Descendants Clooney and WoodleyThe Descendants

Although this movie might not be suitable for all ages because of language and some adult situations, it is nonetheless a family movie.  It deals with the issues people face, both as parents and as children, and ultimately it addresses the responsibility of generations to their family.  George Clooney and Shailene Woodley star in the beautiful film set in beautiful Hawaii.

Devil-Wears-Prada-3The Devil Wears Prada

Based on the novel The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger, the 2006 film of the same name brings a great deal to the table, namely moral, ethical, and economic issues usually absent from a comedy more concerned with appearance than reality.

Dial_M_For_Murder_Grace KellyDial M for Murder

It might be easy to plan the perfect murder, but actually doing it is something else entirely.  That is the theme of Dial M for Murder, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 movie adapted by Frederick Knott from his own successful stage play of the same name.


Adapted by Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor from the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth, this 2014 movie is remarkably faithful to the original book, which is both good and bad.  Shailene Woodley is brilliant as Tris, the Abnegation girl who is diagnosed as Divergent: she’s not only Abnegation, but also Erudite and Dauntless.  At her choosing ceremony, she chooses Dauntless and begins a life of courage and risk.

The First Annual Amy Adams Film Festival

When I finished the fifth draft of my novel Walk Against Time, I was suffering a bit of post-partum depression and decided to fill the void with Amy Adams movies, so I decided to create the First Annual Amy Adams Film Festival. Okay, it was a low-key affair, just me and a bowl of popcorn, but it was great fun.

I must confess right from the beginning that I love Amy Adams unconditionally.

There, it’s out in the open. A friend recently asked me what I love about Amy and I’ve got to confess that it’s pretty much the whole package.  Red hair, green eyes, a cute little pixie nose.  What’s not to love?  She’s not emaciated, but not overweight, either (okay, maybe just a tiny hint of baby fat).  Inside that perfect shell, there is a personality that just radiates optimism.  Don’t blame her, she can’t help it.  It’s how she is.  She’s like the Tom Hanks of female actors.  There’s just something that will never, ever give up on humanity and our potential.  Finally, you crinkle in a moderate dash of vulnerability that brings tears to my eyes.  Please, Amy, DON’T CRY!  I admit it freely.  I am besotted.

The film list below contains links to my reviews for each of the movies.  Just click on the name or photo to read the full review.

The First Annual Amy Adams Film Festival

Day 1

Leap Year

amy-adams-leap-yearAmy plays an Irish-American girl who travels to the auld country to propose to her sweetie on February 29th, when she believes he can’t refuse. Along the way, she meets an Irish pub owner that just might change her mind.  This is easily the worst of all the films in the festival.  It is a romantic comedy that is not entirely successful.  Read the review to find out why.  It’s a good film to begin the festival with because every movie will get better from now on.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

amy adams miss-pettigrewOne of Amy’s most adorable roles as nightclub singer Delysia Lafosse, a flibbertygibbet who is bouncing between three men. It takes a wonderful performance by Frances McDormand to help her realize her true love and find happiness.  A wonderful comedy!

American Hustle

amy_adams american hustleAmy does some real acting in this hilarious comedy about two con artists in the 1970’s who get into something over their heads. Christian Bale is unbelievably good in this movie and frankly he steals the show, but Amy is great, too.  In fact, everyone is good.



amy-adams encxhanted

This is an amazing Disney film containing both animation and live action with great music and some incredible songs. Yes, Amy sings again!  She is at her delightful best as Princess Giselle who is thrown out of her cartoon kingdom into downtown Manhattan by the evil queen Narissa, played by Susan Sarandon.  It’s joyful and funny and one of the best Amy Adams films ever.  A personal favorite.


Day 2

Sunshine Cleaning

amy adams emily blunt sunshine cleaningThis is kind of a dark comedy about two down and out Albuquerque sisters, played by Amy and Emily Blunt, who start a business cleaning up crime scenes. It is both funny and touching and features a great performance by Blunt.  Alan Arkin appears as their father.

 The Fighter

amy_adams the fighter

A great film on so many levels! Again, Christian Bale is over the top good and won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role as Dicky Eckland, the older brother of Amy’s love interest, Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahberg. Amy plays a smart bartender who helps Micky to escape his family’s bungling of his boxing career. She’s really good in this movie and creates a real regular girl-type character (except that she’s like totally gorgeous, as usual). This is a must-see movie!


