Saturday, November 1, 2014

Reign (S2E05)


Reign is a 2013-2014 TV series, airing on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots and her marriage to her first husband, King Francis II of France. The third episode of the second season garnered an audience of 1.23 million people.

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Torrance Coombs as Sebastian "Basch"
Celina Sinden as Greer of Kinross

A band of Catholic thugs interrupt a Protestant church service, kidnaps one of the members and burns down the barn the Protestants were using as a makeshift church. It turns out that the member that was taken and later murdered was the nephew of Louis Conde. They find the culprits but the predominantly Catholic members of the court believe that they have done nothing wrong. 

Francis is haunted by the memory of his dead Father and Caroline, the nurse who seemingly gets possessed by Henry, keeps showing up.  He confesses his murder to Caroline but she wasn't really possessed by the spirit of the previous King of France but just an actress paid by Narcisse in order to blackmail Francis. Francis acquiesces to Narcisse's demands causing strife between him and Mary and he blames this on her losing their child. 

Kenna discovers a journal written by a lady at court who has sampled a few men (and women!) at court and she is determined to find out who the mystery man is in the journal and along with her for the ride is Lola. As it turns out this man is Narcisse. 

Greer and Castleroy marry despite him being a Protestant. 

I give this episode a 1.5/5. Girl, I called it. Caroline's actress gave out worse and worse performances as the episodes went on that I couldn't help but suspect that she playing Francis the whole time. While I like the Catholic vs Protestant subplot, but you can't say equal religion for all when one religion is clearly being persecuted. I like how Mary is suddenly uncaring towards people's religions when in reality, THAT'S ALL SHE EVER CARED ABOUT. I am so done with this Castleroy-Greer plot, I don't even know what is going on anymore. Leith give up man. Just give up. She made her decision a million years ago and he still isn't over it. Whatever, I don't care. I don't. Weird lesbian couple scene that didn't have to happen but fanservice so why not - also good openmindedness on the part of Kenna...IN THE SIXTEETH CENTURY. As a side note, the dresses looked incredibly bad this episode...worse than usual. The polka dots that covered the actress's breasts took me out of the environment of the French court and it was done twice, once with Kenna and then with Lola. Greer's wedding dress is more reminiscent to Queen Victoria's wedding dress than say the true Mary Queen of Scots's - another really big distraction. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Reign (S2E04)


Reign is a 2013-2014 TV series, airing on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots and her marriage to her first husband, King Francis II of France. The third episode of the second season garnered an audience of 1.26 million people.

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Torrance Coombs as Sebastian "Basch"
Anna Popplewell as Lola

The time has come for the christening of Lola and Francis's child. Lola is concerned by Mary's lack of anger of the actions resulting in the birth of her son. Lord Narcisse comes to court with his new bride who Lola recognizes as Estelle, the girl who took her in when she was in labour. The last time that she had seen Narcisse and Estelle the latter had been placed in a cage. Estelle hands Lola a secret note begging the Lady to help her. Mary reveals the she is pregnant with Francis's baby and news quickly spreads around court. 

Their marriage has not been consummated yet but Estelle has heard rumors of his treatment of his previous wives and she is utterly terrified. Lola promises to do whatever she can for Estelle but Mary believes that they should act on the side of caution, leading to a dispute between the two women. Lola decides to act against Mary's wishes and botches Estelle's escape. When all hope is lost, Mary steps in and they send Estelle off to a safe place. Mary and Lola put their differences aside and Lola asks Mary to be godmother to her son. 

The stress of the day takes its toll on Mary and she miscarries. Conde helps her during her time of needs but she hides the fact that she has lost the child until after the christening. A maid informs Lola that Estelle committed suicide shortly after arriving at the safe location, believing that her parents had been calling out to her. Narcisse and Lola settle the rumors spread about him over Estelle's dead body. Narcisse had kept her in the cage because Estelle believed that her parents wanted her to join them and had attempted suicide before. Narcisse did not play a role in the death of his other wives as previously thought. 

Greer is left in a state of limbo over Lord Castleroy's departure. Castleroy informs her that he no longer wishes to jeopardize his happiness with her and is going to call the whole thing off. Greer wavers between Castleroy and Leith but eventually comes to the decision that Castleroy, beyond just his financial assets, is the best choice. Castleroy is hesitant but the couple consummate their relationship. 

I give this episode 1/5. Did this episode further the plot in any way? Mary and Lola weren't mad at each other before and by the end of it they're not bad at each other anymore. Lola has a baby and Mary didn't and by the end of the episode, Lola still has a child and Mary doesn't anymore. Greer's plotline is the only one that progressed and it went in a really weird way, mainly due to the terribly acted love scene by Celina Sinden. It was just so awkward. And this only progressed somewhat seeing as she was already with Castleroy in the first place. Shining light on Narcisse's character was done poorly. "HER DEFIANCE WILL BE THE END OF HER!" He said....lovingly. When Narcisse was talking about his second wife who was a hemophiliac I thought to myself 1) How do you know what that is in the 1500s 2) DAMN GIRL, YOU ARE SO UNLUCKY! Keep in mind I did my extended essay on Hemophilia and the British Royal Family so I know a thing or two about the disease and you'd have to have a FATHER who is a hemophiliac and a MOTHER who is at the very least a carrier to be female with hemophilia. HOW UNLUCKY CAN YOU BE?!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Reign (S2E03)


Reign is a 2013-2014 TV series, airing on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots and her marriage to her first husband, King Francis II of France. The third episode of the second season garnered an audience of 1.36 million people.

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Torrance Coombs as Sebastian "Basch"

Catherine arranges lavish ceremonies in preparation for Francis's coronation much to the dismay of Mary and Francis, who feel that such displays are distasteful after France was decimated by the plague. As Narcisse has delayed on delivering his grain, Francis and Mary try other French options, ie Lord Ducasse, but Narcisse is quick to put an end to this. They seek help from a German duke, Herr Schuler, who offers them grain in return for the freedom of Protestant prisoners imprisoned by Henry II. Herr Schuler becomes impatient with waiting for their pardon so Mary agrees to free the prisoners without Francis. Francis is angered by Mary's actions as it undermines his position at court. When Herr Schuler comes to free the prisoners, all of them have mysteriously disappeared. As it turns out, Conde was the one who had them smuggled out. With some convincing by Mary, he returns them and all is well.

Kenna becomes embarrassed by Basch's lack of formal home after the Plague especially when Lola has just been rewarded with a summer home in light of her being the mother of Francis's only son. Lady Barnard offers to help Kenna gain some land for cheap, however, it is revealed that this is in fact a bribe to get Basch to stop investigating a murder Lord Barnard has committed. Basch informs his wife that he means to pursue justice but Kenna burns the evidence as she fears retribution if Basch continues to ruffle the nobles' feathers.

