FIVE FILMS FOREVER Blogathon

New year, new blogathon – say hello to ‘Five Films Forever’ blogathon … spearheaded by my friend Claire from Cinematic Delights.

The challenge:

You wake up to eerie silence. You call out ‘Hello?’ but no-one answers. You’re alone except for a film projector and speakers with infinite battery life and five of your favourite films at the foot of the projector. You have nowhere to be so start watching the films. What are they, where are you and how will your story play out?

  • My fate: Where have you been deserted – are you adrift like Hanks in Castaway or are you an end of the world survivor like Smith in I Am Legend?
    It’s way too depressing to imagine myself as the lone survivor in an end-of-the-world scenario… so let’s say I end up adrift in an island somewhere in the Caribbean, but somehow I gained access to an empty vacation house equipped with a state-of-the-art home projector theater system 😉 AND an adorable cat to keep me company! 😺
  • My finale: How will your time alone end? Will you be saved by Spielberg or will you live happily ever after on your own like Disney?
    After a few months of soaking up the sun and enjoying everything the vacation house has to offer, my blissful holiday  castaway period comes to an end when a cruise ship suddenly docks and the Tom Bateman lookalike captain rescues me back to civilization! 😍

  • My five films: What are the five films you would happily watch for the foreseeable future and why?

I had participated in a similar blogathon over a decade ago where I had to pick 8 films that I’d take with me if I were stranded on a desert island. This is a lot harder as I have fewer movies to pick. Looking back at that post, those films are still my favorites but out of that list, there is only one I’d still include in this list.

So here are my FIVE FILMS picks:

1. Roman Holiday

I knew I had to include one classic movie in my collection, and given my love for Gregory Peck, it kinda narrow things down for me 😉 This William Wyler rom-com is one of those movies that’s guaranteed to lift your mood whenever you watch it. The plot may seem straight out of a Disney princess movie but there’s SO much more and it’s deeper than meets the eye… radiant Audrey Hepburn played a princess of an unnamed European country who falls for a handsome, charming American journalist. An eternally enchanting film with a poignant ending that sticks with you long after the end credits.

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I enjoy a good superhero movie, so you’ve got to look among the MCU. Well, the Captain America movies make up one of the best trilogies ever and The Winter Soldier is the best of the three. I’ve watched this movie over a dozen times… it’s so immensely watchable, full of amazingly-crafted action scenes that I can watch on repeat. The friendship between Capt and Bucky is the heart of not just the trilogy, but it strongly impacts the storyline of The Avengers as well.

3. The Gods Must Be Crazy

After enjoying a delightful rom-com and a dynamic action movie, it’s time for a genuinely hilarious comedy. It’s really not a tough pick for me as I’ve loved this 80s classic since I was a kid. I used to watch this with my late mom and two brothers and it still made me laugh out loud to this day. The story of a traveling Bushman who encounters modern civilization is simply brilliant. There’s a certain timelessness to its humor, the witty script and slapstick comedic scenes (courtesy of N!xau as Xi and Marius Weyers as Mr. Steyn) always makes me cry with laughter. To this day I’d still say ‘ayayayayay’ whenever I remember this movie 😀 Oh and that Land Rover is a character in its own right!

4. Monsters, Inc.

When you’re all alone in a desert island, you’ve got to have something to constantly lift your spirits. I love Pixar movies and Monsters, Inc. is one of my all time favorites! Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) is one of my top 10 Pixar characters, and the movie still remains one of the best from Pixar even two decades later. I actually rewatched this recently and I loved it even more. There are so many details I appreciate now that I missed back then… but the genius is in the story (script by Pete Docter, natch) and the memorable characters.

5. Sense & Sensibility

Well, this last pick should be no surprise to most of you. After all, this is my favorite film of all time… one I’ve watched countless times and one that never fails to move me. Elinor Dashwood and Colonel Brandon are two of my all time favorite cinematic characters… in fact, I love the latter much I actually named my lead character in my film Hearts Want after him (Lily Brandon – there’s also the ‘li’ from Elinor).

Sense & Sensibility is actually not my fave Jane Austen novel (that would be Persuasion), but Emma Thompson‘s script and Ang Lee‘s direction actually elevated the material and made it work perfectly for the screen. The agony of unrequited love & ecstasy of finally finding love is realized so beautifully, all mixed in with sharp wit and humor that makes it so fun to watch every time. It’s also a gorgeous movie to get lost in… isn’t escapism what everyone wants in a movie? The acting, scenery, costumes, art direction, music, etc. all work harmoniously to make this a timeless masterpiece. I certainly don’t mind watching this on repeat if I ever get stuck somewhere.


