IT WAS AT A FAMILY (NOT MINE) GATHERING where I first saw how people judge others based on the work they do. Maybe this happens more than I am aware of because the individuals I was in contact with were not so blatant about it. With this family, they had no problem showing their disapproval; I could see and hear it. We were mingling together in the living/dining area of my friend’s parents’ house. I knew the family well, so I was included on the guest list. My friend’s parents were throwing a graduation party for their youngest child. It was a casual affair where most of the food items were finger foods. Everyone my friend introduced me to was pleasant. I do not want this to come out as judgmental; but let me just say some of the guests were impeccably dressed. Everything seemed to be going smoothly as far as I could tell. At some point one of my friend’s sisters walked into the house with her boyfriend. They had only been dating a few months and this was I found out, the first time the family was meeting this new man. I thought all was going well until one of the relatives asked the boyfriend what he did for a living. When he told them he was an electrician, you could see everyone’s smiling veneer melt away. The tone of voice the relatives were now using were filled with disdain; I was stunned. WHAT WAS THE MATTER WITH BEING an electrician, I wondered? You would have thought the boyfriend said he was a mass murderer; it was the oddest thing to see. As if on cue, the relatives nearby him slowly moved further away. I swear it looked as if the relatives had just come upon a grizzly bear in the forest and were quietly and slowly backing away, so as not to disturb it. I was not the only one to have witnessed this; my friend saw what was going on and decided to, at that moment, introduce me to the sister and boyfriend. He was a nice guy as far as I could tell, and it seemed as if he had a good sense of humor. Personally, I never care who my friends and family are dating; all that matters to me is that the person is good to them and loves them. Whether they are a stock trader, a sanitation worker or a zookeeper; none of that matters to me. If my friend or relative loves them and feels good about it, then I will support them always. I think that is one of the reasons I found it challenging to connect to the characters in this dramatic, comedy satire. BORN INTO WEALTH AND BELIEVING SHE was better than most Emma Woodhouse, played by Anya Taylor-Joy (Morgan, The Witch), felt she could not find her equal in love. At least, not in her small town. With Johnny Flynn (Clouds of Sils Maria, Beast) as George Knightley, Bill Nighy (Sometimes Always Never, About Time) as Mr. Woodhouse, Mia Goth (A Cure for Wellness, Everest) as Harriet Smith and Myra McFadyen (Mamma Mia! franchise, Rob Roy) as Mrs. Bates; this movie based on Jane Austen’s novel was hard for me to get into in the beginning. The costumes and scenery were immaculate which helped me pass the time. I also thought Bill Nighy was perfect in his role. Set in England during the 1800’s, it was not until the 2ndhalf of the film where I felt things were better connected. My guess is fans of Jane Austen will enjoy this picture immensely. I on the other hand felt it really had nowhere to go; it was somewhat predictable. And for some reason, I could not connect at all with the main actress’ character; what a surprise based on what I mentioned earlier in this review.
2 ½ stars
They never had any reason to know each other during their high school years. The closest encounter was when they attended the same class during sophomore year. When it was time for them to graduate, both were excited about going to college because each one was hoping to find someone they could marry. For her she had no real desire to study in the liberal arts; she wanted to be a wife. He on the other hand was looking forward to studying business but was concerned if he could find a suitable wife in his economics and accounting classes. During high school neither did much dating for a variety of reasons; but with college looming, the idea of attending a school with an increased population translated into better opportunities for meeting someone. I did not know either of these individuals personally; we shared common friends. When I heard about each one’s similar story about going to college I did think it was an odd goal, but then again one of my main goals was to attend a college where no one else from my high school was planning to attend. Something that amused me a bit was the fact that I was hearing a similar story from a girl’s and boy’s perspective. I knew from history classes and discussions women many years ago were treated more like property than equals to their husbands. Life was hard; without a means of earning income and becoming independent, I can certainly understand the motivation behind finding someone to marry under the circumstances. It is always a good idea to be aware of how far things have progressed; so if you are in the mood for a wickedly fun history lesson then I suggest you watch this romantic, comedic drama. BASED on a Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice) story this film starred Kate Beckinsale (The Aviator, Underworld franchise) as Lady Susan Vernon, Chloe Sevigny (Boys Don’t Cry, Zodiac) as Alicia Johnson and Morfydd Clark (The Falling, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) as Frederica Vernon. Set in the 1790s I thought the acting, sets and costumes were all good. Kate especially did well with her memorable character. If you are a Jane Austen fan I feel you will immensely enjoy this movie. I had a hard time with the script. For me there were too many characters to keep track of; I found myself trying to figure out who was related to whom or what was the importance of such and such character. It was bothersome after a while. From my limited exposure to Jane Austen I found this story to be different from the others. There was an underhanded or stronger sense of manipulation from the main character that I don’t recall seeing in her other characters. There was a lot to enjoy about this movie; however, I may be in the minority but there were times where I had wished for the film to end. There is something to be said for seeing how things used to be and it is good to know when they are progressing in the right direction; I only wished this film was more entertaining for me.
2 2/3 stars 3 ¼ stars for Jane Austen fans
When I put food on my dinner plate, I do not want the different servings I took to touch each other. For example, I do not want the mashed potatoes to be mixed in with the sugar snap peas, nor do I want anything touching my turkey burger. It is okay, you can call me crazy; I have heard it before. I do not care because the first time I saw a TV dinner tray with its individual compartments for the different food items, I thought it was the ideal way to serve people their meals. Being a visual type of eater, if something does not look good to me I will not touch it. Now I certainly do not force my feelings onto anyone else and will gladly sit with someone who is spooning a conglomeration of food items into their mouth. Actually, it never occurred to me to mix different foods; heck I did not think one could mix different silverware. If you are wondering if I have these same types of rules in other areas of my life the answer would be yes. I have always been most comfortable when things around me have a sense of symmetry. Now here is the funny thing; though I am still the same way about food, a slow change has been taking place in me over the past years when a friend asked me if I had seen this video mashup of two singing artists’ songs. I had never heard that word before so I looked it up and found it meant a mixture of disparate elements. When I finally saw that video I was fascinated; it was such a creative and cool idea. It is because of that video I started looking at things differently. Isn’t that bizarre? Is it any crazier than the mashup done in this romantic horror film? WHEN Elizabeth Bennet, played by Lily James (Cinderella, Broken), first met Mr. Darcy, played by Sam Riley (Maleficent, On the Road), she found him to be such a snob. Though her mother was hoping to see her daughter wedded off, Elizabeth did not need a man; she could take care of herself quite well as a matter of fact. I was so surprised by this action movie that took author Jane Austen’s (Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park) classic story and infused it with the zombie genre. The story pretty much was kept intact but I did enjoy the sly humor and the fact that Elizabeth and her sisters were now skilled in the marital arts. The writers were not going for a parody or comedy; they kept the story as level as one can with flesh eating zombies and they made it work actually. Take the story for what it is, this film may not be high art or a new classic; but for a fun viewing experience with a twist and a teardrop, this mashup was pretty good. Several scenes with blood and violence.
2 1/2 stars
It took gaining more maturity before I stopped being judgmental about people’s hobbies or interests. When someone used to show me the items they collected, if it was not something that interested me, I would ask myself why anyone would collect such stuff. It did not matter if it was porcelain dolls, sports paraphernalia or ceramic elves; I had no understanding on what was the attraction. When I started working on my personal growth, something clicked inside of me. Who was I to judge someone on the things that brought them enjoyment? What I discovered was how much I admired the passion these people displayed when showing or talking about their interests. To be in touch with such feelings and find enjoyment in whatever it is you do, is something I consider to be a positive attribute. So when Jane Hayes, played by Keri Russell (Dark Skies, August Rush), decided to pursue her passion by spending her life savings on a trip to England, to submerge herself into the world of Jane Austen; I did not have a problem with it. Obsessed with the character of Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s book “Pride and Prejudice,” Jane wanted to find the type of love that would sweep her off of her feet. She was to find much more than that when she arrived at the Austen themed resort managed by Mrs. Wattlesbrook, played by Jane Seymour (Wedding Crashers, Somewhere in Time). I found the Jane Austen angle interesting in this romantic comedy. Maybe it was because of this theme, but I would have thought the producers would have hired the best writers possible to do justice to this movie. It did not happen; the script was stale and unimaginative. Jennifer Coolidge (Legally Blonde, Epic Movie) who I have enjoyed in the past, came across like a predictable cartoon character playing Miss Elizabeth Charming. As for Keri, this was not a good performance from her; I did not feel any connection to her bland character. The only one that came across with any real emotion was J.J. Field (Centurion, Blood: The Last Vampire) as Mr. Henry Nobley. It seemed odd to do a film about a woman’s passion for such an iconic author only to create a dull movie.
1 3/4 stars