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Interview, Audio: Gary Oldman is Winston Churchill in ‘Darkest Hour’

Chicago – Gary Oldman has been generating memorable film portrayals since he broke through in the 1980s. From Sid Vicious (“Sid and Nancy”) to Lee Harvey Oswald (“JFK”) to Jim Gordon (Dark Knight Series), Oldman is a consummate actor. That is expressed in his latest role, as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.”

The title refers to one of the most challenging moments of Churchill’s career. Newly minted as Britain’s prime minister in 1940, he faces the onslaught of Adolf Hitler’s attack on his homeland, including the surrounding of the British troops at Dunkirk. Gary Oldman embodies the pugnacious bulldog that characterized Churchill at the height of his power, including the soaring rhetoric that strengthened the morale of the British people.

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour

Photo credit: Focus Features

Oldman was born in London, studied acting with the Young People’s Theatre and made his professional
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Dan Stevens: 'Dickens could be bleak, but also very silly'

He’s got debts, writer’s block, and a child on the way; a new film tells how Charles Dickens beat the odds to write everyone’s favourite Christmas story. Its star Dan Stevens reveals how he brought the writer to life

In the pecking order of Christmas stories, A Christmas Carol is second only to the baby Jesus. Even if you’ve never read it, or had it read to you, you know about that flinty-hearted miser Ebenezer Scrooge and his redemption during one long dark night of the soul.

Bill Murray, Albert Finney, Michael Caine and Alastair Sim have all played Scrooge in one of the endless film remakes and reboots there have been over the years. Now comes the story behind the story, The Man Who Invented Christmas: a heavily fictionalised biopic with Dan Stevens playing Charles Dickens, bashing out A Christmas Carol in six weeks
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

‘Man Who Invented Christmas’ Review: Dan Stevens & Christopher Plummer Turn Scrooge Origin Tale Into A Holiday Treat

‘Man Who Invented Christmas’ Review: Dan Stevens & Christopher Plummer Turn Scrooge Origin Tale Into A Holiday Treat
I can’t even begin to recount the endless number of film, TV and stage projects that have tried to bring Charles Dickens’ immortal yuletide classic A Christmas Carol to life. From Alastair Sim’s textbook portrayal to the likes of Bill Murray, Jim Carrey, Albert Finney, the Muppets and even Mr. Magoo, you might think you’ve seen it all, but now along comes a complete original and a breath of fresh air to the saga of Ebeneezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas Past…
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Budd Friedman Traces Standup Roots in New Book

Budd Friedman Traces Standup Roots in New Book
Ponder the last half-century of American comedy without talents like Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin, Rodney Dangerfield, Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis, George Carlin, Jay Leno, Joan Rivers, Bill Maher, Bill Hicks, Steve Martin, Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy and countless others, and it’s not a lot of laughs. Most of the aforementioned funny folks may have endured and thrived without Budd Friedman’s Improv Clubs in New York and Los Angeles, but those stand-up stages were so essential to the launching and developing of so many careers it’s impossible to overestimate their impact on our culture. Friedman’s New York roots led him to open his first Improv Club in mid-town Manhattan in the early 1960s. In his recently published tome “The Improv: An Oral History of the Comedy Club That Revolutionized Stand-Up” (BenBella Books, $18.87), co-written with Tripp Whetsell, Friedman and associates reminisce about Friedman’s impact and The Improv’s role in “inventing” American stand-up
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Silence of the Lambs,’ ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ and More Join Criterion Collection in February 2018

‘Silence of the Lambs,’ ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ and More Join Criterion Collection in February 2018
The Criterion Collection will be paying its respects to the late Jonathan Demme and George A. Romero in February 2018 by finally making “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Night of the Living Dead” members of its prestigious library. The two horror classics are joining famous titles from Kon Ichikawa, Satyajit Ray, and Tony Richardson as February additions to the Criterion Collection.

