Movie Reviews

The Keepers – Netflix Documentary

the keepers

I just finished the new Netflix documentary called The Keepers, which premiered on Netflix on May 19, 2017.

On November 7, 1969,  Sister Catherine Cesnik was going to buy her sister an engagement gift and disappeared.  Two months later, her body was found.  Four days after Sister Cathy disappeared, another woman named Joyce Malecki disappeared.  For a while, there were thoughts that the two cases were related, but it later became clear that there was more than meets the eye.

This documentary follows two of Sister Cathy’s former students, Gemma and Abbie, who are both retired grandmothers, as they try to investigate the murder of Sister Cathy.  Sadly, given the time that has passed since the murder, a lot of people have passed away who are key to the investigation.

This is one of the best documentaries I’ve seen in a very long time, and I have watched many documentaries.  The cinematography was incredible, and the music, while chilling, was exceptionally appropriate.  I would venture to say it was way better than Making A Murderer, which I also enjoyed, but this story is just told in a more organic and beautiful way.  This should win a load of Emmy and Golden Globe awards, in my opinion.

What Gemma and Abbie could not have imagined is the can of worms they opened by looking into Sister Cathy’s murder.  There is no way they could have known the sinister things that were happening at Archbishop Keogh High School in Baltimore.  There is no way they could have known the number of people who were going to come out of the woodwork to talk about what happened to them.

What I can’t get past is the fact that the police and the Catholic Church in Baltimore did nothing about any of these things.  I can’t give too much away, but I will tell you that I finished this documentary a) wanting way more and b) extremely pissed off.  And I’m a Catholic.

I would highly recommend this documentary to anyone, man or woman, Catholic or non-Catholic.  I will also say Baltimore as a whole has some incredible issues that need to be addressed.  As someone who closely follows the Adnan Syed case, and is well aware of the police and prosecutorial misconduct in that case, I can say Baltimore is a very flawed city.  I’m sure Chicago, where I’m from, is as well, but it’s not nearly as high profile as Baltimore.  Hopefully more films and podcasts coming out about the corruption in Baltimore will finally get some action going.

Please, do yourself a favor and watch this documentary.  It’s well worth your time.

Happy Memorial Day!

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Movie Reviews

Check out these documentaries

If you have read my blog, you know I love documentaries.  I’m not sure why, but I just do.  I find them fascinating.

I watched two really interesting documentaries this week, and I wanted to let you know about them, you know, in case you’re like me and are always looking for a new documentary to watch!

The Seven Five (Netflix).  I hadn’t heard of this documentary, which has been around the seven fivesince 2014, and I stumbled upon it and I have to say, it was really good.  The Seven Five is the story of Michael Dowd, a police office in the 75th Precinct in New York (hence the name; they call them like that in NY for some reason).  Dowd discovered quickly how easy it was to steal from “scum of the earth drug dealers” (his words, not mine).  What started small turned into a very large operation, and he ended up pulling in other officers with him.

Dowd was interviewed for this film, along with partners and other “associates” during this crime days.  I found the story fascinating.  Dowd was brutally honest, and accepted who he was.  Didn’t make him a good guy, but you had to respect that.  Really good film that I would recommend.

Mommy Dead and Dearest (HBO).  This documentary just premiered on Monday, and I mommy dead and dearesthave to say, I have never seen anything like this.  This is the story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, a girl who grew up with a plethora of health problems and was confined to a wheelchair.  Things aren’t always what they seem, and that holds true in this film.  I can’t give many details, because I don’t want to spoil it, but this was a really powerful but utterly devastating film.  I had so many feelings while watching this film.  It’s a hard film to watch, but worth it.

Also, just released today, is The Keepers, which is the true story of a nun in Baltimore whose murder in 1969 has never been solved.  I started watching a little on my lunch hour and I’m intrigued.  Streaming on Netflix.

Do you have any documentaries you would recommend?  I tend to prefer true crime but will really watch most anything.

Have a lovely weekend.

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Movie Reviews

Mini Movie Review – My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Synopsis from google.com:  Parenting and marriage is becoming tougher and tougher for Toula (Nia Vardalos) and her husband Ian. Not only has their relationship lost some of its spark, but they’re also dealing with a rebellious teenage daughter who clashes with Greek traditions. On top of that, Toula must contend with aging parents and the endless needs of cousins and friends. When a shocking family secret comes to light, the entire Portokalos clan makes plans to come together for an even bigger wedding than before.mbfgw2

Starring:  Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Lainie  Kazan, Michael Constantine

Rating:  PG-13; Running time: 1 hour 34 minutes

My thoughts:  My Big Fat Greek Wedding was one of the most unique, fun movies of the 2000’s.  Fast forward 14 years, and we have the sequel.  Toula and Ian have a teenage daughter named Paris, who likes to wear lots of dark eye makeup and hates her big, fat, Greek family.

Toula is back working at the restaurant and taking care of every single problem in her family.  Her parents discover that they aren’t technically married, which leads them to have a big wedding.

The jokes that were cute in the first movie (the Windex, the incessant chatter about how a word is  Greek, etc.) fall very flat in this movie.  After 15 minutes, my husband looked at me and mouthed “awful” and I shook my head.   The family was still over the top in every sense.  Toula and Ian have lost some of their spark, getting lost in parenting, which was about the only thing in this movie that felt authentic.

The best part of this movie was the great grandmother – she was hilarious!  Paris was whiny and annoying, Toula was whiny and annoying and the movie was just plain bad.  Such a disservice to the amazing original.

In my opinion, don’t waste your time on this sequel.  Or your money.

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Movie Reviews

Movie Review – Daddy’s Home

daddy's home

Rating:  PG:13

Running Time:  1 hour 36 minutes

Starring:   Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardenelli, Thomas Hayden Church

Synopsis from IMDB.com:  Stepdad, Brad Whitaker, is a radio host trying to get his stepchildren to love him and call him Dad. But his plans turn upside down when the biological father, Dusty Mayron, returns.

My rating:  1 star

Review:  Friday night, the whole family was home and we wanted to watch a movie. My boys really wanted to watch Daddy’s Home, so my husband and I reluctantly agreed to watch it; we even paid $6 for it on pay-per-view.

I’m going to say it – this movie was awful.  Really awful.  Brad (Ferrell) is stepdad to Sarah’s (Cardenelli) children – and the children don’t really like him (which is strange, because he was super involved in their lives).  They get a call that their biological bad Dusty (Wahlberg) is coming home.

Dusty is an uber-douche.  From the moment he arrives, he tries to do everything he can to make Brad look terrible.  In one scene, Brad goes to move Dusty’s motorcycle and drives it into the house.  They hire a handy man (who is black) and Dusty makes it seem like Brad is racist.  Somehow, the black handy man comes to live in their house, as does Dusty.

This movie was a complete waste of time and I want my $6 back.  Don’t waste your time or money on this piece of garbage.

Movie Reviews

Fifty Shades of Grey – Movie review

Starring:  Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnsonfiftyshades

Rated R, 2 hours 5 minutes, released February 2015

My rating:  F

My thoughts:  I’ll be the first person to admit that when Fifty Shades of Grey came out (in book form), I jumped on that bandwagon faster than I care to admit.  The idea of BDSM was new at the time, and not a “genre” that was popular.  Not only did it become popular, but the book spawned a slew of copycat books.  And before you knew it, billionaire men into dominance were all the rage.  That was 5 years ago.

The Fifty Shades of Grey movie was released almost 4 years after the book’s release, and I think the BDSM genre had slowed down quite a bit.  So I was surprised when they announced a Fifty Shades movie.

Originally, Charlie Hunnam signed on to play the role of Christian Grey.  He would have been a fantastic CG; but then, his career would likely be ruined.  Instead, we were graced with Jamie Dornan playing the titular role of Christian Grey.  I am not sure why I didn’t notice this at the time of reading, but CG is really a creepy stalker.  He meets Anastasia when she fills in interviewing him for her friend who is sick.  In the book, he is instantly smitten with her.  In the movie, it seemed to be the other way around, where AS was smitten with him.

After their initial meeting (in Seattle, where CG lives) AS is working in Portland (where she lives) when CG comes in – to buy some random BDSM shit (she doesn’t know that at the time).  CG plays it off that he was in the area on business and just randomly showed up in some random hardware store.  Then we find out he’s staying in Portland, at a hotel.  Again, stalker.

This movie was really disjointed.  The chemistry between CG and AS was not at all believable.  I felt no chemistry between them at all.  We go from them meeting, to them having sex after AS’s big revelation that SPOILER ALERT – she’s a virgin.  CG wanted to “break her in”.  Creepy.  Let’s break you in, so I can bring you into my red room of pain.  Sure, that’s how life works.  This move was over 2 hours long and there were about 20 minutes of sex scenes.

