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

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.



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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.







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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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Sunday, May 17, 2020

A TV Series about a Digital Afterlife - Reviewed and I Was Glued

A personal review of the Prime Series "Upload" - About a Digital Afterlife

Upload is available on Amazon Prime.

Before I tell you about the series, let me start by saying that I broke every one of my own rules about binge-watching! I started watching late at night, didn't get up for snacks (lol), watched every episode .... and the worst part, I chose a series with only 1 season!

Ok. That's off my chest.

Are You a Fan of Shows About the Afterlife - If So, You'll Enjoy Upload

My favorite types of movies are time travel, the afterlife, catastrophes, new planets, life exploration, spiritual revelations, and mankind lessons. Weird right? Lol. I know.

After reading what Upload was about I knew I'd be giving this one a try. It's a fun and interesting look at preserving a person's consciousness after death. Personally, no thanks - let me go. But hey, the creative aspect of this is futuristic, and who knows what the future holds.

The Story Line of Upload

In the year 2033 when a human passes away, they have the choice of uploading their consciousness into a virtual afterlife.

The premise of this show is that the main character, Nathan, is uploaded prematurely. The plot is about this mystery, and why.

It offers love, manipulation, humor, and some dark comedy.

Making Money on Selling an Afterlife, WHAT!

Omg. I was actually mad about this (in a disgustingly funny way), but it's critical to the story - it's part of the story!

There are expensive afterlife locations and cheap ones for those with less money. Capitalism in death, sheesh. Get this, in this story, your living loved one pays for your stay in the virtual afterlife location of your choosing, and also pays for the things you use there. LOL - like a hotel! Go easy on the afterlife minibar?

So unless you have a lot of greenbacks, your afterlife is destined to be low quality and low budget! If your bills aren't paid, your consciousness is frozen until more gigabytes are purchased or the bills are paid.

There are a Few Shocking Bloodless Scenes

I almost want to tell you what it is so you don't jump out of your body like I did! But I won't. Or should I? No. I won't. I'll give you a hint; when Nathan is being 'Uploaded', get ready for what happens, because that's one of the parts where you'll jump out of your seat.

Do I Recommend This Series?

Yes. If you're curious where a writer goes with a topic like this, you'll enjoy it's dark, fun creative aspects.

Apparently, Upload has been renewed for a second season. Yippee, I'll be watching.

The Trailer is excellent - Watch it on Prime.





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Friday, May 15, 2020

A Summer Romance Hallmark Movie Reviewed

I can always depend on Hallmark to provide wholesome entertainment!

A Summer Romance
Hallmark movies have been called "cookie cutter", "unrealistic" and "predictable".  Okay, that may well be true, but who cares.  I love Hallmark movies!  

Hallmark movies are what I call easy watching, like easy listening music.  Not especially profound or deep, but they leave me feeling happy and relaxed.  For me, that is most important when watching movies.  I don't personally need depressing or upsetting, or even realistic all of the time.  But, I'll take "happy" anytime!

I happened upon "A Summer Romance" recently, starring Erin Krakow, who I think is adorable.  It did take me a few minutes to adjust to her character in this movie.  After all, I see her as Elizabeth in "When Calls the Heart" which is an awesome Hallmark series.  She also stars in a Christmas movie I previous reviewed, Finding Father Christmas.  She does an excellent job of acting in all of these movies and has quickly become my favorite Hallmark actress.  Krakow is not exclusively "Hallmark".  They just happen to be where I have seen her most often.

"A Summer Romance" is another sweet romantic movie that ends exactly the way we all hope it will.  Still, it's fun to watch, especially when they take a boy out of the city and introduce him to an unpretentious country girl.  



Plot of the Hallmark movie, A Summer Romance


 A Summer RomanceCheck PriceSamantha Walker is now the sole owner of the Montana ranch that has been in her family for generations.  Unfortunately, a large ranch is expensive to maintain.  Repairs have required Sam to take a bank loan, which she is several months behind on with payments.  That leaves her ranch vulnerable to vultures who desire to build a country club on her land.

Richard Belmont (Ryan Paevey) has already developed a plan to acquire a certain ranch in Bighorn, Montana.  He is certain he can persuade the owner to sell.  What he doesn't realize is that the owner has plans of her own to make her ranch profitable.  

Sam is weighing all of her options, which is why she agrees to meet Belmont and consider his offer.  But, the ranch has been in her family for generations and it is home.  When Richard arrives in Bighorn without reservations for a room, Sam ends up inviting him to stay in the guesthouse on the ranch.  

