Movie Vs Book – Which Do You Prefer?

If you asked anyone today the following question; “Movie vs book, which do you prefer?” The popular answer would be a movie if the demographic were 21 or under. Since movies are far and above a much sexier entertainment medium, most people would rather be entertained with a higher level experience that combines visual and audio effects to stimulate the senses.

There is no doubt that movies and film have penetrated deep into our society and culture. Movies can stimulate and influence attitudes and drive major behaviors across a mass audience. Whether blockbuster action films or love stories that tug at our heart strings, movies try to deliver a promise that the audience will be taken into another place and time where fantasy and reality are easily crossed.

The question then becomes, is a Movie really a better entertainment medium for those who have read the book? Most often than not, the customer would say “No, the book was better”. This then begs the question, why are we biased toward a story that resides on plain white paper as better entertainment than any studio can muster on the big screen with mega budgets and high profile stars? The answer is imagination.

When reading a book, we are so engrossed into the story line that our mind’s eye has crafted a picture and emotional response that is highly intense and real. With this in mind, a movie production would be hard pressed to match what we already have formed within our mental file cabinet.

So why don’t more people read “a good book” on a lazy afternoon, rather than plunk down 10 bucks on a quick fix? The answer is time. Comparatively speaking, the amount of time an individual needs to escape into a good book is a much more significant commitment. With time being a major factor, we are naturally drawn into the marketing machine that influences our decision to make a minor time commitment of a couple of hours vs several days.

In conclusion, when asked “Movie vs Book, which is better?” the book will probably be the answer most given.

Dracula – 1931 – The Differences Among Characters in the Novel and Those in the Movie

‘Dracula,’ one of the most famous novels ever written, had been produced as a movie in 1931. The movie in itself earned a lot of fame till Frankenstein eclipsed it. However, there are significant differences among the characters in the movie with the original novel.

The primary character Count Dracula remains the same. Bela Lugosi plays the role and does a great job.

Mina Murray of the novel become Mina Seward. And poor Dr. John Seward, the failed suitor of Lucy in the original novel, now becomes the father of Mina. And hey presto, Lucy still remains a friend of Mina.

Jonathan Harker, Mina’s fiance in the novel, remains the same in the movie.

Renefield of the movie is significantly different from Renefield of the novel. In the novel, Renefiled is merely another patient in Dr. Seward’s asylum. He eats and kills creepy creatures. And he beings Dracula inside the asylum of Dr. Seward accepting Dracula’s baits. However, in the movie, he is almost a servant to Dracula. He does some of Dracula’s lease papers, sends them to Transylvania, gets bitten by Draula and that gives him the power to bite and drink the blood of other people. And he eventually gets to bite a real woman before getting thrashed to death by Dracula for leading Jonathan and Van Helsing to where he was living (hiding).

Van Helsing is similar in the novel and the movie. He is still the nice caring person.

And then there is Martin, the person in charge of caring for Renefield. He provides an angle of comedy in the movie and appears in some of the more interesting scenes.

Mother Knows Best – The Shocking True Story That Inspired the Movie

Hatred and Disgust

Lee Goldsmith, a well respected, Boca Raton, socialite of 67 years, hated her son in law so much that she hired someone to kill him. Goldsmith, anxious to find a suitable husband for her daughter, Arleen, a Delray Beach nurse, took out an in the local paper: “Nice Jewish Girl Wants to Meet Nice Jewish Boy.” David Brownstein is the man who answered the ad, and the two became inseparable. However, Mrs. Goldsmith could not bear the thought of her daughter marrying Brownstein because he was not professional. An air conditioning auto repairman would not have been impressive enough for Goldsmith’s socialite friends, so she concocted a plan to ruin his life. According to state testimony, Goldsmith, tried everything in the book, from falsifying letters and threatening to cut Arleen out of her will, to accusations of beatings and extortion from Brownstein. But nothing would fuel her hatred more than not being able to attend her own daughter’s wedding, nor see her grandson. So she decided that it was time to have David Brownstein out of their lives for good.

