Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rule Britannia!

As Samuel Johnson once said: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”! I couldn’t agree more! I have had the good fortune to live in London and regularly go back for a visit. In fact I am headed there once again for friends, theater and fun! Over the year’s, the British have supplied us with some “terribly delightful” cinema! (Pip pip! Jolly good!) Here are a few of my favorites starring some of Britain’s finest actresses:

Calendar Girls: Before Helen Mirren was The Queen and before Julie Walters became Mrs. Weasley, they were both in a lovely little film named Calendar Girls. Every year, the Yorkshire County chapter of the Women's Institute, produces a calendar based around scenes of the Yorkshire dales. The funds raised are usually very meager but this year they are raising money for a hospital where one of their members husband died of leukemia. These “women of a certain age” decide that “sex sells” so decide to do the calendar in the nude. Based on true events, the calendar becomes a world wide sensation, bringing the ladies of Yorkshire not always appreciated fame and changes their lives forever. Move over Daniel Radcliffe…the continuation of Harry Potter cast nude scenes! Who's next?? I vote for Alan Rickman!

Bend It Like Beckham: Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) is a teenager with only one real passion in her life: football. She daydreams of being a great soccer star and her hero is David Beckham. Unfortunately, she is the daughter of orthodox Sikh parents who are more interested in her learning how to cook Punjabi food so that she can attract a nice Punjabi husband. If you don’t know the name Parminder Nagra, you probably know the face. From 2003-2009 she played Dr. Neela Rasgotra on the TV show E.R. And if you don’t know her you will definitely know her co-star. None other than Keira Knightley joins Parminder as another football loving young lady who has aspirations of playing in the Women's United Soccer Association professional league in the United States. ♫Yo ho Yo ho a football star is she♫!

Iris: The true story of the lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley (Jim Broadbent; another gem brought to us by the British Isles!), from their student days through her descent into the dark confusion of Alzheimer's. The older Iris is played by the ever-fabulous Judi Dench while her younger counterpart is Kate Winslet. Two of England’s finest ladies in one film!

Remains of the Day: Emma, Emma, Emma! Really girl, what are you thinking falling for that stodgy old butler!? Well, I guess because it’s Anthony Hopkins, I can (in a way) understand it. The Remains of the Day is based on the Booker Prize novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. The film is a Merchant/Ivory period piece that tells the tale of a rule bound head butler whose life is all about manners and decorum. Enter a new housekeeper (Emma Thompson) that disrupts the order of his world by falling in love with him. Being unable to show his feelings combined with the growing uneasiness with his master's cultivation of ties with the Nazis, puts a tear in the butler’s self-imposed world.

Settle in with a nice cuppa and enjoy one of these gems from across the pond. (All available on DVD from the HBPL Media Department)