Friday, June 23, 2017

Award Winners for a REASON: The African Queen (1951)

The African Queen (1951)
starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn

I'm back! I can't believe it's been almost a year since I last posted on this blog. Taking a break from certain things proved to be necessary for my emotional survival this last year. We're had a lot of upheaval at work and just overall stress and the last thing I needed was the additional weight of trying to write movie reviews on a regular basis. But I'm back and willing to give it my best shot.

The basics haven't changed. I'll still be watching and discussing classic film and actors.

However, I've also decided to incorporate modern movies set in the era of old Hollywood. Those can be loads of fun. Like, right now, I'm rewatching Zodiac, which is of course about the Zodiac Killer and takes place in the late 1960s to early 1970s. Not a classic movie, but set in the right era. It'll be a fun expansion since I really do love movies set in the era of classic Hollywood, period.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Book Review: A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay (2016)

Some books got it and some books ain't got it. A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay is the latter.

It felt like I started reading one novel and ended up finishing a completely different one. There was no cohesive whole, just bits and pieces that never matched up together. I was expecting a story of an art restorer and ended up in a whirlwind romance where the heroine (and you wouldn't believe how easy it is to forget her name is Emily despite the title because of how few characters actually use her name) falls in love with an Italian chef and in two weeks has given up her Americanized life and moved to Tuscany so he can help run his family's restaurant.

This one really disappointed me. I was hoping for something poignant and genuine like in Lizzy & Jane or for something magical and literary like in The Bronte Plot. Instead, I'm following a heroine who magically transforms her art from mediocre to magnificent simply by moving to Italy. None of it matched, and if that wasn't disappointing enough, any important conversations and scenes that the reader should have been privy to were referred to instead of experienced. Emily mentions that she had this conversation or was sitting with this person or experiencing that thing, but we weren't there to experience it with her. It's the worse kind of telling instead of showing.

My usual complaint of Ms. Reay's books remains the same; there isn't enough faith in this story to make it anything other than a clean read instead of a Christian one. Ben and Emily fall in love in just two weeks and never once do they express their faith to one another. Ben could have been marrying an atheist for all he knew, which would have gone off real well in his devoutly Catholic family, I'm sure.

While I may not have been overly fond of Dear Mr. Knightley because I don't care for epistolary novels, I would happily give it a re-read before ever again picking up A Portrait of Emily Price. I know that Ms. Reay loves classic literature and tries to imbue her work with it. In this last novel, she failed. Sure, there's a couple of mentions of a book by James Joyce called A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, but I'm curious as to how many of her readers have picked up Joyce's tome? I know that I never have, but I have read Austen and Bronte. No more obscure reads, please, otherwise the magic of Ms. Reay as an anglophile may just fade.

The next book on her docket is The Austen Escape (releasing November 7, 2017) and I can only hope it's a vast improvement from A Portrait of Emily Price.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Mini Movie - The Perfect Bride (2017)

Am I a romantic? Sometimes I wonder. I guess there are levels of romanticism in everyone, more in me that in some and less than what some of my friends possess.

But even I have to admit that Hallmark's The Perfect Bride is absolutely, well, perfect.

Especially if you happen to have a mild crush on Kavan Smith and think that Pascale Hutton is just about the cutest thing ever captured on film. Which I do. My friend's husband claims that a Hallmark movie is "good" when it doesn't end with a wedding. Well, this one ends at a wedding, but not necessarily with a wedding, if that makes any sense.

Bridal Bootcamp Instructor Girl meets adorable Wedding Photographer Boy, gets her crush going, has dreams shattered by discovering boy is actually engaged to another girl now attending her Bridal Bootcamp. Ohhhh, that angst.

What I love about Pascale is her ability to make you believe all the feels she's experiencing. Her character is a real sweetheart who refuses to do anything to ruin Wedding Photographer and his fiance's happiness.

Of course, this is Hallmark. Duh, you know what happens. But for a girl like me who only watched The Perfect Bride for Kavan and Pascale, I confess it's pretty cute.

Thank goodness for loving besties who will record a Hallmark movie for you when you don't have the station!