Best and Worst Films/Series of 2013

6 Jan

I feel like, all in all, I had a better year in 2013 when it came to movies/series vs. books. There weren’t that many that made my “worst” list so that’s definitely a good thing! I still have not seen Downton Abbey season 4 (waiting for the DVD release), in case you’re wondering why it’s not on any of the lists.

FAVORITES

1. Much Ado About Nothing- This was the 1993 version with Kenneth Branagh. I watched this shortly after reading the play for the first time to help my brother with an English paper. I really enjoyed the play so I decided to watch the film and loved it! The only low point was Keanu Reeves- I don’t know what they were thinking casting him.

2. Call the Midwife Season 2- Although the series really started to stray from the books (they had to, as they used up all the storylines), I’m always happy when a sequel is not a let-down. The one thing about this show that kind of bothers me (but not really), is that Jenny remains by far the least interesting character.

3. Berkeley Square- Purchased this series from Amazon after it kept popping up on the list of suggested items to check out. It’s about nannies in Edwardian London. It was a delightful soap opera slightly reminiscent of Downton Abbey. Very disappointed that it ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger but the series was cancelled due to poor ratings. Apparently it had scheduling conflicts when it aired so no one ever knew when it was on. Such a shame.

4. Lark Rise to Candleford- I watched the entire series and while it was all good, the first season was the best. Why is that the case with so many shows?

5. Catching Fire- Amazing adaptation. I may have liked it even more than the book.

6. Frozen- I could take or leave the 3D animation, but I was happy to see a Disney princess movie where romance is not the main focus (I haven’t seen Brave, but I’m told it’s similar in that regard).

7.  Saving Mr. Banks- I’m not a big Mary Poppins fan or anything but I loved this movie! Whether it was accurate or not I don’t know- but it all looked great and the performances were amazing!

8. The Call- I rented this really late in the year even though I had wanted to see it in theaters. Too bad that I waited! I really enjoyed seeing a thriller with women in the main roles.

9. Prisoners- It was a little too long but I was still glued to the screen.

10. The Paradise (seasons 1 and 2)- I had a few issues with this series (namely, the behavior of the lead characters at times) but I loved it all the same.

WORST

1. Man of Steel- I was really looking forward to this because it looked really good in all the trailers. But the movie was, sadly, pretty horrible. I didn’t have any problems with the acting, but I hated the storyline. And the fight scenes were awful- got pretty redundant once the 50th building was destroyed.

2. Olympus Has Fallen- I had no interest in this and only went to see it because my boyfriend wanted to. Unfortunately I have to let him pick the movies sometimes too. It was very stupid and cheesy, just like I expected. Did anyone else find it funny that the all-American hero was played by a Scottish man, and yet the North Korean terrorist was played by an American???

3. The Paperboy- Rented this because it seemed like an interesting story. It was not. I had no idea what was going on half the time and it was just….really bizarre.

4. Game of Thrones Season 3- What’s this? My favorite book in the series and the TV version of it is on my worst list? I did not hate this series, but it was, on the whole, a disappointment to me. As I said, it was my favorite book in the series so far. But I found the season to be on the boring and draggy side. It had a lot of good scenes in it, still, but I felt like the decision to split the book into two led to a lot of filler. Hopefully the second half (season 4) will be better.

5. Marvel’s Agents of Shield (first half of season 1)- I was really looking forward to this show because I love The Avengers and the related films. But the show has been a disappointment. I would actually like it a lot more if they got rid of the annoying and useless Skye because I like all the other characters.

That’s it for my least favorites. I didn’t hate the last two- they were just disappointments compared to what I was expecting.

Favorite/Least Favorite Books of 2013

3 Jan

First post in one million years! I don’t know if anyone even reads this blog anymore, haha. I don’t think I ever even made a favorites post for 2012……. Anywho, I set a really low reading goal for myself last year- only 50 books. That was mainly because for the first half of the year I was working 60+ hour weeks and had hardly any time for reading. I actually ended up reading 58, which was good, I guess.

