Murder on the Orient Express and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
I’m hardly what you’d call “well read” as most of my cultural education comes from television and movies followed by people TALKING about television and movies, so while I’m aware that there’s a book out there called Murder on the Orient Express written by someone whose work I should really get around to reading, I don’t actually know what the story is about nor who the killer is which I GUESS would make me the target audience for a slick Hollywood retelling of the story starring some of the most beloved character actors out there… and Johnny Depp. I’m certainly excited to see this as I do love me a good mystery, and seeing a movie is ALMOST as good as reading a book… right? Anyway, does Kenneth Branagh manage to successfully bring the Agatha Christie classic to the silver screen once again, or does the brilliance of her work get lost in the midst of his vision for the material? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with the famed detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) solving yet another world class mystery in the heart of Jerusalem and is now ready to take a much deserved vacation to recharge his mystery solving batteries! As luck would have it, he runs into an old friend named Bouc (Tom Bateman) who gets him a ticket on the one and only Orient Express which Bouc is the director of. Sadly for Poirot’s plans of leisure, not only does the train get stuck in an avalanche but one of the passengers (Johnny Depp) comes down with a bad case of MURDER! With only some minor cajoling from Bouc, Poirot begins to investigate The Case of the Stabbed Dude by looking into the pasts of all the other passengers (Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, Marwan Kenzari, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Sergei Polunin, and Miranda Raison) to see if there’s anything to connect one of them to the guy sleeping in a pool of his own blood. Will Poirot uncover the criminal mastermind who was unfortunately enough to be sharing a train ride with the world’s greatest detective? Just who was the man who got viciously murdered, and what could have motivated someone to commit such an act? Wait… isn’t it a bit TOO convenient that the train JUST SO HAPPENED to get stuck after a murder is committed!?
The Mountain Between Us and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Hany Abu-Assad
Eh… you know I’m not really feeling this one. The trailer wasn’t QUITE as overplayed as the one for Flatliners (you already forgot that movie came out, didn’t you?) but I was sure getting sick of seeing it as we got closer to the release date. Idris Elba and Kate Winslet are stuck on a mountain which I imagine COULD be an interesting premise, but nothing about the trailer really stood out to me other than the casting which isn’t a good sign for a movie like this. Hopefully it was just a bad trailer and that the movie itself will be much better which has certainly been known to happen every once in a while, and even if the movie is bad… well it’s not like I haven’t enjoyed crappy Idris Elba films in the past! Does this manage to rise above the low expectations it has set for itself, or was that weak trailer right on the money and we’re stuck with a lame mountain survival film? Let’s find out!!
Super Surgeon Dr Ben Bass (Idris Elba) and Super photojournalist Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) are trying to get back home but their flights are canceled at the last minute. Since both of them REALLY need to find a way out of the state as soon as possible, they manage to find dude (Beau Bridges) who’s unscrupulous enough to brave the incoming storm and fly them where they need to go for a nice stack of cash. Of course things go bad while in the air and not just because of the storm as their pilot keels over and dies of a stroke mid-flight; crashing the plane in the process. Ben seems to have come out of it alright, but Alex has an injured leg that makes it hard to move around which leaves Ben and the pilots dog as the only two who can try to find the supplies that fell out of the plane while also trying to set up a signal of some kind for whatever happens to pass by. No such luck though as days go by without a rescue and so Alex eventually convinces Ben that they need to start hiking their way across the mountain to try and find a semblance of civilization that can Uber them back to the city. Will the two manage to survive the harsh environment with the help of their wits, their warm jackets, and the super adorable dog? How will this unbelievable experience change them individually as well as their burgeoning friendship? Is this Idris Elba’s punishment for being in The Dark Tower!?
“Just ten more miles and a Nicholas Sparks movie before my slate is clean!”
