Friday, March 30, 2012

Julian Fellowes's 'Titanic'

the creator of 'Downton Abbey' takes a look at titanic. it will air on abc april 14th and 15th. abc is not showing much faith in it airing it on a saturday night. and i've heard some negatives out of britan.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kate Winslet on ‘Titanic’ role: ‘My acting could’ve been a lot better’

Kate revisits 1997 Oscar-winning movie on its 15th anniversary

Kate Winslet considers her role in “Titanic” a bit of a shipwreck.

As the 1997 Oscar-winning Best Picture embarks on a 3D voyage to theaters, Winslet remains critical of her performance in the epic romance that set sail her career in Hollywood.

“My American accent could’ve been much better. My acting could’ve been a lot better,” she said to MTV News.

Nevertheless, Winslet, who co-starred with Leonardo DiCaprio, was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as Rose.

And the film grossed more than $600 million, making it America’s second highest-grossing box-office hit.

The 36-year-old actress has received countless award nominations since her 15-year voyage through Hollywood after the epic romance’s debut on the big screen. She was the youngest person to earn six Academy Award nominations and she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for the 2008 film “The Reader.”

Now the story of a ship’s tragic disaster and the famous on-board love story will return to the big screen on April 4. The debut coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s maiden trip from England in April 1912.

“It looks very different. I mean, it’s still as wonderful and as epic as it always was. But it does feel bigger, you know, bigger somehow even than it did then, so it’s very exciting,” she said.

The actress, who was 21 during filming, claims she is content with the way she looks now.

“I think I look nicer now,” she said. “I prefer myself as a 36-year-old. It's really weird ’cause when you’re 21, you think, ‘Oh God, when I’m 36, oh God, that’s nearly 40 and I'll look really old and wrinkly by then.’ And actually I quite like the way I look. I feel okay about myself these days.”

(courtesy new york daily news and taylorv hom)

Friday, March 9, 2012

On Vacation

during my cancer treatment i decided if i survived it i was going to treat myself to a vacation. i survived the treatment. whether or not i survived the cancer is not quite certain yet. i am hopeful.

so i am off to egypt and israel for a few weeks. i will not be posting again until the last week in march. i hope i don't lose you along the way.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

''Downton'' Collages

i made them. you see them. my current obsession simple!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

''Downton Abbey'' Brilliant!

So what was it that drew the largest audience PBS has seen in years to ''Downton Abbey''? Well let's just say EXCELLENCE. It really is that simple. Excellent production, writing, direction, musical scoring and acting. Julian Fellowes conceived and wrote the best thing television has seen in years and has treated us to two seasons thus far. And lucky for us both of these seasons are available on DVD and Blu Ray. Season three will bow in January 2013 here in America and I'm not quite sure how I can wait that long.

The first two seasons covered the years of 1912 through the end of World War 1. It was a crucial time for British Aristocracy as it was unexpectedly turned upside down. As written by Mr. Fellowes we see the tides turn from inside Downton Abbey the home of the Earl and Countess of Grantham and their three daughters the Ladies Crawley. It is the through the eyes and actions of the Ladies Mary, Edith and Sybil that we see the world change for the landed gentry as well as the ''common folk'' who attended their needs. It was not an easy time for Earl and the Countess Crawley or the Dowager Countess Grantham. As portrayed by Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern and the Grande Dame of them all Maggie Smith we see their small and insular world change about them. And as their lives change ''upstairs'' the world of their ''downstairs'' employees no longer stands still in service as their lives and visions also expand.

As happens in most periods of history change begins with the younger generations. Such is the case at Downton. Lady Sybil the youngest daughter is the first to let the winds of change sweep her up as she looks toward modernity for herself, for her servants and for all women. She is a precursor to the suffragette wonderfully portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay. Lady Edith as portrayed by Laura Carmichael stands to be the daughter who may hold up the old guard. Last but by no means least is Lady Mary Crawley the eldest daughter on whose shoulders the Grantham Estate rests. Good thing she has broad shoulders. As portrayed by a dazzling Michelle Dockery we may rest assured that the Estate will survive and thrive. Ms. Dockery is a wonder whose mix of talent and beauty bequile episode by episode. She is most complimented by Dan Stevens as third cousin Matthew Crawley heir apparent to Grantham.

The cast is large and there is not a weak link in the mix. Most notable amongst the downstairs staff are Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt, Elsie Hughes.

The aforementioned Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McCovern shine as the Earl and Countess Crawley But it is the always wonderful Maggie Smith who damn near steals every scene she is in tossing one liners in her own irresistible style. She remains an international treasure.

Season three begins January 2013. Your have the rest of this year to catch up with the goings on at Downton Abbey. I will go out on a limb and say these two seasons are better than any film released in 2011. I add EXCEPTIONAL as well as excellence to define this piece which by no coincidence is shown on Masterpiece Theater. A masterpiece it is.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

''Smash'' Just Isn't

a good idea going south. except for 'i want to be your star' the original songs written for the show ''marilyn'' within the show would surely promise closing in boston or oskoch and never see the lights broadway. 

although katharine mcphee shows promise here the other marilyn wanna be megan hilty is a bit too obvious and to be kind not quite pretty. she might work on stage beyond the third row but on camera she just can't shine.

anjelica huston is fun and debra messing rises way above her annoying 'grace' formerly with will. neither will save this i think.

i'm sorry to say that unless something happens fast this is on the bubble that will burst.

Monday, March 5, 2012

'Downton Abbey' Available Now

i am not quite finished with 'downton abbey' here. i just want you to know seasons 1 and 2 are available for rental or purchase on dvd and blu ray. there is a reason this series is giving bps stations there highest ratings. these two seasons add up to better viewing than any of the oscar films of 2011. i know that's kind of dogmatic. well it is! and it's the truth.

i will give my review in the next day or so. if you expect anything less than glowing you'd be wrong.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Viewing

'army wives' is back with season 6 on lifetimes. over at abc 'gcb' starts it's run and stars kristen chenoweth so i'm there for the first outing for sure.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

What You May Have Missed

Well the Oscars and every other award of the season are now behind us. it was a pretty good year for film lovers but not a great year. Though I believe most of the films nominated for Oscars this year would never have been considered in another better year. My personal tastes vary so there was enough to satisfy my movie going pleasure.  So as the award season becomes a distant memory and the winners, like them or not, are part of film history it's time to rent or not rent what your may have missed. what did you miss? well with dvd's, blu ray and streaming you can now catch up most of the 2011 movies currently or soon. here's your rental guide to films you may want to finally see. 

Currently available for purchase or rental
''Sarah's Key'': This remains my favorite film of 2011. A secret, a key and a mystery  touches the heart and speaks to the soul. Kristen Scott Thomas shines. What more can i say? Please see it. ****stars

''Melancholia'': Kirsten Dundst gave the best performance by an actress in this film this year. Meryl got the Oscar; Kirsten got the shaft. Melancholy and a planet called melancholia collide as the apocalypse draws near. For film lover's only. ****stars

''Contagion'': I liked this better on second viewing when i finally got into the 'docudrama' style storytelling of a fast acting killer virus across the globe. A great cast in a good film. ***stars

"The Descendants'': This is a gem. Of all the Oscar nominated films it will be most remembered 50 years from now when Best Picture Oscar winner 'The Artist' will be but a footnote in Oscar history. George Clooney shines as a Hawaiian land baron who can't win an argument with a 10 year old. Kudos to all involved. ***1/2stars

''War Horse'': I'm not sure why this bombed at the box office. It's a good film in the grand old epic style set during World War 1 and it's a boy and his horse. It's a big screen film and may get lost with home viewing no matter how big your hdtv. Give it a try non the less. ***stars

''Tree of Life'': A difficult film  but a great film. Like 'Melancholia' it is for film lover's only. Film lover's not movie lover's. There is a difference. It's been reported many many people demanded their money back at theaters not getting this apocalyptic drama. I can understand that. It is not for everyone. Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain are wonderful. ***stars

''Rise of the Planet of the Apes'':  This remains one of the best films of 2011. It is simply wonderful and far better than any of the past 'ape' films. It boasts one of the years best performances by Andy Serkis in 'performance capture' that the Oscar's refused to acknowledge. Shame on them! ***1/2stars

"Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1": The best in the series. If you are into this series of vampires , werewolves and humans it's a must see. If not then just move on. ***stars

''Hugo'': It won five technical Oscars which was fitting as it was a good technical film. It advanced 3D amazingly. And that's about it. A total bore about the history of film that was about 30 minutes too long. If anyone other than Martin Scorsese had directed this it would have been dismissed as the dullest film of 2011. Rent at your own risk as it may be coma inducing. **stars

"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close": What were Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks and director Stephen Daldry ("The Reader", "The Hours") thinking? This is extremely lousy and incredibly awful post 9/11 film. The second worse movie of the year after "Young Adult". Forget about it! *star

''Whistleblower'': One of the lost films of 2011 centers on UN peacemakers complicit in human sex trafficking in post war Bosnia. Rachel Weisz uncovers the truth in this lost gem. It's an important film and as always Ms. Weisz delivers the goods. ***stars

''My Week with Marilyn'' and 'The Iron Lady'' both boast brilliant performances in less than stellar films. They should be seen for the amazing actresses, Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher and Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, alone. Forget the weak screenplays involved and enjoy the tour de force performances. I give both **1/2 stars

Oscar's Best Picture Winner 'The Artist'' is still in theaters near you and does not yet have a dvd release date.

Coming soon the lesser seen but mostly critically acclaimed films of 2011 released or soon to be released on dvd and blu ray that may or may not have played at a theater near you due to limited releases.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Glee Moment Part 2

some of glee's other better musical moments this year

'i feel pretty/unpretty'

'red solo cup'

'smooth criminal'

'never can say goodbye' (just how wonderful is dianna argon?)

'marry you'


'i will always love you'


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Davy Jones with 'Pleasant Valley Sunday': R.I.P.

A Glee Moment Part 1

glee is one of the most frustrating shows ever. it is so damn erratic. when it is good it is often very good and when it is bad...well it sucks.

but today i want to celebrate the very good. these three songs appeared in the last episode of what is now being called the winter season. these three performances are not just good. they are quite wonderful bordering on great.

'cough syrup'

'fly/i believe i can fly'

'here's to us'

{to be continued}