Friday, March 13, 2020

"The Way Back" and the Week in Reviews

[I review the new Ben Affleck movie "The Way Back" as well as DVDs "Queen & Slim" and "Married Life." The Book of the Week is a novel: "The Turn of the Key" by Ruth Ware.  I also bring you up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "Heaven and Earth Magic."]

The Way Back

An alcoholic ex-high school basketball star who walked away from the game is asked to come back to his alma mater and coach the team.

Jack Cummingham (Ben Affleck) was a high school basketball star, leading his team at Bishop Hayes catholic high school to the championships four years in a row.  But he walked away from the game, turning away from a college scholarship, and now works construction...and drinks...A LOT!  So much that he keeps a beer in his shower. Jack is an unhappy man whose life has taken a bad turn. So when he is asked to come back to his high school and coach the struggling basketball team, Jack has a chance at redemption.  Will he rise to the occasion?

Bishop Hayes is a small Catholic high school with a small losing basketball team. The team consists of quiet but talented Brandon Durrett (Brandon Wilson), who has an unhappy home life; Kenny Dawes (Will Ropp), the school lothario who tells every girl he is thinking of her when he shoots baskets; cocky Marcus (Melvin Gregg), who has a chip on his shoulder; Chubbs Hendricks (Charles Lott Jr.), so named because, he's well chubby; handsome Bobby Freeze (Ben Irving); and team captain, Sam Garcia (Fernando Luis Vega).  None of them has much discipline or game, but when Jack takes over the team, he slowly but surely teaches them that it's the small things, doing the small things well every time that will lead to victory.  So Jack is a good coach but he has a problem keeping his anger and swearing in check, something that doesn't go over well with the team chaplain. I mean, it's a Catholic high school, after all. But despite Jack's edginess, slowly but surely the team starts coming back. And Jack has an impact on each of these boys' lives.

In the meantime, though, Jack has to deal with his alcoholism. We learn that he has demons in his past that are tormenting him. He is a damaged guy but a good guy. He helps each of the boys, but can't seem to help himself. Watching this film I was reminded how we so often have no idea the impact we are having on others through small acts of kindess, and despite how much Jack is suffering, his humanity and empathy wills out.

Written by Brad Ingelsby and directed by Gavin O'Connor, one can't help but compare this film to "Hoosiers," or many other sports films.  A flawed coach with a dark past, small school with an underdog basketball team, the team overcoming odds, the winning point at the buzzer, etc. But despite the sports film tropes we have all come to expect, this film rises above them. O'Connor's direction of the basketball games gives the viewer a you-are-there feeling.  They are real and exciting.  I was all in and I don't even really like sports!

However, the heart of this film is Ben Affleck, and I would think this film is a bit of redemption for him, too, as he has famously struggled with an addiction of his own. He pulls no punches when it comes to Jack's alcoholism.  But I was also reminded what a good actor Affleck is.  It's his ability to show vulnerability and realness that elevates this film above other sports films. I think it's one of the best performances of his career.

Rosy the Reviewer says...predictable sports film but Gavin O'Connor's direction and Ben's performance make it one of the best.

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


Queen & Slim (2019)

A Tinder date gone very wrong.

Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) is a young attorney who has just lost a case and her client got the death penalty.  So what do you do when you are depressed?  Why, you go on Tinder and find a date.  Queen finds Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and when we meet them they are on their first date at a diner.  Queen isn't that impressed with Slim, especially since he prays before he eats and makes noise when he chews.  She is indeed a Queen and acts like one. These two are not well-suited to each other and will probably never see each other again.

But then...on their way home, Slim is stopped by a racist police officer.  Slim complies to all of his orders, but Queen is not having it.  When the cop opens the trunk to search it, Queen asks him if he has a warrant, and when Slim asks the cop to hurry up because he is cold, that really pisses the cop off and he pulls out his gun. Queen demands his badge number and when she reaches for her cell phone to film the incident, the cop shoots her in the leg. Slim and the cop skuffle and one thing leads to another, with Slim grabbing the cop's gun and shooting him.  And there you have it.  The misery of driving while black in the United States of America. And knowing what their fate will probably be - living while black in America - Queend and Slim, two young people who have just met, take off and go on the run, knowing they can now never turn back.

Quite a first date. Quite a way to get to know someone.