This movie was long and BORING as hell.  I didn’t care about any of these characters.  In the book, AS was someone you could relate to.  In the movie, she’s like a robot.  The dialogue was dull and delivered very robotically.  Their relationship moved at a weird pace, and Ana never did sign CG’s ridiculous sex contract.

I will for sure be skipping any future movies.  They can only get worse.

Movie Reviews

Staycation Movie Marathon

I’ve been on vacation this week, and I’ve been on a movie binge.  Here are the movies I’ve seen this week, with mini-reviews.

Star Wars – The Force Awakens.  This movie was INCREDIBLE!  I’ve been a fan of the original series my whole life, and this movie didn’t disappoint.  We saw our old friends Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbecca, C3-P0 and R2-D2.  We also met some new kickass friends, Rey and Finn.  I have several theories about Rey and Finn, but I can’t really say them as they would be spoilers, and I don’t do spoilers.  But I would highly recommend seeing this movie.

Pitch Perfect 2.  This sequel to the delightful Pitch Perfect was not quite as delightful.  Becca, Chloe and Fat Amy are back and seniors, but after a wardrobe malfunction at the Kennedy Center Honors, they are disqualified from Nationals.  They have to take on a ridiculous German team to win worlds.  The movie just didn’t flow and was pretty boring.

Magic Mike XXL.  I don’t think I’ve seen many sequels better than the original, but this movie was better.  The first movie was riddled with drug use, which was a real turnoff.  The writers must have gotten the hint, because it was non-existent in this movie.  This movie was just fun.  And the dance scenes were really good.

Tomorrowland.  The critics panned this movie, but I really loved it.  This movie starts at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, when a young Frank Walker meets Athena, who gives him a button with a T and he goes to Tomorrowland.  Flash forward to present day, and Athena is back, and she gives another T to Cassie Newton, who touches the T and ends up in Tomorrowland.  Great movie.  There are some plot holes, but it’s a fun movie that I recommend.

Trainwreck.  This Amy Schumer dramedy is great.  I love Amy.  She is really one of the funniest women out there.  This movie is about Amy Townsend, a writer at a magazine, who is an alcoholic and a man-whore.  She is “dating” Steven (played by John Cena) but she sleeps around with anything that walks.  She is given a story to follow a sports doctor (played by Bill Hader) and they end up in a relationship.  Funny, quirky and smart, this movie is great and worth watching.

Inside Out.  This animated film is about an 11 year old girl and the people in her brain – joy, disgust, anger, fear and sadness.  Joy is the “leader” of the brain, but sadness is starting to creep in – the family has recently moved and Riley is sad to have left her friends. I have to say, for an animated film, this film was pretty dark and sad.  My kids didn’t enjoy it, but I did, because it was clever and innovative.  Not sure I would recommend.

I’m watching Spy with Melissa McCarthy as I’m blogging.  Will write about that later.

Movie Reviews, Top 10 Tuesday

My Top 10 Favorite Christmas Movies

Christmas Eve is one week from today, so I thought it would be a good time to list my favorite Christmas movies.  Here they are, in descending order.

10.  Christmas Story – I used to REALLY love this movie, until TBS started playing it for 24 hours straight.  Now, I just like it.

9.  Home Alone – Home Alone came out when I was in my late teens, and it’s a movie I love to this day.  That Kevin McCallister was one smart cookie!

8.  Polar Express – I’ll admit – I’m 44 years old and I cry every time I watch this beautiful movie about the spirit of Christmas.

7.  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – this movie is a perennial classic, with Hermie, Rudolph and all those mean reindeer who bully and make fun of poor Rudolph.  It’s a story of triumph (ok, not really) and one of my all time favorites.

6.  Scrooged – this Bill Murray classic is another all time favorite.  The story of a total jerk of a guy who is visited by three ghosts is funny and touching.

5.  The Santa Clause – the original Santa Clause movie is by far the best of the series, and the most endearing, about a man who accidentally becomes Santa.

4.  Christmas Vacation – one of the funniest Christmas movies of all time, Christmas Vacation makes you appreciate your family, because they aren’t the Griswold’s and crazy cousin Eddie.

3.  Elf – I watch Elf every time it’s on.  Just a fun, sweet movie about a human who was adopted by an elf and raised in the North Pole.  Buddy is just awesome.

2. White Christmas – I watch this movie every year with my family.  It’s totally cheesy, with cheesy lines and cheesy dance numbers, but it has a good meaning and some great music.

And the best – It’s a Wonderful Life – by far the best Christmas movie ever created.  The story of a man who wants to take his own life, only to find out what would happened had he not lived touched my life personally about 25 years ago, when I was going through a rough patch.  It’s a beautiful story that holds up to this day, almost 70 years later.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, just Happy Holidays to all.

Movie Reviews

Movie Review – Minions

Movie synopsis: 

Evolving from single-celled yellow organisms at the dawn of time, Minions live to serve, but find themselves working for a continual series of unsuccessful masters, from T. Rex to Napoleon. Without a master to grovel for, the Minions fall into a deep depression. But one minion, Kevin, has a plan; accompanied by his pals Stuart and Bob, Kevin sets forth to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow. Their search leads them to Scarlet Overkill, the world’s first-ever super-villainess.

Starring:  Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney

My review:  First and foremost, I LOVE MINIONS.  Love them.  I, however, did not love this movie.

Minions have been around since the dawn of man.  Literally.  Since dinosaur times.  The Minions went from villain to villain until in 1968, Kevin, Stuart and Bob find Scarlett Overkill.  Scarlett is the super villain they want to work for.  Scarlett tasks them with stealing the Queen of England’s crown, so she can become the queen (which is ludicrous).

While the Minions are adorable, and I love them, this movie wasn’t great.  They speak Spanish (I think) and you can’t understand them.  Add to that a dumb story, made for a long 90 minutes.  The best part of the movie was the end, but I won’t spoil it.  My kids really loved it.  I just thought it was ok.

Movie Reviews

Movie Review – Goon (Netflix)

Synopsis:

Though a misfit among his brainy family members, Massachusetts bouncer Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) has a knockout punch that lands him a spot on a minor-league Canadian hockey team.

Starring: Seann William Scott (Stifler from American Pie), Jay Baruchel, Liev Schrieber, Eugene Levy

Rating: R for violence and excessive use of the F bomb

My review:

I had heard from a few friends about this movie and decided to check it out. Goon is the story of Doug Glatt, a super nice (but sort of dumb) guy who works as a bouncer at a bar in Massachusetts. He attends a minor league hockey game with his best friend and ends up in a fight with a player from the opposing team, which leads to him getting a “job” as the enforcer on his local hockey team.

Doug ends up getting “traded” to Halifax and playing for the Halifax Highlanders, where he is tasked with protecting his roommate, who received a ferocious hit from Ross Rhea (played by an unrecognizable Liev Schrieber), who was suspended and sent down to the minors due to the hit.

Doug also meets Eva, a self proclaimed slut and promptly falls for her. It’s a small part of the story but cute and sweet. Mostly the movie is about hockey. And fighting.

This movie is VULGAR. There are more f bombs than in any movie I’ve seen recently, but this movie is also really funny and fun to watch. Especially as a hockey fan. It’s only about 90 minutes long, so it’s a fast watch. I would recommend.

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Movie Reviews

Movie Review – Drinking Buddies

Synopsis from IMDB.com


Luke and Kate are coworkers at a brewery who spend their nights drinking and flirting heavily. One weekend away together with their significant others proves who really belongs together and who doesn’t.

My rating:  D-

My thoughts:

I was looking for something to watch on Netflix, and googled “best movies on Netflix.”  Surprisingly, this movie appeared.  I love Jake Johnson (I’m a big New Girl fan) so I thought why not.  After the longest 90 minutes of life, my real question was WHY?

Drinking Buddies is the story of Luke (Jake Johnson) and Kate (Olivia Wilde), who work in a Chicago brewery.  Luke is dating Jill (Anna Kendrick), a school teacher, and Kate is dating Chris (Ron Livingston), a music producer.  Apparently, most of this movie of is improvised, which honestly, makes so much sense, there were some terribly awkward scenes in this movie.

Most of the movie is spent watching Kate and Luke swigging beer (there is A LOT of beer consumption in this movie) and then listening to awful dialogue.  There is no character growth.  Kate and Luke are like oversized children.  Luke works with no shoes on and has dirty feet.  Then, all of a sudden, both couples go away on a trip to Michigan (after just having met).  This in itself was odd.  It was clear from this trip that Kate and Luke, and Jill and Chris were better suited for each other.  Again, there was drinking.

This movie really sucked.  I kept waiting for something to happen.  But nothing ever did.  There was no flow, no fun but a lot of beer drinking.  Overall, very disappointing movie.  I would skip it.