Tag: Wuthering Heights

A roundtable chat with Gemma Arterton of “Tamara Drewe”

There’s no getting around it. Gemma Arterton is extremely attractive and also striking, and even more so in person. That’s especially so if you’ve found yourself seated right next to her at a roundtable with about 11 or 12 other writers and the prior two males you’ve sat next to at that table (no names) seemed as if they might have recently rolled out of bed and thrown on a gallon of expensive aftershave/cologne. The utterly tasteful Ms. Arterton, however, was appropriately dressed and scented, though she did remove her huge and apparently uncomfortable pumps to reveal perfectly painted toenails.


Tamara Drewe,” a romantic farce with tragic overtones that opened this week for its initial run in four theaters in L.A. and New York, stars Arterton as an autobiographical newspaper columnist whose recent plastic surgery has transformed her from large-nosed semi-ugly duckling to tiny-nosed brunette bombshell. It’s a comedy with tragic overtones drawn from the the graphic novel of the same name by cartoonist Posy Simmonds, which is itself a sort of homage to Thomas Hardy’s “Far from the Madding Crowd.” The film was directed by Stephen Frears, a director noted for tremendous versatility who confuses us critics by changing his style with just about every film. His output has ranged from from such recently enjoyable, grandma-friendly arthouse fare as “The Queen” and “Mrs. Henderson Presents,” to low down tales of crime and skullduggery like my personal favorite, 1984’s “The Hit.”

I was not blown away by much about this particular movie, however, including parts of Arterton’s performance, but that’s me. It has fared reasonably well over at Rotten Tomatoes and may well please other fans of this sort of English countryside comedy, which I usually enjoy myself. Ms. Arterton has also generated good reviews in “The Disappearance of Alice Creed,” as well as co-starring in “Clash of the Titans,” “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” and as Strawberry Fields in “Quantum of Solace” alongside Daniel Craig’s 007, forever tagging herself with the sobriquet “Bond girl.” Still, at 24, she has a maturity and self-possession about her that, at the very least, makes her more of a Bond woman. Or maybe it’s just that she’s tall.

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Wednesday night at the movies

I’ll be taking tomorrow off, so this’ll have to hold you….

* Several blogs, including The Vulture, are commenting on Disney’s refusal to greenlight a sequel to the Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds hit comedy, “The Proposal.” Apparently, Disney is only interested in either franchise pictures with commercial spin off possibilities (i.e, toys and video games) or small-budget youth-themed films.

Ryan  Reynolds and Sandra Bullock in

* So, after everything we’ve seen from him over the last eleven years or so, I’m supposed to believe George Lucas getting more involved will improve the reportedly troubled “Red Tails”? I just hope he stays far, far away from the actors.

* The Playlist has a fascinating peak at an apparent early draft of P.T. Anderson’s not-about-Scientology screenplay.

* The late John Hughes will get a special Oscar tribute this year.

* Nikki Finke on the latest version of the often remade Wuthering Heights. They might as well just go all-out and make Heathcliff a vampire in this one, from the sound of it.

* The British trade, Screen Daily, is the latest pub to go behind a paywall. Anne Thompson has some salient thoughts.

* “American Pie 4” may come to us from the “Harold & Kumar” writers. “Middle-Aged Pie”? (H/t /Film.)

* Remember that wacky/fascinating rumored Lars von Trier/Martin Scorsese remake(s) of “Taxi Driver” rumor I mentioned a couple of days back? Not at all surprisingly, it was just a rumor.

Benecio del Toro chills out in
* Devin Faraci of CHUD provides a listen to that unused rock music score for “The Wolfman.” Yup, it’s hard to imagine how it could possibly have worked with a period horror film, but then I probably would have told Quentin Tarantino that using an eighties David Bowie song in a World War II movie wasn’t such a great idea, either.

Actually, much as I love “Inglourious Basterds,” I’m still not convinced about that particular touch.

Wuthering Heights

Here’s a long forgotten relic from the past. It’s a BBC adaptation from 1967 of the Emily Brontë classic, and there’s really only one reason it’s out on DVD at all: It stars Ian McShane (“Deadwood”) as Heathcliff. I’m a slave to all things “Wuthering Heights,” and not just because Kate Bush put her stamp on it, either. I’ll watch any adaptation of the book that comes out, and my wife tells me this makes me a very strange man, since to her mind, it’s not a story that many guys dig. What’s not to like? A guy is jilted by his one true love and proceeds to makes life for her (and everyone she knows) a living hell. I get it; I see where ol’ Heathcliff is coming from. He probably takes it a bit too far, though, especially in the second half of the story, when Cathy’s been dead for years and he’s still pissed off and inflicting all manner of pain and degradation on the next generation. Dude – you’ve got to learn to let it go! I say this through every version, and of course he never gets it right. But those misty moors keep calling me back for further helpings, and I can’t get enough “Wuthering Heights.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t one of the better adaptations, especially given how many strong versions have been produced in recent years. With a running time of just over 3 hours, it pretty much covers the entire story, which is certainly a plus. However, the DVD artwork is somewhat misleading. The full color shot of McShane and Angela Scoular (who plays Cathy) might lead you to believe this is considerably more sumptuous than it actually is. It is in fact in black and white, and the video quality is mediocre at best. The entire thing feels like a stage play on film, and perhaps worst of all, it has no musical score whatsoever. It’s pretty creaky, vintage British TV that’s ultimately saved by McShane, who, even at the age of 25, plays an utter bastard (literally) better than most. Even with the problematic production values, he’s a force with which to be reckoned. The same can’t be said for Scoular, who’s one of the brattiest and most unlikable Cathys ever filmed. Ultimately, this version is only going to have two audiences: “Heights” completists like myself, and female McShane fans with a masochistic streak.

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