Showing posts with label True Crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label True Crime. Show all posts

Thursday, July 14, 2022

"Top Gun: Maverick" and The Week in Reviews

[I review the movie "Top Gun: Maverick," as well as the TV series "WeCrashed," and "The Andy Warhol Diaries." The Book of the Week is "Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders" by Kathryn Miles]

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Thirty-six years later, Pete "Maverick" Mitchell is back and still pushing the envelope.

I have to confess at the outset that I have been a big Tom Cruise fan from the very beginning, ever since I saw him playing the bad guy, or kid, in "Taps." That was only his second movie, but I knew he had something special.  This was before he danced in his undies in "Risky Business," before "Mission Impossible," before "You complete me."  I knew he had that star quality early on, and he was a handsome devil too!  I have been a fan ever since, despite Scientology, despite his occasional irritability with reporters who ask him questions he doesn't like (don't ask about Nicole!), despite my disappointment when I found out he was short. 

I have seen every movie Tom has ever made (I get to call him Tom because I have been a fan for so long), so naturally I had to see this one.  Not to mention, I had heard it was really good.  

It's been 36 years since the first "Top Gun," so you might want to watch that one again before seeing this sequel.  But if, like me, you aren't going to, here is a bit of a synopsis: 

U.S. Naval Aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Cruise) and LTJG Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards), stationed in the Indian Ocean, fly the F-14A Tomcats.  They are sent to attend TOPGUN, the Naval Fighter Weapons School in San Diego, where Maverick turns out to be a bit of a, er, maverick, and flies recklessly, putting him at odds with the other pilots, especially his fellow pilot, the Iceman (Val Kilmer). Goose dies in an accident for which Maverick is blamed and later cleared but he feels guilty and considers quitting.  But we know he won't, because he's Tom Cruise, I mean, Maverick.  He eventually redeems himself during a tense international crisis where amazing aerial acrobatics occur and, at the end, when given a choice of assignments, Maverick chooses to become a TOPGUN instructor. you are caught up.

What's next for our Maverick?

Over thirty years later, Pete has shown himself to be a top aviator.  He is now a test pilot but in true Maverick fashion he has pushed the envelope once again, and instead of being disciplined, he is sent back to TOPGUN, this time to help the new and young fighter pilots complete a very difficult mission.

One of the enemies of the U.S. (you can pick which one) is working on a uranium enrichment plant and that's a no-no so we have to take it out.  However, it's in a very difficult place, between two mountains with all kinds of rockets and faster jets protecting it, so the Iceman, who is now Maverick's friend and an Admiral, has called upon Maverick to train and decide which of the best of these best young pilots is up to the task.  However, there is a slight problem.  One of the pilots is Rooster (Miles Teller), who just happens to be Goose's son, and he has not forgiven Maverick for the death of his Dad.

I probably didn't really need to give you a synopsis of the first one. With a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie and direction by Joseph Kosinski, this is basically a 21st Century rehash of it: two brash, young pilots once again competing against each other, throwing smack around, just as Maverick and Iceman had done, but this time it's Rooster and Hangman (Glen Powell). There is also the requisite romance for Maverick and, once again, a beach volleyball game under the guise of team building, but we all know it's just a way to see those handsome, fit bodies running around on the beach. The "Danger Zone" theme music is even on hand. 

I have to admit that this is not necessarily my kind of movie.  

I am not particularly into military stuff or airplanes, and I definitely am not into macho posturing and overdramatic dialogue like "The end is inevitable, Maverick.  Your kind is headed for extinction." "Maybe so, sir. But not today." There is a lot of that. There is also the requisite romance with the beautiful Penny (Jennifer Connelly), because Tom has to have someone to flash those pearly whites at and there are also some far-fetched plot choices.  But I give the film props for its depiction of friendship and loyalty, and I have to say, despite my reservations during some of the film, the last thirty minutes, as the pilots tried to complete their mission, was heart pumping and exciting due to the aerial acrobatics, slick editing and "practical effects." That made up for any criticism I had before that. And it didn't hurt when Tom showed up in his Navy whites. That was spectacular too! 

