Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Russell Girl 2008

File:The Russell Girl film poster.jpg

     Sarah Russell is 23 years old and she lives in Chicago.  She learns from her doctor that she has an aggressive form of leukemia.  He has scheduled an appointment with a specialist for that week.  Instead of remaining in Chicago for her appointment she cancels it and returns to her family home.  Her parents think she is just there for a visit but she is running away.  Because of an accident that happened in her past, she thinks karma has come back to her and she deserves to die. 
     Warning, this is a Hallmark Movie.  It will try to squeeze every tear you can muster from your eyes!!  This is interesting and the character development is good so you do care about the people involved.  3* (This movie is OK)

120 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by Jeff Bleckner with Amber Tamblyn, Jennifer Ehle, Henry Czerny, Paul Wesley, Tim DeKay, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Daniel Clark, Ben Lewis, Max Morrow.

Note:  Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 66% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.7* out of 5* with 23 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Even through there is a difference in their ages of 16 years, Amber Tamblyn reminds me of Lauren Graham from The Gilmore Girls.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Gunman 2015

The Gunman      This film is based on a 1981 novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette.  The country of the Congo has always had a lot of problems but vast wealth can be found in the rich mines.  A sniper and his team are sent on a mission in 2006 to ambush and assassinate the Minister of Mines.  After this assignment, the sniper is forced to leave the country and go into hiding.  He doesn’t get an opportunity to explain to his girlfriend what is going on before he leaves.  The result of this murder is chaos, rioting and deaths of innocent people in an already unsettled country.  Eight years later the sniper is able to return but he becomes the target of a paid hit squad connected with the assassination.
     There is a lot going on in this film but the tone is off on everything.  A lot of guns of different types, explosions, chase scenes and even bull fighting.  None of it seems to matter or the resulting outcome?  2* (I didn’t like this movie)    

115 min, Action directed by Pierre Morel with Sean Penn, Idris Elba, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem, Ray Winsotne, Mark Rylance, Peter Franzen, Billy Billingham, Daniel Adegboyega, Ade Oyefeso.

Note:  Imdb 5.8 out of 10, 17% critic 34% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*.
Special Note:  Pierre Morel is also the director of District B13 and Taken with Liam Neeson.

Paddington Bear - The complete Classic Series 1975

Paddington Bear - The Complete Classic Series     A bear was found by the Browns at Paddington Station.  He had a tag saying, “Please take care of this bear.”  The Browns named him Paddington after the name of the station and he came to live in their home.  Paddington said he came from ‘darkest Peru and he lived with his Aunt Lucy?’  Paddington has a lot of adventures and he seems to always get in a lot of trouble.  He loves marmalade sandwiches, he often has one or more tucked into the hat he wears constantly.  On his first night with the Browns, they took him to a department store to buy him a pair of pajamas and he wears them every night to bed.  Paddington is a friend of an antique store owner and Paddington usually gets into trouble with Mr. Curry, their neighbor.
     Even though there are a lot of episodes, they are short, funny and they go by quickly.  It doesn’t seem like Paddington can do anything without doing it wrong.  Maybe the only thing he can do is make a very good marmalade sandwich.  He always has them at the ready in case he gets hungry.  He could spare one so you could try them too!!  4* (I really liked this series)

56 episodes, animated, narrated by Michael Hordern. 

Note:  Amazon 4.6* out of 5 stars with 65 reviews.
Special Note:  Paddington Bear was created In 1956 by Michael Bond while he was working as a cameraman for the BBC.  Some of the titles for the episodes are At the Circus, The Haunted House, The Desert Island, At the Beach, Big Top, Magician, Reporter, Stone-Age, Space, Fishing, Birthday Bonanza, Goes to School, Goes to the Movies.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Grave of the Fireflies 1988

