Tag Archives: family

HERCULES (2014) – My rating: 7.5/10

HerculesHo Hum, it’s pretty much the same story I’ve seen and heard many times before. While Dwayne Johnson makes a fantastic Hercules, he can’t change the redundancy of the story. Hercules is about a strong man or Demigod (which ever tickles your fancy), who’s family was killed while he was drugged by some unknown person. Since he doesn’t know what happened, he can’t defend himself against the accusation that he killed his wife and 3 children in a drunken stupor. In the meanwhile he’s asked to defend villages, towns and nations against armies, thieves, monsters and robbers because of his strength and knowledge. Finally he comes across a situation that encourages him to commit to saving Greece from a ruthless warlord only to find truth and freedom. I really liked Hercules because I really like period pieces. It was done tastefully and was entertaining. The cast was brilliant and well acted. I think we are at a point in history where not too much will surprise us and I don’t see plots and story lines being too different. I think Hercules is a decent investment of time and money.

GODZILLA (2014) – My rating: 7.5/10

GodzillaFor some reason, Japan and the US has had a long term affair with Godzilla or the idea of a Godzilla.  There have been several movies dedicated to Godzilla, each holding it’s own merits.  This Godzilla has the best special effects I’ve seen since Avatar.  Since this is a fantasy, the plot can be as outrageous as Hollywood can make it.  If I were naming this movie, it would be called Godzilla vs Alien Praying Mantis.  Unexpectedly, Godzilla turned out to be the hero and the bad guy.  A lovely family consisting of a husband, wife and son become casualties of a cataclysmic phenomenon.  Actually the son and father survive.  The movie picks up 15 years later when the son, Ford Brody, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson is grown and dad Joe Brody played by Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad’s Walter White) is presumed crazy.    Once we really get into this story, it’s all over the place.  Since there are quite a few creatures, we are taken to many different locations that are being attacked.  Ford has a wife and son who he is trying to get back to with the hopes of keeping them safe.  Interestingly, the Japanese doctor played by Ken Watanabe, had the same look on his face throughout the entire movie.  He looked shock and disturbed at all times.  I think he was always in think mode and that was how he expressed that emotion.  Just when you think the movie is over, we get a surprise twist.  Godzilla didn’t quite come together the way I wanted it to but it held it’s own.  I was entertained and as I said the special effects were awesome.  If you’re going to see Godzilla, see it on the big screen.  Godzilla 2014 is definitely better than Godzilla 1998 which was a disaster of a film starring Matthew Broderick.

NASHVILLE – My rating: 8.5/10

NashvilleI never thought I would like a country music television series that take place in Nashville, Tennessee.  I’ve been to various cities in Tennessee and really liked what I saw and experienced, however I’ve never been a fan of country music.  I now have a whole new opinion of country music just because of this really well written series and well thought out plot.  The music is simply fantastic and the acting superb.  The story centers around a fading star, Rayna Jaymes (played by Connie Britton) and her family plus her new rival,  Juliette Barnes (played by former Heroes cheerleader, Hayden Panettiere).  There are lots of characters with profound stories.  Rayna and Juliette can’t seem to earn the respect from each other that is well deserved.  Complicating matters, is Rayna’s long time real love and father to one of her children, Deacon Claybourne (played by Charles Esten) and her very rich, corrupted father Lamar Wyatt, played by veteran actor (Powers Boothe) .  There’s lots of talent and lots of drama.  Nashville can be a tad bit soap opera-ish but is still worth watching.  You’ll find everything from music to cat fights to infidelity.  I’m enjoying Nashville to the utmost!

ROBOCOP (2014) – My rating 8.5/10

RoboCop2014Having been around the block once or twice, I’ve seen the original RoboCop and all it’s sequels.  Back then the concept was new and everyone was excited about seeing RoboCop.  We all loved the way it bashed the corporations and effectively caught the bad guys.  Of course, Hollywood went overboard and made one too many of these RoboCop sequels and it didn’t do too well at the box office.  I looked up the original 3 on IMDB and found the 1st one earned a 7.5 rating while the second and third only earned 5.6 and 3.8, respectively.  Now 27 years later, Hollywood has decided to try it again.  With new technology available, how far can they go?  Well I believe they made a perfect remake that toned down the family ousting of the old 1987 version and the corporation criminal element.  In other words, Alex Murphy’s family wasn’t given the old heave ho and the corporation wasn’t kill thirsty.  Don’t get me wrong, the corporation is still about making money at any cost but just not so invested in killing all who stands in their way.  The hot wheel motorcycle Alex Murphy (RoboCop played by Joel Kinnaman) drove was truly hot.  The technical material that made up Alex, was pretty much the same as the original.  I loved that Gary Oldman, who usually plays the bad guy and Michael Keaton teamed up to represent the corporation.  I won’t say more about the film because I don’t want to give anything away.  It was exciting and entertaining and I recommend it on the big screen.

