Review: Belle

Belle tells the story of a mixed-race woman raised as an aristocrat in 18th Century England. The political overtones of the story are as relevant today as they were then. Continue reading “Review: Belle”

Brain Dump: State of Affairs, Ghostbusters, After the Wedding, Five Days

It’s a brain dump day. Random stuff falls from my head in bits and pieces.

State of Affairs

Courtney B. Vance and Alfre Woodard in State of Affairs
Courtney B. Vance and Alfre Woodard in State of Affairs

Why do men married to powerful women always get portrayed in the media as whiney, needy irritations? A powerful man probably didn’t get where he is without a good spouse behind him. Why should a powerful woman get where she is without a good spouse behind her? Enough with this whiney-husband-of-a-woman-in-power trope. Come on State of Affairs, you can do better.

Ghostbusters

Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy
Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy

All female Ghostbusters. Yes! To the men who had the nerve to say that this ruins Ghostbusters for them, I say, “Sod off, you dozy pillocks!” Oops, I’ve been watching too many British dramas.

After the Wedding

Sidse Babett Knudsen and Mads Mikkelsen in After the Wedding
Sidse Babett Knudsen and Mads Mikkelsen in After the Wedding

I watched After the Wedding on Netflix. The original title is Efter brylluppet. I enjoyed it very much. It’s an interesting plot and well acted. The film is in a mix of Danish, Swedish, Hindi and English. Part of it takes place in India, part in Denmark. The main character is played by Mads Mikkelsen, but I decided to watch it because of the wonderful Sidse Babett Knudsen. If you enjoy foreign films, you may like this one. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year in 2007.

Five Days

Posters for 2 seasons of Five Days

Thanks to A Celtic-Dragon’s Blog for turning me on to Five Days. This British mystery series, written by Gwyneth Hughes, had a season in 2007 and another in 2010. Each series is 5 separate days from a police case. There are wonderful actors: Penelope Wilton, David Oyelowo, Janet McTeer, Hugh Bonneville, Suranne Jones, Anne Reid, Nina Sosanya and many others. I didn’t find anywhere that you can stream it, but Five Days, series 1 is available from Amazon on DVD.

New Previews for The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel will release in late March 2015 in the US. I will be there, ready to be delighted by this wonderful cast and charming story.

Judi Dench on a street in India
Judi Dench in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

New in this edition of the story will be Richerd Gere, Tamsin Greig and David Strathairn.

Still around are Dev Patel, Maggie Smith, Tina Desai, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle, and Lillete Dubey.

The film is directed by John Madden from an original screenplay by Ol Parker. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was shot in India.

Lillete Dubey and Richard Gere
Lillete Dubey and Richard Gere in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The character Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) has plans to expand the Best Exotic Hotel for the Elderly and the Beautiful while getting married at the same time. It looks like we might get a bit of a Bollywood musical number at Sonny’s wedding. That should be fun.

Sonny’s mother is played by Lillete Dubey, who has an impressive list of credits in films made in India. She was in the first Best Exotic Marigold Hotel as well as Monsoon Wedding and many other films. She’s also a theatre director and founder of the Theatre Action Group in Delhi. In her world, she is as famous as Maggie Smith or Judi Dench is in the American/European market. It’s always wonderful to see this accomplished woman in action.

Poster and images ©Fox Searchlight Pictures

Watch This: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I absolutely cannot wait to see The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The first one was arguably the best movie on planet Earth, and in 2015 we’ll have yet another best movie on planet Earth. Such riches.

Among the riches: the best cast on planet earth, including Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Richard Gere, Penelope Wilton and Dev Patel.

John Madden is directing, with the screenplay written by Ol Parker.

I love these people! Wait, am I gushing too much? I’ll restrain myself and simply say it looks good.

Not to take away from The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, because I know it will be good, but I have a question. Why are women in shows about older people always chasing after men? Why isn’t it the other way around? Why aren’t the men chasing after the women? So Richard Gere is handsome and attractive – so what! Aren’t the women gorgeous and attractive, too? What’s up with this trope about women needing to be sexually predatory in their old age if they want to be with someone?

Watch This: Trailer for Belle

Belle will be in theaters May 2. It looks good to me and has a terrific cast. The film stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw from Touch, Undercovers, and Larry Crowne. The film is based on a true story about an illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral who is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle.

Also featured in the cast are Emily Watson, Miranda Richardson, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Sarah Gadon, James Norton, Tom Felton and several more well-known actors.

Themes around race, class, and the status of women promise to make this film meaningful. The mindset of the British in the 18th Century is under the microscope here, but the same issues are still with us today.

I hope it isn’t one of those films where the good white folks save the poor helpless mulatto girl – the preview doesn’t sound like it will be.

The cast talks about the film in this interview with The Hollywood Reporter. The director Amma Asante also appears in this interview.

Your Reactions to Downton Abbey?

There was some football game or other on TV yesterday. Must have been big because the streets were void of traffic. It didn’t affect PBS, however. You could watch last week’s Downton Abbey and this week’s Downton Abbey in one session. How could television get better than that?

So what do you think about what’s happening on Downton Abbey this season? Will Anna and Mr. Bates make it through their crisis? Will the very conservative Mr. Carson and the equally conservative Earl of Grantham transition into the modern age with grace or by fighting all the way? What’s going on with Lady Sybil – what if she’s pregnant? Will Thomas Barrow’s evil machinations ever be caught out?

And how about Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton? Don’t those two have the most delicious parts and lines and arguments?