Movie Review: The Lighthouse (2019)

The Lighthouse

In the late 1800s in New England, Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson, The Lost City of Z) arrives at a remote island for a month-long stint working with a crotchety but far more experienced lighthouse keeper Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe, Platoon). The two have . . . personality conflicts, to put it mildly, but once a massive storm traps them on the island, Winslow and Wake go a little stir-crazy. Complications ensue.

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Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture

Downton Abbey Movie

I was an enthusiastic Downton Abbey fan back in the day, though I must admit that my enthusiasm waned in the latter years of the show. Not that it stopped me from watching it religiously through its finale in 2015. However, I will admit to having some considerable skepticism when a movie was released last year. I wasn’t, quite frankly, inclined to watch, but I heard so many positive reviews that I decided to cave. And I’m glad I did!

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TV Review: To Walk Invisible (2017)

To Walk Invisible

I usually am up-to-date on my Masterpiece Theater viewing, but I missed this biopic about the Brontë sisters when it first aired a couple of years ago. Fortunately, Mary-Esther suggested it to me, and I’m glad she did! It’s a well-acted, well-made dramatization of one of the most famous literary families in history.

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From Page to Screen: The Man Who Would Be King

 

 

We’ve been focusing on schools this month, but not everything worth knowing is learned in school. Sometimes the school of hard knocks delivers more memorable lessons. . . .

Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnahan have decided that the 1880s British Empire does not appreciate their talents. And the two former British army sergeants do have a point. They feel like they’ve contributed more to building the Empire than administrators and British authorities, who are less than appreciative of their military exploits or how they have occupied themselves once they were discharged. Specifically, the powers that be are not pleased with Danny and Peachy leaving a trail of blackmail, fraud, and smuggling, among other things, in their wake.

They know that going home to England would mean menial work, which doesn’t seem very enticing given their adventures in India. But they also realize that further prospects in India are now limited, as well.

The two friends, thus, decide that they will go away to the remote, mysterious kingdom of Kafiristan. Once there, they will use their martial skills to serve as mercenaries and ingratiate themselves with a local chief as a stepping stone for them staging a coup, setting themselves up as rulers, and robbing the locals of their wealth. It’s not a retirement plan endorsed by most financial planners, but Danny and Peachy are pretty sure it will work out marvelously for them. What’s the worst that could happen?

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Silence (2016)

Silence

A long weekend is coming up for most of us! What better way to spend part of it than indulging in a little big screen time from the comfort of your couch? Here’s one film I would say is a must-see that you might have missed. . . .

In the midst of intense persecution of Japanese Christians in the 17th century, Portuguese Jesuits Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Garupe (Adam Driver) insist on traveling to the country to find their mentor Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson). Reports have surfaced that he has apostatized, and they refuse to believe it. Despite the danger, they enter the country and quickly find themselves in a world of concealed faith, persecution, and difficult moral dilemmas.

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From Page to Screen: The Lost City of Z

It’s one of the great mysteries of 20th century exploration: what happened to Percy Fawcett?

The British military officer, surveyer, and explorer was one of the key figures in mapping and exploring the Amazon. He had become obsessed with the belief that, contrary to what other experts claimed, a large, sophisticated civilization had once existed in the dense jungle. He named that mysterious place “Z,” and he very badly wanted to find it.

In his late 50s, the undaunted Fawcett, his eldest son, and his son’s best friend plunged into Amazonia in 1925, determined to prove the world wrong. They were never seen again.

Much as how centuries before Fawcett conquistadors disappeared looking for the city of El Dorado, dozens of adventurers have also disappeared trying to locate Fawcett and/or “Z.”

After reading and enjoying David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon earlier this month, I decided to give his first book about Fawcett and his disappearance, which was recently adapted into a film, a try.

Beware, there be some mild spoilers ahead.

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From Page to Screen: Old Yeller

I’ve talked on here before about my hesitance concerning depressing animal books for children.

There are a lot of books/movies that could be added to the list of depressing animal stories for kids, and Old Yeller is definitely one of them.

However, even though it is the granddaddy of all depressing animal books for kids, it is a story that I have a soft spot for. In fact, I’ve reread it a few times and always enjoy it. I can’t deny that it is terribly sad, but I think it has a lot of good things to offer before it rips your heart out and depresses you for days.

Though the book is something I have revisited on numerous occasions as an adult, I have not watched the movie since I was a child. I remedied that this past weekend.

As always, beware–some spoilers do follow.

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Ask The Blogger: Mr. Holmes (2015)

Last month, we debuted the “Ask the Blogger” series, in which I answer reader questions/review reader-recommended material. This post comes courtesy of Carol Ann, who suggested I review this recent movie because it’s wonderful but under-appreciated.

cover

I actually remember seeing some advertising for this movie when it came out, made a mental note that I should see it, and then forgot about it until I read the request Carol Ann submitted. I’m glad she suggested it because she’s right–it is a great movie that more people should see.

I should probably preface this review by admitting that I am a devoted Sherlock Holmes fan. I’ve loved the character since I was a kid. In fact, I own several different editions of the complete works of Sherlock Holmes, and I’ve read all the stories twice–once in the order they were published and once in a sequence that someone proposed representing the chronology within the stories themselves. (I realize that makes me sound like a complete dork–and there’s some truth to that accusation–but it was actually an interesting experiment in watching a series evolve. I have no regrets.)

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