April 30, 2008

Judi's Turn To Try

Dame Judi Dench and Imelda Staunton feature heavily on this Sunday's Masterpiece Classic, an adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford. The premise of this three-installment series: an 1840 version of McDreamy (Simon Woods, a.k.a. Mr. Bingley!) comes to town with new-fangled medical ideas, thereby putting the staunch-and-staid biddies of a small rural community in a tizzy (and sending some of the younger women into fits of rapture, I daresay.) The film appears to be an amalgamation of several of Gaskell's works, but all I know is, the Brits loved it when it aired there, so I'm looking forward to it.

Here's a preview from the PBS site.

April 29, 2008

The Triumph of Love or Whatever Happened to Mira Sorvino

Sunday night, sorely in need of an escape from the very real slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, I picked up Bernardo Bertolucci's The Triumph of Love (2002) from the local library. The romantic comedy is based on an 18th century French play and it certainly satisfied my desire for delicious brain candy. Mira Sorvino is the cross-dressing heroine, a bit of a reverse Cinderella who takes the lead in orchestrating her own happily ever after. She is such a wonderful actress and we don't see enough of her. She was also fabulous in one of my 5 Favorite Adaptations, Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers, in which she plays the tragic South American heiress Conchita Closson. --Kim

The Old College Try

On rare occasions, I regret not living in a dorm in college, but usually I'm okay with it, especially after reading Tom Wolfe's harrowing account of college life,I Am Charlotte Simmons, which is being adapted for film by U2 and REM music video director Liz Friedlander. I've been waiting for this film for two years, if only for the sort of guilty pleasure fluff it shall provide for someone who's proudly carried the "geek" mantle a time or two in her life. Who should play the awkwardly put-upon protagonist? Please, not Anne Hathaway, although I must confess that's who I pictured in my head while reading it. Anyway, she's too old now. I almost feel like an unknown actress would best depict Charlotte's wallflower nature, but you know that'll never happen. Feel free to suggest who you'd cast as Charlotte, her cruel frat boy seducer, Hoyt, or any number of peripheral "froshtitutes" in the story.

April 25, 2008

Hotties and Unicorns...

...what more could a girl ask for? A recent Googling of Ioan Gruffudd shows he's starring in an adaptation of Elizabeth Goudge's The Little White Horse. The film, called The Secret of of Moonacre, follows Maria Mayweather (Dakota Blue Richards), an English orphan in the 1840s who is sent to the crumbling Moonacre Mansion to live with her cousin, Sir Benjamin (Gruffudd). There, she discovers that she is the Moonacre Princess who must, with the help of a stable of mythical beasts, save the ancient estate from disappearing into the sea forever.

Ioan is also set to play former British prime minister Tony Blair in W., a biopic on the life and presidency of George W. Bush, which stars Josh Brolin (?!) as Dubya and Thandie Newton as Condoleeza Rice.

Finally, Ioan goes the "Touched By An Angel" route in the CBS television pilot "Meant To Be", which features Amy Smart as a dead woman sent back to earth to help people. Gruffudd plays her tour guide and mentor, her "Clarence," if you will. Sounds kind of lame, unless, as her spirtual guru, he's saddled up on a unicorn. That I'd tune in for.

Like a House Afire

The executive producers of House are adapting Brock Clarke's bestseller, An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England, which centers on a man who accidentally burns down Emily Dickinson's Amherst home only to be later suspected in a string of fires set at historical landmarks.

source: The Hollywood Reporter

April 22, 2008

Perfect "Sense"

I confess I needed a break from "The Complete Jane Austen" in recent months...(as much as I'm obsessed with all things Jane, one a week is sensory overload....I also generally don't like that PBS now clumps all the Masterpiece Classics together only to make us tough it out for the rest of the year.) That said, I've been saving up "Sense & Sensibility" until I was good and ready to relish it.

....And, now, couldn't we all stand to relive those last eight minutes?

April 21, 2008

NBC Does Defoe

Dark Horizons has news of a television series version of Robinson Crusoe. I liked the novel, but fail to see how it can be a series, especially when we already have Lost. Nevertheless I'm glad to see another classic work of literature make its way to TV.

Cue Bizet...

Happy documentary news for Kim who loves her some matador action.

In unrelated news, if you've never seen the 2005 film, The Matador, starring Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear and Hope Davis, it is charming, charming, charming. You should rent it.

South Park Spoofs...

Last week while channel surfing on two different nights, I happened upon two different South Park send-ups of two of my all-time favorite novels: Great Expectations (which included a Masterpiece theater-esque intro) and the Grapes of Wrath (in which the denizens of South Park were forced to head to "Californee" after the Internet dries up. I think they were reruns, but I'd never seen them. Click on the links above to watch the episodes.

April 18, 2008

Wuthering Heights...

Late on the uptake with this one...

Memory Keeper's Daughter

Rarely do I tune into a Lifetime flick, but I gave this one about an hour of my time since I'd read the book by Kim Edwards over Christmas-time. Seemed like a faithful telling, from the parts I saw (I was flipping back and forth between The Hills, I'm ashamed to admit.)

A few pieces of commentary:
1) Emily Watson...inspired casting as Phoebe's adoptive mom, Caroline Gill. I love everything she does, although I will never watch that stupid Loch Ness movie.

2) Dermot Mulroney was a snore. He always kind of looked constipated. I turned back to LC and the gang anytime he was on-screen.

3) Gretchen Moll. Remember her? She was on the cover of Vanity Fair once and now you rarely see the woman. I've decided it's because she resembles Kate Hudson too much and any role she might get goes to Kate Hudson instead.

My Boy Jack...

Daniel Radcliffe has always sort of bothered me, and he does so even more when sporting a 'stache, thereby giving me pause about whether or not to tune in to this week's Masterpiece "Classic" to see an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's My Boy Jack, which I'm unfamiliar with anyway. But it does star over-sexed Samantha Jones, a.k.a. Kim Cattrall, and that could be interesting to behold.

Here's the preview.

By the way, am I the only one completely mesmerized by Gillian Anderson's lips in those introductions? They are like an entity unto themselves. Makes me want to reach for the nearest syringe full of collagen. But what's up with her being in Maxim? Ewww. The pics aren't too skanked-out, but still... Russell Baker and Alistair Cooke would never have resorted to using their sex appeal like that.

April 14, 2008

New A&E Adaptation

On May 27th, A&E will premiere its miniseries adaptation of Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain. Unless it stars Ioan Gruffudd in breeches and a tri-corn hat fighting a deadly new viral strain with nothing more than a cutlass and the British navy behind him, I care not.

For those more excited than I am, know that it stars Benjamin Bratt, Eric McCormack, Andre Braugher and...what's this????? Ricky Shroeder? MY Ricky Schroeder? Okay, maybe I'll tune in, just for a looksee. "To learn all about those things you just can't buuuuuyyyyyy. We're silver spoons together - he and I."

Oh No He DIH-N'T!!!!

Andrew Davies did NOT just pull an Atonement on me!!!!! (For those of you who have yet to watch PBS's new adaptation of E.M. Forster's A Room With a View, I won't give it away, but I will leave you with one word to describe a fabricated plot twist: APPALLING!

(And what's with the hint of a hook-up at the end??? No grazie.)

Thank god for separated-at-birth-from-Joan-Cusack Sophie Thompson as Charlotte Bartlett and Elizabeth McGovern as Mrs. Honeychurch (whom I LOVED as Marguerite Blakeney in A&E's The Scarlet Pimpernel and was thrilled to see again.) Besides being predictably picturesque, I was unimpressed. I liked Lucy, but her chemistry with George was nonexistent. Besides which, George was weird-weird, not SEXY-weird like his predecessor, Julian Sands.) Cecil wasn't nearly enough of an annoying dandy, although really, who could live up to Daniel Day-Lewis?

Remember in the definitive Helena Bonham Carter version when George Emerson holds up the plate with the question mark on it? That's sort of how I felt after watching this version. Skip it and read the novel again, instead.

Oh Andrew Davies, for shame! (I will forgive you if Brideshead Revisited doesn't bore me to tears when it's released this fall.) And I heard his version of Sense & Sensibility, still on my DVR, is excellent. Will watch that later this week.

April 13, 2008

Who Shot Cardinal Wolsey?

I have a confession to make... I've secretly been downloading season 1 of Showtime's The Tudors via iTunes all weekend. Basically a sexy soap like Dallas or Dynasty, The Tudors is of course set in the 16th century. It's not witty like the first season of The OC and it doesn't hold a candle to The Sopranos or Six Feet Under, but the costumes are to die for and Jonathan Rhys Meyers is really fantastically watchable as Henry VIII. Bottom line though, it's a guilty pleasure at best. As my penance, I'm reading the Lisle Letters which are just full of juicy contemporary gossip and political intrigue from the period. One wonders why, with all the fabulous material to plunder, the show's writers would choose to wreak such havoc with the facts. Well, I must dash--episode 7 just finished downloading. --Kim

April 5, 2008

Other Boleyn Girl Not So Hot

Sadly, The Other Boleyn Girl adaptation has received less than enthusiastic reviews from the critics, but I'm still planning to see it anyway for the costumes if nothing else (though I'll probably wait for the dvd). If you happened to see it we'd love to get your take. --Kim