Read More:The Criterion Collection Announces January 2018 Titles, Including ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘I, Daniel Blake

Criterion will release a new 4K digital restoration of “The Silence of the Lambs,” which has been approved by the movie’s cinematographer Tak Fujimoto. Included on the DVD and Blu-ray sets are 35 minutes of deleted scenes and audio commentary from 1994 featuring Demme, Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, screenwriter Ted Tally, and former FBI agent John Douglas. “Night of the Living Dead” will also be released in 4K, with never-before-seen 16mm dailies included as a bonus feature.
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Murder On The Orient Express – Review

Judi Dench, left, and Olivia Colman star in Twentieth Century Fox’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” Photo Credit: Nicola Dove; Tm & © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

Murder On The Orient Express, Kenneth Branagh’s new film adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie mystery, offers a certain amount of lavish period style and mystery fun but does not measure up to the 1974 version, directed by Sidney Lumet and featuring an all-star cast. Branagh’s film also has a star-packed cast and Branagh, who plays detective Hercule Poirot as well as directs, sports an astonishing two-stage mustache that might be worth the ticket price alone.

Based on the famous Agatha Christie mystery featuring her Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, the 1974 film version had an all-star cast with Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam,

Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anthony Perkins,
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Review: Branagh's 'Murder on the Orient Express' is Old-Fashioned and Stiflingly Stodgy

First published in 1934, Agatha Christie's novel, Murder on the Orient Express, is considered one of the most suspenseful and thrilling mysteries ever written. The book, which concerns the murder of a wealthy businessman aboard a luxury train, features one of Christie's most famous & long-lived characters, detective Hercule Poirot. The Belgian sleuth with a magnificent mustache has appeared in more than 30 novels and 50 short stories and has been portrayed on radio, in film, and on TV by various actors, including Albert Finney, Sir Peter Ustinov, Tony Randall, Alfred Molina, Orson Welles, and David Suchet. Now, 83 years after its debut, Murder on the Orient Express receives another lavish, star-studded film adaptation, this time by actor-turned-director Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein), who also stars. If you haven't read Christie's novel or seen one of its many previous adaptations, Orient Express begins in 1930s Istanbul with Poirot (Branagh) meeting up with his old friend,
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Box Office: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ to Rule Over ‘Daddy’s Home 2,’ ‘Orient Express’

Box Office: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ to Rule Over ‘Daddy’s Home 2,’ ‘Orient Express’
Thor: Ragnarok” will maintain North American box office supremacy this weekend amid openings of Fox’s detective story “Murder on the Orient Express” and Paramount’s family comedy “Daddy’s Home 2.”

The third Thor movie should take in at least $50 million at 4,080 locations in its second weekend. The Disney-Marvel tentpole opened with $122.7 million last weekend in the fourth-biggest launch of 2017, then added $8.2 million Monday and $10.8 million on Tuesday.

Both new entries are pegged to launch moderately in the $25 million range, with estimates on each ranging as low as $19 million for “Orient Express” and as high as $32 million for “Daddy’s Home 2.” Combined, “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Daddy’s Home 2” should equal about what “Thor: Ragnarok” will gross.

“Murder” is opening on 3,350 screens, with reviews that have trended fairly positively with a 63% Rotten Tomatoes score. Kenneth Branagh directed and stars as Hercule Poirot in the adaptation of Agatha Christie’s mystery with a star-laden cast including
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Murder on The Orient Express Review: The Best Mustache Movie of 2017

Murder on The Orient Express Review: The Best Mustache Movie of 2017
Agatha Christie's classic Murder on the Orient Express is lavishly remade with an all-star cast by British auteur Kenneth Branagh. The film, which I was lucky enough to see in 70Mm, looks absolutely gorgeous. Branagh, who also stars as the mustachioed detective Hercule Poirot, has a keen eye for detail. His camera placement on the train, wide angle shots of the scenery, and editing work are tremendous. The mystery isn't on par with the 1974 film, but serviceable enough to be entertaining.