To be honest, I don’t really remember any particularly standout books, either good or bad, offhand. I will have to go through my list and see…In no particular order…

FAVORITES

1. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis- Although the finale to the trilogy had a really ugly cover, the story did not disappoint. It was a highly satisfying ending! I just wish it could have had a pretty cover to match the first 2.

2. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer- While I didn’t like it nearly as much as Cinder, it was still very enjoyable.

3. A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin- This was by far my favorite so far in the Song of Ice and Fire series! Unfortunately, I’ve heard the next couple of books aren’t that great so I’m afraid it may have peaked here.

4. Because it is my Blood by Gabrielle Zevin- The sequel to All These Things I’ve Done. I think I liked it even more than the first.

5. The Book of Lost Things by John Connoly- Seemed at first like a children’s story, but it was actually anything but.

6. Curtain by Agatha Christie- Her last Poirot novel, it was written decades before it was published. I read all of Agatha Christie’s books in the order they were published, and towards the end they definitely declined in quality. That’s why reading this was such a relief!

7. Endless Night by Agatha Christie- This was her 70th book out of 80 that I read, and probably the last really good one.

8. Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson- I liked this series much more than I thought I would when I began the first novel, The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

9. Call the Midwife series by Jennifer Worth- I began this series at the very end of 2012, shortly after getting into the Call the Midwife TV series. I really liked all of the books.

10. Tie between The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham and A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh- After finishing Agatha Christie, I was desperate for some more cozy mystery authors. These two both reminded me more of Georgette Heyer than Christie but I highly enjoyed both and can’t wait to read the rest of their books.

As you can see, I cheated on a lot of the above- listing series and a tie. Haha! Now on to the flip side of the coin:

LEAST FAVORITE- other than the first book, I didn’t actually hate any of these. They were just not very good or they didn’t live up to the hype.

1. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta- This book had been spoken really highly of in the YA booktubing community. The description sounded good, too. But I hated, hated, hated this book. Boring, poorly written, cheesy, etc. Reminded me of previous hated YA books like Graceling and The Naming.

2. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff- A steampunk Japan fantasy! But it was really disappointing and misused a lot of random Japanese that was thrown in.

3. Boundless by Cynthia Hand- It wasn’t bad, but definitely a disappointment compared to the first two books.

4. Reached by Ally Condy- I wasn’t crazy even about the first book in this series, Matched. I’m not sure why I even continued with it.

5. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith- I think the hype killed it. It wasn’t bad, but I would rate it maybe a 7/10. I was so excited for this being such a huge Harry Potter and mystery fan- of course a detective novel by JK Rowling would have to be super amazing, right? Instead, it was just “pretty good.”

6. Stardust by Neil Gaiman- It sounded really cool, but for some reason, I just wasn’t that into it.

7. Black and White by Malorie Blackman- An alternate reality where the white people are the oppressed race and blacks are the privileged. Like many of the others on this list, it was a really cool concept, but I wasn’t blown away.

8. Outpost by Ann Aguirre- I wasn’t crazy about the first book, Horde, and I liked this one even less.

9. NOTHING! Surprise, I couldn’t think of anything else.

Overall, 2013 was a very underwhelming year in reading for me. That’s largely due to the fact that I only read about half or fewer books than I have in the past few years. Hopefully 2014 will be a little more exciting.

Jane Eyre 2011

22 Jul

At long last, my review for the 2011 version of Jane Eyre is here! Is this the most delayed review ever, or what? My DVD was still in the packaging, despite having owned it for nearly two years now! Well, I didn’t watch it right away because I was trying to watch the Jane Eyres in order, and then my computer died… Anyway, I have actually seen the movie, just only once, in theaters. It was actually at an advance screening before the movie came out, so it’s been over two years. The theater I saw it in was not the greatest (it’s since been renovated) but there were few options as the film got a very limited release. I remember liking the movie and thinking the two leads were good, but being disappointed by several things (the flashbacks, the ending). I actually watched my DVD twice for this review- once to refresh my memory, and a second time with the director’s commentary on to take screencaps.

I had very high hopes for this film, despite thinking it was too soon for another adaptation. I mean, the 2006 BBC miniseries was released less than five years before this one! As much as I love Jane Eyre, I do think think there’s such a thing as adaptation overload. They could have adapted another work instead…but that’s not really on topic.

So, on my rewatch, did I think any differently? Yes, and no. Overall, my view on the film is that it is a disappointment. It could have been great but it did not meet my expectations. One of my main problems was the structure. The film starts out with Jane fleeing Thornfield and being found by the Rivers. Any scenes from before that point are flashbacks, occasionally coming back to a scene in the “present” at Moor House. I remember reading about this choice before the film came out and being hesitant, but I thought it might come out better than I expected. Unfortunately, it did not. The flashback structure was confusing for my friends who did not read the book. To me, it was just an annoyance. I get that they were trying to do something different, but it just didn’t work for me in practice.

I think that the film could have benefited from about 10-20 extra minutes of run-time. A lot of the explanations and backstories are cut out. What really bothered me about this is that it looked like more things were actually originally filmed, but left on the cutting room floor. The DVD confirmed my suspicions on some of this- plenty of deleted scenes on it should have been left in the film, IMO! I do not know why some of them were cut. (I will get into some specifics in the character section below).  Because I saw the film with several people who did not read the book, I know that a lot of it was confusing. And for me, even though I knew the backstory, I was just irritated not to see it! One major thing I felt they should have done with extra time would be to show more buildup to Jane and Rochester’s relationship. Some of their scenes together are great, but they needed more of these before they actually got engaged to show and explain their growing attraction more.

The Characters

Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre

While the actress is not actually plain, I think they made her look the part well enough. They had her use a Northern Accent, which I thought was an interesting choice (however, John and Mrs. Reed do not have this accent, so I’m not sure where she picked it up from…) She actually looked small enough and close to the right age. I found her acting, however, to be underwhelming. I thought her performance was too restrained. In the proposal scene, in particular, I thought she held back too much. I don’t want Jane to be over the top, but I wanted a little more passion. A lot of focus in this version seemed to be put on Jane wanting freedom and developing into a woman, but I could have done without the scene of her examining the painting of a naked lady. Not that I had any issues with the picture, but the scene accomplished nothing (that time could have been better spent elsewhere) and this “nude image” was part of the reason the film got a PG-13 rating.

Amelia Clarkson as Young Jane

I really liked her performance. One of this film’s high points to me was actually Jane’s childhood. Given how limited the time was, I think they definitely made the most of it! Cary Fukunaga, the director, stated in the commentary that it was intentional- Jane’s childhood is essential for shaping her into the person she later becomes. The scenes at Gateshead and Lowood, though minimal, were well-done. I’m still not sure why she has a Northern accent, unless she picked it up from the servants? Speaking of the servants, we actually do get a peek at Abbot and Bessie, who act true to their book characters. Unfortunately, it’s just a peek- an understandable cut for time.

Ewart James Walters as John Reed

He has a small part but it was done well. His scene of finding Jane in the window reading was kept very close to the book.

Sally Hawkins as Mrs. Reed

Her performance was very understated and softspoken. Very subtle. I didn’t have too much of a problem with that in itself, but because her time was so limited, I don’t know if it was really the right direction to go.

Simon McBurney as Mr. Brocklehurst

Like Aunt Reed, I think he could have played up a little bit more. It’s not that I had a big problem with his performance, but because his role was so small, I think it should have been a bit more dramatic.

Freya Parks as Helen Burns

I think Lowood was very effective given how little time it was given. Helen was very cute and innocent, and although her piety was not as extreme as in the book, for once it was actually not cut altogether! I loved her death scene. It was very touching and haunting at the same time- Helen’s eyes are open after she dies. I don’t remember a typhus outbreak but Helen did seem to die of consumption. She does actually mention going to God after death! I’m so thankful they didn’t completely alter her personality.

