Sleuthing Sunday: ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ (1974) is mostly faithful, with dashes of comedy and reflection (Movie review)

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lbert Finney looks the part of Hercule Poirot in his only turn as the Belgian detective extraordinaire in the 1974 adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” But he also runs through the hallway of the titular train at one point, anxious to pursue the next step in his investigation; running seems so undignified for the great sleuth. It’s one of several things that are just a little bit off in this mostly faithful adaptation from director Sidney Lumet and writer Paul Dehn (“Beneath the Planet of the Apes”).

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Celebrating 50 years of ‘Apes’: ‘Battle for the Planet of the Apes’ (1973) wraps saga with relative whimper (Movie review)

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his series celebrates 50 years of the “Planet of the Apes” film franchise. Here, we look back at the fifth and final film in the original series.

“Battle of the Planet of the Apes” (1973) is not a particularly revered film, but it is perhaps the most influential within the “Apes” franchise. Caesar’s (Roddy McDowall) attempt to be a benevolent ruler of an ape society while dealing with threats within and without would be further explored in 2014’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and 2017’s “War for the Planet of the Apes.” In a notable parallel, the bloodthirsty gorilla General Aldo (Claude Akins) is the first to break the sacred law that “ape shall not kill ape,” much like the second Caesar’s rival Koba in the newer films.

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Celebrating 50 years of ‘Apes’: Saga gets bloody in ‘Conquest of the Planet of the Apes’ (1972) (Movie review)

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his series celebrates 50 years of the “Planet of the Apes” film franchise. Here, we look back at the fourth film in the original series.

The “Apes” series simultaneously moves into a more immediate nightmare scenario and a less personal sci-fi commentary with “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” (1972), which is a cinematographically black answer to George Lucas’ sterile, white “THX-1138” from a year earlier. In the final nighttime act of this film set in the future of 1991, apes turn on the human society that has molded them from pets (replacements for the dogs and cats wiped out in a 1983 plague) into smart slaves. A little too smart, as it turns out.

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Celebrating 50 years of ‘Apes’: ‘Escape from the Planet of the Apes’ (1971) pulls off smart shift in perspective (Movie review)

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his series celebrates 50 years of the “Planet of the Apes” film franchise. Here, we look back at the third film in the original series.

“Escape from the Planet of the Apes” (1971) is proof that you can’t stop sequels from being made. According to the “Behind the Planet of the Apes” documentary (1998), Charlton Heston came up with the idea of not only killing off Taylor, but also blowing up the Earth at the end of “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” (1970), so as not to be dogged by yet another sequel. But a year later, the third film came out, propelled by a solution that was already present in the saga: time travel. Only this time, it’s in reverse, as Zira (Kim Hunter) and Cornelius (Roddy McDowall, back after a one-film absence) – fleeing the gorillas’ world of war — travel from 3955 to 1970s Los Angeles.

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Celebrating 50 years of ‘Apes’: ‘Beneath the Planet of the Apes’ (1970) goes full-blown nuclear (Movie review)

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his series celebrates 50 years of the “Planet of the Apes” film franchise. Here, we look back at the second film in the original series.

Despite common misconception, “Planet of the Apes” (1968) does not reveal that nuclear warfare knocked the humans back a peg; that’s what Taylor (Charlton Heston) guesses, but it’s not confirmed until the second entry, “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” (1970). The underground mutant bomb worshippers peel back their false faces to reveal their true radiation-scarred visages. They worship The Bomb as if it’s a god (this film could’ve been subtitled “How Humans Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”), and indeed, a genetic effect from the bombs has given them telepathic and mind-control abilities.

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