Saturday, June 30, 2012

Beatrix Potter

Today on TV I saw the 2006 movie Miss Potter starring Renee Zellweger, and was much impressed by it. I wish I'd gone to see it when it was in theatres, but I had feared the movie would be too cutesy, what with making her illustrations of animals come to life. Indeed I still think that showing her talking to her characters and calling them her "real friends" when she was a grown adult of 36 was really stupid. It made me think she was hallucinating and genuinely unable to distinguish reality from fiction. She didn't look merely eccentric, with an overactive imagination; she looked mentally ill and "potty."

And yet I loved most everything else about the movie. It was better than Hysteria in some ways, especially in its handling of spinster women and feminism.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Real Mortimer Granville

Interesting, I found this post linked from the Hysteria page on Wikipedia: Joseph Mortimer Granville originally marketed his "percusser" invention for the relief of muscle aches, and it was hysteria doctors who found new uses for it in their practices.

I did have a feeling while watching the film that it was fiction, despite its "based on a true story" title at the beginning. It was just too convenient for him to have a rich friend already working with electricity, and clearly they just made up the Dalrymple characters as a convenient microcosm of the hysteria issue. Still, it was an enjoyable film with good humor. I'm considering going to see it again.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Miss Marple of Botswana

I recently bought and watched the DVDs for The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, which I had heard good things about. In fact, one reviewer blurb calls the detective "The Miss Marple of Botswana." Based on a series of books by Alexander McCall Smith, the show is about a woman named Precious Ramotswe, who uses her inheritance to open the first female detective agency in Botswana. She is most often called Mma Ramotswe, "Mma" being an equivalent form of address to Mrs. or Miss, I suppose, based on context. The male characters are similarly addressed as "Rra", and most everyone is courteous and cheerful.

This is a fun show full of colorful characters such as Mma Ramotswe's secretary Grace Makutsi, car mechanic J.L.B. Matekoni, gay hairdresser BK, and an orphan boy who hangs around the agency offering to do odd jobs for them. They solve a variety of cases such as missing persons, adultery, insurance fraud, car theft, and burglaries. I like these cases, because it strikes me as realistic for a struggling private detective agency, even if Mma Ramotswe balks at having to find a missing dog and tries to talk a father out of spying on his daughter and forbidding her from having a boyfriend. (Also, it reminds me of the original Sherlock Holmes stories which often dealt with such widely varying cases, whereas newer adaptations make it seem like Holmes doesn't consider a case interesting unless it involves murder, preferably serial killers. Though Holmes too balked at some cases as unworthy of him, he did come to understand that cases like BLUE, REDH, and SIXN can start out trivial, yet lead to interesting and unexpected adventures.)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lovely Films

Today I saw two movies, Brave and Safety Not Guaranteed. I enjoyed both, but unfortunately that seems to be the end of my movie watching for the summer and fall. I've checked the release dates for months ahead and find that there's nothing I am interested in until December with The Hobbit and possibly Django Unchained, if I can stand the violence.

Anyway, back to the pair that I saw today. SPOILERS below.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Elementary promo

Here's a newish promo from CBS, featuring more behind the scenes interviews with the cast. Also we see a scene where Holmes mentions his father emailing him about an "addict sitter."

The Game of Shadows Blu-ray is out now, so I'll probably get it soon, to glory in the perfect Moriarty and Moran.

Right now, I'm not watching that much TV. I'm watching Starsky & Hutch reruns for the slashy goodness, and watching Dogs in the City. For a reality show, it's not bad. No heinous villain characters, and lots of shots of lovable, adorable dogs in New York.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsmen

Well I saw the Snow White movie today. Charlize was magnificent as Ravenna as I expected, but she didn't have many scenes with the magic mirror. We would see glimpses of her at the castle, doing things like conjuring the black ravens and bathing in milk, but it seemed mostly for good visuals. We didn't get a clear explanation of the curse, the limits of her power, or a full backstory. I mean, at least explain when and where she got the magic mirror. How did she reunite with her brother? What happened to their mother? When did she do a spell that allowed her brother to call on her for help when injured? Also let the magic mirror indicate what Ravenna is going to do with Snow White's heart. Eat it like the birds's heart? Or boil it up in some soup to drink like when her mother cast the first "fairest blood" spell?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hysteria is hysterical

I saw the movie today and I loved it. A lot of laughs and fun characters like Molly "the Lolly" (a prostitute-turned-maid) and Edmund (played by Rupert Everett), a rich friend of Mortimer Granville who helps him when he gets repeatedly fired. Edmund is also an eccentric inventor who creates a motorized feather duster that Mortimer is inspired to convert into a "personal massage" device. I wish we'd seen more about Edmund and perhaps a little about Emily, too. She was the "devoted dutiful daughter who still loves her wacky, outspoken sister" for so much of the movie; so when she realized that she needed to live for herself rather than for her father's expectations for her, it was too late to get a real personality out of her. But I guess they didn't have room for more development on the non-lead characters. Good story, and it was amusing to see various models of vibrators during the closing credits.