March 30th, 2020 – COVID-19 spreads

Week One of self-quarantine is complete.  I feel fine.  No symptoms of any kind (knock wood) but this is the right thing to do.  There is so much information and misinformation out there.  We have world leaders being indecisive and others doing what they can.   I think that we should all be learning from what is happening in places which are ahead of North America (like Italy, Spain, Germany).  This staying at home and not interacting will mean no cinema visits for a while, and lots of movies at home.   Even Hollywood blockbusters like the new James Bond are being impacted.  More scary will be how new movies won’t be made at all for the foreseeable future.   So there will be a delayed effect as films go on hiatus.  Could make the 2021 Oscars an interesting show since 2020 movies will, for the most part, already be filmed and in post production.

As for movies, I am realizing as I am writing and reviewing Frozen II, that I don’t appear to have ever reviewed the original Frozen.  I can remedy that now.   So back in 2013, Disney released a princess-based traditional story about Nordic royal family.   I give away nothing in saying that, like most Disney movies, there is parental death.   The two sisters (princesses) in the story need to make due.   They are close.   The elder sister has a magical gift, which if used improperly could be harmful.  This is shown early on as the younger sister almost has an accident.   Things happen.   There are a couple memorable songs like “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” and the mega-hit “Let It Go”.   Idina Menzel belts out the hit and it is the inspiring anthem for that character.  What worked best for me with Frozen was how it veered into non-traditional territory, in dealing with the “damsel in distress”.   Anna and Elsa aren’t Snow White, or Ariel or Belle awaiting their Prince Charming.   The story unfolds in a way that was satisfying and appropriate for today’s audiences.

Frozen II was the inevitable sequel, given the tremendous success of the original.   It took six years to finally get there, but the main characters all return.  As in any time a successful original is followed up, you run the risk of trying to repeat success while bringing something new for the characters.   Disney has shown that they are more than capable of doing this with the Toy Story franchise.   I can’t say that this was as successful.  The songs weren’t as memorable.  The story provides more backstory to the royal family and its earlier days when the father of the princesses was a young man.    It involves an enchanted forest and relations amongst peoples of different cultures.   It is believable in the grand scheme of things.   In the end it was decent.  If you haven’t seen the first, see it first.  Feel free to stop there, as you will be missing out on not very much.   If you like the characters and want to see more of them, then feel free to watch the sequel.

On Netflix I was told about at-home viewing parties for people (mostly women) with the series (11 episodes including a reunion at the end) for Love Is Blind.   In many ways it mirrors, and uses the success of The Bachelor series to its advantage.   The premise is one of putting together 12 men and women together who are both ready to settle down and get married.   The twist is that these groups are segregated apart and cannot see one another as they get to know one another.   They talk in pods, where in this small room is a couch and carpet and they can talk with the other person.   They can talk as often as they wish, after what appears to be a speed-dating introduction where you meet everyone going from pod to pod.   The idea is that one party needs to propose marriage to the other.  The social experiment is to see whether love is truly blind.   It was a three-week event.   Remarkably six couples actually propose to one another in the pods.   They are obviously the focus.   Once they propose they get to actually lay eyes on the other person.   The big reveal.   Once the couples pair off, they are whisked away to Cancun Mexico and see if their relationship can become more physical.   Physical becomes an operative word between some of the couples.   They spend time there, and then head back to Atlanta and live in a condo building all together.   They are given their phones back and have introductions to friends and families as they prepare their weddings.   Let the drama begin throughout.   For those looking for some mindless escapism, this could be the vehicle.   You don’t have to see rising COVID-19 cases.   You don’t hear about ventilator shortages and no mask wearing.   It is a train wreck to be sure, with a flawed premise.  I don’t think many would believe that love is blind.  We all recognize that there are economic, physical, family, race, religion, geographic, career aspects of who we are that impact on our potential partner.   Sometimes love can overcome.  So watch.   In the end, as in most of these series, you are only privy to what you see.   Editing is a marvelous thing for putting forth the characters involved in the light that the producers want to achieve to make you continue to watch.   For what it is, I watched it to the end.   It delivered on what it is.

Finally I re-watched Bugsy, the 1991 film starring Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, where the two met and feel in love for real.  This is the movie about Ben “Bugsy” Siegel, the NY mobster who also was a flamboyant ladies man, and loved living the life of a gangster.   It was nominated for 12 Oscars, including Best Picture, and Best Actor, and Supporting Actor.   Amazingly to me, Annette Bening was not nominated here.  She has been nominated four times before and has never won.  Playing Virginia Hill, she shows spunk and attitude which turns Ben Siegel for a loop.   I had showed this movie to my youngest as he has been to Vegas, and this shows the initial inspiration for Vegas.   Vegas in the 1940s was a small insignificant town in the desert.  With the completion the Hoover Dam, though, it would have all the electricity that it would need and water.   Siegel saw this inspiration, and convinced his good friend Meyer Lansky to invest the mobs money.   Siegel had a temper and Beatty shows the volatility of the man, and just how quickly he could turn around and bring himself back.   As the Lanksy character says early on, Siegel’s flaw was that “he doesn’t respect money”.   He was an idea man, and wanted to leave something behind;  make a lasting impression.    There are quality performances all around from Ben Kingsley (Lansky) to Harvey Keitel (Mickey Cohen) and others.   Beatty and Bening steal the show and the chemistry between them is undeniable.   Silence of the Lambs won the Best Picture that year, justifiably, but this was a very good film and worth your time if you are looking for something to watch at home.

Stay safe all.  Stay healthy.  Stay home.


March 23, 2020 – Corona Strikes with Vengeance

I am in Corona/COVID-19 based 14-day self quarantine, having visited the US for March Break over the last week.   The world has been turned upside down.  The epicentre of this virus is now in Italy, with Spain quickly following.  France and Germany are next.   The US is only now realizing how ill prepared they were for all of this.  On Netflix, the movie Contagion seems to be the most popular.  Why people choose to want to watch a movie about what they are living in real time surprises me.  This is unprecedented.  On Saturday I flew through Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world.   It was a ghost town as I walked from one gate to another.   Like being in one of those zombie movies which I don’t care to watch.


I have been to O’Hare on a number of occasions, and it has never been like this.

At home, there is plenty of time to watch programs – too much time in fact, and i am limiting the screen time each day.   We are finding other things to do like puzzles and play games etc.   We will read more.   On the screen, we finished watching the new Stephen King series on HBO called The Outsider.   Finally finished I have to admit that I wasn’t as satisfied with the final few episodes.   It became all too much Stephen King-ish to borrow a phrase.   I was a King reader until I read Tommyknockers.   Then that prolonged book which accomplished nothing was a total lunchbag letdown.  Suffice it to say, as soon as aliens showed up, then I was checked out.

For The Outsider, I think that the performances were quite good all around.  The acting, the script etc was good.   It was overly long.  It didn’t need to be 10 hours.   it is more a traditional movie length which would work.   In the end, I wish this was shorter.  I also wish that the resolution wouldn’t be like the alien solution to Tommyknockers.   It seems like a cop out.   There is a moment when various characters go in to disbelief, and would echo much of how the audience is feeling.   I won’t describe it further.   But still, watch at your own risk.  You may love King and Tommyknockers.   You may feel he is at the top of his game, or you could be like me and feel that the aging King is selling out to the formats of overly long stories from streaming services desperate for content.

The other movie we saw this past weekend was the Tom Cruise classic Risky Business with Rebecca DeMornay.   My youngest had never seen this before.   I was about his age when I first saw it in the theatre.   As a high school teen, it had all that I ever wanted (action, swearing, naked girls and a Porsche).   It showed the fantasy of the teenager with parents leaving house (and Porsche) at home while he finishes up high school.   This was the star vehicle for Cruise, where he had begun in supporting roles in Taps with Timothy Hutton and then The Outsiders (ironically) with C Thomas Howell and Patrick Swayze but this was him as the star.   His scene with Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock and Roll playing and Cruise dancing in his collared shirt and underwear is famous.   The overall premise is teenage dreams, as outlined, but the acting is good and the ultimate place where it lands is fun and unexpected.   Tom flashes his winning smile and shows the angst of the time about getting into College and trying to make something of your life, as well as the general feeling that the “kids of the day” only cared about making money, and not worried about doing something for their fellow man.   There is the preppy waredrobe from Tom, complete with dock siders and bright coloured sweaters.   The 928 is a cool car.   I took a picture of one from the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart back in 2018.   This movie was 1983.   Cruise went on to do All the Right Moves, Legend and then Top Gun in 1986!!!IMG_4105


March 18th, 2020 – The Self Distancing Edition (Alison)

So I keep thinking about the movie title, Love In A Time of Cholera.  I think someone should do a sequel (you know where I’m going don’t you?), Love In a Time of Covid.  It could be about two millennials who carry on an online romance this time.  The grandparents could be played by Meg Ryan and The Hanks who could add snappy quips about how they fell in love on the AOL and flew to Seattle to almost get cat-fished (You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle).  Billy Crystal could play the other grandfather, a retired NBA referee, who could add his two cents about the time he almost shagged Meg Ryan and that ‘his boys’ could ‘play through’ any virus.  Anyone for a remake of Six Degrees of Separation?  Will Smith yelling six feet across a room at well, everyone.

In the blink of an eye life around us has changed.  We all probably have more toilet paper than we’ve ever owned before.  Stay at home, work from home, no homie hugs or fist bumps.  No fly, no sly, no live television that isn’t news.  Recession, depression, the stock market is a mess and Meagan Markel wore her last official dress.  But when something like this happens we text a little more often, the phone rings and we remember that none of us are alone in this.  And this too shall pass.  Until then, we have more time for movies!
I was watching The New Pope this week and I kept hearing Prince in my head, softly at first then gaining volume with each episode.  “Animals strike curious poses”. This has happened to me before so I raced over to IMDB to look up who the director was.  I was not surprised that it was Paolo Sorrentino because I hear that phrase in my head every time I see one of his films.  Imagine my delight with nine whole episodes!  As a director his cinematography is well choreographed with a near obsession with balance.  At times it is very much like performance art – hence the curious poses.  His scenes are always perfectly sculpted and any still from his work would look great as a piece of art in your living room.  But most of all he loves a peculiar face.  You will never find a more amusing collection of faces than in The New Pope.  I’m willing to bet that Rob couldn’t sit through an episode without mentally flicking that mole off one of the faces while I mused at the perfect math of another.    Neon nuns in nighties dancing to techno beats. And the performances are just as good.  John Malkovich was at his best while that sexy Jude Law just breathed in his speedo (he should be on the husband list).  It doesn’t matter that the show is all about the Catholic church and its mysteries and its not so secret secrets.  Its a sexy expose, a mockery and a well balance critical eye.  And it inspires hope and faith as a separate thing from religion.  You do not need to watch the Young Pope in order to understand the New Pope.  The New Pope is more playful and I will forever chuckle about the time the pope met Sharon Stone.  Two of my favourite films are also by Sorrentino – The Great Beauty and Youth where he tackles his favourite subject, life itself and all of its curious poses.

March 9th, 2020

I had forgotten that I had seen the movie, Kid Who Would Be King with youngest son two weeks ago.   We had decided just to put in on Crave.   This was in between catching The Outsider.   Now how had I missed this when it includes Rebecca Ferguson, of Mission Impossible fame and The White Queen, I just won’t know.  A silly oversight, although if you watch this movie for her you will wish for more screen time.   The story is a young man (played by Louis Ashbourne Serkis – and yes, related to Andy Serkis from LOTR, King Kong, Planet of the Apes etc).   He is good.   He is a general outcast in school.  He stumbles upon a sword which happens to be excalibur.   He manages to free the sword in modern times.  What do you do now?   The question is answered quickly as the dormant Morgana is looking to return to earth and dominate once again.  This heads down a relatively predictable path.  I have to say that I enjoyed this more than I had expected.    The age-old discussion about expectations can be inserted here.   Would I have enjoyed it less if I expected a snap bang, rousing King Arthur story?  Likely so.   Instead I got what I felt would be young teen mush, and was pleasantly surprised.   The young cast does a decent job, the effects are okay.

As for The Outsider, I will state up front that I haven’t finished Season 1 yet.   The early trailers for this season was for the Jason Bateman fans who liked Ozark.   Here he is on a baseball field as a coach and accused of murdering a young elementary aged child.    It has some twists and turns and becomes more a story about the police who are trying to figure out the killer.   There are logical steps that don’t compute, but the cast plays it straight as they must.  Ben Mendolsohn, known by me for generally being a bad guy in movies like Rogue One or Ready Player One.   He and his wife are struggling as are many of the various characters in this tale.   Things happen and there is a left turn which kind of lost me, I have to admit, but a feeling that is echoed by some of the characters.   Still, as we get to focus more on the Private Investigator, played by Cynthia Erivo, it is more compelling.  I can see a series with her in the possible future.   But we will see if that happens.   I will finish this, but for me, much like the book Tommyknockers, Stephen King can lose me when he takes these left turns (some of which you see coming at you like a car with high beams in the opposite lane on a flat backroad).   I’ll let you decide if the end is worth the journey as I watch along too.  Oh, and in looking it up, Cynthia Erivo got an Oscar nomination for Harriet this past year, and she was also in Widows.   No wonder why I am liking her.  I haven’t seen Harriet but I will need to check it out.

March 2, 2020 – Alison reviews

Coincidentally I too pulled out some old titles this last week.  I rewatched the Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Nolan’s brilliant reboot of the Batman story.  I watched Batman Begins and The Dark Knight back to back, as it was intended by Nolan, and it was a better experience than that of the years in between each episode.  It’s Batman so I think the plots are within the scope of your imaginations.  Instead I’ll comment on some things that stood out.  (1) Christian Bale was ripped for his first donning of the bat suit.  The second movie he was notably smaller and by the third he just didn’t bother. (2) These movies are loud (my neighbours will attest to this).  I recalled travelling 6 hours to San Jose to see the Dark Knight Rises while I lived in Costa Rica.  It was so loud that it wasn’t until I exited the theatre that I realized there had been an earthquake during the showing.  (3) Nolan’s use of theme music in his films is brilliant.  In each of his films the score becomes as if another cast member not meant to simply exist in the background.  He uses Hans Zimmer who has had a long history of being attached to some of the best films in modern history, many of which if you pause for a moment the melodies will come to mind for you.  (4) Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker.  Both Joaquin Phoenix and Heath Ledger won Oscar’s for their portrayal of the Joker.  I am a huge fan of both but with immediate comparison I gotta go with Ledger as being the best.  Phoenix came at the character from a different angle than Ledger.  Ledger’s Joker was truly frightening in that his madness was so unhinged and unpredictable whereas we were drawn to feel a degree of pathos for Phoenix’s take. (5) I still maintain that Maggie Gyllenhaal was miscast as Batman’s love interest.  Just didn’t look right.  They made up for it by casting Anne Hathaway in the final chapter.  (6) Where has Joseph Gordon Levitt been?  Miss him.
This weekend I found an abandoned box of DVD’s and VHS tapes in my office and decided to wire up the old tech.  I rewatched Hero (2002).  Hero was nominated for best foreign language film but lost to Germany and to my surprise was not nominated for cinematography.  The early 2000s saw a wave of epic films coming in from China – Joy Luck Club, Crouching Tiger and Hero to name a few.  Hero still stands as one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen as the cinematography is breathtaking.  The story has Jet Li as an assassin that comes to meet the king in order to receive his reward for killing the kings enemies.  Li has three assassins to kill and with each one he is allowed to advance closer to king who has constructed a hall big enough to prevent any assassin from getting close to him.  As Li tells his story to the king each is a separate scene in the film.  While the CGI technology used in 2002 pales against today, Hero still stands up.  Each story features a different colour as the primary theme as does the scenery and use of natural elements.  The film keeps to what I call the Shaoling Kung-Fu style where people can fly, levitate and run on water.  The fight scenes are brilliant and somehow are not violent.  One detail I noticed with this viewing is that at no time in the film is there ever blood – get stabbed and someone is always there to rip their clothing and tie things off so nary a drop is seen.  Hero stands the test of time and I look forward to watching it again some day hopefully digitally remastered.
Lastly, I started rewatching The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin’s last foray into a television series (he wrote the West Wing).  I stand by the opening scene of this show as being one of the best written wherein the lead character, Jeff Daniels, goes on a rant about the state of America.  “America isn’t the greatest country in the world…but it can be” – words that still resonate a decade later.  The story follows, well, a newsroom at a time when the primary election process is underway and the credibility of journalism and facts start to come into question when it doesn’t suit politicians.  What is that saying…life imitates art.  No one is better at rant writing than Sorkin and his dialogues are always at a peppered pentameter.  He creates intelligent, likeable characters and stories that interlace timely facts of reality into his fictions.  The Newsroom is still fresh in today’s climate and at times predicts the reality we find ourselves reluctantly in today.
Rob, I was at that Gordon Lightfoot concert.  You may have seen me; I was the only Black person there LOL.

March 2, 2020

A couple of years back I went to see Gordon Lightfoot live at Massey Hall, amongst the group with me was my brother.  He is more of the music guy in the family, and he was always a fan of Gordon.  He also plays guitar too which likely gives him a better appreciation for the skill of the Canadian icon.   I watched upon suggestion the CBC documentary from 2019 Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind.  I found out a number of things; I didn’t know Gordon was from Orillia.   I also hadn’t realized how many people covered his songs, including Elvis.

Yea, I didn’t know!  This is a story of his life, and I hadn’t realized just how big he was.  He had it all.  Talent, looks, voice.   He wrote all his own music and did it in solitude.  No collaborators.    He wrote many songs that just drip Canadiana, like the Edmund Fitzgerald.   Beyond not realizing how incredibly famous he was, I also didn’t know his personal life.  The parties in his Rosedale house.   His numerous loves and failed marriages (three wives).  He has six children, and despite a couple pics of them in the show, none of them appeared to talk about their Dad.   I remember after the concert thinking, he doesn’t really have a voice anymore.  I wonder why an 80yo guy is touring, especially after he had a radio story come out a few years back that he was dead.   But why tour?    He didn’t talk about it.  Here is a guy who has played with everyone, knows everyone, written songs that many have sung, been awarded 16 Juno awards and waited until Bob Dylan himself inducted him into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.  I wish I had seen him in his heyday, but instead it remains a memorable night with good people for which I can blog about years later.

I re-watched the fun music movie The Commitments from 1991.  If you see a trend here, it is another movie set in Dublin (like Leap Year earlier in the year).   I am reminiscing about my trip last May to Ireland with great affection.   Anyway, this is a movie about a group of young people organized by an outgoing young man, who puts together a musical group to play soul.  Soul to him is the music of the common people, the blue collar.  He sees an opportunity.  He starts gathering talent and they come together, just not entirely.   They have a cast of characters including three young ladies, The Commitment-ettes!   It’s good fun, with a really good soundtrack that sold well in the 90s.   An interesting note that the one guitar playing bandmate who looks a little like the lead singer of Simply Red is the guy who wrote and starred in Once, another Dublin based musical story, well worth your time.  He has less hair, and more experienced, but still tells a compelling story.  Two quality films that he has been a part of.

Sunday I I ended up re-watching Starship Troopers from back in 1997.  It starred Denise Richards and Caspar Van Dien along with supporting cast like Neil Patrick Harris, Michael Ironside (Top Gun)  and Clancy Brown (Shawshank).  It is a group of young people set in the future who are looking to fight aliens attacking humans.  The aliens are bugs of various kinds and abilities and they are tough to kill.   It is all campy fun, with a TV News-type intro with clips no one would see at least today, or back in 1997.   There is graphic violence and some nudity all of which was meant for the target audience of teenagers back in the day.   It is pure entertainment and not meant to be taken seriously.  But it can be fun escapism for those looking for sci-fi based two hours to kill (so to speak).

Finally I watched the last episode of Season 1 for Succession.     Season 1 has 10 episodes.   It’s basic premise is a rich older media mogul, played by Brian Cox is head of a mega-corporation and he has a health issue.   The question surrounds whether he will survive and his children (and others close by) scramble trying to deal with the fallout.   There is a good cast, and you learn about the various children and how the figurehead views them.   People with money have challenges, just money isn’t one of them.  It doesn’t make them any less problematic for them.  Who is going to succeed the father?  What to do when the stock price plummets, and no direction from him?   How do adult children act around a patriarch, as well as amongst themselves.   Season Two this year won the Golden Globe.   I will continue to watch.  In a day where there is so much content out there, this is a place – now that Game of Thrones has passed – that you can see some intrigue.   No guns.   No blowing up things really, and more drama.  I can offer that the resolution wihin the final episode was a bit of a letdown.   I didn’t see the need to go there, but I guess it helped set up some of Season 2.  I will watch and find out.   I keep being told that Season 2 is better.



February 24th, 2020 – A discussion

The Souvenir – Alison wrote about this movie back in October.  Check out her thoughts.   I saw this on Crave on Tuesday night, and it has stuck with me ever since.

There are so many angles that one can take when reviewing this movie.   In its simplest terms it is a movie about relationships.   That can take you almost anywhere.   It raises so many questions as I watched.  All at once I was intrigued at what was unfolding and then moments later frustrated beyond belief.   There are a number of surprises along the way, and I won’t divulge them here.   The basics are that it stars Tilda Swinton’s daughter, Honor Swinton Byrne, who is a young filmmaker in her early 20s.  She is attending film school.   Her actual Mom, Tilda plays her doting Mother who seems to just want to love and support her daughter and see her happy.  Mom appears to be on her own.   Daughter by happenstance meets a young man, played by Tom Burke.  The story and relationship unfolds for these two.

Questions arise like: how does an attractive, intelligent, driven young woman with a good vision of her goals become wrapped up in a toxic relationship?   How does any person get to be involved in these?   It’s so easy to spot a toxic connection as you watch from afar and catching the highlights and lowlights, yet not so easy being in the centre of it.  There is always an element of a lack of communication but once again this is nothing new.   Maybe the answer is that these situations just creep up on you, until an event occurs that makes it plain as day that this just isn’t for you.   The undercurrent which is a driving force to keep it going is that need in all people for love and connection.   One can overlook flaws, and in many cases substantial flaws, because there are some positive qualities there in this other person.   People generally are not all bad, through and through.  Do you really want to start all over again?    How does a Mother not see things that seem pretty plain, like a recurring need for a daughter to ask for money?   There is another “project” and another piece of “equipment” that just seems to be necessary and it will, of course be “paid back”.  The cycle continues with the hope of “this time it will be different”.  This movie for me raised these questions in my head as I watched.    It is not so crass as you insert a psycho-analyst and spoon feed it to the audience.   I like that.

Some other movies like Beautiful Boy, Ben is Back or Rachel Getting Married deal with challenges for families with a member who struggles with their own demons.  I will leave it at that.   There was a moment where I was thinking that this was autobiographical for the young Byrne.   Maybe so, I don’t know.

This is a slow burn.  It takes its time to bring you to the meaty stuff.  It allows you to see the characters interact.  Near the end the line delivered “I have been a beast to you…” actually floored me.    It highlighted in a few words what this was really about.

I hadn’t figured out entirely what the significance of the the picture in which this film was named but I will include it here.   Younger viewers of the movie may not understand all the complexities, but those north of 50 who have some “experience” behind us, should see the issues clearly.   This is another film where what you bring to it will likely impact your enjoyment.    It is a really good case study.

The Souvenir By Jean Honore FragonardI followed up watching this movie by catching Leap Year, a romantic comedy.   Many of my readers will know that I am a card carrying member of the I Don’t Like Amy Adams Club.   This likely impacted why I didn’t seek it out earlier when it was released in 2010.   I did really like Amy Adams in Arrival,  and also the series Sharp Objects.  I cannot forgive Lois Lane, starting in Man of Steel.   It also stars Matthew Goode, who was the smart, dark haired, good looking guy in Imitation Game who picks up women with ease.   As romantic comedies go, it is pretty basic.  Woman in longer relationship is expecting a ring from her boyfriend.  They live happily in Boston where he is a surgeon and she is a “stager’ for real estate brokers.  The ring wasn’t presented.    He gets called away to a conference in Dublin.   Her father John Lithgow reminds her of the Irish tradition of a woman being able to propose to a man on the leap years.   She decides to go to Ireland and find him to do exactly that.  Best laid plains go awry and she is detoured to a remote area of the UK.   She meets up with Goode character and they have their swords cross a few times.   You know how it will end.   For me, one of the highlights of course was the scenery around Ireland.  From the cliffs, to the countryside to the stone walled roads through the country and the castles.   It is beautiful.    It made me want to look up some of the spots and re-visit:

Amy Adams’ Leap Year: Where Was it Filmed? (The Locations You Can Actually Visit!)

As a travel log this was marvelous and beautiful.   As a movie, less so, but light entertainment.    I enjoyed nevertheless, even though I continue to carry my Card!

My youngest son and I this weekend watched Ma, starring Octavia Spencer.  She plays an outcast woman small town America, where she works for a local vet.  Some local teens are seeking someone to buy them booze for a fun night out and they happen to see her walking her three-legged dog.   Spencer decides to help them out and later befriend this group.   She offers up her house basement so that they can have some parties and not risk getting pinched by the local cops.   In time, you learn that she went to high school with some of the parents of these kids.   One of the parents is Juliette Lewis.   As an aside, Ms Lewis hasn’t seemed to age well.    Spencer is a year older than Lewis, and you would never tell it.   I guess being in the spotlight from a very early age, Lewis was nominated for an Oscar for her teenage role in Cape Fear with Robert De Niro back in 1991.   But I digress.   There are elements of Misery in this movie, and other movies similar like Carrie.   This is a thriller and typical teen thriller.   The performance by Spencer has been noted as why one would watch this.  I agree.   I think she finds a way to show that level of normal versus psychotic in an interesting way.   She channels in much the same way as Kathy Bates did that person who is just a little off.   In this case, more than a little off who will surprise in what they are capable of doing.