Posted in Other Media

Cinema Saturday, 5/21/22

Death on the Nile

Year: 2022
Runtime: 2h 7m
Rated: PG-13

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Writers: Michael Green, Agatha Christie

Stars: Tom Bateman, Annette Bening, Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot

Double Feature Fodder:
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

Initial: I’m not a fan of Agatha Christie, but I was in the mood for a big, lush, star-studded period piece.

Production Notes: I was wondering about the music in the film and, according to IMDB’s trivia, the songs performed by Salome Otterbourn are period accurate-ish, originally performed in the late 1930s by Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

What Did I Think:
And I can count on Kenneth Branagh to deliver a big, lush, star-studded period piece. Death on the Nile is almost ridiculously polished. The colors are super-saturated. The performances are big. Everyone is beautiful. The movie was funnier than I expected; I chuckled numerous times. The mystery, when there finally is a mystery, was interesting enough, but something was missing. I never really became invested in any of the characters. There are so many of them with so many relationships that none of them get much time, especially when there is a lot of pretty scenery to look at as well. When bad things started happening to characters, I was just glad *something* was happening.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Year: 1990
Runtime: 1h 33m
Rated: PG

Director: Steve Barron

Writers: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Bobby Herbeck, Todd W. Langen

Stars: Judith Hoag, Elias Koteas, Josh Pais

Initial: Rewatch from my teen years.

Production Notes: Notably, Steve Barron also directed the music videos to A-ha’s “Take Me On” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”

What Did I Think:
Is the 1990 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a good movie? No, not really. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a certain charm. Made during the animated series’ run, it’s goofy and young-audience friendly. As an adult, I found it amusing that the Pleasure Island-esque hideout for the delinquent followers of the Foot Clan has “everything”: arcade games, built-in skate park, and *gasp* cigarettes.

Splinter and the turtle costumes were developed by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. The turtles aren’t super expressive, but it’s amazing what the in-suit performers can do in them. Splinter is as good as you’d expect from Henson and Co. I watched a little of the third film (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)); the production had parted ways with the Henson’s company and Splinter especially looks much more like he should be in a Chuck E. Cheese band. (Arguably, motion capture is the way to go, but the turtles in Jonathan Liebesman’s 2014 reboot are more realistic and therefore also kind of disturbing.)

For me, a fun bit of nostalgia.