Series Review – Vanity Fair (2018)

Vanity Fair is arguably the crowning achievement of British author William Makepeace Thackeray. In it, he created perhaps the greatest anti-heroine in English literature, Becky Sharp. The name of the novel is an allusion to a place found in Pilgrim’s Progress where travelers’ find themselves lured in by a fascination of material things. It can also be read as a satire on English society of that time. Thackeray’s masterpiece has been adapted for both the big and small screen many times. But despite having seen two film versions, it is iTV’s recent adaptation which finally introduced me to the brilliance of Vanity Fair.

SYNOPSIS

Vanity Fair follows the journey of two young ladies from their friendship at school, through  a decade of their lives.

Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley cannot be more different. Becky is orphaned and without fortune, but uses her education, charm and beauty to make the most of her paltry connections. Above all she desires financial security and the influence of social position. She has no conscience about how she achieves these things. In her ruthless betterment of self, Becky manipulates various members of the Crawley family, Amelia’s brother Jos and eventually the Marquis de Steyne. Though she eventually obtains her objectives, it comes at a higher price than she expects.

In contrast, Amelia is sweet-natured but passive and completely naïve to the true natures of those she loves best. Unlike Becky, her only real wish is to settle down with her fiancé George Osborn to a life of happy domesticity. William Dobbin an army captain and friend to George secretly assists her in gaining her heart’s desire. Like Becky, Amelia eventually realizes her dream, but it also comes at a high cost.

As these women navigate ambition, romance, war and disappointment they must eventually face the truth and consequences of their choices. They must also decide if they are willing to change.

For the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

 

Foreign Film Friday -Sophia (2016) Russian Television Series

SUMMARY

In the last several decades of the fifteenth century, a Byzantine princess is sent to Moscow to marry its’ Grand Prince Ivan III. Rome hopes that with her influence, the people of Russia will turn from their Orthodox faith to Catholicism. Instead the Princess Zoe changes her name to Sophia, and adopts the Russian language, faith and culture as her own.

As the wife of the man who history will name Ivan the Great, she is not entirely trusted by her adopted homeland. Those in power fear her foreign origins and influence over her husband. She becomes a point of conflict in the Russian court and the focus of court distrust and intrigues.

While Ivan and Sophia deal with these internal conflicts, there are also external ones which demand Ivan’s attention. Among these are issues of diplomacy and war among rival nations. The most dangerous of these is war against the Golden Horde led by the Grand Khan. Closer to home is the conflict with the Russian Republic of Novrogod who resist Ivan’s attempts to unify the various Russian principalities under the throne of Moscow. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Sophia (2016) Russian Television Series”

Why Season Eight May Be Suits Best

I’ve been a faithful viewer of USA’s series Suits ever since it’s premiere. I was instantly captured by the bromance which developed by main characters Harvey Specter(Gabriel Macht) and Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams). It is their friendship which kept me watching through seven seasons of ups and downs. That, along with the lovely romance which develops between Mike and Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle) as well as the romantic tension between Harvey and long time colleague Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty). But the end of season seven neatly wraps up  these three story lines. With the departure of Mike and Rachel and the seemingly final resolution to Harvey and Donna’s potential for romance, I wasn’t sure I would continue watching the series. All my favorite reasons for viewing were gone.

However, I’m here to argue that season eight just may be Suits best yet. It includes the addition of Rachel’s father Robert Zane (Wendell Pierce) to the firm of Specter-Litt along with his protégé and favorite pit bull Samantha Wheeler (Katherine Heigl). Continue reading “Why Season Eight May Be Suits Best”

Top Ten Tuesday -Bingeworthy Streaming Series

Today’s Topic: Bingeworthy TV Shows/Movies (The new fall TV season is starting up this month, so let’s talk about what shows everyone should watch when they’re not reading!)

Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl

Aside from one or two TV programs I watch with my best friend, I’m not much of a television watcher. Most of the shows I enjoy best are British series aired on PBS. So instead, I’ve decided to share some the series I’ve found on various streaming sites that I really liked. These are definitely worth binge-watching. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Bingeworthy Streaming Series”

Six Lesser Known Series Adaptations on Amazon Prime

For access to British programming, Amazon Prime is becoming one of my go-to streaming sites for beloved series like Downton Abbey, Poldark, Endeavour, Call the Midwife, Victoria and others. Although, two of my favorite series, North and South and The Paradise can be found on Netflix.

