Saturday, June 27, 2009

What We've Been Watching

Having recently signed up for Netflix, my sister and I have been watching a lot of movies. What have you enjoyed recently? What did you think of something I list here? (Please, no major spoilers in the comments!) For some reason I have a harder time reviewing movies than books, so here are a few mini-reviews:

BBC's North and South
Starring Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe
Based on the novel by Elizabeth Gaskell

I was unfamiliar with this lovely and moving story--set in England during the industrial revolution--before watching this adaptation, but it won me over quickly. Very powerful acting and lots of attention to detail in the production. North and South might just be a new favorite of mine.

Fan-made trailer:

Lost in Austen
Starring Jemima Rooper and Elliot Cowan

This was quite original in that the plot isn't based on Pride and Prejudice, but around modern-day Amanda Price appearing in Elizabeth Bennett's world. Where not everyone is as Austen wrote them, and Amanda's popping into their lives doesn't help anything. Soon everybody's falling for the "wrong" character--including Amanda herself.

ShakespeaRe-Told: Much Ado About Nothing
Starring Sarah Parish and Damian Lewis
Based on Shakespeare's play

Delightful retelling of the classic Much Ado About Nothing story, set in modern times. Although little bits of the original language appear, the dialogue is completely modernized--but still quite clever. I loved noticing references to the original work and also being able to enjoy how the scenes were modernized. Damian Lewis was a completely believable Benedick, and he and Sarah Parish played off of each other very well.
Highly recommended, though their version of A Midsummer Night's Dream is not. (The plot was hardly retold at all and the way the scenes were shot and setting were both very odd. It's presumably the 21st century and yet "Theseus" doesn't believe he's going insane when the king of the fairies comes out to talk to him? Come on.)
We have yet to watch The Taming of the Shrew, and decided to wait on watching Macbeth until we were more familiar with the original story in order to enjoy it better.

And we're currently in the middle of watching BBC's
Robin Hood
TV series
Starring Jonas Armstrong as Robin Hood, Keith Allen as the Sheriff of Nottingham, Lucy Griffiths as Marian, and Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne

This version of the legend includes "modern elements," but is still set in medieval times. A lot of the classic scenes usually depicted in the legends--like Robin's meeting with Little John--are done differently, which is actually quite refreshing. Of course the Sheriff is evil and Guy is his minion and Robin is good and Marian is his lady love, but so many stories can be made out of that setup. The series squeezes in more characterization into the roles and completely different plots, but expect the usual corny implausible escapes--but you have to forgive it; he is Robin Hood, after all. The first season was really good, and excepting the first couple episodes *shudders*, the second one has been, too (although I've heard season 3--not yet out on DVD--goes downhill).


  1. Yes, season 3 of Robin Hood is awful :(
    But season 1 and 2...I LOVE IT¡¡

  2. I love Lost in Austen! I read somewhere a while back that someone (Sam Mendes maybe?) is going to make a theatrical version. I don't think there's any need -the miniseries was great!

  3. I want to see Lost in Austen - it looks good!

  4. Loved, loved, loved North and South, and really liked Lost in Austen and Robin Hood! You've definitely been enjoying good viewing. I haven't seen the Shakespeare Retold one.

  5. After seeing an episode on PBS, my wife got a copy of Lost in Austen. It was quite fun.

    I've only seen half of one episode of Robin Hood over at my parents (with their crazy selection of cable channels) and hope to eventually get more into the series.

    Generally speaking, I don't watch much in terms of TV/movies I'm always up for new shows. Shakespeare Retold sounds interesting.


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