When I use the term "practical effects," I am referring to the fact that most of those exciting aerial sequences were actually real planes flying around with the actors in the cockpits, though they were not flying the planes. It was not CGI. Tom is known for doing his own stunts and required the actors to have grueling training to take part and it certainly worked.  It's very much a "you are there" feeling during those scenes.

Speaking of Tom, he just doesn't seem to age, and it is mind bloggling that he is still doing his own stunts at 60.  Nor does Jennifer Connolly look any older than I remember her from her earlier films.  Sadly, she doesn't have much to do here except look beautiful and flirt with Tom, but she is still a welcome presence. I am always glad when 50-year-old actresses get work and actors like Tom romance age-appropriate women. Miles Teller and Glenn Powell do a good job of picking up the reins left by the young Cruise and Val Kilmer.  And speaking of Kilmer, so glad to see him here but bittersweet considering what has happened to him.  

Rosy the Reviewer says...I usually hate sequels but I'm going to give this one a break because, for one thing, it's been 36 years, and for another, the editing and aerial sequences lived up to the hype. I was on the edge of my seat. (in theatres)

***Now Streaming***

WeCrashed (2022)

The story of the rise and fall of WeWork.

I feel like I am the only one in the world who didn't know about WeWork but this eight-part miniseries created by Drew Crevello and Lee Eisenberg now streaming on Apple+ gave me an education in a most enjoyable way.

WeWork was a company that offered coworking space and under the leadership of Adam and Rebekah Neumann, was valued at $47 billion in 2019 before famously crashing.  Based on the podcast "WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork" by Wondery, the series stars Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway as the Neumanns, two narcissists who through shear force of will made WeWork work...until it didn't.

Adam Neumann's gift was to talk so much and so fast that he would get his way.  He was one of those people so sure of himself that he was able to convince everyone else he knew what he was doing.  He thought big and went for it.  Rebekah was more of a whiney New Age girl who wanted to "elevate the world's consciousness." She also wanted to be an actress, so Adam bought her a theatre.  Then she wanted to have a more important role in the company so Adam gave her the title of Chief Branding Officer.  Then she wanted to start a school so... voila!  The two were madly in love but they were also madly mad and that was ultimately what brought them down.  That and some under the desk machinations.

Jared Leto as Adam Neumann is just astounding. He never ceases to amaze me. Is there nothing Jared Leto can't do when it comes to acting?  He was unrecognizable in "The House of Gucci" - in a good way - and here he embodies Adam Neumann in looks and accent.  But just saying that doesn't seem like enough.  Whatever Jared Leto does he goes all in and I go with him.  Hathaway is also wonderful here playing a rather unlikable character but making her real and vulnerable.  The acting alone is the reason to watch this miniseries but the story  is also fascinating.  It's an inside look into the world of startups and how quickly it can all go wrong.

Rosy the Reviewer times this show was above my mental pay grade when it came to the ins and outs of the business financial world e.g. IPO's, S-1's, etc. but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it.  I did.  The story is engrossing and the acting is phenomenal. (Apple+)

The Andy Warhol Diaries (2022)

Andy Warhol speaking from the grave.

Does anyone remember what happened to artist Andy Warhol after he was famously shot in 1968? I realized watching this six-part mini-series that I really didn't.  I didn't have the slightest idea what he was up to after that.  And he was up to a lot.

One of our most successful contemporary artists, Warhol was famous for his Campbell's soup cans and portraits of celebrities. He embraced silkscreening, film, photography and sculpture and commented on celebrity culture through his work. He said "In the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes," a profound statement considering he said that before the rise of the Internet where that has actually happened.  But for all of his fame, Warhol remained a rather enigmatic figure, more of an observer than a participant, but after the shooting, Warhol was feeling vulnerable and less relevant, so he started to reinvent himself in some very odd and interesting ways.

