Posted in Books, Holidays, Movies, Political, Televison, Uncategorized

Look Back At Me

Look Back.

Look back at me.

Have you ever thought, said, or wanted to say this as someone walked, drove, or flew away?

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On this Labour Day when people march forward to celebrate how far workers have come and how much further they need to go, it’s good to look back on the brave people that fought for workers’ rights.

The BBC miniseries North & South is based on the book by Elizabeth Gaskell; screenplay by Sandy Welch and directed by Brian Percival, yes, same title, different show than the American Civil War miniseries, North & South. This North & South refers to the North and South of England, and focuses on industrialization and the inequality between classes.

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A couple hundred years later, not much has changed.
The lower classes work themselves into an early grave while the upper classes pay them less than they should to work themselves into an early grave.

Gaskell does an amazing job of showing both sides; some of the upper class want to be fair and some of the lower class want to be more.

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Elizabeth Gaskell, considered by some as less romantic than some writers  in the Regency-era, after all, she dared to tackle the subjects of: poverty, discrimination, unsafe working conditions, the multiple health hazards of working in factories, unions, child labour and welfare, daycare, nutrition, pollution, inequality between the classes and more, head-on.

Her work, now seen as classic wasn’t beloved by all, still isn’t, many factory owners and the rich didn’t like the truth being exposed or their methods questioned. That hasn’t changed much either.

1north16We feel Gaskell’s conviction in the strength of Margaret Hale (Daniela Denby-Ashe). She’s not a simpering miss who’s only thought in life is to marry, but a woman of principles, faith, and compassion. She has feelings for John Thornton, well, duh, it’s Richard Armitage, but she stands resolved to be true to herself and others.

Supporting cast is incredible, including Brendan Coyle (now well-known as the enigmatic Bates on Downton Abbey, also Larkrise To Candleford and so much more – I think he’s one of those British actors who probably have their own period piece costumes at the ready).

If you can’t get enough of British period pieces, check out Gaskell’s Cranford series, familiar faces for Downton Abbey fans, Carson (Jim Carter) and Michelle Dockery (Mary), and even an Asgard god (Tom Hiddleston)…one of fav TV games, spot the actor to see if they became a star.

Yes,  North & South is at times a grim visage of lives suffered, but with just enough seething, barely contained Victorian passion, fingers lingering as a cup of tea is passed and obligatory smouldering looks to keep it interesting. Have I really been crushing on RA in N&S for 10 years? Wow.1north7

Sometimes it’s the simplest of words, murmured with brooding passion, that capture and inspire, as Armitage admirers (sure, let’s call us that) around the globe believe.
Look Back.
Look back at me.
I won’t tell you if she does.
I can tell you what I would have done.

So as another Labour Day marches on and another summer draws to a close, we look forward. On the off chance you actually believed companies and corporations willing give their workers: fair wages, reasonable hours, days off, health or safety benefits, vacations, or well, anything good workers enjoy, think again. Those were paid for in blood, sweat and tears.

Be thankful and vigilant.

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Posted in Books, Jane Austen, Uncategorized

Unleashing Mr. Darcy

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Despite the title, no safe words needed, this isn’t 50 Shades of Darcy (note to self, write a novel called 50 Shades of Darcy); instead this is a sweet, romantic working of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in a modern world of dog shows.

Teri Wilson has stayed true to Ms. Austen’s core of Pride and Prejudice, making it all about First Impressions (Ms. Austen’s working title for Pride and Prejudice) especially the fact that Ms. Austen proves that in P & P and all her other works that first impressions are often wrong.

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We’ve all met someone who we think is lovely or someone who we think is horrid and it turns out, we were incorrect, they’re in fact, horrid or lovely instead.
Sometimes it’s circumstances that give us the wrong impression, or the mood of the person, or our mood, or the other issue Ms. Austen loves to use in her stories, misunderstandings. Pride and Prejudice and her other works are riddled with misunderstandings that lead people to think certain things that may not be true or just. Ms. Wilson also added dogs and dog shows.

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I unabashedly adore romance novels and movies. They lighten my mood and relax me. They make me think of being young and carefree.  They’re also a lovely palate cleanser between non-fiction, politics (sorry, I can’t list that with the non-fiction because there are so many fictional elements in politics, sadly), horror, sci-fi, fantasy, drama, and of course, real life.

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This was a delightful read, as we follow Miss Elizabeth Scott and her beloved Cavalier, Bliss through misadventures, misunderstands and reaching 30. From New York to London, Elizabeth struggles to find her way while continuing to be thrown into the path of smug but gorgeous billionaire dog breeder and judge Donovan Darcy.

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good romance novel and some chocolate (yes, any ice cream included, of course) can improve even the roughest of days.

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http://www.teriwilson.net

Posted in Books, Movies, Televison, Uncategorized

Emma

emma3Jane Austen’s diverting and delightful Emma has intrigued audiences, in print and on screens for many years. Emma is a woefully well-intended but misplaced matchmaker, suppressed adventuress, and a stymied intellectual. Her main foil is her own Queen Bee attitude; her immature overconfidence that she knows best for everyone.

