Murder on the Orient Express – Review

I was considering seeing this anyway but then I realized that while I’ve seen a few new films this month only two of them were at the Odeon so this went from a “maybe I’ll watch this on a day I’m in town for something else” movie to a “I need to see this before the month ends” movie.

I’ll admit I’m not all that familiar with the Poirot stories, I’ve seen the occasional episode of the ITV adaptation starring David Suchet when my parents were watching it but that’s about it. This meant this was my first exposure to this particular story and I was able to enjoy the mystery without having the reveal spoiled for me.

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Kenneth Branagh does a great job playing Hercule Poirot himself. Being the first film of a potential series it introduces a few more details of his character that a more casual observer like myself might be less familiar with such as his fondness for symmetry. Also his mustache is even more ridiculous than Suchet’s, I guess it must be a rule of Poirot actors to have a mustache that makes the previous actor’s look reasonable. Guess the next actor to play him will have one that looks like it came out of an anime.

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The people playing the suspects are all very talented actors and they each give a great performance even if many don’t get that much attention. If you’re new to the story like me it’s a decent way to be introduced to it but I can’t really compare it to the book or previous adaptations.

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The Room – Review

So this has been on my To-Watch list for a while. After seeing the reviews of this film by the Nostalgia Critic, Obscurus Lupa and I Hate Everything I often find myself quoting this movie despite the fact that until last night I’d never seen it. So with The Disaster Artist coming out next month I decided it was time to finally see this mess.

It’s just as ridiculous as the reviews made it seem. Of course all the famous quotes are still just as funny as they are in the clips and reviews but there are some things that even reviewers just can’t sub up how bizarre they are. For example a few reviews bring up the awkwardly long sex scenes but there’s saying “this scene is long” and actually seeing what is pretty clearly an entire music video.

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I will say that actually watching the movie there are moments when I can see what they were going for. Honestly being a hilariously bad movie worked out in the film’s favour because if they had succeeded at their intent it would have been an extremely forgettable movie.

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I’m glad I finally got around to seeing this at least so that when I say “hai doggy” whenever I walk past a dog I’m actually quoting a movie I’ve seen.

Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie – Review

Earlier this year Samurai Jack finally got an ending after so many years and now Hey Arnold! has gotten one too. While I watched Hey Arnold! when I was younger and liked it I’ll admit I wasn’t aware the show ended on a cliffhanger until this film was announced.

I liked it. Having finally watched The Journal before seeing this it’s clear how much of this film was always planned before it was cancelled. There are some plot points that yes are a bit cliche but were foreshadowed in that final episode so it’s not really a problem.

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As well as resolving the show’s cliffhanger this film also wraps up the iconic Arnold and Helga subplot. When I saw the first movie I didn’t really care for the fact that after having “Helga confesses” as a selling point of the film both Arnold and Helga decide to just pretend it never happened at the end to preserve the status quo. Apparently if this movie does well there’s a chance Nick might do another season and if they do I’m glad that so much has changed in this movie that they can’t just go back to the way things used to be, things would move forward.

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But even if they don’t make another season this is a nice ending. It’s not without its faults (including some really obvious CGI that doesn’t look bad but still sticks out because it looks nothing like the rest of the film) but none that really ruin the movie for me. As for any other potential endings to nostalgic shows I heard they’re making an Invader Zim movie, that’ll be pretty cool.

Lazer Team 2 – Review

Last year one of the first films I saw was a screening of Lazer Team and since I enjoyed it I decided to check out the sequel. Originally I was going to get a free trial of YouTube Red when the film came out and then look up other exclusive content before it ran out, then I found out despite coming out 2 years ago YouTube Red isn’t available in the UK so I just bought the film itself. Seriously though what is it with online streaming services with web original content having region locks?

It’s about the same quality as the original. The humour is still a mixed bag, some jokes are very funny while others drag on too long or just don’t work. If you liked the first movie and other RoosterTeeth content you’ll probably like it. It also does suffer from a common sequel problems of “yeah that thing we set up at the end of the first movie? Didn’t really work out” and “the couple broke up between movies”, though to be fair I didn’t really care about Zach and Mindy’s relationship and they at least kept Allie DeBerry in the movie.

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Like before the cast are the main strength of the film. Nichole Bloom is a neat addition to the main cast as Maggie and plays off the Lazer Team members really well. Also having Ashley Jenkins as a newscaster was entertaining since The Know is one of the places I tend to get the news anyway.

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Comparing it to other comedies from this year I’d rank it somewhere in the middle of Rough Night and Snatched. I liked it but overall it’s just an average comedy. I do wish it had songs though, the last film had two really catchy songs in the end credits one of which was sung by Barenaked Ladies while this film’s credits just have an instrumental track.

