George Bailey has so many problems he is thinking about ending it all – and it’s Christmas! As the angels discuss George, we see his life in flashback. As George is about to jump from a bridge, he ends up rescuing his guardian angel, Clarence – who then shows George what his town would have looked like if it hadn’t been for all his good deeds over the years.
This much loved film has been the top of many Christmas movie lists since 1946.
As the dark nights begin to draw in, it looks like David and I are aiming for a film watched per night, or so October’s count is suggesting! We don’t watch TV, so for entertainment we rely heavily on playing PlayStation games, watching films and endless streams on YouTube. Our go to channels are Harald Baldr and Simon Wilson, who both document their trips abroad. I think we are dreaming of holidays taken away from us by Covid restrictions!
Rocky 4 ✩✩✩✩
Rocky trains his friend Apollo Creed in a match against Drago, an indestructible Russian boxer. But when Apollo is killed in the ring during the match, Rocky vows to avenge his friend’s death.
I surprisingly enjoyed this offering from Sylvester Stallone. It had everything, comedy, friendship, love and loss and with a banging 80’s soundtrack, there’s not much to not like about this film.
The Social Network ✩✩✩
As Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, he is sued by the twins who claimed he stole their idea, and by the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.
I wouldn’t say this was a particularly exciting movie, but it’s worth a watch.
David, a businessman, passes by an old tanker truck in a dessert while travelling for a meeting. The driver of the truck is a psychopath who finds David’s overtaking offensive and decides to kill him.
This was Steven Spielberg’s directorial debut and surprisingly it wasn’t too bad, brings road rage to another new level!
The Thing ✩✩✩
A research team in Antarctica is hunted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims.
Kurt Russell is the no-nonsense talking hero in this John Carpenter film. It’s not aged well but the tension is all there and the puppetry for the mutating alien is good for it’s time.
They Live ✩✩
A drifter discovers a pair of sunglasses that allow him to wake up to the fact that aliens have taken over the Earth.
Staying with the theme of John Carpenter films is They Live starring wrestler ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Pipper. A bit of a slow burn but not a bad watch.
Monsters Inc ✩✩✩✩
In Monstropolis, best friends Sulley and Mike are the top scarers working at the Monsters, Inc. However, their lives are hugely disrupted when a human girl enters their world.
I love this movie! It has the right amount of comedy, threat and emotion and Sully’s relationship with Boo is heart-warming. I definitely had a tear in my eye at the end.
Sam and Molly love each other, but their romance is short-lived when Sam is killed by a thug. Unable to tell Molly that her life is in danger, Sam’s spirit takes a psychic’s help in order to save her.
Another film that is bound to get the tears flowing. A brilliant thriller with an even better soundtrack.
An alien is left behind on Earth and is saved by young Elliot who decides to keep him hidden. While the task force hunts for it, Elliot and his siblings form an emotional bond with their new friend.
E.T. was the first movie I saw at the cinema. I remember going to see it with my dad. I was five and came home with a crush on Elliott (Henry Thomas) and a sticker book!
Toy Soldiers ✩✩✩
Terrorists, seeking the release of a South American drug baron, take schoolchildren as hostages. However, the captives fight back.
Before watching this film, I thought it was Small Soldiers of 1998 but this stars Sean Austin and is centered around a boys school overrun with terrorists. It was worth a watch.
Dog Soldiers ✩✩✩✩
During a routine training mission in the Scottish Highlands, a small squad of British soldiers expected to rendezvous with a special ops unit, instead find a bloody massacre with a sole survivor. The men are rescued by a zoologist who identifies what hunts them as werewolves. Without transport or communications, the group is forced to retreat to a farmhouse to wait for the full moon to disappear at dawn.
In my opinion, Dog Soldiers is one of the best werewolf films ever made. The cast are brilliant, and there’s enough mystery, threat and violence to keep you entertained. The make-up and werewolf design is on point.
The Birds ✩✩
Melanie, a rich socialite, follows Mitch, a lawyer, to his home in Bodega Bay to play a practical joke on him. Things take a bizarre turn when the birds in the area begin to attack the people there.
I think Hitchcock films are a product of its time, as I found The Birds, rather disappointing and boring. Yes, there is a lot of tension and build up in the first hour, but was I terrified? Not likely!
