Jane loves films

Hello all
This week we’ve had the tale of two trailers. Both based on books by British authors, both highly anticipated (by me, at least). One trailer has left me cursing the fact that July does not follow April; the other one has left me wondering if I might just bypass the film and re-read the book. This post is going to discuss the latter, and I’ll discuss the other one at a later time.
Do you remember, a couple of months ago, I wrote about my love for One Day, the book by David Nicholls? To be honest, I gushed, rather than wrote, I enjoyed it that much. I also spoke about how I had, ill-advisedly, read some message boards that bemoaned the casting of Anne Hathaway as Emma. I don’t think it’s a good idea to automatically decide that someone isn’t the person to play a character just because it seems a bit off. I don’t really remember, but I’m fairly sure that there were similar voices of dissent when Renée Zellweger was cast as Bridget Jones, and now you’d be hard-pressed to imagine anyone else playing her. But, I wander from my point, because I am now about to stomp all over the idea of Anne Hathaway as Emma, albeit having waited to see some footage before doing so.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLUWHW5NxwI]
I love Anne Hathaway, I really do. I think she’s a very watchable actress, she’s not one of those girls that other girls don’t really like (yes Megan Fox, I’m looking at you). I liked her when I first saw her, in The Princess Diaries, I liked her in Brokeback Mountain, The Devil Wears Prada; I even liked her in Bride Wars, even though it’s not that good. And I’m fairly sure I’m going to love her in Glee. Plus, you know, we share a birthday (same day, same year), so that gives us a link, I feel.
However, she’s not looking great as Emma. Unfortunately, she doesn’t seem to have mastered the English accent at all, something I find surprising, considering she played Jane Austen in Being Jane and didn’t seem to attract too much criticism (I haven’t seen it, so I can’t judge). But in this trailer, we are treated to her butchering the accent, and never it is more obvious than when she says “I know we will” to Dex. She also seems to be using a weird combination of accents, when she says both “I’m a disaster” and “chances”, she’s using a long ‘a’ sound, which would be fine if she was actually speaking with a Northern accent (Emma is supposed to be from Yorkshire). But everything else is very middle England, and so it just jars. And when she says “absolutely”, to me it just sounds like her regular American voice.
The trailer also manages to give away most of the plot of the film, barring the ending, which to be fair, is the major reveal that you probably wouldn’t want to know before seeing it. Jim Sturgess looks good, but that might just be because I’m feeling generous towards him because I enjoyed him so much in Across the Universe last week.
I don’t think the film looks horrible, nor do I think it’s going to be a terrible adaptation of one of my favourite books of recent years. However, I don’t think it looks all too great. I know it’s probably not a good idea to judge an actor’s performance in a film based solely on the trailer, but you do have to wonder how much better it can possibly get. It’s not just the accent either, she doesn’t look terribly comfortable in the role, and if she’s not convinced by her performance, how on earth am I supposed to be? The book is pretty much Emma’s story; although it’s about her and Dex, I feel that she carries the narrative. Also, in the film, Anne Hathaway is a much bigger star than Jim Sturgess, so I feel that she’ll probably be used in the greater capacity.
Of course, as I have previously stated, I would never want to be one of those people who feel so negatively about a film adaptation that I would let it ruin my enjoyment of the novel. I will go to the cinema to see One Day, and if I don’t like it, I’ll file it away under ‘films I won’t watch again’, and go back to the book. My main problem is, when so much relies on the performance of a particular actor, why take any chances with the casting? Surely to goodness there are plenty of British actresses out there who could be relied upon to bring Emma to life. Granted, Anne Hathaway plays frumpy to perfection, but it’s not unheard of for a) people to uglify themselves for a film role, or b) films to take a bit of artistic license when it comes to casting stunningly beautiful people as average-looking characters. Emma Watson, anyone?
For reasons unknown to me, my skills as a casting director have yet to be recognised by any major Hollywood players. However, I’m the boss around here, so I decided to do a little fantasy casting for the part of Emma. Romola Garai, firstly, who was in I Capture the Castle, Atonement, and the recent BBC2 drama The Crimson Petal and the White. She’s the same age as Anne Hathaway, give or take a few months, plus she’s British, so she’d have no accent problems. I’m not suggesting for one minute that she’s ugly or frumpy, but she does have an interesting face that could be used to great effect to chart Emma’s changing style and confidence.
Kelly MacDonald is one of my favourite actresses, though I haven’t seen her in that much. I love her in Nanny McPhee (one of my most favourite films in the world), and she was also great in State of Play, a television series that I loved. She’s also set to star in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, a fact I did not know until about thirty seconds ago. Anyway, she’s great, but at 35, she might be a bit old to play the youngest version of Emma, who is supposed to be about 21. And she’s Scottish, but we heard her English accent in Nanny McPhee, and it was fine.
At 28, Emily Blunt is, again, very close in age to Anne Hathaway, plus she’s, you know, awesome. At no point is this more evident than in The Devil Wears Prada, where she manages to just about steal every scene she’s in. And again, she’s English. Just saying.
Lastly, Gemma Arterton is probably a bit young, at 25, to play the older version of Emma (I think the novel spans twenty years, so she’d be into her early 40s by the end of the film). But they’ve greyed-up Jim Sturgess’ hair for the end, so it’s not like they couldn’t work their movie magic on Gemma Arterton too.
Well that was fun, I might try some fantasy casting again. I’ll let you all know what I think of the final film when it finally comes out, in September. And I’ll let you know what I think of the other big trailer later on in the week.
Until next time!

