Happy Birthday Dame Agatha Christie

Happy Birthday Dame Agatha Christie – MyPassionIsBooks Blog (Reblog)

From the Wikipedia article on Dame Agatha Christie:

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie – Wikipedia

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, DBE (née Miller; 15 September 1890 – 12 January 1976) was a British crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for her 66 detective novels and more than 15 short story collections, most of which revolve around the investigations of such characters as Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple and Tommy and Tuppence.

I started reading the Queen of Crime‘s books when I was a young teen and thoroughly enjoyed her works.

Today, Septemeber 15th is Agatha Christie’s birthday anniversary. She has been gone these long years now since January 12th 1976, and the world has felt her absence. Rest in Peace Agatha Christie!

Agatha Christie’s books have been read by billions!

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly four billion copies, and her estate claims that her works rank third, after those of William Shakespeare and the Bible, as the world’s most widely published books.[1] According to Index Translationum, Christie is the most translated individual author, and her books have been translated into at least 103 languages.

Time to dust off some old Agatha Christie … maybe Murder on the Orient Express with our old friend Inspector Hercule Poirot would be just the thing.

Might also enjoy watching the Murder on the Orient Express movie gain too – which is still 7.7/10 Stars on IMDb.

Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) By Agatha Christie - AmazonMurder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) By Agatha Christie – Amazon

Or maybe better yet, my all time favorite, And Then There Were None.

And Then There Were None By Agatha Christie - AmazonAnd Then There Were None By Agatha Christie – Amazon

Rest in Peace, Agatha Christie!

Those of us who love to read, particularly crime and detective stories, will never forget the wonderful contributions by the Queen of Crime, Dame Agatha Christie.

Rest in Peace Agatha Christie!

Finding Neverland

Finding Neverland (2004)

Finding Neverland

Finding Neverland, Best Picture of the Year, with Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie and Dustin Hoffman

I recently had an opportunity to again see this wonderful film that still garners a 7.9/10 Star movie at IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes still gives it 83% rating, and the audience an 84% rating.

I hadn’t seen it since probably 2007 when I watched it with a neice and nephew (my brother’s children) while spending some time with them one day. It was a totally amazing story and film. Seeing it again recently with my Jim was a special treat as I could focus even more attention on the actual story than while visiting with the children who had already seen this movie so many times because they loved it and own the DVD.

I found the part of J. M. Barrie aka, Sir James Matthew Barrie, played by Johnny Depp was one of his best roles (and that is a really hard call because I love every movie I have ever had the pleasure of watching Johnny Depp perform). You can see them all at his filmography because there are few listed that I haven’t enjoyed!

I can say the same thing about Kate Winslet’s part as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, as it is certainly one of two particularly favored parts that Kate Winslet has performed including her role as Rose DeWitt Bukator on Titanic (was Titanic really done back in 1997! Wow! I love that movie too. That movie is still the definitive telling of the story in my mind).

The Llewelyn Davies boys are portrayed by Freddie Highmore (Peter), Nick Roud (George), Joe Prospero (Jack), and Luke Spill (Michael).

The interaction of J. M. Barrie and the boys was nothing short of amazing. I can’t say enough about the empathy between James, and the boys and their Mother, Sylvia. Several of their names were actually used in this precious fantasy story, Peter Pan.

According to Wikipedia:

Finding Neverland is a 2004 semi-biographical film about playwright J. M. Barrie and his relationship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan, directed by Marc Forster. The screenplay by David Magee is based on the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee. The film was nominated for several Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Depp’s portrayal of J. M. Barrie, and won one for Jan A. P. Kaczmarek‘s musical score.

The story focuses on Scottish writer J. M. Barrie, his platonic relationship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, and his close friendship with her sons, who inspire the classic play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up.

And by Rotten Tomatoes,

Following up his critically acclaimed Monster’s Ball, director Marc Forster took on this biography of playwright James Matthew Barrie, the scribe who penned the children’s classic Peter Pan. Johnny Depp stars as the turn-of-the-century writer as the film follows Barrie as he struggles to write and have his play produced while he cares for his down-on-their-luck neighbors who inspired the story in the first place. J.M. Barrie’s Neverland also stars Dustin Hoffman, Kate Winslet, and Julie

And IMDb,

The story of J.M. Barrie‘s friendship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan. The movie details the experiences of “Peter Pan” author J.M. Barrie, which lead him to write the children’s classic. He got to know four children who have no father. Drawing from his time with the kids, he writes a story about children who don’t want to grow up.

