Oliver's Ghost Hallmark Halloween Movie (2011)

Oliver's Ghost Hallmark Movie


Oliver's Ghost, A Ghost Of A Story


Oliver's Ghost aired originally on the Hallmark Channel, a  Halloween movie in which a boy can see ghostly spirits. He moves to an old house in the suburbs where he can see the previous home owner's spirit and he and a neighbor work together to help free that spirit by having him let go of his earthly regrets, which allows the house and the family to resume normal living.

Here's the movie trailer:




FAST Facts About Oliver's Ghost 


DIRECTED BY: David S. Cass Sr.
STARS: Martin Mull, Rhea Perlman, Nicholas Stargel, Cameron Daddo, Bridget White, Daniela Bobadilla and Preston Strother.
RELEASE DATE: October 22, 2011
RUNTIME: To be determined.
RATING: Undetermined, although the trailer certainly makes the movie look like a family movie.
WRITTEN BY: David Golden

Meet Nicholas Stargel


Meet Nicholas Stargel Child Star of Oliver's Ghost Nicholas Stargel plays the child star in Oliver's Ghost. He started acting when he was five, appearing on the t.v. show Monk. In the next five years, he has appeared in six more shows and movies: Hallmark Hall of Fame's Front Of The Class, One Tree Hill, Past Life, Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns and Drop Dead Diva. He has also appeared in many television commercials for companies like Subway and Special K and has appeared in print. Nicholas lives in Georgia and California, splitting his time, as required. Besides acting, Hallmark says that he enjoys sports including baseball, football, soccer and that he is also a singer and guitar player.

Oliver's Ghost DVD


As far as I am aware, Oliver's Ghost has not made it to DVD so you will have to catch it when and if Hallmark airs it at Halloween time.  If you know otherwise, be sure to let me know. If you have seen this movie, be sure to let us know what you thought, too!


See you
at the movies!
Brenda

More Halloween:


Not Too Scary Movies For Tweens or Pre-Teens on Halloween.
Your Tween will probably be clamouring to see a scary movie this Halloween and probably will want to do so without you around....
Hallmark's Growing The Big One.
Hallmark's 2010 fall or Halloween themed movie, featuring small town life and giant pumpkins..

Halloween Every Day, A Halloween Blog.
Take six Halloween enthusiasts, put them in a great big black cauldron and stir. What do you get?

In The Name of the Father Ireland Movie Review (2013)


When we set off on this episode of our armchair traveller's trip to Ireland, I had not heard Gerry Conlon's story nor that of the Guildford Four. Conlon, as the Blu-ray cover says, was "falsely accused, wrongly imprisoned and had to fight for justice for his father's name."

Despite the R rating for language and violence, I did enjoy In The Name of the Father and thought that Daniel Day-Lewis did an excellent job of portraying the victim. The movie did not win any Academy Awards, but was nominated for seven, a definite indicator in my mind of a good movie.

It was not easy to watch, however. The fact that Conlon was a drifter and a petty thief did not make his tale of gross injustice any easier to watch. The level of police corruption was definitely disturbing.

In The Name of the Father is set in Belfast, Ireland and in Guildford, England in the 1970s. The IRA bombed a pub in Guildford and Conlon and his friends had the misfortune of being Irishmen in the vicinity at the time.  Using the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the police arrested him and his friends and eventually 15 members of his family.  In 1989, after the Guildford Four had spent 14 years in prison, Conlon's lawyer found a piece of evidence that had been hidden by the police, proving the innocence of Conlon but also of his father who died while in prison, his friends and his family.



Blogger Oscar Champs reports in his post that the story is not completely accurate, which is usually true of historically based stories and most movies and the director of In The Name of the Father eventually said that he changed facts, dates, etc. to suit his story. With this regard, the New York Times said that the film is "faithful to the larger facts while taking minor liberties," which seems reasonable to me. Even if the movie is not completely accurate, I believe that it tells a story that needs to be told and that it provides another look into Ireland's history. 

In his 1994 review Roger Ebert said that the story is really of how Conlon grows while in prison from an "unbalanced, angry homeless man" into a man who is "sober, intelligent, radicalized." He called the film interesting because "much of it is inspired by the love of the father for his son." Despite such praise, he gave the film 3 stars.

In closing their review linked above, The New York Times said, "A personal tragedy and a plea for reason, this tough, riveting film succeeds on both scores." 

Is this movie recommended by me? Yes, if you are interested in a look at this period in Ireland's history, if you are interested in a totally unbelievable story that is actually true and if you keep in mind that it is rated R for violence and language. There is a lot to think about here.

You can learn more about In the Name of The Father or buy your copy on Amazon by clicking right here. If you want more story, you might check out Conlon's book Proved Innocent on Amazon, too. Presumably, it does a better job of sticking to Gerry Conlon's version of the facts.

See you
at the movies!
Brenda

More About Ireland:

Buy In The Name of the Father on Amazon.

Read my My Left Foot Movie Review.
Read my Michael Collins Movie Review.







My Left Foot Irish Movie Review (1989)

I had no expectations from the 1989 movie My Left Foot and picked it up because it was set in Ireland. Yes, it was to be another movie in our armchair traveller's trip to Ireland.  Anyway, I thought that the movie started off slowly and that it seemed dated but in the end the story of Christy Brown and his family reeled both myself and my husband in.

Christy Brown was born with cerebral palsy in 1930s Dublin in a time when most born with that disease and many others were shipped off to care facilities. However, Christy was born into a poor family who could not afford to send him away and was raised in the interesting and economically struggling environment that he was born into. Despite the many challenges provided by this home, he was loved and was included and eventually goes on to become a painter and the author of numerous books including the one of his own story as shown below.

Here’s a look at the movie via the original trailer:



Is My Left Foot recommended by me? YES.

We totally enjoyed this story despite the uncertain beginning. But don't take my word for it, this movie was unexpectedly successful and widely circulated in the end but originally produced for the local Irish market. When it received wider circulation both the critics and the audiences liked it. Daniel Day-Lewis won an Academy Award for Best Actor and Brenda Fricker for Best Supporting Actress. Other nominations for the film were for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and for Best Picture.  I believe that the cast, which also included Ray McAnally and Fiona Shaw, was indeed excellent and that the movie drew us in in large part because of the performances put in by that cast.

Roger Ebert said, "It is the story of a stubborn, difficult, blessed and gifted man who was dealt a bad hand, who played it brilliantly, and who left us some good books, some good paintings and the example of his courage."

The Guardian calls it, "A moving portrayal of an astonishing man with a brilliant brain trapped inside a damaged body."

If you like a good story about one person's battle to express himself and you don't mind that it is a bit gritty and dated, I think you might enjoy My Left Foot. While it is not meant to be about Ireland, it is a good peek into Dublin in the 1930s. Let me know what you think of it if you do check the movie out.

See you
at the movies!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Find the Christy Brown book and movie on Amazon.
Fifty Dead Men Walking movie review.
Michael Collins movie review.


Michael Collins Irish Movie Review (1996)


Next up on our armchair trip to Ireland is the movie Michael Collins, which is yet another story of troubled times in Ireland that is based on a true story. It is set in that beautiful country but once again it is definitely not a beautiful movie as it tells another extremely violent story.

Michael Collins is a historical biopic film that tells the story of the man of the same name who led a guerrilla war in Ireland against the United Kingdom and eventually went on to create the Irish Free State and lead the National Army during the civil war. It is set roughly between the years of 1916 and 1920.

IMDB says that this movie was given the rating of PG in Ireland because of the historical value of the film despite the fact that it includes so much violence. They wanted the film to be available to young people who needed to know about that time frame in the country’s history. The film is more appropriately rated R elsewhere.

