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The Queen

Harsh reality of death.
Helen Miren portrays Queen Elizabeth II with such grace it was astonishing. The other actors and actresses were good and their parts interesting but "The Queen" is the story of the challenges to not only Elizabeth's monarchy but to her person. When I was in 4th or 5th grade I read a book about Elizabeth and Margaret as children by Marion Crawford titled "The Little Princesses". Since I am what is known as a baby-boomer I grew up in a time that went from respect, manners and tradition to familiarity, bluntness and spontaneity. There is strength and fault in both worlds and typical misunderstandings of generations follow these shifts. I am fortunate to have known from that book how the royal family presented itself to the public in the 40's and 50's so when Princess Diana died my heart went out to the Royal family, Diana's family and the people of Britain. As an American growing up in a family that honored Britain and the British it was sad to see the pain and disillusionment Diana's death caused and or revealed. Not only did two young boys loose their mother but the country who loved her became estranged into pro monarchy and anti monarchy factions. This film has moments that made me very uncomfortable, probably because I found it embarrassing to see private family talk turned into what a film writer thought it was. I was most disappointed in the portrayal of the Queen Mother. But death does force us to examine our feelings and deal with them if we expect to move on and that is what this film shows in the end. It honors all those millions of people who wept for Diana, her sons and family and it shows that the Royal Family capitulated to public demands when it became obvious to do otherwise would cause more internal strife and pain. The Queen above all else loves, respects and cherishes her country and it's people. She grew up in another era and it is difficult to become open, emotional and give up tradition when you have learned from the cradle that tradition is what keeps things going smoothly. Be sure you read something about the time when Queen Elizabeth II was a child before you judge her to harshly. I think she is truly a blessing for her people.

Charlie, the Lonesome Cougar

Great family film.
A lumberman finds a young cougar in need of help. To young to be on his own the cat soon takes up with the rugged camp workers. Nicknamed "Good Time Charlie' his antics amuse everyone at first. His wild nature eventually begins to cause trouble and reintroducing him into his natural habitat becomes an issue. This film is among those wonderful Disney nature films that were common in the 50's and 60's Lots of action, beautiful scenery and some endearing animal to charm you. These films were not long but included fascinating glimpses into wildlife and the effects of human contact. Unlike Disney's animated talking animals the animals in these films remained true to their own nature. They also make great travel films for seeing the western states.


Fascinatingly awful.
Giliam was wrong, you will either hate this film or just find it too gross. If you like it you have dulled your senses to accept the idea of a child in such an awful situation. I thought that the film would be interesting and possible good aversion materials for alcohol and drug addiction patients here at the mental hospital I work at. If I had known how gruesome it was going to get I wouldn't have watched it. The fantasy life little Jeliza has is believable but I can not imagine a child, no matter how rough life has been, cuddling up to a corpse. If she had been 3 or 4 she might not have understood but she was old enough to know what death was. At the end you need a follow up movie except it could only be about the agony of the rest of her life. Children forced to deal with such calamity are permanently off center. They may learn to cope but the scars will cause self doubt and distrust that will taint all future relationships. She will never feel comfortable in normal society but who could want her to stay where she was. The woman at the end who is comforting her has no idea and the movie ends with that thought hanging in the air.

The Passion of the Christ

Most gory movie ever passed off as religious.
I watched this film on DVD recently, no way was I going to a theater and get overwhelmed.

1. While the effect of everyone speaking in Aramaic in the film was interesting, reading subtitles can be distracting and made the film useless for some who can not read that fast.

2. No one would survive the excruciating whipping shown on the screen, it was way over done. You do not need people to cringe in their seats to get them to understand what a whipping is like.

3. That much blood just made me disgusted. It was obviously for effect, I don't like any film that relies on gore to sell itself.

I am a Christian and every year we take time on Good Friday to recognize the Passion of Christ. We read the bible account and the homily or sermon is on the meaning of Christ's facing this degradation, but we do not smear blood everywhere and wallow in emotion. Christ came to tell us to care for each other not shock and gross others out with the retelling of his death. If this film had been made with an English sound track available on the DVD and cut the bloody scenes to 1/4 their extent it would have been a film I would recommend. As it is I would rather recommend "The Last Temptation of Christ" before this even though it has questionable ideas. At least it challenges you to think, this film just makes you ill. I wish someone would make a film of the things Jesus did while on earth. His birth and death are over worked.

