Showing posts with label TV Series or Mini-Series. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TV Series or Mini-Series. Show all posts

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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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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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Good Omens 2019 TV Miniseries Review

Lovers of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman rejoice! Good Omens finally has been released as a television miniseries for Amazon Prime Video and BBC Two viewers.

Good Omens TV miniseries on Amazon Prime Video - image courtesy of Amazon

When Pratchett and Gaiman's World Fantasy Award-nominated satirical fantasy novel Good Omens was published 29 years ago, it was my first introduction to Neil Gaiman's wonderfully twisted mind and wickedly funny sense of humor. If Neil Gaiman’s name doesn’t ring a bell, you may know him from the big-screen adaptations of some of his novels, such as the 2007 movie Stardust starring Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Mark Strong, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter O’Toole or the 2009 3D stop-motion animated film Coraline featuring the voices of Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French.

My husband and I have long been huge fans of Sir Terry Pratchett's work, especially his well-known and much-loved Discworld fantasy novels. We have read or listened avidly to pretty much every Pratchett book or audiobook we could get hold of (many of them multiple times). So when Good Omens was published, we were quick to buy the paperback. It was bizarre and intriguing, but it had such a huge cast of characters, many in fairly minor roles, that I found the story hard to follow and had to listen read it a second time. Both Pratchett and Gaiman are brilliant – and hilarious – but they do require their readers to do their part by giving the their full attention to their extraordinary writing, especially if you don't wan't to miss all the puns and dry humor. Admittedly these authors' works aren't to everyone's taste, but my husband and I love them.

We also love audiobooks, so when Good Omens was released as an audiobook narrated by one of Pratchett's favorite narrators, Stephen Briggs, I downloaded immediately. I enjoyed it immensely - much more than the print edition. Briggs' distinctive voices for the different characters also made it much easier for me to keep them all straight! Sadly, that recording is no longer available for some reason, but there is a very good unabridged audiobook of Good Omens on Audible narrated by Martin Jarvis.

Good Omens – The Miniseries That Almost Wasn't


After listening to Good Omens I thought what I always do after reading or listening to a Terry Pratchett novel: "Wouldn't this make a great movie?" I didn't hold out much hope, however, since none of Pratchett's books have been made into movies and only three of his Discworld novels have been made into television miniseries: The Color of Magic with Sean Astin as the naive and ever optimistic tourist Twoflower, David Jason as the hapless "wizzard" Rincewind and Jeremy Irons as the wily Patrician; Hogfather; and my personal favorite, Going Postal starring Richard Coyle as Moist von Lipvig, Claire Foy as Adora Belle Dearheart and David Suchet as dastardly Reacher Gilt. (Pratchett's characters' names are always a hoot!)

However, there were, indeed, concerted efforts to have Good Omens made into a movie, to be directed by Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame, which continued long after the book’s publication in 1990. Then in 2011, Gaiman’s website announced that a television series adaptation of the book was “in the works” from another member of the Monty Python troupe, Terry Jones. But in 2016, Gaiman announced that he himself was writing the scripts for a six-part TV series at the request of Terry Pratchett in 2015 shortly before his death from Alzheimer’s disease.

When my husband and I heard that Amazon Studios and BBC Studios would be co-producing a miniseries based on Good Omens and written by Gaiman himself, we were really excited, especially when the cast was announced, including David Tennant (our favorite Doctor Who), wonderful Welsh actor Michael Sheen, Mad Men star Jon Hamm, Miranda Richardson and the voice of Frances McDormand!

Often, movie or television adaptations of books are poor imitations of the original. In the case of Good Omens, however, having to streamline the story for video made the TV miniseries even better than the book in many respects. It makes the intricate story line much easier to follow. (Even so, this isn't something you'll want to watch while checking email, or you're likely to miss an important detail or plot point.)

What I Love About Good Omens, the 2019 Television Miniseries


The Fabulous Cast and Terrific Performances

While the entire cast is wonderful, David Tennant and Michael Sheen are simply outstanding. Sheen, an actor I wasn't familiar with before watching Good Omens, is marvelous as the fastidious, antiquarian bookshop-owning angel, Aziraphale, who sometimes chafes at the restrictions of being "good" by the book, especially when it prevents him from doing what he believes is right. He's the perfect foil for Tennant's inspired portrayal of  Crowley, a creepy yet strangely likeable demon who enjoys his powers and revels in the freedom of being "bad" but who also, deep down, shares Aziraphale's secret desire to do what's right for humanity.