As Richard spends time with Sam and the residents of the ranch, they all actually become friends.  That is not the best alliance for the man, and the company, who plans to buy the ranch home out from under the owner, now friend.  

Richard only thinks he is completely in charge of the deal.  Sam only thinks she is making the decision.  And, yes, you will have to watch the movie if you want to see what happens.





Currently, "A Summer Romance" can be purchased on DVD linked above, but is available on Amazon with a subscription to the Hallmark Channel.  

Subscribe to the Hallmark Channel on Amazon.com
  

Check Out More Movie Reviews at
ReviewThisMovies.com



A Summer Romance - Hallmark Movie Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 


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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Easter Sunday is Over, But There are 50 More Days of Easter to Come! A Holiday Review!

Easter, the chosen, olivia morris, faith

Easter 2020, will probably be remembered by many as the Easter that wasn't.  Let me explain, Easter still happened, but not in the way that many of us Born Christians would recognize.  So we have had to find some creative ways to celebrate the Greatest Holy Day of the Christian Calendar.

To that end, my husband and I have been searching for ways in order to make Easter come alive again!  We don't have any problem with following services on You Tube, or Facebook, but Easter calls us (personally) to dig a little deeper into our faith.

I am a Christian and not at all ashamed or embarrassed to admit it!  I'm sure I'm not alone.  The thing that always surprises me is that after Easter is over, many Christians think Easter is a done deal.  One day, Easter Sunday and then everything goes back to "normal".  (Well 2020's normal will be different than most.)

Many people don't understand that Easter Sunday is just the beginning of the Easter season.  It does NOT END until 50 days later at the Feast of the Pentacost!

That gives Christians a whole 50 days to deepen their faith and strengthen their belief system.

bible, jesus, easter, celebrations, Olivia Morris
The trouble is that you can only read the scriptures for so long and then hopefully have a good discussion on what was read.  Our God speaks to each of us through these scriptures and each of us will take away lessons that are meant just for us.  Each will take away a lesson that speaks to them personally, and it may not be the same message that you get!  The Bible is alive and speaks to each of us in a way that we will understand in our hearts.

Being in house arrest has given us some time to look for other ways to celebrate our faith and grow at the same time.

We are so lucky that we can search out lots of different ways to celebrate our Christian Holidays.  You Tube, Facebook and the Internet offer us unlimited ways to enhance our faith journey.  Alan and I were blessed to spend 3 months in the Holy Land in 2018.  We were there from the middle of January to the Middle of April, which just happened to be Easter of that year.  What an experience that was and it still resounds with us today.  If you would like to see where we lived and worked during that time here's a You Tube video about the region and why it was so important to Christians all over the world.  https://youtu.be/Jcfkn9zivis

After having spent that time in Magdala, we came back home really driven to look into our faith, deeper, so that we are well informed Christians.

Now, during this time in our lives, that has us more upside down, than right side up, we are looking again for ways in which to make our faith "come alive".  To that end, both of us have been trying to figure out who the person of Jesus was and who His followers were too.  We have had many lively discussions on this aspect of our faith and really haven't come to any conclusions.  What we see in the Scriptures can look pretty cold and too Godly or shall we say Jesus sometimes come off as unreachable.  But that is not the Jesus we want to believe in, we want a Jesus that is just like us, happy, sad, funny, serious and a whole lot more....He is the Jesus we could relate to!

Thank goodness that I found a series that really delves into the "humanity" of Christ!  This series has 8 episodes and each one of them is really so well done.  The series holds true to the Biblical Christ, but also opens up the Humanity of him who is known as the Messiah.

I would like to share with you a link to get to this series and I'm sure that you will be moved just as I was.  This series is not available on DVD or any other media other than at the APP store.  I have a link for you right here.  It is called The Chosen.  This is an 8 part series each one is about an hour long and focuses on the beginning of Jesus' life and ministry.  While following Biblical texts, there is a lot of interpretation allowed in this series.

Not only are we treated to a "human" Jesus, we are also treated to the characters who become his Apostles and Disciples.  His mother and other relatives also play a role in this series.  I found it to be very interesting and profoundly moving.

My hope is that you started your Easter celebrations with Cynthia Sylvestermouses' Review of Jesus of Nazareth!  And I hope you continue your Easter reflections with The Chosen.

Please come back and tell me what you thought!  I know for myself personally, this series was a valuable tool in more ways than one.  It brought so many characters to life that I had not connected with through just reading the Scriptures.  My faith is alive and new ways of understanding that faith are always welcomed.  You can watch the official trailer for The Chosen right here!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, meme, possible text that says 'I was one way, and now I'm completely different. And the thing that happened in between... was Him. TheChosen.t'

**Please note: at the end of every episode there is a bit of "advertising", but you can skip that and move to the next episode easily.  If you are touched by this series you can PAY IF FORWARD.  But please don't feel that you must do this.  I want you to enjoy this series as much as I have and that is my sole purpose in sharing this with you.  I make no commissions or any other reward for sharing this with you.  Happy Easter for the next 50 days at least.....







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Friday, April 10, 2020

Jesus of Nazareth Movie Reviewed

Jesus of Nazareth Movie Reviewed
I remember when the movie "Jesus of Nazareth" was first released in 1977.  Even though that was over 40 years ago, it seems like yesterday.  It was the first time I had ever seen a visual depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  

Of course, I had seen still pictures, statues, and had the mental images my own mind created when reading the scripture.  But none of that was as impacting as watching our Lord being led down the Via Dolorosa.  Then seeing Him nailed to that cross while he was mocked and murdered.  

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is when Jesus told the thief on the cross next to him, "today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).  The realization that all that is required for salvation is accepting Jesus as the Son of God, your savior, is phenomenal.  It is recorded that the thief defended Jesus saying "He has done nothing wrong" and then the thief said “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”  

What a glorious revelation to the world!  So much was required of Jesus, but so little is required of us.


Jesus of Nazareth Movie Synopsis
Scriptural Accuracy vs. Artistic License


To this day, this is still my favorite movie about Jesus, and I have seen several.  There are some areas where the movie deviates from scripture.  Perhaps, that is for dramatic effect, or scripture interpretation.  It may well be nothing more than combining scripture passages into one event.  Regardless, it can be distracting.  I recommend reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) for the complete truth.

 Jesus of Nazareth
(40th Anniversary Edition)
Available on Blu-ray, DVD, VHS, or Prime Video
Check Availability Now
In spite of the directors artistic liberties, I still recommend this movie.  The main reason I prefer "Jesus of Nazareth" over others is because it starts before Jesus was born.  Acknowledging the virgin birth and Joseph's obedience to God is unique and extremely important.

It includes Mary visiting Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, when they were both with child.  The Bible says "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb".  (Luke 1:41)  That is truly a significant moment when you know that as an adult, John was a prophet that proclaimed the coming of the Messiah.  

The movie includes the baptism of Jesus, preformed by John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:13-17)  However, the movie takes some liberties here that I am not too thrilled about.  Scripture says:  "As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”   Instead of being scripturally accurate, the movie had John speak instead of God.  That is a major difference for me.  God did not speak through John. 

For the most part, I liked the depiction of the disciples, as well as the choice of actors to play the parts.  I know of nothing in the Bible that depicts Judas as graciously as this movie does.  It is possible that Judas was tricked and deceived by people, but I haven't found that supported by scripture. 

The last discrepancy that I would note about the movie, is with the discovery of the empty tomb.  Scripture tells us that John and Peter ran to the tomb when Mary Magdalene told them the tomb was empty.  (John 20:1-18)   Sadly, that verification by John & Peter was omitted in the movie. 

Scripture also records in John 20:17, "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."  Only a portion of this scripture was quoted in the movie.

I would also recommend reading about the multiple accounts of Jesus appearing and interacting with the disciples after his resurrection.  This is an example of how the movie combined several events into one.


Why I Recommend Jesus of Nazareth 

In spite of the discrepancies above, I would still recommend watching "Jesus of Nazareth".  The movie is a reminder of what happened on Good Friday and Easter.  It also serves as an introduction that will, hopefully, cause anyone to seek further knowledge of Truth through the scripture.


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Monday, March 30, 2020

Movie Review: This Mountain Life

This Mountain Life is a beautiful, inspiring documentary about a grown daughter and her 60 year old mother who ski traverse the Coast Mountains of British Colombia, a six month trip in the winter. But this movie is not just about them or their trip. It is about people who choose to live their lives and pursue their passions.


