Ernest Shackleton

shackletonOne thing that attracted me to this movie was it is a true story about  Sir Ernest Shackleton.  In 1914 he set off on an Antarctic expedition, something he probably shouldn’t have survived but he did.  But not only did he make that epic journey, he kept his entire crew alive after their ship was destroyed in ice.  The worst possible conditions anyone could conjure and they survived.  Barely.

The lead role was played by Kenneth Branagh. Most recently I have watched him in Murder on the Orient Express and of course I am fond of his role in the Harry Potter series.

It’s a total of almost 4 hours and I believe this could’ve been cut short if they had spent less time focusing on his fundraising and more time on the actual journey. They was a bit about his wife and his mistress, as well as conversations those women had, which I thought had no place in film. You could’ve replace that bit and told us more about what happened at the end. While it’s an amazing story it seemed at the very end they had to hurry to wrap it up.

I just read that Tom Hardy will reprise the role of Shackleton, read that HERE. So far any movie I’ve seen Tom Hardy has been a hit with us.  OK, the exception would be the movie This Means War with Chris Pine.  Hardy will be amazing in this role.

Again they could’ve spent more time telling us what happened to Shackleton‘s men, his other explorations and how he had ended up having a heart attack.  Also I would ahve liked to know more about the crew of the Endurance rather than wasting time with some of the fund raising and the scenes with his mistress.

If you’re in the mood for a true story about an epic journey to explore Antarctica then I would suggest this film. I think there are other versions but our library happened to acquire this one.  It was made in 2002.

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday

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Murder on the Orient Express {Meh}

We watched this recently and didn’t find it remarkable.  I wish the other characters had more time to develop. Branagh didn’t work for me as Hercule Poirot. Loved him as Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter but Poirot wasn’t a good role for him. (in my humble opinion)

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It’s amazing you can gather such acting talents as Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz (they managed to dowdy her up!), Derek Jacobi, Michelle Pfeiffer (LadyHawk 🙂 and Olivia Colman and it doesn’t grab you.  ( I loved Colman’s character Ellie in Broadchurch, just FYI)

Maybe that’s just me but…this movie was one I looked forward to but found a bit dull. I have a British series called Peaky Blinders at the library so I will give that a go next week.  So far the big winner for British shows has been Taboo with Tom Hardy.  Let’s see how The Peaky Blinders work for us.

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday

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British Movie Nights #BriFri

We’ve been enjoying some British movies lately so I thought I’d give the roundup for Joy’s British Isles Friday.

Taboo is a series recommended by a friend in Wales.  Of course it takes a while for these shows to arrive in the U.S. and without streaming ability, I patiently wait for our excellent library to acquire the DVDs.  This show stars Tom Hardy and he is excellent in the character of James Delaney.

“James Delaney, believed dead, returns to London to attend the funeral of his father, Horace. Other than owning a small part of the west coast of North America, Horace has left nothing of value. The land, Nootka Sound,  is in dispute between Great Britain and the United States, who are at war. The East India Company had an agreement to buy the land from Zilpha Geary, Delaney’s half-sister, but Delaney knows the war is coming to an end, greatly increasing the value of the land, and scorns their offer.”

I read a description calling the show a “slow burn” and that is so true.  There is action but it’s a slow build up and lots of intrigue.  Very dark production.

The Full Monty – what can I say?  It’s a fun romp with lots of music, an off-beat comedy where you can see Robert Carlyle and Mark Addy in their youth. Definitely a wine night.

The Darkest Hour was one we’d looked forward to since seeing a preview.  Can you believe that was Gary Oldman?  I read it took 4 hours to apply the makeup and “fat” so he looked the part.  The speeches were well played out, such a vivid portrayal of Churchhill.

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I looked up some of the events, such as that train ride with the “common folk” of London, to see about accuracy.  Yes, liberties were taken but I thoroughly enjoyed the film and recommend it for history buffs.  Good acting here.

That’s it for our “BriFri post about movies.  I am finishing up The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen and will have book talk next Friday.

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How I Live Now {The book and movie}

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How I Live by Meg Rosoff.

In the book, fifteen-year-old Elizabeth (who goes by the name of Daisy) arrives in England from America to stay with her Aunt Penn and her cousins, Osburt, Eddie, Isaac, and Piper .  Her aunt and cousins live on a farm in a remote area of the U.K.  Daisy gets a little homesick at first but then falls into a happy life with her family.  Despite them being cousins, Daisy and 14-year-old cousin Edmond fall in love.

Here comes the twist – World War Three is about to break out and enemy troops surround the farm.  Unfortunately Aunt Penn had been traveling and now can’t get back to her family.  Sounds like a tense book with a dystopian theme.  I haven’t read it yet but I did watch the movie.  This book won the 2004 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

The movie, I was told, took a few liberties and changed a bit of the plot.  That happens all the time though, it’s usually just a similar story line from the book.   Daisy, a neurotic and anorexic American teenager, is sent to the English countryside for the summer to stay with her Aunt Penn and her cousins, Eddie, Isaac, and Piper.   The movie eliminated the character of Osbert and made Eddie the oldest.  When she arrives in England there is tight security due to  terrorism, reports of a bombing in Paris.

As in the book, Daisy falls in love with Eddie but the character development is different.  Eddie has mystical connection to animals, hawks landing on his arm and other almost spiritual interactions with wild creatures.  Not weird, just a strange connection.

As it turns out Aunt Penn is an expert in terrorist extremist groups and has to leave for a meeting in Switzerland.  This is the beginning of WW III.  In her absence the children explore the woodlands surrounding the farm, unaware of the enemy troops about to converge on the farm and that part of England.  Aunt Penn’s expertise would come in handy now but she’s stuck in another country and can’t help.

