Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Mansfield Park (2007)
Mansfield Park is probably the dullest Jane Austen book, and Fanny definitely the dullest heroine. When I first read the book I was almost shouting at her to "do something!" ITV tried to fix this by casting Billie Piper, but she is totally wrong for any Austen production, as she is just too modern looking (I read somewhere they considered asking her to dye her eyebrows blonde! Might have helped..)
The 1999 Frances O'Connor film tried to liven things up by having Fanny be slightly sly and arch, and while it was not at all faithful to the book, was quite entertaining. This was just a yawn. The supporting cast were equally bad. It is quite alarming how badly the formerly dishy Douglas Hodge is ageing! Nice to see Jemma Redgrave, although was Lady Bertram that nice? I don't think so.
The ITV casting policy of pretty young things gives us shallow actors in frocks and breeches that are little more than eye candy. However, the Northanger Abbey and to an extent, the Persuasion in this series were more successful. Avoid this Mansfield Park - awful!
Enjoyable, but not as good as the 1995 BBC version
OK, so I am biased. The Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds Persuasion is one of my very favourite films and Persuasion is my favourite Austen book, and I was wondering if they would mess this up as ITV pretty much messed up Mansfield Park. Firstly Sally Hawkins was a very good Anne. A likable and quietly confident Anne, although what on earth was all that running around at the end about? Was the director a fan of Run Lola Run??!
I was less impressed with Rupert Penry Jones. Very pretty, but he didn't look like a sailor to me. He was rather wooden in his acting and I found the modern haircuts on the men distracting too. I disliked the changes too - the silly ending, but the way they changed the crucial scene with Wentworth over hearing Anne and writing her a letter was a real mess up.
I quite enjoyed the programme, largely due to Sally Hawkins, but I re watched that 1995 production afterwards to compare, and it is superior in almost every way - casting (Ciaran Hinds, Fiona Shaw, Sophie Thompson, Corin Redgrave, Phoebe Nicholls, John Woodvine, Catherine Schlesinger, Sam West, Simon Russell Beale - all much better than their counterparts) the atmospheric filming - loads of candlelight in the 1995 one, that lovely opera song. Only really the poorer picture quality and the 4:3 DVD picture were bettered in this new production.
However, both production had on the street kisses, which were quite inappropriate for the times, although I guess they can't resist having SOME action!!
The Advocate's Devil (1997)
Entertaining TV movie
As a big SVU fan, I checked this one out for Mariska Hargitay pre-Olivia Benson! As a TV movie thriller, it was quite good fun, although the director's habit of putting the camera at an angle all the time was VERY annoying! The plot is pretty much standard TV movie fare, defence lawyer Ken Olin gets a high profile client off, only to realise he was guilty. Cue the dramas.
For Mariska fans, she has a fair bit of screen time, and isn't JUST the Girlfriend. She's an investigator, although we don't get to see enough of her investigating sadly. The young girl playing Olin's daughter is a bit of a Natalie Portman lookalike, and is annoyingly perky at times.
Good Sunday afternoon viewing on the Hallmark channel!
This is one of the best SVU eps I have seen. It deals with the insane leader of a cult (Jeff Kober- ALWAYS crazy!) and the deaths of children who may or may not be his.
What makes this episode so good is that for once on SVU we get a really emotional story. The detectives are forced to undergo counselling after witnessing the death of the children, and deal in different ways. Stabler's increasing anger with the world will continue to make its presence felt in the future. Mariska Hargitay is especially wonderful, in showing Olivia's struggles to deal with the appalling crime, her confrontation with the wife of the cult leader, and the climax of the episode with the cult guy and his teen bride (sort of).
Benson is the ideal woman! Compassionate, strong, beautiful. They have made her pretty much perfect...ah Olivia!! We love you!
Unusual SVU ep
I haven't seen every episode of SVU, but this was a very unusual one in the way they ended it - basically not telling you the verdict in a rape case.
To be honest, the case as presented was very hard to decide on - again, usual on the show, but reflective of many real life cases I guess, where it is basically one person's word against another. I was suspicious of Billy Campbell as he always seems to play shifty characters these days, but the girl was also rather untrustworthy..hmm, who is telling the truth?
A really good Olivia ep - I adore Mariska!! Chris Meloni also does a great job.
Xena: Warrior Princess (1995)
Classic Action/Adventure with more to it that meets the eye!
I'm a huge fan of Xena:Warrior Princess, which ran for 6 seasons, ending in 2001. The show tells the story of former bad girl Xena, who was a warlord for years before being reformed by Hercules. She is now trying to atone for her past as she travels the known world with her sidekick Gabrielle. That's the simple synopsis, but Xena:Warrior Princess was a cult hit for much more than that.
