(L-R) Kenneth Branagh and Leslie Odom, Jr. on the Orient Express.

*“Murder on the Orient Express” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” are both timely and hilarious.

Orient Express,” the Agatha Christie classic adapted a number of times, is directed by Kenneth Branaugh for the 21st century moviegoers.

Besides being a brilliant director and actor (he stars as Hercule Poirot), Branaugh is known for his diverse casting. True to form, Leslie Odom, Jr. plays Dr. Abuthnor. But in the 1974 movie, Sean Connery played Abuthnor as a Colonel.

Audiences will not only be drawn in by this suspenseful murder mystery that takes place on a train geared towards the upper crust of society, but the sweeping and vibrant cinematography. The rest of the cast is just as impressive: Judy Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Penelope Cruz, and Willem Dafoe.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

“It seems the Police Department is too busy torturing Black folks to solve actual crimes.” (Mildred Hayes)

Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand in ‘Three  Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.’
Merrick Morton. © 2017 Photo

“Three Billboards” is a powerful film and is among this year’s best. After months have passed and a killer has not been brought to justice for the murder of her daughter, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) sets out to get results. She says, “It seems the Police Department is too busy torturing Black folks to solve actual crimes.”

The town, with racist police officers, is turned upside down when Mildred puts up three billboards chastising Sheriff Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) for not doing more to solve the crime.

Directed by Martin McDonagh, the film also stars Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish, Clarke Peters, Amanda Warren, Lucas Hedges, and Eleanor T. Threatt.

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