Archive for January, 2010

PBS’ Masterpiece Version of Emma: Familiar and Comforting

Last Sunday I had the pleasant surprise of stumbling across the new BBC version of Emma on “Masterpiece Classic”.  As most of you know, I adore watching adaptations of Jane Austen’s books.  Many Austen movies are among my favorites of all time.  I really liked the Gwenyth Paltrow version of Emma (mainly because Toni Collette and Jeremy Northam are A-MAZING), so I didn’t know what I was going to think about this new one.

Well, I have only seen the first episode (there are three all together) but I love it!!!!!  Romola Garai plays Emma and she is so adorable!  She does a great job of making Emma likable and relate-able.  As Laura Linney pointed out in her “Masterpiece Classic” introduction, Emma is not an easy character to like.  She is rather stuck up, meddlesome, and does not really listen when people tell her she is wrong.  But Romola makes Emma seem like a fun person to be around, and there is great chemistry between her and Johnny Lee Miller who plays Mr. Knightly.  I am really excited to watch it tonight (I have actually been looking forward to it all week!!)  I thought since there are only two hours left, that it would end tonight, but apparently they are playing one hour tonight and then the last hour next week.  Curses!  Those crafty PBS people are making me wait a whole nother week!!!  (Nother is a word I picked up after reading A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup……very cool book, you should check it out.)

Emma and Mr. Knightly

One of my favorite things about watching BBC productions is that everyone is so familiar.  I always recognize some of the actors from other movies or tv shows.  The fun part is trying to guess where I saw them before.  Emma was a wonderful example of this because I recognized half the cast!!!  Here are the people I knew:

Johnny Lee Miller (Mr. Knightly)–okay, so I don’t think I have ever seen him in anything before, but hello! he was married to Angelina Jolie!  So, yeah, that’s how I know him.

Michael Gambon (Mr. Woodhouse)–Dumbledore the second, of course.

Dan Fredenburgh (the other Mr. Knightly)–otherwise known as Colin Firth’s skeezy brother from Love Actually.

Tamsin Greig (Miss Bates)–this was a tricky one…I didn’t actually guess this until I looked her up.  I thought maybe she had been in Persuasion with Sally Hawkins, but nope, she was Fran from Black Books!!!!!  That really threw me.

Jodhi May (Miss Taylor/Mrs. Weston)–She is the sister of Madeleine Stowe in Last of the Mohicans.  The one who never talks, and always makes me cry buckets of tears at the end of the movie.  She hasn’t aged a day since then.

Robert Bathurst (Mr. Weston)–this was another one that totally threw me.  I just kept staring at him and thinking “man, where have I seen him before”???  I finally had to look it up and he was the evil dad from The Thief Lord!!!  I think I didn’t recognize him because he was smiling so much.  In The Thief Lord he just yells the whole time, so I didn’t know what he would look like as a happy person.

Christina Cole (Mrs. Elton)–aaaahhh Christina…she won’t show up until tonight’s episode, but I did have to mention her.  She is so perfect in the role of the romantic rival.  It is always in a slightly mean to very mean fashion.  She has played the “other woman” in Jane Eyre, What A Girl Wants, and Lost in Austen.  I bet she is the nicest person in real life, but she always plays beautiful British bitches.

So, am I the only person who does this while they are watching tv/movies?  I try not to point these things out when I am with other people, because I find it really annoying when my dad does it to me, but sometimes I can’t help it.  My cats don’t seem to mind when I tell them that it is weird to see Dumbledore playing Emma’s father.

Hopefully all of you Austen fans will check out Emma on PBS.  It is definitely worth it.  The first episode is available to watch here to get ready for tonight.

Jen

Have You Heard of Hachiko??

Wow, I have barely even started this post and there are already tears all over my keyboard.  That can’t be good for my computer.

Well, a few days ago I was innocently sitting down to watch Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs for the first time, (which is a really funny, cute movie by the way.  The ending drags on for 10 minutes too long, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it and how many shots were pulled directly from the illustrations of the book) when I was hit with this unexpected movie trailer.

Whoa.  I just tried to watch it again, but I only made it about a minute in before I lost it.  Anyway, the trailer is for the movie Hachiko: A Dog’s Story, which I had never heard of before.  Apparently it is being released straight to DVD, which is kind of sad considering it has Richard Gere and Joan Allen in it, who are pretty big names (not to mention a GORGEOUS dog).  Well, I cried like a baby the first time I saw it, and then tried to forget about it and move on with my life.

Then I saw this post on EW that talked about the trailer and I couldn’t help but think, “I wonder if that is based on Greyfriars Bobby?”  For those of you who don’t know, back in long ago Edinburgh a cute little dog named Bobby followed his owner (who happened to be a policeman) everywhere he went.  Then, when his owner died (sniffle, sniffle) he spent most of the next 14 YEARS sitting next to his owner’s grave.  The cemetery was named Grefriars Kirkyard and that is how he became known as Grefriars Bobby.  Well, you can imagine how my mom and I looked after our nice tour guide told us this story while standing in front of the statue dedicated to this loyal little guy.  Needless to say we were both sobbing hysterically enough that people were muttering “silly Americans.”  Here is my very own picture of the statue.  Luckily my tears did not interfere with the shot.

Greyfriars Bobby

Well, I looked into the movie Hachiko and it is not based on that story!!  It is based on a story from Japan where the dog went to the train station every day for 9 YEARS (or 10, there seem to be different numbers in different places) to wait for his owner and there is a statue at the train station in Japan of him.

Hachiko

As much as these stories make me cry like a little baby, I adore hearing them.  It so goes to show that anyone who says that animals don’t have feelings or emotions is just plain wrong (and pretty ignorant).  It totally reminds me of what happened when I went off to England for three weeks (obviously to take pictures of the Greyfriars Bobby statue) and left my cats with my parents.  Apparently Addie spent almost every afternoon staring at the front door, which was where she last saw me, just waiting for me to come back.  I will never forget how she jumped into my arms as soon as I got home.  Hermione (my other cat) just gave me a haughty look and turned her back to me, but that is pretty normal for her.

Oh pets……what would we do without them?  So, I hope that some of you guys will take the time to watch Hachiko.  I know that I would be emotionally ruined for days (and probably really dehydrated) if I sat down to watch it, but hopefully some of you will watch and enjoy it for me.

Jen

P.S.  Don’t you think the MPAA should have to put a warning before trailers that are really sad?  Something like, “this motion picture has been approved for all audiences, but you might want to grab a tissue.”  I haven’t cried this much at a trailer since Under the Same Moon played before Juno.

The Hugo Movie Is Going To Be A REAL Movie

I heard today that Martin Scorsese is going to direct the movie adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  Whoa.  Now I will admit that I have never seen a Martin Scorsese movie.  His movies aren’t really my thing.  If he ever did a romantic comedy, raunchy teen comedy, or a kids movie……oh wait, I guess he’s doing a kids movie now.

I am not sure what to expect out of this movie.  When I first read the book, I thought it was amazing!  I was mesmerized by the pictures and the whole atmosphere that was created just by holding the book in my hands.  It was such a unique experience to sit and read it that I couldn’t stop thinking about it afterward.  I told everybody I saw how awesome it was.

Then I listened to the audiobook.  It might seem silly to listen to an audiobook so soon after reading the book, but I was intrigued by how they would do it and what kind of sound effects they would use.  Well, one thing I realized after listening to the audiobook was…….the story is not that great.  Seriously.  Also, the whole time I was listening to it, I thought, “man, did they add a bunch of words or something…..this book is so long…….and frankly, somewhat boring.”

I think the ONLY reason why that book is great is the format and the illustrations.  If it didn’t have that, I think it would have faded into obscurity.  So my big question is, how are they going to make the film special???  Obviously one of the ways is to hire a big time Oscar winning director.  I’m hoping that they incorporate a lot of action straight out of the book’s illustrations.  Other than that, I don’t know what to expect at all.

So, what do you guys think?  Will the movie be awesome?  Am I totally wrong about the story?  What would you like to see in the movie?

Jen

ngtjill: Book Review #3

I’m ready for another round of books read for the Countdown Challenge!  You can check my progress by taking a look at the list of books I’ve committed to read.  Since my last review, I’ve read three more books.

Our Eleanor by Candace Fleming

This one didn’t hold my attention as much as Fleming’s Lincoln biography, but I still learned a lot of things I didn’t know.  There were a few times I wished it were about Lou Hoover instead though.  🙂  If you’re a nonfiction reader or if you don’t know much about Eleanor Roosevelt, I’d recommend this one.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Marcus Yallow was just an average high schooler with an above average knowledge of how the Internet, computers, and technology work…until a terrorist attack hits his hometown of San Francisco. Suddenly he and his friends are believed to be terrorists and get picked up by the Department of Homeland Security. After finally gaining freedom from DHS custody, Marcus fights back against the paranoia and loss of rights as the government begins to carefully watch San Francisco citizens’ every move.

I had been wanting to read this for awhile, but honestly, it wasn’t as good as I was expecting.  I liked the idea, but it dragged on a little too long.  Plus, there is A LOT of tech-speak in it.  Most of it is explained, so it’s ok, but be prepared to either let stuff slide over your head or learn a lot.  It did make me more interested in reading 1984 since I never have.

The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson

Another book  I had been wanting to read for awhile – which is why it was on my list.  I’m glad a graphic adaptation exists for the 9/11 Report.  It’s a great way for average Americans to find out more information on 9/11. (Hopefully that doesn’t offend anyone. Really, how many average people read 500+ page books?)  Anyway, this one fulfilled two goals of mine: learn more about the world/read more nonfiction and read more graphic novels.  Unless you’re planning on picking up the full 9/11 Report, I suggest reading this graphic adaptation.

Has anyone else read any of these? What did you think?

– Jill

My Review of Leap Year…A Startling Discovery!

I have now seen Leap Year many times (I am embarrassed to admit how many) and I loved, loved, loved it (to quote Mr. Darcy)!!!  It was everything I wanted it to be and more.  Amy Adams was precious, the scenery was mouthwateringly gorgeous and so was the leading man played by the fantastic Matthew Goode.  It also turned out to be rather funny, which is more than I can say for many romantic “comedies” I have seen lately.  It also turned out quite well in the end (obviously) and so I simply adored it.

But I couldn’t help thinking the whole time I was watching it (sorry, times I was watching it) that I have seen this before.  Not only have I seen it before, but I have seen Matthew Goode doing it before.  I realized that Leap Year (I keep wanting to call it Leap Day for some odd reason) is essentially the exact same movie as Chasing Liberty!!!  The only difference is that Leap Year is a movie for grown ups and Chasing Liberty is a movie for teens (and also, it rains a whole lot in Leap Year).  Those are basically the only real differences, everything else is the same.

Let me list for you a few of the similarities:  Some of these will be rather spoilery…but just about everything was already given away in the trailer

1.  Main character’s name is Anna

Hi, I'm Anna

Ummmm, no I'm Anna

2.  Takes place in beautiful scenic foreign country (or countries)

3.  Anna meets a dashing man and uses him for transportation

Fighting and walking

4.  Scene (or many scenes) where main characters wander along deserted country road arguing, with Anna walking ahead and Matthew trailing along behind

Walking and Fighting (with suitcase)

5.  Anna and the handsome stranger pretend to be married

6.  They are forced to share a tiny room with only one bed

Hmmm, I seem to be having deja vu...

7.  Their first kiss occurs under circumstances that are beyond their control

8.  They fall in love with each other over a matter of days (well, hours really)

9.  Matthew’s character wears the same clothes throughout the whole movie

10.  The ending is very very similar

Now I wonder if Mr. Goode noticed these things while he was reading the script or if he has completely blocked his first movie out of his memory and had no idea how similar the two were.

I adore both movies, but Leap Year is my favorite of the two.  I think it all comes down to me preferring Ireland to Europe, Amy Adams to Mandy Moore, and a scruffy, grumpy Matthew Goode to a clean-shaven, boyish one.

Clean-shaven and boyish

Scruffy and grumpy (and with curlier hair!)

So, if you haven’t already, go see Leap Year, it is really great.  The people that I have seen it with all really enjoyed it and I could tell that the rest of the audience did too.  But go see it fast, because I doubt it will be in theaters for very long.  With Avatar still dominating and more movies coming out all the time, I can see this one falling through the cracks very quickly.

Jen

Something To Give To My Architect

I already have a big list of things that have to be included in my future house (a Beauty and the Beast sized library with rolling ladders, cubby holes to hide the litter boxes, a garage, and a DECENT HEATER!!!) and now I have something else to add to it.

Although, I probably would make the slide a little wider…..For some reason it looks like it might be a little snug after many years of vegging out on the couch.  Also, I would want more support on it as well…..can you imagine if you were halfway down and it disconnected from the stairway…..Ouch!

Jen

Courtesy of Epic Win.  Thanks to @jpetroroy for tweeting about it!

A World where it is ALWAYS SNOWING!

So I am one of those snow bunnies* who totally LOVES snow (except driving in it. but I don’t like driving in any weather, not even Sunshine…) so imagine my glee when School Library Journal ran an article on create-your-own-snowflake websites!–Did you imagine it? Yeah, I know, my smile was HUGE. But don’t forget that I’m super lazy so I really only tried one of the websites; luckily it was THE BEST WEBSITE EVER! It is called SnowDays and here’s the link: www.popularfront.com/snowdays and here’s the snowflake I made on my lunch break today:

Hurrah! Magic Fun! Enjoy!

*I wish I could ski because then I wouldn’t feel like such a liar when I call myself a snow bunny…

Amber

P.S. You can search for my snowflake! It is #9264324!