Welcome to my website!
Have you ever wondered why some critics review films? They don't even seem to like movies that much from what they write. I LOVE movies, and think about them long after the last credits roll across the screen. My reviews are meant to inform, entertain and never have a spoiler.
Enjoy my reviews and please comment and come back frequently! Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Zookeeper's Wife

The Zookeeper’s Wife is based on a true story about the Nazi occupation of Warsaw Poland during World War II. It is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, disturbing images, violence, brief sexuality, nudity and smoking, and was filmed in the Czech Republic.

Antonina Zabinski (Jessica Chastain) and her husband Jan (Johan Heldenbergh) are the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, the grounds and animals beautifully depicted at the beginning of the story. They live with their young son at the zoo, and lovingly tend to the animals.

The Nazi invasion of Warsaw causes death and destruction to the zoo and the animals, and the Zabinski’s see their Jewish friends abducted and placed in camps, known as the Warsaw ghetto. Jan and Antonina soon devise a way to free some of the people in the camp and take them to their home where they effectively hide them.

Complicating their secret is the head of the Berlin Zoo and Hitler’s zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Bruhl). He sees himself as friends with the Zabinski’s. He often visits unannounced and makes unwelcome advances towards Antonina. His aspirations include the genetic manipulation and breeding of animals that places some of their zoo animals in jeopardy.

The film is as expected, danger at being found out, and the deprivation that war brings. Jan’s success at removing Jews from the camp made the guards in the camp look really stupid for not detecting them hidden in his vehicle and leaving through the gates to freedom.

I think that if this same situation occurred today, it would be completely different. Technology the way it is, it would be virtually impossible to effectively hide anyone in your home safely or free them in the way Jan was able to do. The Zabinski’s risk their lives to save others, and this is the redeeming message of the film.

I liked the cinematography and the musical score. The costuming was I’m sure authentic, and the story was effectively developed over the years of the war up until the ultimate ending and rebuilding of Warsaw.

Despite the action occurring in Poland, the film is in English, the actors speaking in German and Polish accents. This is my one criticism of the film. It should have been spoken in the Polish people’s native language with English subtitles. It seems disrespectful to the survivors and victims of the Holocaust to make this film in English.

I saw it in my local theater this week, so it is still likely to be showing in your community. I can see this being a somewhat gentle introduction to the Holocaust for children 13 and up. Combined with an intelligent discussion after the film about hate and how such horrible tragedies occur, whether it be to Jews, Muslims, indigenous peoples or to anyone else, it would be both a good story to watch with your children, and an educational lesson in compassion. The ending was a tearjerker for me and the other moviegoers. I recommend you go see it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Great Wall

The only reason my friend and I went to see The Great Wall at the dollar theater is because it starred Matt Damon. We are fans of his and so even though this film didn’t have the best reviews, we wanted to see it on the big screen. Yimou Zhang directed this action adventure fantasy movie. It was filmed in China taking place on the Great Wall.

The opening sequence states that there are legends about the Wall, and this is one of them. Taking place in the 11th century, The Great Wall promised outstanding computer graphics of battle sequences where innovative weaponry (for the times), and superior strategies of warfare are used to fight horrible beasts that storm the wall every 60 years. The queen of these beasts communicates with her offspring via a sort of vibrating membrane on her head. Kind of reminded me of ant colonies where there’s a queen above directing her worker ants. But I won’t give any more of that away.

William (Matt Damon) and his traveling companion Tovar (Pedro Pascal) arrive at the Wall in search of the mysterious black powder rumored to make anyone possessing it the victors in current warfare. Conveniently, Ballard (Willem Dafoe) has lived onsite for many years and has taught English to the Chinese military. So we get to hear mostly English and read some subtitles for Mandarin now and then. But the leaders speaking English so fluently is really a stretch.

The magnetic stone William possesses gives them an advantage in fighting off the monsters. Commander Lin Mae (Tian Jing) and William kind of spar off to see who is the superior fighter. Something I did like about the film was the women who held positions of authority over the military, and the women who fought beside the men in very dangerous maneuvers.

As long as you aren’t expecting too much, you might enjoy it. The special effects were pretty good, and the imagery of the weapons used in the fighting sequences was inventive. The music is not bad and the silk-screened effect of the end titles is really beautiful. You can probably tell I am attempting to be kind to this film.

Matt Damon took a lot of criticism for starring in The Great Wall. It’s the argument about giving roles to white actors instead of to someone of the ethnicity the film is about. I don’t believe this argument holds up because in the story William is an Englishman. There were probably explorers to China in those days, so I don’t see what the big deal is.

It is rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy action violence. Perhaps teenage boys would like this film; teenage girls might like it even more. That’s because of the strong female characters, and although there is violence, it’s not as bad as some films I’ve seen of this genre. If you just want to chow down on theater popcorn and numb your mind, The Great Wall is for you.

Monday, May 08, 2017

A to Z Reflections Post

Today is the day bloggers post their reflections on the Blogging Challenge experience. I’m glad I participated this year, and met so many talented people through their blogs.

I particularly enjoyed others’ movie blogs, blogs about literature, poetry, or just people writing about their travels. I liked meeting people from other countries, and learning about their culture. One person I happened upon was writing short essays on current events, political topics, and I enjoyed reading the posts and the comments that followed.

What didn’t work for me was when I would attempt to post a comment on someone’s blog, work to word it just right, and then it wouldn’t post. The Blogging A to Z staff emphasized at the start that people were to remove any impediments to commenting, and not everyone took this advice. It made it frustrating for me, and in some cases, I just didn’t return to their blog. If I make a comment, I want it to show up right away. You can always delete a comment if it’s inappropriate or spam.

What worked great was the discipline of churning out 26 blog posts in such a short time. Writing the movie reviews for my blog was a great experience, and I learned so much from researching and watching the films. I enjoyed the comments I received, and always made a reply to my readers.

I did not miss having the “Linky List.” It worked great for me to look at blogs from the main page after I had left a link to my blog in the comments section, and to also look at the Facebook page and find the blogs from there.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to put this event together and who participated. There are some greatly talented people out there sharing their knowledge. Some blogs I am continuing to follow, so I hope to see you posting all year. I will continue to review films and post about once or twice a week.

Happy creating!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Blogging From A to Z SURVIVOR

I shall remember April 2017 as the month I posted 26 movie reviews. Averaging about 500 words per review, this was no small feat. My theme was reviews of Academy Award winning films for Best Original Screenplay.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to read my reviews, and especially to those who left their comments on my blog. I had a great time writing the reviews, and learning about some films I had never seen before.

After a short break to catch my breath, I’ll start posting reviews again, probably once or twice a week. If you’d like to subscribe to my posts via your email, there’s a link on the right to enroll.

Thanks again, and happy movie watching!