I have completed the first challenge of 2010 – but it was one that I started during the end of 2009. The Period Drama Challenge is hosted by Lights, Camera, History and it is a movie challenge!!! I totally enjoyed this challenge. I was able to watch many movies that I had on my list for awhile as well as seeing a couple new ones in the theatres. My Netflix certainly was used a lot.
I chose the Clearly Addicted level (8 movies) and the two themes Kings and Queens (plot centered around royalty) and Victorian Mist (set during the Victorian Era).
Here are the movies I watched with my mini reviews.
1. The Duchess (2008) - Victorian Mist - 9/13/09 - I very much enjoyed this movie. I thought it was terribly sad/unfair what her husband did to her and how he controlled her life. He was such a hypocrite. I LOVED the dresses, costumes, and setting - that is usually my favorite thing about these movies. Another good Kiera Knightly movie!
2. Cleopatra (1963) - Kings and Queens - 9/26/09 - This was a super long movie - it took me 4 sittings to watch the whole thing. I think Elizabeth Taylor was very convincing as Cleopatra - and looked a lot like what I expected of her. I also like Rex Harrison as Caesar. I just couldn't accept Richard Burton as Marc Antony and Roddy McDowall as Octavian. I felt like they were both whiners and Marc Antony had no spine. Which is unlike how I picture Antony. That being said, I really liked the first half - basically up until Marc Antony became Cleopatra's lover. I loved the scene where Cleopatra came into Rome - there was so much fanfare and it was so beautiful. After Antony became a major player I found myself becoming disinterested. Overall though a good movie.
3. Fingersmith (2005) - Victorian Mist - 10/4/09 - This movie is really a two part mini series from the BBC. I think that it was fantastically done, very true to the book. This movie is about a girl, Sue, who goes in on a plot to swindle money from the heiress, Maud. She pretends to be her maid while trying to help her fall into the plot. When it is time to put Maud into the mad house - things get turned upside down and the plot radically changes. The first half of the mini series is seen from Sue's perspective and the second half is from Maud's perspective. I have come to expect good works from the BBC and this one didn't disappoint.
4. Mad Love (2001) - Kings and Queens - 10/15/09 - I really enjoyed this film. It had been on my TBV list for a long time and kept getting pushed off because it was a foreign film and not being at all fluent in Spanish I would have to actually sit and watch it. The actress who portrayed Juana, Pilar Lopez de Ayala, did a fabulous job at being totally in love with Philip and acting out in jealous, "crazy" rages. I felt for her as she did everything she could to keep the man she was totally in love with all to herself, when even the court was pushing for her to be put aside. This was my first foray into seeing the life of "Juana la Loca" and it has made me eager to learn more about her. The Last Queen by C. W. Gortner is definitely an upcoming read.
5. Lady Jane (1986) - Kings and Queens - 11/8/09 - Even though I had read some negative reviews about this movie, I really enjoyed it. True, there are some factual problems, but when I watch a movie it is for sheer enjoyment. I really enjoyed seeing the love, passion, and compassion between Jane and Guilford. It was a sweet love story played out. I also found the part where Queen Mary decides to have Jane executed so that she can marry Philip of Spain to be thought provoking. I keep thinking maybe if she knew how terrible her marriage to Philip would be she wouldn't have been pushed into executing Jane. All in all I thought it was an enjoyable movie, if you put the historical inaccuracies aside.
6. Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) - Kings and Queens - 12/20/09 - I find this portrayal of Anne and Henry more believable than that of The Tudors. At least in this portrayal they are more of the appropriate age. I liked Richard Burton in this film better than in Cleopatra - he seemed to exude Henry from every pore - he was fully committed to this role. I LOVED Genevieve Bujold as Anne - she was beautiful and fiery, I would say she is my favorite Anne yet. There were some things that bothered me, like historical inaccuracy. Near the beginning - when Anne was interested in Henry Percy - they alluded to the fact that both the Boleyn's and the Percy's approved of the marriage. Also, when Katherine lay dying, her daughter Mary was right by her side. Both of these things are nowhere near true. But liberties are taken in all things movie, as well as historical fiction, so I can forgive that. Overall a decent movie.
7. Sherlock Holmes (2009) - Victorian Mist - 1/3/10 - This is the first movie for this challenge that I was able to actually see in the theatre. I first have to say that I really loved the chemistry between Holmes and Watson (Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law were great). They really played off of each other well. And while I never really imagined my Sherlock and Watson as all that physical, these boys were tough. Now the plot on the other hand, had me a little disappointed. I could have done without the paranormal aspect - although it was resolved at the end, it felt a little farfetched for the genre it is supposed to be. I would definitely recommend buying this movie - but maybe save your cash and see something else in theatres. You can see my full review here.
8. The Young Victoria (2009) - Kings and Queens - 1/9/10 - I was so excited to see this movie. It was shown at a small artsy theatre which made it feel like I was walking back in time upon entering the theatre. I think that they picked the perfect actor and actress for Albert and Victoria. The settings were gorgeous, I loved when they went into Buckingham palace for the first time - it was so breathtaking! Although the scene where Albert takes a bullet for Victoria never happened, I actually really liked that scene. My other favorite scene was the chess game between Victoria and Albert early in their friendship. I cannot wait until this comes out on DVD and I can see it again. You can see my full review here.
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