Category Archives: Books and Movies

My Favourite Epigraphs

Epigraphs are a strange thing, they are when, at the beginning of a book an author posts a quotation from another authors work often best describing their own novel, story or the characters within. Here are a few of my favorites – 

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‘I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul…Since I knew you, I have been troubled by a remorse that I thought would never reproach me again, and have heard whispers from old voices impelling me upward, that I thought were silent forever. I had unformed ideas of striving afresh, beginning anew, shaking off sloth and sensuality, and fighting out he abandoned fight. A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing…’  – Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities 

– Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

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Vengeance is mine I will repay – Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

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“These violent delights have violent ends 
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, 
Which, as they kiss, consume” 
                                              -Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare, ACT 2 scene 6 

                                              – New Moon by Stephanie Meyer 

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Don’t Believe in everything you see. 

Because what you want might not be what you need.

Hold your breath and jump with me, and we’ll survive.” 

                                                                            – Phillip Phillips Tell Me a Story 

                                                                            – There is No Light in the Darkness by Claire Contreras

If you have any favourite epigraphs let me know, I would love to hear them!

 

Romeo and Juliet (2013) Review

Downton Abbey’s much loved writer Julian Fellows has adapted William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and this is just latest film version of the world famous play it’s predecessor being Baz Lurman’s adaptation made in 1996. I can’t imagine there is anyone out there who doesn’t know the story but, just for argument sake if you have been living under a rock or, are a defrosted caveman (or woman) here’s the gist-  These two are the original star crossed lovers and lets just say it doesn’t end well, for anyone.

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Romeo and Juliet (2013)

Romeo and Juliet is my favourite Shakespeare play second only to Twelfth Night so when there is an film adaptation I’m always really hopeful that it will turn out well and although the Baz Lurman (1996) version was different and might not have been for everyone I think most people can agree that the acting was superb and the original text wasn’t changed beyond recognition.

Romeo and Juliet

Leonardo Di Caprio and Clare Danes (1996)

First of all I should probably just say (2013) Romeo, Oh My God he is just a beautiful man, and although I am grateful to watch that face in any film should Romeo ever be better looking than Juliet? Romeo goes on and on about how bloody beautiful she is when, actually he looks like some kind of Greek God. Alright, I know this film is probably suppose to be Shakespeare for the Twilight generation or whatever but I’m guessing that the Twilight generation couldn’t give a sh*t about Shakespeare, they get enough of that at school (I’m just guessing).

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Mercutio, Romeo and Tybalt 

I had two main problems with this film, the first was the changes that Julian Fellows had made to the original text I heard Douglas Booth (Romeo) say in an interview that he had done it to make the film more accessible and I know for Hollywood that makes a lot of sense but if the (1996) Baz Lurman adaptation can use Shakespeare’s text with out interfering with it to such an extent that it’s barely recognizable why can’t the (2013) adaptation? Shakespeare is Shakespeare for a reason and surely Julian Fellows took something away from the film by changing the text so much.

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The Secret Wedding

My second major issue with the film was the actors who played Romeo and Juliet although they were both great looking I just didn’t believe  Douglas Booth or  Hailee Steinfeld as Romeo and Juliet. I felt sorry for them in a way because I was constantly comparing them to Clare Danes and Leonardo Di Caprio and don’t imagine I was alone. I feel that to carry off Shakespeare strong actors are required and neither of these are that, pretty yes, talented, no.  Paul Giamatti who played Friar Lawrence was amazing when he walks in on Juliet having killed her self with a dead Romeo in her arms his performance made me cry he really is very talented. Also the Benvolio in this film is very good, I connected with him so much more than I did the (1996) just for these two performances it makes the film worth seeing.

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Juliet and Friar Lawrence

All in all, I would say that if you like this story then the film is worth watching, it’s has welcome traditional style of telling the tale but the text changes and some weak actors can be off putting.

All in all a 3.5/5

A New York Winter’s Tale – Review (Spoilers)

A New York Winter’s Tale or Winter’s tale is based on the bestselling and beloved novel by Mark Helprin it is the story of Peter Lake a thief and a wanted thief too boot. Wanted by his old boss Pearly (by reasons unknown) Peter and his flying horse yes you read correctly, break into house of a wealthy family believing that no body at home.

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Peter and Beverly

When he discovers  the daughter of the house Beverly Penn is still in the house, Peter and Beverly fall immediately in love over a good old fashion cup of tea and the rest is history… or not. Beverly has consumption and is going to die so their time together is limited and spent being chased by Pearly who is later revealed to be a servant of the devil.

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Dancing

Now it was at this point where I had a problem, suspend your belief I was told by people who had previously seen the film, and so I did, even when Peter’s horse for a reason which is never explained grew WINGS and took flight my belief remained suspended. Until we meet Lucifer and out walks, wait for it, Will Smith, I had to laugh, you’re telling me that the Fresh Prince, Hitch, is the Devil, I’m sorry but no, just no. I watched his face trying to be all mean and dark, all the while waiting for him to make a joke (He didn’t but he may as well of done, who made that casting choice what a joke!)

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Peter and Horse

Okay so Pearly, servant of Lucifer obviously his against true love, he must stop them  being together we get it but seriously… BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. Russell Crowe as Pearly has the worst Irish accent I have ever heard proper leprechaun chic. (Sorry Russell but I hear Noah is going to be good) The acting in this film on the whole was great and Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay as Beverly Penn and Peter Lake were very believable. Winter’s Tale is a big book and fantasy realism is hard to put to the screen because it isn’t one thing or the other sadly I heard this film was a long coming passion project which makes it even worse that it was such a flop.

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Russell Crowe as Pearly

But, without having read the book (which I will be reading this month) I would say the biggest problem with the story was world building (there wasn’t any!). There was to many unanswered questions to make the story believable. For example why is the horse really a dog? And why he can  fly is never really explained, the topic of guardian angels is briefly touched upon but there was never really enough substance.

I love the reincarnation side to the story but by this point in the film there had been already been so many bad points to achieve a decent ending for the story.

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Reincarnated 

A beloved novel that has been adapted poorly, fantasy realism is a hard genre to take on and I have read that many said that Winter’s tale could never be brought to the screen. I think perhaps they were right.

Cheerful Weather For The Wedding Review

I feel as though I have been a little slow on the uptake when it comes films recently – or at least good films, I put this down to the fact that I am drowning in books. I have no excuse I know but it’s the only one I’ve got.  Cheerful Weather For The Wedding was adapted for the screen from Julia Strachey 1932 novella by Persephone books the cover painted by Lamorna artist Harold Knight is stunning.

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The summer before…

I finally got round to watching the film Dir Donald Rice and staring Felicity Jones and Luke Treadaway it is also has fabulous and hilarious supporting cast including Elizabeth McGovern, Mackenzie Crook and Ellie Kendrick.

The film and novella  are about a young woman called Dolly and are set on the morning of her winter wedding day.While her rather curious family are down stairs she is upstairs in her room, drinking rum, vomiting, and acting nothing like the traditional movie bride we have all come to know and love/sneer and laugh at. Throughout the film Dolly continues to barricade herself in her bedroom becoming further and further acquainted with rum, avoiding one particular guest who waits to see her desperately before she says I do. The story is told though a series of flash backs between the summer before the wedding and the present from either Dolly’s or the waited guest (Joesph’s) perspective.

Keeping their nerve

Dolly’s family I think  are great representation of every family and it is Dolly’s family who make the film great. The deaf uncle, the child with home made cherry bombs and his two parents begging him to behave and failing miserably. A husband who’s wife loathes his family and the judgmental mother who will always disapprove of her child’s choices and is blind of the real goings on to her own family, and siblings who in spite ourselves we sneer at and find a constant, reliable source of amusement.

Goodbye my love

Cheerful Weather For a Wedding is a realistic love story told through the eyes of the leading man on the morning  the love of his life is set to marry another man. The story is written beautifully and shows the complexities of women, it also portrays how saying what you feel is difficult no matter your sex and how sometimes the end of the story is simply goodbye.

 

Summer in February – Film review

Summer in February  is adapted from the novel of the same name by Jonathan Smith which was based on the real life goings on of the Lamorna artist colony in 1913.

The colony was lead by the rather brash,  bold English artist A.j Munnings with a reputation for his love of women and his passion for art his character in the film is  portrayed by  Mama Mia’s Dominic Cooper.

Gilbert and Florence

Gilbert and Florence

When Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning) an aspiring artist joins her brother Joey at the colony one rainy evening it is the beginning of a fatal love triangle that would haunt two men for the rest of their lives. Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens) takes an immediate shine to Florence and his feelings only grow as the days and nights go on. It is quite obvious to all around how Gilbert feels including Florence and A.J who, although flighty is Gilberts best friend and Gilbert holds him in high regard and his feelings are reciprocated.

A.J (Alfred) Munnings

A.J (Alfred) Munnings

Unexpectedly Florence who had previously appeared to show no interest in A.J  other than mild irritation and willingness to learn from his talent excepts his sudden proposal of marriage.

Florence and A.J

Florence and A.J

From the moment she and A.J are wed, their somewhat shaky romance goes down hill, Florence expresses her wish to Gilbert that she had married him instead, igniting an affair, all set in the heart of Lamorna, Cornwall which only adds  to the beauty and the passion of this film. The three main actors portray their characters beautifully, and Summer in February is a very well done adaptation of real life events and a stunning novel.

Gilbert and Florence

Gilbert and Florence

The Novel Summer in February was written by Dan Stevens’ teacher who told him he would make a terrific Gilbert, the film has been in production for eight years and this haunting tale has been in the works long before the world of Downton Abbey reached out screens.

Gilbert and Florence

Gilbert and Florence

The Famous painting of Florence painted by A.J hung in Gilberts house, above his fire place until he died.

The Morning Ride

The Morning Ride by A.J Munnings

It really is a must see, sad and poignant and well worth the time.

Book to Movie Adaptations – Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales

There is always so much talk about book to movies adaptations, the book is always better than the film is normally the first thing that comes up in conversation.  So in an attempt to break from convention I am going to talk about Myths, Legends and Fairy tales the ultimate text for an adaptation (the Grimm Brothers didn’t right them first you know!) They just…adapted them and so the stories moved on, evolved and this happens again and again and with these kind of tales we can never really know there true origin, there is no real author of Cinderella she just began some where long ago and has just continued to be and hopefully that is the way it will remain- immortal tales that tell us immortal truths.
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As Albert Einstien  said – “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

So in homage, I suppose for my love of all things mythical I am going to talk about my five favorite adaptations and why I love them so much.

1.  I’m going to kick things off with Tristan and Isolde (2006) starring James Franco and Sophia Miles. Now I read somewhere that James Franco regretted doing this movie, I don’t know why probably wasn’t pretentious enough for him but to be honest I don’t care. I enjoy the exploration of the character’s Tristan and Isolde, the difficulties human beings can feel during betrayal and ultimately that love sometimes in not enough.

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Isolde and Tristan
2. Something I am LOVING at the moment is Once Upon A Time, it is probably my favorite television programme of the moment. Season 4 is due to start in March but the general premise is that every story book/fairy tale character that you can ever imagine is trapped somewhere where their happy endings have been stolen from them…our world.

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 Emma Swan
3. Well, I couldn’t possibly do this list with out including a Disney film. The Little Mermaid (1989) is one of my favourite Disney films and certainly my favourite fairy-tale- Thank you Hans Christian Anderson- Although his version is slightly more depressing/bleak and missing the catchy musical numbers.
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Ariel
4. Okay so Cinderella- she’s a Classic and probably the most adapted fairy tale on the big and little screen. The likes of Hilary Duff (2004) and Disney have all had a crack at  portraying the famous orphan. And although Disney’s version is the one which I watched over and over as child I think Drew Barrymore in Ever After (1998)is my favourite Cinders.
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Henry and Danielle
5.  Last but not least I would have to pick the BBC adaptation of the King Arthur Legend. Merlin ran for five years and told the story of Arthur, Guinevere, Morgana and Merlin as young contemporaries in Camelot in the years leading towards his fore seen death and Merlin’s attempts to change his fate…
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King Arthur and Merlin