February 19, 2015

Snowbound with Station Eleven and Jane Austen

Posted in Book Reviews, Books, Dystopia, England, Favorite Quotes, Jane Austen, Movie Reviews tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:53 pm by catsinboxes

It snowed this week, quite impressively for Louisville, blanketing the city and wreaking havoc on roads, schools, and schedules.

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I didn’t complain when my quiet weekend was extended by one day. (Though I did frown at my nearly-empty carton of eggs.)

As the snow fell outside, I made hot tea and settled down to read Station Eleven. (While the library has over a hundred people on the waiting list for this National Book Award Finalist, I lucked out and was lent a copy by a fellow reader.) Another book-loving friend had described Station Eleven as an absorbing page-turner, and it was a fun.

Resembling Dickens in its cast of characters and twisting story lines, Station Eleven darts back and forth, weaving the tale of a group of people across a number of years who are bound together by one man. Just after the book begins a pandemic sweeps across the world. It was almost eerie, reading about civilization crumbling in Station Eleven‘s world while —outside— the city ground to a halt, immobilized by snow.

I wouldn’t recommend Station Eleven unreservedly, but it is definitely an engaging book.

Another highlight of my quiet week was watching the 1995 BBC version of Persuasion with a fellow British drama lover. I. Love. That. Story.

Persuasion falls into my top three Jane Austen novels. It was my last to discover. . . . I was an early teen at the library and, locating Jane Austen in the fiction section, realized that here was one story of hers that I had not read. That was soon remedied!

Anne Elliot, the last heroine completed by Jane Austen, has depth. (And Amanda Root does a lovely job of displaying this in the movie!)

The movie is a wonderful adaption —my favorite for Persuasion. The casting is great and though I didn’t catch it last time, Harry Potter lovers, did you realize AUNT PETUNIA is Mrs. Croft?! It’s so funny to see her as a good character for a change, and actress Fiona Shaw does a lovely job.

I love the Crofts in both the movie and the book, and I’ve never forgotten Anne’s observations regarding the Crofts as they are out driving in their carriage. Mrs. Croft exclaims:

My dear Admiral, that post! we shall certainly take that post.”

But by coolly giving the reins a better direction herself they happily passed the danger; and by once afterwards judiciously putting out her hand they neither fell into a rut, nor ran foul of a dung-cart; and Anne, with some amusement at their style of driving, which she imagined no bad representation of the general guidance of their affairs, found herself safely deposited by them at the Cottage.

So, that’s part of what I enjoyed during this snowy week. How about you? Please do leave a comment; I love people chiming in!

August 24, 2013

City of Bones

Posted in Blogging, Book Reviews, Fantasy, Movie Reviews tagged , , , at 9:21 pm by catsinboxes

I might not be blogging here, but I am doing some work over at Redeemed Reader. Here’s my latest post: a movie review of City of Bones. If you aren’t familiar with this fantasy series, I can’t say that you are missing out, but the movie was quite fun!

http://www.redeemedreader.com/2013/08/city-of-bones-movie-review/

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March 7, 2010

The Thirty-Nine Steps

Posted in England, Movie Reviews, Scotland at 2:56 am by catsinboxes

I always love to know what other people think about movies I’m interested in, so now I will return the favor.  (Not that I know that you are interested in The Thirty-Nine Steps, but if the above picture hasn’t piqued your interest, I don’t know what will!)

Rupert Penry-Jones, known to Jane Austen fans for his role as Captain Wentworth in Masterpiece Theater’s adaptation of Persuasion, plays Richard Hannay, an engineer in London, recently returned from South Africa.  Hannay is a bit bored with life until a twist of fate involves him with Scudder, an English spy who claims that he has obtained information of vital importance to the security of Britain.  However, before Scudder can reveal much more, he is murdered and Hannay implicated with the crime.

Left with Scudder’s  mysterious cipher notebook, Hannay finds himself fleeing both police and Scudder’s own assassins, who are determined to obtain the notebook at any cost.  His only hope in proving his innocence is to discover Scudder’s cipher and prove his theory correct.  Hannay’s quest takes him to Scotland, where a young suffragette, Victoria Sinclair (Lydia Leonard), becomes embroiled in his search.  I won’t say any more, for fear of spoiling something.

Rupert Penry-Jones makes an excellent Hannay.  He’s tall and good looking which is always a must, if possible, for any adventure figure excepting Sean Bean, my favorite villain.  I like Penry-Jones much better in this role than as the brooding, petty Captain Wentworth of Masterpiece’s much-too-short and rushed Persuasion.

This is the third adaption of The Thirty-Nine Steps that I have watched, and I believe it is the closest to the book.  While in the book itself, there is no main female character, all three movies add one.  I think Victoria is the most interesting and multi-dimensional female compared to the two other love-interests in the previous movies.  The dialogue between Victoria and Hannay is delightful, a sort of Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy exchange fast-forwarded to 1914.  My only quibble, without giving away anything, is that I find the spin at the end of the movie a little too far-fetched and unrealistic.

The filming and scenery of the Scottish Highlands is excellent, and both Kelsey and I enjoyed the music.  The film is rated PG.  Language is minimal; I caught a couple profanities and at least one “damn.”  There is also mild innuendo, but nothing is implied, unlike Alfred Hitchcock’s thrillers.

Overall, if you feel like enjoying a nice British adventure, I would certainly recommend The Thirty-Nine Steps as long as you realize, and don’t mind, the above-mentioned cautions.  If you are interested, it can be watched online through March 30th at:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/steps/watch.html

What I would love to see is Masterpiece Theater continuing the Hannay series with Greenmantle, John Buchan’s sequel to The Thirty-Nine Steps . . . maybe they will.  I personally think that Rupert Penry-Jones and Lydia Leonard would make a perfect Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane pair; they’re even the right ages in real life!  But that would be another story altogether . . .