Monday, February 9, 2009

QB's Video Quickies

QB's Quickie icon"So, WATCHED any good books lately?"
"What did you think of...?"

Here's the Quickie answers to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.

These are the DVDs and On-Demand movies I've been watching during my previously mentioned recent anti-social crabby(ier) bitch(ier) weeks.

Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)

The Age of InnocenceThe Age of Innocence: A love triangle set in New York Society during the Victorian Era. Beautiful to watch, seems to be fairly true to the period, but it's really rather sad, depressing, and kind of pointless. Worth watching once through On-Demand, but I doubt if I'll bother watching it again.

The Duchess Movie CoverThe Duchess: One major flaw marred what should have been a great movie- We’re not shown how Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire went from a silly, naïve 17 year old to become a politically savvy, sought after trendsetter with Princess Diana like popularity. Otherwise this movie is worth watching for the not quite accurate, but truly STUNNING, period costumes, 18th century British setting, and the vivid portrayal of the inequality between women and men and how little personal freedom women had.

The Other Boleyn GirlMovie CoverThe Other Boleyn Girl: This was lovely to look at, but once I got curious about its authenticity, it lost some of its glitter. All in all it was still watchable because of the lush costumes and scenery. But they can't quite make up for some awkward scenes, particularly the ones that portray Henry as pussy-whipped and gullible rather than a self-centered ruler who presumed his own deification.

Category: Peanut M&Ms - mmmm...devour... sigh... then reach for the next one. My daily dose of Insanity-B-Gone. (A-,B+,B)

Across the Universe Movie CoverAcross the Universe: Set in the mercurial 60's and early 70's, this musical uses Beatles songs as much as dialogue to tell the story. It could have been hokey, but it was thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing. It’s amazing how universal and timeless those songs are. I watched this one on On-Demand but I might just buy it since it's worth repeated viewings.

Wall-E Movie CoverWall-E: Very cute and certainly entertaining, fantastic animation, but I’m a bit mystified why it landed on so many “Best.Movie.Ever.” lists.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Movie CoverThe Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: I enjoyed this one even more than the first one mainly because the Pevensie kids were older, which made the fight scenes a bit more plausible. Although I feel guilty for pervin’ on the guy who played Prince Caspian, Ben Barnes. He’s a flat out nomnomnom, but the mushy scenes between him and Susan (Anna Popplewell) can, at best, be described as awkward and forced. Glad to hear there’s going to be another Narnia movie after all, especially since Ben Barnes is set to play Prince Caspian in that one too.

North & South Movie CoverNorth & South: No, not the American mini-series with Patrick Swayze, this is a 2004 BBC production set during the early Victorian era. Thanks to KristieJ and Marta Acosta (who is a fan of his Robin Hood), Richard Armitage became a must-see. N&S offers an absolutely outstanding immersion into the time period- our first look inside the mill was both beautiful and horrifying.

I was a bit disappointed with the development of the relationship between Margaret (Daniela Denby-Ashe) and John (Richard Armitage) though. It seemed they went from curious then longing glances to the proposal with nothing in between. His sudden declaration of love and her angry reaction to it came out of the blue and the entire proposal scene lacked credibility, although the deleted proposal scene adds a bit more explanation. Nonetheless, that’s the only major misstep in this lush BBC mini-series and their relationship from that point on will have you biting your fist.

Of particular note is the relationship between John and his mother (unforgettably played by Sinead Cusack), the unlikely relationship between John and one of his workers, Nicholas Higgins (Brendan Coyle), and the contrast between the lives of those in the tiers of the upper classes versus the lower working class. I highly recommend this one. But, what was up with those butt-ugly hats that Margaret wore, even after she could afford better?

Category: Lava Cake - reads like warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts (A,A-)

The Tudors, Season 1 Movie CoverThe Tudors, Season 1: Oh.My.God. Every episode is like an Oscar-worthy film. I missed the first couple when they first aired on Showtime and gave up. Man, do I regret that! The only trouble is that I don’t know British history well enough to reliably recognize which characters will and will not prove to be significant. So it bugs the hell outta me whenever certain characters are on screen unless I stop and go look them up in Wikipedia.

Oh, and I’ve had to take the series' historical accuracy with a few grains of salt since Henry Fitzroy dies as a child in this story, unlike the real Henry Fitzroy who died at 17 (although, according to Tanya Huff, he was actually turned into a nummy vampire at 17). In addition, one of my favorite storylines involved Henry's sister Princess Margaret and his close friend Charles, Duke of Suffolk. Not only was it short lived (literally), but it turns out that the Margaret portrayed here didn't really exist and some bits and pieces of the REAL Margaret and her sister Mary's lives were incorporated into the fictional Margaret.

Ah well, it's still an absolutely amazing and addictive production. I'm ashamed of myself for ever thinking that shows like Dallas and Dynasty were addictive entertainment, particularly when you take into account that, for the most part, the events of The Tudors really happened. BTW, the cover for season 1 cracks me up- note the headless women.

Still to come: I've slowed down now that American Idol and Lost are back on. Although I've found myself parked in front of the TV on Thursday nights now too. CSI has become must-see again, and I find Rufus Sewell in Eleventh Hour completely captivating, almost mesmerizing. However the show would be seriously "meh" without him.

The Tudors, Season 2 Movie CoverThe Tudors, Season 2: I’ve only watched the first episode so far, but season 2 looks like it will be just as absorbing as season 1.

Movie CoverElizabeth: I saw this a long time ago, but I think I'll appreciate it more now that I'm older, and watching The Tudors has helped me become more familiar with the events prior to this story. The only thing I remember about it is that The Virgin Queen was misnamed and I remember her funky transformation at the end of the movie. Plus I'm hoping it will help clear up some historical events that I'm curious and/or confused about. Those peeps had some verra complicated relationships!

Elizabeth: The Golden Age Movie CoverElizabeth: The Golden Age: I'm curious to see how this compares to Elizabeth's portrayal as a character in Bertrice Small's Skye O'Malley series. Yes, that's right, I've said it before and I'll say it again... Everything I know about British history I've learned through Romance novels (and now DVDs).

HAH! Looking over that list, it seems that I have a definite preference for period films, doesn't it?


Madelynne Ellis said...

I love the Tudors, but then I do have a major (read seriously MAJOR) thing for JRM. Have done ever since his performance as Steerpike.

You see, I have the opposite problem to you with watching this in that I know some of the characters that I really like are destined to come a cropper in rather nasty ways.

Bev(QB) said...

If I remember correctly, you once said that you picture Vaughan as JRM with long hair. That made my jaw drop because that is SOOOO not how I pictured him. But then I realized I couldn't argue with you since he lives with YOU, not me.

You know, I was really upset about Charles and Margaret in The Tudors. I REALLY liked them together and eagerly anticipated their scenes. I miss her.

Aradia said...

Wow, you have been busy! I watch a couple of movies per week (if I like the first 10 minutes of them!). But you took it one step further and give these movies in depth reviews which takes a lot of work! Way impressive!
I love Wall-E. He is the sweetest! Also liked Prince Caspian, the actor but not the movie that much. All that politics was a bit too much for my 10 year old heart! ;)
I also watched “Elizabeth” years ago. I don’t have a positive impression of the movie only disappointment and question marks. She decided to stay unmarried because she couldn’t find a husband whom wasn’t influenced by politics? I thought she took the easy way out!
Anyway, it’s good to have you back and posting!

Madelynne Ellis said...

Not so much as I picture Vaughan as JRM, as JRM occasionally produces an expression that is entirely Vaughan. It's flashes of Vaughan rather than a totality.

That said, you're entitled to imagine Vaughan however you wish, that's the beauty of books. I'd be interested to hear what you think he does look like.

Bev(QB) said...

Aradia, I didn't exactly watch all those in one week. More like about 6 weeks or so. But, yeah, that's WAY more DVD and TV watching than I normally do.

Madelynne, let me know what you think of my latest post. ;-D

Madelynne Ellis said...

It's fab!

Sarah said...

Loads of good watching. I caught the end of Wall e the other week. Looks cute and how can you not just adore the Tudors??