The Plot

The carpet cleaner seemed like the perfect guy to ask about where to find a contract murderer. He was hired to clean the carpet in the Goldsmith’s home when Lee asked him about helping her find someone to kill her son in law. The man said he would see what he could do to help her out, and instead he informed the police of the plot and received a $750 cash reward. The police then devised a plan to trap Goldsmith into paying an undercover cop for the job. The plan was to meet near a restaurant where Lee Goldsmith would give explicit instructions on how the murder should be carried out. The intended victim would be shot in the head and have drugs planted on his body to make it look like a drug related murder. She paid Thomas Brennen $1,000 up front, and then once the death was confirmed she would pay the remaining $9,000.

On February 8, 1989, David Brownstein kissed his wife Arleen before entering work without knowing that his life was about to change forever. The police notified him of his mother in law’s plans to kill him, and he agreed to play along. The county morgue was also in on the plot. They were told to confirm the death of David Brownstein when Goldsmith called. On February 15, 1989, Brennen told Goldsmith that her son in law was dead. She then paid the balance, thanked the officer, and chuckled as she remarked how happy everyone would be “except the one in the morgue.” Undercover Police Officers videotaped Lee paying them to kill David while meeting in Lee’s CADILLAC. She told the undercover cop that she would have another job for him in six months. She wanted the mother of David Brownstein to have acid poured onto her face. She laughed and laughed as she described exactly how she wanted it done. Police moved in and arrested Lee Goldsmith and charged her with solicitation of first degree murder.

The Trial

During the February 1990 trial, neighbors and friends described Lee Goldsmith as a gentle soul who would not harm anyone. She was described as a civic leader who engaged in fund raising activities and teaching exercise classes to retirees. Milton Goldsmith backed up his wife’s story about the beatings and letters they received. He stated that they became terrified of Brownstein. Arleen was torn as she was asked if she loved her mother. “To say I didn’t love her would be a falsehood,” said Arleen. Meanwhile, Lee Goldsmith looked as though she was falling apart during most of the trial. She wept after she described the beating she endured. David Browstein spent two hours on the stand denying taking any part in any beating, nor any behavior exhibited toward his mother in law. Lee Goldsmith was found guilty and sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison. “Please, God, no,” said Lee, collapsing after hearing the verdict. Her husband Milton was distraught.

In June 1995, Lee Goldsmith was released on probation at the age of 73.

Update

The case became a sensation. After her release from prison Lee and Milton Goldsmith appeared on A Current Affair and the Oprah Winfrey show. The movie Mother Knows Best aired in April 1997.

On Easter Sunday, April 13, 2009, I spoke with Lee Goldsmith. She informed me that her husband Milton had fallen, fractured his neck, and never recovered. He passed away a few months ago. She said these days she feels alone and despondent. She is 86 years old. She no longer engages in any fund raising. She spends most of her time at home. Goldsmith and her adopted daughter Arleen have never spoken to one another again. Lee Goldsmith and I never talked about the crime, and she refers to it only as ‘the incident.’ She never knew a movie had been made about her. She is not familiar with many cable stations, stating “my husband took care of those things.” She said she would like to watch it though. She would like for me to let her know when the movie is on again.

Illegally Downloading Movies – You Do the Crime, You Do the Time

Illegal movie downloads, most people know someone who has dabbled in it however not many people are aware of the legality and problems that may arise when downloading movies illegally online. With the vast amount of content that has been made freely available online it is no wonder why some people do experiment in downloading movies unknowing of the possible consequences. With almost 16.6 million people illegally downloading the hit movie Avatar in 2010 it shows you why the industry is desperate to halt and hopefully stop the steadily increasing stream of illegal downloads each year.

There is no other way to put it but illegally downloading movies is wrong, the clue is in the name and those that participate in this hobby are breaking the law. Downloading pirated movies is constituted as a criminal act which can lead to a variety of differing punishment for both the individual uploading the films onto file sharing web sites and for those downloading them onto their home PC. The punishments can range from large fines to imprisonment for the individuals who are downloading the films.

