DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA – Review by Martha K Baker

They have all been through a lot, and the new era offers just as many challenges. The prospect of another war and a depression. A leaky roof. Hetero- v. homosexuality. A French villa no one knew about from a paramour no one knew about. Lord Grantham’s lineage. Who inherits what? Plus a moving picture filmed on the premises — just as Downton is, which presents the running theme of silent films vs. “talkies.”

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DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA – Review by Susan Granger

If you’re an avid fan of the PBS series and followed the franchise onto the big screen, you should relish this reunion with the inhabitants of the Crawley’s stately country house who have become so familiar. But if you’re not acquainted with their backstories, this sequel may be a bit bewildering. Written once again by series creator Julian Fellowes and directed by Simon Curtis, the period drama, set circa 1929, veers between Yorkshire and the South of France and is fraught with emotional complications.

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DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA – Review by T. J. Callahan

In Downton Abbey: The New Era. the Crawleys of Grantham have invited us back into their stately manor to catch us up on what the Earl, his family, and all of the spunky servants have been up to of late. This is the sequel to the 2019 movie spinoff of the globally popular six-season TV series that lasted from 2010 to 2015. Fans of the Downton Abbey franchise will find The New Era scathingly delicious and sentimentally sweet. But, if you’ve never visited the Granthams before, you’ll probably have more fun watching your favorite DVD.

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OPERATION MINCEMEAT – Review by Martha K Baker

Ian Fleming — yes, that Ian Fleming — narrates Operation Mincemeat: “In any story,” he writes, “there is that which is seen and that which is hidden.” Such is the case with Operation Mincemeat and the fascinating — and flawed — film based on the true event. The time is July 1943 during World War II. The place is England; the target is Sicily.

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AFTER LIFE Season Three – Review by Martha K Baker

This series has Ricky Gervais’ handprints all over it. That’s a good thing. After Life is that rare look at grief that does not shy away from searing pain or shocking humor. But, the third and final season is not so knife-sharp as the first two. It cannot be. The six episodes fly by with each episode as evanescent as water through reeds.

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ETERNAL BEAUTY – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Sally Hawkins is a treasure. Her presence alone elevates any movie she’s in, giving audiences a reason to stay riveted even when the story doesn’t quite live up to her performance. Eternal Beauty, written and directed by Craig Roberts, is a perfect example. Hawkins stars as Jane, suffering from depression and schizophrenia after being jilted at the altar years ago and due to abuse by her mother. Hawkins brings such compassion to her flawed character. And because Roberts brings her to his flawed movie, it is powerful to watch. Hawkins is truly, as Jane’s therapist would say, “in her oils.”

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DOWNTON ABBEY – Review by Susan Granger

If you’re an avid fan of PBS’ dramatic series Downton Abbey, you’ll relish this big-screen version. Working with screenwriter James Fellowes, director Michael Engler manages to give all the characters their own mini-crisis and catharsis, involving proper manners and utmost civility, drawing on the trials and tribulations of England’s inherent class system, which exists despite anti-monarchist grumbles.

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DOWNTON ABBEY – Review by Leslie Combemale

You don’t really know the fans of Downton Abbey until you sit in a darkened theater as the first strains of the theme song start playing, to a bust of applause, and even a few gasps. Thus begins the feature film that feels like its only raison d’etre is to tie all the storylines and character arcs into big, flouncy bows, of the kind one sees on the back of a bejeweled 20s-era frock.

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