Sunday, 19th November 2017
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MURDER ON

THE ORIENT EXPRESS

The movie opens up with Hercules Poirot in Jerusalem solving a case where a rabbi, a priest and an imam are all accused of robbing a sacred relic.

Of course it takes him a wet minute to do this and bring calm back to a city rocked by religious strife. Next he is supposed to take a holiday so that he can rest and relax but is instead given a telegram where he is asked to come to London to help solve a case there. That means that he has to get there by the quickest means possible so that involves travelling on the Orient Express, first class of course which is all made possible by a member of the family who is also travelling by the famous train.

Once everyone is aboard the train it is clear that there is some sort of unspoken tension there but seemingly no one knows each other.

There is one particular man though who seems intent on trying to get to know Poirot, an American who is decidedly dodgy. He eventually tells Poirot that his life is in danger and he thinks that he has fallen foul of the Italian mob due to some dodgy business dealings that they've had. Poirot rejects the offer firmly and tells the man that no matter the amount of money he could offer he would never work for him. Travelling into the mountains the train hits some bad weather and the engine is pushed off the tracks by an avalanche. It is during this same night that the american is also murdered but his body isn't discovered until later that morning when someone raises the alarm. Now it is clear that there is a murderer on board the Orient Express.

The original version of this movie was an Oscar winner for some of the actors involved and it even had as many stars as this particular film. It is a firm favourite, showing as it does practically every Christmas. Even though it is a movie that is well as is the ending it really wouldn't be right to give all of the mystery away. Kenneth Brannagh plays Poirot in this film and he is a slightly different kind of detective that we are used to seeing. He is far more robust and muscular, getting involved in a shooting, where he is shot, and a dangerous chase sequence down a bridge. The usual Poirot, no matter which one of the nearly 4 on offer is a much more tentative character when it comes to his own physical well being.

Also Brannagh's almost OCD in his finnickiness as well. There are some good star turns in the movie also, Michelle Pfeiffer and Penelope Cruz amongst the best. Cruz as the missionary has some great lines such as 'vice is where the devil finds his darlings'.

A lot of fun. You can't really compare the two films, the original and this one as they are quite different stylistically. This one is far more dramatic in scope and the camera work and techniques have evolved sharply since the last movie was shot. Even the denouement is far more dramatic with all of the suspects lined up along a table like in the Last Supper rather than just sitting around a train compartment. The result is the same though and the culprit or culprits are found out and justice, of a kind, is dispensed. An interesting movie rather than a great one, it is definitely worth the watch even if you've seen the original, there are enough differences to keep your attention all the way through. Then right at the end there is a coda which looks like there is going to be another Poirot movie with Brannagh being whisked away to Egypt to investigate a murder on the Nile.

GUNPOWDER

Although not on the big screen this programme is certainly one of the most cinematic shows that has been on in recent months and it is not surprising considering that one of the producers and also an actor on Gunpowder was Game of Thrones stalwart Kit Harrington.

This programme is all about the background to what is now called Guy Fawkes night, an attempt to blow up the then Houses of Parliament and to kill the King and by doing so bring the country of England back to the true religion of Catholicism. The show is great on detail and is also at the same time very gruesome. If you didn't know what being hung, drawn and quartered was at the start of the show then you certainly did by the end of it in all it's gory detail, as well as people being tortured slowly and methodically in the Tower of London.

It is also really interesting about the politics of the time about all the different factions and how even enemies would collude with each other if their interests happened to coincide at a particular moment in time. A great show that wasn't above showing the brutality or the nefarious dealings of politics at that time.

Brigid and Eamon

If Blind Date is all about the possibilities of new romance then this show shows that if love if blind then marriage is an eye opener. And it's a hell of a lot more fun than the former.

The programme is about two people who have been married for so long that they no longer have love or even passion to be a part of their marriage. They have a rake of kids, a house and jobs that they don't really care too much about. The only thing that does seem to give them pleasure is getting on their spouses nerves and the more that they do it then the better it is for them. Everyone in Ireland knows a couple like Brigid and Eamonn, a couple for whom fighting and rowing is their raison d'etre. Set as it is back in the 1980's gives an added twisted dimension to the show. The acting is spot on and just on the right side of crazy. A great show that proves once and for all that Ireland can, when it gets things right, make really good comedy shows.

They're rare but they do exist.

Barcelona, an Art over’s Guide

Presented by Janina Ramirez and Alistair Sooke this show was filmed before the entire Catalan

Independence furore started but is no less interesting for that.

The two presenters have various parts of the city that they are interested in more than others and they separate for those. Ramirez focuses on the high-lights of the medieval parts of the city, the churches and forts that made Barcelona famous hundreds of years ago. Sooke is more interested in contemporary Barcelona and what that has to tell us about what the city is like now.

In particular the legacy of the painter Miro. Both of them come together on one individual building and that is Gaudi's cathedral the Sagrada Familia which dominates the central skyline of the city and is still being built 100 years after the first stone was laid. This is a well presented show and if you were ever thinking of heading to Barcelona then it would be great as a guide to get you around the city and to places that you might never of known about or even thought about.

A great programme.

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    Paradise papersOne of the most surprising things about the release of the copious amounts of tax details of some of the richest people on the planet wasn't the names of the people involved but the fact that three of them were actors from Mrs. Brown's Boys. Between them the three had accounts nearing 2 million euros in off-shore accounts and let's face it, these people aren't exactly Robert De Niros or Meryl Streeps but three bog standard, and that's putting it mildly, actors, from a middling comedy serie …

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