So what do you say, friends? What 5 movies would YOU pick if you were stranded? Let’s hear it!

The Flix List: 15 favorite period drama heroes – Part I

As a huge fan of period dramas, I’ve been wanting to make up this list for quite some time. To double the fun, I invited my Twitter pal and fellow period drama enthusiast Paula G. to collaborate with me on this one and we came up with no less than 15 of our favorite romantic heroes from various literary adaptations on both TV and movies and the actors who portray them beautifully. Because of the length, this post is divided into two parts, read Part II here.

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What makes a great romantic hero? In a lot of cases, it isn’t just the attractiveness of the actors, their abilities, the script, the period costumes, etc. There’s one word that’s going to get overused here, and that’s chemistry. Chemistry will make you believe anything; lack thereof will put you to sleep. So here are the first eight on the list that got it right (listed in random order):

1. John Thornton – North & South

Paula – Ruth recommended North & South to me, as I hadn’t seen it before or read the Elizabeth Gaskell novel it’s based on. I watched part of it on YouTube, and very soon added it to my Netflix queue. Simply because, although Richard Armitage is not my usual cup of tea looks-wise, there is a lot of chemistry between the two leads, and by the time they get together, I reckon everyone has been willing it to happen. Most romantic scene (so far): Thornton defends Margaret to his mean mother & sister.

RuthI actually heard about BBC miniseries when I saw a clip on YouTube and was instantly mesmerized by Richard’s smolder. Forget Darcy, Thornton’s the real deal, his torment is something even guys today can relate to. He actually has an occupation and business crisis he has to deal with, so he’s not just sitting around all day thinking about which girl to marry. Though he loves his mother dearly, he’s no mama’s boy. Oh and that chemistry with Margaret, woof [fanning myself]… have you seen the bewitching kiss on the train station? There’s a reason I chose they’re my favorite romantic couple. Anyway, I’m a fan of Richard for life because of this piece, in fact, I’ve suggested him for various roles, i.e. a futuristic Robin Hood and Uncharted‘s Nathan Drake. He’s one of those Brits I’m still waiting to hit it big in Hollywood, hopefully his role in The Hobbit will lead to more high-profile projects!

2. Edward Rochester – Jane Eyre (2011 and 1983 version)

Paula – (2011 version) I’ll take this opportunity to shill for my favorite in the role from my favorite version, Michael Fassbender. It has been argued that any filmed Rochester should be as physically unattractive as he is described in the novel. I counter by saying that an adaptation needs some shorthand. Because the novel’s sexual undertone has to be conveyed in a hurry to get it into two or three hours, the chemistry needs to be believable straight away. Fassbender really captures Rochester’s crankiness, sense of humor, and vitality. If you watch him during the scene in which he’s officially introduced to Jane, you really get that nobody’s ever talked back to him and he kind of likes it. And later, when he says he’s looking to marry a girl who will “regenerate me with a vengeance,” we know he isn’t talking about a visit to the spa. Most romantic scene: The proposal scene is always good but I offer these alternatives: One night in Rochester’s room, Jane puts out one fire and sets off another… Jane and Rochester banter over her wages…Rochester finally tells Jane the truth about Bertha Mason —and Jane’s so into him she needs God’s help to leave him.

Ruth – (1983 version) I’ve dedicated an entire post for my favorite Rochester, because to me, Dalton captured the darkness of the quintessential tortured soul, as well as the intense love he has for Jane. Then there’s the way he delivers every line with so much emotion… his voice alone is a ‘character’ in itself that brings life to role like no other. Most romantic scene: The bedroom fire & proposal scenes pack heat, but I also love the part when Rochester’s been sleeping in front of Jane’s door waiting for her. When she came out, she tripped on him and fell right into his arms. Rochester holds her with such indescribable longing as he whispers sweet nothings into her ear… man, that Jane certainly has some amazing willpower!

P.S. Fassbender is my second favorite Rochester. He’s swoon-worthy for sure, this role proves the amazing range this Irish-German actor has. No wonder he’s in such a high demand in leading man roles!

3. Col. Brandon – Sense & Sensibility

PaulaAlan Rickman may be more known for his antagonist roles like Hans Gruber and Severus Snape, but he does a great job in this film with quietly and subtly portraying complete and total unrequited devotion. He so vividly shows love at first sight and then represses it for the rest of the movie. That is, until his beloved is so desperately ill that if he doesn’t have something to do, he shall run mad. In Jane Austen’s novels, it’s always the quiet steady ones who are worth the wait, as Marianne discovers. I thought Rickman had great chemistry with Emma Thompson as Elinor, which really made the story’s crossed signals believable. Most romantic scene: Brandon rescues Marianne from a rainstorm.