This docuseries directed by Andrew Rossi does a brief overview of Andy's early life and then concentrates on his life after the shooting. Often thought to be asexual, the series explores Warhol's long-term relationship with Jed Johnson, which eventually failed, and then his obsession with Paramount executive Jon Gould.  Andy explored the club scene, modeling, drag, went on "Saturday Night Live" and "The Love Boat," forged a relationship with the young artist Basquiat and took on his last commission honoring The Last Supper, all in the shadow of the AIDS epidemic.  And then Andy died unexpectedly at the age of 58.  And no, he didn't die of AIDS.

Practically everything in this docuseries was news to me, and I was actually a Warhol fan. From executive producer Ryan Murphy and based on the 1989 book edited by Pat Hackett, Andy "narrates" his own diary entries as his personal life plays out on screen with additional insight provided by experts, associates and others who knew him. Andy's "voice" is actually produced through artificial intelligence (voiced by Bill Irwin) and the use of AI was approved by the Andy Warhol Foundation, something which the series is careful to remind us during each episode.

Does this series shed light on the real Andy Warhol?  Maybe not.  But hearing his own words is probably as close as we will get.

Rosy the Reviewer says...whether you were a fan of Andy Warhol or not, this is a fascinating documentary focusing on a fascinating life played out during that fascinating time called The 80's. (Netflix)

***The Book of the Week***

Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders by Kathryn Miles (2022)

The true crime story of the unsolved murders of Lollie Winans and Julie Williams, who were both murdered in the Shenandoah National Park in 1996.

Lollie Winans and Julie Williams were two young women who met and fell in love over their mutual love of backpacking in the wilderness.  In May of 1996, the two went on a week-long backpacking trip to the Shenandoah National Park where they pitched their tent in a remote spot. When the pair did not return home as planned, park rangers discovered their campsite, their tent slashed and the women dead in their sleeping bags.

Miles, an award-winning journalist and outdoorsperson herself, became obsessed with the case, and during her research, uncovered conflicting evidence, a botched investigation and a suspect who was hounded his whole life as the person who murdered Lollie and Julie. Miles became convinced he didn't do it. Then who did?  Along with her one-woman investigation, Miles does a good job of presenting Lollie's and Julie's stories. You care about these women and you want to find out why they were murdered.

It's difficult to believe that as late as the 1990's there were still laws in the books in many states against homosexuality.  Was the murder of Lollie and Julie a hate crime?

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like true crime nonfiction, this is for you.  It's a page-turner.

Thanks for reading!

See you again soon!

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And 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 over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

(NOTE:  If you are looking for a particular movie or series, check out this cool site: JustWatch.  It tells you where you can access all TV series and movies)


Monday, December 21, 2020

What I Have Loved Watching So Far During Lockdown

[The Flight Attendant, A Teacher, The Prom, The BeeGees, Murder on Middle Beach, Big Sky, Dash & Lily, Emily in Paris, The Trial of the Chicago 7, and Queen's Gambit]

In these terrible times, thank god for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple+ and HBO Max (did I miss anything)?  They have been my best friends off and on for the last nine months but especially during this latest lockdown.  

If you have been following my Facebook page, you will recognize some of these recommendations but, if not, here are some movies and TV series I have enjoyed while sheltering at home.  And even if you do follow me on Facebook, these are expanded reviews that might get you to watch if you haven't already.

1.  The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)

So...ever wonder what flight attendants get up to as they travel around the world? Well, my oh my, according to this, A LOT! Drinking, sex...AND MURDER? (Dateline fans, do Keith Morrison's voice when you read the word "muuurder").

Kaley Cuoco plays Cassie Bowden, a flight attendant who often finds herself waking up from a night on the town and not remembering what happened or who that guy is in bed with her. She's a bit of a party girl, well, actually not a bit of a party girl, a BIG party girl, and she has no problem entering the Mile High Club with customers. But when she wakes up the next morning in Bangkok after hooking up with Alex Sokolov (Michiel Huisman), a handsome passenger and finds him lying next to her, covered in blood, yes, dead, she decides to do a runner. Maybe no one saw her with him? Not likely. Bad choices and chaos ensues...and believe it or not, at times it's funny because Cassie is a cross between Goldie Hawn and Lucy Ricardo!

