Saturday, July 31, 2010

movies and tv shows

BBC almost never goes wrong with period films (maybe with the exception of "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" - see further down). This "Emma" is by far (with the excpetion of maybe "Clueless") the BEST adaptation of the book by Austen. There's a BBC version with Kate Beckinsale, and I think she does wonderfully and the Mr Knightley has the right characterization, but (and I admit this is shallow) he really isn't a looker, so it isn't AS enjoyable as it could be :). Emma in this one is perfectly portrayed by ROMOLA GARAI. She's well-intentioned, but youthful and sometimes a bit oblivious. And not to mention Mr. Knightley!!!! Check this out:

Now, come on, who wouldn't want to watch that! AND he has the character down. As much as I do love Jeremy Northam, his portrayel in the movie with Gwyneth Paltrow is too... I don't know... flirtatious and indulgent - he never truly lectures her, which she's always accusing him of doing.
I rented this one from the library, there's a bit of a wait for those of you who go to the same library system, but SOOOO worth it! But make sure you get this version!

Speaking of Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Really interesting story... I've never read the novel, but I watched two versions. A&E's version from 1998 with the incomparable Justine Waddell in the title role (Wives & Daughters, Great Expectations, The Woman in White). I loved it! It was a bit more clear (which I hear the book is not) on her role in the big "occurrence". I just love watching her, I think she's so fascinating to watch.
Tess is basically of poor relations, but her father discovers their family used to be aristocratic and there seems to be cousins still in existence who are well off. Tess goes to work for them and there meets Alec who falls in love with her and seduces/rapes her (the big "occurrence"). She flees home, not to much support from her family. She then starts out on her own for a job. She finds one and meets Angel. What could be a happy ending isn't so simple though. Should Tess tell Angel about what happened with Alec? If she does will he still love her? To watch her strange life and tragic events unfold and how she copes with them is hauntingly beautiful.

Now, as mentioned above, there is another version. BBC also adapted the novel in 2006 I believe. I didn't recognize any of the actors in this one and the big event in this one is more ambiguous, in keeping with the novel. The characterizations were all very interesting. This Tess seemed to be much more naive than Justine Waddell's. Which is in keeping with the character herself. It was different enough from the other one to still be interesting. As noted earlier, I do have one qualm... the very graphic (at least to me) sex scene. If I see naked butts in motion - I'm done. It's one scene toward the end of the movie. I personally found it gratuitous, but if you wouldn't then I would still recommend seeing it.
But, if you only have time for one, I suggest Justine Waddell's. Speaking of which, she is in a Masterpeice Theatre adaptation of "Anna Karennina" which is one of my all time favorite novels, but our library doesn't have it. If by some miracle there is someone out there who does have it or knows someone willing to lend it out, please let me know!

Now on to TV shows... "The Mentalist". It just started its third season, but I watch on DVD, so I don't have to endure the suspense week to week (not to mention I have to watch on a portable DVD player, I don't have a TV by my work computer). Simon Baker plays the lead, and come one it's almost worth it just to watch him for an hour! But on top of rugged good looks, he's also very talented! Basically he plays Patrick Jane, a former tv psychic. Jane was doing an interview on TV and told them how he was helping out the police on the side to catch a serial killer and belittled him on national television. This killer, Red John, decided to teach Jane a lesson and killed his wife and child. Jane then admitted himself a fraud. He wasn't psychic, just incredibly observant, which allowed him to pass as psychic. He now helps the police with investigations, but his main goal is still to catch Red John. It's listed as a drama, and it is, but it isn't as dark as other crime dramas. Jane is good at what he does, but he also likes to create drama and doesn't always have (okay never has) great tact. Do yourself a favor and rent the first season on DVD, if you don't love the first episode, you probably wouldn't like the rest. SOOOOOO worth it though!

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