The two head to New Orleans to Queen's Uncle's house.  Not a good feeling about this.  We have two good kids caught in a bad situation exacerbated by one bad decision after another.  This is one of those frustrating films that you know is not going to end well with each bad decision leading to another bad situation to yet another bad decision and on and on.  It's one of those films where you want to yell at the screen, "No, no, no!"

  • First they run out of gas and are picked up by an off duty sheriff.   No-o-o.
  • When the sheriff figures out who they are, they kidnap the sheriff. No-o-o.
  • They accidentally hit a guy and take him to the hospital.               No-o-o.
  • They stop at a bar.  Slim doesn't drink but then he does.              No-o-o.
  • They decide to go to Cuba and trust a guy to get them there.       No-o-o.

Queen and Slim are on the run with a $500,000 reward on their heads but as they make their way from Cleveland to New Orleans to Florida, and eventually, they hope, to Cuba, the dash cam video of the cop altercation is made public and their story hits a chord with the public.  They become folk heroes, a modern version of Bonnie and Clyde.

Kaluuya made a big splash in "Get Out" and has proven to be a reliable actor. Turner-Smith is a newcomer to feature films, having spent the last couple of years on TV, but this film has made her a star.  The two have screen chemistry and incredible presence.

Directed by Melina Matsoukas and written by Lena Waithe, the current darling of the screenwriting world, this is clearly an indictment of not just driving while black in America but being black in America.

Rosy the Reviewer intense, special film about race in the United States that is also a reminder to stay away from Tinder.

Married Life (2007)

Who knew that "married life" involved lying, affairs and plotting your wife's murder?

Writer/director Ira Sachs apparently thinks that's how it works in this stylish, 1940's noir look at a married man, his love for his mistress, and his plot to murder his wife to save her from the humiliation and suffering of divorce. Now that's a good one!  (Sachs, with Oren Moverman, has adapted the story from John Bingham's 1955 novel "Five Roundabouts to Heaven.")

Harry (Chris Cooper) and Pat (Patricia Clarkson) have been married for a long time, but as happens in longtime marriages, they have parted ways emotionally.  Pat thinks sex is the most important thing in a marriage; Harry wants more emotion and connection.  So Harry has found Kay (Rachel McAdams), who fulfills those needs (it doesn't hurt that she is much younger than Pat), and he wants out of his marriage so he can marry Kay.  But divorce doesn't seem to be an option.  Killing Pat seems to be the best option.  Seems like an episode of "Dateline!" So Harry sets about poisoning Pat.

All of this is observed by Richard, Harry's best friend (Pierce Brosnan), a long-time bachelor and lothario. But wouldn't you know, Richard has a hankering for Kay too, so he wants to make sure Pat and Harry stay married, and while Kay languishes in her safe house, only seeing Harry when he can get away from Pat, Richard moves in on her.  Meanwhile, it seems Pat is doing a little dilly dallying of her own!  Such is married life!

Not sure how I missed this film the first time around, since this is the kind of story I enjoy.  I especially enjoy Pierce Brosnan, who just seems to be getting more handsome and suave as he gets older. Despite the fact that I don't approve of smoking, he certainly looks sexy with a ciggie hanging out of his mouth.  Speaking of which, I haven't seen this much smoking in a film since Bogart was still around.  This film also highlights Chris Cooper as a leading man, which is a rarity.  He has practically cornered the market as a tortured character actor. Rachel McAdams' career took off after "The Notebook," but has slowed down a bit in recent years and that's too bad, because she is a lovely actress.  And Patricia Clarkson?  I don't know what it is, but she seems to be a source of controversy.  She is one of those actors that people either really like or just detest. Not sure why. But the four form a great ensemble in a film that is a cross between film noir and those great romantic potboilers of the 1950's.

Pat says something interesting in the film. You marry a man and make him into the kind of husband you want which makes it even harder when he runs off with another woman.  Now that woman gets to enjoy the man you created.  I had that feeling once.  Long story.

Last week, I reviewed "Frankie," Sach's latest film, which couldn't be more different from this one.  Where "Frankie" had little in the way of plot, lots and lots of walking and talking, and (sorry) frankly lumbered along and was quite boring, this one moves along at a fast pace, has an interesting plot and a sense of humor.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a rather jaundiced view of marriage but a sweet film at the same time.

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

39 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

Heaven and Earth Magic (1962)

Described on IMDB as "A series of surreal cutout animation imagery, largely without a discernable narrative."

