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”

Film Review -The Greatest Showman (2017)

SUMMARY

The Greatest Showman is Hugh Jackman’s passion project based on the life of P.T. Barnum, circus impresario and legendary showman.

In this biographical (though not accurate) adaptation, Phineas T. Barnum rises from very humble beginnings. He accomplishes the daunting task of marrying his childhood sweetheart Charity, who turns her back on her wealthy parents and their social circle. In time, they have two beautiful daughters and a happy if financially insecure life.

But, it isn’t enough for Barnum, whose desire that his family have more, masks the deeper motivation of “proving” himself to the world and Charity’s parents. Barnum is a dreamer, visionary, gambler and risk taker. He concocts a daring idea and creates a museum where human physical oddities are on display. Despite protests from the cities residents and scathing newspaper reviews, his gamble pays off.

As his fortunes increase, he continues to take risks and see them succeed. But, it doesn’t come without a cost. Barnum’s obsession puts a strain on his marriage, deprives his daughters of his presence, and never manages to fill the need for approval and success that he seeks. Eventually, it even negatively impacts his work and loyal employees. Will the flamboyant showman who risked it all end up losing everything that matters?

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

Film Review -Heart and Souls (1993)

Long before Robert Downey Jr. was famous for his role in the Marvel films he was busy racking up screen credits in many under rated films in the 1980’s and 90’s. It is in these movies where I first fell for his insouciant attitude and that liquid brown gaze. One of my favorites of these early RDJ films is the romantic comedy/fantasy Heart and Souls.

SUMMARY

At the time of Thomas Reilly’s birth there is an accident which kills four people. These four souls then find themselves connected to Thomas without understanding why. As Thomas grows, the impact of his friendship with them begins to affect his life in a negative way. In order to spare him, Milo, Penny, Harrison and Julia decide to become as invisible to Thomas as they are to the rest of the world.

It is not until Thomas is a grown man that these four learn just why they are attached to this man they have watched over silently. Before they are called back to Heaven, they have the opportunity to use Thomas as their host to complete the one task they each left undone on the earth. But their time is very limited and Thomas remembers them as a mental aberration he spent years in therapy to explain. So, he is not too happy or compliant when his four invisible friends suddenly reappear in his life demanding he interrupt his busy schedule to help them.

 

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

Film Review -Bitter Harvest (2017)

THE HOLODOMOR

Holodomor is a word which translated literally means death by starvation.  The word comes from the Ukrainian words holod, ‘hunger’, and mor, ‘plague’ possibly from the expression moryty holodom, ‘to inflict death by hunger’ (Source: Wikipedia). The Ukrainians use it more commonly to refer to a literal event which occurred in the early 1930’s when Stalin’s government created a famine. The intentional policies of his government led to the death of millions of Ukrainians from starvation and subsequent disease. Although the final tally of deaths varies, it ranks with the Holocaust as one of the worst tragedies of this century. Bitter Harvest is the first Western feature film to portray this historical event onscreen.

SUMMARY

Yuri and Natalka are childhood sweethearts who have grown up together in a small Ukranian village. They have come of age in a time where the ruling Russian monarchy has been ousted and Communism has become a popular governing concept. It is a chaotic time, particularly as the Ukraine has taken advantage of Russia’s political instability to assert their own claim to national identity and independence…and failed.

Yuri and Natalka lives remain relatively untouched by the turmoil. Their biggest concerns are more personal. Yuri (Max Irons) is an artist who struggles to live up to the reputation of his famous warrior grandfather. Natalka (Samantha Barks) worries that her illegitimate birth will taint Yuri’s reputation if they marry. But the outside world soon crashes in on their simple life. Orders from Moscow have sent Russian soldiers to the Ukrainian heartland to confiscate the wealth and property of this area. These soldiers are cruel and violent as they force collectivization on formerly free landowners and peasants. But Stalin needs the grain from this Eastern breadbasket to fuel his army.

 

Too read the full review, please follow me to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Film Review -The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

I vividly remember my first exposure to The Phantom of the Opera. My family was in New York and my father took us all to see the show on Broadway. We also watched the equally famous Les Miserable that same trip. But as much as I loved the message, it was not Les Miserable which stuck with me. For weeks, I was haunted by the story of the Phantom. The music replayed continuously in my mind and I couldn’t let go of all the questions that the stage production left open ended. Most importantly, what happened to the Phantom?!

Based on the French novel by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera has been adapted many times. But it is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage and film musical which is arguably the most familiar to audiences.

The Phantom of the Opera Summary

In Webber’s version, the orphaned Christine Daae has been raised in a Parisian opera house where she also works as a dancer. But she has secretly been taking voice lessons from a tutor she only knows as the Angel of Music. When an accident occurs during rehearsal Carlotta, the resident soprano, refuses to sing for opening night. This serves as Christine’s big break. She is a big success. This also brings her to the attention of the new patron of the opera house and her former childhood sweetheart, Raoul the Vicomte de Chagny.

Her public success and meeting with the Vicomte motivate her mysterious tutor to finally reveal himself to her as the Phantom of the Opera. He is not the ghost that the company thinks he is, but a highly disfigured man (both physically and emotionally) who lives beneath the opera house. But in spite of his kindness to Christine the Phantom is a man to be feared. He will stop at nothing both to dictate the management of the opera house itself and to possess the lovely and innocent Christine.

For my full summary and review, please head over to The Silver Petticoat Review.