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Critics think the star-studded ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ is just a little too crowded

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Murder on the Orient Express

Following the star-studded premiere of Murder on the Orient Express in London last night, the first reviews for Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery novel have landed online and, surprisingly, they don’t seem to be too harsh, though the consensus seems to be relatively mixed at the moment.

In his review for Variety, critic Peter Debruge writes that even though Branagh “succeeds in creating the most memorable incarnation of Poirot ever seen on-screen,” the updated version of Murder on the Orient Express is “a failure overall” and the final act is botched “so badly that those who go in blind may well walk out not having understood its infamous twist ending.”

Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy says Branagh “has delivered a version of Agatha Christie’s 1934 murder-on-a-train mystery gem that may not be as starry but is snappier than the highly successful 1974 outing,” though he was a bit confused as to why the director opted to shoot the film on 65mm considering most of the movie takes place in “cramped interior settings.”

Anna Smith of Time Out London gave Murder on the Orient Express three out of five stars in her rather positive review for the film, calling it “a sporadically entertaining adaptation of the murder mystery classic” despite feeling “it’s all a little too crowded with characters.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the source material, Murder on the Orient Express follows a group of thirteen strangers on a lavish train ride through Europe that quickly turns deadly when one of them is killed by an unknown suspect. The film stars Branagh alongside Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, and Josh Gad.

Murder on the Orient Express opens in the U.S. on November 10.

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Paramount Players taps ‘Good Time’ directors Josh and Benny Safdie for ’48 Hours’ remake

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Safdie Brothers
ROB KIM/GETTY IMAGES

Hot on the heels of the success of their Robert Pattinson-led crime-thriller Good Time earlier this year, directors Josh and Benny Safdie have been tapped to write and direct a remake of the buddy-cop film 48 Hours for Paramount Players.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Josh Safdie and Ronald Bronstein, who co-wrote Good Time together, will be on scripting duties, along with comedian Jerrod Carmichael, while Chernin Entertainment will produce with Oscar Boyson and Sebastian Bear-McClard under their Elara Pictures banner.

The original 48 Hours was directed by Walter Hill and starred Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy as a grizzled detective and fast-talking hustler who form an unlikely partnership to track down two vicious cop-killers before they strike again.

The Safdie brothers, who were recently nominated for Best Directors at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, are also in development on A24’s thriller Uncut Gems, an original story set in the New York City Diamond District starring Jonah Hill as the film’s main character.

A release date for either film has not been announced.

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Meet the protector of Wakanda in this action-packed new TV spot for ‘Black Panther’

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Black Panther

With just two more months to go until Ryan Coogler’s long-awaited Black Panther finally hits the big screen, Marvel Studios has unleashed a new TV spot featuring plenty of action-packed new footage from the upcoming superhero film starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and Andy Serkis.

Set just after the events of last year’s Captain America: Civil WarBlack Panther follows T’Challa as he returns home to Wakanda to succeed to the throne and taking his rightful place as king after the death of his father. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk.

Black Panther, which Coogler co-wrote alongside Joe Robert Cole, also stars Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, and Forest Whitaker. The film will open in theaters on February 16, 2018. You can check out the newly released TV spot in the embedded tweet below.

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The Walt Disney Co. will acquire most of 21st Century Fox in a historic $52.4 billion deal

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Disney acquiring 21st Century Fox

It’s official: The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox announced this morning that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Disney to acquire the vast majority of Fox, including the 20th Century Fox film and television studios, for a whopping $52.4 billion in stock.

“The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement on Thursday. Iger has also extended his contract with the company through the end of 2021 to help oversee the acquisition process.

“When considering this strategic acquisition, it was important to the Board that Bob remain as Chairman and CEO through 2021 to provide the vision and proven leadership required to successfully complete and integrate such a massive, complex undertaking,” said Orin C. Smith, lead independent director of the Disney board.

Iger says Disney is “honored and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building, and we’re excited about this extraordinary opportunity to significantly increase our portfolio of well-loved franchises and branded content to greatly enhance our growing direct-to-consumer offerings.”

The newly announced deal will place the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool under Marvel control, meaning that they are bound to show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in one way or another over the course of the next few Marvel films. Disney claims the control of these properties will allow them to “create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love.”

In addition, Disney will also now have control over Fox Searchlight, 20th Century Fox’s sister company specializing in the financing and distribution of independent, art-house, and foreign films. The studio has introduced audiences to films such as Little Miss Sunshine and 12 Years a Slave over the years and is already having an exceptional awards season with The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Though, as Disney continues to integrate the assets it has acquired into its company, the future of Fox Searchlight will remain uncertain.

“We are extremely proud of all that we have built at 21st Century Fox, and I firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace in what is an exciting and dynamic industry,” Murdoch said.

He continued, “I’m convinced that this combination, under Bob Iger’s leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world. I’m grateful and encouraged that Bob has agreed to stay on, and is committed to succeeding with a combined team that is second to none.”

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