But Amazon Prime is also a source for many other lesser known British series productions, as I am happily discovering. Many of these are based on true stories or literature by well-known authors. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised so far by how much I am enjoying some of these series. Here are just a few which I have seen lately and can recommend. Continue reading “Six Lesser Known Series Adaptations on Amazon Prime”

Foreign Film Friday -Morocco: Love in Times of War

MORROCO: LOVE IN TIMES OF WAR

It is the early 1920’s and Spain is at war with local tribes in a Northern African area known as the Rif.  The Spanish Queen wants to boost morale and to create positive public relations for the Spanish monarch and government. So she give her good friend, the Duchess, a task. She must establish a Red Cross hospital in the Spanish occupied city of Melilla.

Several newly trained nurses, daughters of privilege, join the Duchess in travelling to Morocco to begin this endeavor. Among them are Pilar, a young widow and the Duchess’ right hand. Magdalena is a somewhat flighty but effervescent young woman who leaves her fiancé behind in Spain. Then there is Julia. Julia has not yet had time to complete nurse’s training. But she is determined to use her job as a way to search for her missing brother and fiancé who are soldiers.

Upon their arrival, the Duchess faces some opposition from the army’s director of health and sanitation, Victor Ruiz-Marquez. He does not wish to give control over hospital decisions to the Duchess. But she is able to arrange for several army doctors to be attached to her new hospital, including Dr. Fidel Calderon, Dr.Luis Garcés and Dr. Guillermo. Together, along with field nurse Verónica and ambulance driver Larbi Al Hamza, these men and women accomplish the impossible in difficult circumstances. They also see their professional and personal lives intertwine while war takes its’ toll.

To read my full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat.

My Favorite Television Christmas Films

Everyone who knows me, knows how much I adore Christmas. And anyone who reads this blog should also be aware of how much I love movies. I have a whole list of Christmas films which I enjoy and watch every year, many of them classics. Since I already made a list of classic holiday films for The Silver Petticoat Review, today I decided to focus on my favorite made for television movies.

While Hallmark and its’ sister channel Hallmark Movies and Mysteries are renowned for their holiday offerings, Lifetime also has some special Christmas movies. Thankfully, the quality of television films, particularly those featuring Christmas themes, continues to improve. So, my list continues to grow each year. And I’ve already added to it for 2017 even though there are still many new movies yet to air. I have found that many times a Christmas movie appeals to me because of the actors and not necessarily the story. Because as all Hallmark aficionados know, we don’t watch these movies for their predictable story lines. Continue reading “My Favorite Television Christmas Films”

Foreign Film Friday -Mr. & Mrs. Murder (2013)

SUMMARY

Charlie and Nicola Buchanan are a happily married couple who also happen to work as crime scene cleaners. Their business allows them to feed their interest in solving crimes as amateur detectives. Aided by their niece Jess, they put their deductive reasoning and observations skills to good use as they work with local detective and friend Peter Vinetti to gather evidence that the police might not otherwise obtain. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Mr. & Mrs. Murder (2013)”

Television Series Review -The Good Karma Hospital (2017)

SUMMARY

Doctor Ruby Walker is fed up with the impersonal and challenging demands of working in a London city hospital. When her long-time boyfriend breaks up with her, Ruby decides she needs a drastic life change.

So, she picks up and moves to India to begin working in a public hospital for the poor. On top of the challenges of working in an under staffed and under funded hospital Ruby also must adjust to some difficult co-workers.

Through her experiences in treating patients and her interactions with her co-workers, Ruby learns to appreciate her new life and to see her career in a new way. Continue reading “Television Series Review -The Good Karma Hospital (2017)”

Foreign Film Friday -Il Paradiso delle Signore (2015)

Il Paradiso delle Signore is an Italian television drama series loosely based on Emile Zola’s novel Au Bonheur Des Dames.

SUMMARY

After breaking her engagement with the mayor’s son, Teresa escapes her small village and heads to Milan to visit her uncle. On her very first day in the city, she happens to run into Pietro Mori. A man with a very mysterious past, he also happens to be the owner of the ladies department store, Il Paradiso delle Signore. Teresa also meets Mori’s right hand man, long time friend and the store’s genius ad-man, Vittorio Conti.

Both men are instantly smitten with her and a love triangle forms when Teresa begins work as a sales girl in the store. But Mori is hiding a dark secret which is threatening his business and Vittorio is quite the ladies man. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Il Paradiso delle Signore (2015)”