Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Coroner Season One: 2015

     Coroner for the Crown Jane Kenneday returns to the small Devon coastal town of Lighthaven.  She left when she was a teenager and now she's come back.  Her department investigates sudden, violent and suspicious deaths.  She works with Davey Higgins and he has become the local Detective Sergeant for the South Dart police.  Formerly, they were childhood sweethearts.  Jane lives with her teenage daughter Beth and her mother Beatie.  Her mother now has a live-in boyfriend Mick Sturrock.  Beatie and Mick run the local tavern together. 
     I thought this series was good and many of the crimes are difficult to solve.  I didn’t figure out who was the perpetrator in several of the cases.  The scenery of the small coastal town is very beautiful.  This series reminds me of Doc Martin because of the look of the town and the manner of the inhabitants.   3 ½* (I liked this series. 

45 min each episode, 10 episodes, 446 min total, TV series, 3 discs, episodes created by Sally Abbott with Claire Goose, Matt Bardock, Beatie Edney, Oliver Gomm, Ivan Kaye, Grace Hogg-Robinson, Simon Armstrong, Charles Babalola, Till Blackwood, Tessa Churchard, Maya Gerber, Peter Gunn, Carla Mendonca, Robert Morgan.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10, Amazon 4* out of 5* with 46 reviews, BBC Shop 5* with 16 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Dartmouth, Totnes, Devon and Cargreen, Cornwall, England, UK.  Clair Goose and Matt Bardock starred together in another series titled Casualty.  This is a TV series from 2012-2014.  There is a second season from 2016 and then it was cancelled.  Originally shown on the BBC network.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Murder on the Orient Express 2017

     Based on the classic novel by Agatha Christie.  The year is 1934 and the Orient Express will be leaving from Istanbul precisely on time.  Hercule Poirot is the best detective in the world and he decides to take this winter train journey.  Later, a small snow avalanche causes the engine and several cars in the front of the train to derail.  The passengers will have to wait for the arrival of a crew from the closest station.  Hercule discovers a murder has committed and a passenger on the train must be the perpetrator.  In order to lesson the danger to his fellow passengers, Hercule will need a solution before the trains begins renews its journey.
    The main focus of this film is Hercule Poirot and the case is based on a real case in the United States that occurred on March 1, 1932.  In this film, only minor details of their backgrounds are given for most of the supporting characters.  The train stops on a dangerous trestle but there doesn’t seem to be any worries from the passengers or the crew members?  At least no comments are made about the train falling down the mountainside?  I thought the scenery was very beautiful, especially in the snow scenes.  I could see why this would be a journey for the wealthy and an interesting experience.  Possibly a once in a lifetime journey.  Very luxurious even for 1934!!  In 2018 the lowest price is 1,592 Euros and the highest price is 10,656 Euros.  The conversion rate is 0.85 Euro to one dollar.  1,592 Euros would be $1,864.59 and 10,656 Euros would be $12,481.38.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)  

114 min, Crime directed by Kenneth Branagh with Elliot Levey, David Annen, Kenneth Branagh, Joseph Long, Johnny Depp, Andy Apollo, Hadley Fraser, Daisy Ridley, Leslie Odom Jr., Ziad Abaza, Nari Blair-Mangat, Luke Brady.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 57% critic 54% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Metacritic 52 out of 100 with 46 critics 6.4 out of 10 with 313 reviews, Common Sense Media 3* positive messages, 2* role models, 3* violence, 2* sex, 1* language 2* drinking, drugs, smoking, Rolling Stone 3 ½* out of 4* Peter Travers, Amazon 4.1, 556 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Istanbul, Turkey; Valletta, Malta; Vale D’Aosta, Italy; Sursee, Kanton Luzern, Switzerland; New Zealand; France; London and Longcross Studios, Chobham Lane, Longcross, Surrey, England, UK.  The original Orient Express route starting in October 4, 1883 was from Paris, Gare de l'Est to Giurgiu, Romania via Munich and Vienna.  Passengers were ferried across the Danube to Ruse, Bulgaria to pick up another train to Varna.  The Classic Orient Express ran between Paris and Istanbul via Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest and Bucharest.  The train in this film is the Simplon Orient Express from Milan, Venice, Belgrade and Sofia.  Many of the cast and extra are made up of Kenneth Branagh’s closest friends and acquaintances.  Many have been directed by Branagh, co-starred or have been a member of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company.  After seeing the trailer, many Agatha Christie fans complained about Branagh’s interpretation of Poirot’s iconic moustache.  Big screens with animations of moving landscapes were installed on the set to create the visual effect of a moving train.  Josh Gad experienced some motion sickness because of this visual.  Branagh is the fifteenth actor to portray Herucle Poirot on screen in works by Christie.  There is another film with the same title and subject from 1994.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Lady Bird 2017

     Christine MacPherson likes to be called Lady Bird instead of Christine.  She is a 17 year old high school senior and she attends Sacramento Catholic high school.  This is not where she wants to be!!  She doesn’t want to live in Sacramento, and she doesn’t want to go to this school!!  Her parents want her to go to UC Davis for college since it’s nearby.  She could also go to Berkeley and her brother graduated from Berkeley.  Lady Bird has a lot of new events in her life this senior year.  She has her first romance and her first love.  She has a part in the school play and she’s really thinking about college.  She thinks her mother doesn’t like her and her dad is kinder but he loses his job.
     I didn’t know anything about this film except it was filmed in Sacramento, directed by Greta Gerwig and starred Saoirse Ronan.  I also knew that it had received a LOT of awards.  Her mother is a psychiatric nurse and I wonder if she forgets some of her training or she doesn’t want to use it at home?  She works double shifts since they need the money so she’s got to be worn out all the time?  She wants Lady Bird to go to a college that’s cheap!!  Lady Bird doesn’t know what she wants except she wants anything her mother doesn’t want!!  I thought Ronan was older than 17 and she was 23.  This is listed as a comedy but I found it to be a drama.  I’m torn 50% liking this film and 50% wondering what all the fuss is about and how did it win all the awards?  3 ½* (I liked this movie)    
94 min, Drama directed by Greta Gerwig with Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothee Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Lois Smith, Stephen Henderson, Odeya Rush, Jordan Rodrigues, Marielle Scott, John Karna, Jake McDorman, Bayne Gibby, Laura Marano.

Note:  Imdb 7.5 out of 10, 99% critic 79% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*, Commonsense Media 2* positive messages, 2* positive role models, 1* violence, 5* sex, 4* language, 1* consumerism, 4* drinking, drugs, smoking, Metacritic 94 out of 100 with 50 critics 7.4 out of 10 with 654 reviews, The Guardian 5* Peter Bradshaw, Plugged In 1.5* out of 5* Bob Hoose, Amazon 3.6* out of 5* with 1092 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Sacramento, South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Los Angeles, Van Nuys, California and New York City, New York.  Writer Greta Gerwig’s first draft of her script was 350 pages long and this would make a movie nearly six hours long?  Gerwig has said that her behavior was the polar opposite of Lady Bird and she grew up in Sacramento.  She was strait-laced and not at all rebellious!!  In Sacramento, billboards were put up congratulating Gerwig on her awards for this film.  Ronan's acting for this role was inspired by her memories of watching Saved by the Bell of 1989.  I thought this film resembled Saved by the Bell during my viewing??  This film was the highest-grossing film of the production company A24 as of December 2017.
Awards:  Best picture:  Golden Globe, New York Film Critics Circle National Society of Film Critics, Chicago Film Critics; Best Actress for Saoirse Ronan:  Golden Globe, New York Film Critics, Gotham Independent, Chicago Film Critics; Best Supporting for Laura Metcalf: National Society of Film Critics, Chicago Film Critics; Best Screenplay for Greta Gerwig: National Society of Film Critics, Satellite Auteur, Chicago Film Critics.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Same Kind of Different as Me 2017

