Showing posts with label Movie Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Movie Reviews. Show all posts

Friday, April 29, 2022

As Luck Would Have It - Hallmark Movie Review

As Luck Would Have It

The Hallmark channel is always a reliable source for clean, romantic movies or fun mysteries without the gory scenes.  

For those of us who love Hallmark movies, we don't mind that they are often predictable.  After all, a lot of movies are predictable, especially if you search for a movie by category. 

On Hallmark, viewers don't have to worry about uncomfortable scenes in mixed company or with children in the house.  Personally, I don't like having inappropriate or disgusting images burned into my mind.  Therefore, Hallmark is my favorite movie channel, even if the movies are often described by some as cookie-cutter.

As luck would have it, I recently happened upon this sweet romantic movie starring Joanna Garcia Swisher.  I liked it so much that I watched it twice in one week. I kept trying to place why Swisher felt so familiar to me.  Then it dawned on me: she is one of the main characters in the TV series, Sweet Magnolias.  Her character in both this movie and the TV series are very similar and easily likable. 

Allen Leech is also a familiar face thanks to his role as Tom Branson in Downton Abbey.  Fans will also note similarities between his characters, Tom and Brennan.  Again, he is likable in spite of, or perhaps because of, his Irish temperament. 

Together, they make a lovely couple!

 

As Luck Would Have It  (2021)  Hallmark Movie

Lindsey Johnson is a young, single, vivacious go-getter that works for a real estate developing company that has its eye on purchasing a specific piece of land in Kilabbey, Ireland.  However, there is one big problem in the way.  Currently, an old castle is built on the property.  The Krispen Group, Lindsey's employer, wants to buy the land, tear down the castle, and build a new resort hotel in its place.

 As Luck Would Have ItCheck PriceThe Kilabbey town inherited the castle and the property from the last original family member.  The town council's desire is to refurbish the castle and maintain the history of this gorgeous landmark.

There is a clash when the protectors of history meet with the ambitious developers who want to change everything. The Krispen Group is not the first company to want to swoop in and grab the desired property. To date, the town council has held firm on not selling to anyone who wants to replace the castle, a cherished landmark in the heart of the town.

As the Krispen Group's most experienced and successful representative, Lindsey arrives in Kilabbey right before the annual Match Making festival.  This big event brings a lot of tourists to Kilabbey in the hopes of finding true love, as well as guests who have wonderful memories of past festivals.  The final festival celebration is always held in the Ballydonal castle, which was the original festival site.

Due to the city council's refusal of the Krispen Groups proposal, Lindsey decides to stay in Kilabbey in the hopes of finding a way to get them to accept their offer.  

The week long Match Making Festival in Kilabbey provides tremendous insight into the town, the people, their love for their history, and their beloved castle.  Plus, Lindsey makes new friends from other parts of the world who treasure Kilabbey, the castle, and their festival.

 

 



"As Luck Would Have It" is a must-see movie for those who love romantic movies, as well as those who love a touch of history. The setting is gorgeous and will make you want to visit the fictional town of Kilabbey, Ireland or better yet, travel to Dublin Ireland and tour Howth Castle where the movie was actally filmed.

 

2 Ways to Watch "As Luck Would Have It"

 

 

More Great Movies Reviewed


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As Luck Would Have It - Hallmark Movie Review by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 



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Monday, April 18, 2022

Movie Review: The Biggest Little Farm

I recently watched The Biggest Little Farm and loved it so much that I am going to order the DVD so that I can watch it repeatedly. The Biggest Little Farm is a film documenting a couple who jump from apartment life to farm life and their progress toward regenerative farming. It is a beautifully filmed story about chasing and obtaining dreams as well as caring deeply for the land.



"This all started with a promise we made to a dog"

 In 2010, John and Molly were living in an apartment in Santa Monica, California. She is a private chef who specialized in traditional cooking methods. She dreamt of owning a farm and growing everything she could cook. While they lived in this apartment, she grew her own tomatoes on her balcony and shopped at farmer's markets.

John is a filmmaker. While filming an animal hoard situation, with over 200 animals being removed, John met one particular dog and fell in love. They adopted the big black fluffy dog with the just-look-at-those eyes and named him Todd.

"Todd filled us with purpose."

"We made one promise to him... our home would be his last."

Except Todd was not necessarily cooperative. He. Barked. Nonstop. Large fluffy dog in an apartment barking during every moment his family is away is not a good situation. The poor neighbors complained. Molly and John tried many different things to try to solve the problem including dog trainers, calming dog vests, and taking him everywhere they went. 

Eventually, the eviction notice arrived. Molly and John had some tough choices to make.

They decided that Molly's dream of living on a farm would be the solution. Farms are perfect for dogs. And for people who eat farm to table. Except there was a problem. Molly and John did not have the funds. So they got investors for this land and this "old way of farming". And they purchased Apricot Lane Farm approximately 1 hour north of Los Angeles.

They wanted to turn this neglected piece of land into a healthy and thriving farm with traditional farming practices and they highlighted how farms have turned into singular-focused businesses. For example, each farm specializes in one item such as avocados. Or chickens. But Molly and John wanted to "emulate how natural ecosystems work. They regulate themselves through diversity".  But how to achieve that? 

A man named Alan York mentored them. He had a vision that they couldn't quite see. And he had a plan. This plan included starting the land over and removing what had been planted there. John and Molly didn't quite understand where he was going with his plan. It's hard to understand what you don't know but they followed his advice the best they could.

In order to avoid spoilers, I will stop here.

Recommending The Biggest Little Farm

I highly recommend this film. The cinematography was breath-taking at points. The film was a combination of high quality and beautifully filmed sections that were "National Geographic" in quality mixed with clips from what appeared to be home-videos shot from a handy cell phone. 

I did find myself wondering how in the world they just happened to have all of these video clips over the years that were adequate to tell the story. And the cynical side of me thought it had to be set up or staged in some way. But during an interview I have since watched, John answers that concern. Being a filmmaker, documenting their journey was a part of his everyday life (I imagine much like I find myself filming my chickens, deer, and the sunsets on my ridge each day). In addition, some of their interns had a similar interest in journalism. So they decided to video and to save those videos; the good, bad, and in between. This is how they had so many pieces of the journey on video.

At points, I also thought that they were going to go down the path of farmer-bashing which would have irritated me. But they didn't. They pointed out that farming has been moving away from farms with a variety of crops/livestock to businesses with a single crop/focus.

Is their natural, regenerative ecosystem something I could replicate? Well. No. I am not up to the challenge of finding investors to buy 200 acres of land. Nor am I organized enough to bring in interns to help. I can barely manage myself most days. However, I would LOVE to have this sort of ecosystem, in miniature, on my land in some way. Much like when John and Molly listened to Alan York's directions in the beginning, I just don't quite get it. But I am trying to learn.

This is not a how-to movie. There are no step-by-step directions and I will have to do much research on my own. However, this movie does give a visual overview of how a very damaged ecosystem begins to find it's balance with some help. This movie inspires. This also is a movie about humans who loved a dog enough to give him his forever home.

Rent or Buy The Biggest Little Farm?

You can do as I did and rent this movie on Amazon Prime for just a few dollars. I realized that with Amazon Prime, I could rent movies and avoid buying the DVDs and Blu-Rays that stack up and collect dust when I don't care to view them again. When I rent a movie that I know I'll want to re-watch many times, I do end up buying the copy. This is one of those movies that I will order so that it is on my bookcase and I can watch it again and again.

 





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Friday, April 15, 2022

Emma (2020) Movie Review

Emma
I recently watched the 2020 version of "Emma" starring Anya Taylor-Joy and I was pleasantly surprised.  As a matter of fact, this "Emma" is my favorite version of the movie based on the book by Jane Austen. I have seen a few others in the past, but none quite hit the mark for me.

Anya Taylor-Joy is the perfect choice!  She is exactly how I envision Emma and she did an outstanding job of bringing the character to life. I also liked the actor (Johnny Flynn) that played the part of George Knightley.  As an added bonus, Emma's father was played by Bill Nighy who was superb.  He made me laugh out loud several times with his obsession with drafts and his ability to seem almost clueless, yet very caring, at times.

All three of these actors deserve awards for excellence.  Together, they made this movie exceptional and one I would highly recommend, especially if you are a Austen fan who has been previously disappointed by "Emma" film adaptations. 

The costumes and scenery are additional elements that made this movie great.  Alexandra Byrne also deserves an award for perhaps being the best Regency-era costume designer ever.  Emma's wardrobe was totally fabulous.


Emma (2020)

 Emma (2020) [DVD]Check PriceEmma Woodhouse is not immediately interested in romance and marriage for herself, but she does believe she is the perfect matchmaker due to her recent "success" of introducing her former governess to a local widower, which resulted in marriage.  This self-appointed "occupation" puts her in some rather delicate situations since others misunderstand her actions and intentions. 

