Titanic: Parts 1-3

Ok, I’m just going to come out and say it: Julian Fellowes has to stop bragging about his own projects. Now, don’t get me wrong—I like him (or, rather, I’ve liked some of his work) but I think he’s getting a little high on himself post-Downton Abbey, and now he keeps talking about how his next project is going to be awesomer than anything that ever came before, and then it really doesn’t deliver. Case in point: I seem to recall reading about how Vera Bates was going to be this fascinating, complex character. Nothing could have been further from the truth. She was such a cartoon I’m surprised she didn’t start twirling a moustache. With his latest project, Titanic, he kept bragging about how this was going to be soooo much better than anything that came before. Certainly much better than the Cameron film (which, to be fair, is pretty to look at but awful to listen to) or a Night to Remember (which I took umbrage at, because that’s still my favorite Titanic film). Oh, no, these would pale in comparison with his work, which would be the only one to show all the different people on board. First: no it’s not. Not by a long shot. Second: it’s not good. At least, the bits I’ve seen aren’t. The characters are poorly drawn and even more poorly developed, and the storytelling technique—moving back and forth to tell the story from different people’s perspectives—is a bit confusing at times, unnecessarily repetitive, and makes certain characters just seem completely insane.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at it together.

Continue reading “Titanic: Parts 1-3”

Titanic Drinking Game

In case you’ve missed the massive amount of pimping out this has received, it’s the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster this weekend.. Nobody’s missing a chance to cash in on this horrible tragedy, and that includes Julian Fellowes. His four-part Titanic-set miniseries, which has been airing in Britain for the past couple of weeks, finally debuts on ABC tonight, and from what I’ve seen, … Continue reading Titanic Drinking Game

Titanic: The Miniseries

Some time ago, I reported a rumor that Julian Fellowes was writing a miniseries based on the Titanic’s tragic maiden voyage. Turns out it was more than just a rumor: It’s been written, cast, and started shooting in Hungary. I was once on the fence about this miniseries, but I’m getting excited now. Once upon a time, I was a huge Titanic nerd. I knew … Continue reading Titanic: The Miniseries

Gosford Park: Murder, Mayhem, and Manors

It’s a new year, which means that Masterpiece Classic is kicking off a new season of costume porn. This year, they’re getting the ball rolling with Downton Abbey. A recap of the first part of DA will be up later this week, but until that goes live, you can fill the void with Gosford Park, a movie that has quite a lot in common with DA, including a) a screenwriter (Julian Fellowes), b) similar house-themed titles, c) upstairs/downstairs-style storylines, and d) a star (Maggie Smith, who appears to basically play the same character in both GP and DA). From the sound of it, DA even has a murder mystery subplot, which I’m guessing will end up being somewhat superfluous to the actual story, just as it was in GP, but I may be wrong about that.

Normally, I’d be annoyed by two stories that are so similar, but in this case I’m fine with it because I have a particular soft spot for GP. There’s something incredibly addictive about this movie, for me. Maybe it’s the fact that I notice something new every time I watch it, because there’s so much going on in the ensemble cast, so I never get tired of watching this. And speaking of that cast, it’s fun to watch GP because it’s a veritable parade of familiar faces and “hey, look who it is!” moments. Margaret Schroeder’s Professor McGonagall’s lady’s maid! And McGonagall’s Harry Potter’s mom’s aunt! Queen Elizabeth (I and II!) is the housekeeper! And this whole thing was written by the Duke of Richmond! It kind of proves my mother’s theory that there are only about 30 British actors out there who regularly get work, so you see them all the time. Because of this movie, Love Actually, and the Harry Potter films, you can connect pretty much every single one of those actors to any other in a crazy British version of “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon”. And you’d probably only need two or three degrees to do it.

Continue reading “Gosford Park: Murder, Mayhem, and Manors”