Out of Africa is one of those rare movies you can watch over the years and never tire of. Isak Dinesen is a superb story teller, and the cast includes Meryl Streep and Robert Redford as love interests. It certainly deserves the Oscars it won including Best Picture.
We love the main characters for their struggles. All of them have their faults, but they are all people we care about. Dennis Finchhatten, (Robert Redford), although he loves Karen (Meryl Streep), cannot help himself but disappear into the wild for days at a time. He also makes money selling elephant ivory. But at the same time he won’t shoot a lioness threatening Karen, unless it got “a bit” closer. And he has a tribesman friend who travels with him.
Karen is somewhat of a feminist. She inherits her family’s fortune only if she marries, which she does with a friend she doesn’t love. He leaves her, and she runs a coffee plantation in Africa using black labor that she ambiguously both expects hard work from, yet respects at the same time.
They have come as privileged guests who were not invited into someone else’s continent and tribe, in this case. Yet, they are not disrespectful, and they do love Africa.
In one memorable scene, Robert Redford brings a phonograph into the plains and plays Mozart. He says, “Just think, never a human sound in their life and then Mozart.”
I will not give away the ending except to say it is sad and beautiful. One sees that they loved Africa and each other and the African people, but they didn’t belong to each other or the continent. – Tom
Personally, I feel I’ve gotten my fill of politics lately by just turning on the TV news. That said, Christian Bale is superb in his characterization of Dick Cheney, and Amy Adams is remarkable portraying Lynne Cheney.
An award-winning, in-depth characterization of the Vice President and ex-CEO of Haliburton, who, behind the scenes, reveals how much power he acquired over time.
Honestly, I fell asleep during the beginning of the movie. It is quite long.
Let me tell you, as a 90s child, I have been thoroughly enjoying the Disney movie remakes! However, I was incredibly skeptical of the 2019 Lion King remake. Very rarely am I ever impressed by computer animation, and watching an entire film made up of computer generated animals sounded awful. But, the film was great. It took me a while to get used to the animals because there was something a little too real about them. But a few moments into the movie I was hooked. The new film followed the old film storyline pretty closely, which was nice. I really loved the new personalities of Timon and Pumbaa. Made for some laugh out loud moments. And, the soundtrack was great as well!
Long after I watched it, I still think about The Florida Project from 2017 staring Willem Dafoe. The small budget sleeper which received many acting nominations and awards for Dafoe was recognized by both the National Board of Review and American Film Institute as one of the top 10 films of the year in 2017.
Set in Florida the story centers on six year old Moonee who with her mother lives at the Magic Castle, a faded pink stucco two story motel located along a busy freeway. Without helicoptering parents to squash their freedom Moonee and her friends from the motel are free to roam which also means there is no one to protect them when their curiosity and creativity can have dangerous results. A visually captivating film, the single shot of a sign advertising the proximity of Walt Disney World to Magic Castle is not lost on the viewer.
Dafoe with his weathered face has seen many lives pass thru the motel he manages which serves as housing for poor single mothers who resort to any way to make the rent money from reselling fake Disney World tickets to prostitution. Meanwhile the looming threat is family services will discover these desperate acts by Moonee’s mother and she will lose her daughter to foster care. Dafoe is the stability in the lives of the motel residents both children and adults. But for how long can he protect the children and their mothers from making bad choices. As consequences unfold the viewer is left to wonder what truly would be the best outcome for Moonee.
Recommendation by Katie
If there is only one thing that readers take away from my review, let it be this:
This is essentially what the big Oscar-bait film boils down to, but it is so much more about the nuanced journey than the destination. Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz feature in this jet black loosely historical comedy based on the reign and life of Queen Anne. During the midst of war with France, all the ailing monarch can focus on is her own pain and pleasure. Every person that serves her from the lowest chambermaid to the nobility clamors for her attention. The favor of the queen is the most valuable asset a person can claim, even if it is fleeting.
Abigail Hill (Stone) comes to court a destitute young maid who was gambled away by her father. Wide-eyed and covered in filth, she stumbles into this grandiose world with only her naive charm and a seizable bag of ambition. Abigail lies in wait surveying the politics of her new habitat and observes the massive influence that her cousin Sarah Churchill (Yes, that Churchill) has over Anne. Anne is a terrible Queen. She has the most mercurial temper, she is very self conscious, and she would prefer the company of her 17 rabbits to affairs of state. Lady Sarah (Weisz) is Anne’s lover and more importantly the woman behind the woman. As the queen’s favorite she is given unparalleled influence and effectively rules the country. Abigail wants that power and the course of this movie is the rabbit race for supremacy.
This movie is exceptional. Even though there are a lot of dramatic moments throughout I found myself laughing uncontrollably. Having watched three Yorgos Lanthimos films, the absurdist and often unnatural-sounding dialogue works really well as a source of comedy. This is what I think makes The Favourite and The Lobster enjoyable when I found The Killing of a Sacred Deer painful to sit through.
Despite how much I have been propping up the comedic aspects of this film, it also has some jarring moments of pathos. Even though all of these people are terrible and weird, the acting of the three brilliant leads causes you to root for them both as flawed individuals and as couples. (Team Sarah!!!!) The Favourite made me reflect on the nature of love. Sarah is not frost-cold and unfeeling toward Anne, but she does have to be the heavy a lot of the time and tell her when her makeup looks terrible or not to overindulge in sweets. Abigail is superficially more kind to Anne but everything she does has an ulterior motive. Will honesty and sense win the day or will Anne be blind to Abigail’s flattery?
BROADCHURCH TV SERIES
Recommendation by Nina Murphy
When a patron checks out a show I have enjoyed I can’t help but get excited for them, particularly when it’s a well done British murder mystery. Somehow murders taking place across the pond seem less nefarious to me than those taking place stateside. Broadchurch, a three season TV program extremely popular with streaming services is available through Ocean State Library (Season 1 & 2 are available on the shelves at Rogers Free Library with Season three available for request from other libraries.
Broadchurch takes places in a fictional town near Dorset, England. The dramatic landscape of a massive cliff which looms over a wide empty beach provides a forlorn sadness to a very the sad reality: A 14-year old boy has been found dead below the cliff. As we discover with the twists and turns of each episode there are secret lives behind the townspeople which begs the question did those secrets play a part in the tragedy? To add to the tension is the working relationship between DI Alec Hardy, a seasoned detective who has for reasons we will learn later moved to this remote coastal town, and local DS Ellie Miller who is a product of the community and thinks she knows her residents inside and out.
Chris Chibnall was the creator and executive producer behind the series and more importantly wrote all 24 episodes of the series. He has created characters with complicated intersecting lives. Interesting production note which I did not know when I watched the series is the identity of the killer was kept from actors and crew up until the final three episodes.
Broadchurch is the perfect antidote for a cool fall night along with a large bowl of popcorn. A word of warning: you don’t want to rush through this well-crafted production. Once it’s over you’ll only be frustrated that there are not more programs as well produced as this one.
Disney’s new live action reboot of “Dumbo” is fun for the whole family, but I feel it lacks some of the key elements that deemed it a “classic.” Some of the parts from the original have been edited out to make it more appropriate for modern times, which is great, but I think deviating from the original storyline took away from the film as opposed to adding to it. All in all, it was a great film, but the original animated version from 1941 will always be THE classic. – Children’s Room Staff
The Heiress (DVD)
Based on the 1947 Broadway stage play by the same name, which in turn, was based on the 1880 Henry James novel “Washington Square.” The movie, set in 1849 New York, follows Catherine Slooper, (Olivia De Havilland) daughter of a prominent New York City surgeon, (Ralph Richardson) who blames his daughter for the death of his wife; who died in childbirth. Catherine, a plain, overly shy, awkward young woman is pursued and courted by Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift), a near-do well forutne hunter, who jilts her on the very evening they were to elope, when he learnes her father is planning to dis-inherit her.
Years later, he unexpectedly returns and this time she turns the tables on him, which dooms her to a life of comfortable yet lonely spinsterhood. Her wealth was a motivinating factor but, did Morris actually have legitimate feelings for Catherine? Watch the movie and you decide!
Henry James used a contemporary, real life scandal on which he based his novel.
– Rei B
Captain Marvel is Marvel’s first feature film to have a female superhero as a lead – and it’s about time. I did have some issues with it, like the predictable villain and no, I wouldn’t put it in my ‘Top 5 Marvel Movies’ list (even though Captain Marvel is possibly my favorite female Marvel hero) but it was entertaining. It was funny and heartwarming. There was just a little something missing. Despite that, Brie Larson was the perfect choice to play Carol Danvers and brilliantly brings Captain Marvel to the big screen.
This origin story feels like a coming of age film, where Carol discovers who she is and what she’s capable of (spoiler: it’s a lot). As arguably one of the most powerful superheroes she can accomplish a lot once she embraces her powers and everything that makes her uniquely her. I also love how she is unapologetically herself, whether it’s being an amazing female pilot or an uber powerful superhero. She doesn’t apologize for being stronger, smarter, or more passionate than anyone else – and that’s a great message to take to heart. No one asks the male superheroes to do so, so why should Captain Marvel? There were a lot of elements of feminism in the storyline, which I appreciated.
The supporting characters were the ones that shone for me in this film. We got to see Nick Fury’s origin story, Phil Coulson as a new agent, and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s development from a terrestrial organization to one that realizes there is more out there. Monica Rambeau, Carol’s fellow pilot, and her daughter Maria were the heart of this movie and stole so many scenes. I loved the relationship that Carol had with them and it felt real. And of course, we can’t forget Goose (Chewie in the comics), the orange tabby cat with a secret or two that steals Fury’s heart.
Overall, I cannot wait to see where Carol travels next and how her story intersects with Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D., the Rambeau’s, and the other Marvel superheroes in the future. I think she has a bright future ahead of her.