There are some side plots revolving around Cassie's brother (T.R. Knight) and her fellow flight attendant, Megan (Rosie Perez), who has gotten into some shady stuff herself but this is really all about Cassie and her crazy life.

Created by Steve Yockey (adapted from the novel of the same name by Chris Bohjalian), this is very entertaining and addictive, and Kaley Cuoco carries us along as Cassie tries to find out who killed Alex. There is a strange little hook with dead Alex turning up every so often to try to help Cassie figure his death out, which I rather liked, because did I say that Alex was handsome? But you know how I am with these elaborate spy movies. After many twists and turns and double-crosses, I often have trouble figuring out exactly what is going on - who is doing what to whom? So the last episode? Kind of didn't get it, but all-in-all, this was an enjoyable romp and maybe I was left a bit hanging because it looks like there will be a sequel.
Rosy the Reviewer says...a series that is both stylish, delicious and binge-worthy! And a lot of fun!

2.  A Teacher (Hulu)

A teacher and her student have an inappropriate relationship.

Meet Claire Wilson (Kate Mara), the new high school AP English teacher who has a handsome husband and a seemingly happy marriage. I mean, c’mon, they are trying to have a baby. But then enter Eric Walker (Nick Robinson, who starred in teen hits “Love, Simon” and “Everything, Everything), a handsome Big Man On Campus, who is hot for teacher. Both have issues. We learn early on that Claire is not your average teacher when she shoplifts some lipstick. We see some rebellion and entitlement there. And our young Eric? Who isn’t entitled when they are 17? He is the soccer team captain and wants to be a doctor, but he needs some help with his SATs. Claire conveniently steps up. And yes, they embark on a sexual relationship, and yes, they think it's love.

I know, there is a certain "ick factor" here, especially for you teachers out there. But the series offers some perspectives on this teacher-student phenomenon which we all watched play out most spectacularly and sadly with the Mary Kay Letourneau story, and believe it or not, teachers crossing the lines with their students is not as unusual as you might think. Google it. The title tells it all. It’s not “The Teacher,” it’s “A Teacher.” Teenaged boys want to be adults and young women teachers maybe don’t want to be and there you go. In this story, one bad decision leads to another and we know nothing good will come of it.

Mara is vulnerable and poignant as Claire, even as we shake our heads at her decisions. She is very believable and Robinson is the next big thing. I see a long career ahead for him.

Created and directed by Hannah Fidell (who also directed a feature film on which this TV series is based), this is a serious look at a gender stereotype that is often overlooked - the male sexual victim.
Rosy the Reviewer says…watching this, teachers and parents may cringe and be thankful school is not in session but this is a compelling series. You can’t take your eyes off of it. You know, like a train wreck? But it's a beautiful train wreck.
(The final two episodes air December 22 and December 29)

3.  The Prom (Netflix)

A group of Broadway stars on their way down head to a small Indiana town to give their lives some relevance by taking up the cause of a young girl who has been told she is not allowed to bring her girlfriend to the prom as her date.

The Great White Way may be dark right now but thanks to Netflix we can still enjoy Broadway with this film version of the groundbreaking musical “The Prom.” It’s kind of like “Footloose,” but instead of an uptight town banning dancing, this is about an uptight town canceling Prom because two young lesbians want to go as a couple.
Four narcissistic Broadway stars (Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells and James Corden) need a cause to make themselves relevant. Their show closed due to bad reviews, so they grab onto this story of these two Indiana teen girls who want to go to Prom together and think they can help. But despite a sympathetic principal (Keegan-Michael Key), the PTA headed by the uptight Mrs. Greene (Kerry Washington) says no, so our fish-out-of-water, clueless Broadway stars show up in Indiana to try to save the day.
If you are familiar with Broadway musicals, you know that people will break out into song and dance in malls and other odd places and there will be sentimentality and seemingly bad people will see the error of their ways and become good, but suspend your disbelief. It’s a musical. It’s meant to make you feel good and this one does just that.
But don’t think this is one of those fluffy musicals. This one has substance because it takes on the struggles of LGBTQ teens and is actually based on a true story. Yes, in this day and age, a school tried to keep two girls from going to Prom together. And "the prom" itself is also a metaphor for everyone's teenage angst and subsequent neurosis, right?
Once again Meryl kills. Who knew she could sing like that? And she shows her comic chops too. And James? Who knew he was so light on his feet? And Nicole? Well, actually, not sure why a star of her stature was in this because her part as a Bob Fosse chorus girl is small, though she has one of the great lines.

