Surprise Find: Robin Hood BBC Series

Surprise! Surprise! Just when I thought that I would not be able to find any work of Richard Armitage here in the country, this DVD landed on my desk! Actually, this copy was bought by one of my staff assuming that the copy she is buying is the Robin Hood movie starring Russell Crowe. Hah! It turned out that the copy is that of the BBC series starring Jonas Armstrong as Robin and of course, Richard Armitage as the dark and villainous Sir Guy of Gisborne. *swoons*

My staff member knows that I love Richard Armitage because I use his photo as my avatar in my yahoo messenger and was so kind and sweet enough to give me the DVD. Yes! However, the copy contains only four episodes and I’m not sure yet what episodes are those. I’m positive that this would only whet my appetite; I know that I would be restless until I find the other 35 episodes. Poor me!

Anyway, it’s better that I have 4 episodes of him than nothing at all. 😀

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Obsessing over Richard Armitage

image from flyhigh-by-learnonline.blogspot.com

I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it but I just have to blog about him. Period.

I recently discovered Richard Armitage when I came across “North and South,” a miniseries produced and aired by BBC in 2004. In the series, Richard Armitage, a relatively unknown actor, portrayed John Thornton.  His compelling portrayal of the young  cotton mill owner was considered a breakthrough performance as he earned critical acclaim as well as legions of fans (mostly female, but of course!). Moreover, it paved the way for his career as he also landed on several meaty roles: the villainous Sir Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood (2006-2009),  as Harry Jasper Kennedy in The Vicar of Dibley (2006-2007), and the sexy and mysterious Lucas North in Spooks (2008-present), to name a few.

As John Thornton

Different faces of John Thornton (Richard Armitage) -1

John Thornton is a self-made man who knew what it is like to have nothing. He incessantly worked hard to improve his family’s dire conditions. He is seen by his workers as a strict and no-nonsense employer. He, in turn, sees and treats his workers as “hands” which makes him appear rather tough and uncaring. His world was turned upside down when he meets Margaret Hale with whom he instantly likes. Margaret, however, dislikes him.  Differences in background and beliefs compounded with misunderstandings and prejudices, John and Margaret each has to struggle and realize different aspects of life they have never explored before.

Different faces of John Thornton (Richard Armitage) -2

Richard Armitage (RA) depicted John Thornton as the ultimate brooding romantic hero.  Although his characterization is described as serious, tough and yes, brooding (he will be best remembered for this), he managed to let the audience see that his character has this certain vulnerability. And that John, too, has his own strengths as well as weaknesses. Despite being imposing and stern, RA was able to engage the audience by his charm.  He absolutely nailed it! I would say that RA is a brilliant and an effective actor to be able to make the audience fall in love with John Thornton who is a very complex man. RA’s deep and rich voice, endearing smile and smoldering eyes were a great addition to the delightful package of Mr. Thornton. It’s no wonder why I’m obsessively in love with John Thornton and Richard Armitage.

Different faces of John Thornton (Richard Armitage) - 3

I just wish that I have more access to his works. I have only seen “North and South” and I was wondering if his other works are available here in the country. Oh well, I’ll check and maybe, just maybe, I’d find some DVDs soon. In the meantime, I’ll continue to daydream about him. *swoons*

Credits:  Images in the collage are from richardarmitageonline.com

A weekend with Jane Austen, Part 3 (Last Part)

Alas! My Jane Austen weekend has come to an end. It was a wonderful way to cap the weekend by watching the movie, Emma (1996); BBC’s Emma (2009) and another movie, Becoming Jane (2007).

Emma 1996 (image from erasofelegance.com)

Emma (1996) stars Gwyneth Paltrow as the young, pretty and rich Emma Woodhouse and Jeremy Northam as the charming, reticent but kind Mr. George Knightley. It was really surprising to see Ms. Paltrow, an American actress, portray an Englishwoman. I found her English accent a bit weird but as the movie progressed, I became quite used to it. Paltrow, an actress blessed with classical features, had so much poise and gracefulness which just made it work. On the other hand, Jeremy Northam was splendid as Mr. Knightley. He is hot!!! I love how his facial expressions conveyed his feelings and how he delivered his lines. I particularly liked when he spars with Emma and when he scolds her. The film was entertaining and funny indeed. My only gripe with film is that events were much too compressed that there’s not much room for character development.

Emma 2009 (image from © BBC 2009)

In the recent BBC production of Emma (2009), I was really happy to find a familiar face. Jonny Lee Miller, who earlier portrayed Edmund Bertram in the 1999 version of Mansfield Park, is back as the quick-witted and charming George Knightley. I adored him in Mansfield Park even though his character there took a long time to realize his feelings for the heroine. But I believe that he was a great choice as Mr. Knightley because he absolutely nailed it. He was exceptional with his scenes with Emma, particularly when he is arguing with her, scolding her, goading her, or when they are just having a good time. Such a consummate actor! On the other hand, it is my first time to see Romola Garai but I liked her as Emma Woodhouse. Her Emma is youthful, clever and witty. Garai and Miller are great together. I loved how their argument scenes (there were several) were really played out, with both sides arguing their cases well. Another delightful surprise was the presence of Michael Gambon as Mr. Woodhouse. I was taken aback and I had to take a second look when he first appeared because I could only think of one thing: That’s Dumbledore!! He was such a dear old man, Mr. Woodhouse er, Mr. Gambon.

The advantage of a mini-series is that events are not rushed and forced unlike in the movies. Furthermore, there is much room for character development and event build-up. I liked how Mr. Knightley’s realization of his true feelings for Emma was depicted. It’s not rushed and forced. I think, this is the best adaptation of Emma I have seen.

