Weekend Roundup: Catching up on Downton Abbey + a ho-hum Hitchcock film

Happy Bastille Day Monday everyone!

Man now I wish I were back in Paris again [sigh] So how’s your weekend? It was another glorious Summer day on Sunday, ahead of the Polar Vortex (or you can call it the cool Canadian air) that keeps temps only in the 60s today. Yep, I actually have to wear a light jacket today, heh.

I guess he has every reason to feel triumphant

So it seems that a lot of you saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes this weekend. ‘Apes’ Goes Bananas says Box Office Mojo [though we never saw any of the apes actually ate a banana], and the mojo is definitely with director Matt Reeves as the sequel brought in a whopping $73 mil domestically, and it’s already over $100 mil internationally. It’s the only tentpole film opening this weekend so basically there’s no competition. Besides who in the right mind would want to see those dreadful robots over these intelligent & emotive apes?

Well, if you’ve read my review then you already know I LOVED it. I actually don’t mind renting that again when it’s out on Blu-ray, maybe a double feature w/ the 2011 reboot. I sure hope Reeves will be back at the helm for the third film, man it’s poised to be one heck of a sci-fi trilogy!


My weekend viewing is mostly home cinema. After nearly a year, I finally caught up with Downton Abbey again. Yes I know, my TV viewing is quite pathetic, I’m still on season 2! I don’t know if I’ll finish all four seasons by year’s end but I sure will am gonna try.

Well, everything I loved about it that I wrote last year is still true. I love all the characters, there are a lot of them but even the minor characters like Mr. Lang is intriguing. Dame Maggie Smith still has the best lines, and I LOVE seeing dashing Iain Glen as a newspaper mogul Sir Richard Carlisle. It’s a testament to his versatility that he’s starring in Downton Abbey AND Game of Thrones around the same time, the two couldn’t be more different from each other.


There are lots going on this season! What with Downton being turned into a hospital & all the intricacies that brings, Anna and Mr. Bates, not to mention the scandals of Lavinia and Sir Richard. Plenty of juicy scenes awaits!


As part of my Hitchcock catch-up, I also saw a lesser-known film Torn Curtain (1966) as part of this Hitchcock Blogathon by Rob & Zoe. I learned about the blogathon pretty late so the films are all picked over. Still I was curious to see this one because the premise sounded intriguing and so is the casting of Paul Newman + Julie Andrews. Heh, I wish I had picked another film, it was such a bore!


As I read the IMDb trivia, apparently Hitchcock himself didn’t like the film. So much so that he didn’t even want to appear in the trailer. He’s apparently unhappy with the screenplay and Newman’s performance but my main beef is with Julie Andrews’ casting. Well I’ll spare you the detailed review until August, but suffice to say I’d never watch it again.

Well so that’s my weekend viewing folks. How about you? Seen anything good?

57 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup: Catching up on Downton Abbey + a ho-hum Hitchcock film

  1. great roundup Ruth.

    Thanks for the shoutout for the upcoming blogathon. Maybe you wanna grab another one to “redeem” hitchcock 🙂 We still have a few available if you or anyone else want to grab one!

    1. Thanks Rob! Ahah that’s ok. I think one of my guest blogger might contribute something for The Birds, it’s not a straight review so it’s ok right if someone else already taken that? If not I’ll still post it anyway on my own blog.

  2. Nice post Ruth. I loved the first series of Downton but felt it went a bit downhill from there. You still have a lot more to come though so keep watching! Saw Transformers at the weekend, not very impressed. Hoping to see Boyhood this week!

    1. Well so far I LOVE season 2, so if you call that *downhill* then I don’t mind 😉 Oh you saw Transformers?? I hated that last one with every fiber in my being. Wow, going that to Boyhood is quite a stretch, ha!

  3. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth:

    Verbally filleting, eviscerating, then slicing and dicing her known and perceived enemies is what Dame Maggie Smith does best. And what’s so cool about her soliloquies is that the person she directs her venom at so rarely is aware of it!

    While ‘Torn Curtain’ is a miscast and rarely suspenseful mess. With Newman and Julie Andrews playing characters that do not produce empathy. Even with the clever way of silencing an enemy agent inside a gas oven whose pilot light has been turned off.