Movie review: This Mountain Life

"Shot in cinematic detail, This Mountain Life is a riveting examination of human passion set high in the peaks of British Columbia". - This Mountain Life homepage.
Martina Halik (at age 29) is planning to ski/hike/climb the Coast Mountain range in British Columbia from Squamish, BC to Skagway, AK. This is a trip that is over 2,300k (1,400+ miles). She invites her mother to come. Martina describes her mom as super hardcore and very humble. 

Tania Halik was 59 when her daughter was planning this trip. Without hesitation she said that she would go along. And would consider the trip her 60th birthday present. Tania tells us how proud she is of her daughter. That her daughter has not done anything this difficult. She says this with love. And we learn that this is the 2nd time Tania has crossed mountains. I thought that I couldn't imagine taking this trip, but after learning about Tania's first trip I realized that this 2nd trip was probably the equivalent of a pleasure cruise compared to her first adventure.

"Maybe when I'm old I'll [do other trips]. And then I get these odd looks and I realize, oh they think I'm old now. I don't feel old. "  - Tania Halik

It is a wonderful thing to see a parent and an adult child admire and appreciate each other the way the Halik women appear to. 

The planned route
This movie is not a detailed look at their trip. Nor is it a how-to-traverse-mountains video. Although, you may learn something. For example, I had no idea that it was possible to ski up steep mountainsides! This documentary is a variety of brief glimpses at the Haliks as individuals, as a mother and daughter, and of the terrain they are traveling through on this very long trip. It is a movie about living.

In addition the Halik story, the movie cuts out to vignettes about 5 other people. At first, I found the vignettes to be pretty but jarring. But by the end of the movie I felt that it was a gift to have met these people. I viewed the movie a second time within the same week and those vignettes were my favorite portions. I looked forward to meeting those folks again.
"I'm not interested in dying. I'm up there because I want to live" - Barry Blanchard, mountain guide/climber

This movie is about people who are following their passion and living their lives. Really living their lives - not just going through each day habitually. It is also about the magic of the mountains and encourages us all to experience that magic.  Granted, not all of us will make art in the snow, survive an avalanche, climb frozen mountains, be a nun who skies across snowy clearings at the mountain monestary, live on a remote homestead for 50 years, or ski for 6 months from one country to another.

Us less skilled folks do not have to go into the backcountry for months in order to experience nature's benefits. But we can each appreciate the beauty of the outdoors around us and become rejuvenated through the sights, sounds, and fresh air. Us folks who are not skilled in the mountains, can choose to actively follow our passions where they lead us.

I watched this movie in bed late one night. I expected to fall asleep during the movie. Not only did I not fall asleep but I became energized. I got out of bed after the movie feeling stirred and excited to continue to pursue my own passions. It took me hours to settle and fall asleep - in a good way.

Perhaps this movie hit me hard because my dream is to live in a small house, on my own piece of land, in the mountains of West Virginia. But I think this movie would be appealing to a broad range of people. Especially those who want to live a more inspired life.

I saw the movie via Amazon Prime. You can find it here. Amazon also offers the video in DVD format.

Watch the official video trailer on Vimeo here

If you would like to know more about my mountain homesteading dreams, you can read more about me and The Shack here


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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Reviewing Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders Mini-Series

Agatha Christie Mini Series - The ABC Murders
Yes, that's a grown up Ron Weasley
playing a Scotland Yard dectectiv
e
I have to put my hand up and say I'm an Agatha Christie fan from decades back and one of the books that I liked was the ABC Murders, I loved the twist in this novel.

Adapting a book to a mini-series always presents challenges in keeping true to the author for their fans while also ensuring it works well for today's audiences.   I feel that when they adapted And Then There Were None they really captured that well.   In this case I feel conflicted.

As I said I enjoyed this book immensely, but having finished the three part mini-series I'm not sure if I liked it or not!   I was intrigued with the casting of John Malkovich in the role of Hercule Poirot and I think he makes a surprisingly refreshing change to David Suchet or Peter Ustinov.

The problem for me was that key elements of the story was changed, one of the key players wasn't in the mini-series and two of the other players had totally different roles, in fact I was very surprised by a certain death that occurred.

While watching it the thing that I really didn't find added anything to the mini-series was flashbacks that Poirot was having to his time before arriving in the UK and at the end you see what role he supposedly had before leaving Belgium which is completely at odds with the character Dame Christie created.

If I wasn't as familiar with Hercule Poirot I might not have minded the liberties taken and it may have added something, but I'm not sure.   It has left me feeling very conflicted about whether or not to recommend this series.