Jon Hamm's Archangel Gabriel pulls heavily from his Mad Men character, Don Draper (without Draper's infamous womanizing tendencies, obviously!). Miranda Richardson is perfect as the endearing medium and former madam with the heart of gold, Madame Tracy. And Frances McDormand is perfect as the voice of God, who narrates the miniseries.

The Authors' Perspective on Good vs. Evil

The interplay between the "good" angel Aziraphale and the "evil" demon Crowley is brilliant. Watching these two find common ground over the course of centuries in pursuit of a worthy goal –saving humanity from Armageddon – is both fascinating and believable.

The Brilllant Script and Deft Word Play

Pratchett and Gaiman share a deep love of language and word play (as well as irreverent but affectionate satire), such as placing common phrases in uncommon or ironic settings. For example, Crowley catches himself starting to say, "Thank God!" and Aziraphale catches himself starting to say, "What the hell..."

In Gaiman's script for the miniseries, the conversations between Aziraphale and Crowley are masterpieces where what isn't said is as important as what is said. These conversations serve to draw the arc of growth for these two central characters as these historical enemies first learn to understand each other, then work together and, finally, develop a true and lasting friendship. And, even though they can never overtly state their affection for one another, Tennant's and Sheen's superb performances allow us to watch its growth over the course of the show.

What's Not to Love? 


The Questionable Motives of both Divine and Infernal Characters

Gabriel, Beelzebub and their respective followers in Heaven and Hell are absolutely obsessed with starting Armageddon, just to see which side wins.

The Negative Portrayal of Organized Religion

The authors of Good Omens appear to view organized religion as a human construct that has been used as a tool for both good and evil throughout human history.

The Implication That Neither Good nor Evil is Absolute 

There are no purely "good" guys or purely "bad" guys in this story, an idea that some people may find disturbing.

An Irreverent Religious and Social Satire


Humans often struggle to determine the right thing to do in a particular situation, especially when the only option seems to be choosing the lesser of two (or more) evils. The fundamental message of this extremely funny, firmly tongue-in-cheek story seems to be that most humans – and even an angel and a demon who live among us and have become extremely fond of our kind – are neither purely good nor purely evil, and that human morality is not absolute and may sometimes depend on the circumstances.

In Good Omens, there are no sacred cows (as it were). The authors lovingly and humorously poke fun at everyone and everything, although that humor also points out serious human failings. For example, Pestilence has retired as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and has been replaced by Pollution, a scourge of humanity's own making. The story also puts a humorous, contemporary twist on things. For instance, The Horsemen – actually, two horsemen and two horsewomen – ride motorcycles.

Fair warning: if you find religious and/or social satire offensive, Good Omens is definitely not for you.

The Good Omens television miniseries provides nearly 6 hours' worth of rollicking entertainment with a brilliant script, a fabulously talented cast and extraordinary sets and special effects. It definitely doesn't take itself seriously, and neither should its viewers.

Good Omens Main Characters


Aziraphale – the angel who is Heaven’s representative on Earth; previously the guardian of Eden’s eastern gate, now the owner of an antiquarian bookstore in London. Fastidious in his dress, language, posture and manners. He loves humans even though he's often disappointed in them.

Anthony Crowley – the demon who is Hell’s representative on Earth; previously known as Crawly, the serpent who tempted Eve with the apple. His most prized earthly possession is his beloved, pristine 1926 Bentley. Predictably hedonistic, coarse and jaded, he swaggers, slouches and lounges. He's grudgingly grown fond of the humans he routinely tempts as part of his demonic duties.

Agnes Nutter – a 17th-century witch, history’s only 100% accurate prophet and author of The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. Burned at the stake in 1656 by a mob of Agnes’s neighbors led by Witchfinder Major Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer. Like the witches in Pratchett’s Discworld novels, Agnes wore many hats, including those of midwife, doctor, herbalist, wise woman, psychologist, undertaker, showman and the moral center of her witching “territory”.

Anathema Device – witch, occultist, Ph.D. holder and distant descendant of Agnes Nutter. Also, the only person who can prevent the impending Apocalypse – if she can just figure out what Agnes’s cryptic prophecies mean in time.

Adam Young – a sweet and charismatic but also odd boy with a dog; also, respectively, the Antichrist and his hellhound. Due to a hospital mix-up by Satanic nuns under Crowley's direction, the newborn Adam was switched at birth with the baby of a random couple, Mr. and Mrs. Young, instead of with the baby of the U.S. ambassador to Britain and his wife, the Dowlings.

Newton Pulsifer – a failed, would-be software engineer whose attempts to fix any electronic device are pretty much guaranteed to render it unusable. A descendant of Witchfinder Major Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer, Newt is working as an overqualified wages (payroll) clerk when he is reluctantly recruited into the Witchfinder Army by Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell.

