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

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Won't You Be My Neighbor - Movie Review

Watch on Amazon Prime Video
I might as well lead with my truth: I love people who dare to be way out there—the kind of out there that is called for when convention just doesn't cut it.  And if ever there was someone who defined outthereness, it was Mister Rogers.

Who else could have led the revolution of neighborliness that transformed the lives of millions of children?  It seems the least likely among us are always the ones who rise up to do the right thing that should have been obvious all along.  I thought I knew this unlikely rebel, but it turns out the man in the cardigan was so much more than any parody.

Watching Won't You Be My Neighbor, the top-grossing biographical documentary ever made, was more than enlightening.  Just as this biopic was one of the genuine surprises of 2018, one of Time Magazine's Top Ten Movies of the Year, the man, Fred Rogers, turned out to be the biggest surprise of all.

Yes, Mister Rogers was a puppeteer.  He loved children and treated them with great respect.  His manner was gentle and kind.  Empathy was one of his greatest gifts.  Young children adored him.  We knew all of that, right?  What more do we need to know?

Every television personality is born of context.  It is the context I wanted to know.  What made Mister Rogers the man that he became?  Who was Mister Rogers the child?  How is it that Fred Rogers was able to remember what it was like to be a child?  How did that knowledge—that essence—inform his interactions with both young children and the child in each of us grown-ups?

Learning that Mister Rogers had a rich solitary life as a child was one key piece of that context.  Hearing that he was bullied, called Fat Freddy by his peers, told me something vitally important about Mister Rogers' inner child.  Knowing he had been a sickly youth who dealt with frequent bouts of asthma added to the picture.

Then there were the epiphanies that resulted from the discovery that Rogers was an ordained minister.  Things were really beginning to make even more sense now.  And those 200+ songs he wrote for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood?  Surely his degree in Music Composition, and the fact that he began playing the piano at the age of five, had something to do with that.  Music was in his soul.

There is so much more, but I will leave it to you to engage with Won't You Be My Neighbor and to have your own epiphanies.  After all, isn't that what makes a movie memorable?

I very mindfully chose to spend time immersed in this documentary in preparation for going to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  They are two very different takes on Mister Rogers and the impacts of his humanity on others.  Both films spoke to me, but in entirely distinctive ways.

One sure common element of the two explorations into the persona of Mister Rogers is this:  You will feel Mister Rogers reach out to you.  He will meet you where you are.  He will appreciate the beauty of you.

Oh, how I wish Mister Rogers was my neighbor.  I wonder how I might become the kind of neighbor he would be to me.

It occurs to me that what we need most in the world right now is more of Mister Rogers' brand of neighborliness.  He, too, was living through tumultuous times when he created Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.  The themes of his trailblazing show are more current than ever: embracing differences; treating others with kindness; loving others for exactly who they are; and not being afraid to talk about the things that matter.

I highly recommend both of these films and will be publishing a separate review for each.  Stay tuned for my upcoming reflections on A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.  Coming soon to a blog near you.













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Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Art of Racing in the Rain - Movie Review

The Art of Racing in the Rain DVD
According to Enzo, lead philosopher in The Art of Racing in the Rain, some things are meant to be.  He just knew he was meant to be Denny's dog.  I now know I was meant to fall in love with this movie.  It is the best film I have seen in ages.

Just as there is a real art to racing in the rain (we'll get back to that in a moment), it takes a gifted touch to tell a story from a dog's point of view.  I have to admit I'd never before gotten into stories told by talking dogs.  It just wasn't my thing.

Why, then, was this movie different?  What made it so moving and beautiful?  Why was I crying from the opening scene on?

When it comes right down to it, I would have to say there was a true Zen quality to Enzo that spoke to my heart.  Though the film uses auto racing as a muse to supply life lessons, it is the dog who is in many ways, and at the same time, both the messenger and the message.  

As Denny and Enzo experience life's many joys and heartaches together, they are each what the other needs in the process of moving toward what they will become—who they will become.  In sharing their bond vicariously, I also found myself reflecting on where I am headed in my own life.

So, let's get back to the art of racing in the rain—the art of dealing with circumstances that others may find daunting.  Denny explains to Enzo that his secret to excelling in the racing conditions that cause others to decelerate or crash is to anticipate and actually choose to force the skid that is necessary while traveling through dangerously wet curves.  By controlling the skid, instead of letting it force his vehicle out of control, Denny is able to gain the edge he needs to achieve his dreams.

The movie is chock full of insights for living.  Somehow, when the wisdom is coming from a dog, it seems easier to receive.  Who could resist Enzo (and who would want to even if they could)?  You don't have to be a dog-lover to fall for this leading guy.  Though I cried plenty of tears for Enzo, I also felt an abundance of all of the good things dogs bring into our lives.  

Though movie critics seem to enjoy panning this film, it is clear that audiences love it.  I never go by what the critics think.  That is their job—to criticize.  

The actors, the messages, and especially the dogs... pure gold.  I highly recommend this film.  



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Friday, October 25, 2019

Love Surreal - Hallmark Movie Review

Love Surreal - Hallmark Channel Movie Review
Have you ever overlooked a great movie simply because the feature image does not appeal? That is exactly what happened to me with the Hallmark movie, "Love Surreal". I admit, the title didn't draw me in either! 

During a stressful day recently, I went in search of a nice movie to help calm my concerns for the day. After all, there was nothing I could do to change the outcome of the source of my stress. I simply had to wait. 

When I find myself having to "wait", I tend to imagine the worst. Therefore, it is best for me to refocus and stop the horrible images having a field day in my mind. I turned to the Hallmark channel to find my balance.  I needed a calm and peaceful movie, preferably with a happy ending.

Unfortunately, I had seen most to the movies currently available on the Hallmark channel.  I scanned the images several times and finally gave in to one that I intentionally dismissed previously.  I would watch "Love Surreal" and hope for the best.  

As it turns out, it was a pretty good movie.  A romantic story with a dose of comic relief.  I found myself laughing out loud several times during the movie and being equally delighted by the story line.  Love Surreal was exactly what I needed!


Love Surreal Movie Synopsis


Love Surreal Movie DVD
This is the featured image for the movie.
It didn't draw me in, which is a shame.  What do you think?
Being an only child, Abigale Morrison always felt alone when she was growing up.  Since her parents focused their attention on each other and traveling, instead of on Abby, she believed she was only an accessory in her parents marriage.  Not really a part of their lives.  Young Abby found company in her imaginary friend, Simon (Sy for short).  

Sy was understanding, compassionate and always available. When Abby loved drawing and when she drew pictures of herself, she included her friend, Sy as her companion.  She found contentment with her new ally. So much so, she maintained her friendship with her imaginary friend throughout her high school years and into her college life. Simon becomes a barrier between Abby and relationship pain.  It all works wonderfully well until Abby meets her roommates cousin, Quinn.

Quinn happens to be a fellow student in Abby's art appreciation class. He doesn't really appreciate art or the class, but he needs a good grade.  Which means, he needs help!

With a bit of coaxing by her roommate, Jessica, Abby becomes Quinn's tutor and subsequently his friend.  However, Abby makes it clear that she has a long time boyfriend, Simon.  But, that only works for so long.  


Conclusion


Yes, the basis of the story is rather unbelievable.  However if we suspend reality for a few hours, we can really enjoy this romantic comedy.  All of the actors are adorable and fun to watch as they fumble their way through life and make some difficult choices.

This truly is a delightful movie to watch! 

By the way, Love Surreal is also included in Amazon Prime Video.  I just happened to find it on my Hallmark Channel subscription.

   


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Love Surreal Hallmark Movie Reviewed by:
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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Shadows in the Sun Movie Review

Finding Love And More In Italy

A friend of mine, Joan, recently suggested that I watch the movie Shadows in the Sun. I took her suggestion and would like to review it for you today. 

shadows in the sun
A street in Italy
image courtesy of pixabay.com
First of all, I'll share that I loved this movie! I have always wanted to go to Italy so the setting where the story takes place appealed to me a great deal. The countryside and the small village are charming and very much somewhere I would like to visit in real life someday.

There is a reason, Joan recommended that I watch this movie. The general theme in the plot involves a relationship that develops between two writers. One is famous while the other is aspiring to write his first book. Since I write novels, myself, of course it grabbed my attention.

Synopsis of the movie Shadows in the Sun

Jeremy Taylor is a successful agent in a London publishing firm. He is sent to Tuscany by his boss to do what others have failed to do; sign a reclusive author to a contract for a new book. Weldon Parish, the author, hasn't written a book in a few decades. His past work was a huge success but he gave up writing after his wife died. 

It is a struggle for Jeremy to even find Weldon in the beginning but he perseveres; eventually meeting the eccentric and crabby older man. Their first meeting doesn't go well as Weldon makes it known that he hates publishers, editors and agents. 

As the plot unfolds, Weldon and Jeremy become friends. Jeremy is a huge fan of the books that the former author wrote years ago and he is struggling with his own writing. Weldon wants no part of writing another book but he does start to teach Jeremy ways that he might improve his own style. 

Jeremy learns to let go of his rigid restraint as Weldon drags him into a few wild adventures in the small village and surrounding area. He is also falling head over heels in love with Weldon's daughter. The growing feelings between Jeremy and Isabella are sweet and touching while the antics by Weldon are humorous.

I'm really glad that Joan suggested this movie to me. It isn't a new movie, it was first released in theaters in 2005 and in DVD in 2006. Jeremy is played by the actor Joshua Jackson from Cursed and Dawson's Creek. The character of Weldon Parish is played by Harvey Keitel who has been in many movies and television shows. 

If you like a romantic comedy, I think you will enjoy this movie. It can be viewed for free if you are a Prime member. You can rent it to stream or you can buy the DVD. 


Shadows in the Sun
 (paid link)



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Monday, October 21, 2019

Reviewing Alaska Photoventures: Season 1

In Alaska Photoventures, Dan Redfield explores Alaska through photography. This is an unscripted photography series in which each episode takes place on a different location in breathtakingly beautiful Alaska via a different mode of transportation (i.e. kayaking, hiking, biking, etc). This series hits both my curiosity about Alaska and my enjoyment of beautiful photography.


