Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Call The Midwife- PBS this Sunday Sept 30!

Call The Midwife

If you are patiently awaiting the return of Downton Abbey, you have a real treat in store. Call The Midwife is a BBC miniseries based on the best selling memoirs of Jennifer Worth. I can't talk this one up enough! I love it!!! The stories of young midwives delivering babies in the East End of London in the 1950s is moving and funny and will have you coming back for all 5 episodes. Sunday night on PBS is going to be wonderful this fall!

Jessica Raine plays Jenny Lee, a young woman from the wealthy countryside of England who has trained as a nurse and midwife and is posted to the rough East End of London. The series follows her and her fellow midwives as they work in one of the poorest parts of London, still reeling from the bombings of WWII.

Judy Parfitt, Pam Ferris, Jenny Agutter and Laura Main as the nuns

Instead of the hospital Jenny Lee is expecting, she finds herself posted to a convent (Nonnatus House) with some fairly unconventional nuns. Judy Parfitt (Mrs. Clennam from Little Dorrit) and Jenny Agutter (Idina Hatton from The Buccaneers) are particularly wonderful as the nuns overseeing and teaching the young midwives. Judy Parfitt plays the adorable Sister Monica Joan who has a bit of dementia and is only occasionally lucid. Hilarious and touching at the same time. Jenny Agutter is Sister Julienne, the real heart of the operation and someone for the young midwives to look up to.

Helen George, Miranda Hart, Jessica Raine and Bryony Hannah

Long before her memoirs were filmed, author of the book Jennifer Worth asked Miranda Hart to play Chummy Browne, the six foot tall ungainly, clumsy midwife featured in the stories. If you haven't seen comedienne Miranda Hart before, you will love her and you will start to look for her in other things. She doesn't appear until episode 2 so stay tuned.

If I have any readers in the UK, Australia, New Zealand or Europe who have already seen this, please comment below and tell us what you thought of it. Personally, I cannot wait!

P.S. As PBS says, check local listings. Some of the stations are starting this Sunday Sept 30 at 8pm but my local station in Buffalo has it listed as starting the week after (Sunday Oct. 7 at 8 pm)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Two Weeks Notice- 2002

I have a weakness for a certain type of chick flick. Yes, ones with a cheeky sense of humour. And this one really fits the bill. Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant look like they had a ball filming this and it is just as much fun to watch them doing what they do best.

Bullock stars as a brilliant but neurotic attorney and Grant as her wealthy, irresponsible but somehow charming boss. Hugh Grant starring as Hugh Grant basically, which is why it works so well.

George Wade: I own the hotel, and I live there. My life is very much like Monopoly.

George Wade: Before you came into my life I could make all kinds of decisions now I'm addicted I have to know what you think. What do you think?
[holds up cufflinks]
Lucy Kelson: I think you're the most selfish human being on the planet.
George Wade: Well that's just silly. Have you met everybody on the planet?

Lucy Kelson: What did I tell you that defines an emergency?
George Wade: A large meteoroid, severe blood loss and uh... what was the other thing?
Lucy Kelson: Death! And you're not dead!


George Wade: I find you... annoying.

George Wade: If you have to go, just... go!
Lucy Kelson: What? What am I, five years old? This is my car!
George Wade: It's only a Volvo.
Lucy Kelson: People just don't *go* in Volvos.
George Wade: I'll buy you another Volvo!
Lucy Kelson: No! Besides, that is the only thing you'll ever remember about me... that I'm the woman who *went* on the front seat.
George Wade: Well, that would be hard to forget.

June Carter: Do you know what I like even more than chess?
George Wade: Pokémon?

Lucy: You should be so lucky because the lawyerly exterior...don't let that fool you because inside I am, like, a complete animal. It's, like, bobcat. You know, it's scary.
George: I can see that it might be.
Lucy: No. No. Look, I can bend like a pretzel. I'm serious. And I'm not talking the straight kind. I'm talking, like, the twisty kind. Twisty like the bobcat, salty type of pretzel. Because that's what men want, right?
George: That is their dream.


Now I realize that they don't make a very realistic couple. But you can't tell me that a few of those quotes didn't make you smile. I know they did! I hope these two get together for another RomCom at some point because the chemistry is awesome. In a twisty, bobcat, salty pretzel kind of way.