Michael Fassbender as Edward Rochester

Of course, yet again, Rochester is anything but “not handsome.” I don’t even remember if that line was kept in, despite just having rewatched the film twice. He also gives his character a hint of a Northern accent. Although my favorite remains Timothy Dalton, I liked his performance as Rochester, and I thought that he and Mia did have good chemistry. He was a little more understated than some of the others to have played the role, but not too much so. Unfortunately, as I stated above- there was not enough build-up to them falling in love.

After the fire

Rochester was very sexy in this scene and I could really feel the tension between him and Jane. There is also an added touch of Jane’s hand shaking the morning after during her lessons with Adele. They should have put in some more scenes!

Begging Jane to Stay

The scene after the botched wedding attempt, in which Rochester is begging Jane not to leave him, is probably my favorite in the movie. This and the fire scene proved that the two actors had great chemistry, which makes me even more disappointed that we didn’t get more scenes leading to them falling in love.

Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax

I have to admit that I’ve never not liked Judi Dench in anything I’ve seen her in. Mrs. Fairfax is no exception. Like the book, Jane mistakes her as the lady of the house. While she does give off a certain regal air, I’m not sure how Jane could have thought she would be mother to Adele, given her advanced age.

Romy Settbon Moore as Adele Varens

That’s Sophie in the background. She appears to have a unibrow and reminds me of Freida Kahlo… Anyway, I thought this Adele was really cute. She was close to the right age for the character (only 8). She spoke only French in the movie, but could understand English. A deleted scene that I was really angry and confused about was Rochester telling Jane his history with Celine. Why in the hell was that cut? It was barely a minute long! Did the filmmakers just want audiences to believe that Adele was Rochester’s daughter? Leaving that explanation out was a mistake because the audience doesn’t know why Rochester has the attitude he does towards Adele.

Imogen Poots as Blanche Ingram

Finally a brunette Blanche! She looked the part, but her role was really too small for anyone to really look at her as a real rival for Jane. She did sing, but Rochester did not. The gypsy scene was cut as well. I wish they could have just put in another couple short scenes with her!

Harry Lloyd as Richard Mason

His wound from Bertha’s bite is quite deep and gory. Unfortunately, the scene of Jane “tending” to him is one of the worst in the film. She helps him for all of a second before going to listen at the wall, not knowing there is an inner panel behind the tapestry where Bertha is. The whole time she was listening there I kept thinking, “Mason is gonna bleed out!” Thankfully the doctor arrived in time.

Adult Georgiana and Eliza

They are not named and have no lines (and are not shown as children) but I thought it was neat that we at least got this peek at them.

Valentina Cervi as Bertha Rochester

She looked the part, I guess, but I didn’t find her menacing enough. I suppose they didn’t want to make her too crazy so as not to be offensive, but she just didn’t have enough of a presence. Grace Poole was there, but just in the background and I think had one small line. There was no blaming of Grace Poole for any of Bertha’s doings, which I felt to be a mistake.

Jamie Bell as St. John Rivers

He looked the part! I had no issues with his performance, really (but he didn’t have a Northern accent). Rosamund Oliver was cut but St. John hinted at having loved someone. My complaints about the Rivers have entirely to do with the script- for one, as I mentioned above- I was not a fan of the flashback structure. But the Rivers, for whatever reason, are not Jane’s cousins in this! I guess they wanted to get rid of the cheesy coincidence from the book, but I had a major issue with it. It makes no sense to me that Jane would share her fortune with them. Yes, she was grateful for what they had done for her, but Jane in the book also gave them the money because she felt it was unfair for her to inherit everything. In the movie, it makes me feel like Jane is trying to buy a family. I don’t know if anyone else felt that way or it’s just me.

Holliday Grainger and Tamzin Merchant as Diana and Mary Rivers

Their roles were quite small but they did a good job with what they were given. One thing I thought was weird was that Diana seemed to be the only one of the three siblings to have a hint of a Northern accent. I know I’m no linguist so maybe I just didn’t hear it?

