The first reviews for 'Murder on the Orient Express' are officially in
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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.”

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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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Timothée Chalamet is in final talks to play Paul Atreides in Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ adaptation

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Timothee Chalamet Dune
CHRISTOPHER POLK/GETTY IMAGES

Timothée Chalamet is going from indie to blockbuster as the 21-year-old Oscar-nominee is in final talks to star in Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune, an adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name written by Frank Herbert, Silver Screen Beat has learned.

According to Deadline, Chalamet will be playing Paul Atreides, the son of a noble family trying to avenge his father’s death while also trying to save a spice planet that he is entrusted to protect with his life. Kyle MacLachlan played the character in the David Lynch-directed 1984 original.

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Villeneuve is directing the long-in-the-works project, which has been in development at Legendary since 2008, from a screenplay written by Oscar-winner Eric Roth. The director will also serve as a producer on the film alongside Mary Parent and Cale Boyter, while Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, Thomas Tull, and Kim Herbert are executive producing.

For Chalamet, this is just another step in the right direction for the young actor, who picked up an Oscar-nomination for his outstanding breakout performance in Luca Guadagnino’s gay coming-of-age tale Call Me by Your Name back in January.

Chalamet is likely to garner some awards attention come this October when his latest film, Beautiful Boy, opens in theaters. Felix Van Groeningen directed the upcoming drama, which also stars Steve Carell, and chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.

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‘Boy Erased’ trailer finds an Oscar-bound Lucas Hedges attending gay conversion therapy

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Boy Erased
FOCUS FEATURES

Focus Features has released the first trailer for Boy Erased, the coming-of-age and coming-out drama from writer/director Joel Edgerton, based on the memoir of the same name written by Garrard Conley. The film features an impressive ensemble cast which includes Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Edgerton.

The story follows Jared (Hedges), the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town who is outed to his parents (Kidman, Crowe) at age 19 and is faced with an ultimatum: attend a conversion therapy program – or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends, and faith.

Boy Erased, which is Edgerton’s second feature film as director following the 2015 sleeper hit The Gift, also stars Cherry Jones, Michael “Flea” Balzary, Xavier Dolan, Troye Sivan, Joe Alwyn, Emily Hinkler, Jesse LaTourette, David Joseph Craig, Théodore Pellerin, Madelyn Cline, and Britton Sear.

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“I will always thank Garrard for trusting my passion for his life story,” Edgerton said in a statement last year when it was announced that Focus had acquired worldwide distribution rights to Boy Erased. “I can’t think of a better reason to get behind the camera again.”

Focus is set to release Boy Erased in select theaters just in time for the forthcoming awards season on November 2. You can check out the newly released trailer for the film below.

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‘Downton Abbey’ movie set to begin production in September with the original cast returning

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Downton Abbey
PBS

Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski announced Friday morning that the long-awaited Downton Abbey movie is set to begin production this September with the original principal cast from the hit television series returning to reprise their respective roles.

According to a press release, Brian Percival, who directed the Downton Abbey pilot, is directing the film from a script written by Julian Fellowes, who created the award-winning series which picked up 15 Emmy Awards over the span of its six-season run.

Downton Abbey follows the lives of the elite Crawley family and the servants who worked for them at the turn of the 20th century in an Edwardian English country home. Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, and Hugh Bonneville all starred in the show.

“Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter,” said in a statement. Kujawski.  “We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen.”

The film will be a Carnival Films production, with Focus Features and Universal Pictures International handling distribution.

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Adds Carnival’s executive chairman Gareth Neame, who is also producing the film: “When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production.  Julian’s script charms, thrills and entertains and in Brian Percival’s hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen.”

A release date for the Downton Abbey movie has not been announced, though it seems likely that we’ll see the film hit the big screen towards the backend of next year if production does, in fact, begin this September.

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