Josh and Renai move to a new house, seeking a fresh start. However, when their son, Dalton, mysteriously falls into a coma, paranormal events start occurring in the house.
I think Insidious is only scary on the first watch. by the second I wasn’t terrified at all and expected half of the thrills before they appeared. Still a decent scary movie though.
Dead End ✩✩✩
Christmas Eve. On his way to his in-laws with his family, Frank Harrington decides to try a shortcut, for the first time in 20 years. It turns out to be the biggest mistake of his life.
I thought this wasn’t a bad film. I sort of guessed the end but it didn’t detract from the shocks and laughs the drama on screen produced. I’d give it a watch just for the gore!
The Others ✩✩
Grace moves into a new house with her two photosensitive children in Jersey. When a series of inexplicable events occur, Grace starts believing that her house is haunted.
I found this movie rather pedestrian in its execution and the thrills and scary moments were few and far between. More psychological than a horror.
On New Year’s Eve, a giant wave crashes into Poseidon, a luxurious cruise liner, and flips it upside down. As the ship begins to sink, the passengers struggle to find a way to survive.
A film I’d seen before but enjoyed watching it a second time round. There were lots of action sequences and tension to keep me enthralled until the credits.
The Fog ✩✩✩✩
Folks get ready to celebrate the centenary of Antonio Bay. But, many had suffered due to crimes that founded this town. Now, they rise from the sea, under the cover of the fog, to claim retribution.
I never get tired of watching this spooky movie. One of John Carpenters’ better films. The story telling is at it’s finest. Though 40 years old, and looking a little dated, The Fog is one of the best ghost stories of all time!
Carry on Cleo ✩✩
After being trounced in Europe, Caesar dispatches Antony to forge an alliance with Ptolemy, who is squabbling with Cleopatra for the Egyptian throne, but the plan goes awry as Antony is captivated by Cleopatra’s asp, and together they plot Caesar’s downfall.
A watchable film but the jokes were very dated and I don’t think the youth of today would get it!
The Conjuring ✩✩✩
The Perron family moves into a farmhouse where they experience paranormal phenomena. They consult demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren, to help them get rid of the evil entity haunting them.
I hadn’t watched this movie before. I enjoyed the storytelling and the thrills and liked the cast. Would recommend a watch.
The Witches of Eastwick ✩✩
Three single women in a village have their wishes granted at a cost, when a mysterious and flamboyant man arrives in their lives, to satisfy all their desires. Will good triumph over evil?
Oh dear, this film was awful! I think giving it two stars was generous. I’m not a big fan of Jack Nicholson, his portrayal of Satan just made my skin crawl!
Hocus Pocus ✩✩✩
Three witches resurrect after 300 years to exact revenge and begin a reign of terror after Max, a young boy who moves to Salem with his family, lights a cursed Candle of Black Flame.
An all round fun, family movie. Almost 30 years old but it’s still as good now as it was back then.
Practical Magic ✩✩✩
After the death of their parents, Sally and Gillian Owens move in with their aunts, Jet and Frances. The two sisters have nothing in common except their hereditary gift for practical magic.
This film started off well, a family of witches with a curse on its men but by the end it had gone all soppy and romantic. Watchable.
The Witch ✩
In the New England of the 17th century, a banished Puritan family sets up a farm by the edge of a huge, remote forest, where no other family lives. But sinister forces then start haunting them.
I watched this when I wasn’t feeling well one day and David was busy working. I’m glad I didn’t subject David to this drivel. It is an account of how religious paranoia and hysteria can result in terrible events happening to a family in the 1600’s. I could see where the director was trying to go with this film it just fell short for me.
The Witches (2020) ✩✩
In late 1967, a young orphaned boy goes to live with his grandma in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks him away to a seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world’s Grand High Witch has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe — under cover — to carry out her nefarious plans.
Oh dear. Why did they have to do a remake of an already good film? I like Anne Hathaway but in this retelling of Roald Dahl’s classic The Witches, she was no Anjelica Huston. The film relied too much on CGI at the cost of the story. I wanted to like it but sadly couldn’t.
Escape From Alcatraz ✩✩✩
Alcatraz is the most secure prison of its time. It is believed that no one can ever escape from it, until three daring men make a possible successful attempt at escaping from one of the most infamous prisons in the world.
