The Forest Movie Review

The Woman in Black: British theatrical release poster. Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer and Liz White, PG-13, Released on February 3, 2012 in the United States and Canada, and on February 10, 2012 in the United Kingdom.

So, back in February of 2013, I read The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill – here is my review of the paperback. Mareena had downloaded this ebook for herself in January of 2012, although she then grabbed the paperback at a Library Book Sale that she and I went to in February of 2013. Mareena let me read this book first, and I started it immediately after we got home from our visit to the Library.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I actually picked it to be my Book of the Month for February. It only took me a day to read the book and I’m thinking of rereading this book sometime very soon.

Back in February of 2013 – actually six days after I finished reading the book, the DVD starring Daniel Radcliffe and Ciarán Hinds arrived in the mail. It has literally taken Mareena and I over a year to finally watch the movie! Our DVD player had somehow burned out, and since we don’t watch DVDs all that frequently, we didn’t know that we needed a new DVD player until we tried to play this DVD. 🙂

Mareena received a new television for her birthday, and while I had hoped to get our new DVD player hooked up to be able to watch The Woman in Black on her birthday – everything took just slightly longer than we expected it would. Anyway, we started watching the movie at about 10:30 P.M. on Tuesday night -or perhaps it was closer to 10: 45 P. M. By 1:00 A. M., the movie was over and we went directly to bed.

The Woman in Black was released in February of 2012, and is rated PG-13. It is a horror movie that runs approximately 95 minutes. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe (as Arthur Kipps), Ciarán Hinds (as Sam Daily), Janet McTeer (as Elisabeth Daily) and Liz White (as Jennet Humfrye). This film was directed by James Watkins, and was produced by Richard Jackson, Simon Oakes and Brian Oliver.

Who Plays Arthur Kipps – A Young Lawyer From London?

While he made his acting debut at age 10 in BBC One‘s 1999 television movie ‘David Copperfield’, followed by his film debut in 2001’s The Tailor of Panama, Daniel Radcliffe rose to prominence playing the title character in the Harry Potter film series. At age 11, he was cast as Harry Potter in the first Harry Potter movie – 2001’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He went on to star in the series over the next ten years until the release of the eighth and final film of the franchise – 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Daniel Radcliffe began to branch out into stage acting in 2007, starring in the London and New York productions of the play Equus, and in 2011’s Broadway revival of the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. In 2008, he revealed that he suffers from a mild form of Developmental Coordination Disorder – also known as developmental dyspraxia or ‘Clumsy Child Syndrome’. This disorder is a chronic neurological disorder beginning in childhood, which can affect the planning of movements and motor skills coordination. This is as result of brain messages not being accurately transmitted to the body. 

For Daniel Radcliffe, his Developmental Coordination Disorder causes such poor motor skills that he sometimes has trouble doing simple activities such as writing or tying his shoelaces. Many sufferers of this disorder have memory problems, typically resulting in difficulty remembering instructions, difficulty organizing one’s time and remembering deadlines, increased propensity to lose things or problems carrying out tasks which require remembering several steps in sequence (such as cooking). Whilst most of the general population experience these problems to some extent, they have a much more significant impact on the lives of dyspraxic people.

Despite having poor short-term memories, many sufferers generally have excellent long-term memories. They benefit most from from working in a structured environment, as repeating the same routine minimizes the difficulty with time-management and allows them to commit procedures to long-term memory. Because sufferers sometimes have difficulty moderating the amount of sensory information that their body is constantly sending them, these people are also prone to panic attacks.

Many dyspraxics struggle to distinguish left from right, even as adults, and generally have an extremely poor sense of direction. Moderate to extreme difficulty doing physical tasks is experienced by some dyspraxics, and fatigue is common because so much extra energy is expended while trying to execute physical movements correctly. Some (but not all) dyspraxics suffer from low muscle tone – know as hypotonia – which like Developmental Coordination Disorder, can detrimentally affect balance.

Who Plays Sam Daily – a Local Landowner in the Village of Crythin Gifford?

Born and raised in North Belfast, Ciarán Hinds is the only son in a family of five children. His father was a doctor and his mother was a school teacher and an amateur actress. Ciarán was an Irish dancer in his youth, and was originally enrolled as a law student at Queen’s University, Belfast, but was soon persuaded to pursue acting and abandoned his studies at Queen’s to enroll at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England. 

He began his professional acting career at the Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre in a 1976 production of Cinderella. While he remained a frequent performer at the Citizens’ Theatre during the late 1970s and 1980s, Ciarán continues to act on stage up to the present. He made his feature film debut in John Boorman’s 1981 movie Excalibur, and has since built a reputation as a versatile character actor appearing in such high-profile films as Road to Perdition, The Phantom of the Opera, Munich, There Will be Blood, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, The Woman in Black and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. His television roles include Gaius Julius Caesar in the series ‘Rome’, DCI James Langton in the series ‘Above Suspicion’, Bud Hammond in the series ‘Political Animals’ and Mance Rayder in the Emmy Award winning ‘Game of Thrones’.

Ciarán Hinds lives in Paris with his long-time partner Hélène Patarot; they met in 1987 while in the cast of Peter Brook’s production of The Mahabharata. The couple have a daughter named Aoife, born in 1991. Ciarán is also a close friend of fellow Irish actor Liam Neeson and served as a pallbearer at the funeral of Liam’s wife, actress Natasha Richardson in upstate New York on March 22, 2009.

Who Plays Elisabeth Daily – Sam Daily’s Wife?

Janet McTeer made her professional stage debut in 1984, and since then has won a Tony Award, an Olivier Award and a Drama Desk Award. In 1986, she was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Newcomer for The Grace of Mary Traverse, although she actually won a Tony Award and an Olivier Award for her role as Nora in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House in 1997. She is also a two-time Academy Award nominee.

Janet McTeer has starred on television in the title role of Lynda La Plante’s ‘The Governor’ from 1996 to 1997, has received a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Countess Rivers – the mother of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen Consort of King Edward IV – in ‘The White Queen’ and starred opposite Glenn Close in the final season of the television show ‘Damages’.

She made her film debut in 1986’s Half Moon Street – based on a book by Paul Theroux called Doctor Slaughter. In 2009, she portrayed Clementine Churchill – the wife of Sir Winston Churchill – in the HBO movie, Into the Storm. This was the role for which she earned an Emmy Award nomination. Further film roles include: Hawks, Wuthering Heights, Carrington, Songcatcher and As You Like It. Janet McTeer also received an Academy Award nomination for her role in the 1999 movie Tumbleweeds and another Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Hubert Page in the 2011 movie Albert Nobbs. She was appointed ‘Officer of the Order of the British Empire’ in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2008 for her Services to Drama.

Who Plays Jennet Humphrey – The Woman in Black?

Elizabeth ‘Liz’ White is perhaps best known for her role as WPC/WDC Annie Cartwright in the British version of the television series ‘Life on Mars’ – which was broadcast from 2006-2007. She also appeared in four episodes of the television series ‘Teachers’ which was broadcast in 2003. Her other prominent television roles include: Jess Mercer in six episodes of the British television series ‘The Fixer’ in 2008; and Caroline in BBC‘s 2011 adaptation of Michel Faber’s 2002 novel The Crimson Petal and the White.

Liz White has also had increasing success in films; making her film debut in 2004’s film short Ten Minute Movie. This was followed up with her appearances in Mike Leigh’s 2004 movie Vera Drake and in the 2005 television movie Angell’s Hell. She also played Laura in Gerald McMorrow’s debut film Franklyn and Alice Kelly in the independent film New Town Killers in 2008. She was featured in the music video for Bush’s final single Inflatable – off their fourth studio album, Golden State, which was released in 2001.

