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Royal Matchmaker (2018 TV Movie)
Matchmaker hired for a Prince but she just might be the one herself.
19 May 2022
Hallmark movie. Predictable and pleasant entertainment. Filmed in Romania. My wife and I enjoyed it, as light entertainment before bedtime.

The King of a fictitious small country in Europe, where everyone speaks with a distinct British accent, desperately wants his adult son, future King, to find a mate, to be the future Queen. The Valet learns about a New York based matchmaker with a great success rate. They ask her to travel to their small country to make the match, find someone for the reluctant Prince.

If one were to analyze the situation and the story in detail one could find many flaws. But that isn't the point if you decide to watch a Hallmark movie. You just go with it and let yourself be entertained. The main characters are delightful and the movie is entertaining.

At home on DVD from our public library.
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Really good and touching movie based on a true story.
18 May 2022
Set in Chicago and with some establishing shots but filmed in Canada. It is based on a true story of real people and we see them at the end.

She is in nursing school, has been feeling somewhat puny and tests show she has a liver disease that is at stage four. She needs to find a donor and doesn't have lots of time.

He is just out of the Marines and back home working for a tree nursery. It is nearing Christmas so mainly they are selling Christmas trees. He is naturally a generous person, when he finds out she (a stranger) needs a transplant he gets tested and finds out he is a suitable fit.

So the movie is about their meeting under these difficult circumstances and gradually forming a bond. Being a Hallmark movie something comes in the way, a big issue they have to overcome, but as usual, two minutes before the movie ends, we witness the "Hallmark Kiss."

Good movie, my wife and I both enjoyed it a lot, at home on DVD from our public library. It has been an unusually hot month of May here in Texas, 96 today, so watching a winter movie was a good break.
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The old Blueberry farm and paintings in Maine.
17 May 2022
In our quest to watch every Hallmark movie ever made, my wife and I found this one on DVD from our local library.

She is a New York City lawyer, she and her mother are going through things of her deceased grandmother. (Played well by Shirley Jones, in a well-preserved deceased state, conversing with granddaughter.) Among the items are a letter to be delivered "by hand" to a person and address in a small fishing village in Maine.

Delivery of that letter opens lots of doors and windows, as she meets the man who is the heir to the letter, his great uncle who almost was the husband of the deceased grandmother. But they decided to take different paths. Knowing this and sizing up her own situation influences her decisions, will she go back to New York or will she stay?

(Part of the story is discovering a number of paintings her grandmother had done as a young woman, something her family had not been aware of.)

We enjoyed this movie, it pretty well follows the Hallmark formula and the actors create characters easy to care about.
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Monday (2020)
Riding a scooter nude through the nighttime streets of Athens, Greece.
15 May 2022
He and she are Americans in Greece, each had just experienced failed relationships. They meet at a night spot, they wake up the next morning on the beach. Nude. It must have been a wild and "unmemorable" night. They get into mild trouble, quickly dismissed. No harm, no foul I suppose.

Most of us who are rational adults cannot identify with these characters and their friends. They are not relatable, it is hard to have any sympathy for them. She is an immigration lawyer and scheduled to return to the States the next day but stays in Athens instead with a commercial jingle writer who seems to be mostly irresponsible. Without really knowing anything about him or whether they might be compatible. Only that they enjoy sex like horny rabbits.

The title comes from the idea that two people can really connect in a series of fun weekend exploits together but when Monday comes, what happens next? How do they handle the real world?

I found the movie hard to enjoy most times because most characters used constant filthy language which is jarring to the senses. Plus so many 30-somethings acting like irresponsible teenagers. But I suppose that is the point, showing how that can make life difficult to navigate and how two people who barely know each other probably aren't really compatible, at least not "easily" compatible. The ending is open to lots of interpretation regarding what might happen next.

I enjoyed some of it, especially the scene with the two naked characters being chased by police through the streets of Athens. But can't rate it very highly. My wife and I watched it at home on DVD from our public library.
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Firestarter (1984)
Early Drew Barrymore role as the child fire starter.
14 May 2022
This is one of those 1980s movies I missed over the years and only watched it now, mainly to compare it to the just released 2022 remake of the same name. My wife had read the King book, I never did, so I just took it on its own merits.

Young Drew Barrymore is the star as little Charlie (Charlene) born with pyrokinetic powers. Mainly, when she gets very angry things catch on fire. If she gets really angry she can shoot fireballs and some fear that as she grows to adulthood she could cause an explosion similar to a nuclear bomb. Maybe even split the Earth in two!

