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A Christmas Tree Miracle

A Heart-Warming Experience.
Many Christmas films are totally forgettable but this one stands out like a brilliant beacon in the winter night sky. I thoroughly enjoyed the warmth and sincerity of this film which emphasises in a gentle way the things that truly matter in life. It avoids the Christmas clichés of materialism, snowy scenes and 'Ho Ho Ho' Santa's. The cello-playing little girl was enchanting and her scenes with the old man added to the appeal of the film. After watching this film today I thought a lot about my relationships with my family and friends - something which I usually take for granted.

A family film that I can thoroughly recommend and one which can be enjoyed at any time of the year. Well done to all involved.

Children of My Heart

Beautifully Made Period Drama
I love this film. As a retired teacher I can feel for a young teacher going into face a potentially difficult class and all the challenges that such a situation presents. She wants to inspire the children and fill their minds with a desire to learn. What better way than to take the children out into the cold, wintry countryside for rambles, which does not go down well with some of the older members of the community. The various family situations of the children are dealt with sympathetically and all the youngsters perform admirably. Some of Claire's (Isabella Fink) scenes were very touching. The expression on her little face at the end, as the teacher departed, would melt your heart. The adult cast contains the always excellent Michael Morriarty in the role of the father of a rather rebellious teenager who falls in love with the teacher - a situation that is sensitively handled in the film without causing offence. At the end, the teacher has made such a connection with her pupils that they will always live in her heart.

The Tall T

Copied Dialogue
The Tall T has a huge chunk of dialogue that is copied word for word in another two westerns - 'The Canadians' in 1961 and one of the 'Magnificent Seven' films of the mid-late 1960's. The conversation between the two outlaws about going back to Sonora because there is 'ten head of females' for every man. Has anyone else noticed this connection? Otherwise, the 'Tall T' is an enjoyable movie set amid the stunning Alabama Hills in Lone Pine, California. Richard Boone is one of the great western actors. He can play a villain with a degree of charming ruthlessness and those of us who were children 50+ years ago will remember his performances in 'Have Gun Will Travel'. When he appears in a western you just know that it's going to be very watchable.

Last of the Dogmen

A Wonderful Viewing Experience
I love this film. The stunning locations and acting performances were superb. I have been an admirer of Barbara Hershey since her days as one of 'the Munroes' and in this film she does not disappoint. I met Tom Berenger when he came to Belfast and he seemed to be as grumpy a character as the one he portrays in the film. We are very similar that way! I remember reading about a group of native Americans who were not discovered until 1910 in northern California. The idea of a lost tribe being discovered grabs the imagination. I knew something of the background of the Cheyenne tribe from reading 'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee' and this is related in the film. I have watched the DVD many times and never get tired of it. There are so few films I can say that about.

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