Mr. Selfridge – The Store is Back Open – Season 2

Yes, I know.  The blog clearly states that I review old movies and television shows.  Well, I may start breaking the rules a little more often.
Okay, tonight on Masterpiece, Mr. Selfridge began its second season.  I tuned in with my usual popcorn in hand (with a bit too much butter, I might add), a glass of cold water to level out the calorie intake, and sat back to watch the first episode.  Sadly, my cat didn’t join me.
When the doors to the shop opened, it felt good to see the old characters with lives that have progressed a little bit further into the future.  It was definitely worth five kernels in my opinion.
Mr. Selfridge is nursing the regrets of the past for his unfaithfulness, while trying to woo Rose back.  Rose obviously wants nothing to do with her cheating husband, as trust has been broken.  (Ah, come on Rose, forgive him!)  The daughters are still in Chicago society, while the son has returned to learn father’s business. Great parenting skills Mr. Selfridge!  Let him learn from the bottom up.
Of particular interest is the new character Delphine Day, who owns a risque club and writes about her escapades with multiple husbands and lovers.  As an author, I particularly enjoyed her reading in front of a group of women engrossed over her descriptions of intimacy with males, as well as the men in the back listening to it all. At the end, it’s clear that she is preaching to the audience that women of their day can live without men. Certainly, that had to be a jab and early take on the mommy porn in the Edwardian era.  Scandalous!
Like any good drama, one must have conflict.  The new resident pain on the shop floor seems to be  Mr. Thackeray, who is definitely a thorn in Miss Towler’s side.  He’s much better than her because of his college education, never mind she just came back from Paris well trained in her vocation.  By all of his shenanigans, he’s obviously trying to derail Agnes in her new position. 
With the arrival of Lord Loxley, we’ve apparently been introduced to a new wife-beating, conniving, blackmailing SOB, who by the end of 10 episodes we will grow to hate. Every show needs a villain to ruffle our feathers.  It’s a sorry state of affairs for flamboyant Lady Mae.  
Then there is the due in life everyone has reaped from their decisions.  Poor Mr. Grove cannot get any sleep because he’s knocked up his young wife four times. Well deserved pay-back, as far as I’m concerned, for his treatment of Miss Mardle. Old lovers are seeing each other once again and broken hearts remain.  And the handsome Frenchman is back from America, poor but headed for better times.
Of course, heavy on the mind of everybody is the threat of war looming ahead.  The very sobering slow-motion look at all the young men merrily dancing, who will soon be sent off to fight for country and king, makes you wonder who will live and who will die. 
Overall, I give the send off to Season 2 a five star, though Season 1 overall rated a four star for keeping me interested.  However, with the new threats on the horizon, the consequences of past decisions, and the worry about what tomorrow will bring, I’m assured there will be enough to keep us interested in the episodes ahead.

And last by not least, those fashions! Oh dear God, the dresses, hats, and frills.  My blue jeans and sneakers are really beginning to make me feel like a slob.

Once again, kudos to those fine British writers who know how to bring the touch of love, hatred, conflict, and uncertainty on the screen to keep its audience entertained.  Now, if I could just learn to do that in all of my books!

The Downton drought has been filled with another Masterpiece. I feel like running out and buying Yardley of London at a fancy department store.


America’s Sweethearts (Movie – 2001)

Stars:  Julia Roberts, John Cusack, Billy Crystal, Catherine Zeta-Jones|

A Saturday night choice on Netflix brought me to America’s Sweethearts.  When  it began, I couldn’t remember if I had seen the movie or not, but as it progressed I vaguely remembered a few scenes.  That tells you what a lasting impression this movie made upon me when I initially saw it – pretty much zilch.

Interesting that two of my favorite males, John Cusak and Billy Crystal starred in the movie, along with two female stars I’ve never really gone gaga over – Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones.  I don’t know why I’ve never gravitated toward Julia, not to say she hasn’t done some good work in the past.  I think it’s that laugh of hers that drives me nuts. Nor do I feel terribly enthralled with Catherine based on the types of movies she’s stared in, except perhaps Zorro. Most of what she does is romantic fluff. I even liked her less in America’s Sweethearts, as she plays a narcissistic movie star who thinks the world revolves around her as she irritatingly orders around her sister to wait on her hand and foot.

John Cusak, though slightly a bit crazy in his character, is one of my favorite actors.  I loved in him Serendipity and a few others.  He’s entertaining in this movie.  Billy Crystal is Billy Crystal.  The same comedic personality you’ve watched throughout the years is there to give you a chuckle.

