Author: Admin

English on my mother's side - Russian on my father's. I'm a lethal combination of drama and tragedy when I write.

The Spanish Princess (Starz 2019)

Spanish-Princess-Starz-Poster-758x758 The White Queen, The White Princess have past, and now The Spanish Princess is the new Starz series based off of Philippa Gregory’s books.  I enjoyed The White Queen more than The White Princess, but that doesn’t matter. The story has moved years ahead with Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth awaiting the arrival of the Spanish Princess to marry Arthur, the heir to the English throne. Betrothed as children, Catherine of Aragon, the daughter of the two Spanish monarchs is about to save England, bringing the power of Spain behind a weakened and bankrupt England.

The only difficult switch between these series is that the cast changes each time, and continuity of character is often lost.  Three Margaret Beauforts have played the three series, all who have portrayed the parts much differently.  However, based on the years that pass between each series, it’s probably understandable that the same actors cannot always be available to carry on the characters as they age in a story line.

In The White Princess, we watched young and uncertain Henry VII take the throne, surrounded by enemies and those would who take the title back from him. Now aging and still somewhat fraught with self-esteem issues and a controlling wife, he anxiously awaits the marriage of Catherine and Arthur to bring stability back to England.

We are introduced to a young Infanta (the daughter of a ruling monarch of Spain), who is headstrong and certain in her calling to become Queen of England.  She’s obedient to her mother, assured, and not afraid to speak her mind. Her purpose in life is to rule England alongside her husband, however, shortly after they wed Arthur dies.  Along the sidelines is a younger and more roguish Henry (he says, “please call me Harry”), who will soon take his place as Catherine’s husband instead.

The historical timeline is not accurate.  They depict Henry as the younger brother of Arthur much older. Historically, Arthur was fifteen and Henry ten at the time when Catherine arrived. She was sixteen. Charlotte Hope plays the young princess and fits the older stereotype, however, the actress’ accent makes it difficult to always catch watch she is saying.

Of course, this is an adaptation, if you will, of history itself.  Slightly altered to make the Spanishstory more interesting, rather than letting you wait all those years after Arthur’s death for Henry to become of age (seventeen) before he marries Catherine.  In this story line, the sparks are already flying between the two, and as history records, supposedly, Catherine and Henry were happy for many years. Of course, the son he wanted never arrived and eventually his eyes wandered after twenty years of marriage to Anne Boleyn.

I thought it interesting in the second episode that they allude the marriage was consummated between Arthur and Catherine, when in fact she denies it after Arthur’s death.  In a sense, they leave the audience hanging.  For some reason, I thought they would stay true to her claims, but now it really opens up the question whether she did lie in order to marry Henry and save her marriage.  We will never know.  Somewhere I read that Arthur boasted after the wedding night that “last night I was in Spain,” which was quoted in episode two.

Die-hard historical lovers will bewail this series, and they have already done so. Complaints from the wrong ages to terrible accents have filled social media. Also, don’t get the fashion experts started, or you’ll be drawn into debates about the clothing and hairstyles.  Nevertheless, I say, let Starz and Phillipa Gregory have their creative liberties to tweak history. The story is interesting, and frankly, I haven’t thought much about what Catherine went through to come from a foreign land and marry Arthur. It’s a good perspective on what she endured and the challenges she faced.

Women of this time period were pawns in the game of thrones being married and carted off to kingdoms to form alliances. They had no choice, but destinies to fulfill whether they liked them or not.  I can watch this series with interest based on the fact it makes me think about her mark on history.  For me, that’s good enough.

 

Tolkien (Movie 2019)

Tolkien_film_promotional_poster3 Stars

I had high hopes seeing this movie about the famous author but came away somewhat disappointed in the outcome. It has its good parts, drawn out boring parts, undeniable heartfelt parts, but also horrific parts. It focuses on the young life of Tolkien from boyhood to young adult, ending with the time he wrote Hobbit.

The movie, I think, makes the mistake of too many flashbacks from the present to past, leaving you dizzy in the changes. It begins with Tolkien in the trenches suffering from trench fever, desperately attempting to find a friend (one of the three he has a “fellowship” with from boyhood) serving during WWI.  What he sees around him are the hallucinations of his mind, that often correspond to his future stories – fire breathing dragons, death riding a horse, spirits of black whirling over the dead carnage. The scenes from the trenches are horrific to say the least, with pools of blood and dead young men strewn across the battlefield. If the director wanted to make the point of the horrors of WWI, he did so to the point I moaned at many of the scenes.

After his mother’s untimely death, his priest arranges for him and his brother to be fostered by an elderly lady. He is sent to school but at first has trouble making friends. Eventually, he becomes part of a group of boys, who grow into manhood, that consist of three other creative minds – writer, artist, composer. They form a bonded fellowship, out to change the world.  There are many scenes of his boyhood and young adult life to university with his friends.

