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

Monday, September 7, 2020

Movie Review: Painted Horses

Watching Painted Horses was just what I needed the other night. A sweet, soothing movie to end the tough day.



Ms. Hoog is a high school teacher in transition. She has left her home and her job to live with her Aunt in a very small town. She is a young, suddenly single mother who is focused on securing insurance and income so that her young son can have the surgery he needs. Ms. Hoog is a young teacher who is nearly driven to quit on her first day. Despite warnings during her interview for the position, she accepts the job.

"These particular kids have a knack for chewing teachers up and spitting them out."

Her classroom is a small group of mis-matched high school kids who do not work well together. Sorry, that was a gross understatement. They fight each other and demean each other. When they do join forces it is to join against the new teacher. The group of students includes the usual subsets of groups: the goody-two-shoes, the angry guy with the knife, the boy scout, the nerds, the rich girl, and the creepy silent kid. Immediately, some of the kids plan to have Ms. Hoog fired.

The thing is... Ms Hoog LOVES history and she has been hired to teach it. And she will do nearly anything so she can schedule her son's surgery. The question is whether or not she's be able to spark the students' imaginations and become their teacher rather than their target. Perhaps her stories of Tennessee's buried and lost treasures can engage these students. 

In addition to the students giving the new teacher a hard time, some of the town leaders are suspicious of the new resident. 

Painted Horses is Breakfast Club meets Freedom Writers and reminded me of Disney on Sunday nights. Wow!  I am giving away my age for sure! I wonder how many people will know what I am referring to. 


This movie is without nudity, profanity, blood and gore. A knife is brandished on a couple of occasions but there is no graphic fight scene. The theme is about teaching, learning, and being in control of the trajectory of your life. I chose the movie because I thought it was focused on horses however horses only made a brief appearance. But I'm still glad I chose to watch. A few negative reviews of the movie cite poor acting and small errors. I agree that this is clearly not a movie with a huge budget or the top handful of celebrities. Honestly, I found it refreshing to watch new (new-to-me) faces.

I have to mention that Aunt Nora was played by Deana Carter. At times, I laughed out loud. Aunt Nora is a perfect example of a bossy, nosy, and supportive aunt. 




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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Columbo TV Series Reviewed

 

Columbo TV Series Reviewed

Who remembers Columbo? If you grew up in the '70s or even the '90s then you may know who Lt. Columbo is. The series began on NBC in 1971 and ran until 1978. I was so disappointed when NBC canceled the series.

 Then, Columbo was picked up by ABC in 1989 and ran until 2003. I don't think we ever missed an episode. In 1989 we moved to Western New York, not far from home in Pennsylvania. Moving is certainly a stressful undertaking, a new town, new schools for the kids, making new friends. This may sound crazy, but the series coming back was like having an old friend in the living room whenever it aired.

Columbo The Complete Series:

Lieutenant Columbo was played by (Peter Falk) a Los Angeles Police Dept. homicide detective. Columbo was not your typical whodunit mystery. Each episode opened with the crime being committed. So, we all knew from the beginning of the show who did it. This popularized what is called the inverted detective format.

During the rest of the show, we watch Columbo solve the crime with his relentless approach of questioning, picking apart the killers alibi, and bringing them to justice. 

To me, the show was more like a comedy, as he would arrive at the crime scene in his old beat-up car, wrinkled suit, trench coat, and smoking his cigar. The suspects become irritated with his persistence and line of questioning. His famous phrase was "Just one more thing". He came off as an incompetent, bumbling detective. It would always be at the end of the episode when they finally figured out how smart Lieutenant Columbo really was.

Some Fun Facts About Columbo:

  • The clothes he wore in the show were Peter Falk's own wrinkled suit and trench coat.
  • He frequently mentions his wife but she never appears in any of the episodes.
  • Columbo's first name is never mentioned. He is known simply as "Lieutenant Columbo".
  • Bing Crosby was originally offered the role of Columbo.
  • In season two they introduced a Basset Hound as Columbo's dog. The dog's name is never mentioned. 
  • The beat-up car Columbo drove was a 1959 Peugeot convertible, Model 403. I read somewhere that only 504 of these cars were manufactured in 1959.
This TV series is surely a classic we still watch it whenever we can find it on television. I still marvel in the endings when Columbo outwits the killer and finds that one clue the killer didn't count on.

Enjoy watching your favorite episodes with this Columbo Complete Series Edition

Columbo: The Complete SeriesColumbo: The Complete Series

 




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Monday, August 24, 2020

Worst Cooks In America: TV Series Reviewed


Have you ever wondered how a meal which seems so easy to make can sometimes go oh so wrong? As in what was I thinking? Did I use sugar instead of salt? Was that a cup or cup and a half of flour?


Been there. But thankfully, only occasionally.

