'Murder on the Orient Express' and 'Daddy's Home 2' battle it out with 'Thor' at the box office.
Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in the Fox adaptation of Agatha Christie's classic mystery novel, also featuring a starry cast of Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Daisy Ridley, Michael Pena, Judi Dench, Leslie Odom Jr. and Tom Bateman. The story centers around a murder onboard the famous train and introduces Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, who must solve the case while being surrounded by duplicitous passengers.
While THR's review wondered if a remake was necessary, the new version "is snappier than the highly successful 1974 outing. ... Its appeal is confined to the traditional niceties of being a clever tale well told, with colorful characters that are fun to watch being made to squirm by the inimitable Belgian detective." Additionally impressive is how it was made: the entire cast was only together for 12 days and shot scenes on a moving train built inside a London studio.
The Paramount sequel will once again see two types of father figures — the strong alpha male and the sensitive caring type — go head-to-head. This time around, the palette is expanding to include an older generation, played by Mel Gibson and John Lithgow. Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, John Cena and Alessandra Ambrosio also reprise their roles in the Sean Anders follow-up.
"It’s interesting how many things could go wrong, especially around the holidays — everyone can identify with that, but ultimately it’s about spending time together and sharing that," said Wahlberg of the sequel. Yet THR's review warns, "However mediocre the first film was, this sequel not only makes it seem charming by comparison but gives viewers the dubious gift of a full-on sappy Christmas movie two weeks before Thanksgiving. ... Doubling down on dueling daddies yields less than half the pleasure, and Daddy's Home 2 should be a charcoal-in-stocking bad memory by the time Santa comes to town."
Frances McDormand stars in the dark dramedy as a grieving mother who, after her daughter was brutally raped and murdered, decides to call out the police chief on three giant billboards for failing to find the killer. Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and Peter Dinklage are also among the cast of the awards contender, written and directed by Martin Mcdonagh.
"She's just a mother who's lost her child, a parent who has lost her child. That kind of grief is something we all, as humans, understand," said McDormand of her character in the movie, which won the audience award at the Toronto Film Festival. THR's review calls it "blisteringly funny and richly textured. ... A uniquely punishing but redemptive journey into the American heartland."
The second season of Maria Bamford's semi-autobiographical comedy launches with eight new episodes. In its review, THR says the "lighter" sophomore season is "mostly remains sharp, vital and groundbreaking," filled with "razor-sharp send-ups of the industry." The guest-star list includes returning favorites Ana Gasteyer and Mo Collins, as well as new faces Andy Samberg, Jenny Slate, Judd Apatow and Judy Greer.