Sunday, 30 October 2011

Happy Birthday Winona Ryder

We wish a very Happy Birthday to Winona Ryder (b. 29th October)!

As a period drama fan, I'm sure you all must have heard of Winona Ryder and must have seen her in movies like Little Women and The Age of Innocence, etc.

Winona Ryder was born and named after the place of her birth Winona, Minnesota, USA. She first came into the limelight when her movies Heathers(1989) and Edward Scissorhands(1990) got released but she started to have a loyal fan following with the big movie, Martin Scorsese directed The Age of Innocence (1993). Although she has had quite a few ups and downs in her acting career, its good to know that she is right back on the track.

Some of her period dramas role :

  • Mina Murray in Dracula (1992)
Winona Ryder as Mina Murray in Dracula

Her first role in a period movie was in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Mina Murray is Jonathan Harker's fiance and is a strong, spiritual and intelligent woman. Though she gets victimized by Dracula, she helps Van Helsing in tracking him to his catle.

  • May Welland in The Age of Innocence (1993)
Winona Ryder as May Welland in The Age of Innocence

Winona Ryder plays May Welland, the fiance of Newland Archer (Daniel Day Lewis), who seems carefree, innocent and childlike woman but deep inside is very knowledgeable and manipulative. This role also got her an Academy Award nomination for the best supporting actress.

Winona Ryder as Jo March in Little Women

This movie was one of the seventeen adaptations of the famous book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and perhaps the latest one. She plays Jo March, second daughter of the March family and 'SON' to her father. Again, this role got her an Oscar nomination for the category of best actress in a leading role.

  • Abigail Williams in The Crucible (1996)
Winona Ryder as Abigail Williams in The Crucible

The movie is based on Arthur Millers' play The Crucible, directed by Nicholas Hytner. Abigail is devil taking human form to seek revenge and spread hatred and violence wherever she goes. She has all the possible qualities of a perfect antagonist.

We hope Miss Ryder that we will see more of you in the coming years! All the very best with your career.

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Last Station (2009) - Reviewed

My Overall Rating - 7/10

The Last Station (2009)

I watched this movie a couple of days back but I wasn't sure of writing a post about it up till now. The Last Station is a movie based on the later years of Russian author Leo Tolstoy showing his interest in politics and the people of Russia. The movie stars Christopher Plummer (Leo Tolstoy), Helen Mirren (Sofya), James McAvoy (Bulgakov), Paul Giamatti (Chertkov), Kerry Condon, Anne Marie Duff and others. It has been director by Michael Hoffman, though I am not sure if I should appreciate his efforts.

The plot is based on the struggle for conquering rights for Tolstoy's work and his estate which would all be in the control of public domain, as wished by the Tolstains and they are fighting against Sofya, Tolstoy's wife, who wants the control for herself and her children. Bulgakov (McAvoy) has been appointed as Tolstoy's new secretary, experiencing both the sides of the brawl. In short, they have shown the dialogues among Tolstoy, Sofya and Chertkov, as heard by Bulgakov.

The reason I am not able to like or dislike this period drama is that I couldn't take it in, completely. At times, I thought it to be very mature and well acted and then suddenly I saw Helen Mirren running and screaming all over the screen, Helen Mirren getting naughty and Helen Mirren shouting some more and more. However, I liked James McAvoy, Christopher Plummer and Paul Giamatti, all of whom have acted very nicely. The movie's best part is the climax, well acted, well written and well directed, you actually start feeling a bit emotional.

Overall, its a good movie to watch but not a pass time, not a light movie. If you have time and patience and brains, then this should be on your watchlist!

Wikipedia Link - The Last Station

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Three Musketeers (2011) - Reviewed

My Overall Rating - 6.5/10
The Three Musketeers (2011)

I was long waiting for this one to hit the screens and I watched it today, "Soda without fizz"! The Three Musketeers was supposed to be a big movie, atleast I thought so but its disappointing.

The movie stars Mathew Macfadyen (Athos), Luke Evans (Aramis), Ray Stevenson (Porthos), Milla Jovovich (Milady de Winters), Orlando Bloom (Duke of Buckingham), Logan Lerman (D'Artagnan) and others. With a cast this impressive you think that the movie is going to be so worthy but its only-just-acceptable.

The opening shots are very impressive, the introduction to the three musketeers and Milady are shot with some style. The three musketeers have played their part well but D'Artagnan was the 'sore of eyes' for me, through out, you may even say that Logan Lerman is simply 'REPULSIVE'. An actor who is half a foot shorter than the others, gets to capture all the screen in a movie like this, well that's not fair by my standards. It looks like the three musketeers have been left behind by a mouse man.