If you need a little laughter in the kitchen then the television show the Worst Cooks In America is for you. (Laughing with the contestants at their culinary journey.)

Worst Cooks Competition


The Worst Cooks In America is an elimination competition cooking show in which contestants are separated into two teams. The teams are captained by well known chefs Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli this season.

Each show has a culinary  theme where the captains guide their team by teaching the contestants how to make a specific meal. The captains coach their team members along the way while the team members learn the ins and outs of cooking ... hopefully.

The first episode of the season features the contestants making their go-to meal from real life. A little scary, very interesting and very creative are some of these dishes. Some dishes combine ingredients that are just. so. not. edible!

A Sense Of Humor

Laughter and humor are also a theme throughout the show as contestants are good humored and the audience is rooting for them to succeed! Contestants are eliminated at the end of each show and they try so hard! As we home cooks know, some days are better than others and cooking can be an inexact endeavor some days for us novices.

Celebrity Worst Cooks

Every so often the show runs a celebrity season and there is always plenty of mirth and mayhem. It is quite amusing to watch celebrities out of their entertainment element and enter the show as the main character.

As the celebrity contestants are already camera friendly their cooking or lack of cooking skills shine through along with their entertaining personalities.

Where To Find Worst Cooks In America?

New episodes of the Worst Cooks In America air at 9 p.m. Sundays on the Food Network.

If you have an Amazon Fire Stick the series is available on the Food Network Kitchen app. The app is also available on Google Play and iPhone. The apps offer some free Food Network shows; however a cable subscription will unlock all the offerings.

If you love to cook or watch cooking shows I think you will enjoy Worst Cooks In America and may even learn a few new skills for your own kitchen along the way.





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Friday, August 14, 2020

Sherlock Holmes Complete Series DVD Reviewed - Starring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock

In my opinion, Jeremy Brett makes the best Sherlock Holmes in any Sherlock movie or series.  This complete DVD series collection is totally awesome!  Now, we can watch, or re-watch, any individual Sherlock Holmes episode whenever we wish. 

Our son gave his father Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Granada Television Series set of DVD's for Father's Day.  He knew this would be the perfect gift for his dad, who originally had the shows on VHS.  The tapes are getting old, plus the DVD collection is much easier to store and watch on a variety of devices including his laptop. What we have discovered though, is that some of the TV series episodes were missing from the tapes, but are included in this DVD collection.  How wonderful it has been to rediscover the missing episodes.

In addition to giving his dad the DVD collection, our son has spent hours watching the shows with us. We all love Sherlock Holmes, therefore it makes the perfect TV series for us to watch together.


Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Granada Television Series

In addition to well known episodes like "The Hound of the Baskervilles" or "The Red Headed League", this 12 disc DVD set includes:
 Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Granada Television SeriesCheck Price
  • A Scandal In Bohemia
  • The Dancing Men
  • The Naval Treaty
  • The Solitary Cyclist 
  • The Crooked Man
  • The Speckled Band
  • The Blue Carbuncle
  • The Copper Beeches 
  • The Greek Interpreter
  • The Norwood Builder
  • The Resident Patient
  • The Final Problem
  • The Empty House
  • The Abbey Grange
  • The Musgrave Ritual
  • The Second Stain
  • The Priory School
  • The Devil's Foot
  • Wisteria Lodge
  • The Disappearance Of Lady Frances Carfax
  • The Boscombe Valley Mystery 
  • Shoscombe Old Place
  • The Last Vampyre
  • The Three Gables
  • The Dying Detective
  • The Red Circle
  • The Cardboard Box
  • The Man With The Twisted Lip
  • The Six Napoleons 
  • Silver Blaze
  • The Bruce-Partington Plans 
  • The Sign Of Four 
  • The Problem Of Thor Bridge
  • The Illustrious Client
  • The Master Blackmailer
  • The Eligible Bachelor 
  • The Creeping Man
  • The Golden Pince-Nez 
  • The Mazarin Stone


That is 43 hours of excellent television shows that are quite intriguing and entertaining.


Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes


As I said in the introduction, Jeremy Brett is my favorite actor that ever played Sherlock Holmes.  His overall looks, facial expressions, his voice inflections, as well as his athleticism are perfect for the Sherlock character.  

In one episode, he easily jumps over and clears a couch.  In other episodes, he is seen stealthily walking up on someone.  He is also masterful in fisticuffs.  It is difficult to believe the same man who can vault over a couch, could also walk so silently, or engage in a physical fight, but Jeremy Brett pulls off each of those feats effortlessly.  He makes the fictional Sherlock Holmes character believable. 

Whilst Sherlock Holmes is also a mental genius, Jeremy Brett is an acting genius!     



