January 31, 2008

On "The Road"

I'm currently reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which is going to be a damn depressing film. I do think Viggo Mortensen is inspired casting as the taciturn father struggling to keep his son alive in a post-apocalyptic hell. Am also just seeing that Charlize Theron is slated to appear as Mortensen's late wife in flashback scenes.

Meanwhile, I also just started reading Gore Vidal's Myra Breckinridge (love it!!). There's a 1970s adaptation starring Raquel Welch that promises to be fabulously campy indeed, but maybe it's time for a new version?

January 29, 2008

Hair, There and Everywhere...

It was so very unsettling this week on Mansfield Park to see an Austen heroine sans that slicked-back, pulled-so-tight-it-may-as-well-have-been-a-Regency-facelift bun with the curly fringe all around. Oh no, our dear Fanny Price had a mane of unruly, unkempt, flowing blonde hair that, while not matching the color of her eyebrows, rivaled the equally unkempt hair of the two bad boys in the film: Tom and Henry. (Whom, truth be told, I had some difficulties keeping straight in the movie.)

Fanny's hair flowed in the breeze every time she ran around the house like a geeky girl channeling her inner Forest Gump. When she wasn't running, she was subtly flirting up a storm with every man in sight, including, at times, her own brother. Sure, Miss Crawford was throwing herself at Edmund with shameless abandon, but Fanny was FOR SURE giving Henry some reason to believe he might be able to bag her, don't you think? It was subtle, but it was there, and I didn't like it.

Edmund was too dorky for words. This was not proper casting for an Austen leading man if you ask me. It wasn't just the fact that he dug Miss Crawford straightaway...obviously that's the plot and we're supposed to love him once he sees the error of his ways....but I didn't. Even the romantic denouement bored me. Maybe Joseph Morgan (who played Fanny's brother William) would have been a better Edmund?

Oh, and that spinster aunt, Mrs. Norris, had crazy eyes that distracted me.

And thus, not really liking the hero OR heroine of this version very much, I have to say my preference is still for the 1999 feature film version starring Frances O'Connor, Johnny Lee Miller, James Purefoy and Linsday Duncan , who, as Lady Bertram, made the "she shall have a pug!" line so much more priceless.

That said, I'm very eager to see this Sunday's Miss Austen Regrets (and compare it to Becoming Jane). And thank god we've got the definitive P&P still to come.. Nobody does it better than Colin.

January 26, 2008

Life Imitates Victorian Art (and Victorian Life)

On the tube yesterday, the glaring headline of one of the tabloids screamed "FAGIN'S RETURN!" The reference to Oliver Twist certainly grabbed my attention. Sadly, it wasn't a fictional sequel to the classic novel, but the true tale told within the pages was straight out of Dickens' London. Apparently Romanian children are being kidnapped (and sometimes purchased), brought to London, and forced to become pickpocketing thieves by human traffickers. I have noticed so many reports of human trafficking of late. Visit this site to help do something about it. --Kim

January 23, 2008

Mind Your Manors

Travelers to England can now tour the house where Atonement was filmed. The website says the tour is "not suitable for young children." My heavens.

January 14, 2008

Oh Captain, My Captain...

Was it a Masterpiece? Eh. My heart did not palpitate for all 90 minutes of last night's airing of Persuasion on PBS. This Wentworth was hot, but no Ciaran Hinds. I felt like a lot of the plot got glossed over, and it was hard to really buy, in this version, that Anne and Captain Wentworth would have found their way back together (the ending seemed sudden and forced). Despite all this, even a sub-par Austen movie brings me sublime joy. Here are my musings as I watched.

1. I'm really not a fan of main characters (or any character, for that matter) repeatedly breaking the fourth wall to give me knowing glances or sob-filled stares. It's an overdone technique for these sorts of films, and I found it distracting and unnecessary..

2. Even Regency folks had to deal with housing bubbles. Go figure.

3. Anthony Stewart Head doesn't really seem old enough to have a 27-year-old daughter, does he? I enjoyed seeing him, but would have liked him to milk Sir Walter Elliot's foppishness a bit more than he did.

4. I've heard of flinging yourself at a man, but if you're going to literally do so, make sure the dude actually catches you.

5. Broken hearts are not as easily fixed as dislocated collarbones.

6. If that hog's head in the dinner scene is any indication of Georgian cuisine, my name, as a Jane Austen character, would be Anne O'Recksick. Gross.

7. When your sisters are acting like complete beeyotches, just grin and bear it.

8. In theory, being blindfolded in a carriage and taken to your old-new house is romantic. In reality, it would probably give you motion sickness and make you retch.

9. Along those same lines, socializing at the Assembly Room in Bath would have made me dizzy.

10. Single girls ought to do serious cardio training in case they ever have to chase the man of their dreams around town.

For a more detailed (and rip-roaringly funny) take, check out Fellow-ette's real time blog post.

January 11, 2008

Tivo Alert!: Persuasion

Strike Schmike: We've got Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth. Like an oasis in the desert, Sunday night's Masterpiece Theater gives us reason to turn the television back on (PBS and Project Runway....my sustenance in these difficult, troubling times.)

I'll be weighing in next week on the "new and improved" Masterpiece Theater as well as my thoughts on Persuasion starring Sally Hawkins, Rupert Penry-Jones, and yes, Vampire Slayer watcher, Anthony Head.

Let's hope enough people tune in to The Complete Jane Austen so that MP can finally procure a new sponsor after Exxon Mobil left 'em high and dry. (I can forgive corrupt oil companies many things, but not this. Never this.)

Meanwhile, here's an interesting article from today's L.A. Times about the series' attempts to reinvent itself and draw younger viewers.

Also, the word from Kim, RomTome's new "London correspondent," is that she's found a flat and will have Internet hookup next week. Here's hoping we'll hear more from her soon.