By: Henry J. Fromage –
Another limited but random week of movie watching, focused on good not great new releases.
The newest from master Todd Haynes, with his usual distinguished film crew including Oscar-nominees DP Ed Lachman and Composer Carter Burwell, landed with a whimper at Cannes earlier this year, and now we get to see why. He’s adapted a YA book from Brian Selznick, who also wrote the book adapted by Martin Scorcese with Hugo, and to an even greater degree than that one, feels like a bit of a waste of its filmmaking crew’s copious talents. Neither are awful films, mind you, but neither exactly display their directors’ main talents. Wonderstruck is a handsomely-produced d ual-period piece with a time-jumping interrelated story between the 1920s and 1970s, and how the film deals with the deafness of its two main characters is conceptually interesting and lovingly handled. However, it’s… a bit slow and boring, and builds to a conclusion engineered for maximum good vibes melodramatic tear-jerking which lands with a thud and a saccharine skid. Well, there’s that Peggy Lee moving ‘comin…
223. Murder on the Orient Express
Kenneth Branagh tackles the best detective of all time, yes, that’s right, Hercule Poirot, in this star-studded, CGI-sheened adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery. The production is all-around handsome, the mustache is non-cannon but pretty goddamned glorious, and Branagh keeps the pace humming along. I’m not the biggest fan of some of the big screen spectacle-chasing changes to the source material, and the overall impact is low, but as Hollywood mid-range budgeters go, I’ll take more of this over wanna-be franchise starters any day (although was that a hint at a sequel at the end…?).