Category Archives: Movies

The Mighty Thor and His Hammer

Several years ago my husband and I decided to dip a collective toe into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. MCU for short. I think we started with one of the Ironman movies and moved on from there. At this point, my husband is a Thor man and I am firmly Team Captain America. Yes, a mixed marriage for sure. But, we co-exist.

This being the case, Thor: Ragnorok was a necessary part of the weekend.

No spoilers.

If you like the Marvel franchise, you’ll see it. If you haven’t taken a dip yet, and chose this particular spot to wade in, you may be confused. Either way,  just like its poster the movie is garish, lots of loud rock n roll, a fun Gene Wilder Willie Wonka reference, and several shots of Chris Hemsworth’s unclad torso. (If you’re into that sort of thing.)

Oh, and if you are a fan of the Asgardians. you will get to see a fully-clad Heimdall, (Idris Elba),  FINALLY getting to do more than guard the Bifrost Bridge.

It was fun and did move the story along. The next installment will be Black Panther, coming in early 2018, with the BIGGIE being The Avengers: Infinity Wars in May. The site CinemaBlend   seems to be a go-to for all things Marvel. There are spoilers a plenty so proceed with caution.

Again, big and gaudy is Ragnorok. Fun, but I came home and watched all three Captain America movies. Go, Cap.

Oh, and if you haven’t bought your copy of the holiday anthology, A Very Austen Christmas by our own Barbara Cornthwaite, Robin Helm and Laura Hile, do so. You can help keep them cresting on their wave as No 1 in it’s category.


A Cinderella kind of day

My favorite fairy tale as a grownup is Beauty and the Beast.  But my favorite as a girl? Without question it is Cinderella. It’s a story that delivers on every level.

From Kenneth Branagh’s 2015 adaptation of Cinderella

As you know, I live with a bunch of men. Even though they pick up after themselves, I end up doing many “Cinderella” chores!

This morning,  in the middle of my work I abandoned a shirt on the ironing board, plunked down at the laptop, and … cruised Facebook, ha.

You know what happened next. Yeah, I was sucked in by one of those quizzes.

Why do we take those things? It’s not like they’re even accurate. Anyway, today’s was especially tempting: What Grimm Fairy Tale Character Are You? 

Am I a beautiful princess or a sneaky villain? Inquiring minds want to know the answer to that one!

According to the quiz, I am the most like … Cinderella.

You believe in two things: hard work and true love. You don’t complain, even when you know that you are taking on more than your fair share of the work. You don’t ask for anything, and yet, every once in a while, someone comes along and takes care of you. You know it is okay to stand up for yourself sometimes. You can say no when asked to do too much work. People will still respect you, and they might even be impressed to see you stand up for yourself!

This description makes me smile. Sure, I can *say* no to too much work — but that just means it will wait for me to do later!

Kind of like that shirt I left on the ironing board. What else was I to do? It was time to get my hair cut. This “Cinderella mom” went rogue!

My stylist does not have a magic wand, but my hair now looks cute instead of scruffy. And after my appointment, this movie found its way into my shopping cart. Something beautiful and good, a Mother’s Day gift to myself. It’s an adaptation I’ve long wanted to see.

You know, for the busy mom Mother’s Day is a Cinderella kind of day. We’re given gifts and appreciation from those we love and serve. Glass slippers and a ball, who needs those? Heck, it’s enough that for one day someone else does the cooking!

Fellow moms, I hope tomorrow is a lovely day for you. What Cinderella’s mother taught applies to each of us, I think. “Have courage and be kind.”

After dinner, our family is set to play games (we all like 7 Wonders). But you know what? I might make my men watch Cinderella with me instead.

Laura Hile (1)

May the Fourth Be With You

And other bad or questionable, but entirely quotable, Star Wars dialog …

Today is National Star Wars day, and the pundits are out in full force (no joke intended). The movie series is one of the all-time greats – clean, funny, and eminently quotable. Some of the lines have taken a permanent place in the nation’s collective vocabulary, and they’re oddly applicable to most situations. Here are some of the best (and worst). Read and learn. (Hover at the bottom of each picture for my comments.)

Even Master Yoda recognized the superiority of Mr. Darcy. The Force was definitely with Colin Firth in the role.

A Question

clapperI was watching the cooking show, Patricia Heaton Parties. (As an aside, I don’t give parties, but do enjoy watching others go through the gyrations of preparing for them.) Each episode has a theme, and this show’s theme was “Movie Night.”

The party food was nice, though I question including gummy bears in the make-your-own-sundae bar. Don’t get those cold critters in your bridgework. Anyway, considering the theme, I came up with a poll question for you all:


There are no prizes for the correct answer, and talking is encouraged.

For me, the answer is that it depends on the movie. If it’s a weeper, I’m Greta Garbo and want to be alone. I have a violently terrible cry face and refuse to have others see it.

If it’s a rom com, commentary is good. If it’s a bad Austen adaptation, commentary is vital to surviving the experience. If it’s a time bending SciFi sort of deal, I prefer to be confused in solitude.

Horror I don’t watch anymore, and mysteries are a maybe.

No matter what the movie, I don’t mind spoilers.

So, let us know whether you watch in the quiet or in a crowd.

Clapper board photo courtesy of Horia Varlan, via Flickr.


Love & Friendship: a review


I once had the privilege of working with a psychopath. Mind, I did not see it as a privilege–I thought I was losing my mind!  I did not know then that I would one day be a writer and find the experience useful.

Confrontation with this amoral woman was impossible. There was always a devious spin on the truth, and if I stood my ground there came a frontal attack so unexpected that, like the unhappy family members in Jane Austen’s Love and Friendship, I was left gaping. She was at fault, entirely. Why then was I the one being accused?

