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Lexicon Austenland Review

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Being a Jane Austen fanatic for decades (and I do mean decades) I read the novel Austenland when it first came out.  I admit it, if there actually was an Austenland, I’d probably go.  I’ve read fanfic at Austen Interlude, the Republic of Pemberly, and alas, the now defunct Hyacinth Gardens. I even wrote an ultimate Jane Austen movie guide for Hypable. I consider myself something of a cross between Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility and Fanny Price from Mansfield Park. I’ve seen every Austen movie, spin-off, loose adaptation. Yeah, I am one of those people. So to say I am picky about my Austen is an understatement.

When I read the novel version of Austenland, I was kind of meh about it. I loved the plot, but I didn’t really connect to the heroine. In the novel she was too much like the 30-something, NYC-overly career obsessed and struggling to find themselves women who I have to deal with in my day job.  I have to say one of the big improvements from the novel is that Jane’s backstory is streamlined, and she is infinitely more likable and quirky than the Jane of the novel. Whereas, I was so-so about the novel, I liked the movie way better.

A good deal my liking the movie Jane has to do with Kerri Russell’s portrayal. How can anyone not just love Kerri Russell!  She is vulnerable, lovable, loyal with a streak of independence. Her character of Jane also has a great way of making lemonade when she is served lemons. She doesn’t let Mrs. Wattlesbrook, played by Jane Seymour, get her down, or ruin her fun.  She’s also way more obsessed with the world of Austen than her book counterpart is.

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Stephenie Meyer described the movie as a com-rom. It’s a newly coined term for a comedy romance. First and foremost this movie is a comedy. There is the high-brow, witty comedy provided by the acerbic remarks from Mr. Nobley. He is a Darcyesque character played by JJ Feilds.  There’s also the low-brow comedy provided by Miss Charming played by the larger than life Jennifer Coolidge.  According to director/screenwriter Jerusha Hess, Coolidge was given freedom to ad lib many of her scenes.  One of her best moments is pretending to read aloud from Pride and Prejudice, only what’s she say isn’t regency. It goes in an entirely rated r fashion until Jane cuts her off with a blush and a curt, “I don’t think Mr. Darcy would ever say that.”

Secondly, the movie is a romance. Jane has two equally presented choices. Book fans will be interested to note that I did not find that the movie revealed too much about either gentleman. I saw them each as Jane viewed them, the good and bad. The question the viewer is presented with is, Can Jane find happiness, a fling, and perhaps a future with Mr. Nobley or Martin, the groundskeeper.  If she makes a choice, will she want more than either is willing to give? What might be the price for giving her heart? Is it real love, or just a vacation romance?

The supporting cast is just terrific. There isn’t a weak actor in the lot including the background actors who in various scene are lugging all sorts of period items from picnic supplies to luggage around and looking very weary in doing so, but then perking up when the upper classes observe them. One of the real standouts is Ricky Whittle who plays the over-the-top, swashbuckling Captain East. He doesn’t miss a chance to flirt with three ladies at once while showing off his 8-pack abs at the drop of a hat.

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The movie is very faithful to the novel with only minor changes. There is a slight change in the ending that I quite enjoyed. I found the novel’s ending a bit too abrupt. Without spoiling, I felt the movie let the airport scene play out more naturally with a far more satisfying and believable resolution. 

I only had minor quibbles with the film. As funny as Jennifer Coolidge is, the big, brassy, and loud thing works better in small doses.  The humor was milked too much. It’s as if the director wasn’t sure we’d get the joke so it played on too long. We get it, she has a bad accent, she’s the typical “ugly American”. It was funny the first time, not the 5th scene where it goes on too long. I realize she is supposed to be over-the-top, but it was too much for me. It was like she was trying too hard for the gag that never seemed to end. Also the scene where Lady Amelia drags Jane aside and wants to be her bosom sister and then goes crazy jealous on her was funny, but again too long for the comedy to land.

Lastly, viewers should stick around for the credits for a HILARIOUS look at the actors doing a rap lip-synch in Regency dress.  It’s like a bunch of Downton Abbey wannabes trying to be the little girls from the hood. You don’t want to miss it.

 

 

Review of The Host by Three Fans of the Novel

Three fans of The Host (the novel) and Twilight (the books and movies) reviewed The Host over on Hypable. Our opinions were mixed. If we had to give the film letter grades we gave the movie an A, B, and C.

We all liked the way the script was close to the novel, and thought the performances especially by Saoirse Ronan, William Hurt, and Chandler Canterbury were outstanding. We also felt like the Melanie and Jared relationship had chemistry and was plausible. Additionally, the heavy voiceover worked and was timed with perfect facial reaction. We didn’t mind the contacts on Saoirse Ronan, we felt her facial reactions weren’t compromised. We also liked the humorous and snarky tone overall.