Fines are probably the most used method of punishment used by the movie industry to combat people who illegally download films. In April this year a group of 20,000 people were sued by a US based copyright group for illegally downloading films and they state that there were plans for another 30,000 people to also face the same action. New technology means that internet software can automatically track the users who download material on torrent sights and then flag those they suspect of illegal activity to the appropriate authority.

Although not as common as a hefty fine those that are found guilty can also end up doing some jail time. Serious offenders and repeat offenders have been known to serve a custodial sentence. More recently in Germany a new law is being discussed. It has been proposed that anyone found guilty of downloading a single illegal movie for personal use would face a prison sentence of two years. Anyone found guilty of downloading or copying films for commercial gain would face a sentence of 5 years. These are moves that the copyright and film industry are pressing for to be replicated in all leading countries. Once again you have to weigh up what you would rather do, spend a small amount of money to legally buy the movies from the legal sites or risk spending a lengthy spell behind bars?

In a more recent move by the larger film companies pressure has been placed on the Internet service providers to hand over the information of those who are downloading the films and a request to totally ban them from accessing the internet in future by blocking their IP address. Another new policy that is being implemented by many internet service providers is a three strike rule. If you are suspected of downloading films illegally you are sent a stern letter expressing that you stop all activity, ignore this and the subsequent follow-up letter and then you receive a third strike. On the third strike your details are sent to the owners of the copyrighted material who can request that not only are you barred from using the internet but that you are also attend a legal proceeding where you will face prosecution for your actions.

In terms of downloading movies illegally there is such a high risk involved, a genuine risk of imprisonment or a hefty fine. You do wonder why so many people still partake in this practice when there is an abundance of affordable legal sites you can use. You have been warned, if you do the crime you need to be prepared to do the time if and when you get caught. Remember, technology is on the increase each and every day, the film industry is worth millions and they are not going to allow those suspected of stealing from them to walk free.

Maximizing ELA Classroom Benefits From Movie Worksheets

The class is excited and the DVD cued up, but what about a movie worksheet to keep the class focused during the film? We want teachers to feel 100% comfortable about using both the right movie and the best movie worksheet, so here are some suggestions on how to get the most out of film study worksheets. (Choosing the right movie is still the most important step in creating an exciting lesson based on film. Don’t compromise on quality! The movie should be a work of art that will inspire students and extend their horizons.)

Movie worksheets should be reviewed carefully before they are used.

  • Are there any questions that the students won’t understand?
  • Are there a few more questions that need to be added?
  • Does the movie worksheet hit all the pedagogical points that need to be made to maximize the benefit students get from the film?
  • Is it the right length and level of sophistication for the class?
  • Does it fit with the movie?

Adjust the worksheet as needed to challenge, but not overwhelm, your students.

When using a generic movie worksheet, delete or substitute questions that don’t have a place in the curriculum. For example, three generic movie worksheets are:

  • one for ELA classes generally;
  • another for analyzing a story using the paradigm of the Hero’s Journey;
  • and a third for historical fiction.

Saving paper helps the environment but it’s hard to do in a classroom situation. If feasible make only enough copies of the worksheet to produce a class set to be used and then handed back when class is over. When making enough copies to give one to each student, make sure that the worksheet can be copied on both sides of one sheet of paper.

Before the movie begins…

Review the worksheet with the class so that the students know what to look for as they watch the movie. Discourage students from making notes while the movie is running; they may miss something important. Stop the film for about three to five minutes on a few occasions to give students time to quickly jot down their notes. After the movie is finished, give the class a modest chunk of time to complete the movie worksheet.

There are a variety of things that can be done with movie worksheets after the film is finished. Students’ raw notes can be handed in and either graded or simply checked for completion. Answers to the prompts on the worksheet can be expanded into sentences or paragraphs; this can be done in-class or as homework, by students individually or divided into groups. The worksheet can be used as the basis for class discussions, it can be used for student presentations, or it can be used as a test.

