first few chapters you definitely do grow into it and at the end you realize why that sort of format works.

Jule is an interesting character, to say the least. She’s clever and strong, too emotional while somehow also simultaneously emotionally detached. She’s running away, but we don’t find out until the end–or rather, the beginning–exactly what she’s running from. Her relationship with Imogen, a jasmine-perfumed it girl, is also interesting. The pair are close friends, two girls who are both seemingly perfect but broken in ways only the other can understand. How exactly Imogen fits into Jule’s story…well, you’ll see.

The odd combinations of elements–an affinity for Victorian novels, several unexpected murders, locations like Mexico, Martha’s Vineyard, and London, various characters that pop up, and Jule’s obsession with being a modern day James Bond-like femme fatale superhero lady (what a mouthful)–all somehow work together. That being said, the real driving forces of this novel are the characters, of which there are many, all of whom are complex in ways you won’t see until the novel digs deeper.

The social commentary embedded in this novel’s sharp prose is also smart, providing a peek into the lives of Martha’s Vineyard-dwelling rich kids as well as themes like feminism, friendship, poverty, relationships and love, and coping with familial and mental issues.

Anyway, that’s all I’ll say so as to avoid the ending for you. 😉

All in all: If you’re look for an exciting, suspenseful, and more than slightly creepy read complete with an interesting antihero(ine), this one’s the book for you! Find it at your nearest bookshelf this September!

❤ Yasimone

Book Review || Carve the Mark

Hi folks! Hope y’all have been doing well!

Veronica Roth’s latest novel came out earlier this year so here’s my review for it! Nice to be writing these things again. 🙂

Also, I changed the look of this blog a bit! Goodness knows it needed a change. ❤


Synopsis

In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift.

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get this brother out alive — no matter what the cost.
The Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?

Carve the Mark is Veronica Roth’s stunning portrayal of the power of friendship — and love — in a galaxy filled with unexpected gifts.

My Thoughts

I’ve been a fan of Veronica Roth for a while now so hearing about her new book naturally got me excited, and I’m super happy to say that I was not disappointed with Carve the Mark! That being said, however, I did find a few issues with this book that I’ll also delve into in this review.

Right, so: the worldbuilding. Carve the Mark takes place in a Star Wars-esque universe (or galaxy, rather). I really liked the planets and Shotet culture and just the effort that went into creating this whole world for the characters. You learn so much about the cultures and religions of the societies and the way things are and I absolutely adore that sort of thing because I am a big nerd.

I loved the characters too! They’re all so raw and real and you get to learn a lot about their personal histories and get to know the way they think. Cyra is just so broken and beautiful and you feel so much for her. Akos is also really sympathetic character and really, the entire cast of characters is really intriguing and interesting and 3D which is exactly what I love! Seeing them together and the way their relationship develops was well-written and really good. And the plot, though it dragged at certain points, was winding and mostly fast paced and I found myself consistently excited for whatever was to come next. I mean, it’s set in space for goodness sake! You gotta love some good, exhilarating space action.crav the mark

Okay, now for the problematic part: you can definitely pick out some racist undertones in this book. Hear me out here. Cyra’s people, the Shotet, are portrayed as savages and warriors, whereas Akos and his people–Thuvians–are the kind, peace-loving counterpart. However, if you look closer, you’ll notice that Roth identifies the Shotet to be darker skinned (or mixed-race) and sets up their culture to be galactic indigenous people of sorts. Meanwhile, the Thuvians have paler skin and are basically colonizers of the planet the Shotet have always existed on. Furthermore, the Shotet language is described as “harsh and guttaral” versus the smoother, softer sounds of the Thuvhe language. Keeping this in mind with the way Cyra and Akos’s romance plays out, I couldn’t help but feel that Carve the Mark was playing on the trope of “angry person of color is civilized by kindly white person and they fall in love.” I am sure Roth did not mean for it to come out this way, but it does not change the fact that it still subconsciously plays into racist stereotypes. Big sigh.

All in all: If you can look beyond the whole racism issue, Carve the Mark would be amazing! The lack of YA sci-fi lately is pretty upsetting, and Carve the Mark was a great display of Roth’s skill and just how thrilling stories in space can be. But, yep, there’s that whole racism thing. (I would recommend this book because I genuinely enjoyed it, but be sure to read it keeping in mind that you’ll probably feel a prickle of ://// while reading.)

❤ Yasimone

On the State of the World

I have tried to write this post many, many times before, falling short each time and not truly conveying what I wanted to say.

This is more of a ramble than a rant, but I hope it will suffice.


The world is a mess right now. Turning on the television for even a few minutes is enough to prove that, as is scrolling through the news at any point.

I won’t delve into the technicalities of the thing, but I beg you: stand up for yourself and others. Do not let those who are vulnerable go unprotected. Educate yourself, learn about how your local laws work, and do what you can in these troubled times.

Be angry, be sad, be anything but apathetic.

❤ Yasimone

Update || Nope, I Did Not Fall Off the Face of the Earth!

Hi friends! 😀

Well. It’s been a while. I don’t quite have an excuse for this. I was either too busy to write anything, or had to much free time and sort of just forgot to! (God, this sounds awful! I’m so so sorry.) (Kjhgfhj.)

But while I was gone, my blog turned two years old? (And the world certainly changed a lot, politically. But anyway.) Which is insane? Thank you all so much for sticking with me all this time! 💕💕 I really am hoping to spruce up this lil blog and become more active after my weird unannounced hibernation.

Anyway, this isn’t much of a post; it’s more of me reassuring you all that I am, in fact, still alive.

I’ll be back soon with some revamped content! Happy belated New Year!

❤ Yasimone