Showing posts with label movie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movie. Show all posts

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Mountain Between Us - Book Review

The Mountain Between Us - Book Review
In every life, there are mountains to be crossed.  For some, those mountains are physical.  In other cases, the challenges are emotional or relational.  For Ashley and Ben, in The Mountain Between Us, those mountains come in all three forms.  On the surface, their story appears to be one of wilderness survival, but as we delve deeper, we will see that it is really about crossing over into your own truth after braving the storms of life.

As the story begins, Ashley Knox, a magazine writer, and Ben Payne, a surgeon, are about to be stranded in Salt Lake City as all flights are being shut down by a massive storm system.  Ashley is desperate to get home for her wedding, while Ben has surgeries to perform.  Given the situation, the only option left to them is to charter a private flight around the line of growing storms.  The plan is to fly to Denver while there is still the possibility of making it home.

Mid-flight to Denver, their pilot has a heart attack and makes a crash landing in one of the most remote and rugged areas of the country (the High Uintas Wilderness of Utah).  To make matters worse, a flight plan was not required, so no one knows the whereabouts of these three passengers (or even that Ashley and Ben got on that plane).

Now, with their pilot dead, and Ashley seriously injured, Ben must figure out a way to keep both of them alive.  Stranded at a very high elevation in the midst of winter storms, without food or other necessary provisions, the odds are not good for them to make it.  Without hope of a search and rescue operation, their bleak situation will cause both Ashley and Ben to reflect on the things that matter most in life.  During their odyssey of searching for a way to survive, both will discover what it means to truly live and love.

There are many things I liked about this book.  First, I must admit that I am really into wilderness survival stories.  There is just something about rising up above your circumstances, no matter how bleak, that speaks to me.  Nobody survives a devastating accident without being changed in critical ways.  It is the story of that transformation that greatly appeals to me.  I think, too, that it is impossible not to insert yourself into the situation to reflect on how you would handle things, or be changed by such life-altering circumstances.  One of the things I enjoyed most about the story is how Ben uses the few things available to him in a MacGyver fashion.  It was interesting to see how he came up with creative solutions to daunting challenges.  In a life-or-death situation, I would want Ben Payne by my side.

I appreciate how author Charles Martin tells a story.  He makes me care about his characters and they become real to me.  Though this book has been newly released as a movie, I'm glad I chose to read the book first.  The reviews for The Mountain Between Us, in book form, are much better than those for the movie.  It seems that many moviegoers felt a disconnect between the two leading actors.  That is so different from what you will experience about the connection between Ashley and Ben in the book.  The two become very bonded, though neither character violates any promises made to spouse or fiance during their time together in the wilderness.

This is a good book to read during the holiday season.  It reminds us that love conquers all and that we can each climb and cross any mountain that rises up in our lives.





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Friday, September 15, 2017

Leap Year (2010) Movie Review

Leap Year (2010) Movie Review
Leap Year is such a delightfully adorable story about a young woman who has everything she wants, but not what she needs. 

I'm not sure how I have missed this movie until now, but on the chance that you have never seen it either, I want to tell you about it. If you have viewed it before, then perhaps you need to take a break and watch it again.  It is sure to make you smile, even laugh out loud.   But, mostly it is simply enchanting, which is totally appropriate since it takes place in Ireland. 

Oh, did someone mention leprechauns?  Well, I have to say, Declan reminds me a great deal of a leprechaun.   He even jumps and clicks his heels.   But most of all, he brings good fortune into Anna's life. 

Yes, this is a sweet love story that is a little predictable, yet it is so charming you won't care that you know what to expect.  You'll simply be glad you are along for the ride and listening to the witty banter between these two hearts speaking the language of love. 

I have always been a hopeless romantic.  I was once even dubbed the Forever Hopeless Romantic Contributor.  Here on Review This, we have broken the bounds of those niche walls, but that doesn't change who I am.  A great romantic movie still appeals to me more than any other genre.



Leap Year (2010) Movie Review

Leap Year - The Movie


Anna Brady (Amy Adams) and Dr. Jeremy Sloane (Adam Scott) have been in a committed relationship with each other for 4 years.  However, they are not married and Anna wants to get married.  When she thinks Jeremy is about to propose over dinner one evening, she is greatly disappointed to discover diamond earrings in the small jewelry box instead of a diamond engagement ring.  Jeremy is oblivious to Anna's feelings and doesn't hesitate to excuse himself from dinner early when called away for a medical emergency.  

 Leap Year - Amazon Video RentalCheck PriceWhen Jeremy leaves to attend a cardiology convention in Ireland, Anna is reminded of an old Irish tradition.  Each Leap Year, on February 29th, the woman can propose to the man.  After all, that is what her own grandmother did decades ago.  She decides it is time for her to act!  Otherwise, who knows how long it will be before she is engaged, much less married.

Anna's flight to Dublin, Ireland is diverted due to weather.  They are forced to land in Cardiff, Wales.  Because she is determined to get to Dublin, she hires a boat.  Then, the boat is forced to dock in Dingle because the storm is simply too dangerous to continue.  It is in Dingle that she meets her cheeky, tall, dark and handsome leprechaun.  Because Declan (Matthew Goode) needs the money, he agrees to drive her to Dublin and that is where all the fun begins.




Watch Leap Year for Yourself!  