The movie begins on her former governess's wedding day and we quickly meet most of the main characters.  Her neighbor and friend, Mr. Knightley, did not attend the wedding, but he does come by their home afterwards to ascertain if all went well.

Emma befriends Harriet Smith, an orphan at the local boarding school.  She is determined to help Harriet by instructing her in proper manners so she can attract a husband of a higher station.  Harriet is already infatuated with one of Mr. Knightley's tenet farmers, Mr. Martin, but he is not suitable for Harriet in Emma's opinion. 

Due to her meddling, several relationships are strained, feelings are hurt, and decisions with consequences are made, but you can't help liking Emma.  Thanks to the comic relief throughout the movie, what might normally cause stress has little effect on the viewers overall mood.

While her heart to help might be admirable, Emma's actual actions show how young, arrogant, and naive she really is.  Fortunately for her, she is surrounded by people who love her and are willing to forgive.





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Emma (2020) Movie Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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Thursday, March 10, 2022

Review of Classic Movie Night


 A classic movie night is a great way to share an evening with friends, good food, and watch some great old movies.

Starting Our Classic Movie Night

    In early 2006 several of our friends and us decided to get together for a night of entertainment.  There were three couples involved and we decided we would enjoy having dinner together and then watching a classic movie.  When we started we decided to take turns hosting the evening and the host would provide the meal and the movie choice. 
      Over the years the evening has evolved and  now our monthly evenings ended up being about 4-6 times a year. We also now all contribute to the meal with one person bringing the entree, one the side dish and a third the dessert.  Over the years we have had breaks due to health issues and Covid but we always get back to all wanting to have our evenings together.  Everytime we meet we have a great time and say we must do this more often.  But then, life happens and it ends up being several months before we get together again.
   Back in 2006, the first movie we saw was Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.  We felt it was the perfect movie to start our "Classic Movie Nights"
 Here is a link to Casablanca on Amazon.  You might want to choose it for your first "Classic Movie Night"                 

Casablanca

The first year we got together we would sometimes see two movies when we got together. We have since decided that we would rather just watch one movie, leaving plenty of time for a discussion on the movie and other conversation.

Keeping Track of Our Movies

    One of the things I started right from the beginning is keeping a list of all the movies we watched.  My daughter gave me a great little book.  This little journal book gives you a page for each movie you see.  I list the title, director, stars and date we watched it.  There is also places for ratings and comments.  Over the years we have referred back to this book whenever we are looking for another movie to watch.  When someone says we already saw that one as a group, we just pull out the book and check.  Our memories can sure play tricks on us.  Here is a link to this movie journal on Amazon.



Choosing the Movies to Watch

    Choosing the movies to watch can be a fun part of the night too.  We all see each other at other times in the month so we will have discussions on what to watch.  We all prefer different types of movies so we try to alternate who makes the final decision and we have each been enriched by watching movies we might not of watched if we weren't in the group.
     One discussion we have had over the years is to determine what is and isn't a classic movie.  We have checked lots of lists online for ideas but basically it comes down to an old movie that we really would like to see.  Usually we try for something at least 50 years old.

One of our favorite movies we have watched is 12 Angry Men. This  movie stars Henry Fonda, Lee J Cobb, Ed Begley, EG Marshall and Jack Warden.  When we talk about good movies we have watched over the years 12 Angry Men always enters the discussion.  It was the movie we saw the second time we got together. 

Here is a list of some of our other favorites over the years.  There are many more and I would say that in the 40 plus movies we have viewed we only found a couple that none of us liked.
  • Breakfast at Tiffanys
  • Stagecoach
  • Fortune Cookie
  • Double Indemnity
  • Some Like it Hot
  • Manchurian Candidate
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
  • Pride of the Yankees
  • African Queen
  • Birdcage
  • On the Waterfront
  • Citizen Kane
  • Sabrina
  • Key Largo
  • True Lies
  • The Quiet Man

Theme Nights

Sometimes we have theme nights.  Recently for a night near Valentines Day we watched a romantic comedy. When Harry Met Sally.   During the political elections we watched a comedy My Fellow  Americans with Dan Akroyd, James Garner and Jack Lemmon.
    In December we try to watch a Christmas classic.  Among others we have watched Going My way and The Bishop's Wife.  Here is a review fellow reviewer Cynthia did on The Bishop's Wife.


