Last week before hiatus…

Well, Irma came and went last week, and at this date, we are aware that our pool cage has been blown to smithereens and the screening will need to be replaced but the structure is intact. Very thoughtful friends are headed down next week to check on our place.  It has been a busy past week as I hosted several longtime friends in Thornbury for 3 days of R&R and then attended our last 3 screenings at TIFF.  This week I have a large group of my special fitness girlfriends coming to the area for 2 1/2 days of hiking on local trails and they will depart just in time for me to catch my flight to Scotland on Friday.  George and I are off to Scotland for 1 week.  He will golf as part of a group of 12 touring the top courses there, while I am going to visit with a dear friend who lives just outside Edinborough.  We will do a little touring, especially in the Aberdeen area, the Northern Lights capital of Europe.  George and I will then depart for Iceland where we have 5 days of touring scheduled.  Last stop for the Northern Lights.  We return on Oct. 5, so I am taking a little break from TV and Movie watching and will try to catch some of the new shows before I write again later in October. In the meantime, here are some suggestions for viewing:

The Emmy Awards Broadcast


The Emmy Awards air at 8 pm tonight. Westworld and SNL lead the nominations with 22 each.  Stephen Colbert hosts, so it should be great fun!

TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)

Kodachrome was our first screening. A perfectly sweet but predictable father/son road trip movie.  Lovely ensemble cast features Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis and Elizabeth Olsen star.
Journey’s End is a gruelling WWI tale of the horrors of trench warfare and the human toll that was taken during this completely futile war of attrition.  Great cast features Sam Claflin, Paul Bethany and Asa Butterfield.
Good Favour is a puzzling parable set in a religious community in Central Europe.  This magical realism film is based on the appearance of a teenage stranger who gradually reveals his motives and what seem to be magical powers.
Professor Marston and The Wonder Women is a true story of William Moulton Marston, the polyamorous relationship between his wife and mistress, the creation of the beloved comic book character “Wonder Woman”, and the controversy the comic generated in its earlier years.  This film is quite delightful in its portrayal of Marston’s relationship with his wife and lover.  Very broad minded!



The Big Sick is a delightful romantic comedy that I recently rewatched with a group of lady friends.  If you have watched Silicon Valley, you may have already fallen in love with Kumail Nanjiani.  This film is based on Nanjani’s own life and his rocky romance with his real life girlfriend Emily and his involvement with her parents when Emily suddenly develops a life threatening medical condition.  Prepare to fall in love with this charming film. Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond)and Holly Hunter are wonderful as Emily’s parents.

Get Shorty is a 10 episode miniseries, currently airing on Epix in the US.   I have binged on the first six episodes of this terrific series which I have been able to stream. It will debut on Superchannel in Canada on Sept 20. Likeable Irish actor Chris O’Dowd leads a great cast in this tv adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel about a hit man who becomes a movie producer in Hollywood. Ray Romano has now refashioned his career and has come a long way from his Everybody Loves Raymond character as he plays Rick, a washed up movie producer who is forced to produce a film as a money laundering technique for a crime family. The 1995 film which featured an all star cast with John Travolta, Gene Hackman, etc. was clever, but this extended version of the story is incredibly engaging.

Younger, a delightful comedy series about a 46 year-old single mom forced to lie about her age (passing as a social media expert millennial) to get a job, aired its season finale in the US this past week but will debut the 4th season premiere later this year on Much.


TVPremieres and Returns

People of Earth, a delightful sitcom about a support group for alien abductees will return for its second season premiere on Sept 19 on Comedy at 10 pm.
Animal Kingdom, a gritty crime series starring Ellen Barkin, returns for its second season premiere on Sept 20 on Bravo at 10 pm.

The Deuce, a gritty series about the NYC history of pornography, premiered last Sunday on HBO and airs Sundays at 9.

Outlander, the most romantic show on television, premiered last Sunday on W and airs Sundays at 9 pm.

Jim Jeffries, an outrageous Australian political comedian,  returns with new shows on Sept 19 at 10:30 on Comedy.


My usual favourites

Endeavour, an Inspector Morse prequel, has its season finale tonight on our local PBS station;  I watched it last week in a different time zone, and also caught the local PBS fundraiser, Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy from Great Performances.  This is a wonderful special that explores the unique role of Jewish composers, lyricists, songwriters on Broadway and film musicals. It’s a 90 minute documentary that is well worth watching.

Ray Donovan, a series about Hollywood fixer, airs  Sunday nights on HBO at 9 pm.

Episodes, a delightful story about behind the scenes Hollywood, airs Sunday nights on HBO at 10 pm.

The Sinner,  a murder mystery starring Jessica Biel and Bill Pullman,  airs Monday nights on Showcase at 10 pm.


Comic Relief

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is back with new shows on CBS at 11:35 Mon-Fri this week; The Daily Show with Trevor Noah continues with new shows on Comedy at 11:00 Mon-Thurs; Full Frontal with Samantha Bee has new shows on Wed. night at 10:30 on Comedy; Real Time with Bill Maher has new shows on HBO on Fri at 10 pm.

