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I loved this series at the beginning. The Edwardian costumes were so beautiful. The settings were glorious. I have watched it faithfully, and mostly enjoyed the twists and turns it took me through. I was also breathless with hope that the beautiful Lady Mary would end up with Matthew Crawley. However, this last episode of Season 3 was a total downer and came at me entirely out of left field. Progressively, throughout seasons 1 and 2, this series has seemed more and more like a Soap Opera! Can anything GOOD happen in this family? If it does, believe me, it won't last! The evil triumph. The good die. This season started so beautifully after all the ups and downs of Season 2 with Mr. Bates being falsely accused and wrongfully incarcerated (so much for the underdog). Then there was the heartbreak of losing sweet and angelic Lavinia and the fact that Matthew seemed to use it as just another excuse to offend and estrange Lady Mary. Likewise, the waspish and poisonous machinations of Thomas, the Footman turned Valet, clinging to Downton like the leech that he is and the entire household trying to carry on as if ignoring his behavior (not to mention O'Brien's) would relegate it to the realm of grade schooler's childish pranks. More ambiguity in a seeming attempt to confuse viewers about the difference between good and bad behavior. Then, after giving us our heart's desire and putting us on cloud 9 with Lady Mary and Matthew's love, engagement, marriage and attempts at a family, they have to dash our hopes. All of this has left me with a very bad taste in my mouth. Is it worth it then to see what happens next season with Lord and Lady Grantham, Bates and Anna, Carson, Daisy and Mrs. Hughes. While I did enjoy those story lines, I'm afraid I won't be wasting my time with Season 4. My heart, which will break at Lady Mary's grief and loneliness (like we didn't already get enough of it w/ Branson), can't take it when they finally promote triumphant Thomas to Head Butler. This makes me very sad, because this was one of the few shows on PBS that wasn't a murder mystery (there are so many of them). I am only giving this series 2 stars after the disappointment of the Season 3 finale.
I had to chuckle when PBS started asking for donations after the final Season 3 episode was over. People, if you want my money, SHOW ME A GOOD TIME!
A Christmas Carol (2009)
3D is the bomb!
I was completely blown away by the 3D effects of Disney's A Christmas Carol! I remember watching Hondo in 3D YEARS ago, and being awed by the effects, but those were a pale comparison to what I saw in A Christmas Carol! It was like being in the same room with the characters, or out on the street watching them. I loved how those effects drew me into the 1800's, and allowed me to see what life must've really looked like then. Until they develop "smell-evision", 3D is the next best thing! Having said that, I truly longed for the creators of this movie to have spared us the roller-coaster ride through London with Mr. Scrooge, as well as the interminable shrinking of Mr. Scrooge, and instead have spent more time developing the characters. Yes, we are most of us very familiar with them already, but this was the first time I have ever experienced this story in any form where Tiny Tim did not tug at my heart. Not enough time was spent drawing us into what really caused Mr. Scrooge to learn to love him. Besides that though, this movie really blew me away. I can't wait to see it on DVD (or, in the future when they figure out how to bring this into our homes without the glasses). P.S. I LOVED Gary Oldman as Bob Cratchit!
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)
...not really what I was expecting, but still worth a matinée.
I gave this movie a 5 out of 10 stars simply because I love the saga, and am lovingly devoted to Team Edward. My only beef is that Kristen Stewart (while being very lovely and easy to watch) needs to study some film noir to find out what beautiful women do when kissed by sexy men. They basically tip their head back, allowing themselves to be vulnerable. Kristen seems to let the guy do all the work. Does she REALLY want to be a vampire??? Then, why protect the neck? Looks very awkward. But that being said, I WAS entertained! The cinematography was lovely! CG wolves were 95% believable. Loved to see how Taylor Lautner bulked up for his role. The whole audience broke out into applause when he removed his shirt! But, moments that were intended to provide tension in the audience really fell flat, and elicited laughter instead! Where was the chemistry this time? I think that Catherine Hardwick did a much better job as director. Maybe she took the premise more seriously. The music didn't grab me like it did in Twilight. I wouldn't download any of these tunes. And, I hate to say it, but while R Patz is VERY beautiful to behold (Really Rob. You are. We're not all smokin' crack out here) I just didn't believe his declaration of love or his need for Bella. Where was the joy of their reunion? If it was there, it was totally obliterated by the awkwardness of Kristen's tucked chin. Loosen up girl!
Becoming Jane (2007)
That Old Austen Magic
It is like someone bottled all the magic from Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, and Persuasion and channeled it into this modernized tale of Jane Austen's life. Admittedly, Hollywood has its hand in the story line as well as the casting. Anne Hathaway, a marvelous actress to be sure, is too gamin faced to be playing a Regency Character. I was not sold on her attempt at an English accent, either. However, that being said, the chemistry between Miss Hathaway and Mr. McAvoy makes willing suspension of disbelief more than worth the effort. Mr. McAvoy is supremely wonderful in the role of Tom Lefroy. He delivers the role with his usual alluring sincerity.
One of my favorite scenes is when Jane is at a party, dancing, and not quite managing to surreptitiously look for Mr. Lefroy. The chemistry between them when she finally sees him, and dances with him, is so palpable as to completely captivate us and make us wish for a different ending. However, because she wrote her characters with such nobility, I am glad that this Jane Austen didn't throw propriety to the wind.
I very much enjoyed Mr. Johnston's music. The music is so heart achingly beautiful, I believe it's one of the reasons this movie haunts me. I see that the movie is already out on DVD in the UK. Let's hope they get cracking to release it here in the US.
What an awesome series!!!
Gory at times, but the story lines, characters, acting, photography and FX were all so amazing considering this was a TV series. Where was I when this was airing? Did the network schedule it opposite insurmountable odds on purpose? Did they air it at midnight or something? Man, when they get it wrong, they really get it wrong. What a crime that this show was canceled! I want to know what happens to the crew! I want to know what happens between Mal and Inara; between the Doc and Kayley! This show seems to be very popular and award winning. What gives that the networks leave such crap on every single day that no one wants to watch, and cancels gems like this? I hope someone in charge will wake up and smell the bacon, and BRING THIS SERIES BACK!!!
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1980)
The Best Hamlet Ever!
I saw this version of Hamlet on television many years ago, and have seen every other version since, whether television or movie. However, this is the one that remains the truest depiction of the story for me. Most excellent Derek Jacobi made Hamlet *real* for me. Before I saw this version, Shakespeare was simply gibberish to me and I never tried to understand the Elizabethan English. Having seen Jacobi's Hamlet several times not only increased my knowledge of literature, but also that of my family. I promptly checked the play out of Library and read it, and poured over the accompanying recording. Jacobi's rendition attracted me to a deeper knowledge. And yet, I have been searing for a video of it for years and years to no avail. It gets a very high rating from viewers. Why, then, has it not been released on video? It's the only Hamlet that I'd invest in...