Oh, geez. Not another avante-garde film! 

Director Harry Smith, who died in 1991, was a visual artist, experimental filmmaker, record collector, bohemian and mystic.  He was an important figure in the Beat Generation in NYC and is credited with anticipating some aspects of the Hippie movement.  In addition to his experimental films, he is also known for his influential "Anthology of American Folk Music," which was drawn from his extensive collection of out-of-print commercial 78 rpm recordings.

This is one of his most famous film efforts and consists of a series of abstract animated cutouts that reminded me of some aspects of Monty Python and a really irritating soundtrack.  My favorite kind of film.  NOT!  After enduring 60 minutes of this, I couldn't understand why someone would make such a film or why anyone would want to watch it, though it is visually interesting...if you are on acid!

But after seeing a picture of Smith, I maybe have a better idea of why the film was made. 

Why it's a Must See: "Harry Smith is perhaps the least known major figure of American avant-garde cinema.  His films reflect a fascination with alchemy and the occult...[He] attempted to short-circuit the processes of logic and explicit linearity, entering into the realm of the subconscious, automatic, and symbolic."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

If that's the best they can do to explain why this film is one I need to see before I die...

Rosy the Reviewer says...

(Available on YouTube, but you don't need to see this.  Trust me)

***The Book of the Week***

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (2019)

A young woman takes a nanny job in the Scottish Highlands only to end up in prison for murder.  How did that happen?

Rowan Caine is in prison writing a very long letter to a lawyer, hoping he can help her.  She is charged with killing a child and claims she is innocent.

It all started when she stumbled across an ad for a nanny in the Scottish Highlands.  The salary and benefits seemed too good to be true but Rowan's life wasn't really going anywhere in London so she took a chance and applied -- and got the job!  So there she was in the beautiful Scottish Highlands in a beautiful house with a beautiful family.  What could go wrong?


So as she writes to the lawyer from prison, the story unfolds.  All kinds of strange things happen in that house and the children are hardly perfect.  Left alone for weeks at a time in the strange house with Jack, the strange handyman, what seemed to be a perfect job has turned into a perfect nightmare.

I am clearly a fan of Ware.  I have reviewed her earlier books "The Lying Game," "The Death of Mrs. Westaway," and "The Woman in Cabin 10," and enjoyed them all, though some more than others.  She is a Brit who writes page-turners that would all make great movies. Her characters are well-drawn, the dialogue is believable and there are twists and turns you won't see coming. 

This is one of those stories in a long line of stories featuring young women brought into a spooky household and terrorized. Think of Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw," which just had a recent film remake with the  "The Turning," which I reviewed last January, but this one has some surprises. And it will make a great movie!

Rosy the Reviewer Ware's other books, a page-turner!

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday




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, March 6, 2020

"The Invisible Man" and The Week in Reviews

[I review "The Invisible Man" as well as DVDs "Frankie" and "Dr. Sleep."  The Book of the Week is "The Self-Care Solution: A Year of Becoming Happier, Healthier, and Fitter -- One Month at a Time" by Jennifer Ashton, M.D.  I also bring you-up-to-date with "My 1001 Movies I Must See Before I Die Project" with "The Kingdom."]

The Invisible Man

Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) manages to escape her abusive boyfriend and when she discovers that he has committed suicide, she thinks she is finally free.  But is she?

I feel like I have been attending a Blumhouse film festival, Blumhouse being the number one producer of horror films right now.  Last week, I reviewed their remake of "Fantasy Island" and now this one.  I didn't like "Fantasy Island" and had this feeling that Blumhouse was basically B-movie schlock, but after seeing this, I realize there is Blumhouse and then there is BLUMHOUSE!  Yes, there is still the B-movie Blumhouse, but I guess there is also the premiere Blumhouse, too, because this film was really good.  More of a thriller than a horror film, it ticked all of the boxes of an exciting movie experience.  Great screenplay by Leigh Whannell. Not a loose end in sight.  Tick.  Wonderful acting. Tick. Satisfying ending. Tick. Tense, tense, tense thanks to Whannell, who also directed. Tick, tick and tick.

When we first meet Cecilia it's the early morning hours, and she is lying in bed wide awake, her boyfriend, Adrian's (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) arm across her side, an early indication that perhaps Adrian is a bit of a control freak.  But she doesn't lie there long.  She is getting ready to make her escape, and she does in a harrowing opening fifteen-minute sequence that will get your heart pumping and it doesn't stop building from there.

