Tag Archives: movies in bed

Movies Television in Bed: The Great British Bake-Off

great british bake off

Post by Mark T. Locker.

We have a great deal of cooking competitions here in the United States, full of weird editing to make the judges look super mad and the contestants look super dopey. Lots of drama; the more, the better. Catty female cooks and cocky male ones. Most of those shows are just too much for me. I like “Chopped” and the ones where they make awesome giant jack-o’-lanterns. But you know what I like even better? “The Great British Bake-Off”. The title pretty much says it all. It’s British! It’s all about baking!

Twelve amateur bakers face off in three daily challenges: first round is the signature challenge, in which the contestants bake a tried and true recipe they make regularly. Next is the technical challenge, wherein they are given a recipe with only general directions and must rely on savvy and know-how to succeed. Third is the show-stopper. Given a general theme, they are to make something that not only tastes great but looks amazing.

The contestants are a wide range, from an older Scottish Navy man to an adorable girl of seventeen named Martha, who always has a smile on her face. It’s fascinating from a cultural perspective as well, with Bakewell tarts and savoury biscuits and all manner of supremely British concoctions. The hosts are charming and funny and the two judges, who are top-tier bakers in their own rights (Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood) are honest but kind.

PBS is currently airing season five and it’s quickly become my favorite show to watch to unwind at the end of the evening. If you love baking, or competition, or are and Anglophile, definitely give this show a watch.

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Movies in Bed: Guardians of the Galaxy

GOTG-posterPost by Mark T. Locker.

In a world where every superhero gets a movie, or a movie franchise, it’s hard not to feel a little bit jaded or at least completely overwhelmed by the flood of choices. It seems like there are new movies every week. So when a movie like “Guardians of the Galaxy” shows up, it’s hard not to be totally skeptical. For one thing: ANOTHER movie from the endless reservoir of Marvel characters. And another: a giant tree man and a talking raccoon make up part of this team. But all that concern falls away when you watch the movie.

Good news: this movie is enjoyable! It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s not a lot of things it could have been. Here’s the premise: Peter Quill is an Earthling who was taken from his home in 1988 and has been raised by a race of blue-skinned thieves. In a tussle to claim a mysterious orb, he and his opponent are arrested and taken to a space prison. Here he meets a giant tree man named Groot, a brilliant but bad-tempered name Rocket, and Drax, a big meaty very literal guy. This motley crew, along with Gamora, the one who fought Quill for the orb, they form an alliance when they discover they have a common enemy in Ronin, who seeks the orb.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is peppered with funny one-liners, top-shelf cast, and plenty of action and special effects to keep viewers entertained. There is a great deal of fighting and killing but none of it is graphic or bloody. Good exciting movie for grown-ups and older children. And I bet you anything you will have “Hooked on a Feeling” in your head for days afterward.

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Movies in Bed: Maleficent

MaleficentPost by Mark T. Locker.

Disney has been on quite the roll lately. It doesn’t hurt that they have gobbled up a number of hugely popular dynasties recently, from Star Wars to Pixar to Marvel. This time, however, Disney is not riding on the coattails of any of these, but rather on a retelling of one of their classic retellings of a classic fairy tale. I am talking, of course, about Maleficent, the dark and dramatic Sleeping Beauty spinoff, told from the perspective of Maleficent, who was so cruelly portrayed in the 1959 cartoon version. In the new telling of the story, we learn that Maleficent was a lovely and kind queen of the moors, cruelly betrayed by the greed of men. The king, her former childhood friend, is the real villain here.

Angelina plays the title role, and does a great job, although there are an awful lot of close-ups of her eyes watching through shadows. Perhaps this is some sort of tribute to the original; I don’t know because I haven’t seen it. Beyond that, though, it is a lovely movie. It has a lot of darkness; you would too if you’d been treated as Maleficent had. But Sleeping Beauty brings a brightness and joy to everything and everyone she encounters.

Don’t look for any hackneyed old plot points in this movie! Disney seems to be all about turning all the tired old clichés on their heads; especially the ones they’ve been guilty of perpetuating in the past. Now available on DVD, it’s a great movie to watch with the kids on a chilly autumn evening.

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Movies in Bed: Earth to Echo

Earth-to-Echo-NLB

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we tend to crumple at the sight of a snowflake or a frosted window pane. Therefore, I was prepared to stay home when the first icy pellets hit my porch and the call came in that my son’s school was canceled. I still had work to do, but without any actual snow for him to play it, I was pressed to come up with activities to keep him entertained. By two o’clock in the afternoon, we were all feeling stretched so I suggested we find a movie to watch!

The moment the cover for Earth to Echo popped up on the screen, he knew that was the movie he wanted to see. He was not disappointed.

Earth to Echo is part E.T., part Cloverfield, part Goonies. Three adolescent boys are losing their homes to a freeway project. For their last night together, they decide to go on a big adventure. When their phones go all haywire, they realize, eventually, that they are suddenly showing them a map, guiding them to something out in the Nevada desert. Determined to record the whole event, they head out in the darkness on bikes, equipped with Go Pro cameras, spy cameras, smartphones. What they find is just the first piece of a puzzle that will lead them through deserts, danger, and strangers eager to get their hands on the little robotic alien nicknamed “Echo”.

This is a great fun and exciting movie for elementary age kids. Lots of action without any violence, and a satisfying, if bittersweet ending that will leave them pleased.

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Movies in Bed: Curious George Halloween Boo Fest

curious george

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Well, today’s the big day! Happy Halloween, everyone! From the moment school begins, the witches and ghosts and skeletons come out. The black-dyed cheesecloth gets wrapped around old bones and bags of candy appear across from rows and rows of scythes. And many people enjoy watching scary, scary movies after darkness falls. I like watching scary, scary movies. They don’t tend to really scare me for the most part. I suppose I could still watch these movies, but now I’m a parent I have to wait until the kid is in bed and the likelihood of having enough energy to watch a whole movie on a weeknight is very, very slim. And my little boy is not a fan of scary movies. Not even kind of scary movies. The Dreamworks Halloween special “Night of the Living Carrots”, which is about carrots possessed by weird alien glowing stuff, was way too scary to watch. Mostly I think it’s because they turn people into zombie-like things. Zombies scare the bejeezus out of him.

So now for most of my Halloween fix has to come from such decidedly un-scary programming as Curious George’s Halloween Boo Fest! The SCARY bit is about a scarecrow named No Noggin who KICKS PEOPLESHATS OFF THEIR HEADS There is also a pumpkin contest. By the way, in case you are worried, No Noggin is not real. There is something else behind the hats going missing. Hint: it’s not scary and it’s totally implausible. So if you have a little kid, you can give this hour-long Curious George special a try. It’s probably available streaming via PBS for a couple more days.

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