Movie Review ~ Citizen Kane ~ #movie #review @MeganSlayer

Monday Movie Rundown Banner I decided long ago to start watching the classic movies . Why not? They are supposed to be great films. Why not watch them. So, the first one in this series of Classic Films is Citizen Kane.  I’d never seen this film. I know, that seems crazy. Everyone quotes the famous line, “Rosebud.” It’s all over pop culture. So, I needed to see it.

I have to start by saying I was a tad confused by the film at the first. It sure seemed like two films in one. But once I really paid attention and  drank in the lustrous situation, I really liked the film. Orson Welles has the grandeur of William Randolph Hurst nailed. The overwhelming home and property, the need for things, the need for beautiful women… having to have THE paper to end all papers. Yeah, the guy was a jerk–well, Kane was.

There is a lot of information in the film. Many places where one can’t be a casual observer. You have to pay attention. If you don’t have a lot of time or have to be doing something else while watching, then save this movie for later.

If you’re willing to give the time and patience to watching this movie, then Citizen Kane might be one for you. There is a lot going on, but it’s worth the viewing.

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Book Review ~ Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming ~ #review @MeganSlayer

fATHERDark, painful memories can be put away to be forgotten. Until one day they all flood back in horrible detail.

When television producers approached Alan Cumming to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show, he hoped to solve the mystery of his maternal grandfather’s disappearance that had long cast a shadow over his family. But this was not the only mystery laid before Alan.

Alan grew up in the grip of a man who held his family hostage, someone who meted out violence with a frightening ease, who waged a silent war with himself that sometimes spilled over onto everyone around him. That man was Alex Cumming, Alan’s father, whom Alan had not seen or spoken to for more than a decade when he reconnected just before filming for Who Do You Think You Are? began. He had a secret he had to share, one that would shock his son to his very core and set into motion a journey that would change Alan’s life forever.

With ribald humor, wit, and incredible insight, Alan seamlessly moves back and forth in time, integrating stories from his childhood in Scotland and his experiences today as the celebrated actor of film, television, and stage. At times suspenseful, at times deeply moving, but always incredibly brave and honest, Not My Father’s Son is a powerful story of embracing the best aspects of the past and triumphantly pushing the darkness aside.

I’d heard about this book in my book club and wanted to read it. The moment I learned about Alan Cumming, I was intrigued.  The man is interesting, funny and writes well.

Where some may not like the back and forth style of this book – he alternates between his past and his current situation – I liked it. I didn’t see any other way to understand what he’d been through besides going back and forth between the past where he’d been abused by his father and unloved by the man, to the guy he’s become – the guy searching for himself.

I liked how his search for his past was chronicled in the book and on the show “Who Do You Think You Are?”. It made Cumming more realistic to me. I laughed at some of his stories, cried at his heartbreak and rooted for him to have the happy ending he deserved. There were moments I couldn’t help but be angry for what he’d gone through and I liked his brother.

If you want a book that’s well written, amusing, gut-wrenching and touching, then this might be the one for you. I recommend it.

Movie Review ~ The Heiress ~ @MeganSlayer #review #movie #BWmovie

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This week, I thought I’d watch yet another old movie, but this time I wanted to watch a movie that wasn’t as popular as other movies. The Heiress fit the bill. It’s certainly not one of Montgomery Clift’s best films. Olivia de Havilland stars in this picture about a woman in the mid 19th century who is about to inherit a lot of money and a home. She’s sheltered and doesn’t have a lot of confidence. Her friends, mostly her father’s age, want to marry her off, but with a man of good standing. She meets Morris, a man of questionable standing and though she’s told not to fall for him, she does. He’s… he’s not a great guy, but he’s not bad. I never really got the hint that Clift’s character was a fortune hunter insomuch as he seemed more like a man struck with a nasty case of wanderlust. I think he loved de Havilland, but he had a strange way to show it.

Olivia de Havilland plays the dowdy woman well, but it seemed tired in this picture. Not like she was trying to act that way, but more like she’d phoned it in. There was almost no chemistry between de Havilland and Clift. I don’t think he enjoyed his role in the film, but it was a paycheck.

If you want a picture that shows a woman who is socially awkward, abused emotionally by her father and ignored by the social set…then this might be a film for you. If you want to root for the underdog and are willing to put up with an ending you can, yet can’t see coming…then this might be the film for you.

Book Review ~ Haunted Rock & Roll: Ghostly Tales of Musical Legends by Matthew L Swayne #bookreview #review

ROLLPlug in the guitar, raise the curtain, and step onto the haunted stage

From rock and roll’s pioneers to its contemporary rebels, the greatest names live on after death–in unexpected and frightening ways. Discover thrilling stories of Michael Jackson, Jim Morrison, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Amy Winehouse, and many more rockers who’ve been seen haunting their favorite bars, clubs, and homes.

Haunted Rock and Roll covers rock’s entire paranormal legacy, allowing you to explore the famous faces, places, and legends that define one of the biggest cultural movements of all time. Experience true stories of rock star ghosts while enjoying trivia and insights from renowned ghost hunters and researchers. Whether they’re making demonic deals for fame or being chased into the afterlife under mysterious circumstances, rockers have followed the same motto: live fast, die young, and leave a restless spirit.

I’m a sucker for a good ghost story and even better when there’s music involved. I love creepy music and setting the right tone is important. This book, filled with rock and roll icons is interesting.

I enjoyed reading this book. I have to say though, most of the stories lacked much depth. Most were a retelling of stories that have circulated for a while. I don’t know if Mama Cass is really in more than one place in her ghostly form, but I’m not shocked if she is. Some of the stories seemed more like assumptions, but they were interesting.

If you want a set of stories that features rock and roll legends and a few newer artists, then this might be the book for you. It’s light reading and fun.

Movie Review ~ Week-End in Havana ~ @meganslayer #movie #review #BWmovie

Monday Movie Rundown BannerI’m a sucker for a John Payne movie. Don’t place the name? You might remember him as the lawyer from Miracle on 34th Street.  But this isn’t that movie. Put some dark-rimmed glasses on him and he’s swoon-worthy.

Like I said, though, this review isn’t about that movie. This one is about Week-End in Havana. It’s a fun, yet romantic picture featuring Mr. Payne, Alice Faye, Cesar Romero and Carmen Miranda. Faye heads to Havana and her ship runs aground. Unfortunately, Payne, who works for the shipping company, is sent to Havana to obtain waivers from the passengers so they can have another trip another time. Faye wants hers now. No waiver. Payne feigns interest in her and escorts her around the island. Romero, thinking she’s got money, tries to get involved and win money to help his career as a gambler and the one of his singing star wife, played by Miranda.

The antics are amusing…watching Romero try to run from the fiery Miranda, Payne trying not to fall for Faye and the girlfriend who isn’t sure everything is on the level, even though it is. The girlfriend who tries to interfere. Gotta have one of those characters. It’s a light movie and just plain fun.

If you’re looking for an afternoon viewing on a chilly day, then this one might be the one for you. The scenery is lush, the gowns exquisite and the singing numbers are fun. Find it and watch this flick today.

Book Review ~ Remembering the Stars of the NFL Glory Years: An Inside Look at the Golden Age of Football by Wayne Stewart #Bookreview @meganSlayer

NFLThe 1950s and 60s was a golden age for professional football. It was perhaps the toughest and roughest era for the sport, before rules were created to better protect the players, but it was also a time when legends were born. To many football fans this era remains the Glory Years of the NFL, when the stars that roamed the gridiron included the likes of Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, Jim Brown, and Raymond Berry.

In Remembering the Stars of the NFL Glory Years: An Inside Look at the Golden Age of Football, Wayne Stewart tells the story of professional football in the ‘50s and ‘60s through the words of the players themselves. Chapters cover Hall of Famers on both sides of the ball, players who made a lasting impression on the game, and the toughest players on the gridiron. Stewart intertwines profiles of these iconic players with the athletes’ own memories, observations, and anecdotes, including their impressions of teammates and opponents. Two additional chapters consist of humorous quotes and the players’ thoughts on how the game has changed since their heyday.

Featuring exclusive interviews with players from the 1950s and ‘60s, Remembering the Stars of the NFL Glory Years provides an inside look at this distinct time in professional football. With a wide range of topics and insights included throughout, this book will both entertain and inform football fans and historians alike.

I love football and I love to learn about the game. This book taught me all about a few players I knew and whole lot I didn’t.  There are plenty of names that pop right out and most that, being a younger fan, weren’t recognizable to me. That’s okay. The way the stories are told in this book, I felt like I was sitting around a table and jawing about the good old days.

It’s a fun read and there are a lot of stats, but it’s not a boring telling. The one thing that did trip me up a few times were the transitions between stories. Sometimes the transitions were smooth. I saw how one player had something to do with the next. Other times, it was a simple break and kind of hard to follow.

Still, a good and interesting read.

If you’re looking for a book about the players from the 50s and 60s and few even before that, then this might be the book for you.

Movie Review ~ Goodbye, Mr. Chips ~ @meganslayer #movie #review #BWmovie

Monday Movie Rundown BannerDepressing, but worth the watch. I’d never seen Goodbye Mr. Chips. I kept thinking, this is an award-winning movie. I should catch it. Did I? Not until the other day. I wish I hadn’t waited.

This movie ticked a lot of boxes for me. There’s adventure, a bumbling, but lovable hero, romance, and a few tears. Mr. Chipping, aka Mr. Chips just wants to teach at an all boys school. How he goes through is life and his trials is interesting. By the end of the movie, I felt like I knew the character well.

I rooted for him. Hoped he’d get what he wanted, then cried more than once at the end. Greer Garson plays a good foil for him in his love interest. I almost wished she were on the screen longer. Their interplay was great.

I wish it hadn’t been quite such a depressing film. Gracious. What that poor man went through during his time as a teacher and master. I felt for him, though, which was the point. I wanted to see him succeed. It’s a long movie for the time, but worth the watch. If  you’re in the mood for a movie that will tug at the heartstrings, then this might be the one.