Trouble with the Curve

Amy-Adams-in-Trouble-with-the-Curve-What more could one possibly ask than to have Clint Eastwood as Amy’s crusty old baseball scout father? She’s at her most vulnerable here in a movie that combines some subtle comedy with a deep hurt that she suffered in her childhood.  She and Clint are dynamite together and when you add in Justin Timberlake as her love interest, you have a wonderful, feel-good movie that just can’t be resisted.  Wonderful!


Julie and Julia


amy adams julie and juliaThe festival ends, appropriately enough, with Julie and Julia.  The first time I actually remember seeing Amy Adams in anything, it was this and I fell for her really hard as Julie Powell, a talented wannabe writer in a post 9/11 world who decides to cook her way through Julia Child’s legendary cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Although they have no scenes together, Meryl Streep’s endearing performance as Julia Child is a perfect counterpoint to Amy’s vulnerable, lovable Julie.  This is a film that I can literally watch over and over and love more each time.  As a writer, two scenes touch me the most.  First, when Julia receives the first printed copy of her book, and second, when Julie gets a call that a publisher is interested in publishing her blog.  I’m still waiting for the magical moment in my own life, but these two women are wonderful in their own joy of publication.  LOVE—LOVE—LOVE this movie!



And so the festival ends. An empty bowl of popcorn.  A little wetness about my eyes.  And a hope that the Second Annual Amy Adams Film Festival will be just as enjoyable as the first.

I hope you all like my reviews, please feel free to subscribe to my web site to enjoy all of the reviews I write in the future.

Until then, as Julia Child would say, Bon Appetit

Julie and Julia

Julie-e-Julia-sonypictures_-com_-brReleased in 2009, three years before the death of its writer and director, Nora Ephron, Julie and Julia is probably the best film that the bright and nimble director ever made. Best known for her iconic romantic comedies, most notably Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally, Ephron was gifted at both major behind-the-scenes creative skills.  The film world will not be the same without her.

Ephron adapted Julie and Julia from two books, both non-fiction, in creating a film that looks at the most important years two very interesting women: the famous Julia Child and virtually unknown Julie Powell.

Julia Child is best known for her impressive cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a book designed to open up the mysterious world of French culinary arts to the American housewife. The Child part of the screenplay is based on the book My Life in France, by Julia Child and Alex Prud’homme, in which Child documented her time learning French cooking while living there with her husband, Paul, a diplomat.

Julie Powell was an aspiring writer in New York when she gave up on her novel and decided to cook her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blog about it on a daily basis. Unknown at first, the blogs published on Salon.com eventually earned a very respectable readership and ultimately launched Powell’s career as a writer, in the form of her memoir, Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.

That Ephron was able to translate these two memoirs, each taking place in a distinctly separate time and place, is something of a minor miracle, but she did it with her usual dexterity, good humor, and great understanding of romance.

Heading the cast are two outstanding actresses, the distinguished and honored Meryl Streep as Julia Child and a breakaway younger star, Amy Adams, as Julie Powell. Cutting back and forth between post-war France and post 9/11 New York City, the script deftly intertwines the two stories, juxtaposing Child’s struggle to get into a French cooking school with Powell’s struggle to find herself while working a civil service job helping the families of 9/11 victims.

Ultimately, of course, Child hooks up with her two co-authors and begins an association that lasts many years before the cookbook is finally published. At the same time, Powell begins her arduous task of preparing 524 recipes in 365 days.  Both of the women go through tremendous trials in accomplishing their objectives, but the support of loved ones Paul Child (Stanley Tucci) and Eric Powell (Chris Messina) ultimately pull them through.  There is much love in the food in the film and much love between the two couples.

Streep and Tucci are simply adorable as Paul and Julia Child. It would have been very easy to botch such a well-known personality as Julia, but Streep is way more than up to the task, giving us the essence of the woman in lovingly crafted performance.  Tucci, always splendid, does not disappoint as her supporting husband.  Adams is absolutely delightful as Powell, giving just the right amount of vulnerability and fortitude to make us cheer when she wins out.

In addition, both periods are scrupulously recreated on the screen, both in production design and costuming. Both Paris and New York have never looked better and it produces a visual feast that compares with the extraordinary cuisine.

The real star of the film is–of course–the food. Beautifully crafted by master chefs, each and every plate looks so scrumptious that it is hard not salivate while watching.  Although the actors all gained weight, I admire their ability to look hungry after maybe 30 takes while eating Lobster Thermidor.

Finally, the film succeeds at the ultimate level–it deeply touches the viewer. Ephron was a master at making an audience both laugh and cry and she was clearly at the top of her game when she made this movie.  It is guaranteed to delight and it is a film that can be watched over and over again with no loss of love.

Please, see it!!!