Here’s a look at the movie via the original trailer:


The New York Times says Collins was, “a leader who experienced a sea of change during his brief career, evolving from a pioneer of modern-day terrorism into a proponent of compromise and peace.” I believe that Liam Neeson does a solid job of portraying Michael Collins. Also in the cast are Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea, Alan Rickman and Julia Roberts. 

Is this movie recommended by me? Well, yes, if you are interested in a look at this period in Ireland's history and if you can tolerate the unpleasantness. The Guardian says that Michael Collins is, “A watchable and mostly well-judged film on a worthy subject, but one that is undermined by a couple of careless liberties with the facts.” For my and possibly your purposes of understanding a bit more about the history of Ireland, this film works even though it may not be 100 percent accurate. I would hazard a guess that most historical movies have taken liberties with the facts. Learn more about Michael Collins and/or buy your copy on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
at the movies!
Brenda

Quick Link:

Order Michael Collins from Amazon.
Visit Ireland in the 1980s via my Fifty Dead Men Walking movie review.





Fifty Dead Men Walking Ireland Movie Review (2008)

We are taking a trip from the comfort of our family room to Ireland by checking out numerous movies set in that beautiful country. The first story is brutal and there is nothing beautiful about it. Fifty Dead Men Walking was released in 2008 and features Ben Kingsley, Jim Sturgess, Kevin Zegers, Natalie Press and Rose McGowan. It is based on an autobiographical book of the same name. The story is that of a young man who worked for the IRA but became a police informer. Set in the late 1980s during a time period known as The Troubles, it is claimed that the young man in question saved fifty people from certain death while he worked undercover.

Definitely a brutal film. Rated R, it is loud, nasty, gritty, violent, horrible. It has torture and it has a sex scene. I had to look away many times but I appreciated the chance to learn a bit about Ireland’s history of that time period even if we are unsure exactly what "inspired by a true story" means. The author says that indeed it was inspired by rather than adapted from his book. In any case, the trailer shows exactly what you can expect from the 2008 movie:



Is the movie Fifty Dead Man Walking recommended? Well, yes, if you are interested in a look at this period in Ireland's troubled history and if you have the stomach for the nastiness. The Hollywood Reporter calls the performances stunning. I'd agree and this movie will definitely leave you with something to think about. It might even make you want to read the book by Martin McGartland. You can learn more about the movie or buy your copy on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
at the movies!
Brenda

Quick Link:

Buy Fifty Dead Men Walking on Amazon.





Hop Easter Bunny Movie (2011)


We almost missed the creation of an Easter bunny themed movie in 2011. Hop premiered on April 1 and turned out to be a very colorful, musical, state-of-the-art animation movie featuring live action (human) actors. It was released on blu-ray disc and DVD on March 23, 2012.

Fast Facts About Hop


ACTORS: Russell Brand, James Marsden, Gary Cole, David Hasselhoff as himself
DIRECTOR: Tim Hill
WRITERS: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio
RELEASE DATE: April 1, 2011
RATED: Hop is rated PG.
RUNTIME: 95 minutes.
HOP DVD AND BLU-RAY DISC RELEASE DATE: March 23, 2012

HOP Storyline in 100 Words or Less


We all know that the Easter Bunny has an easy job. He works one day a year, travels the world in a single day and is loved by everyone. Sound great? Well, it does NOT sound great to EB, the bunny whose job it is to be the Easter Bunny this year. He finally reconciles himself to the fact that all artists have to suffer to become great and that he will have to be the Easter Bunny.  However, he is struck by a car and the driver is forced to take him in and eventually to help save Easter. In the process, both the bunny and the man are forced to grow up.

The Official Hop Movie Trailer




The Voice of Hop


Russell Brand voiced Hop. You'll recognize him from other projects that include Despicable Me and Get Him to the Greek. You can find his full filmography on IMDB.  On the blog She Knows, author Kim Grundy says that Russell Brand turns on the charm and his English accent to play the son of the Easter Bunny in HOP. In her interview with the actor they discuss, amongst other things, childhood Easter traditions, rabbit "whoopsie" and why he believes in the Easter bunny.


