12 Mighty Orphans – Movie Review

movie review

12 Mighty Orphans is based on a true story set in 1930’s depression era Texas. It stars Luke Wilson as Rusty Russell, an orphan himself, who moves his wife and daughter to an orphanage to teach and coach football. His wife, Juanita (played by Vinessa Shaw), while not excited at first, quickly adapts to her new family of orphans.

Of course, things are far from perfect at the orphanage. The boys are all in fear of the print shop teacher, Frank Wynn (played by Wayne Knight, best known as Newman of Seinfeld) and for good reason. Mr. Wynn likes to use a wooden paddle on the boys any time he feels the urge.

Russell wants to get the boys out on the field from day one. The big obstacle of getting the team in the league however, is that the boys must be able to pass a written academic test. Russell and Juanita spend time getting the boys prepped to take the test. Only 12 boys pass the test and are allowed to form the team.

Despite all the struggles of forming the team and getting the league to allow them to join, the orphan team still has to overcome their own struggles with themselves and each other. In the end, the boys succeed despite their smaller size and learn to work together and become a family, the only one they have.

I very much enjoyed 12 Mighty Orphans. It is a period piece, which I love. It has the underdog that can be embraced and a heart warming story of courage, determination, hope, and positivity.

As always, Enjoy Movie Night!


Movie Review: Shirley Valentine

movie review

Shirley is an English housewife in her forties. She has started talking to the wall in her kitchen. Oh, she’s not crazy, just board with her life.

Shirley’s adult children have moved out and it is just her and her husband. Her husband only seems interested in what is for dinner. Steak on Thursday, every Thursday, rain or shine.

A flashback to when Shirley was a girl, long before married life and children, introduces us to Shirley Valentine. Shirley Valentine was a girl with guts, not afraid to say or do what was on her mind. Whatever happened to this Shirley Valentine?

Knowing Shirley has always wanted to travel, her friend, Jane, who has won two tickets to Greece, invites her to accompany her on the trip. Shirley doesn’t think she could possibly get away. After all, who would cook her husband’s steak on Thursday?

Greece ends up being just what Shirley needs to stop talking to the wall. She finds her old self, Shirley Valentine, again. She is now enjoying life and feeling useful and happy. But what of her life in England?

Shirley Valentine was a delightful, light, and amusing movie. It makes one think of not just living one’s life, but really living life to the fullest, not loosing one’s self along the way. I would recommend watching Shirley Valentine for a nice getaway.

(Picture from: Rotton Tomatoes site)

Gaza Mon Amour…A Valentine’s Day Movie Review

movie review

It’s February and love is in the air. Wanting my movie pick to reflect on the holiday, I chose the movie Gaza Mon Amour. A drama with a touch of romance.

Gaza Mon Amour debuted at the Venice Film Festival, September 5, 2020. It is in Arabic with subtitles in English. It is a drama with political messages as well as a romance and a touch of good humor throughout.

The movie takes place in Gaza where the main character, Issa, a 60 year old fisherman, is highlighted. He goes out on his boat, hauls in his load and goes back through a check point each day on his motorcycle/truck. ( I mention the vehicle because I thought it most interesting. ) On one such occassion, Issa hauls a Greek statue out of the water instead of fish. He decides to keep this treasure, which proves later, not such a wise decision. Issa decides it is time for him to find a wife. He has a woman in mind. As he tries to charm her, he is constantly interupted by one thing or another. Will he ever get married and what about the statue? Watch Gaza Mon Amour to find out.

I really liked this movie. The main character was very easy to like and to sympathize with him. The movie was done very well and I thought about it afterwards, which is not always the case with movies. It gave a perspective on a different culture from my own. It was serious, romantic, and funny all wrapped in one package. I highly recommend Gaza Mon Amour.

(Image from: cinema.de)

In Her Shoes – Movie Review

movie review

Last night we watched In Her Shoes, a movie based on the novel written by Jennifer Weiner. I am a fan of Jennifer Weiners novels and the movie did not disappoint.

Cameron Diaz (Maggie) and Toni Collette (Rose) play two sisters who have a falling out over a man. This being the final straw in a recently rocky relationship. Shirley MacClaine (Grandma), the long lost grandma, and her friends at a senior assisted living center in Florida step up to help turn around the lives of both the sisters. Francine Beers (Mrs. Lefkowitz) absolutely stole the show for me. She is the good friend of the grandmother and has some of the funniest lines. I was laughing aloud at her comments throughout the movie.