DOWNTON ABBEY – My rating: 9.5/10

DowntonAbbeyDownton Abbey is one of my most favorite series.  I love period pieces.  This one is before World War I and is brilliantly told.  The series revolves around a British, aristocratic family and their servants.  The family presently includes Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, Lady Mary, Lady Edith and  Robert’s mother, Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.  The major servants include Head of all servants, Mr. Carson, Mrs Hughes,  Head of kitchen staff, Mrs. Patmore,  John and Anna Bates, Valet to Lord Grantham and Lady Maid to Lady Mary, respectively.  The personal stories that take place between the staff and the Crawley family and friends makes for a fascinating series.  I’ve been mesmerized by Downton Abbey since it first started.  Just to see how the upper crust behaves in Britain — one wonders whose idea was it to have maids dress you every day.  The whole setup is rather complicated, so I’ve displayed a couple of charts that show the actors, characters they play and the positions they hold at Downton Abbey.  Just perusing the charts, gives you an idea of how the story flows.  Learning the positions and hierarchy of the staff will be challenge.  Overall, Downton Abbey takes you away to a world we don’t really know but can find entertainment and fun in watching.




Hugh Bonneville

Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham

Lord Grantham, head of the Crawley family

Elizabeth McGovern

Cora Crawley (née Levinson), Countess of Grantham

Lady Grantham, Lord Grantham’s American heiress wife

Michelle Dockery

Lady Mary Josephine Crawley

Eldest daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham; widow of Matthew Crawley

Laura Carmichael

Lady Edith Crawley

Middle daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham

Jessica Brown Findlay

Lady Sybil Branson (née Crawley)

Youngest daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham; late wife of Tom Branson

Maggie Smith

Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham

Lord Grantham’s mother

Allen Leech

Tom Branson

Chauffeur of the family (series 1–2), agent of the estate (series 3); widower of Sybil Branson

Dan Stevens

Matthew Reginald Crawley

Heir presumptive (third cousin once removed) of Lord Grantham; former lawyer, latterly co-owner of the estate; late husband of Mary Crawley

Penelope Wilton

Isobel Crawley

Matthew’s mother; widow and former nurse

Lily James

Lady Rose MacClare

Cousin and ward of the Granthams; daughter of The Marquess and Marchioness of Flintshire

Samantha Bond

Lady Rosamund Painswick (née Crawley)

Lord Grantham’s sister

Ava Mann (Series 4)

Sybil “Sybbie” Branson

Daughter of Lady Sybil and Tom Branson

Cole & Logan Weston (Series 4)

George Crawley

Son of Matthew and Lady Mary Crawley, heir to Downton and Earl of Grantham





Jim Carter

Charles Carson


Phyllis Logan

Elsie Hughes


Brendan Coyle

John Bates

Lord Grantham’s valet; husband of Anna, widower of Vera

Siobhan Finneran

Sarah O’Brien

Lady Grantham’s lady’s maid

Rob James-Collier

Thomas Barrow

First Footman, later Lord Grantham’s valet, then underbutler

Joanne Froggatt

Anna May Bates (née Smith)

Head housemaid, later Lady Mary’s lady’s maid; wife to John Bates

Lesley Nicol

Beryl Patmore


Sophie McShera

Daisy Mason (née Robinson)

Kitchen maid, later assistant cook; widow of William Mason

Thomas Howes

William Mason

Second Footman; briefly married to Daisy

Rose Leslie

Gwen Dawson


Amy Nuttall

Ethel Parks

Housemaid, later Mrs Crawley’s Housekeeper and Cook

Kevin Doyle

Joseph Molesley

Matthew’s butler and valet, later a footman at Downton Abbey

Matt Milne

Alfred Nugent

Second Footman, O’Brien’s nephew

Ed Speleers

James “Jimmy” Kent

First Footman

Cara Theobold

Ivy Stuart

Kitchen maid

MyAnna Buring

Edna Braithwaite

Former maid, then briefly Lady Grantham’s lady’s maid

Raquel Cassidy

Phyllis Baxter

Lady Grantham’s lady’s maid

Jeremy Swift


Violet’s butler

FRUITVALE STATION (2013) – My rating: 10/10


FruitvaleStationFruitvale Station is flying way under radar.  Chances are, you’ve never even heard of this movie!  It’s based on a true story that won’t make you feel good.  LA police have a reputation for stereotyping,  excessive violence and racism.  This is the story of a 22 year old, black father who is down on his luck but is trying to fight wrong doing with all his mite.  He has lots of support from his family, who he also gives lots of support.  His mother portrayed by Octavia Spencer, (Oscar winner for her role in The Help) could possibly get another nod for Fruitvale.  After seeing 2 Guns, this movie definitely pulled the plug on my happy endorphins.  The events of this film went down something like the Trayvon Martin story.  By the end, I was in tears, as was the entire audience.  There were about 10 of us in the theater — as I mentioned, this movie is flying way under the radar.  I am happy to see the truth brought to light.  It isn’t very pretty but it’s real.

See Fruitvale Station, if not for entertainment, see it for the educational value.  See it because, as they say, “the truth will set you free”.  I’m not feeling very free right now and I don’t think justice was served but I also know nothing we can do will bring back the dead! I would like to see an end to this sort of thing.  Judge for yourself.  Fruitvale Station is an excellent movie, well acted and we get the message!