Future Choices

We are always looking for good movies to watch.  If you have a favorite please list it in the comment section so we can consider it for a future "Classic Movie Night".  




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Friday, March 4, 2022

Appetite for Love Hallmark Movie Review

When searching for a new movie to watch, I came across "Appetite for Love".  It was released in 2016, but somehow I have missed seeing it. 

As a huge Hallmark fan, I didn't feel I needed to look further. I felt confident this would be a good movie and one I would enjoy watching. 

I had seen Andrew Walker (Clay Hart) in several Hallmark movies, but Taylor Cole (Mina Jones) was new to me even though she has starred in several Hallmark movies previously.

From the very beginning, I liked Taylor Cole.  She was easily believable as a current day business executive from a small rural town in Tennessee.  Andrew Walker seems almost born to play the part of Clay Hart, a country boy committed to seeing his home town prosper in spite of outside forces that he must take seriously.  

With the typical feel-good Hallmark theme of romance & fun, and even with the challenges of big city interference, "Appetite for Love" leaves viewers happy and with an appetite for more.     

 

Appetite for Love

 Appetite for LoveCheck PriceMina loves her job, her career.  She is definitely headed in the right direction with the company. She has a great boyfriend, who happens to be a co-worker and their life together is headed in the right direction. Her life seems perfect.  It is exactly what she wanted when she left small town USA to carve out her career.  Since her parents have moved, there is really no reason for her to return to Sycamore Springs, Tennessee.  Well, that is true until her company sends her there to force their newly acquired franchised restaurant into compliance with the company rules, menus, and suppliers.  Her promotion depends on her successfully implementing the required changes at Hart's Restaurant, which happens to be owned by her high school sweetheart's family.

Since his father's recent death, Clay Hart is the operator of the towns popular Hart's Restaurant.  The chef knows what the customers want and he prepares the food accordingly.  Hart's uses locally grown products and the food is cooked fresh daily.  However, that is not in compliance with the company requirements since they are not serving food from the company menu supplied by the chosen vendors.  What's more, Clay is not interested in making those changes.  He knows what his town prefers. Unfortunately, his restaurant is no longer owned by his family.

As you can see, Mina and Clay are about to knock heads. The past has a way of interfering when old hurts become part of the present. Things get even more difficult when Mina's co-worker boyfriend shows up to "help" and report back to corporate.  After all, the people of Sycamore Springs are important to Mina too, even though she tried to forget those friends and her childhood there.

 


2 Ways to Watch "Appetite for Love"

 

 

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Appetite for Love Hallmark Movie Review by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 



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Monday, February 28, 2022

The Wedding Veil Trilogy: Hallmark Movie Review

Who doesn't love a Hallmark movie Trilogy?! Welcome to the The Wedding Veil Trilogy a romcom which helps ease the way through a snowy February here in the midwest. Three tried and true Hallmark starts led by Lacey Chabert as the actor, developer and executive producer bring the mystery of the wedding veil to life and leaves the viewer eagerly awaiting each part of the trilogy.



The story behind the mysterious vintage wedding veil is the fourth star of the trilogy as we travel along with three long time girlfriends and how the wedding veil they discovered and purchased on their annual girls trip brings future fun, intrigue and romance.

As usual with a Hallmark movie the believability of the storyline does tend to lie with the chemistry. The three movies in the trilogy have an abundance of chemistry between each of the female co stars along with their respective love interests. Movie 2 of the trilogy was filmed in Italy and the authenticity is not only believable, but gorgeous!

Hallmark fans should keep an eye out for the movies which are currently being replayed and will continue to stream on the Hallmark channel this month (and I suspect much longer due to their popularity already!)

Movie 1 The Wedding Veil Lacey Chabert & Kevin McGarry

Movie 2 The Wedding Veil Unveiled Autumn Reeser & Paolo Bernardini

Movie 3 The Wedding Veil Legacy Allison Sweeney & Victor Webster

 

Watch The Stars Chat about the Movies 

View on Youtube here >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN5JDDU4uLw


Do I need to watch the Wedding Veil movies in order?

I don't believe it is necessary to watch the movies in order! A recap of the interweaving veil theme is given at the beginning of each movie and is self explanatory. While related via the veil, the characters of each movie and the storyline can easily stand alone. 