I highly rocommend In Her Shoes for a relaxing night at home. While the movie is full of humor, there are plenty of life lessons to take away from it as well. So pop some corn and enjoy the show.

As always, Happy Watching!

(Photo of Francine Beers (Mrs. Lefkowitz) and Cameron Diaz (Maggie) from cinema.de)

Maigret vs. Maigret

movie review

George Simeon’s murder/mystery novels were turned into movies. They are set in 1950’s Paris. Period pieces, of course I would be interested.

I checked-out the complete Maigret dvd series starring Rowan Atkinson from the library. I was hooked. My husband and I watched the videos and I wanted more Maigret, however, that was all. Then, I found Maigret movies starring another actor, Michael Gambon. We were back in business. But how did they compare?

I recall Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean. His goofiness and his funny little car But there is more to Rowan Atkinson, the actor, than meets the eye. He shows another dimension to his acting skills in his portraial as chief inspector Maigret. This very serious, likable, detective and his charming wife, Madame Maigret, played by Lucy Cohu had me glued to the screen. By the time the serious was over, Rowan Atkinson was Maigret to me.

I was not familiar with Michael Gambon until we watched him star in Maigret, although he is a famous actor in his own right. I must say, to be honest, I was not as captured by Gambon’s rendition of Maigret. His detectives were also not as appealing to me, except for Lucas, played by Geoffrey Hutchings. I thought that his wife, Madame Maigret, played by Ciaran Madden, came across too harsh. Having said that, I still enjoyed the movies.

Would I have felt differently had I seen Gambon’s version of Maigret first? Maybe, but I really do not think so. There were a couple of movies with the same titles played on both versions and I preferred the ones on Atkinson’s dvd. Why? Not only because I liked the characters, but I also felt the story was easier to follow. I felt lost in a couple of movies featuring Gambon. The story was not explained as well. My husband agreed with me on this point. This was a script problem not an acting problem. I felt the cast from the series starring Rowan Atkinson was more likable all around. The costumes were also more interesting to me as well.

So, if choosing a Maigret series to watch, I would recommend the one starring Rowin Atkinson. However, everyone has there own taste. Do like I did and watch them all. It’s always fun to compare and there are more titles and different titles on the Gambon set.

As always, Happy Viewing!

My Take on… Gosford Park

movie review

I do love a good period piece with a bit of drama thrown in. Gosford Park does not disappoint. Gosford Park is a drama/mystery/suspense film set in early 30’s England. Think Downton Abbey with a little murder thrown in the picture.

The story takes place at the huge English estate of Sir William McCordle and his wife Lady Sylvia. It is there that they host a weekend of hunting and socializing for their guests. The story takes us into the runnings downstairs with the house staff and guest staff being thrown together, as well as the affairs upstairs.

An American film director is among the guests and his Charlie Chan movie, set at an English manor, is being researched on this weekend retreat. As he shares the plot of his movie with the other guests, one begins to see similarites with that of the house, and one can only wonder if the movie’s plot of murder will come true here as well.

A scream changes the course of the evening. Someone is found dead. Now it is up to us to put the pieces of gossip together to find out who done it.

Gosford Park has a lot of well known actors in it’s credits. Here are a few cast members that I was excited to see: Stephen John Fry, Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, and Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey). Of course, these are just a few of the talents on board.

I highly recommend Gosford Park for a good period mystery. The wardrobes are magnificent, the cast superb, and the story is interesting. So pop some corn and enjoy the show.

As always, Happy Viewing!

My Take on Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

movie review

Frank Capra’s 1936 movie Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, featuring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur is quite the hit. It has it all, drama, comedy and romance. An oldie but a goodie.

Longfellow Deeds (played by Gary Cooper) lives a simple life in Mandrake Falls until he is informed by attorney John Cedar that he has inherited 20 million dollars from his late uncle, Martin Semple. Cedar brings Deeds back to New York and tries to get him to sign over his power of attorney to him. Deeds is quite the news in New York. In order to gain a paid vacation from the newspaper by landing the story on Deeds, reporter Louise Bennett (played by Jean Arthur) pretends to faint in front of Deeds in order to get aquainted with him. She has photographers from the newspaper follow them around town. She is posing as Mary Dawson, a poor working girl. Deeds falls for Mary not knowing she is writing about him. When Deeds starts giving away his money to the unemployed, (there is a depression after all) Cedar tries to have him committed. To find out what happens, watch the movie.

