Monthly Archives: March 2016

Little House On the Prairie, Season 8

littlehouse8Many of us have spent our younger years watching Little House On the Prairie. It debuted in 1974 when a majority of families still watched television together. Today, most networks, streaming websites, and cable companies compartmentalized programs for age groups. Thus, getting the family to watch one show together is a bona fide miracle.

Today, we have DVDs, so television shows like Little House On the Prairie can be watched by the whole family. This series is about decency and wholeness, celebrating the concept of right and wrong.

Now, you can get the series in full broadcast length and completely digitally remastered. The entire eighth season is on 6 discs, with the very last disc having two Little House On the Prairie movies. The movies are from season 9: Look Back to Yesterday and The Last Farewell. Now, that is a treat and something worth enjoying.

You can select episodes from the menu, so if you have a favorite you want to see, it’s easy to maneuver around and select the episode.  You can even select individual scenes from episodes. Subtitles are available as well in different languages.

Instead of listing all the episodes like a catalog, I am going to highlight some favorite episodes of mine from the DVD package. A Christmas They Never Forgot is where the family gets snowed in on Christmas Eve, The Ingalls family and Esther Sue exchange family stories when they were younger. I just love flashbacks.  No Beast So Fierce follows Charles and James as they go on a business trip together. James becomes friends with a wild dog that follows him everywhere after he feeds it. Stone Soup is kind of a silly title but is about three town kids coming together after a drought comes to Walnut Grove. Laura is pregnant and can’t keep up with the newly planted orchard while Almanzo is away.

All in all, this is a great package and a must for any family’s library.  If you are not sure you want to purchase the DVDs yet, search Amazon Prime and watch a couple of episodes and see if your family likes the programming.

Experimenter

experimenterFirst of all, I am not an advocate of psychology or psychiatry. Psychiatry is worse because it does more harm without any good. “Psychiatric disorders are not medical diseases. There are no lab tests, brain scans, X-rays or chemical imbalance tests that can verify any mental disorder is a physical condition. This is not to say that people do not get depressed, or that people can’t experience emotional or mental duress, but psychiatry has repackaged these emotions and behaviors as “disease” in order to sell drugs. This is a brilliant marketing campaign, but it is not science.” – CCHR

With that, when I hear about a movie, like Experimenter, telling a story about a psychologist or psychiatrist, I cringe because the way the professions practice is so barbaric, and I know most Hollywood movies depict these professions as virtuous.

Directed by Michael Almereyda (Hamlet and Eternal) ,the movie stars one of my favorite actors Peter Sarsgaard. He plays the experimenter also known as Professor Stanley Milgram. He conducted experiments at Yale with the qualifications of being a psychologist. His experiments were frowned upon by his peers because they were obedience tests done covertly.  On a covert approach, he asked volunteers, who were told to electrocute a stranger if they answered any preset questions incorrectly in a controlled environment. The electroshocks quantities increased as the test progressed and the stranger gave wrong answers.  The key here is that none of the strangers were really electroshocked. It was all fake and lies. The volunteer was told he was shocking them, but in actual fact the scream of pain was fabricated – typical psycho-mumbo-jumbo.  The message tells me never to volunteer for an experiment.

On a whole, Milgram’s experiments were not celebrated. But, he wanted to prove why the Nazi blindly followed Hitler, and why didn’t they retaliate, and end the dehumanizing and killing of millions of Jews.  No way does his experiment prove anything. Europe at the time of Hitler’s rise was clearly in economic strains and other social problems. Hitler blamed it all on the Jews. He dehumanized them over a period of time. It didn’t happen in a year. It happened in increments, over a decade at least.  Nothing like the experiments Milgram recorded.

I do not recommend the movie because Milgram’s viewpoint of humanity is twisted. He sees man as an animal, which is far from the truth. We are sentient beings who understand the concept of right and wrong.  Lift society’s attitude about life and living, we will never witness a culture blindly following a madman like Hitler.

Noah’s Ark

Noah's ArkThe story of Noah’s Ark is mentioned in the bible and is about two paragraphs or a page long, depending on the book. I watched Russell Crowe’s version called Noah and came to terms that Noah was under a lot of pressure. A huge rain storm was coming where it will rain for forty days and forty nights. Raining so hard that the world will be completely submerged in water, a great flood. He had to build an ark large enough to hold all the animals of the world in pairs, male and female. He could not take all of mankind, just his family. Then, he had to feed all the animals and his family until the world was no longer flooded. Right there is a great story with enough conflict to keep you on the crossroads of Heaven and Hell.

