Weekend Roundup: Two Austen adaptations, an espionage comedy + a Hitchcock classic

Wow, where has June gone? Can’t believe July is just 10 days away, seems that we barely had Spring and now we have been having a very showery Summer 😦

I haven’t done a Weekend Roundup in a looong time. Well, I didn’t go to the cinema at all this weekend, but I did see some older movies and one re-watch. I must say it’s quite fun to watch not only one but TWO period dramas with my hubby.

MansfieldParkBBC_1999

Inspired by my recent Austen Recasting post on Mansfield Park, I started watching the 2007 BBC version that I haven’t seen before. My hubby was looking at stuff on his iPad next to me whilst I was watching this and I kept making a comment at how much I prefer the 1999 film version that he’s curious to check it out. Well, since both are on Netflix, we decided to watch both!

MansfieldPark1999

Well suffice to say, the 1999 version by Patricia Rozema is still my favorite adaptation, though it’s definitely a bolder and darker version than one might associate with Jane Austen. I think it’s interesting that it touches on the issue of slavery as the primary financial income of the Bertram family, though I could use without the nudity [albeit a brief one] as it really detracts from the story. What I do like about the film version is how beautifully-filmed it is and the music by Lesley Barber is equally gorgeous and evocative. Plus the casting is fantastic all around, especially Frances O’Connor as Fanny and Alessandro Nivola as Henry Crawford. I also love the ending, it’s romantic and sweet and Jonny Lee Miller has such an earnest quality about him that fits the role of Edmund. I actually like Fanny’s narration in this movie and I’m not always fond of the use of narration on film. It seems that Fanny is not people’s favorite’s Austen heroine but I actually like her and I really connect with Frances’ portrayal of her.

MansfieldPark2007

On the other hand, I’m not fond of the 2007 version at all. I really try to like this but I just feel that Billie Piper is so miscast in the role. Sorry but I find her teeth VERY distracting. I know it’s not nice of me to say but I wasn’t bothered by her when she was in Dr. Who but she just doesn’t seem like she belongs in a period drama, and the way she’s swooning over Edmund just feels wrong and stalker-ish. At the same time, there’s no chemistry at all between her and Blake Ritson (Edmund), who looks like Adrien Brody but with slightly feminine features. All around the acting is just not convincing, most especially Joseph Beattie as the completely charm-less Henry Crawford! The abrupt ending is also very awkward that my hubby was like, ‘what the heck was THAT??’ I think this is my least favorite BBC adaptation of ANY literary works. I doubt I’d ever watch it again. I think the only fun part here is watching the lovely Haley Atwell as Mary Crawford.

On Saturday, we ended up watching an older spy movie that’s been sitting in our Netflix Instant queue for some time.

Sneakers (1992) 

Sneakers1992posterI saw on the description that it was a lighthearted espionage movie, but we didn’t realize that this was more of a comedy! The movie took a while to get going, but fortunately the cast kept me intrigued. The plot itself seemed complicated at first, as a lot of government conspiracy involving hacking, cryptography, etc. can be, but by the second act, it actually got to be pretty predictable. In fact, I had a hunch from the opening scene who the villain was. It’s interesting too just how relevant this topic is with the whole NSA expose by Edward Snowden, etc. In fact, Kingsley’s speech at the end about who controls the information is quite eerie because it’s really not far-fetched at all.

Sneakers1992

It’s quite amusing to see the likes of Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Ben Kingsley, David Strathairn, who are usually in serious roles being quite goofy in this one. Strathairn especially as a blind man with killer hearing power and instinct, but the last scene had him driving a truck directed by Redford on the phone! None of these actors are at their best here though, in fact, they seem underutilized for the roles they’re playing, but still it’s fun to watch.

Btw, really sad seeing River Phoenix here. This was released a year before his untimely death in 1993 at the age of 23. Like the rest, his role is so minor, similar to a tech guy in those Mission Impossible movies, with Redford as the Ethan Hunt character, y’know. I remember seeing Phoenix in teen drama A Night in the Life of Jimmy Riordan years ago and thought how talented he was. It’s so tragic how these young talents were gone far too soon. In any case, I quite enjoyed Sneakers, especially the more action-packed third act and the humorous ending. James Earl Jones had a memorable cameo that’s pretty hilarious.

Lastly, I saw Rebecca (1940), a Hitchcock film that won Best Picture Oscar, starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. I shall have a review of it this Tuesday for my June Blindspot entry, so stay tuned!

RebeccaPoster


Well that’s what I saw this weekend. What about you? Seen anything good?