RuthOne of the major reasons the 1995’s Sense and Sensibility is my all time favorite film is because of Rickman’s sensitive portrayal as Col. Brandon. As I said in the Jane Austen rain scenes post, Brandon is the most compelling of the three male characters, as is the case in the 2008 BBC version with David Morrissey as Brandon. He’s a bit more expressive in his affection for Marianne but Morrissey’s got that dark, brooding look and quiet grace that I think is perfect for the role.

4. Frederick Wentworth – Persuasion

PaulaStrictly as the character is written, Wentworth is a bit of a cipher. This is Austen’s intent as we are meant to see everything from Anne Elliot’s point of view and thus cannot know Wentworth’s mind or intentions. I think the best version is Ciaran Hinds in the 1995 feature film; Amanda Root is my favorite Anne Elliot as well. Most romantic scene: Wentworth writes Anne a love note while they are both in a room full of people and, under Mrs. Musgrove’s nose, devises a way to get it to her.

RuthThe tale of second chances at love is what makes me love Persuasion so much. As Paula said though, we’re deprived of Wentworth’s viewpoint which can be a challenge for the actor playing the part. I was so taken by this story I actually bought a book called Captain Wentworth’s Diary by Amanda Grange which was quite a fun read. I agree that the 1995 film is the superior adaptation as well, though the 2010 Masterpiece Theater version has a more appealing production qualities and the dashing Rupert Penry-Jones as Wentworth. It’s a shame though they didn’t have him wear a Navy uniform the entire film! Both actors convey their repressed passion well, which makes the few breathless-ness moments he shared with Anne in the film all the more impactful.

5. Fitzwilliam Darcy – Pride & Prejudice

PaulaAnd now…also from the year 1995…from the Romantic Period Hero Hall of Fame…Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. As an aristocratic curmudgeon attracted to the “wrong” girl from a mortifying family, Firth does Darcy’s hauteur, studied indifference, confusion, resolve, and passionate love so well, it’s impossible not to picture him when you read the book. Firth was so brilliant in the role, he played it again (brilliantly) in the two Bridget Jones films.

Most romantic scene: Of course the wet-shirt-in-the-lake scene is justly famous, but I also love the scene, quite early on, when Elizabeth shows up at Netherfield to visit her sick sister. As she strides into the dining room in her her muddy dress and boots to the disapproving stares of the ladies, Darcy can only smile. P.S. Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle had so much chemistry, they got together in real life.

Ruth – I’m not going to deny Firth’s place as every girl’s favorite Jane Austen hero, and I too was quite skeptical about Matthew MacFadyen’s casting in the 2005 version. But upon second viewing, his Mr. Darcy rendition actually grows on me. He’s got gorgeous eyes and has that longing look down pat, and my favorite part is when his hand touches Lizzy’s as he helps her to her carriage, an electric spark between them sort of ignites and he sort of tries to shake it off (unsuccessfully I’d imagine) That’s the stuff dreamy love stories are made off [sigh] …

6. Mr. Knightley – Emma

PaulaGallant manners, witty repartee and devilish grin…no wonder rich, spoiled Emma Woodhouse starts to get jealous when Jeremy Northam’s Mr. Knightley pays attention to the mysterious Jane Fairfax and naif Harriet Smith. But does he love her back? We know he does but it’s funny to watch them figure it out. PS: Does anyone know this guy’s first name? She’ll be calling him Mr. Knightley when she’s 60. Most romantic scene: Northam’s expression is priceless as Emma asks Mr. Knightley to dance at a ball, saying something like “It’s not like we’re brother and sister.”

RuthI don’t think I can add any more to Paula’s astute description of Northam’s Mr. Knightley (his first name is George apparently, a perfect English gentleman’s name). There’s that twinkle in his eyes that is so beguiling, especially during the archery scene when he quipped to Emma, ‘Try not to kill my dogs‘ I can’t believe how exasperating it is to watch Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma though, I need to see the 2009 version with the more affable Romola Garai and Jonny Lee-Miller as Mr. Knightley!

7. Newland Archer – The Age of Innocence

Paula The idea of a guy trapped in a loveless marriage strikes me as more tragic (for all concerned) than romantic. I realize this is more or less the premise of Jane Eyre as well but for whatever reason, though it’s a gorgeous film overall, it just depressed me.

