Tag Archives: Daisy Ridley

My Thoughts on: Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

I’m so ashamed that it’s taken me 4 years to finally sit down and watch Murder on the Orient Express. Don’t ask me why it took so long, I honestly have no idea why I skipped out on seeing this film in theaters (though I imagine my school work played a major role in the decision). The good news is, I finally sat down and watched it tonight at the suggestion of my friends on YouTube and I’m so glad I did.

Murder on the Orient Express is adapted from the Agatha Christie novel of the same name and sees the famed detective Hercule Poirot tasked with solving the murder of a passenger on the titular Orient Express while he is en route to another case in London. Given the circumstances, it initially seems like an impossible crime, but Poirot soon discovers that all is not as it seems with this case and his longstanding notion of justice will be strongly challenged by the time it is all over.

First of all, I’m blown away by the all-star cast in this film. This is an ensemble cast loaded with talent. There’s the legendary Kenneth Branagh playing Poirot (and playing him brilliantly), as well as Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom, Jr., Josh Gad, Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench AND Derek Jacobi, to name a few. And everyone turns in an eye-catching performance, even Depp, who I admit isn’t my favorite actor to watch. Branagh as Poirot is far and away my favorite part of the film. I’m almost completely unfamiliar with the character of Poirot, so the character’s eccentricities were completely new to me, and I delighted in all of them, particularly his fascination with getting two boiled eggs that were exactly the same size.

Then there’s the setting of the film itself. From 1930s Jerusalem to Istanbul to the train itself, I love all of the visual details in this film. This is a sensual film in the best sense of the word: I can practically smell the bread in an Istanbul kitchen, I can feel the rumbling of the train, feel the textures of all these wonderful surfaces and fabrics, what more can I say to indicate how visually delightful this film is to me? Everything about this film captures a glimpse of a bygone era, when train travel was still luxurious in a way that it just isn’t anymore. That’s not to say that there isn’t luxury in train travel anymore, but it’s not the same thing. This was a luxury you could touch and feel in every detail, and I couldn’t get enough of it. This will be a film I rewatch just to enjoy those little details, I know it.

And then there’s the plot, which slowly but surely drew me in. For years I’ve been a staunch fan of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, but after seeing this film I’m starting to believe I was wrong for ignoring Poirot all of these years (nothing personal, I just never had a reason to check it out). I know the film has changed some details around from Christie’s original novel, but I know the solution of the case is more or less the same. If most of Christie’s Poirot stories are like this, or at least similar, then I think Hercule Poirot may soon become one of my favorite fictional detectives, or at least one I like just as much as Holmes.

But I digress, the murder plot that’s central to this story is very complex, and in a million years I would’ve never guessed the ultimate solution. This is a sign of good writing, because if the audience can deduce the culprit early on, that’s going to make the rest of the story boring. But what makes Murder on the Orient Express fascinating is that the plot twists and pivots to make you believe that a number of people can be the killer, leaving you no closer to the truth than Poirot until the very end of the film when everything comes together. Speaking of, the scene where Poirot spells out exactly what happened is very powerful, and I was mesmerized by Branagh’s performance. The solution will strongly challenge your notions of what “justice” entails, and I can imagine that some unfamiliar with Christie’s work may have been unsatisfied with how the story ends. But I loved it, it was the perfect conclusion to a gripping story and it serves as a reminder that not all criminal cases are black and white (in fact I believe a few Sherlock Holmes stories deal with justice in a similar way, though I can’t name the case off the top of my head).

I initially picked up this film to prepare for Death on the Nile (this is before the film was rescheduled to 2022). Now that I’ve finally seen Murder on the Orient Express, I’m more excited than ever to see Branagh’s Poirot return in Death on the Nile and I dearly hope this leads to a string of Poirot films, because I would happily watch all of them.

Let me know what you think about Murder on the Orient Express in the comments below and have a great day!

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Film Reviews

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Soundtrack Review: Chaos Walking (2021)

Back in April, Milan Records released Chaos Walking (Original Score) with music by Marco Beltrami and Brandon Roberts. Available everywhere now, the album features score music from Lionsgate’s new film starring Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland from the director of The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow. The score continues a long tradition of collaborations between the two-time Academy Award®-nominated composers Beltrami and Roberts, who also garnered an Emmy® Award together for their work on Free Solo.

