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Sunday, November 12, 2017

April Sokol's Reviews of Murder on the Orient Express & Daddy's Home 2

Another weekend, another double feature at the local theater! First I was off to see Murder on the Orient Express followed by Daddy's Home 2.

Murder on the Orient Express, my review:

Directed by Kenneth Branagh

starring: Kenneth Branagh, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Justin Gad, Daisy Ridley, Penelope Cruz and Willem Dafoe

Murder on the Orient Express is a straight forward retelling of the Agatha Christie classic. Branagh takes the reins both in front of and behind the camera as he both stars and directs. Murder on the Orient Express clocks in at 1 hour and 54 minutes. That was at least 20 minutes too long. I found myself checking my clock several times as this murder mystery lumbered on toward it's conclusion.

There are some great things to see here. Branagh seems to be incapable of putting in a bad performance. His portrayal here of the titular Poirot is the best use of facial hair since the 1st Hunger Games movie. Poirot is the world famous detective who lands squarely in the middle of a who dun it on the world's most posh passenger train.

The cast is all putting in solid work here.  Michelle Pfeiffer is a national treasure and I remain her biggest fan. However, the movie as a whole left me....wanting more. There is not one specific thing, other than maybe needing a trim time wise, that I can point to as a reason to not enjoy this. However, I also can't really point to any real reason to go out of your way to make time for this either.

There is nothing new here. No Earth shattering performances. No breath taking scenery. As much as I wanted to fall in love...I just never managed it. I would skip this one in theaters and wait for the rental. A very “meh” 2 out of 5 stars is my rating, I'm afraid.

Trying to dust off my disappointment..I head into Daddy's Home 2. Full disclosure here...I did not see the 1st Daddy's Home movie but I wanted to give this one a try anyway.

Daddy's Home 2, my review:

Directed by Sean Anders

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Will Farrell, Mel Gibson, John Lithgow, Linda Cardellini, Alessandra Ambrosio and John Cena

Daddy's Home 2 picks up the continuing story of a blended family consisting of biological Dad Dusty (Wahlberg) and stepdad Brad (Farrell) and Mom Sara (Cardellini). It's time for the holidays and that means they're respective Dads are coming to town to visit. We have a super simple, extremely affectionate Don (Lithgow) playing Brad's Dad and brass, unapologetic, absentee Dad to Dusty, Kurt (Gibson) thrown into the mix. Kurt is inexplicably dismayed by the healthy coparenting that is happening to his grandchildren and decides to try to make things far more toxic by attempting to break the relationship between Dusty and Brad. Setting aside the incredibly toxic masculinity, we find that the straight man/physical comedy combo of Wahlberg and Farrell really seem to work here. Wahlberg's Dusty has a familiar every man feeling to him. And even this self professed Farrell hater found herself laughing along with Brad's antics.

This is a fun, competent flick that doesn't take itself too seriously at all. I enjoyed it FAR more than I expected I would. Daddy's Home 2 clocks in at a pretty enjoyable 1 hour and 40 minutes. I give it a solid 3 out of 5 stars.

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