Category Archives: Movie Review

Throwback Thursday-Red Tails (2012)

There are two ways to tell a story. The first is in a dry academic style that informs, but does not teach in a way that is memorable. The second is in a vibrant manner in which the audience learns something long the way.

Back in 2012, Red Tails hit theaters. Starring Terrence Howard and David Oyelowo, the film told the story about the Tuskegee Airmen that fought in World War II.

I have to agree with the critics about this movie. Though the film does an admirable job of introducing or re-introducing audiences to the true story of unsung American heroes, it is not as good as it could be.

Do I recommend it? I’m leaning toward no.

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#AnneFrank-Parallel Stories Review

To some, the Holocaust is ancient history. In 2020, we have more pressing problems to occupy our time with. But the Holocaust was only 80 years ago, and the issues from that era are as prevalent now as they were then.

#AnneFrank-Parallel Stories is one of the newest releases on Netflix. With a voice-over by Helen Mirren, this documentary tells the story of Anne Frank while telling the stories of other women who are among the few to have survived. While Mirren reads from Anne’s diary, the audience follows a young woman as she travels across Europe, asking questions that frankly, need to be asked.

I’ve seen many Holocaust films over the years. What makes it different is that it hard-hitting, emotional, and squarely aimed at the younger viewers. If I have walked away from this movie with one message, it is that we have a chance to ensure that the Holocaust in any variation never happens again. That requires asking difficult questions and learning from the mistakes of our predecessors.

I recommend it.

#AnneFrank-Parallel Lives is available for streaming on Netflix.

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Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga Review

The story of the underdog is as old as humanity.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga premiered on Netflix on Wednesday. Lars (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams) have been best friends since childhood. Coming from a small town in Iceland, their dream is to win the Eurovision Song Contest.

It appears that their dream will be just that. Then an opportunity reveals itself. But like any dream, there are roadblocks. Lar’s father, Erick (Pierce Brosnan) is a cold fish when it comes to his son.

Alexander (Dan Stevens) is a Russian competitor who appears to be romantically interested in Sigrit. He also might be using Sigrit to break up the duo. But Sigrit and Lars have been doing the will they/wont they dance for years. Can they win the contest and finally admit of their feelings for one another?

I have mixed feelings about this movie. It is supposed to be part absurdist comedy and part inspirational film. The inspirational half of the film works just fine. But the absurdist comedy falls flat on it’s face. I should have been laughing out loud, but I wasn’t.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Flashback Friday: Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg (2009)

Sometimes, history is made when we least expect it.

For audiences of a certain generation, The Goldbergs (not to be confused with the present sitcom of the same name), was worth the wait every week for a new episode. But for younger generations, the ground breaking series and it’s creator/star, Gertrude Berg is an unknown.

That is where Aviva Kempner‘s 2009 documentary comes into play. Entitled Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, the film tells the story of the series and it’s iconic namesake.

As a younger viewer who was decades away from being born when the series was originally on the air, I appreciate this documentary. Gertrude Berg was a woman ahead of her time. Without her, we would not have the modern sitcom as we know it to be today. She was also upfront about the antisemitism that existed back then, which is a topic that 70 years later, is still sadly relevant.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-Harry Potter Film Series (2001-2011)

There is something about the magic of a favorite childhood book. No matter how old one gets or how complicated adulting becomes, these books will always stay with us.

The Harry Potter film series (2001-2011) is one of the few book to movie transitions that is both true to the source material and has the ability to stay with the audience.

The films follow the title character, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), an orphaned boy who discovers that he is a wizard. Over the course of ten years and eight films, Harry and his friends, Hermoine Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), grow up, fall in love and fight against the dark forces of their world.

If there is one thing that stands out to me, it is that the narrative and characters feel human and normal against an extraordinary backdrop. Harry is an everyman type of character, giving readers and viewers an emotional hook to grab onto and stay with until the very end.

Do I recommend them? Yes.

P.S. I would love to just talk about the films, but I must address J.K. Rowling‘s morally disgusting remarks about Trans men and women. They are a stain on the legacy of the books/movies that inspired a generation of readers.

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Throwback Thursday-Date Night (2010)

I would wager that if one were to ask any married couple with kids about their daily lives, they would tell you that they have little time to spare for themselves. That is where date night usually comes in.

In 2010, the movie Date Night premiered. Tina Fey and Steve Carell play Claire and Phil Foster, an average suburban couple from the New York City area with a full plate of responsibilities. Like many couples, they look forward to date nights to relax and enjoy each other’s company. The evening they choose to go out on will not just be any evening.

Date Night is one of those movies that would be forgettable if it was not for the comedic geniuses that are Tina Fey and Steve Carell. The movie is not horrible, but it is not exactly what it promises to be.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday: Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

Mistakes are part of life. When they happen, we may wish for a time machine so we can go back in time and prevent such mistakes. But what would happen if a time machine really existed?

In the 2010 movie, Hot Tub Time Machine, Adam (John Cusack) is throwing himself a pity party. As are two of his friends. In an effort to revive their spirits, Adam, his friends, and his nephew go on a trip to a dilapidated ski resort that was a party spot in the ’80s. After drinking one too many alcoholic beverages, and sitting in the hot tub, all four men are transported back to 1986. Their goal is to undo their mistakes and ensure that Adam’s nephew comes into existence. But that is obviously easier said than done.

It’s one of those movies that could easily turn into a raunchy boys road trip comedy. But there is something to be said about an opportunity to change one’s future and preventing mistakes that could forever change the course of your life.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

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Love Wedding Repeat Review

Defined simply, a wedding is a public commitment between two individuals who are ready, willing and able to make a life together. But we all know that weddings are far from simple.

Love Wedding Repeat premiered on Netflix last month.

All Jack (Sam Claflin) wants is to make sure that his sister Hayley (Eleanor Tomlinson) has a perfect wedding day. The day starts out smooth, but then it goes to Hades. Combine Jack’s angry ex-girlfriend Amanda (Freida Pinto), his dream girl who he has unspoken feelings for, Dina (Olivia Munn) and Hayley’s drug addled ex-boyfriend, Marc (Jack Farthing), and you have nothing but trouble.

Hoping to prevent embarrassment, Hayley asks Jack to put a sedative in Marc’s champagne glass. But before they can sit down, their places at the table are switched and the perfect wedding day is about to descend into chaos.

I can kind of see why this film got the reaction it did, but it is not as bad as it is made out to be. The movie slightly invokes the screwball comedies of the 1930’s and 1940’s, but with a modern twist. It’s nowhere near award worthy, but as romantic comedies go, I’ve seen much worse.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

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Throwback Thursday-Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)

Our families are at the core of our societies. It is not a stretch to say that stories about families continue to appeal to us generation after generation.

Cheaper by the Dozen premiered in 1950. Based on the book of the same name, the film starred Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy, the film told the story of the Gilbreth family and their brood of 12 children. Living in Montclair, New Jersey in the early 20th century, parents Frank Sr. and Lillian both work as engineers. Their professional training extends to their home life, as everything is done to maximum efficiency. But this is starting not to sit well with their older daughters, who are eager to stretch their wings outside of the family nest.

There are certain movies from this period that modern audiences go back to again and again because they have a timeless quality to them. In a sense, this movie is timeless, but there are scenes that are definitely showing the film’s age.

Do I recommend it? Maybe. As much as I adore some movies from the ’50s, this film is not one of my favorites.

By the way, the movie was remade in 2003 starring Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. It is as bad as one might expect it to be.

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Throwback Thursday: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

We all want to be in love and most if, not all of us, would like to say “I do” to someone at some point.

In the 1954 movie, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Adam (Howard Keel) married Milly (Jane Powell) after knowing her for less than a day. When Milly arrives at her new home, she discovers that her husband is the eldest of seven boys. Inspired by their eldest brother, the rest of the Pontipee men are eager to marry.

While watching his wife turn his brothers in gentlemen, Adam is inspired to find wives for them. The method of finding wives comes from the story of the capture of the Sabine women by the Romans.

There are many musicals from this era that are considered to be classics. They are also slightly misogynistic. For its time, this movie musical is fine. But what bothers me is that the screenwriters gloss over the fact that the Sabine women were according to legend, raped, not captured with the intent of marriage.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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