Gabriel – archangel and leader of the forces of Heaven; hell-bent (so to speak) on winning the Ultimate Battle Between Good and Evil against the forces of Hell, led by Beelzebub. Sees humans as a way to keep score in the final battle between.

Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell – the last remaining member of the Witchfinder Army; invents fictitious additional members with names inspired by whatever his eyes light upon, e.g., Sergeant Cabinet. Lives above the rooms of Madame Tracy.

Madame Tracy – professional name of Marjorie Potts, an over-the-hill but warm-hearted madam; also a medium who offers weekly séances for the gullible. She has a soft spot for crusty Sergeant Shadwell, who calls her Whore of Babylon, Painted Lady, Jezebel, etc., yet still grumblingly joins her for afternoon tea and accepts her financial help when he’s a bit short of funds.

Good Omens Plot


Two of Hell's Dukes, Haster and Ligur, deliver the newborn Antichrist to the demon Crowley who, in turn, entrusts him to the Chattering Order of St. Beryl, a Satanic sisterhood that runs a hospital in Lower Tadfield (a fictitious village in South East England). Crowley instructs the nuns to switch the newborn Antichrist with the infant son of U.S. Ambassador Dowling and Mrs. Dowling. But, thanks to a mix-up at the hospital, Satan's spawn is given instead to Mr. and Mrs. Young, a perfectly ordinary Tadfield couple. While Mrs. Young is sleeping after giving birth to her biological child, Sister Mary Loquacious suggests several names to her husband for the newborn he believes to be theirs. But Mr. Young rejects those names (e.g., Damien, Wormwood) in favor of "a decent English name," which is how the Antichrist was christened Adam Young.

The Archangel Gabriel and Beelzebub are both gung-ho for long-awaited Armageddon to finally start so they can see, once and for all, which side will ultimately win,  But their earthly representatives, the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley, respectively, aren't exactly keen on their bellicose and very competitive superiors' plans to destroy the human race.

After spending hundreds of thousands of years living side by side with humans and intervening in their lives, both Aziraphale and Crowley have grown extremely fond of them. And while the angel and demon are enemies in theory, in reality their shared love of humanity, coupled with the humans' very brief lifespans, have made the unlikely pair each others' only real friends. Crowley accepts this reality with equanimity, but Aziraphale is loathe to admit their friendship, even to himself. His inner conflict about collaborating with Crowley while trying to stay true to his "good" principles is portrayed very cleverly. For example, his deeply ingrained good manners compel him to hold the door open for Crowley while saying to him, "Get thee behind me, Satan!" – followed immediately by a polite, "After you."

Crowley persuades Aziraphale that they will need to collaborate if they are to have any chance of thwarting their higher-ups' elaborate plans to trigger Armageddon, The frenemies hatch a plan to provide Adam Young with Divine and Satanic influences in equal measure during his formative years, in the hope that he will grow up as an ordinary boy and not fulfill his dreadful destiny. They help cover for each other so Gabriel, Beelzebub and the rest of their minions won't discover their disobedience as they try to protect humanity.

In fact, it is Aziraphale's and Crowley's plan that is thwarted, Even a decade later, no one has found out about the Satanic sisters' mix-up at the hospital. So the pair have spent the past 10 years focusing their efforts on the U.S. ambassador's son, Warlock Dowling, whom everyone on both sides still believes to be the Antichrist. The hellhound designed by the Infernal Powers to obey and protect the Antichrist is destined to appear to him on his 11th birthday. Crowley and Aziraphale anxiously await the arrival of hound at Warlock's birthday party, but when tit doesn't materialize, they realize that something has gone dreadfully wrong and that they've been trying to influence the wrong boy for the past 10 years!

They rush back to the hospital run by the Chattering Order of St. Beryl to find out what happened to the infant Antichrist 11 years earlier, After Crowley finally gets the truth, he has to figure out which child is the Antichrist and more importantly, where he and Aziraphale can find him before it's too late. Then, as if things weren't bad enough, their bosses find out what they've been up to. Now they're really in Trouble, with a capital T!

Fortunately, Crowley and Aziraphale aren't the only ones trying to prevent Armageddon.

Back in 1655, rural witch Agnes Nutter published The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. To this day it remains the only book whose prophecies were 100% accurate, as well as extremely cryptic. (For example, one of her prophecies mentions "an apple you can't eat," which turns out to refer to Apple Computer.) The following year, knowing she was soon going to be burned at the stake by Witchfinder Major Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer and the mob of locals he has riled up, prophetic Agnes arranged to have the book passed down through various interim caretakers over the next three hundred-plus years  and, eventually, given to far-distant descendant, Anathema Device. Anathema will need to finish decrypting Agnes’s huge volume of prophecies in time to prevent the impending Apocalypse.