So, do you love this movie too, even though your family rolls their eyes if they see you watching it? (but then they sit down and join you right?)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Georgette Heyer Film: Sign My Petition Please!

How many of you wonderful readers are Georgette Heyer fans? OK, I see a lot of enthusiastic hands waving! We love her, right? And you have all thought that they would make great film adaptations right? So let's try to do something about it.

Apparently there are people out there somewhere who have the film rights to her books. Rumour has it that the film rights for the books have been sold but no films are being made! Here is a quote from the website

"Choosy Productions in the UK have the film rights to all Heyer books except 'The Grand Sophy' and 'These Old Shades' which are owned by a company in the USA"

So let's demand a film adaptation (OK, ask politely and promise to pay to see it?).

Here is the link to my petition. It will only take you a minute and it may result in an actual film. How cool would it be if we used the internet and social media to let the film makers know that there is an audience out there waiting for a Heyer film and then they actually made it? Very cool!

So here it is Georgette Heyer fans!

Please leave a comment either here or on the petition about which book you would most like brought to the big screen? I will start out by saying that Venetia is my fave but I would love ANY of her books on film!

P.S. If anyone knows who has the film rights to Georgette Heyer's novels so that we can petition them directly, please let me know. The idea is to let them know that there is a ready made audience waiting patiently...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Mark Strong- Actor of the Week

Mark Strong in Lord Blackwood costume, smiling!

What a delight to find that I had not yet had Mark Strong as my Actor of the Week. I luuuuurve him and am so glad to be able to go back and review my faves of his films! Whether a good guy or a bad guy, he is always an asset to a film. Born Marco Giuseppe Salussolia in London England to an Italian father and an Austrian mother, his name was changed in childhood by his mother (after his father left) to help him fit in with his peers. Fluent in German, he studied at a University in Munich for a year with the intent of becoming a lawyer before pursuing an acting career in Britian.

Mark Strong as Mr. Knightley in Emma

OK here is my weak spot. I love all the Mr. Knightleys for different reasons. But just look at that furrowed brow on Mark Strong. Is he annoyed at Emma (Kate Beckinsale) or is he annoyed at himself for caring about her so much? He certainly brings out a different aspect of Knightley's character than either Jeremy Northam or Jonny Lee Miller. Sigh! Must watch this again soon. Next migraine day?

Mark Strong and Colin Firth in Fever Pitch

Another role of Mark Strong's that I adore is as Colin Firth's best mate in Fever Pitch. This one is from way back in 1997 and is set in 1989 so the fashions are an absolute hoot, but the story and the acting from these two men in particular make this my second fave Nick Hornby film just edged out by About A Boy. If you have ever had a sports mad male in your life, you need to see this film.

Mark Strong as Harry Starks in The Long Firm

After playing the psychotic 1960s gangster Harry Starks in The Long Firm he had no trouble convincing filmmakers that he could be a bad guy. It is truly amazing that until 2004 he had rarely been cast as anything sinister. And now I think we need to see more good guy roles. Because let's see what he has been in since 2004:

Mark Strong as Toby Crackit in Oliver Twist

In a small role as Toby Crackit (the accomplice of Bill Sykes) in Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist, he rather rocks the ginger fright wig and facial hair.

I won't put a photo of Syriana on this post as I turned it off when Mark Strong's character was pulling out fingernails. Nope. Wouldn't finish watching that one!

Mark Strong as Nick in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

As oily 1930s nightclub owner Nick in Miss Pettigrew Loves for a Day, he is a much more fun bad guy. Oily and controlling, you love to hate him. A perfect role for Mark Strong.

Mark Strong as Sir John Conroy in The Young Victoria

Another wonderful bad guy role for Mark Strong is Sir John Conroy, the oppressive, social climbing comptroller to Queen Victoria's mother ( The Duchess of Kent) in The Young Victoria. Constantly scrapping with Emily Blunt who plays the young queen, he makes you hate him and yet feel sorry for him at the same time as he loses his control over the young Victoria. He apparently went to The National Portrait Gallery in London to see what Conroy looked like and was struck by the resemblance to himself. Would you like to see the real Sir John Conroy?

