The Tudors: Baby, Light My Fire

Previously on The Tudors: Henry failed to get his divorce and blamed it on Wolsey, who found himself kicked out of office and arrested. More took his old job, reluctantly. Anne started to convert Henry.

Well, we might as well just get right to it. We open on Henry masturbating, while leaning on a servant and fantasizing about Anne sewing. That is so utterly not something I needed to see. And also, I hope the guy playing that poor servant fired his agent, because that is the worst few seconds of screentime ever.

Calmer now (and fully dressed), Henry enters his council chamber to meet with the council. He rails about Wolsey’s doings, without actually naming him, and names Norfolk President of the Council, along with Brandon, who smirks a little at the announcement. Norfolk takes that with surprising grace. Henry tells everyone they’ll reconvene soon to discuss the divorce.

Continue reading “The Tudors: Baby, Light My Fire”

Sherlock Holmes

A few years ago, word got out that the guy who directed Momento was turning his hand to the Batman franchise, an idea that perplexed some people, because we already had a couple of nice, atmospheric Batman movies (and a few Godawful crimes against nature, but we won’t talk about those.) And then, Batman Begins came out, and suddenly it became very popular to reboot classics that we hadn’t realized needed a reboot in the first place. We got another Batman movie, and Star Trek, and, of course, Sherlock Holmes.

Continue reading “Sherlock Holmes”

The Tudors: Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall

Previously on the Tudors: The long, hard fall of Cardinal Wolsey began in earnest.

We open at Blackfriars Church, where Wolsey is continuing the trial without Katherine, trying to determine whether or not she and Prince Arthur ever consummated the marriage. He calls up his first witness, Sir Anthony Willoughby, who was part of the prince’s entourage on his wedding night. Apparently, the morning after, Arthur asked Willoughby to bring him some ale and mentioned that the night before, he was in the midst of Spain. The audience finds this hilarious; Henry, less so. Willoughby also mentions that Arthur told his friends that it was a good pastime to have a wife. Wolsey says he’s pretty sure they have the bloodstained sheets to corroborate Willoughby’s story. Excuse me? First of all, who would keep those? For decades? Second, if they did exist, wouldn’t they have caused some problems with the original dispensation, since they’d indicate the marriage had been consummated? And finally, who could prove they weren’t just a random set of sheets with blood on them? It’s not like they had DNA testing back then.

Continue reading “The Tudors: Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall”

The Tudors: The Beginning of the End

Previously on The Tudors: The Sweating Sickness kicked England’s ass. Wolsey and Anne survived; Compton and others weren’t quite so lucky.

An artist is looking through a magnifying glass at Henry and Katherine, who appear to be sitting for a miniature. Henry, what did I say about the mixed messages?

Meanwhile, Wolsey’s in his study when a servant enters and announces Cardinal Campeggio, the pope’s representative in the divorce case. Campeggio enters slowly, using a cane and leaning on an assistant. Wolsey greets him with a hug and calls him Lorenzo, so clearly they’ve been friends for a while. Campeggio apologizes for his immobility—he has gout, apparently. The two cardinals sit down near the fire and Wolsey tells Campeggio that Henry wants the court to be set up to try the case as soon as possible. Campeggio understands, but he reminds Wolsey that his decision will be final, there’ll be no appeals here. He reveals that the pope wants to keep Henry happy, but it’ll be best to persuade Henry to give up this case. Wolsey rather impatiently tells Campeggio that if Henry doesn’t get his way, the church will lose England altogether.

Continue reading “The Tudors: The Beginning of the End”

Poirot: Four and Twenty Blackbirds

I’ve been spending so much time in the pre-Industrial age with Pillars of the Earth and The Tudors, I thought it might be a nice break to get a little closer to my era. A quick perusal of my collection brought three Poirot DVDs and I thought, well, why not? The 1930’s can be a fun time to dive into, and I’ve missed my favorite little Belgian (not French!) detective. This should help fill the time  before Boardwalk Empire starts up.

Continue reading “Poirot: Four and Twenty Blackbirds”

Pillars of the Earth: A New Beginning, The Work of Angels

So, we’ve come to it. And by “it,” I mean the two hour finale. Judging from how long the previous recaps have taken to write up, I don’t anticipate getting to bed before 4 a.m. Thanks, Starz!

Previously on Pillars of the Earth: Well, a lot happened. You might be better off just reading the recaps, but essentially, Kingsbridge wanted to build a cathedral, Bishop Waleran and the Hamleighs caused a lot of trouble, and Aliena and Jack fell in love. Oh, and there was a civil war.

Continue reading “Pillars of the Earth: A New Beginning, The Work of Angels”

The Tudors: Bring Out Your Dead

Previously on the Tudors: Henry wanted Wolsey to get him a divorce, and Wolsey became the last person on earth to discover that Henry is dating Anne. Brandon and Henry made up. Katherine sent a message to her nephew, the emperor, telling him that Henry plans to divorce her.

At his country house, Compton’s in bed and not looking too good. He’s writhing and moaning and flinching at the light. Servants scurry to fetch a physician, who arrives looking grim. The doctor scolds the servants for letting Compton fall asleep, since sleep is fatal in these cases (and how did he think they would know that? It’s not like they have a copy of Ye Olde Guide to Plague First Aid hanging around). Compton has the sweating sickness. The servants flee from the room in fear. The physician gets to work, cutting into Compton’s back because he’s heard that it sometimes works. Horribly, he starts hammering a small spike into the guy’s back. Yay, 16th century medicine!

Continue reading “The Tudors: Bring Out Your Dead”

The Tudors: Cardinal Clueless

Previously on The Tudors: Henry decided to jettison Katherine and promised Anne he wouldn’t sleep with her until they were married. Speaking of marriage, Henry’s sister Margaret married his buddy, Charles Brandon, and got herself banished from court as punishment. Henry got tired of his alliance with the Holy Roman Emperor and got back into bed with the French. The Emperor got annoyed and sacked Rome, taking the pope hostage.

At Hever, Anne’s reading yet another sappy letter from Henry aloud to her father and uncle. It gets awkward when Anne gets to the part about Henry wanting to kiss her breasts, but they get past it. Boleyn, finally acting like he cares about his own child, asks her how she feels about all this, and Anne admits she wasn’t happy about it at first, but it seems she’s starting to develop actual feelings for Henry. Norfolk advises her not to fall for her own masquerade but to use the king’s love to get rid of Wolsey. Her father tells her Wolsey’s standing in the family’s way and it’s her job to make sure he’s gone.

Continue reading “The Tudors: Cardinal Clueless”

Dangerous Beauty

Venice is a city built on the spice trade; its fantastical buildings pay homage to the eastern lands that provided the goods that made Venice rich and powerful. As such, it’s always had a certain exotic feeling to it. The buildings are very different from the ones you tend to find elsewhere in Italy, and the feel of the city is different from, say, Florence or Rome. There’s an aura of mystery to Venice, as well as excitement, and romance. When you think of Venice, you think of water, singing gondoliers, and a bacchanalian Carnivale. It’s a place you go to to have fun, or to woo someone.

But for all its association with pleasure, there’s a dark edge to Venice. The city itself is something of an illusion—it’s impermanent, built on wood pilings, and it’s sinking (or not, depending on whom you ask). It’s almost as if it wasn’t really meant to last. The brackish water encroaches on the city, sometimes submerging it entirely, and brings in a dank, moldering smell. The waterways and narrow sidewalks twist and turn bewilderingly. It’s very easy to lose your way. This is an important thing to remember when watching this particular movie.

Continue reading “Dangerous Beauty”

Pillars of the Earth: Witchcraft

Previously on Pillars of the Earth: Jack and Alfred ogled Aliena before beating the crap out of each other, which led to Tom firing Jack for not being a blood relative. William takes obsessive assholishness to a new level by burning Kingsbridge’s Fleece fair, killing Tom, and sending Aliena’s entire year’s profit up in flames.

Kingsbridge’s cemetery has several new occupants, and it’s about to get another one: Tom Builder. His shrouded body is accompanied by all the monks, Ellen, Aliena, Alfred, a sobbing Martha, and a number of townspeople. Philip says prayers over the body before paying a moving tribute to Tom, his friend, and the reason the cathedral exists. As he finishes, Richard rides into the still smoldering ruins, looking bewildered.

Continue reading “Pillars of the Earth: Witchcraft”