When it comes to one of the main characters lodgings in London, the series certainly makes them a lot seedier than my imagination created in my mind as I read the book.

I was grateful that they didn't change who the killer was because at one point I thought they were going to make it a different person which would've been insane (in my opinion).   I did like the reveal after the murderer was revealed.   Instead of the almost iconic Poirot gathering of the characters for his big reveal they went with the power of television to give flashbacks of key scenes.

Do I recommend this series?   I really am conflicted so I will just say if you are an Agatha Christie purist absolutely not.   If you haven't read the book then I think you might enjoy this.   I would be intrigued to know your thoughts if you do decide to check this miniseries out.

If you've not heard of the ABC Murders before then it basically starts with Hercule Poirot getting letters from someone who signs himself ABC ..... and then the murders begin. 

The first is Alice Asher in Andover, the second is Betty Barnard in Bexhill, you get the idea.   Next to each murder victim a copy of London's ABC (the famous railway guide) is left opened at the appropriate letter.   Each destination is one that has a connection with Poirot and the letters are addressed to him almost taunting him to participate in the murderer's 'game'.

The story is set in 1930s London and the backdrop shows the rising fascist movement and anti-immigrants movement which adds to the bleakness that accompanies Poirot's traumatic flashbacks.


The ABC Murders on Amazon Prime
Click here to get the ABC Murders on Prime Video

 
Now I watched this on the ABC channel in Australia (which I thought was kind of ironic!), but I could've watched it on Amazon Prime.   I do love Amazon Prime and have enjoyed watching shows such as Jack Ryan and Good Omens on there.




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Friday, February 14, 2020

Togo (2019) Movie Review

Togo (2019) Movie Review
Soundtrack Image/Link
Are you familiar with the name "Togo"?  What about "Balto"?  Does that name ring a bell?  What do you really know about these two dogs.  

I readily admit, I was surprised by the real facts when I recently watched the Disney movie, Togo, which prompted me to research the true history.  My previous knowledge of the legendary serum run to Nome was clearly very limited and had been shaped around the stories of Balto.  Imagine how shocked I was to learn the truth.

Since I love dogs, I am often drawn to movies about dogs, especially when they also feature a favorite actor like Willem Dafoe. When I saw the awesome dvd cover for the movie Togo, I was immediately drawn in and had to watch the movie.  The dvd picture is only the introduction to Togo and Leonhard Seppala.  Just look at that dog!  Isn't he gorgeous!!!  The real Togo was every bit as beautiful as the dog in the movie.  After hearing his story, all I could think was, who wouldn't want that fabulous pup!

One note of warning, ladies get out the tissues!  This is a real tearjerker that even guys will watch with you. Actually, come to think of it, bring extra tissues for them.


Togo The Lead Sled Dog of Leonhard
RDShahriar [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]



Togo (2019) - Disney Movie Synopsis


The movie is based on the true story of Leonhard Seppala and his lead dog, Togo.  Unlike many movies, Togo seems to follow the truth closely, if not completely.  It dramatizes the challenges, the sacrifices, and the risks this team took in order to bring a life-saving serum to the children of Nome, Alaska, as well as gives us a factual account of the real Togo's life. 

Togo was the runt of the litter and expected to die.  Leonhard Seppala thought it would be kinder to put the pup down, but his wife did not agree.  She personally nursed the puppy to health and Togo repaid them with a deep love and devotion that only a dog can give. 
 
Leonhard Seppala was a renowned expert musher and trainer of working sled dogs.  Due to his small size and health issues, Seppala was certain Togo could not be useful.  He actually gave him away twice, but both times Togo was returned, or made his own way back home.
 
Togo was determined to be with Leonhard whether he wanted him or not.  Much to Seppala's surprise, the other dogs were willing to be lead by Togo, even into mischief and against their masters commands.  When Seppala relented and tried Togo as the lead sled dog, they were both rewarded with a win-win compromise.  


Size didn't matter to Togo.  He had the heart and spirit of a born leader.  

In 1925, when Togo was a mature 12 year old dog, the town was hit with a diphtheria epidemic. The children of Nome, Alaska desperately needed medicine.  Due to the weather, an airplane was not an option and the train from Anchorage only went as far as Nenana, Alaska.  The city council asked Leonhard Seppala to make the trip to Nenana to pick up the serum.  