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Sherlock Holmes Complete Series DVD Reviewed - Starring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 


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Friday, August 7, 2020

Secondhand Lions (2003) Movie Review

Secondhand Lions (2003) Movie Review
Secondhand Lions starring Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, and Haley Joel Osment is a fantastic movie! It was released in 2003, but is well worth watching now. 

Each week, I take a little time to visit my parents.  We select a movie to watch together, eat snacks, and enjoy our time together.  This past week, Mom selected the movie.  She wanted to watch one of her all-time favorites.  While I remembered the name of the movie, I did not remember much about the story line.  After watching it again, that is pretty surprising.  Secondhand Lions is a fabulous movie! 

If you haven't seen it before, or if it has been a long time since you watched Secondhand Lions, I highly recommend seeing it now.  It is totally appropriate for mixed company of all ages.  I doubt it would be entertaining for young children, but I can't think of a single thing offensive in the movie, although it is rated PG.  I'm sure it got that rating for some reason.  


Secondhand Lions Movie Synopsis


 Secondhand LionsCheck PriceThe introduction of the movie starts with two old men having a blast flying a bi-plane around the countryside, through and into places not meant for planes.  This is the first, but not the last, moment of laughter for us.  

The story begins with 14 year old Walter Caldwell (Haley Joel Osment) riding in the car with his mother, Mae (Kyra Sedgwick).  They are on their way to Mae's uncles home in Texas where she plans to leaves Walter for a few months while she attends court stenographer school.  Even at his young age, Walter is immediately skeptical of her plans.  Apparently attending court stenographer school is another questionable idea in a long line of bad ideas and decisions by Mae.   

Walter isn't very happy with this decision.  He doesn't know his great-uncles, Hub (Robert Duvall) and Garth (Michael Caine).  Until this trip, he has never even heard of them.  Mae explains that they had "disappeared" for many years, but have turned back up in Texas, believed to be quite wealthy.  Driving up to their home, the place doesn't look like it is owned by anyone wealthy, or welcoming.

Staying with his uncles, hearing their fantastical stories of adventure, bravery and extraordinary travels, plus watching the way they behave, Walter doesn't quite know what to make of Hub & Garth.  They seem to live by their own rules and don't care one bit what others think of them.  They even have a real lion brought in for a lion hunt.  Turns out the lion is not up for the chase, but that is as much about the lion as I am going to say. I wouldn't want to ruin the lion fun for you.

By the time Walter's mother returns to pick him up, Walter loves his eccentric uncles and he can clearly see the truth about many things. 


Secondhand Lions is a movie that will make you laugh often, perhaps cry a bit, and leave you feeling good.  This is a must-see movie!  Even if you have seen it before.




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Secondhand Lions (2003) Movie Review by:
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Saturday, August 1, 2020

Heaven is for Real - Movie Review


The other night I came across the movie Heaven is for Real (2014), which I had never seen.  The story-line synosis caught my attention, stating it was an inspirational tale of a young boy who suffers a near-death experience and claims to have visited heaven.


Heaven is for Real Movie Synosis



Available on Amazon
This movie is based on the true story of a 4-year-old boy (Colton, played by Connor Corum) who emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven. The story is told by his father (often in Colton's own words). The father (played by Greg Kinnear) who is a pastor in a rural small-town Nebraska church and a volunteer firefighter, finds that Colton's experience has turned their once peaceful lives upside down. The astonished parents try to find meaning in the alleged miracle, but friends and parishioners are skeptic and dismiss his claims about what Colton experienced. 

Colton begins talking about people he has never met or heard about, such as his great grandfather who died 30 years before he was born.  Colton shares impossible-to-know details about these people he met in Heaven and about having looked down (from heaven) to see the doctor operating on him and how he saw his dad praying in the waiting room. He also talks about how Jesus takes him to meet these people, including a sister he never knew about. 

As townspeople ridicule these stories and school children tease the older sister, his parents try to find the courage and conviction to believe Colton and share his story.  


The Cast


Greg Kinnear does an excellent acting job of portraying Todd Burpo, the father in the movie.  The mom is played by Kelly Reilly and Colton by Connor Corum. The performances of this Christian film are notably thoughtful. 


Heaven is for Real – the Book



The movie is based on the best selling book of the same name. Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back (2010) is a memoir written by Todd Burpo, Colton's father, and Lynn Vincent The book was on the New York Times Bestseller list for a record setting 156 weeks. It is a Christian nonfiction story based on the true experience of the Burpo family. 







Summary


When asked what Heaven was like, Colton answers “Heaven is a lot like earth, except more colorful and more beautiful. “

This is a very sweet, well acted, movie with a Christian based theme. I enjoyed  it very much.