Cecilia is picked up by her sister, Emily (Harriet Dyer), and finds a safe house because she is terrified that Adrian will find her.  You see, Adrian was an abusive boyfriend.  Cecilia is staying with her friend, James (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter, Sydney (Storm Reid), but Cecilia is a nervous wreck, so nervous that she can't even make herself go out to the mailbox.  So when her sister arrives and tells her that Adrian has committed suicide, Cecilia is relieved to say the least.  And not only is he dead but he has made her the beneficiary of millions of dollars.  Time to celebrate!


Then strange things start occuring, things that lead Cecilia to not only believe that Adrian might not really be dead but that he has been able to make himself invisible and is now tormenting her and turning her life into a nightmare. But how do you get people to believe it's not you punching young Sydney or writing nasy emails to your sister, that it's really your dead boyfriend who has somehow come back to life and is now invisible? Is Cecilia really being tormented by her now invisible boyfriend or is she going insane? 

Inspired by the 1897 book by H.G. Wells, you might want to compare this film to that or the 1933 film, but this is no rehash of either of those.  This is the terrifying story of an abused woman who is not believed, certainly a metaphor for today.

Though the other actors are fine, this film is practically a one-woman show for Moss and nobody does beleagered women and scary, tense escapes like Elisabeth Moss. If you have seen her in "A Handmaid's Tale," you know what I mean.  But she is a wonderful actress in general, keeping what could have turned into a horror soap opera into a thrilling and scary ride.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a thrilling thriller.

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


Frankie (2019)

Frankie (Isabelle Huppert), an ex-actress, is dying and her family gathers in a village in Portugal to say goodbye.

I have had a long history with Isabelle Huppert.  I had an early affinity for foreign films.  We had an "art" theatre in our town and you had to be 18 to go see all of those foreign films because, heaven forbid, we can't have our teenagers seeing some nudity in those French films, now can we?  But we got ourselves in and then would show off the next day at school, talking about the film, feeling very sophisticated.  So my love for foreign films continued. I first saw Huppert in 1974 in "Going Places," and I have been a big fan ever since, and she has had a long and celebrated international acting career.  Sadly, this film doesn't do her justice.

Frankie is a former film star but has maintained the haughty presence of one who is still popular. She has summoned her family to the Portuguese village of Sintra for a family reunion, but it's also to say goodbye because she has cancer and his going to die.  Her husband, Jimmy (Brendan Gleeson), is there as well and he is already suffering at the thought of losing his wife. There is also Frankie's ex-husband, Michel (Pascal Greggory), with a male companion (you heard me) followed by Ilene (Marisa Tomei), Frankie's hair dresser and confidant and her significant other, Gary (Greg Kinnear), and Frankie's son, Paul (Jeremie Renier) who looks like a character from "Trainspotting."  He is having trouble settling down.  There is also Frankie's step-daughter, Sylvia (Vinette Robinson), her husband, Ian (Ariyon Bakare), and their daughter Maya (Sennia Nanua), who is not getting along with her mother. To complicate matters even more, Sylvia plans to leave Ian.

Written by Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias and directed by Sachs, the premise is similar to "The Farewell," - the family has been summoned for a reunion but also to say goodbye, though in this case Frankie knows she is going to die. There is also an Eric Rohmer meets Woody Allen feel, too, but this film is neither as affecting as "The Farewell," nor as deep as Rohmer's films (I say deep because I never really understood them) nor as funny as Allen's. It's all very slow moving, with all kinds of walking and talking with absolutely nothing happening. It is an absolutely gorgeous film to look at because of the lovely Portuguese village and the surrounding vistas, forests and beaches, but if I wanted a travelogue I would have watched a travelogue where I didn't have to listen to all of these boring characters talk about nothing, which is sad because these are all wonderful actors. They deserved better.

Rosy the Reviewer says...A big cast of characters and a lot of walking and talking that doesn't add up to anything. Zzzzzz

Dr. Sleep (2019)

A sequel to "The Shining," as in what happened to young Danny, Jack and Wendy Torrance's son, the kid with "The Shining?"

Well, when you have "the shining," as in psychic abilities, I guess you turn into an alcoholic and have a bunch of psychic vampires chasing you down!

