Rebecca (Netflix 2020)

3 Kernels

Last night I watched Rebecca. It was my first time being introduced to this story. Yes, I know it’s a classic. Yes, I know Alfred Hitchcock probably did it better in 1940. It’s a Gothic tale by Daphne du Maurier. (I tried to read the book but got buried alive in words.) Unfortunately, it’s got a rotten tomato attached to it with a big green splat on the website of the same name.

The second Mrs. DeWinters (Lilly James), Maxim DeWinter (Armie Hammer), Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas) are the cast in this 2020 remake. The story revolves around a young lady, who is the companion of an older woman. While staying in Monte Carlo, they cross paths with Maxim DeWinter, a brooding widowed aristocrat. After a quick romance, he marries the the young lady, and brings her back to Manderly, his ancestral home.

Soon after the new Mrs. DeWinters arrives, it’s obvious that Rebecca, his former wife, had been the center of attention. Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper, is obsessed with keeping her memory alive at the estate. The arrival of the new Mrs. DeWinters does not sit well with her, and she embarks on the task of undermining the new wife and driving her crazy.

Lilly James brings a lot of angst to the role, depicting the Mrs. DeWinters as a rather uptight, fragile, and far too gullible woman. Her new husband is aloof, secretive, and will not talk about Rebecca at all. Mrs. Danvers, makes it a point to talk about her all the time. She apparently tragically drowned, or so they say.

There are insinuations Rebecca haunts Manderly, but there is no haunting to speak of. Some of the story makes no sense to me — sorry, I see plot holes here and there, or perhaps it was how the 2020 film was presented. My gut feeling is that you really don’t get an in-depth look at the personalities of these people on a short film, comparing to the character development you find in a novel.

I cannot rave about it. You can keep it on hand for a psychological thriller on a rainy night, but I wouldn’t worry about being very spooked at this Gothic tale. The only crazy person you really need to worry about is the creepy Mrs. Danvers.

The Spanish Princess Season 2 Returning Cast & New Character Guide

The first episode was well worth the watch.  Fantastic costumes, well-acted, and a great start.

The Spanish Princess returns to Starz for its second and final season. Here’s who’s who in the cast led by Charlotte Hope as Catherine of Aragon.

Source: The Spanish Princess Season 2 Returning Cast & New Character Guide

Netflix’s new series ‘Bridgerton’: Can it fill the hole ‘The Crown’ will leave? – Film Daily

 

Looking for another historical period drama after ‘The Crown’ ends? The new Netflix series ‘Bridgerton’ could be the one.

Source: Netflix’s new series ‘Bridgerton’: Can it fill the hole ‘The Crown’ will leave? – Film Daily

Emily in Paris (Netflix 2020)

4 Parisian Stars

Emily in Paris is a delightful series on Netflix consisting of ten episodes in the first season. I’ve never really cared to visit Paris, since it’s always my English roots calling my DNA. Nevertheless, Emily in Paris makes the city delightfully intriguing, romantic, and beautiful. Unfortunately, from what I read online, the French are not too happy with how they are being stereotyped in this less than acceptable portrayal of their culture. Even the English newspapers are calling it “excruciating” (read more here and read more here) and filled with clichés.

Since I cannot speak French, except to count to six, and barely can recognize a few printed words, I’m happy to say there are captions for us who didn’t pay attention in our French high school class. There are only a few occasions, since the series in in English.

The story revolves around Emily, a young and ambitious cute young lady from Chicago who goes to France for her job to give an advertising agency an American perspective. She is very in tune with social media, and arrives with ideas of how to bring their customers into a world they really don’t care about being part of. After all, the company represents brands of class for the rich, and what do they care about social media? Everyone in the office oozes sophistication, while Emily’s wardrobe is far too wild to be taken seriously.

Emily is immediately enthralled with Paris but also a bit confused as to the language, people, and culture. French people are mean. Everyone seems to exploit women in advertising, and sex is on their mind twenty-four/seven. Men have mistresses, and the language of love is far different than what she is used to from the United States. Nevertheless, the food is yummy, the male population flirtatious and good looking, and the city beautiful. She opens an Instagram account naming it “Emily in Paris” and posts pictures of her adventures, eventually becoming an influencer in her own right using her social media followers.

Of course, there is romance, a few sexual encounters (with not too much skin but a lot of moaning and humping), a definite lack of morality with all the players, wrapped up in a cute and delightful storyline that kept me binging six episodes before I finished off the last four the second day.

I am sorry that the series has offended the French on more than one level, but I’ll admit I’m one of those ignorant “hick” Americans who do not know very much about France or its culture, except the revolution, Marie Antoinette losing her head, and Napoleon causing problems for the English. If the city is really as beautiful and delightful as portrayed, I might visit some day.

If you’re looking for a young-at-heart series, no drama (except when the French insist that American romance happily ever after endings are for the birds and it’s not life), you may like this series. I’m looking forward to a second season and Emily’s adventures and love life coming to fruition.

I almost feel as if I need to apologize to any French people reading this review for my ignorance of your culture and my liking of this series. It’s nothing personal. If it makes you feel any better, I wrote my first book set in France in 1870. Of course, that hasn’t received very good reviews either having been trolled relentlessly because of the subject matter. I did, however, find researching the era fascinating.

Au revoir. 

Flesh & Blood (Masterpiece 2020)

3 Kernels

Welcome to Flesh & Blood. An ITV British series now showing on Masterpiece. Beware. It’s another series with no promise of season two as of writing this review, that brings another cliffhanging ending that causes your mouth to gape open and utter, “what the heck.”

One of the perks of donating to PBS, is Passport. I don’t have to show up every Sunday evening to watch new shows. I can binge.

Meet the family. A widowed mother and three siblings all living secret lives of screwed-up dysfunctional existences. Oh, and then there is the neighbor. We cannot forget Marry Bennet living next door, who is quite the character as the episodes continue.

The story is not unlike a recent one GoldDigger, which I apparently watched and was too lazy to write about. Here’s a link to the Guardian about the series. Slightly different, Flesh & Blood focuses upon a seventy-year old woman finding love eighteen months after her husband dies, while GoldDigger focuses upon an sixty-plus woman finding love after divorce with a younger man. In both instances, the grown children are not too keen on the idea and dig into the pasts of these men, looking for dirt to change their mother’s mind.

Flesh & Blood follows the same trail, but focuses upon each of the grown children as well. One daughter, with marriage problems, is deep into her career, stirring up problems for herself. The other is in a five-year long relationship with her married boss going no where. Then there is the son, separated from his wife because he gambles and spends his time prostituting himself out to make money. When their mother falls in love with Mark, played by Stephen Rea, they don’t like it. They are suspicious of his motives, and the story does lead you down the trail, questioning whether he’s a good or bad bloke.

Of great interest in the story is Mary Bennett, the neighbor, played by Imelda Staunton. A sweet old lady, for the most part (wink, wink) that has her own issues of wanting to keep her neighbor around. She is part of the entertainment factor if nothing else.

It’s an okay series for what it is. Nothing special, frankly. An overused trope lately rehashed elsewhere. Nonetheless, it will fill your Sunday night and leave you wondering if there will be a season two.