Closing Words

It has been a gorgeous week and weekend.  Fingers crossed that this amazing Indian Summer (probably a totally politically incorrect expression these days) weather continues into the fall.  Enjoy the beautiful colours and incredible temperatures.  I will return mid-October with some stories and pictures from Scotland and Iceland.




Irma Arrives in Florida

Well, I guess there is a downside to owning a vacation home in paradise.  We are very grateful that our place in Naples is just a vacation retreat for us.  Unlike the millions of Florida residents who are facing the reality of losing their homes and livelihoods, we have other options.  We are considering whether we should adjust our plans for the next few weeks and head down to check on our property once the storm has passed.  More on that later…  In the meantime, if you’re not compulsively watching CNN for storm news, you might want to check out some viewing options:

TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)

Kodachrome was our first film this past week.  A romantic comedy starring Jason Sudeikis, Ed Harris and Elizabeth Olsen.  A very sweet film about a father/son road trip.  I felt I had seen many films which covered this territory in more original and engaging ways, especially Nebraska (from 2013 starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte).  However, this film is Canadian (filmed entirely in Toronto, directed by a Canadian filmmaker and featuring some great Canadian actors in supporting roles like Bruce Greenwood, Wendy Crewson and even Sebastian Pigott – formerly of Lambton Kingsway School), so I was happy to see it even though it was a bit predictable and lame.
Upcoming films for us include Journey’s End (British WWI film starring Sam Claflin, Paul Bethany, Asa Butterfield, Toby Jones, etc.); Good Favour (international co-production from an Irish director set in a Christian community in Central Europe); Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (starring Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, JJ Field), the film tells the life story of Dr. William Marston, Harvard psychologist and inventor, and the relationship between his wife and his lover, who became her lover after his death, that inspired the iconic super heroine, Wonder Woman.


Little Evil is an intermittently funny parody of The Omen starring Adam Scott, Evangeline Lilly, Sally Field, etc.).  Gary, who has just married Samantha, the woman of his dreams, discovers that her six-year-old son may be the Antichrist.

Narcos returns for its third season. Pablo Escobar is gone and we have moved from Medellin to the Cali cartel as our intrepid DEA agent, Javier Pena, continues the US War on Drugs.  This third series is just as mesmerizing as the first. Pedro Pascal is amazingly charismatic as the driven agent awash in a sea of corruption.  You will root for the cartel security man, Jorge Salcedo (played by Matias Varela), who is a decent man struggling to get his life back.

Handsome:  A Netflix Mystery Movie stars Jeff Garlin, Natasha Lyonne.  Beware of this one.  So much potential, yet so awful. A peculiar comedy mystery hybrid.  Be afraid, very afraid of this painfully off kilter film.

The Mist You should also be afraid of this 10 episode time waster from the Stephen King novel about an eerie mist that rolls into a small town. Frances Conroy, who was so heroically wonderful in  Six Feet Under, is unabashedly awful in this one.  Look away!!!

Season Premieres

Outlander (9 pm on W) returns tonight for its third season.  Ahh, the romance that endures across the centuries continues. Jamie’s past provides his only hope of survival following the Battle of Culloden; a pregnant Claire attempts to adjust to life in 1940’s Boston.

People of Earth  (Sept 19 Season 2 premiere on Comedy). If you haven’t caught up with Season 1 yet, you are in for a treat.  This delightfully wry comedy is about  a support group for oddballs who think they have been abducted by aliens. Hilarious!!

The Deuce (9 pm tonight on HBO) This series is directed by James Franco and is from the writing/producing team that created The Wire. A look at life in NYC during the 1970’s and ’80’s when porn and prostitution were rampant in Manhattan, it stars James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

The New TV Season Preview

Keep this list handy:


Regular Viewing

Ray Donovan (9 pm tonight on TMN) continues to follow the Donovan family on their journey following Abby’s death.  The dark underbelly of LA is the territory of fixer Ray Donovan, who covers up the crimes of the rich and famous.

Episodes (10 pm tonight on TMN) is a hilarious behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood and TV production, which follows the journey of British sit com writers who are birds out of water in LaLaLand.

Preacher (9 pm Monday on AMC) has its Season 2 finale.  The Trio prepare for a new life, as Jesse questions the path ahead; Tulip uncovers a dangerous secret; Cassidy grapples with a difficult truth.

The Sinner (10 pm Monday on Showcase) continues to investigate the mystery of why Cora suddenly murdered a stranger on the beach; with Ambrose’s help, Cora struggles to recover missing memories, which lead Ambrose to a new suspect.

Suits (9 pm Wednesday on Bravo) Mike and Harvey’s power move is countered, putting their backs up against the ropes. Rachel fears her father’s judgment is clouded by the past. Louis aids Alex when his client comes under fire.

Versailles This sumptuous series seems to have paused its second season after the first 7 episodes on TMN.  Catch up if you can with past episodes on demand.  Absolutely mesmerizing spectacle.

