Friday, October 26, 2012

New on DVD: "Moonrise Kingdom"

“I love you, but you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
- Sam to Suzy

Moonrise Kingdom is set during 1965 in New Penzance Island, New England, about two misunderstood twelve-year-olds who fall in love and decide to run away together. This Wes Anderson film is full of whimsy and wonderful performances, especially from the two young leads playing Sam and Suzy.

Sam (Jared Gilman), an orphan, is described as "emotionally deranged" by his fellow Khaki scouts at Camp Ivanhoe. He runs away from the scouts with a canoe stocked full of supplies, which sets off a search party of Scout Master Ward (Edward Norton), the rest of Troup 55, and Island Police, headed by Captain Sharp (Bruce Willis). When Sam's foster parents hear about his running away, they inform Captain Sharp that Sam is no longer welcome back to their home.

Suzy (Kara Hayward) does not have any friends and gets in trouble at school. Her three younger brothers entertain themselves with games and listening to records, while she spends her time reading or looking at the world through her binoculars. She always has binoculars at her side and believes they are her magical powers.

Sam travels across the island from Camp Ivanhoe to Summer's End to meet Suzy, one year after their initial meeting. Between summers they wrote each other letters, talking about the difficulty of fitting in and getting along with classmates and authority figures. (“Dear Suzy, I have been trying very hard to make friends, but I feel people do not like my personality.”) When Suzy's mother (Frances McDormand) discovers one of Sam's letters to Suzy, she and Mr. Bishop (Bill Murray) join the search.  

Sam utilizes his Khaki scout knowledge as he and Suzy navigate their way along the Old Chickchaw Harvest Migration Trail. Suzy brings a suitcase full of library books (which she may return, someday), her cat, Lionel's record player, and her lefty scissors. Whenever they stop to take a break she reads aloud from her books as Sam listens and smokes a pipe. She prefers stories with magical powers and tells Sam that she wants to go on adventures when she’s older.

I could go on about the awesome cast, from Sam's fellow Khaki scouts to Jason Schwartzman's brief appearance as Cousin Ben. And the script by Anderson and Roman Coppola has so many great lines I had to restrain myself from including twenty quotes in this post.* Additionally, the soundtrack, with songs from composer Benjamin Britton, Alexandre Desplat, and Hank Williams, is beautiful and playful, down to the final “cuckoo, cuckoo.” Hilarious, sweet, and definitely a little crazy, Moonrise Kingdom is my favorite movie of the year.

*Okay, I can't help myself. If you want to see more of my favorite quotes from the movie, click to read more!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Being Human, UK v. US

Smackdown: UK Being Human season 1 v. US Being Human season 1

Basic premise of both: a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost co-habitate in order to appear and try to live as humans.

In the original UK version we begin when vampire Mitchell (Adian Turner) and werewolf George (Russell Tovey) rent a place together and find ghost Annie (Lenora Crichlow) haunting it. She died in the house and can't cross-over; Mitchell and George are the first beings to actually be able to see her since she died 6 months prior. They form a tight trio and help each other out with their supernatural issues, which of course keep getting in the way of "begin human."

In the US version we follow vampire Aidan (Sam Witwer) and werewolf Josh (Sam Huntington) as they rent a house and find ghost Sally (Meaghan Rath). The beginning and basic plotlines follow those of the UK version, but there are some variations as the season progresses. One plotline in the US version doesn't even happen until the second series of the UK version, so the US makers seem eager to begin the separation fairly quickly from the original material.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dreamy Men of Masterpiece Theater

There are lots of good reasons to check out Masterpiece Theater.  It has quality shows, helps you pretend to have read classic novels like Great Expectations or Tess D'Ubervilles, and there really isn't too much else on Sunday nights (when Breaking Bad and Mad Men are off season). But best of all, it has handsome British men in period dress!  Who could ask for more?

Below we* list our favorite men of Masterpiece Theater.  Since PBS has created a  Men of Austen website, so you can rank which Austen hero is the most eligible bachelor (surprise, surprise: Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy is winning), I'm leaving them out of the running (though, Rupert Perry-Jones as  Captain Wentworth would have been my pick). 

Matthew Crawley
Found On: Downton Abbey
Played by Dan Stevens
Why we love Matthew:  Those blue eyes.  And he's the least terrible of Lady Mary's many suitors.
The down side: Matthew can be a little bit stubborn.   

Also worth mentioning from Downtown Abbey:

William Mason (Thomas Howes) looks like a younger, blonder, old-timey sibling of John Krasinski.  William is also a sweetheart and can play the piano. 

Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier) is terrible.  But he's gorgeous and he seems to have curtailed his bad behavior a little bit in Season 2. 

Sherlock Holmes:
Found On: Sherlock.
Played by:  Benedict Cumberbatch
Why we love Sherlock:  He's brilliant, has a great head of hair, and looks equally great in a suit or a towel. 
The down side:  His personality is a lot to tolerate on a daily (or even hourly) basis.

Also worth mentioning from Sherlock:

Martin Freeman makes an adorable Dr. Watson.  He's definitely the more marriageable one of the duo.

Magnus Martnisson:
Found On: Wallander (seasons 1 and 2).
Played by:  Tom Hiddleston.
Why we love Magnus:  He's dashingly handsome, but his longish curly hair makes him look nerdy enough to be attainable.
The down side:  Martinsson saves the day on at least one occasion, but some of the time he can be a little bit incompetent. 

Also worth mentioning from Wallander:

Kenneth Branagh is a little bit too mature to be my type, but his character Kurt Wallander seems to have a way with the ladies on show, in spite of his near constant dourness.

*All "we"s are meant in the royal sense.