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Written by (c) Wednesday Elf (8/1/2020)








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Friday, July 31, 2020

When Calls the Heart - Hallmark TV Series Reviewed

When Calls the Heart
Many years ago, I read the "Canadian West" book series by Janette Oke.  A few years ago, I started watching the Hallmark channel series "When Calls the Heart" which is based on that book series and is titled after the first book in the series.  

A few weeks ago, I decided to start watching the TV series again from the beginning.  I do love the show!  With the promised release of season eight in 2021, I wanted to go back to the beginning before the new series actually airs.  Yes, I realize I have plenty of time before 2021, but I rarely spend a lot of time watching TV during the holidays and I expect it to take me a few months to watch all of the episodes again.

I would also like to read the book series again.  Janette Oke is one of my favorite authors.  Decades ago, her books were responsible for my discovery of romantic books with a religious theme, which is my preferred book genre.  Any time I see her name on a book, I know I am safe to read that book.  That is extremely important to me.  I don't like grotesque or explicit content in a book or in movies.  Having authors I know will protect my eyes and mind from uncomfortable subject matter makes my book and movie selections a whole lot easier.

This sweet series, that deals with real life issues, is an inspiration.  I really like all of the characters and actors past and present.  

There are extremely sad times in the show, but overall I am left with a feeling of happiness after watching an episode.  And, I am always eager to watch the next one. It is so nice to be able to watch them back to back, without delays or months between the seasons. I have been surprised to realize there were a few things I had forgotten and have enjoyed rediscovering them.


The Synopsis of the Hallmark Series, When Calls the Heart


 When Calls the Heart - Seasons 1-5
Ultimate Collector's Edition
Check Price
In search of a purposeful life, Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) accepts a teaching position in Coal Valley in western Canada.  She immediately discovers that her wealthy family background has not prepared her for the frontier.  That is pretty obvious to everyone, but she is determined to survive, thrive, and succeed.  Fortunately for Elizabeth, she is befriended by a very respected and loved resident, Abigail Stanton (Lori Loughlin) who supports and encourages her in her new life.

Coal Valley has recently endured a horrific coal mine explosion that has made dozens of the women in town (including Abigail Stanton), widows and many of the school children fatherless.  Their church, which housed their school, was burned down.  The classroom has been moved into the saloon, the only local business with a large enough room.  The saloon also doubles as a hotel, which means the students are occasionally interrupted by guests coming in or out, even though the bar is closed during school hours.

Shortly after Elizabeth arrives in Coal Valley, a newly assigned Mountie arrives.  Constable Jack Thornton is not happy with his new assignment.  He was headed to the desired and prestigious assignment of Cape Fullerton when he was redirected and sent to Coal Valley instead.  As soon as Jack hears Elizabeth's last name, he realizes she is the reason he was reassigned and is immediately resentful.  She is clueless about why the new Mountie seems to be mad at her until he explains that clearly her father had him reassigned so he could watch over his "princess" daughter.  Elizabeth isn't happy about it either.  She wants to prove herself capable and independent. She doesn't want or need a Mountie "taking care" of her and she is quick to point that out to Constable Jack.  This is just the first of many conflicts and misunderstandings between Elizabeth and Jack.

Each episode is filled with frontier adventure, drama, life, love, & loss.  Elizabeth is the main character, but there are several other individuals whose stories and lives become very important to the viewer.  Be prepared, you may find yourself talking to the TV, laughing, crying, hissing or even booing some of the people and scenes in this fabulous Hallmark series which will leave you wanting more.  
 

One Extra Note: Be sure you have access to Season 6 before you watch Season 5. You won't wish the finale of Season 5 to be the last thing you see.






Currently, the "When Calls the Heart" seasons can be purchased on DVD linked above, but are also available on Amazon to pay per episode though Season 7.  


More Great News for "When Call the Heart" - Hallmark has announced there will be a Season 8!


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When Calls the Heart - Hallmark TV Series Reviewed Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 


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Friday, July 17, 2020

Fracture Movie Starring Anthony Hopkins & Ryan Gosling Reviewed

I recently watched Fracture (2007) starring Anthony Hopkins & Ryan Gosling again.  It is one of the older movies in my DVD collection, which I have been delving into lately.  

I have been reminded how some of the movies from the past are a lot better than current day releases. They have an actual plot that keeps the viewer enthralled in the movie.  This is not light-watching material that can be used as background noise.  This is definitely a movie that demands your attention.

While there is some bad language, it seems to fit with the plot and not shoved into the dialog for ratings. Even though the movie is about adultery and murder, nothing requires a viewer to turn away due to grotesque or salacious scenes.  None of that extraneous stuff was required in this movie. The plot, itself, is enough to keep you glued to the set.

In fact, my DVD stopped about 25 minutes before the end.  I cleaned, wiped, and even washed the DVD, but nothing I did cleared the issue.  Apparently, my DVD has a deep scratch in it that cannot be repaired.  We were determined to see the end though, so my dad purchased a two day rental just so we could finish the movie.  