Along with her overprotective father, her handsome and under-appreciated neighbour/brother-in-law and a whole cast of other characters Emma takes a winding and oft self-deceiving journey to a place she should have explored long before – her own heart.

I enjoyed much of this 2009 TV adaptation.

emma1Lively and amusing, Romola Garai seemed a tad too worldly for Emma.

Jonny Lee Miller (a divine Mr. Knightley) was too background. They needed to use Miller and Michael Gambon to more effect. They really needed to use this whole cast to better effect. For heaven’s sake why hire brilliant actors and then under- utilize them?

The chemistry with Garai and Miller is fabulous, the cut and thrust of their conversations scrumptious, but sparse.

The flow of the series leans at times toward tentative and expected. Emma should be more bold, joyful, and flourishing in it’s a journey of self-discovery.

Overall, this series was charming, efficient, and lovely, but how many versions of Jane Austen novels do we need? Many will disagree, but I would like to see some other stories told, perhaps some that are more unfamiliar to us. While it is cozy to watch a story so beloved and memorable, why not give us some other classics, or lesser known works that we may also enjoy? I know the answer. Money. People flock to the recognizable.

While I enjoy various versions of Austen, I guess I’d also like more variety.emma2

Posted in Books, Movies, Uncategorized

P.S. I LOVE YOU

psilu8I liked the movie better than the book despite the change in locations. I don’t say that too often.

Maybe it was Harry Connick Jr. I’ll blame him. No, I’m sorry baby, I didn’t mean it.psilu6I found the characters in the book didn’t give me what I wanted or maybe I was expecting too much. It is a great read, just not fantastic.

As romcoms go, it has more to offer than many. It offers loss, grief, sorrow, change, renewal, love, and hope with small storms of laughter. And the lesson of going on when you’re ready to go on, how you’re ready to go on, after any kind of loss.psilu2

Oh and there was Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Gerard Butler and James Marsters

Sorry book, I probably should have read you before I saw the movie. My bad.psilu4Love isn’t replaced, only added to.

Posted in Autism, Family, Holidays, Movies, Music, Televison, Uncategorized

Edward Scissorhands

1halloween7I sat watching Edward Scissorhands in 1990, mesmerized.

I laughed, I cried, I sighed, I railed against the injustice, and gave my heart to Johnny Depp. No worries, I’d given it before and since; it’s still in good working order. I’m sure he’d reciprocate if he knew I existed…or not.

Themes of bullying, prejudice, isolation, teen angst, self-awareness, hope, pain, betrayal, lies, dignity, honour, and love weave a dazzling web of stunningly brutal tragedy, comedy, and enchantment, in and out, in and out, each thread of this film somehow masses together in utter brilliant film magic.

The castle is gothic and delightful, but a place of secrets and loneliness.

The suburban neighbourhood is weird and flawed, but with creepy optimism and veracity.

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The contrast shows that hope and love can flourish anywhere, as can pain and deceit.

Lauded, loved, mocked, hated, and parodied (best, when Depp reprised his role on Family Guy…you have to see it to believe it). And still it has stunningly stood the test of time.

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Caroline Thompson, Stefan Czapsky, as well as the astonishing cast and crew did a superb task of articulating Tim Burton’s vision of Edward and his challenges and his triumphs. This film is truly a gift.

Vincent Price is categorically flawless in what turned out to be his last performance on film, ending a dramatic and spectacular career as the great gentleman of horror.

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 When Winona Ryder (Kim Boggs) is dancing in the ‘snow’ that Edward creates from the angel ice sculpture, it’s so heart-cutting because their love can never be, but they will always know it really is. Perhaps it’s so poignant because Depp and Ryder were a real-life couple at the time…and not meant to be.

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This is a perfect movie for Halloween, Christmas, or any day of the year.

Love, love, love this movie. Did I mention I love it, not sure if that was clear.

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Posted in Movies, Televison, Uncategorized

YOU’VE GOT MAIL

ImageYou’ve Got Mail is allegedly a romantic comedy, but to accept that you have to ignore the obvious point that both main characters are in serious relationships when they meet first in a chat room online then later in person.  Granted, both break up with their respective partners before they enter a physical relationship, so I guess it’s not actually infidelity.  Still, what could have been a delightful love story seems a little emotionally bankrupt because their partners are unaware of the other people involved in their relationships.

Then there’s the title which is total product placement for AOL, sigh.  Great cast including: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Parker Posey (amazing in well, everything), Jean Stapleton (All in The Family), Greg Kinnear, Steve Zahn (Ever see Happy, Texas? You should), Dave Chappelle, Dabney Coleman, Sara Ramirez  (unknown then, now Dr. Torres on Grey’s Anatomy), Jane Adams, John Randolph, and Michael Badalucco (The Practice).  I’m conflicted because I really do like the movie itself. Image

Quite entertaining updated version of the 1940 Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullivan classic, The Shop Around The Corner, both based on the play Parfumerie (Miklos Laszlo).

The adorableness of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan do make it work.

It never hurts to have your script by Nora and Delia Ephron, mistresses of witty repartee.

And it’s about books. What could ever be bad about books?Image