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Sheryl Fechter RSS Feed (Northern Illinois, United States)

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Love Me
Love Me
DVD
Price: $3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Outrageously Funny?", I Didn't Seem To View The Documentary In This Context ..., April 29, 2015
This review is from: Love Me (Amazon Instant Video)
To say that this documentary is, as described, "Outrageously Funny" and "Funny" just didn't fit these situations, they certainly did not lead to laughs for me. It is explained on IMDb along with these words of the previous phrases as "touching" and an "unforgettable look" also. I can agree with an unforgettable look, this is for sure. We begin with Dr. Phil explaining his topic for that day which is, "Mail Order Brides" for this due subject and then onto Matt Lauer's questioning of it also. Then typing this onto the computer screen comes, "A Foreign Affair" the site, aka "Love Me.com". The men in the film are perusing women online from the Ukraine. The online site owner, 'John Adams', from the business he owns, which is first listed when typing "Mail Order Bride" in along with his own agreeable 'mail-order' bride ... and takes over explaining all of the opportunity that comes from this matter. That being men from the United States who are looking for a bride outside of the States and the extraordinary ways and some costs with which this comes true. The documentary by director Jonathon Narducci lists this with; being a documentary, a "comedy" and "drama". I failed to find this funny after viewing it in its entirety. It is not because of going outside of our borders but after viewing this two to three times because of my own curiosity, I found things that I just did not see someone paying the exorbitant fees to this proposition and these women. Because most do not speak English, the site charged the men a ten dollar fee for a translator for each and every e-mail sent and responded to, along with other fees.

The listing of this documentary states that this has the both, American men and the women from the Ukraine looking to mutually get married here at the finality of their exchanges in the Ukraine. The men whom either cannot find a woman to meet their specific requirements, their lack of even trying or they just do not have the time and dates or inclination to. They begin to find the right person there and have a feeling of possibly being rejected, start to contact from lists of women who begin conversations to be taken to the United States for a marriage Under certain circumstances men with money (or not too much) may be able to find what they want; a settled mutual married life. But what of those that spend so much of their hard earned money to fly over to the Ukraine, even a number of times, to finally meet the woman or women of their choice. They seem to want the same thing, but do they really? There is an astronomical amount of money involved and things are not always on the up and up for these men featured within their own predicaments. Are they believing that this is the answer for them? Or are they finding something completely and oddly different?

One man makes it feasible to comment that owner John Adams is just "an average guy with a bit of a 'pooch', but look, he is married to Tanya, if it worked for John, maybe it can work for me". Together these two run "A Foreign Affair". He can be extremely persuasive along with John's wife, Tanya, together. For them, it is not just the Ukraine, but "sixteen or seventeen offices around the world". This documentary focuses mainly on the Ukraine. The men seeking must register on the site (there is a ten dollar per translation of each and every e-mail to actually talk to their picks either direction) as they begin to look at the pictures of their potential wives to be. As the men say "it is right (a computer) in their own living room now" - so why not, maybe ten dollars per e-mail there and ten dollars per reply as one man starts writing to ten women on a regular basis. The film shows how the men just do not have the time to date or the women have likeable pictures posted online. John Adams advocates taking a flight to the Ukraine to meet these women. 'Rob Ray' works for "Love Me.com" as the 'tour director' and gathers the men to fly over. He explains how the men can feel vulnerability, fear of rejection and general fear as they land in the Ukraine and leave on a community bus ride.

The documentary is well-made and disturbing as nothing is ever concrete for these men who have spent quite a bit of money finding that 'certain' someone. Many of them do say - "it was like being a kid in a candy store". Once in the Ukraine, the men are in the clubs dancing, all wishing to be engaged to marry before they leave without truly knowing these women. As this focuses on a handful of men, the situations are not always the same. One man has been to the Ukraine over six times and finally this happens, the amount of money and times to fly over are just overwhelming along with translated e-mails. The clubs and 'socials' are a huge part of the getting together during the time there. This is the setting, now onto finding out what happens with the men, the money and the women are up to viewing the documentary. Find out the truths of the different situations and judge for yourself. But, as I will reiterate as in the title of the review, an "Outrageously funny" look is part of explaining the description of the documentary as I was left wondering about the theme. Does this invoke humor for you, even though the film is in no doubt well made and as well quite honest? With several men and countless women, the desperation might have its finger right here on the pulse.


Tracks
Tracks
DVD
Price: $2.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I'd Always Been Drawn To The Desert; Its Hot Wind And Wide Open Places" - Robyn Davidson, April 28, 2015
This review is from: Tracks (Amazon Instant Video)
​"Some nomads are at home everywhere. Others are at home nowhere, and I was one of those." Robyn Davidson.

In 1975, Robyn Davidson (Mia Wasikowska) is in Alice Springs, Central Australia stating that she is planning to walk across the desert from here to the Indian Ocean. A sojourn that will take her trained camels and beloved dog Diggity an actual 1,700 miles to reach. Unfettered she is up to the task, but we may wonder just why as she answers, "Why not?" then gives her full reason later. Robyn projects the distance will take her six or seven months time. Needing to work for some money first then train the camels to carry her gear, she works first in Alice Springs and then moves on a bit. Robyn narrates her thoughts and is more of a quiet person. The decision to act on her thought was the beginning of her journey. She is a bold and solitary woman and Wasikowska portrays her role with a perfection I couldn't have previously anticipated. She explains the camels are not native to Australia. She is not the first in her family to trek and is inspired by that as she also states she is not held back by the conventions of her gender and will not concede.

As she explains that camels are not native to Australia, I found that I was learning so much with what she had to say. Needing financing, Robyn must find a way and repeats that she will find that herself. An independent spirit in the midst of people who seem to wish to help in the beginning. We quickly learn that some things went on in her past, but what? She contacts National Geographic explaining her route and asking for sponsorship. She tells the magazine the names of her trained three camels and one calf; Dookie, Bub, Zelly, and Goliath and what she means to do on her endeavor. National Geographic responds deciding to sponsor her and sends a photographer, Rick Smolan (Adam Driver). Rick asks her as she denies the need of a radio, "Do you wanna die somewhere out there"? Her small family is worried, but her tenacious spirit is undeniable. She shoves off on April 9th of 1977 with only what is absolutely necessary and to her liking, almost. Robyn looks at her travels as a series of steps, she is "on her own, at last". Rick calls her "camel lady" as that is how people are getting to know what she is doing. Rick rides ahead and photographs for the publication as she protests in her own way, after all, along with the sponsorship comes the photographer.

We get to know more of Robyn's personal life that she is reticent to show and doesn't much. We only get quips of commenting. Rick is much more talkative while Robyn rebels more about his coming along. The movie is more than a story and it is more than a trip. It is more of a reflection on her life that doesn't lean on dialog but a need to get this accomplished away from the populace and a place to think. This is Robyn's belief in her privacy not needing to be defined or defended. This is what spurns a determined young woman through different situations, ideas, and private narrated thoughts of her own truth. This was a simply irresistible movie for me that is completely highlighted by unbelievable photography (Mandy Walker) which brings you right along with her. I truly felt as if I was sharing this with Robyn Davidson. The people, the desert, her ability to feel free from the constraints of a modern society and to possibly come to terms with issues in her past and her life now. Full of absorbing acting, especially by a superb Mia Wasikowska, and a role I was equally surprised that she did to the revelation of the scenery that she passes. A wonderfully passionate film directed by John Curran from the screenplay of Marion Nelson taken from the book by Robyn Davidson herself. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Mia Wasikowska tackle this stimulating environment and all-around satisfying role. I found the entire film very intriguing and gorgeous beyond words.

"I'd like to think an ordinary person is capable of anything" Robyn Davidson
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 29, 2015 2:01 PM PDT


A Ring by Spring
A Ring by Spring
DVD ~ Stefanie Powers
Price: $7.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Was Once Obvious Is Now All Up In The Air ..., April 23, 2015
This review is from: A Ring by Spring (DVD)
A young and busy woman, Caryn Briggs (Rachel Boston), has too much going on in her own life to get concentrating about not being married when she is only thirty. In fact, the whole idea rather cramped her style a bit feeling that she would be tied down afterward anyway. She would have to bend to a husband's ideas on things, maybe make too many compromises that she is unwilling to do. That certainly explains why she has had more than her fair share of boyfriends that she did not get overly involved with to avoid it in the first place. One could easily say that Caryn is happy with hanging out with her friends and working as a business consultant. This is how she views her life until a certain point when she goes along with her friends, Stephanie (Ali Liebert) and Gregg (Chad Krowchuk) to a fundraising event and something changes her thinking - radically. They decide it might be fun to have their fortunes read by the mysterious Madame Rue (Stephanie Powers). So how much thought does one really put into that, right?

Madame Rue tells Caryn that if she does not have a ring by spring, she will never marry. Well, this had never bothered her before but it soon becomes an issue as she eventually sees her friends fortunes coming true. Maybe she ought to be giving this more thought, but she already has a boyfriend, Bryce (Chris Jacot). He is a little stuffy but will he be presenting a ring? Of course, right? Meanwhile, she takes a new job with a different boss, Tom Halsey (Kirby Morrow) who is interesting although her mind keeps wondering to 'the ring by spring' issue to give other things much thought. It does get interesting how something that didn't carry any weight previously suddenly rises to a point of such importance in a woman's thinking. Bryce throws Caryn a curveball and breaks it off with her. This leaves her thinking that what was inevitable is now impossible. Is it time for Caryn to start thinking about the life that she always used to want or why her mind has changed and how Madame Rue fits into any of this after all.

Another easy Hallmark movie that caught my eye with a marriage theme. These films are always so easy to view without all the complicated storylines for those times when you like your movies more predictable. I love to put in a Hallmark movie (especially a relationship story) while I am alone as it gets to the 'hopeless romantic' in me.


And So It Goes [Blu-ray]
And So It Goes [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Michael Douglas
Price: $11.99
28 used & new from $8.55

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I Already Tried To Raise A Kid Once, It Didn't Work Out" - Oren Little, April 13, 2015
This review is from: And So It Goes [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
"Is what you're gonna say really worth what I'm gonna say back"? - Yes, this is one curmudgeon like portrayal I have grown to expect and really enjoy from Michael Douglas as the at first blush misunderstood Oren Little. Here he does not divert from that formula. Oren is a bitter real estate agent with barely a friend but for a sharp-witted, chainsmoking Claire (Frances Sternhagen) in the office and prefers it this way in his life as he scares off most things with a pulse. His neighbor in The "'Little' Shangri-La" apartment complex where he resides is Leah (Diane Keaton). She is his perfect target and finds him exasperating but still engages in some form of conversation with him without too much luck, it kind of makes you wonder why she tries at all. Leah is a lounge singer in a club who cannot get through too many songs without bursting into tears; "And when you sing me 'Cry Me a River', it doesn't have to be the whole river", Oren suggests as Leah can only agree after losing her well-loved husband, Eugene. Sad songs; she is always crying over the memorable songs which she recalls. Soon something quite major happens in Oren's life which she can neither ignore nor can she allow herself to being the kind of person she is.

Out of the blue, Oren's estranged son, Kyle (Austin Lysy) shows up and he certainly does not get the red carpet laid out for him. He will be going to prison (unjustly?) for deeds of his past and implores Oren to care for Sarah (Sterling Jerins), his ten-year-old daughter. Oren is completely against the proposition, of course, as he rather despises his son and cannot forgive him for his past offenses towards him while he drops her off to spend nine months. Oren doesn't have a clue what to do while Leah gladly helps her (and him) out. Leah is a natural with Sarah and takes over. Sarah and Leah have an easy report while Oren uses the situation to his advantage like a presumed babysitter. At the office, Claire lets Oren know the truth about Kyle and it is surprising. Having Sarah adds a spark for Oren as her grandfather while she learns about his sandwich making techniques and answers questions about hoarding. He makes her bologna to her specifications and she, in kind, entertains her "Oren" without him even really realizing it yet.

Oren enters into a business situation with Leah (don't miss Leah's piano player with the really questionable ... toupee) all the time he is trying to unload a very expensive home for sale which for a person involved in real estate will not take a cent less on the price. Everything seems to be going smoothly although Leah is still so emotionally upset over her life. The people in the Little Shangri-La (four separate units) begin to help out an apparent undeserving Oren while he begins to return those favors also. Things have a way of coming around while having a child around but when Leah does not agree with certain situations, the fights start back up again. Are Leah and Oren becoming dangerously close to each other concerning their relationship, even more than Leah may be able to handle? We are able to learn much about Leah, but Oren is much more tight-lipped and embittered since he lost his wife years ago, his Sarah. Leah practices her routine and she keeps bringing up her husband's death while Oren comes out of his door to the tune of, "Stay away from dead people" as his advice. This issue brings her past in focus and to a point of tears flowing all over again while entertaining at her evening gigs. Leah needs to be able to actually entertain the crowd and not scare them off with unharnessed sentimentality.

Director Rob Reiner puts another humorous movie together, possibly more so for the over forty to fifty crowd. The wonderful Frances Sternhagen does shine with some very astute quipping taking Michael Douglas' character to task with a grain of salt. A film where grandchildren and adult relationships take center focus together. He does toss in a few sight gags that will get a laugh from some. He seemed to have all of the right elements working (especially in the cast) as the film moves forward. Michael Douglas is his offputting self for the first part and I expected this while Diane Keaton played her role which did not throw in too many surprises for me except for her singing. I found that a positive as I hadn't heard her before and didn't know what to expect. I found her warm and personable as Oren's granddaughter Sarah's loving "Grandma" who comes up with interactions including everything from sharing bowls of ice cream to the slip and slide and the wonder of nature. Through it all, I really liked this film when at first I thought I may not as much as I did, it's an easy watch.. I even watched it three times finding their banter quite entertaining. Keep an eye out also for a 'blink and miss it' bit part with a club owner, I didn't catch it until I had seen it twice. Also, the soundtrack is by Marc Shaiman, a staple with Reiner and features several songs by Keaton. He has used Shaiman in so many movies all the way back to "When Harry Met Sally" and I am sure so many more than I could know about. Once again, the music in this story is quite well done and I thought the film was also.


Soldier Love Story
Soldier Love Story
DVD ~ Laurie Laughlin
Price: $3.98
50 used & new from $2.06

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Glad That Hallmark Changed The Original Title, It's Much More Suitable Now..., April 12, 2015
This review is from: Soldier Love Story (DVD)
I had seen this special story about a different type of family situation years ago on the Hallmark Channel and have enjoyed repeat viewings over these many years. The title of this gem was, "Meet My Mom" and I was happy to see the change in title as it is far different and more in depth with the telling than just a 'chance meeting' between a young ten-year-old boy's, Jared Marshall's (Charles Henry Watson) mother and a man. This story has a special quality involving a Military theme and the young son's feelings about it, hence, "Meet My Mom" at the time and the essentially pertinent change to, "Soldier Love Story". The film undergoes a myriad of human emotions including both of the leads and also young and most important, Jared. Sergeant First Class, Vince Carerra (Johnny Messner) and Dana Marshall (Lori Loughlin) meet by the most interesting of circumstances with young Jared totally in charge in a sport's theme.

As a class project, Jared begins writing to a lonely for his home soldier in Bosnia and to his excited reaction when he gets a response from Sgt. Carerra. They exchange letters until he is on leave and comes to visit when he does meet his mom and begins to do all of the things that his father has neglected to do with him in California. This does not go unnoticed by Dana who is now living in Iowa, and the happiness in the sidelined by his father little boy that comes out while he begins to feel special with the one on one attention. There is also an attraction growing between Vince and Dana who takes her son very seriously while they play baseball and he is coached by him while progressing further with this and in his personality newly sparks. He and his mother have been living with his grandmother, Louise (Stephanie Powers) is noticing the growing admiration in Dana and the love toward Vince in her grandson even before her reticent daughter can connect the dots. This certainly can develop into the family that has been lacking for the two of them after she has been absent from her ex-husband who had no time for either of them and has moved far away. She is obviously aware that her daughter and grandson deserve a second chance at life and love.

Dana is an excellent mother as she puts the needs of her son first, teaching him all the things in life that make a good man in time; all things like being respectful and thankful in all situations among other virtues. Because of her great love of Jared and a painful divorce behind her, she is hard pressed' to begin a deep relationship with an also divorced Vince whose ex-wife was unfaithful during his time away on a tour of duty. Does this end the relationship started with Dana to protect a once broken heart for both of them? Jared has other plans for them but then Vince is once again being deployed back to service as this Hallmark Movie is one with more depth to its story and fuller fleshed out characters to enjoy, in comparison with some of the others. Can circumstances like the former end all the happiness and ease all the two have begun along with Jared's love of Vince also? A "Soldier Love Story" mainly involves three people hurt by life but then filled again with a renewed happiness in being together, reciprocated respect all around and giving that special and much-required attention to young Jared. Can they look past the hurts to invest their love in each other all over again ...


Black Or White [Blu-ray]
Black Or White [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Bill Burr
Price: $19.89
23 used & new from $15.90

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Well, Certain Things A Man Can Do, Certain Things A Woman Can Do" - Rowena, April 12, 2015
This review is from: Black Or White [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The film "Black or White" is positively heartrending and a movingly opinion-forming story that drives home that love truly knows no positions or boundaries. Elliot Anderson (Kevin Costner) is the grandfather of Eloise (Jillian Estell) and is suddenly in the position of raising her alone after his wife unexpectedly passes away in an accident. He has loved this young girl all of his life and is also being challenged for custody from her paternal grandmother, Rowena Jeffers (Octavia Spencer) with the added help of her brother, Jeremiah Jeffers (Anthony Mackie). The trouble is that both families deeply love the granddaughter. With Eloise now being torn between the families that she loves who are struggling with their flaws, things are going to get complicated in this based on a real events story.

Elliot is a loving and a settled down family sort of man while having a particular maladaptive behavior of his own. His family, including his daughter and the mother of Eloise, are caucasian. Because she died while giving birth the child was in her parent's care. He can be gruff with an interesting sense of humor and wit, but his adoration of his granddaughter is very clear to see, feel and know. The father of Eloise was an irresponsible man although his side of the family is deeply rooted and large while also being in love with her and wanting her living with them. While they both have her best intentions at heart, they will not deny their legal claim to her and this does become a battle. This illegitimate father's family are African American having many things unfolding throughout that deepen your emotional pull toward Elliot and Eloise staying a close family. Eloise inevitably goes through changes from being pulled between both her families while we watch her become saddened and swing back and forth from being the lovely carefree child to being deeply conflicted with their decision and how she should feel toward both of her 'families'. She does truly love them both. While each side does decide to fight for her, they also have to dig deep to explore their own opinions about race and racism along with their stances on the deep subject. They must all look into understanding the best situation for Eloise first and with that comes much understanding and subsequent forgiveness of the pain caused throughout it all.

There is gorgeously done dialog within this story that is incredibly real, heartfelt, painful and even humorous. The families take this to court in front of the sitting Judge who may make one feel that the deck is definitely stacked against Elliot. She is the one to decide the matter of little Eloise. Things get heated and accusations fly about Elliot being a racist - He is definitely not a racist, but it is damaging when it is tossed around freely. The father's side of the family begins their own tactics of harming Elliot using words, viewpoints, and presumptions that are just not true which are again just thrown out to make their custody case hold fast. It would be harmful to them to actually look back at themselves, but they cannot see into their own dysfunctional lives either. Things get moving and the reasons why come out more so when Elliot takes the stand in the case. Just when you believe all the things will swing one way or the other the facts come out more so towards the end of the story.

There is humorous care included in this film and a strength of character to Elliot and Rowena which is easy to see. Their love of Eloise takes a giant leap forward in its importance. Writer and director Mike Binder gives us the story of an integrated family with a huge amount of heady emotion and struggle. He treats his characters with an obvious ability to forgive, a certain grace, grit, all the foibles and the misgivings of imperfect people who are accepting the flaws in their lives. The film itself is not about the legal battle or the custody but about the two assumed different worlds where nothing is ever black or white but gray. This is what makes this powerful film so worth the watch.


Cake
Cake
DVD ~ Sam Worthington
Price: $10.00
35 used & new from $10.00

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Do You Wanna Get Better, Really?" - Claire's Physical Therapist, April 11, 2015
This review is from: Cake (DVD)
Claire Bennett (Jennifer Aniston) is in a Chronic Pain Support Group being led by Annette (Felicity Huffman). She is suffering horrible physical pain (but what of emotional pain that runs even more deep?) that keeps her separate, isolated and housebound unable to sit straight up in a chair for too long if at all. The group is discussing a woman, Nina Collins (Anna Kendrick) who has taken her own life. When Annette asks what they think, a sarcastic and caustic ridiculing comes from Claire costing her the place with the other people assembled in the group. She has already alienated her husband and the reason why she is suffering so much isn't explained until midway through the film. She is marred with scars all over her body, but her emotional scars are just as obvious to see. One wonders just how this has happened and the circumstances of Nina's suicide also. What has happened to these women and why?

Nina still plays a role in the story as she communicates with an emotionally agonizing and addicted Claire in her dreams and hallucinations. This engagement brings about a conversation even though she is obviously not there. Claire receives her visits which bring an understanding of sorts. While Nina did commit suicide, Claire who has lost all hope in anything getting better for herself lives with a constant suicidal ideation of her own. She has a more upscale lifestyle that I can only surmise came from some sort of legal settlement at this point as there isn't a well-developed backstory. I didn't need one to believe Claire to have money as there are ways of support that could have come from the former or another settlement like alimony. She has a wily personal aide and housekeeper, Silvana (Adriana Barraza) who also helps her obtain her painkillers in an illegal fashion and attempts to keep her on her toes. She is heavily addicted to substances when the nature of this is the more one takes, the higher the tolerance the body gains to them, thus needing increased amounts which Claire becomes desperate for. Substance abuse is an illness in itself and the film does take a more compassionate look at the condition by not shying away from it.

She sees a physical therapist, Bonnie (Mamie Gummer) for aquatic physical therapy to help gain movement and body strength. Of course, she is quite facetious with her too, but she does have her bitingly witty moments. Patients experiencing a lot of pain of any kind do have drastic changes in personality at times. They can come off as unresponsive toward help, bitter and feel an overwhelming hopelessness about their futures. Claire's personality does inhabit all of the former. She appears to put up a fight with her words of a caustic, then comically sarcastic, nature. It is nearly impossible to live with day in and day out pain, emotional and physical, and the direction of people's entire lives can be thrown with just one single traumatic incident. This leaves them having to pick up the pieces when they may not even be agile enough to move. I had much sympathy for Claire even through her stubborn nature and her intense struggle. She drastically wants to know how to get in touch with Nina's address, will she gain it and what would it mean for her now? She may have something to offer or learn from the people that Nina left behind. Her husband, Roy Collins (Sam Worthington) is who she finds herself having an affecting relationship with and the audience wonders if she can turn her life around.

Daniel Barnz directs from the screenplay by Patrick Tobin and brings to life a woman's personal heart wrenching struggle with her life, her fears of growing older, her thoughts of just giving up on herself and gives Jennifer Aniston a grittier role I truly cared about. I liked her portrayal in this movie as I enjoyed her portrayal in "The Good Girl", another dramatic role I felt she excelled in. This film may not appeal to every viewer, but hopefully it can be a push for knowledge concerning the individual severity of sufferers with chronic physical and/or emotional pain and the quality of life that results from it. A truly good character study in itself that offers so much to think about ...


Grace of Monaco (2014) (+ UV Copy) [ Blu-Ray, Reg.A/B/C Import - United Kingdom ]
Grace of Monaco (2014) (+ UV Copy) [ Blu-Ray, Reg.A/B/C Import - United Kingdom ]
DVD ~ Parker Posey
Offered by DaaVeeDee
Price: $38.68
4 used & new from $32.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "For Years To Come They Will Whisper Your Name: Princess Grace" - Father Francis Tucker, April 11, 2015
At the end of 1961, Alfred Hitchcock (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) comes to Monaco to present the Princess "Gracie" (Nicole Kidman) with his latest script for the role of "Marnie" along with an offer of one million dollars for her to play the lead against this 'Scottish fellow' he has in mind. Problems arise for the Altesse or Princess of Monaco as she has been Her Serene Highness for six years now. She has her duties of her station and along with Prince Rainier III (Tim Roth), she has her two young children Caroline and Albert to think of. It is quite obvious to Grace Kelly, America's leading actress who left to marry and take the Title of Princess of Monaco, along with many other Titles, that she has to decide if she is all in or split between her duties of State and her acting desires. She is lonely as Ray (Rainier) is always busy trying to save Monaco, without a standing Army, from a political takeover and her love of the acting she left behind. He told her that he would not stand in her way although it is clear from his expression that she belongs where she is, by his side and with their children.

While Princess Grace still considers herself just a 'girl from Philidelphia', her advisor and friend, Father Francis Tucker, "Tuck", (Frank Langella) constantly reminds her of her duties and her station. His advice is what she so desperately leans on. 'Hitch' is on her mind as she is his favorite, Rainier needs her there to aid against the takeover and taxation of Monaco by Charles de Gaulle of France, The Red Cross needs her charitable aid and her children just cannot be left. The Princess is left in a dilemma which causes her to have to shape up and be the Altesse that she has committed to. This is not a position that one can take on while being lukewarm in her constitution. It is time for Grace to put away that Philadelphia girl and step into her position of Her Serene Highness, The Princess Grace of Monaco.

The film directed by Olivier Dahan from the screenplay by Amash Arel puts together a great supporting cast which includes an understated Parker Posey (Madge), Phyllis - who serves as Grace's confidante and Rainier's sister - (Flora Nicholson), Paz Vega (Maria Callas), André Penvern (Charles de Gaulle), and Robert Linsay (Ari Onassis) among other players in this tale covering the happenings in the year of 1962. Princess Grace must visit Count Fernando D'Aillieres (Sir Derek Jacobi) to learn the protocol of being the perfect Altesse after she makes her decision to not 'be a failure' in her royal position. The walking, talking, breathing, positioning, dancing and correct French pronunciation that she hasn't seemed to pick up in the six years that she has been Princess she receives from him and two other coaches. This was the part that I did question; why hadn't she been working on this the entire time? Was Grace Kelly not taking the royal position she had married into as seriously as she could have been, especially while raising the heir to the throne? Although, I really liked the film, the modern-day fairy tale intrigued me since learning about it and viewing her movies with Hitchcock, especially, "Rear Window" with Jimmy Stewart. I can understand how she could be torn between her acting days where she was adored in America and her life now as Princess of Monaco. This is Nicole Kidman's movie, she wears it quite well. Tim Roth is more than one dimensional and at times, confused over how to speak to his wife while asking for advice from Tuck. The film shows Rainier's vulnerability in the marriage although not with Monaco's interests.

I wrote to the seller of this film and made sure the Blu-Ray did play on our players here without a problem. My biggest concern is the price. You can purchase this by going to Amazon UK and with the conversion fluctuation, right now it is selling at just around twenty-eight dollars. I would check out their site if the cost concerns you. I found this film quite engaging and will be purchasing from the UK, even though this version will play too. I think that many of us get curious about the story of a real-life 'Princess' and all that entails and Nicole Kidman in this part elevated it for me.


Mr. Pip
Mr. Pip
DVD ~ Hugh Laurie
Price: $8.19
22 used & new from $3.76

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We Have To Retrieve The Story Of Great Expectations" - Mr. Watts, April 6, 2015
This review is from: Mr. Pip (DVD)
Beginning this intensely learned movie is written clarification of the situation of the country our heroine hails from. Matilda (Xzannjah) comes from Bougainville and lives with her mother, Dolores (Healesville Joel) on this remote island in the South Pacific. It is owned by Papua, New Guinea and is in the middle of warfare. The conflict has brought about many unspeakably brutal deaths and so many of the population fled its borders. In the year 1989, this country had the largest open copper mine, a vital export, until its closing because of the unbelievable civil unrest. Being out of gainful employment, the people were impoverished and mainly their men scattered to look for work. Bougainville is now under an ominously brutal regime ruling through dominance and at a whim intolerance. From the novel by Lloyd Jones, "Mr. Pip", director Andrew Adamson brings this tale of young and determined Matilda, her Christian mother and her teacher, Mr. Watts (or "Mr. Pip" - Hugh Laurie) who inspires her to escape while using her own imagination. Her imagining scenes are priceless. Through a pivotal scene of the greatest selfless love and tragic of sacrifices, we view a harsher coming of age tale for a young Matilda that becomes intermingled with Charles Dickens' story - "Great Expectations".

Disillusioned by love himself, Mr. Watts (his wife, Grace, has now passed on) lives in Bougainville also. He decides to start teaching in their small school. As Matilda has previously narrated, Mr. Watts would not ever leave Grace for reasons that do unfold. He begins instructing the classroom with reading the novel by Dickens of a 'benefactor' that has the children more than just interested but merrily joining in the conversation every day. It soon attracts different children's parents, though mainly mothers, who eagerly join in and at times challenge different positions and different viewpoints until the whole village appears consumed by the story of Pip, God, and science. It is apparent that they all worship in several different ways.

I wouldn't want to give much of this away as Matilda's story is so very interesting to view. Mr. Watts is constantly bringing home the point of view of Dickens: "It is the most miserable thing to feel ashamed of home ...". As the tragedies multiply for Mr. Watts and for Matilda there comes a point where decisions must be made and then followed through with. They are primarily for Matilda's welfare. The movie is beautifully photographed (John Toon) and the differences in the cultures are brightly shown. Also, one will enjoy the lovely music (Harry Gregson-Williams) that indeed sparks this movie even more so. Although I almost could not watch it past just shy of the midway point (certainly not because of boredom but intensity), as it deals with some very graphic truths and situations concerning the rebels. I am glad that I stayed with it as watching Matilda became more and more fascinating and inspiring for me. She is truly a survivor because of every trauma she has been through. It all adds up to be throughout every agony during her life, 'to the victor go the spoils' in the long run. But there still is that vital question that begs an answer while this movie parallels some of "Great Expectations"; Does Matilda actually have a benefactor or will it be her lifelong dream after breaking away that she does have enough purpose in her life - or both?


To Write Love on Her Arms
To Write Love on Her Arms
DVD ~ Kat Dennings
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Secrets Make You Sick ... Remember That" - Renee Yohe, April 3, 2015
This review is from: To Write Love on Her Arms (DVD)
This bravely honest co-written (Kate King Lynch, Nathan Frankowski) then intensely directed (Nathan Frankowski) movie glares a spotlight on suffering and behaviors which are very uncomfortable to look into. They are equally necessary to put into that light to get society talking about their destructiveness as they can be such a large part of people's lives. For Renee Yohe (Kat Dennings) this is her truth and is based on her own life, her illnesses, her addictions, her self-injury, and her incredibly creative imagination. A stark look at Renee's world as it is crumbling down around her at the young age of nineteen. At the outset, Renee's mother lets her know that she had forgotten to take her medication the previous night. As she gives it to her in the morning, Renee calls it her "crazy pill" as her mother answers; "Bipolar disorder isn't crazy". She pops her pill into her mouth just as quickly as she spits it right back out after her mother leaves. Renee is not taking her medication and her life is beginning to spiral out of control.

As a young child, Renee (then - Isabella Iannuzzi) had an inventive belief in fairy tales while making up her own places where she felt safe and the use of fantasy illustrations fill parts in the movie. It is quite an imaginative way to show what is on Renee's mind and what she is feeling. She had the ability to find those shielding spaces in which she needed to hide. As she grew older, those same places became completely detrimental to her health and safety. She becomes severely depressed, addicted to illegal substances and has an unsettling ability to place herself in the most dangerous areas to self-medicate and to escape her own severe emotional issues and pain. Renee is in dire need of help and her two friends, Jessie (Juliana Harkavy) and Dylan (Mark Saul) are trying everything to help Renee to see the truth of her situation. She does have the ability to escape fully into music which is a large part of the film featuring many bands and an aggressive soundtrack (Robbie Bronnimann and Andy Hunter). For many people who suffer from mood disorders, music can tame extreme emotions and also be very useful for calming. Renee indulges in escapism through her music and the soundtrack becomes another evolving character in the film.

At a particularly bad time for Renee, she finds herself wandering the city of Orlando, FL alone as she is not allowed to be at home any longer being a danger to herself and her family. She finds an earnest friend in David McKenna (Rupert Friend). He is attending a neighborhood church's support group then offers to aid her in obtaining recovery from her addictions to illicit drugs first through eventual rehab. She accepts the offer after some coaxing and the story of Renee Yohe's movement; "To Write Love on Her Arms" (TWLOHA) now begins with another integral friend, Jamie Tworkowski (Chad Michael Murray) and subsequent filmmaker who begins to document her life story and bring it to the public through organized speeches and forums.

I have been waiting for this film to finally be released as soon as I heard the news of it from The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). It has started a sincere spreading dialog in this country and beyond. Jamie Tworkowski founded the growing movement, TWLOHA, in 2006, and it has spread everywhere after documenting the story of Renee Yohe's harsh struggle with her addictions, depression, self-injury, and attempted suicide. It also became a nonprofit organization that same year. In 2010, it became TWLOHA, Inc. based in Florida and carrying far beyond through collective communication and the music industry including many bands in several countries. Included on the disc is a collection of information to learn about this important movement in the very interesting special features. Within are the Deleted Scenes, a 'Making of the Movie' in a featurette and a 'Music in the Movie' featurette. These all offer more information about this important movement to begin discussions about this necessary social dialog of change. I was profoundly moved by Renee's story and was greatly anticipating the release of the DVD. This does get decidedly graphic in several places as it is her boldly told life story so I would add a *Trigger Warning* to all potential viewers - but also a 'congratulations' to everyone involved in its making.


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