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

Cinderella (2015)

An age old tale which was retold by director Kenneth Branagh with a few new twists and turns and some bold Disney moves. Please read bold as code for when the protagonist, Lily James, actually stands up for herself in the most polite and dignified way possible.

Richard Madden, possibly prettier than Cinderella herself plays the role of Prince Charming, with ease. Fairy Godmother Helena Bonham Carter had a blink and miss role, which she did with her usual histrionical flair.

It was Cate Blanchett who walked the tight rope as step mother, who had to show us a new way of being mean. She descends quietly from civility to monstrosity, slowly becoming caricature-like evil. She achieves a new high for couture and nastiness.

The highlights of the film are the magical transformations that Cinderella and her team go through, not to mention the crystal slippers by Swarovski. The film is high on art and aesthetic value with a few warm ‘U’ rated Disney theme messages.

It makes you believe, if only for the duration of the film, that there can be ‘a happily ever after’.

3/5