Becoming Jane (image from http://www.tribute.ca)

Becoming Jane (2007) explores the untold story of Jane Austen, one of the greatest writers in English Literature. Jane is being pressured by the family to marry. But being a woman far ahead of her time, she refuses unless it is for love. She meets Tom Lefroy, a lawyer who is dependent on his uncle and his fortune. They both started on the wrong footing but eventually fell in love. However, the couple is faced by numerous obstacles – family, friends and fortune. Anne Hathaway, an American actress, plays the feisty, opinionated Jane. Anne was alright but I think a better actress might have been able to portray Ms. Austen. On the other hand, James McAvoy portrays Tom Lefroy who breathed life into his character brilliantly, so much so, that I wanted to love and hate him at the same time. The film left me with a bittersweet feeling, no matter how I am used to see such kind of endings.

The film gives an inside look of what might have been the secret life of Ms. Austen. I have read that Ms. Austen never married and I surmised that for a writer who created wonderful stories with happy endings – heroines marrying the men they love, she must have had loved deeply. That in her short life, she must have had, as poets and writers gush about, “that one great love.”

Delicious way of coping with stress

I’m actually under tremendous stress lately. However, I’ve rediscovered a way of coping with it. My previous entries were about movies and series, right? I’ve made it a point to watch movies or series during the weekend to relieve me of the various strains of my job. In the past, I used to watch Korean series and movies. My current tastes focus on English/British period movies and dramas. And I’ve found several worth watching, as I wrote in my previous entries. The heroes and heroines have swept me off my feet! The truth is, the presence of smokin’ hot heroes reduces me into a lovesick girl. 🙂 Hmm, which I think is much better than being harassed and negative, don’t you think? 😉

A weekend with Jane Austen, Part 2

And the movie marathon continues…

This time, I had pleasure watching two adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels, namely, Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park.

I found the 2007 version of Northanger Abbey really entertaining because of its two leads. Catherine Morland portrayed by Felicity Jones and Henry Tilney portrayed by JJ Feild. Catherine is a young woman of 18 who is fond of reading gothic novels which influence her  vivid and overactive imagination. Ms. Jones was delightful and youthful in her performance as the heroine. Henry is the younger son who is charming, friendly and handsome. JJ Feild was perfect to a “T” with his Henry. The pair had chemistry right from the start and I found myself smiling and grinning whenever they were together. The ending was cute too!

image from jimandellen.org

Mansfield Park (1999), on the other hand, is loosely-based on Austen’s novel with the same title. The film starred Frances O’ Connor as Fanny Price and Jonny Lee Miller as Edmund Bertram. Frances was convincing as Fanny, most especially, during heartfelt moments with Edmund. Jonny’s performance was also touching. He was such a sweet and caring man but was “blind” for quite a time. The plot of the story tugged at my heart because Fanny loved Edmund since she was a child but Edmund has set his sight on someone else. Ouch! Both parties encounter have their own struggles.  The ending was also a satisfying one.

image from erasofelegance.com

I believe there is going to be a part 3 for I still have to watch Emma and Becoming Jane. But so far, I’ve enjoyed meeting and admiring her heroines. But what I love about the adaptations so far, are the presence of heroes who made me swoon and fall in love. They are all smokin’ hot. 😉 *whew*

A Weekend with Jane Austen

I was sick over the weekend. To pass the time and to amuse myself, I watched several film adaptations of some of Jane Austen’s novels.

I’m going to be in a fangirl mode and talk about the “heroes” of the films.

image from janeausten.co.uk

I already watched “Sense and Sensibility” years ago but it was a great treat to watch it all over again. I love Alan Rickman, who in the said film, played Colonel Brandon. He is such a wonderful actor. Mr. Rickman is also known as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. I just found out that there is a 2008 adaptation of the said title, I will watch it when I have time.

image from pbs.org

And then I saw “Persuasion”. I adore Captain Frederick Wentworth who is dashing, handsome and very charming. Rupert Penry-Jones was the perfect actor to play the said character. The epitome of an English gentleman! I cannot help but swoon whenever he appeared on screen. Hot! Hot! Hot! *sigh*

I also got to see two versions of “Pride and Prejudice.” The earlier version was the 1995 BBC mini-series where I fell in love not only with the heroine, Elizabeth Bennet but also her counterpart, Mr. Darcy, which were portrayed by Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth respectively. Ms. Ehle gave life to her character magnificently! She is so charming, beautiful and witty! I really love her face! And Darcy, my Mr. Darcy! Colin Firth breathed life into such “complex character.”  He was perfection! I just love it when he appears on screen. I cannot help but think of a similar character, one I also love, who appeared in one Korean series (but of course!) – the infamous Maestro Kang/Kang Mae.

image from erasofelegance.com

On the other hand, I find the 2005 movie version quite lacking but I would admit it has its moments. Mr. Darcy’s rendition of his two proposals to Elizabeth were quite romantic and passionate.  And Matthew Macfadyen who played Mr. Darcy was good looking and smashing compared to Colin Firth. But…I’d still prefer Colin’s Mr. Darcy anyway. I found Keira Knightley who played Elizabeth Bennet a bit bland.

image from lovefilm.com

I guess I love the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice because the chemistry between Ehle and Firth was undeniable. Furthermore, both actors gave outstanding characterizations. I also didn’t like how the film was compressed into 2 hours and 9 minutes, which sacrificed a lot of significant developments in the lives of the characters in the novel. The series, however, encapsulated the important events and dialogues, consistent with the novel.

image from erasofelegance.com

I would love to watch other film adaptations of Ms. Austen’s novel. I believe, there are a few still that I have to look for. Meanwhile…where can I find my Mr. Darcy? 😉