Kingsman: The Golden Circle and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Kingsman kind of came out of nowhere and surprised everyone with just how big of a hit it became, but then again that’s kind of the most notable thing about Matthew Vaugh’s career so far. Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, and Kingsman were all movies that no one really expected to become huge hits, but he managed to turn all three into huge money makers and even garnered quite a bit of critical praise in the process! Now he’s attempting the one thing that so few directors have been able to pull off which is to make a successful sequel to one of his own films; something that even the best directors aren’t always able to pull off (*cough* The Lost World *cough*)! Will this be yet another unexpected hit from a director who’s known for making those, or is this a challenge that will prove insurmountable even for someone as talented as Matthew Vaughn!? Let’s find out!!
The movie picks up some time after the ending of the first film where The Kingsman Organization is thriving under new leadership and Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is living the super awesome secret agent life while also dating Princess Tildae (Hanna Alström) who was the princess he saved in his last adventure. Now obviously things can’t stay this way for long (lest this be a rather uneventful movie), as Eggsy’s past comes back to haunt him with the sudden reappearance of Kingsman dropout Charles (Edward Holcroft) who somehow survived the events of the last film and proceeds to set off a chain reaction of events that completely decimates the Kingsman Organization; even managing to kill agent Lancelot in the process (Sophie Cookson). With nothing left and the world facing an imminent threat from an organization known only as The Golden Circle, led up by Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), the remaining Kingsman members (pretty much just Eggsy and Merlin played by Mark Strong) must turn to their American Counterparts known as The Statesmen in order to fight against whatever nefarious schemes Poppy and Charles have planned. Can Eggsy save the world yet again despite having lost so much already? Can the Statesmen be trusted to work with the remaining Kingsman members, or do they have a secret agenda of their own? Seriously, how the hell do they write themselves out of a bullet to the head in order to bring back Collin Firth!?
“DON’T MAKE ME USE THIS! I GOT THIS SHIT STRAIGHT FROM THE PENGUIN!!”
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by David Soren
Captain Underpants was a big staple of my elementary school years and while I eventually grew out the series after the first five or six books, I still have good memories (albeit vague ones) about those stories and the characters. Now at one point, even as recent as say 2010, I would have lost my freaking MIND over the idea of a Captain Underpants movie, but with this being made so later after I dropped off of the series coupled with the relatively bare bones marketing I saw for it, my expectations are somewhat tempered going into it even though I would love nothing more than for this series to get a new lease on life. Does Captain Underpants manage to be a better super hero movie than even the MCU can put out, or are we doomed for another DCCU style monstrosity of epic proportions!? Or maybe it could be the middle ground of the better X-Men movies… I guess. Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the adventures of George Beard (Kevin Hart) and Harold Hutchins (Thomas Middleditch). George is the kid with the tie and the flat-top while Harold is the one with the T-shirt and bad haircut. You should probably remember that. Anyway, they’re two good natured troublemakers at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School who always manage to peeve of their principal Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms) with their incessant pranking and never ending supply of self-published comic books that they distribute at the school. Their most popular by far is the Captain Underpants series which involves a super hero who wears nothing but underwear and a cape since most superheroes look like they’re wearing their underwear. I don’t know how true that is anymore as they mostly wear leather and body armor now, but that’s beside the point. What’s important is that George and Harold’s latest prank was the final straw to break the camel’s back and Mr. Krupp is going to separate them once and for all by putting them in different classes. In a last ditch effort to save their friendship, George uses his Hypno-Ring to hypnotize Mr. Krupp before he can sign the papers. Not only that, but just for the heck of it they ALSO convince him that he’s Captain Underpants as well which is funny at first but proves to be quite a burden as he turns into the hero anytime he hears someone snap their fingers and will only turn back once he’s bene splashed by water (it’s unclear if other substances will work in water’s stead). Oh, and there’s a mad scientist somewhere in this too who becomes a science teacher or something. Will Harold and George learn a lesson about their pranking ways now that they have to keep Mr. Krupp from hurting himself or worse? Eh, probably not, but will Captain Underpants manage to be an ACTUAL hero instead of just a guy running around in his tighty-whities? Most importantly though, is this just as good as the books I remember reading in second grade!?