 

More Hallmark Movie Reviews

Hallmark Christmas Movies 2021 Reviewed by The Savvy Age

Hallmark Christmas Movies 2020 Reviewed by The Savvy Age

Finding Father Christmas by Cynthia

Christmas Tree Lane by The Savvy Age

Broadcasting Christmas by Cynthia

Top Ten Hallmark Christmas Movies by The Savvy Age

Debbie Macomber's Mr. Miracle Hallmark Movie Review by Cynthia




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Monday, February 14, 2022

Hallmark Christmas In February Movies Reviewed

What's a better way to spend a cold winter night than with a little Hallmark Christmas movie magic? Grab the hot cocoa, a fuzzy wrap and snuggle in for Hallmark Christmas In February Movies. Great way to catch up on those Christmas movie gems you may have missed in prior years.



One of the advantages since Hallmark has embraced the Christmas movie is the huge selection of movies available. The themes are traditional Hallmark and that is indeed part of the charm if you are a fan. No surprises here with a usual happy ending and that indeed is also part of the charm!

 Yes, I have watched alot of Hallmark Christmas movies. There are a few favorites which always come to mind when I think of Hallmark Christmas movies. Enjoy this compilation of Hallmark Christmas movies I rate highly. Hallmark delivers as promised and that is also part of their charm!

Favorite Royal Themed Hallmark Christmas Movies

Top Three:

Tied at Number 1

1. A Crown For Christmas with Danica McKellar and Rupert Penry -Jones (2015)

1. A Royal Christmas with Lacey Chabert and Stephan Hagan (2014)

3. One Royal Holiday with Laura Osnes and Aaron Tveit (2020)

Favorite Road trip Hallmark Christmas Movies

1. A Christmas Detour with Candace Cameron Bure and Paul Greene (2015)

2. Cross Country Christmas with Rachel Leigh Cook and Greyston Holt (2021)

3. A Christmas To Remember with Mira Sorvino and Cameron Mathison (2016)

Favorite I Traveled Across The Country Hallmark Christmas Movies

A Very Merry Mix Up with Alicia Witt and Mark Wiebe (2013)

Christmas Under Wraps with Candace Cameron Bure and David O'Donnell (2014)

Christmas In Homestead with Taylor Cole and Michael Rady (2016)

Let It Snow with Candace Cameron Bure and Jesse Hutch (2013)

Favorite Christmas Party Hallmark Christmas Movies

Good Morning Christmas with Allison Sweeney and Marc Blucas (2020)

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses with Jill Wagner and Matthew Davis (2020)

Christmas At Castle Hart (2021) with Lacey Chabert and Stewart Townsend

Favorite Hallmark Christmas Movies With Dance As A Theme

The Christmas Waltz with Lacey Chabert and Will Kemp (2020)

A Nutcracker Christmas with Amy Acker, Sascha Radetsky (2016)

Come Dance With Me with Andrew McCarthy and Michelle Nolden (2013)

Favorite Hallmark Christmas Movie Series & Sequels

Cast: Ashley Williams, Paul Greene,  Mark Deklin, Jill Wagner, Maggie Lawson,  Malcolm Stewart, Holly Robinson Peete, Marcus Rosner, Teddy Sears.

Christmas In Evergreen (2017)

Christmas In Evergreen: Letters To Santa (2018)

Christmas In Evergreen: Tidings To Joy (2019)





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Friday, January 28, 2022

Snowkissed - Hallmark Movie Review

Snowkissed
As autumn has turned to winter in our area, the trees and grounds have already been kissed by snow several times. When I saw the movie entitled "Snowkissed", I immediately thought it was a rather romantic way to describe a light snow.  

When it is below freezing outside, I tend to stay inside with a cup of hot cocoa, a warm blanket, and a romantic Hallmark movie.  When the title caught my attention, I decided to check it out.

Setting my first thoughts aside, I read the movie description and thought it might be a nice love story, but I watched it because the title evoked lovely mental imagery.  

Because I prefer clean and wholesome movies, I most often scan Hallmark movies first for a new film to watch when I just want to relax, not have to think too deeply, and simply be entertained by beautiful settings and likable people.

When a movie makes me smile, or even laugh, I know I have discovered a  cinematic gem.  As it turned out, the love story was sweet, I laughed several times, the scenery was fabulous and was definitely snow kissed.

This movie clearly has it all and was a wonderful escape for an hour and a half.

