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Kona (Emerald City)

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Cinema Verite (HBO Films) (2011) (Region 2) (Import)
Cinema Verite (HBO Films) (2011) (Region 2) (Import)

5.0 out of 5 stars If you watched the Louds, you'll like this movie, 9 Jun. 2012
The movie examines the filming of a ground-breaking PBS documentary called, "An American Family," in 1971, which was the first time a family allowed cameras into their home life and would become the first "reality show." Pat and Bill Loud (Diane Lane, Tim Robbins), have a troubled marriage but agree to be filmed because their family seems so ideal; they're rich, the kids are lively, and they live the good life. Little did they know that their life would unravel under the scrutiny of the camera lens.

This movie would probably be appreciated most by fans of the original series. I was glued to the screen when "An American Family" first aired and was absolutely fascinated by it. The Louds became instant celebrities and everyone knew their names as viewers were privy to their most intimate moments. Lane and Robbins look and act a lot like the real couple and I enjoyed reliving the train wreck that was their marriage. James Gandolfini is excellent as the producer who convinces the Louds to sign on, befriends Pat, and then reveals his true motives.

The original series was absolutely shocking in its day; the movie in itself isn't memorable, but it is fun and nostalgic to revisit the Louds.

Mame [VHS]
Mame [VHS]

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shame on Mame, 7 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Mame [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Lucille Ball stars as Mame, an eccentric, avant-garde New Yorker who suddenly becomes the guardian of her orphaned nephew. She opens new vistas for the boy but when the Depression hits, she finds herself a shop clerk. Luckily, one of her first customers is a handsome, wealthy, and single Southern gentleman (Robert Preston).

First of all, this is the Worst Movie Ever; not funny bad, but miserably awful in every way. When the story opens, Mame is about 42, but Lucy's 62, looks 72, and sounds 82. Her voice is so low and gravelly, she sounds like Foghorn Leghorn and is about as subtle. When she smiles, she has a frozen leer on her face that makes her look like a mummy, even with the ridiculous soft-focus lens that fools no one. From her first scene, she has no warmth or heart, nothing about her that would make a little boy love her, let alone her hoards of minions.

Bea Arthur plays Mame's best friend, but she's made up to look like an ugly man. She and Lucy have no chemistry at all and their witty repartee falls flat.

The story moves way too quickly in order to fit in all the songs which are slow and dreary; they could have been saved if Lucy would sing, but she can't. Mame's wardrobe is stylish and striking, but Lucy seems to be posing like a wax figure in them, rather than actually being a fabulously charismatic woman. Watching this movie just makes one remember how much better Rosalind Russell was in the original, non-musical version.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 9, 2012 8:25 PM BST

The Help [DVD]
The Help [DVD]
Dvd ~ Emma Stone
Price: £3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 3 Jun. 2012
This review is from: The Help [DVD] (DVD)
The year is 1963, and Skeeter has returned from college to find life as usual among her privileged set. She's the only one in the Junior League who notices that the black servants must silently endure insults and degradation at the hands of their oblivious employers. She decides to write a book about how the help really feel about their jobs and asks to interview several maids. This is socially risky for Skeeter and seriously dangerous for the maids.

I loved the book and was glad that the movie is just as good. The cruelty heaped on the help by their snooty bosses is heart-breakingly portrayed. Bryce Dallas Howard was surprisingly good as the nasty queen bee of the Junior League and Emma Stone is refreshing and likable as the brave Skeeter. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer play Aibileen and Minny, two long-time maids who risk everything to contribute to Skeeter's book. They both give outstanding performances.

Life in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1963, is recreated in fine detail and the script is witty and honest. Highly recommended.

Frommer's Best Day Trips from London (Frommer's Color Complete)
Frommer's Best Day Trips from London (Frommer's Color Complete)
by Christi Daugherty
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of dream trips, 31 May 2012
Reading this guide book is a pleasure; there are so many fascinating, historical towns and buildings to see and so many fun and unique activities to do from your home base of London.

Want to enjoy the charms of a church so old it was considered 'ancient' in 1120? Go to Bradford on Avon. Want to try your luck in a giant maze? Visit Leeds Castle. Have you daydreamed of punting lazily down a river? Cambridge is only 45 minutes from King's Cross. Prefer to visit a market that's been in operation since the 13th century? Salisbury also has the country's tallest cathedral.

Each page has destinations more wonderful than the last, with valuable transit information, hours of operation, prices, and details every visitor needs to know. There are many colour photos and helpful maps and the book is small enough to carry. It's a must if you're staying in London and want to explore the picturesque countryside. Highly recommended.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 13, 2012 5:42 AM BST

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (DVD + Digital Copy)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (DVD + Digital Copy)
Dvd ~ Judi Dench
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.70

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it, 29 May 2012
The story focuses on a varied group British senior citizens who all find themselves feeling useless and wondering, "Is there more to life?" They each decide they need a complete change of pace and move to India to live in a fabulous retirement hotel, which, of course, turns out to be not at all fabulous. They adjust to the very different Indian culture to varying degrees; some find what they were looking for, others not so much.

The outstanding ensemble cast is headed by Judi Dench as a recent widow who finds a job at a call center. She's quite likable and a pleasure to watch. Tom Wilkinson plays a man who was in love in India decades ago and hopes to reconnect. Maggie Smith is fun as an acerbic woman who goes to India for surgery even though she hates Indians and Bill Nighy plays a henpecked husband who longs for happiness.

I absolutely loved this movie; the characters were sympathetic and real and I cared about them. Their storylines were believable and entertaining. I think it would especially appeal to people of a certain age who may find themselves at loose ends. The movie will certainly make you examine your own life and perhaps convince you to try a very different, if initially frightening, path to fulfillment.

Frommer's Kauai (Frommer's Color Complete)
Frommer's Kauai (Frommer's Color Complete)
by Jeanette Foster
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just okay, 26 May 2012
This guidebook has detailed information on lodging, restaurants, beaches, and every imaginable activity the Kauai has to offer. Restaurants and lodging (divided into resort, hotel, condo, B&B, etc.) are helpfully grouped by price and bargains can be found, if one is willing to forgo convenience.

I didn't like the font type used in the book; the print is thin and small and hard (for me) to read. The photos are disappointing, too; they're small, too few, and lack the brightness and glossiness that make one sigh and want to pack your bags. The same map is used in every chapter. A listing often appears in several places making it necessary to read every word of the book or miss desired information. (I would have preferred one longer description of each place or activity and then just "See page -" in subsequent chapters.) The author only occasionally gives an opinion as to the worth of a listing and the witty humor that I've found in other Frommer guidebooks is missing.

All in all, it's an adequate guidebook, but neither exciting or inspiring.

High on Arrival
High on Arrival
by MacKenzie Phillips
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "What was I supposed to do -- change?", 25 May 2012
This review is from: High on Arrival (Paperback)
Mackenzie Phillips' memoir is intense and disturbing. It's also bizarre, disgusting, and infinitely fascinating. She wrote it in 2009, after a news-making drug arrest and recovery, the latest in a long line of highs and lows that began when she took her first hard drugs at the age of twelve.

This book is very well-written; I didn't skip a single word, it was so interesting (as well as appalling). Born to an exceedingly bad father, experiencing fame in show business at a young age, and spending decades wrestling with the despair of drug abuse, Mackenzie tells about it all in detail, no holds barred. The book is exhausting to read and a very surprisingly look behind the red carpet. The main focus of her life has always been her complicated relationship with her father; because of his complete lack of parenting skills and total selfishness, it's amazing that Mackenzie is still alive, let alone as happy and hopeful as she is.

This is a shocking book, recommended for her fans and anyone affected by drug abuse.

Sweet Dreams [DVD]
Sweet Dreams [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ed Harris

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I should hate you the whole night through...", 17 May 2012
This review is from: Sweet Dreams [DVD] (DVD)
"...instead of having sweet dreams about you." Jessica Lange stars as the unforgettable Patsy Cline in this very entertaining, rags-to-riches bio pic. The story opens in the fifties, and Patsy is singing in small-time honky tonks in Virginia. There, she meets charming Charlie Dick (Ed Harris) who woos her and they soon marry. The marriage is rocky and intense, Patsy's career takes off, and her songs go national.

Patsy's original recordings are heard throughout the movie and, if you're a fan, you'll absolutely love hearing them again. Lange gives a very good performance as the spirited Patsy and was nominated for Best Actress, but for me, Ed Harris steals the show. He plays Charlie as a rough and rowdy, uncouth but lovable man and is totally charismatic. Look closely and spot a thin John Goodman in a small part.

Though the story is equal parts fact and fiction, it is very enjoyable with a fast-paced script and, most of all, Patsy's memorable songs. Highly recommended.

W.E. [DVD] [2011]
W.E. [DVD] [2011]
Dvd ~ Abbie Cornish
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £2.10

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty, but pointless, 10 May 2012
This review is from: W.E. [DVD] [2011] (DVD)
Wallis ("Wally") Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) of New York City, is stuck in a loveless marriage to a philandering doctor. She's obsessed with the story of Wallis Simpson and Edward VII (called "W.E.") and wonders what it was like to be so loved that a man would give up his crown for you. The movie jumps between the lives of the two Wallises following the royal romance and the end of Wally's marriage.

Visually, there's a lot to like: The sets are elaborate, the costumes elegant, and the 30s period is reproduced in lovely detail. The movie falls flat, however, for several reasons: The story jumps so quickly and randomly between the past and present that it's chaotic (and too much like "Julie and Julia") and there's no real connection between the two stories. None of the leading characters is likable, the royals being spoiled and self-centered and the NYC folks being relentlessly dreary. No new insights are given to the famous W.E. union and neither the royal story nor the modern story is developed in depth. None of the actors who play royals look much like their counterparts and, worst of all, the movie is just too grim.

Director Madonna wanted to make a story about Wallis and Edward, but when she added the modern day Wallis' story, she watered down both and made neither interesting.

Witness For The Prosecution   (DVD)
Witness For The Prosecution (DVD)
Dvd ~ Tyrone Power
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £10.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining drama, 7 May 2012
Leonard Vole (Tyrone Power), an American living in London, is accused of killing an older woman who befriended him. His defense barrister (Charles Laughton) is convinced of the man's innocence but puzzled over the peculiar behavior of Mrs. Vole (Marlene Dietrich).

This movie's trailer touts the 'shocking' ending and, I have to say, I did find it so surprising that I immediately rewatched it (and enjoyed it) again. Power is slick, handsome, and though he appears too old to be called 'young man' by his lawyer, he's very good. Laughton is the real star of the show and gives an outstanding performance full of wit and passion. He was rightly nominated for a Best Actor Oscar. His scenes with Elsa Lanchester are very funny. Dietrich is mysterious until the very end, the epitome of an icy, cool, and calculating female. This is a very British story, with most of the action set in a courtroom. The dialogue is spirited and the pace is quick.

I had expected the movie to be dated and a bit dull, but I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 8, 2012 6:58 PM BST

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