Film Review – A Star Is Born (2018)

As a classic film aficionado, I’m not generally a fan of remakes. There are a few exceptions to that rule, but generally I avoid them. This is why I had no plans to watch the latest reincarnation of A Star Is Born. I’ve seen three of the previous films, including the Constance Bennett vehicle What Price Hollywood?, and excluding the version featuring Barbara Streisand. I had no desire to see yet another interpretation. But then the reviews started rolling in from fellow classic film lovers and they were all positive. So, I decided I had to watch it to decide for myself.

SYNOPSIS

Each version of this film revolves around the same story. An established and famous male star, discovers a new talent. He then acts as mentor and eventually lover to this woman while guiding her through the process and pitfalls of fame. However, as her star rises, his declines thanks to his increasingly bad public behavior while battling his demons in the form of toxic addictions.  There are differences among all five versions of this film. However, they are not significant as to change the main story line and character arcs. In the latest version of A Star is Born the names of the main characters are changed from Esther Blodgett and Norman Maine to Ally and Jackson Maine. Also, unlike the first three films, Ally and Jackson are singers and not actors. Continue reading “Film Review – A Star Is Born (2018)”

Film Review -Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

Growing up, my parents exposed me to many popular musicians of the Seventies, artists like Simon and Garfunkel, Credence Clearwater Revival, The Grass Roots, The Rolling Stones, The Mamas and the Papas and one of my mother’s favorites, ABBA.

In 2008 a new generation was introduced to the Swedish band ABBA when their songs were featured in the musical film Mamma Mia! Despite some criticism of the film, it became an indisputable success. Exactly ten years later, the sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again allows fans to revisit all that they love about the original. It continues the story begun in Mamma Mia!. It also depicts the story of how Donna found herself in Greece and met Sophie’s three fathers.

SUMMARY

A year after her mother’s passing, Sophie is finally fulfilling her mother’s dream. The hotel Bella Donna is all set for a Grand re-opening. However, Sophie’s triumph feels bittersweet. She desperately misses her mother, two of her three dads are unable to attend and she and Sky have hit an impasse in their relationship. Fortunately, she has some support from her mother’s friends Tanya and Rosie, her third dad Sam and the new hotel manager Fernando Cienfuegos. Sophie will need all the help she can get as processes her grief and faces unexpected obstacles in preparing for the re-opening.

Meanwhile, back in 1979, Donna Sheridan graduates from school and begins her search for freedom and identity. Traveling through Europe, she meets a young man in Paris. Though he feels a special connection with her Donna cannot stay. She believes her destiny is yet to be found on a small Grecian island. Continuing her journey, she meets a young sailor who happily transports Donna to the isle of Kalokairi aboard his boat. Upon her arrival, Donna settles into an abandoned farm house. She also lands a job singing at the local café and meets another young man who will play an important role in her future.

For the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

 

Film Review -Breathe (2017)

The Life of Robin Cavendish

If you have never heard of Robin Cavendish before, you aren’t the only one.  If not for how he lived with a severe disability, most likely nobody ever would have.  In 1958, two years into his marriage to Diana, Robin contracted polio and was paralyzed from the neck down. Initially given less than a year to live,  Robin indicated his wish to die. But Diana refused to allow this.  She entreated him to live for the sake of their son.

Robin gradually improved to the point that he could swallow and speak. But for the rest of his life he was dependent on the use of artificial respirators to help him keep him alive. Eventually, Diana and some hospital staff literally broke him out of the hospital against his doctor’s advice. At this time, no one with his level of disability had ever been released or survived outside of a hospital.

Over the next thirty years of his life, Robin and Diana became champions for disabled people. They  also helped inspire and pioneer ways to integrate people like himself into everyday society. Some of these ideas include a mobile wheelchair with a built in respirator, a hydraulic chair lift for his van, as well as equipment that allowed him to perform simple tasks by moving his head.  He was also instrumental in creating the first list of people who used iron lungs as well as in fundraising efforts to improve their quality of life. In their personal lives the two pushed Robin’s boundaries, living as adventurously as possible, while raising their son and remaining committed to each other.