It's hard to talk about the show's success without mentioning the lesbian subtext. From about halfway through the first season, there was a real bond between the ladies, that at times seemed to indicate they were more than just friends. The love between the characters, whether platonic or not, was one of the biggest strengths of the show. Xena and Gabrielle saw each other through so many dramas over the years.
Another of the reasons for the shows popularity was the tongue in cheek humour and light hearted action. The shows could go from broad comedy to real child-murdering Greek tragedy. But at its centre, was the amazing Lucy Lawless. Could anyone else have been Xena? Statuesque, with a brilliant Clint Eastwood glare, Lucy throws herself into the action scenes with gusto - although the stunt team deserves a mention.
Renee O'Connor had many fans as Gabrielle, the character who changed the most over the years. Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi and Hudson Leick were welcome guest stars. XWP also helped launch the careers of Karl Urban, Marton Csokas, Kathryn Morris, Gina Torres and others.
The Amazing Mrs Pritchard (2006)
Fun but Pure Fantasy!
From Sally Wainwright, the creator of the brilliant At Home with the Braithwaites, this is another family comedy/drama with a splash of fantasy thrown in. Who hasn't looked at idiotic politicians and thought they could do a better job? Ros Pritchard (Jane Horrocks) does just that, and her view strikes a chord with the British public. To her surprise, she is elected Prime Minister! Yes, totally ridiculous that we would vote in an unknown supermarket manager to run the country, but it's a nice daydream. Jane Horrocks is surprisingly sane after a career of eccentrics, but my favourite is the magnificent Janet McTeer as the chancellor, Catherine Walker, a Tory convert. McTeer exudes class and intelligence, even in this far fetched political fantasy. A great cast of women includes Jodhi May, Geraldine James, Sally Philips, Frances Tomelty, Sylvestra La Touzel and Meera Syal. Yes, hardly a man in sight! Steven McIntosh as Ros' husband is a pretty limp and lame character too. In fact the most sympathetic male is probably Catherine's rather cute toyboy Ben! The politics *is* rather liberal, but as escapist fantasy of women running the country, this is a fun show.
Nina's Heavenly Delights (2006)
Promising premise, poorly made movie.
I wanted to like this film, really I did. It sounded like Gurinder Chadha's Bend it Like Beckham could have been if the girls got together! A film focussing on British Asians (in this case Scottish), complicated family relations, cooking, throw in a bit of Bollywood and simmer.
Sadly this film lacks the energy and verve of Bend it Like Beckham. Indeed, the script is flabby, the acting stilted, and when even I, a casual movie goer, can spot the need for crisper direction and editing so you aren't watching someone sit still for 15 seconds, well, as I said, a poorly made film. The acting is universally unremarkable, and while the actors are Scottish I think, there are some very odd sounding accents. Are they trying to sound more Scottish or less? Whatever they do, it sounds weird. No idea what accent Art Malik is doing either. I thought that was Kulvinder Ghir from TVs Goodness Gracious Me doing a horrible Scottish accent as the host of the cooking show but he's not listed in IMDb. Was the kid who played the younger sister related to one of the producers? She couldn't act and was supposed to be an award winning Scottish dancer, but looked like she was about to fall over when tentatively hopping about in a kilt.. To sum up, nice set up and premise, attractive star, tasty looking food but limp, predictable script, flat acting and flaccid direction. A wasted opportunity.
Great fun for Jennifer Beals fans
I love Jennifer Beals in the L Word, and this is a great fun film for others like me who caught on relatively recently to Ms Beals charms!
She looks FABULOUS as 40ish pop icon Sloan McBride, whose new assistant has an long standing grudge against her,and wages a Single White Female like campaign to ruin her life..
Of course, the film is pure tosh, but its entertaining tosh! Jennifer Beals looks gorgeous, and I believe, does her own singing too! She gets to be mildly bitchy as the diva pop queen, and unlike so many of her TV movies, she isn't playing second fiddle to some guy.
The rest of the cast are forgettable, the script and plot fairly predictable, but it's a decent enough effort. However, this is strictly for Beals fans I think!
The Closer (2005)
The benefits of casting good actors..
New shows come and go, crime shows are 10 a penny, so what makes The Closer so good? Simple really, great casting, excellent writing. Kyra Sedgewick is superb, but what helps a lot is that her character Brenda Johnson is a breath of fresh air. Very well written, and not immediately likable, over the course of the series, I grew to like her more and more. Brenda is what made me tune in again, not the fairly standard crimes.
Another great plus is the excellent supporting cast, especially GW Bailey as Lt Provenza, who I hated for the first half of the season! What a pig! However, he turned out to be a much more interesting character, and his Brenda impersonation in the season finale was the biggest laugh of the year! Yes, some of the crimes were implausible, and some of the bad guys rather obvious, but this is the best show of the summer, and I can't wait for its return in 2006.