There are two new wide release films opening this weekend as well as two movies opening in limited release, including Kenneth Branagh’s star-studded adaptation of “Murder on the Orient Express,” the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg sequel, “Daddy’s Home 2,” Joachim Trier’s twisted Norwegian film, “Thelma,” and Martin McDonaugh’s festival favorite, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Let’s take a closer look into each film and see which ones are worth checking out.
“Murder on the Orient Express,” dir. Kenneth Branagh
A lavish train ride unfolds into a stylish & suspenseful murder mystery. From the novel by Agatha Christie, “Murder on the Orient Express” tells the story of thirteen stranded strangers and one man’s race to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.
For the past few years, director Kenneth Branagh has been directing more mainstream fare with “Thor,” “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” and “Cinderella.” Having not seen “Jack Ryan,” the other two films were thoroughly enjoyable films, mostly due to the exceptional directing job by Branagh. That being said, the trailers for “Murder on the Orient Express” haven’t been all too impressive. As of right now, reviews for the film have been very mixed as it stands at a 65% on Rotten Tomatoes and has a score of a 54 on Metacritic with many more reviews to come. A review should still be expected this weekend as I hope to be checking it out on 70mm film, but safe to say expectations aren’t very high.
“Daddy’s Home 2,” dir. Sean Anders
Brad and Dusty must deal with their intrusive fathers during the holidays.
Confession time: the original “Daddy’s Home” was a bit of a guilty pleasure. I watched it when it eventually hit cable and while it’s definitely slight, it was a sweet film with a solid amount of good humor. Will Ferrell films tend to all hit a similar stride and, for the most part, they seem to deliver a fun time. Mark Wahlberg also does a great job in comedy as well which added a lot to making the original enjoyable. “Daddy’s Home 2” look even funnier than it’s predecessor. The casting of John Lithgow and Mel Gibson as the fathers of Ferrell and Wahlberg respectively is incredibly inspired and the jokes in the trailers have been funny. Now no reviews are currently out of the film yet, but the original wasn’t particularly well received as it got a 31% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 42 on Metacritic.
“Thelma,” dir. Joachim Trier
A woman begins to fall in love, only to discover that she has fantastic powers.
This is a film that I got the chance to check out at TIFF (you can read my review here) and it was a great experience. Eili Harboe is absolutely fantastic in the lead role, bringing a lot of emotion and depth to a film with a richly dark aesthetic. Critics have been extremely favorable to “Thelma” so far with it receiving an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 74 on Metacritic. If you happen to be near a theater playing it this weekend, this is one that comes highly recommended.
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” dir. Martin McDonaugh
In this darkly comic drama, a mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder, when they fail to catch the culprit.
This is another one I saw at TIFF . . . twice actually (reviews can be read here and here). After an outstanding run with his previous two films, “In Bruges” and “Seven Psychopaths,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is Martin McDonaugh’s best work to date. Crafting an excellent blend of dark comedy and raw human emotion, McDonaugh tells this story with such great detail through an outstanding script and one of the very best ensemble casts in any movie this year. This movie won the audience award at TIFF and critics have been raving about it at every festival it’s played at, scoring an incredible 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 88 Metacritic score, making it by far the best reviewed of the new releases. This one’s going to be a major Oscar contender this season in many categories, including potential wins for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell. Check this one out as soon as you can!
And that’s all of this weekend’s releases! What do you plan on checking out? Are you looking forward to “Murder on the Orient Express?” Will you be near one of the lucky theaters getting “Three Billboards?” Am I crazy for being excited to see “Daddy’s Home 2?” Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.
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