An Inconvenient Truth

Fascinating film but a little choppy.
First of all I was sorry to see so few people in the theater, and most of us were older. This is a film to take your kids to, and talk about with friends. Share this film with your church group or any group that you can. I also recommend NOVA's "Dimming the sun" and Discovery's "Global warming, what you need to know with Tom Brokaw".

Only thing about the film that I found disconcerting was that it seemed chopped up with scenes of Mr. Gore walking through airports.

Our country and the world is being run more and more like a business and everyone is going to pay the price. If you don't protect your assets you will loose your business seems not to have occurred to some of the energy companies. I remember our sixth grade science teacher telling us that we would run out of coal in our life times. That would be good but by then nothing will be growing and most of the population will be gone if the climate does a major shift. Yesterday we went to a little political gathering and a sign said, "---------, didn't learn from 9/11. 9/11 is not the worlds biggest problem, global warming and a president who admits he doesn't read science is the problem. We can't take a lot longer to change, time is running out. Putting all our resources into ending our dependency on oil is what our government needs to be doing.

Political action is one route but personal choices do make a difference. We put all energy saving florescent bulbs in our house, keep the thermostat at 75 in the summer and 68 in the winter, and recycle everything we can. Everyone needs to pay more attention to what is happening because if/when we hit the tipping point there is no solution that will save most of the planet as we know it.

A Prairie Home Companion

Just what you'd expect, and maybe a little more...
My husband rarely wants to go to the movies since he has limited sight but he wanted to see this one and I'm glad we went. I was not sure I would find it interesting even though we never miss the radio show and have gone to one or two of the farewell tours. Garrison and all the cast gave that back home touch that the radio shows are known for. There were times it reminded me a little of scenes from The Music Man. Humor, some a little risqué, drama, music and charm were all there to be enjoyed. The Hollywood stars were a wonderful addition and Ms. Streep sounded like she was from the mid-west most of the time. She and Ms. Tomlin were fantastic as sisters. The music was fun as it always is and the "bad jokes" were baaaaaaad. I was tickled by the references to Oshkosh since I remember seeing Garrison at the Pioneer Inn here back in the 80's when my daughter did some life guarding there. I may go see it again this coming weekend and will buy it for sure.

Texas Ranch House

A fascinating trip into the old west.
I have seen all the PBS mini series so far set in the past. Each time there are great things about the programs and not so great things.

I found the Cooke family to be out of touch with the period they were pretending to live in. I have lived on a farm in the mid-west and I couldn't believe the negligence with food and flies. I also found it interesting that once again the women who agreed to try out this adventure seemed to think that they had to defend their 21st century values, this caused unending difficulty for the ranch as a whole. I nearly fell off the couch when Mr. Cooke told the Comanche leader that he did not deal with terrorist. He didn't seem to realize that he was living in an area and time where he and his family were invaders and were lucky to escape alive. He was also more concerned with money than actually surviving. Ranching back then would have been more a survive and corner some extra to pay the taxes. At the end of the program he had irritated the ranch hands so much that they quit, the food in the garden had not been stored for winter, and the Cooke women were the laziest I have ever seen. When the Cooke family complained about the evaluations of the experts they were ignoring their failings and whining like children.

If it hadn't been for the horses, Maura, the Ranch hands, the Comanche, and the goofy long horns the series would have been a total loss. Still, it was interesting to see how things worked out.

Brokeback Mountain

Wow, I'm buying this one for my collection.
I haven't been as emotionally touched by a film since Sixth Sense. I went to see it with my daughter (adult)and we both had tears at the end. The music is perfect, it adds to that sense of disquiet you may feel at the beginning. Stick with the story though because it is really touching at the end. This story is about more than gay lovers, it is about passion, love, responsibility, wide open spaces and those curves that life throws at us. I am surprised at the number of men refusing to see it, I think many of them would profit from watching this film and then talking about it. The men who portray Ennis and Jack were so effective in their parts that I felt I knew them both by the middle of the film. This is one I buy for my collection so I can see it again and again.