Sir John Conroy
The resemblance is striking isn't it? Mark Strong was born to play this character! You could swear that this was Mark and not the real Sir John Conroy.

Mark Strong as Lord Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes
If you have to have a bad guy in a film, why not make him as appealing as Lord Blackwood in Sherlock Homes? Mark Strong does bad and sexy sooooooo well!

Mark Strong as Sir Godfrey in Robin Hood

As Sir Godfrey in Robin Hood, an English knight collaborating with the French, Mark Strong gets a meaty role and does it well. Is it shallow of me to say I don't like him bald? I'm just sayin'!

Mark Strong as Jim Prideaux in Tinker Tailor

In Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, he plays the fascinating role of Jim Prideaux. This is an awesome film but very hard to follow if you haven't read the book. I recommend either reading the book or at least the Wikipedia entry for the book or film before you see it. To heck with spoilers, you need help just to follow the plot!

I couldn't get even half of the roles I would have liked on this post, so feel free to add your faves in the comments below. Any other Mark Strong fans out there?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie (Madonna's ex) has done a fabulous job with one of the most adapted literary characters EVER! Apparently Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes first hit celluloid in 1900 in a 30 second long novelty film called Sherlock Holmes Baffled. 260 odd titles later, we have our most recent endeavors, including Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law (and modern day versions Sherlock and Elementary discussed elsewhere on my blog).

Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows

I admit I am a sucker for Robert Downey Jr. He is just so darn likeable as Holmes and you have to love an American actor who can nail an English accent like that. Mmmmmm. And adding just the right amount of comedy to an action film is his specialty no matter which century he lands in. Well done!

Jude Law is great too as second fiddle Watson. He is the voice of reason, when reason seems unlikely and does a fine job of being perennially exasperated. The dog Gladstone is also one of my favourite characters, the poor thing, always being drugged or something. Odd that I would put the dog and Jude Law in the same paragraph, but there you are!

Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Watson

Both of these films are a wonderful updating of Sherlock Holmes for the new millennium.  Making the streets of Victorian London sufficiently grubby is a lovely change from some of the overly rosy sets we have seen in the past. And adding action sequences, slowed down for maximum effectiveness and pointing out clues at just the right time for those of us who need the signposts is brilliant.

Lovely sets but dirty enough for believability.

I saw the first SH in the theatre but waited to rent the second one until recently as I thought it couldn't possibly be as entertaining as the first. I am so glad to say that I was wrong and that I was pleasantly surprised by the sequel. "Two teacups up" for both of these films. I don't usually go for action flicks but set in Victorian London, and done this well, it was a treat. And I think my hubby, The Squire, was grateful to finally get a whiff of testosterone amongst my film choices!

Sherlock Holmes: [voice-over] Head cocked to the left, partial deafness in ear: first point of attack. Two: throat; paralyze vocal chords, stop scream. Three: got to be a heavy drinker, floating rib to the liver. Four: finally, drag in left leg, fist to patella. Summary prognosis: unconscious in ninety seconds, martial efficacy quarter of an hour at best. Full faculty recovery: unlikely.

Mark Strong as Lord Blackwood

Mark Strong plays the villain Lord Blackwood in the first outing. I love that they added some "hubba hubba" for those of us who still think of Mr. Knightley when we see Mark Strong. It's a pity he is the baddie, but still adorable!

Jared Harris as Moriarty

The villain in the sequel is played by Jared Harris as a truly creepy Moriarty. Good acting but not even remotely as appealing as Mark Strong. Sorry Jared.

Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler

Rachel McAdams does a creditable job as Irene Adler, part love interest, part...well...pain in the ass? Well done. A very realistic portrayal of many couple's relationships. Although the real couple are of course Holmes and Watson who are an old married couple, merrily bickering away. Makes you wonder how Guy Ritchie has such insight into marital squabbling doesn't it? Lots of fun and never a dull moment.

Dr. John Watson: Oh, how I've missed you, Holmes.
Sherlock Holmes: Have you? Why? I've barely noticed your absence.

Go ahead and watch these if you haven't already. Great for an evening of light entertainment. And your men will thank you for the nice change!

I may watch them both again in the near future. Cheers!



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