It is quite sad that my DVD is ruined!  It had been long enough since the movie's release, that I had totally forgotten most of the show and definitely the end.  It was like watching it for the first time.  


Plot Synopsis of the Movie "Fracture"


 Fracture (Widescreen Edition)I find myself wondering why the movie was named "Fracture".  It could be because of the fractured marriage.  Or perhaps, it may refer to the injury incurred.  It would also be applicable to the faulty thinking due to emotions.  Let me explain why either would be accurate. 

Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) is an aeronautical engineer that owns his own company.  He is calculating and methodical. To say he is a genius, might actually be an understatement. 

When Ted discovers his wife is having an affair, he doesn't immediately respond.  He plans his revenge.  He takes steps to ensure he will not be found guilty of anything in a court of law.  He shoots his wife, but not fatally.  She is in a coma with permanent brain damage.

When Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling), the bright shining star in the D.A.'s office, is appointed to prosecute Ted for attempted murder, he believes it is an open and shut case.  After all, he has the assumed evidence, as well as a confession.  However, his legal mind is challenged by Crawford's meticulous intellect and plan execution.    

The decisions both of these men make will have a lifetime of consequences.  It was quite fascinating to watch these two men face-off and match wits.  

Like any great suspense movie, or book, you should expect the unexpected.  The twists and intellectual genius are what makes this movie spectacular!

 

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Fracture Movie Starring Anthony Hopkins & Ryan Gosling Reviewed by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 


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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Mamma Mia Movie Review

I was a teenager in the '70s and of course, loved the music. In 1972 the Swedish group ABBA became popular. Their music topped the charts worldwide from 1974 to 1982. ABBA's music is so uplifting and is such feel-good music.

In 1999 a successful broadway musical hit the stage "Mamma Mia" the name of ABBA's 1975 top hit. The Broadway Musical became a hit that has since played in 40 countries and all 6 continents and has incorporated so many of ABBA's hit songs.

Mamma Mia came to theaters in Toronto in 2000. We live in Western New York so it was easy for us to get there in 2003. Watching this Broadway Musical live was just amazing. The music of ABBA was so fantastic and uplifting. Their music just gives me that all over good feeling.

Mamma Mia Movie Review



In 2008 the Broadway Musical was adapted into a movie. After seeing the Broadway Musical there was no way that I was going to miss this movie. 

Movie Plot:

The story is about Donna played by (Meryl Streep), and her daughter Sophie played by (Amanda Seyfried).

Donna and Sophie live on a small Greek Island. Donna owns a villa and tries to run it as a hotel, unsuccessfully. Sophie is about to be married and would love that her father is able to walk her down the aisle. The only problem is that Sophie has no idea who her father is.

Sophie sneaks a peek at Donna's old diary. She finds the names of three men that her mother was intimate with from her mother's younger days. Sophie is convinced that of these three men is her father. 

Sophie sends wedding invitations to all three men and signs her mother's name, in hopes that she will know her father once she gets to spend some time with him.

The three men arrive on the island, Sam Carmichael the architect played by (Pierce Brosnan), Harry Bright the British banker played by (Colin Firth), and Bill Anderson the Swedish sailor, traveler, and writer played by (Stellan Skarsgard).

Sophie explains to the three that she is the one who sent the invitations in hopes of finding out who her father is. I'll stop here just in case you haven't seen Mamma Mia. Trust me, this movie is full of laughs and the amazing music of ABBA.

Ten years later in 2018, a sequel was released. "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again" Featuring most of the original cast and some surprise superstars. The sequel starts out in present-day but reflects back on Donna's life and how she ended up on the island and how she met her three lovers.

Both of these movies are worth the time. They are filled with laughter and ABBA's upbeat and feel-good music.

Just in case you don't remember, here is the original 1975 hit Mamma Mia by ABBA



I'm sure these two movies are streaming on Netflix or Amazon Prime. If not you can buy the DVD's

 C



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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Review

The big screen has had its share of famous duos. Either Hollywood knows how to pick them, or it's just luck that two actors work together so well. 

To name a few of these famous duos that we have come to love and adore; Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and how about Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon.

These actors and so many more have teamed up to make so many classics. Their characters and personalities complemented each other to take us into another world for a few hours. They make us laugh, cry, gasp, or sit on the edge of our seats to see what happens next.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Review


Paul Newman and Robert Redford, in my opinion, were one of these duos that were perfectly matched. In 1969 they teamed up in the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This film was said to have launched Robert Redford's career.

Movie Plot:

The film is based on real-life outlaws in the late 1890's. Robert Leroy Parker is known as Butch Cassidy played by (Paul Newman), and Harry Longabaugh is known as the Sundance Kid played by (Robert Redford). Butch is the leader of the group known as The Hole in the Wall Gang.