Conclusions

This film did do a lot of individual scenes right. It was pretty to look at and gave off a dark and moody feel. But it still was a disappointment to me. I want a director’s cut!

My Rating: 7/10

Excuses

7 Jun

I have been inactive on this blog for a long time, I know. I have not updated my Youtube account in about the same time because, back in fall….my computer died. If anyone remembers, back when I started this blog, I had a lot of computer issues. Since I use my computer to watch DVDs and take screencaps, that was a problem. I got a new computer and everything was fine and dandy…until it got messed up (after the warranty expired). So now I only have my old crappy laptop. I used my webcam for my vlog (I have a digital camera, but its sound quality is bad) so I haven’t been able to record any videos. After that time, until recently, I was working 60+ hours a week anyway, so I had no time. Now I do have some time, but it hasn’t been financially in the cards for me to replace my computer. I could technically use this one just to type reviews with no pictures, but it’s difficult to type on. I could borrow someone’s computer, but I don’t want to use someone else’s for so long. I was hoping I would have a new laptop soon, but things just haven’t been working out.

Did anyone even miss me anyway?

Jane Eyre 2006

23 Sep

Sorry for the delay on this review! Remember when I said my DVD had scenes cut? Well, I rewatched it and it turns out, I was wrong! I somehow missed a couple parts. Must not have been paying close attention. Still, the new special edition I got was worth it for the special features- deleted scenes, commentaries, and more. But I feel like I put off this review for nothing! Oh well.

This version is four hours long (four episodes in the UK, two in the US) I first watched this miniseries as it aired in the UK, by means I will not admit to on this website. Not being satisfied with the other versions I’d seen, I was REALLY looking forward to it. I remember I was very disappointed after the first episode. Jane’s childhood was way too rushed. Rochester was way too good-looking. It was too sexed up…etc, etc. But after putting my initial qualms aside, I grew to really love this adaptation. What it does well, it does really well. The acting was excellent all around. Jane and Rochester had absolutely amazing chemistry. It is largely faithful to the book, but it does change things as well. In a big change from most of the other adaptations, there is absolutely no voice-over! The dialogue was faithful to the spirit of the book, mostly, but a lot of it was tweaked and modernized. It added in some stuff about twins and soulmates being able to have a spiritual connection which allowed them to hear each other from far away, I guess to give some background to the Jane/Rochester connection at the end. That was interesting but I didn’t feel it was really that necessary.

This version does have its flaws, though. My main gripe with it remains the rushed beginning. Young Jane’s time at Gateshead and Lowood, especially Lowood, is over in the blink of an eye. The production team clearly wanted to just get it over with and get Jane to Thornfield ASAP. I feel that that was a mistake because Jane’s childhood is very important! It is what makes her the person she becomes, after all! The Jane and Rochester chemistry was also taken too far in the eyes of many, including myself, in one very controversial scene- namely, the scene where Rochester tries to stop Jane from leaving Thornfield. In this version, it takes place on a bed! Rochester attempts briefly to seduce Jane in order to get her to stay. It doesn’t work, obviously, but I was not a fan of this change. I thought it was grossly out of character for the book Jane, who deliberately would not allow Rochester to touch her at that point. I thought that was taking things too far!

Georgie Henley as Young Jane Eyre

I don’t know if this is just me, but she does not look anything like how I’ve always pictured Jane as a child. The pudgy cheeks, while admittedly adorable, make her look too robust and happy and well-fed to be young Jane to me. But I was pleased with her actual performance (despite there not being enough of it! Jane was an adult 14 minutes in!). The opening scene was her imagining herself in the desert while reading a book about world travels or something. I almost wondered if I was watching the wrong show at first, but thankfully it only lasted a few seconds, haha.