Now, think about that for just a minute!  Over 650 miles round trip, in −30 °F weather with a wind chill of −85 °F and white out storms that no man could possibly see in, on a dog pulled sled.  Only an animal with a fantastic ability to navigate a blizzard could survive.  At 12 years old, the trip alone would most likely kill Togo, but Seppala knew he was their only chance of getting through to Nenana.  No other dog in his kennel possessed the drive and ability needed in such an intense storm.  But could Seppala knowingly sacrifice his beloved Togo to save the lives of the children and adults in Nome? 

Leonhard Seppala, with Togo in the lead of his dog sled team, set out for Nenana.  While in route, the city council set up a relay to intercept Seppala and shorten the length of time it would take to get the medicine back to Nome.  


The Facts about Balto & Togo


Balto was hailed as the hero because he was the reported lead dog that brought the serum into the city of Nome.  In the end, over 20 men (mushers) and 100 dogs were involved in the relay.  Most, including Balto, ran approximately 30 miles of the trek, but they all deserve credit for their part in the mission.  

Leonhard Seppala & his winning dogsled team
during 9th_All-Alaska Sweepstakes dogsled race

University of Washington [Public domain]
Ironically, Balto was also owned and trained by Leonhard Seppala.  Seppala's wife allowed another musher, Gunnar Kaasen, to borrow Balto for the relay.    

Togo and Seppala, along with the rest of their dog team, ran 260 hard miles.  They were the team that crossed the dangerous iced-over Norton Sound and endured 3 days of blizzard weather. The team survived due to Togo's exceptional ability to navigate to safety in a ground blizzard.  If not for Togo, his dog team, Leonhard Seppala, and the serum would have been lost and dead.

Even though they passed the serum off for the last miles into Nome, I think it is clear who deserved the credit for getting the lifesaving serum to Nome.

You can watch the factually accurate movie yourself to see if you agree. 

One note of interest that the movie did not include, is that Seppala had an 8 year old daughter at the time of the serum run.  I have no desire to take away from Seppala, but as a parent myself, I suspect the fact that he had a child affected his decision to make the run for their lives and to use Togo as his lead in spite of the dogs advanced age.  After all, he had the option to use Balto himself.

At the time of publishing this review, Togo is only available for viewing on the Disney+ subscription channel.  No DVD release date has been announced.

The phenomenal music from the movie is available for purchase and downloading. 




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Togo (2019) Movie Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 


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Friday, January 31, 2020

Baby Yoda (The Child) & The Mandalorian Star Wars Series Reviewed

Baby Yoda (The Child) & The Mandalorian Star Wars Series Reviewed
With the release of "The Mandalorian" on the Disney channel, Star Wars fans have gone crazy over the adorable "Baby Yoda"!

In the The Mandalorian episodes, "Baby Yoda" is simply called "The Child".  After all, he is not Yoda.  He looks like Yoda to fans, therefore he is widely known off-screen as Baby Yoda. 

One look at "The Child", humans & creatures on and off-screen are smitten with his enchanting personality, as well as his looks.  A slight tip of the head is all it takes for "The Child" to have you under his spell.  You, too, will wish to hold and protect him! 
  



 

Star Wars:  The Mandalorian Series


 Star Wars The Mandalorian Poster BookCheck PriceMandalorians are an elite group of trained warriors who never reveal their own identity.  In the series, "The Mandalorian" is a bounty hunter for hire.  When a bounty hunter is commissioned to track, find, and capture a target, opinions of the target are not his concern.  However, when the Mandalorian sees the child, he doesn't have a clue about his species and wonders about his clients intent for this youngster.  As the story progresses, what becomes obvious to him is that "The Child" needs protection from his client.

To break the Guild code of conduct and steal the child in order to protect him, the Mandalorian must choose a lone existence, which makes him the hunted as well.

At times, he finds aid from friends, as well as a few who don't mind alliances as long as they are paid.  But every step alone this protective path has dangers.  The Child is fortunate to have a true warrior by his side and the Mandalorian finds out just how fortunate he is to have The Child by his side.

This is a fabulous Star Wars series that I highly recommend!  As a matter of fact, just reviewing it makes me wish to stop and watch it again.  I can hardly wait for season 2.  Beware though, "The Child" will steal your heart!





Season 1 is available to watch now on Disney Plus.  Season 2 is already in production and will release in the fall of 2020.







