Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993) Film Review


After her time in hiding in the convent in Sister Act, Deloris (Whoopi Goldberg) has hit the stage as a headlining act in Vegas when the sisters come to ask for her help. They have been assigned to teach at a rough school in San Francisco and need her to come, teach music and get the kids in line. Of course, she goes, and before you know it, she’s whipped the music class into a choir and they’re out to prove themselves to the world.

This is a really good, fun film. Sure, there are some parts of the plot that are a touch weak, and I love films that are set in rough schools yet all the teacher needs to do is raise their voice slightly and they have them all in their seats and listening (rough? Hmm… in my experience, that’s quite polite), but ignore that. What you want to watch are the characters. Of course, we have Delores and the wonderful nuns from the first film (including the wonderful Maggie Smith and fabulous Kathy Najimy) but then there are the kids; Lauren Hill obviously stands out, but whether we know their names, they are a great little ensemble. Sister Act 2 is a classic film of the early nineties and it rates as one of the top comedy sequels – I found I liked it a lot more than the first one.

The First Wives Club (1996) Film Review


When their college friend Cynthia (Stockard Channing) commits suicide after her husband remarries a much younger woman, friends Elise (Goldie Hawn), Brenda (Bette Midler) and Annie (Dianne Keaton) realise they have all been thrown over by their husbands in the same fashion. Instead of risking bottoming out, they support each other in seeking creative revenge.

One of the characters mentions that what they are doing is just what people expect – and it is ugly and makes them seem very ugly. And there is an aspect of that – but what it seems to be more about is three women who had become defined by their marriages, none of which were that healthy, who stand up and take charge of their lives. They are not prepared to just let their ex-husbands treat them like crap but it become about more than simple revenge. Oh, and did I mention that it is a really funny film with some great female characters? Well, it is.

The First Wives Club was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score.

Downton Abbey – TV Review


I’m way slow off the mark for this one. Downton Abbey became a worldwide sensation when it was released in 2010, and it’s now 2013 and they have made four seasons. I’ve just watched the first season, and I understand why it is so popular. The characters are great and compelling and it’s really good storytelling.

The main plot one season in is about the Crawley family, who live and own Downton Abbey. With the sudden demise of two nephews in the sinking of the Titanic (a delightful little piece of historical context), there is doubt about who will inherit the property. With no son on the scene, it is going to be left to a distant relative who (*gasp*) has a career as a lawyer. How common.

It is not just the story of the Crawleys though. There is also the ‘downstairs’ part of the house – the servants who take care of the property. What I really enjoy is watching the plotting. Those who are evil are really quite evil, and the good folk are really good.

I may or may not ever totally catch up on the series. Whilst I’ve enjoyed, it hasn’t left me sitting on the edge of my seat desperate for more. I’ll just watch it when I can.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) Film Review


A bunch of old English people go to India to spend their Autumn years in a luxury hotel. Each has reasons which are clearly outlined in the opening sequence. When they get there, things are not as they expected. Some learn and grow, some don’t.

I thought, despite the accolades and reviews, that this was going to be a tedious and predictable tale of fish out of water, perhaps with a few slight twists. What I found was a delightful and charming film with characters who I loved to love as well as loving to hate. It’s clever, entertaining and not just for the oldies.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and a BAFTA for Outstanding British Film.

Judi Dench was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.