Anathema has spent most of her life working her way through Agnes Nutter's prophecies and, as a result, has moved to a cottage in Tadfield. She meets Adam Young, who seems like a sweet boy and the natural leader of his inseparable group of four friends. She shares with him some of her collection of magazines on the occult  and conspiracy theories, which he devours with fascination, while his friends pooh-pooh his assertions that Atlantis and aliens are real.

Meanwhile, Newton Pulsifer, a hapless, would-be software engineer working as a payroll clerk and, more importantly, a distant descendant of Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer, becomes a reluctant recruit into the Witchfinder Army. While doing his witchfinder research, Newt finds what might be clues to witchy doings in Tadfield. Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell sends him off to Tadfield to investigate, where he meets Anathema.

These two descendants of enemies from 300 years earlier are thrown together and must work together if the end of the world is to be prevented. In Good Omens, religion, rather than politics, makes strange bedfellows.

I'll stop here so as not to spoil the fun. As you can see, the plot is pretty complex, but fortunately, the 6-part television miniseries makes everything perfectly clear and the fabulous acting makes watching it a wonderfully fun and funny experience.

By now, you're probably wondering...

  • Will Crowley and Aziraphale escape their dooms at the hands of Beelzebub and Aziraphale?
  • Will Newt destroy Anathema before she can finish decrypting Agnes' final prophecies and prevent Armageddon?
  • Will Atlantis rise from the sea and little green men in UFOs land in England?
  • Will Adam Young fulfill his destiny as the Antichrist?
  • Will you laugh out loud while watching all the insanity unfold?

The only way to find out, of course, is to watch the Good Omens TV miniseries on Amazon Prime Video or on BBC Two, starting with the Episode 1, "In the Beginning."


An Inside Look at the Making of the Good Omens TV Miniseries 

I always enjoy behind-the-scenes special features. Since the bonus behind-the-scenes video of Good Omens is only 2 minutes long, I'd love to get the companion book to the miniseries, The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion by Matt Whyman. Since it's edited by Neil Gaiman, it's sure to be both excellent and accurate. And it's full of photos from the sets. Fun!

The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion by Matt Whyman, edited by Neil Gaiman, image courtesy of Amazon


Watching Good Omens on Amazon Prime Video


As Amazon Prime members, we were able to binge-watch all six episodes of Good Omens on Amazon Video for free, as well as two short bonus videos (a trailer and a 2-minute behind-the-scenes look at the making of Good Omens), as soon as the miniseries was released in the U.S. on May 31, 2019. For our friends across the Pond, the Good Omens miniseries will also will be shown as six weekly broadcasts on BBC Two.

IMPORTANT! In the US,  only Amazon Prime members can watch Good Omens and the TV miniseries adaptations of Terry Pratchett novels. 



We have been Amazon Prime members for years and have found the many benefits of membership well worth the annual fee, especially the enormous libraries of free video, music and Kindle content. This high-quality content includes Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning Amazon Original TV and movie productions, such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Manchester by the Sea, Sneaky Pete, Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle,. Other benefits of Amazon Prime Membership including free 2-day shipping, free 1-day shipping (depending on your ZIP code) and Prime Now local delivery service with free 2-hour delivery (including groceries from Whole Foods Market), among other benefits. If you'd love to try out all those benefits and more without obligation, you can get a free 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime.

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Good Omens TV miniseries on Amazon Prime reviewed by
Margaret Schindel


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Friday, May 31, 2019

Agatha Christie's Ordeal By Innocence Movie Review (Amazon Prime Original Version)

Agatha Christie's Ordeal by Innocence Movie Review (Amazon Prime Original Version)
Image:  Film Site Image by Thomas Nugent / Ardgowan House
Trust Agatha Christie to write a story, which was made into a movie, that my husband and I could enjoy together!

While searching for a movie to watch one evening, I happened upon the Amazon Prime Original remake of Agatha Christie's Ordeal By Innocence.  The photo of a man with three women didn't really appeal to me.  As a matter of fact, it caused me to bypass the movie and keep searching.  However, I ended up going back to it simply because it was Agatha Christie and I thought I could always turn it off if it was to lewd.   I wouldn't expect Agatha Christie would have written anything salacious, but we can't truly trust filmmakers to remain completely true to an original story.    

I'm glad now that we went back to that movie to watch it.  As it turns out, we both enjoyed the movie and were still talking about how great it was the next morning.