Clint Eastwood is his enigmatic self in this tense prison escape, based on a true story.
RL Stine, the author of ‘Goosebumps’, is shocked when demons from his books come to life and spread havoc in Delaware. He, along with his daughter and her friend, tries to get them back in the books.
A good family film with lots of comedy, thrills and action. I would recommend a watch if not seen before.
The Blob ✩✩
The Blob, a slimy substance made as a part of a chemical experiment during the Cold War, spreads havoc in the city of Arborville, California, and disfigures the people who come in contact with it.
Not the Steve McQueen version but a comical 1980’s remake. Best to watch for the cheesiness.
The Conjuring 2 ✩✩✩
Peggy, a single mother of four children, seeks the help of occult investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren when she and her children witness strange, paranormal events in their house.
A strong sequel and a good retelling of the Enfield poltergeist. One of my favourite scary movies. I am liking the direction these films are taking.
What’s your favourite scary movie?
Have you seen any films recently that you have enjoyed or disliked? Any recommendations?
The list of films watched in July has equaled June’s tally of 16 films! Though its certainly been a mixed bag of movies! Let me know if you have watched any good films recently?
A black-market mercenary who has nothing to lose is hired to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international crime lord. But in the murky underworld of weapons dealers and drug traffickers, an already deadly mission approaches the impossible.
This wasn’t a bad film. Lots of action and suspense. I partcularily liked the on screen relationship between Chris Hemsworth and young actor Rudhraksh Jaiswal who plays the boy Hemsworth is fighting to save.
Advent Children ✩✩
An ex-mercenary is forced out of isolation when three mysterious men kidnap and brainwash the city’s children afflicted with the Geostigma disease.
I only really wanted to watch this again due to recently playing the PlayStation game, Final Fantasy VII Remake. It was nice to see the beloved characters fighting the bad guys (again), but there wasn’t much of a story.
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Ernest Krause is assigned to lead an Allied convoy across the Atlantic during World War II. His convoy, however, is pursued by German U-boats. Although this is Krause’s first wartime mission, he finds himself embroiled in what would come to be known as the longest, largest and most complex naval battle in history: The Battle of the Atlantic.
If you like your World War Two films, then you will like Greyhound, with its moments of tension and threat. It is quite amazing how anything got through the North Atlantic with German U-boats on the prowl.
The Wrong Missy
The Wrong Missy ✩✩✩
Disaster strikes when a man invites his dream girl to an island resort — but a previous blind date shows up instead.
I laughed at this film more than I expected. A comedy with no pretensions. Lauren Lapkus was hilarious as the bat-crazy Missy!
A quick-tempered cop who’s recovering from eye surgery recruits a mild-mannered Uber driver to help him catch the heroin dealer who murdered his partner. The mismatched pair soon find themselves in for a wild day of stakeouts and shootouts as they pursue violent criminals through the seedy streets of Los Angeles.
Another comedy I enjoyed, more silly fun to switch off too.
Roald Amundsen was the first researcher to reach both the North and South Poles. The British explorer Robert Scott was hot on his heels on the trip to the South Pole 1910-1911. The discoverers were in a bitter competition with each other. Amundsen’s expeditions were largely organised and financed by his brother Leon. However, there was constant conflict and conflict between the two.
I wished this film had been better than it was. Amundsen sure was a man who continued to explore until his death. Inspiring story but a rather lackluster way of telling it.
National Treasure ✩✩✩
Benjamin Franklin Gates seeks a war chest hidden by the Founding Fathers during the Revolutionary War. He must find it before his competitor does and also avoid getting arrested by the FBI.
One of Nicolas Cage’s better films, full of action and adventure. Another movie to switch off to at the end of the day.
National Treasure 2
National Treasure 2 ✩✩✩
Ben finds that his ancestor was implicated in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, a president of the USA. Through the help of a clue in a diary, he ventures out to clear the name of his ancestor.
Perhaps not as good as the first movie in the franchise, but an enjoyable romp as Cage follows a trail to the legendary City of Gold.
A Street Cat Named Bob ✩✩✩
A stray ginger cat changes the life of James Bowen (Luke Treadaway), a homeless London street musician and recovering drug addict.