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52 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup: Two Austen adaptations, an espionage comedy + a Hitchcock classic

  1. Well, I saw my Blind Spot assignment in Imitation of Life and earlier today, 22 Jump Street and about an hour ago, 30 for 30: June 17, 1994. Other than that, I’ve been keeping up with the action at the World Cup. U.S. almost won today. Portugal scored to tie in the last 30 seconds of the game in extra time. If we had won, we would’ve advanced to the Knockout stages and Portugal would be eliminated. Now the U.S. will have to either beat or tie against the Germans and they’re a tough-ass team.

    1. Oh cool, looking forward to your review of Imitation of Life, Steven. Yeah I read about US tied w/ Portugal. Man that must’ve been a nail-biting moment when Portugal scored at the last second!

  2. Ted S.

    As you know I’m not into period pictures unless it’s action/war so I’ve never seen any of those periods films you mentioned. I did liked Sneakers though, I remember when it came out in theaters, it was hyped up so much but didn’t do that well at the box office. You’re right that it’s predictable and was kind of a let down, but I had fun with it. I haven’t seen it in years though, might have to give it a watch again.

    Didn’t see anything new this weekend, I bought the 3D bluray of Prometheus and watched the behind the scenes documentary of it. Funny enough, the documentary was more intriguing than the actual movie, lol. It’s one of the best behind the scenes doc that I’ve seen, it’s very interesting that they originally intended to be a direct prequel to the Alien movies. But when Damon Lindelof came on board as a second writer, he convinced Scott to not give it away that’s a prequel to Alien and made it into more of an “original” story line. They interviewed the first writer Jon Spaihts and it sounded like he was not happy about that change, ha ha. The dramas of big budget movie making.

    1. Hi Ted! I could see that Sneakers didn’t do well at the box office. It’s really pretty goofy despite the intriguing storyline and stellar cast.

      I haven’t had the desire to revisit Prometheus to be honest. It was way overhyped and the result was just so so. Yeah, so much drama around it, talk about much ado about nothing, ha..ha..

      1. Ted S.

        Yeah Sneakers was so hyped up mostly because of the cast, unfortunately the actual film didn’t quite deliver. With a better script and director, it would’ve been a great fun action thriller.

        Prometheus sort of grew on me, I liked it the first time I saw it but kind of disappointed a little bit. I’ve watched it again last year and I liked it better. I think it got so hyped mostly because it’s the first Scott’s sci-fi flick since Blade Runner and people expected something special. What they got was just another Alien film.

  3. Rebecca is a brilliant film, took me by surprise how much I liked it actually. I didn’t watch a thing this weekend apart from a few episodes of Orange is the New Black which I’m really enjoying. Oh and some of the World Cup!

    1. Hi Chris! Yeah it was brilliant indeed. Eerie and suspenseful, and I didn’t see the twist coming which was always great when that happens. I’m sure lots of ppl have been enjoying The World Cup, who are you rooting for, well besides England obviously 🙂

        1. I think US is playing Germany next. Well I’m not really rooting for anyone, tho it’s cool that US did beat Ghana and tied w/ Portugal. It seems that most people didn’t even expect we’d do so well, ahah.

  4. Not a period drama fan, but I know you really enjoy them. Now Sneakers is a movie I really enjoy. It might not be the best movie but it has some very funny moments. My favorite is the bit where Redford has to open a door and he is listening what he should do.

    My weekend was a relaxed one, actually only watched one movie, The Raid 2. Thought it wasn’t as good as the first one and will try to get up a review of it next week. Oh and I spent some time reading a book in Amsterdam after I saw you about the Godfather movies. Revisited the first two movies last week.

    1. Hi Nostra, ha yeah I know you’re not but you’re missing out 😉

      Yeah that scene is quite hilarious. I’m surprised how goofy it is but enjoyable all around.

      Oh The Raid, that’s something I’m still too chicken to check out despite being set in my hometown. What do you mean after you saw me about the Godfather movies?? I forgot we talked about that, but cool that you checked those out anyway.

  5. Hey Ruth, looking forward to your review of Rebecca! I love that film and it’s one of my favorite Hitchcock’s; actually the first one of his I ever saw!
    Sneakers is also a really fun time. Not exactly ground-breaking stuff, but the cast works well together and it’s pretty hilarious.
    I watched quite a few movies over the weekend as I hurt my toe and couldn’t walk very well (I’m better now though). Good Will Hunting, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, and rewatches of Raiders of the Lost Ark and How to Steal a Million. Pretty good weekend!

    1. Hi Melissa! Hope your toe is feeling better. Wow, you watched a lot of good stuff. I’m very impressed by Rebecca, I’m surprised how engrossed I was in the story. I’ll write it up tonight and post it tomorrow 🙂

  6. My wife and I recently (like, about a month ago) had an afternoon where all the kids were napping at the same time and so we snuggled on the couch and watched the 1999 Mansfield Park for the first time. WE LOVED IT!