My Review of the Movie Adaptation of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story:

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie adaptation of The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill. Something that I never realized was that the 2012 film starring Daniel Radcliffe, was actually a remake of a 1989 television drama adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel. Nigel Kneale, who died in 2006, was the screen-writer of the 1989 television movie; and is perhaps best known for his creation of the fictional character Professor Bernard Quatermass – a heroic, intelligent, highly moral British scientist – and a pioneer of the British space programme, heading up the British Experimental Rocket Group. 
Well can I remember gathering round the television with my mother, brother and sister every Saturday night (my father would usually be out) – and the four of us would watch ‘Quatermass’. To properly set the mood, my mother would make us all snacks, start a fire in our fireplace, and turn out out all the lights. I was never really all that interested in science fiction television shows as a child, but ‘Quatermass’ was definitely the exception! 
Anyway, the 2012 version of The Woman in Black was excellent; at least in my opinion. Daniel Radcliffe has certainly shed whatever remnants of Harry Potter that were left. While I noticed that there were some slight differences between the book and the movie, I thought that overall the movie turned out to be a very faithful adaptation of the book. The movie plot ultimately stayed as true to Susan Hill’s book as possible, and I now have the strongest desire to reread The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill after seeing the movie. 
As I may have said before, I’m usually very wary of watching any movies that are based on books I’ve read. I find that so many movies turn out to be very poor adaptations of otherwise terrific books. However, this is not the case with The Woman in Black
Both the book and the movie are equally outstanding; I enjoyed the movie just as much, if not more, than the book. It was thrilling and gripping, and was absolutely worth the year-long wait that Mareena and I went through in order to watch this movie. I whole-heartedly give the movie adaptation of The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill an A+! 
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

The Ides of March Movie Review

The Ides of March: Theatrical release poster. Stars: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Evan Rachel Wood, R, Released on August 31, 2011 in Italy, Israel and Canada and on October 7, 2011 in the United States.

So, back in February of 2013, I read The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill – here is my review of the paperback. Mareena had downloaded this ebook for herself in January of 2012, although she then grabbed the paperback at a Library Book Sale that she and I went to in February of 2013. Mareena let me read this book first, and I started it immediately after we got home from our visit to the Library.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I actually picked it to be my Book of the Month for February. It only took me a day to read the book and I’m thinking of rereading this book sometime very soon.

Back in February of 2013 – actually six days after I finished reading the book, the DVD starring Daniel Radcliffe and Ciarán Hinds arrived in the mail. It has literally taken Mareena and I over a year to finally watch the movie! Our DVD player had somehow burned out, and since we don’t watch DVDs all that frequently, we didn’t know that we needed a new DVD player until we tried to play this DVD. 🙂

Mareena received a new television for her birthday, and while I had hoped to get our new DVD player hooked up to be able to watch The Woman in Black on her birthday – everything took just slightly longer than we expected it would. Anyway, we started watching the movie at about 10:30 P.M. on Tuesday night -or perhaps it was closer to 10: 45 P. M. By 1:00 A. M., the movie was over and we went directly to bed.

The Woman in Black was released in February of 2012, and is rated PG-13. It is a horror movie that runs approximately 95 minutes. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe (as Arthur Kipps), Ciarán Hinds (as Sam Daily), Janet McTeer (as Elisabeth Daily) and Liz White (as Jennet Humfrye). This film was directed by James Watkins, and was produced by Richard Jackson, Simon Oakes and Brian Oliver.

Who Plays Arthur Kipps – A Young Lawyer From London?

While he made his acting debut at age 10 in BBC One‘s 1999 television movie ‘David Copperfield’, followed by his film debut in 2001’s The Tailor of Panama, Daniel Radcliffe rose to prominence playing the title character in the Harry Potter film series. At age 11, he was cast as Harry Potter in the first Harry Potter movie – 2001’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He went on to star in the series over the next ten years until the release of the eighth and final film of the franchise – 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Daniel Radcliffe began to branch out into stage acting in 2007, starring in the London and New York productions of the play Equus, and in 2011’s Broadway revival of the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. In 2008, he revealed that he suffers from a mild form of Developmental Coordination Disorder – also known as developmental dyspraxia or ‘Clumsy Child Syndrome’. This disorder is a chronic neurological disorder beginning in childhood, which can affect the planning of movements and motor skills coordination. This is as result of brain messages not being accurately transmitted to the body. 

For Daniel Radcliffe, his Developmental Coordination Disorder causes such poor motor skills that he sometimes has trouble doing simple activities such as writing or tying his shoelaces. Many sufferers of this disorder have memory problems, typically resulting in difficulty remembering instructions, difficulty organizing one’s time and remembering deadlines, increased propensity to lose things or problems carrying out tasks which require remembering several steps in sequence (such as cooking). Whilst most of the general population experience these problems to some extent, they have a much more significant impact on the lives of dyspraxic people.

Despite having poor short-term memories, many sufferers generally have excellent long-term memories. They benefit most from from working in a structured environment, as repeating the same routine minimizes the difficulty with time-management and allows them to commit procedures to long-term memory. Because sufferers sometimes have difficulty moderating the amount of sensory information that their body is constantly sending them, these people are also prone to panic attacks.

Many dyspraxics struggle to distinguish left from right, even as adults, and generally have an extremely poor sense of direction. Moderate to extreme difficulty doing physical tasks is experienced by some dyspraxics, and fatigue is common because so much extra energy is expended while trying to execute physical movements correctly. Some (but not all) dyspraxics suffer from low muscle tone – know as hypotonia – which like Developmental Coordination Disorder, can detrimentally affect balance.

Who Plays Sam Daily – a Local Landowner in the Village of Crythin Gifford?

Born and raised in North Belfast, Ciarán Hinds is the only son in a family of five children. His father was a doctor and his mother was a school teacher and an amateur actress. Ciarán was an Irish dancer in his youth, and was originally enrolled as a law student at Queen’s University, Belfast, but was soon persuaded to pursue acting and abandoned his studies at Queen’s to enroll at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England. 

He began his professional acting career at the Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre in a 1976 production of Cinderella. While he remained a frequent performer at the Citizens’ Theatre during the late 1970s and 1980s, Ciarán continues to act on stage up to the present. He made his feature film debut in John Boorman’s 1981 movie Excalibur, and has since built a reputation as a versatile character actor appearing in such high-profile films as Road to Perdition, The Phantom of the Opera, Munich, There Will be Blood, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, The Woman in Black and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. His television roles include Gaius Julius Caesar in the series ‘Rome’, DCI James Langton in the series ‘Above Suspicion’, Bud Hammond in the series ‘Political Animals’ and Mance Rayder in the Emmy Award winning ‘Game of Thrones’.

Ciarán Hinds lives in Paris with his long-time partner Hélène Patarot; they met in 1987 while in the cast of Peter Brook’s production of The Mahabharata. The couple have a daughter named Aoife, born in 1991. Ciarán is also a close friend of fellow Irish actor Liam Neeson and served as a pallbearer at the funeral of Liam’s wife, actress Natasha Richardson in upstate New York on March 22, 2009.

Who Plays Elisabeth Daily – Sam Daily’s Wife?

Janet McTeer made her professional stage debut in 1984, and since then has won a Tony Award, an Olivier Award and a Drama Desk Award. In 1986, she was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Newcomer for The Grace of Mary Traverse, although she actually won a Tony Award and an Olivier Award for her role as Nora in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House in 1997. She is also a two-time Academy Award nominee.

Janet McTeer has starred on television in the title role of Lynda La Plante’s ‘The Governor’ from 1996 to 1997, has received a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Countess Rivers – the mother of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen Consort of King Edward IV – in ‘The White Queen’ and starred opposite Glenn Close in the final season of the television show ‘Damages’.

She made her film debut in 1986’s Half Moon Street – based on a book by Paul Theroux called Doctor Slaughter. In 2009, she portrayed Clementine Churchill – the wife of Sir Winston Churchill – in the HBO movie, Into the Storm. This was the role for which she earned an Emmy Award nomination. Further film roles include: Hawks, Wuthering Heights, Carrington, Songcatcher and As You Like It. Janet McTeer also received an Academy Award nomination for her role in the 1999 movie Tumbleweeds and another Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Hubert Page in the 2011 movie Albert Nobbs. She was appointed ‘Officer of the Order of the British Empire’ in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2008 for her Services to Drama.

Who Plays Jennet Humphrey – The Woman in Black?

