Daily Archives: October 24, 2014

The Jane Austen Rules Book Review

Jane Austen is everywhere. Despite the fact that she died nearly 200 years ago and only has 6 completed novels to her name, she is a brand unto herself.

It’s not difficult to peruse a bookstore or library and find many titles relating to Jane and and her characters.

One of the newest additions this ever growing Jane Austen library is The Jane Austen Rules: A Classic Guide To Modern Love.

Scholar Sinead Murphy combines the lessons learned from Austen’s female characters with The Rules, a Georgian era book that informed women on how to behave and present themselves to the world.  Using characters such as Elizabeth Bennet, Emma Woodhouse and Catherine Moreland as examples, Ms. Murphy guides her readers through the often rocky path of finding the right person, while finding happiness as a single, independent woman.

I am not sure that I liked this book. It doesn’t take a scholar to figure out the life lessons that readers have been learning from Austen’s characters for the last 200 years. As an Janeite, I did enjoy this book. But I felt like I was being preached to.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Catherine Moreland has to simply take her head out of the gothic romance novels to see what is going in around her, or to know that Emma Woodhouse is not the matchmaker and know it all that she thinks she is and Elizabeth Bennet to learn to curb her prejudices and her slightly sharp tongue.

Do I recommend this book? I’m not sure.

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Flashback Friday-X-Men 2 (2003)

In the world of movie sequels, there are many that are released to the movie going public. But there are few movie sequels that not only stand on their own, but also advance the story forward.

One of these  movies is X-Men 2, released in 2003.

Taking off from where X-Men ended, X-Men 2 begins several months later. A previously unknown mutant, Nightcrawler, (Alan Cumming) has attempted to assassinate the President. In retaliation, the governments puts into a place a series of anti-mutant measures.  Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is trying to find out where he came from while Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) is trying to break her boss, Magneto (Ian McKellen) from prison.

Complicating things is William Stryker (Brian Cox), a scientist who breaks into Professor X’s school and take hostages, Professor Xavier included. Now both teams of mutants must come together to rescue the hostages.

Up until earlier this year when I saw X-Men: Days Of Future Past, I would have said that X-Men 2 is the best comic book movie ever made. But second place is still not bad.

What I liked about this movie is the mixture of the action and the drama. While this movie has the requisite heroes vs. villain scenes, it is much more complicated. This movie blurs the lines (especially within the mutant characters) of who is a hero and and who is a villain. The scene in the movie when Bobby comes out to his family (spoiler alert), who then rejects him, breaks my heart. The final scene of the movie (which I will not spoil for those who have not seen this movie) was on the greatest movie cliffhangers I had seen up to that point.

I recommend this movie.

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Flashback Friday- Enchanted (2007)

Disney is known for a certain type of fairy tale.

A young woman, usually a princess, has met her prince or is on her way to her prince. But there is usually a witch or another barrier to their happily ever after.  They usually take themselves very seriously.

In 2007, Enchanted, the good people of Disney satirized themselves.

Animated Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) is on her way to her happily ever after with Prince Edward (James Marsden). But Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) will do anything to prevent Giselle’s and Edward’s union. Giselle is banished from the magical, musical world that she knows and find herself in gritty, complicated New York City where true love does not always win out in the end.

Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) is a divorce lawyer raising his young daughter by himself. He is practical, realistic man who takes Giselle home. He also has a girlfriend, Nancy Tremaine (Idina Menzel), whom he is trying to propose to. Giselle begins to have feelings for Robert and understand that love is not as simple as she thought. But with her fairy tale prince searching for her, she has to decide what she wants: the simple, predictable happily ever after or the ever questioning, complicated real world?

I’m not a huge Disney fan. But the fact that this movie satirizes and respects Disney earns my respect. I liked the character’s journey, especially the ones that come from the animated world and have to learn that life is not so simple.

I recommend this movie.

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Flashback Friday- Sabrina (1954 and 1995)

Audrey Hepburn is an icon. Her movies, her perfect fashion sense, have lived on 21 years after her passing.

One of her earliest movies, Sabrina, happens to be one my favorite classic Hollywood movies and the subject of this Flashback Friday post.

Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn) is the daughter of the Larabee family chauffeur. She is mousy, quiet and watching from the sidelines. She has a crush on David (William Holden), the younger Larabee  son who does not know that she exists.  After receiving an opportunity to live in Paris, Sabrina returns home, fashionable and elegant.

David quickly takes notice of her. But the problem is that David is engaged and breaking his engagement could potentially ruin a business deal with his future father in law.  David’s older brother Linus (Humphrey Bogart) starts to spend time with Sabrina to try to sway her attention away from his brother. But Linus will soon find that he too is falling for her.

This movie is classic Hollywood at it’s best. Despite the age different between Hepburn and Bogart, their chemistry is perfect. What I love about this movie is the Cinderella-esque journey that happens to Sabrina. Her transformation from a gawky, unsure young girl to an elegant woman who thinks that she has finally gained the attention and affection of the man who she has secretly loved is magical.

In  1995, a lackluster remake of Sabrina premiered. Taking over from Hepburn, Holden and Bogart was Julia Ormond, Greg Kinnear and Harrison Ford. While the movie tries to be what was then a modern update, there is something not quite right about.

I recommend first the 1954 original movie. And then if you like that movie, try the 1995 remake.

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