 

"Snowkissed" Movie Synopsis 


 SnowkissedCheck Price Kate (Jen Lilley) is really excited when she is offered an interview with a popular author, but her excitement is quickly diminished when she finds out she will have to travel to conduct the interview.  She hates to travel.  She likes her well organized, clutter-free life in Manhattan and she has no desire to change anything. However, with the prospect of becoming a staff member instead of a freelance writer, and a lot of encouragement from her photographer friend who will go with her, she decides to face her travel fears and take the assignment.

They arrive at the B&B in Canada to find a struggling business run by two single men who are desperate to get the endorsement of an international travel company that will send a lot of business their way.  As the only two guests for the week, the guys ask Kelly & Jane to go through their 3 day tour and give them honest critiques and suggestions.  However, constructive criticism is not always easy to take, even when it is given by request.

While the set-up of two single men and two single women may seem like the perfect situation, it isn't always a guarantee that they will end up as friends, much less anything more to each other. After all, they live in different countries, all have jobs and responsiblities, and at least one definitely does not like change.

 



If you enjoy a romantic movie with a touch of humor and a lot of gorgeous scenery, then you will love Snowkissed

Watch on Amazon Prime or Buy a Hallmark DVD that includes Snowkissed.




More Great Movies Reviewed


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Snowkissed - Hallmark Movie Review by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 



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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Reviewing Harlan Coben's Stay Close, Netflix Series

I really enjoyed watching Harlan Coben's The Stranger so when I saw another series based on one of his books I was interested. James Nesbitt & Cush Jumbo as two of the leads were another draw for me and I am so glad I watched it. 

Reviewing Harlan Coben's Stay Close television series
Image from Pixabay, adapted via Canva by Lou16



If you're interested in Harlan Coben's books then you really should check out my fellow contributor, Wednesday Elf's Harlan Coben book reviews as she is a huge fan of his books.

This series is only eight episodes long and episode one is a little slow, it is well worth persevering, however because the next seven episodes more than makeup for it.   The series is full of twists and turns and red herrings that lead to an ending my husband never saw coming.

I did predict the killer earlier in the series (I can't remember which episode as we binge-watched this over two days), my husband did not believe me and I have to say there were a few moments where I started to second guess myself too!

The series is based in the North West of England and it opens with a young man disappearing after a night out at The Vipers (a nightclub).   One of the detectives who is handed this case to investigate is convinced that it is linked to the disappearance of another man, Stewart Green, last seen at The Vipers seventeen years previously.

We are also introduced to a family of five - Dave, Megan and their three children.   We soon discover that Megan used to be called Cassie.   Cassie worked at The Vipers as an exotic dancer and also disappeared on the same night as Stewart Green seventeen years ago.

I won't go into too much detail as I really want you to discover all the twists and turns for yourself, but I will let you know that after the killer is revealed, everything else gets revealed too so that there are no loose ends for you to continually wonder about.

I really do have to start reading Harlan Coben's books as I love all the plot twists in the television series and just be reading reviews of his books they sound like they are made for me.

Have you seen Stay Close or The Stranger yet?






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Monday, January 17, 2022

Movie Review: Harriet

During certain U.S holidays, I make an effort to learn more about the people or situations behind those holidays. With Martin Luther King Jr Day approaching I decided to sit down and finally watch Harriet. When it comes to thinking of civil rights and the battle for equality, I always find myself thinking of Harriet Tubman and her epic walk to freedom. I am astounded that a woman, a slave woman, walked from the marshes of Dorchester County, Maryland to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "I left my husband and family, there's just me and the Lord" she says to William Still up her arrival in Philadelphia. He replies, "I don't know if you know how extraordinary this is, but by some miraculous means you have made it 100 miles to freedom. All by yourself." But it doesn't seem that Harriet felt alone. She had already proclaimed that "I walk with the Lord". 



I am glad that I made the time to watch the movie Harriet and I recommend it to anyone who would like to know more about this one woman who was literally willing to go to great lengths to make sure she gained her freedom.

Harriet the Movie

Harriet was released in 2019 and stars Cynthia Erivo. Cynthia plays Araminta "Minty" Ross, a slave owned by the Brodess farm family in Dorchester County, Maryland. As a slave, she married John Tubman (a free black man). The movie begins as John presents a letter from a lawyer to Mr. Brodess, stating that legally, Minty's mother was to be released from slavery at age 45. And therefore, they are asking for Minty to be freed so that they can raise their family without fear of their children being sold. That conversation, of course, goes badly. From that point, we watch as things become increasingly difficult. Minty and the fictional Brodess son, Gideon, have a complicated relationship - having been raised together but in the role of slave owner and slave. The farm is facing financial difficulty. And Mr. Brodess dies, leaving the decisions of the farm to his wife and son.

