Monthly Archives: November 2015

Mr. Holmes

Mr. HolmesMr. Holmes interested me because it is a movie about the legend Sherlock Holmes. My daughter praises the series on cable television, so I had a desire to watch it with her. As the opening credits rolled, I noticed the director is Bill Condon. I thought to myself, “That is a familiar name. I recall he has directed some notable movies.”

So, I knew we were in for a treat.

Mr. Holmes is an extraordinary movie about getting old gracefully. We get to meet Sherlock Holmes at an age that we probably never imagined him to be. He is beautifully played by Ian McKellen. I was quite intrigued by his ability to play the middle aged Sherlock in flashbacks and the older Sherlock on the edge of senility.  Mrs. Munro is his housekeeper, played by Laura Linney, who is a fantastic actress. She did a great job as homely, uncomfortable, and dissatisfied widow with her situation caring for Mr. Holmes. Though he did not treat her poorly, he came across harsh as a mean old man.  In the long run, he showed his warmth through her son that eventually reached her heart as well.

There is a wonderful boy who plays the housekeeper’s son, Roger, played by Milo Parker. He’s smart, intriguing, and likeable. There are some other characters such as the bees that add spice to the story. Each character plays an important part in the whole story as it all comes together at the end.

There’s also a mystery in the story which I really liked. However, in the long run the mystery is easy to figure out. It could have been better, but I felt as if the movie moved along quite well. At the end of the movie, I felt satisfied.

I felt that everything having to do with the production and direction was wonderful. Bill Condon has a great reputation for directing such movies as Gods and Monsters, Dream Girls, a couple of Twilight movies, and some other films of notoriety. His talent was clearly demonstrated in the movie.  I recommend Mr. Holmes for adults. Though my daughter is 15 years old, she watched it and enjoyed it because she is a fan of the current Sherlock Holmes series.

Christmas Trade

christmastradeDirected by Joel Souza, Christmas Trade is similar to 18 Again or Freaky Friday. Only this time it is during Christmas.  Mitch Taylor, played by William Baldwin, is a workaholic attorney and widowed with a 12 year-old son, Robbie, played by Michael Campion.

Of late, Mitch is having a hard time balancing his life as a dad and as a bread winner. He is really trying to be a good dad, keep his demanding, hard nose boss happy while struggling to make partner of the law firm.  Even his impatient girlfriend is a great effort for him to maintain the relationship. He feels he can’t keep up with it all.

Add to the fact that Robbie has troubles of his own with the school bully. Robbie has become the bully’s most recent target.  That is not all. There is a girl he likes while trying not to be a complete geek in front of her.  There is nothing he can do as he has unwillingly been cast as lead role in the Christmas Pageant.

Robbie hopes his dad will celebrate Christmas they way they should celebrate the holidays, but he didn’t last year and isn’t certain about this year. They both think the other has the best life, being grown up and independent to being young without any responsibilities. Then, a strange toy mysteriously causes them to switch bodies. The father and son are required to experience what it’s like to spend the holidays in each other’s bodies.

This was an amusing, family friendly movie in tandem, yet the acting was not impressive. The story was pleasing and produced bit of fun for my family.

Ancient Aliens

ancientalienbluThis is a great series, and I look forward to each new set when they are released. This particular set, I am inclined to tell you that some of the episodes were really farfetched in their theories.

Yet, if you are a true believer in what the producers bring to bear, then there are so many other things they bring up that just cannot be proved wrong.  I am talking about the historical and physical evidence. It is really quite amazing.

The series brings up questions that are hard to answer, though  You have contemplate the ancients were more technologically advanced than we are today, or they had help.  Unless we know where the technology they used is located because we don’t have it today.  These points are hard to determine, and are some of the questions that come up.  That is way the show is out of the ordinary.

You get a chance to explore the fascinating chance that ancient aliens formed our history. According to the series, humans have told stories about beings with super-human strength since the man could pain on walls.

The series introduces ideas like tales about Zeus, Thor and Hanuman and even contemporary subjects like Superman and Batman and more helped form the world we live in today. Did these tales originated from oral legends about extraterrestrials? Whether you believe it or not, it is fun to speculate.

Moreover, ancient myths from around the globe, gods are often found intervening in human affairs, from Sumerian myth to the story of Moses. Were these supernatural visitations really the work of aliens using advanced technology to shape our civilization? We’ll also consider whether the reptilian alien, a fixture of science fiction, is reflected in the serpent gods of ancient myth. Could they have been living beings? Find out, and much more.

Another good aspect about the set is the special features like English subtitles for the hearing impaired, 3 discs, 12 episodes and no extras.