Elizabeth ‘Liz’ White is perhaps best known for her role as WPC/WDC Annie Cartwright in the British version of the television series ‘Life on Mars’ – which was broadcast from 2006-2007. She also appeared in four episodes of the television series ‘Teachers’ which was broadcast in 2003. Her other prominent television roles include: Jess Mercer in six episodes of the British television series ‘The Fixer’ in 2008; and Caroline in BBC‘s 2011 adaptation of Michel Faber’s 2002 novel The Crimson Petal and the White.

Liz White has also had increasing success in films; making her film debut in 2004’s film short Ten Minute Movie. This was followed up with her appearances in Mike Leigh’s 2004 movie Vera Drake and in the 2005 television movie Angell’s Hell. She also played Laura in Gerald McMorrow’s debut film Franklyn and Alice Kelly in the independent film New Town Killers in 2008. She was featured in the music video for Bush’s final single Inflatable – off their fourth studio album, Golden State, which was released in 2001.

My Review of the Movie Adaptation of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story:

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie adaptation of The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill. Something that I never realized was that the 2012 film starring Daniel Radcliffe, was actually a remake of a 1989 television drama adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel. Nigel Kneale, who died in 2006, was the screen-writer of the 1989 television movie; and is perhaps best known for his creation of the fictional character Professor Bernard Quatermass – a heroic, intelligent, highly moral British scientist – and a pioneer of the British space programme, heading up the British Experimental Rocket Group. 
Well can I remember gathering round the television with my mother, brother and sister every Saturday night (my father would usually be out) – and the four of us would watch ‘Quatermass’. To properly set the mood, my mother would make us all snacks, start a fire in our fireplace, and turn out out all the lights. I was never really all that interested in science fiction television shows as a child, but ‘Quatermass’ was definitely the exception! 
Anyway, the 2012 version of The Woman in Black was excellent; at least in my opinion. Daniel Radcliffe has certainly shed whatever remnants of Harry Potter that were left. While I noticed that there were some slight differences between the book and the movie, I thought that overall the movie turned out to be a very faithful adaptation of the book. The movie plot ultimately stayed as true to Susan Hill’s book as possible, and I now have the strongest desire to reread The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill after seeing the movie. 
As I may have said before, I’m usually very wary of watching any movies that are based on books I’ve read. I find that so many movies turn out to be very poor adaptations of otherwise terrific books. However, this is not the case with The Woman in Black
Both the book and the movie are equally outstanding; I enjoyed the movie just as much, if not more, than the book. It was thrilling and gripping, and was absolutely worth the year-long wait that Mareena and I went through in order to watch this movie. I whole-heartedly give the movie adaptation of The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill an A+! 
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall’ Movie Review


‘Wolf Hall’: From left, Damian Lewis, Mark Rylance and Claire Foy (as Anne Boleyn) star in this six-part adaptation of two of Hilary Mantel’s novels: Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. ‘Wolf Hall’ airs on PBS’Masterpiece‘, Sunday nights at 10 PM, Eastern and Pacific times; 9 PM, Central Time.
So, since I’ve already written a post back in April of 2015 about the books of Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell Trilogy – two of which were the basis for PBS’ six-part television adaptation of ‘Wolf Hall‘, airing on ‘Masterpiece’ from Sunday, April 5, 2015 to Sunday, May 10, 2015 – I decided that this post would be strictly about the actors who starred in the three main roles, and the production of the program, itself.

Every Sunday night at 10 PM, Eastern and Pacific times – from April 5th to May 10th, 2015 – PBS’Masterpiece’ aired a six-part television adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning Bestsellers: Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies; published in 2009 and 2012, respectively. ‘Wolf Hall’ starred Mark Rylance (as Thomas Cromwell), Damian Lewis (as Henry VIII) and Claire Foy (as Anne Boleyn). The television miniseries was produced by Mark Pybus and co-produced by Sonia Friedman.

Who Plays Thomas Cromwell – The Earl of Essex and King Henry VIII’s Chief Minister?

The son of two English teachers, Mark Rylance was born David Mark Rylance Waters in January of 1960. Although, he was born in Ashford, Kent, England, Mark Rylance was raised partly in the United States – his parents moved to America when he was two years old. The family lived for a time in Connecticut and Wisconsin – where his father taught English at Connecticut’s Choate School and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, respectively.

Widely regarded as the greatest stage actor of his generation, Mark Rylance has enjoyed an esteemed career on stage and on screen. He has previously played the role of Anne Boleyn’s father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, in 2008’s The Other Boleyn Girl. He is the winner of two Olivier Awards and three Tony Awards, as well as a BAFTA for his role in The Government Inspector. Rylance is actually his paternal grandfather’s middle name.

Who Plays Henry VIII – King of England and the Second Monarch of the Tudor Dynasty?
Born in St. John’s Wood, London in February of 1971, Damian Watcyn Lewis has three siblings. He is the son of Charlotte Mary (née Bowater), from an upper-class background, and J. Watcyn Lewis, a city broker whose own parents were Welsh. He was raised with his brothers Gareth and William, and his sister Amanda, until the age of eight. In 1979, Damian was sent to Ashdown House boarding school, then was educated at Eton College.

At the age of sixteen, Damian decided he wanted to become an actor, and so he formed his own theater company. From 1990 to 1993, he studied at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and among his teachers there was Royal Shakespeare Company stalwart Colin McCormack. He studied alongside Daniel Craig and Joseph Feinnes and graduated in 1993. He started acting on the stage, particularly with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

There he was seen by director Stephen Spielberg, who subsequently cast him as Richard Winters in the HBO/BBC miniseries ‘Band of Brothers’ in 2001, a role which earned Damian a Golden Globe nomination, among other awards. His castmates from the miniseries were initially skeptical that he could play the role of an American military officer convincingly. It turned out that Damian’s American accent was so flawless, that some of the cast and crew didn’t believe that he was actually British.

He often portrays American military officials, even though he is British. He also frequently plays characters who are mentally unstable or violent. He has competed twice in the Northern Rock All Star Cup, a golf tournament that pits celebrities from Europe against those of America. Damian faced off against such celebrities as Meat Loaf and Alice Cooper.

He plays the guitar, the piano and the keyboard. Since July 4, 2007, Damian has been married to the actress Helen McCrory and they have two children together – a daughter named Manon, and a son named Gulliver. Damian was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to drama.

Who Plays Anne Boleyn – Marquess of Pembroke and Queen Consort of England, the Second Wife of King Henry VIII?


Claire Foy was born in Stockport, England in April of 1984. She grew up in Manchester and Leeds, the youngest of three children. Her family later moved to Longwick, Buckinghamshire for her father’s job as a salesman for the Rank Xerox Company. Her parents divorced when she was eight years old.


She attended a girls’ grammar school – Aylesbury High School – from the age of twelve. She then went on to study drama and screen classes at Liverpool John Moores University, and graduated from the Oxford School of Drama in 2007. She moved to Peckham, a district of southeast London, to share a house with “five friends from drama school.” 

Claire Foy began her acting career in 2008, and is best known for her role as Amy – the title role in BBC One‘s production of ‘Little Dorrit’. She was also in the made-for-television movie Going Postal – the third such adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels – which premiered in 2010. She has also played Anna in the 2011 medieval fantasy film Season of the Witch, alongside Nicolas Cage; and Dawn in the 2011 drama film Wreckers, alongside Benedict Cumberbatch. Claire has also played the role of Kate Balfour in NBC’s shortlived television series ‘Crossbones’ in 2014.

She married the actor Stephen Campbell Moore in December of 2014. She was actually two months pregnant when she finished filming ‘Wolf Hall’, and gave birth to her first child – a girl – in March of 2015. She returned to work six months after the birth of her daughter to begin filming The Crown.

My Review of the Movie Adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall’:

Despite not having read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel before we watched this miniseries, I must say that I really enjoyed watching this adaptation very much. I actually have always liked anything about the life and times of King Henry VIII and this made-for-television movie was no different. This was a six-part miniseries – from Sunday, April 5th, to Sunday, May 10th – that aired on PBS‘Masterpiece‘ every Sunday night at 10 PM, Eastern and Pacific times, 9 PM, Central Time.