Janey1

Jane loves The Hobbit

Hello all

I’ve been toying with the idea of introducing a regular post that keeps you all up to date with the production of The Hobbit. It’s a bit superfluous, as there are a gazillion other sites out there doing the same thing, but I’m going to do it anyway.

After the super success of the three The Lord of the Rings films, it seemed as though The Hobbit would never see the light of day. Following early wrangles over distribution rights, Guillermo del Toro was originally hired to direct the films (it was decided early on that the book would be split into two), but eventually had to depart the project due to delays causing conflicts with his other projects. Despite there being various different names bandied around about who might be directing, it was eventually confirmed that the incredible shrinking man, Mr Peter Jackson himself, would take the helm once more, as he did for The Lord of the Rings. Frankly, I can’t think of anyone better, loving the Rings trilogy as I do. Above all else, he’s a Tolkien fan, and he clearly wants to do all these books the justice he feels they deserve!

Since then, we’ve had all the inevitable casting rumours that surrounds any major film, though with The Hobbit we’ve had additional speculation as to which actors from The Lord of the Rings will be returning. At this stage, as far as I can tell, those confirmed as returning are the following: Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Andy Serkis as Gollum, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Elijah Wood as Frodo (despite a severe lack of Frodo in The Hobbit), Christopher Lee as Saruman (likewise), and Orlando Bloom as Legolas (again, no sign of him in the book). As a quick side note regarding the appearance of these characters in one or both of the films without having appeared in the book, it would seem that Jackson wants to bridge the gap between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films, as well as fleshing out the story as well. It’s not inconceivable that these characters could appear, we know that they exist in Middle Earth, just because they don’t come into contact with Bilbo during his travels, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t expect to see them during the film. It would also seem that Frodo is set to narrate some of the film, reading Bilbo’s stories of his travels. This would obviously explain Elijah Wood’s appearance, but he isn’t expected to be part of the main narrative.

Back to casting, Martin Freeman was confirmed to play Bilbo in October. I thought this seemed like an odd choice, simply because it’s Martin Freeman, from The Office. Someone who made their screen debut in The Bill, followed swiftly by Casualty. But I guess his profile is probably bigger than I think, he was in both Love Actually and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so maybe international audiences do know him. Also, I think he’s great, and if you think about it, he will make a great Bilbo, and actually does bear a passing resemblance to Ian Holm (who is apparently in talks to reprise his part as the older Bilbo). And, really, how many people knew Dominic Monaghan or Billy Boyd before they were cast as Merry and Pippin? Dominic Monaghan was most famous for starring in Hetty Wainthrop Investigates!