Francis calls upon the aid of a summoner to confirm that the wet nurse was indeed possessed by the soul of his dead father. Henry knows that it was Francis who killed him. Francis and Mary have their coronation and are now King and Queen of France, ceremony and all.

I give this episode 2.75/5. The writers are getting SOME political nuance in there and I give them credit for that. I really liked the scene where Francis confronts Mary on weakening his position in the public eye - this show actually has brains for once? But there are still a bunch of stupid points throughout the episode. The wet nurse possessed by the soul of Henry is still ridiculous but it wasn't quite as funny as it was before. The conversation between Catherine and Narcisse was a little iffy. I'm aware of that Catherine de Medici wasn't especially fond of Mary, Queen of Scots. However, considering the main objective of the royal family is to propagate the royal dynasty, so trying to stop Mary from conceiving would be a little counter intuitive. True, if Mary were to give Francis an heir, Catherine's position would wane a little but we must always keep in mind that Catherine is Francis's mother - she is the mother of a King. The sex scene at the end was a little jarring. It came out of no where and I was just thought to myself 'Okay then...'. It was poorly done from a directing stand point as there was a point where I thought, 'She's on top of him waiting for the camera guy to say action so they can kiss...did you just reuse the same shot? . Progress is key. Still hoping for the best. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Reign (S2E02)


Reign is a 2013 TV series, airing on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots and her marriage to her first husband, King Francis II of France. The second episode of the second season garnered an audience of 1.09 million people.

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Torrance Coombs as Sebastian "Basch"

Francis, Lola and their child return to the castle, renewing Mary's anxieties over her lack of providing an heir. With Francis came Lord Narcisse, devastated over the news of his son's, Lord Edward's, death. He confronts Catherine over some discrepancies in Nostradamus's diagnosis, ultimately discovering the truth. Despite Mary's guarantee of his safety, Narcisse has Nostradamus arrested and sentenced to be hang, drawn and quartered.

Lord Castleroy is devastated by his daughter's murder and blames Leith for placing her in such a dangerous position. He accuses Leith of only using his daughter for her position, something previously told to him by Greer. Greer feels terrible for what she has done and tries to make amends. Castleroy reveals that he is leaving on a trip for an extended period of time and this will be a test to see if Greer is actually his.

Now it is Mary's turn to note some discrepancies in the Narcisse family story. She soon realizes that Edward was actually working on the orders of his father when her murdered the Valent family. His true reason for murdering Valent was that the two had killed a cardinal together and Valent became consumed by guilt over the affair. He had meant to confess his crimes but Edward had put an end to that. However, Mary comes to know this by means of confession and therefore she has no substantial evidence. 

Conde sides with Francis in the matter of Narcisse and Narcisse accuses him of being a Huegenot. Conde does not admit to this, he does say that he is against the corruption of the Catholic Church. He is present at Nostradamus's execution as a show of protest against. But the execution is stopped by Francis's timely intervention with a "confession" he discovered written by Lord Valent - actually just a forgery - and Narcisse agrees to halt pardon Nostradamus for some land.  As it turns out, that land is or was Leith's. Nostradamus decides to leave court.

Sebastian warns Mary and Basch of souls that couldn't find peace, souls that want to return. Francis is visited by his father's ghost and is labelled, "Usurper".

I give this episode 2.75/5. I know I said that I would try to keep scores +/- 0.5 so that they're easy to read but, while this episode is better than the season premiere, I just couldn't bring myself to give it a three. I'm sorry. I like that this show is trying to do intrigue but they just don't do it that well. I didn't buy it for a second that there was this giant conspiracy going on. I don't care about the Leith-Greer-Castleroy love triangle, I just don't. However, I loved the twist at the end where the land that Francis gave away was Leith's - although I should have suspected it considering he has never worked that land before. I'm interested in what they're going to do about the Huegenot plot line with Conde but considering that Francis dies in 1560, I don't know how far it will actually go. I don't mind the supernatural plotline for once but the end was a little ridiculous. The ghost of Henry II enters into a the wet nurse's body and asks Francis "Don't you recognize your own father?". If I were Francis I would have bursted out laughing and replied, "No, I don't Dad. You got a big ol' pair of boobs now."

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Reign (S2E01)


Reign is a 2013 TV series, airing on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots stay at the French court during the 1550s. The second season premiered on October 2, 2014 to an audience 1.01 million people.

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Torrance Coombs as Sebastian "Basch"
Anna Popplewell as Lola

The Black Death has returned to France! With Francis away from court to find Lola and her baby, Mary and Catherine are left behind to try and deal with the crisis. The two Queens decide to place the castle under lock down.  Lord Edward demands that Mary and Catherine have Lord Valent murdered albeit subtly via infection and for leverage, he informs them that he controls deliveries of food to court. The two differing values of Mary and Catherine clash over what is to be done about Edward's demands. Catherine falls ill, through the handiwork of Nostradamus, and Mary uses this opportunity to put an end to Edward's plan. In the end, Mary's plans are foiled when Edward reveals that he has already posioned the entire Valent household. Mary punishes Edward for his actions by having him locked in the catacombs so that he may be exposed to the plague and die.

Right and left, people are dying from the Plague and it is up to Basch to contain the outbreak in the castle. Kenna tries to protect Pascal from the disease but he becomes exposed and dies. Basch becomes exposed as well and he slowly begins to lose his sanity as the days wear on. A ghost warns him of the reckoning that will follow due to all the people who have lost their lives from the Plague along with other souls who died violently. Basch and Kenna reunited after this troubling time.

Leith continues to pursue a relationship with Yvette, Lord Castleroy's daughter, much to Greer's dismay. Leith and Yvette make plans to sneak away for a midnight rendez-vous. But it is never to be as Yvette stayed the night with the Valents and unfortunately, she was one of the victims of Edward's dastardly crime.

With the Plague spreading throughout all the countryside, Francis decides to move Lola further north where the disease has not yet affected the population. They are aided in their journey by Francis's cousin, Louis Conde. As they travel, Francis becomes more attached to his son and conflicted about whether or not to send the child away. Conde is set to send his mistress to the Netherlands and he invites Lola and her child to join them. In the end, Francis decides that he wants his son by his side and they decide to return to Paris.

I give this episode a 2.5/5. IT'S BACK! BY SOME MIRACLE THIS SHOW IS BACK! Is this season's premiere better than the first's? Yes. Is the premiere any good? Eh. It was by no means bad. Since we are on the second season, let's not make mention about how this show is incredibly historically inaccurate. No need to beat that dead horse. There were some positives to this episode, namely that tension surrounding the plague. I will admit I got a little teary eyed when Pascal died. And for this season, Nostradamus shaved his scraggle beard making him almost unrecognizable! However, there were some negatives as well like HOLY CRAP, THE PERSON WHO PLAYS EDWARD, Yes, I am referring to you, Kjartan Hewitt, IS A TERRIBLE ACTOR and I find the drama surrounding Francis and Lola to be boring and a little tedious. All in all, not a great episode but not a bad one either. I might actually be looking forward to this season. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Russia's Lost Princesses


Russia's Lost Princesses is a 2014 two part documentary on BBC Two on the four daughters of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia.

PART I: The Gilded Cage aired on August 21, 2014
PART II: The World Turned Upside Down aired on August 26, 2014

The Gilded Cage

The story of the last Grand Duchesses begin with the story of their mother, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia. She was born Princess Alix of Hesse and by the Rhine, the daughter of Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom. When she was six years old, Alix lost her mother and her younger sister to diphtheria, forever changing Alix from a happy girl to a sombre child. At a young age, Alix met and fell in love with Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich of Russia. However, there were concerns about her suitability as Empress from Tsar Alexander III of Russia and Tsaritsa Maria Feodorovna. Not just for Alix but for Nicholas as well. Alexander died in 1894 and the pair were thrown head first into the pitfalls of Imperial rule. Alix's, now Alexandra Feodorovna, shy disposition made her unpopular at court, however, she was able to find consolation in the arms of her husband. The couple were entirely devoted to one another, preferring to live away at Tsarkoe Selo from the glaring eye of the court.

Alexandra had four daughters in quick succession: Olga (1895), Tatiana (1897), Maria (1899) and Anastasia (1901). As the matriarch of their growing family, Alexandra was determined to be a true mother to her children and raised them in the simple upbringing that she herself had experience. The girls grew up in a close knit family unit although each developed their own distinct personality. Olga was the sensitive one, Tatiana was the dutiful one, Maria was the kind one and Anastasia was the rambunctious one. However family life was marred due to the Imperial couple's lack of a son. On July 30, 1904, the splendid event occurred. A son, named Alexei, was born. Unfortunately, he had hemophilia, a blood related disease that he had inherited from his mother. For the family, life would revolve around little Alexei, who could be very spoiled at times.

To deal with Alexei's hemophilia, Alexandra began to rely on the faith healer, Gregory Rasputin. The mysterious man from Siberia came with a bad reputation as a womanizer and many rumors were spread about his relationship with the Tsaritsa and her four daughters. Alexandra was plagued with poor health and was often restricted to her wheel chair or bed. Rasputin became the girls' close contact. By the Romanov third centennial, Russia was already set for the revolution to unfold, something unbeknownst to the four Grand Duchesses.

The World Turned Upside Down

On the eve of the First World War, the four Russian Grand Duchesses begin to blossom into beautiful young women and for Olga and Tatiana love is in the air. The girls find their first crushes among the sailors on the Standart but as Princesses they must marry into their rank.  Nicholas and Alexandra see a prospective match in Prince Carol of Romania but Olga is quick to reject him. Just as the girls are about to enter the spring of their youth, World War One erupts. The elder girls take up work as nurses with their mother and it is during this time that they first come in contact with the outside world. Olga falls in love with one of the wounded soldiers and it was a sweet love that she carries with her until the end of her days.

As Russia enters the war, Alexandra's dependence on Rasputin become stronger. He is not only there for guidance on Alexei but now he begins to interfere in politics. Nicholas fires his uncle, Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich, and places himself at the head of the army, leaving Alexandra (and Rasputin) in charge. Public opinion against the Empress begins to mount. Rumors of Alexandra and her daughters' relationship with the mystic monk began to circulate Petrograd. The people begin to believe that she is a spy for Germany due to her birth. Even within the Romanov family, tensions begin to erupt. In 1916, Rasputin was murdered. The murder was committed by members of the Romanov family in what was the worst betrayal. They believe that this murder will bring the monarchy back from the edge but it is the final push. On March 15, 1917, Nicholas II abdicates for himself and for Alexei. All the girls except for Maria were ill with the measles so Alexandra didn't tell them until a weak later. Everything has changed.

Nicholas believed that with all of his family connections someone would be able to do something for him and his family. His cousin, George V, initially offered asylum to the family but quickly rescinded the offer. The family was to stay in Russia. The family was moved to Tobolsk where they remained isolated from the world. When the Communists took over, they were moved to Ekaterinburg. Things were becoming increasingly difficult. On July 17, 1918, Nicholas, Alexandra, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexei were murdered. They were shot and bayoneted. They bodies thrown in a mine shaft once it was over.

I give this two part documentary series 2/5. I'm really disappointed in this documentary series. The BBC is usually quite reliable in its quality of production and information but this was a total let down. It felt that it was just an image slideshow - something I'd expect out of a low quality History Channel (Sorry! But the proof is on Youtube) hour long documentary. There were also a lot of mistakes.They labelled a picture of Alexandra holding a baby as Olga when it was clearly Tatiana. Trust me, I'd know. Olga has those damn chubby cheeks. There was a really bad transition between Alix's youth when they showed a picture of her when she was twelve and then switched back to a picture of her when she was six. In short, not the greatest in production value.

Russia's Lost Princesses makes a lot of claims that I don't necessarily agree with. I really did not like how they portrayed Alexandra and Nicholas's parenthood - say what you will about Nicholas's rule, but he made a great husband to Alexandra and father to their five children. They accuse Alexandra of trying to manipulate her children on account of her health which I don't think is the right term for it. I mean you wouldn't call your mother manipulative if she had to go away for a little bit and told you to be good now would you? They say that Nicholas and Alexandra spoiled Alexei which is a tad true but what you have to understand is that EVERYONE spoiled Alexei. OTMA wasn't pushed aside by their parents, they actively took part in loving their little brother too. In my opinion, the show did not handle Rasputin's relationship with the royal family well. To fully understand Rasputin, you need to understand Alexandra's suffering as she watches her son dying before her eyes. The documentary doesn't cover that well enough because it's a documentary on OTMA but then it doesn't cover OTMA's relationship with the mystic monk very well either because they're focusing Alexandra so in the end, you don't get much information either way. There was way too much Nicholas and Alexandra, I bet you a dollar that after watching that film you don't come away with any new information on the four sisters other than they were girls. And the only thing girls care about are boys.

The shows biggest problem is that for a documentary titled Russia's Lost Princesses, it's focus is primarily Nicholas and Alexandra. Filled with many ridiculous claims and poorly presented, I say give this one a pass. From what I've seen, Helen Rappaport has nothing to be proud about.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Farewell, My Queen

Farewell, My Queen is a 2012 French film, directed Benoit Jacquot, on the last few days of the French Monarchy.

Lea Seydoux as Sidonie Laborde

The movie's protagonist is a young Sidonie Laborde, who works as the Queen's reader. On the eve of the French Revolution, the occupants of Versailles continue their daily routines, ignoring the brewing crisis in Paris twelve kilometers away. 

On July 14, 1789, the French people storm the Bastille. As new spreads of this catastrophe, nobles and servants alike begin to flee, stealing whatever they can get their grubby little hands on. Sidonie, a true believer in the French monarchy, refuses to leave the Royal Family. The Queen has Sidonie run many errands in preparations for a flight from the capital. However, Louis XVI refuses to abandon his people.

Vicious rumors are spread about the Queen's relationship with her favorite, the Duchess of Polignac. Marie Antoinette comes to confide in her reader her true feelings regarding Yolande de Polastron. She becomes distraught believing that the Duchess has forsaken her but after a council meeting, the Queen's favorite makes her appearance and the two share an intimate moment together. However, their time to get won't last long as the Queen of France sends the Duchess de Polignac away for her own safety, something that devastates her. She sends her last message to her favorite via Sidonie in the form of a kiss on the lips.

Sidonie is made to disguise herself as the Duchess de Polignac, while the real one pretends to be her maid, so that they can escape to Switzerland. The Duke and Duchess treat Sidonie with disdain, however, she is able to pull off her role admirably when the coach is stopped by an angry mob. Sidonie comments that her position as reader to the Queen defines her and now that that is over, she will fade into nothingness. 

I give this movie 1.5/5. I am not a fan of the directing style of Benoit Jacquot. His films are always so slow paced and this movie was no different. It started off interesting enough and I think it did a really good job of establishing life at Versailles for the servants. However, once the revolution started to pick up steam, the film failed to do so. Then it gets really really slow.The ending was incredibly anti-climatic and any sense of tension is loss within a minute of it arriving.

Lea Seydoux was an extreme let down as the lead. Her character was bland and boring - her key characteristics is that she's in love with the Queen, big whup. She basically squints her way through the movie. The real star of the movie is Diane Kruger who absolutely kills as Marie Antoinette. Many critics have drawn a comparison between Sofia Coppola's film and Jacquot's but, in comparison, to Kirsten Dundst, Kruger is perfect. The one thing I will praise the film for is properly conveying the relationship between Louis and Marie Antoinette. I think this film best captures the couple's interactions with one another. The film does dive into Marie Antoinette's relationship with the Duchess de Polignac (with homosexual undertones) and I think that's one of its finer points as its rather subtle and is not too heavy handed in the propaganda territory. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Grace of Monaco


Grace of Monaco is a 2014 biographical film, directed by Olivier Dahan, about the life of Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco. The films centers around the drama of Kelly's possible return to Hollywood and a dispute between Prince Rainier III of Monaco and French President, Charles de Gaulle.

Nicole Kidman as Princess Grace of Monaco
Tim Roth as Prince Rainier III of Monaco
Frank Langella as Father Francis Tucker
Nicholas Farrell as Jean-Charles Rey

The film begins with Grace Kelly on the set of one of her films. She then marries Rainier and moves to Monaco to become the Princess of the tiny principality. Six years later, Alfred Hitchcock pays a visit to Grace in Monaco where he offers her a role in his new movie, Marnie. Grace begins to become disillusioned with her life as a Princess. Her outspoken nature lands her into hot water with the Chief Treasury Agent to Charles de Gaulle and for that she is scolded by her husband. Although she is President of the Monegasque Red Cross, she is curtailed in pursuing her humanitarian work and is told instead to focus on balls, dresses, etc.

Tensions between France and Monaco begin to escalate as France insists that Monaco begin charging income tax on the French millionaires that seek refuge there. Rainier "Ray" gives Grace "Gracie" his approval for her to star in Marnie under the condition that Hollywood would not release this information until after the Palace publishes. However, the news somehow leaks out. Charles de Gaulle uses this as an opportunity to undermine the Monegasque throne. In light of this, Ray snaps at his wife causing her to seriously reconsider her marriage. 

Grace decides to make the best of her situation and embrace her station as Princess Consort of Monaco. While she is training, she has her trusted friends investigate the spy that leaked out the information of her returning to Hollywood. Gracie learns that her mentor, Father Francis, is soon to depart for America and she is devastated. This revelation brings Rainier and Grace back together. They also discover that the spy within their ranks is Rainier's sister, Antoinette, who has been having an affair with Jean-Charles Rey. The couple are banished from the Principality. 

Princess Grace hosts a formal dinner, Charles de Gaulle is invited, where she expresses her hope of having a true fairy tale ending. They all live happily ever after.

I give this movie 1/5. Let's address the elephant in the room: I'm not particularly familiar with the story of Grace Kelly. She was an Academy Award Winning Actress that married a handsome Prince and they had three lovely children together. The end. I am aware that this movie is INCREDIBLY historically inaccurate.  Prince Albert and his two sisters have basically denounced the movie as a load of hogwash. However, this review will be primarily based on what I saw as a movie goer....and yeah, inaccuracies aside, this movie was still pretty bad. It was just kind of nothing. When I finished the movie I thought to myself, "That's it? THAT'S IT?!". The ideas that Olivier Dahan tries to convey are lost in its delivery. Yup, tax evasion is a good thing, kiddies. While the movie looks nice, that's about as much a compliment that I can pay it. 

On to Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly. Despite all the criticism she's received, come on, you guys, you have to admit that when you saw the trailer you thought that Nicole Kidman was a decent choice to play Grace Kelly. She certainly resembles the late Princess of Monaco. When I first saw Nicole Kidman's performance I couldn't help but think "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU NICOLE KIDMAN!". There's something not quite right about her face. However, there are moments where you see that connection between the actress and her character. Is her performance good? No. Not particularly but I blame it more on the director than Kidman herself. At first when the camera came up real close to Kidman's face, I thought it was quite artsy as she does have beautiful eyes. However, he does it constantly and after a while I can't help but think BACK OFF, YOU BOZO. The rest of the cast wasn't memorable. Tim Roth was just there...muttering and smoking in the background. The part where Grace confronts Antoinette was horrendous. Geraldine Somerville was just shrieking like a 10 year old girl (my poor ears). 

Boring. Nonsensical. Unmemorable. Don't watch it. Just don't. Not even if you like Grace Kelly. Not even as a starter. Just don't.

Monday, June 23, 2014

I Wanna Marry Harry (TV Series)


I Wanna Marry Harry is a 2014 reality television show about twelve women vying for the hand of who they think is Prince Henry of Wales. In reality, the bachelor whose affection they seek is Matthew Hicks, a Harry lookalike. The first episode premier on May 20, 2014. The show was cancelled on June 12, 2014 after airing four episodes. The remaining episodes were uploaded onto Hulu.com the next day.

Episode 1 - Leah Tom
Episode 2 - Andrea Fox
Episode 3 - Carley Hawkins
Episode 4 - Chelsea Brookshire (Quit) and Anna Lisa Mattias
Episode 5 - Maggie Toraason
Episode 6 - Jaqueline Conroy and Meghan Ramsey
Episode 7 - Rose Copeland
Episode 8 - Kelley Andrews and Karina Kennedy

WINNER: KIMBERLY BIRCH!


I give this show a 2.5/5. For all the criticisms that this show received from me, I have to admit one thing: It was damn good entertainment. The show definitely got better in the later episodes so I'm a little sad that it stopped airing before getting to the good stuff. I've made the comparison between the Bachelor and I Wanna Marry Harry countless times but what I liked about the show is the camaraderie between the girls on the show. They interacted on the show and seemed to be having a lot of fun. Now hold up! Let's talk about the Mean Girls on the show. Anna Lisa was Regina George. She pushed Chelsea closer and closer to the edge until the poor girl fell off. Meghan was another big drama creator in the show but she's a lot like Gretchen Wieners - she's funny. I do believe that she got a lot of undeserved flack from the girls. Although she did get wrapped up in the whole 'OMG HE'S PRINCE HARRY' scenario, she seemed pretty genuine in her person. I liked how she referred to him as babe and their date together was pretty cute. Kelley kept mentioning Meghan rubbing her boobs in his face and at first I was like 'What boobs' but then holy cow - yes, they were big. But I feel that Kelley's criticism against Meghan was on the most part slut shaming which I strongly disapprove of. Ah Rose, our resident Karen Smith, ironically, she was the only person who actually figured out that Matt Hicks is not Prince Harry. KUDOS. I felt kind of sad to see her go because even though she figured out that Matt wasn't actually Harry, she still stuck around to try and get to know him better. Man, I wholeheartedly disliked Kelley. STAGE FIVE CLINGER. Say what you will about Meghan but that girl was more obsessed with the Prince lie than anyone else. If you ask me, she was the conniving woman, trying twice to ruin relations between Matt and the other girls. I'm glad he got rid of her once he knew that she was trying to manipulate him.Y'all know how much I like Karina. She proves herself time and time again that she is an absolutely darling. But I don't mind that Kimberly won. She seems the most down to earth out of all the girls. The money at the end was a good twist and I thought it was sweet that Kimberly accepted him anyways. I probably would have been more concerned that he lied to me rather than a prince but hey, I hear they're still together. I'm hoping for the best for those two <3>

Friday, June 13, 2014

I Wanna Marry Harry (Episode 4)


I Wanna Marry Harry is a 2014 reality television show about twelve women vying for the hand of who they think is Prince Henry of Wales. In reality, the bachelor whose affection they seek is Matthew Hicks, a Harry lookalike. The first episode premier on May 20, 2014.

Carley Hawkins - Eliminated
Rose Copeland 
Meghan  Ramsey
Maggie Toraason
Kimberly Birch
Kelley Andrews
Karina Kennedy
Jacqueline Conroy
Chelsea Brookshire - Quit
Anna Lisa Matias - Eliminated
Andrea Fox - Eliminated
Leah Thom - Eliminated

THIS SHOW - ELIMINATED


On June 12, 2014, Fox canceled the show after four episodes due to poor ratings.

I give this episode a 2.5/5. I'm sad to announce that this redneck of a show has gotten cancelled :'( R.I.P the multiple brain cells that have died watching this show. I guess the only people watching this show are us monarchist folk. Now on to the review....Karina is such a sweet heart and I absolutely adore her. They finally kissed this episode and it had me squealing with how cute it was! Maggie needs to calm herself. She gets drunk EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. Mad respect for Chelsea for calling it like it is and not taking any of that nonsense from Anna Lisa. It's ironic that Anna Lisa's "bullying" forced Chelsea off the show yet she was the one to leave next! Although props to her for calling Matt Hicks out on his noes...it's all in the nose. Kelley seems crazy obsessed and I feel like by giving her the Crown Suite you're just feeding into the crazy. Excited to see what the next episode has in store - oh wait....

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I Wanna Marry Harry (Episode 3)


I Wanna Marry Harry is a 2014 reality television show about twelve women vying for the hand of who they think is Prince Henry of Wales. In reality, the bachelor whose affection they seek is Matthew Hicks, a Harry lookalike. The first episode premier on May 20, 2014.

Carley Hawkins - Eliminated
Rose Copeland 
Meghan  Ramsey
Maggie Toraason
Kimberly Birch
Kelley Andrews
Karina Kennedy
Jacqueline Conroy
Chelsea Brookshire
Anna Lisa Matias
Andrea Fox - Eliminated
Leah Thom - Eliminated


I give this episode a 3/5. Things are picking up! Let's face it, I'm watching this show for ratchetness not the class of these twelve women. I don't want to see them playing polo unless you make it fun and fill with drams. That's what the show did this week. Dayum girl, that pool party was hot! I'm glad they made it more like the Bachelor in some aspects - more romantical, if you will. They had a three on one date with the "Prince" to a little pond and it was all romantic - like the Notebook as Kelley repeatedly states. I don't particularly like Kelley - a mon avis, she's a bit of an attention whore. I'm saw Carley leaving the house from a mile away. At first I really liked her because she had a 4.0 GPA but that's all that she ever says. She's stand offish, not joining into the fun because of her niece. I agree with Meghan - Carley, you don't have to go all skank on everyone but have a little fun, will ya? I was a little sad last week when Andrew went home but I have a new favorite this week - it's KARINA! She is absolutely gorgeous and she's such a sweet heart. I just love the way that Matt didn't need to kiss her on the lips so develop feelings for her. It was all very touching. Can't wait for her date with "Prince Harry" next week! 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I Wanna Marry Harry (Episode 2)


I Wanna Marry Harry is a 2014 reality television show about twelve women vying for the hand of who they think is Prince Henry of Wales. In reality, the bachelor whose affection they seek is Matthew Hicks, a Harry lookalike. The first episode premier on May 20, 2014.

Carley Hawkins
Rose Copeland 
Meghan  Ramsey
Maggie Toraason
Kimberly Birch
Kelley Andrews
Karina Kennedy
Jacqueline Conroy
Chelsea Brookshire
Anna Lisa Matias
Andrea Fox - Eliminated
Leah Thom - Eliminated


I give this episode 2.5/5.You know how the Bachelor is moderately interesting and you get to know people? I can't say that for I Wanna Marry Harry. There are about half the number of girls on this show but I don't know who is who. I don't want to be mean but all I see is -cough cough- American...and moderately attractive. Rose's date with "Sir" wasn't as nice as any of the Bachelor dates that I have seen. It was 'Meh'. Matt Hicks is growing on me - he's no prince charming but he'll get you there...on his bike. All the girls are so bland - someone do something already - Good early lead, Meghan! Whereas last week I felt that the girl that went home justifiably left, I kind of liked the girl that went home this week. Andrea had a bit of spunk to her - although she suffers from the same low IQ that the rest of the girls went through. "I am always first runner up....I am really competitive, I always come first." 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

I Wanna Marry Harry (Episode 1)


I Wanna Marry Harry is a 2014 reality television show about twelve women vying for the hand of who they think is  Prince Henry of Wales. In reality, the bachelor whose affection they seek is Matthew Hicks, a Harry lookalike. The first episode premier on May 20, 2014.

Matthew Hick is a twenty two year old British man who works for an environmental consulting firm. To become "Prince Harry", he dyed his naturally blond hair red and went through "princely" training. I am Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales, born September 15, 1984.

The women gather at Englefield House. They include....

Carley Hawkins
Rose Copeland 
Meghan  Ramsey
Maggie Toraason
Kimberly Birch
Kelley Andrews
Karina Kennedy
Jacqueline Conroy
Chelsea Brookshire
Anna Lisa Matias
Andrea Fox
Leah Thom - Eliminated

I give this episode 3/5. I see how the ruse works. When you first hear the premise of the show, you think 'That is absolutely ridiculous' but how the show stops short of stealing Prince Harry's identity is that everything is implied. Could this ruse work on me? I'm just going to go out of my way and say no, given that this is a monarchist media blog. But there is 0.0000001% chance that I could seeing as - yes, I'm ashamed to admit it - I don't know what Prince Harry sounds like. Matt Hicks has a great name - but that's the best thing about him. He's a little bland but the British accent should clear that right up! The girls come to the conclusion all on there own - which makes things a whole lot worse for the twelve women involved in this show. Even though I don't know what the word 'ratchet' means, I think I can safely describe all twelve girls as 'ratchet'. Their sophistication level can be summed up in the sentence "I'm going to shank you in the night." - Oh Rose, you craycray. They all look like the real Bachelor rejects. In my honest opinion, I'm a little glad that Leah was sent home because her hair was nasty! It's certainly mind numbing entertainment. I feel the same watching this show as I would when watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians - Dayum girl! I can't wait for the second episode - I hope no one cancels this show.

Reign (Complete Season)


Reign is a 2013-2014 TV series, broadcasting on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots stay at the French court during the 1550s. It premiered on October 17, 2013 to an audience of 1.98 million. The season concluded on May 15, 2014 with 1.24 million viewers. The first season of the show consists of 22 episodes.

On February 13, 2014, the show was renewed for a second season.

The French Royal Family
Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Alan Van Sprang as King Henry II of France
Torrances Coombs as Sebastian "Basch"

Mary's Ladies
Anna Popplewell as Lola
Celina Sinden as Greer
Cailtin Stasey as Kenna
Jenessa Grant as Aylee

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8
Episode 9
Episode 10
Episode 11
Episode 12
Episode 13 and 14
Episode 15
Episode 16
Episodes 17-22

I give the first season of Reign 2/5. First of all, I would like to apologize for not covering the last six episodes of the season but exams got in the way. Never fear, the complete season review is here! 

This show is incredibly INCREDIBLY historically inaccurate. Mary, Queen of Scots is all wrong. Francis II is wrong. Catherine de Medici is all wrong. Henry II is all wrong....you get my point. he biggest thing to keep in mind about this show is that it is targeted towards teens. All teens care about are pretty people and sex and that is pretty much what the show provides. Who cares about historically accurate clothing? Girls just want to see nice dresses so that's what we'll do! The acting is atrocious. I shudder thinking about all the confessions in this series. I think the worst offender is Adelaide Kane herself. The romances in this series are absolutely dreadful. Lola's 10 second marriage shocked me by its sheer stupidity. As a teenage, historically inclined girl, I understand what they are going for. I will admit that I enjoy the romance between Greer and Leith. I enjoyed the struggled faced by Greer between choosing between her heart and duty. However, I was disappointed that just when the show was dealing out a moral lesson it steam rollers itself. Is this series great? Hell no. Good? Meh. Decent? Yes. It's just something you watch to pass the time.  Will I watch season 2? You tell me.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

W.E.


W.E. is a 2011 romance film written and directed by Madonna. The film splits between the romance of Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom in the 1930s and the story of a woman's struggle between her husband and a new romance set in the present day.

Abbie Cornish as Wally Winthrop 
Oscar Isaac as Evgeni
Andrea Riseborough as Wallis Simpson
James D'Arcy as Edward VIII

In 2001, Wally Winthrop is so desperate to have a child that she begins treatment for In Vitro Fertilization. Her doctor husband, William Winthrop, neglects her and she suspects him of having an affair. William later admits that he does not want a child. Wally travels to the Sotheby's auction of the Windsor's estate, show casing various items belonging to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. 

In the 1930s, through her friend, Lady Furness, who is always the Prince's mistress, Mrs. Simpson meets the Prince of Wales, Edward, but known to his close friends as "David." They two are mutually attracted to one another and begin an affair while Lady Furness is away in America despite Wallis being married to Ernest Simpson at the time. Edward's family is critical of his relationship but he is so besotted with this American woman that he decides he wants to marry her with or without his throne.

Wally's reminiscent are interrupted by a Russian security guard named Evgeni, who begins to fancy her. He woos her with his piano and the two go out on a date. They talk about Wallis and Edward which causes Wally to ponder about her strained relationship with her husband. One night, Wally confronts her husband over his late night dealings leading to William violent assaulting his wife.

Wallis attempts to break up her relationship with the King of the United Kingdom but Edward cannot let her go. On December 11, 1936, Edward abdicates the throne, leaving it to his younger brother, Bertie, now King George VI.  Edward becomes the Duke of Windsor and they marry.  Edward becomes despondent

Wally makes her way to Evgeni's apartment after the fight where she recovers and the two consummate their relationship. She decides to divorce William and return to her work at the museum. One day, the newspaper publishes an article on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, saying that Mohammed Al-Fayed has private letters exchanged between Wallis and a friend. They reveal that Wallis feels trapped in her relationship with Edward, breaking the spell of the romantic story. Wally puts aside the story of Wallis and Edward to move on with her own. The film ends with Wally discovering that she is pregnant with Evgeni's baby.

I give this movie a 0.5/5. Why? I'm a big fan of Natalie Dormer and a few years ago, when I saw that she was in a new movie, I was excited. Even better that it was about the British monarchy. I'll admit that I'm not the biggest fan of Wallis Simpson but subject is a little interesting. I don't think anyone could have avoided the negative reviews surrounding the movie so I did know about it but still Natalie Dormer is awesome. It took me two years to actually watch the damn thing but now that I have I just want to say: Why? Just why? 

Think of everything that could be interesting about the story of Wallis and Edward and throw it out the window because this movie doesn't have it. The split story line doesn't work and the editing is atrocious. I kept wondering "WHERE AM I?" throughout the entire film. The present story line was absolutely terrible in my opinion. Wally just walks around touching things and the entire time I kept thinking to myself, "Security! Tackle her already!" The Evgeni character was incredibly funny: He's a hunky security with a sexy foreign accent who plays piano and is highly cultured. There was a scene in the movie where Oscar Isaac was in a kilt (Don't ask) and he gave a flash of his ass and I shuddered inside. We presently have a queen on the throne, Mr. McDreamy, you need to wear something under that. The fight scene between Wally and William was so badly done that I couldn't help but burst into hysterical laughter. Whenever we were in the present story line, I wanted to go back to the W.E. timeline and whenever I was in the W.E. timeline, I just wanted to leave the room. 