A nuclear bomb is detonated in or near London killing hundreds of thousands. Martial law is imposed, electricity goes out, troops descend and they are left to defend, hide or flee.   This was filmed in England and Wales.

I enjoyed the movie and you can’t go wrong with Saoirse Ronan. I have so many books lined up for this month so I know I won’t get to this book yet, but I would like to compare the differences,

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday

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Lonely Planet bring us a Film and TV Locations book

Our local library recently acquired this book and on a whim I checked it out.  What a cool book! It gives the locations of more than 100 movies or TV shows.  Did you ever wonder where King’s Landing in Westeros, from Game of Thrones was filmed?  It’s in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The Martian, one of my favorite movies and books, was filmed in Jordan on the red sands.  Don’t you think of red sand and Mars?  Perfect.  The Kellig Islands in Ireland are seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  So many perfect fantasy settings are actual places and it’s fun to browse through this book.  It also gave me ideas for movies I want to see coming up.

This book is from Lonely Planet.

 

Agatha Raisin – The books and the TV series

M.C. Beaton writes two series – 27 books so far in the Agatha Raisin series and 33 books in the Hamish MacBeth series. For years I have been enjoying the Agatha Raisin books but I am no where near caught up to her exploits.

I was delighted to see Acorn TV produced a television series based on the books. There is already a long running series for Hamish MacBeth starring Robert Carlyle, but I haven’t gottern interested in that one as of yet.

agathaRaisin So, how do the Agatha Raisin books compare to the TV show? From the first two episodes they actually follow the plot well.  The physical differences are quite different for me but then, we all get certain ideas as to what a book character looks like as we read.

TV Agatha is much prettier and more physically fit than the book version.  Also, the TV character James Lacey (a romantic interest of Agatha’s) is younger and quite dishy, in my opinion.  Overall the plot does follow the books and I hope they continue with the series.

There was a TV series on back in the 1990’s called Murder, She Wrote.  Jessica Fletcher was the amateur sleuth, using her charm and persistance to solve crimes.  This is rather an English version of that old show but with a Bridget Jones’ twist to our main character.  If you like mysteries and love to see the English countryside, this is a show I think you would enjoy.

There is a YouTube video at the bottom of this post if you’d like to get a preview of the show. I love the scenery!

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday

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The Martian starring Matt Damon. A look at the movie and the book

food-n-flix-march-2017  A couple of years ago I read The Martian by Andy Weir.  My review (if you’d like to revisit it) is HERE.  Loved the book and will probably reread it again one day.

Well, as I was surfing around a few days ago I came across the movie being featured at Food ‘n Flix.  I knew I wanted to participate as that is one great movie.  Have you seen it?  So entertaining.

I must confess to liking the book a little bit more but the movie pretty much followed with the exception of the ending.  I wish they had spent more time with Watney traversing the craters, trying to get to his destination.  Also, the interactions with the crew were so much more detailed.

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But – I am not dissing this movie!  It was phenomenal.  Matt Damon was a perfect fit for the character Mark Watney and he played that role so well. Ridley Scott as director insured it would be a blockbuster.

After being left for dead Watney, being an engineer and scientist, looked at his situation pragmatically but also with humor.  I liked that – facing an almost certain death on Mars yet his smart ass personality still shines.

Watney:   “Actually, I was the very lowest ranked member of the crew. I would only be “in command” if I were the only remaining person.”
What do you know? I’m in command

Once NASA realizes he is alive they worry about his physical and mental well-being as they have no way to contact him.

He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.

And then you see what is going on with Watney:
LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 “How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”

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I can’t wait till I have grandchildren. When I was younger, I had to walk to the rim of a crater. Uphill! In an EVA suit! On Mars, ya little shit! Ya hear me? Mars!

You have science, you have humor, compassion as well as respect for what he is dealing with in a way most people just couldn’t handle.  I would curl in a ball, rocking and hoping death wouldn’t be painful.  But I am not a botanist, an engineer or a NASA qualified astronaut.  Someone intelligent enough to break down a problem and , in Mark’s words, Science the shit out it!

This movie is an excellent choice for a Food ‘n Flix feature.  You may not think there is much in the way of food, except the potatoes of course.  But with the space packaged foods and the Thanksgiving feast included you will hear mentions of Beef Stroganoff, spaghetti, sweet and sour chicken and stew.  Ketchup is mentioned quite a bit too 🙂

On those lines I wanted to make something with a tomato base but not a spaghetti dish.  I’ve had lots of pasta on our menus lately.  Eggplant Parmesan was the dish I decided upon.  It uses a tomato based sauce so, that’s what I brought to the party.


(Recipe at the end)

I am going to try and link this to a new Facebook page I created. New to that business, so we will see, LOL 😬

This month’s hostess at Food ‘n Flix is Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm. Her announcement post is HERE.  Join in if you’d like to watch the movie and conjure up an inspired meal.

Also linking up with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series.

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Eggplant Parmesan
Grab the following………..

2 eggplants (aubergines)
Salt
Olive oil
Panko breadcrumbs
A beaten Egg and a little bit of milk
2 ½ cups homemade tomato sauce, lots of herbs included
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into thin slices
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Skin and slice the eggplants, about 1/4 inch slices. Place them in a collander, salt them, place more layers, salt them. Sit 30 minutes.

Rinse the slices, bread them with Lanka and fry them in oil for just a bit. Now layer your tomato sauce, eggplant slices, cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.