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Kona (Emerald City)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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Into the Woods [DVD]
Into the Woods [DVD]
Dvd ~ Meryl Streep
Price: £9.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 21 May 2015
This review is from: Into the Woods [DVD] (DVD)
I really hated this movie. It was confusing, too dark to see, and seemed to go on forever, leading nowhere. I don't know if it was intended for children or adults, but I'd guess the latter.

The characters from several different fairy tales all meet in the woods and good things and bad things happen to them. I had a hard time following it all because it was filmed in near- darkness and most of the songs have several people singing different words at once. Everyone overacts, especially Streep as a witch and Depp, who plays a disturbing, pedophilic wolf.


Mr Turner [DVD] [2014]
Mr Turner [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Timothy Spall
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Off--putting, to say the least, 9 May 2015
This review is from: Mr Turner [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
Turner's later life is portrayed in a series of often unrelated vignettes, showing his deep love for his father, his loyal housekeeper, his famous artist colleagues, and his lady love, but mostly it showcases his blustery, growling, nasty personality.

Timothy Spall does an excellent job of conveying Turner's irascibility; he is forever grunting and groaning and getting away with it because of his wonderful talent. The movie is filmed in such glorious colors that each scene looks like an oil painting by a master; visually this film is a delight. The 19th century sets and costumes are also perfect.

On the down side, each scene begins intriguingly but goes nowhere; there is no continuity or build-up to a dramatic end. But it is the man himself, Turner, that I found so utterly loathsome that I can't recommend the movie. It does show many of his art works but everything is secondary to the repulsive blowhard himself.


THE PACT
THE PACT
by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Chris and Emily and the night everything changed, 5 May 2015
This review is from: THE PACT (Paperback)
Chris and Emily grew up as neighbors, playmates, best buddies, and later, high school sweethearts. They were two halves of a whole, people said. And then, one night, they had a gun and their lives exploded.

The basic plot is a very good one and the author, for the most part, writes engagingly. A lot of it was can't-put-it-down-good, but unfortunately, a lot of it was just filler. At 500 pages, the book is about 200 pages too long. There are endless (and ultimately pointless) pages of courtroom testimony that I found dull. Worse than that, the (non-) ending: It was such a disappointment! We waited all this time to find out WHY and then, sorry, reader, you lose!

The descriptions of Chris and Emily's developing romance and the backstories of their parents were all very interesting and I found the jail scenes especially riveting. However, being so let down at the end, I really can't recommend the book.


Magic in the Moonlight [DVD] [2014]
Magic in the Moonlight [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Colin Firth
Price: £6.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 2 May 2015
Stanley (Firth) is a famous magician who goes to the south of France to check out a young woman (Stone) who claims to be a medium. As Stanley knows all the tricks of the trade, he's skeptical, but her charm wins him over.

How could anything with Colin Firth as the romantic lead be this awful? He was so wrong for the part of a sarcastic trickster who hates everyone and he wasn't funny at all. With his innate genteel sophistication and noble appearance, he sounded ridiculous saying the Woody Allen dialogue. Emma Stone looked like a little girl with a big lisp and was totally annoying. She looked young enough to be Firth's granddaughter, not his love interest.

The location photography and 1928 sets were lovely, but I never bought the characters or the situation. And it was neither romantic nor a comedy.


Change of Heart
Change of Heart
by Jodi Picoult
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking but slow, 14 April 2015
This review is from: Change of Heart (Paperback)
Shay Bourne, a convicted rapist and murderer, is about to be executed. As he is moved into a new prison wing, he meets the residents of the nearby cells, a young priest, and a lawyer. They all want to help Shay because, it seems, he may be Jesus.

This story had a good basic plot: Is this man divine or a monster? If it's the latter and you needed an organ transplant to live, would you take one of his? Is the death penalty moral? All good ideas, but the story was at least twice as long as it should have been, packed with unnecessary characters and a truly silly and awkward romance.

I like that each chapter was narrated by a different character so we see many sides to the story. It's just too bad that it dragged on so slowly in the middle that I almost gave up on it.


Lana: The Lady, the Legend, the Truth
Lana: The Lady, the Legend, the Truth
by Lana Turner
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a life!, 7 April 2015
If a movie were made based on Lana Turner's autobiography, no one would believe it. Her life was a living melodrama lived at breakneck speed with romance, infidelity, abuse, murder, and betrayal, and all while being a top movie star.

She discusses in great detail her seven marriages and multiple affairs, which included Tyrone Power and the infamous Johnny Stompanato. She careened from man to man and movie to movie with reckless abandon, never seeming to learn from her mistakes.

I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough and was often shaking my head at Lana's poor judgment, but the book is still very entertaining. Fans of the golden age of Hollywood will enjoy hearing about Turners' life and famous contemporaries.


The Imitation Game [DVD]
The Imitation Game [DVD]
Dvd ~ Benedict Cumberbatch
Price: £9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Uninvolving, 4 April 2015
This review is from: The Imitation Game [DVD] (DVD)
Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) was a brilliant mathematician and cryptologist who developed an early version of a computer that decoded German messages in WWII.

This is based on a monumentally-important story, but the movie is rather dull and flat. The eccentric Turing is neither likable nor especially interesting and I couldn't feel connected to him. The code-breaking plot was too technical for me, and while I did appreciate the acting and the underlying story, I didn't like the movie too much.


Robert Vaughn: A Fortunate Life: An Autobiography
Robert Vaughn: A Fortunate Life: An Autobiography
by Robert Vaughn
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun read, 3 April 2015
This is a very interesting story of a long-time Hollywood star. Robert Vaughn tells about his famous co-workers, lovers, and political work in detail and I found I could not put the book down. He comes across as an intelligent, funny, and proud man. (The only odd thing was how little space was given to his wife.)

This is a fun look back at U.N.C.L.E.-mania, The Magnificent Seven, Bullitt, and all the other film, TV, and stage roles he gave (and is still giving) us. Recommended.


A Promise [DVD]
A Promise [DVD]
Dvd ~ Alan Rickman
Price: £7.20

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lifeless love story, 31 Mar. 2015
This review is from: A Promise [DVD] (DVD)
The story opens in Germany, in 1912, as a poor but bright engineer starts work in an ironworks. The boss (Alan Rickman) takes a liking to him and soon invites the young man to live in his stately mansion. There, the engineer falls in love with the boss' young wife.

This movie was such a disappointment. This should have been a story full of painful, longing glances and stolen moments with breathless lovers; instead we get a boring couple who have absolutely no romantic chemistry whatsoever and bore us to distraction. She is too tall and too sturdy-looking; he's too passionless. Even the wonderful Alan Rickman is colorless and dull. And the ending just...ends.

Not recommended.


The Judge [DVD] [2014]
The Judge [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Robert Downey Jr.
Price: £10.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Everyone wants Atticus Finch...", 6 Mar. 2015
This review is from: The Judge [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
Big-time lawyer Hank Palmer (Robert Downey, Jr.) returns to his hometown after many years of estrangement from his vitriolic father, who is a judge. When the Judge is accused of hit - and - run murder, Hank steps in to defend him, but the old man doesn't make that easy for him.

This is, quite simply, a great movie. What starts out as a typical dysfunctional family drama is quickly elevated to a master class in acting, probing morality and memories, failures and family. Duvall and Downey are both so powerful and so utterly convincing in their roles, that you cannot blink for fear you'll miss something. They are equally - matched legal lions, battling each other as well as the prosecution.

Duvall was rightly nominated for Best Supporting Actor; I'm sorry he didn't win. This is one of those movies where not a lot happens plot-wise, and not all the ends are neatly tied - up, but the ride is mesmerizing because of the stars' skills. Highly recommended.


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