Here’s A Good Movie (Maker)

My sister likes clothes and shoes.  I do too, but not as much as her. She suggested that I watch The Dressmaker because she loved the wardrobe.

Ok.

First let me say, I am so glad that this story was a 2-hour movie versus the six episode series that seems to be the current trend with new projects. I am tired of weak story lines that drag on for six episodes.

The Dressmaker tells an interesting story with compelling characters that keeps you guessing.

Quirky was the term my sister used to describe it to me, and she was right.

The main character, Tilly comes back to her hometown in the 1950s to avenge a wrong, but also to discover the true story.  Played by Kate Winslet, she leads us through the kooky town introducing us to the inhabitants, including a police officer who secretly cross dresses, a chemist with a hump in his back and the meanest schoolteacher I have ever seen.  My first thought is why would you want to go back to these people, but she did have family there.

Judy Davis played her mother who is as wild and crazy as all the town inhabitants. But she is so fun. She tags along with Tilly on her first date with Teddy (Liam Hemsworth) sitting in the movie theater talking loud.

I won’t give anything away, but I love how they told this story.  As much as my sister loved the clothes, which were amazing, I loved the story. At no time did I feel like I knew where it was going, but I was quite satisfied with the ending. You will be too.

It Is The Winner

There are so many Christmas movies and so little time. I mean there are country Christmases, urban Christmases, California Christmases, Alien Christmases. It goes on and on.

For me, this season the winner is Last Christmas on HBO.

This is the best, most fun movie I watched all the way through and only stopped once. Child of the 1980s that I am, it won me immediately with the George Michael music throughout the movie. And this cute little film from the UK reminded me why I love his music which set a certain type of mood for the film.

The well written script tells me the story in a manner that keeps my interest by making me wonder where it is going. Our main character is Kate, a young woman living in the UK with her parents and sister, all of which have immigrated from Yugoslavia during the critical time of Brexit. She is living the life of a normal twentysomething.

Emilia Clarke is so good as Kate, she is annoying. The first 40 minutes of this movie, I wanted to punch her myself. I was yelling “Girl, get a life!” Then the very charming Henry Golding shows up at Tom and starts me to wondering. First of all, why would someone like him be interested in a girl who wears an elf costume? I didn’t find this to be one of those ordinary Christmas stories.

The Emma Thompson plays Kate’s mother which gives you a glimpse into why Kate is so crazy. Thompson’s character is this older woman who has immigrated to the UK has lots of fears about it. She is a doting mother, but none make you hate her. Michelle Yeoh plays Kate’s boss who goes by the name of Santa and also gives you moments to giggle. Both women characters have that thing that happens after you turn 50 when you say whatever you think to the twentysomething in the room, like “that’s stupid.”

The screenplay was written by Thompson and Bryony Kimmings who were inspired by George Michael’s song Last Christmas. I enjoyed how they chose to tell the story. It was cheeky, funny, corny and endearing.

I like the story because of the set up. It doesn’t do anything that I don’t expect. It slides a few things in, like the Christmas shop that sells odd Christmas ornaments like the baby Jesus with a full set of teeth and a smiling donkey or a Christmas tree made from baby cabbages.

The thing I love is that it takes me one step deeper than most movies like it. It explains why. Life is full of people who do dumb stuff. Once you know why they do it, it changes everything. For that, this movie will go on my list of movies I will watch over and over. And Henry Golding is hot.

There Is Fire

It was 1 am. It was episode 5. Should push play or go to bed. I mean it was the pandemic so no real reason to early rise.

I didn’t even want to see the show originally because it sounded corny to me. I mean put together a diverse and inspirational gospel choir. How ridiculous. I mean gospel choirs can’t be done like American Idol or the Voice. Let’s keep somethings sacred.

Then the first auditionee opened her mouth and it gave me chills.

I was wrong.

Voices of Fire, produced by Pharrell Williams and his uncle Bishop Ezekiel Williams, documents their journey to produce this choir in Hampton Road, Virginia. Like many of those shows that audition people to sing, there are long lines and colorful people. 

Bishop Williams shares his vision to build a choir that is black, white, Asian etc, creating a melting pot of people like Jesus talked about.  He said when all of those people come together it would draw other like-minded people. It allowed them to give incredible testimony.

Bishop said people might not listen to him preach a gospel message but would sit down and listen to a song that carries the same message. He said music transcends racial divides and cultural boundaries.

Bishop and the judges started out looking for unicorns, people with extraordinary talent and stories.

They found them.

I was inspired. I was encouraged. I was blessed.

I watched people from different cultural backgrounds sing songs that caused me to lift my hands, rock from side to side and sing with them. I thought if the power of the spirit of God was this strong weeks after it actually happened, I can imagine what it felt like in those rooms.

One evening when you need a pick me up. Check this out on Netflix. It will bless you.  And I can’t wait for them to come to town.

A Life Ahead Review

I am intrigued by Old Hollywood, so when I heard Sophia Loren had made a new movie, I had to see it. I remember her in House Boat with Cary Grant and Arabesque with Gregory Peck. I wanted to know if the 80ish actor could still bring the magic of movie making. This time her leading man would be a12 year old boy and would sex appeal work at her age?

The story all by itself drew me in. An older Jewish woman took in a Muslim child.

A Life Ahead tells the story of Madame Rosa who takes in children from the streets of her Italian town who have lost their parents. It follows the life of a 12-year-old Senegalese boy called Momo as he manages his life on the streets. In the opening sequence, Momo robs her.

Normally, bad teens get on my nerves because many writers allow them to do terrible things and get away with it. Momo gets to reap a little of what he has sown. It makes him a better person. As he adapts to life in Madame Rosa’s house, he discovers that there is an alternate way of living.

My favorite scene is when Momo, played by Ibrahima Gueye keeps his promise. This spoke to me in that it exemplified how showing someone how to live different is a better teacher than just telling them. Gueye is very convincing. There are nice moments but also a few sad ones as we watch Madame Rosa age.

The Italian language film was directed by Loren’s son, Edoardo Ponti, A Life Ahead and ison Netflix. The movie is dubbed in English, but the beautiful scenes and fun characters make up for it. Before this movie, the last movie Loren made was Human Voice in 2014. This movie was much better than I thought it would be. Loren was very beautiful at 86. The mother son team created a product that I could watch again and again.

There is a New Guard In Town

The opening scene grabs your attention because all but one of the main characters are dead. The movie takes you on a winding path with many sharp turns and detours.

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood who also directed Love and Basketball told a compelling story with The Old Guard. It is described as a covert team of immortal mercenaries who are suddenly exposed and must now fight to keep their identity secret.

Each character is from a different age, so as they battle their current enemy, they flash back to some of their earlier lives, most of which were on battle fields going back over the centuries.

I am drawn to this story not only because of the scifi-ness of it, but it reminds me of a show from many years ago which had a similar premise. The Highlander. In this TV series, Duncan MacLeod was an immortal forever battling other immortals. The connection? The immortals can sense one another’s presence.

In The Old Guard, the mercenaries fight an unknown group that comes against them, while in another direction sense a new immortal.  As they try to teach the new immortal about how life is, they learn some things about themselves.

“Just because we keep living, doesn’t mean we stop hurting,” Booker said to Nile, the new immortal. It challenges the thought of what living forever really means. It dances over a wide body of water.

Charlize Theron took me on a journey, and I was impressed. This was not the kind of role I thought of her in.  She was badass and dark and tough. She showed older women have value and can lead.

The cast is more of an ensemble, than any standout. Every actor plays their part and it is fun to watch. Kiki Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli and Chiwetel Ejiofor create a team that you want to cheer on. Each one has their own battle and this movie will just make you ask more questions as their stories are revealed.

In the end, this movie leaves you with a sense that there is a series or a series of movies coming. I hope so.

This is Worth your Time

I don’t really like true stories in tv or movies because the endings are seldom the way I want them to end. But sometimes the actor leading the show is pretty compelling.

Fell in love with Martin Freeman as Watson in Sherlock so I had to at least check out this new series, Confession. It tells the story of Detective Superintendent Stephen Fulcher as he looks for a missing young woman. Confronted with the killer, Fulcher has to make a decision that haunts him the rest of his life.

The Brits really understand short term attention because my favorite series have about 5 episodes. So does this one. Confession is a little confusing as it uses flash backs trying to explain the circumstances for several individuals. But it is thought provoking.

I have to fight the urge to want Freeman to be the character I had come to know him as, Watson. There were times I wanted him to fight back or have all the right answers. I had to let it go. I had to recognize his purpose in this story.

Actresses Siobhan Finneran and Imelda Staunton carry the weight of this series and it is refreshing. They each play a mother of a missing girl and take the viewer on an interesting ride. I saw portions of myself in each of these mothers. These actresses told a compelling story.

I recommend this series for those who like to binge over a couple of days. It is British, well written and told.

Who Is Your Favorite Bond

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TV Talk With The Sistas

In this podcast, two sisters chat about iconic television shows and their impact on the African American and American culture.

Episode One

The Sistas examine the 1970s hit Sanford and Son starring Redd Foxx and the British murder mystery series, Midsomer Murders.

Episode Two

The Girls focus on the Netflix series The Crown and the 1980s crime drama In the Heat of the Night. They find similar qualities in the way they tell their stories.

Episode Three

The Girls focus on the 1980s Norman Lear sitcom The Jeffersons and the Netflix limited series Self Made: The Madam CJ Walker Story. They examine the impact of these stories on African American culture.

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The Sistas talk about the James Bond,007 franchise and the impact they think it has had on society and culture.  These two Bond lovers go toe to toe over who is the best Bond. They also introduce you to their rating system

 Listen up…TV Talk With the Sistas Episode 4

Episode 3 is Available!

In this podcast, two sisters chat about iconic television shows and their impact on the African American and American culture.

Episode One

The Sistas examine the 1970s hit Sanford and Son starring Redd Foxx and the British murder mystery series, Midsomer Murders.

Episode Two

The Girls focus on the Netflix series The Crown and the 1980s crime drama In the Heat of the Night. They find similar qualities in the way they tell their stories.

Episode Three

The Girls focus on the 1980s Norman Lear sitcom The Jeffersons and the Netflix limited series Self Made: The Madam CJ Walker Story. They examine the impact of these stories on African American culture.

 Listen up…

TV Talk with the Sistas Podcast

New Episode is Available

In this podcast, two sisters chat about iconic television shows and their impact on the African American and American culture.

Episode One

The Sistas examine the 1970s hit Sanford and Son starring Redd Foxx and the British murder mystery series, Midsomer Murders.

Episode Two

The Girls focus on the Netflix series The Crown and the 1980s crime drama In the Heat of the Night. They find similar qualities in the way they tell their stories.

Episode Three

The Girls focus on the 1980s Norman Lear sitcom The Jeffersons and the Netflix limited series Self Made: The Madam CJ Walker Story. They examine the impact of these stories on African American culture.

 Listen up…Episode 3