I think that the actors who were cast were absolutely amazing in their various roles. Mark Rylance made Thomas Cromwell seem so much more sympathetic than the history books portray him. In this television adaptation, Thomas Cromwell is portrayed as a man placed in an almost impossible situation.

He is the King’s Chief Minister tasked to do something that he doesn’t really believe in or agree with. His dilemma is ‘Complain, and risk falling out of King Henry VII’s favor, or do as he is told, and risk Anne Boleyn’s understandable ire.’ Not to mention having the Queen’s actual death on his conscience.

I’m also amazed at myself. I’m amazed that despite being so interested in history, it never even crossed my mind to wonder if Thomas Cromwell had a family. I mean I knew that he was married and had children, but I just didn’t realize how fatherly Thomas Cromwell was; how warm-hearted he seemed.

If I had one particular problem with this adaptation, it may be that sometimes I couldn’t really tell who was who in a scene. Even if they were historically important characters, the question would occasionally cross my mind: “Now, who is this supposed to be again?” Overall though, I would give this movie adaptation an A!

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Hillary Mantel’s ‘Wolf Hall’ Movie Review

‘Wolf Hall’: From left, Damian Lewis, Mark Rylance and Claire Foy (as Anne Boleyn) star in this six-part adaptation of two of Hilary Mantel’s novels: Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies‘Wolf Hall’ airs on PBS’ ‘Masterpiece‘, Sunday nights at 10 PM, Eastern and Pacific times; 9 PM, Central Time

So in June of 2011, Mareena and I went to our local Barnes and Noble Bookstore to celebrate Mareena’s birthday. She had bought herself a paperback copy of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel along with two other books – although I couldn’t tell you what those other books were. When we first learned last week that ‘Masterpiece’ would be airing a television adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s 2009 book Wolf Hall from Sunday night, April 5th, to Sunday night, May 10th, 2015; Mareena told me excitedly that she had a copy of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel that was somewhere in her room. She told me exactly where it was in her room – something that was quite a feat in itself – and I went in and grabbed it for her.

Since she said that I could read it whenever I wanted, the book is currently sitting on my bedside table waiting for me to pick it up. I’ll probably end up reading it sometime after the show ends in May. The 2009 book Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is the first novel in the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy; followed in 2012 by Bringing up the Bodies and the trilogy will conclude with The Mirror and the Light – a novel that I believe will be published in 2015. Despite having a copy of Wolf Hall already, Mareena has a request for a copy of Bringing up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel on her Wish List on several of the swapping websites to which we belong.

Mareena has told me that she has actually read slightly mixed reviews of Hilary Mantel’s book Wolf Hall, although she doesn’t usually pay that much attention to them. She generally withholds her own personal opinion until she reads the book for herself. If the book interests her enough, she will read it no matter what the reviews may say. Here’s hoping that the television adaptation of ‘Wolf Hall’ is good and solid.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

House of Sand and Fog Movie Review

House of Sand and Fog: Theatrical release poster Stars: Jennifer Connelly, Ben Kingsley and Shohreh Aghdashloo, R, Released on December 19, 2003 in the United States under limited release; full release on January 9, 2004, and on February 27, 2004 in the United Kingdom.

So, back in August of 2013, Mareena and I went to a Library Book Sale to celebrate my birthday. I acquired a paperback copy of House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III while I was there. I noticed that this 1999 book was actually chosen as an ‘Oprah’s Book Club Pick’, which is what attracted me to it in the first place. Unfortunately, I haven’t read this book yet because I put it away in a box of books and now can’t locate the particular box that I packed the book in!

The 2003 movie, House of Sand and Fog was fully released in the United States in January of 2004. Mareena and I actually watched this movie when came on television as Friday’s ‘Late Night Movie’ on CBS. The movie actually started at 2:35 A. M., so I suppose that would make it early Saturday morning, right? 🙂

Anyway, the movie ended around 4:35 A. M. – or perhaps it was 4:45 A. M., I couldn’t really tell. Mareena and I both managed to stay awake and watch the entire movie; quite the feat, considering that whenever she and I lie down to watch television, we tend to drift off to sleep after about an hour! Thank goodness that we could sleep late on Saturday. 🙂

Like I said before, House of Sand and Fog was released in 2003 – under limited release – then fully released in 2004. The movie is rated R, and is a drama that runs approximately 126 minutes. It stars Jennifer Connelly (as Kathy Nicolo), Ben Kingsley (as Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani) and Shohreh Aghdashloo (as Nadereh “Nadi” Behrani). This film was directed by Vadim Perelman, and was produced by Vadim Perelman and Michael London.

Who Plays Kathy Nicolo – Recovering Drug Addict and Evicted Home Owner?

Jennifer Lynn Connelly was born in Cairo, New York (in the Catskills Mountains) and began her career as a child model at ten years old. Her mother, Ilene, was an antiques dealer and her father, Gerard, was a clothing manufacturer. Jennifer grew up in Brooklyn Heights, just across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, except for the four years she and her parents spent in Woodstock, New York due to Gerard’s severe asthma (the Connellys moved in 1976 to escape the city smog, although they returned to Brooklyn Heights in 1980.

Jennifer began appearing in print advertising before moving on to television commercials, and she had revealed in an interview with The Guardian, that although she had done some modeling for Seventeen Magazine, among others, she had no aspirations to become an actor. She appeared on the cover of several issues of Seventeen in 1986 and 1988. In December of 1986, Jennifer recorded two pop songs for the Japanese market: Monologue of Love and Message of Love. She actually sang in phonetic Japanese because she didn’t speak the language.

Around this time, her mother started taking her to acting auditions. Jennifer’s first role was in a 1982 episode of the British horror anthology television series ‘Tales of the Unexpected’, which ran from 1979 to 1988. In another audition, she was required to dance a ballet routine. During that audition, Jennifer, who had no ballet training, imitated a ballerina. Her performance, and the similarity of her nose to Elizabeth McGovern’s (who played the character as an adult), led to her landing the role of a young Deborah Gelly – Jennifer’s movie debut – in Sergio Leone’s 1984 gangster epic Once Upon a Time in America. Although she had very little screen time in the movie, the few minutes that she spent on-screen were just enough to showcase Jennifer’s talent.

She was then signed to play the starring role in Dario Argento’s 1985 thriller Phenomena, which despite being incredibly popular in Europe, was heavily cut for its American distribution. Jennifer co-starred with Jason Priestley in the music video for the Roy Orbison’s song I Drove All Night. Although he had recorded the song in 1987, his rendition was released as a posthumous single in 1992.

Jennifer enrolled in Yale, and then transferred two years later to Stanford; where she trained in classical theater and improvisation, studying with the late drama coach Roy London, actor Howard Fine, and actor/director Harold Guskin. The late 1980s saw Jennifer Connelly star in one hit and in three lesser seen films. Among the latter films, she played a ballerina in the 1989 Italian fantasy film, Étoile, and a self-absorbed college freshman in the 1988 comedy/drama, Some Girls. Jennifer’s breakout role was as Sarah in Jim Henson’s 1986 fantasy film Labyrinth.  Although the movie was a disappointment at the box office, and The New York Times panned her performance, Labyrinth later became a cult classic.

Encouraged by her parents to pursue her acting career, Jennifer soon left college and returned to the movie industry in 1990. In that same year, she was cast as Gloria Harper in Dennis Hopper’s The Hot Spot. While the movie was a box office flop, Jennifer’s performance was praised. Jennifer Connelly really became a household name after starring in the 1991 action/adventure film, The Rocketeer. Critics saw this movie as a top-quality homage to the old films of the 1930s, in which the likes of Errol Flynn starred. After that, Jennifer made Career Opportunities in 1991; The Heart of Justice in 1992; Mulholland Falls in 1996; and Inventing the Abbotts in 1997.

In 1998, she starred in the science fiction film Dark City, which didn’t break any box office records but received very positive reviews. She starred as Catherine Miller in the short-lived television series ‘The $treet’ which ran from 2000 to 2001. She played the main role in the memorable and dramatic love story Waking the Dead, and a breakthrough performance followed in the independent film Requiem For a Dream – a role that earned her a Spirit Award Nomination in 2000.

