Tuesday, September 29, 2015

British Drama Appreciation Post


     I love a lot of genres, but I believe that British television should be genre of its own. I really had no interest in British television until I saw Downton Abbey, but then again, Downton Abbey was almost the beginning of a British drama renaissance, at least for me it was. What I love the most about British television is really the diversity, history, sci-fi, murder mystery (a lot of that) and fantasy. Everytime I find a good British drama show, I immediately say, "That is my favorite!" Then about 3 months down the line, I find one that ends up taking its place.

      Although, I really can't nail down exactly what it is I like about British drama, I would have to say that it all comes down to the writing. If you have exceptional writers who know how to weave a good story into history, sci-fi, murder mystery and fantasy, then you may already have a successful hit on your hands. The eight shows pictured in the graphic are my all time favorites with hopefully more to come!

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1.) Downton Abbey

     Of all shows represented, Downton Abbey still reigns supreme with its incredible writing of historical events, personable characters, beautiful music and a balanced blend of comedy and drama. You live in this household for almost 15 years and the characters almost become like family to you.  Downton Abbey has had a wonderful six year run and I think it will be a while until another show will be able to compete for top British drama.  

2.) Call The Midwife
  
   . We live in a time where motherhood is severely looked down upon and unplanned pregnancies are considered the ultimate evil, but Call The Midwife celebrates the joys of motherhood and children. It also brings to light the realities and hard expectations of women, when they lived in a time where they were solely dependent on men. Heartwarming as well as heartbreaking, Call The Midwife is more than a medical drama, it's a historic representation of basic human life. 

3.) Poldark (2015)

      The remake of the 1975 BBC series and based on novels by Winston Graham, Poldark took summer 2015 by storm with its brilliant casting of Aidan Turner as the broody, but kindhearted veteran soldier Ross Poldark. Similar to a 18th century Robin Hood, Ross Poldark and his small community of Cornwall on the coast of England go through trials and triumphs of trying to survive in a failing economy. In the midst of their strife though, there are moments of happiness that makes this drama all the more endearing. 

4.) Merlin

      I started watching this show after it had ended, but I can understand why it had such a successful 5 season run. Growing up with Arthurian legends, I was immediately interested and it wasn't long before I became ingrained with Albion and all its residents including awkward (but brilliant) wizard apprentice Merlin (Emrys), honorable king in training, Prince Arthur, noble future queen, Guinevere and mysterious secret sorceress, Lady Morgana. In spite of its terrible ending, Merlin is the ultimate feel good television series. 

5.) Upstairs, Downstairs (2010)

     Like Poldark, Upstairs, Downstairs is based on the original series from 1971. Sadly, the show was overshadowed by the immense popularity of Downton Abbey, but it doesn't negate the fact that is was  very well done. The show is done as a continuation of the original broadcast series while maintaining its own independent and original story. It only ran two season and despite mixed reviews, I greatly enjoyed Upstairs, Downstairs as it represents the English high life of the late 1930s and on the eve of WWII.

6.) Robin Hood

      Robin Hood can be hit or miss depending on who is telling the story, but BBC's 2006 success got it absolutely right. The original legend, with a delightful modern day mix in its costuming and attitudes, brought the adventure, the romance and comedy into one great story of a man and his friends who refused to back down from tyranny. Utterly bipolar at times and even thought-provoking, Robin Hood, despite its short television run, will make you laugh and cry, but also give you a hero that the world desperately needs today. 


7.) The Crimson Field

      I was excited to see another Edwardian drama about WWI come to television, but The Crimson Field is hardly Downton Abbey. Showing the grisly realities of the warfront and the physical and mental damage that comes from service, the  characters take a while to grown into. As the story continues real heroes begin to emerge in both soldiers and civilians, and the shades of grey areas that are revealed in one of the world's most horrific wars.

8.) Sherlock

      Although I've always enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes stories as told through many interpretations on television, I was never a big Holmes fan, but my family was and were quite skeptical about this up-dated version. They (like everyone else) were completely won over by Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of the legendary detective and Martin Freeman's spot on performance as Dr. John Watson. Turning the turn of the century sleuth into a 20th century scientist and detective was a risky move, but it was a risk worth taking in the creation of the new modern Sherlock Holmes. 

~ ~ ~


      While it's only been five years since I've discovered this British drama craze, I have to say that I feel no shame at all. Before, I found most British television to be boring and really have no life at all, but BBC and ITV have stepped up their game every single year and the stories just keep getting better and better, and not just their shows, but their movies and mini-series as well. From Downton Abbey, which has now had its finale season, to Sherlock and who knows when the next season is going to be, thank you for making my Sunday nights so memorable, exciting and just all out fun! 

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Untouchables


    Have you ever watched a movie that when you get to the end you think, "How have I never seen this before??" I came across The Untouchables one boring afternoon and saw that it was a mobster movie that had a decent all star cast of Sean Connery, Andy Garcia and Robert De Niro (all favorites of mine). The movie was just fun and exciting. A total story of good v. evil, inspired (or based on) by actual events, and brings to light the darkness and the depravity of the Mafia by bringing no glory to it all. 

~ ~ ~

The Untouchables
Top: Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) and Jimmy Malone (Sean Connery)
Bottom: Oscar Wallace (Charles Martin Smith) and George Stone (Andy Garcia)
      In the 1930s, at beginning of Prohibition, Al Capone (Robert De Niro) has become the Kingpin of all illegal activity. Charismatic, charming and arrogant, Capone has all of America in his pocket while living large in upscale Chicago. However, Federal Agent Eliot Ness refuses to give in to the gangster and his racketeering and publicly announces that he will take down Capone. After a humiliating liquor raid, Eliot gets unexpected help from an old school Irish-American cop, Jimmy Malone who helps him improve his raid game, but first they need to get the right men.

      So they recruit brainy federal accountant Oscar Wallace who believes that they can nail Capone on tax evasion and George Stone or Giuseppe Petri, a crack-shot rookie cop who is trying to hide his Italian-American heritage to avoid prejudice. Together these four very different, but equally determine men slowly begin to uncover Capone's underworld with intelligence, courage and guile which eventually leads the press to name them 'The Untouchables' because they can't be bought by anyone. 

     Just as life is looking promising, Capone strikes back and he strikes back hard, by brutally murdering two of the Untouchables in gruesome public deaths. Still the American government refuses to give in and Capone is finally brought down by the justice he thought he could control and by four men who could never be touched by dishonesty, greed or injustice. 

The Untouchables of Chicago and Al Capone
     Just a great film that combines all the elements of history, action and no small amount of charm that gets you from one scene to the next. All of the acting was fantastic and the story had some great characters, but my favorite was definitely George Stone. His character really brought a great deal of decency to all Italian-Americans who simply wanted quiet normal lives and he was just a genuinely kind and generous man (and it's Andy Garcia). 

     The music really adds to the excitement of the story and the beautiful period costumes....all done by George Armani! Has that ever been done before or since?? Being a mobster film it is violent, but not over the top, just a lot of blood with no slow torture, thankfully. So, call it a mob movie, an action flick, a period piece or just a great watch, The Untouchables boasts a well written story that portrays good men who become everyday heroes when they take down the bad for the good of all people. 

I wish I this much of a bad-ass when it comes to helping my friends 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Character Perception Confusion

     People who are doing my 5 Male Characters Tag are having difficulty understanding what character perception is and I probably should have explained it more (or people have just never seen Top Gun).

People think that character perception is how the actors portray the character, but it's nothing to do with the actor/character relationship. It's a completely character/viewer relationship. 

Here's an explanation that I gave to someone I tagged

     Character perception is how the audience views the character from the beginning of the story to the end. Basically a 'first impressions are not always the correct impressions.' It's when a character is portrayed in a certain way and you think that's who they really are. Then as the story progresses you begin to see why they are that way and the first impressions view changes and you suddenly accept them as they have always been. It's not character development though, because the character never changes and they're the same person that they were in the beginning.


     Snape from "Harry Potter" is a classic example of character perception. Throughout the series we think he's a villain and then when the story shifts in his favor, we see that he was a good man all along, but that is not who he was perceived to be in the beginning. He was made to look like the villain at Harry's first impression and as the story progressed, Snape himself never changed, but the story's perception of him did.