    Definitely not one of Hitchcock’s best efforts.

    1. Amen on what you said about Dame Maggie! Well clearly the supreme talents run in the family, Toby definitely inherits the looks + acting chops from his mum 😉

      Torn Curtain is a missed opportunity as the premise is intriguing but it was devoid of any suspense or even believability.

  4. You would think having Paul Newman and Julie Andrews, two top-tier performers, in a Hitchcock film would have produced a winner. Or, at least something intriguing. Alas, it is as Kevin said,

    “…‘Torn Curtain’ is a miscast and rarely suspenseful mess”

  5. Ted S.

    Just went to the Oakdale theater and saw Dawn of the Apes. I was not impressed with the UltraX projector, even though I enjoyed the movie, I was pretty distracted by how bad the picture quality was in that theater. Let’s just say I won’t be going back there anytime soon. The theater itself is very nice but unfortunately the projector they’re using is not up to standards I expect to see for the so-called 4K resolution. I’m going to go see Dawn of the Apes again at the Icon theater later this week, probably in 3D since Reeves shot the movie natively in that format. Then I can compare to the 2D version. As far as the Oakdale theater, it’s not worth the long drive to go see a movie there, I’ll stick with IMAX and the IconX.

    1. Oh that’s too bad Ted, especially considering how far Oakdale is! Ah well now I won’t go there then, somehow my colleague thinks the world of it, but obviously he doesn’t quite have your standards, ahah. ICON is still the best theater here in town I think, so yeah I’ll stick w/ that one.

      1. Ted S.

        Oh the theater itself is very nice, the seats are comfy and the screen is huge. But the quality of the projector is terrible, maybe I’ll give it another shot since i only saw one movie there. Who knows maybe this projector is running low on lamp power or something. But yeah I consider myself to be quite knowledgeable when it comes to projectors’ quality, I don’t know your co-worker but I assume he/she probably not well verse in that area. 🙂

        Oh yeah the ICON and IMAX at the zoo are the two best theaters in MN. Distant third would be the fake IMAX at Southdale.

  6. Yeah, it is kind of funny that we don’t see the apes eat bananas…. but then again 1971’s Escape From The Planet Of The Apes, Zira (the main ape character) did say she hated bananas….

    Love the new Apes movies…. definitely prefer them to those loud robots… not even a close fight!

    1. Ahah really, the apes in the classic films hated bananas? That’s funny! Yep, these apes trample those giant robots any day, seriously Michael Bay should never be allowed to make any more movies. He’s a menace to society!!

  7. Happy Bastille Day Ruth!
    I rewatched the original Star Wars trilogy this weekend and so didn’t get to see anything new.
    Sorry to hear Torn Curtain is so terrible. I was always kind of intrigued because of the cast, but I can’t say that I’m surprised that it isn’t very good, coming so late in Hitchcock’s career. Ah well, I’m looking forward to your review!

    1. Oh cool, so are you gonna blog about your Star Wars viewing like you did w/ Star Trek?

      Yeah, Torn Curtain is a mess and clearly Hitchcock himself hated it.

  8. I didn’t see much this weekend due to the World Cup finals which was great though I was pulling for Argentina for the win but Germany played great as they deserved to win.

    I did see Life Itself on Friday and on Saturday, Frozen. I’m taking a break due to post-Cup fatigue as I’m going to get back to film-watching tomorrow.

    1. Ah yeah, World Cup finals. I kinda knew Germany would win, is this their third straight championship or something? I forgot.

      I’m checking out your reviews right now. Nice to see you finally checking out Frozen!

  9. Ruthy Ruth! Totally need to see the ape flix as I mentioned before. The fact that you liked it makes me even more excited to see it. So proud of you for putting in some TV time haha and Downton Abbey, umm hello I am obsessed with that show. It only gets better every season, I can’t wait until you get caught up. So much happens it’s awesome. Toby would be so proud of you for catching up with his dear mother. She probably has the best lines. Who is your fave so far?

    1. Melissa dahling! I have to give you a nickname somehow, do you have one? 😉 Check out the 2011 version if you haven’t already, the relationship between Caesar & Franco’s character is heart-wrenching.