I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys a mystery full of secrets and "interesting" characters.  


Agatha Christie's Ordeal By Innocence Movie Synopsis

 Agatha Christie's Ordeal By Innocence
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Rachel Argyll (Anna Chancellor) is a wealthy woman who adopts multiple children, home-schools them, and raises them with a stern hand.  She isn't given to displays of affection and often comes across as cruel or unfeeling.  


When Rachel is murdered, her adopted son, Jack (Anthony Boyle), is accused and arrested.  He was a convenient suspect that doesn't seem to have a real alibi for the time of the murder.  Plus, he always seemed to delight in challenging and aggravating his mother.  It was believable that he might have lost is temper and murdered her.

18 months later, Dr. Arthur Calgary arrives at the Argyll's mansion to offer his testimony in defense of Jack.  Explaining that he has been out of the country since the night he gave Jack a ride and has just discovered the boy was accused of murder, he wishes to see Jack exonerated.  

Believing that he is another false witness just trying to make the news headlines, most of the family dismisses him, even threatens him in order to force him to leave town.  But, Dr. Calgary knows Jack was in his car at the time of the murder and he is not going to just give up and leave.   


Notes about the Amazon Prime Original Movie 

I really liked the actors they selected for this movie.  Not only were they believable, but they looked the parts.  I especially liked the way Luke Treadaway portrayed Dr. Arthur Calgary.  While all of the actors were awesome, Treadaway was exceptional.   
 

The Amazon Prime Original shows as Season 1, with 3 episodes. We watched the entire "season" movie on the same night. (less than 3 hours)

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MORE AGATHA CHRISTIE MOVIES REVIEWED

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Agatha Christie held me spellbound until the very end of Crooked House starring Glenn Close. I had no idea who the murderer was and the ending was completely unexpected.




Based on Agatha Christie's novel, And Then There Were None is a riveting miniseries that will leave you guessing right up to the end.




Even though I have seen several previous versions of "Murder on the Orient Express" and was very familiar with the plot, I loved this new adaptation and can highly recommend it! Read the full review....




Agatha Christie's Ordeal By Innocence Movie Review (Amazon Prime Original Version) Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 


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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Widow Series Reviewed

Interesting Drama Series

jungle scene
The Widow searches in the Jungle
(image courtesy of pixabay.com)
My husband and I just finished watching The Widow, a drama series that we streamed from Amazon. I thought you might be interested in a review of the series.

We thought that this eight episode series was fascinating to watch. The episodes are each around 45 minutes so it didn't take too awfully long to watch. 

The story begins with Georgia Mason (played by Kate Beckinsale) suspecting that her husband Will might actually be alive after a plane crash three years before in the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo). The reports of the crash stated that there were no survivors of that crash and Georgia has spent three years in mourning her loss. A broadcast of a riot in the DRC shows a man that looks very much like her husband that begins her search to find him. She can't see the man's face but he is wearing an orange baseball cap just like the one her Will wore. 

As you can imagine, Georgia decides to go to the DRC hoping to find her husband. She had been there before just after the crash and had befriended a man who had lost his wife in the same crash. Georgia meets Emmanuel again on this second trip; asking for his help to find out if her husband somehow survived that crash. 

The series is filled with suspense and action as Georgia encounters people who knew Will. As viewers we see corrupt people taking advantage of the poverty stricken people of the region. We find out about smugglers and the recruitment of children for rebel militias. While watching each episode we are given a hint of what it might be like to live in the Congo as a person with some means and as a person who is barely surviving. 

My husband and I liked the several twists in the plot as the story unfolds. There were some flashbacks offered to explain some of what drove the different characters in their choices and those were interesting, also. Overall, each episode kept us interested and wanting to see more. We have found that we very much enjoy the original series that Amazon has produced.

If you like suspense and action that occurs in a place you might never be ever to see, I think you will enjoy this series, too.




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Monday, January 28, 2019

Reviewing the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Reviewing The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is an Amazon original series set in New York in 1958, starring Rachel Brosnahan. Mrs. Maisel (Brosnahan) is living her dream. She is married, loves her husband, has two children, and lives in a beautifully appointed apartment in Manhattan. From a very young age, she has dreamt about and planned it all: college, wedding, and her adult life trajectory. She tells us about it during a flashback to her beautiful wedding. Everything is going exactly as planned, until suddenly - in one evening - Mrs. Maisel learns that others can completely de-rail her best plans.

Midge Maisel is a loyal, happy housewife who works hard to please her husband. Mr. Maisel (Joel) is a salesperson with an office job. But at night, he performs at a club as a stand-up comedian. He's not very funny and Midge bribes the club manager with briskets to get Joel into better time slots with a better audience. On the same night that he completely bombs, things completely fall apart for Midge. She is devastated and lost. Am I making this sound like a drama? It is not. It is a comedy full of quirky characters.

