Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Murder on the Orient Express
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writer: Michael Green
Based on: Agatha Christie‘s novel
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Penélope Cruz, Josh Gad, Johnny Depp, Derek Jacobi, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Olivia Colman, Willem Dafoe, Sergei Polunin, Lucy Boynton
Seen on: 24.11.2017
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Plot:
Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) is supposed to take the Orient Express to travel from one case to his well-earned vacation. But as luck will have it, there’s a murder right there on the train. As it is stopped by an avalanche, Poirot takes up the case, determined to find out who among the illustrous guests was responsible for the death of Edward Ratchett (Johnny Depp). Unfortunately, the case is anything but straightforward as Poirot soon discovers.

Murder on the Orient Express starts off strong enough, but with every further plot twist, the film seems to slip more and more out of Branagh’s control. The result was mostly meh with a couple of shiny moments.

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Mother! (2017)

Mother!
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writer: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Jennifer LawrenceJavier BardemEd HarrisMichelle PfeifferBrian GleesonDomhnall GleesonStephen McHattieKristen Wiig
Seen on: 13.9.2017
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Plot:
A couple (Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem) has just moved into a new house. He dreams of finding the inspiration to write there, while she painstakingly renovates the house. One night their routine is interrupted by a man (Ed Harris) who knocks on their door, thinking they are running a bed and breakfast. The writer is overjoyed at the change in routine and invites the man to stay the night, while she is more cautious. Things take a turn for the worse, when the man’s wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) arrives the next day.

I expected bad things of Mother! and was pretty happy when things weren’t as bad as I expected them to be. But that’s not the same as saying that I was happy with the film: despite his strengths, I wasn’t too taken with it.

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Re-Watch: Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Dangerous Liaisons
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Christopher Hampton
Based on: his play which is in turn based on Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ epistolary novel
Cast: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves, Swoosie Kurtz, Mildred Natwick, Peter Capaldi
Seen on: 29.1.2016

Plot:
The Victome de Valmont (John Malkovich) and the Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) are thick as thieves, united in their love to manipulate and destroy the people around them, a skill they have so artfully mastered that their ploys don’t fall back on them. Both have a new project: Valmont is trying to seduce Madame de Tourvel (MIchelle Pfeiffer) who is staying at his aunt’s (Mildred Natwick) summer home and who is widely known for her morals and her loyalty to her husband. The Marquise, on the other hand, is looking for revenge on an ex-lover who just got engaged to the naive Cécile (Uma Thurman) who has spent practically her entire life in a convent. So she enlists Valmont’s help to completely corrupt Cécile.

After having so recently seen the play that was the starting point for the film, I must say that I was very much disappointed by the movie. I thought John Malkovich was miscast and the film never really finds its step. Michelle Pfeiffer is a sparkling star in it, though.

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Dark Shadows (2012)

Dark Shadows
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith
Based on: the TV show
Cast: Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham-Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Bella Heathcote, Chloe Moretz, Gulliver McGrath, Christopher Lee, Alice Cooper

Plot:
At the end of the 18th century, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) and his family emigrate to America, where they build up a town and acquire a lot of wealth. With them came Angelique (Eva Green) and her family as servants. Angelique falls in love with Barnabas. But when he tells her that he doesn’t share her feelings, she gets so angry that she curses him to be a vampire, kills the woman he loves and buries him for almost 200 years.
In 1972, Barnabas is freed and returns to his family – or what remains of it. But also Angelique is still there and ready to pick things up right where they left them.

I was not one of the people bemoaning yet another Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration – I usually like when they work together and the trailer for this film looked perfectly charming. But unfortunately the film was very disappointing.

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Chéri (2009)

Chéri is the movie adaptation of the book (and it’s sequel) by Colette. It was directed by Stephen Frears and stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend and Kathy Bates.

Plot:
Belle Epoque in France. The ageing courtesan Léa (Michelle Pfeiffer) just ended her latest relationship and is considering her lifestyle: Is it really still necessary to do her job? What else would she do? It’s at that point that her best friend Madame Peloux (Kathy Bates) facilitates a meeting between Léa and Peloux’s son, Chéri (Rupert Friend). Chéri kind of ambles through life and doesn’t really know what to do with himself. His mother thinks that a relationship between him and Léa should be part of his education. And even though Lea is that much older than Chéri, things seem to work out perfectly.

Chéri surprised me. I didn’t expect much (I seem to have read only the bad reviews) but I got a delightful film with wonderful Wilde-esque dialogue, perfect performances, beautiful costumes and a great score (by Alexandre Desplat). It may not be the movie of the year, but it’s really good.

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