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!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Hacksaw Ridge

Hacksaw Ridge is a film based on the true story of Desmond Doss, who carried 75 men to safety during the taking of Hacksaw Ridge on Okinawa during World War II. What made this all the more extraordinary, especially for the military men he had to work with, was that he was a conscientious objector. Hacksaw Ridge won two Academy Awards: Best Achievement in Film Editing, and Best Achievement in Sound Mixing. The film is rated R for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence including grisly bloody images.

Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) grew up in Virginia, and had a difficult childhood. Several experiences depicted shaped him into the man he became, and when World War II erupted, he enlisted into the Army. His father Tom (Hugo Weaving) was an alcoholic, prone to violence, and his long-suffering mother Bertha (Rachel Griffiths) took the brunt of his abuse, as did his two sons.

Desmond enlists and tells his recruiting agent that he will not carry a gun, and that he wants to be a medic. He gets a rude awakening in boot camp. Sergeant Howell (Vince Vaughn), along with other superiors, tries to break him, as do his boot campmates. But Desmond remains strong. He is a Seventh Day Adventist, and will not pick up that gun.

He is shipped to the Pacific in May 1945 to Okinawa where the Japanese forces have hunkered down on the island in bunkers, and where the US Army has been unable to gain a foothold and overcome them.

The film does not spare us of the violence of war, nor should it. There is no glamorizing what war is here at any time. It is a brutal, cruel, awful thing to watch men being ripped apart, burned to death, and dying in agony. War is bad. I’m not saying World War II shouldn’t have happened, given the events of the Holocaust and the Japanese attacking the United States. But I will say that the wars that are happening right now on this planet are not for noble reasons, but for protecting natural resources, and sadly, not for the common people of the world, but so that major corporations can grow wealthier and plunder the planet in the way they are accustomed to. Please do not enlist. To borrow an old song’s refrain from the sixties, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”

At any rate, Desmond Doss is to be remembered not just for saving the lives of 75 men on that Pacific oceanside cliff in 1945, but for NEVER being swayed from his belief that to kill another human is the worst of all sins. He was a conscientious objector, and that is what is to be honored above all. He stuck to his values. If only we all did that instead of giving lip service to that commandment of thou shalt not kill.

The film and especially Desmond’s story are worth watching, if you can tolerate explicit war violence.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman was a Golden Globe winner for Best Original Song, This Is Me. It was more of a musical than I thought, not just a song or two in the story, but rather a full musical. I liked it when I saw it recently on the big screen in my dollar theater. So much going on during Awards season, I hadn’t gotten around to seeing it just yet. It is rated PG for thematic elements including a brawl.

Phinneas “P. T.” Barnum (Hugh Jackman) is the son of a tailor and a poor one at that. He becomes enamored at a young age with Charity (Michelle Williams), a beautiful girl from a wealthy family. She marries him despite his lack of prospects as her father would put it, and they soon have two beautiful daughters that enrich their lives.

Phinneas is a dreamer, and his imagination proves to be everything to him. Remember, this is based on the true story of the man responsible for the Barnum and Bailey Circus. We watch how his inspirations become reality when he opens his museum of oddities in New York City, and how it expands to the live acts his troupe was known for.

There is also the scandal that occurs when he puts Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson), an opera singer from Sweden, on tour. She is dubbed the Swedish Nightingale, and the lengthy tour away from home almost costs him his marriage. Helping him through the rough spots is his right hand man, Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron). Phillip finds Phinn intriguing and inspiring, and working with him gives Phillip the joy in his life that coming from a staid, wealthy and boring family could never provide.

The film is also a romance, not just between Phinn and Charity, but also between Phillip and Anne Wheeler (Zendaya), the trapeze artist. From different worlds, Phillip and Anne find it difficult to bridge the gap in class and color that prejudice and privilege have created.

All in all, I really enjoyed the choreography and the singing and dancing. The sets are colorful and beautiful, and the cinematography first rate. Where the movie really shines is in its message: This Is Me. We are not freaks, we are human beings, deserving of respect and not disdain or horror. That could be said for anyone who has a disability or some trial to overcome. And where Phinn was out to make money and perhaps to gain respect that way, he also managed to give his unusual employees a sense of purpose, and a dose of self-esteem and self-acceptance.

I must have seen a circus during my childhood as the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus had its headquarters in Baraboo, Wisconsin. I just don’t have a clear memory of it, but I think I remember the colorful railroad cars that transported the circus to the towns.

Did you go to the circus when you were a kid? What did you think of the experience?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Invictus is a film from 2009 directed by Clint Eastwood. It is based on the true story of Nelson Mandela, newly elected President of South Africa, who takes an interest in the nation’s rugby team, encouraging them to win the Rugby World Cup in 1995. It is rated PG-13 for brief strong language.

President Mandela (Morgan Freeman) is a wise leader, seeking to promote reconciliation and forgiveness to heal his country. He asks staff of the former leader to stay on and work with him. He seeks to mirror unity and cooperation amongst his staff first and foremost as an example of how the country should proceed.

Mandela sees an opportunity in the sport of rugby to further unify the citizens of South Africa. He summons Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) to meet with him. Francois is understandably impressed with Mandela and his quiet, firm leadership. As Captain of the Rugby team, Francois takes on the task of nurturing a winning team.

This is a true story, and we know who won the World Cup in 1995. Mandela learns about rugby, a sport described as, “ . . . a hooligans game played by gentlemen.” I am not much of a sports enthusiast, at least for those that are watched in a stadium or obsessively on TV. I found rugby to be a brutal game, even worse than football. There are no helmets, no protective gear to shield the men from what is very much a contact sport.

I think men would enjoy this film. Women, rent it for your spouse or boyfriend and watch it with him. He’ll like the sports scenes while you will like the progression of the action as the team improves, leading up to the final game against the Maoris of New Zealand.

I have heard the Maoris described as fierce warriors and these seasoned rugby players certainly looked the part. They were a formidable opponent to the South African team who had just recently experienced a winning streak.

I would say that Invictus is not a great film, but just a good one, for the only reason that it shows what Mandela strove to do in order to build unity among their citizens. What I found most interesting was how the film showed snippets of Mandela’s life and how he struggled with family issues, overwork, and the running of the government to the point of exhaustion.

I also found myself, perhaps not surprisingly, thinking of a certain leader in the U.S. and how he could use some lessons from Nelson Mandela and the type of leader he was. Where slavery was part of history, much healing needs to happen. It is not helpful when a leader shows bigotry and hatred towards the citizens he is elected to serve. What will happen? I don’t presume to know. But I find myself wanting to know more about South Africa as a result of this film.

Have you seen Invictus and what did you think of the film?

Tuesday, May 08, 2018


Another successful Blogging A to Z Challenge! This was my third year of blogging 26 days in April. I thank everyone who came to my blog and read my Best Original Screenplay movie reviews. Thank you to all who took the time to leave comments!

I enjoyed meeting some new bloggers, and will be following you via email now the challenge is over. I will begin posting movie reviews again on Tuesdays, and sometimes on Saturdays depending on what’s playing in theaters and how many films I’ve seen.

Thank you to the organizers of this annual challenge. I hope the challenge will return in 2019. In the meantime, keep writing and posting!