In this sequel, we have the adult Danny (Ewen McGregor) with all kinds of issues from the past, not the least which is that old, naked lady in the shower, but now he also has to contend with another kid with "the shining," young Abra (Kyliegh Curran), and a new problem, some psychic vampires called the True Knot, led by Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), who feed off of the "steam" of little kids who have "the shining," as in they kill those little kids and suck up the steam from their tortured and then dead bodies. If you have a problem with children being tortured, this probably isn't for you.  There is one particular scene that is very hard to watch.  The "ew factor" is huge.

So we have poor Danny who has already lived through a murderous Dad and alcoholism, trying to control his "shining" abilities and using them for good, working in a hospice, helping people go over to the other side, hence his nickname and the title of this film.  But all of that is interrupted when Abra is able to psychically communicate with Danny and he realizes he now has to protect her.  

It's all very Stephen King and looks very much like the original film except that the Overlook Hotel appears to have new carpet. Many of the tropes from the first film were in evidence, though it probably would help the enjoyment of this one to go back and watch the first one again. It's all very moody and stylish, and the vampire gang is a new twist, but the film, adapted from Stephen King's own sequel and also merged with the first film and directed by Mike Flanagan is VERY LONG! That's what happens, I guess, when you try to merge the first film (which King supposedly did not like) with King's book sequel and then add some changes of your own. 

Now here is a little film lesson.

How can you tell when a movie is going to be very long?

First, watch out for a film marked "Director's Cut." For some reason, the DVD you get from Netflix is a Director's Cut.  You know what that means, right?  LONG!!!  "Director's Cut" is actually an ironic name for the film the director really wanted to release.  It's ironic because it means THERE ARE NO CUTS.  If director's could have their way, no one would cut one moment of their precious films and all films would be over three hours.  Well, this one was three hours. 

The second way you can tell that a movie is going to be very long is when it is broken up into chapters.  This one had SIX!  I knew "Director's Cut" was bad, but as soon as the film began and I saw "Chapter One," I said out loud, "Oh, geez."

The film used a whole hour to just set us up with Danny's current situation.  That could have been cut down to fifteen minutes.  And then at the end there is a vampire fight, with each vampire getting a very long, extended and disintegrating death scene. Could have done away with all of that. Kill them already and be done with it. So those would be Rosy the Reviewer's cuts.

But thank god for the remote. When you have a three hour movie and you are watching it at home, there is a tendency to fast forward through the boring bits.  Even when I am in the movie theatre, I can't tell you how many times my hands get twitchy and I reach for an imaginary remote when I am bored ("Fantasy Island" was a perfect example)!

That's not to say this film did not have some redeeming qualities. It did. Despite the length, it was actually good. Those True Knot nutters were interesting - Ferguson is always good and a stand-out in this - and Ewen McGregor can do no wrong in my book, except maybe singing in "Moulin Rouge."  For some reason, when he sang he looked just like a Muppet.

Young Kyliegh is an engaging young actress.  With a character name like Abra, I was surprised her last name wasn't Cadabra. I know, I'm terrible. I mean, she did have magical abilities.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a perfectly good Stephen King film but it was 60 minutes too long. Try to avoid the "Director's Cut" version if you can.

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

40 to go!

Have YOU seen this classic film?

The Kingdom (1994)
(Original Title: Riget)

Some supernatural goings on at a Danish hospital called The Kingdom.

There is an arrogant Swedish neurosurgeon, Dr. Helmer (Ernst-Hugo Jaregard), who has been demoted to working in Denmark after plagiarizing some medical papers, and he is not happy about it.  It seems Swedes don't like Danes very much. There is also Mrs. Drusse (Kirsten Rolffes), an old woman who keeps checking herself into the hospital so she can make contact with the spirit world; all kinds of sexual shenanigans amongst the doctors and other hospital staff; a little girl ghost in the elevator shaft; a demonic dog; and two kids with Down Syndrome who are the hospital dishwashers and appear to be a sort of Greek chorus talking about what is going on upstairs.  All of that adds up to not much in my opinion.  The best part of it all was creator/director Lars von Trier coming in at the end of each part and saying some strange stuff about good and evil.