I loved Gary Cooper in this picture. Jean Arthur was the perfect leading lady as well. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town had me interested from start to finish. Enough drama to keep me guessing, enough comedy to keep me laughing, and just the right amount of romance. I also really liked the message that the film told. So pop some corn and enjoy the movie!

My Take on Swing Shift

movie review

My husband and I recently watched the movie Swing Shift starring a young Goldie Hawn (Kay) and Kurt Russell (Lucky). It is a period movie about women taking on factory jobs during WWII. This movie focused on the airplane industry in Santa Monica, California. It also hit on the comaraderie between the workers and how important that was to the women in getting on with life while a war was taking place and lives were being taken.

In the movie, Kay’s husband Jack sets out to join the Navy and Kay (against her husband’s wishes) sets out to build airplanes. She meets Lucky who is a line foreman and he has his sights on her. Will the husband or the foreman get the girl? Watch the movie to find out…

I love period films. This film was of interest to catch a glimpse of what it was like for women entering the workforce during the war. Try to picture your grandmother or great-grandmother helping the war effort. Although it is Hollywood, it is interesting all the same.

I enjoyed Swing Shift, as I do most of the film that feature Hawn. It was interesting to see Hawn and Russell work together as well, being they are a couple in real life. As always, Happy Viewing!

My Take on Jet Lag

movie review

Jet Lag is a French, romantic comedy starring Jean Reno and Juliette Binoche. The movie is in French. Since my French is not up to par, I read the English sub titles. Really must work on my language skills…

Jet Lag takes place in an airport where Rose (a beautician/masseuse) finds out her flight has been delayed due to an airport strike. She has a mishap with her cell phone (quite hilarious) and asks to borrow the cell phone of a complete stranger, Felix. Felix (who is in the restaurant business) is on his way to the funeral of the mother of one of his exes. These two meet and part and then keep running into each other throughout the airport.

Because Felix is flying first class, he is being put up at the Hilton hotel. Seeing that Rose would have to sleep in the airport overnight and feeling sorry for her, Felix offers for Rose to join him at the hotel as there would be an extra bed in the room for her. Perfect roommates they do not appear to be. And the story continues…

I found Jet Lag to be a movie worth watching. It went a little deeper into pasts and feelings, so was really more than just a comedy. I enjoyed seeing the relationship develop and the character Rose, played by Binoche, was truely likable. Once the characters layers are peeled away, it shows how there is always more to someone than just appearances. Jet Lag will have you laughing aloud at times and the ending will be a perfect way to end the evening.

My Take on The Lady Vanishes

movie review

The Lady Vanishes is a black and white Alfred Hitchcock movie filmed in England in 1938. Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, and May Whitty are the main actors in this film. Of course, Alfred Hitchcock always appears as an extra in his films. So be sure to be on the lookout for him as well.

The setting for the film is a hotel in Europe and a train. Travelers are forced to stay at the hotel as an avalanche has postponed travel for the night. Iris Henderson is staying with her friends before catching a train to meet her fiance that she is not to eager to marry. While her friends are out, she tries to get some sleep and is disturbed by the noise of a folk musician in the room above. While going out into the hall to investigate the noise, she meets an older woman, Miss Froy. They talk about the noise and then say their goodnights.

Next day, the train is back on schedule. While waiting to board, Miss Froy drops her glasses and Iris goes to give them to her but takes a bump to the head that was meant for someone else. Miss Froy accompanies Iris to the train. Iris is in and out of sleep and then low and behold Miss Froy is nowhere to be found. Everyone that should have seen her has no recollection of her. Iris is beside herself. And so the mystery begins….

One really can not go wrong with an Alfred Hitchcock movie and this is no exception. I was drawn in from the beginning till the end. And believe me, the ending was a surprise. I highly recommend to all mystery buffs, The Lady Vanishes. It is an oldy but a goodie.

(movie still photograph from: https://talkfilmsociety.com/columns/beginners-guide-to-alfred-hitchcock-the-lady-vanishes)