Of the soundtrack, Beltrami and Roberts had the following to say:

“The score for Chaos Walking provided a unique opportunity for us to create a musical language for a fictitious world that was simultaneously both familiar and alien, and in so doing, explore crossing genres that are rarely combined. There are otherworldly sci-fi elements, as well as classic gritty western themes. We had a lot of fun implementing new instruments that would define this cross pollination. It was an adventure to live in this new musical world.”

The music for Chaos Walking is indeed a blend of the familiar and the alien and it is so much fun to listen to. Marco Beltrami has yet to let me down in any film score he has worked on, and that remains true here. It’s somewhat mind-bending to hear sci-fi music blended with classic western music, because off the top of my head that strikes me as a musical combination that should NOT work. But you know what? It works! Somehow, it all comes together and creates a sound world that is strange and new but oh so enticing for the ears.

While I appreciate that the composers have blended together music from the sci-fi and western genres, I’m still more drawn to the sci-fi elements in the score (it is my favorite genre for a reason), particularly ‘Chaos in Space’, I really like how that one track is practically vibrating with tension. Any time strings can be made to make me feel tense or uncomfortable, it’s a good day because that’s one of my favorite ways to hear those instruments being used in a score.

I’m glad I finally sat down to listen to the music for Chaos Walking. I can’t speak for the film itself, but the music is definitely worth it!

Track List

1. Main Title (2:03)
2. Love That Knife (1:41)
3. Friendship Theme (1:58)
4. Lost in the Woods (1:25)
5. Chaos in Space (1:09)
6. Thief / Gotta Tell (2:35)
7. First Encounter (1:14)
8. Motor Horse Chase (2:11)
9. Posse on the Move / Exploring the Ship (4:41)
10. Spackle Tackle (2:05)
11. Farbranch (2:02)
12. Letter From Mom (3:01)
13. Town Attack (6:52)
14. Lonely (2:09)
15. Riverbank Chase / Rapids (3:32)
16. You’re a Good Man, Todd Hewitt (1:35)
17. Preacher Attack / Antenna Climb (3:14)
18. Showdown (3:42)
19. Women Unite (2:11)
20. I Am Todd Hewitt (2:20)

Let me know what you think about Chaos Walking and its soundtrack in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Soundtracks A-W

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Soundtrack News: Chaos Walking Soundtrack Out April 2nd

Milan Records announces that the Chaos Walking (Original Score)  with music by Marco Beltrami and Brandon Roberts will be released on April 2nd, 2021.  Available for preorder now, the album features score music from the highly anticipated film.  The score continues a long tradition of collaborations between the two-time Academy Award®-nominated composers Beltrami and Roberts, who also garnered an Emmy® Award together for their work on Free Solo.  

Of the soundtrack, Beltrami and Roberts had the following to say:

“The score for Chaos Walking provided a unique opportunity for us to create a musical language for a fictitious world that was simultaneously both familiar and alien, and in so doing, explore crossing genres that are rarely combined. There are otherworldly sci-fi elements, as well as classic gritty western themes. We had a lot of fun implementing new instruments that would define this cross pollination.  It was an adventure to live in this new musical world.” 

In the not too distant future, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) discovers Viola (Daisy Ridley), a mysterious girl who crash lands on his planet, where all the women have disappeared and the men are afflicted by “the Noise” – a force that puts all their thoughts on display. In this dangerous landscape, Viola’s life is threatened – and as Todd vows to protect her, he will have to discover his own inner power and unlock the planet’s dark secrets.  From the director of The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow and based on the best-selling novel The Knife of Never Letting Go, Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland star with Mads Mikkelsen, Demián Bichir, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Jonas, Kurt Sutter, and David Oyelowo in Chaos Walking.

CHAOS WALKING (ORIGINAL SCORE)
TRACKLISTING –

  1. Main Title
  2. Love That Knife
  3. Friendship Theme
  4. Lost in the Woods
  5. Chaos in Space
  6. Thief / Gotta Tell
  7. First Encounter
  8. Motor Horse Chase
  9. Posse on the Move / Exploring the Ship
  10. Spackle Tackle
  11. Farbranch
  12. Letter from Mom
  13. Town Attack
  14. Lonely
  15. Riverbank Chase / Rapids
  16. You’re a Good Man, Todd Hewitt
  17. Preacher Attack / Antenna Climb
  18. Showdown
  19. Women Unite
  20. I Am Todd Hewitt

You can check out the soundtrack for Chaos Walking when it releases on April 2nd, 2021!

