Tag Archives: Sophie Okonedo

Death on the Nile (2022) Review

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Death on the Nile (2022)

Time: 127 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Tom Bateman as Bouc
Annette Bening as Euphemia
Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot
Russell Brand as Linus Windlesham
Ali Fazal as Andrew Katchadourian
Dawn French as Mrs. Bowers
Gal Gadot as Linnet Ridgeway-Doyle
Armie Hammer as Simon Doyle
Rose Leslie as Louise Bourget
Emma Mackey as Jacqueline “Jackie” de Bellefort
Sophie Okonedo as Salome Otterbourne
Jennifer Saunders as Marie Van Schuyler
Letitia Wright as Rosalie Otterbourne
Director: Kenneth Branagh

Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot’s Egyptian vacation aboard a glamorous river steamer turns into a terrifying search for a murderer when a picture-perfect couple’s idyllic honeymoon is tragically cut short.

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I will admit myself as someone who liked Kenneth Branagh’s take on Murder on the Orient Express, even if it had its issues. So I was on board for Branagh’s next adaptation of a Hercule Poirot story with Death on the Nile. I didn’t really know what to expect going in, I just knew of the cast and premise. However it just kept being delayed for a number of years, and I began to lose interest. It finally released and again it opened to mixed reactions and again I enjoyed it, even with its issues.

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Death on the Nile isn’t a great detective mystery film, but its pretty good for what it was. For me, the clearest issue was that the death at the centre of the mystery doesn’t happen till the halfway point, whereas in Murder on the Orient Express it happened by the end of the first act. While Death on the Nile gives us a considerable amount of time with the characters before the murder happens especially in contrast to the last movie, it’s a bit too much. There’s a long boat ride before it reaches that one death, and I couldn’t help but feel rather bored. When that death does finally happen, that’s where Death on the Nile really picks up as our lead detective tries to unravel the mystery. I was locked in and interested to see the twists and turns. However, I will say that the climax did feel a bit rushed. Also as someone who hadn’t read the book, with the way its presented in the movie, the twist was very easy to predict. One thing you’ll probably notice when watching the movie is that it might be taking itself a little too seriously. The previous movie also took itself seriously but there was lot more fun to be had with it. Here, it’s pretty dark from beginning to end and I’m not sure it always works, even if there’s little bits of humour. Even the ending was a bit of a downer. There are certainly some strange choices but I kind of admire them in a way. For example, there is an actual origin story for Poirot’s moustache in the prologue that’s played deadly seriously and honestly that could be a litmus test for whether the movie works for you or not. Also, like Orient Express (2017), there’s definitely a lot of cheesy, campy and over the top elements but I enjoyed those, if anything I wished it leaned into those elements more here.

Film Review - Death on the Nile

On the whole the cast is pretty good, even if they aren’t as strong as the cast from Murder on the Orient Express. Kenneth Branagh reprises his role as detective Hercule Poirot to perfection, and has great chemistry with the whole cast. Again, he plays the character in a humorous and entertaining way but we also get to see more of his dramatic side here, and Branagh plays it well. The cast of murder suspects are fairly generic here, but the acting was pretty good for the most part. Tom Bateman’s Bouc is the only cast member from the last movie to return outside of Branagh, and he gets even more to do more here. A lot of the cast members were good, with the highlights being Annette Bening, Emma Mackey and Sophie Okonedo. Gal Gadot and Armie Hammer were the worst performers, but they weren’t enough to take me out of the movie entirely.

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I liked Kenneth Branagh’s direction of the previous Poirot movie and the same is true with Nile. The cinematography is dazzling and impressive, every shot is colourful and pristine, especially with the scenes on the Nile and on real location. However the CGI is very noticeable and distracting at times, and there is a lot of CGI. Patrick Doyle also returns to do the score and it is good, matching the vibe and setting of the movie quite well.

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As someone who liked Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, I enjoyed his Death on the Nile almost as much. It has a decent cast with an intriguing murder mystery, and a very flashy style that I enjoyed, even if you wouldn’t put it among the best films in its genre. Overall it’s a solid if slightly unremarkable bit of detective fiction. However, I will say that the hour long build up to the central murder really let the movie down quite a bit, but I still enjoyed it for what it was. If you liked Branagh’s last Poirot movie, then I recommend giving his adaptation of Death on the Nile a look.

Wild Rose (2019) Review

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Wild Rose

Time: 112 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Jessie Buckley as Rose-Lynn Harlan
Julie Walters as Marion
Sophie Okonedo as Susannah
Director: Tom Harper

Fresh out of prison, a Scottish woman (Jessie Buckley) juggles her job and two children while pursuing her dream of becoming a country music star. She soon gets her chance when she travels to Nashville, Tenn., on a life-changing journey to discover her true voice.

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I only heard of Wild Rose very recently. The main reason I came to hear of it was that the most recent BAFTAs nominated and then awarded Best Actress to the movie’s lead actress Jessie Buckley. Looking into the movie, I heard that it was pretty good and so I decided to go see it for myself. It’s a decent movie for sure, with Buckley’s performance elevating it immensely.