“When your hands are shaking, turn them into jazz hands!”

But still, I am glad she hooked her star to this because it’s a great show. And thanks to Ryan Murphy's direction and a wonderful screenplay by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, they are all hilarious and the young lovers are engaging.
The show opened on Broadway in 2018, was nominated for seven Tonys and ran for almost a year with a planned tour, but, well, you know how that went. But in the meantime, you can catch the show on Netflix and, I guarantee if you love musicals, you will love this (but remember, it’s a musical).
Rosy the Reviewer says…a feel good show where the Midwest meets Broadway. It shines a light on the struggles of the LGBTQ community, but it’s also an homage to the theatre, a reminder of what we are missing.

4. The Bee Gees: How Do You Mend a Broken Heart (HBO Max)

The extraordinary story of the Bee Gees, one of the best selling artists of all time, with sales of over 120 million records.  But what was most extraordinary was how they were able to keep reinventing themselves to stay relevant with the times over a 45 year career.

The brothers Gibb, Barry, the oldest, and twins Robin and Maurice, formed the Bee Gees in 1958 and performed for 45 years and had a major impact on pop culture from the 60’s through the 90’s. Through a series of interviews with Barry, the sole surviving brother (teen idol Andy is also gone) and archival interviews with Maurice and Robin, the story unfolds.  Yes, this is an homage to the band and doesn’t go into too much detail about some of the issues they faced, though In the “Never-Before-Seen” category we see Robin attempting a solo career and at a performance in New Zealand the crowd is so incensed that it’s only him and not all three of the Bee Gees that they throw things at him, attack him and run him off the stage.

Written by Mark Monroe, and directed by Frank Marshall, this is a fascinating story of some brilliant singer/songwriters and it’s a brilliant film, so evocative of the times, a time captured so completely that it can be emotional for us Baby Boomers.  I actually cried…because I was that young 60's girl who loved the Bee Gees. 

Rosy the Reviewer says…not to be missed!

5.  Murder on Middle Beach (HBO Max)

A young filmmaker tries to solve the mystery of his mother's murder.

If you are a true crime aficionado, as I am, you will be intrigued by this four-part HBO documentary, “Murder on Middle Beach,” where a son tries to find his mother’s killer.
Madison Hamburg directs his first film in an effort to solve the death of his mother, Barbara Hamburg, who was brutally murdered March 3, 2010 at her home in Madison, Connecticut. After the case went cold, Madison interviewed his family members and others to try to gather evidence to solve her murder. As he did so, he uncovered many family secrets and long-term resentments and the thought that perhaps one of his own family members had killed his mother.

Did Barbara's ex-drug addict sister, Conway, kill her? Or Madison's entitled sister, Ali? What about his Dad who had some shady business dealings that Barbara had uncovered and who was due in court regarding their contentious divorce? Or was Barbara's involvement with Gifting Tables a reason for murder?
This is one of those crime stories made all the more ominous because of the setting – a beautiful serene little New England town where nothing bad could ever happen, right? – and a seemingly close-knit, normal big family that murder could never touch, right? And yet...

Rosy the Reviewer says…a spell-binding story full of twists and turns made all the more poignant because it’s also the personal story of a son trying to not only find his mother’s murderer but a son trying to understand who his mother really was.

6.  Big Sky (ABC)

A private detective and an ex-cop try to solve a kidnapping. 

Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillippe) are private detectives searching for two sisters who were kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana.  But when Cody goes missing, Cassie joins forces with ex-cop Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick), Cody's estranged wife, an uneasy alliance since Jenny discovered Cody had been having an affair with Cassie. But that's the least of their problems when they discover that those are not the only girls who have discovered missing.

From the pen of David E. Kelley (best known for "L.A. Law" and "Chicago Hope" and "Big Little Lies" - he's also married to Michelle Pfeiffer), this is a little bit thriller, a little bit mystery and very character driven by, shall I say, odd characters? There is a twisted cop (John Carroll Lynch), a nerdie truck driver (Brian Geraghty), who not only lives with his mother but sometimes sleeps with her, prostitutes working truck stops and more. The series reminded me a bit of "Twin Peaks," and well, yes, "Big Little Lies," without the Monterey landscapes, because all of these characters are not just odd but have, shall I say, "issues?" And the first episode had a shocking ending! Enjoyed it in a perverse sort of way. Looking forward to its return.

Rosy the Reviewer says...check it out and let me know what you think. It's a bit over-the-top but stylish and intriguing and surprisingly out there for mainstream TV (or maybe I just don't watch enough mainstream TV).
(Currently on hiatus on ABC until January 26 but you can get caught up on Hulu and On Demand - and yes, it will leave you hanging)

7.  Dash & Lily (Netflix)

A boy with a broken heart and a naive but optimistic young girl embark on a series of dares via a notebook they hide around New York City.

Now that we’ve all seen “The Queen’s Gambit (see below),” we needed another bingeworthy Netflix show, and thank you, Netflix for “Dash and Lily,” which will be the next big thing, and it’s here just in time for the holidays to take our minds off of lockdown.

“The Queen’s Gambit” was about chess, “Dash and Lily” is about books…well, a notebook... and romance. Based on the young adult series "Dash & Lily's Book of Dares" by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, the series plays out in eight 25+ minute episodes (totally bingeworthy), we meet Dash (Austin Abrams), a handsome New Yorker, who is nursing a broken heart and is humbug about Christmas. Lily (Midori Francis) is his opposite. She loves the holidays and is looking for love but she is also socially shy and awkward. She has planted a notebook in the famous NYC Strand Book Store with a series of dares for anyone up to the challenge. Dash finds the notebook and embarks on the dares and then dares Lily. They leave the notebook in places around NYC with new dares for each other. Will they meet? The anticipation is half the fun and you care because these are two engaging young actors. And, yes, it’s a rom-com and it’s about young people but all ages will enjoy if you remember what falling in love is like.

Filmed prer-Covid, this is a love letter to New York City, too, showcasing its delights as Dash and Lily dash about the City, and it will put you in the holiday spirit.
Rosy the Reviewer says…it’s quirky and funny and utterly charming and isn’t charm something we sorely need right now?

8Emily in Paris (Netflix)

A young American girl from the Midwest gets a chance to live and work in Paris.

Emily (Lily Collins, yes, Phil's daughter) is a driven 20-something from Chicago who gets an unexpected job opportunity and moves to Paris. She is supposed to bring an American point of view to a French marketing firm. However, the Parisiens she works with not only don't think much of her Midwestern upbringing, they don't think much of America either. Emily is a fish-out-of-water, but there's a twist. She doesn't know it.  She thinks she is cool and swans around Paris like she owns the place. Her colleagues make fun of her behind her back and put roadblocks in her way, but this girl has pluck (don't you just love the word "pluck?") and some handsome suitors.

Created by Darren Star, this is a sort of Parisien version of "Sex and the City," and it's just as much fun. It's frothy, Lily Collins is a delight and so is Paris. So sit back and do some armchair traveling as Emily takes Paris by storm in some great clothes! Ooh la-la, the clothes!

Rosy the Reviewer says...rom-com fans rejoice and, ah, Paris, armchair travelers will also enjoy. Une délicieuse petite aventure.

9.  The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)

The true story of the Chicago 7 arrested for protesting at the 1968 Democratic Convention.

And the wheels go round and round.

Don’t think writer/director Aaron Sorkin, the creator of “The West Wing,” doesn’t draw some connections between the trial of the Chicago 7 and the protests of the late 60’s to present day events. He does.