To read my full review of this film,  please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

Winter in July Blogathon -New in Town (2009)

SUMMARY

Lucy Hill (Renee Zelweger) is the sole female executive for Munck Foods in Miami. Her career is her priority. When her boss mentions that one of their blue collar manufacturing plants needs some restructuring, Lucy volunteers. She is less than enthused however, when she learns that she will have to temporarily relocate to a small town in wintry Minnesota.

Lucy’s arrival in New Ulm is less than promising. The town’s citizens and plant employees are prejudiced against her. Lucy’s chilly attitude does nothing to endear her to them. Things go from bad to worse when she unintentionally antagonizes both the local union representative, Ted (Harry Connick Jr.) and Stu (J.K. Simmons), the plant foreman. Her only ally is her overly friendly secretary Blanche (Siobhan Fallon Hogan).

Thanks to Blanche’s efforts, Lucy slowly begins to warm up to the people of New Ulm. She begins to see them as individuals with something to offer, instead of names and statistics related to her job. As Lucy starts to involve herself in the community she finds she has more in common with these small town folk than she wants to admit. Her relationship with Ted also begins to heat up, though Stu still resists all of her efforts at reconciliation.

Lucy’s love for her new friends is challenged when her boss orders her to close the plant which provides the main source of employment for New Ulm. She is forced to re-examine her priorities and determine where her heart belongs. Continue reading “Winter in July Blogathon -New in Town (2009)”

Reel Infatuation Blogathon -Kathleen Kelly of You’ve Got Mail

For the second year in a row, I am happy to be participating in The Reel Infatuation Blogathon. Hosted by Silver Screenings and Font and Frock, this blogathon is all about film, television or book character crushes.

YOU’VE GOT MAIL

In You’ve Got Mail Kathleen is the owner of New York City children’s bookstore, The Shop Around the Corner. Kathleen is the second generation owner of the store inherited from her mother. The Shop Around the Corner is not just a business to Kathleen, but also home to all of her happy childhood memories with her mother. It is also a beloved neighborhood institution, where the customers and employees are treated like family. Kathleen’s life revolves around her shop. Her secret correspondence with online pen pal NY152 provides her an outlet where she can share her dreams and fears not just about the shop, but also her life.

When “the big, bad, Fox Books” chain arrives in the West Side, it threatens the livelihood Kathleen’s store. On the advice of her anonymous pen pal NY152, she decides to fight a public relations battle with Joe Fox of Fox Books, for the survival of her business. Continue reading “Reel Infatuation Blogathon -Kathleen Kelly of You’ve Got Mail”

Film Review -Return to Me (2000)

   

SUMMARY

Bob Rueland is still mourning the loss of his wife and childhood sweetheart. To honor her memory, he is working to complete a project which was close to her heart, a new gorilla habitat at the Chicago zoo.  But otherwise, Bob is stuck in his grief, hiding from life until a chance meeting with waitress Gracie Briggs lights a new spark in him.

Gracie is just now beginning to live after a recent heart transplant gave her new lease on life. Though she is still helping in her grandfather’s restaurant, she is practicing the art of small pleasures through her painting, gardening and close knit relationships.  Gracie is attracted to Bob, but is extremely sensitive about both the physical and emotional scars of her past health issues.

As Gracie and Bob grow closer, their relationship grows and motivates their own personal growth. They recognize a kindred spirit in each other. But unbeknownst to either of them, there is something else which links them together. And when this link is finally revealed, they must both decide if love is more powerful than grief.

For the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

Film Review -The Saint (1997)

The character of Simon Templar debuted in a series of books first published in the 1920’s and running through the 1980’s. There have been many film and television adaptations, but my favorite is this film version from the nineties.

SUMMARY

Raised in an orphanage, young John Rossi renames himself after his childhood heroes, the Templar Knights. While there he develops a unique set of skills, but also witnesses a tragedy which haunts him.