Comic Relief

Real Time with Bill Maher had a new show this past Friday which can be caught on demand; The Daily Show (Mon-Thurs on Comedy at 11 pm )with Trevor Noah has new shows; The Late Show (Mon-Fri at 11:30 on CBS) with Stephen Colbert has new shows; fingers crossed that Samantha Bee (Wed on Comedy at 10:30), Jeffrey Jones (Tuesday on Comedy at 10:30) and The President Show (Thursday on Comedy at 11:30) also have new shows.  We all need to laugh this week!

Closing Words

Although we have been thinking that climate change, rising sea levels, etc. would all be problems that our grandchildren would have to live with, this current onslaught of consecutive hurricanes has shown that the future is now.  The concept that waterfront property is actually desirable may be a thing of the past.  An entire state (population 20 million; in the largest mass evacuation in US history, 7 million have been ordered to evacuate) is in a state of emergency.  Millions of people face catastrophic damage to their property and have fled to higher, dryer ground. The aftermath of this storm and the ensuing clean-up will take a very long time.  Several Caribbean islands have already been decimated.  More than thoughts and prayers will be required to help the victims of this disaster.  Please be prepared to help in any way you can.

The local Thornbury forecast for this week is apparently beautiful. We are off to a community dinner for local charities being held in a local orchard this evening.  I am having a houseful of longtime lady friends come and stay with me for three days of sisterhood and laughter.  We will head back to TIFF later this week to watch our last films.  Count your blessings and enjoy each day. Carpe diem!  You never know what each day will bring.



Labour Day is here…

The leaves are changing.  We have had very cool evenings around the fire pit.  The children have been visiting and we have enjoyed some wonderful family evenings.  This past week was all about the Meaford International Film Festival (MIFF) and the coming week heralds the beginning of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).  Soon, the new fall TV series will debut!  In the meantime, here are some suggestions:

On the Big Screen

Maudie (MIFF) is a wonderful biopic about Maude Lewis, the Nova Scotia folk artist.  Starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, this touching movie will both inspire and cause you to weep at the hardships this very disabled woman faces in her unquenchable desire to create her very original art.

The Teacher (MIFF) is a thought provoking film about a manipulative teacher during the Communist era in Czechoslovakia.  A very interesting character study of people trying to survive in a system rife with institutionalized corruption.

The New Fall TV Series

Here are some articles to help you make your choices:



Animal Kingdom (Streaming) is a terrific crime series starring Ellen Barkin as the matriarch of a Southern California family of ne’er do wells.  If you haven’t caught Season 1 yet, you can catch up on Netflix.

Younger (Streaming) is a delightful series (now in Season 4) that originates on TVLand and will be seen later this season on E! in Canada; a gorgeous 41 year old single mom pretends to be 26 in order to get a job in publishing.

Snatched (Streaming) is a very silly but intermittently entertaining comedy starring Amy Schumer and an almost unrecognizable Goldie Hawn (way too much Botox and filler).  This movie is about a mother/daughter duo who are kidnapped while on holiday in Ecuador.  It did make me laugh.

Ben Hur (Streaming) is a totally unnecessary remake of the original 1959 classic with Charlton Heston.   It stars Jack Huston and Toby Kebbell.  There is much more back story in this one, and much more religion. Also, much more CGI in this one.

Rough Night (Streaming) is a very well cast comedy about a bachelorette party gone terribly awry.  Scarlett Johansson, not generally known for her comedic skills, Kate McKinnon (mesmerizing as a wild Aussie, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Jillian Bell and in disarming cameos as sex crazed swingers Ty Burrell and Demi Moore. Fitfully funny, this genre film owes a lot to many other movies (The Hangover, Very Bad Things, and numerous others).

On Broadcast TV

The Sinner  (Showcase on Mondays) is an intriguing series starring Jessica Biel about a young mom who inexplicably stabs a man to death while on a day at the beach with her family.  Bill Pullman is the detective who tries to solve the mystery.

Ray Donovan (HBO on Sundays) continues the story of a Hollywood fixer from a family of Boston Irish ne’er do wells.

Suits (Bravo on Wednesdays) just had its 100th episode.  Thank god, the pro bono case is finally over.  So painful….

Versailles (TMN on demand) is the second season of a gloriously entertaining look at Louis IV and the court of Versailles.  Much debauchery!

Line of Duty (Superchannel on demand) is a marvellously intriguing 6 episode miniseries in its 4th season of an internal affairs department investigation.

Graves (Superchannel on demand) is a satire about a former president who seeks redemption.  Great cast starring Nick Nolte as the now addled president and Sela Ward as his controlling wife.

Preacher (AMC on Mondays) continues the story of a preacher, his girlfriend, and a vampire who join forces in the search for God.



The Mist is a remake of the Stephen King story about a mysterious mist.  Previously a feature film, this is now a series.  I may not binge on this one, given that I have only watched a fairly underwhelming first episode.

Comic Relief

Colbert is still on hiatus this week, as are Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, John Oliver.  There appears to be a new Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO on Fridays) and a new The President Show (Comedy on Thursdays).

Final Words

We have three weeks to go before we head off on our Scotland/Iceland trip.  In the meantime, I have two groups of lady friends coming to stay in Thornbury, and this week we begin our TIFF screenings.  Enjoy this beautiful fall weather no matter what your plans are.