Knowing that poor Bob had recently passed away, I thought that we’d give the film based on his origin a watch. I really enjoyed the portrayal of struggling man meets cat whose presence actually helps save his life. A heart-warming tale of redemption and how animals can offer solace in the darkest of times.
A Street Cat Named Bob
Fight Club ✩✩✩
Discontented with his capitalistic lifestyle, a white-collared insomniac forms an underground fight club with Tyler, a careless soap salesman. The project soon spirals down into something sinister.
I’d seen many references to Fight Club in popular culture but never actually watched it. Rather bizarre in parts, I think it was a well made foray into the instability of mental health.
A hotel staff risks everything to keep its patrons safe during a terror attack, especially a British heiress, her husband and her infant.
I really enjoyed this film! It was full of edge of the seat tension and being based on true events made it all that more poignant.
Old Dogs ✩✩
Two best friends and business partners on the brink of finalising a huge deal are forced to take care of seven-year-old twins and get into a series of misadventures.
Not the best film of either Robin Williams or John Travolta. It tries too hard to be funny when its not!
After serving a ten-year sentence, Driver sets out to avenge his brother’s murder while being pursued by a police officer and an assassin.
A rather forgettable film by Dwayne Johnson. That memorable neither David nor I could remember the plot.
Night at the Museum
Night at the museum ✩✩✩
Larry, a night security guard at the Museum of Natural History, gets some help from the exhibits who come alive at night to foil a robbery attempt of a magic tablet and proves that he is not a loser.
A staple family feel-good movie, always good no matter how many times you watch it.
Rusty Griswold plans a cross-country road trip with his wife and two sons in a bid to revive the lost ties between them. However, their trip turns into a series of mishaps for the family.
A sequel to the National Lampoon films, and if you like the humour of the first films then you’ll enjoy Vacation. David really enjoyed this film, more so than I did.
Corporate Animals ✩
An egotistical megalomaniac CEO leads her staff on a corporate team-building trip that involves a weekend of caving in New Mexico. When they become trapped underground after a cave-in, the group must pull together to survive.
Another comedy that tries too hard to be funny and ends up being the antithesis. Sadly a waste of an hour and a half.
Have you seen any films recently that you have enjoyed or disliked? Any recommendations?
Well, it’s been a whole month of David working from home and myself not knowing whether I will be Furloughed or not. In a strange way I have enjoyed my time off work. I take Riley out every day on my Boris walk and check up on my mum and brother, who live next door and also some of my more vulnerable neighbours. In a stroke of luck, a new game for the PlayStation® was released which has occupied my afternoons. It’s been a long time since I was a gamer but the release of Final Fantasy VII: Remake has made being at home that much more bearable. Whilst playing the game and heavily reminiscing on the 1997 original release there has been little time to watch films, so below is a mixed bag of films watched in April.
The Two Towers ✩✩✩✩✩
While Frodo and Sam edge closer to Mordor with the help of the shifty Gollum, the divided fellowship makes a stand against Sauron’s new ally, Saruman, and his hordes of Isengard.
Before the arrival of my copy of Final Fantasy VII: Remake, I spent my Covid-19 afternoons either reading whilst sunbathing (April was a very sunny and dry month), or watching my extended versions of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Mo’ Money ✩✩
A con artist manages to find a job in a credit card company and falls in love with one of the employees. However, he soon finds himself drawn into a world of crime.
David chose this film as he remembered it being good in the day. Being from 1992 it really has aged and wasn’t that funny to be honest.
The Return of the King ✩✩✩✩✩
Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron’s army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.
The finale of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, where good overthrows evil and friends are reunited. It is a film that always gets me crying at the end.
The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Brahms: The Boy 2
Brahms: The Boy 2 ✩✩✩
When a young family moves to the Heelshire’s residence, terror strikes when a boy from the family discovers a doll called Brahms that appears to be eerily human.
I really enjoyed this sequel to the 2016 film, there was a lot of suspense and the manikin of Brahms is unsettling!
My Spy ✩✩✩
Nine-year-old Sophie catches JJ, a hardened CIA operative, spying on her family during a routine surveillance operation. In exchange for not blowing his cover, JJ begrudgingly agrees to show Sophie how to become a spy. What at first seems like an easy task soon turns into a battle of wits as Sophie proves you don’t need much experience to outsmart a seasoned agent.