      I was hoping you’d notice me watching Downton. I’m obsessed w/ it too, there are soooo many awesome characters in it. He..he.. as you know I can’t help thinking of Toby every time Dame Maggie comes along. I always thank her under my breath, THANK YOU for creating such a gorgeous creature, bless your heart! 😛 Hard to pick who my fave characters are, well for sure Countess Dowager is a hoot but I also love Mr Bates & Anna, such a lovely couple & they’ve been thru so much. I also adore Lady Sibyl & Tom Branson!

      1. Lady Ruth I do not have a nickname, Mel would be the closest thing to one. I never saw the Franco one I will have to check it out. I think I read some bad reviews and I got kind of turned off from watching it.

        Of course! So glad you are back on it. You have 2 more seasons to go… oh boy you are in for a wild ride. I know the Countess is awesome, she says what is on her mind and she is so high class it is funny. I like when she says her snide remarks about the “middle class.” lol Yes and Yes… Bates and Anna are so friggin cute and Lady Sibyl (she’s my fave) and Branson makes my heart melt. I also adore Lady Mary, she is probably my other fave girl. When in doubt call on Carlton! 🙂

        1. How about Lady Melly? Or just Lady Mel? 😉

          I’m not generally a fan of Franco, but he’s very good in the Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but of course the star is always Caesar.

          I’m bracing myself for a wild ride!! I saw the 4th episode of Season 2 and I teared up when Matthew & William showed up after they were reported missing. Oooh, Lady Mary’s expression when she saw him, it’s heartbreaking. Ahah yeah, the Countess is incorrigible! I thought it was fun how aghast she was when they decided to make Downton into a hospital “I forbid it!” 😀 I tell you Dame Maggie is a rock star, she’s always soooo fun to watch, I’ve loved her even before Toby entered the picture, ahah. Have you seen her in Quartet as a former Opera singer? I saw it solely for Dame Maggie. And of course Best Marigold Hotel is awesome, I also love her BFF Dame Judi Dench. Man, Toby’s so blessed to have grown up around these thespians, no wonder he became a solid actor in his own right!

          Sorry I went off on a tanget, ahah.

          1. Ohh I love your tangents. Sure Lady Mel works… one day I will reign over all the TV watchers. lol

            OMG prepare to keep SOL-ing, remember sighing out loud. That’s how I feel the whole time I watch the show. DA is very much a show that I knew you would love and love obsessively like I do. Wait till you get in deeper, the Downton affliction only gets worse.

            No I didn’t know she was an opera singer! I know you love her hello she birthed your favorite person. Yes love Judi Dench too, they are the coolest besties and I did like the Marigold Hotel flick too. You know we love our Brits. When I was a teenager I used to watch As Time Goes By, I don’t think I have ever met anyone who has watched that, have you ?

            1. You already ARE the reigning queen of TV watchers! So that makes you Queen Mel then 😀

              Lots of SOL-ing indeed, and tearing up too! I’m a crier and there are lots of moments where I got all choked up, he..he.. I LOVE period dramas as you know, and yeah it’s so well-written that it’s so addictive!! Man so now I have Toby-itis and Downton-itis!! I tell you, between those two mother/son, they’re ruling over my life right now!

              Oh no, I meant in the movie she played an opera singer, ahah. Did u know Toby’s been in a play with Dame Judi as well? In fact, in one dual-interview, Dame Maggie said that her pal Judi saw more of her son as she’s also in that Bond film Toby did, Die Another Day.

              Oh I haven’t seen As Time Goes By. Now you have me curious!

              1. Yes Queen Mel… oh I like that! And Queen Ruth of the Period Pieces and Lady of the Tobettes. Same here I love my period dramas and I get so attached to the characters too. I wish you watched GOT you would get SO attached to them, but we have said it before you cannot be tainted with such violence. lol

                Can you imagine all of them hanging out and chatting about their mundane acting jobs?! Oh just another day with the Dame Judi.

                As Time Goes By is an old British show,it aired in the 90’s. It was kind of corny but I used to like it, I think that’s what got me going on liking British shows and what not. That and Mr. Bean. 🙂

                1. Lady of the Tobettes, I LOVE it!! Thank you Queen Mel! Ahah, it’s not that I don’t want to be tainted w/ violence, ahah, as if I’m so pure! It’s just that I don’t have nerves of steel. I mean, just seeing one soldier got shot in Downton made me jump, I don’t think I could survive even one episode of GoT, cute boys notwithstanding!

