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All Rise (2019)
It's worth your time.
I have to wonder at all the one and three star reviews. I agree with the reviewer who said not to trust any reviewers who watched just one episode. All Rise is a show starring an ethnically diverse cast, all of whom are fine actors. The lead actor is a Black actress, and that makes for a nice change. Simone Missick is excellent as judge Carmichael, a judge who works hard to see justice served, and shows compassion for the people in her courtroom. Her friendship with Mark Callan is heartening, as is her relationship with her partner, even though he appears infrequently.
It's worth your time.
A Sensitive Look.
I was so impressed by this documentary. It's unusual that one would be made about someone so young, and as mentioned often, a girl who boxes. The documentarians give it a light touch. They let Claressa and her couch (a surrogate father) tell their story of struggle and success. For Claressa, who grew up with several younger sisters, a single mother who is loving when sober, mean and physically abusive when drunk, making something of herself and taking care of her family are her only two goals in life. The camera follows Claressa everywhere. The film opens with a shot of her, brow furrowed, face, deep in thought, and a crew of reporters puzzled by her demeanor since she'd just won a match. Claressa is upset because even though she won, she'd gotten her lowest scores ever, and she simply couldn't understand why they weren't higher. You immediately see that she is sensitive, thoughtful, and very, very smart.
The film follows Claressa on her quest to become an Olympian at the 2012 London Olympics. First, she travels to China, where she must fight in order to qualify. Opportunity is welcome but presents challenges, as well.
Claressa is from Flint, Michigan, the city known as the place the American government disdainfully forgot. Where children became deathly ill from drinking tap water. You begin to understand the urgency behind Claressa's drive to win.
I won't tell you the ending, but this is certainly worth your time.
Il a déjà tes yeux (2016)
Excellent comedy - makes you think.
I really enjoyed this film. Starring the glorious Aissa Maiga as one half of the lead couple who adopt a baby and keep his ethnicity a secret from their family. On the one side, you've got a social worker whose prejudice drives her surprise visits, seeking faults in the home or familial environment, and on the other, you've got the baby's adopted grandmother, doing what West African mothers do best - exaggerate everything! Luckily, she does this to comic effect, and I couldn't stop laughing throughout the film.
From the social worker's perspective, it's alright for white couples to adopt black children, as this is an already accepted practice, but it is not in the best interest of a white child to be adopted (or to be the first) by a black couple.
Without giving anything more away, I'll simply say that this is a great film to watch with friends and family, alike.
Great cast, tired formula.
Were it not for the excellent cast, I would have rated this series a 5 out of 10. Whose idea was it to cancel the refreshing Agent Carter, and put Hayley Atwell in yet another (unnecessary) crime drama? Conviction is self-satisfied, lazy, and holds no surprises. The cast is lovely and does what it can, but I can't imagine this show being at the top of the list for anyone under the age of 55. It tries too hard to be relevant and doesn't succeed. One has to wonder what the plan is for the show. 2 seasons? 3 seasons? Maybe 4? I'm already exhausted thinking about it.
A show like this should be limited to a run as a miniseries. That way, some success may be achieved. But please, please don't make us wince through hours of uninspired story lines. There's so much better on television these days, and this show does not even compete.
A wonderful surprise of a film!
It's been a while since I wrote a review, but when I saw the low rating for this wonderful movie, I simply had to chime in! This film became an instant favorite of mine because it has all the right elements of a good romantic comedy. Not like the rubbish we Americans make today, but like we used to make when Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant were around. In fact, the lead actress, Déborah François, bears a striking resemblance to Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman's wife, herself a wonderful actress in her own right, as well as Audrey Hepburn. That may be by design, but she fascinates me! The resemblance was the first thing that struck me. The second was the ambiance of the film. The actors seem perfectly cast, and it was easy to believe that they were in fact, set in the 1950s.
Without giving away the admittedly simple, yet highly effective story, I found myself guffawing at unexpected moments. Déborah François has great comedic timing, and Romain Duris as her leading man, wisely lets her take the lead.
Were it not for a single love scene, I would say that this would have made an excellent family movie. Still, for those 18 and older, it's a wonderful film with a great soundtrack, and oddly enough, includes a character (played by Shaun Benson) who reminded me a lot of Gene Kelly.
Mercy Street (2016)
A very good start.
I'm not sure why any viewer would compare a series set during American revolutionary times (the Civil War) to Downton Abbey. Downton Abbey was simply a remake of the popular (and recently remade) series, Upstairs, Downstairs. It was mostly an entertaining soap about a rich family and their household, but I digress...
First off, all of the actors are well-cast and do suitably good work. It's only been two episodes, so we'll have to wait and see as far as whether any heavy lifting will be required, acting wise. It's safe to say that we should expect to see the transformation of some of the characters, insofar as their beliefs are portrayed. There is a doctor, for example, who has no problem with slavery, but believes that it is his duty to equally treat Union and Confederate soldiers because, "Blood does not run grey or blue, it runs red." The nurse to whom he makes this argument (Nurse Mary/Baroness), is a staunch supporter of the Union and believes that as a Union hospital, Union soldiers can claim priority.
We have familiar faces in this cast - L. Scott Caldwell, Donna Murphy, Gary Cole, Tara Summers, and new ones in Shalita Grant, McKinley Belcher III, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. While Mercy Street bears some similarity to The Knick due to its setting (a hospital) and a promise of change to come, it is less graphic in its portrayal of the everyday occurrences of the medical world.
With the popularity of Hamilton on today's Broadway stage, Mercy Street is a welcome addition to the TV lineup, as anything that encourages today's American to learn about the past is a boon, indeed.
Effie Gray (2014)
A very good film.
This is a film treated with the delicacy that the real circumstances must have required. Effie Gray, based on the true story of a teenager who marries John Ruskin (grown man and well-known author), comes to realize that she and her husband have varying expectations of marriage. She slowly begins to fade away as she makes all appearances of following the rules of her new, married life.
The movie is well-paced, quiet, and stylistically appropriate. Dakota Fanning does a wonderful job of portraying Effie's quiet despair, and you do forget that she is an American actor (her accent is good). Derek Jacobi makes a guest turn, towards the end, and, It's always a pleasure to see Emma Thompson in anything, let alone in a vehicle for a screenplay that she has written.
Well worth seeing.