Paper Angels

paper angelsDuring the holidays we will notice Christmas tree displays with paper angels hanging from their boughs. If you look closely you will see a name of a child. Below the child’s name is a list of items the child wants or needs for Christmas.  The idea is for you to take one and buy the items on the list.  You, then, return the gifts to the location of the Christmas tree display.  The heartwarming tradition has been done for at least a hundred years.

Directed by David Winning, Paper Angels is based on the book of the same name by author Jimmy Wayne, also known as Billboard Top Ten charted country music artist.  The movie is a gorgeous look at what happens to an abused wife, played by Josie Bissett, who leaves her alcoholic husband and moves with her children to another town.

The story follows her son Thomas, played by Rustin Gresiuk, as his mother tries to build a new life for her and her children.  Thomas see her experience many challenges that the whole family faces.  That is where the paper angels come into play. Salvation Army enables a child to enjoy a blessed Christmas with the traditional paper angels program they do every year.  Thomas fills out a paper angel in hopes of making life easier for his mother.

Thomas encounters a disillusioned businessman, played by Mathew Settle, who picked his name from the tree.  As the story unfolds we see through Thomas that there is more to know about a person than the way they look on the outside.  The story gives us hope, resolve, love, commitment, and thoughtfulness. Sure, Thomas experiences disappointment, hurt, and anger. In the end is an uplifting story that draws attention to the spirituality of the season.

Paper Angels is one of the best Christmas TV movies I have seen in a long time.  It is well worth your time to watch and share with your family and friends.

Dark Places

darkplacesFrench director Gilles Paquet-Brenner helmed Dark Places as a drama-mystery about an impoverished Kansas City farming family. All but two members of the family were murdered three decades ago. The story is told through Libby Day, played by , while she flashbacks to younger Libby Day, played by Sterling Jerins. Libby and her brother, Ben, played by Corey Stoll, are the two remaining family members from the night of the murders. Ben is serving a life sentence for the murders. The younger Ben is seen in flashbacks played by Tye Sheridan. There are also present circumstances that keep the story interesting. A true crime club that solves crimes and proves those who are wrongly accused innocent. The club is headed by Lyle, played by Nicholas Hoult. The club holds strong evidence that Ben is innocent. It was younger Libby’s testimony that sent younger Ben to prison. Lyle leans heavy on Libby to prove her brother’s innocence. As the movie unfolds, past and present meet and the truth about the night of the murders is unraveled.

Dark Places is based on the book by Gillian Flynn who wrote the bestseller Gone Girl and the screenplay for the same-titled movie. Gone Girl did well at the box office and nabbed some award nominations. Even though Dark Places had a limited release, I thought it played better than Gone Girl because the story seems more real in circumstances and characters. Both stories are intricately folded and twisted, but Dark Places wraps up nicely while Gone Girl leaves a few points and characters entangled.

Theron makes the story believable because she is an outstanding actress.  Like Gone Girl there are minor storylines that drew me in to the film. Paquet-Brenner led the cast with honest acting in a very well paced movie. I am kind of surprised it didn’t have a wide release because it is so good. So, if you see the movie streaming or on the DVD shelf, I suggest you grab it and watch it. You will be entertained.

Christmas at the Cartwright’s

christmascartwrightLike most Hallmark movies, Christmas at Cartwright’s is a charming movie that comes around the Christmas season each year. Cartwright’s is a fine example that Hallmark movies are innocuous, amusing and heartwarming to watch.

Directed by Graeme Campbell, the story follows Nicky Talbot, played by Alicia Witt, who is a single mother and without prior notice becomes unemployed.  With Christmas just coming up, being without a job is going to be tough finding a way to earn money to give her daughter Becky, played by T.J. McGibbon, an engaging and cheerful Christmas with a few gifts.

Nicky finds out a local department store called Cartwright’s is hiring extra staff for the holiday shopping season. She applies for a position. Nicky is happy because it appears she will have a job, but Fiona Aldrich, played by Gabrielle Miller,  a senior executive at the store, puts a curb on her plans and turns her down for the job.  Fiona is jealous of Nicky because she has seen her with Fiona’s would-be boyfriend named Bill.  Gabriel Hogan plays Bill, who is the store manager.

Along comes Harry Osbourne, played by Wallace Shawn, he suggests Nicky work as the store Santa. That way she can keep her identity hidden from the other workers.  We are talking Hallmark magic here on the storyline. It is a little unbelievable for a young woman playing an older man as Santa. It gets funny at times, but still hard to believe.

Christmas at Cartwright’s is a fun movie to watch with the whole family.  All the actors are great. Their roles are believable and engaging. The movie is timeless because it is like a fairy tale where you have to believe what is happening to get into the holiday magic. Like all fairy tales the story is worth seeing again every Christmas.