Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Barney's Version -A really great flick

Barney's Version Poster
Barney's Version is a truly wonderful film. I'll go light on details so as not to spoil it, but basically, Barney is a Jewish guy living in Montreal and a book has been written about part of his life which Barney disputes, so he wants to tell "his version" of his life story. This film is based on the Giller Prize winning book of the same name by Mordecai Richler.

Barney marrying heavily pregnant wife #1 (Rachelle Lefevre) with best friend Boogie (Scott Speedman)

The main plot is about how 3 gorgeous women fall for this hard drinking, cigar chomping, schlub of a guy, played to a tee by Paul Giamatti. This film is funny, it's heartbreaking and most of all very entertaining. Minnie Driver gives an absolutely hilarious performance as his second wife (with a MASTERS degree) and Rosamund Pike is luminous as Barney's long suffering third wife.

Barney (Paul Giamatti) and his dad (Dustin Hoffman)

An interesting piece of casting has Barney's father played by Dustin Hoffman, thankfully back from the land of the Fockers for this wonderful performance and Hoffman's real life son, actor Jake Hoffman, playing Barney's son.

Barney wooing wife #3 (Rosamund Pike)

I always find that the best films are the ones which mix humour with tragedy and give you a script where you cannot predict where the film is going. This one gives all of that and more. Toss in some gorgeous Canadian scenery both of Montreal and of cottage country (or the "Bush" as Shania Twain likes to call it) and you have a thoroughly satisfying flick.

Barney's second wife (Minnie Driver at her all time best)

Kick back and have a good laugh and a good cry over this one my friends.

P.S. If you don't understand the twist at the end, post a comment and I'll help you out.

Barney's Version (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)Barney's Version (Movie Tie-in Edition)Barney's Version (OST)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jane Eyre-Absolutely gorgeous!

Jane Eyre Poster-Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench
I had fairly high hopes for this new Jane Eyre film from what I had already read online, but I must say it was still a lovely surprise.  I took The Squire out for his birthday for dinner and a movie. He knew I really wanted to see this one, even though it was his birthday, so we drove into Toronto to see it (about 80 miles). Although I'm sure anyone in England would think we were mad to travel that far for a film, it was well worth it!

Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre
First of all, the theatre we saw it in had what is called UltraAVX. This apparently stands for ultra audio visual experience. Large screen, digital picture, surround sound, comfy rocker seats and reserved seating. What a way to see a film like this. Try to see this film in a movie theatre, even if it isn't UltraAVX, as the feeling of really being in Victorian England has never struck me as it did with Jane Eyre. It just won't be the same at home on a DVD, although it will still be amazing.

Michael Fassbender as Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester

This film adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic novel obviously had to be uber condensed, as it is only 115 minutes long. It rarely feels rushed, however. It opens with Jane running away from Thornfield (sort of the middle of the story), runs until the Rivers family have nursed her back to health and then flashes back to her childhood with the loathsome Reed family. It continues to the dank Lowood School and follows her to Thornfield Hall and her Mr. Rochester (and then back to the Rivers' and beyond). So it rather goes middle-beginning-middle-end, and this works really well to get you involved in the story quickly. I was blinking back tears within minutes of the film starting, which is usually an end-of-film kind of thing. Actually, I was alternately crying and laughing (yes there are a few wonderful funny bits) through the whole film.

Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax and Mia Wasikowska as Jane
The photography of Haddon Hall and the moors is breathtaking and really makes this an emotional film. I would have to say that the visuals and the emotion or "heart" in this version are what really struck me. There is wonderful acting in all the parts, including the most heart-breaking Helen and young Jane pair, and the best Adelle ever (constantly chattering in perfect French). The only real Yorkshire accents unfortunately were on the amazing little girls playing Helen and young Jane, which rather underscored for me how in and out the adult actors were with theirs. Sorry, but I notice these things. Kudos also to Judi Dench who is perfection as Mrs. Fairfax and Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot all grown up with whiskers) is very compelling as Jane's "other man", St. John (Sinjun).

Mr. Rochester and Jane in love...
It was only at the very end that I was pining for Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson. If you grafted on the ending of the 2006 miniseries, and captured a bit of their chemistry too, this version would be hard to beat. But there will never be perfect adaptations of our favourite novels, will there? Lots to love in this one, so enjoy. And I think one of the best compliments I could give this film is that it makes me really want to reread the novel.  And isn't that really what it's all about?

Jane EyreJane Eyre (Masterpiece Theatre, 2006)Jane Eyre (Penguin Classics) (Hardcover)

I am feeling rather naughty today, so I am going to add this hilarious "fake" commercial which was uploaded onto Youtube a while ago. It is hilarious but it is rather loud, so turn the sound down if you're not alone!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tamara Drewe-Far From The Madding Crowd?

Tamara Drewe Movie Poster
Tamara Drewe is an interesting little film based directly on a graphic novel (read comic book) by Posy Simmonds originally published in serial form in The Guardian newspaper. A takeoff on Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd, it is a modern day version, much like Bridget Jones's Diary is a modern riff on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  Directed by Stephen Frears (of The Queen and Dangerous Liaisons), it follows a journalist back to her hometown, after she has transformed her appearance through rhinoplasty.

Image from Posy Simmonds' graphic novel Tamara Drewe

It is a rather farcical sex romp through the gorgeous Dorset countryside, so if bed hopping in films bothers you, consider yourself warned. The star is Gemma Arterton, famous for her Bond Girl portrayal of Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace.  The real stars however are the two foul-mouthed teenage girls Jody and Casey who hang out in a disused bus shelter and spy on the entire community of Ewedown. They seem to be the only ones who really know what's going on and we see the happenings in the community through their eyes. I must say that they are real modern teens so if you are offended by teen talk and behavior that hasn't been whitewashed for middle-aged viewing, avoid this one. As the mother of a 16 year old boy, I thought it was hysterical, as did my son who plopped down 20 minutes into the film and stayed for the duration.

Casey and Jody, the real stars of Tamara Drewe

I originally saw this in a small art house theatre with a group of girlfriends who appreciate the British sense of humour. It was equally appreciated by my husband and son however, so as long as you're not prudish you'd probably enjoy this one too. This film may actually send me back to read Far From The Madding Crowd as it has been ages since I've read a Hardy novel. I should also see the film version starring Julie Christie but it's from 1967 and must be looking pretty dated by now. Sounds like we need Andrew Davies again!

Update-apparently it was done in 1998 for TV starring Paloma Baeza (from The Way We Live Now) and Jonathan Firth (brother of Colin and star of Victoria and Albert). This version sounds better than the Julie Christie one!

Gemma Arterton as a modern Bathsheba in Tamara Drewe
In short, I can highly recommend this one for a weekend rental. Entertaining and not likely you'll predict how it ends! Cheers!

Tamara DreweTamara DreweFar from the Madding CrowdFar from the Madding Crowd (Signet Classics)Far From the Madding Crowd [VHS]

Friday, March 18, 2011

Red Nose Day- Uptown Downstairs Abbey is Hilarious!

Red Nose Day 2011 Uptown Downstairs Abbey
Today in Britain Comic Relief had their big fundraiser for the year, Red Nose Day. This is a massive fund-raising effort now in it's 23rd year and raises funds to "transform the lives of poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged people across the UK and Africa".

Here is the Youtube posting for the parody of Downton Abbey called, appropriately, Uptown Downstairs Abbey. Very cute for those of us who are fans of the series!

And here is part two:

Well, I hope you liked those clips. I just couldn't resist. There are many great clips on Youtube of old classic bits from previous Red Nose Days. Oh....I guess I could give you just one more clip.  Here is my favourite one from 2009 which is a takeoff on Mama Mia...

And if you want part two of this one here it is:

Now go and donate something to the charity of your choice, whether Comic Relief or the Red Cross for the Japan Earthquake or whatever you think is best. It's the least we can do, don't you think?

Thanks all you wonderful folks!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Impromptu-An Adorable Little Film About Chopin!

Impromptu-Judy Davis, Hugh Grant, Mandy Patinkin
If you are looking for a serious biopic about Frederic Chopin, do NOT watch this! If you want a fun period piece with some wonderful music and a good dollop of comedy, this is your film.

This is one of my favourite films, which probably says a lot about me. This film just makes me laugh. And it transports me with  the amazing music of Frederic Chopin.

Impromptu Cast-Hugh Grant, Mandy Patinkin, Julian Sands, Judy Davis and Bernadette Peters

This 1991 gem centers on the artistic community in Paris in the 19th century in a very lighthearted way as it follows the cross-dressing writer George Sand (played magnificently by Judy Davis) as she energetically pursues the consumptive Chopin (a rather too healthy looking Hugh Grant). It also has Bernadette Peters as Marie d'Agoult, love interest of Franz Liszt (a very sexy Julian Sands) and Mandy Patinkin  as Alfred de Musset, George Sand's jilted ex-lover. Emma Thompson however, steals the show as the loopy Duchess D'Antan, intent on collecting the greatest artists of the age around her.

Emma Thompson as the Duchess D'Antan in Impromptu
There is a lot of wonderful music and passionate commentary on art, love and life but it is mixed in with so much comedy that this is a very singular film. A real treat for those who don't like their historical biopics dry. It was filmed entirely in France, so the visuals are quite equal to Chopin's music.

Julian Sands as Liszt and Hugh Grant as Chopin-The men are prettier than the women!
I had this one in my migraine movie post below, but it is actually better categorized as a rainy-day film or a recovering-from-a-cold film. It will lift your spirits but it may not be calm enough for a headache night! Enjoy!



Related Posts with Thumbnails