ARTS IN LOS ANGELES
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November 2017

Celebrating the Arts since May 2012

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FILM!

THE ORIENT EXPRESS!

Murder on the Orient Express hits theaters November 10th (pictured Johnny Depp)

THE ORIENT EXPRESS!

  • By RICH ANDREW
  • Photo Courtesy of 20TH CENTURY FOX

At half past midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express dead in its tracks, making escape impossible for passengers. Near one a.m., a loud scream, then a man’s voice claiming it was nothing. A woman swears at seeing a stranger inside her compartment. A jarring thud. And by mid-morning, a man is found dead. Twelve stab wounds — thirteen suspects — and with a detective hellbent on serving someone’s head on a platter, this is one train ride sure to go off the rails.

Murder on the Orient Express is the masterpiece of literary master of mysteries Agatha Christie, but the mastermind of the film both in front of the camera and behind it is director Kenneth Branagh as he transforms himself into Hercule Poirot, Christie’s illustrious investigator whose cunning can turn even the most elusive clue elementary.

Branagh crafts his killer cast with actors so good at playing oh-so-evil that it’s almost criminal to convict just one. With devilish performances by Michelle Pfeiffer (Mother!), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man), Judi Dench (Victoria and Abdul), Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean), Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Josh Gad (Frozen), Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Derek Jacobi (Vicious), Olivia Colman (Broadchurch), Leslie Odom, Jr. (Smash), and Marwan Kenzari (The Mummy), this film easily becomes this fall’s guilty pleasure with audiences all aboard.

Murder on the Orient Express” hits theaters November 10th.

Wonder Boy!

Wonder hits theaters November 17th (pictured Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts)

Wonder Boy!

  • By Michael Jacobo
  • Photo Courtesy of Lionsgate

With the holidays rolling around, that means it’s a good time to feel good, and what better way than to watch a feel-good movie. Summer blockbusters are long over and Oscar movies can get a bit too repetitive. Granted, Wonder, releasing this month, falls under the latter, however it is sure to lift spirits with its inspiring story of inclusivity and emotional resonance.

Adapted from the acclaimed children’s book by R.J. Palacio, Wonder follows the story of August Pullman, a young boy born with facial differences, who struggles to fit in. As he navigates pre-adolescence at a new school, he decides to teach others that beauty is on the inside, and not the out. Jacob Tremblay (the scene stealer from 2015’s Room) stars as August. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson star as his parents, Isabel and Nate, while Izabela Vidovic (The Fosters) stars as August’s older sister, Via. Mandy Patinkin (Homeland), Sonia Braga (Aquarius), and Daveed Diggs (Broadway’s Hamilton) also star.

The film was adapted by Steven Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) and directed by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Beauty and the Beast). No doubt Wonder would benefit from Conrad’s and Chbosky’s penchant for that classic, Hollywood emotional intensity that doesn’t stray too far into melodrama.

Wonder” hits theaters on November 17th.

Justice League!

Justice League hits theaters November 17th

Justice League!

  • By Kenne Hoffman
  • Photo Courtesy of Marvel

An epic battle of Good vs. Evil, again, as DC launches its entry into the battle of Multi-Universe Super Hero films with Justice League. Super powers, DC and Marvel, will go head to head (not really) to reign supreme over the extended-universe movie franchise. Many individual superhero story line films have led to the super alliance that is Justice League directed by Zack Snyder.  Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavil), later joined by Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) introduced the characters of each upcoming film. Aquaman (Jason Momoa – to be released later this year) The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) were introduced in JLA previews that premiered when Wonder Woman opened in Theaters. No word on individual films for The Flash or Cyborg to date.

Justice League, or the J.L.A. (Justice League of America) as we comic nerds like to refer to it, tells of Batman’s restored faith in humanity thanks to selfless acts by Superman. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent enlist Diana Prince to help defeat an intergalactic warlord and army of flying beast soldiers. New recruits, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg join the league but even for this unprecedented league of heroes, it may be too late to save the Universe!

Justice League” hits theaters November 17th.

Pixar’s Coco!

Disney & Pixar’s Coco hits theaters on November 22nd

Pixar’s Coco!

  • By Michael Jacobo
  • Photo Courtesy of Disney

The holidays are all about family time (or dreading it, it depends on the individual), and none truly value that than Latinos, whose most treasured holiday revolves around family, in particular those that are dead. Dia de los Muertos (called Dia de Muertos in Spanish) has been featured here and there in film and television, but it’s getting a colorful and imaginative treatment this month in Pixar’s Coco.

A young boy by the name of Miguel (newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming a musician, however his family forbids any music in their lives, despite having had a famous musician in their ancestry, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove to his family music is good for the soul, Miguel finds himself in the Land of the Dead. Accompanied by his dog, Dante (a Xoloitzcuintli, or Mexican Hairless Dog), he must navigate his way through and unlock his family history. Gael García Bernal (Mozart in the Jungle), Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica), and Jaime Camil (Jane the Virgin) all lend their voices as members of Miguel’s family or those he encounters in the Land of the Dead.

Coco was written by Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich and directed by Molina and Lee Unkrich, a veteran Pixar director. The animation giant assembled a culture consultation group for the film, confirming that is probably Pixar’s most diverse film yet.

Coco” hits theaters November 22nd.

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