REVIEW: REIGN – SEASON 1-4

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MAIN CAST

Adelaide Kane (Power Rangers RPM)
Megan Follows (Silver Bullet)
Torrance Coombs (The Tudors)
Toby Regbo (One Day)
Jenessa Grant (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Celina Sinden (My Neighbour’s Dog)
Caitlin Stasey (I, Frankenstein)
Anna Popplewell (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Alan Van Sprang (Immortals)
Jonathan Keltz (21 and Over)
Sean Teale (Skins)
Craig Parker (Spartacus)
Rose Williams (Infinite)
Rachel Skarsten (Birds of Prey)
Charlie Carrick (Molly Maxwell)
Ben Geurens (Winners and Losers)
Dan Jeannotte (Good Witch)
Jonathan Goad (Troubled Waters)
Spencer MacPherson (Degrassi: The Next Class)
Will Kemp  (The Scorpion King 4)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Rossif Sutherland (Timeline)
Amy Brenneman (The Leftovers)
Michael Therriault (Heroes Reborn)
Anna Walton (Hellboy 2)
Gil Darnell  (Bones)
Yael Grobglas (Jane The Virgin)
Kathryn Prescott (24: Legacy)
Giacomo Gianniotti (Grey’s Anatomy)
Luke Roberts (300: Rise of An Empire)
Manolo Cardona (Narcos)
Michael Aronov (The Drop)
Ted Atherton (Blue Mountain State)
Daniel Fathers (The Void)
Greg Bryk (Bitten)
Andrew Airlie (Final Destination 2)
Tahmoh Penikett (Dollhouse)
Shauna MacDonald (Saw VI)
Ben Aldridge  (The Railway Man)
Alexandra Ordolis  (Helix)
Katie Boland (Born to The Blue)
Noam Jenkins (Earth: Final Conflict)
Siobhan Williams (Hell on Wheels)
Rob Stewart  (Painkiller Jane)
Jonathan Watton (The Calling)
Pascal Langdale (Sharpe’s PeriL)
Vincent Gale (Van Helsing)
Tom Everett Scott (13 Reasons Why)
Nick Lee (The Fall)
Mark Ghanimé (Helix)
Anastasia Phillips (Nonsense Revolution)
Nola Augustson (Cinderella Man)
Claire Hunter (World Away)
Steve Lund (Bitten)
Sara Garcia  (Damien)
Adam Croasdell (Tarzan and The Lost City)
Andrew Shaver (300)
Ann Pirvu (Remedy)
Nick Slater (Neighbours)
Megan Hutchings (The LA Complex)
Steve Byers (Smallville)
John Ralston (Flash Gordon)
Rebecca Liddiard (Houdini and Doyle)
Shawn Doyle (Don’t Say A Word)

Chronicles the rise to power of Mary Queen of Scots (Kane) when she arrives in France as a 15-year-old, betrothed to Prince Francis, and with her four best friends as ladies-in-waiting. It details the secret history of survival at French Court amidst fierce foes, dark forces, and a world of sexual intrigue.                I stumbled upon Reign because of Adelaide Kane who had portrayed Tenaya on Power Rangers RPM. Once I started watching, I was intrigued. The series focuses on the young Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots and her years at French Court. While many might say that it is only a teen drama, I disagree. It is funny and dramatic, has so many loving characters that you do get quite attached to, and tells stories that intrigue to watch more. You get to know so much about the characters’ back stories and their lives before the show picks up. This makes it easy to feel with the characters and develop a soft spot for the one or other while despising others. How often have a I sat in front of the screen screaming and crying, laughing and in total delight? You get to know the politics and views of the 16th century. You find yourself entangled in a world that still believes in witch-craft and where poison was a common tool. The series is easy to relate to if you are just the tiniest bit interested in history.It is fast paced and has a lot happening (very refreshing when you got annoyed with The Tudors not moving forward but having the same issues for an entire season). The first three seasons cover Mary Stuarts return to French Court, her life as wife and queen as well as her return to her own throne. I was so excited to see how it ends. It made me really sad to hear that season 4 was going to be the last one, because many more stories could be told. But. For everyone who is looking for historic accuracy to the very last point, this show is not what you might like. Many dates, faces and customs have been turned upside down. But for someone who wants to watch an entertaining, exciting and dramatic series with strong characters, amazing settings and costumes as well as some superior acting (especially on Megan Follows’ part), and the best soundtrack I have heard in a long time, this series is a must-see. You will need tissues for the final episode.