A co-worker told me to watch the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Since she has recommended an author that has quickly become my favorite, I trusted her opinion and I began watching the series the first weekend I had a few spare minutes. I am able to watch it for free because of my Amazon Prime membership. I watched several episodes that first day and binged watched into season 2 the next weekend. 




The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel reminds me of I Love Lucy - but a naughtier version. The buildings, clothing, baby carriages and way of life are all from that time period. Rachel Brosnahan's facial expressions and/or timing of her humor remind me quite a bit of Lucille Ball. She's a bit sneaky, like Lucy. An example being reminded of Lucy was during a scene at bedtime. Midge goes to bed in a negligee and still made-up. As soon as Mr. Maisel is asleep, Midge gets up and does her beauty routine; putting her hair in curlers and applying an over-night face mask. She sets the blinds so that the sun shines through the crack in the morning - waking her before the alarm. She completes her beauty routine and is back to bed; perfumed, made-up, and looking beautiful. She closes her eyes and he wakes. This scene made me laugh and reminded me ever so much of I Love Lucy

Am I making this sound like an I Love Lucy rehash? It is not. There is cursing, "sex" scenes (not the type of sex scenes shown on cable tv but sex scenes nonetheless), and some modern colloquialisms that aren't from the 1950s. For me, these things are a bit like watching a cartoon with a child and the cartoon includes adult humor and references - out of place but funny (although, I wouldn't be bothered by less profanity).

If the title sounds familiar, it may be because Rachel Brosnahan won a 2019 Emmy for Best Actress in a Television Comedy. Deservedly so, I think.






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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Reviewing Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan - The TV Series

Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan
My husband and I have been waiting for the television series Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan to start ever since we saw the first trailer.  It was released on Aug 31st 2018 here in Australia and as a family we finished watching it on the 2nd September 2018.  This is a big deal as the three of us all have busy lives and it takes quite a bit for us to find the time to watch a whole season together and this is the fastest we've ever managed it.

In case that doesn't convince you, it was great!  Now the great thing about this is that we all have different levels of knowledge about Jack Ryan and yet we all enjoyed this Amazon Prime series.  So who is Jack Ryan?

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.

Who Would Enjoy Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, the Television Series?


Well anyone who likes action packed spy dramas will enjoy this series, you really don't have to know anything about Jack Ryan beforehand.

Let me give you a little background from my family's perspective.  I have read a few of the Jack Ryan novels and enjoyed them before watching the movies.  I must admit when I watched the first movie released The Hunt for Red October with Alec Baldwin playing Jack Ryan I enjoyed it, but wasn't sure which I preferred the book or the movie.

My husband loved the movie - he doesn't really enjoy fiction books so this was always going to be the case.

The next two movies that were released were Patriot Games then Clear & Present Danger with Harrison Ford playing the lead role of Jack Ryan.  Now I preferred these two movies to the books which is a rarity for me, but somehow they just brought the character alive for me.   As you can imagine, my husband loved the movies too!

My daughter hadn't watched any of these movies or read the books, so she was coming to the television series with no expectations.

All three of us thoroughly enjoyed the series and will be waiting with bated breath to see if it gets renewed.

How Does This Jack Ryan Stack Up?


I enjoyed John Krasinski's take on the Jack Ryan character, I haven't really seen him in much up to now.  I think he played the role really well.

Now I could get nitpicky and say that a couple of the scenes could've easily been left out and the continuity of story (from previous movies/books) relating to his relationship to the person who ends up as his wife didn't quite gel, but in reality none of that mattered.

Will We Be Watching Season 2?


The real test of a series is whether or not you'd watch the next season and in case you haven't realized the answer to that is a resounding yes.   I really do hope that they make a second series because otherwise there's going to be three very disgruntled people in this house!

Have You Read Tom Clancy's Books or Seen the Movies?

If you have I'd love to know what you thought of the Jack Ryan character (of course you could have read some of his other books!) and whether you think you'll be watching this series or not.



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Friday, September 1, 2017

Thirteen (2016 TV Mini-Series) Reviewed

Thirteen (TV Mini-Series) Reviewed
This is one of the best mistakes I have ever made!  I was searching Amazon Prime Video for a show I could watch while working on mundane site code.  I quickly clicked on the second season of a different tv series and the show started.  Not realizing I had inadvertently started a new miniseries, I keep thinking, who are these people?  But, soon it didn't matter because I was totally hooked on Thirteen.  