     This film is based on a true story and also based on a book by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.  Ron and Debbie Hall are a married couple with a teen son and daughter.  Somehow they have drifted apart and Ron has been having an affair.  Debbie tells him they need to fix what is happening with their marriage.  She calls Ron’s girlfriend and tells her that Ron won’t be seeing or caller her again.  They do work on their marriage and Debbie tells him said had a dream about a man who is homeless.  She has been working at a food kitchen for the homeless and she gets Ron to join her in the work.  They start helping Denver Moore and he’s the man in her dream.  He has had a difficult life since his grandmother died years ago.  They change Denver’s life but they also change their own lives.
      This is an interesting film and tells a different kind of story about how to change your own life, your marriage and the lives of others.  It’s about putting yourself second and others first.  It’s a journey that many aren’t able or ready to take.  Some people looking at this work from a distance think it’s too dangerous.  It is possible for it to be dangerous?  The life of anyone can change quickly.  A job is lost, an illness is discovered, a death in the family and many other circumstances.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

119 min, Drama directed by Michael Carney with Greg Kinnear, Renee Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Jon Voight, Olivia Holt, Austin Filson, Geraldine Singer, Daniel Zacapa, Dana Gourrier, Thomas Frances Murphy, Ann Mahoney, Theodus Crane, David Dino Wells Jr., Pedro Lucero.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 of 10, 33% critic 88% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*, Amazon Video 4.6 of 5 with 133 reviews, Plugged In 4* of 5*, Metacritic 47 out of 100 with 7 critics 6.6 of 10 with 11 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Jackson and Canton, Mississippi.  There was a sequel published for the book and also a children’s adaptation.  Ron Hall and Denver Moore have traveled the United States raising money to help the homeless.  This film was originally scheduled to be Renee Zellweger’s first film after six years away from acting.  Bridget Jones’ Baby of 2016 became her first film appearance and the release of this film was pushed to February 2017.  It was 17 years ago that Zellweger and Kinnear starred in Nurse Betty of 2000.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Downsizing 2017

     The setting of this film is in the not too far future.  Dr. Jorgen Asbjornsen and his partner in Norway have discovered how to downsize people.  This process could save the planet.  Smaller people require much less of everything and they can have an affordable lifestyle with less money.  Audrey and Paul Safranek have been living in the home Paul lived in with his mother.  They would like to buy a different home but they can’t seem to afford anything that’s available.  They decide to downsize together and move to a new community with smaller people.  Audrey didn’t know that she would need to have her head shaved and also her eyebrows.  She backs out of the procedure and she divorces Paul.  This is a huge surprise to Paul and he can’t even consider going back to his old life now that he’s a small person.
     I think there needed to be more concise editing since the film is over 2 hours?  It's  listed as a comedy but I didn’t think this was funny?  The majority of the downsized people live in Leisureland where everything is “perfect?”  Surprisingly, what most of the residents don’t know is outside of Leisureland there are shantytowns.  The smaller people who do the cleaning and manual labor for a small wage live in these towns.  I may have changed my mind too if I was facing having all my hair cut off and also my eyebrows?  Sure, they would grow back but you never know what color or consistency?  Plus, your eyebrows might decide not to grow back at all??   2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

135 min, Drama, directed by Alexander Payne with Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig, Rolf Lassgard, Ingjerd Egeberg, Udo Kier, Koren Pilmark, Jason Sudeikis, Maribeth Monroe, Jayne Houdyshell, Phil Reeves, James Van Der Beek, Alison J. Palmer.

Note:  Imdb 5.7 out of 10, 51% critic 22% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1 ½*, The Guardian 3* out of 5* Peter Bradshaw, Metacritic 63 out of 100 with 48 critics 5.5 out of 10 with 146 reviews.
Special Note:  Filmed in Trollfjord, Lofoten; Bergen, Hordaland; Tysfjord, Norway.  Omaha, Nebraska; Toronto, Waterloo, Markham Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; Lancaster, California.  Unfortunately for Matt Damon, his father passed away on the same day this film opened in the U.S.  This project is one of the most expensive projects to date for Director Alexander Payne.  The budget was $68 million and the opening weekend generated less than $9 million at US box offices.  The worldwide gross was $54.6 million for a loss.  Pre-production began in 2009 but was put on hold when Payne decided to focus on The Descendants and then Nebraska. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Detectorists, Season 3: 2017

