Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
Connor Bynum // Film Critic
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
Rated PG-13, 114 minutes.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Leslie Odom Jr., Penélope Cruz, Josh Gad, Johnny Depp and Derek Jacobi
Upon reviewing MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS in theaters last year, I gave it a favorable review in spite of some gripes with a somewhat stilted ending half hour. Now that the film has made its way to home video on 4K UHD, my opinion on the film remains mostly intact, but the impeccable work done to bring the film to Ultra High Definition is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Movie Grade: B-
In spite of an underused cast, the film is able to gradually increase the tension on board as the passengers grow more restless and paranoid of those around them. It is at its most enjoyable when Poirot (Kenneth Branagh, who also directed the film) meticulously pieces together the puzzle as time is running out. Ultimately, Branagh is able to craft a thought-provoking and charming film that is certainly worth the price of a ticket. Just expect a few bumps along the way. [Full theatrical review.]
Video/Audio Grade: A+
Branagh is nothing short of a classical filmmaker and his decision to capture this film in the most grandiose way possible should not come as much of a surprise. Captured in 70mm film and finished on 4K Digital Intermediate, the end result on this 4K release is exquisite. Wide sweeping shots of the snow-covered mountain tops are breathtaking, while the finer textures on clothing, down to the hairs on Poirot’s iconic mustache, are equally brilliant.
The visual quality is made even more vivid thanks to the inclusion of HDR. Darker scenes on the train never feel to have crushed black tones and the vast white winter horizons seem to go on for eternity. The amazing attention to detail to be found on screen would no doubt pass inspection from the man himself, which is probably the highest compliment I can give.
On the audio front, this disc comes packed with a Dolby Atmos track that is equally enjoyable. The deep wheezing and cranking of the titular train will rattle the speakers. Overall, this is a marvelous 4K presentation.
Extras Grade: B-
Outside of including the commentary track with Branagh on the 4K disc, all extras are left on the included standard Blu-ray. What’s there, is certainly worth a look as they offer quite a fair amount of insight on Agatha Christie’s writing and influence on the mystery genre.
All Special Features:
- Agatha Christie: An Intimate Portrait
- Let’s Talk About Hercule Poirot
- Unusual Suspects: Part One
- The Art of Murder
- Unusual Suspects: Part Two
- All Aboard: Filming Murder on the Orient Express
- Unusual Suspects: Part Three
- Music of Murder
- Deleted Scenes
- Commentary by Kenneth Branagh and Michael Greene
- Theatrical Trailers
Final Grade: A-
Despite being a murder mystery that plays things a little too safe in its execution, the 4K transfer on this disc is to die for. Home theater enthusiasts are sure to have a grand old time on the Orient Express.
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.