If you find yourself searching for a great romantic comedy, Leap Year will be the perfect choice.  If you are also a hopeless romantic, be sure you pay close attention to the brides speech during the wedding in the movie.  You will love it!

You may even find yourself wondering if you only had 60 seconds to get out of a burning house, what would you grab?






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Leap Year (2010) Movie Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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Monday, September 5, 2016

Saint Teresa and The Letters Movie Review

The Letters
The Letters is a beautiful movie summarizing how a Catholic nun became a Nobel Peace prize winner based on her humanitarian work with the poorest of the poor in India. On Sunday morning, September 4th, 2016, I woke to the news that this woman has been canonized as Saint Teresa. The Letters gives us an inside look at why this humble and caring woman was so well-loved.  In this movie, we watch bits of the personal journey that moved her from residing within a convent, to Mother Teresa of the Missionaries of Charities working in the slums of Calcutta, and finally to sainthood. Religious or not, I highly recommend the movie The Letters.  

The Letters Movie Review 


The Letters introduces us to a nun, living in a convent in Calcutta, just after World War II.  India has become an independent country and the nation is changing. Sister Teresa saw this change from the convent windows and while traveling by train.

The movie is a quiet and non-linear story line that moves back and forth between Father Celeste van Exem disclosing the content of the letters written by sister Teresa and the scenes of her life as she was living it. 

Father Celeste van Exem reveals to the Vatican priest that she wrote of her loneliness, fears, and doubts as she moved from the convent to the streets of Calcutta. As she transitioned from sister Teresa to Mother Teresa. She never had intended that these letters be made public as that would put the focus on her. She wanted the focus to remain on the people who were in need. And on the Missionaries of Charities work she had begun.

Despite any feelings of doubt she had, we watch this nun advocate that she be allowed to live outside the walls of the convent in order to help the people. And we watch as she effectively helped the poorest of the poor, the sick, and the dying.

Sister Teresa, played by Juliet Stevenson, moved humbly through the streets of Calcutta. For me, her accent, patterns of speech, facial expressions, lowering of her head, and hunched posture all rang as genuine. I believe that Juliet Stevenson remained in character and I feel that the mannerisms portrayed are some of the reasons Sister Teresa, a Christian woman, was accepted in this area of Hindu-Muslim violence and strife.  Acceptance and trust by the residents of the slums was earned over time and we are given a notion of some of the initial distrust of the "Christian Woman". 


What The Letters is Not


There are criticisms that the movie is too slow and boring. And that it is falsely advertised as "a drama that explores the life of Mother Teresa through letters she wrote ..." I do not share these criticisms but that is likely because I went in to the movie with absolutely no expectations. In fact, I half expected to find a heavy-handed religious movie and half expected to shut it off midway through. But for those who have read the advertising or have seen the previews, it is important to know what the movie is not.

  • The movie is not action-packed or drama filled
  • The movie is not reading of or detailed examination of the letters
  • The movie is not an explanation of how a convent came to be in Calcutta, and how/why girls came to live there
  • The movie is not an explanation of the political changes Calcutta was going through at the time
  • The movie is not an in-depth look at the caste system, or why that is such an important factor for some of the nuns as well as the residents of Calcutta


What The Letters is to Me Personally


I had considered writing this movie review because the movie is an amazing movie about compassion and true charity. However, those who know me would literally laugh at the thought of me watching a "religious" movie and following it with a strong recommendation for others to see it too. I am not someone who practices any formal traditions associated with religion. Yes, I was raised with exposure to a variety of beliefs and religions. I can still quote verses learned in countless vacation bible school programs as a child. However, as an adult, I tend to skirt anything "religious".  


Approximately a week ago, I stood at the DVD rental box.  I wanted to watch movies, but I did not know what I wanted to see.  I was in the mood for movies, but wasn't sure what I was in the mood for.  I chose The Letters by chance and with a small hope that the scenes in India would be worth the rental fee.  But truthfully, I expected to be bible-thumped and expected to return it without watching the full thing.  Not only did I watch the full thing, I am considering purchasing it for my permanent movie library.  


I loved the scenes in Calcutta. The movie was far too short to give an in-depth look at the lives of those Mother Teresa touched. But we clearly saw the difficulty of outsiders and Christians being accepted by the residents. Fortunately, Mother Teresa's humility and honesty allowed doors to open.


Despite some negative reviews, I think this was a very good movie given it's length. Had it been longer in length - a mini series perhaps - it would have been able to deeply explore how Sister Teresa earned the trust of the people, obtained the material things she needed in order to be effective, and her doubts as she did all of this amazing work.  I agree that there were creaky parts of the film (as discussed on Roger Ebert reviews) such as the political climate, the news reporting, and so on. But in my opinion, even the "creakiest" portion did not detract from my enjoyment of the movie.  I guess I'm not surprised by clumsy portions when an entire lifetime, leading up to sainthood, is being summarized in less than two hours.


After watching this movie, as a non-believer, my heart is full.  In an overly simplified explanation, I think this movie shows us perfect ways to be a strong woman, the most effective way to provide charity, and the best way to witness for God.  It is good to know that there are quietly strong, humble, generous, and effective women doing good work where it is most needed. I will watch The Letters again.


Related Links:

For more information such as a full cast list, and to view an official trailer, see The Letters on the IMDb site.

The official site for Mother Teresa of Calcutta Center.









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