     Andy and Lance are very much interested in going out in a field and looking for any kind of treasure with their metal detectors.  Andy was formerly out of work but now he has a job working on a building site looking for any archaeological items at the site.  He finds a mosaic under the dirt but the foreman tells him to cover it up.  When he comes back the next day, the mosaic is gone?  The foreman says there isn’t any money in a Roman mosaic and it would hold up construction?  Andy gets really angry!!  Lance is having difficulties with his daughter living with him.  She is messy and Lance is a neat freak.  Lance has a girlfriend but she lives on a boat and Lance gets severe seasickness even at the dock?  He tries hypnosis but it doesn’t work. 
     I like this series and I’ve seen Series 1 and 2.  Andy is such a sad sack and he’s always down plus he always looks down.  Lance can’t stand for even the corners of cheese to be cut off?  He claims it makes it more difficult to slice?  His girlfriend’s boat is a canal boat and they don’t have much of a rocking movement when they are out on the water?  I would think it would be impossible to feel seasick??  The characters are funny!!  4* (I really liked this season)

TV Series, 6 episodes, 60 min each with Mackenzie Crook, Toby Jones, Rachael Stirling. Gerard Horan, Pearce Quigley, Divian Ladwa, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Lucy Benjamin, Adam Riches.

Note:  Imdb 8.6 out of 10, 100% critic 100% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Blue Print Review 5* with 22 ratings, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 213 reviews,
Special Note:  Filmed in Framlingham; Orford, Suffolk and Ipswich, Suffolk, England, UK.  There is a yellow Triumph TR7 in some of the scenes.  Mackenzie Crook owns it  but Lance is the owner in the series.  Crook stars in this series and he is also the writer.  Diana Rigg plays Rachael Stirling’s mother and they are actually mother and daughter.  Lance’s last name is Stater and this is a type of ancient Greek gold or silver coin that could be uncovered by a detectorist.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Black Butterfly 2017

     This film is based on the 2008 French film Papillon Noir.  Paul is a writer and he lives in the woods 2 hours away from Seattle, Washington.  He goes into a small town to pick up supplies and he’s under a lot of pressure!!  He can’t seem to get over his writer’s block?  There is a semi ahead of him and the driver doesn’t want to let Paul pass in his Jeep?  Paul almost hits a motorcyclist when he tries to pass but he does get around the semi.  Paul is also meeting a real estate agent at the market/diner in town.  He'd like to sell his house and property because he’s running out of money.  The driver in the semi starts comes into the diner, he's giving Paul and Laura a hard time.  Jack is also in the diner and he takes the semi driver outside for a near beating!!  When Paul is back on the road, he sees Jack walking and offers him a ride.  They go to Paul’s house and Jack stays a while for room and board in exchange for doing handyman jobs on the house.
     There are two big surprises that you don’t see coming in this film?  I think this film needs to be restructured?  I didn’t know what was going to happen and how this was going to end and that’s OK.  What happens previously doesn’t necessarily go along with the big changes in the surprises?  It is all explained in the short ending but it seems like a big ‘duh’ instead??  3* (This movie is OK)  

93 min, Thriller directed by Brian Goodman with Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Piper Perabo, Vincent Riotta, Brian Goodmkan, Katie McGovern, Jake Daley, Craig Peritz, RandallPaul, Cristina Moglia, Abel Ferrara, Nicholas Aaron, Nathalie Rapti Gomez, Gioia Libardoni, Tracy Green.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 44% critic 42% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 1*, Amazon 4* out of 5* with 23 reviews, Metacritic 43 out of 100 with 7 critics 5 out of 10 with 12 ratings, Slant Magazine ½* out of 4*, Common Sense Media 3* out of 5*, no positive messages, no positive role models and representations, lots of language, drinking, drugs, smoking.  Threats, yelling, fighting, punching, kicking, choking!!
Special Note:  Filmed in Rome, Monte Livata, Campaegli, Lazio and Campo di Giove, Abruzzo, Italy.  I didn’t know this was filmed in Italy?  The black butterfly is seen in many different parts of the world as a symbol of misfortune or an omen of death.  Director Abel Ferrara has also worked on Driller Killer and Ms. 45.  He has a cameo as the store owner Pat.  There are other films with the same title from 2006, 2010 and 2012.