Because of all this her parents work with her to devise ways to control it, to deflect her anger into something else. Or to think happy thoughts. Much of the movie has the dad and Charlie fleeing, trying to live a low-profile life so that she doesn't get captured by authorities who want to study her.

The movie is filled with some of the best actors of the time, including George C. Scott and Art Carney. While this is not my preferred genre I enjoyed the movie. I find this original 1984 movie much better than the 2022 remake which makes a number of significant changes to the story. Set in Maine, filmed in North Carolina.

My wife and I watched it back-to-back with the new 2022 version, both streaming on Peacock.
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Firestarter (2022)
Remake of the 1984 movie, with significant changes.
14 May 2022
Some reviews question why this movie had to be remade. The reason is obvious, there are so many actors, producers, directors, and crew that movies need to be made to keep them employed. This remake was courtesy of Peacock (NBC owned) for streaming online and made by the movie production company Blumhouse. Their business seems to be turning out decent movies quickly and we would hardly expect them to be superior.

This one is mostly entertaining but seems to have something missing in the general flow and presentation. It generally follows the story arc of the book but many scenes are handled quite differently from the 1984 movie version, and the ending is totally different. The 1984 version has Charlie going into the NY Times office, we can pretty well imagine what is next. This 2022 version has her on a beach at night and we have no idea what is next.

Because I had never watched the original 1984 movie we watched both of them back-to-back, streaming on Peacock. While neither one will become a favorite of mine I did come away with a preference for the 1984 version with Drew Barrymore in the starring role.

At home streaming on Peacock.
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Love Under the Rainbow (2019 TV Movie)
Enjoyable Hallmark movie with Jodie Sweetin all grown up.
13 May 2022
My wife and I both enjoyed this movie a bit more than the usual Hallmark movie, and we have seen a bunch of them. Always dependable for good clean entertainment. While the movie follows the usual themes it was fun to see how they would get there, and Sweetin in the lead role makes it a cut above most. Hers is just a very pleasant character that makes you want to root for her.

Filmed in Vancouver it is set in a fictional west coast community. She is a school teacher and gets a new student, a girl transferring from Chicago. Her single dad is a structural engineer, brought there to work on a bridge that needs to be completed promptly. His daughter acts as a catalyst.

At home on DVD from our public library.
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Very dark comedy of errors and lies, filmed in Natchez, Mississippi.
11 May 2022
There are a number of good, experienced actors but the point person is Allison Janney. She lacks self-confidence, she listens to the types of tapes that tell you that you are worthwhile and she repeats those things to herself, especially in stressful situations. This is a dark comedy, her husband dies, several others are shot point-blank, there is a large amount of money involved.

I enjoy this sort of absurd story once in a while, my wife can't stand these. And for the most part I was entertained. In general I don't like movies where lots of shooting and killing are part of the story but this one is so "OTT" and absurd that I gave it a break.

At home on Amazon streaming movies.
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Home Sweet Home (I) (2020)
Victoria shows that a Tiger really can change her stripes.
11 May 2022
So Victoria is a pretty but very shallow young lady living in the Tacoma, Washington area. She works as a coffee shop barista and when new guy in town, nice-looking Jason, comes into the shop she immediately goes into her flirt mode. But she gets no reaction from him.

So she finds out he has arrived to head up a new Christian ministry and decides to do something completely out of character, she volunteers to help out. Just so she can try to nab him. She soon finds out the project is to build a house for a single mother with two girls, she knows nothing of tools or building and nothing of Christianity.

This is not a Hallmark movie but it follows the general theme, a rough start, a growing affection, a hard falling out from a misunderstanding, then a nice reconciliation sealed with a kiss.

This is not a superior movie, some of the dialog doesn't ring true and some of the acting seems a bit amateurish. Still, my wife and I enjoyed it at home for pleasant entertainment. The overall message is to quit working so hard on your exterior and spend effort on you interior, the person who you are. Not always putting yourself first.

Streaming on Amazon Prime.
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The Beach House (2018 TV Movie)
Very pleasant Hallmark movie with attractive actors on Tybee Island.
10 May 2022
Set in South Carolina but filmed in Georgia, Savannah and Tybee Island. A 30-something daughter left home some 15 years earlier to make her career in Chicago. A very difficult dad was her impetus. Now dad is long gone and she is coming home to visit mom and brother, but also with a secret, she has lost her job and has some life decisions to make.