     This film is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Nosaka Akiyuki and it takes place during the ending days of WWII.   Setsuko and Seita are a brother and sister living in Japan.  Their mother is killed in an air raid that dropped napalm canisters on their city.  Even though she went to a shelter in their port city of Kobe, she was severely burned.  The children go to live with a distant aunt but she doesn’t treat them very well.  She thinks Seita should be doing something for the war effort.  Seita thinks he needs to take care of Setsuko since she is young and her mother has died.  Their father is in the Japanese navy and the children don’t know hi
s status.  They decide to leave the city and make a home for themselves with an abandoned hillside cave as their shelter.  There is money in their mother’s savings account but they are still finding it difficult to get food.  The farmers say they don’t have enough for themselves and their families.  The fireflies are their only entertainment.
     While watching this film you need to keep in mind that this is an anti-war film by the Japanese and the allies are carrying out the bombing raids.  Japan did not want to surrender and war leads to hardship for everyone involved.  The people fighting and those in the countries fighting all suffer.  It is interesting to see WWII from an opposite viewpoint.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

89 min, Animation directed by Isao Takahata with the voices of Amy Jones, Corinne Orr, J. Robert Spencer, Veronica Taylor Shannon Conley Crispin Freeman, Dan Green, Nick Sullivan.

Note:  Imdb 8.5 out of 10, 97% critic 95% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*.
Special Note:  The title in Japanese is Hotaru No Haka.  The ending in this movie is different from the ending in the novel.  Animation is usually thought of as cartoons and this film is somber but worthwhile to watch.  Nosaka Akiyuki grieved for a long period over his losses due to the war before writing about them.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tomorrowland 2015

Tomorrowland     There is a place in time and space that exists in the memory of Frank Walker and Casey Newton.  Frank has is now an adult and he has lost his former boy-genius inventor scientific curiosity.  Casey is still curious and she receives a pin that transports her to a different place in a wheat field every time she touches it.  She wants to know why she got this pin, could this be a real place and where is it located?
      In this movie there is only a little bit of a plot?  There is the threat of extinction of this world so a new world is needed and there are robot people among real people.  There is are a lot ‘theme park’ references, I wonder if this is just an advertisement for Disneyland and Disneyworld rolled into a movie?  I could not get interested?  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

130 min, Action directed by Brad Bird with George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, Chris Bauer, Thomas Robinson, Pierce Gagnon.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 50% critic 52% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.
Special Note:  This movie was produced by Disney and filmed in Vancouver British Columbia Canada, Valencia Spain, Eleuthera Island Bahamas, New York, Florida and California.  Pierce Gagnon has the role in the TV series Extant as a Humanic.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sherlock Holmes: The Woman in Green 1945

SHERLOCK HOLMES/THE WOMEN IN GREEN/11X17 CARDBOARD POSTER     The setting is the turn-of-the-century in London.  There have been a series of four bizarre and seemingly unconnected murders.  These crimes are like Jack the Ripper in style.  All the victims have been young women and they have all had their right forefinger severed?  Holmes is called in when Scotland Yard detectives are unable to crack the case.  Right away Holmes discovers the murders seem to be committed by separate individuals but he believes Professor Moriarty is behind the crimes.  It had been believed that Professor Moriarty died in Montevideo.  Scotland Yard doesn’t want to believe Moriarty is involved because they think he is dead.
     Basil Rathbone does a very good job of playing Sherlock Holmes.  He is a special individual and it’s difficult to fool him.  Included are dark alleys, London fog, the morgue, blackmail and hypnotism.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

68 min, Mystery directed by Roy William Neill with Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Hillary Brooke, Henry Daniell, Paul Cavanagh, Matthew Boulton, Eve Amber, Frederick Worlock, Coulter Irwin, Sally Shepherd, Mary Gordon.

Note:  Imdb 6.9 out of 10, 100% critic 57% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, TCM 3* out of 4*, Amazon 4* out of 5* with 179 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed at Universal Studios, California. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mordecai 2015

Mortdecai      Charlie Mortdecai is having trouble with his wife Johanna because he has grown a mustache!!  It makes her gag reflex react every time she nears to kiss Charlie.  Charlie and Johanna are almost out of money,  she puts a painting up for auction and Charlie tries to recover a stolen painting with a code leading to lost Nazi gold.
     Bosh!! That is what I want to say about this movie!!  Depp plays Mortdecai who is a ridiculous and inept character.  The only person with any grit is his manservant Jock Strapp.  Placing aside his unusual name, Jock has been shot several times by Mortdecai and he almost has one of his fingers cut off because of Mortdecai.  Both Johanna and Mi-6 Agent Martland are drips!!  2* (I didn’t like this movie and I’m being overly generous with my 2 stars!!)

107 min, Action directed by David Koepp with Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany, Olivia Munn, Jonny Pasvolsky, Michael Culkin, Ulrich Thomsen, Alec Utgoff, Rob de Groot, Guy Burnet.

Note:  Imdb 5.5 out of 10, 12% critic 30% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert ½*.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in London, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, England, UK.

Friday, October 23, 2015

This Property is Condemned 1966

This Property Is Condemned     This film is based on a play by Tennessee Williams.  Willie Starr is wearing one of her older sister’s dresses and she is walking on one of the rails for the railroad.  She lives in a condemned house and she does this walking to see are far she can go before she falls.  When she falls, she meets a young boy named Tom and she starts telling him about her older sister Alma.  The family lived in the large boarding house near the railroad tracks and it is the depression.  They have dancing, sell liquor and Alma is the most popular and pretty girl in town.  Alma doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life but she does know she wants to get away from her overbearing mother and this town.  Owen Legate comes to take a room in their house and he seems like a nice man.  He is really there to hand out pink slips to the men who work for the railroad.  Everyone in town hates him for two reasons.  One reason is the pink slips and the other is that Alma likes him.
     I liked this film except for the ending.  Alma likes to dream and she takes her black and white life and turns it into color.  Owen doesn’t have any dreams and he doesn’t care that everyone he meets hates him for what he does.  He sees Alma has dreams and it makes him realize he needs her in his life.  He doesn’t think he can live without her but Alma doesn’t know how much she can expect from him.  She makes a mistake in her efforts to get away before she goes to meet Owen in New Orleans.  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

110 min, Drama directed by Sydney Pollack with Natalie Wood, Robert Redford, Charles Bronson, Kate Reid, Mary Badham, Alan Baxter, Robert Blake, Dabney Coleman, John Harding, Ray Hemphill, Brett Pearson.

Note:  Imdb 7.1 out of 10, 64% critic 77% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.4* out of 5* with 257 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Bay St. Louis and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Castle in the Sky 1986

Castle in the Sky      Pazu’s father discovered Laputa and it is an island of a lost advanced civilization flying high above in the sky.  He came back from Laputa and told the people in his mining village all about it but no one would believe him.  He was crushed, he never recovered and this caused him to die young.  Pazu has always believed in Laputa and he’s determined to find it and clear his father’s name.  As he’s going about his work one day, Sheeta, a young girl, floats down from the sky.  Muska, a secret agent working for the government had abducted her.  She had been traveling on an airship but Dola and her air pirate sons tried to take her captive and she jumped out of the ship.  She is wearing a crystal from Laputa that allowed to her float instead of fall.  Muska and the pirates follow her and try to take her from Pazu. 
      This is an interesting and fascinating story of a mythical flying city.  Everyone except Pazu wants to get the crystal and find Laputa.  Pazu is an orphan and so is Sheeta.  She had been living with her grandmother in a small valley to the north until her grandmother died.  The crystal is made from aetherium which is material used to keep Laputa afloat.  Wonderful animation, characters and machines.  4* (I really liked this movie)

124 min, Animation directed by Hayao Miyazaki with the voices of Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leachman.
Note:  Imdb 8.1 out of 10, 95% critic 91% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 543 reviews.
Special Note:  The myth of Laputa is from Gulliver’s Travels written by Jonathan Swift first published in 1726.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sundays at Tiffany's 2010