     J.K. Rowling is the master of character perception as well as Jane Austen (Mr. Darcy as a classic example) and Suzanne Collins with Finnick Odair.

     Hopefully this might clear some confusion. 


Friday, September 18, 2015

Vlog #9 - September (5 Male Characters Tag)


I decided to do my 5 Male Characters Tag for my September vlog and it came out great!

 (scroll down to see rules)

 I'm working more and more with Windows Movie Maker and teaching myself how to edit videos. This is the first time I've been able to incorporate movie clips into my videos (it took forever to figure it out!), but I just hope YouTube doesn't take it down for copyright infringement.

 If they do, I can make another just without the video clips.

I hope you enjoy!!!



Rules:

1.) List 5 of you favorite male characters (book or screen)

2.) Tagging other people is optional

3.) If you are tagged link back to the person that tagged you

4.) Link back to Revealed In Time (preferably using the link to this post)

~ ~ ~

Choose one from each category.

1.) Hero

2.) Villain

3.) Anti-hero

4.) Best book-to-screen adaption

5.) Best character perception 



Friday, September 11, 2015

Amistad

Amistad (1997)
     If you love the film Amazing Grace, then you must see this remarkable Steven Spielberg film that is based on the true events of the Amistad mutiny of 1839 and the subsequent court case that followed. After I did my movie review for Amazing Grace, I wanted to review this movie as almost a continuation of what William Wilberforce's 15 year fight in Parliament did, not only for Great Britain, but for the world and how his impact for the final creation of the Slave Abolition Act of 1833 was paramount in the United States v. Amistad case less than ten years later. 

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Top: The real United States v. Amistad case in 1839/1841.
Bottom: Scene from the film. (Cinque's cry for freedom)
     The film begins with the bloody mutiny of the Spanish slave ship, the Amistad where the slaves had been illegally hunted in the Sierra Leone and then re-sold in Cuba. Led by the powerful Cinque who takes control of the Amistad with hopes of guiding his people back home to Africa. Instead they find themselves sailing into a New York harbor where they are suddenly set upon by the government and thrown into jail when the news of the mutiny comes to light.

      Now, the freedom and the lives of the men and women of the Amistad are in jeopardy as America finds itself caught in a political web of international trade and legalities. Cinque tries to keep his people together, but finds it hopeless in this strange world where no one understands them. Then an eccentric lawyer, Roger Sherman Baldwin, comes across the information that could be the slaves way out of America. By this time the Atlantic slave trade is illegal, but there is no concrete information that the slaves are from Africa (even though they speak Mende). If Robert can prove that the slaves were illegally captured in their own country and then sold off in Cuba, Cinque and his people may actually have a fighting chance of returning home.

~ ~ ~


     Djimon Hounsou as Joseph Cinque: There really is no lead character, but seeing as the film starts with Cinque, ends with Cinque, and the lives of the other characters are inevitably changed by Cinque, I can say the Cinque is truly the centerpoint of the story. Once a powerful and respected warrior and leader in the Sierra Leone, Cinque's happy life with his beautiful wife and son comes to an end, when he is captured by Portuguese slavers and thrown into a slave ship with over 100 other Africans. After a hellish journey to Cuba, Cinque and many others are re-sold to Spanish merchants and are transported onto the Amistad. 

      If the ride to Cuba was awful, nothing prepared Cinque for the horrors that the captain and the crew of the Amistad put him and his people through. Starvation, beatings, and the merciless treatment of the sick and dying pushes Cinque to the point of revolt and he leads a remarkably successful mutiny on the Amistad. Cinque leaves two Spanish navigators alive so they can direct him home, but instead they take him to New York, where he and his people are once again captured.

     Now alone in a strange new land where he has no communication with anyone outside of the small slave community they build, Cinque finds himself desperate, confused, frightened and losing hope of ever returning back to Africa. Enter Roger Baldwin, who assures Cinque that there is a way to get him and his people back home. Despite the language and racial barriers, Cinque has no choice, but to trust Sherman and his friends no matter that circumstances and finds himself intrigued by this strange new world, the people within it and man of light that they worship (Jesus Christ).

