Saturday, May 5, 2012

Saturday Cinema~*

For professors, finals week means administering & grading exams, collecting papers & hearing students' pleas for mercy in between long hours of sitting in the office staring at the computer prepping for classes that shan't begin for another 3 months.  By the end of the day, my brain is guacamole.

Thank the cyber-gods for amazon prime & netflix.

I've been in a historical romance type mood as of late.  I don't go in for the romances as a general rule {I rather enjoy things blowing up for my entertainment}, but several days ago I had a sudden hankering to watch a good version of Jane Eyre {which I still haven't found}.  After that, Wuthering Heights was a natural, & by then I was well & truly on a roll.  So here are my mini reviews for those in a bobbin-lace-&-kisses type of mood.  They are rather dreamboat heavy, but then, they are romances & I am a woman & they are very dreamy dreamboats~*

1. Jane Eyre {William Hurt, Charlotte Gainsbourg}

I have yet to find a truly good film version of  Jane Eyre, which was one of my favorite books when I was a kiddo.  In this version, the acting was okay & the edits & composites required to put it the book on film were okay but the biggest problem I had was the casting.  Charlotte Gainsbourg looks very, very young & William Hurt looks William Hurt & the combination was a bit off-putting.

No offense to the actors involved, but it was a tad disconcerting...
There is another version that I also tried to watch with Timothy Dalton as Mr. Rochester but.... I know there is a 2011 version as well, but frankly the cast is just too pretty for my taste so I haven't watched it.  I don't know why movie and television folks insist on polishing & plasticizing literature beyond all recognition.  To be honest, I can't think of what actor would make a good Mr. Rochester...he needs to be attractive in an unconventional sense, & a bit battered 'round the edges & slightly cranky...any ideas?

2.  Wuthering Heights {Tom Hardy, Charlotte Riley}

I loved this version.  Well acted, & relatively easy to follow.  For those of you unfamiliar with this epic romantic & psychological tragedy, I won't try & explain the very complicated plot.  Instead, I leave you with this:

Damn.  Just, damn.  I feel the same way about Jonathan Rhys Meyers.  Have you seen Gormenghast?  That's a great weird wonder of a miniseries and a book.

'Nuff said.  Excuse me whilst I drool for a minute...
The whole thing has been uploaded to youtube, if you don't mind watching it in 12 minute intervals which...

you won't.  Mind, I mean...

3.  The Way We Live Now {David Suchet, Shirley Henderson}

This is based on one of those satirical novels poking fun at society that were immensely popular in the late 1800's {the same period in which Oscar Wilde and Lewis Carroll were popular}.  I'm rather fond of the genre because they are little peeks into the past-- the authors were writing about the inner working of the societies surrounding them.  The Way We Live Now was written by Trollope in  the 1870's, and the film version stays very true to the feel of the book.  Here are the first 10 minutes or so of the first episode of the miniseries:

I very much enjoyed it, both as a film, as a glimpse back through time & as a commentary on wealth & social status.  The performances are as odd & quirky as the scenery is lush-- great story, well played~*

4. Pride and Prejudice {Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle}

By now pretty much everyone should be familiar with this Austen novel-- sweet, smart, light & amusing.  There have been numerous television & film versions, but there is one thing that sets this version by far & away above the rest.

Colin Firth is perfect, I mean perfect as Mr. Darcy. There is something about his eyes-- he is fantastic at conveying a sort of sardonic & sad depth of character through his eyes.  Just grand...and of course, the language helps...

& by language I mean that Colin Firth is adorable.

5.  Sense and Sensibility {Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant}

Another Austen creation, of course, full of romance & wit & silly misunderstandings.  Well cast & well played {while critics insisted that Hugh Grant was not right for the part, I felt he was sweetly foppish & typically awkward & did a fine job}.  But the real treat in this version, for me, was seeing Alan Rickman in a romantic role.  He was very understated & surprisingly sweet & very still-waters-running-deep & I enjoyed his performance thoroughly.  Here is a youtube clip so you can see what I mean:

He doesn't act at all like someone who desperately wants to blow up your corporate headquarters or turn you into a newt.  

6.  A Room with a View {Helena Bonham Carter, Denholm Elliot}

To me there are two things that make A Room with a View a very pleasurable way to spend a few hours, the atmosphere & Helena Bonham Carter.  I've always liked her.  She looks like someone from another time   {she does a great job in the final few Harry Potter films, & played a wicked Morgan le Fay in Merlin, as well as all the movies she does with her significant other, Tim Burton}

This one is set a bit later than the others-- it was written in 1908 after the turn of the century & before World War I changed everything.  It was a period of optimism & idealism for the middle & upper class youth--  think of it as the early 1960s without electricity. I especially love the use of music to convey societal rebellion {Beethoven, Schubert...passionate music}.  I tried to find the part of the movie in which she plays Beehoven on the pianoforte, but couldn't locate one.  So instead, here is the Sonata she played as performed by Barenboim.

I love Beethoven...but I suppose a list of my favorite classical composers will have to wait for another day.  The movie has fantastic scenery & atmosphere, great performances & I've already mentioned the soundtrack.  The one drawback is the story-- its a bit thin & reedy.  Very romantic, but very predictable.  I haven't read the book, so I can't compare the two-- anyone out there familiar with the original story? 

So that's what I have watched thus far.  I usually can't sit still long enough for a movie & we very rarely go to the theater {with this and this being possible exceptions...told you I usually like action flicks}; so I do not know how long this movie trend will last.  If I see anything else, I'll do a follow up post- & please if you have any suggestions let me know!!


  1. Colin Firth, mmmmmm, thank you for putting him in my mind for the day. I do 'Pride and Prejudice' with my students and they find the courting rituals of the time utterly fascinating- they're a world away from facebook etc.Rx

    1. The books from that period are a fantastic glimpse into history! And you are most welcome for the Firth Fix~*

  2. Oh this is right up my alley. My version of a feel good movie is British made, period, and hopefully Austen. In fact, Sense and Sensibility is one of my go-to movies when I'm sick. And DITTO on Jane Eyre. I started watching the newest version and turned it off :( I'm going to check out a couple here that I haven't seen!

  3. I saw your post on Saturday, and I thought, I have to come back to this when I have time to read every bit of it. I would watch movies with you any time, sister! You are so right...Colin Firth cannot be beaten as Mr. Darcy. I will definitely try Gormenghast. Unfortunately, Netflix SUCKS in Canada. We don't get half the stuff you do. The only Wuthering Heights I see on there is one with Timothy Dalton. Have you seen that one? They do offer The Way We Live Now, and I haven't seen it before. That's awesome, because I thought I had seen every movie. I am so excited! Thanks!


Thank you for taking the time to comment! It is most appreciated~*