Mrs Henderson Presents

Absolutely Charming film.
We don't go to movies often as my husband is blind but I was intrigued by what I had read about this film and a little nervous after reading a few reviews. We decided to go see this film to enjoy the music and performers. We enjoyed the whole film. Of course my husband and I adore Dame Judi, and she is perfect in this touching story. She and Mr. Hoskins have an electricity between them from their first contact. Now obviously there is nudity, since the story is about a revealing musical review but the work is rather stunning in it's presentation. The WWII tunes were nostalgic, and well chosen. SPOILER COMING When the Stage hands and Mr. Van Damm disrobe it has a very humorous, light touch. I will be waiting to get a copy for my personal library.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Excellent film, don't miss it, but please read the book too.
I liked Goblet of fire better than Prisoner of Azkaban. Though it could have been longer and not skipped so much. The music was perfect and the scenery around the castle was enchanting. I will go to see it again this week because it was great. All in all the film is well done and believable. Mad Eye Moody is a little to funny looking to be frightening to an adult and Dumbledore seems less mellow than the book shows him to be. The dragon challenge is exciting but only showed Harry and his dragon. The Underwater rescue was the best of the three challenges in my opinion. The Yule Ball is fantastic, the young ladies were so sweet in their gowns and the young men were so typically uncomfortable. Rita Skeeter is very well done and the quick quotes quill was really neat. I did not like how tall they made Madame Maxime look, though her character was well done. I really missed Winkie and Dobby, after all they were important in the story. The maze lacked the Sphinx, the Scroots, the giant spider and the magic mist that turned Harry upside down but it was certainly scary enough to make up for it. The death of Cedric, the battle with Voldemort(he is really creepy looking)and the scene when Harry returns with Cedric's body are excellent. Cedric is almost a prince charming in many ways. At the end I though it sad that nothing was done with the sending of Snape, Hagrid and others to prepare for the Order of the Phoenix reorganizing in the next book.

Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie

Delightfully Spooky adventure with Pooh and his friends.
I purchased this film on DVD for my 4 year old grandson and we loved it so much that I bought VHS and DVD copies for our library too. Lumpy, Roo's newest best friend, learns to be courageous and the story is the perfect spooky treat for your little Halloween goblins. While getting ready for trick or treat the familiar characters find they must tackle a new problem. At first each tries to be brave and succeed alone, then realizing they need to help each other and accept help from their friends they get together. You get to see Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Roo, Piglet and Lumpy as they come to terms with the terrible Gabloon. Lumpy is sweet, but I still love Tigger best next to Pooh of course.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Marvin rules.
Douglas Adams 5 book trilogy contains so much subtle humor, outrageous behavior and deep probing wisdom making part of it into a film was a huge project. I have been waiting for several years to see if Hollywood could do a better job than the British did on the TV series.

My husband and I are Hitchhiker junkies. We have the Books, the radio series on tape and the books on tape read by Douglas. I play the computer game on line when I can remember where it is. We enjoyed the film, the Vogon's are amazing thanks to Henson's creatures and the factory in Magrathea is enchanting.

While my mental picture of Marvin was of a falling apart erector set type robot I loved the Marvin in the film anyway. The way he drooped when things go wrong (all the time) and how he zapped the vogons near the end. While it doesn't come close to reading the book the film is charming and worth seeing. I know I'll buy it on DVD. If you don't understand the film, READ THE BOOKS.

Fahrenheit 9/11

Vote, while you still can!!!
Very enlightening presentation. Some of the information is common knowledge but put together with what has been covered up it is appalling. Of all the messages in this film the big one is vote, even if you feel it makes no difference, vote for freedom. Watch the film and check the information, then do something. If you are to young to vote, help register voters and help get voters to the polls. I am an independent voter but I haven't seen a Republican in years that I would vote for. I will be helping with door to door campaigning this year if I can. I remember the cartoon Pogo with the little King George rabbit, he's back only it's King George Junior and he's more ignorant and dangerous than Senior. We have a Bush rally here this Friday and only supporters are allowed to attend. What ROT!

