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Thursday Movie Picks: Train Movies

Besides a car, trains are the next type of land transportation that I feel comfortable taking. They’re efficient and fast, even though they get delayed sometimes. I sometimes end up comparing the train systems of different countries, and how their system works and the aesthetics of their trains. The most 'uncommon' train system I’ve ever encountered was the system in Vienna, Austria. They are quite serious with their transportation etiquette, even having random cart checking for validated tickets and IDs (it's serious work, these checkers just suddenly announce themselves in the train!). Maybe it’s because it’s the first time I’ve encountered an experience, but it was quite memorable. Totally derailing from the topic, here are my picks for this week:

Agatha Christie’s writing manages to scare the hell out of me. I haven’t read Murder on the Orient Express, but it revolves around a dead person, with the detective figuring out who could have killed the passenger. I really don’t remember much of it besides the revelation itself, but I did enjoy trying to figure out the mystery of who could have done it. 

This might be a popular pick this week, but Snowpiercer is quite the train movie. It reveals a lot about social class and principles, with people living in the trains according to their rank. It’s quite thrilling, and we get to see what happens in each cart and how the entire system contributes to sustaining the livelihood of the remaining populates of Earth. 

If you’re looking for an aesthetically-pleasing train movie, The Darjeeling Limited doesn’t disappoint. After the death of their father, three brothers journey through India via train to look for their mother. It’s not a favorite of mine, but it does adhere to Wes Anderson standards.

Comments

  1. I also expect to see a lot of Snowpiercer this week, too. Wouldn't be surprised if that last one were popular. Both are excellent films. Haven't seen the first one. Good picks.

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  2. Haven't actually seen any of your picks, but I have seen Evil Under the Sun which is also a Hercule Poirot film.

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  3. I loved Snowpiercer! Such an unusual film :) I've never heard of The Darjeeling Limited but it looks really good! Might just have to check that one out.
    - Allie

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    1. Snowpiercer is a different take on the dystopian world, it's a great film.

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  4. Yay Snowpiercer and Darjeeling! I also chose those ones. They're both popular this week and rightfully so.

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  5. Great picks! And I'm not just saying that because I picked two of them myself.

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  6. I have Snowpiercer in my queue but haven't gotten to it yet and I've avoided Darjeeling because of my indifference to Owen Wilson but it's been so ubiquitous today I'm going to break down and give it a look.

    I chose Murder on the Orient Express too! What a fun movie, so loaded with star power and what great costume and production design. It's a huge favorite of mine.

    My first pick I chose specifically because it's a stinker and I want to do may part in making sure no one else makes the mistake of watching it and thinking it's not worth seeking out the far, far superior original. My extra I really expected to be everywhere today, considering its newish, was a hit and fits so well in the theme but haven't since it once yet.

    Here's my picks:

    The Lady Vanishes (1979)-An example of all that can go wrong when a classic is inadvisably remade. Peter Bogdanovich recasts the roles so expertly done by Margaret Lockwood and Robert Donat in the Hitchcock original with the totally unsuitable Cybill Shepard and Elliott Gould and proceeds to get everything else wrong that the first did right. The one bright spot-Angela Lansbury taking over the role of Miss Froy that Margaret Rutherford played in the original but she’s in too little of the movie to save it.

    Murder on the Orient Express (1974)-The gold standard for mystery adaptations. Superior version of Agatha Christie’s novel of a snowbound train on which a murder has occurred and which the famous detective Hercule Poirot sets out to solve. Everything is top of the line from the set and costume design to the cast. What a cast! In every role is a recognizable face from either American or international cinema. Everyone does terrific work though Ingrid Bergman’s best supporting actress Oscar is puzzling, even she didn’t think she deserved to win. Betty Bacall is a real standout as the loquacious Mrs. Hubbard and Albert Finney gives a tremendous performance of the fussy Belgian sleuth.

    Lady on a Train (1945)-A lady on a train, Deanna Durbin, witnesses a murder from her window but can only identify the victim not the killer. She goes to the police but when they don’t believe her story she turns to a writer of detective stories for help and together they try to find the killer and solve the case. Light mystery spoof even finds ways to have Deanna sing a few songs, backed up by a great supporting cast including Edward Everett Horton, Dan Duryea, Elizabeth Patterson, George Coulouris, Ralph Bellamy and William Frawley she has rarely looked so beautiful.

    Honorable Mention-Unstoppable (2010)-Because of a stupid mistake a train containing dangerous material has become a runaway. A mismatched pair of train engineers on their first day as partners try and stop it before disaster strikes. Fast paced and exciting with some cool derring-do but nothing that pushes the movie over into ridiculousness. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine make a solid team.

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    1. Lady on a Train sounds interesting, might give that a go. Great picks!

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  7. Snowpiercer and Darjeeling Limited seem to be popular and they are both films I do want to see. I picked Murder on the Orient Express as well and I simply love it! I have been on more than one train in Europe. Germany & Austria are all about efficiency and make sure all the i are dotted. They are usually clean and on time. Italy-they come when they come, almost always late, not quite clean and they are pretty lax. When we went to Prague, the soldiers came on board with their semi automatic rifles and you did not joke or dare look at them.

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  8. Darjeeling again - its such a great film. Yes! Someone else on the Snowpiercer track. Always love a good murder mystery - but I have to say, David Suchet is the one and only Poirot.

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  9. I love Darjeeling and picked it myself. Snowpiercer is on my list.

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  10. Nice to see Snowpiercer on your list too, I knew it'd be popular but I picked it anyway. I'm not that fond of Darjeeling Limited, though there are some fun scenes in it.

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  11. I want to see Murder on the Orient Express. I think BBC is doing a new adaptation of it for Agatha Christie's 125th birthday.

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  12. Three great picks here. The Darjeeling Limited might be my favorite train movie. You're right, that's as aesthetically-pleasing as train movies get.

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