Now, as far as the premise of the movie and actual entertainment, I’d give it a yawning two kernels.  Oh, there are a few amusing semi-chuckles that may tickle your funny bone.  Basically, in a nutshell that is easy to crack, it’s about two married movie stars who have played together on screen for years.  They are in essence, America’s Sweethearts but have since separated and headed for divorce.  As their last movie is about to be pre-screened to the press, they come together one last time in a semi-civil appearance as husband and wife to promote the movie.  There are a few other side plots and a romantic get together, but other than that, I’ll probably forget the movie once again.  



The Returned (French TV: Les Revenants) 2012

Okay, I don’t usually get sucked into a program and sit for hours clicking from one episode to another, let alone get the chills from the creepy soundtrack that resounds in your brain. But one day surfing on NetFlix brought me to The Returned, or as the French say it, Les Revenants.  
Yes, you have to read subtitles, unless you got an A in high school French, you won’t understand a word. Nevertheless, that didn’t bother me, because boy this series is nifty.
You know me.  Usually I like British TV, but I must say this story is great.  Since Resurrection started on ABC this season with people coming back from the dead, I had read that some wondered if it was a spinoff from this series.  However, I think it’s similar, but not based on the same underlying premise. 
Let me further state that I am NOT a fan of zombies.  In fact, I have never read a zombie book or seen a zombie movie or watched The Walking Dead. Shocking, I know.  So I am definitely not zombie influenced. (It makes you wonder what the fascination is with all these shows about dead people. No more friendly ghosts. They’ve returned in the flesh.)
I think what drew me into the story, is how it plays out bit by bit like a puzzle of people.  Those who have returned, of course, certainly have a past.  Some don’t know why – others do.  Somehow in this small mountainous town in France, they are all connected.  The location has a tragic history, too, but if I told you the tragedy it would be a spoiler, so I’m not going to do that.
Needless to say it’s worth tuning in.  The end of the first season of eight episodes has left me hanging by a thread.  What’s going to happen next?  Do I have to wait until NetFlix loads Season 2?  Will the humans live?  Will the dead people reign?  Will some of the questions I didn’t know get answered?  The show sort of reminds me of Lost.  You really do get lost in it, because you’re trying to understand what the hell is going on. So you keep tuning in hoping to find the answer.
Looking for a good creepy show?  Tune in to The Returned and sharpen your French.   
There is some violence (serial killer), and a lesbian relationship.  Oh, and it is sexually graphic by the way (between men and women) – lovemaking, boobs, and frontal shots of men well endowed to make you blush. Well, what do you expect? It’s French, and they are open about their sexuality.  And the cast is filled with names I cannot pronounce (from Wikipedia) below:

Au revoir!

Bomb Girls (Canadian TV Series 2012 – 2013)

Stars: Jodi Balfour, Charlotte Hegele

I was becoming a little discouraged on Netflix because lately I couldn’t find a new series that looked interesting.  Oh, I know there are a bunch out there that are more of the modern storyline (Dexter, House of Cards, and many others).  I can’t tell you the countless ones I’ve watched the pilot for the series and decided not to continue on. 
Just as I was about to flip over to Amazon Prime for something more interesting, I landed on Bomb Girls.  Well, wouldn’t you know it!  I’m back in the 1940’s, which is my mother’s generation, and watching an intriguing show about a group of women in Canada making munitions for the boys on the front.  The show starts pre-Pearl Harbor, so the US isn’t in the war just yet until the end of season one. 
The show is a mixture of characters from the rich girl, who feels her duty to help serve against her parents’ protests, and many others from various backgrounds.  Each girl has a bomb of a past, so to speak, from abusive over zealous preacher fathers to a woman who hides her sexuality with women.  There are affairs and other shenanigans going on, all of which makes the series interesting.  To add to the drama, building bombs wasn’t exactly a safe profession, and there are a few accidents to characters to make that point.
I’ve always been a sucker for WWII war stories, mainly because my own parents lived through that era.  My father shipped off two days after Pearl Harbor and didn’t come back home until four years later.  My mother went to work in a radio factory, which was filled with female workers.  She lived like many other women, dreading to hear about whether their husbands were coming home. To top it off, my brother was born two days before Pearl Harbor and didn’t meet his father until after the war.
I’ve just finished the first season (after watching it all weekend) and am about to start the second.  It’s a good series worth the watch and reminds us what others have sacrificed for our nations in the past to bring victory over tyranny.  Women manned the factories, played baseball games, and took up the jobs during the war that men were not around to fill.  Of course, I love the fashions of the day.  The hairstyles, padded shoulders, nylon stockings, slips, and the fact most everyone wore a nice dress to work before changing into their work clothes.  
Okay, I’m off to see the second season!  Bye! 

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