On the other hand, we disliked the movie stylization of the Seekers both the shiny silver vehicles, the white costuming, and strange footwear, as well as the perfume atomizer-like sprays. There was also a key moment when we felt Diane Kruger’s seeker was out of character in her actions in a scene with a gun. We also felt the Ian and Wanda relationship was rushed, that the time frame was too compacted. Check out what each person had to say.

 

Kaleb Nation Goes a 60 Second Rant/Review on The Host

Check out Kaleb’s take on The Host. Is it romance or is it scifi…or is it both?

Breaking Dawn DVD and BluRay Buyers Guide and Review

The other day we linked you to a terrific buyers guide that breaks down all the special features that are found in the editions coming out in the USA. Things may vary a bit abroad, but you can find our USA version here.

Hypable also reviewed the DVD and BluRay at a special screening.

Never before has Summit-Lionsgate released an Extended Version of one of the Twilight films. Considering that one book had been split into two movies in the case of Breaking Dawn, the idea of an extended cut is even more surprising. While at the studio’s offices last weekend to screen the longer movie, an executive told us that they had hoped to have it out when the film was first released on DVD/Blu-ray last year. The problem was that director Bill Condon was busy editing Part 2, so there was no time for him to put together a longer version of Part 1. They understand there will be accusations of this being a quick money grab, but they insist that they would’ve preferred Part 1 Extended Edition was released last year so that sales could be stronger than they likely will be now.

Get the full review here.

The folks at Walmart also sent us this piece of news:

Twihards rejoice! Walmart stores across the country will be hosting midnight events and offering the lowest price on the final edition of the vampire series, Breaking Dawn Part II.

Below are the details:

· Lowest Price: $14.96 at Walmart compared to $16.99 at other retailers.

· Get it First: Walmart will be holding events starting at 11:00 p.m. tomorrow night in more than 2,100 stores with the DVD / Blu-ray going on sale at midnight. Event attendees will receive a mini set of all five theatrical posters while supplies last.

· Exclusive Products: Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1 (extended version) & 2 Combo Set – $19.96 – which offers a 60 percent savings for our customers.

· Talent: Four lucky stores in Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Phoenix and St. Louis will have special visits from Twilight cast members.

Breaking Dawn 2 Reviews: A second… and third opinion

I, Lori Joffs, had the opportunity to FINALLY see Breaking Dawn Part 2 last night.  This is my site and even though we already posted an “official” review, I feel I can take the opportunity to voice my own opinon.  Since I don’t want to spoil anyone too badly, I will keep this as spoil free as possible!

First, did I like it?  No… I LOVED IT!  The film has a very different feel from other films in the saga, but then so did the book!  Bella is a vampire from start to finish of this film.  Her relationship with Edward is different.  Her relationship to pretty much everyone is different!  She herself is different.  Kristen Stewart has never looked more beautiful or had such a strong presence than she does in this film.  She has truly transformed.  Seeing the world through her vampire eyes transforms the film.  So if you have grown worried from reading reviews that say this film lacks the ansgty romantic tension of the other films… well yeah!  Bella and Edward are both vampires and they are married.  The tension in the film comes from a different place, just as it did in the book. 

The best compliment that I can pay the film is that I feel it’s the best adaptation from page to screen.  When the film finished I literally had to stop and think through the book to figure out which pieces were missing.  There were things that were left out, but not much.  What actually happens is that less time and attention are given to certain things in the film than in the book.  For example…

(MINOR SPOILER LOOK AWAY IF YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO KNOW!)

 The J. Jenks sequence is cut down to one short scene rather than a long drawn out process with a couple of visits and phone calls as it is in the book.  Did I mind?  No.   Will you mind, probably not.

(END SPOILER.)

What we get in place of those somewhat missing moments are a whole bunch of extras!  Most of these extras involve the Volturi, which I adored being the Aro fan girl that I am.  But there is also one extra with Jacob that Taylor fans will go nuts over!  Trust me.  It’s one of the best scenes in the film. 

So much has been made over the “twist”.  Yes, there’s a twist!  And it was AMAZING!  And that’s all I have to say about that.  Ahem!

The last thing that I took away from the film was the attention to detail.  I understand that the film has to be made so that people who haven’t read the books will understand it.  But as someone who has been tossed deep into the Twilight universe, I always want more.  The subtle nuanses and line deliveries from characters like Alistair, Garrett, Amun, and the Romanians (Oh… how I LOVED the Romanians!) were indiaction to me that the actors and films makers had done their homework.  In fact, one of my favorite moments and lines come from Marcus – yes, MARCUS of all people, for the sheer fact that someone who isn’t familiar with his backstory won’t fully understand the line!  Even the non-verbal communication between the wolves showed the film makers had a “dialogue” going on behind the scenes.  Its those details that make the film really shine. 