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Baby Yoda (The Child) & The Mandalorian Star Wars Series Reviewed Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 


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Friday, January 10, 2020

Signed, Sealed, Delivered Hallmark Series Reviewed

Signed, Sealed, Delivered Hallmark Series Reviewed
Signed, Sealed, Delivered started as a tv series in 2013, but after the first complete season, Hallmark rebranded the series as television films.  Sadly, that meant there would no longer be a weekly show.  But, for those of us who love the series, we are always excited when a new film is released.

There are 11 episodes, including the pilot, in the one season tv series.  At the time of publishing this review, there are more than 10 films that have been released since the series ended. 


Alongside the wonderful main characters, the shows have featured some really fabulous special guests that include Carol Burnett, Della Reese, Valerie Bertinelli, and Valerie Harper.  These special guests have added lighthearted humor and fun that makes the shows even more entertaining.



Signed, Sealed, Delivered Plot


As you might expect from the name, the main characters are employees of the US post office.  They are the only 4 employees of the Denver dead letter office, where they strive to find the right recipients in order to deliver long lost letters.  They often end up on great adventures while solving intriguing mysteries.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered - Series 1
The dead letter department is headed by Oliver O'Toole who is described by his team as an old-fashioned gentleman, a man of faith, a rule-keeper, and a meticulous manager.  Oliver is married, but his wife left him so she could live in Paris.  He is always on the lookout for any correspondence from her, but she has clearly abandoned him and their marriage.

Shane McInerney is accidentally placed in the dead letter office.  Because of her computer expertise and hacking ability she ends up being an excellent addition to the team.  Plus, she likes the other employees there.  Shane decides to stay with them even when her transfer to her intended position is finally approved.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered Hallmark Series Reviewed Rita Haywith is a really sweet lady who happens to have a photographic memory.  She has an uncanny ability to "look up" facts, names, and information via her own mind.  There are times when she seems too naive to believe, but she is so adorable you can't help but love her.  Her crush on Norman is obvious to everyone but him.

Last but by no means least, Norman Dorman is the consummate librarian and scientist.  He seems to be able to find the right book for any needed reference or information.  Norman possesses the "absent minded professor" personally that doesn't understand the normal, everyday conversations, social cues or nuances. Personally, I find his straight forward purity of words and actions refreshing. 

This team of determined post office workers are later dubbed the Postables because of their commitment to maintain the confidentiality of the contents and sender, while playing detective in order to locate the proper recipient of a dead letter or package.

The Postables always go the extra mile to make sure a missive finally reaches it's destination, even when it is years after it was initially mailed.

The letters always provide something the recipient needs, like an explanation for past actions, a long awaited apology or resolution, a gift like a wedding gown, or they reunite friends and family who have lost touch.  Some of the stories are pretty sad because either the sender or the recipient have died.  But, they still serve a purpose for the remaining loved ones.

One particularly touching episode, "To Whom It May Concern", was about a young woman who wanted to find the soldier who not only taught her to read, but also saved her life by giving up his seat on the rescue helicopter.  The team had to go to great lengths to find the missing soldier.


Watch Signed, Sealed, Delivered in Chronological Order 


It isn't absolutely necessary to watch the episodes or films in the order of their release date, but it will make the basic storyline more cohesive.  Because the plot and couple relationships develop over time, just like real life relationships, some things will make more sense if you know what happened in the past.

This is one series that I would recommend watching in chronological order.

    Signed, Sealed, Delivered Hallmark Series Reviewed
  1. Signed, Sealed, Delivered - Pilot Movie  (2013)
  2. Signed, Sealed, Delivered - The Complete Season 1  (2013-2014) 
    Note: Series 1 DVD does not include the pilot. Must purchase it separately.
  3. Signed, Sealed, Delivered for Christmas  (2014)
  4. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: From Paris With Love (2015) 
  5. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Truth Be Told  (2015)
  6. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Impossible Dream  (2015) 
  7. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: From the Heart  (2016)
  8. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: One in a Million  (2016)
  9. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Lost Without You  (2016) 
  10. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Higher Ground  (2017)
  11. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Home Again  (2017)
  12. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Road Less Traveled  (2018)
  13. Signed, Sealed, Delivered: To the Altar  (2018)
  14. Next Film to Be Released in mid to late 2020!          


 
As you can see above, the DVD's are available to purchase on Amazon.  Or, you can subscribe to the Hallmark Channel via Amazon to watch them all.


Subscribe to Hallmark Channel on Amazon






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Signed, Sealed, Delivered Hallmark Series Reviewed Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 


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