Happy Valley Discoveries with Close Captions On

I watched season 1 of Happy Valley several times. I even wrote recaps of every episode. I decided to watch it all again this week with close captions on and found I had missed at least half of it. I thought my ear for a Yorkshire accent was getting pretty good, but I was wrong. Continue reading “Happy Valley Discoveries with Close Captions On”

Review: Jackie & Ryan

Jackie & Ryan is a warm-hearted romance that includes music. You can’t stay by the fire on a cold winter’s TV hiatus any better way than to watch a sweet love story with great songs in it, can you?

Jackie & Ryan features Katherine Heigl as Jackie. Jackie is a pop singer who returned from her high powered life to her home in Ogden, Utah. She’s divorcing her asshole, er, her husband, and taking care of her daughter Lia (Emily Alyn Lind). It turns out that Katherine Heigl can sing. Who knew? Continue reading “Review: Jackie & Ryan”

Review: Phoenix

Phoenix is a German film that earned over the top rave reviews from festival goers. Set in Berlin in 1944, the film stars Nina Hoss as a woman returning from a concentration camp. It’s beautifully photographed and has a very satisfying ending. Nina Hoss is wonderful in the part. I also give it high marks; it kept me holding my breath with fear. But I had a couple of complaints about the film.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Phoenix”

Dicte, Season 2 of the Danish Crime Drama

Season 2 of the Danish hit series Dicte finally made its way to American Netflix. It was a very long wait. Dicte demanded binge watching and I complied. Here’s my take on season 2. There are some spoilers ahead.

Based on  novels by Danish author Elsebeth Egholm, Dicte stars Iben Hjejle as Dicte Svendsen, a divorced single mother and crime reporter for the Aarhus newspaper. Continue reading “Dicte, Season 2 of the Danish Crime Drama”

Review: Trumbo

Trumbo is a fact-based story about Dalton Trumbo, a screenwriter who was blacklisted during the Communist scare of the 1940s and 50s. Bryan Cranston is brilliant as the chain-smoking, hard-drinking writer who lead other Hollywood writers in a quiet but effective revolt against blacklisting.

Trumbo served time in prison for his liberal beliefs, as did many others during the hysterical fear-based Communist scourge of the 1950s. The 1st Amendment was under attack by many who sought to control the remarks and opinions of others – and throw them in prison if they disagreed. Continue reading “Review: Trumbo”

Reprint: A Good Year for Elder Actors

[This post originally appeared at Time Goes By, written by Ronni Bennett. Thanks to Ronni for allowing me to reprint it here.]

Not infrequently, I grumble out loud around here about how few roles, especially major roles, there are in film for elder actors. Our generation doesn’t get much representation on what in our youth was called the silver screen.

But not so in 2015. As the year-end round-ups of the arts are being published, it is gratifying to see how many of our contemporaries have been not only getting work but in some cases being nominated for awards.

This is a list of some of the biggest names and the movies they have starred in this year. It is in no way meant to be comprehensive, and I arbitrarily chose 65 to be the low-end age cutoff. Maybe you have seen some of these. (A few random trailers included) Continue reading “Reprint: A Good Year for Elder Actors”

Review: Interstellar

Interstellar is a space adventure about time, space and the power of love to cross dimensions. The main character, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a pilot who sets off on a mission he believes will save earth and his two children.

Mild spoilers ahead.

The film starts on a dying earth subject to massive dust storms. Cooper is a former pilot, now a farmer living with his two kids. The kids are Murph (Mackenzie Foy) and Tom (Timothée Chalamet). They live on a farm growing hundreds of acres of corn. That’s the only thing that will still grow on earth. Cooper’s father (John Lithgow) lives with them. Young Murph has a brilliant mind. Together Cooper and Murph puzzle out a mysterious anomaly that leads them to a secret NASA installation headed by Professor Brand (Michael Caine). The professor’s daughter, simply called Brand, is played by Anne Hathaway. Brand is another scientist. Continue reading “Review: Interstellar”

Review: Brooklyn

Brooklyn stars Saoirse Ronan in a visually lush story about the life of an Irish immigrant in the 1950s. Ronan played Eilis, a young woman who goes to Brooklyn in search of a better life. She arrives there with a job and a place to stay. In that sense her immigrant story is easier than many such tales.

The local priest (Jim Broadbent) sponsored Eilis. He arranged night classes in accounting for her at Brooklyn College. She excelled in her studies.

Mild spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Brooklyn”

The Old Ain’t Dead Top 10 of 2015

Old Ain’t Dead just me, watching whatever looks good. To me. I don’t watch everything. I don’t have a “best of 2015” list because I don’t have a clue as to what most of 2015 had to offer, much less what the best of all that would be.

Yet here we are, at the end of the year, and a top 10 list is in order. So how about an Old Ain’t Dead top 10 for 2015? I present my favorites in no particular order.

I admit to being a little fast and loose with the 2015 part. Some of these things were made before 2015, but I saw them in 2015. Just go with it.

I cheated just a bit, too, because at the end I threw in a few extra mentions of things too good to ignore.

Continue reading “The Old Ain’t Dead Top 10 of 2015”

Review: The Principal, an Australian Series

The Principal is a complex story about a mostly Muslim high school for boys in Sydney, Australia. Matt Bashir (Alex Dimitraides) is sent into the failing school as a new principal.

He proposes radical changes to the way the school is run and the way the boys are treated. The faculty and staff resist those changes at first, but eventually come round to his view of things when they see the results.

Continue reading “Review: The Principal, an Australian Series”