Showing posts with label Downsizing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Downsizing. Show all posts

Sunday, September 23, 2018

"A Simple Favor" and The Week in Reviews

I am back!  Hope you missed me.  I have been in moving hell for the last month and even the movies couldn't save me.  But now I am back in the saddle, or should I say, theatre seat and ready to save you from seeing some bad movies.

But this week, it's all mostly good...

[I review "A Simple Favor" as well as DVDs "Hereditary" and "Tag."  The Book of the Week is "Small Space Organizing" by Kathryn Bechen where I share my own personal story of downsizing and how I ended up making this big move. I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "Spring in a Small Town."]

A Simple Favor

Nerdy Mommy vlogger Stephanie Smothers (Ann Kendrick) forms an unlikely friendship with sophisticated tell-it-like-it-is Emily (Blake Lively) and then Emily mysteriously disappears.

You couldn't really tell from the trailer whether this was a comedy or a "Gone Girl" kind of thriller. Well, turns out it's actually both.

This is an original take on the missing person story and, through one of the plot twists, pays homage to "Diabolique," the 1955 French film.  And in case you didn't get it, perky French music plays throughout. The film is also a satire on motherhood and a love letter to strong women.

Stephanie is a widow living in Connecticut with her young son, Miles (Joshua Satine), a first grader.  She is also a stay-at-home Mom who tries to be the perfect Mom.  She volunteers for everything at Miles' school much to the chagrin of the other Moms and Dads.  She also has a vlog where she pitches food and tips to other Moms.  Her son is friends with Nicky (Ian Ho), another first grader, whose Mom is the beautiful and elusive Emily, and one day Stephanie and Emily meet at school. Nicky begs Emily to let him invite Miles over for a play date. Emily is a working Mom, married to the handsome Sean (Henry Golding), and she is clearly not on the Perfect Mommy track but reluctantly agrees and Stephanie and Emily bond over strong martinis at Emily's opulent home with sophisticated French music playing in the background.  Emily is one of those women who is brutally honest and doesn't allow any BS.  Stephanie on the other hand is insecure and an overachiever who constantly apologizes for herself.  She is also clearly in awe of Emily who unlike Stephanie never apologizes for herself and in fact tells Stephanie to never say she is sorry for anything.

One day Emily asks Stephanie for "a simple favor," to pick up Nicky from school which she happily does, but then one day turns into two days and it becomes clear to Stephanie that Emily is missing.  Stephanie adds the mystery of Emily's disappearance to her vlog and also joins forces with Emily's husband, Sean.  But it's not long before Emily's body is found in a lake in Michigan.  What was she doing in Michigan?  And it's not long before Stephanie and Sean get it on.  Where the heck is that going to go?  And it's not long before Nicky says he has seen his Mom and she told him to say hello to Stephanie.  And then Stephanie gets a call from Emily.  Huh?

It didn't take me long to figure out one of the main plot twists but then it just got twistier and twistier.  And did I say it's also very funny?

And it's no wonder there is humor because the film is directed by Paul Feig who is also responsible for those funny Melissa McCarthy movies "Spy," "The Heat," and "Bridesmaids."  Adapted for the screen by Jessica Sharzer from Darcey Bell's novel, the humor is unexpected because this is a thriller.  And the humor also deflects from the fact that the plot goes way over the top at the end but you don't care because you've had such a great time watching Kendrick, Lively and Golding go through their paces.

I have never been a big Anna Kendrick fan.  I always found her to be kind of twitchy, her singing voice very nasal and she had too many annoying mannerisms.  But she is very good here and just perfect for the twitchy, overachieving Stephanie who becomes an amateur detective to solve the mystery of Emily's disappearance.  And Blake Lively is well-named.  She is indeed particularly lively here and I have to say she is one beautiful woman and a good actress. And Henry Golding is hot off his success in "Crazy Rich Asians."  Hard to believe this guy had never acted a day in his life and was discovered while being a presenter on a British travel TV show.  All three form an impressive acting ensemble.

Rosy the Reviewer says...think "Gone Girl," but with a sense of humor.

