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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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

Mockingjay Part II Movie Review

Hi all! I hope you are having a great November! 🙂 I know I am, and I can’t believe that the month is already nearly over!

Mockingjay Part II, the thrilling conclusion to Katniss Everdeen’s whirlwind revolution, has officially premiered today! I’m happy to say that I was able to attend an early double-feature showing of Mockingjay Part I—which came out last year—and II two days ago and follow Katniss in the last leg of her journey! 😀 It lasted about five hours, with an intermission break in between the two movies.

Here are the vital stats of Mockingjay Part II:

  • Release Date: November 20th, 2015
  • Genre: Science fiction film/Thriller (Dystopia)
  • Time: 137 minutes
  • Director: Francis Lawrence
  • Past Movies: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part I
  • Main Cast: Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark), Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne), Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy), Donald Sutherland (President Snow), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Plutarch Heavensbee), Julianne Moore (President Alma Coin)

And here’s the official synopsis:

Realizing the stakes are no longer just for survival, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) teams up with her closest friends, including Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Finnick for the ultimate mission. Together, they leave District 13 to liberate the citizens of war-torn Panem and assassinate President Snow, who’s obsessed with destroying Katniss. What lies ahead are mortal traps, dangerous enemies and moral choices that will ultimately determine the future of millions.

I will start off my review of Mockingjay Part II by saying that I was truly amazed by this film. It started exactly where Mockingjay Part I had left off the year before and did not disappoint in picking up action as quickly as possible.

Of course, this star-studded cast that we’ve all come to love and support were simply great. The dialogue and interaction between characters is so natural and real. Jennifer Lawrence, as always, did wonderfully in her role as Katniss—especially in this thrilling conclusion to the Hunger Games series.

She just brings a sort of emotional intensity that Katniss also shows in the trilogy, and I doubt that anyone would be able to do it as well. Another actor I would like to recognize is Donald Sutherland, who plays President Snow; I am always in awe at how he portrays this character with such ease and keeps him grounded and believable.

mockingjay pin.jpg
The pin and lanyard I got at the double feature. Definitely not taking it off for the next week or so.

The special effects were, as per the norm for The Hunger Games films, spectacular and very realistic. The war scenes are gritty and intense—and I think another thing that I loved particularly about Mockingjay Part II is that there is no straightforward “villain-hero” relationship in this installment. It is full-blown war, and in war, anything is possible.

One thing I really enjoyed was how faithful the film remained to the book; very little was changed and the movie had the same aesthetic and feel as the novel itself did—dark, epic, and action-packed. While Mockingjay was written by Suzanne Collins as one novel, I do believe that the movies worked quite nicely as two parts—the second part was definitely more brutal and heart wrenching than the first, and it made sense, because the end of the book is like that as well. I did end up shedding a couple tears, especially at the conclusion of the movie. (Hunger Games fans will understand!) đŸ˜„

And now a little bit about my experience at the double feature showing itself: This is actually the first double feature I’ve ever attended, and I am super glad that I went. part 2.jpg.pngIt was just such a great atmosphere and watching the two movies back to back was very enjoyable as well. Everyone who attended received a lanyard with a special pin and a holographic card that switches between two versions of the Mockingjay pin symbol. Another one of the highlights was when we had finished watching the first movie and during the intermission break, a mini-trivia game was held, and prizes were being given out to anyone who answered a question correctly! I actually ended up answering a question and winning a Blu-ray disc of Mockingjay Part I!

This was the perfect conclusion, in my opinion, to one of the best dystopian film adaptation franchises ever. And while we won’t have the pleasure of being able to anticipate any new movies, rereading the books and rewatching the movies will never get old! 😉

Mockingjay Part II won’t disappoint! I suggest you go see it as soon as possible! 😀

❀ Yasimone

Insurgent Movie Review!

I’ve got news…

I have seen Insurgent!

Here are the vital stats of the movie:

  • Release Date: March 20th, 2015
  • Genre: Science fiction film/Thriller (Dystopia)
  • Time: 1 hour 59 minutes
  • Director: Robert Schwentke
  • Prequel: Divergent
  • Main Cast: Shailene Woodley (Tris Prior), Theo James (Tobias Eaton), Ansel Elgort (Caleb Prior), Kate Winslet (Jeanine Matthews), Miles Teller (Peter), ZoĂ« Kravitz (Christina)

And, here’s the official summary of the movie.

“Now on the run from Jeanine (Kate Winslet) and the rest of the power-hungry Erudites, Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) search for allies and answers in the ruins of Chicago. They must find out what Tris’ family sacrificed their lives to protect and why the Erudites will do anything to stop them. Side by side, Tris and Four face one seemingly insurmountable challenge after another, as they unravel the secrets of the past and — ultimately — the future of their world.”

Now, let me just start things off by saying that this movie was truly awesome. I thought that it was a pretty accurate interpretation of the novel.

Shailene Woodley did great in her role as Tris, who during this movie had an overwhelming guilty conscience. Theo James, playing Four, also was amazing, but he seemed to have a less noticeable part than in Divergent. Ansel Elgort portrayed Tris’s cowardly, traitorous brother quite well, and Miles Teller was very memorable as the sly, funny turncoat Peter who in the end turns out not to be such a bad person. Kate Winslet, of course, dominates the screen in each of her scenes as Jeanine Matthews. I really enjoyed the high-quality acting from a great, star-studded cast.

I also loved the special effects. They were very realistic, and the serum simulations, or sims, that Tris had to go through to open the faction box were perhaps more complex and sophisticated than those in Divergent (the movie, that is). The visual effects were also very prominent in the scenes that took place in the Erudite headquarters. There are quite a few action scenes too, and it’s safe to say that they’re nail-biting, tooth-grinding, fist-clenching exciting.

Insurgent Tattoos!Another thing I was super pumped up about? I got free Insurgent temporary tattoos for watching the movie! >>  There are faction logo tattoos, tattoo wristbands with “FACTIONLESS” written on them, and a couple futuristic design ones. I think my favourite one is the band with all the faction signs on it— very Divergent. 😉 They’re really cool and I can’t wait to put them on!

Overall, I thought that this was a must-see movie! 🙂 Sure, it deviated from the book plot a little bit, but don’t all book-based movies do that? The differences from the book worked to the film’s advantage, and it fully satisfies the expectations as a dystopian sequel. Insurgent ends with an intriguing cliffhanger, much like the book, that leaves the audience eagerly waiting for more.