Snatched and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Despite being one of the big up and coming comedians for the past few years, I’ve never had any real exposure to Amy Schumer’s work. Whether it’s her stand-up, her show Central, or even her previous movies like Trainwreck, she just never managed to come into my radar and I haven’t had much inclination to seek her stuff out. As far as this movie, I GUESS I’m interested to see how it turns out, not just so I can finally get in the loop with someone worth keeping an eye on, but because she also managed to get Goldie Hawn to costar who hasn’t been active in quite some time! That said, it looks to be another raunchy comedy (and not a particularly interesting one) which we certainly have plenty of already, but then again it’s never easy to tell just how well the jokes will land or how strong the interplay is between the leads just from trailers alone. Does this manage to be a standout film starring one of Hollywood’s rising star next to one of Hollywood’s best, or will this turn out just as bad as Dirty Grandpa? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer) getting dumped by her longtime boyfriend (Randall Park) just before they take their non-refundable trip to Ecuador; leaving her with a broken heart as well as an extra ticket that none of her friends (or even her landlord) wants to take her up on. While visiting her overbearing and obsessively cautious mother Linda (Goldie Hawn), she finds an old photo album that shows what an exciting life she led before having kids and she decides to take her on the trip. It takes a bit of cajoling, but Linda finally agrees and they head to South America where Emily meets some suave mother fucker (Tom Bateman) that gives her the perfect vacation experience and promises to take her AND her mother out for even more fun the next day. Turns out that he’s the bait for a kidnapping ring which puts a HUGE damper on their vacation and they now have to find a way to not only escape but find a way back to the American embassy before they get into even MORE trouble. While this is going on, Emily’s brother Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz) is doing what he can to get the State Department to Seal Team 6 their asses out of there, but with his agoraphobia and poor social skills, he may not be up to the task despite everything that’s at stake… or is he? Can these two survive not only the harsh jungle environment but survive having to deal with each other for that long? What wacky supporting characters will they manage to run into along the way? Wait, is this seriously from the same person who wrote Ghostbusters!?
“I saw Taken. If we just keep our heads down and don’t rock the boat, someone will come and save us.” Mom, our Liam Neeson is your thirty year old son who can’t even face the neighborhood dog. We are screwed!” “Now why do you have to talk about your brother that way?”
Alien: Covenant and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Ridley Scott
Before I get into the review proper, I feel it might be worth discussing my thoughts on the series as a whole in order to provide the proper context for everything else I’m about to say. Ridley Scott’s original film from 1979 probably holds up the best; even more so than James Cameron’s Aliens from 1986 which is still a VERY fun action film and one of the few BIGGER IS BETTER sequels out there (matched only by his own Terminator 2 in 1991). I give the edge to the original because it’s a straight up horror film and those tend to hold up better than shoot-em-action flicks (the quality of special effects changes rather quickly while what scares us transcends generations), but both are damn near the pinnacles of their respective genres. Alien 3… not so much. Oh sure, there’s PLENTY of aspects in it that are outright brilliant and awe inspiring (as well as bone chilling and utterly haunting), but they’re all wasted on a portentous and sluggish script that’s too impressed with its own sense of self-importance to pace itself properly, and yes I’m referring to the Assembly Cut which has most of the stuff that David Fincher wanted in it. The one thing this movie DIDN’T need was to be over two freaking hours (also, killing the most interesting new character off halfway through didn’t help things either). That said I would watch that movie TWICE if it meant I never had to watch Resurrection again. Good GRIEF is that a monstrous product of its time! I don’t think I’ve seen a franchise so thoroughly 90s-ified in the worst ways imaginable outside of that Roland Emmerich Godzilla movie! Needless to say that the franchise needed a fresh start in order to get things back on track; and it wasn’t gonna be with those FREAKING Alien vs Predator movies! I REALLY enjoyed Prometheus which seems to be a minority opinion for some reason, and I’m not sure why. No matter how “scientifically minded” you are, there is always gonna be things you didn’t expect when traveling to ANOTHER FREAKING PLANET and people are gonna make mistakes! Honestly, it seems less like a true critical consensus (film stands at a solid 72% on Rotten Tomatoes) than some inexplicable backlash due to it… not being completely scientifically accurate I guess? What was your first clue? Was it the giant humanoid albino dudes or the baby alien growing in that one person’s stomach? Now I didn’t know ANYTHING about Alien: Covenant walking into it other than it was Ridley Scott directing and that it will indeed have Xenomorphs throughout, but considering how much I liked Prometheus I was hopeful that some of the cool stuff Ridley was working with in that movie would find its way into this seemingly straightforward Alien creature feature. Does Ridley Scott succeed in his true return to the franchise he started all those years ago, or it time to end this bug hunt once and for all? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with the crew of the Covenant, a spaceship with thousands of cryogenically frozen humans and almost as many frozen embryos, being violently woken up due to some sort of science catastrophe. Now normally the crew is left to sleep with the passengers, all of whom are headed to a new planet to colonize it, while their Synthetic buddy Walter (Michael Fassbender) takes care of everything, but with this… solar flare or something? I don’t know, let’s just go with that. With this solar flare causing havoc on the ship, all of them need to be woken up and at their posts to avert disaster. Most of them are fine, but sadly enough the captain (James Franco in a very brief and crispy cameo) gets burned alive in the chaos; leaving the second in command Chris Oram (Billy Crudup) in charge. So already things are going pear shaped on this trip that’s gonna take another seven years to complete, but they just so happen to pick up a strange signal that might be the answer to their problems. The signal traces back to a rather close planet which they scan and find to be very hospitable to their needs, even more so than the planet they were heading to in the first place! Despite the protestations of one the scientists Danny Branson (Katherine Waterston), Chris decides to at least investigate the place and see if they can locate the source of the strange signal as well as check if the planet really is as good as their scans indicate it to be. Of course it’s not. You KNOW it’s not. This movie isn’t called Pleasant Space Cruise; it’s called ALIEN COVENANT! The question isn’t IF they’re gonna get killed by monsters; it’s HOW MANY of them will! Aside from the obvious revelations, does the crew of the Covenant find something unexpected on this seemingly perfect planet? What was the source of that strange signal to begin with? Maybe it’s someone from one of the other films who’s playing someone new in this movie!?
The Boss Baby and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation
Directed by Tom McGrath
Well gee, THIS sure looks like a gem. Just… why? Wasn’t Storks enough!? How many baby movies do we NEED!? Look, the trailers were terrible, the premise is hacky, and the casting of Alec Baldwin as a talking baby seemed like something you would do in a Saturday Night Live sketch. Point being that NOTHING about this movie didn’t look like the cynical machinations of Hollywood hacks and I was not looking forward to it. Still, movies have managed to surprise me in the past, and it’s not like this could be as bad as it looks… right? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with little Timothy Templeton (Miles Chirstopher Bakshi) who’s the only child of Ted and Janice Templeton (Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow) and he loves all the attention that he gets because of it. Unfortunately for Tim, daddy forgot their condom… I mean the secret agency of babies in the sky is sending down one of their agents (Alec Baldwin) and he now has to deal with a new boss in the house. Get it? Because babies are so BOSSY and DEMANDING? Cheeky metaphor aside, it turns out that the baby is here for a specific reason and not just to fuck with Timmy. Apparently the secret agency of babies in the sky are under threat by an incoming invasion of super cute puppies (okay…) and The Boss Baby ends up needing Tim-Tim’s help in order stop them. If the duo can stop the super cute puppies (so I guess they have to kill them?), he’ll go back to the secret agency of babies in the sky, and he’ll go back to being an only child. Can the siblings put aside their rivalry long enough to ensure they never have to see each other again? Will The Boss Baby learn something about family on this ridiculous journey to destroy puppies? Why… why does this movie want us to dislike puppies!?
“This is clearly a case of Baby Displacement! We need to form our own Baby Ethno-State in order to preserve the sanctity of our cuteness!”