What became known as "The Chicago Seven" was a disparate group of organizers and protesters: Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen), Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong), David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch), Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp), John Froines (Danny Flaherty) and Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins), who along with Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), the current President of the Black Panther Party, were arrested and tried for crossing state lines to incite riots during the 1968 Democratic Convention when in fact they were there protesting the Vietnam War. They all had their own issues and causes and what they deemed appropriate protest. I mean, Abbie Hoffman was a Yippie who liked to plan over-the-top theatrical protests, Dellinger was a pacifist who promoted non-violent change and Hayden was one of the founders of the SDS - Students for a Democratic Society - and not particularly against violence but what they all had in common was a shared hatred of the Vietnam War. However, despite their differences, but they were rounded up and treated as one entity - The Chicago Seven.

Mark Rylance plays their attorney, William Kunstler, and Frank Langella plays Judge Julius Hoffman as rather senile, which would explain why the trial was such a circus.

Ah, 1968, the year that Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated, racism and political corruption abounded and the draft lottery sent 35,000 young men to Vietnam, some of whom were my friends. Hell, my ex-husband was sent there six months after we got married. Some of that from 1968 may sound familiar, except we Baby Boomers had Vietnam and now this generation has Covid. Both wars and still lots to protest.
And the wheels go round and round.
Rosy the Reviewer says…it’s a star-studded cast and a compelling story that resonates today. And next time you Gen-X-ers and Z-s sigh and say “Okayyyy, Boomers,” to your parents or grandparents, and blame us for where we are today, think twice. We had our own stuff. We tried to change things. Now it's your turn.

10.  The Queen's Gambit (Netflix)

Young orphan Beth Harmon becomes a chess prodigy and learns that success has a price.

This has been the hit of quarantine.

First there was "The Tiger King (remember that one? - we weren't quite as evolved then as we are now!)," and then there was "The Queen's Gambit." They actually have nothing in common except "The Tiger King" was a Netflix phenomenon and so is this one. In fact, "The Queen's Gambit" has become the most watched scripted series of all time for Netflix.

Beth Harmon has not had a good life. Orphaned in the 50's at a young age, sent to an orphanage and lonely, she befriended the janitor who taught her how to play chess. She quickly proves to be a prodigy at the game and starts entering competitions.

And then the older Beth (Anya Taylor-Joy) takes the chess world by storm, something that was the world of men, and now there is Beth and she is crushing everyone. But here's the thing. Beth has some major emotional problems and a drug and alcohol addiction.

Speaking of taking the world by storm. That is what Anya Taylor-Joy has done. Not just with this, but her early foray into feature films was "The Witch," a film I didn't really like but I liked her. And in just five short years, she has a long resume that includes her most recent film, "Emma," which by the way was the very last film I saw in a theatre. She is a beautiful, talented actress who really shows what she's got in this incredibly mesmerizing series.

However, I also have to give a shout-out to Marielle Heller, who played Beth's foster mother. She went from an unsympathetic character who drank a bit, okay, a lot, and didn't understand her adopted daughter to become a lynchpin and huge supporter of Beth's career. Heller is also the writer/director of "Diary of a Teenage Girl" and the director of "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" and "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" - three movies I loved. So she is a successful writer and director and now we know she can also act. Keep your eye out for her!

Anyway, yes, this film is about chess, but don't let that turn you off.

It's about chess, but so much more. I mean, c'mon, "The Tiger King" was about big cat zoos, and you watched that one. This miniseries, which is not a documentary, by the way, but a dramatic series, might just make chess the next big thing! But this is so, so much better than "The Tiger King" and so much more than just about chess. Let's just say, chess is a metaphor here. And Beth Harmon is our new kick-ass woman!

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you don't want to be the only one who hasn't seen this show, better get out the remote! Trust me, you won't be sorry!

NOTE: You might notice one obvious series that is missing - "The Crown." Duh. Yes, I binged on that one too but hasn't everyone?

Thanks for reading!

See you again soon!

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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.