Best Books of the Month Shop Costumes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums All-New Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote Subscribe & Save Introducing Handmade New Kitchen Scale from AmazonBasics Amazon Gift Card Offer gdwf gdwf gdwf  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage  McCartney Shop Now Learn more
Profile for Judy K. Polhemus > Reviews


Judy K. Polhemus' Profile

Customer Reviews: 1011
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,458
Helpful Votes: 10112

Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Judy K. Polhemus "Book Collector" RSS Feed (Louisiana)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
Lila & Eve
Lila & Eve
DVD ~ Viola Davis
Price: $23.98
24 used & new from $7.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What's the real message?, September 6, 2015
This review is from: Lila & Eve (DVD)
What's the latest slogan? "Black lives matter" could be the theme of "Lila and Eve," but not quite. It's not enough. What's enough is to take seriously, very seriously, a mother's grief and anger especially when the police seem to be coasting when a black life is taken. So, in the end, all is not what it seems. Black lives do matter, and Puerto Rican lives, even in overwhelmingly frequent murders being investigated by too few police officers.

That said, Viola Davis is the focus character, a grieving mother over the loss of her older son, and Jennifer Lopez is the voice of action, whatever it takes, to seek revenge and resulting satisfaction in that revenge for the death of her daughter. They meet at a support group for mothers of slain children. This group becomes pivotal to the plot several times and shows exactly what the word "support" means
I find Viola Davis a fascinating actor. She is not classically beautiful nor does she wear makeup that makes her beautiful as female actors are wont to do, especially in movies. She actually looks as if she lives an ordinary life in a lower class neighborhood, thus she fits the role. Jennifer Lopez does the same. No glamour here.

The only weak link is Shea Whigham, who plays the detective investigating the son's murder. I didn't like the askance glances he employs in speaking to people, particularly Lila, Davis's character. Other reviewers mention the surprise twist (which did surprise me). It makes Lila seem more believable and human.

Modern America, with its drugs and drive-by killings, is on trial in "Lila and Eve." While the verdict in this one case may be satisfying on some levels, there is the question of moral and ethical turpitude. The indictment is not toward the police or toward vigilantes, but toward the extremely far direction America has come to reach the level explored in this film. It should open frank discussions.

The Outsider
The Outsider
DVD ~ Tim Daly
Price: $9.92
32 used & new from $5.34

5.0 out of 5 stars A romantic movie!, August 31, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Outsider (DVD)
My brother and I keep a running tally of romantic movies we both love: "50 First Dates," "Overboard," "Born Yesterday" (Melanie Griffith), "Knight and Day." Now I am adding "The Outsider." The embrace after her begging for forgiveness before the church crowd is so powerful! So much so, that I just ordered the movie. Like others who reviewed this movie, I want to be able to see it over and over. Then I might hand it over to my brother.

So, what makes a western about a gunslinger so romantic? So many things come together to make a memorable romance. The choice of actors is the main one for me. Tim Daley! He's been a favorite of mine ever since "Wings," though his performance in "Madame Secretary" is a also compelling.
Here, he is perfect. His facial expressions, his strong physique, his dark hair and eyes (playing on 'tall, dark, and handsome'). He is introduced into the story almost like a myth: lone stranger appearing out of nowhere.

The only weak link is Naomi Watts as Plain woman living the Plain life. Her occasional scrunchy facial expressions are, frankly, weird. But, overall, she does execute her role well. Her part in that powerful embrace matches Mr. Daly's perfectly! Awesome! Also, her prayer that turns into a declaration of love is also emotionally rich and complete!

Basically, this is the story of the Big Bad Wolf coming into the lives of an isolated woman and son on the plains, trying to sheepherd. The wealthy big shot cattleman kills her husband and threatens her until the Wolf, no longer bad, but protective, helps her.

"The Outsider" is a revelation. One of Ms Watts's compelling speeches is her statement that all people can be redeemed and that this wounded stranger has a right to seek this forgiveness and resulting redemption. The moral element threads throughout the story, gracefully, not obnoxiously.

I look forward to receiving my DVD so that my brother and I can once again share a favorite romantic movie, this time adding to our repertoire.

Skechers Performance Women's Go Walk 2 Hypo Slip-On Walking Shoe,Navy/Coral,6.5 M US
Skechers Performance Women's Go Walk 2 Hypo Slip-On Walking Shoe,Navy/Coral,6.5 M US

4.0 out of 5 stars Wow, one for the colors!, May 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I own several pairs of various Skechers. No two fit exactly the same. Each style has its own unique fit. This particular Skecher is a little stiffer than the softer, earlier styles. That's not to say this Go Walk 2 isn't comfortable--it pretty much is. Yet I don't sound excited. If I can wear it all day on my troubled, pained feet, then it must be satisfactory. The problem is my troubled, pained feet and not the shoe. There it is--the truth. The shoe is fine, the colors are wild and fun. It's the colors I bought and I do love the shoe because of them. I actually feel perky wearing these shoes. So, I again, I say these shoes are fine.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 28, 2015 4:35 PM PDT

Devil's Hand
Devil's Hand
DVD ~ Rufus Sewell
Price: $11.99
59 used & new from $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can evil be predicted?, December 29, 2014
This review is from: Devil's Hand (DVD)
Do prophecies come true? Can a enclosed community really keep evil out? What if sin is already in the community through its highest authority? What then?

Perhaps intent may be the strongest catalyst to bringing in evil. "Devil's Hand," or Drommelkind, is the end result of the prophecy of six girls being born on the sixth day of the sixth month. One mother killed both her baby and herself to nix the prophecy. Didn't work, as the viewer learns. The remaining five girls live as close as sisters, then the day of their eighteenth birthday nears and terrible things begin to happen. Suicide (really?) and murders of the "chosen" girls and those near to them start occurring. The viewer sees a black-garbed figure with a scythe or sickle and the swinging blows and resultant blood. Those scenes are very technically and cleverly done to give maximum effect with minimum visceral offering.

Is this figure one belonging to the Devil, come to help his Drommelkind? Or is the figure human, using the black of night and prophecy to yield blows against foretold evil? Or something else entirely?

"Devil's Hand" turns out to be an artistically told story, cinematically strong, carefully directed, even enthusiastically. The acting is certainly first-rate and quite surprising. I expected a let's-make-a-movie mentality, but I was pleasantly pleased with this movie.
It is worth much more than the $5 bin from which I obtained it, but then "Skyfall" was in that same bin.

The film can be classified as horror or thriller, but also mainstream. And the ending is not to be missed! Trust me on this!

Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer
Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer
by Katie Alender
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.63
67 used & new from $4.33

3.0 out of 5 stars Read with an open mind, December 27, 2014
The fair way to review "Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer" is to list the positive reasons for reading this off-the-chart fictional history. Katie Alender starts with a real historical person then adds a fictional Order of the Key, a club of six families at the time of Marie, who swore their allegiance to protect her and her children during the French Revolution. Despite being fictional, this order made for interesting reading. What the author did was use the order to point out actual historical events.

The main reason for reading this novel is the exposure to current cultural aspects of Paris--and there are many. She describes food, smells, small family comraderie, museum trips, metro rides and how to figure them, archives, and, of course, money and language.

Tucked into this fictional/real story is the ill treatment of friends by the haughty, rich girl who demands her way everywhere. There are three in this clique, however, the third girl begins with a modicum of decency and grows increasingly kind and thoughtful. So this aspect makes the book more likeable.

The most fantastic (as in fantasy) is Marie Antoinette as a ghost serial killer. Yep, I do not lie. She whacks heads. Spoiler? No way. Look at the title of the book. It's real, except, of course, it's not.

Overall, I would recommend this book to the middle school crowd (although there is a kissing scene).

A Most Wanted Man (DVD+DIGITAL)
A Most Wanted Man (DVD+DIGITAL)
DVD ~ Philip Seymour Hoffman
Offered by newtownvideos
Price: $7.32
84 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Playing it safe--and thus plodding along, December 22, 2014
Note: Even though I will attempt to write around spoilers, one may leak into this review.

"A Most Wanted Man" is not the film I expected to see. Promotions touted it as a "tense spy thriller with an unexpected ending." It's that ending that is so bothersome. I fully expected Hoffman to work in counter-intelligence and be that pusher in the center of the "unexpected." Let's just say that the term counter-intelligence goes too far. Hoffman, indeed, goes too far, but (spoiler) not in the way one would think.

Hoffman plays the head of a little spy agency based in Hamburg. While his acting may be intense here and there--but not that much. His acting was neither impressive prize worthy. In fact, his acting was ho-hum, how much am I getting paid for this role? type. Oh yes, there were two really big moments: both times when he lit a cigarette downwind. He had to bend over and stretch his body to prevent the wind from blowing out his light. Not a nail-biting moment.

If I seem to be poking fun at Mr. Hoffman's acting, you must know that I respect his real acting, but this movie doesn't exemplify it. As for other actors, they lend credence to "A Most Wanted Man" as a serious thriller/spy film. Rachel McAdams deserves most praise as the illegal immigrant's attorney, while Willem Dafoe turns in a respectful performance as the banker in charge of the suspected terrorist's huge money supply. Terrorist, immigrant--that's the initial question for the little spy agency and the government of Germany at the beginning. Once the immigrant's identity has been established, focus turns on the Muslim cleric to whom he seeks to give money. The actor playing the Chechen immigrant shows little sign of his acting chops.

The more powerful agencies give free rein to Hoffman's agency in locating the immigrant and following his movements. They also latch on to the attorney. By the end all hands are on deck, so to speak, and all truths are out. And it's not what the viewer has come to expect.

The movie is watchable, but expect no awards, even if this was Hoffman's last full acting gig. There is no sense of urgency or thrill or even danger. The action just plods along, teasing that imminent danger is ahead, but when it comes, what? That was it?

DVD ~ Adrien Brody
Price: $17.99
16 used & new from $6.75

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars O the horror, the horror! (updated version), August 18, 2014
This review is from: Detachment (DVD)
"Detachment" is the new film starring Adrian Brody, who is becoming large in my eyes for his keen acting ability. His own eyes reflect the detachment of the title and the great sorrow detachment brings. He is not part of us; he belongs elsewhere, but while he's here, let's cling fiercely to him for all he's worth or let's ignore him totally. This is the view of his students, the substitute who has come to these modern existentialists, those who are also detached. Those not are ignored in this film.

Brody plays a permanent substitute teacher who moves from school to school, filling in for first one teacher then the next. His job mirrors his commitment-less life. One point he makes is that we all have secrets. His is seeing his pitiful mother naked and dead as a young boy. It's a story etched in his face and blast through his eyes. It helps him present depressing literature to a class full of pained and hurting teenagers. They sense his depths of pain and want to commit to him, drain his life, pulse it into their own veins of emptiness and loneliness and despair.

A female colleague tells Brody's character that she is afraid of going home. Her soul is also devoid of emotion--it's just hollowness. She's Eliot's hollow man. She is all right in the classroom where she is engaged and engaging, yet all those hours alone at home are just too frightening to consider.

Lucy Liu plays the counselor who abhors counseling because of the horror she encounters in these teens' abysmal lives. Finally, she tells one girl who has a dwarfish soul to get "the f.... out of her office." It's a powerful scene of one educator completely coming unglued and letting the knives out of the drawer.

Marcia Gay Hardin is the stern, all-business principal who loses her job during the film. Her reaction to her second detachment is so pitiful that it will bring deep sorrow to the viewer. Apparently the director knows detachment himself to imbue, even drench his film with it.

One iota of joy concludes this celluloidic adventure: the prostitute teen whom Brody's character befriends, well, the film is worth this last scene, this little iota of joy or something like joy.

The film is presented much like a documentary on the barren life of a teacher and the teens in his/her arena. There is much about the film that rings so true (spoken by a teacher of 40 years), and perhaps much that is exaggerated. The director pushes a heavy hand to draw attention to the utter despair that is our modern times in far too many lives.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 29, 2014 5:26 PM PST

Memory Game Birds of North America
Memory Game Birds of North America
Offered by imagine products
Price: $20.73
7 used & new from $13.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It takes two birds..., July 23, 2014
My siblings and I grew up playing games. When my sister found this Memory Game Birds of America, she bought and bestowed it as a gift to our brother's children. We've been playing this game for several years now. Each time is as much fun as the last.

And what a memory booster! There must be 100 cards (I don't have the game in front of me) of 50 matching pairs of birds. When all the cards are turned face down, they fill the top of an extended dining table. The goal of the game is to win as many sets of matching birds as possible. The quality of the photos is sharp and bright, colorful and identifying. We love looking at the birds.

So, the cards are face down. We go clockwise with the youngest player starting the game.The player turns up two cards, trying to find matching cards. The trick is to memorize the location of all turned up cards. My 14-year-old nephew and 16-year-old niece are the reigning champions, but the little one, the first grader going into second, has now equaled her brother in cards captured. I'm still the low man (the great aunt). If the player matches a pair, he/she gets another turn. No match, then next player takes a turn.

The game is frustrating for those of us whose memory is not as sharp as it once was, but a fun experience in watching how well the little ones play. The grandfather turned it into a generational match when we finally convinced him to play. We play as individuals usually, one against one. Or boys vs girls.

The best way to end the game is not to count the final captured cards. That way everyone has a positive experience.

Another way to use the cards is to sit and study the pictures, alone or with another. Prepare for a match to come and, coincidentally, learn to identify birds.

The only drawback to this set of cards is that there is no identifying information about the birds--just the photo and the name. A factoid would be nice.

Black & Decker NST2118 12-Inch 18-Volt Ni-Cd Cordless Electric GrassHog String Trimmer/Edger
Black & Decker NST2118 12-Inch 18-Volt Ni-Cd Cordless Electric GrassHog String Trimmer/Edger

5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a die-hard B&D fan/user!, July 22, 2014
The Black and Decker NST2118 12-inch cordless edger/trimmer is a superior product to its predecessor (mine just died of a long, active, productive life). My near-by super duper national discount house wasn't carrying edgers at this time of year (what? grass doesn't grow in the summer?!) Went online and, of course, found the B&D edger/trimmer on Amazon. Ordered the product and began using it the day it arrived. Love it! The removable battery lasts long enough to do either yard (front or back) at a time. Since I'm a little old lady, I mow only one at a time.

I found two wonderful improvements over the previous B&D trimmer: the handle is adjustable (yay!) and the battery is removable for charging. The previous unit had to be plugged into a charging unit.

I'm really giving four and one-half stars and discounting perhaps for something Black and Decker cannot help. The unit is a bit heavy for a little old lady's arm.

I really like this unit and find it fun to use!

Edited Note: After using this unit all summer, I am adding that half star into my evaluation. I had arthritis in my arm that supports the unit. Holding it caused pain, totally not the fault of the unit's weight. After the pain diminished, I zapped right through my yard without a problem. Therefore, I am giving Black and Decker its due point.

Bad Words
Bad Words
DVD ~ Jason Bateman
Price: $7.50
38 used & new from $1.61

4.0 out of 5 stars Winning, July 13, 2014
This review is from: Bad Words (DVD)
There are all kinds of words out there to use to describe "Bad Words," but finding the right ones might be tricky. It might also be tricky to describe just what kind of movie this is. Sure, it's comedy and Jason Bateman is totally the right person for his role. It might be a social issue story about bad childhoods and tough luck adult lives. Or it might be a story about child neglect and abuse, but not totally. So, just what is "Bad Words?"

For one thing, Bateman, actor and director, is up front about content. There are plenty of "bad words," many of which are said by the ten-year-old boy actor who is Bateman's main competitor in a prestigious national spelling bee. Also perfect is the boy's comic timing--it's incredible, or perhaps the director was on cue in his direction. When the boy is encouraged to use bad words, he blurts out with "m-f" so forthrightly that the viewer must wonder if he has used such words before.

So what do bad words have to do with anything? Bateman's character meets all the requirements to participate in the contest, including never finishing the eighth grade. Lest you think he is not bright, the viewer learns that this character is a genius, which becomes quite evident during the spelling phase. The director of the bee, out of outrage that Bateman has bested all the adults in preventing him from participating, rigs the contest so that he gets all the 40-letter words, which, of course, he can spell.

Bateman uses any unethical, tacky, downright immoral tactics to disqualify various contestants. Chaitanya spends his contest time in a hotel room alone. His dad wants him to be his own man. What? Alone? A ten-year-old? Bateman takes him out for recreation and fun, his version. Expect the unexpected. And it's all funny (I say under my breath because showing a ten-year-old a prostitute's huge breasts just does not seem right...).

See? Words just cannot do this movie justice. It is so uniquely funny, even though repulsively so. After Bateman digs in under the viewer's skin, he becomes Everyman in a plot to get justice, no matter how. Comic bite and poignant justice are served equally well. I really appreciated both Bateman's intent and delivery of intent. The movie, I predict, will become a classic.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20