Monday, June 15, 2015

Poldark



tags: BBC series, entrepreneurship, family melodrama, historical

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Synopsis from Wikipedia
In the late 18th century, Ross Poldark returns to his Cornish copper mines after spending three years in the army to avoid charges of smuggling, leaving behind his sweetheart Elizabeth. On his return, having fought in the American War of Independence, he finds his father dead, his estate in ruins and Elizabeth engaged to his cousin Francis. He rescues a young woman, Demelza, from a beating, and takes her on as a kitchen maid.
Poldark
Demelza, the former scullery maid and her husband Ross Poldark

Poldark
Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza

I binge-watched eight 58-minute episodes of Poldark, a British drama series that first aired March 8, 2015 on BBC One, scheduled to air here in the US June 21, 2015 on PBS. This series is based on the first two Poldark novels by Winston GrahamA second series has already been commissioned which is good news and bad because I have to wait a year for the continuation of the cliffhanger ending.

I haven't heard of the books nor the previous TV series that aired in the 70s on PBS. I'd love to read if the books, 12 in all, were available to borrow from my library but unfortunately for me, they're not. 

What I love:
- cast specially Aidan Turner as Ross and Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza
- Ross's perseverance, entrepreneurship, kindness, loyalty
- cinematography 
- script
- costumes
- no full frontal female nudity nor gratuitous sex scenes, a welcome departure from a typical BBC production; The only bare torso you'll see (a few times) is Aidan Turner's and it's a good thing. =^_^=

Highly recommended for fans of period dramas.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Laggies

Laggies tags: comedy?!

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Synopsis

Unable to decide what she wants to do for a career, Megan (Keira Knightley), 28, is stuck in a permanent state of adolescence. She still hangs out with her friends from high school and lives with her high school boyfriend, Anthony.
When her high school has a 10-year-reunion and her boyfriend surprises her with a marriage proposal, Megan panics.
She meets 16-year-old Annika (Chloƫ Grace Moretz) when she buys beer for the girl and her friends and feels a kinship. Megan tells Anthony she's leaving town to attend a self-help seminar, but instead, moves in with Annika and her dad (Sam Rockwell), as she decides what to do with her life.
I never learn. I should avoid chick movies specially if Keira Knightley is the main lead character. Obviously, I'm not a fan and watching her worst movies, Domino and Pride & Prejudice, was self-torture to the max

Chloe Moretz is in it and she's the only reason I watched it. I loved Chloe as Hit Girl on Kick-Ass and Let Me In but after disappointing performances in Hugo and The Equalizer I wanted to give her a chance. Although she is okay in this horribly written shallow movie, she alone cannot save it.

It's described as comedy; I chuckled maybe once or twice but that's it. The whole movie is pointless, unfunny, immoral [IMHO because a 28-year old liar setting a bad example to high school kids is never acceptable], frustratingly predictable, and the script is so vapid.

I do not recommend it. I watched so you don't have to but if you like self-inflicted suffering, go ahead and see for yourself.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

JS & MR tags: fairies, fantastical, historical fiction, magicians

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from Goodreads
At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England's history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England--until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight.
Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell's student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear. 
I first read this novel in 2004. I loved it and became my favorite book of the fantastical. I love it more than any fantasy novels I have read including The Lord Of The Rings and all of Neil Gaiman's books. I read it a second time about 5 years ago. My first edition hardcover [illustrations by Portia Rosenberg] has 782 pages of tiny tiny print with even tinier footnotes which I also read and enjoyed as much as the novel itself. I'm re-reading it for the third time after watching the first 3 episodes of the BBC 7-episode adaptation.

The prose is beautiful and appropriate for the period (Regency). Although the characters, specially Mr Norrell, are not the "lovable" types, they are definitely likable and very well defined. The story is dark, compelling, well-researched, and historically accurate. Regardless of the length, I was mesmerized and couldn't put it down.

Highly recommended for lovers of the fantastical; not recommended for Harry Potter readers though.

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The BBC TV adaptation is premiering on BBC America on June 13, 2015.


first 3 Episodes
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Wow! I love the adaptation. Casting, costumes, and sets are simply superb. Eddie Marsan as Mr  Norrell is spot on with his short-ish stature, blue beady eyes, and excellent portrayal. Eddie Marsan is Mr Norrell. 

JS & MN
illustration of Mr Norrell by Portia Rosenberg

JS & MRJS & MR

Bertie Carvel as Jonathan Strange who is supposed to be dashing and handsome is not what I imagined him but the actor grows on me. All other actors/characters specially the Gentleman With Thistle-down Hair and Lord Wellington are exceptional too. The adaptation is very true to the book with very few alterations which aren't noticeable nor important. The rich visuals, acting, and script make the 3 episodes spell-binding [so far]. I can't wait to see the rest of the series.

Highly recommended for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell fans.