Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

I have waited all year for this movie! Part of my birthday celebration was seeing the first showing at my local theater. As a passionate Agatha Christie fan, I have thoughts both good and bad so settle in for a semi-bumpy Orient Express ride.

Many people had doubts about Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of beloved detective Hercule Poirot. If you’re a doubter, I want to put your mind at ease. Mr. Branagh is hands down the best part of the movie. He kept the spirit of the Poirot we all know and love while adding humor and his own unique touch to the character. He is a constant source of smiles and laughs, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Overall the ensemble cast did not disappoint. Johnny Depp is fantastic as always (SPOILER) even though his part is short-lived. Michelle Pfeiffer and Penelope Cruz have some shining moments, and Dame Judi Dench’s monologue about little Daisy Armstrong made me tear up. Lucy Boynton and Sergei Polunin’s respective portrayals of Count & Countess Andrenyi are dark, a hidden gem that is impressive considering their inexperience. Josh Gad was good for the most part, but the chase scene involving Poirot felt awkward. The conflict between Hercule and Dr. Arbuthnot also felt clumsy. Daisy Ridley acted well, but I did not like Mary Debenham’s demeanor. In the book, she is polite and reserved which leads Poirot to suspect she might be the mastermind behind the murder; his suspicion makes little sense in the movie because Mary is much too bright and happy.

The book’s methodical layout is not perfectly suited for a movie. Some may find the added action irritating, but I understand the necessity to shake up the format onscreen. That being said, some of the clues got lost in the shuffle due to a speedier pace. As far as I remember, all the clues from the book were included, but they weren’t given the time they needed to simmer and encourage the audience to consider possible outcomes. Perhaps the extra, non-book stuff could’ve been trimmed to accommodate character interviews and clue discoveries, making the final reveal much more grand than it actually was. I also want to mention that I don’t remember Biniamino Marquez being named at the end. (SPOILER) The twist relies on the shock of twelve people being involved, each with a specific connection to the Armstrong family. The cast may seem large, but those who know the story well won’t miss anything, even if only one name is passed over. This goes back to details being muddled at the end. Murder on the Orient Express is one of the greatest stories ever written in the mystery genre. If you don’t lay it out correctly, you spoil the thrill and fun of the twists and turns.

I love two-thirds of the movie, but the ending is a disappointment. Things can surely get better from here so I hope Kenneth Branagh is giving the chance to continue the series, perhaps with a book that has less adaptations. I truly believe he can do great things with Poirot. The final scene hints at a sequel based on Death on the Nile. How great would that be?! 😄

🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boSSSZpAkyw&t=25s

🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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The Great Mouse Detective

Continuing to stew in nostalgia, I watched this movie Thursday night, and it did not disappoint.  The influence of Sherlock Holmes is evident in all the right ways.  The overall style and vibe is Victorian and dark, and the dialogue is witty.  There are easter eggs that are sure to put a smile on your face:

1.  Mr. Holmes resides at 221 Baker Street.  Basil resides at 221 1/2 Baker Street

2.  Basil’s small, cozy home is located under and resembles Sherlock Holmes’ residence.

3.  Basil’s name refers to an alias of Sherlock Holmes and actor Basil Rathbone known for his film role as Holmes.

4.  Basil’s wardrobe and personality are obviously inspired by the famous detective.  The cape, hat, magnifying glass, and quirks are all there.

5.  What is Holmes without Watson??  I give you Dr. David Q. Dawson, the mouse version of Dr. John H. Watson.

6.  Sherlock Holmes’ shadow and voice make an appearance.  Because Basil Rathbone had passed away before this movie was made, an audio clip from a previous film was used.

Source: http://findingmickey.squarespace.com/disney-animated-features/the-great-mouse-detective/

For more information: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091149/

What are you waiting for??  Go watch the movie!!  😄

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Farewell American Idol

🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶

*Note: There were a number of contestants unable to be involved in the Idol finale.  Some of those absences were disappointing, but it must have been a nightmare trying to organize so many different people and schedules into two hours of television.  I am squelching my feelings and focusing on the positive in this post.

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Going into the Idol finale, I knew I would be emotional, but I didn’t realize the tears would fall so soon.  Familiar faces from past seasons appeared during the opening song, and the floodgates were open.  In that moment I buckled my seatbelt and prepared for a two-hour storm of nostalgia.  The majority of the show was dedicated to a flow of performances by contestants and judges.  I really like that the contestants were mixed rather than organized by season.  It was fantastic to hear duets and groups that I would never have dreamed of seeing perform.  Even Larry Platt (“Pants on the Ground”), Sanjaya Malakar, and William Hung made an appearance.  I died from laughter when I realized Sanjaya was moving around the audience and wearing different wigs.  😂  Of course the original judges had to make an appearance: Paula, Randy, & Simon, the trio that started it all.  Judges come and go, but they will always be the most memorable panel.  I noticed that the current judges were very emotional throughout the night.  It’s hard to say goodbye to the show, but I think it had more to do with the slew of past contestants & winners making an appearance.  This show has been on the air for 15 seasons, and the numerous performances proved that more times than not, the judges and voters got it right.  Not every contestant made it to the pinnacle of fame, but they are spread out all over the world of music sharing their unique gifts.  Last but not least, America found out who the final “American Idol” is.  The winner is… Trent Harmon!!  Even though I was rooting for La’Porsha, Trent is incredibly talented.  I wish both of them nothing but the best.  I believe both of them can go very far in the music industry.

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4eWXM5CYFU

🎶 Uh oh… here come the waterworks!! 🎶

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kkgz31z3IJE

🎶 This song was performed by the original top 2 Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson.  One boy & one girl.  Bookends!! 🎶

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jNCX5cgfiY

🎶 “I have won and I have lost.  I got it right sometimes, but sometimes I did not.  Life’s been a journey.  I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret.  Oh and You have been my God through all of it.”  Sing Colton Sing! 🎶

– Kelly Clarkson Medley –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1PEC1yVCAE

🎶 Chris Daughtry, one of my favorite voices EVER. 🎶

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiCz05ZY7Nc

– Country Medley –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8_BYnpJhAo

🎶 How adorable is she??  Such a beautiful voice! 🎶

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQHdMkaJnv8

🎶 I didn’t know I needed a Casey James & Katharine McPhee duet, but I did.  One of my favorite parts of the show. 🎶

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A42LQdytWdY

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCHJ5Qm8NuY

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txFl3teEUJY

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzNu26Z3JrY&nohtml5=False

🎶 These are my boys!!  I’ve always felt that the singer-songwriters from “American Idol” were underrated. 🎶

– Gag Reel –

– Original Judges Reunite –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWjnS31C_hY&nohtml5=False

🎶 Oh.  My.  Gosh. 🎶

– Ford Memories –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfJiBg8r95g&nohtml5=False

🎶 I see you mouthing “Praise the Lord” at the end.  Preach girl preach!! 🎶

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t267JTtalw

🎶 Once again, congratulations Trent!! 🎶

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*Note: The videos that are missing will be posted once I find them on Youtube.

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I didn’t start watching this show until season 6, but it impacted my life long before then and continues to do so.  I have owned Chris Daughtry, David Archuleta, David Cook, Kelly Clarkson, and Lee Dewyze CDs.  My ipod playlist has included Angie Miller, Carrie Underwood, Colton Dixon, Jason Castro, Jordin Sparks, Kris Allen, and Phillip Phillips.  My diary (2006-2014)  is full of “American Idol” predictions & celebrations.  I still own Kelly Clarkson’s album “Breakaway” on CD.  Over the past decade, I have played that thing to death.  Watching Kelly’s medley tonight, I was reminded of just how talented and special she is.  She was a huge part of my childhood, and I will forever be grateful that she took a chance and auditioned for a brand new reality competition TV show.

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Farewell American Idol!!  Your legacy lives on in the careers of the numerous stars you have produced.

🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶

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– Lauren Michele <3

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