Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Don't flee

Many US sites report the release of Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights on DVD and Blu-ray this week. As usual, it is mostly the specialized websites that understand the film the best (or at all). From indieWire's The Playlist:

After garnering considerable critical acclaim on its full release last year, Andrea Arnold's bruisingly beautiful adaptation of the Emily Brontë classic "Wuthering Heights" will be coming to DVD and Blu-ray this week. Following her unsettling but highly praised Cannes Jury Prize-winner "Fish Tank" -- a fairly grimy slice of British social realism -- with a romance classic, one already well-served by high-class adaptations, the film was seen in many quarters as something of an odd choice. The result though, to quote our grade A review out of Venice, was "superb," "groundbreaking" and "Terrence Malick-like," confirmation of a serious and formidable talent in British cinema.
The film stars Kaya Scodelario as a younger-than-usual Cathy and James Howson as the fierce and troubled Heathcliff, the first black actor to take on the role. It also arguably has a third star in one of our favorite cinematographers, Robbie Ryan ("Berberian Sound Studio," "Ginger and Rosa,") who does career-best work with the windswept moors and gloomy interiors of Yorkshire and Northern England.
To celebrate the release, we've got two DVDs and two Blu-ray discs of "Wuthering Heights" to give away to some lucky readers.
How do you win? 1. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, and share/RT one of the stories we post today on our site. 2. Email us your name, twitter handle and address and let us know why you're looking forward to watching the film.
Winners will be announced via Facebook and Twitter, so keep an eye out for your name. Good luck! (Kieran McMahon)
From Television without Pity's The Moviefile:
Wuthering Heights
A stark contrast to the more traditional cinematic adaptations of Great Novels like 2011's Jane Eyre, Andrea Arnold's version of Emily Brontë's seminal doomed love story Wuthering Heights is vibrantly alive, feeling like part of our world instead of removed from it. Shot almost exclusively outdoors on the moors of Northern England, Arnold's film eschews the novel's framing device (as well as much of its dialogue) and leaps right into the action, with the orphan Heathcliff (played as a boy by Solomon Glave and a man by James Howson) being brought to a remote farm, where he develops a relationship with the farmer's daughter Catherine (Shannon Beer/Kaya Scodelario) that ventures far beyond the "just friends" stage. Arnold connects the ferocity of the characters' various passions to the wildness of the natural world surrounding them, giving the story a vibrancy that too many period pieces lack. Better still, it doesn't just slavishly parrot back the text of the book, which has its own distinct pleasures. This Wuthering Heights exists as its own entity, one that's strongly rooted in the source material but demonstrates an artistic vision that's utterly unique.
Extras: A video essay by film critic David Fear. (Ethan Alter)
The Phoenix Movie Examiner tells readers to 'Flee It!'
Wuthering Heights” features some spectacularly picturesque settings – when you can see them. Unfortunately, writer/director Andrea Arnold not only failed to use professional actors for her cinematic adaptation of Emily Brontë's classic novel, she also failed to use proper lighting thereby damaging the one thing for which her drama deserved praise. Moreover, the movie is a strangely shallow interpretation of an ordinarily passionate source material, relaying the story itself but none of the emotion that goes with it. As a result, the audience feels alienated and, with no reason to remain awake, may become bored and drift into dreamland. (Flee It!) (Joseph J. Airdo)
'Fail to use' is a weird expression to use as she can't have 'failed to' if she did it on purpose. And poor Kaya Scodelario, too, who was/is a professional actress after all (and others too, of course). Also the 'failed use of proper lighting' gained Robbie Ryan several awards and nominations, so it can't have been that bad, can it?

