Movies: Winchester, Bilal: A New Breed of Hero, 15:17 to Paris

Big Hello everyone!

Our want-to-be famous, or infamous, Oscar picks are in the works for 2018.  We’ll publish this years predictions within the next week!  Stay tuned…

On a different note, next week we are off to Europe for five weeks.  We will do our best to keep in touch and send some snapshots as time and technology allow.  Hopefully we will be able to squeeze in a new movie or two!



We were quite surprised to see terrible reviews for this film.  This movie is “inspired by actual events” which were fairly accurate since the legendary Winchester House is in San Jose, California.  It is a famous and popular tourist attraction.  The critics were hateful toward this movie. We loved it!

The film is set in 1906 just before the catastrophic earthquake that leveled large parts of San Francisco and the Bay Area.  It is concurrently creepy, intense, suspenseful and dark.

The cast includes Helen Mirren as the widow Sarah Winchester (of the Winchester Gun empire), Jason Clarke is the doctor assessing her sanity, Sarah Snook as Winchester’s niece, and the young Finn Scicluna-O-Prey as the nephew.

The genre is noted as Biography, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, and Thriller.  It is rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, drug content, some sexual material and thematic elements.  We do not feel this film should be viewed by children.  Its running time is 1 hour, 39 minutes.


Bilal: A New Breed of Hero

This is an interesting new animated release from Dubai based Director and co-writer Khurram Alavi.  Apparently based on true events, it is set in the 7th century.  The lead character’s first appearance is as a spirited African slave boy who grows into a heroic man who struggles with slavery and injustice until he is sold to a wealthy trader.  He is treated like a beloved family member who eventually frees himself from slavery.

This film was first released in 2015 in Arabic.  It was re-released today dubbed in English.  It now gently and carefully weaves into the screenplay the early history of Islam with the struggle for equality.

It is sometimes brutal, often confusing, sometimes inspiring and yet often gentle and vulnerable.  It is rated PG-13 with quite a bit of violence and sometimes brutal adult subject matter.  We strongly caution parents regarding viewing by children.  The genre is noted as Animation, Action, Adventure.  Run time is 1 hour, 45 minutes.


15:17 to Paris

This film was directed by Clint Eastwood.  It tells the story of August 21, 2015 aboard the Thalys (train) #9364 from Amsterdam to Paris.  It is the true story where a terrorist attack was thwarted by three young American men.

It’s a great story played by the actual American men involved in the incident.  That would explain why the acting lags in an otherwise intriguing story.

The heros are Airman First Class Spencer Stone, Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, and college student Anthony Sadler.  There are a handful of other actors that play the role of the victims, parents and school chums but the focus is on the experience of the young Americans who intervened and potentially saved hundreds of lives.

It is rated PG-13 for bloody images, violence, suggestive material, drugs and language.  The genre is listed as Drama running 2 hours.


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