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


Hereditary (2018)

After the family matriarch passes away, dark family secrets come to light.

And for this one you couldn't tell from the trailer if it was a horror film or something else.  It's kind of something else, but not in a good way.

Toni Colette rose to fame in "Muriel's Wedding," a bit of froth that gave a larger girl some real heft.  Then she lost a bunch of weight and went on to a career playing varied parts including recurring roles on the TV series "Wanderlust" and "Unbelievable."  She seems to specialize now in warm caring roles such as the one she played in the quirky but touching "Please Stand By."  But here she does a 180, playing the hysterical mother of a teenage son and a thirteen-year-old girl.

Ellen Taper Leigh dies at 78.  The film begins with her obituary and funeral and it becomes apparent that Ellen wasn't an easy woman and that she cast quite a shadow over her family.  Toni plays her daughter, Anne, who doesn't quite know how to grieve for her mother because of their complicated relationship.  Anne is married to Steve (Gabriel Byrne) and has a teenage son, Peter (Alex Wolff), and daughter, Charlie (Millie Shapiro).  She also has kind of a creepy job.  She is an artist who designs miniature dolls and dollhouses and appears to recreate her own family's life with them.

Peter is your typical teenage boy, obsessed with girls, sex, drinking and pot.  Charlie, on the other hand is, how shall I say this?  She is not only allergic to nuts and has this habit of clicking her tongue on the top of her mouth but she is also - creepy.   Let's just say I don't think it's normal to cut off the head of a dead bird and put it in your pocket.  Get what I mean?

Anyway, it takes about an hour of loud, ominous music before anything much happens but then Peter is forced to take Charlie to a party with him where he smokes pot.  She eats some cake that must have had nuts in it while Peter is up in a bedroom smoking pot and when Charlie complains that she can't breathe Peter rushes her out to the car and presumably to the hospital and then something truly gruesome happens.

Anne meets Joan (Ann Dowd, playing a much nicer person than she does in "A Handmaid's Tale") who has lost a child.  She is into seances to stay in touch with her dead son and impresses Anne when she contacts him.  She tells Anne she needs to hold a seance with her family and gives her the incantation.

So now we are off and running.

Turns out our matriarch Ellen not only cast a big shadow over her family she was up to some witchy shenanigans.

Written and directed by Ari Aster, this film is not so much a horror film as a really, really strange movie inhabited by really, really strange people.  Gabriel Byrne doesn't really have much to do except get immolated, the little girl is dispatched with early on, which was a good thing because she gave me the creeps, and, Toni, can I give you some advice?  Stick to the caring friend or girlfriend roles where you can do what you do best which is show your warmth.  You don't do hysterical that well. In this film, she runs around throughout the film shrieking and crying and begging her husband to listen to her. It's not a pretty sight. But the story really centers around Peter and Wolff does a good job. I just wish the movie had been better.

The film was shot in digital which I absolutely hate.  Films in digital look like old TV soap operas.  And speaking of soap operas, this was a sort of one if you liked "Dark Shadows."

Rosy the Reviewer says...Toni, I like you better when you do that warmth thing you do.  Get back to that.

Tag (2018)

A group of guys spend the month of May playing tag and go to great lengths to avoid being "It."  Oh, and did I mention that this is based on a true story and real life adult guys actually did this?

There is nothing I dislike more than comedies with all male casts unless it's comedies with all male casts that aren't funny.   But I am here to report that this film is actually kind of fun and kind of funny.

Hoagie (Ed Helms), Sable (Hannibal Buress), Bob (John Hamm), Chilli (Jake Johnson) and Jerry (Jeremy Renner) are all childhood friends who have kept in touch for 30 years by playing a game of tag every May.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old.  We grow old because we stop playing."

Okay. And they all go to great lengths to tag each other, hence the humor this film is going for.  For example, Hoagie, who is a veterinarian, gets a job as a janitor at Bob's company just so he could sneak up on Bob and tag him. But it's Jerry who has reigned supreme as the only member of the group who has never been tagged. He has had an uncanny ability to avoid every situation where he could be tagged.  But now he's getting married and he wants to retire from the game.

"He's the best who ever played and now he wants to retire with a perfect record."

Oh, no he doesn't. The four decide that they have to tag Jerry just once and what better place to tag him than at his wedding? I mean, he can't exactly run out of his own wedding, can he?  Well, we will see about that.

And actually there are some women in the film. The guys are followed around by Rebecca (Annabelle Wallis), a reporter from the Wall Street Journal, who has been looking for a story to spark her career and when she hears about this group of guys who play tag every year together, she knows she has a story.  And then there's Anna (Isla Fisher), Hoagie's wife, who is almost more into the game than the guys.

It's all dumb fun and games as the four (plus Anna) band together to break Jerry's perfect record. 

Based on a Wall Street Journal article by Russell Adams called "It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It," adapted for the screen by Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen and directed by Jeff Tomsic, the film is a bit of fluff but also makes a possibly unintentional statement about male friendships.  Yes, these guys have stuck together every year for their game of tag, but how much meaningful time did they actually spend with each other outside of the game?  Mmmm.

If you stay for the credits you will see the real guys (ten of them, not five) who played this game together for 23 years.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you need an escape, this is a dumb but fun little romp that won't do you any harm unless there was something important you were supposed to do.

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

126 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Spring in a Small Town (1948)

A bored and lonely housewife is swept off her feet when her childhood sweetheart comes to visit.

Narrated by Zhou Yuwen (Wei Wei), the wife, we quickly learn that she is unhappy in her marriage to Dai Liyan (Yu Shi).  They hardly speak each day and he is suffering from an ailment, though Zhou thinks it's all in his head.

"I don't have the courage to die and he lacks the courage to live."


Liyan hangs out in his garden and broods.  His little sister (Hongmei Zhang) lives with them and her exuberance and charm is in direct contrast to Liyan's dour personality and Yuwen's depression.

The film takes place in postwar China after it had been brought to its knees by the Japanese and Liyan feels like a failure since the war.

Into this sadness comes Zhang Zhichen (Wei Li), a friend of Liyan's who also turns out to have been Yuwen's neighbor and first love.  Zhichen didn't know she had married Liyan.  Zhichen is a doctor and tends to his friend, Liyan, but he also looks yearningly at Yuwen and vice versa. In fact there are lots and lots of longing looks and many regrets and not much else.  Yuwen confesses that she has never loved Liyan and always been in love with Zhichen and things become even more complicated when Liyan tries to fix Zhichen up with Little Sister.

But when Liyan figures out what is going on and overdoses himself on his medicine, there is a moment when Zhichen and Yuwen think that perhaps letting him die would leave things open for them but feelings change and they realize that they can't let him die.

Directed by Mu Fei, a Chinese director from the pre-Communist era, this is a poignant story of a marriage and unrequited love that was declared by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society as the greatest Chinese film ever made and it still holds up today because there are some human feelings and experiences that transcend time and place.

Why it's a Must See: "This masterpiece of Chinese cinema has only recently received the worldwide recognition it deserves, influencing Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love (2001) and occasioning a respectful remake (2002).  [This film] stands among cinema's finest, richest, and most moving melodramas."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Rosy the Reviewer says... a mesmerizing tale that did remind me of "In the Mood for Love." Sadly the only place I could find the film was on Amazon Prime and the film quality was poor which didn't make for a particularly satisfying film experience.
(b & w, in Chinese with English subtitles)

***Book of the Week***

Small Space Organizing: A Room-By-Room Guide to Maximizing Your Space by Kathryn Bechen (2012)

Who said, "We don't all get to live in large homes?"  I just did.

Why am I reviewing this book? Well, you may or may not know this and you may or may not have missed this blog, but I have been in moving hell for the last six weeks and that's why I didn't publish anything last week and why I am publishing late this week.

We have just moved 1000 miles away from where we had lived for 14 years.  

We have moved back to where we had lived for 30 years before that move 14 years ago and where we raised our family.  When we moved 14 years ago, our kids were grown with lives of their own and there were no grandchildren. We were also 14 years younger.  But now we are older and there are grandchildren.  We wanted to downsize and be closer to family to make it easier on everyone, so now here we are, down from a 2300 square foot nine room house to a less than 1500 square foot town home with five rooms and a kitchen that is about the size of a closet.

