Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

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

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Call The Midwife Season 4!

I am thrilled to announce the arrival of Call The Midwife Season 4 on Sunday March 29th on PBS! And amazingly, it is as wonderful as the last two seasons. I was trying not to read any spoilers online last fall from the UK but I did hear some happy murmuring on Twitter about the new season. They were right.

The first episode is all I have watched so far, and it was really Trixie's show this week. She had me crying a few times. Who knew the party girl from the first season had such depth? I really didn't miss Cynthia or Jenny at all! And the new midwife Barbara Gilbert (played by Charlotte Ritchie) is apparently a bit of a klutz, but is really quite adorable as an earnest Vicar's daughter transplanted to Nonnatus House.

Sister Monica Joan has some rare moments of lucidity, grumpy Sister Evangelina has a mysterious medical issue she is trying to ignore, and Chummy made barely a cameo before lurching off in a car. I was feeling very nervous for the bystanders when she was reversing with that manual transmission!

Hopefully I haven't given too much away. And I hope you will enjoy this season as much as I am. Go Trixie!


P.S. I can't wait for the new nurse Phyllis Crane, played in Episode 2 by the marvelous Linda Bassett (the pianist from Calendar Girls, Queenie from Larkrise to Candleford and Mrs. Jennings from the most recent Sense and Sensibility). Her character Phyllis is described as "officious". I can't wait!

Far From the Madding Crowd and other upcoming films!

Far From The Madding Crowd will be released May 1, 2015 and promises to be one of the best Period Dramas of 2015. It stars Carey Mulligan (Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby), Michael Sheen (The Queen, Masters of Sex) and from what I can tell, Carey Mulligan does her own singing. While I am waiting for this one, I may reread the Far From The Madding Crowd, the sad tale of Bathsheba Everdene by Thomas Hardy. Or perhaps see one of the film versions, either Julie Christie's from 1967 or the newer Paloma Baeza version from 1998. All are well worth revisiting.

There are a few films which should have been in wide release by now which are being held up in distribution. I am not amused!

Effie Gray, which stars Dakota Fanning, Greg Wise and Emma Thompson was released to mixed reviews in the fall in the UK but is supposedly making it across the pond on April 3, 2015. It concerns the odd relationship between artist John Ruskin and his teenage bride. Fingers crossed! I love Emma Thompson and she wrote this one so I still have fairly high hopes.

A Little Chaos has fared a bit better with reviewers, and yet has still had it's released pushed back to April 17, 2015. I hope they mean in North America, not just in the UK. Directed by Alan Rickman and starring Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci and Rickman himself (not to mention newcomer Matthias Shoenaerts from Far From the Madding Crowd), it is an unlikely tale of two landscape gardeners competing to design a fountain at Versailles for Louis XIV.

And if you can wait until fall of 2015, Suffragette is about the early feminists fighting for equal voting rights in Edwardian England. This one is star studded, with Meryl Streep as Emmeline Pankhurst and Carey Mulligan (I love her!), Helena Bonham Carter and Anne-Marie Duff as some of the suffragettes. My readers will know that this is a topic which I think deserves more attention. Some of my post links are below:

So it would appear that 2015 will be a wonderful year for Period Drama! And now if only some film maker would take on a Georgette Heyer adaptation. Fingers crossed!


The SECOND Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is definitely worth seeing. I liked it almost as much as the first film. My loyal reader Olga thought she liked it even better than the first one!

Like the first film, it follows the lives of British retirees looking for a less expensive (and more interesting) place to spend their twilight years. This one continues with Sonny (Dev Patel), his gorgeous fiancee Sunaina (Tina Desai) and their plans for yet another Anglo-Indian retirement home. It also shows the bumpy ride they have toward their wedding. I don't think I will spoil it for you by saying that the film ends with a wonderful wedding dance, Bollywood style.

The best thing about this film is of course the fab British cast. How can a movie with these amazingly talented actors be anything less than delightful? Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Penelope just goes on and on! Director John Madden returns as well (Shakespeare in Love) to steer the ship.

I am afraid to say the worst thing about The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was Richard Gere. I don't know if it was the juxtaposition with the talent above, but his acting seemed very second rate. When he was attempting to woo Sonny's mother, I didn't believe a word he said! Am I being too hard on him? Did anyone else like him in this????

So the bottom line is to just go and see this. Enjoy the wonderful costumes, scenery and the not too heavy story line. It is just the kind of date film my husband and I enjoy and I'm sure you will too!


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Downton Abbey Season 5 Finale (The UK Christmas Special)

SPOILER ALERT! This post is intended for those who have already viewed Downton Abbey Season 5 Finale- The UK Christmas Special

Well Carson finally did it! It took an admission of poverty from Mrs. Hughes to spur him on, but he finally did it!

Mr. Carson: "I do want to be stuck with you...I'm not marrying anyone else"
Mrs. Hughes: "Of course I'll marry you, you old Booby! I thought you'd never ask!"

Ah, heartwarming stuff from Uncle Julian for Christmas Day in the UK. He learnt his lesson after killing off Matthew a few years ago. Last year we had Carson and Mrs. Hughes wading at the seaside, and this year we were crying over Tom's touching remembrance of Sybil in the nursery. Good tears however! And Carson's proposal!

Isobel and Violet had me laughing out loud a few times tonight although they both had some very touching scenes together and with their respective amours.

Isobel: "Proposals. Propositions. Not what one expects at our age."

I love the addition of Matthew Goode as Mary's new love interest. Please let this be the beginning of lots of Matthew next season. Mary looked pretty darned aroused as he jumped into his sports car and zoomed away. Well done!

The second best looking character in this episode was Brancaster Castle (Alnwick Castle the home of the Duke of Northumberland and his kickass Duchess). We have seen this lovely property standing in for Hogwarts in Harry Potter but it is breathtaking!

Alun Armstrong rather stole the show a few times with his evil butler Stowell, whose permanent expression of distaste is hilarious! A rather fun matching of evil wits between Barrow and Stowell. And the interesting but unlikely personality transplant of Lord Sinderby after Rose's heroics were entertaining. Again, Rose and Atticus are just soooo adorable. I'm going to miss them when they go to America.

Molesley and Baxter were also vying for adorable couple of the night when they spent their days off together pubbing in York...OK, trying to verify Mr. Bates's alibi. And I refuse to say anything more about the ridiculous Bates storyline in protest. End it now Julian Fellowes!

And I will end with Matthew Goode in his fast car. Phwoar!

Mary: "Heavens, what a snappy chariot. Mr. Rogers clearly has hidden depths."
Henry Talbot: "It's mine. But thanks for the compliment!"

Other Best Lines of the Week:

Violet: Lord Sinderby, Branson and Barrow. Not what I call a recipe for a peaceful weeks shooting.
Isobel: Makes you wonder what they'll be shooting at by the end of it!
Violet: Bwahhaha!

Violet: I am sad to say I shall never again receive an immoral proposition from a man. Was I so wrong to savour it?

Mary: Suffice it to say the butler is back in his box.

Branson: You see where I come from there are quite a few Marigolds.

Isobel: And You've never strayed again.
Violet: I've never risked everything again.
Isobel: That's not quite what I asked.
Violet: It's all the answer you'll get.

Sybbie: Donk!



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