Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Simply Compare!

There is nothing as exciting as reading a book first and then viewing the movie.  Let’s face it, without writers, there would be no films.  When the producers and directors borrow an author’s work, I am quite certain that it is a daunting task. 

How closely will they follow the actual story line?  Will they take a few liberties or several?  If the authors are still alive, will they be contacted for consultation?  If the authors’ works are used posthumously, will their visions be respected? 

I recently read two British novels by Elizabeth Gaskell and then looked at the movies.  They were Wives and Daughters and Cranford.  Both were done in mini-series formats by the BBC.  Wives and Daughters was done in four episodes and I watched it on YouTube.  I really liked it and though the characters are never look quite as imagined, they did a fine job.  They stayed true to the course and the acting was superb.  Many of the actors have been seen in other British projects.

Cranford, though named after Gaskell’s book, was a compilation of events from three of her books.  However, like playing jacks, I was able to pick up bits and pieces of scenes that I remembered from the actual book.  Liberties were indeed taken but no one could argue that it was magnificently done.

 I then traveled stateside and read Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser, an American author.  What a read!  Carrie moves to Chicago around the 1900’s and looks for work.  Her job as a seamstress is too strenuous for her so she ends up moving in with the dashing Charles Drouet who treats her well enough.

He does not marry her but begins to see her worth after she is a hit as a stage actress.  By then, she has also caught the eye of the polished George Hurstwood and they start meeting in secrecy.  She has no idea that he is a married man, though unhappily.  He tricks her into taking a long trip to Detroit and Montreal but they end up in New York where she finds her place on the stage.

The 1952 movie is called Carrie and Laurence Olivier, Jennifer Jones and Eddie Albert play the leading roles.  I rented it after finishing the book and I can see why Laurence Olivier’s name lives on as a revered actor. To me, a lot of liberties were taken because Carrie was portrayed as a much more loving person than she was in the book.  Perhaps, her coldness was too stark to show in a woman of the 1950’s.

George was an accidental thief in the movie and not a man who contemplated the robbery of his employer’s coffers as revealed in the book.  A scene was also added whereby his employer decided to give his earnings to his wife to perhaps  accentuate his reasons for escaping her financial control.

Carrie had me sitting on the edge of my seat as I noted the similarities and the differences from Dreiser’s Sister Carrie. During the summer, take time to continually crunch down that reading list.  If a movie has the been made of that book, view it and simply compare the two!

 Lynn M.                                                                                                                June 15, 2019

61gJGn8Ew+L._SY346_[1]                       Carrie- Movie





Tick Marks!

Over this holiday season, I have had the opportunity to revisit several movies and take another look at why they remain special to me. Each reminded me of where I was living and what I was doing when I saw them for the first time.  Some things change yet some remain the same!

I saw The Graduate again. It came out during my freshman year of college. I loved it this time around as much as I did way back then. The lyrics to Simon and Garfunkel’s song The Sound of Silence came rolling back to me as if time stood still.  Dustin Hoffman’s dilemmas and moves obviously etched scenarios in my mind.  I was there inside his mental space with him.  Since that time, I was able to make it to the UC Berkeley campus and I later owned a convertible Spider similar to his Alfa Romeo Spider in the movie.

Then, I saw Claudine again with Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones. It was a big hit at the time because though she was a domestic with six kids, she fell in love with a garbage collector.  He almost abandoned her and her children because he realized he did not make enough to feed them.  It takes a hard look at the traps of the welfare system but ultimately love won! The music written by Curtis Mayfield and sung by Gladys Knight and The Pips kept everyone going On and On.  I was teaching high school at the time and oh, the memories from that era came rushing back in!

Seeing Agnes of God baffled me as much this time around as it did when me and a couple of my co-workers from a community college saw it for the first time.  I remember that day because we did a movie marathon and saw two movies on the same day.  Jane Fonda fashionably chain-smoked as she tried to figure out who impregnated a young nun that murdered her newborn. I thought of how unattractive smoking is today and how it is now prohibited in most public places.

Both she and the talented Anne Bancroft acted superbly in this drama and this time around, I was able to connect a few more of the dots.  Plus, I did a little more research to see what drove the playwright to write the play.  He based it on a true story of a nun in Upstate New York; but, it was less of a mystery because that nun had spent time outside of the convent for a conference.

Over time, we grow.  Society rules change.  I have changed.  Several of my perspectives  and points of view have also changed.  If I stood against a measuring stick and compared where I was then to where I am now, I would have to reach up really high to strike off my new tick marks of growth!

Lynn M.                                                                                               December 29, 2018


Christmas with Christopher Plummer & Carrie Fisher!

All...MoneyI recently saw two movies during this winter holiday season.  First, I saw All the Money in the World.  I was inspired to do so after seeing an interview with Christopher Plummer. He took Kevin Spacey’s place at the midnight hour as J. Paul Getty.   He is now 88 years old and he had only a few days to do the filming so that it could make the Christmas Day deadline.

Of course, we all loved him as Captain Von Trapp in the beloved film The Sound of Music.  Interestingly, he had no love for the movie or the character that he played but it is that part as the family patriarch for which he is most remembered.

Christopher Plummer was superb in his performance as the miserly oil tycoon, J. Paul Getty.  Most of the movie focused on the kidnapping of his grandson in Italy at the age of 16.  Plummer was quite convincing as one who held on very tightly to his purse strings.  He was shown with his laundry hanging in the hotel bathroom that he had washed by hand as opposed to paying the staff.

His grandson was held for several months by his captors before Getty paid the ransom and the teen severely suffered during the ordeal.  Surely, there will be an Oscar buzz for Christopher Plummer’s classic acting and for Michelle Williams, who played Gail, young Getty’s desperate mother. Also, Mark Wahlberg was fantastic as Fletcher Chase, an advisor to both Gail and Getty.

the last jedi

Secondly, I went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  The instant battles jarred me awake during this early morning viewing.  There was constant conflict between the forces and I had a bit of a time keeping up with all of the characters.  There were many in the cast but the sound effects and high-levels of creativity kept me on the edge of my seat as I followed the many twists and turns of the plot.

I felt frustrated at times and I then remembered my real reason for coming to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  I had enjoyed other Star Wars movies but this was my personal time to say goodbye to Carrie Fisher.  It would be the last time to see her as Lela- this time as Lela Organa.  She was smooth, reserved and mature in her role and she appeared to have found some inner secret to life’s mysteries. She had evolved from the anxious voice that had written Postcards from the Edge many years ago.

At the end of the movie, it was apparent that the Jedi would survive after being engaged in multiple battles with the forces of darkness.  The children had witnessed it all and some were already emulating Luke Skywalker.  There was hope.

Christopher Plummer and Carrie Fisher were my incentives for seeing both movies.  As a result, I learned about the Getty history while the stage designs and props from Star Wars showcased the power of imaginative minds.

It was a grand opportunity to see the golden-aged Christopher Plummer plunge into a great, impromptu role and a chance to get a final wink from Carrie Fisher who is still speaking to us from the other side. Both actors helped my Christmas break shine even more brightly!

Lynn M.                                                               December 30, 2017