Shetland – Season 3

amy-shetland-3.jpgWall to wall Scottish accents, the most gorgeous scenery (in Norway as well as Shetland), and a couple of complex mysteries to be solved over the whole season by a detective who isn’t dysfunctional – Shetland is my happy place. I might try one of the books next!

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Amy GoldstoneAnother beautiful, sad, complex and moving film about Indigenous policeman, Jay Swan, solving a mystery in an outback town. Jay Swan, burdened with grief, is struggling to keep himself together as he searches for a missing girl, and meaning for his life. The cast is stellar, the scenery is stunning, and the story is about human trafficking, land rights, racism, corruption, and a place to belong.

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Mystery Road

Amy Mystery RoadThis is the movie that came before the television series. Having recently watched the television series, I was keen to find out Jay Swan’s back story. Recently returned to his home town after time in the big city, Jay doesn’t fit in with the other policemen, all white, or his own community. He is estranged from his wife and daughter, and seems to be the only one who cares about the murder of a young black girl. The cinematography is striking, capturing the starkly beautiful countryside. The story is bleak and violent, but the film is somehow quiet and contemplative, reflecting the complexity of the issues that face outback towns and Australia as a whole. The mystery itself may not be neatly tied up at the end, but the performances and thoughtful story make it a very satisfying film.

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The Wolverine

Amy WolverineI love the X-Men movies, but fell behind with watching them, so am catching up now. Struggling to deal with the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, Wolverine is enticed to Japan where he encounters much fighting, a little romance and some great scenery. I think the Wolverine films aren’t as much fun as the X-Men films, and this one is less emotionally affecting than Logan, the final Wolverine film, but it was still enjoyable.

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Amy BelleThis is a British period drama, not unlike a Jane Austen or Elizabeth Gaskell. It’s based on a real life portrait of Dido Belle, a mixed-race niece of the Lord Chief Justice of England, and her blonde cousin. There is a lovely romance, but it is also about a decision the Chief Justice made in the courts, which contributed to the eventual abolition of the slave trade. It’s a great story, with lots of familiar British actors.

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Cynthia LoganThis was a fitting end for Hugh Jackman as he plays Logan for the final time. The movie is unlike the previous X-men movies, gritty and sparse. We see an aged Logan just surviving at life. Mutants are almost non-existent. But of course Logan has one more fight left in him – and fight he does. I enjoyed this movie; squeamish at a child being a killing machine, hope for another generation of mutants and tears for Logan.

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I, Daniel Blake

Ali I Daniel BlakeI, Daniel Blake is the most moving film I have  watched  in years. The reviews on the front cover say it all. It is a sadly realistic film with no melodrama, violence or sex but it had me crying when I am not a crier!  It is amazing that a film around the tedium and frustration of dealing with bureaucracy and the tragedy that can result, can have such an effect. It touches something deep within and  reminds us that we could easily find ourselves in this vulnerable position in this harsh world.

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Suite Francaise

Amy Suite FrancaiseThough only two parts of the suite were finished before the author was taken from her family and killed in a concentration camp in 1942, the scale of this novel is still so grand. In the first part, people flee Paris as the Germans approach, and in the second, a country village is occupied. The setting is breathtakingly beautiful, the different reactions to the situation are raw, shocking, tender, brutal and very real. It’s hard to separate the book from the author’s real life tragedy, and why should we? The film focuses on just one part of the book, where it is set in the country village. Michelle Williams, Matthias Schoenaerts and Kristin Scott Thomas ( American, Belgian and English) do a great job playing the French and German characters and it is a moving film.

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Woman in gold

Tracey - Woman in Gold

Starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.

This is a true story about a an elderly Jewish woman – Maria Altman , played by Helen Mirren – who embarks on a quest to reclaim valuable family artworks including a world famous painting in oil, silver and gold of her aunt – ‘Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1’ by Gustav Klimt –  stolen by the Nazis during WW2.

She hires a young inexperienced lawyer who risks his newly acquired job with a reputable law firm to help Maria fight the Austrian Government and the gallery who held not only this particular painting but many works that were stolen from their Jewish owners during the war. The gallery refused to return the stolen works to their owners or acknowledge a theft had taken place. Continue reading

Jane Eyre

Amy Jane Eyre(The 1983 version with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke). The library owns seven film/miniseries adaptations of Jane Eyre (someone kept all the 2006 versions!), and this is one of my favourites. It was made in the early 80s, so the film quality isn’t great, sometimes it’s unintentionally funny, and Jane is too old, but that goes for most of the versions. Timothy Dalton plays a great Mr Rochester and the dialogue is often straight from the book; it’s a very faithful version. Everyone should watch it because it’s Jane Eyre, and men will especially love it because James Bond is in it

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