FILM and DVD's of note
Movies, TV and Series of Note
A triumph, from www.AcornMedia.com and PBS Masterpiece Theatre
If you only know Downton Abbey, then you must get to know Upstairs Downstairs. One hunger begets another and rather than compare the two series, I invite you to step into the world of 1912 London and view the upstairs and downstairs of a unique household. There is glory and pain and class struggle - and it also, being of a different era of production, is less flashy. This allows you to focus on the story, the acting and the characters and enjoy a series that almost comes across as a play, versus a televised production. In its anniversary edition, there are 25 plus hours to get lost in.
Now out on DVD, from the producers of Little Miss Sunshine, this is another quirky, sweet film – aka a ‘fresh look at a dirty business’. Amy Adams, Emily Blunt provide the whimsy and charm; Alan Arkin adds the charisma in this off beat, totally entertaining dark comedy about grim times, and grim jobs but all in service to rising above and finding the sunshine underneath some pretty gloomy clouds. Critics loved it – I did too. Rent or buy it at www.Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble or Chapters.ca
Here is Wayne Dyer's first movie, filmed part fictional story and part real. It follows a couple of characters on their weekend journey at a spiritually oriented getaway spot - all on a backdrop of the motivational guru being interviewed at the same local). Now called The Shift, this is somehow one of the most relaxing and uplifting films that makes you think, in a quiet way, how far off-track we all get and what life would be like if we led instinct first, ego second. Buy or rent it and share it.
Unlike The Secret, this is a low key film that is about finding meaning and your own center. The acting is notably natural which is what makes the film unique but for those who enjoy Dyer books and talks, it's another window of perception seeing him in this film, expressing his views, his way and style - in yet another dimension. If you didn't know anything about the concepts nor hear of Wayne Dyer, you would be entertainined and informed. For those that do, this film is a totally welcome treat - almost an oasis that reminds you of the bigger picture. What is particularly effective is seeing Dyer himself integrate his perceptions and words within a larger 'story' (vs. just reading his words in his amazing books) and secondarily, seeing 'average folks scenarios' (a busy workaholic, a lonely wife who shops her woes away, a tired out mother of two who misses her artistic self, etc.) tell their story in conjunction with some of the Dyer wisdom they come to find - not even realizing they are on a path. What also works is seeing a variety of ages respond to the same messages which adds a component of accessibility and 'organic' sense to anyone's journey. Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books, this is a Hay House production and available in download streaming or via online booksellers such as Hay House or Amazon.com
Nothing would stop me from seeing any film with either Dustin Hoffman or Emma Thompson and in this, their second appearance together (Stranger Than Fiction was the first). A jaded, beat, aging music ad jingle writer happens on romance with an equally cranky, single British Airways airline employee, en route to his daughter's London wedding. Sparks (not the good kind) and then sparks (the nice kind) follow in this realistic, gently penned, contemporary mid-life romance. A must rent - nah: buy it. It's Harry Met Sally contemporary classic. A treasure from Overture Films.
The Secret DVD
The Secret got lots of praise and detractions and is well worth seeing for yourself. No matter what you think about it - you will go away for new thoughts and perspectives that can only be beneficial. Focus on the parts that work for you and you won't be disappointed. Sure, there was hype but some of the themes and tenets it presents are too interesting (and too positive) to ignore.
What the Bleep Do We Know?
Ever see a movie that stays with you from the get go? What the Bleep, with Marlee Maitland, distributed by www.BeyondWords.com is one of those movies. It is filmed as a story but with mockumentary talking heads and experts who present our world in a quantum way. It's Sliding Doors in that - there but for how we think and choices we make and the very perceptions we claim as 'true' we can live alternate lives. Anything is possible; everything is connected. It is string theory, neuro pathways, and more - but in terms anyone will get and more so - be fascinated by. Should be required viewing - simply for the wedding scene but because it awakens you to the possibilities of your own life that you are creating minute by minute.
You might have seen Esther Hicks on Larry King, Oprah or heard her 'channel' via Hay House Radio broadcasts but the DVD is most effective. For one thing, you see her interaction with the audience, and see normal, intelligent, varied people come forth with their questions. Regardless of your ideas about the Hicks, and channeling, etc. the down-to-earth (and often humourous) insights of Esther Hicks as she speaks for another consciousness are undeniably helpful and just simply - make total sense. Highly recommended.
I am always looking for a great DVD's on yoga, ballet, and dance-oriented excercise programs. StarzHomEnt delivers. I tried their 10 Minute Solution for Dance Off Belly Fat, Country Line Dance, Am/Pm Yoga, Yoga For Beginners, Ballet Conditioning (amazing), and Tai Chi for Beginners. The DVD's are well produced, the music background is effective but not intrusive and the programs are varied. Each DVD offers a few programs for intensity or time duration - as you need it. Invest in a few to get a total work out (their Pilates DVD's are also great). Perfect Mother's day gift.
From Archer Entertainment, an opportunity to see Freddy Prinz Jr in something recent. Good tale about male bonding and thwarted promise.
Reservations by Artfire Films
Hard to find, worth renting - about various hotel guests in various states of life dilemmas.http://www.artfirefilms.com/home.html. I would see anything with Loren Dean (Mumsford) in it.