Remember: when showing a film in class, being comfortable with the movie worksheet is second only to being comfortable with the film itself.

Top 10 Will Smith Movies

There was a time when you could bank on there being at least one Will Smith movie hitting the big screen every year, but it has been relevantly quiet on the Will Smith front since 2008. Although not in the front of the camera Smith has been busy behind it, helping produce his son Jaden’s movie “The Karate Kid”. But the good news is that Will Smith will be back infront of the camera once again when he stars in the next “Men in Black” movie, yes they are making a third one. So whilst we wait for more alien busting action here is my Top 10 Will Smith Movies to keep you entertained.

10) The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

Rannulph Junnah had it all, he was a great golfer, a legend in Savannah and dated the beautiful Adele Invergordon. But having gone off to war all that changes as he returns to Savannah a changed man more interested in drinking and gambling than playing golf. In the meanwhile Adele having inherited both a golf course and debts from her father is forced to fin a way to raise some money quickly and sets about hosting the greatest game of golf ever. Having aisgned up golf legends Waler Hagen and Bobby Jones to play she convinces Junnah to play after the locals demand a local player to appear alongside the greats. Having lost his confidence and swing it seems that Junnah is destined to disappoint but when a myserious man called Bagger Vance turns up offering to caddy for him it seems that things are turning around for Junnah.

I have to say that whilst I enjoy “The Legend of Bagger Vance” it has to be said between the mysticism of the character Bagger Vance and many zen like golf sequences it is all a bit too fairytale like. But then Will Smith delivers a charming, fun, intriguing character in Bagger Vance making much of what is really a lot of nonsense into an entertaining movie.

9) Men in Black (1997)

Whilst giving chase to a criminal, James Darrel Edwards III discovers that he’s up against someone who is not human bringing him to the attention of Agent Kay who introduces him to the top secret agency MiB whose job is to control all the aliens who live on the planet undetected. Having convinced Edward’s to join this special agency, becoming Agent Jay in the act, they find themselves in the thick of things as the planet is facing destruction unless they can discover an Alien terrorist looking for ambassador’s from other planets.

Whilst the sequel wasn’t up to much the first “Men in Black” was a fun movie which not only gave Will Smith a box office success but also a chart topping song. It’s very much the sort of performance we like from Smith, delivering plenty of humour mixed in with action and with the surprise pairing of Smith and Tommy Lee Jones working so well it’s a movie which is fun from start to finish.

8) Hancock (2008)

John Hancock is a troubled man, on one hand he has super powers and tries to use them to do goo, but he also loves his drink often leading his good intentions ending up with disastrous consequnces and a traile of destruction. But whilst trying to do a good turn by saving PR guy Ray Embrey from being hit by a train he inadvertently gets himself a new best friend who sets about improving Hancock’s public image. All of which is well and good but for some reason Ray’s wife is not to happy to see Hancock being welcomed into their home and not just because of his accident prone ways.

Right the first thing is that “Hancock” the movie is not great, it’s like two movies slapped into one and the blend just feels completely worng. But thankfully Will Smith as John Hancock does, with Smith creating a memorable bad ass hero and delivering a few moments of comedy with a lot of action. But like the movie Smith’s performance suffers with the first half being great whilst the second less than great.

7) I, Robot (2004)

In the year 2035 technology and robots have become part of life, much to the displeasure of Detective Del Spooner who takes a dislike to every robot he comes across. When Dr. Alfred Lanning, the man credited with creating robots in their present form, is found dead, Spooner is called in to investigate what many think is a suicide. But Spooner and his technophobic attitude leads him to suspect that Lanning’s death was not suicide but was murder, committed by a robot who somehow managed to kill despite rules preventing him.

To put it simply “I, Robot” is a Will Smith movie, a futuristic serious one but also an action movie. So what we get is Will Smith delivering a pumped up performance in more ways than one with him showing off his impressive physique as he works out whilst also delivering high paced action sequences all of which has a touch of humour to them, thanks to Smith’s delivery of sarcastic dialogue. Whilst a sort of serious movie, it’s hard to take it completely seriously but Smith delivers an impressive performance.