I have been in love with the story of Peter Pan since I was a child and have read the book several times in my life. Seeing this movie again, just reinforces my love of the story of Peter Pan, and it’s roots so much. I think J. M. Barrie would be pleased. Because of this movie, I simply had to devour most everything I could about the real life characters he used as the inspiration for this wonderful story.

J. M. Barrie, thank you so very much for one of the best rides a book can give to young and old alike in mind, spirit and soul. Peter Pan, has led to so many wonderful retellings as well as to great stories like this heartwarming and inspiring movie Finding Neverland.

What a joy it was to get to see this wonderful movie Finding Neverland inspired by the real life interaction of J. M. Barrie and the boys who were the real inspiration for the timeless book Peter Pan. I spent the movie in turn laughing and crying and feeling such human warmth from watching this movie. Life in their day was hard, but this movie also showed how any life, no matter how short, could be experienced with joy, imagination, positive expectancy in life, love, and most of all without having to grow up.

Thank you to J. M. Barrie, David Magee, Marc Forster, Richard N. Gladstein, Nellie Bellflower, Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Radha Mitchell, Julie Christie, Dustin Hoffman (also in Hook by the way), Freddie Highmore, and the other boys, as well as all the other supporting roles who were all responsible for this movie and it’s success. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world…

Some other sources for Peter Pan, and Neverland:


Neverland – Wikipedia

Peter Pan (1953)

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie – Project Gutenberg

Peter Pan – audio – Librivox

Rest in Peace Andy Griffith

American actor Andy Griffith developed Guillain-Barré syndrome in 1983. Griffith is seen here receiving an award at the White House in 2005

American actor Andy Griffith developed Guillain-Barré syndrome in 1983. Griffith is seen here receiving an award (Presidential Medal of Freedom) at the White House in 2005

Breaking News: Friend Says Andy Griffith Has Died WITN (Dare County NC OBX)

Former UNC President Bill Friday says Andy Griffith died this morning in Dare County. Friday, who is a close friend of the actor, confirmed that to WITN News.

Friday tells us the 86-year-old actor died at his Roanoke Island home around 7:00 a.m. this morning.

Andy Griffith, Matlock and Mayberry’s Favorite Son, Dead at 86 – eonline

In addition to The Andy Griffith Show, Griffith created a darkly iconic character in the 1957 film A Face in the Crowd and won fans in the long-running whodunit series Matlock. But in the end, it was Mayberry that put him on the map.

“We—everyone on the show—have a real sense of community, of kindness, toward one another,” Griffith told The New York Times in 1965. “The basic rule by which we live comes through…the kindness comes through.”

Losing Andy Griffith is like losing Mom’s Apple Pie or something … so sad.

Andy was the glue, the straight man and star of Mayberry RFD who was kinda like looking through our eyes and with great wisdom, kindness, compassion for his fellow man, true justice, and faith.

And the proof was a quote by Andy Griffith himself,

“At first I was supposed to be the funny central figure, … But with that format the show might have lasted about four weeks. The way it worked out is, the other people say the funny lines and my character looks on as an observer.”

Andy Griffith had some very kind words to say about the comedic genius Don Knotts too (and this was before his death in 2006);

“Whenever Don Knotts and I were waiting for lighting cues, we would sing hymns in harmony, … The show depicted Barney as tone deaf, but Don has a beautiful tenor voice.”

Rest in Peace Andy Griffith, you were a great man, and you will be greatly missed all across America and likely around the world too.

We all grew up on your shows one way or another Andy. Whether it was the original shows like Mayberry RFD and Matlock, or when they went to syndication. We all watched and loved you and the wonderful characters you further enhanced on these shows. RIP.

Additional Refs:

Guillain–Barré syndrome – Wikipedia

Rest in Peace: Ray Bradbury

RIP: Ray Bradbury!

Ray Douglas Bradbury (August 22, 1920 — June 5, 2012) was an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles (1950) and The Illustrated Man (1951), Bradbury was one of the most celebrated among 20th century American writers of speculative fiction. Many of Bradbury’s works have been adapted into television shows or films.

It is hard to believe that Ray Bradbury, my all time favorite SciFi/Fantasy writer is no longer with us.

Ray Bradbury at 75 from Wikimedia

Ray Bradbury at 75 from Wikimedia

Ray Bradbury dies: Author of ‘Fahrenheit 451’ and ‘Martian Chronicles’ was 91 – WashingtonPost

Ray Bradbury, the science fiction-fantasy master who transformed his childhood dreams and Cold War fears into telepathic Martians, lovesick sea monsters, and, in uncanny detail, the high-tech, book-burning future of “Fahrenheit 451,” has died. He was 91.

He died Tuesday night, his daughter said Wednesday. Alexandra Bradbury did not have additional details.

Ray Bradbury even approaching his 90s was turning out novels and plays/screen plays and surprisingly poetry, although apparently after his stroke, it did slow him down a bit.

My heart goes out to Ray Bradbury’s family. Their loss is so great, I know, but the loss to the world is also great. Ray Bradbury will be mourned and missed by the whole world. His contributions to the SciFi/Fantasy/Thriller genres alone will continue to be appreciated by those who love his work and will be passed on to their children for generations to come. Who could ask for a better legacy.

It is hard to believe that there will be no more Fahrenheit 451 or Martian Chronicles or the other myriads of great works by Ray Bradbury again… so instead, I will just sit here listening to my book. I think maybe he was the first person who ever wrote about ‘listening to books’ in the way he did in Martian Chronicles.

Whether you generally appreciate Science Fiction or not, Ray Bradbury was a fabulous writer and a true storyteller. He had a a very special gift.

You will be greatly missed Ray Bradbury…. The world won’t seem the same without you somehow…

Ray Bradbury from his About Ray Bradbury page
Ray Bradbury from his About Ray Bradbury page
This may have been Ray Bradbury’s last published article/work, it was on the New Yorker posted June 4, 2012, the day before he passed away: Take Me Home by Ray Bradbury – NewYorker. Thank you GeniusMusings for finding the article.
Posted with permission from MyPassionIsBooks.Wordpress.com.
Movies from Ray Bradbury’s novels (did I miss any?):

Happy Birthday William Shatner…80 and counting!

William Shatner as James T. Kirk

William Shatner as James T. Kirk courtesy of Wikipedia

Wow, two Star Trek greats birthdays in March within a week of each other! William Shatner‘s 80th birthday was actually the 22nd of March, but I was not here for a few days and almost missed it! Happy Birthday William Shatner!

William Shatner was wonderful as Captain James T. (Tiberius) Kirk! I am so happy to hear that he is still with us.

As I mentioned in Leonard Nimoy’s Happy Birthday article here earlier today (which was the 26th of March), Star Trek is likely one of my most favorite franchises of all time — the love of this franchise spans from the 60s to present day. It grew with me from childhood to adulthood.

The wonderful blending of personalities on Star Trek was led by William Shatner as well as the way the writers and actors’/actresses’ characters kept the sense of loyalty, friendship and understanding going between them no matter what the situation was on the shows and movies. Each character was diverse, but with a common thread between them of the mission and their part in it.

Over the years, it has been hard to know what my absolute favorite character was in Star Trek, but William Shatner as Captain Kirk has certainly played a big role in keeping it on top of my favorite list year after year. As well as Spock, Doctor McCoy, Scottie, Lt. Uhura, and so many others! They each played their roles so well over the years, but the focus and loyalty of their roles was to the Captain, Star Fleet, and the mission .. but the Captain embodied that loyalty. So it is hard to not find William Shatner’s role as being focal for me. He did such a great job in TOS to bring that to pass in what was presented to us on the screens on our old black and white, tube type televisions from the first year it was presented to us.

Thank you so much William Shatner for being there and carrying through with it till the end of TOS series. He certainly has done other things very well, but he will always be best embodied as Captain James T. Kirk. Not type cast, just admired for a role that was the glue for Star Trek, TOS.

Happy Birthday William Shatner! May you have many more, as many as you wish! In the words of Mr. Spock, “Live Long and Prosper”.

Happy Birthday Leonard Nimoy … 80 and counting!

