Monthly Archives: December 2013

Death Comes to Pemberley- A Good Sequel

There are a lot fanfiction writers out there. Very few are lucky enough to not only see their work in print, but also see it on screen.

PD James’s sequel to Pride and Prejudice, Death Comes to Pemberley aired the UK over the past few days.  I was lucky enough to see it before my American IP address prevented me from seeing it. 

The 1995 Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle minieries is not only the best filmed adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but the best of the filmed adaptations of any Austen novel.   Any adaptations will always bring comparisons, but this adaptations stands on its own.

Ms. James’s novel starts 6 years after the original novel ends. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are happily married with a young son.  On the eve of the annual Lady Anne Ball, Lydia arrives in hysterics that Captain Denny has been murdered and her husband is in the woods surrounding Pemberley.  During investigation and trial, Georgiana must  choose between duty and marry her cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam or choose her heart and marry Mr. Alveston.

I enjoyed it. Ms. James keeps the language and humor of the original novel, utilizing many of the leading characters while keeping the reader engaged in the mystery.

Taking the reins from Colin Firth, Matthew Rhys is a more mature Darcy who is deeply in love with his wife and aware of the responsibility of his station. Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth is a lively and outgoing as she is in the original novel, but with the experience of marriage, motherhood, as well as sharing the responsibility of running the estate.  Lydia (Jenna Coleman) and Wickham (Matthew Goode), as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet (James Fleet and Rebecca Front) are as they are in original novel.

I enjoyed both the book and the miniseries and I look forward to seeing it when it airs on PBS next month.

 

 

 

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Reviews

The Ashford Affair Review

There is something about the British Aristocracy that always seems to bring in an audience, whether on screen or in print. 

Lauren Willig’s new book, The Ashford Affair weaves together two different stories. At the start of the 20th century Addie is an orphan, taken in by her aristocratic relatives. Her closest confidant is outgoing an vivacious cousin Bea.  At the end of the 20th century, Addie’s granddaughter, Clementine is working crazy hours as a lawyer while dealing with a broken engagement.  During her grandmother’s 99th birthday party, a long held family secret is let out.  The journey to uncover that secret will ultimately change Clementine’s life. 

This book is Downton Abbey Meets Mansfield Park. Right up my alley. 

Ms. Willig tells an interesting story. Sometimes, interwoven tales in different time periods can be confusing. But not in this case.  Clementine’s personal journey interwoven with her grandmother’s life was a compelling read.

I highly recommend it. 

 

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The Book Thief Review

It’s not difficult to find books and movies about Nazi Germany. A good majority of these stories focus on the victims of the Nazis.  A few take a different standpoint, telling the stories of the ordinary Germans who, whether they liked it or not, were forced to live under Nazi rule. 

Markus Zusak’s book, The Book Thief  is about an ordinary young lady and her life during World War II. Liesel Meminger’s brother has recently died. Taken from her mother, she is given to Hans and Rosa Hubermann to raise as their foster daughter. 

She soon learns to read and begins stealing books.  Her foster parents are hiding a Jewish man.  While externally following those around her, her internal growth and beliefs are contrary is what is being taught around her.

I haven’t seen the movie, but I enjoyed this book. It is a little slow, but when it gets going, it’s really good. 

 

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Best And Worst Movies of 2013

2014 is nearly upon us and with that in mind, I would like to share the best and worst movies of 2013.

Best Movies

1. Much Ado About Nothing

Joss Whedon + William Shakespeare= Movie magic.

2. Mandela: Walk To Freedom

This biopic of the recently deceased Mr. Mandela reminds the audience of the power of  the human spirit.

3. 12 Years A Slave

A brutal and honest look at slavery shows the best and worst qualities of humanity.

4. Blue Jasmine

Woody Allen’s modern reboot of Streetcar Named Desire is just as powerful as the original.

5. Man of Steel

A refreshing take on the Superman mythos.

Honorable Mentions

The Butler

The civil rights movement was never more powerful than on screen.

Anchorman 2

Not as quotable as the original, but still extremely funny.

Worst Movies Of The Year

5. Don Jon

Joseph Gordon Levitt’s directorial debut wasn’t as good as it could have been.

4. Romeo and Juliet

Don’t bother with this movie. If your hankering to see R&J on the big screen, try either the 1968 movie or Baz Luhrmann’s mid 90’s reboot.

3. Vamps

Everything about this movie is a waste of time. It’s not even worth the dollar bin.

2. Lone Ranger

It could have been so good, but it wasn’t.

1. Austenland

I wonder if the filmmakers had a secret plan to mock the audience they were looking for.

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Filed under Movie Review, Movies, Reviews, William Shakespeare

Anchorman 2- No Sequelitis Here

Anchorman is a comedy classic. The movie came out only 9 years ago and was instantly quotable.

The sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, is as brilliant and funny as the original.  More often than not, many movie sequels suffer from sequelitis. Anchorman 2 is not afflicted.

The movie starts 7 years after the original ends. Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) are married with a young son and co-anchor the news.  After Veronica is offered and accepts her own solo anchor seat, Ron, who has been fired from his position forces her to choose between him and her job. When he is offered an opportunity to anchor a new 24 hour news network, he brings back the crew: Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) and Champ Kind (David Koechner).