6) Bad Boys (1995)

Marcus Burnett is married and hen pecked, Mike Lowery is single and a ladies man but they are partners, working for the Miami Police. When a sizeable amount of drugs is audaciously stolen from the police safe house Burnett and Lowrey have just 72 hours to retrieve the stolen drugs and catch the criminals. Not that simple when a confussion leads to them having to pretend to be each other in order for a witness to come forth.

Although Will Smith had already shown his talents on the big screen you could say that “Bad Boy’s” was his first major movie where he was one of the main stars. It’s another one of those movies where he delivers exactly what people like, so we get action, we get comedy and Smith creating a smooth operator in Minke Lowery. But it’s as much to do with Martin Lawrence’s performance as Will Smith’s as to why the movie works creating a memorable cop partnership for a new era.

5) I Am Legend (2007)

In the year 2012, New York has been abandoned after a miracle cure for cancer mutates and leaves those who were treated with it into flesh eating zombie like beings. The only person left in New York is Robert Neville who is determined to discover the cure for this mutant virus even if it means he is faced with a daily battle to protect himself from these zombie like beings who roam the streets at night.

It has to be said that “I am Legend” is a movie which has ended up splitting audiences. Some were wowed by this sort of horror story whilst others felt it a weak adaptation of Richard Matheson’s original novel. Whether you like the movie or not what is for sure it’s a strong performance from Will Smith who not only is the only character in it for so much of the time but also delivers that sense of fear and loneliness of the last survivor in a once bustling city.

4) Ali (2001)

Covering the yers between 1964 and 1974 “Ali” is the story of boxer Muhammad Ali. A turbulent decade in the boxers life it covers aspect of him becoming a Black Muslim, his friendship with the influential Malcolm X, his decision to change his name plus is this relationships and marriages. And of course it covers his boxin career and his fight to be allowed to box again after refusing to join the US Military.

“Ali” is another one of Will Smith’s movie which splits audiences because for many it cover such a small part of the legendary boxer’s life but also because director Michael Mann has such a stylistic approach to movies that it often doesn’t feel like a mainstream movie. Whether you like it or not it’s hard to ignore the impressive performance of Will Smith as Muhammad Ali. Firstly the bulking up he did to physical resemblance Ali is stunning but he picks up all the little mannerisms, the quick feet, the way he pronounced words pretty much everything is spot on and it’s such a shame that the movie itself ends up splitting audiences because it’s one of Smith’s best performances.

3) Six Degrees of Separation (1993)

Are dealers Flan and Ouisa Kittredge (Donald Sutherland & Stockard Channing) are just about to go out for a mean when a young man shows up at their New York apartment claiming to having been mugged and in need of help. Introducing himself as not only the son of Sidney Poitier but also a friend of Flan & Ouisa’s children he delights them with tales of his life and prepares a meal in repayment for their kindness. But when the Kittredge’s insist he stays the night they are in for a shock as not everything is as what it seems and become determined to discover the truth surrounding this young man.

Considering that back in 1993 Will Smith was known more as for his comedy and in particular “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” watching him take on a serious role in a movie whose roots were on the stage is very impressive. In fact Smith’s performance as the charming and eloquent young man in “Six Degrees of Separation” is what makes it work as a movie and his delivery of some thoughtful monologues makes for powerful stuff.

2) Seven Pounds (2008)

Haunted by a tragic secret, Ben Thomas looks to help 7 deserving people in the hope of finding redemption through his acts. But when Ben puts his plans to help into motion nothing can stop them, except the didn’t take into account for falling for one of those he chooses to help who ends up transforming his life.

Even before I say anthing about the brilliant performance from Will Smith as Ben Thomas you have to say that “Seven Pounds” is an impressive, emotional and touching movie full stop which is brave and different from your normal mainstream fare. But much of what makes it so good is the top performance from Will Smith who takes on a difficult, almost mysterious character and makes us love him, champion him and when he feels emotion so do we.