Anger Management

Don't bother.
This is perhaps the worst film I have seen in a long time. I was asked to preveiw it by staff at our mental health institution for possible purchase and I shut it off about halfway through. The language was disgusting, the sexual behavior was childishly stupid and the only funny thing was the ginger cat dressed in funny cloths. Now in case you think I am too fussy I don't mind some language and sexual content is fine if it is either comical or dramatic. I enjoyed "Love Actually" inspite of some high doses of oddness and behavior that I didn't like. Infantile, gutter type humor of the college kid sort is borrrring. The parts were well acted, the plot stunk. Maybe if I had been able to stomach it the end would have redeemed the film.

Love Actually

What a hoot!
I bought this film for our collection not noticing that is was R rated, now I will add it to my collection and buy something less revealing for our library. Admittedly there is nudity, language and questionable behavior but it is so funny and outrageous that by the end I decided I had to keep the film-wish I'd bought the DVD now. The story involves several couples and at times it is hard to keep them straight. I knew of three of the actors; Hugh Grant Liam Neeson and Alan Rickman so I had to get familiar with the other faces. I wanted the film because it was a Christmas time comedy. I nearly fell off the couch when the one guy flies to Milwaukee to meet girls. Brit accents are popular in this country and I can easily see this happening to some extent. We tend to be pretty relaxed and open to strangers, of course the film goes a little far. I liked the part Alan Rickman played, I have only seen him in the Potter films. I find him very interesting but he doesn't get as wild as the other couples so I guess I'll have to see some more films he has been in to get more of a feeling for his acting. I love the way he plays Prof. Snape and he really touched a note in this film too. I have liked Liam Neeson for a long time and Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister was funny if a little far fetched. I suppose the U.S. President they allude to is Clinton since he is on the make so that was a little uncomfortable. If you are looking for a good laugh and don't get upset by the R rating this is a great one.

I Can't Marry You

Informative glimpse of couples in long term relationships.
Some PBS shows programs about gay life styles get to personal and detailed to be comfortabvle to watch. Mrs. DeGeneres is a wonderful host and this program did a beautiful job of presenting several couples in very personal yet polite way. There was balance of men and women, with children and without, young and older. It covered the personal emotions as well as some of the more difficult legal issues that most of us don't think about. I felt a real sorrow for the difficulties some of the people faced because of legal restrictions and social condemnation. I knew those difficulties existed but this made them very real. I recommend this film to anyone who has questions about the need for recognition for gay relationships. I cringed at one point when one of the men remarked about Christians. I hope as Christians we can find a loving way to support these people. I will probably purchase it for our library eventually.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Good scarry film but Cuaron changed way to much.
I enjoyed the film because seeing the young actors and actresses is great fun and the movie was scarry as it should have been.

Things I liked and didn't like so much SPOILLERS

Liked All the children - Malfoy is a little to whiney. The night bus. Snape in Mrs. Longbottom's cloths. Buckbeak is cool. The big black dog was fabulous. The execution scenes. Sirius Black was very good. Dementors were scarry, the kiss was well done. Lupin as a werewolf was scarry too, though a little weird looking.

Didn't like: Peter Pettigrew was almost comical, not good in the middle of a scarry part. Dumbledore doesn't talk to Harry and Hermione about what happened in the shrieking shack. No end of the year ceremony or leaving school scene. IT IS IMPORTANT.

I am Glad that Chris Columbus will be back in #4.

Bend It Like Beckham

Excellent film and don't miss the extras on the DVD!!!
I have a Punjabi Sikh friend here in Wisconsin and this film really touched me with the struggle of cultures. Any immigrant family struggles with the changes the new culture introduces but this film does a wonderful job of making it so real.

I was happy to see multiple issues touched, as society today is not only one issue, and I enjoyed the enthusiasm in the actors and actresses faces.