The Mountain Xpress reviewer did flee it:
Also up is Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights, which didn't play here -- and which I turned off at the 20 minute mark when going through last year's award screeners. (Ken Hanke)
USA Today's Pop Candy shows that Kaya Scodelario is a professional actress:
- Wuthering Heights. Why watch another version of the classic? Because this one stars Kaya Scodelario from Skins. (Whitney Matheson)
More acting now, but on stage as Hackney Hive reviews Rosemary Branch Theatre's Jane Eyre.
The stage was left pretty minimal save for a few wooden chairs and some steps at the back. The entire set was painted white and all the actors were dressed in white as well. With such a simple set design, the audience has to be pulled in by the performances and I certainly felt hoisted into their world. The performances across the board were engaging and heartfelt. It was also impeccably cast with Helen Russell-Clark giving a stunning performance as Jane. Her Jane is vulnerable, innocent but also played with conviction which had me mesmerized throughout. Her connection with Mr. Rochester played by Rob Pomfret was palpable and believable. [...]
This love story made my heart beat throughout the adaptation and it conjured up the same feelings of curiosity and anticipation that kept me on the edge of my seat when I first read the novel many moons ago. It is an enjoyable, heart-warming and captivating night out at the theatre. (Melissa Palleschi)
The Edinburgh Evening News reviews the stage adaptation of The Woman in Black at King's Theatre and has writer Susan Hill tell about it and her own background.
“It took me some years to find my real voice and meanwhile, I lived from hand to mouth as a freelance book reviewer, and always, I read, not just the new books, but the things I had grown up with - Dickens, Hardy, the Brontës, everything with atmosphere and a sense of place.”
It’s that same atmosphere and sense of place that makes The Woman In Black something special in the world of theatre, so, if you only know the story from the movie, you could just be in for a treat, and the fright of your life, if you head down to The King’s. (Liam Rudden)
I.J. Miller discusses erotic literature in The Huffington Post.
The Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon also helped inspire a sub-genre: the erotic mashup...which led to my writing of Wuthering Nights, an erotic retelling of the Emily Brontë classic Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff is surely the original tragic, alpha-male hero and his intense relationship with the fiery Catherine lends itself perfectly to having a few more layers peeled back through sensual lovemaking and creative BDSM.
And perhaps now, thanks to E.L. James, libraries will carry this work, my local newspaper will review it, I can someday soon go back to using my real name, and those who still prefer a paperback won't feel compelled to buy a greeting card they don't want in order to cover the erotic novel they're bringing to the cash register.
The Washington Post reviews the book The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud.
Even the title of this novel is marinated in bile. Like someone scratching an infected wound, Nora returns to the phrase “the woman upstairs” again and again: “We’re not the madwomen in the attic — they get lots of play, one way or another,” she says. “We’re the quiet woman at the end of the third-floor hallway, whose trash is always tidy, who smiles brightly in the stairwell with a cheerful greeting, and who, from behind closed doors, never makes a sound. In our lives of quiet desperation, the woman upstairs is who we are, without a goddamn tabby or a pesky lolloping Labrador, and not a soul registers that we are furious. We’re completely invisible.”
This may be rage, but it’s fantastically smart rage — anger that never distorts, even in the upper registers. When Nora complains about women like herself who dutifully tuck themselves away, she ricochets from Charlotte Brontë to Jean Rhys to Henry David Thoreau to Ralph Ellison. Wherever she digs, she hits rich veins of indignation. (Ron Charles)
The New York Daily News' Page Views discusses 'Madness in the age of #madness' and thinks that
The quietly depressed characters riddling classical literature have slowly given way to the elaborately fractured figures that dominate postmodern works. Gregor Samsa and  “Jane Eyre’s” Mrs. Rochester, locked away into a room and an attic respectively, have been supplanted by the likes of David Foster Wallace’s Hal Incandenza and Philip K. Dick’s agent Fred, who suffers from a split personality. A slew of confessional works modeled after William Styron’s “Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness” have exposed the formerly private process of mental degeneration to a curious audience. (Rebecca Rothfeld)
The Staten Island Advance recommends the BabyLit books for children, which include Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

Policymic has an article on 'You Know You're Almost 30 When ...'
13. You stop caring that you haven't (and at this point, probably never will) read War and Peace, Ulysses, or Jane Eyre. Would your life really be that much different if you had? (Katie Kirnan)
Well then I'm 31 and not past caring - does that mean I'm young(er) at heart?

Dale Street News talks about last night's World Book Night celebrations in Liverpool:
Period Drama in the Reid Room – Liverpool based theatre company, Impropriety, will be bringing their own brand of drama to a range of classic texts. Mixing readings from some of the most famous works in literature from Pride and Prejudice to Wuthering Heights with some world class improvisation, these sessions are not to be missed.
The Telegraph replies to 'City-dweller Sir Ian McKellen [who] claims that life is so boring in rural Britain that there is little to do but watch television'.
In particular, they complain, there is no Sex and the Countryside. That life here is more NFU than SJP. This is a myth that urgently needs exploding. “The countryside is the primal hotbed of sex,” says author Tara Newley, the Somerset-based daughter of actress Joan Collins. “How could it not be? It’s where we all come from, the home of our ancestral libido. Sex hangs in the air around here. You can practically smell the hormones. Look at all the sexy writing that has come out of country plots and settings: the Brontës from the Yorkshire moors, Thomas Hardy from Wessex, Jane Austen. What do you get out of the city?” (William Langley)
Speaking of country houses, The Telegraph and Argus features Croft House in East Morton.
The current owners of Grade II listed Croft House, which dates back to 1679, believe that it once had a piggery outside, while inside the bookcases in the dining room are reputed to be the original ones from the Brontë Parsonage.
“Times have come full circle as we now have ‘micro pigs’ in the back garden, although they are not very ‘micro’ now!” says Andrew Smallwood, who lives there with his wife Tracey, and daughter Hollie.
“Also, thanks to the bookcases, when we first moved into Croft House I read many of the Brontë novels and became a little obsessed with anything ‘Brontë’, but my wife drew the line when I asked her to dress up as Jane Eyre!" [...]
The owners consider it a privilege to live in a listed building. “We do feel like we are custodians as well as owners. We have kept and preserved many of the original features, such as the oak beams and the fireplaces.
“We have also added to the features by putting oak flooring throughout the downstairs and oak doors and skirting throughout the house. One of our favourite rooms is perhaps the dining room that contains the carved oak bookcases with their links to the Brontë Parsonage. The gardens were designed by the previous owners and all we have done is watch them grow and mature into the lovely gardens they are now."
And another country house as Marie Claire recommends the Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa in Helmsley, North Yorkshire. It seemed to be missing something, though:
Nestled at the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, I reasoned that if it was good enough for Catherine it was good enough for us, although a Heathcliff thrown in wouldn’t have gone amiss. (Cassie Steer)
The Northern Echo has an article on this year's Chelsea Flower Show:
The Tour De France, a rare orchid and a flock of Swaledale sheep will represent blooming Yorkshire at one of the world's most famous flower shows.
Welcome to Yorkshire is using its showcase garden in the Artisan section of the Chelsea Flower Show to celebrate the county, which is hosting the Grand Depart for the Tour De France next year.
Officials hope the new design will match last year's gold medal winning Brontës’ Yorkshire garden.
The Squeee is giving away five copies of Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair. Picture Me Reading reviews Classical Comics' Jane Eyre. Les Livres de George writes in French about Charlotte Brontë's Stancliffe's Hotel.

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