Showing posts with label period dramas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label period dramas. Show all posts

Monday, January 18, 2016

Movie Monday... Lee Daniel's The Butler

Hello Lovely Readers,

This post is dedicated to the wonderful Alan Rickman... who I fell in love with as Colonel Brandon.
Last week after hearing of his passing I went home and searched Netflix to see what films they had of his on. One of his films is Bottle shock, which if you haven't seen it is great, but I have seen it a few times and at that moment didn't feel the need to re-watch it.

 He has some great lines in it...
Another one of his films on Netflix was Lee Daniel's The Butler, it had been on my list for awhile but I never got around to watching it... so I wanted to check it out and see how Alan Rickman fit into the casting. Just to let you know he plays Ronald Regan and is really only in the film maybe 15 or 20 minutes, but was still a powerful movie.
{Alan Rickman as Ronald Regan}
I know there are a lot of racial issues in the film that I don't feel adequate to discuss...that almost made me not want to write this post. However, I think it is important for the lessons of the past to continue on to the present.
I don't like to consider myself an ignorant person (I guess no one does) but as history lover sometimes I will admit I like to sugar coat things or romanticize things... but there has been lots of struggles in our country and I think it is important to remember them because if we don't we will continue our ignorance. I think what got to me the most was just the hatred that exists in people (I almost typed "existed" but I know hatred still goes on). Which, I think is so sad because over and over again we are told that we are all God's children and God died for us... so how can we hate? I am not saying I don't have this down perfectly but I found this film to be a good reminder of how a little hate can become a big hate.


Okay I will step off my soap box and will now discuss the film... the casting was great from Forest Whitaker playing Cecil Gaines to Robin Williams playing President Eisenhower. I felt the story did a great job of showing the transition in time in the costuming, hair and makeup, and setting of the Gaines' home to the decorations of the White House. I also think the movie showed a great transition of what one man and what one family can go through to make a difference in small and big ways.

{Lenny Kravitz as James Halloway}
The movie starts in 1926 where we see Cecil's father shot in cold blood for standing up to the boss's son, which shocked me and then a few minutes later see two African American being hung. Yeah it really takes your breath away... So don't watch if faint of heart. But Cecil gets out of the situation and grows up to be a strong worker and though some think he is being "subservient" he is doing his best with the situation he has born in. We watch his son Louis Gaines (David Oyelowo) become more political doing protesting, freedom rides, and he gets beaten up, thrown in jail, attacked by KKK. (Yeah this is the part where the hatred comes in and it was hard to watch).
Over the course of the film both men grow... one learns not be so quiet and one learns to work more withing the system to effect change. But beyond the lives of these two men times continue to change and stories continue to unfold. I found it amazing to watch how much the country and even the world can change within a few decades.

Not to detract from the story, there was just a few details issues I that made me question it... the biggest one being James Marsden playing President Kennedy, as much as I think James Marsden is gorgeous I don't know if he looks like John F. Kennedy.

I also did not like that at the end it felt a little to political and that it was pushing an agenda. However, I will not let these facts detract from the powerful story it told. It is rated PG-13 for some language and powerful image (I would say the language that got me the most was how many times they used the N-word).

As this post is dedicated to Alan Rickman- I wanted to share this short interview of his I found on making this movie...

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Mostly Picture Update

Hello Lovely Readers,

I hope this New Years is finding you well... I know its only been six days but if you are like me you are still writing 2015 and then doing your best to make the 5 look like a 6. A few of my last post have been about movies, books, and favorite Christmas songs so I thought it was time for a little update on my life. 

I know Christmas is behind us but I am still replaying the moments I had with my family...

 A morning selfie of my nephew and I (he loves me even if it doesn't look like he does in this picture)
... he is showing signs of having red hair so I call him "little ginger man"
This is us at the park... notice the short sleeves, yeah Christmas in Houston is hot and humid
Playing with my niece and nephew... they invented the game "Squish Attack Aunt Blaire"
Helping my "little ginger man" open his first Christmas gift from me... Yep its a book
Books was unintentionally my theme for gifts

So even though the weather did not feel like Christmas with the family and the kids it was very Christmas-y

Speaking of books...
I am currently re-reading Mansfield Park and it quickly topping my list of favorite Jane Austen novels. Emma and Sense and Sensibility are at the top of my list but this one is joining the ranks. It is not the typical Austen novel because Fanny Price is not like her other heroines who speak their minds or stand up for themselves... no Fanny spends most of the time sitting around and thinking about the people around her, she is also often ignored by her family, and she seems okay with this because she doesn't want attention. The very first time I read this I couldn't finish it because she was so quiet and so mousy that I couldn't stand Fanny Price... now with age I have begun to love her.
Great article "In Defense of Fanny Price" {link}
If you are looking for a modern update of Mansfield Park I recommend the YouTube Series "From Mansfield with Love" (link to channel)

Here is a short trailer:
It is told as a video letter from Franks (Fanny) Price to her brother who is in the navy (or something like that) and she is recording her life for him. Thus far I have enjoyed these YouTube series updates on classic literature... so good job media specialist on keeping us in love with classic stories.

With my progress in NaNoWriMo (I got to 35,000 words) I was able to finish the first part of my story and made a good start on part 2... so I am eagerly making progress on it. After November, I didn't get much writing done, and while I was away for Christmas I didn't get any writing done (I did do some minimal editing on the plane rides). That's okay, as my friend reminds me I am doing this for myself... and while I would one day love to be published I am not on any deadline. Though I do have the goal of finishing the rough draft this story and get to the editing process. Though sometimes after writing a scene I think "Oh this would be much better someplace else" so my outline has gotten a bit of editing to it... and I think I might have to go back and re-write some scenes. Oh well... I love this process and enjoying the moments.

 I don't have a lot of prime time shows I am watching right now. But New Year's weekend was a good TV/ Movie weekend for me.
My friend and I went to go see Star Wars ep. 7 on New Year's day and then I watched the Sherlock "The Abominable Bride" episode. I don't want to give away any spoilers on either one of these things but I thought both were great... obviously for different reasons.
Also this weekend was special as it was the premier of Downton Abbey season 6.
Uh once again I don't want to give out any spoilers but the scenes between Mr. Carson. Mrs. Hughes, and Mrs. Patmore were my favorite. 
{Scenes from ep.1}
 Also over Christmas the show When Calls the Heart, also released their special episode. 
When Calls the Heart, is probably one of my guilty pleasures but I don't care it is a cheesy Hallmark Channel on the frontier period drama.
Needless to say my fangirl heart was very happy over New Years.

Usually I end these updates with a YouTube video I have recently discovered... and I don't want to break with tradition.
Song: "Hello" by Adele (cover)
Clips: Gilmore Girls- Rory and Jess

I think this song is actually quite fitting for their relationship and as the cover is sung by man, I think it tells the story from Jess's perspective.
I am eagerly awaiting for the release of the Netflix reunion episodes that last time I checked were to begin being filmed this year. YEAH!

Hope you have a good day.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Films... A Little Chaos

Hello lovely readers,

Before I can truly write a review of A Little Chaos that there are some aspects of the movie that might make some people uncomfortable. I am not condoning these actions I am just saying it was common in French Court for the King and the people around him to have mistresses. These aspects made me hesitant to write about this film but I thought this was a beautiful film I had to share it with you all. 
I will admit the film is a little slow and the love story is slow and with films like Star Wars and other high action movies coming out I think this film might not satisfy someone who loves a fast pace movie. From the trailer you can tell it is a romantic story but the romance is so little you don't even know they are in love until Andre Le Notre's (played by Matthais Schoenarts) wife points out that he is infatuated with Sabine De Barra (played by Kate Winslet).

I was first intrigued by this movie after watching Far From a Maddening Crowd and I thought Matthais Schoenarts looked familiar so I looked up his other film credits, only to discover I had never seen a movie of his but I discovered this film. I was intrigued by the casting and loving both Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman I put it on my waiting list at the Library... got to love the library and free access to 100s of movies. 

The movie starts off saying "There is an outdoor ball room at Versailles, in what follows this much is true." So the character of Sabine is fictional, as there would be no women landscapers at the time, regardless Kate Winslet plays Sabine very well. Sabine is strong, passionate, and does not confirm to the world around her.  This draws attention to her not only from the love interest but also from the King and his brother Duke of Orleans (played by Stanely Tucci.)
Stanley Tucci and Alan Rickman in awesome wigs
At the start of the film Sabine is hired by Andre, who is in charge of the landscape for the gardens at Versailles but he cannot handle demands of the King so he brings her on. At their first meeting he does not seem to like her very much, because she won't confirm, they discuss how gardens are to be structured and she doesn't agree with him. Then they have a beautiful scene in her personal garden where Andre discusses when God made men he put them in a beautiful garden, since we have been banished we have been seeking out our own Eden... it could almost give you the desire for a green thumb. While Sabine doesn't want to confirm to the world around her, she does have to navigate the happenings of French Court... oh and Jennifer Ehle (aka Elizabeth Bennet) makes an appearance. She also needs to deal with some struggles of her past in order to accept love.

One reviewer on IMDb wrote that she would "watch Stanley Tucci read a phone book, he is that good." I quite agree and I did find him quite an amusing character.


The story was charming and beautiful with costuming and settings to match. I know it is a British Film (directed by Alan Rickman) but I found it funny that all the settings were in England. Some of them I even recognized from watching The Young Victoria a lot. But try to not let that distract you if you watch the movie.

