Sunday, August 24, 2008

Notable Miniseries

I just watched The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, a BBC adaptation of Anne Bronte’s novel. The miniseries was so-so and probably would be more enjoyable if you read the novel. It got me thinking about the many mini-series, mainly from Masterpiece Theater, that I have seen, so I thought I would share some good ones and pretty good ones. Some I haven’t seen in quite a while so I may be not remembering them as well I’d like. I will list them in two categories: Really good (according to my imperfect memory) and pretty good. Note: I am not including any Jane Austen movies because, well, I believe I have exhausted that subject.

Middlemarch, 1994, the best! with a steamy performance by Rufus Sewell
Lonesome Dove, 1989, book is great too if you haven’t read it
Forsyte Saga, 2002, I read the big long two part book in preparation for airing and was really impressed with the TV adaptation.
The Jewel in the Crown, 1984, long ago, I remember loving it.
Prime Suspect, probably should be classified as a TV series but on Masterpiece Theater, but so great if you haven’t seen it. Helen Mirren rocks as beleaguered police captain in London.
Brideshead Revisted, 1981, I just re-saw and was re-entranced!

North and South, 2004, about a mill town in the north of England
Cranford, 2007 Judi Dench, starts slow but gets better
Bleak House, 2005 with Gillian Anderson, at times bleak, but good
Into the West, 2005 A&E Western Saga
Our Mutual Friend, 1998, one of the better Dickens adaptations
Horatio Hornblower, 1998, ooh that cute Ioan Gruffud
The Buccaneers, 1995 based the Edith Wharton novel
The Woman in White, 1997, a cheesy but good adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ novel
Daniel Deronda, 2002, George Eliot saga, with a very cute Deronda played by Hugh Dancy
The Mill in the Floss, 1997 Emily Watson as Maggie in this George Eliot novel made movie

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In the Land of Women

One critic describes this movie as a "softer, fuzzier, Garden State." and that seems about right. Adam Brody (OC funny man) leaves his Hollywood life behind to take care of his kookie grandmother played by Olympia Dukakis. He encounters and counsels a mother-daughter team (Meg Ryan and Kristen Stewart, Speak) who are messed up in a few different ways. I don't think this movie deserved the crummy reviews it got even though the movie does not hang together very well despite some good acting.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I haven't seen many movies lately or TV for that matter -- I have been in the woods etc. So I thought I would diverge from my movie list to create a list of TV series that I know about. I am not inlcuding mini-series or comedies, but may later.

Six Feet Under – despite some self-indulgent characters fascinating from beginning to end
The Wire – some say it’s hard to get into but once you do you become entranced
The Sopranos – Violent in parts but so smart with fascinating characters
Deadwood – I wish it would have lasted and lasted
The Gilmore Girls – I guess it could be diminished by calling it a chick show but I loved it until the end though some thought it got lame at the end

Weeds –some stuff bugs me but pretty darn entertaing
Huff – only two seasons and cancelled but had great potential
WonderFalls- cute, only one season and cancelled
Big Love – regular-old plural marriage family ---wha?
The West Wing—probably all have seen it but if you haven’t
Veronica Mars – some silly storylines but VM is great!
Lost – a blit silly at times but hard to stop watching
Dexter – the first season was appallingly good
Battlestar Galactica – hard to believe I liked this sci-fi series as much as I did but love the tough women in it esp.

SEEN & CAPTIVATING but kinda cheesy
Entourage – First season is good but starts to get too outrageous
Rome—some thought stupid but I got into it
Heroes- pretty good with some great characters from around the world
Californication—I saw one season and don’t really want to see another (not really that captivating)

DIDN'T SEE but heard was good
MI5 – my friends LOVE this series
Mad Men -- 50s ad men
The Riches –Gypsies go normal
Burn Notice – Spy who tries to act normal
In Treatment --Gabriel Byrne as sexy psychiatrist

Friday, August 8, 2008

Watching Fools Gold makes me a fool

Because it is el stupido with lamo dialogue, boring chase scenes, tired old plot turns. It is highly fastfowardable. There is nothing worse that a lamo movie where the lameness isn't even funny. Why Matthew McConaughy and Kate Hudson chose to be in such dumb movie is beyond me. Perhaps the better question why I watched it. I even watched the special features. Bad movie extras are always funny because they praise the greatness of the film and in this case talk about the great chemistry between the two leads. I mean really.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Brideshead Revisited, Update

So I finished it. All 11 hours of the original miniseries, Brideshead Revisited, late last night, and it kept getting sadder and sadder. I don’t remember it being so sad. At the end we are left with people with pretty desolate lives, Julia, Charles, and Cordelia. And what happens to Sebastian and his “dipsomania” as his alcoholism is referred to, is just horrible. I think this profile of the English aristocracy before WWII, makes them all seem so incapable of dealing with their problems and so eager to suppress their emotions. The view of Catholicism, I can’t quite wrap my brain around it, but it comes off as another character in the movie – an authoritarian mother with no mercy for the wavering. Again, as I have said in earlier blog entries, watching “old” movies made even in 1979, seem like from a different time all together. Scenes are drawn out, people are shown walking from one location to another, and conversations last more than 30 seconds. This is a miniseries that really does justice to Waugh’s book of the same name, and I can’t imagine how the new movie, also of the same name, can possibly portray this expansive novel in 2 hours. I am going to see it surely. Maybe it will even come to a location near me, doubtful, but there are always DVDs.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Brideshead Revisited

I have been watching a few series lately. I just finished a BBC series called Lilies about three working class sisters from Liverpool. It tells about their exploits right after WWI. It's pretty good and I especially enjoyed the accents and their passionate-unrestrained ways. Taking place at about the same time, but about a completely different English class, Brideshead Revisted tells about Charles Ryder who becomes infatuated by the upper crust family who inhabit Brideshead Estate. I loved this series many years ago over 25 years ago (yikes, I must be getting old) and thought, with the new movie of the same name coming out, I had better see it again. I just started it -- it's a long one, 11 hours! So I will be working on this one for a while.
I will report after finishing it!

Becoming Jane, Again

It was at the library, that is why I got it again. I didn't really like it that much the first time, so why did I watch it again?I still found it weirdly inappropriate for the world of Jane Austen, boxing? Prostitutes? Naked buts? Come ON. I watched the extras and all of the actors dutifully shared their knowledge of the time, costumes, manners or the world of Jane Austen, yet the movie seems to stray from this, in so many ways. Anne Hathaway who plays Jane too.

Other thoughts
Super sexy brother Henry -- I could see him in something else
Not as good as PBS’ attempt at a Jane Bio, Miss Austen's Regrets