She quickly meets up again with an old friend who had been more, they have sparks right away but she is very reluctant. She fully expects to head back to Chicago soon and doesn't want to start up something again.

This get really complex when her mother tells all of them she has an inoperable condition and this is probably her last summer. The movie follows a typical clean Hallmark path and my wife and I enjoyed it as pleasant entertainment.

At home streaming from Amazon .
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Love at First Bark (2017 TV Movie)
Set in Oregon, filmed in Canada, attractive lady designer wants a dog.
9 May 2022
When this movie was over my wife and I both said "This is not one of the better Hallmark movies."

A young lady who gained her designer experience with a firm in Portland decides to strike out on her own, with a friend, they now have a small design business and seek clients.

At the same time she decides she wants a dog but knows nothing about dog care or dog training. Through this development she meets a guy who works with dogs, he is handsome enough he could be a movie star. He falls for her quicker than she falls for him, something alienates them (jealousy of an old girlfriend) but they recover. Plus in the process she gets noticed and starts to gain clients.

It isn't a bad movie, just not particularly good. It is somewhat lazy but sufficient for an evening before bed. No worse content than a TV show with attractive people.

At home on DVD from our public library.
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Love Takes Flight (2019 TV Movie)
Hallmark movie, Savannah hospital needs a helicopter pilot.
8 May 2022
Set and filmed in Savannah, for us it revived pleasant memories of our long weekend there a few years ago. A noted surgeon has developed a new transplant technique, she is looking for a hospital where she can make it work. A missing piece at the moment is no helicopter pilot, the transplant material has a very short required transit time.

They find a pilot, former military, but he is also attracted to the pretty and capable doctor who has become the hospital administrator. The attraction turns out mutual but, following the Hallmark formula, something gets in the way. Only at the last possible moment are they able to get on the same wavelength.

My wife and I enjoy Hallmark movies, they are pleasant entertainment and always under 90 minutes. As this one is. We watched it at home on DVD from our public library.
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Darrow & Darrow: Witness to Murder (2019)
Season 1, Episode 4
Kimberly Williams and Tom Cavanagh make this a fun viewing.
7 May 2022
We watched this as much because it has Tom Cavanagh and Kimberly Williams as for any reason. Both attorneys, he a prosecutor in the DA's office, she working for a firm. And they might be dating, it is hard to tell. As Hallmark scripts tend to go, they end up on opposite sides of a murder case.

For economy of time, and to avoid boring viewers, the courtroom scenes are highly compressed versions of what might really go on in court. But hey, it's a Hallmark movie. It is an entertaining movie and not everything is resolved until the penultimate scene.

We watched it at home on DVD from our public library.
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Mixes fact and fiction during World War One times.
6 May 2022
As I started watching this movie, as it opens with a visit to a concentration camp in South Africa in 1902, I figured it was a serious treatment of the times. However as the movie unfolded it became clear that there was a heavy mixture of fact and fantasy. It moves forward to 1914 and most of the story involves the unfolding of the war.

In this fictional treatment an English Duke, Orlando, has formed a private spy network consisting of domestic servants employed by the world's most powerful dignitaries. They gather intelligence and target certain people, all with the intent to protect Great Britain from an invasion and defeat.

As the movie advances it includes a number of scenes of absurdities, I actually enjoyed them as comedy. Like the extended fight with Rasputin. Or the Duke trying to parachute onto the high plateau farm, eventually having to battle goats on a cliff to gain access. Fantastical stuff that has no basis in reality.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, I did, in some respects it reminded me of Wes Anderson's "Grand Budapest Hotel" in the chases and absurdities. I might watch it again now that I know what the tone is supposed to be.

My wife skipped, she was tired from a day at golf, I watched it at home streaming on Amazon during their "watchathon" week.
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The Batman (2022)
The Riddler takes on The Batman.
5 May 2022
This could almost be titled "Batman vs Riddler" because that is mostly what is written into the script. Plus some scenes where Batman and Selena (Catwoman) discuss whether they have a future together. The story takes place over 7 days, beginning with Halloween. The Riddler is angered over businessmen and politicians continually vowing to restore Gotham City to its former glory but being dishonest instead. So there is a hit list.

The action and cinematography are good, but this is a dark, brooding movie that never lets humor in at all. For those of us who have viewed the various Batman TV shows and movies over the years, a complete lack of humor is a new approach. Not that Batman and his business are funny but in real life, no matter how grim, some humor surfaces from time to time.

Did I enjoy this movie? Yes, I did but do not count it among one of the better movies I have seen. In this specific genre I enjoyed "Batman Begins" a lot more, there is more development and more story. Also this movie is very long at almost 3 hours and it was hard to maintain attention all the way through.

I am puzzled by the IMDb ratings for this movie, just about 75% are either 8, 9, or 10. Yet most of the meaningful user reviews are a lot less glowing. To me it is somewhere between a 5 and a 7 movie, depending on what exactly one likes.

I have this DVD requested from my public library but it came available this week as a free viewing on Xfinity's week-long "watchathon." So I streamed it. My wife skipped.
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Georgetown (2019)
Based on a true story, younger narcissist marries a much older woman.
4 May 2022
In a sense this is the Christoph Waltz show, he directs and stars as a man who had great ambitions but was totally duplicitous. In the Washington, D. C. area. Dabbling on the edges of politics and wars. When he 91-yr-old wife turns up dead in their home he is the logical suspect.

In the real life inspiration for the movie the younger man met his eventual wife when he was still a teenager in college. She was married at the time but after her husband died they reconnected. They married in 1990 when she was 70 and he was 26. Her death was 21 years later.

There are a number of really good actors but the movie succeeds on the performance of Christoph Waltz as the duplicitous narcissist. I have seen him in a variety of roles and he is always excellent, a real expert in his craft.

My wife and I watched it at home streaming on Amazon. A really interesting and entertaining movie.
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The Outfit (2022)
He's not a tailor, he's a cutter.
3 May 2022
Set in 1956 Chicago, the central character is a Bespoke suit maker played expertly by Mark Rylance. As he has established his business, central to that are the crime ring members who use his services and also his business as a drop off point for some mysterious packages. Presumably some packages of cash, to be picked up by the boss' men.

On this night there is a tape, supposedly made by a "rat" to expose the crime operations. The identity of this rat is central to the story. We see a number of characters enter the story, some smarter than the others, but the only really smart one is the suit maker who is quick to clarify, "I'm not a tailor, they just sew on buttons and stitch hems. I am a cutter."

As the story moves along it exposes itself somewhat as a dark comedy and we witness how the cutter is able to manipulate everything to get the results he needs for him and his young female receptionist.

Very interesting movie that takes place essentially in one place, the suit maker's shop. My wife and I watched it at home, streaming on Peacock.
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Stealing Paradise (2011 TV Movie)
Entertaining "who-dunnit" TV movie.
2 May 2022
I like Rachael Lee Cook, always have and always will. She is the main reason I decided to watch this movie. She plays a character close to her age, a 29-year-old MIT-trained aeronautical engineer. Up-and-coming star in her Boston area company. Her senior co-worker becomes aware of a project she is working on at home, it would be a new type of device for braking after landing of jet engines. Inspired by her father, a pilot who died because of a short runway.

One day she becomes aware that the other fellow is claiming the invention for himself. All her designs show up on his work computer. Then he is found dead, apparently murdered. All that happens pretty early in the movie and the rest is trying to figure out who the murderer is.

It has all the earmarks of a low-budget TV movie and some of the scenes, especially in the courtroom, are a bit cheesy. But the story is constructed in a way that makes it entertaining and interesting all the way through. My wife and I enjoyed it as light but decent entertainment.

At home, streaming on Amazon Prime movies.
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Sequel - dealing with the alien monsters.
1 May 2022
I had watched the first movie almost 4 years ago so it was nice that the opening of this sequel had scenes recapping what happened. We see families at a boys' baseball game when something happens in the sky and soon the sightless alien creatures are wreaking havoc and people are running for cover. As we know from the first movie Lee didn't survive so we join mom, Evelyn, and the kids. Plus a brand new baby. To witness how they are learning to survive.

While this movie is very well made it isn't that interesting. We see some encounters, we see the coping mechanisms, but in the end it does not give any real hope that Earthlings will ever eradicate the aliens. Or a finality where only aliens remain. Will it just continue to be a series of encounters until all humans are gone?

My wife and I watched it at home, streaming on Amazon Prime.
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The Protégé (2021)
Little Asian girl witnesses violence and grows up to be an assassin.
30 April 2022
I was bored and found this movie on Amazon streaming. There is a story but it gets muddled when she finds the revenge she seeks becomes unnecessary. It is a stylish movie, and at some level entertaining, especially when this well-trained lady gets the best of the bad guys. Most of the time.