After the death of his father, Gideon posts flyers for the sale of Minty. And she runs. Minty is given one name and location after another along the underground railroad and she flees, narrowly missing being caught. At one point, she jumps from a bridge into a river after stating that she was going to "be free or die". Everyone believes she drowned. But miraculously, she continues on. 

At one point, near the Pennsylvania border, Thomas Garrett is one of the angels along the way. "May I help thee Friend?" he asks her. Although brief, I am glad that one of the characters depicted was of Quaker background. Quakers played a very important role in the success of the underground railroad and I am not sure that is well-known information. It is astounding to me in light of the risks (physical, legal) involved when helping slaves escape during the days of the Fugitive Slave Act that such a peaceful group of people would help others. But they did. Peacefully, they helped free many enslaved people.

After Minty arrives in Philadelphia she is helped by William Still and others. She takes the free name of Harriet Tubman. Harriet obtains a paying job and is living free in Philadelphia. Her story could end there but she feels she can't live fully without her husband and family. 

Harriet returns to Dorchester County to get her husband to come with her. During that trip is when she begins helping other slaves to freedom. She becomes so good at it that advertisements are hung announcing "Moses" the slave stealer and everyone is trying to catch Moses. Some believe Moses is a man in black face. Imagine the surprise when they find that it is the drowned Minty who is stealing their slaves.

Of course, the fight for freedom and stealing slaves is not an easy thing. There is some conflict, physical or emotional, at every turn.

My Personal Thoughts of Harriet the Movie

I think part of the reason I hadn't watched this movie sooner is because I didn't want to ruin some of the images I already had of Harriet Tubman in my head. Sometimes I prefer my imaginings and Hollywood's version isn't the version I want to see. As a young girl, I was amazed that a woman would walk to freedom. As an adult, visiting Dorchester County, I was amazed that a woman would walk through that marshy area to freedom. I was once visiting the area around Fishing Bay, Maryland during a tropical storm. The rain was falling in sheets off and on the entire day. The wet marshes were even more full of water and water was across the roads. And that was the first time I realized that I was in the area where Harriet Tubman (I didn't yet know that wasn't her birth name) was born and raised. We passed a historical marker along a country road. Despite the rain we stopped to read the sign. Off across the field, barely visible through the rain, was a small cabin. The marker listed it as a Harriet Tubman home.

photo by Dawn Rae

Currently, if you travel to that general area, you'll find the Harriet Tubman Museum that was completed in 2019.  It is a small museum but worth the visit in my opinion. And you can drive the Harriet Tubman Byway - a driving tour with many sites related to Harriet Tubman's life.

This movie was not filmed in Dorchester County. I was a bit disappointed about that fact. Hiking 100 miles is a huge feat but walking 100 miles through marshy areas is terrifying to me (I have a great fear of snakes). Also, the movie was an abbreviated depiction of her life. I'm sure it was not easy to pack a lifetime worth of information into a two hour and five minute movie. I would have loved this movie to have been mini-series length. Despite those two things, I enjoyed this moving very much. I loved watching Ms. Erivo as Minty. I think she was perfect for the role. The singing was touching and perfect for the setting. I enjoyed Erivo's voice immensely. 

It will never be determined whether Harriet's head injury (being hit in the head by an overseer) led to her "spells", whether she had a neurological disorder such as seizures, or whether she fell out when God gave her visions, but it is clear that she had an unshakable faith. And she saved lives through that faith. Harriet Tubman was pretty amazing and I recommend this movie to anyone who wants to get a more clear idea of who she was and what she was able to do with her life.

Finally, I rented Harriet for $1.99 on Amazon Prime and watched the movie twice (once for each day of the rental). I don't think you can beat that price for good entertainment. I highly recommend an Amazon Prime membership for good deals on movies and books among other benefits.

find your copy on Amazon





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Friday, December 31, 2021

A New Year's Resolution Hallmark Movie Review

This is a delightfully uplifting movie to watch for New Years!

I have previously bypassed this movie several times because the trailers simply did not appeal to me.  This has taught me that I should never solely rely on the trailers to give me a real representation of whether I will like a movie or not.

True to Hallmark style, this romantic movie is somewhat predictable when Kelly Leone meets Tom Malone, but the story is unique.  