Murder on the Orient Express opens in 1934 at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Belgian super sleuth Hercule Poirot once again awes with his legendary investigative skill. Refined, exacting, and over-worked, Poirot is desperate for a sabbatical. His quest for respite is delivered by a philandering old friend, Bouc (Tom Bateman). Return to London in sumptuous luxury via train on the Orient Express. Bouc's uncle has put him in charge of the railway.
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Murder on the Orient Express: People TV Visits the Murder Mystery's Incredible Set

Murder on the Orient Express: People TV Visits the Murder Mystery's Incredible Set
The filmmakers behind Murder on the Orient Express are giving People a first-class ticket aboard the film’s incredible set.

Director Kenneth Branagh and production designer Jim Clay explain to People Deputy Editor J.D. Heyman in a People TV special how they recreated the iconic 1920s luxury train, built a colossal train station and reimagined Agatha Christie’s world-famous murder mystery.

Watch the full episode of On Location with Jd Heyman: Murder on the Orient Express now on PeopleTV. Go to, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device.

Sitting in front of
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Canon Of Film: ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ (1974)

In this week’s edition of Canon Of Film, we take a look Sidney Lumet‘s hypnotic ‘Murder on the Orient Express‘ just in time for the release of Kenneth Branagh‘s remake of the same name. For the story behind the genesis of the Canon, you can click here.

Murder On The Orient Express (1974)

Director: Sidney Lumet

Screenplay: Paul Dehn based on the novel by Agatha Christie (uncredited)

Strangely, the detective story is actually a fairly newer genre when compared to others, in terms of literary history, it is, and the inventor of the genre is not who you’d think it’d be either, it was Edgar Allen Poe, with his trilogy of C. Auguste Dupin stories, ‘The Murder of the Rue Morgue‘, ‘The Mystery of Marie Roget,’ and my favorite, ‘The Purloined Letter‘ back in the 1840s. I’m not sure why this genre didn’t pick up until then,
See full article at Age of the Nerd »

'Murder on the Orient Express' Review: Whodunnit Redo Is Fast Train to Nowhere

'Murder on the Orient Express' Review: Whodunnit Redo Is Fast Train to Nowhere
Kenneth Branagh is a theater man at heart. So his spanking new version of the 1934 Dame Agatha Christie chestnut Murder on the Orient Express – Branagh directs and stars as world-famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot – feels more like an all-star, theatrically confined stage piece than something freshly reimagined for the screen. Its delights, including dazzling production design and period costumers, are decidedly retro, as is the plot: A man is murdered on the Orient Express. Poirot must interrogates a dozen strangers on the train, each a suspect in the bloody homicide.
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Murder on the Orient Express movie review: strangers on a train

MaryAnn’s quick take… Doubly dated, lacking in humor and subtext, its impressive cast deliberately underutilized, this is little more than an exercise in gorgeous production design. I’m “biast” (pro): love the cast

I’m “biast” (con): saw no need for another production

I can’t recall if I’ve read the source material (I might have as a teenager in my classic-mystery phase, but if so, clearly it didn’t stick)

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Here’s the biggest mystery of director and star Kenneth Branagh’s opulent period mounting of the 1934 Agatha Christie novel: Why? Who was clamoring for yet another retelling of a story that has been told onscreen — both the big and small screens — several times already, and as recently as 2010 in the beloved television series starring David Suchet as Hercule Poirot? Why bother to tell this story
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

Visit the Spectacular Set of Murder on the Orient Express in Virtual Reality

Visit the Spectacular Set of Murder on the Orient Express in Virtual Reality
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Murder on the Orient Express review – Branagh's starry romp runs out of steam | Peter Bradshaw's film of the week

The big-name cast includes everyone from Johnny Depp to Judi Dench, but this snowbound Agatha Christie adaptation is a dusty, old-fashioned dud

The word “sheer” is missing from the beginning of the title. Like a dusty and long-locked display room in Madame Tussauds, this movie showcases an all-star cast in period costume, each of whom must suppress his or her star quality in the cause of being part of an all-star cast. It is a new version of Agatha Christie’s 1934 detective mystery, one of her most ingenious, all about a grisly killing on board a train that is marooned in snow. The story arguably has something to say about the nature of guilt and the nature of authorship. Kenneth Branagh directs and plays the legendary Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot with an unfeasibly large ’tache, accessorised with a demi-goatee beneath the lower lip and a pepper-and-salt colouring overall, like the
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Watch Daisy Ridley Meet Kenneth Branagh's Mustachioed Detective in Murder on the Orient Express

Watch Daisy Ridley Meet Kenneth Branagh's Mustachioed Detective in Murder on the Orient Express
With a mustache like that, you don’t have to be a detective to recognize Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express.

In an exclusive clip from Branagh’s upcoming whodunnit mystery based on Agatha Christie’s classic novel, Poirot’s unique facial hair is a dead giveaway for Daisy Ridley’s Mary Debenham, who introduces herself to the famous Belgian detective while sitting next to him on a dock.

I know you’re mustache from the papers!” Debenham says with a smile. While she gets his name wrong (confusing Hercule for Hercules), Ridley’s character says,
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Hollywood Flashback: In 1974, an A-List Cast Boarded the 'Orient Express'

Hollywood Flashback: In 1974, an A-List Cast Boarded the 'Orient Express'
Murder on the Orient Express was made into a movie with an all-star cast that included Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, John Gielgud and — in the lead role of Hercule Poirot — Albert Finney, The Hollywood Reporter's review was upbeat but not thrilled.

Phrases such as "classy production" and "entertaining adaptation" were used to describe the Sidney Lumet-directed film. (On Nov. 2, Fox's version of Express, which Kenneth Branagh both stars in as Poirot and directs, premieres at London's Royal Albert Hall.)

THR was more enthused when the $1.4...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Film Review: ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

Film Review: ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’
Of all the books Charles Dickens wrote, none has been more often adapted for the screen than “A Christmas Carol,” drawing under its spell stars as diverse as Albert Finney, Bill Murray, Jim Carrey, Mickey Mouse and the Muppets. Rather than retelling the classic once again, fresh take “The Man Who Invented Christmas” focuses on Dickens himself, revealing the equivalently satisfying story of how the English author conceived his beloved yuletide novella — while offering a chance for a splendidly cast Christopher Plummer to play Ebenezer Scrooge in the process.

Satisfying as it is to see a late-career Plummer tackle the iconic role, the subject of this particular film remains Scrooge’s creator, who may have had more in common with the old miser than audiences realize. The year was 1843, by which time Dickens (played here by “Downton Abbey” star Dan Stevens) had already tasted success, only to lose his publishers’ confidence after a series of “flops” (although
See full article at Variety - Film News »


The scope of this slice of wartime history is so small, it’s almost the movie equivalent of a one-man show. There are perhaps only a dozen speaking roles. Brian Cox is impressive as The Man Who Saved England in its Darkest Hour, but the drama reduces both the man and the historical crisis to trivial status, as little more than a personal emotional crisis: “Winston, the Haunted Imperialist.”



Cohen Media Group

2017 / Color / 2:39 widescreen / 105 min. / Street Date October 3, 2017 / 30.99

Starring: Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, John Slattery, Ella Purnell, Julian Wadham, Richard Durden, James Purefoy.

Cinematography: David Higgs

Film Editor: Chris Gill

Original Music: Lorne Balfe

Written by Alex von Tunzelmann

Produced by Claudia Bluemhuber, Nick Taussig, Piers Tempest, Paul Van Carter

Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky

No, it isn’t Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill … that’s another movie, Darkest Hour. This is the Brian Cox Churchill movie.

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50th Anniversary: Two for the Road

Tim here. This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of one of the tiny gems in the careers of Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, and director Stanley Donen: Two for the Road. It's a British film that picked up a handful of important awards nominations – writer Frederic Raphael at both the Oscars and Baftas, Hepburn at the Golden Globes, Donen with the DGA – and went on to be largely overlooked in the following five decades.

That's understandable; it's not a film primed to appeal to the fandom that it seems like it should have. Donen in the director's seat and Hepburn as the top-billed lead both suggest certain kinds of films, if not necessarily the same kind of film: bubbly comedies in his case, elegant Continental romances in hers (splitting the difference, four years earlier they collaborated on Charade, a bubbly Continental comedy). Two for the Road isn't devoid of humor,
See full article at FilmExperience »
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