1) The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Based upon the true story of Chris Gardner who during the 80s not only found himself pretty much penniless but also a single dad when his wife left him. Often forced to live rough, sleeping in toilets and queue up with others for a room in a hostel he manages to get himself on an internship to become a stock broker in the hope of making a better, more secure future for his son.

There is much that I can empathise with in Chris Gardner’s story and as such it’s a very touching and powerful storyline, made all the more better by a performance from Will Smith which should have won him an Oscar. He really gets into the mind of someone who hasn’t any money and shows the emotional side of not knowing where the next meal is to come from and the whole desperation of it. But at the same time it’s an inspiring performance and storyline making “The Pursuit of Happyness” my number 1 Will Smith movie.

How Do Movies Affect Society?

If you are a certified fan of movies, it certainly had influenced you a lot in your decisions, thinking, mood, views, and etc. Movies are one of the best choices of recreation. There are currently thousands of movies produced by different film industries today.

A romantic movie will give you romantic influence. It may give you some tips on how to persuade and please your partner or the person you love. It may give you a hint about doing sex or some affectionate scenes that couples or even youngsters may emulate once they saw it. Public displays of affection became popular because of the influence of romantic movies. There are scenes that feature a boy and a girl holding hands while walking in a crowd, kissing and hugging each other.

As scientists and doctors have proven through careful studies and research, the impact of violence really depends on the personality and character traits of young adults and children. A child or teenager who has been brought up in an abusive family and has been hit as a child is more likely to dash out at other people especially if they have just seen a very violent films.

Film stars have eventually got a huge number of fan followers and the attitude portrayed by the heroes in a film will be followed by some of them also in their real-life situations. Unfortunately, not only the educated groups of viewers tend to follow the inappropriate mannerisms that these heroes portray in the screen. The worst part is the fans will copy the stunts performed albeit they will risk their lives. Nowadays, we usually notice that the winning formula for a successful cinema today is about bandit or rebellion, gangster, rowdy and other movies doing sinful actions unlike before that winning entries are about good manners, legends, ancient characters, cultural attractions and etc.

On the other hand, there are films that will serve as your sources of information and knowledge. Research-based movies give you influence of research and inventing new things. A historical movie tells about the ancient times and their lifestyle which urges man to adopt or in some manner, influence from them. Classic movies give classic arts and lifestyle. These films are usually the sources of students for research purposes and it also serves as a means of broadening their knowledge about different things because it is more lively and perhaps, entertaining.

How do people interpret history? One of the main sources of history are movies because authors knew that people watch and believe those featured in these films. But the sad part is some data presented are not absolutely factual. That is the reason why youth are not that good in interpreting histories because they sometimes grasp the wrong information from films.

Thus, what is the purpose of requiring a rating system for movies and television programs? It is to raise awareness among the parents and adults if a film incite violence among teenagers and young children. However, there are still questions whether ratings like Rated “R” or Parental Guidance (PG) have been the best way to remind older people of their responsibilities to guide the young ones since we cannot ignore the fact that movie influences are really widespread and if this continues, it will even encourage children to play video games that are violent and abusive. Ratings are nonsense if people revolving around the movie industry do not know the right track of entertaining people considering that children might as well imitate some actions in movies that are too sensitive and improper.

Almost everybody had experienced circumstances wherein their minds are influenced by what they see on horror films. According to James Ranel of brown University, the best ways to deal with horror and violent films that teenagers and young children have seen is by also having parents or guardians talk with their children because it allows them to understand what they have just seen and that the film is not real. Some children think that shooting guns are cool. Parents must talk with their children to make them understand that it is not cool at all and in fact, very dangerous.

Movies portray reality yet reality portrays movies. Moreover, we should bear in mind that the world is the stage itself. All of us are merely players and we have our own exits and entrances. Now, how can we make happy endings if we continue to ruin each episode of our lives with fear, violence and anger? Like actors or actresses in movies, we should therefore be an exemplary model in the real world.