Thirteen would not have been a series I would have selected intentionally.  Child abduction is a subject I try to completely avoid on tv, in movies, or even in books.  It is a parent's worst nightmare and even though my own children are grown, not knowing where my child is, not hearing their voice on a regular basis, or not knowing they are safe, still sends me into panic mode.  

I said all of that because I want you to know that in spite of my own worst fears and horrors, Thirteen in one of the most riveting miniseries I have ever watched and I highly recommend it.


How "Thirteen" Begins


 Episode 1 of ThirteenThe miniseries begins with a young woman, 26 years old, running from a house, finding a pay phone and calling the police.  She claims to be Ivy Moxam, an abduction victim who hasn't been seen in 13 years.  The police are skeptical because over the years two others have claimed to be Ivy.  However, after DNA tests, it is confirmed that this woman is in fact the girl who was kidnapped when she was 13.  

It is immediately clear that Ivy is overwhelmed, insecure, scared, resistant to talk, and easily confused by too many people with too many questions.  This is understandable because she had been chained in a cellar for 13 years without any communication with the outside world.  Plus, her formal education had ended.  In many ways, she was still 13 years old.  

Her stress and anxiety are only heightened when the police find the house where she was held all those years.  Because her clothes are found in her abductors' bedroom, the police don't know what to believe.  They question the validity of her story and press her for answers she can't give.  After all, the kidnapper is still at large and the police would really like to arrest him.

In the first episode of the series, we discover that several people's lives suffered collateral damage.  Her parents are separated, her father has a mistress, her best friend, Eloise, left town, and her boyfriend, Tim, has married, but is still haunted by the past.  

The family strives for normalcy in order to give Ivy a secure, familiar home.  They are elated to have Ivy back home, but it is a time of readjustment for all.  Her father moves back in, hiding his secret from Ivy.  Her mother hurries to put things in the house back the way it was 13 years ago.  Ivy's sister was initially skeptical, but once the DNA test confirm her identity, she wants to help her sister.  She puts Ivy's needs above everything else, including her fiance.  

In an effort to reclaim her life, Ivy contacts her old boyfriend and invites him over.  He doesn't have the heart to tell her he is married now.  His own confusion is clear as he struggles to choose between the past and his present.   Neither Tim, nor her family, want to do or say the wrong thing.  They simply want to protect her.


Ivy has only been home for a few days.  She is struggling to find her place, remember who she is or is supposed to be, reestablish relationships and survive the constant pressure from the police to help them capture Leonard, aka Mark White, her kidnapper.  That pressure intensifies exponentially when Mark abducts a 10 year old.


My Opinion and Recommendation of "Thirteen"  


As I said in the the introduction, in only a few scenes, I was completely hooked on Thirteen.  Instead of having a tv show as background noise while I worked, I ended up setting aside my work and watching the miniseries.  I did not break between episodes.  I was so ingrained in the plot, that I watched all five episodes (5 hours) that night.  

The girl who played the part of Ivy did such an extraordinary job that I found myself siding with her completely.  Her facial expressions alone conveyed a world of anguish and uncertainty.  I could easily believe she was Ivy Moxam, a child who had been abducted, mentally and physically abused for 13 years.

This miniseries does an excellent job of showing how people can be trapped in the past, yet somehow manage to live on.  How so many things change because we can't just stop the progression of time, but how we can instantly be thrown back into time by simply having someone from our past return to us. 

From the very beginning, I was on Ivy's side.  I believed her and I believed in her strength of survival.  I was not disappointed in her final actions at the end of the 5th episode.  I believe you will definitely want to see this miniseries for yourself.

 Thirteen - Complete Mini-Series
on DVD
Check Price
 Episode 1 of Thirteen - Amazon Prime Video
Free with Prime Membership
Check Price

 



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Thirteen (2016 TV Mini-Series) Reviewed Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Collection (A Series) Reviewed

An Intriguing Drama Series To Stream 

sewing machine for fashion
Sewing Machine image courtesy of Pixabay.com
The Collection is a series of episodes that can be streamed through an Amazon Prime membership. My husband and I started viewing it this weekend and we are really caught up in the drama of the show. 

The story takes place in the late 1940s after WWII in Paris. It revolves around the fashion industry focusing on a small house of couture called Paul Sabine. 

In case you are not much of a history buff, during the war France was occupied by the Germans. As one can imagine the fashion industry of Paris suffered during this occupation. In fact, Hitler wanted to move the fashion houses and designers to Germany. 

The series hints at some collaboration with the Germans during the occupation and also shows how the industry is trying to make a comeback and restore its recognition of being the best place in the world for couture and new styles.