Why it's a Must See: "The Kingdom's spare, but escalating, supernatural manifestations, are genuinely eerie, sometimes magical...with the mock-documentary aesthetic of irony-laden 1990's soap."
---"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"

Hospitals are great places to film horror films because hospitals hold so many horrors that we humans sometimes have to go through. I get that part. Stephen King based the 13-episode TV miniseries "Kingdom Hospital" on this Danish TV show that was later cobbled together into this two part film.  That and the fact that writer/director Lars von Trier created and co-directed this series with Morton Arnfred early in his career before his successes with "Dogville" and "Melancholia" are the only reasons I can come up with as to why this was included in the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" book.

Rosy the Reviewer incomprehensible mishmash that I certainly did not need to see before I died.
(In Danish with English subtitles)

***The Book of the Week***

The Self-Care Solution: A Year of Becoming Happier, Healthier, and Fitter -- One Month at a Time by Jennifer Ashton, M.D. (2019)

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC's Chief Medical Correspondent, outlines a year long plan to improve our emotional and physical health.

Ashton confesses that, like the rest of us, she usually makes New Year's resolutions but for 2018 she decided to try something different, to implement a plan where she was not just the researcher but also the subject.  She was going to try something new every month for the year, something that would improve her health and well-being, and then see how that made her feel.  She thought she could certainly make something work for a month.  And this book is the culmination of that year.  She shares the results and how we can make it work for us.

Each month poses a new challenge:

January - No booze 
(since January is already over...)

February - Doing push-ups and planks 
If you don't have time to go to the gym, you can certainly spend a few minutes doing some push-ups and planks and why push ups and planks?  Push ups have been hailed as the world's greatest and most perfect exercise.  Why? Because push-ups work nearly every muscle in your body. And she says everyone can do them, even if it's just pushing off the wall or from your knees. Likewise, planks use important muscles and especially work the abdominal muscles for a strong core, something that helps with back problems.  She also adds tips for making this work: do them first thing in the morning; add music; and do them with a partner!

I wasn't exactly sure how to do a plank so here it is!

(and in case you just gave a sigh of relief, thinking that's all she expects exercise-wise, you would be wrong.  April is all about cardio)! 

March - Meditation
She credits meditating with everything from helping you sleep to staving off depression to lowering your blood pressure to losing weight to making you smarter.  Not sure about all of that, but I know it has helped me.  I wrote about it in one of my early blog posts - "A Little Meditation on a Little Meditation by an Unlikely Meditator.

April - Cardio
You've heard the new saying that sitting on the couch is the new smoking, right?  Well, Ashton reminds us of that and guilt trips you into getting your butt in gear.  But the good news is a little is better than nothing. Even 20 minutes of brisk walking will help you with sleep issues, fat, blood pressure, cholesterol, you name it.  Exercise is the wonder drug.

May - Less meat, more plants
When you read her reasons why we should eat less meat and more veggies, you won't want to see a piece of meat again!

June - Hydration (that's water to you and me)
Did you know that three-quarters of all Americans are chronically dehydrated?  And now here is ANOTHER thing that's as bad as smoking!  So start sucking down that water!

July - More steps
I already shoot for 10,000 steps a day and probably get that half the time.  She wants me to DOUBLE my steps?

August - Mindful tech (as in turn off your phone)!
Now this I agree with! Ashton promises that if you get off your phone you will sleep better, have more time for friends and family, your leisure time will turn from fun to phenomenal and you will be less anxious, stressed, lonely and depressed. She also warns that your smart phone will make you stupid and look older, it sabotages your sleep and social life, is wrecking your posture, eyesight, and dexterity AND it can even kill you!  Click!

September - Less sugar
Does this mean I have to throw away those boxes of See's I have in the fridge? Oh, c'mon, as bad as smoking, too?

October - Stretching
She's into foam rollers.

November - Sleep
"Just one night of poor sleep can affect your mood and energy levels."  
I must be doing something right.  I have no problems sleeping. 

"Sleep can make you happier and sexier."  
I'm heading off to bed now!

December - Laughter
It would help if someone would make a comedy that was actually funny! But this is all about finding joy.

Sound doable?  Or just too much?  Ashton ends each chapter with how to make each monthly challenge work, and she ends the book with tips on how to turn these changes into lifelong habits.

All good ideas and when broken up into monthly challenges, I think they are doable and it's always good to have a plan when you want to make changes.

Rosy the Reviewer says...we all want to be better people, right?  Well, here is a plan!

Thanks for reading!

See you next Friday


"The Way Back"


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.