Sundays at Tiffany's     This film is based on a best-selling novel written by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet.  Jane Claremont is a very lonely a young girl.  Michael is an invisible friend and he comes to be with Jane to help her.  He can only stay with her until her 10th birthday and then he has to leave.  Jane is at Tiffany’s with her mother when Michael leaves.  He gets into the elevator and he’s gone.  Jane is heartbroken but she starts to forget about Michael because it’s too painful to think about him.  Jane is now an adult and she’s planning to marry Hugh Danderford.  He’s a successful TV series star and he’s hoping to get into films.  Unexpectedly, Michael comes back and all the invisible friend children can’t figure out why he is back as an adult?  Even Michael doesn’t know why he’s back and if he will have to leave again on Jane’s next birthday?
     Jane has internalized a lot of her mother’s problems and fears.  Their dad left them and her mother wants to make absolutely sure Jane has a secure future.  Her mother was also busy with her theater, she didn’t pay attention to Jane and she’s an only child.  This is a different take on the childhood imaginary friend aspect.  The imaginary friend is a real person that adults can't see.  Everything is beautiful in New York at Christmas!  3* (This movie is OK)
88 min, TV Movie, Drama directed by Mark Piznarski with Alyssa Milano, Eric Winter, Kristin Booth, Emily Alyn Lind, Ivan Sergei, Stockard Channing.
Note:  Imdb 6.7 out of 10, 55% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.5* out of 5* with 121 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in New York and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Straight Story 1999

[ STRAIGHT STORY POSTER ]     In 1994, Alvin Straight was 73 years old when he made the trip from Laurens, Iowa to Mt. Zion, Wisconsin to reunite with his brother Lyle who is 75 years old.  The brothers had a falling out and they haven’t had any contact with each other for years.  Alvin heard that Lyle had a stroke and he wants to reconnect in case anything else happens to Lyle.  Alvin is making this 260-mile journey on a riding lawnmower.  The first mower quits and he replaces it with 1966 John Deere.  He also hitches a trailer to the back.  Alvin can’t see very well, he doesn’t like to go fast and the average speed of the mower is five miles an hour.
     Alvin is a very patient man to make this journey at five miles an hour!!  I don’t think I have that amount of patience and fortitude!!  One of the positive messages about this film is the kindness of the strangers Alvin meets on his journey. 3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

112 min Bio directed by David Lynch with Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek, Jane Galloway Heitz, Joseph A. Carpenter, Donald Wiegert, Jennifer Edwards-Hughes, Ed Grennan, Jack Walsh, Harry Dean Stanton.

Note:  Imdb 8.0 out of 10, 96% critic 91% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 4*.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Iowa and Wisconsin.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Texasville 1990

     This film is based on a novel by Larry McMurtry.  The setting is the summer of 1984.  Texasville is a town near Wichita Falls and they are preparing for a centennial.  Times are tough, the oil prices are down, banks are closing and some of the townspeople are falling deeper in debt.  Duane was formerly on the football team and his girlfriend Jacy was the homecoming queen.  It’s been 30 years since these events and Duane is about $12 million in debt.  Karla is his wife and she thinks he drinks too much.  He has a lot of children, they get into trouble and Duane likes to spend time with the wives of his friends.  Jacy was living in Italy and working as an actress in B movies.  Now she is divorced and she has returned after the death of her son.  Folks are expecting Jacy and Duane to pick up where they left off on their romance.
     There are just too many people in this film to keep track of and I
could not keep interested in who they were?  I couldn't muster up the energy to sort them out or care about them?  Maybe I was at a loss because this is a sequel film and I didn’t see the first film?  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

123 min, Drama directed by Peter Bogdanovich with Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd, Annie Potts, Timothy Bottoms, Cloris Leachman, Randy Quaid, Eileen Brennan.

