Friday, January 3, 2014

Holiday Movie Review Round-up!

I had a chance to watch quite a few movies over the holidays and thought I'd share my thoughts about four of them here at My Real Life Reviews.
None of them are new movies. But as is often the case for me, what is currently the 'hit' movies aren't the ones that capture and keep my interest.
These 4 movies were all part of our local library's collection. They are all available at Amazon too; I've included the links to product pages for each one. 
Have you seen any good movies (new or old) recently?
If you have, do share. I'm always on the look-out for a good movie or book and I couldn't care less, whether it's new or old.
Hope you enjoy my mini -reviews for these movies and happy viewing! :-)

I really enjoyed this movie. It has a great cast and a rather interesting and very satisfying twist to the ending, that I thought was perfect.
This was a made for TV movie originally (there are a couple of different versions of this movie, with different plots from what I've read) and this particular one is now available in DVD version too.

The scenes on the Orient Express (click to read more about that famous train) in particular are so beautiful. They brought to mind a time not so long ago, when train travel was the height of elegance and style. Unfortunately, the original train discontinued service in 2009, apparently due to costs and stiff competition. But there is another Orient Express train service that is now running, you can read more about that  here. Luxury travel in keeping with the elegance of the 1920's still can be enjoyed. If $$ is abundant of course! ;-)
This movie is a great way to while away an evening but there are a few gory scenes and adult subject matter, so I wouldn't consider this suitable for younger children.

I haven't seen the original 1974 version of this film with Albert Finney, but now I plan to check that one out too.

There aren't too movies that make me really laugh, long and hard, but this one did. :-)

An all star cast that did not disappoint and a story that is not only funny but redeeming too.

Lily Tomlin and Dabney Coleman in particular really shone in this movie; I also enjoyed Dolly Parton's performance.
 I did think that Jane Fonda was the wrong actor for the part that she played though. She just didn't 'ring true' as the shy, ditsy and ditched housewife, returning to the workforce in the office from hell. I could picture someone like Mia Farrow in this part but I think Jane Fonda suits roles of strong, confident women, so much better.
And again, I wouldn't consider this one as suitable for young children, given some of the subject matter.

If you are in need of some real laughs, give this one a try. Especially if you've ever worked in an office with its share of chauvinistic men. I did years ago and more than once. Although none of them were ever as bad as Dabney Coleman's character was, thank goodness!
I've always been a fan of Sidney Poitier's acting and he did not disappoint in this film. I can't imagine anyone else in the lead role for this movie.

A touching story of family, perseverance and triumph. Also dispenses with some stereotypes about older people not being able to physically work hard and contribute in the work world too.

This is a perfect movie for the whole family. The story has some good life lessons to teach and in a "non-preachy" way.

I also learned a lot about the art of making bricks by hand, which is actually a lot more complicated and skilled process than I had thought it was.
I found this movie very touching and sad. At times I was overwhelmed with emotion by what Chris Gardner had to overcome in this true life story. I shed quite a few tears before the end of this film.

Will Smith was a perfect choice to play the lead character, as was his adorable, real life son: Jaden Smith, who also played his son in this movie.

I had read the book previously and did enjoy it more than the movie (as is usually the case). Based on the book though, I felt that the part of Gardner's wife was not well portrayed in the film. She was a lot more cold-hearted and self-centered in real life apparently and I thought this should have also been the case in the movie version too. Her portrayal in the movie gave a rather false impression. Other than that, the movie stacked up quite favorably in comparison to the book version.

If you enjoy stories of triumph over the odds and seeing something really good come to a good person, after a long run of bad luck, give this one a try.
Overall ratings for these movies:
Murder on the Orient Express: Excellent. 5 out of 5
9 to 5: Very Good. 4 out of 5
The Last Brickmaker in America: Excellent. 5 out of 5
The Pursuit of Happyness: Very Good. 4 out of 5


  1. wow 9-5 that is a throw back movie
    Haven't seen it in a long time, but remember enjoying it when it came out
    Pursuit of Happyness...a very hard movie to watch! That bathroom scene in the subway...killer

    1. Yes, an oldie but a goodie. I saw 9 to 5 many years ago on TV but it was still a lot of laughs seeing it again over the holidays. I agree about Happyness, that was one of many difficult scenes to watch but what a great movie. And a happy ending in reality too!

  2. Excellent reviews. I enjoyed all of these movies too. And I agree what you said about each of the movies.

    1. Some really good picks at the library. I think I need to check out their dvd choices more often. ;)

  3. I'm not much for watching movies...but I always like to read the reviews...go figure.


    1. That is kind of funny Jen. I love watching a good movie but still prefer books most of the time too.

  4. not much for movie either, my fav. movie and that's not funny is Philadelphia with Tom Hanks, bu tfor books is you want to enjoy a romance but laugh out loud Susan Elizabeth Phillips any of the but the first I read was 'this heart of mine' and it was fantastic, so I bought all her books never regretted it not for a second...

    1. I dislike Tom Hanks, to me he is the ultimate egomaniac in real life which is such a turn off, so that's a movie I won't be checking out. But the book sounds good.

    2. Really I've only seen in movies, so i've never really met the person...who knew what a shame he looks like such a nice guy, well at least his movie portrayal is good

  5. about Sydney Poitier I loved 'Guess who's coming for dinner?' and also 'To Sir with Love" loved that movie

  6. I saw 9 to 5 years ago, but I remember it being hilarious, employees doing something others only think about!


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