                  Black Sails was quite violent and I had to hide under the blanket a few times, I asked my friend to tell me when it’s over, mwahaha. But I tolerated it because of Toby, and I think that show is not even half as violent as GoT or even Spartacus that’s also by Starz.

                  The thing is with these British actors, they treat it like a regular job, that’s why they don’t become smug or affected by fame/money. I think Toby’s mum taught him well in that they simply act for a living, so no movie-star attitude from any of them. Dame Maggie is practically royalty tho but I know Toby lives a very down-to-earth lifestyle w/ his family.

                  Oh I definitely will look that up now, I’m sure there are actors I recognized. I LOVE Mr Bean too, he’s such a hoot!! I love all his cameos in British comedies like Four Weddings & A Funeral, Love Actually, etc. Now Love, Actually is another British movie I absolutely adore!!

                  1. I know!! GOT would be too much for you, it’s so violent, but I have to Spartacus was probably even more violent. If only we could get you an edited, clean version of GOT. Hahaha! I can’t wait to start Black Sails, I may try out the first episode tonight.

                    Yes Dame Maggie is awesome, but as you mentioned she and the like stay away from the limelight and it is probably what keeps them seemingly normal.

                    Oh so you excited you like him too! Mr. Bean, used to come on after As Time Goes By and Are you Being Served. Those were my teenage years and probably why I was a nerd. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                    I just read those posts… loved them.. We have to think of something, maybe when you are done with Downton we can do our fave scenes, moments or characters, something along those lines. Not sure just thinking out loud. 🙂

        1. Mwahahaha! I thought so too. I actually looked up and see which one is Carlton, maybe I missed him or he hasn’t shown up yet in season 2, ahah. I really like Mr Carson, he’s such a dedicated worker. Branson w/ his Irish accent is so cute!! He’s so perfect for Sybil! It’s amazing how nearly EVERY character is interesting, I also like Mrs. Hughes and her relationship w/ Mr Carson. It’s platonic but it’s obvious she cares about him. I’m slowly warming up to Lady Mary, but I’m not overly fond of Michelle Dockery, at least not yet.

          Btw, I found this awesome blog that lists all the characters:

          That’ll be a great cheat sheet for me as I’m watching this! 😀

          1. Yes I was like Carlton, that doesn’t sound right, oh yes it is Carson duh. I haven’t seen DA in a few months since it ended so I couldn’t remember. Yes I was going off on my tangent too and had to stop myself, but I wanted to mention Mrs. Hughes too, I love her. I think you will grow to love Mary, now she is one of my favorites. I also love the Mother Cora she is so sweet, love her, love how she has the American side to her and tenderness that the other people don’t seem to have. I also love Daisy, she is one my faves and William. Thomas is an ass but he’s a good character and O’Brien she is a biatch. Love how they add their little drama to the show.

            Does your hubby watch this? Mine actually does, sometimes he’ll complain that he is bored, but he watches it and I think secretly enjoys it. 🙂 His fave is Bates and Carson! haha

            1. You are free to go off on a tangent here, m’dear! I mean you are the Queen after all, not just a lady 😉

              Mrs Hughes is not as visible as others but when she’s on screen I really like her. I can’t stand Mrs O’Brien but I think she’s written to be the *villain* of the show. Well her and Thomas, ugh! I tell you, I feel bad for Mr Carson for having to put up w/ Thomas, esp after the war.

              I think I will come to love Mary. I find that her and her mother Cora are at times unsympathetic, but then they did something that made me go, ‘ah they’re not so bad after all.’ Hey we should collaborate on a Downton post or something, we have to think of something girl, I mean we haven’t collaborated on anything yet. I did a two-part post [period drama related, no less] a while back with my friend Paula, I think you’d like it: http://wp.me/pxXPC-2Ta & http://wp.me/pxXPC-38K

              No unfortunately my hubby doesn’t like period dramas, but he did watch one episode but he’s got his laptop w/ him so he’s not really paying attention, ahah. Your hubby is a trooper for watching Downton with you!!