    1. Oh that’s very cool Drew! That’s pretty much what we did this weekend, I was surprised that my hubby was even interested in seeing a Jane Austen movie! 😉

  7. Rebecca’s a very good movie but I’ve always been surprised by the fact that it’s the only Hitchcock movie to win Best Picture (not that it’s undeserving). It does’t quite stick out of his filmography like Rear Window or Vertigo.

    1. I still haven’t seen Rear Window and Vertigo, were they up for an Oscar too? I think Rebecca is excellent, I could see why it won Best Picture.

  8. I’ve always thought MANSFIELD is the toughest one to adapt because Fanny is the least relatable Austen heroine. Most women would not endure all her trials as patiently, shall we say, as she does. Can’t wait to see what you think of REBECCA 🙂

    1. Hi Paula! I see what you mean about Fanny. But I feel that she’s more relatable than say, Jane Eyre, simply because I cannot imagine being able to refuse Rochester in that way [maybe because the actors who play them are so darn good looking!!]. She also endured many trials in her life, perhaps more so than Fanny. In any case, I really like Frances O’Connor in the 1999 version tho we both agree the nudity part is so uncalled for.

      I can’t wait to write the review tonight. I liked it more than I thought I would!

  9. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth:

    It was a time of television premiere’s for me. With TNT’s Major Crimes taking the lead, due to its superior veteran supporting cast. And their new and much hyped, The Last Ship with more than its share of minor mistakes (Flares launched from a destroyer to spoof air to ship missiles do not knock down French Alouette helicopters vainly trying to play Russian attack helicopters!). Though the criminally under rated “Hero of Canton”, Jayne Cobb (Adam Baldwin) rocks his role as the ship’s XO (Executive Officer).

    Nice catch on Sneakers ! A very cleverly updated take on an old Rock Hudson film titled, Blindfold . A better than decent cast working from a plot that could have stood a bit more meat on its bones.

    Rebecca is classic early Hitchcock. With a nicely and deeply layered tale to tell. One that requires patience while absorbing its lush shadowy detailing.

    1. Hi Kevin! I didn’t realize there are some series premiere going on in Summer. But then again I hardly have time for any of them. So you’re not too fond of The Last Ship? Ha! I knew you’d know when military shows made some goofs/blatant inaccuracies. Hey, would you be willing to do a TV series review here at some point?

      I quite enjoyed Sneakers but yeah like you said, the plot is rail thin. But Rebecca is very good, it grabbed my attention right away which is nice since I was prepared to be *patient* in case it was a slow one.

  10. I still haven’t seen Rebecca, though I remember the novel well. I really need to watch it soon. I also haven’t seen either adaptation of Mansfield Park. I may give the Patricia Rozema version a try. This was my least favorite of the Austen novels, but Austen at her worst was still better than most authors at their best. 🙂

    1. Wow you’ve read the novel? I wish I were more of a bookworm but I just don’t seem to have the attention span to read big novels. It really surprised me how much people aren’t fond of Mansfield Park! I happen to like the story and Fanny as the character. Yeah just see the 1999 film version, it’s far superior even if it’s not as faithful as people wanted it to be.

  11. Out of the lot of them . . . I’ve only seen Sneakers. But I agree it is a bit slow and yet funny enough to work, largely because the cast is quite interesting!

    1. Hi Josh! I think the cast is a big part of why I enjoyed it more than I did. I especially got a kick out of seeing Strathairn as the blind genius, he’s hilarious and I’ve never seen him in any comedic role before.

  12. Nice work, Ruth. I have very fond memories of Sneakers and Phoenix. Enjoyable little flick with a top cast.

    Is this a new theme you’re working under? I like it!! 🙂

    1. Hi Mark! It’s too bad about Phoenix being gone, he’s such a talented actor!

      Oh it’s not a new theme, I just changed the background. Thank you, glad you liked it! 😀

  13. I have not seen the Billie Piper Mansfield Park, but I have seen the one with Frances O’Conner and I love love that one. I love her! You have to watch Mr. Selfridge’s I think that it is the type of show you would love and she is in it and plays Mrs. Selfridge. You will love it I promise!! Your husband is a trooper for watching these with you. My husband will watch Mr. Selfridge and Downton Abbey, but I can’t get him to watch these. 😦 lol

    I love Rebecca, looking forward to your review.

    1. Hello dahling! I always love it whenever you pop up, we have such similar taste!

      I’m glad you’ve seen the 1999 Mansfield Park. Frances is lovely yet so underrated! Oh I need to see Mr Selfridge! Is that a BBC thing or a movie? Ha..ha.. yeah I was astonished that my hubby wanted to see MP w/ me but he enjoyed it I think. I know he won’t watch Downton Abbey, esp now knowing how I always think of Toby every time I see Dame Maggie Smith, LOL!