“Facts,” says Lady Susan, “are horrid things.” My former coworker would heartily agree.

love-friendship-decourcyIf you are expecting the romance of, say, Pride and Prejudice, you might be disappointed. This is more like having Mr. Wickham’s machinations at center stage. Nevertheless, Love and Friendship is comedy of manners at its best, with elegance, wit, and humor.

I wasn’t sure how my oldest son–and particularly my sentimental husband–would respond to this film. I needn’t have worried. Like the rest of the audience, they were captivated by Lady Susan’s subtle spell. It was only a matter of time before the truth caught up to her–and yet we had to know how her diabolical genius would wiggle free.

Ah, but this is Austen. Right does triumph in the end, at least for Susan Vernon’s put-upon relations. Off she goes to weasel a living out of other hapless victims. If we didn’t feel so sorry for them, we would have cheered.

Love-and-friendship-2I salute the director, Whit Stillman, for casting a beautiful woman as Lady Susan. Charm and loveliness add significant punch to how awful she is–and this is where Austen adaptations sometimes fall short. Persuasion’s Elizabeth Elliot, for example, is far lovelier than her sister Anne. Because moviegoers might struggle with the heroine being eclipsed, Miss Elliot is often cast as unattractive. Not so with Love and Friendship. Kate Beckinsale is brilliant, at the top of her game, and so are the supporting cast members. There is not a weak performance among them. This film is one I will purchase and watch again, simply for pleasure.

As in all good storytelling, there are truths to be mined.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to have worked alongside a psychopath, right? One of the reasons I love Austen is because she is honest about how life works. Lady Susan will never reform or “see the light.” We feel for her family, and when she at last goes on her merry way, our relief is palpable.


Laura Hile (1)

Have a Merry Hallmark Christmas

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Christmas is on the way.
Hallmark movie
You know what that means? More Hallmark movies. That’s not what you thought it meant? Let me enlighten you.

My husband LOVES Hallmark movies, and Christmas Hallmark movies are apparent the best of all Hallmark movies. He DVRs every one of them, and we watch them together. He likes them because there’s no explicit sex and no cursing. The endings are always happy, the love stories are sappy, and people are either wonderful or terrible – very little gray area there.

“A Very Merry Mix-Up” is sort of a take-off on “While You Were Sleeping.” She goes to the wrong house for Christmas. It’s a good movie. Not very original, you know what’s going to happen, but it’s good.

Two of them were so bad last night that he actually deleted them. When Larry deletes a Hallmark movie, you know that it stinkith much.

Hallmark Countdown

I’m beginning to think that the Hallmark movies may be why one daughter lives in Japan and the other in California. Really, I’m teasing. It’s sort of fun to watch and think about how I would change the plot or rewrite the scene so that it isn’t so predictable. I’m practically on a first name basis with the actors now. It’s like the BBC. They recycle the same actors and actresses over and over.

Hallmark Christmas collage

Do you see what I mean? Look at the two collages. You might think the movies are the same because of the actors and actresses. Read the titles. Some of them are the same, but others are different movies with the same people. It’s a little disorienting.

I actually like most of the movies. The actors look like real people. Most of the actresses are not the stick figures in Hollywood movies. They look like us and our friends. The men are not impossibly handsome, either, though they’re good looking enough.

If you don’t see Lacey Chabert at least four times, it isn’t a Hallmark Christmas.

If you want clean Christmas movies on  TV,  here’s your guide. Watch with your family and guests. You won’t have to worry about being embarrassed by bad language or sex scenes.

Cyberdating, Austen Style

Following Laura’s lead on cyberdating, I looked up some advice from Kimberly Novosel on Hello Giggles. Here’s Kimberly’s advice on how to select a man on a cyberdating site.

Any man who posts a picture of himself doing bicep curls: Ignore.

Any man who’s opening line to you is, “What were you for Halloween, a hottie?” ignore.

Run your own sort of IQ test. First portion: Writing skills. If his emails are casual or informal, that’s one thing, but if he uses run on sentences, incorrect grammar, or uses the phrase “hangin’ with ladies,” then that’s beyond informal. That’s uninformed. Test Two: If you ask his favorite book and he can’t even name a book, he’s out.

Watch out for the template. Make sure that the guy actually references your profile by looking for details. If he doesn’t, he’s giving you a stock answer because he’s usually rejected.

Using Kimberly’s advice, I’ve decided to have some Austen men write dating profiles and see if they pass the smell test. Can you guess which Austen characters these men are?

Austen actors

Bachelor #1

Hi, Babe. Today is your lucky day! Check out my workout video. How would you like to spend an evening hangin’ with my six-pack? We could watch the NFL channel while I tell you about my plans to open a line of gyms to help other men look as great as me. If I like you, I’ll let you invest in my business. Be sure to wear something hot and tiny. I don’t like to waste time unwrapping my presents. Oh, and bring dinner for two.

Bachelor #2

Madam, I am most anxious to meet a young woman interested in running my household. She must be lovely, industrious, intelligent, modest, frugal, soft-spoken, and willing to bow down to my employer in order to advance my career. If my employer dislikes you, I fear we shall not be able to pursue any sort of a relationship. If my employer approves, we shall marry quickly. I am tired of sleeping alone.

Bachelor #3

I am not looking for a wife, nor do I seek companionship. However, if you have sufficient money, social status, beauty, and intelligence, I may condescend to meet you. Please provide proof of all of the above in your response.

Well, ladies? Name the bachelors.