A woodcutter’s son journeys to find hope to save his father and his kingdom. Very straightforward festive origin fantasy shamelessly lifted structure-wise from The Princess Bride. A decent cast helps no end: the flick relies on professional support for its scant charm.
Investigating a stolen jewel, Poirot finds himself at a luxury resort where there is murder afoot. An if-it-ain’t-broke sequel to Death On The Nile, though this time with the camp dialled right up. Solid cast, a fancy isolated location, a puzzle to solve, no-one taking things too seriously.
Sonny and Sunaina are to be married, but complications arise when an expansion plan is threatened. With the hotel residents’ stories pretty much told in the first movie, this sequel struggles to justify itself, lifting instead the plot of a Fawlty Towers episode. Still, fans won’t complain, plus Richard Gere twinkles in support.
British senior citizens relocate to India, where they find themselves in a dilapidated retirement hotel. Slight but fun romantic comedy aimed directly at Mamma Mia!fans. A strong cast helps; the film decides this isn’t the place to schematically engage with the negative impacts of colonialism, going instead for crinkly and twinkly. A sequel soon followed.
Potter is threatened by a notorious escaped prisoner and ally of the Dark Lord. The third in the sequence is a touch darker, expanding the movie universe away from the quest-based adventures of parts 1 and 2. A step up all around, with confident direction, better effects, and actors maturing into their roles.
Hercule Poirot holidays in Egypt; murder is soon afoot. Quasi-sequel to Murder on the Orient Express. Breezy escapist fun with a rich cast of character actors and bright young things hamming/preening respectively, though its clumsy treatment of non-whites plays as racist rather than as innocent comic relief.
Harry and friends search for a hidden part of Hogwarts. Second and perhaps the least of the Rowling adaptations, this mimics the structure of the first, though adds enough novelty to please fans, and begins to develop the series mythology.
An orphan boy finds that he’s a famous wizard child; his education begins. The first Potter movie is a straightforward breeze through the book. Awkward early performances and under-par CG aside, this is reasonable family fun, though no classic.
A writer finds he has no option but to allow an old lady to live in a van in his drive. Charming and semi-fantastical comedy-drama which makes much of its strong lead performances, and offers some neat asides about writing and processes of adaptation along the way.