Foreign Film Friday -Ekaterina (2014-)

History is rich with people whose lives contain enough drama and significant events to still fascinate today. In recent years,  TV & Film focused particularly on female rulers who acted as heads of state in times where women were considered inferior and subservient to men. These women proved the lie of such notions by being crafty, intelligent and strong leaders. Catherine the Great of Russia is one such woman who stands out in history. Several films and television series featured her rise to power and her subsequent reign during a period when Russia was a powerful player in international affairs. However, Ekaterina is one of the few if not only onscreen productions which is not only filmed in Russia but produced exclusively by Russians for Russian television.

SUMMARY

Catherine is a German-born princess whose parents have little financial means but important connections. She is chosen as a potential bride for the Grand Duke of Russia as a pawn in a game of international intrigue. She is naïve enough to believe that she and Peter can develop a marriage based on love and respect. But Peter, whose life has been controlled by his aunt, the Empress Elizabeth, refuses her overtures as a means of rebellion against the arranged marriage.

From her arrival at the Russian court of St. Petersburg, Catherine’s life is manipulated and controlled by those with greater power and influence. She learns to keep her mouth shut and her ears open as she maneuvers through the treacherous waters of the royal court. Over the course of fifteen years, and through her many losses, Ekaterina has her innocence and illusion shattered while she learns the art of diplomacy and the cost of being the wife to the heir apparent of the Russian throne.

To read the rest of my review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Television Mini-Series Review -Young Catherine (1991)

Young Catherine is an American/British/Canadian mini-series which portrays the early years of Russia’s Catherine the Great.

In 1744 Sophia Fredericke, a princess of a small German principality, is invited to the court of St. Petersburg as the potential bride for the next Russian heir. Sophia’s upbringing has been sheltered. She has a close relationship with her father, with whom she shares a devotion to their Lutheran faith. Her relationship with her mother is less warm. But it is with her mother that she travels to Russia.  Her mother is well prepared for the political and social intrigues of the Russian court, but Sophia is less so.

She arrives as a naive innocent, eager to believe in a love match between herself and Peter, the Grand Duke and future emperor. Thanks to some advice from the handsome Grigory Orlov, Sophia is smart enough to ingratiate herself with the Empress Elizabeth, Russia’s ruling sovereign. Sophia soon begins to experience the shattering of her illusions. It slowly becomes clear to her that her marriage and her role within the Russian monarchy is not made of fairy tales. Sophia must learn how to maneuver in an environment where she is viewed as at best, a pawn and at worst, a threat to others’ ambitions.  She must decide if she is willing and how much she will sacrifice for the sake of a crown.

To read my review of this series, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

Foreign Film Friday -It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014)

SUMMARY

Ji Hae-Soo is a compassionate and nurturing psychiatrist who genuinely cares for her patients. But this side of her nature is not nearly as obvious in her personal life. When she meets popular author and DJ Jang Jae-Yeol she takes an immediate dislike to the handsome tease.

When Jae-Yeol temporarily moves in with Hae-Soo and her other housemates, sparks fly between these two opposites. Jae-Yeol is more willing to accept his attraction to the combative Hae-Soo, but she fights it. As they come to know each other better Hae-Soo begins to realize that there is more to Jae-Yeol than meets the eye. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -It’s Okay, That’s Love (2014)”

Film Review -The Making of a Lady (2012)

Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote stories familiar and beloved to many, including Little Lord Fauntleroy, A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. All of these have been adapted for the screen. Not nearly as many are familiar with Burnett’s novel The Making of a Marchioness and its’ sequel The Methods of Lady Walderhurst. The former was adapted as a television film by ITV under the name The Making of a Lady.

SUMMARY

The Making of a Lady stars Lydia Wilson as the impoverished but genteel Emily Fox-Seton. Orphaned at a young age, she has been forced to make her own way in the world. Gifted an education by her relatives, her options remain few. She has a difficult time maintaining steady employment to pay her rooming fare at a run-down but respectable boarding house. After being let go from her temporary job as a secretary to Lady Maria Byrne, she receives an unexpected offer from the Lady’s nephew, Lord Walderhurst.

In need of an heir, the older Marquess proposes a marriage of convenience. With very few options and despite wanting to marry for love, Emily accepts his proposal. Walderhurst soon introduces her as the mistress of his country home, where she is met by a less than hospitable staff.

Just as Emily and Walderhurst begin to grow closer, he decides to re-enlist in his old regiment and return to India. He instructs his dour but trusted butler, Mr Litton to look out for his new wife.

Shortly after his departure, Walderhurst’s cousin Alec Osborne and his Indian born wife Hester arrive with a letter from the Marquess requesting they also keep keep an eye on Emily. Despite prior inferences from both her husband and Lady Byrne about Alec’s character, Emily is thrilled to have some pleasant, young relatives around to keep her company and moves them into the house. But strange things begin occurring and Alec’s behavior becomes erratic. Is he a threat or is Emily imagining things?

To read my full review, please head over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Foreign Film Friday -My Love Eun-dong (2015)

SUMMARY

As young teenagers, reckless behavior on his part brings Hyun-soo and Eun Dong together. After Eun-dong’s lie spares him a criminal sentence, Hyun-soo determines to repay his debt by looking out for her. His debt of gratitude quickly turns into one of friendship, and Eun-dong challenges him to live a better life. Their strong connection is shattered when they are unexpectedly separated and lose touch for a decade.

Neither Eun-dong nor Hyun-soo forget each other and eventually another random meeting brings them back together. This time their friendship deepens into something much more. After falling in love they are once more accidentally separated. But Hyun-soo holds fast to his promise to wait for Eun-dong and never gives up hope they will be reunited.

Another ten years passes and Hyun-soo is now known as the famous actor Eun-ho. He decides to use his fame to search for his lost love by publishing their love story.  His manager hires young wife and mother Jung-eun to ghost-write the book. Jung-eun finds herself utterly charmed and moved by Eun-ho’s memories of Eun-dong, but also finds them strangely familiar.

Meanwhile, Eun-ho is being stalked by a powerful, beautiful woman who wants him for herself and will use any means to achieve her goal. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -My Love Eun-dong (2015)”

Television Series -Father Brown (2013 -)

Loosely based on the book series written by G.K. Chesterton, this newest television reincarnation updates the setting to the village of Kembleford in the Cotswolds district during the 1950’s. One of the few thing that remains true to the books is the character of Father Brown himself.

SUMMARY

The Father is a rather unassuming character with a keenly intuitive mind. Although he is dedicated to his religious calling, he can’t help but be snagged by his sharp attention to detail along with his exceptional insights into human nature. This compels him into a secondary vocation as a self-appointed investigator whenever a crime, usually a murder, is committed in Kembleford.

In some ways, he resembles his counterpart Sydney Chambers in another period mystery series, Grantchester. Both Sydney and the Father feel a loving responsibility to those in their parish, while their curious minds and sharp observations compel them to solve the deviant actions of human nature. However, unlike Sydney, Father Brown is no friend of the local police investigator(s) who find his meddling outside of the church as a nuisance and potential threat. And while Sydney tends to use deductive reasoning, Father Brown usually discovers his perpetrators through intuition.

He is possibly the least judgmental character I have seen on the small screen, while still encouraging parishioners and criminals alike to live according to religious principles. And although he is always invested in finding the perpetrator of crime, it is not so that he can bring them to justice, but so that he can urge them to make it right themselves.

For the rest of my review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Foreign Film Friday -Lovebird (2013)

Çalikuşu is a historical romantic drama based on a novel of the same name set in Istanbul at the beginning of the twentieth century. Although the more accurate translation for Çalikuşu is wren, its’ English title is Lovebird which is a nickname for Feride, the main female character.

SET UP FOR LOVEBIRD

As a young child, Feride is orphaned and sent to live with her maternal aunt’s family. Her arrival upsets the delicate emotional balance of the household, particularly with her female cousin Necmiye, who resents the attention her mother devotes to the new member of their household. Feride also has a combative relationship with her older male cousin Kamran which originates from a mutual attraction and distrust between them.

Thanks to her father’s wishes for her to receive an education, Feride is enrolled at a local French convent boarding school, where she lives when not staying with her aunt and uncle. Her biggest wish is to fulfill her promise to her dead father to finish school and to become a teacher. But as she comes close to the end of her schooling her relationship with Kamran begins to change and pose a threat to her goal and her heart.

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

TV Series Review -Endeavor

ABOUT THE SHOW

Endeavor is an ongoing British television series about young detective Endeavor Morse who is taken under the wing of his superior DI Fred Thursday as they investigate crime for the City Police of Oxford in the 1960’s.

For British detective series fans, this is an origin story for the long running series Inspector Morse which featured Morse as the senior officer of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Oxford Police.  But how did this irascible, classical music and literature lover, beer swilling, unrequited romantic become the head investigator and the difficult yet brilliant character Inspector Morse?

In Endeavor, we see hints to Morse’s personal background as well as his early years with the Oxford Police. He is not quite socially awkward, but his high brow interests, extreme intelligence, lack of personal ambition and unwillingness to pretend personal and professional interest where he has none, does make him somewhat of an outsider and a loner, until Detective Inspector Thursday decides he has promise and becomes his mentor, friend and father figure. Continue reading “TV Series Review -Endeavor”

TV Series Review -Signed, Sealed, Delivered

 

In the last couple of years the Hallmark channel and it’s sister the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel have done an excellent job in filling and growing the niche market for clean, family entertainment. I have been a faithful viewer for many years now and find that some of their productions are better than others. In my opinion, their series Signed, Sealed, Delivered is one of their very best.

SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED SYNOPSIS

Signed, Sealed, Delivered has a unique premise which focuses on a group of postal detectives. The tight-knit foursome work in the DLO (Dead Letter Office) of the Denver post office. They are assigned with the task of tracking down and delivering mail which is usually so damaged that the recipient is undecipherable. These assignments usually take them out of the office into the world at large and the mysteries they solve often relate to their own personal journeys.

 

Please join me here at The SIlver Petticoat Review for the rest of the Signed, Sealed, Delivered review.

TV Review -Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life

Have I mentioned how much I adore Gilmore Girls? It ranks second only to I Love Lucy as my favorite television series. And I’m not the only one, as even after its’ final episode aired almost a decade ago, it continues to not only maintain, but to grow its’ devoted fan base.

So, when the news was released that there would be a reunion show I, like other fans, was thrilled and eagerly and impatiently awaited the new episodes which would reunite us with my much loved “friends”.

The original series charmed millions with its small town and neighborly feel, it’s fast paced and reference laden dialogue but at its’ heart were the characters and the relationships between them which attracted millions of fans and cemented the show as a modern classic.

Much as I hate to say this, after enthusiastically anticipating the continuation of the Gilmore Girls story, I found myself fairly disappointed. Continue reading “TV Review -Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life”