Entries tagged with “Michelle Pfeiffer”.


It’s not easy to adapt Agatha Christie to screen in 2017, and it is even more difficult to take upon ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ which already had a fabulous and stars-blessed version made in 1974 by . The queen of the detective novel created superb mysteries, but there are challenges in bringing them to screen, as her characters are quite theatrical, always hide and seem to be something else that they really are, and the confined enclosure where most of her stories take place does not fit the requirements of dynamics in modern action cinema. It’s a challenge to turn the bright mental exercises in her novels into screen action, especially as most of the viewers would know the ending. A challenge that can be compared with bringing to the cinema screens the text and characters of Shakespeare. So, maybe it takes a director and an actor that already brought to screen the plays of Shakespeare to assume the challenge and the risks. The name of this director is, of course, .

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3402236/mediaviewer/rm274931968

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3402236/mediaviewer/rm274931968

 

The approach chosen by the director for this version of Murder on the Orient Express does not try to ‘actualize’ the intrigue into the present time, but does the contrary – it is very specific about the exact year of the plot, 1934, exactly the year when Agatha Christie’s book was published. While keeping the structure of the intrigue and the format of the ‘train story’ it invests much of the writing and acting efforts into developing the characters. First of all it’s Hercule Poirot’s life itself which is enhanced with the memory of a lost love, although more details may have been left for the following episodes. himself assumes the role of Poirot, with , , , , and a wonderful supporting cast providing color and personality to each one of the characters, whatever time they catch on the screen.

 

(video source 20th Century Fox)

 

I enjoyed the experience of watching this version of the classical murder story, even if the solution of the mystery was known to me from the beginning. I believe that succeeded to find the right balance between the old good way of making films with a good story combined with nuanced acting, and the modern visual techniques that place the action in a spectacular landscape adding an aura of fairy tale. The ending alludes to the next episode in what may become a series, and I am looking forward to it.

When Tim Burton and Johnny Depp come together one already knows what to expect. Dark Shadows is the 8th film directed by Burton with Depp in the cast, the first one being Edward Scissorhands from 1990, maybe the most famous of all. We already know that a fantastic and strange world of weird beauty and ugliness will be created on screen. We know that it will be scary but that we need not take it more serious than necessary because we are now adults and fairy tales do not scare us any longer (do they?). We also know that Depp will again be hard to recognize, but will be himself as well, another entry in a series of fantastic characters that we – who love the actor – wish will last for as long as possible.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1077368/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1077368/

 

‘Dark Shadows’ is inspired by a TV show which gained cult status in the late 60s and early 70s which I have never seen or heard about before. It starts as a Gothic witches and vampires story in the 18th century to continue as a back-from-grave witches and vampire comical action in the contemporaneity of the TV show. Tim Burton and his script writers chose the path of creating from the perspective of 2012 a retro-actual comedy combined with situation gags about the culture, revolts and music of the 70s including a cameo appearance of Alice Cooper. These are actually some of the funniest moments in the film, as the rest of the story is pretty conventional and does not exceed the level of a mediocre comics-inspired intrigue.

 

(video source Fresh Movie Trailers)

 

Acting-wise we have of course Depp, as pale and as weird as ever. Besides Depp the film is blessed with exquisite cast including Michelle Pfeiffer which unfortunately seems lately to fade away from important roles, Eva Green which has a love scene like you never saw on screens before with Depp, and Helena Bonham Carter which I wish had spent more time on screen. And yet, despite moments of fun and splendid visuals that only the imagination of Burton can create, something is missing in the script. I did not see the TV show, and yet I had a very strong feeling of deja vu which could not be completely balanced by acting and spectacular visuals. A movie relying only or mostly on visual effects, as perfect as they may be, risks to feel like unfinished.