I didn’t think I would enjoy this film as much as I did. A good family film with lots of jokes and action.
Like a Boss
Like a Boss ✩
Best friends Mia and Mel run their own cosmetics company — But they’re also in over their heads financially, and the prospect of a buyout offer from an industry titan proves too tempting to pass up. The beauty business is now about to get ugly as the proposal puts Mia and Mel’s lifelong friendship to the ultimate test.
Oh dear. I was looking forward to seeing this film but from the beginning it was appalling. It wasn’t very funny!
The Help ✩✩✩✩
Skeeter, an aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
Looking for a feel good film to cheer us up from all the depressing news around, I picked this title from 2011. With an all woman cast and great story, I thoroughly enjoyed this film.
Detective John Hobbes witnesses the execution of a demonic serial killer, Edgar Reese. However, the killings resume and are very similar to the style of Reese.
David chose this supernatural thriller from 1998 unfortunately I fell asleep for the majority of the film and woke up at the end. Oops!
The Current War ✩✩
Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse — engage in a battle of technology and ideas that will determine whose electrical system will power the new century. Edison dazzles the world by lighting Manhattan. But Westinghouse, aided by Nikola Tesla, sees fatal flaws in Edison’s direct current design. Westinghouse and Tesla bet everything on risky and dangerous alternating current.
Another film I was looking forward to watching but was left feeling disappointed. Nikola Tesla is a hero for both David and myself and we were hoping for more of him in this film but it was mainly from the view point of an arrogant Edison and an impotent Westinghouse.
The Current War
A group of women hatch a plan to disrupt the 1970 Miss World beauty competition in London.
Surprisingly a film I wanted to watch and actually enjoyed, with an all star cast and set during the second wave of feminism. It was a few hours well spent.
Have you seen any films recently that you have enjoyed or disliked? Any recommendations?
First Line Fridays, a weekly feature hosted by Wandering Words, on judging a book by its opening lines rather than its cover or author.
This week’s First Line Fridays comes from a novel published in 1903.
Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tidewater dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego.
The Call of the Wild – Jack London
The line is from the beginning of Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, recently made into a motion picture with Harrison Ford. I’m intrigued as to what trouble is afoot for Buck. I’ll add the title to my to be read pile.
What a horrible stormy month February has been! Most evenings I’ve locked the front door, blocking out the cold, driving wind and howling gales outside and hibernated. Listed below are the films we’ve watched this month.
The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman‘s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.
The month began with two films adapted from historical moments and people. I never knew about former slave Harriet Tubman and her colourful life. From becoming a Union spy during the American Civil War to being the first woman to lead an armed military raid that saved 700 slaves. She was a brave lady. I just wish the film had been that little bit better!
On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese forces launch a devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. naval base in Hawaii. Six months later, the Battle of Midway commences on June 4, 1942, as the Japanese navy once again plan a strike against American ships in the Pacific. For the next three days, the U.S. Navy and a squad of brave fighter pilots engage the enemy in one of the most important and decisive battles of World War II.
The Americans are very good at making patriotic films, full of heroics and Midway is no exception. If you liked Pearl Harbor, then you’ll like this.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
The Hustle ✩✩
Josephine Chesterfield is a glamorous, British woman who has a penchant for defrauding gullible men out of their money. Into her well-ordered world comes Penny Rust, a cunning and fun-loving Australian woman who loves to swindle unsuspecting marks. Despite their different methods, the two soon join forces for the ultimate score — a young and naive tech billionaire.
The Hustle is a female remake of the Steve Martin and Michael Cane film, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels ✩✩ which we watched a few days later, just to compare. I chose two stars for both films as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels looked dated and some of the jokes in The Hustle fell flat. If you like comedy, you’ll like these films.
Dr. John Dolittle lives in solitude after losing the love of his life. His only companionship comes from an array of exotic animals that he can speak too. But when young Queen Victoria becomes gravely ill, the eccentric doctor and his furry friends embark on an epic adventure to a mythical island to find the cure.
I read that this film had a lot of bad reviews but I actually enjoyed it. It was a good family film with cute animations of animals and I was entertained by the fantasy adventure.
