Since my recent move, I haven’t had cable television, so I watched fewer classic films. But that’s okay. It just gave me more opportunity to view other movies and series that I might not otherwise have had time for. To be honest, I didn’t really love the few classic films I did see in September. And would you believe, I didn’t have any re-watches this month?
SEPTEMBER 2019 BREAKDOWN
24 films/series total
7 new classic films
7 foreign films/series
5 TV series
1 in theater
Favorite Discovery: Ooh, this month gave me a lot of options to choose from for this honor. Among the contenders were Ladies in Black, Jericho, The Professor and the Madman and of course Downton Abbey. But my choice is Blind Date. It is going on my list of all time favorites, hands down.
Biggest Disappointment: Except for Heartbeat, pretty much every classic film this month left me feeling meh…
This month was TCM’s annual Summer Under the Stars when they spend 24 hours each day honoring a different classic film actor. I made it a point to watch films featuring Ava Gardner, Melvyn Douglas, Shirley Temple, Buster Keaton and a couple of hard to find titles starring Irene Dunne. By default I also saw a few more of Randolph Scott’s and Robert Young’s films.
August 2019 Breakdown
29 films/series total
18 new classic films
5 TV series
Favorite Discovery:The Indian Doctor and Wee Willie Winkie
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.
There’s a saying that truth is often stranger than fiction. That certainly proved to be the case for the family of actress Ruth Wilson. Wilson plays the role of her own grandmother Alison Wilson in this short series. Mrs. Wilson is based on Alison’s marriage to the enigmatic British spy and author Alexander Wilson.
After twenty years of wedded bliss and two children, Alec unexpectedly dies in Alison’s arms. Alison is devastated by his death. She goes through the motions of comforting her sons and planning Alec’s funeral until she receives another unexpected shock. An older woman arrives on her doorstep to collect Alec’s belongings. She claims to be Mrs. Wilson.
Seeking answers, Alison tracks down Alec’s intelligence handler Coleman. Alison is adamant that Alec was divorced from the first Mrs. Wilson before marrying her. Coleman is not so sure. This leads Alison to question every thing she ever knew about their life together. Not only does she explore her own memories of her past with Alec, but she also begins her own investigation into Alec’s private and professional life. She is stymied at every turn by an agency who wants to keep Alec’s work secret. Nor does she receive any help by those who knew Alec personally. As she slowly uncovers her husband’s secrets, she discovers a man she barely knew.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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”
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”