But talking of casting people that nobody outside of the UK (and possibly some people inside the UK) would ever have heard of: step forward Rob Kazinsky, who is playing Fili, one of the dwarves. He is known for playing Sean, the Slater with mental problems to rival the best of them, in EastEnders. I know that he left to pursue opportunities in Hollywood, but I didn’t imagine that he would end up with a starring role in The Hobbit!

The other dwarves are going to be played by Richard Armitage (Thorin), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), Ken Stott (Balin), Aidan Turner (Kili), Mark Hadlow (Dori), Jed Brophy (Nori), Adam Brown (Ori), John Callen (Óin), Peter Hambleton (Glóin), William Kircher (Bifur), James Nesbitt (Bofur), and Stephen Hunter (Bombur). Aiden Turner and James Nesbitt approach Rob Kazinsky-status as well, I can’t see that either of them are particularly well known outside of the UK!

A Doctor Who connection is in place too, with Sylvester McCoy (the 7th Doctor) confirmed as Radagast the Brown, and David Tennant allegedly in talks to play Thranduil, Legolas’ father. I think I can probably buy Tennant as Orlando Bloom’s father!

hobbit-cast

~ source ~

This photo is of the main cast, (Bilbo plus the thirteen dwarves), a couple of months ago. I can’t wait to start seeing photos of them in their costumes! Principle photography started today, in New Zealand, and the first film is slated for a release next year. Excitingly, Peter Jackson posted the following images on his Facebook page today:

pj2

pj1

~ source ~

Aside from the fact that this man looks like a completely different person to the one who directed The Lord of the Rings (I think he also has Fern Britton syndrome; he seems a lot less fun now he’s skinny), I’m terribly excited by this! Bag End was in storage, so they’ve got it out and designed the set to look as it would some years before the start of The Lord of the Rings.

There are obviously going to be lots of photographs, videos and information coming out of New Zealand in the next year or so, and I’m going to collate all the good stuff here for you. I hope you appreciate it!

Until next time

janey26

Jane loves blogging

Hello all

It seems like all I do lately is apologise for silences of one type or another! I do apologise for this one though, I was away at the weekend, and got back later than I thought I would, and then yesterday came and went without me being able to think of an attractive man to share with you all. All will be well from now on though, I won’t disappear again without letting you know first!

It’s time for my weekly post then, and I found a WordPress prompt that I liked this week. At least, I found one that I am going to adapt to my own purposes! It’s topic #68:

Name a Book that Changed Your Life

I don’t know that a book has ever really changed my life. There are books that I have read (and re-read), that I love and adore, and I am glad that they are a part of my life. But I’m not sure that any books have ever really changed my life, in a meaningful way. But I read a book this weekend that I enjoyed so much, and I want everyone else to read it (if they haven’t already, it’s been out for almost two years).

One Dayjpg ~ source ~

One Day is a novel by David Nicholls. You may recall from my post about the launch of World Book Night that I saw David Nicholls reading from this book in Trafalgar Square, as it is one of the 25 books that were being given away. You may also recall that I won a book on Twitter, and that this was the book that I got.

Without giving too much away, One Day is about two people, Emma and Dexter, who meet on the day of their graduation from university, on 15th July 1988. The book then catches up with them on the same day for the next 20 years. Emma and Dexter clearly have feelings for each other, but settle into a close friendship that lasts for almost the entire novel. Relationships come and go but Emma and Dexter remain friends for the most part, and you’ll have to read it to find out if they end up together!

The thing that makes the book stand out is the use of one day a year to tell a story. It means that quite often, we don’t get to see firsthand what happens to the characters. For example, in 1989, Dexter’s mum tells him that she has something she needs to talk to him about, and while we might guess what it is she needs to say, we don’t hear her say it, and we don’t actually find out what it was until 1993. We don’t see weddings, deaths, births, major life events, because none of them take place on 15th July, so we have to hear about them later. It doesn’t seem as though it should work, how are we going to care about these characters if we don’t see them experiencing their highs and their lows. But it really, really does work. It works so well.

There is almost an element of missed opportunities to the story too – Dexter writes Emma a letter from Bombay telling her that she needs to get out of the rut that she has found herself in since she left university, and invites her to join him in India. However, the letter never reaches her, and she doesn’t go to India. You wonder how different both their lives would have been if she had, as you read the book, but you come to realise that it would possibly have actually been Dexter’s life that would have been changed for the better had the letter reached her, as their trajectories start moving in completely opposite directions once Emma realises what she wants to do with her life.

One Day is currently getting the Hollywood treatment, with a film adapation set to be released in September of this year. Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess are taking on the lead roles, and I have high hopes.

One-Day-movie-poster ~ source ~

There are many reasons why I think that this should be a great adaptation of a great book.

1. David Nicholls has written the screenplay.

2. Anne Hathaway is a very watchable actress.

3. The location has not been changed to America, as happens so often with book adaptations.

4. Lone Scherfig is directing, and whilst I haven’t seen it, I’ve heard lots of good things about An Education.

5. The source material is so good to begin with, how can they go wrong?

OK, so I know that the last point is questionable, because let’s face it, there have been many bad films that have come from great books. But I really do feel that this is going to be great. I was checking IMDB to see who was going to be playing the other parts, and unwisely, I decided to take a look at the message boards. Message boards and comments sections are usually places to be avoided, as far as I am concerned, simply because I so often disagree with what people are saying, and I hate the way people choose to express their opinions. I don’t know why I decided to look at them this time, but I did, and unsurprisingly, I got irritated! People are worried that Anne Hathaway won’t do the role of Emma justice, and more than that, they are worried that she won’t have a Yorkshire accent. Firstly, there is no reason to suggest that she won’t have a Yorkshire accent, as we’ve seen no footage of the film yet. Secondly, Emma loses her accent as the story goes on, as she lives outside of Yorkshire for longer than she lives there, and someone even comments on the change. And thirdly, her having a regional accent is not particularly important, as far as I am concerned. Admittedly, it is used to show a class divide between Emma and Dexter; she comes from a working class background whilst his is much more middle class. But she doesn’t have to be from Yorkshire in order for that to come across. I think people concentrate too much on the little things, especially before the film has even come out, when it needs to be judged as a whole. And frankly, if a film adaptation of your favourite book is disappointing (which let’s face it, they often are because we have such a vivid image in our head of each and every character and location), forget the film and read the book again. I can’t understand people who are so offended by book adaptations when the book is still available for them to read! It’s a bit of a bugbear of mine, and I will wax lyrical about it to almost anyone who will listen!

Also, if you fancy it, David Nicholls has created a Spotify playlist of Emma’s mix tape that she makes for Dexter. Check it out!

So, One Day is a book that didn’t change my life, but has certainly afforded me a lot of pleasure over the last few days, and one that I would heartily recommend to everyone!

Until next time

janey26

Jane loves the Oscars

Hello all
It’s the Oscars tonight! In honour of this (and because I’ve had a busy weekend), I’m forsaking the Weekend Wrap Up this week for an Oscars special. I’ve made my predictions, and while I can’t actually watch the ceremony (unless I can find it online), I’m very excited to find out who wins. I’ll also be watching out for the best and worst dressed of the evening, and over the next week or so I’m sure I’ll be frequenting Go Fug Yourself to see what the Fug girls think about all the dresses.
I started writing this post about three hours ago, and various things have held me up. I would worry that by the time I actually post it, the ceremony will be over, but we all know that’s not true. It lasts about 24 hours these days, doesn’t it?
oscar biscuits
~ source ~
biscuits
~ source ~
oscar invitations
~ source ~
2011-oscar-bingo
~ source ~
Firstly, a whole lot of perfect things for an Oscar party! I love the biscuits, both sets. The statue-shaped ones are from Bakerella (via a link from Happiness Is…), and has a recipe, so you would just need to find the requisite cutter. The others are biscuits with the five best actor nominees’ faces on them. Which is kind of weird, but kind of cool! I think an Oscar party is definitely on the cards in the next couple of years – there’s so much stuff out available out there to make it great!
A few photos now, mostly from classic-era Hollywood, because, let’s face it, they are a lot more fun to look at!
Audrey Grace
Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly (1956)
~ source ~
Laughing
Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Bob Hope and David Niven (1958)
~ source ~
clark
Clark Gable (1935)
~ source ~
frank
Frank Sinatra, Mercedes McCambridge and Donna Reed (1954)
~ source ~
Jimmy and Ginger
James Stewart and Ginger Rogers (1941)
~ source ~

Vivien Leigh

Vivien Leigh (1940)
~ source ~
Walt
Walt Disney (1954)
~ source ~

6731577_1HCjGhRV_c

Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep (2010)
~ source ~

Oscar_Grace_Kelly

Grace Kelly (1954)
~ source ~
I’ve included the picture of Grace Kelly because a) she was beautiful, b) she was a princess, c) we share a birthday, and d) I’ve seen this actual Oscar! I went to a Grace Kelly exhibition at the V&A last year, and the statue was there. It was behind glass, obviously, but I saw it, and it’s the first one I’ve ever seen! So I feel a kinship to it.
So this post has taken me approximately as long as the average Oscar ceremony goes on for, and that’s not even an exaggeration. The ceremony is currently underway, and Inception and Alice in Wonderland have bagged an award each so far! I’m going to stay up as long as I can to see how many predictions I’ve got right.
Until next time!

janey26

Jane loves British films

Hello all

I’m experimenting with a new type of post, this one all about British films. I toyed with the idea of making it a part of my birthday list, as in “Watch more British films”, but it’s not specific enough. I’ve therefore just decided that I am going to watch more British films, and pay more attention to the British film industry. Hopefully this will become a regular post, as I keep you updated on different films that I have watched.

We’ve all seen a Carry On film or two, and Four Weddings and a Funeral, and maybe a Harry Potter film. I’ve grown up with my mum watching lots and lots of different British films, but I’ve watched very few all the way through. Of the BFI Top 100 British Films list, I’ve seen only 11. That’s pretty shameful!

harry potter

I think it’s really important to support our film industry, and you only have to look at the calibre of some of the films that have been produced to understand why it’s so important. Unfortunately, in June of this year, the government announced plans to abolish the UK Film Council, an agency set up in 2000 to help fund British films. Better news is that Warner Bros, the studio behind the Harry Potter franchise, has bought the Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, where the series was made.

In the past few weeks I’ve been looking around the web trying to find details of new British films that are being released. We know all about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I, this weekend. I’m very excited, and have my ticket booked for Saturday morning. But as well as these big budget blockbusters, there are lots more that pass under the radar a little. Here are some that I am going to try and see:

  • The King’s Speech – Tom Hooper directed film starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter, about George VI’s struggle with his stammer as he took the throne following the abdication of his brother.
  • Brighton Rock – A new version of the Graham Greene novel, directed by Rowan Joffe and starring Sam Riley and Helen Mirren.
  • Another Year – Mike Leigh’s new film about a married couple’s average year. Starring Jim Broadbent and Lesley Manville.
  • A Dangerous Method – Directed by David Cronenberg and starring Keira Knightley and Viggo Mortensen. It tells the story of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

As I said, I hope to make this a regular post as I start to watch more British films. I absolutely do not intend for it to be a film review. It’s just me and my thoughts. Just so as you know.