Jumanji – The Next Level
Jumanji: The Next Level ✩✩✩✩
When Spencer goes back into the fantastical world of Jumanji, pals Martha, Fridge and Bethany re-enter the game to bring him home. But the game is now broken — and fighting back. Everything the friends know about Jumanji is about to change, as they soon discover there’s more obstacles and more danger to overcome.
This film was another good adventure romp into the video game world of Jumanji. I’d say the first film, Welcome to the Jungle was slightly stronger but with the same cast and peril at every turn it was an enjoyable watch.
Two children come across a magical board game. While playing it, they meet Alan, a man who was trapped inside the game for decades, and face a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game.
We thought we would go back to the beginning and watch the original Robin Williams Jumanji. Though now 25 years old the film is just as good a watch in 2020 as it was back in 1995.
When a nurse downloads an app that claims to predict exactly when a person is going to die, it tells her she only has three days to live. With time ticking away and a figure haunting her, she must find a way to save her life before time runs out.
I thought this wasn’t a bad thriller/horror, definitely a social commentary of today’s world of apps. A few jumps but with a predictable ending setting up a sequel. Do you like scary movies?
JoJo Rabbit ✩✩✩
Jojo is a lonely German boy who discovers that his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his imaginary friend — Adolf Hitler — Jojo must confront his blind nationalism as World War II continues to rage on.
The Hitler Youth and Nazi Germany isn’t a subject that comes to mind for a comedy but JoJo Rabbit is a satirical film centered on a young boy, brain washed into thinking the ideologies of Hitler. When JoJo meets Elsa, a Jew his mother is protecting, he first see’s her as alien but as the film progresses they become friends and JoJo soon comes to question what he has been told.
Spies in Disguise
Spies in Disguise ✩✩✩
When the world’s best spy is turned into a pigeon, he must rely on his nerdy tech officer to save the world.
I’ve been wanting to see this film since I saw the trailer for it. The fact pigeons were a major part of the plot made me think of David and his pigeon friends. Sadly the film didn’t live up to my expectations and I found the film wasn’t as good or as funny as I had hoped. However there’s enough action to keep kids entertained.
Have you seen any films recently that you have enjoyed or disliked?
Recently, while trying to think of something to write about, I recalled a good film I had just watched. This got me thinking of starting a new series, a year in film. Each month I will write about the good and not so good movies I have watched.
Black and Blue ✩✩✩
A rookie policewoman in New Orleans inadvertently captures the death of a young drug dealer on her body cam. After realizing the murder was committed by corrupt cops, she teams up with the only person from the community who’s willing to help her. Now, she finds herself on the run from both the vengeful criminals and the lawmen who desperately want to destroy the incriminating footage.
Not a bad film to watch, full of action and tension. I enjoyed the plot and wondered how the main character was going to get out of a tight fix.
Black and Blue
Maleficent – Mistress of Evil
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil ✩✩✩
Maleficent travels to a grand castle to celebrate young Aurora’s upcoming wedding to Prince Phillip. While there, she meets Aurora’s future mother-in-law — a conniving queen who hatches a devious plot to destroy the land’s fairies. Hoping to stop her, Maleficent joins forces with a seasoned warrior and a group of outcasts to battle the queen and her powerful army.
I was quite disappointed with this film. I loved the first Maleficent but the second film left me feeling empty and dissatisfied. The plot was weak and I really didn’t care for any of the characters.
Ford v Ferrari ✩✩✩✩✩
American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary vehicle for the Ford Motor Co. Together, they plan to compete against the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.
I thought I would be bored watching this film but I was pleasantly surprised. I loved Christian Bale’s adaption of Ken Miles. He got the Brummie accent down to a T. I like films that get me engrossed. I enjoyed this film from start to finish!
Ford V Ferrari
Uncut Gems -✩
A charismatic jeweller makes a high-stakes bet that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime. In a precarious high-wire act, he must balance business, family and adversaries on all sides in pursuit of the ultimate win.
One of the worst films I have seen! There was hardly any plot and the cast seemed to just shout over each other! With an awful soundtrack, it didn’t make for an enjoyable watch. Adam Sandler’s foray into a straight role should be forgotten. Best keep to awful comedy films in future!
Doctor Sleep ✩✩✩✩
Struggling with alcoholism, Dan Torrance remains traumatized by the sinister events that occurred at the Overlook Hotel when he was a child. His hope for a peaceful existence soon becomes shattered when he meets Abra, a teen who shares his extrasensory gift of the “shine.” Together, they form an unlikely alliance to battle the True Knot, a cult whose members try to feed off the shine of innocents to become immortal.
This film was slow to start but once it did I thoroughly enjoyed it. In parts it reminded me of The Sixth Sense. I don’t remember much about The Shining but I think you could watch his without seeing the first Stephen King film.
Terminator – Dark Fate
Terminator – Dark Fate ✩✩✩
In Mexico City, a newly modified liquid Terminator — the Rev-9 model — arrives from the future to kill a young factory worker named Dani Ramos. Also sent back in time is Grace, a hybrid cyborg human who must protect Ramos from the seemingly indestructible robotic assassin. But the two women soon find some much-needed help from a pair of unexpected allies — seasoned warrior Sarah Connor and the T-800 Terminator.
Not the greatest Terminator film made, however it was a good shoot ’em up and nice to see Arnold Schwarzenegger reprise his T-800 role. However Linda Hamilton’s role as Sarah Connor was much harder to like.
During World War I, two British soldiers — Lance Cpl. Schofield and Lance Cpl. Blake — receive seemingly impossible orders. In a race against time, they must cross over into enemy territory to deliver a message that could potentially save 1,600 of their fellow comrades — including Blake’s own brother.
Though not a true account of an incident in World War One, I enjoyed this film set in the Great War. Though the narrative just followed two guys travelling across France and into the trench system, the cinematography really drew you into the action and conflict on screen and the characters were likable. There were some hair raising scenes. Definitely a film to make you think!
Dark Waters ✩✩✩
A tenacious attorney uncovers a dark secret that connects a growing number of unexplained deaths to one of the world’s largest corporations. While trying to expose the truth, he soon finds himself risking his future, his family and his own life.
This legal thriller based on a true account of the case against DuPont, a chemical company who produced a non stick coating on every day products knowing that it caused cancer and neonatal deformities. This product known as PFOA was branded as Teflon and was only banned in 2019. Definitely a film to make you think of how safe products actually are.
Richard Jewell ✩✩✩✩
During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, security guard Richard Jewell discovers a suspicious backpack under a bench in Centennial Park. With little time to spare, he helps to evacuate the area until the incendiary device inside the bag explodes. Hailed as a hero who saved lives, Jewell’s own life starts to unravel when the FBI names him the prime suspect in the bombing.
I never knew about the 1996 Atlanta bombing. This film was such a roller coaster to watch. First Richard Jewell was a hero and then a prime suspect. Clint Eastward’s direction really drew you into the narrative of the film. The cast were superb. I really enjoyed this film.
Have you seen any films recently that you enjoyed?
It’s been some time since we’ve been to the cinema. To see the last installment of the How to Train your Dragon trilogy, David and I visited the newly opened Cineworld in Speke. The film was a fitting finale to the trilogy and I’m not ashamed to admit that I shed a tear or too.
Last Sunday we took a four mile walk around Mere Sands Wood nature reserve. Unfortunately the rain put a dampner on any nature sightings but we enjoyed the rain sodden walk anyhow!
At Mere Sands Wood
At Calderstones Park
This Sunday, with the weather no better, we headed towards Liverpool’s Calderstones Park.
Even though David and I have had a few days off work this week, even taking in a two mile walk around The Countess of Chester Country Park. Longer days in work has meant that my miles this week has been down on previous weeks.
David looking for otters
My total for this week is 38, bringing my overall total to 435 miles. If you are participating in the challenge, how are you doing?
On Monday, David and I visited RSPB Leighton Moss, near Morecambe. We spent a leisurely four hours walking the paths and taking lunch with hungry robins, tits and pheasants. Among the highlights of the visit was hand feeding a great tit and robin and seeing a marsh harrier hunting. Have you visited this reserve? What were your impressions?
Feeding a Robin
Feeding a Great Tit
Scarlet Elf Cup
Monday was also our 13th year anniversary!
Book I’m reading: I’ve picked up The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. I’ll let you know what I think of it! Have you read it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz
On Wednesday David and I said goodbye to Pie our Cut-throat finch. He was five years old and hadn’t shown any signs of illness. It was a shock and a sad loss.