As an adult Simon Templar is a thief who uses his skills for his own benefit and the highest bidder. In his line of work, he changes his appearance as often as his identity and his name. Simon is personable and clever, but forms no attachments and calls no place home. Determined to see his bank account reach a comfortable fifty million dollars, before he retires, he takes one last job. Unfortunately, it happens to be for the Russian billionaire, Ivan Tretiak. On a previous job, Simon had a run-in with Tretiak’s son Ilya, whom he left with disfiguring facial scars.

Tretiak hires Simon to steal a formula for clean, inexpensive energy. This formula is a scientific breakthrough developed by the English scientist Emma Russell and her late father.

Simon is surprised to find that Emma is not what he expected. Though she is a brilliant scientist, she is also rather naive and a romantic at heart. Simon determines the best and safest way to steal the formula is to seduce her.  But in the process, he is charmed by her innocence and her willingness to release her formula publicly, instead of selling it for a profit. When Tretiak threatens Emma’s life, Simon is forced to make a decision. And when Emma discovers Simon’s secret, she puts herself in danger to confront him.

For my full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

Film Review – The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)

SUMMARY

After the devastating losses of their family restaurant and their matriarch, the Kadam family leaves India and heads for Europe. They wander, searching for a place where they can settle. Papa Kadam notices a property for sale in the small French village of Saint-Antonin. There are many reasons why it is not a good investment. One of which is a successful Michelin star rated restaurant only one hundred feet across the road. His family names other reasons to be deterred; no one in the French village will be interested in Indian food, the previous owners were not able to run a restaurant there successfully among others. But Papa’s conversations with his deceased wife and his confidence in his son Hassan’s skills as a cook override all other concerns.

Hassan is excited to put to use the skills his mother taught him in the kitchen. He has also befriended a local girl named Marguerite. She works for the formidable Madame Mallory in the restaurant across the road. Hassan realizes that in order for his family business to succeed they must all adapt to the culture and the food. Marguerite is helpful to him in this regard. But Madame Mallory does everything she can to make it difficult for their business to succeed. She lodges complaints with the town mayor about minor infractions and purchas up all the ingredients they need before they can get to the market.

When a bigoted man attacks the Kadam restaurant, Hassan is injured. The war between Papa Kadam and Madame Mallory comes to a head, with a surprising resolution. Suddenly, enemies reluctantly make peace. This changes the course of several lives, not the least of which is Hassan’s.

For the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat.

 

 

Feature Film Review -Paul, Apostle of Christ

SUMMARY

Luke, the Greek physician of Biblical fame, arrives covertly in Rome. He is there to visit the apostle Paul in prison. Upon his arrival, he takes refuge with the Christian community in Rome, who are led by Priscilla and Aquila. Extreme measures are necessary to guard the community’s safety and location, thanks to prior events. The emperor Nero, has been persecuting Christians ever since accusing them of a fire which devastated Rome.  Priscilla and Aquila are contemplating whether they should remain in the city or flee for their lives and ask Luke to inquire of Paul for wisdom.

Thanks to some influential friends, Luke is able to regularly visit Paul although Mauritius, the Roman director of the prison keeps a close watch on these visits. As the local Christians ponder their future in Rome, and Luke confides in Paul his own anger and doubts, the two men agree that Luke will record Paul’s own journey of faith. As Paul’s life and those of the Roman Christians hang in the balance, they hope that Paul’s story will serve as an encouragement and reminder of the work of Jesus which will outlast their own lives. Continue reading “Feature Film Review -Paul, Apostle of Christ”

For the Armchair Athlete – My Favorite Sports Films

Confession time, people. I am not much of an athlete. Of course, I played sports in school, but I was never passionate about it (or good at it, for that matter). My athletic participation was more about the social aspect, then the actual skill and competition side of it.

Which is why it is kind of strange that I really enjoy sports films. Perhaps, it is because most of these movies feature an underdog story. Who doesn’t love an underdog? Or maybe, its seeing someone accomplish something difficult which requires a lot of practice, training and discipline (none of which I have). In any case, I find sports films, both entertaining and inspirational.

So, for those who are armchair athletes like me, I have put together a list of my favorite films featuring different sports. Continue reading “For the Armchair Athlete – My Favorite Sports Films”