Orlando Bloom was good to watch, something different from his regular gallant self but there's a lot of room for improvement, I think. Milla Jovovich has done what was expected from her, fight scenes and corset, truly herself. 3-D effects are being highly appreciated, but I think I would have liked it the same even in 2-D.

If you have sometime, some gap to fill in or if you are the type who would watch anything in the name of action and sword fencing, then you must go and watch this movie. In case you're looking for something refreshingly new in the old story, I think you'll be disappointed.

IMDb Link- The Three Musketeers
Wikipedia Link - The Three Musketeers

For more information on period movies stay connected to Period Movies Box.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Period Movies - Handsome Heroes

I just checked this post on Most Handsome Men from Period Dramas and thought I will compile my own list.
I like them partly because of the roles they have played and partly because of their looks, of course!
Here's the original list, Most Handsome Period Drama Men and down here is my list -

1. Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Mr. Darcy - Pride and Prejudice
Mr. Darcy, I might not be your Elizabeth but my quiz result says that I am like her and I'll remain loyal to you, always.

2. Mathew Crawley from Downton Abbey
Capt. Matthew Crawley - Downton Abbey
Mathew, Lady Mary is a fool and she knows that, I wouldn't have given you up even for Kamal Pamuk!

3. John Thornton from North and South
John Thornton - North and South
Mr. Thornton, you're such a gentlemen and in the end we all realized it.

4. Edward Ferrars from Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Edward Ferrars - Sense and Sensibility
You're an eye-candy Mr. Ferrars and you shouldn't be that shy, please.

5. Jacob from Water for Elephants
Jacob - Water for Elephants
I like you when you are Edward and now I like more when you are JACOB!

6. Count Laszlo de Almasy from The English Patient
Count Laszlo de Almasy - The English Patient
I love army men and somebody as handsome as you are in the movie, I can only *sigh*

7. Robert Crawley from Downton Abbey
Earl of Grantham - Downton Abbey
Your Lordship, you are kind to your subjects and loving to your family and every bit the Earl of Grantham!

8. Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre (1996)
Mr. Rochester - Jane Eyre
I thank God for saving you from your dreadful devil wife!

9. King George from King's Speech
King George - The King's Speech
You're definitely all the royalty women need and you stammer so beautifully.

10. Theodore Lawrence from Little Women (1994)
Theodore 'Laurie' Lawrence - Little Women
Laurie, you're the sweetest and will always remain to be so!

SO, these are my favorite period drama heroes and I think I'll freeze this list now. Please do tell me about this list and your own favorites. Comments are most invited.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Vanity Fair (2004) - Reviewed

My Overall Rating - 6.5/10

Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair is the screen adaptation of the novel of the same name by William Makepeace Thackeray. The movie has been directed by Mira Nair and casts Reese Witherspoon as Becky Sharpe, Romola Garai, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Rhys Ifans, James Purefoy, Gabriel Byrne and others.

The story is about Becky Sharpe (Reese Witherspoon), a girl from humble social background and how she reaches high English society with her charm. As one of the characters says, "I thought she was a social climber, turns out she's a social mountaineer".

Mira Nair has done a decent job and I was happy to catch glimpses from India and traditional Indian music in the background but I think it has been overdone. There is something missing in the movie, I would say its not very compelling.

Romola Garai and Reese Witherspoon
 (Vanity Fair)

Reese Witherspoon looks and speaks every bit like a true English and all the actors have done well, costumes are good, the thing is I couldn't really connect. At some points it looks like it is not period drama but a poor comedy. Aunt Matilda (Eileen Atkins) was fun to watch and so Biju.

All in all, don't expect too high and you won' be disappointed, its a nice watch.

Wikipedia Link - Vanity Fair (2004) 

For more information on period movies stay connected to Period Movies Box.

Oliver Twist (2005) - Reviewed

My Overall Rating - 7/10

Another Charles Dickens story and I think the most famous of them all, for me atleast. Oliver Twist is the retelling of the classic story, movie directed by Roman Polanski, which means you can have high expectations.
Ben Kingsley as Fagin

Surprisingly, this story has been made and remade over twenty times for TV and big screens and therefore it faces much competition and critics. Oliver Twist is a very well made movie, very good casting and story telling, it actually takes you back to early 1800s. Some of the characters which stood out were Ben Kingsley as Fagin, Leanne Rowe as Nancy and Barney Clark as Oliver Twist.