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
This Saturday David and I attended an eclectic concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, featuring music from Vaughn-Williams, Tchaikovsky and Villa-Lobos. I enjoyed it very much!
Sorry this post is a bit late. I’m still trawling through the backlog of planned blogs for the end of 2018!
I aimed to read 40 books by the end of the year, and I can happily say I reached my target, by reading 41. Thanks to Laura at Circle of Pine Trees for creating the challenge. For 2019 I will keep the target at 40, which I think is a manageable figure. Do you fancy joining in?
Below, find reviews of the books I read in the final quarter of 2018. What books have you enjoyed this past year?
I enjoyed the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, so imagine my surprise when I found they had rekindled the series. It may be written by a different author but the same cast of characters feature. Although the plot is a slow burn the narrative soon picks up and races through to the end, leaving the reader breathless. I would have loved more Salander in the story but nonetheless it’s a good start to the continuation of the series.
Have you read the two new sequels? What were your impressions?
I enjoyed Me Before You and even laughed/cried at the film. So I purchased the sequel After You. However the story was not as good as the original. It followed Louisa Clark coming to terms with life after Will. There was still moments of joviality interlaced with poignancy but it didn’t pack as much punch as the first book. I will probably read the third installment once it comes out in paperback.
Have you seen the film? Do you think it kept true to the novel?
Why, why, why do I keep doing this to myself? I keep subjecting myself to the dull, banal writing of Ian McEwan! Again I was disappointed in yet another of his novels. I can’t recall much of the plot which I found rather vague. The third person narrative really detracts from the reader caring a jot about the characters and the horrors that happen to them. The plot, a couple holidaying abroad befriend a man who invites them back to his home where they meet his crippled wife. I had heard a radio adaption of this book in the 90’s which I found deeply unsettling. However the book I just found boring.
The bad writing just continues I’m afraid with this depressing post apocalyptic novel. A film was also made starring Viggo Mortensen. If the film is anything like the book, then I’ll pass. The plot is of a father and his son travelling a road to the coast after the world has been decimated by some kind of cataclysm. Anguish and misery pour from this novel in floods. Reading scene after scene of human desperation in a ravaged world devoid of food and warmth is hard to stomach. The conclusion leaves the reader unsatisfied and I wonder if the ulterior motive of the author was to depress his audience? I was shocked to read that the book won a Pulitzer Prize!
Maybe you had a different experience of this novel?
My choice of books were not going well this quarter. I decided to try another book that has been adapted for film and which again I’ve not seen. The issue I had with this novel was not the plot, which was rather twee but the language. I found that it seemed too modern for the 1950’s. The plot, a writer comes from London to Guernsey to research the German Occupation and in the process finds herself among a colourful cast of characters.
I really wanted to like this book, I really did. The advertisement for the book kept popping up on my Instagram with rave reviews. So I downloaded a copy. The premise, a girl on a bus makes eye contact with a boy whom she looks haphazardly for over a year until she eventually meets him but there’s a catch. I won’t ruin the plot for you if you enjoy rom-coms but I felt rather bored with the characters and the sugary sweetness of it all.
Perhaps you felt differently if you’ve read this book?
I seemed to get into this second sequel to the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy much quicker than the first. The characters were more detailed and the story I felt was much better than the first Lagercrantz uptake of the series. Salander featured much more and the plot was fast paced. Its not a patch on the Stieg Larsson originals but I enjoyed it none the less.
Have you read this book? What were your impressions?
I’m struggling to find books for 2019 that really grasp my interest. Have you any suggestions on books you think I would enjoy?
Day Thirteen: Today’s photo prompt is Christmas movie. There are so many Christmas movies that I found it hard to pin it to just one. So I decided to pick two.
All forms of love are in this feel good movie from 2003. There’s young love to unrequited love and even love betrayed. With a stellar cast and excellent soundtrack, what’s not to love about this film?
Now to the extreme with this 2015 fantasy horror/comedy starring Toni Collette. Krampus is the demonic opposite to the giving St Nicholas. Whilst St Nick doles out gifts to those who have been good, Krampus visits those who have been bad! I enjoyed this film for its mock horror.