Ruth What’s more gorgeous than the cinematographic and opening title of this movie? The explosive sparks between Michelle Pfeiffer and Daniel Day-Lewis! Yes, watching the stifling society’s norm suck the life of these people can be depressing, but heart-wrenching is perhaps the term I’d use. The pain and passion are palpable and undeniable, and Day-Lewis as Archer is just superb. It’s a beautiful, haunting and heartfelt performance that makes me think he would’ve made a fantastic Rochester as well, but then again, is there really a role Daniel can’t play?


8. Robert Dudley – The Virgin Queen

PaulaIf the real Robert Dudley was anything like he’s played by Tom Hardy, Elizabeth I’s famous willpower would have gotten quite the workout. This boy is naughty. He cracks her up with his witty remarks and devilish grin, he presumes too much, and he takes liberties with the Royal person (not like that, though she wants him to). However, she has known him since childhood, he is great fun after a hard day squabbling with the Privy Council, and he always has her back. No wonder she loves him forever, though she isn’t willing or able to marry and has to banish him from Court (for secretly wedding a lookalike lady-in-waiting!).

Hardy has such great chemistry with Anne Marie Duff that, although I knew what was going to happen, I actually teared up when his character died. Most romantic scene: Any in which Dudley steals a kiss from the Queen.

Ruth Oooh I have not seen this adaptation but with Tom Hardy as Dudley AND Kevin McKidd in this one, I better put this on my Netflix queue, pronto! What I love about Hardy is he’s got that mischievously sexy aura about him that’s so effortless. An essential quality for any period leading man… well, of any genre for that matter!


Well that’s it for Part I, stay tuned this weekend for the rest of the list. I will have a poll at the end (which I’ve never done before!) for you to vote on your favorite!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the list, please share this post using any of the social media icons below, we’d really appreciate it. Comments are always welcome! 😀

Wet Blogathon: Jane Austen’s Beautiful Rain Scenes

Andrew at EncoreEntertainment is conducting yet another movie meme blog-a-thon and the topic is an irresistible one: Great rain scenes!

I love rain scenes… not only are they usually beguiling and beautiful, rain undeniably adds drama/romance/terror/suspense to any given scene, depending on how the director frames the scene. One thing for sure, as Andrew said, movie rain is just plain lovely.

Well, since the first thing that came to mind was from 2005 Pride & Prejudice, I decided to list three of my favorite rain scenes from three other Jane Austen movies:

Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice — The proposal in the rain

Beautifully-filmed, the mood right from the minute Elizabeth Bennett crosses the bridge is just perfect. I wasn’t quite sold on Matthew MacFayden initially, but by this point I thought he captured Darcy’s brooding nature believably. All the angst, repressed feelings and sexual tension reached a pivotal point in this ravishing scene, both MacFayden and Keira Knightley couldn’t have looked more alluring framed by the damp surrounding. Never has the sight of cold rain been so smokin’ hot!

Ang Lee’s Sense & Sensibility — Brandon rescues Marianne in the rain

Oh how I love Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon! Forget the young ‘uns Willoughby (Greg Wise) and Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant), Brandon is without a doubt my hero in this movie. The scene in the clip of the heartbroken Marianne (the astounding Kate Winslet) watching Willoughby’s estate from a distance is downright heart-wrenching, but the scene that follows is one of my favorites from the movie. Brandon’s profound love for Marianne is all the more evident in his face as he carries her lifeless body back into the house. It’s such a dramatic contrast from the first ‘rescue’ scene of her by Willoughby in the beginning of the movie. Instead of two people being smitten with each other, they are now both tormented souls stricken by a lost love.

BBC Version of Sense & Sensibility — Edward’s chopping wood scene


Unfortunately the previous clip has been removed but you can see a glimpse of that very scene in this fan-made video:

The latest BBC adaptation certainly is no match to Ang Lee’s award-winning masterpiece. However, I was quite moved by the performance of Hattie Morahan and Dan Stevens as Elinor and Edward. Stevens might share the same haircut as Hugh Grant, but his less stuttering portrayal of the principled Edward trying to repress his feelings towards Elinor is much more poignant. In this scene, Edward is relieving his frustration by getting a bit of a sweat in the rain, it’s a bit reminiscent of Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy’s famous lake scene. From the way Elinor looks at him, I think she’s quite um, taken by the sight of Mr. Ferrars with his drenched white shirt and flyaway hair. Well, she’s not the only one 😉


So what’s YOUR favorite rain/wet scenes, Austen-related or otherwise?