“Reality Faced by Book Reviewers,” by Charlie Brown

Watchable Wednesdays

True to its name, every Wednesday I hope to share with you videos which I have enjoyed and think you might, too.  We all need a bit of cheering up to last until the end of the week, don’t we?

Charlie Brown reveals the truth behind the book reporter.  Kids’ cartoon, or satirical microcosm of the book blogger’s world?!

Haha, it leaves me in fits of giggles.  As seen on Scribblings of My Pen and Tappings of My Keyboard – thanks, Anne!
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not actually called “Reality Faced by Book Reviewers, Book Bloggers, Et Al.,” but simply: “The Book Report.”
Enjoy the rest of the week.

R.M.S. Titanic – 100 years of

For all of those who perished as the R.M.S. Titanic sunk on 15th April, 1912.

A collection of thoughts:

The Titanic

The S.S. Titanic

SS 'Titanic' leaving Southampton.

S.S. Titanic leaving Southampton

TITANIC life boats on way to CARPATHIA (LOC)

Titanic lifeboats on way to Carpathia

TITANIC survivors on way to rescue-ship CARPATHIA (LOC)

Titanic survivors on way to rescue-ship Carpathia


Survivors of Titanic on Carpathia

Getting TITANIC news - White Star Office (LOC)

Getting “Titanic” news – White Star Office

We are still touched by the tragically poignant tale:


Behind the scenes at one of the greatest pieces of cinema of all time

I am currently watching Julian Fellowes’ new Titanic series, an interesting approach to the world’s most famous shipwreck. The finale airs tonight on ITV1 at 9:00pm.

Trending on Polyvore – Titanic Fashion:

TITANIC fashion

A Titanic Memorial Cruise set sail this week to pay remembrance to the great cruise liner.

Eva Hart, the last person said to have any memory of the catastrophic event, died at the age of 91 in 1996. She described the plaque placed on the shipwreck at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean as:

“A tribute to man’s arrogance. […] This was a ship which needn’t have lost a life.”

As a young child, I found the Titanic infinitely fascinating and devoured any mention of the vessel in non-fictional works, particularly encyclopedias. It is a tale which never ought to be repeated, nor forgotten.

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

-Mother Teresa

Rest in Peace, the more than 1500 people who perished in the early hours of this day, 100 years ago.


Great Expectations (TV mini-series)

Rating: 5 out of 5 somersaults.

The BBC’s lavish production of ‘Great Expectations,’ which finished airing last night on PBS, was both breathtaking and spine-chilling. I watched it in December when it fist aired here in the UK and absolutely loved it.

The clean cinematography made the programme visually stunning and greatly aided the director, Brian Kirk, in bringing his new take on Dickens’ classic story to life.

The acting was also out of the ordinary. The series got off to a sumptuous start with wide-angle shots of a gloomy swamp, which looked like a clip from a horror film. The steel, unsaturated look captured perfectly the squirmish feelings which I had when I read the opening chapter of the novel. I also found Orlick and Magwitch to be suitably vile.

Gillian Anderson, who played the infamous Miss Havisham, did a wonderful job. The forty-three year old actress is the youngest to have ever played the part; therefore, she was naturally put under the spotlight by critics. I found that her youthful portrayal of the old woman was fresh as she showed that Miss Havisham may old in her mind after refusing to leave Satis House on her wedding day, but truthfully she is young in spirit. She represents the destruction love can make on the young and passionate. Her frail white hair and lips, paired with her soft, eery voice made me shiver. Anderson is not unknown to Dickens adaptations, and she may be familiar to you as Lady Dedlock from Bleak House (2005).

Douglas Booth, who played Pip as a young man, was praised by the press for his accomplished acting; however, many disagree as to whether he was right for the part. Some said that he was too good-looking to play Pip, even more so than Estella, who was played by Vanessa Kirby. Since Estella is meant to be a heart-breaker, they argue that she should be stunning compared to a more ordinary-looking protagonist, Pip. For myself, I cannot see how casting the Burberry model/actor should make the series any less agreeable. It just reinforces the stylised take Kirk has made on the novel and adds to the sense of fantasy which Dickens created.  The adaptation involves a lot of an artist playing around and experimenting, and I think it paid off.

The only major turn-off for me was the gory scenes of violence; however, Dickens used strong references to violence in his plot lines, anyway. The BBC did not invent Victorian England! Besides, I’m a squirmer and can’t stand that kind of thing, so it might not bother some others.

Overall I thought the production was fantastic. It was extravagantly done and on the cinematography alone, I would give it a rating of five somersaults. Add in Douglas Booth’s chiselled cheek-bones and Gillian Anderson’s hair-raising presence, and you have me on board.