I would recommend this film if you like Sense and Sensibility (for Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet), The Young Victoria (beautiful settings) and Marie Antoinette (French Court). 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tunes for Tuesday

Hello Lovely Readers,

I am so happy to announce that in my current work in progress I am a few pages of typing up my story to be done with the first draft of part one. YEAH!!! It feels so exciting and weird all at the same time. I love sharing my scenes with you guys (well who ever reads it) and other things that inspire me. Today I wanted to share music that keeps me inspired.

Song: Serenade (Piano, Violin)
By: Schubert

Song: Distance
By: Christina Perri

This is has become a recent favorite song of mine:
Song: Dancing in the Mine Fields
By: Andrew Peterson

Song: Shattered
By: Trading Yesterday

Song: Stat with Me (Violin cover)
By: Sam Smith

Song: I see Fire
By: Ed Sheeran

There are more songs on my writing playlist but six is a good even number of songs to share... I hope you enjoy. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Frivolous Friday... More Historical Drama

Hello Lovely Readers,

Okay I have another guilty pleasure to share... well its not really a guilty pleasure more of an obscure reference that I keep my thoughts about it quiet, but I am here to finally introduce you all to it.
 I highly recommend it if you like historical drama especially from the Edwardian time period, a mystery that keeps you guessing, and you want to brush up on your Spanish. Yep that's right... it is a Spanish (set in Spain) basically prime-time soap opera mystery. It is on Netflix that provides subtitles or else I would have no idea what was happening. I watched a few episodes over the summer and was intrigued with it but because it was in Spanish I knew I would have to fully pay attention to it.
The series starts off in 1905 with Julio coming to the Gran Hotel to visit his sister only to learn his sister has mysteriously disappeared so he pretends to be a waiter to investigate his sister's disappearance. We also meet Alicia the daughter of the owner of the hotel. Her father has recently passed away her mother and Diego (manager) are running the show and covering up some intriguing plot points along the way. The romantic tension between Julio and Alicia is clear from the first episode even though she is supposed to be engaged to Diego. The tension and the mystery keep this show going.
There is also a great supporting cast like Andres who is an awesome and loyal friend to Julio. There is also Javier (Alicia's brother) who I can't decide if I want to slap him or go out for a drink with him. Javier is basically a womanizing, drunk, who makes a 1,001 mistakes (which is why I want to slap him) but yet his one liners are great and he actually is very loyal to Alicia (which is why I would want to have a drink with him). Heads up: There are some sex scenes that might make some people uncomfortable.
Javier, Julio, Alicia. Diego
I am in the 2nd of 3 seasons and I can't wait to see how it all works out. (Spoiler Alert) At the end of the first season Alicia marries Diego... which is crushing because it is clear she and Julio love each other but their class separation divides them. And when she returns from her honey moon it is clear she will not cheat on her husband (which I am happy about) but I want Julio and Alicia to end up together. So is that hoping for Diego's death? I mean while there is plenty of intrigue in this show, it does take place in Spain (a good Catholic country) and divorce can't just happen... so Diego will have to die for anything to truly happen between Julio and Alicia. I mean Julio has his shady sides but overall he is a good guy so I don't want Alicia and Diego to just be a cheating scandal. I mean just look at him:


Looking pics for this post has given a way some plot spoilers... but I don't even care. I know the drama and mystery of this show will keep me on the edge of my toes guessing what is going to happen next.

If you are like me you will spend the whole time saying: "Just kiss already", "What?" or "Don't trust Diego?"

Outside of the drama the thing I probably love most about this show is Alicia's hair... In the first season it is pulled up but she lets some strains show, which I think shows she still has an adventurous side and is not completely prim and proper. At least so far in the second season her hair is always perfectly pinned up showing (spoiler alert) now that she is married she cannot as adventurous as she used to be... however just watching her you can see she doesn't want to be all prim and proper as she has to be. I know probably no one else notices this detail but I thought it was good to show character change.
Once again recommend this show if you love Edwardian Drama, want to be on the edge of your seat guessing what is going to happen next, and want to brush up on your Spanish (don't worry there are subtitles on Netflix) but I find it fun to recognize words I learned in Spanish class in High School.


It doesn't hurt that the scenery is beautiful and captivating

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Quick Little Update

Hello lovely readers,

Since it has been a while since I have updated this I thought I would give a fun update on my life...


The biggest news is my life is that my mom and step-dad have moved up to Burlington, VT!
My step-dad has a new job up in Burlington which is awesome because we haven't been physically close to each other in ten years. I don't know if I expressed this but over the summer I was feeling a major amount of homesickness and a major urge to be close to my family (even thought they are spread out)... I even thought about moving away from Boston that I love to be close to them. While, that may happen one day I am so happy for now I can stay up here. 
Any way the weekend was lots of fun... We went to Stowe, VT which is a picturesque New England town and we experienced the first snow of the season, and yes at this point it was exciting. 
Snow up in the mountains over Smuggles Notch Junction

A very picturesque church
Trying to get a picture with the church sadly the power lines got in too
Event though seeing Burlington and Stowe was fun, I liked seeing my parents and it is nice to know they are so close. 

I feel I have not read much lately... I have been using my usual reading time (my commute to work) to get some writing done. It has been beneficial to my writing life but not to my reading. However I have finished my 25th book in my reading challenge... A book about "A lion, witch or Wardrobe" 
I don't usually read "magic realism" novels... so I thought if I am going to read a novel about witches, Halloween season would be a good time. Besides I found a book about the Edwardian/WWI time period so I felt it would fit nicely into my repertoire. For more about the book, click here.
 I was reading the book Fever Tree about a girl who goes to South Africa in 1890, for the requirement a book about a place you have always wanted to go. However, I found parts of the book too sexual and I thought it best to move on. 
I am on the waiting list at the BPL for the book Circling the Sun about Kenya in the 1930s. I have wanted to go to Africa (well South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, and maybe Morocco) but I understand they are unstable and I cannot afford to pay for that yet. So I am reading about it. 
While I am waiting for this book... I just picked up Chronicle of Youth at the library and can already tell I want to buy a copy as there are so many passages I want to underline. 
Over the winter I read Vera Brittan's Testament of Youth, her autobiography of her time in WWI. And while the book was great for facts and  some thoughts it is not very feeling. I think she was trying to sound like a scholar and not like an emotional woman. So reading her diary will be an interesting view of her life.

My work in progress cover

As I said above I have been getting a lot of writing in, but I am gearing up for National Novel Writing Month... where you try to write 50,000 words in a month. This is my first time that I am not in school since I first learned of this. I am going to bend a rule that I want to continue working on my current story. I really feel my story is coming into focus and shape so I want to continue writing it. I have read some blog post about this and it seems really intense... so I don't know if I will actually be able to write 50,000 words but as this my first time trying I am going to do the best I can but won't beat myself up if I don't get there. 
Getting my November calendar ready

Before I went up to visit my parents I went through a major binge watch of Glee. When the show was on I watched the first season, half of the second season, and then just watched episodes occasionally of the 3rd and 4th season but nothing really of the 5th season (minus The Quarterback episode) and none of the 6th season. But YouTube clearly tracking my interest (cheesy musical numbers) kept suggesting videos... finally I got hooked and decided to go through the show on Netflix. 
Song: "Don't Go Breaking my Heart" 
 Okay I will admit that sometimes the performances are a little cheesy and maybe a little over the top (I noticed this more in the 4th season) but hey who doesn't want to go to school where you get to perform a music video walking down the hall...
Song: "Wanna be Starting Something"
And not only did they cover classic songs they had a few original songs 
 Song: "Loser like me" 

Yes there were moments of annoyance where I couldn't stand Rachel and her need to popular, and there were moments when I thought "come on let them be happy," and thought "this is so not logical" but over all I liked it. They fought, they sometimes had pointless breakups, but they still came together as a team to support each other, and they embraced their differences.
 The only thing that made me truly upset is they way they acted like everyone in high school was having sex and if a character didn't have sex it was a fault of theirs. 
And even though I knew it was going to happen I did cry during The Quarterback episode, where they deal with the death of Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) because it wasn't just them writing off a character he actually died and as a cast they had to deal with that pain. 
 Recently I started re-watching Gilmore Girls. Yes I am excited for the revamp of it on Netflix (whenever that happens) but lately I have been feeling like life is not going the way I want and I have been trying to decide what to do with my life. And whenever get in this mood Gilmore Girls always cheers me up. Because this is just great life advice:
Right now the only show I am watching in real time is Reign. 
(Historical Spoiler):
Sadly, they have already announced that Francis is going to die this season, though I don' t know what episode. I mean I know in history Francis died a year after becoming King, but last season took place almost entirely in the winter, and they have changed so many historical things why do they have to stick with this. Also (Season 2 Spoiler) last season Mary and Francis spent so much time apart that now they are together and happy it hurts to know soon they will be forever apart. 
Other Things in My Life
 I have been actively volunteering with Horizons for Homeless Children. It is probably my saving grace every week as being able to play and interact with the children is my biggest stress reliever. I can't take photos of the kids but they are some of the cutest kids.

Looking Forward To
I know it might be silly but one thing I am really looking forward to is Mockingjay part 2 coming out.

Okay I think this was a good update on my life but before I go just wanted to share one more song from Glee... there were so many good performances but this was probably one of my favorites. 
Song- Mashup: "Rumor Has It/Someone Like You"
The last 30 seconds probably won't make sense unless you have seen the show.