The Problem with Apu – Review

So while looking for potential documentaries to watch this year this one stood out as it would occasionally be shared through geek culture sites like Nerdist. And of course every time it came up the comments section would be full of people making a huge fuss about how pointless they thought it was and making some counter argument despite not actually seeing the documentary to see if maybe that point was addressed in it, or even paying attention to some of these points being brought up in the trailer.

It’s an interesting documentary presented in an entertaining and amusing way. It does have some pacing problems and like many documentaries I’ve seen there are some interviews we only ever see two or three clips from. I also think it’s a shame they weren’t able to get an interview with Hank Azaria as it would have been a fitting ending but I completely understand that was out of their control.

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But the core argument itself is a good point and I think the film does a good job explaining the issues Hari Kondabolu and some of the individuals he interviews have with Apu. Ultimately this documentary isn’t going to change anything, The Simpsons is going to keep airing until a voice actor for one of the Simpsons themselves dies and Apu will be there as long as Hank Azaria is in the cast. But it at least means that people will have to acknowledge these problems even if their reaction is “I don’t care but will still make a fuss about the fact that you care”.

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While it’s not the best documentary I’ve seen this year it’s certainly one of the more interesting ones and I’m glad I saw it.

Justice League – Review

So the DCEU hasn’t exactly had the best track record in my opinion. Man of Steel was boring, Batman V Superman made me angry and while I didn’t dislike Suicide Squad it was a mess. Then Wonder Woman turned out to not only be good but honestly the best live action DC movie I’ve seen in general. They are always fun to review though.

This one is decent. It’s nowhere near as good as Wonder Woman and still has its fair share of problems but at least this time said problems don’t really bother me. Most are filmmaking problems which are understandable considering this film’s production. The music is fine but outside of a variation of Wonder Woman’s theme and a very faint nods to the original Batman and Superman themes nothing really stands out.

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But the important thing to talk about with this film is the characters. Gal Gadot is still great as Wonder Woman and I like how her story arc is setting her up to be the leader of the team in possible sequels. I said in my BvS review that Ben Affleck deserves to play Batman in a better movie and this is that movie, which is good because considering he wants out of the DCEU this might be his last appearance. And since it’s not a spoiler that Superman is in this movie (he’s on the posters and the trailers make it really obvious he’s going to appear) I can talk about him too. This is the most like Superman than Superman has been in these films, it’s a retcon but one I’m completely fine with because it’s a huge improvement.

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The new characters are enjoyable. Out of the three I like Aquaman the most, Jason Momoa is clearly having fun playing him. I still don’t like the designs for The Flash and Cyborg, I think they look like they’re wearing Michael Bay Transformers, but as characters they’re alright. The main issue with The Flash is that there’s a much better live action version of him with a much better costume and people are inevitably going to compare them. I still don’t think Cyborg works as a founding member of the Justice League, I prefer him earning a spot in the team after being a Teen Titan for a while. He does say Booyah at one point though.

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As other reviewers have said Steppenwolf isn’t a good villain but I wouldn’t say he’s a bad one either. He’s a boss battle villain and the fights with him do look cool so he doesn’t really bother me. It is pretty clear that he’s only there because they felt it was too early for Darkseid but they wanted someone connected to him and knew no one was going to take a villain named Granny Goodness seriously.

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Overall Justice League is fine. I’d need to rewatch the animated Justice League movies to be sure where I’d rank it amongst those but for now it’s not one of the better ones or one of the worse ones, it’ll probably be somewhere in the middle. As for the other DCEU movies;

Wonder Woman > Justice League > Suicide Squad > Man of Steel > Batman V Superman

Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom? – Review

Once again the Vue has become my place to watch anime movies. Considering how long it can take for anime films to come out on DVD it’s nice that these last few years I’ve been able to see some of them on the big screen the year they came out in Japan. Especially after 2014 where I had to delay my top 10 list because I knew I had to watch The Last first.

This film has a slow start but once it starts the What-If/Groundhog Day timeline changes that’s when I really started to enjoy it. A big part of what makes it work is the animation, with each change to the timeline something looks different in a way that I don’t think can work in live action. I’m aware this is a remake of a live action drama but from what I’ve read this specific detail is exclusive to this version. The music is another strength of the film with a great score, an insert song and the extremely catchy ending credits song Uchiagehanabi.

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Another part of this film’s charm is the romance. The scenes focusing on the two leads getting closer as the story progresses are just cute and when the film is at its best. Unfortunately the rest of the cast are very bland, Norimichi’s friends are your typical cliche high school anime friend group and outside of their discussion of what fireworks look like from the side half their dialogue is just them being perverted.

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If you like the look of this film from the trailer, music video and screenshots you’ll probably at least enjoy it for its animation, music and romance.