The gang devises a new plan to rob the Union Pacific Railroad on both the eastbound and westbound runs. The first robbery goes well, but the second robbery things go wrong. A second train shows up carrying six lawmen.

 As the six lawmen jump off the train on their horses, the gang decides to split up, Butch and Sundance go one way and the gang goes another. But, the six lawmen follow Butch and Sundance. All attempts to elude the six lawmen are failing.

 Butch and Sundance find out the group is lead by a famous Indian tracker known as "Lord Baltimore" and a determined lawman Joe Lefors.

They find out from Sundance's girlfriend Etta played by (Kathern Ross) that the team of lawmen was hired by the head of the Union Pacific Railroad. Their job is to track them down and kill them. Butch, Sundance, and Etta move to Bolivia to try and start a new life.

I don't want to spoil the rest of the movie if you haven't seen it. This is one of those movies that will make you laugh, and you're going to find yourself rooting for the bad guys.


This short video is one of my favorite parts of the movie

Paul Newman and Robert Redford teamed up again in 1973 to make "The Sting". After these two hits by this duo, they never made another movie together. What a shame because they worked so well together.

You can find this classic on Amazon Prime or other streaming sites. Or, you could buy the DVD here.

These are the only two movies that Paul Newman and Robert Redford made together.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Widescreen Special Edition) by 20th Century FoxButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Widescreen Special Edition) by 20th Century FoxThe Sting [Blu-ray]The Sting [Blu-ray]

 Clich




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Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Stranger, a TV Series

I would like to review a British television series called The Stranger and I can easily do it in one sentence.   Go and watch it right now!

Harlan Coben's The Stranger a Netflix series
The Stranger (British TV Series) - image adapted by Lou16
from a photo on Pixabay.com
Want more than my bossy sentence?   Well I must admit the trailer for this series looked good and certainly peaked mine and my husband's interest, but the series itself totally outshone our expectations.  It is based on a book by American author Harlan Coben and after watching it I am definitely going to start reading some of his books.

The series has a British cast that if you watch many British shows you'll probably be very familiar with.   There were lots of actors that I recognise from different shows that they've popped up on.   The main star of the show is Richard Armitage who as an actor first came to my attention in the British spy series Spooks, although he has a number of other credits to his name.

Another star is actress Siobhan Finneran who has appeared in several British television shows over the years, but I particularly liked her portayal of  a police detective in The Moorside (available through Amazon Prime).   In this show she, again, plays a detective.

I would also like to mention two other stars of the show - Shaun Dooley and Jennifer Saunders.   I will be honest and say that I felt both of these actors were not (in my opinion) on their best game, but the story was strong enough that they didn't need to be better.   As a fan of Shaun Dooley since I watched Married, Single, Other years ago (a great British drama series) I was a little disappointed in his acting.   I've also loved Jennifer Saunders since her French and Saunders days, but I didn't feel that her acting was to the standard of the rest of the cast.

An actor that was amazing was Paul Kaye, I absolutely hated his character, he played it perfectly

This series is what I call bingeworthy.   We started watching it on a Sunday night and were only going to watch one episode - 3 episodes later we had to turn it off as we had work the next day.   The following night we had things on and decided to just watch one episode before bed...we watched two and it was very hard to get up the following morning.

Luckily the third night we had nothing on and the series only has 8 episodes so we managed to finish it!   I recommend watching it when you have 8 hours to spare because you may not want to stop.

The main story line is very interesting as it's about a stranger approaching someone with details of a secret.   What keeps it enthralling is not just wondering about the stranger, but all the intricate little threads that the writers have kept running through it.   The book was adapted by screenwritter Danny Brocklehurst and he has done an amazing job.

The suspense was kept up with all these surprising things happening - as an example at the end of one of the episodes someone walks into their workplace and is greeted by their workmates.   That doesn't sound very cliffhangerish now does it?   However it made my husband and I both sit up as we hadn't anticipated that happening!

The ending of every episode has you wanting more and that is exactly why I loved it.

I did see that Danny Brocklehurst and Harlan Coben co- wrote another Netflix series called Safe so I am definitely going to put that one on the must watch list!

One of the great things about winter is definitely cold nights watching some great shows/movies with my hubby.





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Monday, June 22, 2020

Amazon Original Series Review: Making The Cut

Tim and Heidi are reunited! If you are a fan of Project Runway then you have noticed their absence from the show and have missed the presence of Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum the Project Runway OG's. The duo have reunited in the Amazon Originals Series Making The Cut.