Note:  Imdb 6.0 out of 10, 55% critic 50% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3 ½*.
Special Note:  This film is a sequel to The Last Picture Show from 1971 that was also written and directed by Peter Bogdanovich.  This movie was filmed in Archer City, Burkburnett and Wichita Falls, Texas.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

We Were the Mulvaneys 2002

     This film is based on a novel with the same name written by Joyce Carol Oates.  The movie begins in 1976, the Mulvaneys, Michael and Corinne have four children.  They have one daughter Marianne and their sons are Mike, Patrick and Judd.  Mike is athletic, Patrick is the intellectual, Marianne is a cheerleader and Judd is the youngest.  Michael has a roofing business and Corinne runs an antique business.  They are a nice family and they live on High Point Farm in Mt. Ephraim, New York.  Marianne is going to the prom and she’s very happy with her dress.  Unfortunately, an event happens at the prom that changes the lives of all the Mulvaneys in different ways.
     This is a tough movie to watch and it pulls at your heartstrings.  Michael is having the hardest time dealing with the changes in their lives and he starts drinking heavily.  This doesn't help anyone or anything and causes a lot of pain.  Corinne tries to hold everything together.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)      

86 min, Drama directed by Peter Werner with Beau Bridges, Blythe Danner, Tammy Blanchard, Tom Guiry, Jocob Pitts, Mark Famiglietti, Shawn Roberts, Colin Ferguson, Leigh Enns, John O’Callaghan, Jon Ted Wynne, Wayne Nicklas.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 40% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.8* out of 5* with 16 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Carman, Manitoba, Canada.

Friday, October 16, 2015

God Help the Girl 2014

God Help the Girl (UK) 27x40 Movie Poster (2014)     Eve is in the hospital because she hasn’t been taking care of herself, she is struggling with depression, she’s not been eating and she attempted suicide.  A therapist is working with her to show her she can’t do anything she wants to accomplish if she doesn’t feed herself first.  Eve keeps leaving the hospital but she really needs to stay.  She begins to write songs to start to heal and she travels to the city, the West End of Glasgow, Scotland.  She meets James and Cassie.  They also want to write songs and they want to help Eve.  James finds a place for her to live and she gets a job as a waitress.
     There were a lot of times I didn’t know if I could finish this film?  There is a lot of imagination in the plot and I wasn’t sure what was real and what was not.  The film becomes a pick and choose, like the songs, hate the plot?  Don’t like the songs, wish for more plot?  Just watching the three lead actors and their cuteness only gets you so far?  2 ½*  (This movie is so-so)

112 min, Drama directed by Stuart Murdoch with Emily Browning, Olly Alexander, Hannah Murray, Pierre Boulanger, Cora Bisset, Sarah Swire, Mark Radcliffe, Stuart Maconie, Ann Scott-Jones, Josie Long.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 69% critic 60% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 2*.
Special Note:  Writer and director Stuart Murdoch wrote the songs while he was between records and tours as the lead singer of the Scottish band Belle & Sebastian. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Straight from the Heart 2003

     This film is based on a novel by Pamela Wallace published in 1996.  Jordan Donavan is a photographer and she lives in New York.  She is very disappointed with her boyfriend Edward Morgan.  She expected to get a marriage proposal on her birthday after five years of being together.  She gets a key to his apartment instead?  Edward isn’t ready to commit to marriage.  Jordan will be without a place to live if she moves in with him and they don’t like living together?  Her friend answers a matchmaking advertisement in a magazine for Jordan sent in by Tyler Ross, a horse rancher in Wyoming.  Jordan decides to fly to meet Tyler, even if she isn’t a match for him, it could give Edward a push toward marriage?  Jordan and Tyler don’t know that Tyler’s sister posted the ad for him?  Tyler lost his wife and baby daughter and he hasn’t gotten over his grief.  He’s very blunt and Jordan doesn’t think they have a chance for a relationship.  She does get to experience ranch life and she takes a lot of good pictures of the beautiful country.
     I liked this movie.  I thought the characters, the setting and the ranching life were interesting.  Warning, this is a Hallmark Movie so expect an attack on your tear ducts and emotions!!  3 ½* (I liked this movie)

100 min, TV Movie directed by David S. Cass Sr. with Teri Polo, Andrew McCarthy, Patricia Kalember, Greg Evigan, Christine Rucci, David Jean Thomas, J. Kenneth Campbell, David Atkinson, Richard Gross, Erika Young.