I am not one who really gets too caught up in fashion but I do love the premise of this series. The set designs are remarkable! I love seeing how the staff worked at making a design on paper come to life in the sewing room. The attention to detail in how that room would have looked is amazing. In one scene a girl is working on a dress on a mannequin and my husband said, "What does she have on her wrist?" It was a wonderful old fashioned pin cushion that a seamstress would have worn on her wrist for convenience.

One might think that most men would not enjoy this series much since it deals with Paris fashion houses. My husband is really enjoying it because there is more than just creating unique dresses involved. I mentioned the hints of collaboration with the Nazis. There is an American reporter who is trying to dig up some dirt on that front. There is also a conflict between the two Sabine brothers that is quite interesting. Paul, who is known as the owner and top designer of the House of Sabine doesn't really design the dresses. His brother Claude is the real talent behind their designs but the public doesn't know that. I don't think most of the staff realizes who the real genius is. The mother of the brothers is pretty interesting too! There is something from her past that makes her mysterious. Paul is holding something over her and she does not want Claude to find out. She is a real piece of work!

We are finding that there is enough going on that both genders, male and female, can enjoy this series found on Amazon. The story holds your attention and keeps you wondering what will happen next. It is currently rated 4.6 stars out of 5 so it would appear that most viewers are rating it highly.

 Currently the only way to view it is through your Prime membership. That might change in the future but for now only Prime members can watch it for free. 



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Saturday, June 3, 2017

And Then There Were None - The Mini Series

And Then There Were None
If you're after a dark mystery set in the late 1930s that will have you guessing right up to the end then you'll love And Then There Were None.   I have read the book, but I'm actually reviewing the 2015 mini series that was made for the BBC.

The book, by Agatha Christie, was published in 1939 and I think the miniseries captures the era well and it certainly has a lot of the nostalgic Christie feel about it.  If you're thinking of an Agatha Christie novel with good manners, manor houses and a little inconvenient murder to solve then you need to revisit Dame Christie.   And Then There Were None is when Agatha Christie tapped into her dark side and the result is a real masterpiece.

One of the reasons I liked the miniseries is that it managed to capture the darkness really well.  The bleakness of the island that is the main setting for the mini series made me want to go and visit, but it turns out that it wasn't actually filmed on an island!  When I first heard about this adaptation I remember reading 'mass murder rarely gets as fun as this' which I thought would've made a great tagline.

The basic story shows 8 strangers being invited to stay on a small, isolated island by someone none of them have actually met - the mysterious U. N. Owen.   When they get to the island their host isn't there although there are two servants on the island to look after them.

As the three part mini series unfolds our island cast of ten are killed off in the same way as the nursery rhyme (known as Ten Little Indians or Ten Little Soldiers), something which is picked up on by one of the main characters Vera Claythorne (played admirably by Maeve Dermody).

As you get to the end and are still trying to work out who did it we do get to see who was pulling the strings and it is the ending where it deviates from the book a bit, but not in a bad way.

I really believe that if Agatha Christie was alive today she'd be very happy with how this mini series turned out.

If you wanted to you could always read the book and watch the mini series to see which you prefer!  You can check out all of Agatha Christie's books on Agatha Christie's Booklist.




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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Limitless, The Movie - Now a TV Series

Limitless, The Movie
Have you ever seen this movie? Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, and Robert De Niro are the stars.

The movie has now morphed into a TV Series carrying the same title as the movie 'Limitless'.

Perhaps you managed to catch the TV Season opener this past week (September 2015)? It was entertaining, and I'll be including this one on 'my fave new fall shows' list. 

Although the stars of the TV Series are Jake McDorman and Jennifer Carpenter, fans of Bradley Cooper will still see him in several episodes playing the character he becomes in the Movie, 'Senator Edward Mora' ... enough of a reason to watch!

In the movie, Bradley Cooper plays Eddie Morra, who's a struggling artist with a case of writers block that essentially spirals him into a less than stellar life.  

He runs into the brother of his ex-girlfriend who introduces him to a drug that is designed to take the human brain from 20% usage to essentially 100% usage. The movie offers a lot of twists and turns and certainly keeps your interest all the way to the end. 

I've always been fascinated by the untapped power and mystery of the human mind and wondered what society would be like if our brains worked at 100% capacity. If every living soul operated at maximum potential, would that generate more good, more evil, or both?
In the movie, Eddie Morra is learning at light speed, working at maximum capacity - he learns to play the piano in three hours, he learns new languages almost instantly and he becomes a financial genius. 

Here's the 2011 Movie Trailer for Limitless:



Can you imagine having that kind of brain power?






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