Making The Cut

The similarities between Project Runway and Making The Cut are hard to miss. The premise is the same with fashion designers competing in elimination challenges to a season finale with a fashion show. The major difference is the focus of designing as a global brand with the prize of a mentorship with Amazon Fashion.and winning one million dollars.

This is where Making The Cut definitely differs from Project Runway. The show focuses on not only the design, but how the personality of each designer is enveloped into the design looking towards becoming a global brand. The next emphasis is their focus on the marketing and merchandising behind creating, building, growing and operating a profitable global brand.


Making The Cut Amazon Store


In conjunction with the show Amazon Fashion now has a Making The Cut Store which allows customers direct access to winning designs from the show. As easy as a click of the mouse fans can order newly created and exclusive designs from the competitors. This is a fun add on for the fashion forward customer.

Recommendation

The series is light fashion fun as the designers compete for the very serious and life changing prize of one million dollars. Tim, Heidi and the celebrity judges guide the contestants with their often blunt, but sincere critiques as insiders in the world of fashion. The series is an Amazon Original and included with an Amazon Prime membership.

Amazon Original Series


An Amazon Prime membership includes Amazon Originals which are series or specials exclusive to Amazon Prime members. 

Some current favorites:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Upload
Alpha House
The Aeronauts
Late Night
Ballerina
Homecoming

Amazon Prime requires an annual membership; however, a 30 day free trial is offered to give the Prime membership a spin.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, June 8, 2020

Regular Hereos: Amazon Original Reviewed

Regular Hereos is a documentary you want to see. Take a few hours away from masks and hand sanitizer to be inspired, be grateful and be thankful.  Celebrate these vital "essential workers" in this heart warming and at times heart breaking documentary as we are invited into their lives as they stay at work to keep our country running.


Who Are Regular Hereos?

This Amazon documentary features three hereos per one hour episode. Each hero is an "essential worker" whom the country could not have navigated without this year.

The backstories of each hero are different.
The location of each hero is different.
The profession of each hero is different.
The sacrifice of each hero is significant.
The contribution of each hero is significant.
And each hero is someone you will also recognize in: your neighborhood, your grocery store, your hospital, your community.
And each essential hero would humbly say they are "just doing their job..."

Each episode is narrated by a different entertainment star: Nick Jonas, Kevin Hart, Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland thus far. The fifth episode is scheduled to premier June 12th.


Amazon Original Series


One of my favorite features of an Amazon Prime membership is the inclusion of Amazon Originals which are series or specials made exclusively for Amazon Prime members. I recall when Amazon Originals first began and members could view pilots and vote for their favorites. The top favorites were then made into Amazon series.

As  Amazon Originals have evolved series and specials are being made in all categories of entertainment: comedy, drama, kids, international, mystery, documentary. The content library is enormous and varied.

Some current favorites:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Upload
Alpha House
The Aeronauts
Late Night
Ballerina
Homecoming

Amazon Prime requires an annual membership; however, a 30 day free trial is offered to give the Prime membership a spin.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, June 7, 2020

Is Dead To Me Your Cup of Tea?

An American Dark Comedy Series - Dead To Me

Dead To Me is a popular Netflix series. Have you watched it yet?

My niece mentioned it to my mom and several online friends mentioned they enjoyed it.

So, yep, I took the plunge and watched the series.

I Didn't Take My Own Advice About Binge-Watching AGAIN!

Several months ago, feeling all high-and-mighty, I thought it prudent to give out 'how to binge-watch tv' advice. Don't listen to me, because I clearly cannot practice what I preach.

I did all the don'ts again: I started the series near midnight and stayed up till 4am to finish an entire season. On the plus side, it's good!

What is Dead To Me About?

Christina Applegate plays Jen Harding, a realtor whose husband was killed by a hit and run driver. Linda Cardellini plays Judy Hale, a woman Jen meets at a grief support group. They become friends, however, the relationship is plagued with a shocking secret. I won't go any further so as not to reveal the plot. Here's the trailer for Season 1:



Enjoy Two Seasons of Dead to Me

In May 2019, the first season of Dead to Me was released. The second season was just released on May 8th, 2020.  If you've never watched this show, lucky you; you get to binge-watch two seasons!

The actors and quality acting make the series.

My eldest son and I recently discussed how an excellently written show with bad actors just doesn't cut it. However, a bad show with good actors is tolerable.

This show hits both marks: it's well written and features quality actors and quality acting. It's more like watching a well-acted movie.

Here's the trailer for the second season:



Lots of 'Language' in This Series

If you can't handle the 'F-bomb', this show is not for you. Although I usually don't enjoy movies with constant swearing, Christina Applegate's character made me laugh every time she swore - which is almost constantly! Her character has anger issues, so the writer's use of swearing works with this plot-line.

