Posts Tagged ‘Film’

I thought this video was fun.  It contains excerpts from the movie Beau Brummell:  This Charming Man which I enjoyed.  I particularly liked Hugh Bonneville‘s portrayal of the Prince Regent.  Hilarious and sad at the same time.  I often wish I could go back into the Regency era and meet/watch the people I’ve read about.

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I adore Emma Thompson.  She is one of  those actors that seem like they would make great friends and be ideal guests at any party.

I first noticed her in a miniseries on PBS that I later learned was Fortunes of War.  I hadn’t seen the beginning of that series so I didn’t know what was going on, but I was fascinated, nonetheless.  I liked  her in Remains of the Day, Howard’s End, Much Ado, Wit, and I recently enjoyed her in Last Chance Harvey.   As a writer, I found the movie Stranger Than Fiction also interesting.

Cover of "Sense & Sensibility (Special Ed...

Cover of Sense & Sensibility (Special Edition)

But what I will always appreciate about Emma Thompson is the script she wrote for Sense and Sensibility (1995).  It is wonderful and funny and (I scarcely have the guts to say this) an improvement upon the original.   Although I  adore Jane Austen, I think Sense and Sensibility needs a little more umph and Emma provided that with her insightful screenplay.

I also think that her vision of Jane Austen helped create part of the recent upsurge in Austen popularity, although 17 years may not be considered recent except to Jane Austen herself.  Today I learned that 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, but I will write more on that later.   That’s a novel that deserves a year of celebration.

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As I’m going through Hobbit withdrawal, I came across this video that shows why Richard Armitage is my current favorite actor.   Definitely eye candy.  However, when I see all the  photos I’m reminded of his acting in those roles and why he is fascinating to watch.  He makes even small parts interesting and complex.   I need to see North and South again.

Thank you, fedoralady.

And here he is now:


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Although the Christmas season is over and New Years Day has almost passed, I wanted to discuss one last Christmas movie.  No doubt I’ll cover more next year, too.  My favorite movie is It’s a Wonderful Life, which contains enough romance to be considered a romantic Christmas movie as well.


English: Screenshot of Jimmy Stewart and Donna...

English: Screenshot of Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in the American film It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve written about this movie before, so I will mention one thing that I noticed as I watched it this year:  Good writing lets the viewer fill in the blanks.

Early in the movie, Mary (George Bailey‘s future love interest) says to George “I will love you till the day I die.”   Now she’s only about 8 at the time and she’s talking into his deaf ear, so he doesn’t hear her, but we, the viewers, hear her.  Since we know that about her, all she has to do is look at George meaningfully in later scenes and we fill in the blanks.


At the high school dance, she looks at him and we know she wants to dance with him because she loves him.    After the dance, when she’s flirting with him and smiles mischievously, we know she loves him.   She tells George that she’d like to live in the ratty old house.  Then when she throws the rock to make a wish, we know that she’s wishing to someday live in that ratty old house with George.


It really is wonderful what a few well placed hints in a screenplay can do.   Part of the joy of fiction is having our expectations met.  We feel clever when we figure things out before the protagonist does.  Which is not to say that we don’t want some surprises, too.  But the best surprises are ones that we realize had been hinted at earlier — if we’d only paid attention or understood.


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As much as I liked The Hobbit, I prefer romance.

I liked the quest; I liked the character arcs; I liked the scenery.  I didn’t want quite so much gruesome detail in the fighting, although I understand the purpose of that.  And Thorin’s hair swirling around when he was fighting was a sight to behold.   I’ve already seen the movie twice in the theater (IMAX 3D and HFR 3D) and I know I’ll see it again (probably regular frame rate 2D just to compare).

Romantic Heart form Love Seeds

Romantic Heart form Love Seeds (Photo credit: epSos.de)

However, I prefer romance.  Not that I wanted the screenwriters to put a romance in this adventure story.  Absolutely not.   The story is what it is, and the author in me gets  highly annoyed when adaptations mess up fundamental aspects of a novel.  (I do not want to watch Thorin Gets Married.)