Reviewing Alaska Photoventures

I initially clicked on Alaska Photoventures with the thought that it would be a tutorial on photography in Alaska. While there are some general tips, it truly was focused on Dan's adventuring in Alaska and displaying those interesting places via his drone videos and photography. 

The episodes of season one include:
  1. Knik Glacier ATV Adventure
  2. Jet Ski to Blackstone Glacier
  3. Downhill Mountain Biking in Hatcher Pass
  4. Exploring a WW2 Fort in Seward
  5. Fly Fishing on the Kenai River
  6. Super Cub to a Floating Ice Cave
  7. Nighttime Kayaking
  8. Snow Machine Jumping w/Arctic Cat Athletes

I enjoyed all of the episodes, especially the kayaking episodes but I think Downhill Mountain Biking in Hatcher Pass is my favorite. Perhaps because it also includes some photos of nearby Independence Mine. Perhaps because Hatcher Pass is amazingly beautiful. Perhaps because guest Matt Sanders has such a great attitude and big personality.  Probably a combination of all of the above.

When shooting the riders on the biking trail, Dan noted that the sky was very bright but the light was not getting to the trail in the pass. He described it as "super hot blown out sky and then a really dark foreground".  Dan notes that he had to adjust for this so that he could get both some details of the riders and in the sky. He shows a photo of the examples of the different settings. However, he does not give an actual ISO setting or any other numbers (sorry, I'm only a very amateur photographer so my vocabulary here is lacking). Some people who are looking at this series as a tutorial may be disappointed by the lack of the actual settings. 

There is a chance that I like this series more than other people might because Dan Redfield and friends put me in mind of my sons. Also, visiting Alaska is on my bucket list. But honestly, I think that a variety of people will enjoy this series; viewers who have been to Alaska and want to reminisce, viewers who have always wanted to visit this beautiful state but have not yet been able to, and photographers at many levels of ability. 

Related Links:

Amazon Prime. I watch this series on Amazon Prime. I LOVE Amazon Prime for many reasons. But one of those reasons is because I refuse to pay a cable bill. I want to invest my finances elsewhere. With my Roku television and with Amazon Prime, Youtube, and Sling, I have more things than I can watch on any given day. 




Dan Redfield's Official Page. Learn more about Dan Redfield here

The photographers of Review This! I am realizing how much the Review This Reviews writers are photo-adventurers. Mary Beth in particular takes us on her lighthouse photo-adventures and shares photography tips. 


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Monday, October 14, 2019

My Favorite Hallmark Couples Reviewed

Hallmark has become synonymous with the light romantic comedy with a family friendly happy ending - is that a bad thing?


Ah yes, I have seen quite a few Hallmark movies and through the years a few actors have hit upon a winning chemistry and their movies spurred sequels. Yes, Hallmark fans are aware the story lines are romantic, perhaps formulatic. Long lost loves reuniting is a frequent theme - and we are ok with that! Opposites attract and fall in love - and we are ok with that! The commoner and the royalty fall in love at the palace - and we are ok with that!

Enjoy a few of my favorite Hallmark couples and series; bookmark these movies for a nice two hours of happy entertainment.

Lacey Chabert And Brennan Elliott

The All My Heart series:

This duo have been dubbed the Hepburn And Tracy of The Hallmark Channel and their chemistry and comedic timing are evident. The All Of My Heart series began when both inherited a run down country inn; although neither knew each other prior to the inheritance.

Different worlds and different goals collide as they decide to renovate the home into a Bed And Breakfast.

Travel along their humorous journey of inn renovation when roommates turn into soulmates.

 All Of My Heart
All Of My Heart: Inn Love
All Of My Heart: The Wedding

and now teaming together on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel in Crossword Mysteries.

Jack Wagner And Josie Bissett


Seventeen years after Melrose Place and this duo has teamed up for The Wedding March Hallmark movies.

Mick (Jack Wagner) and Olivia (Josie Bissett) are college sweethearts who unexpectedly meet when Olivia's daughter books her wedding at Mick's charming country inn. Of course Olivia's daughter had no idea of their history and the inevitable sparks of unresolved sweethearts begin to fly.

Once again it is the chemistry that is difficult to ignore as the romance progresses. The quips and banter is witty and natural just as one would expect with long time friends and former co-workers.

The Wedding March Series
The Wedding March:
The Wedding March 2: Resorting To Love
The Wedding March 3: Here Comes The Bride
The Wedding March 4: Something Old, Something New

Rachael Leigh Cook And Brendan Penny

Enter the gorgeous scenery of wine country as this couple navigates competing family run wineries and learning to love their craft and each other along the way.

 The In the Vineyard series highlights the witty banter, competitive humor and likability of the couple.

Add to the mix the very different ways each approaches the business of the vineyard and each other which allows the chemistry to shine.