I'm not usually into crime-related shows, however, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It's far-fetched enough to feel like entertainment and not something that could actually happen. Although these days who knows? I prefer getting lost in a true fiction, and Dead To Me offered enough fiction to make it unbelievable - in a good way.

If you're looking for another series, I recently reviewed 'Upload' - You'll escape the world's problems, yep, it's out of this world, total fiction.

Happy Sunday,
P.S. It's National Chocolate Ice Cream Day - Enjoy a bowl of ice-cream while you binge-watch TV


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Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Haunting of Hill House Reviewed

I have just finished the Netflix television series The Haunting of Hill House that Esquire coined as a spookier version of This is Us.   Not exactly how I would describe it!

The Haunting of Hill House, Television Series, Reviewed


I should also note that it is available to watch on Amazon Prime in the US (not sure about other markets), so if you don't have Netflix you can still watch it.

The series is based on the 1959 Gothic horror novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson.   I had actually watched the 1999 movie The Haunting that was also based on this book and although the critics panned it, I enjoyed it as I love psychological horror movies.   By the way, the series is very different to the film so it doesn't matter whether you've seen it or not.

It has been very hard to get my husband to watch any suspenseful or psychological horror films with me over the past couple of decades so when I saw this series I knew I would have to watch it by myself.   I stayed up late at night watching it and I loved it.

The series runs through two timelines (which is where the connection to This is Us comes from), the first is of the Craine family's childhood as they live in Hill House as children before their mother commits suicide in the house.

The second timeline is of them as adults and they are brought together when their youngest sister goes back to Hill House to commit suicide.

Each episode reveals to us how the different family members were impacted by their childhood in the haunted mansion.   I found I was eager to keep watching the next episode.   The youngest twin Nell was haunted during her childhood by the bent neck lady and in the episode aptly named the Bent-Neck Lady there is a surprising twist that I wasn't expecting as to the identity of this lady.

I was a little disappointed by how the season ended, but if I'm honest I'm not sure that I would've been happy with any ending.

I think the actors were perfectly picked for their characters and acted their roles really well, I found myself completely drawn into the series.  I recommended it to my daughter and my husband told her that he didn't need to watch it as he'd listened to my commentary, ' don't go, oh you had to go there didn't you?', I do not recall having that conversation with the television, but it is very plausable!

If you can sleep after watching supernatural dramas that are full of suspense then I thoroughly recommend this one.   Apparently they are bringing out a second season based on another family and another house.   I'll be honest I probably won't watch that one as I feel like this was a one season show. 

Definitely worth a quiet night in and a big bag of popcorn.

More Television Series | Mini Series to Enjoy


If you don't fancy this television series I can also recommend the following shows (although please note I've only watched one season of Shetland):

Thirteen (2016 TV Mini-Series)Thirteen (2016 TV Mini-Series)
This mini-series starts with a young 26 year old woman running out of a house for a payphone and claiming to be a girl called Ivy who was last seen 13 years ago. Is it really her and what has happened over the last 13 years?


Good Omens 2019 TV MiniseriesGood Omens 2019 TV Miniseries
David Tennant and Martin Sheen are absolutely outstanding in this adaptation of Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman's book Good Omens. Even if you've never read the book you will love the writing and the chemistry between these two characters representing good and evil.


Upload, an Amazon Prime TV SeriesReviewing the Amazon Prime TV Series Upload
This dark comedy is based in the year 2033 where death doesn't always mean it's all over. If you have the money you can choose to upload your consciousness and memories into a virtual 'afterlife' where you can stay forever


Shetland Series ReviewedShetland Series Reviewed
Shetland is a crime drama set in the picturesque Scottish Shetland Islands, the main character is DI Jimmy Perez who's also a single father. The scenery is beautiful and the plots are full of twists which make them very watchable.


Reviewing Agatha Christie's the ABC MurdersReviewing Agatha Christie's the ABC Murders
The ABC Murders is definitely one of Agatha Christie's best novels, this adaptation does take some liberties that a purist may not like, but it is still an enjoyable mini series to watch.


The Widow Series ReviewedThe Widow Series Reviewed
This series starts with English widow seeing a news article where she believes she spots her late husband alive and well in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Of course this leads to her flying out to DRC in search of him, the series has twists and turns, suspense and action and is thoroughly recommended.


Reviewing Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan - The TV SeriesReviewing Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan - The TV Series
Jack Ryan is a character who was born in a novel by Tom Clancy, the son of a Baltimore cop and a nurse who serves as a marine before becoming a history teacher and finally joining the CIA. A few of the books were made into blockbuster movies and now we have a television series.


And Then There Were None - The Mini SeriesAnd Then There Were None - The Mini-Series
Based on an Agatha Christie novel this is one of her darker novels and is based in the 1930s around a nursery rhyme called 10 Little Indians/10 Little Soldiers. It will keep you guessing right up to the end.





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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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