Leonard Nimoy as Spock

Leonard Nimoy as Spock courtesy of Wikipedia

It is fantastic that we still have Leonard Nimoy with us. No matter how he has felt about the character Spock over the years, he has always provided a graceful and positive image of one of my most favorite characters in Star Trek.

Star Trek is likely one of my most favorite franchises of all time — the love of this franchise spans from the 60s to present day. It grew with me from childhood to adulthood.

Leonard Nimoy has certainly had his hands in so many creative areas, but he always seems to make time for those who love Star Trek, and for that I am very thankful. He truly understands how we view Spock and helped to shape Spock as well as maintain that image for us through the years.

There is a wonderful article on StarTrek.com entitled Happy 80th Birthday, Leonard Nimoy, as well as a great, indepth, 3-part interview with Leonard Nimoy entitled “Orbiting 80, Nimoy Looks Back… and AheadPart 1, Part 2, Part 3.

It is also very interesting that, as different as they are, both William Shatner, (Captain James T. Kirk) and Leonard Nimoy (Spock) share not only the same birthday month, but the same year as well. They both turned 80 this month, within a week of each other. I will talk more about William Shatner in his separate birthday wishes article. I almost missed it!

I also will talk more about Star Trek in other articles for 5BuckReview over time, especially since I not only loved TOS (The Original Series), and all the other wonderful series based upon the Star Trek franchise (as well as all the movies), but I also watched and loved the perfect solution in the ingenious alternate reality created for Star Trek (2009) movie. It was done so nothing was lost or invalidated of the original Star Trek sets of series and movies. What a wonderful way to handle it. I can’t wait for the next movie!

Thank you for all the wonderful years as Spock, Leonard Nimoy and Happy 80th Birthday! I wish you many more as long as you wish for them! Live Long and Prosper!!!

You can check out Leoard Nimoy’s thoughts at @TheRealNimoy on Twitter and wish him a Happy Birthday!

Mystery Classics

25 Mystery Classics

25 Mystery Classics

25 Mystery Classics
Best of the Best Collectors Edition – 25 Mystery Classics. I got it from Target on sale for $5!

It has 2 double sided DVDs — over 30 hours of movies!

There were some Sherlock Holmes movies (The Sign of the Four and The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes, Murder at the Baskervilles, The Woman in Green, Terror by Night, Dressed to Kill, A Study in Scarlet), some Tales of the Unexpected (The Sound Machine, Shatterproof, The Stinker, I’ll Be Seeing You), some Mr. and Mrs. North episodes, some Crime Stories (Highway Patrol, Boston Blackie, Public Defender), and some stand alone movies (Death Sentence, Dangerous Assignment, Mr. Wong Detective, Midnight Manhunt, Murder by Television and The Black Raven).

I just love the old mystery movies and TV shows! It has provided hours and hours of great old classic movie watching!

Amazon has some great combo DVDs of old mysteries too, including the one at Target but it’s not on sale for $5 (at Amazon it’s still the normal $5.98):

A Time to Kill

A Time to Kill DVDAll I can say is wow! What a powerful movie. It was wonderful to see so many great actors and actresses in this movie, as well as those I hadn’t seen before, and all doing such a tremendous job.

John Grisham’s bestseller A Time to Kill hits the screen with incendiary force, directed by Joel Schumacher (Batman Forever, The Client). Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew McConaughey and Kevin Spacey portray the principals in a murder trial that brings a small Mississippi town’s racial tensions to the flashpoint. Amid a frenzy of activist marches, Klan terror, media clamor and brutal riots, an unseasoned but idealistic young attorney mounts a stirring courtroom battle for justice. The superb ensemble also includes Brenda Fricker, Oliver Platt, Charles S. Dutton, Ashley Judd, Patrick McGoohan, Chris Cooper and both Donald and Keifer Sutherland. These and other talents make A Time to Kill “one of the year’s most powerful films” (Jeffrey Lyons, SNEAK PREVIEW/ABC WORLD NEWS NOW).

John Grisham's A Time to Kill
This is a tragic, heartwarming, heartbreaking story. It is a must see movie, and an amazing book by John Grisham. I can’t say it enough … it was an exceptional movie. My copy of this DVD movie is an older, two sided DVD that has the cardboard snap cover on it, rather than a standard plastic DVD cover. I got it from a bin somewhere, maybe Walmart, or maybe even a thrift store somewhere, or maybe even on eBay’s Half.com. I can’t remember for sure as I have had it for several years now. The movie itself was done in 1996.

If you ever have an opportunity to rent or buy this movie, I don’t think you can be disappointed in it.

The big names, the well known actors and actresses were fantastic in their roles, as was the leading role played by Matthew McConaughey (he did a great job!), and his wife by Ashley Judd were very deep roles, as was Sandra Bullock’s role. It was great to see father and son (Donald and Keifer Sutherland) in the same movie and playing such dramatically different roles. I don’t think I remember seeing the two of them together in a movie before. Have you?

You wouldn’t know it by watching the Batman movies they collaborated on, but this smart adaptation of John Grisham’s novel proves that director Joel Schumacher and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman have some talent when the right project comes along. Schumacher had previously directed Grisham’s The Client, and brought equal craft and intelligence to this story about a young Southern attorney (Matthew McConaughey, in his breakthrough role) who defends a black father (Samuel L. Jackson) after he kills two men who raped his young daughter. Sandra Bullock plays the passionate law student who serves as McConaughey’s legal aide and voice of conscience in the racially charged drama. Added to the star power of the lead roles is a fine supporting cast, including Kevin Spacey, Ashley Judd, and Oliver Platt. –Jeff Shannon


Just picked up Gattaca from a WaWa store while getting gas for the car for $5.99. Definitely within the ‘affordable’ range. 😉

This was a great movie we saw years ago on a movie channel back when we had cable TV. And I have not seen it in the $5 bin at Walmart or over in the inexpensive DVDs at Target either. I have been watching for it because it was such an excellent movie. It still after 13-14 yrs, it is still 7.8 out of 10 stars at IMDb as of today.

Gattaca has a very important message that is even more relevant today than it was back in 1997 when the movie was made.

The movie starred Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Gore Vidal, Ernest Borgnine and others.

It shows what can happen when genetic markers/identities become the norm, when they think they can predict someone’s future by their genetics and people’s lives and jobs are what suffers…despite it being illegal to choose job applicants by their genetics.

It is the story of a ‘normal’ person and his ‘genetically engineered’ brother and how genetic differences affected their lives, and those around them.

A gripping story. Prophetic. And maybe we can keep this from happening … If only …

Karate Kid (2010)

Karate Kid (2010) was a thoroughly engrossing and great movie. It had all the the same elements as the original Karate Kid. Jackie Chan and Jayden Smith did a great job.

I found it exciting, engaging, heartwarming, and a great sequel to the original Karate Kid. I found it refreshing that they decided to use Kung Fu (one of my favorite TV Shows too), instead of Karate this time around, and who better to show that off as the teacher then Jackie Chan! He did a great job, and Pat Morita was a tough act to follow. He was wonderful in the Forbidden Kingdom as well, BTW.

I was highly impressed with Jayden’s first truly leading role, hats off to you Jayden. Great job. I am sure Dad, Will Smith, and the rest of your family are very proud of the job you did.

This is not Jayden Smith’s first movie though, he also played Jacob Benson in the new The Day The Earth Stood Still as well. Another movie where I enjoyed the remake as much as the original.

Considering that the original Karate Kid movie got high ratings, as it should (it is one of my favorites, btw), it was a tough act to follow, even though it was done back in 1984. Which is all the more reason that Karate Kid (2010) still stands tall as a great flick, to me. And the fact that I can say that many good things about this movie, gives Jayden’s performance even more of a thumbsup. And who better to take over the role of reluctant Kung Fu teacher than Jackie Chan, the drunken immortal from Forbidden Kingdom…and all of his other wonderful, action packed films. I make it a point never to miss any of Jackie Chan’s movies, or Jet Li’s for that matter.

I thought it was great to take this remake to China. The scenery was gorgeous and so fitting for such a movie.

I saw Karate Kid was out at Red Box, so I figured what could I lose, right? But to my surprise was thoroughly pleased with the choice and the movie. When I got it, I got it from Red Box on the movie name alone. I didn’t realize who was it it. Just wanted to see the remake for myself. Very glad I did!

Like they mentioned in the Editorial Review at Amazon, I too agree that this should be 8-12 or older, with parental guidance. But with that guidance, I think it would be an inspiration to most kids in that age group, or kids of any age. 😉