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Burlesque, The Movie

21 Mar

I finally got around to seeing Burlesque (which I mentioned here) over the weekend. It stayed in Birmingham theaters for a week, maybe two, so I never got to see it on the big screen.

Cher still looks AMAZING (seriously, wow!), and she and Stanley Tucci were a great pair onscreen. There wasn’t much of a plot, but I didn’t expect one and that wasn’t the reason I wanted to see it. The songs (mainly from Christina Aguilera and a couple from Cher), dance numbers, and costumes were the main attraction, and they didn’t disappoint in the slightest.

The cast was rounded out with Alan Cumming, Julianne Hough, Kristen Bell, Dianna Argon (from Glee who I actually didn’t even notice in the movie), Peter Gallagher, and a cameo from James Brolin. If you’re looking for a fun, light-hearted movie with some great entertainment, check it out. And if you’re a fan of Cher and/or Stanley Tucci, you must!

All images courtesy of Screen Gems.


The King’s Speech

3 Jan

Over the holidays I had the chance to see The King’s Speech. I absolutely loved it!

The film tells the story of King George VI (played by the impeccable Colin Firth) who suddenly became king after the death of his father, George V (Michael Gambon, who I didn’t even recognize) and the rather scandalous abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII, who gave up the throne to marry the twice-divorced American socialite, Wallis Simpson. King George VI, or “Bertie” as he was known to his family, is forced to deal with his debilitating speech impediment as England is thrust into war with Germany and the country desperately needs a strong leader. His wife, the future Queen Mother (Helena Bonham Carter), enlists the help of a rather unconventional speech therapist named Lionel Logue, played by the marvelous Geoffrey Rush, to help him learn to control his stammer. Their sessions are eccentric and the evolution of their relationship is a joy to watch onscreen.

The film was artfully directed, and the costumes and the set were spot on. My favorite scenes are those where Bertie sits on the couch in Logue’s office against a rather amazing wall. You can see a bit of it in this picture, although this image does not do it justice.

If you’re an Anglophile or just enjoy history, go see this movie. Colin Firth is astounding in this role. He truly disappears into this character and the story is amazing. You can go here to hear King George VI’s actual speech, but I recommend you wait to listen until after you’ve seen the movie. It really is fantastic.

All images courtesy of here.

Miss Austen Regrets

19 Dec

I recently watched Miss Austen Regrets and absolutely loved it. Olivia Williams, who I am sorry to say I had only seen in An Education before this film, played Jane Austen, and she did so superbly.

Based on her life and letters, this movie tells the story of Jane Austen’s last years. While writing and searching for a publisher for her next novel, she also helps her niece, Fanny Knight (played by Imogen Poots), examine potential husbands. This leads her to reflect on her own choice to remain unmarried and the consequences—both good and bad—that has brought.

This movie also brings to life the close relationship and friendship between Jane and her sister Cassandra (played by the splendid Greta Scacchi), which was a joy to see onscreen. Here’s the trailer so you can get a glimpse of this wonderful movie for yourself:

An English Cottage

30 Nov

As I said in my Things to Accomplish/Bucket List, I’d love to own an English cottage–style house someday. When I think of lovely cottages, this home from the 1992 film adaptation of Howard’s End comes to mind. It’s the quintessential cottage (although maybe a tad large to be a true cottage) in look and character. Something with less square footage would be nice but a cottage needs a cozy fireplace and winding trees and greenery climbing the exterior.


14 Nov

I’m ridiculously excited about seeing Burlesque, which is due out on November 24. Cher! Does it get any better? Yep, it pretty much does when there’s dancing, singing, and Stanley Tucci involved. And Christina Aguilera is one pretty talented lady, so I can’t wait to see what she does in this movie.

If you haven’t already, check out the trailer:

John Adams

7 Sep

John Adams, the HBO miniseries based on the Pulitzer Prize–winning book by David McCullough, is absolutely superb. The seven-part series has a stellar cast: Paul Giametti as John Adams, Laura Linney as Abigail Adams, Tom Wilkinson as Benjamin Franklin, Stephen Dillane as Thomas Jefferson, and David Morse as George Washington.

This film gives you the inside scoop on this country’s second president. John Adams played a monumental role in the founding of our nation but he doesn’t often get credit or due recognition for his (and his family’s) many contributions and sacrifices, just as he predicted would happen. This film takes you from his start as a young lawyer defending the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre in 1770 until his death at the age of 90 on July 4, 1826—exactly 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed—and includes all the major moments in between.

While they do take some artistic liberties with historical accuracy, I knew that going in and enjoyed it for everything else it had to offer.

I particularly loved the attention to detail in the film. Unlike other historical movies, John Adams gives you a vivid sense of what the people and living conditions were actually like—ink stains on their fingers, black teeth, dirty streets, sun spots, the isolation and physical demands of the time, what it’s like when someone is actually tarred and feathered. The costumes, set, cinematography—basically everything—about it is spot on.

George Washington's inauguration—HBO/Kent Eanes

I whole-heartedly recommend it.

The Romantics

23 Aug

I’ve been reading a lot about the upcoming release of the movie, The Romantics, with Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel, and Anna Paquin, which is scheduled to be released September 10. It looks charming and smart and that put it on my must-see list of movies. But I’m the type who typically prefers to read the book before I see the movie, so I did just that and finished the book by Galt Niederhoffer this past weekend.

The basic plot is this: A group of college friends reunite for a wedding between two of their nine members. Except for Laura Rosen, the rest of the group have paired off together and are married or in the process of getting married. This wedding is between Lila Hayes, Laura’s former roommate and best friend, and Tom McDevon, her ex who she’s still in love with, at the Hayes’s family estate in northern Maine. As the weekend progresses, details of this group’s complicated history and dynamic are revealed after a drunken evening and swim lead to a missing groom.

It was a quick read and had I had a day to devote to it, I could have easily finished the 277-page novel in one sitting. And while the reviews on Amazon weren’t always rosy, I personally enjoyed the author’s style of writing, how she developed the characters, and the nuances of this group’s relationships and all of their secrets and flaws.

So, if you haven’t seen the trailer, take a look: