Orlando PBS Drama

3 Jun

A few weeks ago Orlando’s only public television network, PBS, announced that it was folding.  The public uproar over the news was heartening: Orlando folks care about public television after all.  (We just don’t have any money!)

Now, local university UCF has teamed up with PBS to salvage Orlando public television through UCFTV.

“WUCF TV will carry popular PBS news, features and educational non-commercial programming – such as NOVA, PBS       NEWSHOUR, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, FRONTLINE, NATURE and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. WUCF TV also will feature PBS KIDS shows, including SESAME STREET, as well as locally produced UCFTV and WBCC programming.

WUCF TV will broadcast the national PBS schedule starting July 1″

But wait.  No Masterpiece Theater?  Say it ain’t so!



29 Apr

…in a publication far more lucrative than mine, Meredith Blake discusses the new Upstairs/Downstairs (which, I’m so sorry to say, came and went before I could DVR it) and Downton Abbey.

Mildred Pierce

7 Apr

So far, I’m loving Mildred Pierce on HBO.  I really need to get around to posting about some flicks where I have indeed read the book, but here I’m hanging my head in shame again.

Kate Winslet is rounding up terrific reviews for her performance as the enterprising Mildred, but I had my reservations.  As an actress, Winslet is very mannered, and the dialogue, reportedly drawn greatly from the novel, must be hard to pull off.  Little Veda, the supremely affected daughter character, is similarly stuffy, but she’s supposed to be awful.  After Sunday’s installment, Winslet started growing on me.  Maybe it took me a little while to inhabit the conventions of the era.

In a nutshell, Mildred is hard up.  At the beginning, her husband has left her for another woman in Depression-era California, and Mildred must fend for herself and her two young daughters.  Mildred toys with the idea of becoming a kept woman, thanks to her dishy neighbor, but chooses to overcome her pride and subjects herself to the indignity of “wearing a uniform.”  Her stint as a “hash house” waitress—and the way they say “waitress,” you’d think she was professionally throwing babies under moving trains—leads to her own chicken restaurant.  Along the way Mildred picks up dashing playboy Monty Barragon—Guy Pearce, doing Guy Pearce as a fabulous dashing thirties fruit baron.

So the tension mounts.  Mildred vs. Veda; Mildred vs. Guy Pearce; Mildred vs. Veda and Guy Pearce—because naturally they join forces, since Veda admires his born privilege and shames her mother relentlessly for their plain ‘ol middle-class digs.  As Guy Pearce’s fortune wanes, Mildred pays his bills, but though Mildred has financial leverage she lacks the je ne sais quoi handed down by Guy Pearce’s high class birthright.  Money, they say, can’t buy you class.  And Mildred Pierce forces us to deeply consider such a statement.

Looking forward to what’s in store.  (And, boy oh boy, Evan Rachel Wood is going to be a magnificently snotty Veda.)

The King’s So-So Speech

8 Feb

Well, um.  I saw The King’s Speech.  Ergh.  Um.

courtesy kingsspeech.com

My hesitation to go forward has nothing to do with The King’s Stutter.  It just feels blasphemous to not be head over heels over this movie, given the copious Oscar nods and presence of Costume Drama Royalty.  I mean, Colin Firth is an incarnation of Mr. Darcy himself.

Sometimes movies come along that are so praised, that you feel you must be a jerk not to love them.  I rarely admit in polite conversation that I didn’t like Avatar.  Everyone liked Avatar, and so I come across as some sort of pretentious contrarian jerk when I say, “I didn’t like Avatar.”

The King’s Speech, though…I just don’t buy it.  Everything is beautiful and the actors are wonderful, and I’m not, say, offended by the movie, but I just don’t buy it.  The central relationship between King Bertie and his speech therapist, Geoffrey Rush, seems forced.  While all the elements for a fantastic film are clearly here, the screenplay seems jerky with respect to the evolution of that core relationship.  They hate each other, they love each other; they hate each other, they love each other.  Geoffrey Rush’s prodding and King Bertie’s bumbling reluctance goes back and forth, but I think the dialogue of their connection rings too movie-ish for belief.  Instead of simply showing us their progress, I feel they beat us over the head with it.

On a positive note, the relationship between King Bertie and his wife, Helena Bonham Carter is charming and much better articulated.

courtesy kingsspeech.com

Now that I’m reduced to speech puns, and I’ve outed myself as a jerk (be nice!), I better get the hell out of here.


A Little Princess Revisited

8 Feb

When I was a little girl my mother took me to see A Little Princess and we adored it.  Something about it touched my innocent little heart, back before it turned a pallid grey color and grew thorny vines.

After spotting it in the Netflix streaming list, I added it to the queue and patiently waited for my boyfriend to leave the house so I could watch it.  (I do the same thing with House Hunters.  Turning on House Hunters is met with such chilling disdain-like I’m live-streaming Guantanamo Bay or a Siberian orphanage.)

Based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel (which, alas, I haven’t read), A Little Princess follows little rich girl Sara Crewe from her free-spirited life in India to a strict New York boarding school.  Her father, Captain Crewe, has been called to action in WWI, so Sara must wait out the war from the safety of her dead mother’s alma mater, Ms. Minchin’s School for Girls.

Sara’s vivid imagination ingratiates her to all but two characters in her new home, the catty queen bee type girl, and Ms. Minchin herself, whose stern, puritan demeanor clashes with Sara’s vision that “every girl is a princess.”

Continue reading

Dispatch from The Independent: Helena Bonham Carter

31 Jan

Courtesy Getty Images via The Independent

Fans of Ms. Lucy Honeychurch may want to click over to this amusing piece on the actress.  I love how he says that “there was a danger that she would never escape from the world of handsomely crafted British costume dramas about fey, well-spoken English women” as if that was the worst possible fate for an actress.

Howards End Revisited

31 Jan

For fans of period flicks, I can’t imagine a better repertoire than Merchant/Ivory’s, and, boy, does Howards End deliver.  If spoilers indeed spoil things for you, proceed carefully.


Howards End looks sticky sweet on the surface; there is generous footage of the eponymous rambling English estate and fields of bluebells inhabited by earnest Englishmen.  This was a time when the rich didn’t work so much as they sat comfortably upon the accumulating fortunes of their ancestors.   Deception and avarice occurs over highly civilized rounds of tea and scones.  But coursing beneath the lace and taffeta confections is a broad, bubbling river of class warfare and its discontents. Continue reading