Directed by Kenneth Glenaan, Noah’s Ark is more biblical than Crowe’s version. The stories are the same to a certain degree, still Glenaan’s take on the story is clearly an educational message about faith. Noah is portrayed as a man believing in God.  An impressive cast includes David Threlfall, Joanne Whalley, Nico Mirallegro, and Ashley Walters.

Noah’s Ark is a familiar tale of a man, his family, and his passion for doing what God wishes, building an ark that saves his family, the animals, and mankind. If you are familiar with the story, you know God told Noah to build an ark, and then he did it. The movie takes a license because the story is so short in the bible.

Noah is a good farmer and a generous family man, but his family doubts him when he tells them he was instructed by an angel to build the ark in the middle of a very dry desert. He tells what will happen and how he will save his family and the animals. He asks them to be faithful and believe a devastating flood is coming. His sons reject his proposal and decide not to help his father build the ark.  But, Noah has faith in God, so risks derision from his caring but infuriated family. He, of course, endures embarrassment from the townsfolk as well.  He has a devoted and loving wife, who changes her mind and decides to build the ark with him. She wants to demonstrate her support and love.

The flood arrives close to the end of the movie. The forty days and forty nights of raining go rather quickly. Before you know it, the ark lands on dry land, and the movie ends. With melodramatic flair is how the movies ends. Yet, if your faith is strong, you should enjoy the movie for what it is – a validation of the faith in God.

Lords of London

lordsoflondonWritten and directed by Antonio Simoncini, Lords of London is about family ties and loyalties being tested.  The thriller takes place in the dark city of London and exotic Italy with lush sunsets and beautiful, colorful landscapes. Ray Winstone (Snow White and the Huntsman) is billed as the star of the movie, but he is not in the movie all the much. Glen Murphy, Giovanni Capalbo (The Passion of the Christ) are the real stars of the movie while introducing Cassius Terence Murphy.

On the Internet, the reviews are not all that great, but the movie won Best Film at Italy’s Abruzzo Film Festival and New York Hell’s Kitchen Film Festival World Cinema.

We follow London gangster, Tony Lord, who is believably played by Murphy. Lord is the son of the notoriously ruthless Terry Lord, who is played very well by Winstone, which is a typical role you will see in other movies like The Departed.  He is a natural gangster while being shown in flashbacks and is not in the movie all that much. The story is about his son Tony, who must confront his father’s past. We see his father being violent and abusive toward his son.  The scenes work in the film because they build the tension of the storyline as a whole.

All in all, Simoncini crafts a well-honed movie through the editing of the film. He cuts from the present to the past, which is very effective as the story unfolds.

Man Up

manupDirected by Ben Palmer with whimsical music by Dickon Hinchliffe, Man Up is a romantic comedy one doesn’t expect but is still very good and fun to watch. Jack, played honestly by Simon Pegg, and Nancy played heartfelt by Lake Bell, take an unusual situation and make the most of it. It’s not quite a blind date, but still they have a night on the town. The talented supporting cast adds, even more, sparks to the believable and well-honed script by Tess Morris.

The movie starts with Nancy who seems to be having been a hard time in general. She meets Jack at the train station, and they end up spending the day together even though she promised her parents she would give the “Happy Anniversary” speech at their party. Running into Jack sets her boring life on a whirlwind, and the stimulating chemistry and ease they have with each other is fun to watch. Pegg is not the typical handsome leading man, and for him to play Jack makes their situation a bit twisted though the attraction is percolating.

The movie flies along with the couple getting along quite well while sharing sharp-witted humor and going with the flow of just having an awesome time. They move from place to place and become comfortable with each other as they communicate and laugh together.

They have a run in with Jack’s almost ex-wife, Hilary, played caustically by Olivia Williams, with her new boyfriend.  The scene is fun to watch because Hilary is so arrogant toward Jack, and when she gets her comeuppance, it’s so perfect to see.

More twists happen in the story that I will not disclose because I want you to enjoy the movie and be surprised. I will say at one point Jack completely goes whacky with such blatant sarcasm and over-the-top wit that Pegg pulls it off brilliantly as he is so well-known for doing.

All in all, the ending really brings the movie to a nice closure with a feel good, let’s have fun attitude. I am happy I saw this movie and highly recommend it.