Blu-Ray Spotlight: ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Scores On All Fronts

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESSThe age of physical media may be going the way of the dodo bird, but there are still legitimate cases to be made for having an extensive Blu-ray collection. Streaming your films may be wonderful if your internet never gets laggy, but from my perspective having a disc handy, especially with first rate features, is absolutely necessary.

Murder on the Orient Express, ambitiously directed by Kenneth Branagh (who’s also convincing as Hercule Poirot), is an absolute visual stunner. Branagh brings his underrated cinematic scope (for examples, check out his flicks Hamlet and Thor) into Agatha Christie’s immersive world, as Poirot investigates the passengers on a train where someone was recently murdered.

Boasting an all-star cast that includes Daisy Ridley, Penelope Cruz, and Michelle Pfeiffer (delivering the film’s most standout performance!), Murder on the Orient Express is a must-have if you love watching a beautifully mounted production that’s anchored by first rate stortyelling.

Click on the media bar to hear Daisy Ridley talk about what makes Murder on the Orient Express a unique film:

Murder on the Orient Express also boasts an array of special features, but the crown jewel of the extras are its deleted scenes. The 16 minutes worth of extra footage brings a more comedic element to the proceedings, as Poirot’s obsessive grooming is played for laughs. Also included is a surreal montage sequence which Branagh cites as an homage to the Salvador Dali scene in Spellbound. Last but not least, there is an extended section at the Arasta Bazaar which introduces all the major players of the film (the final scene is much more brisk). The extras also include several featurettes (including a spotlight on Agatha Christie and the music behind the film) as well as commentary from Branagh and screenwriter Michael Green.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Daisy Ridley Was ‘Super Nervous’ To Board ‘Orient Express’ With A-List Cast


She may know the ways of the force, but Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley admitted she was a bit intimidated working with the A-list cast (Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz) that popular Murder on the Orient Express. Thankfully, director/actor Kenneth Branagh made her feel at home.

“I was excited on so many levels,” said Ridley. “And then was obviously super super nervous and felt like I really didn’t deserve to be there and he made me feel so comfortable and so happy (and he made me feel) like I was a great addition which is a nice feeling when you feel slightly overwhelmed by the people you’re working with.”

Click on the media bar to hear Ridley talk about why moviegoers should check out Murder on the Orient Express:

Murder on the Orient Express opens nationwide Friday, November 10.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

That’s a Wrap: The Week in TV News

BULLCBS cleared up a lot of doubt for the fall season, announcing 16 early renewals. Among those scoring pickups are Bull, MacGyver, Kevin Can Wait, Man With a Plan, Superior Donuts, Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-0, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, Madame Secretary, Scorpion, Life in Pieces, Mom, Survivor, 60 Minutes and 48 Hours. The eyemark network also announced a two-year renewal for Big Bang Theory earlier in the week, and the already renewed NCIS brings the returning series to 18. The network stated that several series not on the list may still be picked up. Among those with their fates still in the balance are 2 Broke Girls, Criminal Minds, Elementary, The Great Indoors, The Odd Couple, Code Black, Undercover Boss, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Pure Genius, Doubt, Training Day, Ransom and Hunted.

Speaking of network scheduling, FOX has revealed their plans for the summer. The Miss USA Pageant will return to the airwaves on Sunday, May 14. Thursday, May 25 will feature a new block that includes the debuts of an Andy Cohen-hosted Love Connection and the interactive game show Beat Shazam. On Wednesday, May 31, FOX takes you into the kitchen with a block featuring the return of Masterchef and the new series The F Word With Gordon Ramsay. John Cena hosts American Grit, which hits the airwaves on Sunday, June 11, and the following night on Monday, June 12, So You Think You Can Dance gets paired up with the series premiere of Superhuman.

The Daytime Emmys have announced their award nominees for the past year, with CBS’ long-running soap The Young & the Restless leading the pack with 25 nominations, two more than ABC’s General Hospital and CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful. The three soaps are joined by NBC’s Days of Our Lives in the Outstanding Drama Series category. Winners will be announced Sunday, April 30 in Pasadena.

