Darkest Hour (2017 film)

Darkest Hour, set May 1940, stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill and is an account of his early days as prime minister during the Second World War. …

At the 71st British Academy Film Awards it received nine nominations including Best Film and Outstanding British Film.

Oldman won for Best Actor.

Oldman’s performance is exceptional.  Worth watching.

But I found the film too slow.  In real life, Churchill was more entertaining than that.




Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

One film that stuck with me over all these decades is The Shining. (1980)

Whatever happened to Jack’s wife and son?

The Shining (1977) was King’s 3rd book and first best seller.

Doctor Sleep is a 2013 horror novel by Stephen King and the sequel

Following the events of The Shining, after receiving a settlement from the owners of the Overlook Hotel, Danny Torrance remains psychologically traumatized as his mother Wendy slowly recovers from her injuries. …

In this book, Doctor Sleep is the son, age-30, of Jack Nicholson in the original movie.

We finally learn how Shining works. 

Like most King books, this one is long and detailed.  Though I don’t like horror, I enjoyed this book thoroughly.

I’ll probably watch the movie (2019), as well.




K2 – World’s Most Dangerous Mountain

My original plan for 2020 would have had me hiking to K2 base camp right about now.

Oh well.

“K2 is a savage mountain that tries to kill you.”

That is how climber George Bell described the infamous peak after the first American expedition in 1953–forever giving the mountain its nickname–The Savage Mountain.

Sixty-six years later, Eddie Bauer mountain guides Adrian Ballinger and Carla Perez aim to summit the 8611-meter peak and join a community of explorers fewer in number than those who have been to outer space.

Even more incredible, they both will attempt the feat without the use of supplemental oxygen.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Love On Top (from the cast of Pitch Perfect)

In support of UNICEF

The Bella’s are back together.

Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, Alexis Knapp, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, Hana Mae Lee and Chrissie Fit

Whomever did the audio and video editing is a genius.
Support/Donation Link: http://uni.cf/love-on-top

The Woman in the Window by A. J Finn

The Woman in the Window (2018) is a thriller by the controversial Dan Mallory writing under the pen name “A. J. Finn”.

Great book.  It will keep you guessing. 

“Astounding. Thrilling. Amazing.” —Gillian Flynn

“Unputdownable.” —Stephen King

“Absolutely gripping.” —Louise Penny

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her days drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

It’s going to be a great film starring Amy AdamsGary OldmanAnthony Mackie, Fred Hechinger, Wyatt RussellBrian Tyree HenryJennifer Jason Leigh, and Julianne Moore.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Patriot Games (1987) by Tom Clancy

Famously popular at the time, I found Patriot Games in 2020 too jingoistic. Also slow paced.

It didn’t help that the audio book is read by Scott Brick, too emotional for my liking.

The origin of character Jack Ryan is interesting. A civilian history professor at the United States Naval Academy (USNA).

He’s the son of a Baltimore police detective and a nurse.

While in London with his family, Ryan stumbles upon a kidnapping attempt on the Prince of Wales and his family, which is orchestrated by Irish terrorist group …

He foils the attack by killing one gunman while injuring another and gets wounded in the process. …

Ryan is later knighted by Queen Elizabeth II …

film – You Were Never Really Here

This is a work that will be studied by film students.

It’s excellent. Very violent, however. 

Joaquin Phoenix is the finest actor working today IMHO, now that Daniel Day-Lewis is again retired. 

You Were Never Really Here (released as A Beautiful Day in France and Germany) is a 2017 psychological thriller …

… stars Joaquin Phoenix

… a traumatized mercenary named Joe (Phoenix) is hired by a politician to find and rescue his daughter who has been kidnapped by a human trafficking network, which Joe is instructed to destroy by any violent means. …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

American Dirt is a 2020 novel by American author Jeanine Cummins, about the ordeal of a Mexican woman who had to leave behind her life and escape as an undocumented immigrant to the United States with her son.

Lydia and her eight-year-old son Luca are the only survivors of the backyard barbecue massacre of her family by a drug cartel.

Her husband had been a journalist who was reporting the crimes.

Mother and son become two of the countless undocumented immigrants from Latin America who undertake the dangerous journey to the United States.

American Dirt debuted on New York Times best sellers list as the #1 on the list for the week of February 9, 2020.

The novel has been optioned for a film adaptation.

Oprah loved the book.  I’d agree.

But many, especially Mexican writers, accused the author (American, born in Spain) of exploitation and inaccuracy in her portrayals of both Mexico and the migrant experience.  A planned book tour was cancelled.

Personally, the book was insightful for me.  It’s the closest I’ve ever come to appreciating the experience of a migrant trying to cross the Mexican border illegally.

It’s fiction.  Not reality.  I understand that.





The Wife Between Us (2018)

by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen.

The Wife Between Us worked for me.  I enjoyed it, surprised by the plot twists.

Not everyone agrees.  And it is a little complicated to follow.

Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners bought the film rights so you could wait for the movie.

Richard seems the attentive, concerned husband at the start.  This is the story of the women in his life.

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

I’m not the target audience for this book.

Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a dystopian action-adventure novel by American author Suzanne Collins. It is a spinoff and a prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy. …

Critics had a mixed overall reception …

The central character is the teenage Coriolanus Snow who would 64 years later become the dictatorial president of Panem as Donald Sutherland.

This book didn’t really work for me.  And the 10th Hunger Games were pretty horrible.

The only character of interest is Volumnia Gaul – The Head Gamemaker of the 10th Hunger Games.

Fans of YA fiction where teens kill other teens will probably love it.

Needless to say, a film version is in the works.