Tara Fitzgerald as Mrs. Reed

She was a great Mrs. Reed in her limited role. There is an added scene where the Reeds were having a family portrait done and the painter asks Jane to join in, but they say she is not part of the family. So sad! Unfortunately Gateshead was too rushed. The beginning scene followed the book, with John finding her in the window and hitting her with the book, and her fighting back. John is actually older and more physically imposing in this at least. Jane gets locked in the Red Room, and we have brief bits of Bessie and Abbot. But Jane’s telling off her aunt was too short and matter of fact. I just wanted more! I did really like her deathbed scene with Jane later on, however. This is also the only version that includes an older Georgiana and Eliza with their full personalities!

Richard McCabe as Mr. Brocklehurst

He could have been good, but he was barely in it. Just one visit to Gateshead and one visit to Lowood where he makes Jane stand on a stool. Miss Temple and Miss Scatcherd were omitted completely. Charity Wakefield played a teacher who did have one line and seemed kind, but I don’t know if she was originally supposed to play Miss Temple and the role was scrapped for time, or what! Lowood was given such short shrift in this!

Hester Odgers as Helen Burns

Her character suffered the most. Note that she has curly red hair. There is a deleted scene in which she gets her hair cut for this, like many other versions have done. But it wasn’t even included. She has only one real scene with Jane before her death. Her character’s piety is cut, of course, and she instead gives practical advice to Jane to work hard in order to advertise and get out of Lowood one day. Then one day Jane sees that her bed is empty and finds Helen on her deathbed. I think there was a typhus outbreak but it wasn’t clear to me that Helen had consumption. I guess that’s not the important part, but Helen and her death are so crucial to Jane’s character development that I was disappointed at how rushed they were here. She only had one line to Jane- telling her to get into bed. No talk of meeting each other in heaven or anything. I was not pleased.

Ruth Wilson as Jane Eyre

I thought she was a little too tall and mature looking (not old by any means, just not little and 18) but she was kind of plain enough and she really blew me away with her acting. I loved how she portrayed all of Jane’s various emotions and passions under her reserved, quiet exterior and occasionally letting it out. Watching this the first time I was struck by how much she looked like Charlotte Bronte. Then listening to the commentary I learned that the Charlotte Bronte look was actually intentional. She was a good match to this version’s Rochester as well. For anyone who does not buy into the Jane/Rochester romance, they should watch this version!

Toby Stephens as Edward Rochester

I love Toby Stephens, but as you can obviously tell from the picture, he is way too good-looking to play Rochester. He is not supposed to be handsome! Unfortunately, the producers wanted him BECAUSE of his good looks! In the commentary, they mention that Jane actually does think he is handsome but does not want to tell him so. Um, what? No!! They do not fall for each other based on their looks…grrr, grumble grumble. Okay, rant is over. I actually really enjoyed his performance. He and Jane were an excellent match, the best chemistry out of any to play the pair (Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke are a close second). He shows all sides to Rochester’s personality- the brooding dark side, as well as the teasing, humorous, light side. On a more shallow note, I couldn’t help but notice that although they died his hair, you could still tell his sideburns and eyebrows were ginger. It was hilarious! For me, at least.

Lorraine Ashbourne as Mrs. Fairfax

I thought she was quite kind and jolly as Mrs. Fairfax. For some reason, she tells Jane right away in her response to the advertisement that the governess position is for Adele Varens, ward of Mr. Rochester, so there is no confusion as to her being the lady of the house. Jane’s arrival at Thornfield is coupled with dark and scary music, making Thornfield look ominous.

Cosima Littlewood as Adele Varens

She wasn’t bad with what she was given, but I wasn’t happy with Adele’s character in this. She was played up as being very vain and silly, which works in the book and whatever because she is supposed to be very young. But here she looks closer to 12-14 and it just makes it look ridiculous when she’s putting on her little performances and stuff.

Christina Cole as Blanche Ingram

I guess it was a trend to make Blanche blonde! Christina Cole seems to get stereotyped into the Rich Bitch role a lot, doesn’t she? She was a good Blanche, though. You could tell she was quite a haughty snob, yet she tried to act outwardly proper. Her mother, played by Francesca Annis, however, was truly evil!

Claudia Coulter as Bertha Rochester

They did something a little different with Bertha’s character here. Rather than making her totally savage-looking, she still looked outwardly beautiful here. She calls Jane what I believe is “whore” in Spanish and flies into a rage once she sees her in the wedding gown, however. Her sexuality is also big part of her character/insanity.

Diana and Mary Rivers

Their names are not listed on IMDB, sadly. This review is already so late that I’m not going to bother to figure it out. They did keep the Rivers storyline intact, but with one major change- Jane has amnesia. She passes out while wandering on the moors and is found and taken home by St. John, like the 1997 version. When she wakes up, she does not remember who she is. This is a big change from the book (and most other versions) where she deliberately hides her identity. I’m still not quite sure what the purpose of this change was. She does get her memories back after a while, though, but does not divulge them.

Andrew Buchan as St. John Rivers

They never make St. John good-looking enough! This guy is decent, I guess, but nowhere near a Greek god. Sigh. His character is pretty much intact from the book, at least. For some reason I can’t fathom, though, he is going to Africa for his mission instead of India. I just don’t understand what making that change accomplishes???

Georgia King as Rosamund Oliver

Her part is small, but I included her because it’s so rare that we get to see Rosamund! So that made me happy.

The Ending

The ending is the Rochesters a few years after marriage, with two little kiddies in tow, with all of their friends/family/servants (including Grace Poole!) getting their portrait painted. It ties into the beginning scene where Jane was kept out of the Reed family portrait. While it was slightly cheesy with how many people were included, it was a cute kind of cheesy. St. John was painted into the border, because he was probably dead by that point or just in Africa.

I am definitely fond of this version, even though it is not perfect. It’s probably my favorite!

My Rating: 9/10

He Knew He Was Right Book and Miniseries Review

31 Aug

The Book

He Knew He Was Right, by Anthony Trollope, was published in 1869. It is one of the more popular of his many, many novels. It tells of the destruction of a once happy marriage, due to the husband, Louis Trevelyan’s jealousy, and his wife, Emily’s stubbornness. Louis does not like Emily to spend so much time with her godfather, Colonel Osborne, a ladies’ man who has some rumored scandals in his past. Although he does not suspect that she has been unfaithful, he thinks that it will give him a bad reputation as a husband. Emily, in turn, insists that she has done nothing wrong and so instead of acquiescing, she obstinately defies Louis just to prove him wrong. Both keep insisting that they are right until things keep spiraling further and further out of control. Like Trollope’s other works, there are about a million side characters and subplots as well, including a love triangle involving Emily’s sister, Nora.

I actually read this a few months ago but am only getting around to a review now to fill up time until my Jane Eyre DVD arrives! This was my fourth Trollope novel.I have not really cared for any of them, sadly. The Warden and Barchester Towers were okay, but I really hated The Way We Live Now. I like Trollope’s writing well enough, but I always have a  hard time because most of his characters are so unlikeable. Trollope himself was not fond of He Knew He Was Right because Louis Trevelyan was so unsympathetic. I have to agree. It’s not good if I like the subplots better than the main plot of a novel! I could not sympathize with Emily either. Yes, she was technically more “right” in the beginning than Louis, but the situation got out of hand largely due to her obstinacy as well as Louis’s. The two really needed to have a frank discussion without constantly blaming the other for everything. I do not hesitate in saying this will be my last Trollope novel, since I do not own any others.

My Rating: 4/10

He Knew He Was Right, the miniseries, aired on BBC in 2004 and was scripted by the (in)famous Andrew Davies. It stars Oliver Dimsdale as Louis Trevelyan, Laura Frasier as Emily, and many well-known British actors such as Bill Nighy as Colonel Osborne, Anna Massey as Aunt Stansbury, and Christina Cole as Nora. Andrew Davies also adapted Trollope’s The Way We Live Now, and as you probably know from my earlier review, I was NOT a fan of that adaptation in any way. Since I did not care for this book very much, I did not have high hopes for this miniseries.

So, what did I think? It was actually not as bad as I thought it could be. That was, I believe, mostly due to my low expectations. The acting was good all around and it was faithful to the novel for the most part. I have mixed feelings about one big change to this adaptation, however. Namely- Emily Trevelyan. Davies paints her as MUCH more sympathetic than the book character, where she is nearly as much to blame as Louis for their failed marriage. Here, she is almost completely innocent and seems genuinely ignorant and confused about why Louis is originally upset. Louis in the miniseries actually believes that she and Osborne are having an affair for some reason, which never crossed his mind in the book. Emily in the series is a blameless victim, and can honestly be called “right” in the situation. I suppose Davies wanted to make at least one likeable lead and so altered things to make Louis entirely the villain and Emily only a victim, trying to do the right thing. I am torn about this change because while it does make for easier viewing, having someone to root for in the main plotline, the fact remains that it is not true to the book. I was unable to fully enjoy the miniseries for that reason because I just kept thinking “That’s not how it’s supposed to be!” Silly and too purist of me? Maybe. But that’s how I feel.

My Rating: 6/10

Top Ten Bookish Confessions

29 Aug

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme about books hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Yes, I am well aware that today is Wednesday. I didn’t have a chance to do this yesterday. In the past, I have occasionally participated in this meme on my Youtube Channel. But, partially due to my inability to film a video today, partially because I want to be more active on this blog, I thought this week I would change it up and actually do a blog post about it.

Today’s theme is Bookish Confessions.

1. I hate to spend money- unless it’s on books. Anything else I feel is a waste. While I do like clothes, I have some slight body issues and don’t like to spend too much money on them. Jewelry? Pretty, but unnecessary. Shoes? Definitely not. Whenever I buy something else, I only end up thinking of how many books I could have bought with that money.

2. I read way more books than I watch movies. And my favorite movies/series tend to be largely book adaptations.

3. I have read the entire Twilight series. I had no desire to do so, but I ended up being too curious for my own good. I borrowed my friend’s copies (I would not and will not buy them). I also saw the first three movies. But Breaking Dawn was so bad I won’t even see the movies.

4. Even after a year, I’m still depressed at the demise of Borders. Pretty much all I have left now is Barnes and Noble, but it’s not the same experience. There is not as much of a selection, the deals are  not as good, and the employees are less knowledgeable (at least in my local branches!). When I drive past an old Borders location, I still get sad!

5. I hate lending out books. It’s not exactly that I don’t trust others (but that’s partly it), but that I feel nervous having a book separate from the rest of my collection.

6. I buy way more books than I have room for/time to read. I collect books, even though my shelves are to the point of overflowing and there’s no room for more. It’s a form of hoarding, I guess. And this continues even though I have some that have sat unread for years. This relates to the next point…

7. I don’t use my ereader enough. I got this dumb thing last year because it was on sale, I didn’t have room for more books, and I thought it would be good to read public domain books on, that way I wouldn’t at least have to spend money on those. And it turns out that’s all I’ve used it for, and only a couple at that. I also have The Song of Ice and Fire series on it, because it came with a credit I used it on. I have not bought anything on it other than that. It just doesn’t have the same magical feel that books do. I tried!

8. My dream is to have a library that includes the works- a ladder will be a must. Think the scene from the Disney Beauty and the Beast, for reference. Yes, I know ereaders are more convenient, but it’s just not the same!

9. I prefer the look of hardcover, but the feel of paperback. Hardcovers look better on the shelf and they’re sturdier, but unless I’m getting a new book, I always go for paperback. Not only are they cheaper, I prefer how they feel in my hands. Easier to hold!

10. It’s hard not to judge people based on their reading preferences! I hate chick lit/romance novels but I know a lot of people who like them, and indeed will read only those genres. I try to separate those preferences with their personal intelligence but it can be slightly difficult-especially if the books in question happen to be Fifty Shades of Grey. I know everyone has different tastes, but I like to go by “If I don’t like it, that means it’s bad!” (obviously I am exaggerating, lol).
There are a few more I could mention, but I’m going to keep it at ten.

 

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