This movie is funny. Even after 7 years, Ron Burgundy is still Ron Burgundy. Even when trying to be to open to diversity and meeting his boss Linda Jackson (Meagan Good), he is still the same.

I won’t give the details away, but the fight scene and the cameos in that scene is just the icing on the cake. It’s 2 hours, but a funny 2 hours.

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A Re-Imagined Classic- Not Really

Anytime a modern writer attempts to re-write a classic, they are walking a fine line. It could be interesting and open up a new audience to the classic, or it could be a writer’s easy way to write their next work without actually doing much of the work.

The Lizzie Bennett Diaries is an example of the first. Joanne Trollope’s modern reboot of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Sense and Sensibility, using the same title, is an example of the second.

Sense and Sensibility, for the uninitiated, is Jane Austen’s first published novel. The protagonists, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are sisters. Elinor is practical and realistic, Marianne is romantic and dream filled. After the death of their father, their elder brother inherits the family home and they are forced, with their mother and youngest sister to find another place to call home.

Ms. Trollope does an admirable job of translating the novel from regency era to the modern era.  However, it doesn’t take much effort to make the necessary changes to move the novel from the 19th century to the 21st century. The only advantage of this novel, is introducing readers to Austen who otherwise might have not read her.

I picked this book up as a lark at the library.   Would I recommend it?  Yes and No.  If the reader is an Austen virgin, then yes, especially if the reader might not understand the original novel.  But to a longtime Janeite who had read original novel many times over and has seen several screen adaptations, I would say no.

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Them

*-These characters belong to Disney and the creators of OUAT. I am simply a humble fan.

*Inspired by Sunday’s mid season finale. If you haven’t seen the episode, the fic contains major spoilers.

 

Them

He loved them all. He would do anything to save them.

Rumplestilkin had to stop his father. To do that, he had to kill them both.

He watched them in suspended animation, his eyes drifting from one to another.

He loved his son, their brief reunion made up for all of the years that they had been separated.

He loved Belle; she was the only woman he had ever truly loved. If things would have been different, he would have married her a long time ago. Perhaps Rumplestilkin would have another shot at fatherhood, be the father he couldn’t be for Baelfire.

For them, he would make the ultimate sacrifice.

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Writers Circle In Heaven

I’m not much of a poet, but in honor of Jane Austen’s birthday, I decided to write a poem in her honor.

She sits in the writers circle in heaven

Where all of the greats sit

The ones whose mortal bones are no longer of this earth, but their words are immortal

Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens, The Brontes, Radcliffe, Shelley and Byron

They toast her on her birthday in heaven

As we do on earth

As we read and re-read her books again and again

As we watch movies about her life and based on her books

As we debate who played Darcy better, Colin Firth or Matthew MacFadeyn

As we toast her on, this day, the 238th anniversary of her birth

Happy Birthday Jane, our lives would not be the same without you

 

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Saving Mr. Banks- Behind The Scenes Of A Classic

Tonight I saw Saving Mr. Banks, the biopic of how Mary Poppins was transferred from the page to the screen.

The film has two alternating, but equal story lines.  PL Travers (Emma Thompson) is the author of Mary Poppins.  Sales have dried up and she is in need of an income. For the past twenty years, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) has been asking her for the rights to make a film based on the book. She has finally agreed to travel to Los Angeles to discuss the possibility of making the movie, but she is determined that it does not become too Hollywoodized.

The other story line is the flashbacks of her childhood in Australia. Her father (Colin Farrell) loves his family, but has flaws that prevents him from being the father and husband that he needs to be. Her mother (Ruth Wilson) does her best to be a good mother, but finds herself hindered by her husband’s actions.

We all know Mary Poppins, the movie has been part of our lives since it premiered. It’s like any classic, sometimes when you know the details and experiences of the author’s life, the story takes on a different meaning.

The movie clocks in at 2 hours. It’s a little long, but enjoyable.

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Of Blessed Memory

Today is the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. One year ago today, twenty children and the six adults who bravely attempted to protect their students were taken from us.

I have no personal connection to anyone connected to the shooting, but my heart bleeds just the same.

We need to make changes in this country.  I am all for protecting the rights of my fellow citizens, as well as protecting the constitution, but our guns laws must change. How many times in the news have we seen stories about innocents being murdered? How many times must we bury our loved ones? How many children will be taken before their time before things change?

The murders, in addition to putting a large and glaring spotlight on the severely needed change in gun laws, also questions how we deal with those with mental health issues. Perhaps this tragedy might had been averted had he received the necessary medical treatments.

Hindsight is always 20/20. We can always ask, what if. What if we had done something different? What if this tragedy could have been prevented?

Unfortunately, there is  no way to go back, undo what has been done. We can only remember them, of blessed memory and work to hopefully prevent another tragedy like Sandy Hook.

On a personal note, one of the teachers killed, Mary Joy Greene Sherlach, attended the same college as I did. It’s an honor to be an alumni of the same school. RIP.

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