Watching movies is not that bad yet we have to know our own limitations. Why don’t we play the reality right instead?

5 Movies With Film Locations in Portugal

Portugal is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for film productions with a wide variety of locations of every description. But there haven’t been very many major movies so far that feature locations in Portugal, so we’ve dug into the archives to search out a few that you may remember.

If 007 visits you can be sure it will be remembered. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) is one movie that puts Portugal on the map, even though with George Lazenby as 007 it was perhaps one of the least popular of the old Bond movies. The movie kicks off on Guincho beach near Cascais west of Lisbon with Bond rescuing Tracy di Vicenzo, mobster’s daughter, from the sea. We see plenty more scenes of Portugal including the dramatic 25 de Abril suspension bridge in Lisbon and the glamorous Palacio Estoril Hotel where Bond stays. Much of the rest of the drama shifts to Switzerland, but these scenic landscapes of Portugal are still memorable today.

Bond’s more enduring face, that of Sean Connery, visits Lisbon in another role and another era. The Russia House (1990) is a spy thriller based on a Le Carre novel and the film stars Michelle Pfeiffer as well as Sean Connery. While most of the movie is set in Russia, (and filmed on location there, a first for western films at the end of the Cold War era) Barley, Sean Connery’s heavy drinking publisher character has a home in Lisbon where he takes refuge in the middle and at the end of the movie, as he waits for the girl to join him after her escape from Russia.

The House of Spirits (1993) has an all-star cast with Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Winona Ryder, Antonio Banderas, and Vanessa Redgrave in a supporting role. The movie is set in Chile, based on the novel by Isabel Allende, but was filmed on location in Portugal and on set in Denmark. The rural Alentejo region in the South of Portugal with its rolling hills, mountains and hot dry summers doubles for Chile, and Lisbon provides some of the city backdrop to the drama.

Contemporary thriller, The Ninth Gate (1999) by Roman Polanski stars Johnny Depp as a rare book dealer seeking out a supernatural demon text. In the course of his travels around Europe through France and Spain, to track down the authentic copy of the book for his client, he visits Sintra in Portugal. It’s a picturesque area of Portugal just outside Lisbon with plenty of atmospheric hilltop palaces and castles. Depp visits Chalet Biester with its turreted outline tucked into lush green woodland exuding mystery.

The Lisbon Story (1994) was never a big box office draw, but being produced by Wim Wenders it has a certain appeal to movie buffs. Set in and around Lisbon it was originally commissioned as a promotional documentary by the city until Wim Wenders added a story line and some fictional characters to turn it into a full length movie. Of all these movies it is the one that probably shows the most representative views of the Lisbon itself, though the others have bucket loads more glamour!

Keep looking out for modern movies with locations in Portugal, as it’s sure to feature more and more on the film production companies’ lists of desirable destinations.

Movie Review – "The Big Lonely" – Surviving in Isolation

“The Big Lonely” is a captivating film telling the story of Michael Nelms, a persecuted man beaten down by an uncaring bureaucracy and left penniless to live on the streets. Having been a successful car dealer, a real estate broker and the victim of several bad marriages, retreating to a remote forest hideout seems a logical choice. Living under a bridge as a homeless person has no appeal for this man.

As he talks into the camera we discover he has built this small cabin on federal land and justifies his right to be there by calling it a mining claim, a bogus one he confesses. One of his daily tasks is to collect water from a nearby stream. The winter has been harsh and he has to chip through a foot of ice. Leading the way is his dog Tic, a mix of wolf and Malamute. Food is a constant need in this wilderness and obtaining fresh meat is a demanding challenge. In the winter, elk and deer go to lower elevations where food is more plentiful and the snow is not so deep. Snow pack levels have reached as high as ten feet in past years

As such, meat sources are limited to rabbits, coyotes, and rats. Dressing out of such animals and cooking them is a major part of the film. Michael shares his fixings with his dog Tic and their relationship is one of equal partners in their quest to survive.