In The Vineyard Series
Autumn In The Vineyard
Valentine In The Vineyard
Summer In The Vineyard




There are of course more favorite Hallmark movies, click here to find my Top Ten Hallmark Christmas movies.




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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Shetland Series Reviewed

Shetland Islands Featured In Mystery Series

I recently began watching the Shetland Series through my Britbox subscription. If you aren't familiar with it; the television series is drama/mystery series of episodes taking place in the picturesque Shetland Islands in Scotland. 

shetland series
Mysteries taking place in the Shetland Islands of Scotland
image courtesy of pixabay.com

I'm coming in sort of late for watching this popular television series which first began filming in 2014. I'm not sure it was available to me until recently; if it was somehow I missed it. I'm enjoying it so much that I don't think it will take me long to catch up to Season 5.


What can you expect in the series?

The episodes revolve around a small police force with DI Jimmy Perez leading his fellow officers in their duties on the islands in Northern Scotland. Detective Inspector Perez is a single dad of a teenage step-daughter. Cassie's mother died several years ago and her step-dad has brought her back to the small village in the Scottish archipelago to expose her to her roots. Another interesting little twist to the overall plot is that Cassie's birth father also lives in the village; the two men have different views on how best to raise a teenage girl. Their attempt at co-parenting adds some depth to each episode in the crime drama.

Being able to solve the mystery of each story line while experiencing what life is like up in the sub-arctic environment of the Shetland Islands is extremely enjoyable. Each mystery spans two episodes. So far, the ones that I have watched are full of twists. About the time that I think I know who is responsible something comes up to dismiss that person as the culprit. 

Living in a land-locked area, I am fascinated with DI Perez having to take the ferry over to an area to investigate. The scenery is beautiful and the local people are interesting. I find myself daydreaming wishing that I could go there someday. Some of my ancestors lived in Scotland, although I don't think any lived quite that far north.


You will have to stream it


If you are in the US, your only option to watch Shetland is to stream it. I signed up for Britbox through my Amazon Prime membership. I used to be able to see a lot of the British television shows through another streaming service but they no longer carry them because the licensing changed. I finally justified signing up for another service because I truly enjoy the programs that are produced. 

Anyway, if you are looking for a good series to watch I highly recommend Shetland. You can get a trial period for the streaming service to try it out. If you don't care for it, you can always cancel.




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Friday, September 27, 2019

Darrow & Darrow Hallmark Movie Series Reviewed

Darrow & Darrow Hallmark Movie Series Reviewed
I recently discovered the awesome Hallmark movie series, Darrow & Darrow!  

It is a fabulous Hallmark series based on the legal cases handled by the law firm of Darrow & Darrow.  The investigations and clues in each of the cases are fun to watch while trying to guess the outcomes.  Add to that, the personal lives of each character, and you have a wonderfully captivating series. 

Adorable actors, a bit of romance, a touch of mystery surrounding the cases, a spattering of family conflicts, all combine to make a thoroughly enjoyable series of movies.

My tolerance for television is normally limited to a few hours a week. I don't like constant noise, although I do know a lot of people who enjoy the "company".  I'm not bashing watching TV.  Just explaining that it has to be something really good for me to leave it on long enough to see an entire movie.

When I find a series that is binge worthy, then it is definitely something to talk about, and review.


Darrow & Darrow Hallmark Movie Series Synopsis


When you see the couple on the first DVD cover, you assume the title "Darrow & Darrow", is referring to a husband and wife team.  Or, perhaps, a brother and sister.  However, only one member of the couple shown on the first DVD cover, is a Darrow.  The man is Miles Strasberg, and the woman is Claire Darrow.  They are actually opposing attorneys.

 Darrow & DarrowCheck PriceDarrow  & Darrow is a law firm that was originally started by Claire's parents.  After her father died, Claire's mother, Joanna, took off to New York to make a name for herself with an influential and powerful law firm. Even though her mother was successful, Claire resents that decision. When her mother returns, requesting she be taken back into the family law firm, Claire is more than reluctant to embrace her again as a partner. They don't see eye to eye on most things, including the types of cases the law firm should be representing.

During the pilot movie, we get to know the main characters fairly well. Miles Strasberg is a mild-mannered widower and district attorney, who happens to be opposing council in the first case of the series.  Claire is an adorable widow that is raising her daughter alone.  As an attorney, she spends her days defending falsely accused individuals in court.  Well, at least people she believes are falsely accused. Claire's clear calling is to be a defense attorney for those who are less fortunate and can not afford a good lawyer, but deserve one.

In the first movie, Claire defends a doughnut maker who has been accused of robbing a jewelry store.  The masked intruder uses David Kellerin's bakery truck to smash the front window. Then jumps out to grab the jewelry in the display case.  When David is arrested, one of the stolen watches is found in his possession.  It seems like an open and shut case.  In spite of the evidence, David pleads innocent and Claire believes him. It requires a great deal of trust and detective work to defend Mr. Kellerin.

Her opposing counsel, Miles Strasberg, is attracted to Claire.  He respects her idealism and her ethics, as well as her desire to find the truth, not just represent someone wealthy who may be guilty.  Every month he asks her out to dinner.  Every month, he gets the same answer, until one day, to his great surprise, she says yes.  They do make a really cute couple!

Darrow & Darrow Hallmark Movie

My Conclusion


It is always exciting to find a new, enjoyable series to watch. When it is Hallmark movies, I know I am in for hours of excellent TV time. 

I really like Claire Darrow.  I enjoy watching her interactions with Miles, her co-workers, her daughter, and even her mother. The court cases, plots, and investigations are quite interesting too. It is fun to try to figure them out before they are revealed in the movies.  Therefore, I highly recommend this movie series to anyone who loves good, clean entertainment with a touch of mystery and romance!

 


Currently, "Darrow & Darrow" is available on Amazon with a subscription to the Hallmark Channel.  

Subscribe to the Hallmark Channel on Amazon.com
  


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Darrow & Darrow Hallmark Movie Series Reviewed by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 


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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Ken Burns Country Music Film Reviewed

A Ken Burns Film You Shouldn't Miss

Country Music the Ken Burns documentary film now being aired on your local PBS station is one, in my humble opinion, that you shouldn't miss. My husband and I have sat spellbound as each two hour segment has been presented.

ken burns country music
Some of the legends in this Country Music Mural are featured in Ken Burns film
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Mr. Burns has a way of telling us about pieces of our history and our diverse cultures that not only inform us but entertain us as well. His latest creation about Country Music doesn't fall short on those notes, in fact I think it might be the best one he has done to date. That is saying a lot when you consider his work on the Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, Prohibition, WWII and the Viet Nam War.

It is more than just the music


One of the quotes that is repeated often is from Harlan Howard. He once said, "Country Music is three cords and the truth." I think that is probably why I have always loved Country Music; so many of the lyrics in the songs are about my truth, your truth or our truths. Some songs make us want to move our feet, others remind us of the happiness of loving someone while others break our hearts. There is literally something to listen to no matter what your mood might be. 

The segments that will total 16 hours by the time all are shown cover the history of the music that is uniquely American. We hear portions of songs but it is the backstories that I find the most fascinating. Ken Burns and his incredible crew of people tell us about the artists who made the songs popular and the people who wrote the songs. We find out about how they grew up (some of 'em will just break your heart!); how they got started and portions of their careers that might surprise us. 

I have always been a "words" kind of gal. Yes, I love to dance but it has always been more about what the story in the song says to me. I think that is why I am drawn to the people who write the songs. Those poets who don't always get a lot of recognition but can sit down and put words together that touch us in some way. In the documentary we find out quite a bit about those songwriters. Some performed their own music while others wrote for others. It has been fascinating!

Honestly, even if Country isn't the genre of music that you prefer to listen to; this Ken Burns film is one that I think you will enjoy. After hearing the history of the it; you might even be converted to a fan. There are segments that will make you smile, move your feet and touch your soul. I don't know if they will repeat this series soon or not. Don't despair if you have missed the first episodes. It is available in DVD and Blu-ray.





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Monday, September 23, 2019

Downton Abbey: The Movie Reviewed

This was a very, very excited movie audience! I thought I heard a few audible gasps and sighs of thanks when the familiar theme music began to play. Last week I saw a screening of Downton Abbey: The Movie and it has been a long wait for Downton Abbey fans since the conclusion of the television series.


The audience was in rapt attention and displayed perfect movie manners throughout the entire movie.
No one moved for the entire two hours.

  • Not one cell phone rang, beeped, lit up or vibrated.
  • Silence. No one was talking. Only listening and enjoying the movie.
  • The excitement for this movie was palatable.
  • These Downton Abbey superfans were ready!




The Plot

All of your favorite characters are back! The full contingent of characters from upstairs and downstairs at Downton Abbey have returned to continue where the story left off after the BBC series ended after 52 episodes and six seasons.

I do not want to spoil the plot of Downton Abbey: The Movie for its' devoted fans. The main plot is a visit by the King George V and the Queen in 1927 and the preparation for the visit by the family and staff.

Of course there are a few twists and turns as the characters navigate the visit and while the downstairs plot is a bit sketchy for the visit, Downton Abbey fans won't mind.


The Witty Repertoire


As a compliment to the script of Downton Abbey, these fans GOT IT. They laughed at the right places, chuckled at the double entendres and verbally cheered certain moments of the movie.

The highlights of course of witty banter were the characters of Violet Crawley played by Maggie Smith and Isobel Crawley played by Penelope Wilton. There were quite a few dry, witty, sarcastic and pointed exchanges between these two characters along with a twinkle in each of their eyes. The audience loved it.

As usual Lady Mary Crowley played by Michelle Dockery can throw a dry and sarcastic comment like no one else! I appreciate her directness.

I would have liked to see a more developed storyline for a favorite Downton Abbey couple, John Bates and Anna Smith played by Brendan Coyle and Joann Froggatt , but it was not to be for this movie. Both characters are in the movie, but not in major roles.

The Recommendation

When an audience stands up at the end of the movie and applauds - that says it all!
I heartily endorse all Downton Abbey fans to see this movie. You will not be disappointed!


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Friday, September 13, 2019

Glass by M. Night Shyamalan - Movie Reviewed

Glass is the final movie in this M. Night Shyamalan movie series!

Glass by M. Night Shyamalan - Movie Reviewed
I'll tell you in advance, I have seen an interview with Shyamalan and he does not plan to have any additional movies in this series.  I think that is a mistake.  This movie left me wanting more.  Of course, wanting more is the sign of an excellent movie.

I have previously reviewed the first two movies in this M. Night Shyamalan series:  Unbreakable and Split.  If you haven't already read those reviews and seen those movies, I recommend them before you watch Glass.

Glass could be a stand alone movie, but I believe seeing the other two movies is best.  They introduce the characters and set everything up for this movie. It is hard for me to say for certain since I have seen the previous movies several times, but I'm not sure everything in this movie would be completely clear if you don't have the basis of information and background from Split.

Once you have viewed all three movies, I would love to have you return to this review and tell me which movie in the series was your favorite.  I definitely have a favorite and I suspect everyone will have a clear preference.

I'm going to do my best to give you a review of Glass that won't spoil either of the movies for you in case you haven't seen the previous two.


Glass Movie Synopsis

 
There are three main characters in Glass. Each possesses at least one superhuman characteristic. All find themselves in a battle of good vs. evil and they are not on the same side.

 GlassCheck PriceBy now, you may already know Samuel L. Jackson is Glass, or Mr. Glass.  His real name is Elijah Price.  Elijah was born with a rare disease (osteogenesis imperfecta) that makes his bones break easily. In this movie, Elijah requires a wheelchair for mobility.  However, Elijah is a brilliant man and though he is physically limited, he is mentally superior. 

David Dunn (Bruce Willis) seems like a mild-mannered, average man with a grown son.  Together, they run a surveillance company, but they also have a side venture. David Dunn is an extremely strong vigilante with a sixth sense. His son is his point of contact for research and quick information. When David is on a mission, he and his son, Joseph, stay in constant communication.

Then there is Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) who suffers with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder), more commonly referred to as a split personality.  Crumb fights the battle between good vs evil within himself, as well as in the outside world.  As I stated in my review of Split, James McAvoy is an exceptional actor.  His performance alone makes this movie worth watching.

The movie opens with 4 teens being held as food for the imminent beast. David Dunn is determined to find the kidnapped girls. However, before he can free the girls, he comes face to face with their kidnapper who is surprised to find a worthy opponent.  But, neither David nor the kidnapper realize they are both prey for a totally different adversary.  


My Conclusion and Recommendation of Glass


Like all Shyamalan movies, Glass is full of unexpected events with a shocking ending. Even as a Shyamalan fan, I didn't expect the ending.  It took me over a week before I could write this review without expressing too much emotion in my choice of words.

If you prefer a realistic ending, you will love this movie.  If you watch movies as an escape from reality, you are likely to be disappointed.

I watched this movie with my son and my husband. While we were all taken aback by the ending, we each had a different opinion or rating of the movie overall.  This is one movie where every individual will have to judge for themselves.  

Regardless, how can you resist a movie that includes Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, and M. Night Shyamalan!







Previously Reviewed on Review This!
 
Unbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan - Movie ReviewUnbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan - Movie Review
Unbreakable is an exceptional thriller movie & the beginning of a great series. M. Night Shyamalan is a master of suspense and unexpected twists.



Split by M. Night Shyamalan - Movie ReviewSplit by M. Night Shyamalan - Movie Review
Split is the best psychological thriller that I have ever watched. Almost every emotion a person could feel is toyed with in this movie as we helplessly watch.






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Friday, September 6, 2019

Split by M. Night Shyamalan - Movie Reviewed

Split by M. Night Shyamalan Movie Reviewed
I want to start by saying that reviewing Split was not an easy task.  This movie is so physiologically deep that I worried I would not be able to capture the intensity with mere words. I was also concerned that I might unintentionally dissuade readers from watching the film by telling too much.  It really does need to be watched in order of events, instead of reading any brief synopsis that delves into the plot.

James McAvoy does such an excellent job of playing the part of Kevin Wendell Crumb, I know, without a doubt, I would be frightened to be in his real life presence.  I liken his acting job in this movie to that of Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter.  For years after I first saw that movie, Anthony Hopkins was the face of evil in my mind.  Therefore, for me to compare the two, is truly the greatest compliment I could give to James McAvoy.

The title and DVD cover warn you in advance that the movie will be a terrorizing tale of a man with a split personality.  But, the film is so much more than just a story.  It gives you a close-up look at how the individual with DID (dissociative identity disorder) is tortured by his own mind.  So many times throughout this film, I felt sorry for Kevin, but I felt more than sorry for his victims.  


An Introduction to Split starring James McAvoy


SPLITSPLITCheck PriceThis is the best psychological thriller that I have ever watched.  Almost every emotion a person could feel is toyed with in this movie as we helplessly watch the spellbinding, terrifying events. 