The Knick has run out of time! According to TV Line, the Cinemax series will not see a third season. Cast member Chris Sullivan recently stated that he had heard the series was done, and HBO and Cinemax’s president of programming Kary Antholis has confirmed that the Clive Owen-starring series will not be filming any more episodes, choosing instead to focus on their action-based primetime series.

A pair of typically big screen actors are about to venture to television. According to Deadline, Penelope Cruz has joined the cast of Versace: American Crime Story as the sister of the murdered fashion designer. Cruz will star opposite Edgar Ramirez and Darren Criss in the limited run series. Meanwhile, Colin Farrell will reunite with Lobster director Yorgos Lanthimos for an Amazon series about former U.S. Marine Oliver North and his role in the Iran-Contra affair. Variety reports that Farrell would take on the role of North in the series.

Don’t you love TV reunions? Then you’ll love what Kevin Can Wait is doing for the final two episodes of its freshman year, as Kevin James‘ former King of Queens co-star Leah Remini is set to make a guest turn. According to TV Line, the plot of the two-part finale finds Kevin coming out of retirement to go undercover in an operation in which he and a fellow officer (Remini) pose as husband and wife.

Eliza Dushku is returning to the small screen in a recurring role on a freshman favorite. Dushku will play J.P. Nunnelly, the head of a criminal defense firm, over a three-episode arc on CBS’ Michael Weatherly-starrer, Bull. According to TV Line, there has been discussion of Dushku’s character becoming a full-fledged cast member for the recently renewed series’ Season 2.

John Cho has landed a recurring role on the third season of Hulu’s Difficult People. He’ll appear as Todd, an ad exec who plays the boyfriend of series star Billy Eichner. Season 3 of Difficult People will air this summer.

Speaking of guest spots, you can look for troubled singer Chris Brown appearing on ABC’s Black-ish next week. According to EW, Brown will play a rapper named Rich Youngsta who Dre gets to star in an ad campaign, but Dre is conflicted when Bow and Ruby point out that his work plays on negative stereotypes.

NatGeo has secured a stellar cast for their forthcoming military-based miniseries The Long Road Home. The 8-episode series centers on the events of April 4, 2004, a day known as “Black Sunday” in military circles. That was the day a platoon from the 1st Calvary Division in Fort Hood, Texas was ambushed in Sadr City in Baghdad. Michael Kelly will star as the Lt. Col. leading a daring rescue operation when the division came under attack. According to the Hollywood Reporter, others starring in the miniseries include Jason Ritter, Kate Bosworth, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeremy Sisto, Noel Fisher, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Jon Beavers, E.J. Bonilla, Ian Quinlan and Darius Homayoun.

Chris Messina will join Amy Adams in HBO’s new eight-episode drama series Sharp Objects. According to Deadline, the series centers on reporter Camille Preaker (Adams), fresh from a psychiatric hospital stay, who returns home learning of the death of two pre-teen girls. During the course of the investigation, she begins to identify with the victims in the psychological thriller. Messina plays Kansas City detective Richard Willis, who is brought in to provide support to the small town sheriff investigating the deaths, and it’s not long before Willis and Preaker both find themselves on the same path to solve the crimes.

That didn’t take long! Bones star David Boreanaz will move on from the long-running FOX series to head up a new Navy SEAL drama pilot for CBS. According to Deadline, Boreanaz will replace Jim Caviezal as the lead after the actor bowed out of the role after recently being cast. Boreanaz will star as Jason, the leader of a respected assault team. Max Theriot, Neil Brown Jr., A.J. Buckley, Toni Trucks and Jessica Pare have also been cast in the pilot.