The film is not in the least bit historically inaccurate. If it wants to be a revisionist piece, it did a terrible job at it. The news anchor called Edward VIII "David Windsor" and I couldn't help but think that Madonna came off a bit pretentious in her writing. I really disliked how they portrayed Bertie as a simpering fool. Yes, he did have the stutter but he was the man who's strength of will lead Great Britain through the Second World War. There was this really awkward dance-drug scene in the moving that made me very confused. Often times in the movie you will think to yourself, "WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS SCENE?!" Whoever did the soundtrack for this movie, I don't know if you took a drink of that drug-alcohol concoction but I have no idea what you were doing. It didn't fit in the movie at all. 

Now given all my complaints, why does this movie deserve 0.5 a mark? The answer is simple: Andrea Riseborough. She was very good as Wallis Simpson. She captured Wallis's Bohemian feel very well and I thought she looked the part. The costumes were nice and the settings weren't bad. All in all though, even with Riseborough's talent, I'm still left wondering, "WHY?"

Saturday, May 10, 2014

In Secret


In Secret is a 2013 film directed by Charlie Statton. It is based on the 1867 French novel by Emile Zola, Therese Raquin.

Elizabeth Olsen as Therese Raquin
Tom Felton as Camille Raquin
Jessica Lange as Madame Raquin
Oscar Isaac as Laurent

Set in 1860s, In Secret is about a sexually repressed young woman named Therese. As a child, her father took her from her native Algeria in order to live with her aunt and cousin, Camille. He promised her that he would return for her but he never does. And so, Therese grows up in the stifling environment of Madame Raquin and her sickly son. Therese and Camille are married before the little family leaves for Paris. 

Her marriage to Camille leaves her sexually frustrated. One day, Camille brings home a friend named Laurent. The family had known Laurent when he was younger but he moved to Paris to become an artist, after that endeavor failed, he came to work at the same company as Camille where the two were reunited. Camille soon requests a portrait from Laurent and the man comes to visit the Raquin family frequently. Laurent and Therese begin an affair shortly after the portrait is finished. 

Their torrid love affair continues until Camille announces that they will soon be leaving Paris due to her "health" problems. During an excursion, Laurent murders Camille. The news of her son drowning to death is devastating on Madame. Therese becomes haunted by the memory of Camille. Laurent connives to have them marry but they do not attain any peace of mind. Madame Raquin has a stroke over the pain of the loss of her only child, leaving her immobilized.

The lives of Therese and Laurent become hell together. During one of their fights, Madame Raquin discovers their murderous secret. She attempts multiple times to inform someone of the crime but fails. However, the consciences of the two murderers won't let them truly escape. They sink further and further into their gloom until they can take it no more. The two murderers take their lives while Madame Raquin watches. 

I give this movie 2.5/5. When I first saw the trailer for the movie, I absolutely couldn't wait to see it. I was so pumped that I even read the book (the English translation). Sorry to sound cliche, but the book was much better than the movie. If two years worth of English IB has taught me anything, it comes out in the viewing of this film. Sure, this is the story of Therese Raquin but it really doesn't capture the tone set by Zola. You don't get this slow psychological torture that Therese and Laurent go through. Lots of the action happens within the minds of the characters themselves - something that was definitely lacking in the film. Also, you don't get Laurent's deviousness at the beginning; he only began an affair with Therese because he couldn't afford to pay for prostitutes anymore. It is called an "erotic thriller" but the "R-rated" scenes in the movie aren't thrilling enough nor is the drama thrilling enough to capture our attention. The performances were decent although I felt like they were all modern actors pretending to star in a period piece especially in the case of Olsen (I roll my eyes, "Nevermind.") . The film would have received 1.5 however, Jessica Lange's performance in the movie was spot on. Three fifths into the movie, Madame Raquin has a stroke, making her eyes her only method of communication. She did it wonderfully! She was definitely the highlight of the film! 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

300: Rise of an Empire


300: Rise of an Empire is a 2014 film, directed by Noam Murro and written by Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad, on the Athenian general, Themistocles, during the Battle of Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis. It is a follow up to the  2007 fillm 300, taking place before, during and after the events of the first film.

Sullivan Stapleton as Themistocles
Rodrigo Santoro as King Xerxes

Queen Gorgo tells her men about the Battle of Marathon where King Darius I of Persia was killed by General Themistocles of Athens. After witnessing his father's death, Xerxes, becomes a recluse, stricken with fear against the Greeks, haunted by the dying words of his father. "Only the gods could defeat the Greeks". Darius' naval commander, Artemisia, tells him that Darius' last words were in fact a challenge and sends Xerxes on a journey through the desert to become a "god". Finding a cave and then bathing in its otherworldly liquid, Xerxes emerging as the "God-King". He returns to Persia and declares war on Greece.
Themistocles meets with the council and convinces them to provide him with a fleet to engage the Persians at sea. He then travels to Sparta to ask for help, but is informed that King Leonidas is consulting the Oracle, and Queen Gorgo is reluctant to side with Athens. Themistocles learns that Artemisia was born Greek, but defected to Persia as her family was murdered by Greek hoplites and she was taken as a sex slave to the Greeks, who left her for dead in the streets. She was rescued and adopted by the Persians. Her lust for vengeance gained the attention of King Darius and he made her a naval commander after she killed many of his enemies.
Themistocles leads his men to the Aegean Sea. They ram their ships into the Persian ships and charge them, slaughtering several soldiers before retreating. The following day, the blood bath continues. Impressed with Themistocles' skills, Artemisia has him brought onto her ship where she tries to convince him to join the Persians as her second-in-command. They then proceed to have sex. He refuses which ends their sexual encounter. Artemisia then swears revenge.
The Persians spill tar into the sea and send suicide bombers to board the Greek ships with their flame bombs.Themistocles manages to kill one of the soldiers, who falls into the tar carrying a torch, causing ships from both sides to explode. Themistocles is thrown into the sea by the explosion and nearly drowns as a result. Luckily,  he is rescued by Calisto but not before seeing his friend, Scyllas, succumbs to his wounds. Believing Themistocles to be dead, Artemisia and her forces withdraw.
Themistocles learns that the 300 have been killed by Xerxes and returns to Athens to confront Ephialtes, the deformed Spartan traitor. Epialtes reveals that Xerxes plans to attack Athens and, being regretful of his actions, welcomes death. But Themistocles spares him instead. He tells the traitor to warn Xerxes that the Greek forces are gathering at Salamis. He then visits Gorgo, who is in mourning Leonidas, to once again ask for her help, but she is too overcome with grief to be of any help to him. Before leaving, Themistocles returns Leonidas' sword, which he took from Ephialtes and urges Gorgo to avenge Leonidas.
In Athens, Xerxes' army is laying waste when Ephialtes arrives to deliver Themistocles' message. Artemisia is shocked to hear that Themistocles is still alive and leaves to ready her troops for battle. The Greek ships crash into the Persians ships, and the two armies battle, this is to be the decisive Battle of Salamis. Themistocles and Artemisia fight, and Themistocles overpowers her.
Gorgo has been narrating the tale to her Spartan army the entire time, now leads them to assist in the battle alongside other allied Greeks. Themistocles urges Artemisia to surrender, but she tries to kill him and is stabbed through the stomach as a result. With her dying breath, she sees Xerxes turning his back on her as he retreats. Themistocles and Gorgo silently acknowledge one another's alliance and the two them charge at the opposing Persians with the rest of the Spartans behind them.
I give this movie 3/5. It is the bloodiest, the most historically inaccurate, the movie with the greatest slightly racist undertones that I will probably watch this year....and yet, it wasn't half bad. I found it quite enjoyable, in fact. While it's not as good as the first 300 film, it wasn't a terrible sequel. In my opinion, Sullivan Stapleton falls short of the strong leader that Gerard Butler was in the original but he did fine as this movie's protagonist. The women definitely ran the show in this movie. Lena Headey made a great Queen Gorgo and was especially glad to see her in this movie...and actually wield a sword. But the person who stole the show was Eva Green as Artemisia. She was a baddy in this movie and she did it well. She was absolutely perfect in the role. Nearly ever review that I have watched regarding this film (JeremyJahns, Chris Stuckmann and Schmoesknow) said that she was the best part of the movie and I would have to agree. 
If you want a fun movie on a Saturday night, that you can turn mind off to, this is it! 

