Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Multi-talented Kenneth Branagh is the lead actor, producer and director of this film, based on the classic novel by Agatha Christie, and manages to set himself apart very successfully from his previous characters.

The movie has a host of actors; Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, and Daisy Ridley, all in supporting roles, each doing their part well to keep the audience guessing who is the murderer.

The opening act and the scenes that follow set up the premise of the film well, and reach a fitting conclusion in an appropriate length of time. Great cinematography and visuals don’t distract from the murder at hand, rather paint a lovely period drama.

An interesting watch, especially if you haven’t read the book.

3/5

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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

The comfort with a tale oft told is the feeling it creates when you see it. That very comfort can work against you when the film doesn’t offer it. This time round however, director Bill Condon has a heart warming experience to share with us.

Disney took a big risk with Emma Watson, the lead star with many illustrious voices around her, to carry such an expensive fairy tale on her petite shoulders. She does so with unassuming talent and grace. The canvas is large, the work is detailed and they have managed to recreate the feel of watching a stellar musical which, to our advantage, plays in cinemas across the world.

Dan Stevens as the beast is ‘U’ rated, I must admit. Disney made it so, so that children would warm up to him rather than be afraid. Great care has been taken to craft his look, his introduction, evolution and his revelation, all of which make him endearing.

The supporting characters are made with stunning CGI and voices to match. Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Audra McDonald and Gugu Mbatha-Raw are wonderful inhabitants of the castle. Kevin Kline, Luke Evans and Josh Gad provide the drama in the village.

The music is a delight to the ears and eyes, with the title track playing in your head much after the movie has finished. The other songs have been given equally aesthetic treatment just like the broadway or the animated versions, a spectacular vision and execution.

It has been very well received, and for good reason, as it combines technology and art to produce a modern day masterpiece.

4/5

Frozen (2013)

A heart warming story set in an icy environment, this is one of Disney’s best animated films. There is no strong complication in the story, but it is peppered with loveable characters who make up for the lack of tension.

The fairytale like setting which is characteristic of Disney, takes it a notch higher this time where you feel you are watching a good quality broadway production. The songs stay with you far after the movie finishes, and the voices are top notch.

Ice, snow, winter and its many effects are used well, we have rock like trolls and a chatty snowman who add magic to the screen. I liked the fact that there was no ‘villain’ or ‘bad guy’, just personal demons and the way they dealt with them.

A simple, memorable film which is a pure winter delight!

3.5/5