In other casting news, former Judging Amy star Amy Brennemen is set to headline the CBS drama pilot The Get, from 11.22.63 showrunner Bridget Carpenter. The show centers on a group of tireless Internet journalists who pursue unconventional means of reporting in order to uncover injustice. Brad Garrett, Michael Rady, Emayatzay Corinealdi, Alex Fitzalan and Jeananne Goosen are set to co-star.

J.J. Abrams‘ Bad Robot production company is teaming up with RuPaul for a half-hour dramedy series based around RuPaul’s rise from club kid to one of the most well-known drag queens in the world. Deadline reports the drama will be set in New York City during the ’80s.

Sesame Street will add a new muppet to the show named Julia who is the first character to have autism. Julia first made her debut in the Sesame Street universe in a digital storybook called Sesame Street and Autism: See the Amazing in All Children back in 2015. Julia will make her debut on the children’s show in April.

‘Twice Born’ DVD Giveaway From Hollywood Outbreak

Twice Born

We’re giving away Three (3) DVD copies of Twice Born, an epic mystery/drama starring Penelope Cruz and Emile Hirsch.

To enter our contest, please follow these  instructions:

1.  Please follow @Hollyoutbreak & our sister site @DeepestDreaming on Twitter.

2.  On either one of our Twitter accounts, tweet us your favorite Penelope Cruz or Emile Hirsch movie and briefly tell us why you love the film!

3. Email your address info once you complete steps 1 & 2. You can reach me at:

4.  Entrants must live in the U.S. and be at least 17.

5.  The three DVD winners will be randomly drawn.

**** The Deadline for this Giveaway is Monday, March 3 at 10 pm pt. Good luck!!

Here’s the boilerplate press release regarding Twice Born:

Based on the runaway European bestseller by Margaret Mazzantini, TWICE BORN begins as the Italian professor Gemma (Cruz) heads off on a summer vacation to the battle-scarred city of Sarajevo with her discontented teenaged son Pietro.  She longs to show him the country where she fell passionately in love with his father, Diego (Hirsh) – but she is about to discover a long-hidden secret, one that will reveal far more to their knotted past than even her haunted memories can disclose.

Years before, when she herself was still a student, Gemma traveled to a very different Sarajevo, an electric, youthful city in the midst of the triumphant 1984 Winter Olympics.  It was then that she began a heated love affair with the young American photographer Diego, drawn to his intense zest for life and art.  For a time, she was compelled only by the all-consuming desire to start a family with him; but that desire would soon be complicated by her struggles to conceive, and her hopes of becoming a mother would in turn be interrupted by the coming of the brutal Balkan war and the longest violent siege of a city in modern history. In a series of transforming events, Gemma would finally make it back to Italy – but alone with an infant son who has never known the story of who he is or how he was born.

Roaming Sarajevo for the first time in 18 years, an unnerved Gemma at last begins to uncover the hidden truth of both the terrifying incidents and the remarkable acts of generosity that brought her and Pietro together — and now to a crossroads. In the face of a mother’s ultimate moral dilemma, she finds the redemptive power of love in this poignant and powerful film, also starring Jane Birkin (La Belle Noiseuse, Death on the Nile), which Roger Moore of McClatchey Tribune calls “an old-fashioned war romance…packed with third-act surprises”.

Here’s the trailer:

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posted by Greg Srisavasdi

Music Is Woody Allen’s Secret Filmmaking Weapon

to_rome_with_loveBeing released theatrically today, TO ROME WITH LOVE is iconic movie-maker WOODY ALLEN’S latest romantic comedy entry and, like last year’s MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, makes good use of one of Europe’s most glamorous cities to tell its tales. Written and directed by ALLEN (who also stars), the cast includes ALEC BALDWIN, JESSE EISENBERG, ROBERTO BENIGNI, JUDY DAVIS, PENELOPE CRUZ, CAROL ALT, ALISON PILL and ELLEN PAGE. Like most of ALLEN’S films, music plays an important role and he makes liberal use of everything from pop classics to classical selections. At the press conference to promote the film, ALLEN talked about the importance of music in his films. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
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TO ROME WITH LOVE opens in theaters today