Reign (Episode 16)

Reign is a 2013-2014 TV series, broadcasting on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots stay at the French court during the 1550s.

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Alan Van Sprang as King Henry II of France
Anna Popplewell as Lola
Caitlin Stasey as Kenna
Celina Sinden as Greer

Henry continues to act erratically, for example, he poured candle wax into a nobleman's ear for not doing expressly what the King asked, and Catherine continues to worry. The palace is abuzz with the coming "Queen of the Bean Day", an event where the female servants search for a bean in a cake and whoever should be so lucky as to find it becomes Queen for the day. Greer introduces to Mary her new fiance, Lord Julien, and Leith begins to have some doubts as to whether or not he wants to go to Spain and give up Greer.

A servant girl named Penelope finds the bean and is proclaimed by Catherine to be Queen of the Bean. Basch returns from exile in order to get some help for Rowan. He immediately placed under arrest by Henry for killing Francis's guard but Mary insists that her husband did not order them to murder him. Catherine walks Penelope through her experience as Queen of the Bean, even going so far as to provide the girl with an aphrodisiac. Leith and Greer steal a quick kiss but they are caught by Lord Julien who promptly breaks off their engagement.

Francis, Mary and Basch meet with Olivier to get to the heart of this monster mystery. Olivier insists that the monster is real but Nostradamus proves that the monster is actually just a man. Mary begins to notice that Henry is unwell after he asks her to introduce Penelope to sexual intercourse but Penelope doesn't need Mary as she is able to appease King Henry's bondage tendencies. Greer  and Mary encourage Lola to consider Julien as a potential suitor. While following a lead on Rowan's disappearance, Francis falls into the ice and it's up to the brother he's been so contentious with lately to save him.

Feeling down on her luck, Greer surprised that Lord Castleroy is still in pursuit of her. He admits that he is not the man of her dreams but still loves her and will provide for her. Greer accepts his proposal. The brothers reconcile and learn that it was in fact, Henry, who ordered the execution of his illegitimate son. Olivier asks Nostradamus to dance but he refuses. He later explains to her that the last person he danced with was his wife who had since died from the plague. Nostradamus is plagued with guilt over being unable to save them but Olivier reminds him that he has saved her and they kiss. Leith is sent off which causes Greer much heartache. Penelope undermines Catherine by telling Henry of the vial. It turns out that Henry had the contents of the vial poured into Catherine's drink and the actual Queen faints upon learning that she is drugged. Henry forces Kenna and Basch into a sword wedding, proclaiming Basch to be Master of Horse and Hunt. Basch admits to Mary that his feelings for her remain unchanged and he lied before when he said they did.

I give this episode a 3.5/5. Other than the ridiculously named "Queen of the Bean" event and the stereotypical depiction of bondage, this episode was one of the best of the series so far. King Henry II's madness is pretty terrifying to watch, especially seeing Kenna reduced to tears during the wedding ceremony. The tension reached by this episode was pretty high with Francis nearly dying in a frozen lake. It had a nice way of tying in all the girls to this episode which is something I criticized about show early on. I thought this episode really showed the depths to which these people had fallen and, perhaps its the sadistic side of me, I thought the show did a better job at it than its happier episodes.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Reign (Episode 15)


Reign is a 2013-2014 TV series, broadcasting on the CW network, on Mary, Queen of Scots stay at the French court during the 1550s. The fifteenth episode garnered an audience of 1.61 million people.

Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scots
Alan Van Sprang as King Henry II of France
Anna Popplewell as Lola
Caitlin Stasey as Kenna
Celina Sinden as Greer

At the request of King Henry, Kenna engages in a threesome with a prostitute. When she awakes after their night together, she is horrified to find the prostitute dead in their bed, with finger marks on her throat. Catherine covers up the incident but starts becoming concerned that this may become a regular thing, considering what happened to his last lover. She believes him to be ill but Henry outright denies it.

Greer accepts the suit of Lord Castleroy although she continues to see Leith, a castle servant. Greer has Castleroy arrange an apprenticeship for Leith in Spain. She later rejects Castleroy as her family has already chosen a husband for her. At the end of the episode, Greer is seen at the castle opening waiting for the arrival of her new husband.

Mary fears that Lola may try to usurp her position just as Diane did to Catherine all those years before. She pushes for Lola to accept the proposal of the first suitor available despite the fact that she knows that he is a homosexual. She later changes her mind and tells Lola to make her own choice even if it means waiting.

Olivia tells Nostradamus that she was taken to a creature known as "the darkness" where she was fed on daily until she escaped. The pagan takes Rowan to be their next sacrifice after she opens her eyes at the call of Basch in front of the pagans. It is up to Basch and her brother, Carrick, to go and rescue her.

I give this episode 1.5/5. The sexual escapades of Henry II make this episode otherwise it was boring, boring, boring. Greer is probably the weakest of all the characters and her subplot is excessively dull. Lola and Mary's conflict is so underplayed by the Kane and Popplewell that I really don't get a sense that there is any tension at all. What I don't understand is why they tied up Basch? The pagans chose THEIR family for the sacrifice but Basch isn't part of their family so he could creep all he wanted and technically he shouldn't get it trouble.