Lastly, I just want to say thank you to Bill Condon for the ending.  It’s always obvious to me which films are make by directors who are fans of films rather than those who just MAKE films.  Given the way this one ends, it was proof that Mr. Condon was not only aware of the fandom viewing his film, but that this film was part of a whole saga.  He pays tribute to the saga as a whole.  As someone who has been engulfed in this saga for nearly seven years, it was touching and poinent and meaningful… and yes, it made me cry. 

But don’t just take my word for it!  Here is what one reviewer from the San Jose Mercury News said of the film:

Fans of the “Twilight Saga” can breathe a sigh of relief.

I just got back from a Wednesday night screening of “Breaking Dawn — Part 2″ and can unequivocally say you’re in for a real treat. While my full review of the film won’t post until Thursday morning, here’s a little something to tide you over — answers to a few questions about the eagerly anticipated finale.

Is it the best ‘Twilight’ yet? Without a doubt. Director Bill Condon and screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg strike the perfect “Twilight” tone, playing up the campy humor while turning up the erotic heat on the romance.

Are there surprises? A couple, and even if you’re a huge fan of Stephenie Meyer’s books you’ll be astonished by how well they This film image released by Summit Entertainment shows, from left, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Peter Facinelli, MyAnna Buring, Casey LaBow and Christian Camargo in a scene from “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2.” (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Andrew Cooper) ( Andrew Cooper )work. But be wary of spoilers since the tweaks are certain to turn into a hot social networking topic.

Who gives the best performance of the trio? Robert Pattinson. He’s swoon-worthy, and has consistently been the strongest. But don’t dismiss Kristen Stewart. She’s impressive here as a tougher, more confident Bella. Even Taylor Lautner shows improvement. It helps that he’s given some funny material.

Speaking of Lautner, does he keep his shirt on? Most of the time…However.

Will the movie appeal to non-fans? I expect so. This is a highly entertaining, suspenseful finale that satisfies on many levels.

 

Breaking Dawn Part 2: The Reviews Are In!

The reviews for Breaking Dawn Part 2 are rolling in. MTV did a round up of some of the comments, both good and bad, coming from all sorts of sources. Here are some of our favorites.

Variety

“A doozy of a finale to a series that, until now, has largely taken its dramatic cues from its maddeningly inert heroine. Not anymore: With Bella reborn as a bloodthirsty, butt-kicking vampire mama, this second of two Bill Condon-directed instalments clears a low bar to stand easily as the franchise’s most eventful and exciting entry.”

Herald Sun

“In terms of providing plenty of bang for one’s buck, Breaking Dawn Part 2 definitely ends the franchise on a high note. And without wanting to give too much away, the unexpected twist at the end of the film (hear the fans gasp in surprise) works extremely well for a cinematic audience.”

Daily Mail

“I can’t deny that I didn’t care very much for the four other movies. For the most part they were poorly made and badly acted… But somehow the final film has stuff to say about love, friendship and loyalty that works.”

As is typical in our fandom, there are plenty of people who just don’t like Twilight and never will. So far, all of the fansite reviews state that the final film is the best of the five. To read the Lexicon’s review from Laura, visit this link.

Twilight Lexicon Fansite Review Breaking Dawn Part 2

Along with other fansites, we had the opportunity to see Breaking Dawn Part 2. If anyone had any fears of being disappointed after seeing what Bill Condon did last year with Breaking Dawn Part 1, those fears should have been put to rest. Bill Condon has again delivered and amazingly detailed and action packed film filled with drama, romance, and tears.

Some mild spoilers lie ahead, so if you want to be completely spoiler free, best to stop reading now. [Read more...]

Ten Second Preview of Final Breaking Dawn Trailer

Breaking Dawn on EW’s Fall Movie Preview Cover

Breaking Dawn is on the cover of this week’s EW. Bill Condon is quoted in a preview of what is to come in the issue:

“The fact is, these are actors playing parts, and maybe it’s not such a bad thing that people be reminded of that,” Bill Condon tells EW. “Both of these actors gave heart and soul to the Twilight movies, not only during shooting, but also by navigating so graciously the whole life-in-a-fishbowl aspect of the phenomenon. Above all they have always shown great respect for the fans who made these movies such a success. Now it’s time that some of that respect be returned to them.”

Check out EW and grab the issue this Friday on newsstands.

From our standpoint: Bravo, Mr. Condon, bravo. We are looking forward to the final chapter in a film we have been covering since 2008 and a book series we have been covering since 2006 when people said “What’s Twilight?” and “Stephenie who?” We can’t wait to see the final installment from actors, production team, and everyone who has given years to this.

10 Second Preview of Tommorow’s Breaking Dawn Teaser

Here it is. What do you think is included tomorrow?