Don't miss the wonderful extra's on the DVD because you will learn to fix Aloo Gobi with many laughs. Mom and Aunties are the same in all cultures. I hope to see Naan or Roti prepared in the future by Director Gurinder Chadha. I especially enjoyed learning how good the young women actresses got to be at playing soccer.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

A rich experience in sound, color and story.
I had read all the Tolkien books long before this beautifully done set of films were made. I did not see the first two films in the theater as I am not much of a movie goer. I did see them on DVD and liked them very much. The sound quality in the first two was my only complaint, I found it difficult to hear what the actors were saying at times, but in this final film that seemed much improved. Of course this final part of the tale is less dialog and more action so that may explain the improved effect, it may also be because I saw this in the theater and the sound is better quality than my little TV gives.

I was enchanted with the whole finale of the tale. I was glad that the ending was not changed to much, though I liked the struggle to save the shire at the end of the book, the movie was getting long and the tale stood without that piece. I hope we can look forward to "The Hobbit" some day by this same group of people, it will make my DVD collection complete.

I hope many people will read these books now because creativity and imagination need to be developed on well written works like this. I am sure Mr. Tolkien would have been pleased.

Red Water

I liked this film, watched it twice.
I liked the setting and most of characters better in this film. I like Lou Diamond Phillips and found the spiritual buddy "Emery" pretty cool too. "Ice" was a little bit much but maybe that's what he would be like if he was forced to go out into the bayou. It was lower budget but just as suspensful. I don't watch a lot of commercial TV so I have missed all the Jaws reruns and I skip the shark attack weeks so maybe this seemed fresher to me.

Rugrats Go Wild

Rugrats are disgusting!!!
I am not a Rugrats fan, I don't appreciated bathroom humor. The 6 year old I took to see the movie is subjected to advertising and of course is young enough that bathroom humor works. The story line is okay it might even have been a good movie but the constant jokes about smelly diapers and feet detracted from the story. The Thornberries helped some but the teenager in their cast is a little to Beverly Hills. Spike did little to add to the program whether he talked or not. If you have 6-12 year olds they will laugh, otherwise forget it. Some of the music was catchy.

Finding Nemo

Ten of ten for this one!
My daughter and I took my grandsons (2years old and his big brother 13 years old) to see this and it was super. It was a little scary for the 2year old but not unbearable. The story is family oriented and does flashes from where Nemo is to where his father is, which small children will not understand but I don't think they care. The animation was fantastic as Pixar and Disney would be expected to produce and the humor was side splitting in spots. The 12 step shark meetings were funny without insulting real 12 steppers and when Dorie speaks whale everyone laughs. I was a little uncomfortable with the Dentist office at first (who needs to scare kids of dental tools, but that was the only iffy spot I remember. I have to take a little friend to see this now and I can't wait it was that good a film.

Rabbit-Proof Fence

Be sure to watch the extra materials too!
This film was amazing. The courage of the girls who lived this story and the effort of the girls who helped retell it on screen was humbling. I knew that Austrailia had difficulties over their treatment of the aboriginal people just as we in the U.S. did with the many Native American tribes but I had no idea what they were. The film does a very good job presenting the situation though I wish there had been a bit more about the lives of these girls before their abduction. The aboriginal people of Austrailia deserve more than just a passing glance at their history. I think it would have been nice to see some background of the people these girls were being taken from. While their lives look difficult and underprivilaged compared to what Anglo culture prides itself in the rich traditions, spirituality and skills of the aboriginal society deserves more than a few minutes explanation. Still the extra material on the DVD shows how they find the charming children who play the parts. I really enjoyed that and think some of the most touching moments in the documentary part tell more about this story than the actual film.

Piglet's Big Movie

As Winnie-the-Pooh would say, Ho Hum.
I took a 5 year old to this and she liked the songs, she said but she wiggled and squirmed the whole time because the film drags along going over former tales about the friends of piglet. Cute but for 5 and under for sure.

The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn

What a deeply touching story.
Noah is a carpenter who lives on 35 acres that a big real estate giant wants to build one of their cheesy malls on. This man effects people in one of two ways, either their lives are changed forever or they just don't get it. You feel sorry for the ones that don't get it but not very sorry. Sidney Poitier is as hauntingly charismatic in this film as he was in "Lilies of the field" the first time I saw him in films. This is a good film to relax and enjoy and ponder how beautiful the earth is and how wise Noah is.

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