Kevin Crumb has worked hard to lead a normal life and to control the disorder that plagues his life.  He doesn't try to deny his mental difficulties that are the result of the torture he survived as a child.  It is clear when "Kevin" or "Barry" is in control, that he is desperate to be good, loved, and accepted.

Dr. Fletcher has been Kevin Crumb's therapist for years. She has been able to help him with his DID by identifying 23 distinct personalities.  Up until recently, he has been leading a productive life, holding down a good job for years, and coming in for his weekly therapy sessions. She is very proud of him, but becomes greatly concerned when he starts sending her emails at night.  She schedules emergency appointments with him, but one of his dominant personalities shows up for the appointment and assures her all is well. 

Something had triggered the dominant personalities and Kevin's protective personality is about to appear.  Several of his dominant personalities have teamed up to suppress "Kevin" and to take control of his actions.  What happens is characteristic of the ultimate villain.


My Recommendation


If you know you can handle a tough psychological thriller, you will definitely want to see this movie.  If you have a strong interest in psychology and enjoy delving into the inner depths of DID, then this movie is for you.  However, if you are prone to nightmares after watching an intense movie, I wouldn't recommend it.  

As for me, I had no trouble sleeping after watching the movie, but I can understand how it might frighten some.   






Previously Reviewed on Review This!
 
Unbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan - Movie ReviewUnbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan - Movie Review
Unbreakable is an exceptional thriller movie & the beginning of a great series. M. Night Shyamalan is a master of suspense and unexpected twists.






Check Out More Movie Reviews at
ReviewThisMovies.com

House of Sylvestermouse




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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Friday, August 30, 2019

Unbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan - Movie Review

Unbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan - Movie Reviewed
It is hard to believe that Unbreakable, starring Bruce Willis, was released almost 20 years ago.  Sixteen years later, Split was released which caused a resurgence of interest in Unbreakable.  

At first, it isn't obvious what the two movies have in common other than the fabulous M. Night Shyamalan.  However, hang on until the last minutes of Split and you will understand what they have in common.  And, prepare yourself, there is a third movie, Glass, that ties them all together.

In this post, I'm only going to review Unbreakable and recommend that you plan to watch Split & Glass also.  However, I will tell you in advance, Split is a much harder to watch due to content.  Keep in mind though, these are categorized as "thrillers" for a reason.  


Unbreakable Starring Bruce Willis Reviewed


 UNBREAKABLECheck PriceWhat do you get when you combine M. Night Shyamalan, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L. Jackson?  A magnificent movie!

Samuel L. Jackson is Elijah Price, aka Mr. Glass.  The opening scene of the movie is the birth of Elijah.  The baby has both arms and legs broken.  Sadly, he has a rare bone disease (Type I osteogenesis imperfecta) that makes his bones break as easily as glass, thus his nickname.

As a child, Elijah resists playing with other kids.  Partly because of his disease and the fear of more subsequent broken bones, but also because he doesn't like being mocked.  In order to encourage his outdoor play, his mother starts giving him comic books as gifts for going outside.  It is no wonder Elijah becomes a comic book story and art expert.

Bruce Willis is David Dunn, a security guard that seems to have a sixth sense about people he touches, intentionally or inadvertently.  He also has another unusual trait.  One that even he does not acknowledge or recognize until Elijah Price points it out to him.  Elijah Price becomes suspicious of what makes David Dunn different when David is the only survivor of a train crash that killed all of the other 131 passengers.  Not only did David survive, he walked away from the crash with no injuries.  

David's son, Joseph, adores his father.  He would rather spend time with him when he works out than to play football with friends.  Joseph is amazed, perhaps even mesmerized, by his father's physical strength.  When Joseph accompanies his dad on his initial visit with Elijah, he is intrigued by what Elijah has to say.  He can certainly see the possibility that Elijah may well be right.

Elijah has a theory that for every extreme, like his fragile bones, there must be someone of the opposite extreme that is unbreakable.  Elijah believes that person is David Dunn, and he befriends David for the purpose of proving his theory.  He likens their physical traits and limitations (or lack thereof) to comic book characters.  He encourages and challenges David to test his theory.  



My Conclusion & Personal Opinion of Unbreakable


I don't ever wish to give so much information in a review, or synopsis, that I ruin the movie for others.  It is my desire to give you just enough information that you want to watch the movie yourself.

If you enjoy thrillers, I highly recommend Unbreakable.  As a  M. Night Shyamalan fan, I generally like all of his movies.  Unbreakable is one of my favorites.  However, I will warn you in advance, you will also wish to watch the subsequent movies, Split and Glass.  I will repeat my earlier caution about Split, it is much harder to watch, but clearly an excellent thriller movie.

M. Night Shyamalan is a master of suspense and unexpected twists.  I can easily state that he is one of the most exceptional writers, producers & directors of our time.  He doesn't simply remake an old movie or produce mindless drivel.  He actually writes a gripping story with psychological aspects, and produces excellence for the screen for those of us who enjoy intriguing thrillers without extreme gore.





