A Week In Film #236: A moving time

Murder On The Orient Express title screen
Murder On The Orient Express
One of those films I’d catch a bit of on a Sunday afternoon, but never actually watched all the way through before – and turns out it’s pretty good (as you’d expect from a pro like Sidney Lumet).

Albert Finney is the inestimable Belgian ‘tec Hercule Poirot, trapped on a snowbound train with a dead body and a coachful of suspicious high class ham (including Anthony Perkins, Jacqueline Bisset, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael York, Wendy Hiller, Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Rachel Roberts, Colin Blakely and Denis Quilley).

Only Fools And Horses: To Hull And Back title screen
Only Fools And Horses: To Hull And Back
The 1985 OFAH feature length Christmas special, with the Trotters getting caught up in a continental tax avoidance gem deal, and all without the benefit of a study audience or canned laughter.

Jim Broadbent’s Slater the Slag gets his second appearance, there’s the Denzil cracking up subplot, the numerous trips across the North Sea, the Amsterdam foot chase (mmm, smell that Licence Fee being burned up before your eyes!), and, of course, the requisite defeat-snatched-from-the-jaws-of-victory pay-off moment just as the kick drum starts shuffling up at the end.

5 Days Of War title screen
5 Days Of War
One of the most tedious and shamelessly partisan films I’ve seen in a while, with big budget Hollywood barbarian Renny Harlin taking an interesting recent historical event (the Russian invasion of Georgia over Ossetia), and turning it into a two-dimensional black hat/white hat melodrama – mediated by an heroic American journalist, no less! And a journalist who only a year previously lost a colleague (Heather Graham in a mortgage-paying five minute cameo) in Iraq, an event that leads to his reputation as a maverick and subsequent ostracism from the international journalistic brotherhood, etc.

That’s not even the worst or most fantastically lump headed thing about the film. Somehow Andy Garcia has been picked to play Georgian president Saakashvili. He decides to put on an accent. He has Dean ‘Superman’ Cain as his secretary. Val Kilmer is in it (though again, not the worst thing). Kenneth Cranham gets to play a cynical British hack called Michael Stilton.

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