      1. Yes I love MP it’s so cute. I am a sucker for British period pieces too. High five we rule! Mr. Selfridge is on PBS and part of the Masterpiece Theater shows like Downton. Oh my goodness! Your husband must be like do not say the “T” word in my house! LOL

        1. High five!! Man I wish we lived close, it’d be fun to meet up and fangirl on those British boys 😉

          Ok I’ll see if I can find Mr Selfridge now. Ahah well my hubby is used to it as I’m always crushing on someone. If it’s not Toby it’s someone else, I’m always so obsessive. But I think w/ Toby it feels stronger as he’s just sooooo GOOD y’know, and I love that he’s a family man too, he’s not a player even tho he’s so darn good looking.

          1. Seriously we could watch all our period shows and swoon and our husbands would be so happy! They should get an award of some sort for watching these shows and movies. Yes you know what Toby seems like more real than a regular movie star, attainable in a way right?!

            1. Ahah well I don’t think he’s attainable at all, I mean he’s happily married (and so am I) plus he’s got three kids! I saw a photo of him w/ his pregnant wife and his two kids at an airport and he’s beaming w/ a big smile. I LOVE that he’s such a family man and he talks about his wife a lot, it’s admirable to be in showbiz and have such a normal life. That’s what makes me love him even more. I admire Toby I guess that’s the more apt term, can’t say I love a man I never met right? 😉

              1. I meant maybe as in he seems attainable as in he is like a real guy. He’s a family man, he has normal values, he’s not looking to be this person that is overtly in your face famous, so it almost makes me think well if Ruth had met him back in the day it could have worked. (at least you can imagine that) Where as you think of Leonardo DiCaprio, that just seems out there.

                1. Ah I see what you mean. Yup yup, exactly, he’s in the business for the craft because he loves doing it, he’s not doing it for the fame. I love how he said that his mum, I mean THE Dame Maggie Smith who has won acclaims the world over, never helped him to get any role. She always encouraged him to see plays, study it, etc. so he’s definitely got the acting bug (and talent) from her but she wasn’t going to make it easy for him, y’know.

                  I really respect that. I think a lot of actors only want to be movie stars and be rich. I mean Toby still takes the tube in London, imagine that!! And he said that he cycles to the theater where he performs. I mean seriously, you’d think he’d be dropped off in a limo or something. No siree, he said he cycled there every night so he couldn’t take one of the gifts one of his fans gave him as he couldn’t fit ’em in his bicycle. Isn’t that adorable or what?? Yes yes, my Toby-itis is raging now!

                  1. That is super adorable! I could see that. I wonder if there are any pics of him on the tube floating around the internet. I always see ones with random famous people. I’d like to see that! Yes his mum the Dame she is the bomb.com and I am sure she taught him to be a proper gentlemen and not a jerk ass Hollywood actor.

                    Yes the -itis is raging at the moment! I’m sorry there is no cure Ruth!

                    1. I love that he [and surely his mum too] see the acting thing as just another profession, so they don’t become snobs thinking that they’re better than everyone else. There’s this Czech site that post a whole bunch of random Toby photos and I found one of Toby & his wife taking the tube! http://nd05.jxs.cz/215/279/03fa16346f_86421877_o2.jpg and here’s one of him looking oh-so-dapper in a leather-y suit: http://nd05.jxs.cz/598/692/b062395bef_86421909_o2.jpg YOWZA! 😛

                    2. OMG! Awesome lol. See I knew those existed. I love love seeing those, because again it reminds me of them as real people. Just chillin doing whatever riding the subway. That leather suit!

                    3. Did I tell you that I got a loooong letter from a fellow Tobette who met him last year? She went to see his play ‘Private Lives’ in London and got to see him FOUR times!! Well this is what he said about him: “Toby was great, truly amazingly patient, kind, generous — and sexy, drop-dead sexy!! (What kills me is how he doesn’t act like he knows it.)” Awwww!!!

  14. Sneakers sounds great! I’ll add it to my watchlist. 🙂 I watched some 2002 films, like Frida, Narc, Secretary, and Spider, this weekend for my upcoming CinSpec post. I liked most of them, but Spider was a strange one.

    1. Hi Josh! Wow so I saw something YOU haven’t seen? That’s quite rare 😉 I think it’s quite fun, plot is thin but still enjoyable. I haven’t seen any of the films you mentioned, I know that Secretary is quite a racy movie tho, not really interested in that one.

  15. Pingback: » Movie Review – Eye, The Fernby Films

  16. Sneakers is one of my all-time favorites (and is one of those films that’s something of a shibboleth in the computer industry; Setec Astronomy is pretty popular as dummy data.)

    I’m glad you got the chance to see it and that you enjoyed it. And yes, James Earl Jones’ cameo at the end is wonderful.

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