Jennifer followed this role with the 2000 movie Pollock, in which she played Jackson Pollock’s mistress, Ruth Klingman. She co-starred with Russell Crowe in Ron Howard’s 2001 film A Beautiful Mind; which tells the true story of John Nash – a mathematician who despite being diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, won the Nobel Prize in 1994. She played John Nash’s wife, Alicia and won a Golden Globe, BAFTA, AFI and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Jennifer Connelly lives in New York and speaks fluent French and Italian. She enjoys physical sports such as swimming, gymnastics, and bike riding. Jennifer is also very much an outdoors person who enjoys camping, hiking and walking, and is interested in quantum physics and philosophy. Her favorite colors are cobalt blue, forest green, and “very pale green/gray – sort of like the color of the sea”. She also likes to draw.

Who Plays Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani – Former Iranian Army Officer and Recent Immigrant, a New Home Owner Now Living in San Francisco?

Ben Kingsley was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji on New Year’s Eve in Snainton, North Riding of Yorkshire – although he grew up in Pendlebury, near Manchester. He is the son of Anna Lyna Mary (née Goodman) an actress and model who appeared in films in the 1920s and 1930s, and Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, a medical doctor. His father, born in Kenya, was of Gujarati Indian Ismaili Muslim Khoja decent, and had moved to Britain from Zanzibar at the age of fourteen. Ben’s mother was British.

Ben Kingsley began his acting career in 1966 – mostly in amateur dramatics while in college in Manchester. He made his professional stage debut upon graduation, at age 23. In 1967 he made his London West End theatre debut at the Aldwych Theatre. He was spotted by British music producer and manager Dick James, who offered to mold Ben into a pop star, but he chose to join the Royal Shakespeare Company instead, after an audition before the legendary theatre, film and television director, Sir Trevor Nunn. Devoting himself almost exclusively to stage work for the next 15 years, he made his Broadway debut in 1971 with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He went on to play Mosca in Peter Hall’s 1977 production of Ben Jonson’s Volpone for the Royal National Theatre, and was in Peter Brook’s acclaimed production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He also starred in the role of Willy Loman in a 1982 production of Death of a Salesman in Sydney, Australia opposite Mel Gibson.

It was around this time, he changed his name from Krishna Pandit Bhanji to Ben Kingsley, fearing that a foreign name would hamper his career; he took his stage surname from his paternal grandfather’s – an Indian spice trader from Zanzibar’s nickname, “King Clove”. He made the transition to film roles fairly early, making his debut in the 1972 British thriller Fear is the Key, as Royale. He continued starring in bit roles in both film and television, including a role as Ron Johnson on the soap opera ‘Coronation Street’ from 1966 to 1967 and regular appearances as a defense counsel in the long-running British legal television series ‘Crown Court’, which aired from 1972 to 1984. He also starred as Dante Gabriel Rosetti in the BBC‘s 1975 historical drama ‘The Love School’, which was broadcast in the United States as ‘The Brotherhood‘. Ben also played the title character in the BBC‘s 1985 adaption of ‘Silas Marner’, which was broadcast in the United States during Season 16 of ‘Masterpiece Theatre’.

In a career spanning over four decades, Ben Kinsley has won an Oscar, a Grammy, a BAFTA, two Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards. He is perhaps best known for his starring role as Mohandas Gandhi – Mahatma Gandhi – in the 1982 film Gandhi, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor. He is also known for his performances in the 1988 comedy, Without a Clue (as Dr. Watson alongside Michael Caine’s Sherlock Holmes); the 1991 crime drama Bugsy, for which he garnered an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, Schindler’s List and Searching For Bobby Fischer in 1993, as well as Death and the Maiden in 1994.

Ben Kingsley has been married four times; most recently in 2007 to the Brazilian actress Daniela Lavender. He has four children: Jasmin Bhanji Kingsley, an artist, and Thomas Kingsley, an actor; with his first wife, actress Angela Morant; and Edmund and Ferdinand Kingsley, both actors; with his second wife, actress and theatrical director Alison Sutcliffe.

He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2000; and knighted in the 2002 New Year Honours – the award announcements coming on Ben Kingsley’s fifty-eighth birthday; December 31, 2001. In May 2010, Sir Ben was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Who Plays Nadereh “Nadi” Behrani – Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani’s Wife?

After establishing a successful theatre and film career in Iran, Shohreh Aghdashloo moved to England during the Iranian Revolution in 1979. She subsequently became a United States citizen. She began acting at the age of eighteen, and following numerous starring roles on the stage she was offered her first film role in Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami’s Gozāresh (The Report), which won the Critics Award at the Moscow Film Festival. Shohreh’s next film was Shatranje Bad (loosely translated as: Chess With the Wind), directed by Mohammad Reza Aslani, which screened at several film festivals. Both of these films were banned in her home country; but, in 1978, Shohreh Aghdashloo won acclaim for her performance in Sooteh Delan (Broken Hearts), directed by Iranian filmmaker Ali Hatami, which established her as one of Iran’s leading actresses.

She was married to the Iranian painter, author, art critic, art historian and graphic designer, Aydin Aghdashloo – an ethnic Azerbaijani – from 1971 to 1979. The couple divorced in 1979, and Shohreh moved to Windermere, Cumbria, England, where she completed her education. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and still owns a separate vacation villa that she attends during the summer months of the year. She continued to pursue her acting career, however, which soon brought her to Los Angeles.

Shohreh Aghdashloo married actor/playwright Houshang Touzie in 1987, and they have a daughter who was born in 1989. She has since performed in a number of Touzie’s plays, successfully taking them to national and international stages, primarily in the Iranian community.

Shohreh made her American film debut in 1989 in a starring role in Guests of Hotel Astoria. Her television debut came in 1990 in a guest role in the 25 September, two-hour episode of NBC’s television series ‘Matlock’, titled ‘Nowhere to Turn: A Matlock Mystery Movie’, in which she played a saleslady and was credited for this simply as Shohreh. She returned to American television three years later when she played Malika (wife of the storekeeper Rashidi) in a 1993 episode of the popular comedy series ‘Martin’; credited under her maiden name of Shorhreh Vaziri.

After seven years, she returned once again to the American film industry in 2000, starring in the critically acclaimed Surviving Paradise, the first English language Iranian-American feature film released in the United States, written and directed by the Iranian-American movie director Kamshad Kooshan. Having been shown at major International Film Festivals, Surviving Paradise went on to become one of the most well received Iranian films in the U.S.

Shohreh Aghdashloo made a brief two episode appearance in the short-lived Honduran television series ‘The Honduran Suburbs’ in 2001. In that same year, she played an exiled actress in the movie America so Beautiful and played the main character’s mother in the 2002 drama Maryam. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for House of Sand and Fog, however the award was won by Renée Zellweger for Cold Mountain.Shohreh plays the lead character, Zahra Khanum, in the 2008 American Persian-language drama The Stoning of Soraya M., based on the late French-Iranian journalist, war correspondent, and novelist Freidoune Sahebjam’s 1990 book La Femme Lapidée (The Stoning of Soraya M.: A True Story). The movie was released in the United States in June of 2009 and marked the first time during her career in America where she played a leading character in a major feature-length motion picture. On September 29, 2009, Shohreh won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her supporting role in HBO‘s 2008 original miniseries ‘House of Saddam’.

Her other credits include narrating and producing a documentary ‘Mystic Iran: The Unseen World‘, narrating the PBS documentary ‘Iran: A Celebration of Art and Culture’, narrating the audiobook version of Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia by Carmen Bin Ladin and lending her vocal talents to animated movie Babak and Friends – A First Norooz. She has also voiced Admiral Shala’Raan vas Tonbay, a character in the 2010 science fiction video game ‘Mass Effect 2’; a role which she reprised for the 2012 sequel ‘Mass Effect 3’. In June of 2013, Shohreh Aghdashloo’s autobiography The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines was released through Harper Collins.

My Review of the Movie Adaptation of Andre Dubus III’s House of Sand and Fog

I have to say that while I haven’t actually read the book, I thought that this was a very powerful movie. It just showed me how bureaucratic mistakes can lead to so much pain and heartbreak for so many other people, and while the ‘Powers That Be’ may certainly only be doing their job; that doesn’t mean they necessarily care to hear about someone’s personal problems or personal issues. For some bureaucrats, sympathy for another person’s plight simply has no place in their thinking when making important legal decisions. While I certainly agree with this policy in reality, sometimes showing a little compassion can ease some of the tension in a situation.

I think that all the actors were well-suited to their respective parts; in my opinion, Ben Kingsley was superb as Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani; he was just so dignified, and believable in his role. His final scene in the movie was so much more shocking to me after I learned from Mareena that Sir Ben had actually physically done everything himself, and that while there were paramedics present on the set to assist him if he passed out, it was still a very dangerous thing for him to have done.

I think House of Sand and Fog absolutely deserved an A+! It was definitely worth staying awake until nearly 5:00 A. M. to watch this movie. Mareena and I could always sleep late on Saturday – and we did – to make up for going to bed so late!

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

The Rite Movie Review

The Rite: Teaser poster Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donoghue and Alice Braga, PG-13, Released on January 28, 2011 in the United States and Canada, and on February 25, 2011 in the United Kingdom.
The Rite: The Making of
a Modern Exorcist 
by Matt Baglio
(hardcover)

The 2011 movie, The Rite, is actually loosely based on journalist Matt Baglio’s 2009 book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist. The book is itself based on real events which were witnessed and recounted by an American priest, Father Gary Thomas – who in 2005, was sent on sabbatical to Rome to become an exorcist-in-training – in order to learn and work daily with veteran exorcists within the clergy.

Fr. Thomas is a priest at the Sacred Heart Parish Church in Saratoga, California, and is also the mandated exorcist for the Diocese of San Jose. He estimates that there are somewhere between 25-50 practicing exorcists in the United States as of February, 2011. Ideally, there should an exorcist attached to every diocese in America – which would mean that the actual number of exorcists should be nearly 200. According to what I learned from watching The Rite, there are currently 14 practicing exorcists in the United States.

Since our DVD player is up and running again, we have accumulated a number of DVDs that we want to watch. Something that we noticed just as we started to watch The Rite, was that Ciarán Hinds, who was also in The Woman in Black, was in this movie as well. He played Father Xavier, a friend of Father Lucas’ and Michael Kovak’s teacher in the exorcism lecture; who sends him on to receive further instruction with Fr. Trevant. We didn’t plan to watch this movie because Ciarán Hinds was in it, but it certainly was an interesting surprise for both of us.

Anyway, we started watching the movie at about 10:30 P.M. on Thursday night – or perhaps it was closer to 10: 45 P. M. In any event, by about 12:30 A. M. or so, the movie was finished and we went directly to bed.

The Rite: The Making of
a Modern Exorcist
by Matt Baglio (paperback)

I haven’t actually read The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio, although as soon as we finished watching the movie, Mareena started searching for the book. So far, she hasn’t found a copy, but has the title on two of the Wish Lists from the several swapping sites that we belong to. I certainly look forward to reading Mr. Baglio’s book some time very soon. As Fr. Thomas says: “The book is all true. There is nothing in that book that is not true.”

The Rite was released in January of 2011, and is rated PG-13. It is a horror movie that runs approximately 113 minutes. The film stars Anthony Hopkins (as Father Lucas Trevant), Colin O’Donoghue (as Michael Kovak) and Alice Braga (as Angeline Vargas). This film was directed by Mikael Håfström, and was produced by Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson.

Who Plays Father Lucas Trevant – (The Real Capuchin Father Carmine De Filippis)

Anthony Hopkins is a Welsh actor of film, stage and television; who is also known as a composer and a painter. He was born in Port Talbot, Glamorgan, Wales to parents of half Welsh and half English extraction. His father was a baker, and the young boy much preferred immersing himself in art – such as painting and drawing, or playing the piano – to attending school and doing his schoolwork. In 1949, in order to instill discipline in their son, his parents insisted that he attend Jones’ West Monmouth Boys’ School in Pontypool, Wales where he remained for five terms. From there, young Phillip Anthony was educated at Cowbridge Grammar School in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales.

Anthony Hopkins was influenced and encouraged to become an actor by Richard Burton (who was himself born in Port Talbot) and who Mr. Hopkins briefly met when he was fifteen years old. With an eye toward his future career, Anthony Hopkins enrolled at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, from which he graduated in 1957. After serving the mandatory two years conscription in the British Army, (also known as National Service) Mr. Hopkins moved to London, where he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

In 1960, he made his professional stage debut at the Palace Theatre, Swansea in the Swansea Little Theatre’s production of Have a Cigarette. After spending several years with repertory theater, he was discovered by Sir Laurence Olivier and invited to join the Royal National Theatre in 1965. He soon became Sir Laurence’s understudy, and filled in for him when Sir Laurence was struck with appendicitis during a production of August Strindberg’s The Dance of Death.

Despite his success at the National, Mr. Hopkins soon tired of repeating the same roles nightly and yearned to be in films. In 1967, he made his small-screen television debut in the BBC broadcast of Georges Feydeau’s play A Flea in Her Ear. Although he continued in theatre (most notably at the National Theatre), Mr. Hopkins gradually moved away from it to become more established as a film and television actor. In 1968, he made his movie debut in A Lion in Winter, playing Richard I along with Peter O’Toole, Katharine Hepburn and Timothy Dalton.

From that moment on, Mr. Hopkins experienced many successes and his remarkable acting career reached its pinnacle. Considered to be one of the greatest living actors, Mr. Hopkins is well-known for his portrayal of the charming serial-killing sociopath, Hannibal Lecter, in the 1991 film Silence of the Lambs, a role for which won him the Academy Award for Best Actor. He reprised his role as Hannibal Lecter for the movie’s 2001 sequel Hannibal, and the prequel Red Dragon in 2002. Mr. Hopkins’ other notable film credits include: The Mask of Zorro; The Bounty; Meet Joe Black; The Elephant Man; Magic; 84 Charing Cross Road; Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Legends of the Fall; Thor; The Remains of the Day; Amistad; Nixon; The World’s Fastest Indian; Instinct and Fracture.

Mr. Hopkins has also won many awards and accolades as well. Along with his Academy Award, he has also won three BAFTA Awards (the British counterpart to the Academy Awards), two Emmy Awards and the Cecil B. DeMille Award. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1993 for his services to the arts; he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003; and was made a fellow of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2008.

Anthony Hopkins has been married a total of three times, first to actress Petronella Barker in 1966 – with whom he has one daughter named Abigail – who is also an actress, a singer/songwriter, and a theatre director. Mr. Hopkins divorced his first wife in 1972.

He went on to marry Jennifer Lynton in 1973, and was married to her for 29 years. He has confessed that his obsession with becoming an American citizen led to the break-up of his second marriage. He is quoted by Britain’s The Sun newspaper as saying: “She (Jennifer Lynton) is British through and through, and was annoyed whenever I spoke of my dream to become an American. It was a major factor in our break-up. There is still a love for life in the US that I’ve never found anywhere else.”

He married his third wife – Colombian-born actress and director, Stella Arroyave – in 2003. Stella was originally an antiques dealer when Anthony Hopkins met her, although she has since transitioned into film. Despite being married in a secluded ceremony at his cliff-top mansion in Malibu, Anthony Hopkins paid tribute to his Welsh roots by marrying on St. David’s Day (March 1st) which celebrates the patron saint of Wales. At the wedding he wore the country’s national flower, a daffodil, in his buttonhole, and the spring flower also decked out the wedding marquee and made up the bridal bouquet.

Anthony Hopkins had moved to the United States once before during the 1970s in order to pursue his film career, but returned to London in the late 1980s. However, he decided to return to the United States following his success in the 1990s. Retaining his British citizenship, he became a naturalized US citizen on April 12, 2000, and celebrated with a 3,000-mile road trip across the country. As of 2007, Anthony Hopkins resides in Los Angeles.

Who Plays Michael Kovak – (The Real Father Gary Thomas)

Colin O’Donoghue is an Irish actor and musician who was born and raised in Drogheda, County Louth. He initially attended Dundalk Grammar School and then The Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin; although at age 16, Colin went to Paris for a month to learn French.