Speaking of kitchens, I have this strange pattern of remodeling a kitchen and then moving.  I did that 14 years ago and I did it again this year.  Since we need to remodel our kitchen in our new home, I'm worried what will happen after that!

So how did I find myself here, in a smaller house trying to get ideas on how to organize a small space?

Well, here's my story.

A couple of years ago I confessed to my son that my life hadn't turned out the way I had wanted it to, mostly regretting that I had moved away from my family.  I was really fishing for my son to say "Come live here," but that didn't happen.  Our daughter lives across country so I fished a bit more and said something like, "Well, what if I moved closer to your sister?"  He didn't take the bait but what he did say was that I needed to move into town (we lived in the suburbs where we couldn't walk to anything) so I could walk to a Starbucks.  He seemed to think that all of the friends I needed to make were hanging out at the Starbucks.  But that remark did make me think that part of my troubles were caused by the fact that I couldn't walk to anything so when I went back home I announced to Hubby that we needed to move into town.  So we started looking but it became painfully clear that moving into town was out of our price range and we didn't see anything we really liked anyway. 

So then I said, OK, we will stay here but I need a new kitchen.  So a new kitchen it was (I documented that painful experience in "My New Kitchen, or How I Survived a Kitchen Remodel...").

Did that solve the problem?  No.  There I was in my new kitchen and I wasn't happy.  I missed my family and my old friends so I told Hubby I wanted to move back "home" where we had lived for 30 years and where we had history.

Did I mention that Hubby was amazingly understanding?  He did sigh a lot, though.

But moving back "home" was not an easy thing.  Moving itself is a horror story but trying to go back to a place where we thought we could never return because of the high home prices is its own horror story but we did it.

And that's how we ended up in a smaller place.

So that brings you up to date and we will finally get to the review of this book.

Bechen has put together a nice little book to help anyone who needs to downsize.  There are chapters on the art of downsizing and even on how to live in just one room.  Fortunately, I haven't had to go there yet!  Bechen addresses how to decide if your rooms are functioning at their best with chapters on making the most of your foyer, how to organize your kitchen, dealing with small bathrooms, crafts and hobby equipment, laundry rooms, beverage bars, storage and more all while not giving up on style. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...a small book to help you deal with small spaces.

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday 


"The Wife"


 The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before 

I Die Project." 

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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, July 7, 2017

"Baby Driver" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "Baby Driver" as well as DVDs "Before I Fall" and "T2 Trainspotting."  The Book of the Week is "Downsizing the Family Home" by Marni Jameson.  I also bring you up-to-date on "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "Zero For Conduct"]

Baby Driver

Baby has tinnitus as a result of a car accident that killed his Mom and Dad when he was young, so he constantly wears ear buds and listens to music to drown out the ringing in this ears.  Oh, and did I also say that Baby is a getaway driver?

Writer/director Edgar Wright, who directed the "Cornetto Trilogy," three British dark humor movies: "Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz" and "World's End,"  "Shaun of the Dead" being one of my all-time favorite movies, has written and directed yet another black comedy, but this film is a bit of a departure for Wright. Still the same kind of humor but more along the lines of "Pulp Fiction" than a replay of his earlier films. 

Despite being a getaway driver for a bunch of baddie robbers, Baby (Ansel Elgort) is really a good guy.  He lives in Atlanta and takes care of his deaf and disabled foster Dad, Joseph (CJ Jones) and doesn't want to hurt anybody.  But Baby has gotten himself into a bit of a pickle.  He is beholden to Doc, (Kevin Spacey), an armed robbery mastermind and also a very bad guy and, Baby is forced to drive a getaway car in a series of robberies in order to pay him back. 

Baby is a bit of a savant when it comes to driving getaway cars. We see Baby do some spectacular driving to get the bad guys away from a couple of successful robberies and, when Baby finally pays Doc off, he happily walks away from a life of crime so he can go on a romantic road trip with Debora, the sweet waitress he meets in a diner (Lily James). 

But bad guys have a way of coming back and dragging you back in and Doc forces Baby to do one more robbery - this time, the U.S. Post Office. Will that one be successful so Baby and Debora can live happily ever after?  Mmmm....

Besides our bad Guy, Doc, we also have Buddy (John Hamm as you have never seen him); Bats (Jamie Foxx as a really bad guy and we have kind of seen him like that before) and Buddy's wife, Darling (Eliza Gonzales ) who is one badass lady, with the guns akimbo trope.  Doc prides himself in never using the same team twice so that group is broken up by Eddie (Flea), Griff (Jon Bernthal) and JD (Lanny Joon), all well-cast but neither of whom last long for various reasons.

Baby doesn't talk much and wears sunglasses most of the time which means that Elgort has to get his character without dialogue or much facial expression, and he does that by using his body language - mouthing his songs, breaking into a dance a la "La La Land" and driving along to his carefully chosen songs.

Elgort made his mark as a teen heartthrob in the YA dying girl movie "The Fault in our Stars." James is an appealing love interest, who "Downton Abbey" fans will recognize as Lady Rose and who also did a lovely job as "Cinderella." James and Elgort have a touching chemistry that is a nice break from the high energy of the driving and violence.  Spacey is his usual prickly self, a role he has perfected, and Hamm, Foxx and Ramirez are all appropriately evil in a darkly comic way.

Since I mentioned "La La Land," I am wondering if "Baby Driver" is a new kind of musical.  Just as "La La Land" was a breakthrough modern musical, so is this film in its own way. The film was basically written and directed around the soundtrack, rather than the other way around, and it's an eclectic mix of songs from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's "Bellbottoms" to Dave Brubeck to Barry White and all kinds of other songs in between. There are 44 songs on Wright's personal mixed tape, and the film is choreographed to the music with gun shots, villains walking to their robberies and even text messaging all cued to the beat of the music playing inside Baby's head. There is one scene toward the early part of the film where Baby is bopping and dancing to his music on the street reminding me of the opening of "La La Land."

This film has it all: thrilling car chases and driving sequences, violence, humor, snappy dialogue, interesting characters and plot, and a love story, all presented in a new memorable way. But most of all, it has energy!  This is a must-see!

Rosy the Reviewer says...this is a fresh, stylish and original movie that could very well get Oscar consideration.

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


Before I Fall (2017)

Samantha Kingston (Zoey Deutch) is a teenaged girl who seems to have it all...until she doesn't.

"Maybe for you there's a tomorrow.  Maybe for you there's 1,000 or 3,000 or 10 - So much time you can bathe in it.  So much time you can waste it.  But for some of us there is only today and what you do with it matters - into the moment and maybe into infinity. But I didn't know any of that... Until right before I fell."

So begins this film about young Sam.  She's pretty, popular, and well-off.  She hangs with her three friends, Lindsay (Halston Sage), Ally (Cynthy Wu) and Elody (Medalion Rahimi), and I have to say, these girls are mean girls who have turned their sights on Juliet (Elena Kampouris), a young girl who clearly has issues.  It's February 12th, Cupid Day at school where roses are distributed to the girls by their admirers.  Sam gets many roses and one is from a classmate, Kent (Logan Miller), who is clearly an admirer, but Sam loves the popular Rob (Kian Lawley) and is finally planning to make it official, if you know what I mean (wink wink).

Sam and her friends all attend a party where everyone is drinking too much and doing god knows what else.  There is an ugly incident with Juliet where she is humiliated and runs off.  The girls get into the car with Lindsay driving, they are talking and texting and at exactly 12:38am on February 13th, BOOM! A car accident.  Sam dies, right?


Sam wakes up in her bed as if nothing happened...until she realizes it is once again February 12th and she is reliving that day again...and again...and again...
After several days of this Sam decides to just say and do whatever and vary her day to see if it changes anything.  She alienates her girlfriends and starts acting irrationally until she realizes "I knew I had to do something...something good."

Her mother tells her "One good thing.  Just follow one good thing and see where it leads you."

"If I was going to live the same day over and over I wanted it be a worthy day - but not just for me." 

So she tries to make things right with Juliet.

Think "Groundhog Day," with teenaged angst and the dying girl genre thrown in.

I was not a big fan of "Groundhog Day" or movies like that where the day is repeated over and over until the protagonist discovers what he or she needs to discover to stop the cycle.  It can be very boring to see those scenes over and over, except here the writer has Sam relive just enough of the day for us to be reminded it's the same day and to recognize what she is doing differently.

You know that old butterfly effect? - that one little butterfly flapping its wings in Chile that could influence something happening thousands of miles away? Or something like that.  Anyway, the point is: Just making one small change in our behavior that helps someone else could have major impact.

"Certain moments go on forever.  Even after they're over, they still go on."

Watching these teen films I sometimes wonder why I am drawn to them when I am clearly not the demographic the film is aimed at.  I particularly ask myself that when I don't like the film, but that is not the case here. Sometimes when you choose to watch a film that seems outside your usual wheelhouse, you find a little gem.  And this is one of those.

Written by Maria Maggenti (based on the novel by Lauren Oliver) and directed by Ry Russo-Young, I really liked this film, and Zoey Deutch is a lovely young actress who carries this film well. It's a new take on the "Groundhog Day" theme, has a good message and a good story.

However, I have to take issue with the fact that this film employs yet another Power Walk. It's getting ridiculous how many movies use that trope. I am going to start counting the number of movies that have Power Walks in them. and then write a letter of complaint to the cliché gods.

Rosy the Reviewer is a YA film that you and your teenaged children can watch together and enjoy and it actually has some depth.  It asks the question "If you could live the last day of your life knowing it was your last day, how would you live it?" - a good question for both you and your teenaged children to ponder.

T2 Trainspotting (2017)

We get caught up with Sick Boy, Renton, Spud, and Begbie 21 years later.

Here is another reason I don't like sequels which I may or may not have mentioned before:  I can never remember what happened in the first one.  And for this film in particular, with a sequel 21 years later, no wonder I didn't know what was going on.  I can't remember a movie I saw last week let alone one I saw 21 years ago.  So if you see this, and you want to understand the past relationships and the grudges, I recommend watching the first one again or at least get caught up by reading the Wiki synopsis.

As you may or may not recall (and if you don't, see the first one or read the wiki synopsis), in the first film, Renton (Ewen McGregor) ran off with the 16,000 pounds the guys made from a drug deal.  Since then he has gotten married, had two children and has been living in Amsterdam.  However, newly divorced and homeless, Renton has returned to "the scene of the crime," Edinburgh where his mother has died.  

Spud (Ewen Bremner) is still addicted to heroin, Sick Boy AKA Simon (Jonny Lee Miller, who - little known fact - was Angelina Jolie's first husband - I am full of these important facts!) is now addicted to cocaine, runs a pub and engages in porno blackmail schemes with his Bulgarian dominatrix girlfriend, Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova).  Begbie (Robert Carlyle) is in prison and has just been denied parole because of that temper of his, but escapes and wants to continue his life of crime by employing his young son to help him.  However, his son wants to go to college, not live a life of crime.

Renton has come back to make peace with his old friends, and when he visits Spud, he finds him in the midst of committing suicide.  Renton saves Spud and tells him he will help him get clean.  When they meet up with Simon, there is an altercation but eventually Renton and Simon reconcile and decide to go into business together and open a brothel. Can't these guys find straight jobs? They even apply for a small business loan to get it.  Meanwhile, when Begbie finds out that Renton has returned, he decides to seek revenge on Renton for running out on them with the money.  But revenge has a way of backfiring.

Directed by Danny Boyle, who also directed the first film, this film uses short flashbacks to the earlier film and employs the same pulsating music that infused the first film with so much energy. Don't get me wrong.  Boyle is a masterful filmmaker. One example, there is a scene where Mark, after learning that his mother has died, is seen sitting at a table with his Dad and  you can see a shadow of a figure on the wall over the chair where his mother would have sat.  I love those kinds of moments in films. That's what good filmmaking is all about.

So Boyle's credentials are not in question here.  And the actors are great, but one has to ask if anyone cares about the original film anymore or these characters, characters that weren't very likable to begin with and still aren't.  I have to ask why it was necessary to make this sequel. The first movie was ground-breaking. It was full of energy and who can forget that scene with the dirty toilet. So let's leave a ground-breaking film alone.  Let's not take the chance of sullying its memory with a subpar sequel. That's another reason I don't like sequels.

However, there is a certain nostalgia seeing these four actors together again, all of whom still look very much the same 21 years later.  I love Ewen - you can always count on the fact that he will be naked at some point and this film does not disappoint - and Carlyle is an actor we don't see enough of.  And Nedyalkova was a surprise stand-out.  However, despite my enjoyment at seeing these actors, the film itself was disjointed and if you haven't seen the first film, it will seem even more so. And I have to admit that the Scottish accents were so thick at times, the dialogue was difficult to understand.

Simon says to Renton, "You're a tourist in your own youth."

And that's what it felt like watching this film.  I was 21 years younger when I saw the first one, and it spoke to me.  This sequel resolved what happened to the characters from the first film, but it didn't have that thing the original film had - a freshness, a "Hey, this film is really different and special" vibe, so in that way it was a letdown. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...I guess I just really didn't care about these characters anymore.

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


195 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Zero For Conduct (Zero de Conduite: Jeunes Diables au College 1933)

Four young boys in a repressive boarding school decide to rebel.

This short early talkie film (only 45 minutes) is about a run-down French all-boys boarding school.  When the boys return from break, they have a new teacher and instead of the usual heavy-handed types they have grown used to in the tyrannical school, this new teacher, Huguet (Jean Daste), is a fun guy who entertains his charges with handstands on his desk. However, the main focus of the film is the prank planned by four of the boys who escape from the school and run amok in the local village ending up on a rooftop. It's all very surreal and silly, but represents the exuberance of youth and rebellion against tyranny.

Director Jean Vigo was a French director in the 1930's who "invented" poetic realism.  He was also an influence on the French New Wave of the 1950's which is amazing because Vigo only made four films between 1929 and 1934.  This film also inspired the ending of Lindsay Anderson's "If." One can only wonder what he would have produced had he lived.

Why it's a Must See: "...the experiments with slow-motion, animation, and trick photography are prodigious and wondrous...cinema as a magic act."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Rosy the Reviewer says...I always struggle with the early films.  I can appreciate the accomplishments these films represent but I usually don't enjoy them so here is another film I could have died without seeing.
(b & w, in French with English subtitles)

***Book of the Week***

Downsizing the Family Home by Marni Jameson (2015)

The difficult, emotional journey of downsizing your or your aging parents' home.

I wish I had had this book when I had to help dismantle my mother's and father's home after my father died and my mother needed to go to a nursing home.  But I am glad to have it now as it's time to downsize my own home and move back to be nearer to my grandchildren.

Nationally syndicated home columnist Marni Jameson guides readers through the daunting process of sorting through a lifetime's worth of possessions and helps you untangle yourself from your things, especially those things that hold memories.  It's also a practical guide on how to store what you want to keep, how to ship items safely and even advice on how to fix up the old homestead so it will sell.

Using personal anecdotes as illustrations, Jameson explains the differences between a garage sale, a rummage sale (you rummage through stuff) and an estate sale and helps with strategies to get you through this process as painlessly as possible with insights and tips from national experts—antiques appraisers, garage-sale gurus, professional organizers, and psychologists.

Rosy the Reviewer says...OK, after reading this, I know how to downsize. Now I just have to DO it!

Thanks for reading!

 See you next Friday 

for my review of  

"The Beguiled"


 The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)

 and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before 

 I Die Project."
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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.  Once there, click on the link that says "Explore More" on the right side of the screen.  Scroll down to External Reviews and when you get to that page, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list.

NOTE:  On some entries, this has changed.  If you don't see "Explore More" on the right side of the screen, scroll down just below the description of the film in the middle of the page. Click where it says "Critics." Look for "Rosy the Reviewer" on the list.

Or if you are using a mobile device, look for "Critics Reviews." Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."