Note:  Imdb 7.0 out of 10, 67% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amaz
on 4.5*
out of 5* with 244 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in El Dorado County, South Lake Tahoe, Placerville and Sacramento, California.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

While We're Young 2014

     Cornelia is 43 and she is married to Josh Sebnick who is 44.  She is the daughter of Leslie Breitbar, he is a popular and respected documentary filmmaker.  They live in New York and they seem to be happy.  Josh has been working on his own documentary for ten years.  They wanted to have children but were not unable to do so.  This has caused a cooling of some of their relationships with friends who are having children.  They meet Jamie and Darby, a younger married couple in their middle-20’s.  They seem cool, smart and uninhibited.  Even though Cornelia and Josh wonder why Jamie and Darby would want to hang out with them, they get along very well.  Jamie is also
interested in documentary filming and has some ideas.
     I was a little nervous about the quality of this film after watching numerous trailers of BAD movies.  Sometimes that does not bode well for the feature?  Ben Stiller has played a slacker in so many movies it’s also difficult for me to picture him as anything else.  But, working on the same film for ten years would also qualify as slacking!!  This film is six hours long and his father-in-law states it seems like seven hours!!  A good premise for a film but not successfully accomplished.  2* (I didn’t like this movie)

97 min, Comedy directed by Noah Baumbach with Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, Maria Dizzia, Adam Horovitz, Matthew Maher, Peter Yarrow, Amanda Seyfried, Bonnie Kauman, Hector Otero.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 83% critic 52% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*.
Special Note:  Originally Greta Gerwig was cast in the role of Darby but Amanda Seyfried replaced her.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Martin Clunes's Wild Life 2014

     This DVD is divided into five parts.  A Man and His Dogs, Heavy Horsepower, Man to Manta, The Lemurs of Madagascar, A Lion Called Mugie.  Martin Clunes is also the star of the Doc Martin Series 1-6, a BBC production.
     A Man and His Dogs 2008:  Clunes visits Kent, Devon, Africa, Australia and the American Rocky Mountains and Hollywood to discover the origins of dogs and examine the relationship between dogs, humans and wolves.  He visits rat terriers, sheep dogs, very wild African dogs, the Dingo, wolves, huskies, rescue dogs, Lassie and the dog show world of domesticated dogs.
     Heavy Horsepower 2010:  Clunes has his own pair of Clydesdale horses Ronnie and Bruce.  They are beautiful animals and you can tell he wants to do the best for them mentally and physically.  He visits an Italian vineyard, the Belgium coast, the USA state of Indiana to see the Amish horses and the New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade with the Budweiser team of Clydesdales.
     Man to Manta 2011:  Clunes journeys to the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean to fulfill his ambition to swim with giant manta rays.  He then visits a USA aquarium in the southern state of Georgia.  Dr. Andrea Marshall is a manta ray expert that he meets in Ecuador.  In Sri Lanka, he learns the rays are hunted for their gills as a key ingredient in Chinese medicine.  His last visit is to the Maldives where he swims with a group of 40 rays.
     The Lemurs of Madagascar 2013:  The lemurs are an endangered species of wildlife.  Steps are being taken to maintain the population numbers.
     A Lion Called Mugie 2014:  Clunes helps release a lion cub back into the wild.
     All of the episodes are very interesting and Clunes does a good job of working with the different groups of people and animals.  He also invests a lot of time and emotion into working with the lion cub Mugie.  3 1/2* (I liked this movie)

Note: 60 min, TV Doc, SFGate jump, Amazon 4.9* out of 5* with 17 reviews.
Special Note:  In the Doc Martin episodes, Clunes always shows complete distain for dogs in his role as a doctor and he evicts them from his office and car.  Because of his profession, dogs must carry germs and they could be dirty?  In real life, he has three dogs of his own, two Cocker Spaniels and a Labrador.