However, the survival issues are not what make this film unique, it’s the positive attitude of the participants, both Michael and his dog, Tic. They accept the hardships as a part of life and work together to overcome them. When a bear attacks Michael and pins him on the ground, he stabs the animal in the windpipe. He describes this ordeal in detail, down to the whizzing sounds as the bear gasps for air. It’s a horrendous moment in his life and he displays the resulting scars with some trepidation. While the bear meat did get them through another winter, the attack left him with repeated nightmares. Michael recounts, “Dreams are where you take you mind. Nightmares are where your mind takes you.”

It’s philosophies like these that give weight to this film, that this man has learned from his time in the wilderness, and openly shares his thoughts with us. He talks about dying and wanting his body to replenish the land that fed him for so many years. With supplies running low in the midst to winter, the two journey some fifty-miles to restock. Michael sets up camp outside the town and finds various jobs to buy supplies that will get them through the next winter.

You may be asking how could he videotape this much footage without an electrical source to recharge the camera batteries. While not covered in the film I did notice a couple of solar power devices mounted on a tree, which likely allowed for the battery recharging.

The film is a stunning self-shot account as we eavesdrop on a man finding peace and understanding in the Oregon wilderness. It is one man’s inspiring story of resilience and the durability of the human spirit. A heartwarming film, “The Big Lonely” imparts prophetic wisdom about the sins of the past and hopes for the future..

CREDITS: Cast: Michael Nelms; Director – David Manougian; Producer – Troy Gamble & David Kamens; Executive Producer – David Monougian; Editor – Kerribeth Elliot Camera Setup & Consulting – J.P. Morgan; Camera & Sound – Michael Nelms; Composer & Performer of Original Music- Robin Zimmermann; Sound Editor – Reed Harvey; On-line Editor – William Schultz; A Juicebox Production Presentation; Unrated; 82 Minutes.

Check Out Tadaima The Movie

When World War II began, Americans and immigrants of Japanese descent found that the discrimination and prejudice that they had long experienced were escalated with hatred toward them being exhibited on every front. Immediately after the Imperial Navy of Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, leaders from within the Japanese and Japanese American communities were arrested by the FBI. It was a time of great uncertainty and fear.

Then Executive Order 9066 was issued and signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. This gave authority to the military commanders in certain areas to remove any persons from their homes. Although the order could have been used against others, it was only enacted with the people of Japanese heritage living on the West Coast of the United States. It was not used in Hawaii.

People were removed from their homes with little notice and taken to temporary assembly centers where they were housed at racetracks or fairgrounds. Most lived in horse stalls recently vacated by the previous occupants. Then ten camps were built in remote and desolate areas of the United States. The people were taken by train to those locations, where most were required to live as prisoners until the war ended in 1945.

At the end of the war, the people were released from the camps. Most were given a token amount of $25 plus a train ride or bus fare to the place of their choosing. Many tried to return to their former homes in California, Washington, or Oregon. It was extremely difficult for them to start over basically with nothing.

The story of one such family who tried to return to their former home in California is told in a film named, Tadaima The Movie. It premiered at the CAAMFest 2015 in San Francisco. It has received several awards including: Best Drama at the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival and Best Short Narrative at DisOrient Film Festival of Oregon. Several screenings are scheduled. Information is available on the Internet. The meaning of the Japanese word “tadaima” is: I’m Home.

The film features a Japanese American family which must find the strength to rebuild their house and their family after suffering emotional and physical destruction caused by their incarceration experience during the war. The film stars Toshi Toda, Vivian, Umino, Mackenyu Maeda, and Jordyn Kanaya.

Tadaima The Movie was written and directed by Robin Takao D’Oench. The film honors the legacy of his grandfather, Paul Takagi, who was a UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus and recently passed away. The story is based on the experiences of his family and other Japanese Americans after the end of World War II. It is part of the Japanese American story.