Barney Clark as Oliver Twist (center)
All of us are familiar with the story, its Charles Dickens typical gloomy tale which ends well. If you don't know the story, a word of caution for you, its not about Queen or other royalties so you won't be watching palaces and garden, its a story of a poor and polite orphan, Oliver Twist. The performances and screenplay are both very good and I think you'll enjoy the movie just as I did.

IMDb Link - Oliver Twist
Wikipedia Link - Oliver Twist 

For more information on period movies stay connected to Period Movies Box.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Little Dorrit (2008) - Reviewed

My Overall Rating - 7/10

Little Dorrit - Period Movies Box

Little Dorrit is the screen adaptation of the novel Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. I just finished watching it and after those 13 episodes of suspense, the last one wasn't very rewarding as I thought it would be. The series stars Claire Foy as Amy Dorrit, Mathew Macfadyen as Arthur Clennam, Tom Courtenay, Eddie Marsan, Andy Serkis, among others.

Since I have been following Downton Abbey regularly I might tend to be partial towards it but I didn't find Little Dorrit up to the mark. I know that all Charles Dickens's stories are gloomy and full of sorrow, yet this was very dark and dirty, if I may say so. In fact, the Circumlocution Office was dingier than Hogwarts' Owlery, really.

The saving grace of the series were performances by Claire Foy, Mathew Macfadyen, Tom Courtenay and Russell Tovey. Others were simply loud and exaggerated. The episodes seem to be long and boring even when they are just 30 minutes long because the maturity is lacking in the direction of course with three or four different directors directing different episodes.

Still, if you're looking for some light headed period drama series you can watch Little Dorrit and you'll not be very disappointed.

IMDb Link - Little Dorrit
Wikipedia Link - Little Dorrit

For more information on period movies stay connected to Period Movies Box.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Downton Abbey Season 1

This is my second post on Downton Abbey and I wish to dedicate a whole new blog to it! The very first of the seven parts of the series sets the plot just right and you're engaged. Lady Mary, the eldest child of the Crawley family cannot inherit the estate of Grantham (being female) and two of her cousins and the ones in the line of the "throne" have died with the sinking of Titanic, one of whom was her fiance. Now, the problem is that Lord Crawley cannot fight with the entail which was written down by his father, Lady Mary cannot be heir the estate and she has lost her prospect. You see, it is such a good idea to introduce the audience with the very 'problem' and the plot of the whole series in the first episode itself.

Dowager Countess of Grantham
- in her element
I tend to make fun of the things I watch, maybe because that's my critical sense but I couldn't find a thing to make fun of, in the complete season. In fact, I loved Maggie Smith's (Dowager Countess of Grantham) one liners, they were so witty and she's such a comic relief in the serious surroundings. Perhaps, as my sister suggested, there is something funny, every episode starting with us watching Labrador's tail, he (I treat animals like they were people) must be credited for that.
Pharaoh -Lord Grantham's Dog

I am all praise about this one, for me, its about perfect. I do have this one complaint, they don't telecast the show in my country so I try hard keeping up with season 2, but I manage somehow. If you wish to watch Downton Abbey Season 2 and it is not available in your country just shoot a mail to me - and I'll give you a link, I can't post it here, it won't be a good thing ;) .

Watch this show for every thing you would like to see in a period movie and be thankful to Julian Fellowes, really, no exaggeration!  

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Period Movies Box : Downton Abbey Season 1 - Reviewed

Downton Abbey (2010)
My Overall Rating : 9/10

Downton Abbey - Period Movies Box
I have been longing to write for this one for almost a week now. I don't really know where to begin from but one thing is sure THIS IS THE BEST SO FAR!

Downton Abbey is like a treat to period movie lovers, you simply can't afford to watch an episode and keep the rest for he next day. I watched all seven of them the same day, can't resist! For those of you who haven't been able to watch this one, I plead, please go to your nearest video library and grab a copy, its never too late.

I think writing just one post for this epic series won't be fair, so I'll be writing several posts dedicated to Downton Abbey. I haven't quite watched something with an equal panache. The story, characters and plot, they literally chain you to the screen, so capturing. Some of the actors have done so well you won't be able to justify that this is their debut performance.

Starting with episode 1, you'll get familiar to the household and the Crawley family, everything that is going on, its so well crafted. By the end of the episode, you have your favorites, and the villains and definitely a SMILE on your face.

I think I shouldn't spoil your fun by giving out the story just in case you haven't watched it yet. In the next post I will discuss more about the Crawley family and their household.

Do tell me about this magnificent series, share your take on this. I love comments.

IMDb Link - Downton Abbey
Wikipedia Link - Downton Abbey