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Unbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan - Movie Review Written by:
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Monday, August 26, 2019

The Handmaid's Tale TV Series Review

Gripping and disturbing are two descriptions which immediately surface when asked to describe the original television series The Handmaid's Tale. The television series is based on Margaret Atwood's 1998 book of the same name of which many are familiar.


The Story

The story of The Handmaid's Tale is categorized as speculative fiction or futurism. The disturbing reality of The Handmaid's Tale is the reality of history when any group, government, country or sector persecute any group of citizens who do not meet a defined criteria.

Gilead is the fictional world where woman and men are categorized into well defined roles. Offred is the main character kidnapped from the United States and transported into a dystopian society of which women who can bare children (handmaidens) are the only priority so the society can repopulate.

The handmaidens' are assigned to high ranked Commanders with wives unable to conceive. The handmaidens' role is to conceive a child by the Commander and then give the child to the couple after birth.

The complexity of the story further evolves with the emotions and interactions between the Commanders, the wives, the family, the handmaidens and all those involved in each Commander's goal to have a child. All are intertwined and though the characters are neatly categorized into roles, the emotions of each differ markedly as well as the varying interactions between the classes of Gilead and its' rules.


The Drama And It's Characters


The emotional and physical brutality of the television series I found difficult to watch. The powerful acting vests you into the plot and the characters. If you like strong character driven books, movies or television series you will vest in these characters as presented and for the future.

  • The dystopian society of Gilead is scary, thought provoking, disturbing and yet compelling.
  • Thought provoking to events of history and could it happen again?
  • Disturbing because of the violence and intolerance of anyone 'not like them.'
  • Scary to think of the power and misuse of power to propel unwilling members of society to an unwanted goal.
  • Compelling because of the acting which brings you into their world so effectively it compels you to think of the above questions and thoughts.



I highly recommend this original television series; however, viewing is not for the timid. Is it entertainment? Is it entertaining? I liken this to watching a disaster unfold, difficult to watch, but difficult not to watch.  

It is a pleasure to watch such powerful acting, but one must be in the mood to watch a serious television series as this is a series which provokes afterthoughts of past society and the future should power go awry.


Where To View A Handmaid's Tale?

This is an original series by Hulu, so a membership is required to view the current season or past episodes of season one or two. Season three began in June 2019.

However, Amazon members can stream seasons one and two and the third season will be released after its' first run on Netflix. The series is available here to purchase per episode or per season.


The Testaments


To date A Handmaid's Tale has over 14,000 reviews on Amazon, is a number one New York Times best seller and a sequel The Testaments is anticipated for September 2019.


The end of season one of the television series correlated to the end of the book. The Testaments is Ms. Atwoord's voice as to the future of the main character Offred and the society of Gilead.


Books Similar In Theme To A Handmaid's Tale


1984 by George Orwell
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury




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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Unplanned: The Movie, a Review!

Unplanned, is the most controversial Movie of 2019.  

Here's my Review!

Now before I get into the Review proper, I must tell you that I am a Christian and this subject is very personally repugnant to me.  But, having said that, I think this is a movie that should be shown to every "adult"  person.  Why?  Because there is so much misinformation out there about abortion.  There is also so much anger and polarization about this topic.  This review may seem one sided, but that is my point of view.  After seeing this movie you can make up your own mind. 

The Movie is based on the book Unplanned by Abby Johnson!  It is a true story and there is nothing added or taken away from her experiences.  The movie is very emotionally charged in all aspects. Happiness, sadness, anger, hope, joy and so much more.

 

I personally have not read the book, but have seen the movie and the book is on order. I like to read and re-read on this topic because I feel it is so important to be completely clear on all the information and implications. After all this is supposed to be helping women and looking after their health care. There is so much information that gets twisted by the emotional aspect of the subject.

Now you may be wondering what the heck the subject of this Movie and Book are.  Well, there's no easy way to say it's about ABORTION, and the whole abortion industry. (Make no mistake, it is an industry.)

Abby Johnson, the author, should know the industry better than anyone.  She worked for many years as a Director of a Planned Parenthood facility in Texas.  She had worked her way through the system from handing out flyers to college kids, working as a volunteer at the clinic and ultimately becoming the clinic's director.  She was so good at her job that she was awarded the Planned Parenthood highest accolades, Employee of the Year at their annual convention.

Coincidentally, this is the moment that Abby finds out that Planned Parenthood's  mission statement is a lie! In one meeting she goes from Employee of the Year to questioning everything she has always believed.

I don't want to give away too much of this story, because I really want you to see it!  Many movie theaters will not show this movie because of it's controversial topic.  Not to worry,  you can get to see it on Hoopla!

Hoopla is a free service and you can borrow movies, books, and so much more.  Tracey, one of our writers let us know about this service and I'm so thankful to her for sharing this with me.

I also don't like movie theaters telling me what I can and cannot see!  There are so many questionable movies out there that are readily shown to the public, but,  when a movie takes a moral stand, they deem it inappropriate and don't allow it to be seen in their venues.   So in order to understand this, I watched this movie using Hoopla!

Please be aware, you might want to watch this movie first before sharing it with your family,  It is a very emotional topic, but one that really needs to be understood from all sides.












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