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First and foremost, the story isn’t anything that you haven’t seen before. There’s nothing really bad about the movie but it does hit many cliché plot beats, and that could annoy some people who were hoping for something more fresh. It is quite enjoyable to watch though, and there is a heart behind it all as it also touches upon the idea of pursuing one’s ambitions, and the cost that comes with that. I will say that even if you’re not into country music, that won’t be a problem at all, you’ll be fine with it for this movie at least. At an hour and 40 minutes it goes for as long as it needs to be, although there are some times where the pacing drags and maybe it could’ve cut down up to 10 minutes from the runtime.

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Jessie Buckley is really the star of the whole movie and she does a fantastic job. Looking at the character of Rose-Lynn on paper, she needed to be played by someone who could’ve pulled her off. Rose-Lynn is very flawed to say the least and maybe even unlikable and unsympathetic, but Buckley still somehow manages to make you tolerate and even root for her at points, as she tries to achieve her dream. She goes on a standard character arc, but Buckley’s performance really elevated so much of the character and the movie. Her vocal performances of the music are fantastic as well, and it definitely makes sense knowing that she’s actually a professional singer too. Definitely expect her to be in a lot more movies after this. Julie Walters also does well in a supporting role as Rose’s mother, and she also gets some moments of her own to shine, especially with the scenes between her and Jessie. There’s also Sophie Okonedo who plays her role well as a rich woman that Rose-Lynn begins works for early on, and then has a friend in. There’s not much to say about the rest of the cast but they all play their parts well too.

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Wild Rose is directed reasonably well by Tom Harper, it’s shot and edited well and all that. It’s not directed badly or even blandly, but it’s nothing special really, it feels like there could’ve been something a little more than what was given here. With that said, the cinematography during some of the performance scenes particularly stands out as being really good. The music was pretty good too, and it certainly helps when a lot of the songs are performed by Jessie Buckley, who as I said has a very strong and powerful voice.

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On its own, Wild Rose is a pretty decent movie. It’s directed pretty well, the script is good (if familiar), and features a couple solid supporting performances. However, it’s Jessie Buckley’s excellent star making lead performance that makes it one to definitely check out. It may not be something you haven’t seen before but it’s crowd pleaser, it’s got a lot of good things to it, and is worth seeing.

After Earth (2013) Review

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After Earth

Time: 100 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Jaden Smith as Kitai Raige
Will Smith as Cypher Raige
Sophie Okonedo as Faia Raige
Zoë Kravitz as Senshi Raige
Director: M. Night Shyamalan

One thousand years after disastrous events forced humanity to leave Earth, Nova Prime has become mankind’s new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige (Will Smith) returns from a tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his son, Kitai (Jaden Smith). When an asteroids damage Cypher and Kitai’s craft, they crash-land on a now dangerous Earth. As his father lies dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon and save their lives.

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M. Night Shyamalan hasn’t made many good movies in recent years, with films like The Happening and The Last Airbender. There was a chance that After Earth could’ve brought him back to at least some greatness. It isn’t in my opinion on the same level as The Last Airbender but this is still not the movie to bring back M. Night Shyamalan back to form. It still has boring dialogue, bored performances, and makes for an overall boring movie.

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The story is very uninteresting and boring throughout, I didn’t care about what was going on. We are supposed to care about this father and son bond between these characters, however the writing is just not strong enough, not helping this is the dialogue which was very clichéd. The Happening’s story was not good but it at least had some enjoyable bad ideas, After Earth has nothing entertaining going on and was very predictable. We never learn anything about the aliens, we don’t even get to learn what they are called. There are also some conveniences, and plot holes, the weapon mainly used in the movie is a staff which is used up close, even though in the beginning there are guns being used. The movie is never interesting or intreging, it’s just following the same lines as many other better sci-fi movies.

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Shyamalan often has his actors saying normal lines in a serious way and very dramatic way; the actors also usually seem very emotionless and this is the case particularly with the two main leads. Will Smith is completely emotionless throughout the entire movie. Usually he can at least have an entertaining performance, not here. Every line he delivers is monotone, and just sounded like a GPS, even when his son is in major danger in some parts. I understand the type of character he is but it would’ve been better if another person was cast because he wasn’t the best person for the role, not that anyone would’ve made a significant difference. Jaden Smith isn’t that good in this movie either. He was good in Pursuit of Happyness and The Karate Kid but he hasn’t got anything good to work with here. None of his delivery of his lines were convincing in the slightest.

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The special effects in the movie are okay. They aren’t horrible or amazing, they are just simply acceptable. There were at times some questionable cinematography choices, such as having characters awkwardly talking directly to the camera (a typical Shyamalan trope) or having some bit of plastic brush back and forth in front of a camera after the crash scene. James Newton Howard’s score was decent but I don’t really remember any of it after watching this movie.

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The worst part about the movie is that I barely remember it. Even with The Happening I could remember some scenes, I don’t remember much here. The story is very boring, clichéd and every sci-fi movie you’ve seen, accompanied by the fact that the actors don’t do a good job. The movie at times looked great but they weren’t enough to hide massive flaws. Even if you are a diehard Shyamalan fan don’t see this movie, there isn’t much to see here.