              1. Yes gosh I am seriously a sucker for Downton, I think it is so well written. Considering there are so many stories going on with different people, it never feels like it is all over the place. I love seeing how they dress, the house, the décor, all of it and the differences between upstairs and downstairs life. I can’t wait until you catch up, so we can dish some more.

                He’ll complain here and there about how nothing exciting happens, he always says all they do is look at each other and they want to get married, not even a kiss. lol

                Ok I will check out those posts! Let’s think of something fun… hmmm now my mind is working away.

            1. I found out the hard way a while back in regards to Matthew’s character. So now I don’t do that anymore. It’s tough nowadays to avoid ’em in the age of social media!

  10. I was all set to be outraged. “A ho hum Hitchcock film”, what narcotic were you under the influence of. Then I saw which film it was, sorry, you are right. Go on with your life as if I said nothing.

    1. Ahah, funniest comment ever Richard! Well I never thought I’d call a Hitchcock film ho-hum but I really couldn’t get into the story w/ this one, it’s pretty bad.

    1. Hello Zoë! Lovely to see you stop by, girl! Ahah, I’ve actually haven’t been all that productive this weekend, but I’m glad to get into Downton again. Yeah if you haven’t seen Torn Curtain, just skip it.

      1. Sorry I haven’t been around much, been under so much work, exams, the whole shebang. But I am back to plague you once again! 😀

        Anything looks productive to me nowadays hahahahaha!

        Totally taking your word for it!

        1. I hear ya Zoë! I hope all your exams + work are going well, but hey you are a smart girl, I’m sure you’ve got them all under control!

          I welcome you *plaguing* me 😀 Anytime girl, I always enjoy the discussions w/ fellow film fans. Of course there are also lots of fangirling involved. Who are you obsessing with at the moment?

  11. LOL! I have heard of Torn Curtain, but know really nothing about it except that it was lesser Hitch, but I had no idea it had Newman and Andrews, two of my favorite actors EVER in it!!! OMG, how could he waste that talent on a boring movie!!! No!!!!

    1. Hi Andrew! Yeah it’s such a waste of talents but I wouldn’t say it’s Hitch’s fault. I think he wanted other actors for the parts and he’s right as both seem so miscast here.

  12. Watched Apes last night and it was really good! Haven’t seen Downton Abbey but it does not seem like my cup of tea. I tend to love Hitchcock but I always had a feeling Torn Curtain would be boring. This weekend I watched Woody Allen: A Documentary. It was pretty good!

    1. Glad you enjoyed Dawn of Apes, Fernando! It’s really fantastic, definitely the best of the Summer.

      If you’re not a fan of period dramas, I’d say yeah you probably aren’t gonna like Downton. But I LOVED it!! 🙂

      I didn’t even know there’s a doc on Woody Allen, very interesting!

      1. Still prefer DOFP and Winter Soldier, but yeah, it was so good.

        Not a big fan of period dramas overall but I know how you love them 😉

        And yes. A lot of interesting talking heads and an in-depth look at his whole career. Loved that it wasn’t afraid to go to some darker places, like the whole Soon-Yi debacle.

  13. Iain Glenn played somewhat an evil dude in DA but I still preferred him to that baby face she keeps longing after, what’s his face, the one who got injured during war. At least Glenn’s character was interesting. I really need to catch up on the show I think I ended on s3 when things got seriously depressing.

    1. Iain Glen makes for a great villain, and yeah I figure he’s quite a ruthless character being a newspaper mogul and all. I like Dan Stevens too, but you’re right, Glen’s character is far more interesting and as you know, both you and I like ’em slightly more um, mature 😉 I hope he sticks around the entire 2nd season!

  14. Oh, sorry you were bored with Torn Curtain. I like it, but it has its faults.

    I mainly watched some 1941 films this weekend for my upcoming ballot. I LOVED Meet John Doe and The Wolf Man! Though, I also saw (and loved) Begin Again and Life Itself – the Roger Ebert documentary.

    1. I wish I could say there are some redeeming quality about Torn Curtain but I can’t figure out what it is.

      Oh I want to see Meet John Doe, that’s w/ Gary Cooper right? Gosh I can’t believe I haven’t seen any of his films yet!

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