The movie ends years after the war and the aftermath it had on the four men.  Not all return home. Tolkien is married to his childhood sweetheart, now with children, and mulling over fantasy stories in his head, beginning to write his famous works.

I wasn’t overly impressed with the movie, although it was interesting to see the beginning life of a literary genius.  Nicolas Hoult did a fine job portraying Tolkien (that’s pronounced Tol-keen) by the way.  If you admire his books and stories, you’ll enjoy the movie nevertheless.

 

HBO Grabs Drama ‘The Gilded Age’ From NBC – Broadcasting & Cable

‘Downton Abbey’ principals look at American Gilded Age of 1885

Source: HBO Grabs Drama ‘The Gilded Age’ From NBC – Broadcasting & Cable

Lord of the Rings Amazon TV series: Release date, Cast Trailer | Prime Video – Radio Times

The series will reportedly follow the adventures of a young Aragorn

Source: Lord of the Rings Amazon TV series: release date, cast, trailer | Prime Video – Radio Times

Queens of Mystery (Acordn TV 2019)

Queens of Mystery 3 Kernels

Acorn TV has added a new English detective series entitled Queens of Mystery.  It’s a quirky series that takes a bit of getting used to, but if you’re into dead bodies and murder in small English towns this is right up your alley.

Like Midsomer Murders, the local population is dropping like flies.  Only this time, it’s not the priest of Father Brown, the handsome vicar in Grantchester, or high-heeled Agatha Raisin solving the cases.  Meet three-crime writing authors and their niece, a regular detective out to solve the crimes.

The first two episodes revolved around the murder of a crime writer, at a crime writer’s contest convention.  The third and fourth episodes focus on the reunion of a band, and the murders of its members.  I could swear this storyline happened to be one like it in the twenty seasons of Midsomer Murders, although a bit different to fit this new mystery.

The aunts, Beth, Cat, and Jane, are all crime solvers because they are all best-selling authors writing murder mysteries of their own.  They seem to also be connected to these recent murders in one way or the other.  They are great sleuths and cannot pass up the opportunity to investigate.  Maltida Stone is the young detective assigned to her hometown of Wildemarsh, England (another fictitious location).  The young Matilda has an unsolved mystery of her own regarding the identity of her father, which question continues to pop up in the series.

What makes this series different is that it’s narrated, which can be confusing at first. Juliet Stevenson, who narrates the tale while you are watching, adds little tidbits about the past or what the characters are really thinking during the moment.  At times it can be entertaining, but at other moments, a bit distracting.  However, it’s what makes the new series unique.  You may remember Juliet playing the wife of Mr. Elton in the 1996 version of Emma.

So if you love people being stabbed, poisoned, strangled in an English setting, this series is for you.  It’s a good filler while Midsomer Murders is filming their next season. The series introduction is quite unique, as well, and kudos to whoever thought that intro up.

queens

 

Every Judi Dench film – Ranked! | Film | The Guardian

From her 1964 big-screen debut to the 90s roles – including James Bond’s boss, M – that made her a Hollywood star, here’s the rundown of every single Dench movie

Source: Every Judi Dench film – ranked! | Film | The Guardian

Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, celebrated in ‘The Highwaymen,’ took down Bonnie and Clyde – The Washington Post

Frank Hamer finally gets his due in the new Netflix movie, ‘The Highwaymen’

Source: Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, celebrated in ‘The Highwaymen,’ took down Bonnie and Clyde – The Washington Post

Now streaming on Netflix. Worth the watch.  4 Kernels.

‘The OA’ Season 2: What the Heck Just Happened? Plus, 15 Other Unanswered Questions

I watched season two of OA last night on Netflix.  Once again, Oy-Vey!  What a complicated show that takes your brain to another dimension of attempting to figure out what the heck is going on.  All the reviews I’ve come across confirm we are left with more questions than ever.  Here’s a good recap in the link below.  If you missed my first review of season one, CLICK HERE.

 

Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij’s Netflix drama serves up another huge twist ending

Source: ‘The OA’ Season 2: What the Heck Just Happened? Plus, 15 Other Unanswered Questions

James Bond producers ‘ask Sam Heughan to AUDITION for next 007’ | Films | Entertainment | Express.co.uk

Oh, my!

JAMES BOND producers have allegedly asked Outlander star Sam Heughan to audition to replace Daniel Craig, claims a 007 source.

Source: James Bond producers ‘ask Sam Heughan to AUDITION for next 007’ | Films | Entertainment | Express.co.uk

%d bloggers like this: