Whether you say a fly or speck when you say, “I wish I was a fly on the wall,” don’t you find yourself saying it more these days? Among my friends I have noticed an increase in its usage. Could it be because there are more incredulous things we see happening around us? I am sure many parents wish they could do it when their children start going out with friends and dates. The reason we wish we could be a fly on the wall is because we do not want our presence known. Now what if one could blend in with the people around them? I appreciate it when I can just be part of the crowd. In the fitness world when instructors go to other instructors’ classes they usually let them know before class. I prefer not to; I just want to be part of the class and let the instructor do their thing without focusing any energy on me. There have been times where the instructor knows I am in class and I can tell they are trying too hard to make the class perfect. They push for total class participation; they go through whatever list of helpful reminders constantly; in other words, they lose the fun factor to their class because they are focusing on doing everything properly instead of just working along with the members. Another example would be some of my friends’ relatives. My friends wish I could actually see for myself what they can only describe to me about their family members because it sounds too far-fetched to me. So you see there are occasions where it would be advantageous to blend in. CELEBRATIONS were taking place all over London due to the Allied victory in 1945. For that night Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, played by Sarah Gadon (A Dangerous Method, Dracula Untold) and Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Side by Side), want to go outside and be part of the festivities just like everyone else. Their night would not go as planned. This film festival winning romantic drama was lucky to have Sarah and Bel as the princesses. They added a charm and silliness to this film. I also enjoyed seeing Emily Watson (Everest, The Book Thief) and Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding, The Importance of Being Earnest) as the Queen and King. Whether there was a kernel of truth to this story or not, I thought the idea was an excellent one. Unfortunately the script became redundant, where I felt the princesses were getting in the same predicaments but just in different locations. Also the goofiness after a while turned me off; I could not imagine some of the scenes ever happening to the sisters. However this simple story was easy to follow and it allowed me to imagine what it must have been like for the princesses to not be part of all the royal pomp and circumstance of the crown and just be regular girls for a night.
2 1/4 stars
Just from the movie title, this comedy should get an extra star in its rating. Unconditional love is a powerful combination; a term I have always tried to live my life by. For anyone who lives with unconditional love, I say more power to them. Besides having a great movie title, I am doing a different type of review because I was an extra in this film. I will share my observations as I was fulfilling one of my dreams–to see and be part of a movie production. Kathy Bates (Misery, Titanic) played Grace Beasley. Devastated when her husband Max, played by Dan Aykroyd (The Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters franchise), told her he did not want to be married to her any longer; on an impulse, Grace decided she would fly to London to attend the funeral of her favorite entertainer Victor Fox, played by Jonathan Pryce (Brazil, Pirates of the Caribbean franchise). While in England Grace convinced Victor’s partner Dirk Simpson, played by Rupert Everett (Hysteria, My Best Friend’s Wedding) to fly back with her to Chicago to find out who had killed Victor. There was a trail of madcap events that ensued which would put the couple in danger and have an affect on the entertainer’s estate. This was a fluffy, harmless comedy caper with a robust cast of characters. The story was silly for the most part, but I still enjoyed it. Kathy Bates was an incredibly warm person who would come to the set each day in a full length fur coat, fluffy house slippers and her little pet dog. The staff told us we were not allowed to look Rupert Everett in the eyes, nor speak to him unless he spoke to us first. He was surly and ignored everyone except his fellow actors. Lynn Redgrave (Gods and Monsters, Peter Pan) who played Victor’s sister Nola Fox was absolutely charming, sitting with the extras in the general dining area. Throughout the day the extras were fed pizza and doughnuts between takes. Luckily I brought some snacks that were a little healthier. The scene I was in included Barry Manilow and Sally Jessy Raphael. Between shots Barry entertained everyone by singing and playing the piano. Sally would walk behind the set after each take, where her husband dutifully waited for her. My scene was at the very end of the movie; I was an audience member of a television show. It took 2 1/2 days to film that one scene because Dan Aykroyd purposely kept changing his lines, causing everyone to crack up with laughter. If you look beyond his shoulder you can see a younger me with a full beard and more hair on my head, having the time of my life.
2 1/2 stars — DVD
Women, for all these years how have you been able to put up with us men? Inspired by true events, this romantic comedy’s main story was about the development of a device that would be used to cure women from the medical condition called hysteria. Set in Victorian England, the young physician Mortimer Granville, played by Hugh Dancy (Our Idiot Brother, Adam), came upon the idea by chance. While holding his friend, played by Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding, Stardust), Edmund St. John-Smythe’s motorized feather duster; Mortimer came up with the device which was to become the forefather of the modern vibrator. With Dr. Robert Dalrymple, played by Jonathan Pryce (Tomorrow Never Dies, Pirates of the Caribbean franchise); the two men formed a successful partnership. However, one of Dr. Dalrymple’s daughters, Charlotte played by Maggie Gyllennaal (Crazy Heart, The Dark Knight), was skeptical of the whole concept. I thoroughly enjoyed Maggie’s character as she was a strong advocate for women’s rights. All the actors looked like they were enjoying themselves and came across the screen in a likable way. The majority of the audience was female who were hooting and laughing throughout the film. Make sure you stay for the credits, to see a timeline on the evolution of the vibrator. You may not walk out of the movie theater with the urge to light up a cigarette, but you easily will have a smile on your face.
2 3/4 stars