It is clear from the beginning that they are attracted to each other.  However, due to Kelly's New Year's resolution to say "yes" to more social event invitations, their relationship doesn't start with Tom asking her out.  He doesn't want her to feel forced to accept.  Of course, nothing says Kelly can't pursue Tom.  After all, Tom is not bound by any resolution.  Plus, they have several upcoming social events in common. 

Not only did I enjoy the romantic story, I also found myself laughing over several of the scenes.  Truly a nice break and a great way for Hallmark lovers to start the new year.

 

A New Year's Resolution Movie Synopsis

 A New Year's ResolutionCheck PriceKelly Leone is a dedicated morning show producer who has spent the last year working long hours and focusing on getting better ratings for her show.  Now that she has finally gotten the show in a safe zone, she decides it is time for her to focus on her personal life.  While her friends have been extremely understanding and patient with her busy work life, they do express how much they have missed her and want her back.  Kelly recognizes that she has really missed out on some of the changes in their lives, plus the combination of "small moments that makes up the big important stuff in life". 

Because of these revelations, Kelly decides to change her standard New Year's resolution.  She commits herself to her friends and vows that she will accept any social invitation offered to her until her birthday in February.  Her friends don't hesitate to start offering those social invitations, starting with a cold New Year's Day Polar Plunge into Lake Michigan.  Other social invitations include the Blizzard Obstacle Course, speed dating, curling, and facing her greatest fear, a magician.   

When the morning show cast hears of her resolution, they decide to make her the "star" of their new story.  They follow her through her events and film her experiences for the show.  Kelly prefers to be in the background, off camera, but she makes an adorable focus for the new series, as well as for this fun Hallmark movie.

Don't let the trailers keep your from watching this movie!  Why not join me and make it your New Year's resolution to ignore the trailers and watch the movie for yourself. 





Currently, "A New Year's Resolution" is also available on Amazon with a subscription to the Hallmark Channel.  
 


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Friday, December 24, 2021

The Bishop's Wife - Classic Movie Review

There are many messages packed in this one movie.  I've watched it dozens of times over the last 40 years.  With each viewing, I step away feeling blessed and reminded of what Christmas is all about.  

I'm not speaking of the commercial Christmas we are all so familiar with, or even the holiday season of family gatherings, but the real reason for Christmas.  The celebration of the first Christmas when Jesus was born.  As a Christian, I am always grateful for the reminder that I need not stress over decorations, gifts, or even a specific date.  I need only concentrate on Christ, my savior and the gift God gave all of us by giving us His Son.

We are most of the way through the movie when a visiting angel offers a beautiful message for all, the explanation of the symbols most often associated with Christmas.  The star in remembrance of the Star in the East; the gifts in remembrance of the gifts given by the Wise Men; and the bells that represent the cry of the new born child.

This movie was the inspiration of a family tradition I started in our home when our children were babies.  I always hung a stocking inscribed for Jesus alongside the stocking for our family members. I always wanted Jesus to be remembered.

I recently watched "The Bishop's Wife" again and I was struck by the reality of how we often want something and we ask for God's help.  He may not give us exactly what we ask for, but He always answers our prayers with what is best for us, regardless of what we think would be best.

I hope you will take the time to watch this movie and listen for the message it has for you this year.


The Bishop's Wife Movie Synopsis

 The Bishop's WifeCheck PriceCary Grant stars in this movie as Dudley, a visiting angel sent in response to the bishop's prayer.  The bishop, played by David Niven, is completely focused on raising money to build a huge cathedral.

Bishop Henry Brougham can't quite bring himself to agree to the stipulations of one of his parishioners in order to procure the hefty donation she is offering.  Throughout the movie, he continues to implore her to give the donation without unreasonable preconditions. He is so preoccupied with the cathedral fund that he forgets to be grateful for what he has already been blessed with.

It is Dudley's mission to help the bishop refocus on what is most important.  Of course, Dudley touches the heart of every member of the bishop's household with his kind words and thoughtful deeds. What is most unexpected for Dudley is that he is also affected by this mission.




 

I highly recommend watching The Bishop's Wife this Christmas season.  Even if you have watched it many times before, you too may find a new nugget of wisdom hidden within it.

Remember, "as you are walking though these streets of the city, you may suddenly look into a strange face. It may be the face of a murderer or it may be the face of an angel."  (Dudley in "The Bishop's Wife)




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