Tag Archives: british

MR. TURNER (2014) – My rating: 7/10

MrTurnerWhile Mr. Turner was nominated for various awards, it was not an easy watch.  It’s a British, German and French biographical piece written about a well respected but not so well liked painter named Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851).  Turner (Timothy Spall) started painting as a young boy who had a love and passion for his father and his art.  Despite a couple of lovers, Mr. Turner was never married.  He did have two unacknowledged daughters by his first love, Sarah Danby (Ruth Sheen).   Hannah Danby (Dorothy Atkinson) was Mr. Turner’s devoted housekeeper for 40 years, whom he exploited sexually.  Hannah suffered from Psoriasis as well as a one sided love affair, as Turner never returned her feelings.  There are many characters in this film from Mr. Turner’s Society friends to the many visitors who came to view his paintings.  In my opinion,  the film was slow and the story, quite weird.  Mr. Turner himself was eccentric and without morals.  The film wasn’t released to DVD until this May and for some reason, I had never seen it featured in the movie theaters.  There are some profound scenes that may need some explaining elsewhere, like the original book or a website that better depicts the story.  Despite it all, I still liked the movie.  It’s was somewhat interesting, at best.  The acting was very good and there were some interesting characters.

[MR. TURNER is nominated for Cinematography]

THE IMITATION GAME (2014) – My rating: 9/10

TheImitationGameChanges are, you’ve not heard much about this movie. It wasn’t aggressively advertised. The Imitation Game is based on a true story and takes place during World War II.  Britain obtained a most fascinating machine built by the Germans that allowed the Nazis to send daily messages depicting when and where the next attacks would take place.  This device is called the Enigma, which was impossible to decode.  A team of mathematical genius’ were formed to try to break the code and counter the attacks.  Alan Turing, excellently played by Benedict Cumberbatch, was hired to join the team but controversy surrounded his every move.  Kira Knightly played Joan Clarke, Alan’s love interest.  The acting was excellent as The Imitation Game, served to explain a most important part of this historic and tragic time, as well as entertain it’s audience in the process.  Yet another brilliantly told story as a result of Nazi Germany.  It’s too bad these German minds were put to such evil deeds.  The Enigma, one of many, was smuggled out of Germany and into the hands of the British.  The Imitation Game was mostly about Alan, who professed to be the one person intelligent enough to fulfill the task.  As the story advances, we learn Alan has social and metal restrictions that made him an unlikable chap.  Kira Knightly put up with all Alan’s issues and was a fellow master mind and member of the team.  I think this brilliantly told story will give you much school for thought.  The Imitation Game is made up of a very believable and fantastic cast of characters.  I felt as though I was there, experiencing the frustrations and attitudes of the officials and team.  Don’t miss this important piece of history and the injustices that made up man’s thinking in those most difficult times.  I smell Oscar for this director, Morten Tyldum and actors,  Benedict Cumberbatch, Kira Knightly and Matthew Goode.

THE IMITATION GAME is nominated for Best Picture, Directing, Best Actor, Best Actress, Film Editing, Music: Original Score, Production Design, Adapted Screenplay (writing).


CROSSBONES – My rating: 6/10

CrossbonesAs an adventure, Crossbones drags a little, making it somewhat hard to get into.  I decided to watch this period piece because of John Malkovitch.  He is such a brilliant actor, I couldn’t see myself missing out on a series that features him.  Having said that, Crossbones is not as exciting or as entertaining as I expected.  The story takes place in the 18th century (1712) in the Bahamian island of New Providence.  It is said that who ever owns a device called the Longitude Chronometer, which can tell a sailor exactly where he is in the world, controls the seas.  When this device is stolen, Tom Lowe, an undercover assassin played by Richard Coyle is commissioned by the British to seek out and kill the infamous pirate, Edward Teach better known as Blackbeard.  Obviously, Blackbeard and his band of  pirates are suspected of stealing the device.  Upon finding Blackbeard, played by John Malkovich, Tom ends up joining forces with him to save England.  This may sound a little confusing but believe me it’s well explained in the series.  Just when Tom thinks he has completed his mission, something happens to keep him and his faithful assistant, Tim Fletch (Chris Perfetti), in the magical grip of Blackbeard’s charismatic character and irrefutable logic.  As I said, Crossbones is a little slow captivating it’s audience, but it’s getting better as it is aging with time.  Crossbones is definitely not the best of the Blackbeard stories.   Crossbones is currently airing on the NBC network,  Fridays and is not for everyone. Unfortunately, Crossbones has been cancelled!

RAKE – My rating: 8/10

RakeI’m giving Rake a rating of 8 because it so entertaining, I can’t give it any less.  It’s wild, crazy and totally unrealistic.  It’s almost bordering on being a fantasy.   Keegan Deane  played by Greg Kinnar, is a lawyer with a gambling and sex problem.  He really belongs nowhere.  He’s estranged from his wife and son but remain friends.  He had a tiny practice, but lost it all to gambling debts that he still hasn’t paid.  He has more than his share of true friends and a very loyal assistant named Leanne Zander played by British actress, Tara Summers (best know for Boston Legal).  Deane has managed to have sex with every nationality of woman and from every walk in society, including a hooker that he is practically in love with.  He lives from pillar to post.  His best friend owns a law firm and has hired him to help get some of the less sophisticated cases resolved.   Keegan’s  antics are outrageous and he’s well known among the judges.  Despite his up-side down world, he seems to always win.  He’s smart, clever and extremely street smart.  I like this show because it makes me feel uninhabited and it makes me lmao.  I’ve always been a fan of Greg Kinnar and I’m happy to see his career taking off.  I really think if you’re looking for an escape from the everyday hum-drum series, get into Rake.  I’m not sure why it’s called Rake but I think it’s a keeper.  Rake currently airs on FOX. Rake has been cancelled — Maybe there’s just too many series on TV!

DOWNTON ABBEY – My rating: 9.5/10

DowntonAbbeyDownton Abbey is one of my most favorite series.  I love period pieces.  This one is before World War I and is brilliantly told.  The series revolves around a British, aristocratic family and their servants.  The family presently includes Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, Lady Mary, Lady Edith and  Robert’s mother, Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.  The major servants include Head of all servants, Mr. Carson, Mrs Hughes,  Head of kitchen staff, Mrs. Patmore,  John and Anna Bates, Valet to Lord Grantham and Lady Maid to Lady Mary, respectively.  The personal stories that take place between the staff and the Crawley family and friends makes for a fascinating series.  I’ve been mesmerized by Downton Abbey since it first started.  Just to see how the upper crust behaves in Britain — one wonders whose idea was it to have maids dress you every day.  The whole setup is rather complicated, so I’ve displayed a couple of charts that show the actors, characters they play and the positions they hold at Downton Abbey.  Just perusing the charts, gives you an idea of how the story flows.  Learning the positions and hierarchy of the staff will be challenge.  Overall, Downton Abbey takes you away to a world we don’t really know but can find entertainment and fun in watching.




Hugh Bonneville

Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham

Lord Grantham, head of the Crawley family

Elizabeth McGovern

Cora Crawley (née Levinson), Countess of Grantham

Lady Grantham, Lord Grantham’s American heiress wife

Michelle Dockery

Lady Mary Josephine Crawley

Eldest daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham; widow of Matthew Crawley

Laura Carmichael

Lady Edith Crawley

Middle daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham

Jessica Brown Findlay

Lady Sybil Branson (née Crawley)

Youngest daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham; late wife of Tom Branson

Maggie Smith

Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham

Lord Grantham’s mother

Allen Leech

Tom Branson

Chauffeur of the family (series 1–2), agent of the estate (series 3); widower of Sybil Branson

Dan Stevens

Matthew Reginald Crawley

Heir presumptive (third cousin once removed) of Lord Grantham; former lawyer, latterly co-owner of the estate; late husband of Mary Crawley

Penelope Wilton

Isobel Crawley

Matthew’s mother; widow and former nurse

Lily James

Lady Rose MacClare

Cousin and ward of the Granthams; daughter of The Marquess and Marchioness of Flintshire

Samantha Bond

Lady Rosamund Painswick (née Crawley)

Lord Grantham’s sister

Ava Mann (Series 4)

Sybil “Sybbie” Branson

Daughter of Lady Sybil and Tom Branson

Cole & Logan Weston (Series 4)

George Crawley

Son of Matthew and Lady Mary Crawley, heir to Downton and Earl of Grantham





Jim Carter

Charles Carson


Phyllis Logan

Elsie Hughes


Brendan Coyle

John Bates

Lord Grantham’s valet; husband of Anna, widower of Vera

Siobhan Finneran

Sarah O’Brien

Lady Grantham’s lady’s maid

Rob James-Collier

Thomas Barrow

First Footman, later Lord Grantham’s valet, then underbutler

Joanne Froggatt

Anna May Bates (née Smith)

Head housemaid, later Lady Mary’s lady’s maid; wife to John Bates

Lesley Nicol

Beryl Patmore


Sophie McShera

Daisy Mason (née Robinson)

Kitchen maid, later assistant cook; widow of William Mason

Thomas Howes

William Mason

Second Footman; briefly married to Daisy

Rose Leslie

Gwen Dawson


Amy Nuttall

Ethel Parks

Housemaid, later Mrs Crawley’s Housekeeper and Cook

Kevin Doyle

Joseph Molesley

Matthew’s butler and valet, later a footman at Downton Abbey

Matt Milne

Alfred Nugent

Second Footman, O’Brien’s nephew

Ed Speleers

James “Jimmy” Kent

First Footman

Cara Theobold

Ivy Stuart

Kitchen maid

MyAnna Buring

Edna Braithwaite

Former maid, then briefly Lady Grantham’s lady’s maid

Raquel Cassidy

Phyllis Baxter

Lady Grantham’s lady’s maid

Jeremy Swift


Violet’s butler