Age Recommendation



Hop is rated PG for comic peril and violence. The Movie Mom recommended it for children in kindergarten to third grade. Unfortunately, her review of Hop is no longer available but NYC Single Mom also wrote an excellent review in which she included a list of what she liked and what she did not like about this movie. She summarised by saying that it was wonderfully funny, that she would recommend it and that the trailer does not do it justice.


Hop Movie Merchandise


I did not see a lot of movie merchandise available for this movie though there was some. I love this  plush version of E.B., which is still available though in a limited way. You will find the mini plush figure shown here on Amazon by clicking right here and the full-size figure by clicking here.



It turns out, however, that there is a lot more E.B. Bunny Hop movie merchandise available on eBay.  You can see for yourself by following this link.

Free Hop Coloring Page


This HOP free coloring page was originally available through the official website I Love Candy, which does not exist anymore and forwards you instead to a Universal page about the movie as seen here. While there are a few interesting short clips there, there no longer are free coloring or activity pages.


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Did you enjoy the movie Hop?

Do you know where jelly beans came from? If you do not, we know that you did not watch the trailer or the movie, LOL. This movie definitely had some potty humour.

If you would like to add Hop to your collection or even just watch it on Amazon Video, you can find it by clicking right here.

Hoppy Easter!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Order your copy of HOP on Amazon.
A fun Easter bunny jigsaw puzzle. (With a real rabbit and a chocolate Easter bunny.)
My family friendly Easter dinner menu.




Author's Note: This page originally written elsewhere.

Jumanji The Board Game Review

Whether you are fan of the book by Chris Van Allsburg, of the original movie starring the late Robin Williams or of the remake with Dwayne Johnson, you should check out this board game.The story Jumanji  originated with the popular 1981 children's book by Chris Van Allsburg. In 1995 it was made into a movie starring Robin Williams and into a board game. Once again, it was made into a movie in 2017. This time it starred Dwayne Johnson and once again it was made into a board game. As a matter of fact, I originally wrote this review before the new version was produced and, at that time, it was often priced out of reach. Because of the reboot, the game is once again available and it is affordably priced.

As you likely know, the story Jumanji actually includes a board game, which makes a board game a pretty interesting movie tie in. In the original game, which was recommended for two to four players aged 8 and up, you roll the die and follow the path on which you are pitted against the dangers of the jungle. Raging rhinos, lurking lions and quicksand are but a few of the pests and plagues you might have to battle in this game. The new game is recommended for individuals 5 years old and up.

My description of the game is from having played the original version so I am not sure what might or might not have been changed with the new version. Anyway, the original version of the game includes a large game board, four pawns or playing pieces, a rhino figure, a timer, a number die, four rescue dice, 30 danger coards, a game board center, a decoder and instructions.

Jumanji (1995) Movie Prop Sells for $60,800


Of interest, the original Jumanji board game from the making of the movie sold for $60,800 at auction on eBay in 2014. The seller noted that it was an "an original, authentic, screen-used game board box from the motion picture Jumanji."  Here's a screen shot of the auction results from eBay seller neon_galaxies:


Robin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014)


Of course, those familiar with the first movie know that Robin Williams was the star who took us on our Jumanji adventure on the big screen. The world lost this brilliant actor and comedian when he left us on August 11, 2014. Williams was a lot of fun in the movie Jumanji.

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If you are interested, you can read more or buy your copy of Jumanji the board game on Amazon by clicking right here. Of note, both versions of the game are available though you will pay more for the original.

If you know a really big fan, why not assemble a Jumanji gift set with a copy of the book, the movie and the game? My boys would have loved a set like that. They might actually still enjoy it.

Are you a fan? Do you like the Jumanji movies? The board game? Have you played the new version or the old version?

See you
at the movies!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy Jumanji on Amazon.
Yahtzee Games
Jenga Stacking Games
Harry Potter Clue Review
The Days of Wonder Ticket To Ride Strategy Game




Author's Note: This page originally published elsewhere.

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