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Little Chaos 2014

     The time period of this film is between 1661 and 1682.  Sabine works in a male dominated profession in England during the reign of King Louis XIV.  She is a talented landscape designer and she has been interviewed for the position of designer for one of the gardens at the Palace of Versailles.  She struggles with the perception of a woman being able to do job and class barriers.  She receives the backing of the court’s renowned landscape artist Andre Le Notre and he selects her to do the waterfall portion of the garden.  Even King Louis is not sure a woman can handle this important job to his exacting standards.
     Kate Winslet is beautiful in this film, her subtle makeup and her hair.  The women at court are amazed that the sun doesn’t burn her since she works tirelessly outdoors.  They are also amazed that she hasn’t had small pox which many people during this time had this illness and were left with permanent scars if they survived.  I wasn’t sure I would like this film because the setting of the time period but it’s not what I expected.  Not a lot of pomp and circumstance predominating the movie.  4* (I really liked this movie)
117 min, Drama directed by Alan Rickman with Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci, Alan Rickman, Thomas Allam, Hope Hancock, Isabella Steinbarth, Hal Hewetson, Carolina Valdes, Cathy Belton, Helen McCrory, Mattias Schoenaerts, Jennifer Ehle.

Note:  Imdb 6.4 out of 10, 40% critic 47% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 4.1* out of 5* with 325 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Hertfordshire, England.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Tales from Earthsea 2006

      The kingdom has been deteriorating, people are acting strangely and they are seeing dragons.  It has been a long time since dragons entered the world of humans.  Crops and livestock have also begun to decrease.  Lord Archmage Sparrowhawk is a wandering wizard and he has been investigating the cause.  He meets Prince Arren who has a severe dark side that comes upon him without his control.  The dark side caused him to kill his father, the King.  Arren becomes stronger, filled with hatred, ruthlessness and he has no mercy when it comes upon him.  Kumo, a witch starts to use Arren’s fears against the one person who can help him, Sparrowhawk.
      There are stunning visuals in this film with overview and panning shots of the countryside.  I’ve found that many times the central woman and the younger characters have the same facial features in other releases by Studio Ghibli. 4* (I really liked this movie)

115 min, Animation directed by Goro Miyazaki with the voices of Timothy Dalton, Willem Dafoe, Mariska Hargitay, Jeff Bennett, Susanne Blakeslee, Kat Cressida.

Note:  Imdb 6.5 out of 10, 41% critic 47% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon 3.7* out of 5* with 162 reviews.
Special Note: This film is an adaptation of Ursula le Guin’s Earthsea series of novels with six books.  The Farthest Shore and Tehanu, the third and fourth installments were used and the alternate title is Gedo Senki.  The soundtrack was done by Tamiya Terashima and Goro Miyazaki is the son of Hayao Miyazaki.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mobius 2013

     Alice is an American banker specializing in trading who is exiled from the United States.  She was blacklisted after a crackdown on speculative trading.  Gregory Lioubov is an undercover Russian intelligence officer stationed in Monaco.  Alice and Gregory meet and she doesn’t know that he is working for the FSB, Russia’s post-KGB secret service.  Alice is recruited by Gregory’s colleague Sandra to pass on information about the business investments of Ivan Rostrovski.  He is a crooked Russian tycoon with a tough body guard.  Sandra promises Alice that she will be able to return to the States if she works with them.  Also, the CIA contacts her and she’s open to playing a double game.
     This is a tough movie to follow.  I wasn’t sure and it isn’t clear who people are really working for?  Dujardin seems too French to have any connection to Russia?  Maybe we just need to relax our minds, forget about spies and concentrate on the scenery?  Alice’s hair is strikingly beautiful in all her scenes!!  2 ½* (This movie is so-so)

103 min, Drama directed by Eric Rochant with Jean Dujardin, Cecile De France, Tim Roth, Emilie Dequenne, John Lynch, Maksim Vitorgan, Brad Leland, Banka Katic, Dean Constantin, Prasanna Puwanarajah.

Note:  Imdb 6.1 out of 10, 43% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, 4.0* out of 5* with 6 reviews.
Special Note:  This movie was filmed in Ukraine, Moscow, Monaco, Luxembourg and Belgium.