See also:

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi-The Ugly

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My thoughts on The Last Jedi finally conclude with highlighting everything that infuriated me about this movie (aka the “ugly” parts). I have to admit this list was actually a lot bigger about a month ago, but since I’ve had time to think about it, I’ve realized there wasn’t actually that much to infuriate me. Nevertheless, certain details need to be highlighted.

  • Rey’s parentage (or the lack thereof): It was one of the biggest questions posed by fans coming out of The Force Awakens: Who is Rey and what is her connection to the Star Wars universe? It almost went without saying that a Force user with this level of power had to be related to somebody we knew. Over the last two years I heard every theory under the sun: Rey’s a Skywalker, a Solo, a Kenobi, a Palpatine (don’t even ask me how that one is possible), or (one of the most far-out), she’s the long lost great-great-great times infinity great granddaughter of some legendary Jedi from the Old Republic. It’s no surprise that when The Last Jedi finally arrived that we were all holding our breath to see who Rey was related to (because Rian Johnson had promised we would get our answer).

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The reveal was…anticlimactic to say the very least. After all of that speculation, all of the theories, it seems that Rey is actually…nobody. If Kylo Ren is to be believed, Rey wasn’t hidden on Jakku because she was this big secret Force user. According to Kylo, Rey was left on Jakku because her parents sold her for drinking money. Considering how much time I invested into these theories, I was more than a little upset by this (even though a part of me does understand why they’re going this way). Still…one has to wonder if Kylo IS being truthful. Even if her parents are “nobodies” in the great scheme of things, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re dead or that they sold Rey for drinking money; Kylo may have just wanted her to think that so she would be more inclined to join him. Maybe they’ll clarify a little more in Episode IX (but then again maybe they won’t, after this film I’m afraid to predict anything).

  • Snoke’s premature demise: Before I begin my tirade, let me say that I DID appreciate how Snoke’s apparent death went down. The Supreme Leader is oblivious to the fact that Kylo has turned on him and is subtly maneuvering Anakin’s old lightsaber into a position to impale him. And even though I saw it happening, part of me was sure that Snoke would stop him at the last minute/second…except he didn’t. When the Supreme Leader dropped dead from this throne, my first reaction was “Oh my god, what just happened?” My second reaction was “How could you KILL him like that??” This is the moment that made me really angry because you know and I know that there has to be a backstory for this character, he didn’t just come out of nowhere. Considering we only saw the character in hologram form in The Force Awakens, we were all eagerly waiting to see what we would learn about the character in this film. But we ultimately learned nothing!! Not where Snoke came from, not why he took Kylo under his wing, not even if he’s connected to Palpatine or Darth Plagueis. I’m sorry, I don’t care how many explanations we get, you can’t just introduce this big mysterious character and then kill him before explaining where he came from!! Of course there is a theory that Snoke isn’t really dead (that he pulled a trick similar to Luke) but I don’t necessarily know if this is true.
  • Kylo’s version of the “Join me and we’ll rule the galaxy speech”: I was on cloud nine when Rey and Kylo teamed up to take out the Praetorian Guard after the death of Snoke. It was brilliantly done, and once they were all dead, it truly seemed as if Rey had gotten through to Kylo, that he was going to come with her, he’d be Ben Solo again and it would set up an epic confrontation for Episode IX…and then the Speech started. You know, the one given by Anakin in Episode III; by Vader in Episode V: the “join me, we’ll defeat *insert enemy here* together and rule the galaxy side by side.” When Kylo started on this all-too-familiar spiel with Rey, my first reaction was to groan and roll my eyes. I know part of Star Wars is to deliberately hearken back to earlier moments, but this felt completely forced and it kind of ruined the moment for me. Of course I understand that what happened is Kylo heard Rey’s advice and took it in the wrong direction, but surely they could’ve skipped “the Speech.”

And those are my thoughts on what really infuriated me in The Last Jedi. Do you agree or disagree with my reasoning? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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See also:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The Good

Star Wars: The Last Jedi- The Bad

A Random Thought on “The Force Awakens”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, My Thoughts!!

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

Star Wars, the one that started it all! (1977)

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983), the saga concludes (or does it?)

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