However it is very violent, and many killings are shown as point-blank executions with a bullet to the head and blood flying out the other side. Excessively violent for my enjoyment. It seems that technique is used as a substitute for intelligent writing.

So I don't rate it particularly highly, it could have been so much better.
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Pleasant and entertaining, talent agent returns to Alabama for class reunion.
29 April 2022
It was spooky watching this movie, lead actor James Maslow looks just like singer Adam Levine, minus all the tattoos. I had to keep reminding myself he was NOT Levine.

He plays Bryce Dixon, an Alabamian who left town 15 years ago to carve out his career in Los Angeles. He is returning for the class reunion in his hometown of 14,000 and is ashamed to be "single". So he takes along one of his clients, a pretty actress, to pretend to be his girlfriend.

This isn't a Hallmark movie but it follows the same formula. Two attractive and single people begin to be greatly attracted to each other, something comes up to tear it apart, and the last scenes are where everything is made right.

My wife and I watched it at home streaming on Amazon. We enjoyed it, a modern fairy tale of sorts, the actors are pleasant and it was nice to see old American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, a true Alabamian, singing a few songs.
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Henry and Celia were lovers.
26 April 2022
The story centers on (fictional) Flight 127 in 2012 that was taken over in Austria by terrorists, their demands weren't met, everyone died, including the terrorists. Now 8 years later, in 2020, the American "agency" again sets out to examine how things unfolded back then with the new, unverified information that a captured terrorist said there was an inside informant that gave them some key information. Henry is assigned the task to interview key personnel to try to verify or refute that information. One of those is his ex-lover Celia.

The movie uses an editing approach that is frustrating at times, as they switch frequently between present time and eight years earlier. Then as things start to jell near the end, a key scene is replayed showing information that was withheld from the audience the first time around. Then everything we saw is tied together only during the last few minutes of the movie.

It certainly is manipulative, to keep viewers guessing until the very end. Ultimately the doomed flight 127 is just an event that allows the story to explore the real relationship between Henry and Celia and what some people will do for love.

My wife and I watched it at home on Amazon Prime streaming movies. Not a great movie but we were entertained. Pine and Newton are good.
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Game Night (I) (2018)
Better and funnier than we thought it would be. Let's do Game Night!
23 April 2022
We were drawn to this movie for Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, they always give good performances. Here they star as the married couple trying to have kids. But for me the real scene stealer is Jesse Plemons as the next door neighbor, the cop who is being shunned for the occasional game night among friends.

What starts out as a very tame game night gets wild right away, as one person is kidnapped and the rest are forced to look for him. But some of the criminal activity is fake, in the spirit of an extended game night. As the story moves along it becomes hard to know if certain things are fake or real.

It is a madcap movie, there are many very funny lines and observations in the script. All in all a very entertaining 90 or so minutes.

At home on DVD from our public library.
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Jewel as the contractor helps solve a murder mystery.
22 April 2022
As common in many Hallmark movies it is set in Oregon but filmed in Canada. My wife and I enjoyed it at home on DVD from our public library. Some of the "mystery" is treated rather simplistically but in all it is an entertaining viewing.

Already a fan of her singing, I became a big fan of Jewel's acting in the 1999 Civil War themes movie "Ride with the Devil." Of that I wrote at the time, "For her film debut, I think Jewel did a fine job in the role she was required to play, a natural, really. It will be interesting to see what other roles she may get." She really is a natural, she is very authentic in the role.
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Grifter gets a break and joins the Carney in 1930s.
21 April 2022
Bradley Cooper is really great in the lead role. He always comes across as a nice man but there is a very dark side in him, one that doesn't allow him to really care for anyone else.

Set in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the movie opens with him dragging a wrapped body across the floor, into a hole, then set sets it all ablaze and walks away through a field as the house burns down. It is only revealed slowly what the situation was. He boards a bus and when it reaches the end of the line he disembarks to find himself in the midst of a traveling carnival.

That turns out to be his big break, he is taken in and he studies others to develop what will become his biggest success, as a medium able to communicate with the dead.

The movie is done in a 1930s and 1940s film noir style, but with color. The writer-director managed to assemble a real all-star cast and the characterizations are all top-notch.

I enjoyed it at home on DVD from my public library. My wife skipped, not her type of movie.
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