Classic Film Review – Cleopatra (1963)

SUMMARY (Spoilers)

This film condenses almost two decades of Cleopatra’s life into it’s four hour run time.  In 48 BC, Julius Caesar arrives in Rome to mediate between the Egyptian queen and her co-ruling brother.  Cleopatra persuades Caesar to help her regain the throne as the sole monarch. In the process, the two begin an affair which produces a son. The birth of Caesarion  encourages Cleopatra in her ideas of building a world empire.

Eventually she travels to Rome where she is very unpopular with the people due to her influence with Caesar. She meets Marc Antony, the general of Caesar’s army, who helps her return to Egypt after Caesar’s assassination.

Even though Caesar named Octavian as his successor, the Roman Republic is split among Octavian, Lepidus and Marc Antony. Octavian and Marc Antony eventually neutralize Lepidus’ power. Their power struggle forces Marc Antony to turn to Egypt for support where he meets Cleopatra again. The two fall in love and begin an affair which is ultimately the downfall of them both. The film ends with their deaths in 30 BC.

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

 

Book Review -Mr. Rochester

ABOUT THE BOOK

Mr. Rochester is a book of three parts. It begins with Rochester’s emotionally desolate childhood, his education and his distant relationship with his brother and father. It follows him into adulthood and his years in Jamaica where he meets Bertha Mason and manages his father’s business interests there.

Others only get the best of us when they sense a weakness. One can never hurt a man who refuses to be hurt.

Eventually, we see his return to England and Thornfield with his now insane wife. When her presence taints the only place that feels like home, he heads to Europe where he encounters Celine Varens. Finally, he returns to Thornfield and an encounter with a plain little governess which will change his life.

Even now, when I think of Thornfield-Hall, I choose to remember what it was then—the playground of my childhood—and not what it was to become: a place of secrets and threats, of angers and fears.

You may think you know the story, but do you? Because this one belongs to Edward Fairfax Rochester not Jane Eyre. If you expect this book to be a re-telling of Jane Eyre from Rochester’s perspective, you might be disappointed. Though that part of the story doesn’t change, Jane’s presence does not arrive until the last quarter of the book. Instead, this is a comprehensive character study of a man’s life.

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

 

Film Review – Yesterday (2019)

They first took the world by storm over five decades ago. Since then the Beatles remain an enduring part not only of music history, but of the world’s cultural history. The band and their music has become so iconic, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t heard of them.

As a longtime fan myself, I was thrilled when I first saw the trailer for the film Yesterday featuring a story about the Beatles and their music. It topped my list as my must-see movie this summer.

SUMMARY

For ten years, Jack Malik and his childhood friend and manager Ellie have been pursuing his dream of being a musician. After yet another disappointing gig, Jack finally decides to quit against Ellie’s advice. But fate intervenes. During a worldwide blackout, Jack is hit by a bus. He awakens to a world with no memory of the Beatles. It’s as if they never existed (along with other random things like Coca Cola, the band Oasis and cigarettes).

Jack decides to perform their music as his own. It’s not long before he is being hailed as a musical genius.  His newfound fame takes him far from home and Ellie. As he learns the ins and outs of the music industry, he is confronted with many ethically compromising decisions. Though he finally has the career he’s always wanted, Jack’s guilt plagues him. He begins to see the true cost of his choices, including the loss of Ellie.

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

 

Book Review – In Spite of Lions by Scarlette Pike

SUMMARY

After a lifetime of abuse, Anna leaves home, but not to run away. Rather she runs towards freedom when she heads to Africa. On her journey there she befriends Mary Livingstone, the wife of missionary David Livingstone. Upon her arrival on foreign shores, she follows the Livingston family into the African interior to help with their work.

“It is necessary that you work against the pain of the body to make it stronger so that you may be a strong African woman,” she explained. “It will hurt, Miss Anna. But does that make it bad?”

However, Anna’s previous life has left her unprepared for the challenges of her new life. Though, she is accepted by the tribal chief, the villagers greet her with suspicion. While learning the basic tasks of daily survival, Anna also finds herself in the center of political conflict between the Boers and her new African family. And all the while she is still haunted by a past she hasn’t come to terms with yet.

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

 

 

Film Review – Tolkien (2019)

The world of a J.R.R. Tolkien story is one of mystery, magic, romance, friendship, wars and meaning filled journeys. But what was the world of the real Tolkien like? How did a British born Catholic orphan who survived by the good will of others create not only languages, but a fantastical world which still enchants millions today? These are the questions that the new biographical drama Tolkien attempts to answer.

ABOUT TOLKIEN

After the successive deaths of both of their parents, the custody of John Ronald  and his brother is given to a Catholic priest. This man ensures that the two boys receive scholarships to a Birmingham school and lodging in the home of a wealthy widow.

In both these places he meets people who will influence and change his life. Despite Tolkien’s initial reluctance to be grafted into their circle, he soon forms a strong bond with students Geoffrey Smith, Robert Gilson and Christopher Wiseman. Together they form a club with the goal of changing the world through their artistic endeavours.

Tolkien also forms a strong attachment with his fellow boarder Edith. She relates to his orphan status and dependence on the charity of others.  With her, he is himself, able to discuss his world of fantasy creatures and languages.

As it always does, life intervenes, first through the reality of Tolkien’s reduced circumstances, the expectations of his guardian and finally the advent of a World War. But it is the memories of these valuable relationships which sustain and inspire him.

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

 

Ms. Fisher’s Modern Mysteries Review

Its’ a rare television series that achieves the status of a global phenomenon. But that is exactly what the Australian historical series Miss Fisher’s Mysteries accomplished. In fact, it is so popular that its’ fans demanded and completely crowd-funded a new film after the series ended. It’s success has also led to the production of a follow up series, Ms. Fisher’s Modern Mysteries.

ABOUT MS. FISHER’S MODERN MYSTERIES

The new Ms. Fisher is set several decades later in the 1960’s. It features Phryne Fisher’s niece Peregrine who inherits the Fisher fortune when the aunt she never knew goes missing. This Ms. Fisher also inherits the same curiosity and knack for solving mysteries.

RELATED: TV Review: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Season One

After a string of failed jobs and relationships, Peregrine finally finds her calling. She picks up where her aunt left off; as a private detective. She is assisted in her new endeavor by the members of The Adventuresses’ Club, of which her aunt was a member.

Like her aunt, she also forms a tenuous working relationship with a police detective. Though Detective James Steed doesn’t initially appreciate Peregrine’s interference in his cases, he slowly learns to appreciate her innate talent.

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

Queens of Mystery (2019)

Every now and then, something comes along that is really special. In its’ own unique way it captures your imagination and admiration. Such is the case for me with Acorn TV’s new series Queens of Mystery. As a fan of cozy mysteries, I’m always on the lookout for ones I haven’t already seen. This quirky little mystery series is an unexpected pleasure which fits the bill perfectly.

SUMMARY

Matilda Stone has returned home to her village of Wildemarsh to take up her new position as a Detective Inspector with the local police force. Mattie is also returning to her three single aunts who raised her after her mother’s mysterious disappearance.

Beth, Cat and Jane Stone are all crime mystery writers. They can’t seem to help getting involved in Mattie’s cases, much to the frustration of her boss Derek Thorne. Though Mattie takes her job seriously, she has a hard time setting boundaries with the women who raised her. To make matters worse, she falls hard for the local doctor and pathologist, Daniel Lynch. She finds herself frazzled every time they work a case together even though he already has a girlfriend. In the mean time her aunts can’t help but set her up with every eligible man they meet.

Together the Stone women are a crime-solving team to reckon with. But the mystery Mattie most wants to solve is the one her aunts don’t want her to – what happened to her mother.

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

 

Book Review – A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Modest Independence follows secondary characters who were introduced in Mimi Matthews The Matrimonial Advertisement. Tom Finchley is legal advisor and friend to Justin Thornhill. It is through his relationship with Justin that he meets the fiery haired, strong-willed lady’s maid Jenny Holloway. After Justin’s wife Helena bequeaths a large financial settlement to Jenny, she is determined to live completely independent.

Jenny’s life has been governed by selfish men, but she yearns for freedom and adventure. She admires and is attracted to the quietly intense Tom. But she refuses to let this influence her plans. Jenny’s curiosity and wanderlust lead her to book a trip to India. If she manages to track down the truth about Helena’s presumably dead brother while there, then her trip will also serve a second purpose.

As the trustee for Jenny’s new inheritance, all Tom knows is that he can’t allow Jenny to make such a perilous journey alone. Not only is she vulnerable traveling as a single woman abroad, but he just can’t allow this fascinating woman to leave his life.

The closer Tom and Jenny get to their destination, they closer they get to each other. Tom has never thought to marry and Jenny never wants to marry. But as they traverse thousands of miles, their attraction and intimacy grows. Will these two solitary souls resolve the conflict between love and independence?

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

 

 

Book Review – What the Wind Knows

Amy Harmon is a talented author who has penned stories in several different genres. As a fan of historical fiction, of all her stories, my favorite is From Sand and Ash, a WWII tale of love, bravery and an inter-faith romance. So, when I learned Harmon’s latest release was another historical offering, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.  As I’ve come to expect from Harmon’s novels, it did not disappoint. What the Wind Knows was a story I could not put down.

WHAT THE WIND KNOWS SYNOPSIS

Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.

The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.

As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?

For my full review of this wonderful book, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

Series Review – The Hour (2011-2012)

I’ve long been a fan of actress Romola Garai as well as British period dramas, so I was thrilled when I discovered the BBC series The Hour. Not only does it feature Garai in a leading role, but it also co-stars Ben Whishaw and Dominic West. The Hour is a tautly written political and newsroom drama set in 1960’s London.

SUMMARY

Bel Rowley (Garai) achieves her dream when she is tapped to be the producer of a televised news program for the BBC called The Hour. Joining Bel are experienced foreign journalist Lix Storm (Anna Chancellor) and Bel’s best friend and fellow journalist Freddie Lyon (Wishaw). Also, new to the team, is the well-connected and handsome Hector Madden (Dominic West) who serves as “the face” of The Hour.

Together, along with the rest of their team, they present their weekly news program covering current events both national and international. But the investigation and presentation of this news is a fine balancing act. Not only are they constrained by the need to present proof in their stories, but also by an advisor from Westminster who wishes to censor any information not favorable to the government.

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