But I really like love stories.  I’ve always liked them.  I like them more than any other kind of story.

I enjoy other types of stories, such as murder mysteries, adventure, suspense, and science fiction, but I rarely sit around analyzing them for hours or keep revisiting them.  Unless there’s a hint of romance somewhere.  (as in Chariots of Fire or Amazing Grace)

I’ve been writing about Romantic Christmas movies these past two weeks.  Logically I know that many holiday movies are not very good, but I find that I am willing to forgive a lot if there are romantic elements that ring true.

So, as much as I liked The Hobbit, I’m now looking for a good romance movie.  Any suggestions?

Updated:  Just saw The Hobbit for the third time 12/29/2012.

Updated:  Saw it for the fourth time in 2D in February 2013.

Will buy the dvd closer to Christmas when there is one with all the extras.

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At Christmas, two feuding co-workers don’t know that their antagonist is actually the anonymous pen pal they’re falling in love with.

Great premise, full of humor and angst.

Cover of "The Shop Around the Corner"

Cover of The Shop Around the Corner

The original is Shop Around the Corner with James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.  Stewart is endearingly awkward.    This film is black and white, sometimes stagy (looks more like a 1936 movie than 1940), and I think it could have used about ten more minutes of plot development to make it completely wonderful.  I don’t revisit this film often, but I do like it — a lot.

The first remake is In the Good Old Summertime with Van Johnson and Judy Garland.  It’s a musical, although I can’t remember any of the songs,  and fun.  Johnson doesn’t have the emotional depth of Stewart, but it’s still good.

The second remake is You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.  This is a great movie, with the plot updated to feuding company owners rather than co-workers, and email instead of hand written letters.  My only quibble about this version is one I have for several Meg Ryan films.  Her characters tend to be living with someone and then upgrade to Mr. Right.  That might be realistic, but it’s not what I consider romantic.  However, Tom Hanks plays his part with great humor and sensitivity, so I like this version very much.

Cover of

Cover of You’ve Got Mail

While analyzing these movies, I realized that there are two things I like about them.  First, I love it when the audience knows something the characters don’t.  It’s fun to watch the leads be rude to each other when we know that they are actually in love with each other.   And second, I find the heroes in these movies tender.  They may be jerks at work, but when they discover the truth, they are kind to the heroines — especially when they take care of them when they are ill.   That melts my heart.

And gives me hope for all the grumpy, annoying people I’ve encountered over the years.

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Two modern Romantic Christmas Movies that made me long for the good old days:  SPOILERS.

Cover of "The Holiday"

Cover of The Holiday

The Holiday

Two unhappy women switch houses during Christmas and find love.  This movie had potential:  some clever dialogue and beautiful actors.  Kate Winslet and her brother played by Jude Law are particularly attractive.  However, although I like the theme of finding love when you least expect it, parts of the story I don’t like.

I find Cameron Diaz‘ character flaky, but what really irritates me is when this lonely, apparently desperate woman sleeps with a drunken stranger within minutes of meeting.   This is not a good beginning, no matter how handsome the protagonists are.  My “don’t-try-this-at-home” alarm starts going off, and I have a difficult time trusting that either of these characters will find lasting happiness because their initial judgment is so poor.

But on The Holiday’s plus side, Rufus Sewell plays an attractive swine and Jack Black is humorously sweet.


Interesting premise:  meeting over gloves in a department store at Christmas, followed by a quirky, wonderfully weird, very talky, first date.  The Pros:

John Cusack, always intriguing and sympathetic on-screen.

Kate Beckinsale, beautiful and articulate.

The Cons:

Years later, both hero and heroine are in supposedly committed relationships and they’re still hankering for the mythical romance from that one date.  I understand how the dream of the-one-that-got-away can be more attractive than the day-to-day grind of a real life love.   But part of me wonders if later, John and Kate’s characters will get bored with each other and think, “Maybe we aren’t soul mates after all.”  At the end of the movie, when they finally kiss and the music builds, I can’t help but feel sorry for their prior partners who are left behind, wondering what happened.

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