     Matthew McConaughey as Roger Sherman Baldwin: A generous, but somewhat zany lawyer who takes an incredible risk with his life when he chooses to defend the rights of the African slaves. Roger sees the immediate legal loophole in the political system which could offer Cinque and his people the freedom that was taken from them. After being hired by a wealthy abolitionist, Baldwin begins to present his case to the courts by identifying the slaves as stolen cargo. However awful that might sound, it's the loophole that gets the courts to listen to him.

      As the case drags on, Roger and Cinque form an unlikely bond of friendship with each other and Cinque begins to see Roger as their savior that will free them from their bondage. That trust adds a heavy weight on Roger's shoulders and he knows that he cannot fail as a lawyer, a friend and an American who believes in true justice when most of the world seems to have forgotten it.

     Anthony Hopkins as John Quincy Adams: The former president of the United States, now a retiring statesman who would rather spent time in his green house than the house of Congress. Living in the shadows of his famous parents, John believes his life his just been a puppet for the dynasty of his father's legacy. When the slaves of the Amistad are brought into court, Adams becomes a counselor for Roger Baldwin, but tries to stay out of the issue as much as possible. When the court case seems to be going south and Roger is desperate, Adams takes the stand to defend the slaves and gives a powerful speech that finally gets him out of the shadow of his father and into a light the political world never thought they would see.

      Morgan Freeman as Theodore Joadson: A successful and well educated man who has devoted his life to the abolitionist cause. Telling the story of the slave trade through the eyes of a free black man gives a different perspective to the story. Theodore was probably born and raised in America and  truly sees these African's as his people, but the contrasting differences between him as an American and the Africa slaves are hard to get around. When he and Roger explore the Amistad he finds himself horrified by the conditions of the quarters and the treatment of illegal slaves. A truly good and brave man who was given the chance of freedom and will fight to make sure others have that chance too.

~ ~ ~


     This film is absolutely wonderful to watch as a companion to Amazing Grace and seeing how the history of the eradication of slavery begins to unfold first from England and then to America. Amistad didn't gloss over the violent treatment of the slaves which, while it was hard to watch, it gave to the movie the realities of the slave trade. The conflicting ideas of the abolitionists and those in favor in of slavery are highly contrasted in the film as well as keeping with deep Christian morals and themes (primarily from a young Catholic judge who becomes a game-changer in the case). Beautifully filmed and well acted on all fronts and while Amistad may have historical inaccuracies, the story gives light to an incredible court case the defined America and the true meaning of freedom.


 One of the best scenes is when Cinque and his best friend are paging though a Bible and are able to translate the life of Christ from the pictures and how their own lives of suffering and injustice seem to be similar to his. 


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

God Save the Noble Queen!


     Today, Queen Elizabeth surpassed her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria ruling a staggering 63 years! Elizabeth came to the throne at 25 years old and had been married to Prince Philip of Greece for five years and had two small children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne. Eight years later Prince Andrew was born, followed by Prince Edward two years afterwards. 

      Elizabeth was never meant to be queen. She was the oldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York, but when King Edward VII abdicated to marry the twice divorcee Wallis Simpson, Elizabeth's father Bertie became King George VI and led Great Britain through the horrors of WWII. Elizabeth learned a great deal from her father as well as from her extraordinary mother, Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mum). 

     Princess Elizabeth married her handsome cousin Prince Philip of Greece on November 20, 1947 after a great deal of struggle to get her parents to accept their relationship and Philip. A year later, Prince Charles was born and Princess Anne two years after that. Elizabeth and Philip lived quietly for five years until the King died in 1951 and Elizabeth was declared the new queen. For the next 63 years, she has ruled Great Britain with dignity, calm and absolute honor. She is truly a remarkable woman, wife, mother, grandmother and queen!

God save the Queen and long may she reign!


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Little Things #2


 1.) Bowling: So fun! I get super competitive though...

 2.) Chocolate covered pretzels: The perfect balance of salty and sweet.

 3.) Barnes & Noble: My absolute favorite store to shop at! 

 4.) The drop: Apollo's Chariot, the Griffin, Verbolten...almost all the rides at Busch Gardens : )

 5.) Harry Potter: Forever (and ever) my favorite most beloved book series! (and movies!)

 6.) I compare myself to others: Sometimes it's good and sometimes it's bad.


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