My thoughts on the book are recorded here.


Photos: BBC

Let’s Riverdance on St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

To mark the occasion, I thought that I would share my two favourite clips from Riverdance, the fantastic Irish dance company.

Finally, Prodijig are a dance troop from Got to Dance who may not be so familiar but, with a modern twist, they are also exceedingly impressive.

Don’t forget to look out for a four-leaf clover.


Awesome Adverts from the UK

I just saw this advert on TV, featuring Stephan Fry, Rupert Grint, Julie Walters and Michelle Dockery, and now have an urge to visit the Giant’s Causeway after seeing Michelle elegantly poised on the rough basalt columns of rock.  I loved Julie’s reference to Wordsworth, too (I’m reading his poetry so it made me feel clever).  So very British.

It’s definitely up there, rivalling California.

Also, check out this ad. celebrating the best of British comedy – it has a song!

Adverts with songs in them are always the best.  Especially if it’s legendary, like the 118 advert.


Another one of my favourites is the Johnnie Walker ad. from a few years ago because I can’t imagine how many takes they must have done to film it perfectly.


New Sherlock Holmes and She-Watson

CBS announced last week that they have decided to create a modern, updated version of the tales of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s timeless hero called Elementary, probably inspired by the roaring success of the BBC’s Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.  The new American series will be set in New York and they’ve already cast the British actor, Jonny Lee Miller (Eli Stone, 2008-9) and Lucy Liu (Charlie’s Angels, 2000) as Joan Watson, his female accomplice.  This decision has set the Sherlock fanbase alight and everyone seems to be tearing their hair out…

Lucy Liu (Image from WIkipedia)

Lucy Liu has been cast as Joan Watson in the new American Sherlock Holmes series (Image from WIkipedia)

Holmes will be an ex-British Police consultant, brought to NYC to a drug-rehabilitation centre.  He has returned from rehab and is living with Joan Watson, a surgeon who has lost her medical licence.

On the one hand, it will be hard not to compare it to the BBC’s modern adaptation which was made extraordinarily well.  It also sounds vaguely familiar for those who watch Castle and other such programmes.  Some say that because Watson might become a love interest for Holmes, the producers might be tempted to swerve away from the original books too much, or even that it would become disrespectful to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s memory as he firmly disbelieved that there were any romantic feelings between the pair.  He wrote about an incredible friendship; however, will the CBS writers be able to recreate the same dynamics after such a controversial change?  Why didn’t they make Sherlock a woman, too?  A female Holmes and Watson team could rival Charlie’s Angels any day…

Johnny Lee Miller

Jonny Lee Miller will play Holmes

However, on a positive note, they’ve certainly got the casting right.  Jonny Lee Miller is a British actor who was great in two of my favourite TV mini-series and films, Emma, 2009 and Mansfield Park, 1999.  Lucy Liu is a brilliant actress, already well established in the action/crime genre.  Casting is critical and this certainly balances out any doubts which I have.

There’s just a hint of hypocrisy amongst the angry Holmes-loving fans; when the plans for the programme were first made public, almost everyone was upset that the Elementary would be too similar to the BBC’s, now they are upset that it will be too different?  Yes, it could fail spectacularly or become an instant success, but it has not come out yet!

Johnny Lee Miller (Image from the BBC)

Jonny Lee Miller played Knightley in Emma, 2009 (Image from the BBC)

I’m excited to see how this classic adaptation with a modern twist pans out.  After all, the BBC’s Sherlock may not continue forever as I’m sure the stars will want to move on to brighter screens eventually. Cumberbatch seems to be rising rapidly in popularity; after Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, I’m sure that Hollywood is calling.  I’ve also heard rumours that Cumberbatch could be in Doctor Who, perhaps as The Master??


Oscars 2012 – Winners

Congratulations to all of those involved with the production of The Artist! What a winner! Hope you all enjoyed that funny video which I posted along with the nominations. Here is a great post which summarises who the winners were and features some glamorous pictures from the night.

The Happiest Cow


Winners from the Oscars 2012

Best Picture: The Artist


Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist


Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady


Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help


Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners


Directing: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist


Cinematography: Hugo

Art Direction: Hugo

Costume Design: The Artist

Makeup: The Iron Lady

Foreign Language Film: A Separation, Iran.

Film Editing: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Sound Editing: Hugo

Sound Mixing: Hugo

Documentary Feature: Undefeated

Animated Feature Film: Rango

Visual Effects: Hugo

Original Score: The Artist

Original Song: Man or Muppet from The Muppets

Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants

Original Screenplay: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris

Live Action Short Film: The Shore

Documentary (short subject): Saving Face

Animated Short Film: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore



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