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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Lost in Translation

Time for another story from the misadventures of Lauren Michele Stewart! Just kidding. This tale is actually very thought-provoking. *GASP*

Back in my college days Spanish dramas were my escape from reality, Isabel, Los Hombres de Paco, & Un paso adelante being my personal favorites. On top of that, I listened to a lot of Spanish music in an attempt to perfect my ear for the beautiful language of España. Never in a million years did I think that music and TV shows in another language would affect me around English speakers, but it did indeed happen. One day while I was in class, my ears started to interpret English in a different way. At first I thought I was just extremely tired, which is normal for a student, but careful listening proved that I was indeed hearing what sounded like the only other language in my life: Spanish. At one point I silently prayed that the teacher and students wouldn’t talk to me because I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. Even though I was hearing a familiar language, my brain wasn’t distinguishing the words. After a few minutes everything went back to normal, but I never forgot what happened.

The experience gave me a higher level of respect for both polyglots and immigrants learning a foreign language. I wasn’t necessarily scared or overwhelmed, but it was unexpected and left me feeling disoriented. I don’t necessarily have a moral or a mind-blowing message to share with you. I just thought the experience was unique, something I’d never heard of before. I wish my tongue had miraculously become bilingual in that moment and remained so. 😂 As a side note, I highly recommend utilizing television and music as immersion techniques for learning a language. I am by no means fluent, but I understand a decent chunk of Castilian Spanish. I refer to a specific type because that is what my ears are accustomed to; I have a very hard time understanding accents outside of Spain. 🇪🇸

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Don’t Forget Me

Don't Forget Me

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. Jonathan Crombie, best known for his movie role as the beloved Gilbert Blythe, passed away on Wednesday, April 15, at the age 48; the cause was a brain hemorrhage. I grew up watching the Anne of Green Gables movies and dreaming of meeting and marrying my very own Gil. Me and my friends were so smitten with him that we had to designate an area specifically for freak outs; the “Jonathan Crombie Couch” will forever be a treasured memory of mine. I received an Anne of Green Gables music box for Valentine’s Day this year. At the time, the gift was thoughtful, but now it holds so much more meaning. God knew I would need a special reminder of Jonathan, my own personal piece of Gilbert. The following is a short statement given to the Canadian Press by Crombie’s Anne of Green Gables co-star Megan Follows:

“He was incredibly funny, Jonathan just had an amazing sense of humour,” she told The Canadian Press. “Truly I just remember at times just laughing so hard that you’d just be crying. He was so playful and silly and, as I said, really bright, so his humour was always informed with that, which made him even funnier.” Follows called Crombie a “sweetheart” and said a lot of the chemistry onscreen was natural during the filming of the movies. “He had that beautiful face. He was a lot of fun, he was very open so you just felt he was someone who really wanted to play and it really was a new experience for him,” she said, adding that the project was one of Crombie’s first. “We were all just in it to do the best that we could and we had a lot of fun.”  (Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/04/19/jonathan-crombie-megan-follows_n_7095258.html)  I think it is safe to say Jonathan’s version of Gilbert was not far from his true nature: playful and endearing.

It seems all too appropriate to mention some of my favorite Gilbert and Anne scenes from each movie. I have more than one in each film, but, for the sake of attention spans, I will keep the list short. In the first movie “Anne of Green Gables”, one of my favorite moments is the very last scene in which Gilbert sacrificially gives up the Avonlea school so that Anne can teach there and stay at home with Marilla. They exchange the following dialogue, recalling fondly what was originally an explosive and classic moment:

Anne: “Aren’t you worried? I’m liable to break another slate over your head.”                                                                                                     Gilbert: “I’m more worried I might break one over yours, carrots”

The scene starts at the 9:57 mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPREdzRRRlY

In “Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel”, one of my favorite moments is when Gil and Anne are FINALLY a couple, and they are standing on a bridge discussing their future:

Gilbert: “It’ll be three years before I finish medical school. Even then there won’t be any diamond sunbursts or marble halls”                     Anne: “I don’t want diamond sunbursts, or marble halls. I just want you.”

The scene starts at the 9:20 mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZW6eBrWH9w

In the third and final film “Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story”, my FAVORITE moment has to be, of course, the scene when Anne and Gil are reunited after her arduous search during World War I. Anne is on a stage with two friends singing for soldiers; they are singing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”, Gil and Anne’s wedding dance song. As she is scanning the crowd, Anne spots a familiar, beloved face. Running ensues as well as a heartwarming reunion. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8dc9kqaXBI

Quotes Source: http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0040057/quotes

I want to give my condolences to all of Jonathan’s loved ones. My heart goes out to you, and you are in my prayers.

Jonathan: You embodied a classic book character, a portrayal that was truly a gift to the film industry. You will always be remembered and loved as Gil in the hearts of your fans. Rest in peace.

Don't Forget Me

The “Anne of Green Gables” family could never forget you!! <3 <3 <3

– Lauren Michele :)

” You know, every day I would pick a different memory of you and play it over and over and over again in my mind, until every hair, every freckle, every part of you was exactly as I remembered.” – Gilbert Blythe, “Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story”

Music Box: http://shopatsullivan.com/love-music-box.html

25 Times Gilbert Blythe From “Anne of Green Gables” Melted Your Heart: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jennaguillaume/gilbert-blythe-forever#.nrVw65xlB

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