He began acting in 2001, in the British television miniseries ‘Rebel Heart’ – starring James D’Arcy. Colin played Rowe in the first episode of the miniseries. In 2002, Colin played Norman Quested in the television movie ‘Home For Christmas’ – a role for which he won an Irish Film and Television Award For Best New Talent.

His early career was mainly split between theatre and television work in Ireland and the United Kingdom. In 2009, he appeared as Duke Phillip of Bavaria in an episode of season 3 of the Showtime series ‘The Tudors’. Colin actually made his Hollywood movie debut alongside Anthony Hopkins in the 2011 movie The Rite. He had made his audition video for The Rite in a friend’s home studio in Drogheda and sent it to the United States.

In 2012, Colin O’Donoghue joined the second season of the hit ABC series ‘Once Upon a Time’ when he was cast as Captain Hook/Killian Jones. His role originally started as a supporting character, until it was announced that Colin would be billed as a series regular beginning in the second half of the second season.

He also plays guitar and sings in a five-piece band from the east coast of Ireland. In 2003, he and a close friend Ronan McQuillan, formed the pop/rock band The Enemies – and they released their self-titled debut album in 2011. In May of 2013, he announced that he was leaving the band due to the filming schedule of ‘Once Upon a Time’.

Despite his success outside of Ireland, Colin has no plans to relocate to either Los Angeles or Vancouver, Canada where he is currently shooting ‘Once Upon a Time’. He explained, “You don’t know what circumstances are going to come up, so it’s tough to make a decision like that and move somewhere for two or three years. . .Whatever happens, Drogheda will always be my home because it is where my friends and family are.” Colin is married to Helen O’Donoghue, and on August 1, 2013 the couple’s son, Evan was born.

Who Plays Angeline Vargas – (The Real Matt Baglio)

Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Alice Braga’s exposure to the world of acting began at a young age. Both her mother, Ana Braga, and aunt, Sônia Braga, are actresses; and young Alice would often accompany them to film sets. She began her own acting career by appearing in commercials and school plays. Her first commercial was for yogurt when she was eight years old. As a teenager she began pursuing roles in television and movies. She speaks fluent Portuguese, Spanish and English.

In 1998, Alice debuted in the Portuguese-language short Trampolim, and then returned to her schooling. Her big break came in 2002, when she was cast as Angélica in the critically acclaimed film City of God – for which she received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for the Cinema Brazil Grand Prize. Alice took some more time off and attended university while appearing in two well-regarded South American films – 2005’s Lower City and 2006’s Only God Knows – and the popular Brazilian television show ‘Carandiru, Outras Historias’.

Alice Braga made her English-language movie debut in 2006, in a starring role alongside Brendan Fraser, Mos Def and Catalina Sandino Moreno in the independent film Journey to the End of Night – which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. In 2007, she was cast in the Will Smith blockbuster I Am Legend. Alice Braga was also cast in the 2009 independent film Crossing Over – alongside Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd; and was in the David Mamet film Redbelt in 2008 as well.

In 2010, Alice starred in the science-fiction films Repo Men and Predators; in 2013, she starred as Frey Santiago in the dystopian science fiction thriller Elysium. She is the sister of the actress and producer, Rita Moraes and the cousin of the director, Daniela Braga. Her nickname is Lili and she is an Aries.

My Review of the Movie Adaptation of Matt Baglio’s The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist:

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never actually read Matt Baglio’s book – at least not yet, anyway; although I certainly have my eyes open to see whether I can obtain a copy very soon. According to Fr. Gary Thomas, around whom The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist is loosely based, “The book is all true. There is nothing in that book that is not true.”

The Catholic Church does recognize demonic possession as real, and the Vatican does, in fact, offer classes on exorcism at its affiliated Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University in Rome. As a matter of fact, Fr. Gary Thomas and Matt Baglio met during one such exorcism class. As the only two Americans in attendance in the class, the men quickly became friends.

Fr. Thomas actually did seek out several exorcists to apprentice with during his nine-month sabbatical in Rome; deciding that it was not only important to learn about exorcisms, but to experience them as well. To that end, Fr. Thomas sought out and was subsequently apprenticed with Capuchin Father Carmine De Filippis; the priest on whom Anthony Hopkins’ character is based. During their time together, Fr. Thomas witnessed approximately 80 exorcisms.

As with Colin O’Donoghue’s character in the movie, Fr. Thomas worked for a time in a funeral home. While attending a funeral as a teenager, Gary was approached by one of the owners and asked if he wanted to work there part time. At the age of 14, he accepted employment and began working odd jobs at the Nauman Lincoln Roos mortuary.

While Fr. Thomas wasn’t always a man of the cloth, he has always considered it as a personal calling. After graduating from high school, he went on to study mortuary science in university and worked in the funeral home business until the age of 25 – when he enrolled at St. Patrick’s Seminary. Five years years later he became an ordained Catholic priest. Unlike Colin O’Donoghue’s character in the movie, Fr. Thomas never experienced a crisis of faith as a seminarian, and he was considerably older than Michael Kovak when he began his training in Rome (in his mid-50s).

According to Fr. Thomas, “A demon doesn’t show up. He has to be invited in. The involvement in pagan, satanic, or occult practices are the classical ways.” While somewhat less common, it is understood that others can invite them (demons) in without your participation, such as by cursing or having a past family member promise a child to the devil.

Although Fr. Thomas has never witnessed anyone vomit anything unusual during an exorcism – Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican’s chief exorcist, with more than 70,000 exorcisms to his name, and who was Fr. De Filippis’ own mentor – has witnessed possessed people vomit numerous foreign objects: from black nails, to shards of glass and even radio equipment parts. Fr. Carmine De Filippis was present during an exorcism where the possessed woman vomited a live black frog.

I think that the actors were perfectly cast for the roles they played. Anthony Hopkins is renowned for his dedicated preparation for roles. He has stated in interviews, that once he is committed to a project, he will go over his lines as many times as is needed (sometimes upwards of 200) until the lines sound natural to him, so that he can “do it without thinking”. This leads to an almost casual style of delivery that belies the amount of groundwork done beforehand.

This was especially evident in The Rite – in the scene where Michael Kovak returns to Fr. Lucas’ home, and finds distinct evidence of demonic possession. When Michael asks Fr. Lucas if he’s alright, the ‘presence’ claims that Fr. Lucas isn’t in residence. Anthony Hopkins sounds so perfectly reasonable and rational during their subsequent conversation, that the scene is all the more frightening when the demon does eventually show itself.

The actress who played Rosaria – Marta Gastini – was 20 years old when she was cast in The Rite, and I think she was wonderful in the part. She was so innocent-looking, that sometimes I forgot that Rosaria was actually possessed – until she contorted her body or said something particularly vile.

Overall, I would give The Rite a definite A! and I look forward to getting my hands on a copy of The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio as soon as possible.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

The Woman in Black Movie Review

The Woman in Black: British theatrical release poster. Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer and Liz White, PG-13, Released on February 3, 2012 in the United States and Canada, and on February 10, 2012 in the United Kingdom.

So, back in February of 2013, I read The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill – here is my review of the paperback. Mareena had downloaded this ebook for herself in January of 2012, although she then grabbed the paperback at a Library Book Sale that she and I went to in February of 2013. Mareena let me read this book first, and I started it immediately after we got home from our visit to the Library.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I actually picked it to be my Book of the Month for February. It only took me a day to read the book and I’m thinking of rereading this book sometime very soon.

Back in February of 2013 – actually six days after I finished reading the book, the DVD starring Daniel Radcliffe and Ciarán Hinds arrived in the mail. It has literally taken Mareena and I over a year to finally watch the movie! Our DVD player had somehow burned out, and since we don’t watch DVDs all that frequently, we didn’t know that we needed a new DVD player until we tried to play this DVD. 🙂

Mareena received a new television for her birthday, and while I had hoped to get our new DVD player hooked up to be able to watch The Woman in Black on her birthday – everything took just slightly longer than we expected it would. Anyway, we started watching the movie at about 10:30 P.M. on Tuesday night -or perhaps it was closer to 10: 45 P. M. By 1:00 A. M., the movie was over and we went directly to bed.

The Woman in Black was released in February of 2012, and is rated PG-13. It is a horror movie that runs approximately 95 minutes. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe (as Arthur Kipps), Ciarán Hinds (as Sam Daily), Janet McTeer (as Elisabeth Daily) and Liz White (as Jennet Humfrye). This film was directed by James Watkins, and was produced by Richard Jackson, Simon Oakes and Brian Oliver.

Who Plays Arthur Kipps – A Young Lawyer From London?

While he made his acting debut at age 10 in BBC One’s 1999 television movie ‘David Copperfield’, followed by his film debut in 2001’s The Tailor of Panama, Daniel Radcliffe rose to prominence playing the title character in the Harry Potter film series. At age 11, he was cast as Harry Potter in the first Harry Potter movie – 2001’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He went on to star in the series over the next ten years until the release of the eighth and final film of the franchise – 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

Daniel Radcliffe began to branch out into stage acting in 2007, starring in the London and New York productions of the play Equus, and in 2011’s Broadway revival of the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. In 2008, he revealed that he suffers from a mild form of Developmental Coordination Disorder – also known as developmental dyspraxia or ‘Clumsy Child Syndrome’. This disorder is a chronic neurological disorder beginning in childhood, which can affect the planning of movements and motor skills coordination. This is as result of brain messages not being accurately transmitted to the body.

For Daniel Radcliffe, his Developmental Coordination Disorder causes such poor motor skills that he sometimes has trouble doing simple activities such as writing or tying his shoelaces. Many sufferers of this disorder have memory problems, typically resulting in difficulty remembering instructions, difficulty organizing one’s time and remembering deadlines, increased propensity to lose things or problems carrying out tasks which require remembering several steps in sequence (such as cooking). Whilst most of the general population experience these problems to some extent, they have a much more significant impact on the lives of dyspraxic people.

Despite having poor short-term memories, many sufferers generally have excellent long-term memories. They benefit most from from working in a structured environment, as repeating the same routine minimizes the difficulty with time-management and allows them to commit procedures to long-term memory. Because sufferers sometimes have difficulty moderating the amount of sensory information that their body is constantly sending them, these people are also prone to panic attacks.

Many dyspraxics struggle to distinguish left from right, even as adults, and generally have an extremely poor sense of direction. Moderate to extreme difficulty doing physical tasks is experienced by some dyspraxics, and fatigue is common because so much extra energy is expended while trying to execute physical movements correctly. Some (but not all) dyspraxics suffer from low muscle tone – know as hypotonia – which like Developmental Coordination Disorder, can detrimentally affect balance.

Who Plays Sam Daily – a Local Landowner in the Village of Crythin Gifford?

Born and raised in North Belfast, Ciarán Hinds is the only son in a family of five children. His father was a doctor and his mother was a school teacher and an amateur actress. Ciarán was an Irish dancer in his youth, and was originally enrolled as a law student at Queen’s University, Belfast, but was soon persuaded to pursue acting and abandoned his studies at Queen’s to enroll at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England.

He began his professional acting career at the Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre in a 1976 production of Cinderella. While he remained a frequent performer at the Citizens’ Theatre during the late 1970s and 1980s, Ciarán continues to act on stage up to the present. He made his feature film debut in John Boorman’s 1981 movie Excalibur, and has since built a reputation as a versatile character actor appearing in such high-profile films as Road to Perdition, The Phantom of the Opera, Munich, There Will be BloodHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, The Woman in Black and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.  His television roles include Gaius Julius Caesar in the series ‘Rome’, DCI James Langton in the series ‘Above Suspicion’, Bud Hammond in the series ‘Political Animals’ and Mance Rayder in the Emmy Award winning ‘Game of Thrones’.

Ciarán Hinds lives in Paris with his long-time partner Hélène Patarot; they met in 1987 while in the cast of Peter Brook’s production of The Mahabharata. The couple have a daughter named Aoife, born in 1991. Ciarán is also a close friend of fellow Irish actor Liam Neeson and served as a pallbearer at the funeral of Liam’s wife, actress Natasha Richardson in upstate New York on March 22, 2009.

Who Plays Elisabeth Daily – Sam Daily’s Wife?

Janet McTeer made her professional stage debut in 1984, and since then has won a Tony Award, an Olivier Award and a Drama Desk Award. In 1986, she was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Newcomer for The Grace of Mary Traverse, although she actually won a Tony Award and an Olivier Award for her role as Nora in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House in 1997. She is also a two-time Academy Award nominee.

Janet McTeer has starred on television in the title role of Lynda La Plante’s ‘The Governor’ from 1996 to 1997, has received a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Countess Rivers – the mother of Elizabeth Woodville, Queen Consort of King Edward IV – in ‘The White Queen’ and starred opposite Glenn Close in the final season of the television show ‘Damages’.

She made her film debut in 1986’s Half Moon Street – based on a book by Paul Theroux called Doctor Slaughter. In 2009, she portrayed Clementine Churchill – the wife of Sir Winston Churchill – in the HBO movie, Into the Storm. This was the role for which she earned an Emmy Award nomination. Further film roles include: Hawks, Wuthering Heights, Carrington, Songcatcher and As You Like It.

Janet McTeer also received an Academy Award nomination for her role in the 1999 movie Tumbleweeds and another Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Hubert Page in the 2011 movie Albert Nobbs. She was appointed ‘Officer of the Order of the British Empire’ in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2008 for her Services to Drama.

Who Plays Jennet Humphrey – The Woman in Black?

Elizabeth ‘Liz’ White is perhaps best known for her role as WPC/WDC Annie Cartwright in the British version of the television series ‘Life on Mars’ – which was broadcast from 2006-2007. She also appeared in four episodes of the television series ‘Teachers’ which was broadcast in 2003. Her other prominent television roles include: Jess Mercer in six episodes of the British television series ‘The Fixer’ in 2008; and Caroline in BBC‘s 2011 adaptation of Michel Faber’s 2002 novel The Crimson Petal and the White.

Liz White has also had increasing success in films; making her film debut in 2004’s film short Ten Minute Movie. This was followed up with her appearances in Mike Leigh’s 2004 movie Vera Drake and in the 2005 television movie Angell’s Hell. She also played Laura in Gerald McMorrow’s debut film Franklyn and Alice Kelly in the independent film New Town Killers in 2008. She was featured in the music video for Bush’s final single Inflatable – off their fourth studio album, Golden State, which was released in 2001.
 
My Review of the Movie Adaptation of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story:
 

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie adaptation of The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill. Something that I never realized was that the 2012 film starring Daniel Radcliffe, was actually a remake of a 1989 television drama adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel. Nigel Kneale, who died in 2006, was the screen-writer of the 1989 television movie; and is perhaps best known for his creation of the fictional character Professor Bernard Quatermass – a heroic, intelligent, highly moral British scientist – and a pioneer of the British space programme, heading up the British Experimental Rocket Group.

Well can I remember gathering round the television with my mother, brother and sister every Saturday night (my father would usually be out) – and the four of us would watch ‘Quatermass’. To properly set the mood, my mother would make us all snacks, start a fire in our fireplace, and turn out out all the lights. I was never really all that interested in science fiction television shows as a child, but ‘Quatermass’ was definitely the exception!

Anyway, the 2012 version of The Woman in Black was excellent; at least in my opinion. Daniel Radcliffe has certainly shed whatever remnants of Harry Potter that were left. While I noticed that there were some slight differences between the book and the movie, I thought that overall the movie turned out to be a very faithful adaptation of the book. The movie plot ultimately stayed as true to Susan Hill’s book as possible, and I now have the strongest desire to reread The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill after seeing the movie.

As I may have said before, I’m usually very wary of watching any movies that are based on books I’ve read. I find that so many movies turn out to be very poor adaptations of otherwise terrific books. However, this is not the case with The Woman in Black.

Both the book and the movie are equally outstanding; I enjoyed the movie just as much, if not more, than the book. It was thrilling and gripping, and was absolutely worth the year-long wait that Mareena and I went through in order to watch this movie. I whole-heartedly give the movie adaptation of The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill an A+!

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight