Category Archives: TV and Film

Number Two Jane Austen Hero

cranford memeLast night, as Kelly and I were falling into a not-very-deep literary conversation, I decided I’d expand the conversation by posting the following question on Facebook:

Alyx Dellamonica -15 hrs · Toronto ·

 Assuming we all agree that Mr. Darcy is Jane Austen’s most desirable hero/dudebro/prospective mate, who is second in the pecking order? Is it Knightley? Bingley? Henry Crawford?
(Of course, I was kidding about Henry Crawford.)Now, as I write this post, the unofficial poll results are:3 people say “What? Darcy? No way!”

Edward Ferrars and Henry Tilney are getting no love at all, and Mr. Knightly, from Emma,  gets one hat-tip. There’s some quiet praise for Edmund Bertram.

The two contenders are: Colonel Brandon and Frederick Wentworth… and it looks like Brandon’s pulling ahead.

There’s been some talk about whether the fire of fannish love, in each case, was sparked by the literary characters or by their portrayals in film and TV. Is Darcy the undisputed cock of the Austen walk solely because of Colin Firth? Will Alan Rickman lock the number two spot for Colonel Brandon? Even Edmund Bertram’s supporters mention Johnny Lee Miller in a yum-yum favorable context.

Speaking of delicious Darcy goodness, have you all seen The Lizzie Bennet Diaries?

Your thoughts on this burning issue are always welcome.

Speculating Canada on the queer in Stormwrack

Derek Newman-Stile of Speculating Canada says this about the book:

Dellamonica explores the isolating power of homophobia and its ability to displace LGBTQ populations in her general narrative of displacement.Child of a Hidden Sea is powerful as a narrative because it embodies both curiosity and the desire to find a sense of home and place to belong as well as its ability to point out that displacement is still a persistant feature in our world, one that is further sharpened by economic inequalities, sexism, homophobia, and general power structures that serve to elevate certain groups of people over others.

Here, for a change of pace, is the trailer for the hands-down best of the films we saw at the festival: Behavior, from Cuba:

Wheezing into Monday…

photoKitten updates have been few and far between lately, I know, because Kelly and I were scampering around to a variety of movies at TiFF, with my always delightful and thoroughly brilliant cousins, Alicia and Joe. What’s up with the kids is, basically, that they are cute. Supercute, even!

We experimented a little with leaving the bedroom open to them at night while we were en vacance, but they are still too rambunctious. No big surprise there. CinCin’s headed back to the vet in about ten days for spayage and shots. I’ve also rearranged the top of the cat tree known as Beetlejuice Station. This might, eventually, occasion a new video.

This past staycation has been the best vacation, for me, in quite a long stretch of time. It offered the perfect mix of tourism, intellectual stimulation, good company, downtime, and amazing foodie experiences. Among other things, we tried a huge number of new restaurants: Khao San Road, The Harbord Room, The Senator, Fusaro’s Kitchen, and Byblos. Each of these is as deserving of a review as all the incredible films we saw.

It was illuminating, and has made me consider what K and I require in a break where our entertainment isn’t curated by a savvy, film-loving family member. Next time we have a stretch of time off at home, this shall be the model, I think: buy lots of tickets to lots of things, make a list of restaurants, and lure out various lovely people to partake with us.

Strange Horizons reviews CHS, plus Cumberbatch at #tiff14

imageSarah Frost of the ever-marvellous Strange Horizons says nice things about Child of a Hidden Sea in a lovely, thoughtful, even-handed review.

Dellamonica has imagined a world in which a class of warrior-lawyers spend their whole lives training to duel one another. It would be ridiculous for Sophie, whose primary weapon up until this point has been the waterproof camera case, to pick up a sword and be able to compete with them. No matter how long a twenty-first century heroine has spent pounding the rattan in the SCA, no training montage will make her a match for people whose combat skills have been a matter of life or death since they were old enough to hold a weapon.

I have been quiet this week because I have family in town and we’re going to movies, movies and more movies at the Toronto International Film Festival. Yesterday’s entry was The Imitation Game. It was the most conventional and least challenging of the bunch of things we’ve seen so far, and the script was exceedingly heavy-handed, but the cast was excellent. We’ve got Oscar material, folks.

Book Smugglers Review of Child, plus vacation…

imageThea of Book Smugglers says this about Child of a Hidden Sea:

Sophie is sympathetic and genuine, and her motivation to learn more about her origins and her family comes across as wholly believable. Her insecurities when compared to her siblings – her fierce half-sister Verena, and her genius adopted brother Bram – only enhance Sophie’s sympathetic nature, as she struggles with her own feelings of inadequacy and confidence.

I’ll be taking next week off to see a bunch of films at the Toronto International Film Festival (Kahil Gibran’s The Prophet, This is My Land, Luna, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch, Charlie’s Country, the Imitation Game, and Behavior, in case you’re wondering) and hang out with my lovely and wonderful cousins. So, you know–I’ll be online less. Write me if you  need me.

Which isn’t to say I won’t tweet a little about the movies, or any especially good food that comes my way. Because in the world of Instagram, my vacation is your vacation. Or something.

Why Moving is Cool… (Toronto, day 466)

Last week I developed a sudden burning need to rewatch the first five minutes of “Mountie on the Bounty,” a Due South episode from about midway through the Ray Kowalski years. In Due South fandom, you are generally either RayK or a Ray Vecchio fan; I’m the latter, and didn’t acquire the DVDs after The One True Ray had left the building.

Youtube, however, has the opening of MotB, which sets Fraser and RayK atop a very tall building, in a gunfight which they’re losing, and midway through the process of maybe getting killed, Fraser comes up with the bright idea of jumping off the building and into what–since this is Chicago–should be Lake Michigan. They do it. Ray, who can’t swim, is Officially Unimpressed.

Anyway, I brought up the clip. Bang, bang, yell, yell, and… jump!

And there was something shiny and new! In a piece of television which I’ve probably watched… oh, hey, let’s not even guess the number of times. I recognized the building! Because the role of Chicago was, naturally, being played by the city of Toronto, and now that I live here I recognized the very tall building as one of my favorite photographic subjects, the Canada Malt silo on the shore of Lake Ontario.

And, yes! I am right. Proof!

I’d see so much more, I realize, if I dipped into a proper DS rewatch.

That Escalated Quickly…

imageMe: Maybe this is a hoaxy thing, but Orlando Jones just sent me a friend request on Facebook.

K: Really?

Me: His page looks pretty legit.
Both: Random murmuring about Sleepy Hollow and how would we know if it was a real page or not. Then…

K: Maybe he read your book!

Me: Maybe he wants to play Parrish!

Both: Faint, coo, imagine the advance money, giggle, realize this is ridiculous, climb back up off the kitchen floor and sit back down to breakfast.

K: Orlando Jones is too old to play Parrish.

A: Sadly, yes. Pretty enough, but a little too old.

K: He could play Cly though.

Both: OMG OMG Eeee! Die.

Kittens: ?

Yes, we are deranged.

Telewitterings: Decoding The Morse Franchise 

imageI stopped watching Inspector Morse somewhere midway through its run. I liked the characters, particularly Lewis, but the stories fell into very repetitive patterns, and Morse himself didn’t do that much for me. (I’ve posted about this before, and I know that many people really liked Morse. He was just a little too irascible for me.)
Inspector Lewis, on the other hand, turned my crank from the beginning, even though the scripts were wildly variable. Some of the mysteries were so poorly written it was painful; only a few were brilliant. What was interesting about it, though, was the character of Lewis. He was conceived as a sidekick, a foil. Morse is ascerbic, educated, all-seeing; Lewis is a good-natured plodder: bright enough, in his way, but very much the supporting act. It’s interesting to see a sidekick made into a leading man, and it often doesn’t work. They’re not built that way. They’re not cast that way. There’s a reason why John Barrowman is Captain Jack, in Torchwood, while goofy-looking Burn Gorman gets to be Owen.
But Kevin Whatley, the actor who plays Robbie Lewis, is very convincing as a pure soul, an honest and fundamentally sweet guy. The pitch here is he’s grown up, and got experienced–and hey, he was always a good cop. Unlike Morse, who lives on crossword puzzles, operas and intellectual epiphanies in magnificent isolation, Lews has a family life outside the office. We get to peer in on the family, a bit; in no small part, they exist to illuminate what Morse doesn’t have. And, interestingly, one of the things done by the Morse creators to shift poor Robbie from second banana status, to anoint him as the pillar of the new series–is lay waste to that family. Val is dead; the kids are, as Robbie puts it, “grown and flown.”
This works especially well because fans of the original series knew that family. The nigh-obligatory dead wife isn’t quite the hypothetical font of angst you get in other series. We knew her: she was around for years.
Despite the occasional appalling episode, it held my interest. And it didn’t hurt that the guy who played Lewis’s shiny new sidekick, Laurence Fox, was incredibly compelling.
Now, finally and delightfully, we have Endeavour. This is Morse’s backstory: it takes him back to the 1960s, and makes him the junior officer. Again this is a nifty tweak on the original formula, and one that sort of interesting. It is usually the highest ranked character who is solving the mysteries. Here we get Morse as underdog; it’s cool.
I went into Endeavor expecting more of what we got with Lewis: some good episodes, truly silly ones, and a whole lot of interplay between the cops. Plus history, Cold War, and old timey clothing. And to some extent that’s all been true. Shaun Evans, the actor playing Endeavor, is extremely sensitive and believable. The rest of the cast great too, and I love his obvious slash interest, Constable Strange.
The surprise has been this past season was incredibly well-written. “Nocturne,” in particular, started off with a horrific crime scene and though at every turn it seemed as though it couldn’t possibly deliver on the promises it was making, in the end it did just that.
I can’t help thinking there’s a Pop Culture Studies doctoral thesis in the making here. The history of these three shows is just fundamentally interesting. It went from the original Colin Dexter novels into Inspector Morse, which was wildly successful. Now there are these spinoffs, successful variations on the theme created without the original author’s input.
Anyone else been keeping up?
Either way: Tune in Tomorrow for a Guest Post by D.B. Jackson!