Friday, February 22, 2019

"Isn't It Romantic" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the rom-com "Isn't it Romantic" as well as DVDs "The Guilty" and "Dog Days."  The Book of the Week is another cookbook: Jamie Oliver's "5 Ingredients: Quick and Easy Food."  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters."]

Isn't It Romantic

Yet another movie where someone gets bonked on the head and wakes up to a different life and learns she had the power all along. 

Sheesh.  Two "Bonk-on-the-Head" movies in one week (see last week's review of "What Men Want").  What's going on here?  Can't screenwriters come up with some other romantic comedy trope to get women to love themselves?  I mean, do women have to literally be bonked on the head to figure that out?

Natalie (Rebel Wilson) learns early on from her disenchanted mother that girls like them will never have lives as depicted in romantic comedies so when she grows up, she is not only cynical about romance but undervalues herself and lets herself get pushed around.  She hates romantic comedies so much that she spends all day ranting to her assistant, Whitney (Betty Gilpin) about everything that is wrong with romantic comedies. 

So of course when she bangs her head and wakes up in the hospital, her life has become a romantic comedy!

Her doctor is hunky, her room looks like it was designed by Williams and Sonoma and her clothes have suddenly been transformed into couture.  When she gets home, her New York City street is filled with flowers, smells wonderful and her apartment is gorgeous, full of designer clothes and shoes.  Her drug-dealing next-door neighbor is now the stereotypical requisite (in rom-coms anyway) very gay best friend; and where once she was overlooked and taken for granted at her architectural firm, she is now the star of the company. Of course there is also a hunky love interest (Liam Hemsworth) who instantly falls in love with her as soon as he sees her and Josh (Adam Devine), a guy at work who is obviously in love with her but who Natalie has put firmly in the friend zone.  And what makes it worse - it's PG-13 - which means no swearing and no sex!  I'm not exactly sure why we needed Priyanka Chopra in this as a love interest for Josh but then we wouldn't have a wedding for Natalie to stop, which is de rigeur to romantic comedies.

Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson with a screenplay by Erin Cardillo, Katie Silberman and Dana Fox, this is a romantic comedy within a romantic comedy, so brush up on your rom-coms and all of those tropes that make romantic comedies romantic comedies.  It's a test of your skills to pick out which movies are paid homage to - can you spot Julia Roberts' dress from "Pretty Woman? Do you see shades of "When Harry Met Sally" and "My Best Friend's Wedding" in this? 

But the real test is whether or not Rebel Wilson can carry a movie on her own.  So far we have come to know her playing raunchy fat girls.  She was the raunchy fat girl in the "Pitch Perfect" films (of which I am NOT a fan, by the way) and the raunchy fat girl in "How To Be Single."  Can she shoulder a film on her own?  The answer is yes. But not as a raunchy fat girl.  Here Wilson eschews that character and lets her sweetness shine through which makes her believable as a young woman who has given up on romance but eventually realizes love was right next to her all of the time. 

I am a bit on the fence about this one.

This is yet another female empowerment film (see "What Women Want," "Second Act," "Miss Bala,"  and most female-oriented films these days), but that's OK.  We need those films.  My question is the one joke premise - woman waking up from a bump on the head and her life is a romantic comedy.  Can that one joke sustain an 88 minute film?

And then there is the most important question for a romantic comedy, comedy being the operative word.  Is it funny? Romantic comedies are my jam.  When I have choice, I usually opt for the romantic comedy but so many times I am disappointed. 

But my answer to my questions is - mostly, yes.

I have come to the conclusion that I am fast moving toward female curmudgeon-hood. I don't find many comedies funny.  I didn't laugh much but since the audience members around me were laughing, I am starting to think it must be me, so perhaps you should take some of my reviews of comedies with a grain of salt.  Likewise, I did enjoy trying to figure out which movies were being spoofed so I guess the premise engaged me.  Certainly, there are worse movies out there.  See?  There I go again.  Being curmudgeonly.

Rosy the Reviewer says...I am going to stay a bit on the fence with this one but encourage you to go see for yourself and report back.  Is it me?

***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!


The Guilty (2018)

A police officer assigned to dispatch duty is on a race against time to save a kidnapped woman, but learns that nothing is as it seems.

Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren), who has been relieved of his beat duty, is given a desk job as an emergency dispatcher. Asger is not happy working dispatch and he is crabby about it.  When he gets a caller who says he is OD'ing, Holm tells him it's his own fault and hangs up. Likewise with a caller who has been mugged by a prostitute.  I would call him a very judgmental emergency operator and would not want to get him if I called 911, not that I would be calling 911 about taking drugs or being mugged by a prostitute. 

However, when Holm gets a panicked call from, Iben, a young mother who has supposedly been kidnapped by her husband, everything changes and we, along with Holm, are immediately embroiled in a minute-by-minute white knuckle movie as Holm tries to save her.  And then there is a huge twist, and we see that Holm's quick assumptions about other people have led him down a very dark path.

The movie is mostly Cedergren as Holm and his interaction with Iben and others on the phone in real time. All we see is Holm and his reactions to the minute-by-minute phone exchanges and our imaginations take hold, sometimes imagining a worse scenario than if we were seeing it lived out on screen.  The photography is wonderfully close-up and claustrophobic which adds to the tension as Holm gets involved in this domestic drama and he realizes just how important his job is.  We also learn why Holm was reassigned to a desk job and the drama in his own life.  Just who is "The Guilty?"

Directed by Gustav Moller with a screenplay by Moller and Emil Nygaard Albertsen, this film very much reminded me of another film, "Locke," that, like this one, was mostly just a talking head.  You might think that would be boring, but it's riveting as the story unfolds about the young mother and about Holm himself and the assumptions he makes.  The film left me wondering how often we, too, make assumptions about others when we aren't privy to all of the facts.  You know what they say about the word "ASSUME!"

This is a Danish film so that means subtitles and we Americans aren't really very tolerant about reading subtitles.  I guess that's why so many wonderful "foreign" films get remade here in America, often to the film's detriment.  But if you don't watch foreign films, you are missing out on some really amazing film experiences.  And I am not alone - this film has had 33 award nominations, winning 27.

Rosy the Reviewer says...this film is not to be missed.

Dog Days (2018)

People are brought together by their dogs!

"What is it about dogs that brings us so much joy?...Whatever it is, dogs mean the world to us..."

So begins this film that shows we need dogs to find romance, friendship, love and a bunch of other stuff.  

The film is a series of vignettes about a group of dog lovers and their stories.

Tara (Vanessa Hudgens) is a barista in L.A. who discovers a little chihuahua by a dumpster.  She is hot for a cute doctor, not realizing that the nerdy guy (Jon Bass) who comes into the coffee shop all of the time is the guy for her. Then there's the couple (Eva Longoria and Rob Corddry), who have adopted a little girl and they can't figure out how to make her happy, and lonely Walter (Ron Cephas Jones), whose wife has died.  He has a rather contentious relationship with a young pizza delivery guy but when he has a heart attack and his dog, Mabel, runs away the kid helps him. And wouldn't you know, Mabel finds her way to the couple and their adopted daughter.  Then there is Dax (Adam Pally), a kind of loser musician whose sister makes him take care of her dog, Charlie, when she goes into labor even though he isn't allowed to have pets in his apartment. And, finally, Elizabeth (Nina Dobrev), a talk show host whose dog, Sammy, is depressed. She takes him to a dog therapist (Tig Notaro), but ends up pouring her heart out to the therapist about her breakup and her own depression. Later, Elizabeth interviews a football player (Tone Bell) and they get into a disagreement about whether being on a drill team qualifies as a sport and then, wouldn't you know, that football player is hired as her co-host.  But for all the dysfunction in these peoples' lives, dogs make it all better.

W.C. Fields was right when he said:  "Never work with children or animals!" Unfortunately, despite good performances by the actors, the cute dogs upstage the humans every time.  I mean, c'mon, who can resist a little chihuahua in a pink helmet.

Written by Elissa Matsueda and Erica Oyama and directed by Ken Marino, this is one of those films with separate stories that will all intertwine at the end. Everyone is connected. Remember those Garry Marshall movies "Mother's Day" and "New Year's Eve." Like that. Except with dogs.  And not only do all of the people get together, but the dogs are brought together too!  

I have to confess that I am a dog lover, a sucker for all things dog.  I think they are adorb, funny, sweet, and innocent so a movie like this is a gimme for me.  But don't get me wrong.  It's also a romantic comedy, so add romance and that gimmick where everything wraps up in a tidy way and you have a heart-warming story that won't tax your mind too much.   

And in case you doubt my love of dogs, if you will indulge me, I would like to share with you something I wrote about the dogs who have been important in my life and the importance of having a dog in your life.

"To All the Dogs I've Loved Before"

"Why Have a Dog?"

Gertrude Stein, in her inimitable way said, "I am I because my little dog knows me."

Rosy the Reviewer says...Stein was right and who can resist movies about dogs?  I can't.  And there is an inspirational message: sacrificing time and convenience to help others.  That's the way I was brought up...and my little dog too.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

106 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

A biopic about the life and death of writer Yukio Mishima (Ken Ogata).

Yukio Mishima was a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, model, film director and nationalist.  He founded the Tatenokai or Shield Society which was a private militia dedicated to traditional Japanese values and support of the Emperor.  He wrote 35 novels, 25 plays, 200 short stories and eight volumes of essays and was considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century.  He was also a narcissist.

In 1970 with four of his militia members he took the general of the garrison hostage and gave a speech to the soldiers to try to persuade them to support the emperor and overturn the Constitution.  When this was unsuccessful, he committed suicide by seppuku, which seems to me is a rather unpleasant way to die.

This film has some amazing film credentials.

Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas produced with Paul Schrader directing and a musical score by Phillip Glass.  That tells it all.  Whether you like the film or not, it is certainly a class act.  But I have to say that Paul Schrader is a dark guy.  And he and I have a bit of a connection.  We are both from Michigan and grew up just a few miles apart.  Not sure if those Michigan winters led to his writing "Taxi Driver" and writing and directing other very dark films like "Hardcore" and "First Reformed."  More likely his strict Calvinist upbringing.  I guess this film fits right into that oeuvre with a gruesome ending, though we were spared the gory details.

Using black and white flashbacks, the film traces Mishima's life as it led up to his suicide. His grandmother took him from his mother at an early age because she thought he would die in his mother's care.  She kept him isolated and protected.  "You're just a fragile plant."  He returned to his mother at the age of 12 when his grandmother died and that is when he discovered the power of words.  As the left started staging political protests in the 60's, Mishima formed a "spiritual army" in support of the Emperor, which was more support of traditional Japanese values and trying to recreate the way of the Samurai, than support of the current Emperor.

In addition to Mashima's life story, the film also intercuts the story with scenes from his plays, "Temple of the Golden Pavilion," "Kyoko's House," and "Runaway Horses," which sadly, for me, bogged down the film.

Why it's a Must See: "Mishima is a film as illuminating and coherent as it is intricate and involved, boasting breathtaking production design by Eiko Ishioka, gleaming cinematography by John Bailey and a powerful, pulsing score by Philip Glass."

---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Rosy the Reviewer says...beautiful to look at and listen to, but for me, ultimately, unsatisfying.

***The Book of the Week***

5 Ingredients: Quick and Easy Food by Jamie Oliver (2019)

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver shares easy recipes that only have five ingredients!

What everyday cook wouldn't relish a cookbook with dishes that only need five ingredients and that you can get on the table in 30 minutes or less?  I'm in!

Oliver is on a mission.  He wants us to cook!

"I want everyone to enjoy cooking from scratch and, armed with this book, there are no excuses."

Also 70% of the recipes are healthy and he covers all of the bases: meat, salads, vegetarian options, pasta and more. He also gives advice on how to stock your pantry. 

  • "Scrambled Egg Omelet"
  • "Lemony Zucchini Linquine"
  • "Chicken Noodle Stir-Fry"
  • "Peachy Pork Chops"
  • "Orange Polenta Cake"

All with only five ingredients and ready in less than 30 minutes!

This is Oliver's 20th cookbook so he certainly knows how to get the job done. One caution though. His recipes are quite British oriented, ones that perhaps are not familiar to American tastes such as fish pie and Banoffee Cheesecake.  I also ran into some recipes with unfamiliar ingredients, such as kicap manis and chili jam.  He likes that chili jam because it shows up frequently in his recipes. Those are probably common ingredients to the British cook, not so much here.  BTW, kicap manis is a sweet soy sauce and chili jam is an actual thing available on Amazon.

Also if you have ever seen Oliver on the telly (he's a Brit so I am doing Brit-speak), you know he is an outgoing guy who is enthusiastic about cooking.  I just wish the tone of the book was a little less enthusiastic about himself.  He throws around phrases like "brilliant combinations," "genius combinations," "fabulous ways with proteins" and "brilliant ways of cooking...that will blow your mind," all about him! It kind of got on my nerves after a bit but speaking of getting my mind blown. What really blew my mind was his kids' names! - Poppy Honey Rosie, Daisy Boo Pamela, Petal Blossom Rainbow, Buddy Bear Maurice and River Rocket Blue Dallas.  Now those are some monikers to carry around for life!

Here is a taste (pardon the pun) of the recipes in the book:

"Speedy Spiced Shrimp Soup"

  • 8 oz. small frozen cooked peeled shrimp
  • 2/3 c. white basmati rice
  • 8 scallions
  • 2 heaping T. korma curry paste
  • 1 x 14-oz can of light coconut milk

Place the shrimp in a bowl of cold water so they can start to defrost.  Meanwhile, dry fry and toast the rice for 3 minutes in a large shallow casserole pan on a high heat, stirring regularly, while you trim and finely slice the scallions.  Add one tablespoon of olive oil, the scallions, and korma paste to the pan.  Stir for 2 minutes, then pour in the coconut milk and 2 and a half cans' worth of water.  Boil for 12 minutes, stirring everything occasionally.  With 6 minutes to go, drain the shrimp, finely chop, and stir into the soup.  When the rice is cooked through and the soup is your desired consistency, taste, season to utter perfection (see what I mean?) with sea salt and black pepper, and dish up.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you can get over the self-congratulatory tone, this is a good cookbook with easy, tasty recipes perfect for the busy person who wants to cook from scratch.

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday


"Cold War"


The Week in Reviews

(What To See and What To Avoid)

as well as

the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See

Before I Die Project" 

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.

Friday, February 15, 2019

"What Men Want" and The Week in Reviews

[I review "What Men Want" as well as DVDs "Tea With the Dames" and "The Bookshop."  The Book of the Week is "The Duchess," a biography of Camilla Parker-Bowles.  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "The Eagle."]

What Men Want

When sports agent, Ali Davis, is denied a promotion because she doesn't click with men, she hits her head and when she wakes up she has the power to read mens' thoughts -- and that changes everything.

OK, how many movies have there been where someone gets hit on the head and wakes up with some new ability? Let's count.  Well, there is "Phenomenon (1996)" where an average guy gets hit with a ball of light and wakes up really smart; In 2004, Tracy Ullman became a sex addict after getting hit over the head in "A Dirty Shame;" then Amy Schumer stars as an insecure girl who nobody notices until she bumps her head and wakes up thinking she is a supermodel in "I Feel Pretty (2018)," and today, Rebel Wilson opens in "Isn't It Romantic," a film about yet another woman being hit on the head, but this time she wakes up and her life has turned into a romantic comedy.  

And now we add this film to the list, which, of course, is a remake of "What Women Want (2000)," which starred Mel Gibson back before we hated him for being a racist.  His character didn't exactly get a bump on the head, but he was "shocked" into having the ability to read women's thoughts.

Now you know how I feel about remakes.  I rant about them enough, but in case you missed the earlier rants, let's just say I don't like them.  My feeling is if the film was good to begin with, why not watch that one?  Why do it again? But I am going to now shock you. I liked this one, and it's because of Taraji P. Henson who makes this film work, and in this political climate, the film is especially fun and relevant because we get to hear what men are actually thinking.

And what do we women learn when we can hear what men are thinking?  They are worse than we thought!

Ali Davis (Henson) is a sports agent, clearly a woman in a man's world.  She has not yet been able to break into the boy's club and become a partner in her firm, but she is confident it is going to happen at the next big meeting.  She thinks that to make it she needs to act like a man - be ballsy, don't take any crap, be one of the boys, that kind of thing. But when she is passed over once again for partner and that title goes to a guy, she is ironically told it's probably because she just doesn't connect with men. She is discouraged but decides that if she signs young Jamal Barry (Shane Paul McGhie), who is slated to be the NBA's number one draft pick, she will get in with the boys and get her promotion.  But to get to Jamal she needs to get to his Dad, Joe "Dollah" Barry (Tracy Morgan).

In the meantime, Ali drowns her sorrows with her girlfriends, Olivia (Wendi McLendon-Covey), Ciarra (Phoebe Robinson) and Mari (Tamala Jones) at Mari's bachelorette party where part of the fun is Sister (Erykah Badu), a quasi psychic who also sells pot out of the back room of a beauty parlor.  Sister reads Ali's tarot cards, has her drink some strange tea and later Ali passes out and hits her head.  When Ali wakes up in the hospital, she can hear the doctor's thoughts. She actually thinks she hears him speaking so isn't especially concerned, but later in the car when she realizes she can hear her assistant, Brandon's (Josh Brener) thoughts and, he realizes it too, the two scream in unison over the revelation and I got my first laugh.  That screaming trope is something that makes me laugh every time.

This remake pretty much follows the same story as the Mel Gibson version.  Gibson was a man thought not capable of selling products to women but when he gets the ability to read women's thoughts, his life changes for the better --- for awhile.  The same thing happens here.  When Ali realizes what has happened to her, Ali thinks, yeah, now is my chance. I can use this to my advantage. She makes the best of it...for awhile. But eventually it all goes wrong.

Ali has a series of silly adventures using her new knowledge but what she really learns in the end is that she doesn't need to act or think like a man to influence and interact positively with men.  She just needs to be herself.

So here is the measuring rod for comedies.  Is it funny?  Yes, mostly, but more important, the film is enjoyable.

I am a huge Taraji fan, even more so after seeing this.  I thought she was robbed by not getting a Best Actress nomination for her role in "Hidden Figures," that one being a more dramatic role and the most pivotal of the film.  We all know her as Cookie in "Empire," so we know she can play that kind of role, too, but this is strictly light comedy, slapstick even, and she can do that too.  She has that je ne sais qua of wonderful film actresses. J-Lo has it too.  Her realness oozes off the screen.  We really care about her and we forgive her everything.  So when the movie goes a bit off track, that's OK, because we love Taraji.

Tracy Morgan does his usual thing, though he is actually toned down a bit which is good, but the funniest person in the whole film is Erykah Badu.  She is a singer/songwriter in real life, so who knew she was also a comic actress?  With her huge wig, fake teeth and glasses she is absolutely hilarious.  Don't miss her in the credits at the end when the ladies improvise a visit to Sister for a reading.

With a screenplay by a ton of people and directed by Adam Shankman, who I think of more as a choreographer and ex-judge on "So You Think You Can Dance," this film is a fun female empowerment movie similar to another one I liked this year, "Second Act." As far as I am concerned, we can never have enough women empowerment movies.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are looking for a great Girls Night film, this is it.

***Some Movies You Might Have Missed***
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)!


Tea With The Dames (2018)

A documentary where Dames Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins get together for tea to talk about their lives and careers. 

And what lives and careers these ladies have had!

This is not exactly a documentary. It's more like four friends getting together for a chin wag!

If you haven't been living under a rock, you no doubt know who Judi Dench and Maggie Smith are but Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins might be names you don't know.  But they are both also venerable British actresses, and Plowright was also famously married to Lawrence Olivier. When you see the archival footage of stage and film performances, old interviews and photos included in this film, you will no doubt recognize those two as well or, if not, be introduced to them.

The four are taking tea at Joan's lovely country house, but sadly Joan is blind having suffered from macular degeneration and her hearing is bad as well.  But she hasn't lost her sense of humor.  Nor have the other ladies who are clearly enjoying their time together, especially Judi whose whole body shakes when she laughs.

With questions from director Roger Michell, the dames talk about playing Shakespeare; their acting styles; Joan talks about Larry (Olivier) and how being married to him was "a privilege" and "a nightmare." Joan and Eileen share what it was like to not be conventionally pretty actresses; the four talk about getting old; death; and how women of a certain age get treated.  They also wonder who was a Dame first (Judi).  

All are old friends who have not only played the same roles but acted together e.g. hey were all in "Tea with Mussollini."  They also all played the role of Shakespeare's Cleopatra, though most of them didn't feel beautiful enough to play her. Judi remembers that when asked to play the role she replied, "Do you really want a menopausal dwarf to play the part?"

It's also juicy as each weighs in other actors and do a bit of name-dropping so it helps if you know your British actors (Timothy West, the formidable Edith Evans) or the classic plays ("The Importance of being Earnest," "The Three Sisters"). Of course, Maggie talks about being on "Downton Abby," and when she gets mad at a photographer, shows that she might actually be as much a rather negative curmudgeon in real life as her character, Violet Crawley.

When Michell asks, "What would your advice be to your young selves?"

Joan -  "It's never too late."
Eileen- "Not to be so very bad tempered and confrontational.  Listen more."
Maggie-"When in doubt, doubt." (see what I mean about negative?)
Judi -    "Try not to be so susceptible to falling in love" which made everyone                  laugh including Judi!

It's wonderful to see four successful actresses, all looking wonderfully their age without benefit of plastic surgery having such fun together, some of it silly, such as when they wondered: "How many times can you say "Dame Judi Dench" really fast (without messing up)?"

The film ends with Judi reciting the lines from Shakespeare's "The Tempest,"

"We are such stuff as dreams are made of..."

"Our revels now are ended.  These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind.  We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with sleep."


I was an actress once and watching this film, I was in heaven. 
The only thing I didn't like about this film was that they lamented that we Americans call them Dame Smith, Dame Dench instead of Dame Maggie, Dame Judi.  No we don't.

If you love acting and these actresses, you are invited to their tea and it's a lovely way to feel like you are spending time with them.

Rosy the Reviewer says...this is a tea you don't want to miss.
(So how many times could YOU say "Dame Judi Dench" really fast?)

The Bookshop (2017)

In a small 1950's fishing village in East Anglia, Florence Green decides to open a bookshop not realizing the kind of ruthless opposition she would face.

Florence Green (Emily Mortimer), a widow, moves to a small town after the death of her husband and decides to open a bookshop there to help get her life back together again. She chooses The Old House, a building that has been standing vacant for years. The village is populated with an odd assortment of characters some of whom do not wish Florence well in her endeavor.  There is the rich hermit, Edmund Brundish (Bill Nighy), who loves to read and with whom Florence corresponds; there is Mr. Keble (Hunter Tremayne), the skeptical banker; Milo North (James Lance) the ex-actor; young Christine (Honor Kneafsey), a young girl who Florence hires to work in the shop and who ironically doesn't like to read; and Violet Gamart (Patricia Clarkson), a wealthy local resident who had wanted The Old House for a local arts center and who goes on a mission to get the bookshop shut down.  

The film has a voice-over narration throughout and at the end in a bit of a twist we discover who that person is.

Emily Mortimer is one of those actresses who you recognize but don't know her name but she has had a successful acting career since the 90's.  She also has one of those poignant English faces and is one of our most underrated actresses.  Every time I see her, I think, "I really like her.  This is going to be good."

Bill Nighy also guarantees a good time and Patricia Clarkson seems a strange choice for a British matron but she pulls it off.  She does evil very well.

Written and directed by Isobel Coixet (from the novel by Penelope Fitzgerald), this is my kind of film.  Lovely, quaint English town, British actors I recognize, a bit of a romance and a quiet little story with a sweet, fateful ending, not to mention that, I too, wanted to run a book store before book stores went the way of the dinosaur.  Thanks, Amazon!

My mother used to say that you would never feel alone if you read.  Here that same sentiment is expressed:

"No one ever feels alone in a bookshop."

Very much in the English tradition, this little film doesn't have a lot of drama except for whether or not Mrs. Gamart is going to screw things up for our heroine, Florence, but if you love books and long for the old days when things seemed less complicated, this is for you.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you liked movies like "84 Charing Cross Road" or "The Hundred-Foot Journey," you will enjoy this.

***My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project***

107 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

The Eagle (1925)

A Cossack becomes a wanted man when he seeks revenge on the man who stole his family's land.

Vladimir Dubrovsky (Rudolph Valentino), one of the Czarina's (Louise Dresser) soldiers, comes to her attention when he saves a runaway carriage carrying Mascha (Vilma Banky), a beautiful young woman.  The Czarina invites Dubrovsky to come to her chambers at six.  Dubrovsky worries why the Czarina wants to see him but his colleague says, "Don't worry my boy.  If she wants you at six it means supper not Siberia." But let's just say, it wasn't supper she wanted. So when our handsome hero spurns the Czarina and leaves her in a huff, she is not happy - a woman scorned and all of that.  He is branded a deserter and she orders that he is to be captured "dead or alive." Then she moves on to the next handsome soldier.  Our Czarina is kind of a sexual predator.

Dubrovsky becomes a wanted man.  

In the meantime he also discovers that Kyrilla Troekouroff (James A. Marcus) has stolen his family's land so he sets out to seek revenge on him. He takes on the persona of the Black Eagle, a sort of Robin Hood character, in order to terrorize Kyrilla.  He also impersonates a French tutor that Kyrilla has hired to teach French to his daughter.  And speaking of the daughter, well, there is a hitch in Dubrovsky's plan. She turns out to be Mascha, the young woman in the runaway carriage he saved. He falls in love with her, so now he is torn between his love for her and his desire to seek revenge.

I remember seeing Rudolph Valentino for the first time in "The Sheik," a movie that would certainly not go over today in this age of "Me too."  He literally kidnaps a woman, takes her to his tent in the desert, and has his way with her.  To a young girl who didn't know any better, that seemed quite romantic, and I wasn't alone, which probably explains some of the problems we have today.  But Valentino was a dashing figure known for his smoldering looks.  Here he's not quite as dashing as he was in "The Sheik," but this one is much more PC and Valentino is able to show some of his comic skills.  Directed by Clarence Brown, this film holds up surprisingly well for a silent film. Even the acting isn't as broad as some.

In case you are not familiar with Valentino, he was born Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d'Antonguella in 1895 in Italy and became a sex symbol pop icon of the 1920's.  He was the first "Latin Lover" and his film "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" was the first film to make a million dollars and stands today as the sixth highest grossing silent film ever.  He was a handsome, charismatic fellow known for his "smoldering looks" and when he died prematurely at 31 it caused riots around the world.

Whenever I watch silent films, I am reminded of how little dialogue is needed for us to know what is going on. A picture is worth a thousand words. All of the romance, humor and drama could be conveyed with looks and gestures and minimal intertitles (that's what those dialogue cards are called). When I watch silent films I am drawn back to before I was born, when my parents were young.  They were born in 1908 so those were the kinds of films that filled their childhoods.  That was what going to the movies was for them.

I found this film on Amazon Prime and the quality isn't that good but I was amazed that these films even exist today which is a good thing.

Why it's a Must See: "...a light-hearted frolic whose balance of comedy and drama foreshadows later action films such as The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and The Mark of Zorro (1940)."

--"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Rosy the Reviewer says...what they said.

***The Book of the Week***

The Duchess: Camilla Parker Bowles and the Love Affair that Rocked the Crown by Penny Junor (2018)

A biography of Camilla Parker Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Warning:  If you are in the Diana camp and blame Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles for everything bad that happened to the Princess (and I do), then you might not want to read this flattering biography where Junor thinks Bowles is the best thing to happen to Prince Charles since sliced bread. 

Though I admit, I have always been and always will be in the Princess Diana corner and feel she was an unwitting lamb led to the slaughter that was life as Prince Charles' wife, this is a well-written and fascinating biography of Bowles and her rise fame.

Camilla met Charles early on and he was smitten.  But he dragged his feet and Camilla really had her heart set on the handsome and sought after Andrew Parker Bowles.  Despite the fact he was a womanizer, she hung in there until he finally proposed but even marriage didn't stop the womanizing.

Then Charles, over 30, was pressured to find a virgin, get married and provide an heir.  Enter 19-year-old Diana, who was more a suitable bride for Charles than a love match.  Marriage followed, then "an heir and a spare," and Charles had done his duty.  Through all of that, Camilla and Charles remained friends and she was often his confidant especially since they ran in the same circles and she enjoyed the same things that he did - polo, gardening, the joys of country life, yawn, and other stuff.

Junor swears there was no hanky-panky between Charles and Camilla after he married Diana until Diana's and Charles' marriage was "irretrievably broken" but Junor can't be trusted because she clearly disapproved of Diana over the years.  This book is all about improving Camilla's image and, I hate to say, it does to a certain extent, but I have and always will be in the Diana camp.

I have been a royal watcher for most of my life.  

Prince Charles was born the same year that I was which must have given my mother the idea that perhaps her little daughter might one day marry a Prince, because growing up I remember that she had a LOT of Prince Charles memorabilia and books about the Royal Family.  But when Diana came along, I, too, was totally hooked.  I loved her and loved living in the world with her in it.  When she died so tragically, I was devastated.  It's so strange how one can have feelings about someone one has never met, but like I said, I liked sharing the world with her.  Here is a taste of how I felt - "Remembering Diana."

So if you admired her like I did and you read this book, you might want to throw it against the wall at times because Junor is clearly in the Camilla-Charles camp and has some not so nice things to say about Diana, in fact it's a bit of a hatchet job, but despite that, she has also been Royal watching a long time, is well-connected and knows how it all operates, so the sections in the book where she breaks down all of the various Royal titles and who outranks who and why and how Royalty "works" is fascinating.

Similarly, Camilla's history is interesting.

There is nobility in her lineage (she and Charles are actually ninth cousins once removed and might even be closer to second cousins if the rumors about her grandmother being the child of Edward VII are true), as well as some not so noble behavior. You see, her great-grandmother, Alice Keppel, though married herself, was the favored mistress of King Edward VII, and when Camilla and Prince Charles met, Camilla supposedly remarked about that by saying something cheeky like "How about it?" 

But if you are still not convinced that Camilla deserves to be forgiven, here are some Camilla "Fun Facts" that might even the playing field a bit where Diana is concerned (my own research)!:

  • Camilla wears Spanx
  • She uses bee-venom facials
  • And best of all (Diana would love this) Camilla and Charles can claim a connection to Dracula
Diana called Camilla "The Rottweiller."  I think she might have also enjoyed calling her Dracula.

Rosy the Reviewer Royal watchers out there might enjoy this if you can get over the Charles-Diana-Camilla triangle!  

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday


"Isn't It Romantic?"


The Week in Reviews

(What To See and What To Avoid)

as well as

the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See

Before I Die Project" 

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at

Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.

Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 

Go to, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll down below the synopsis and the listings for the director, writer and main stars to where it says "Reviews" and click on "Critics" - If I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.