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REVIEW: GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING

CAST

Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
Scarlett Johansson (Avengers Assemble)
Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins)
Judy Parfitt (Ever After)
Cillian Murphy (Inception)
Essie Davis (The Babadook)
Anna Popplewell (Reign)

Griet (Scarlett Johansson) is a shy girl living in the Dutch Republic in 1665. Her father, a Delftware painter, has recently gone blind, rendering him unable to work and putting his family in a precarious financial situation. To help matters, Griet is sent to work as a maid in the household of famed painter Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth). Griet works hard, almost wordlessly, in the lowest position in a harsh hierarchy, doing her best despite spiteful treatment by one of Vermeer’s children. While she is on a routine shopping trip outside the house, a butcher’s son, Pieter (Cillian Murphy), notices Griet and falls in love with her, even though she is slow to return his affections.

As Griet cleans Vermeer’s studio, which his wife Catharina (Essie Davis) never enters, the painter begins to converse with her and encourages her appreciation of painting, light and color. Vermeer gives her lessons in mixing paints and other tasks, taking care to keep this secret from his wife, who would react with anger and jealousy if she found out that her husband was spending time with Griet. In contrast, Vermeer’s pragmatic mother-in-law, Maria Thins (Judy Parfitt), sees Griet as useful to Vermeer’s career.

Vermeer’s rich patron, Van Ruijven (Tom Wilkinson), notices Griet on a visit to the Vermeer household and asks the painter if he will give her up to work in his own house, a situation which ruined a previous girl. Vermeer refuses, but accepts a commission to paint a portrait of Griet for Van Ruijven.

As Vermeer secretly works on the eponymous painting, Catharina cannot help but notice something is amiss and her growing jealousy of Griet becomes apparent. As Griet deals with her growing fascination with Vermeer and his talent, she has to fend off Van Ruijven’s attempt to rape her. Soon afterwards, Catharina’s mother summons Griet, hands over her daughter’s pearl earrings, and instructs Griet to finish the painting while Catharina is away for the day. At the final painting session Vermeer pierces Griet’s earlobe so she can wear one of the pearl earrings for the portrait; she then runs to Pieter to be consoled. They caress and make love in a barn. Afterwards, Pieter proposes marriage, but she shakes her head and leaves. She then returns the earrings to Catharina’s mother.

Catharina discovers that Griet used her earrings, accuses her mother of complicity, and demands Vermeer show her the painting of Griet. Heartbroken that Vermeer does not consider her worthy of being painted because she “doesn’t understand,” Catharina tries but fails to destroy the painting, then banishes Griet from the house forever. Vermeer does not object, and Griet leaves the house in shock. Later, Griet is visited by the cook from the house, who comes bearing a gift: a sealed packet containing the blue headscarf she wore in the painting, wrapped around Catharina’s pearl earrings.

Image result for girl with a pearl earring filmJohannson’s performance commands the film, although she is seldom required to speak and rarely asked what she might be thinking. Parfitt as the true power in the Vermeer household offers the other stellar performance, while Firth’s dazzling charm from other films is sublimated to his character’s artistic temperament. Of course, the greatest compliment that can be paid to first time director Peter Webber is that he has crafted this film with the same care that Vermeer used in painting his own canvases.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER

CAST

George Henley (Perfect Sisters)
Ben Barnes (Dorian Gray)
Skandar Keynes (Ferrari)
Will Poulter (Son of Rambow)
Gary Sweets (The Pacific)
Bruce Spence (Legend of The Seeker)
Laura Brent (Anzac Girls)
William Moseley (The Royals)
Anna Popplewell (Reign)
Tilda Swinton (Constantine)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Rachel Blakely (The Lost World)
Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz)

Three Narnian years after the events of Prince Caspian, Lucy and Edmund Pevensie are staying with their irritating bookworm cousin Eustace Scrubb until the war is over. Edmund is still too young to enlist in His Majesty’s Armed Forces. At their cousin’s home a painting of a ship on the ocean transports Lucy, Edmund and Eustace into an ocean in Narnia.

They are rescued by Caspian, who captains the Dawn Treader. He invites them on a voyage to rescue the seven Lords of Narnia whom his uncle Miraz banished. In the Lone Islands, where people are sold as slaves, Caspian and Edmund are captured and imprisoned while Lucy and Eustace are sold as slaves. Caspian meets one of the lost lords (Lord Bern), who reveals that the slaves are not sold, but sacrificed to a mysterious green mist. They are rescued by their crew. Bern, who becomes the new governor, gives Caspian a sword, one of seven given to each of the lords by Aslan.

At another island, Lucy is abducted by the invisible Dufflepuds who force her to enter the manor of the magician Coriakin to find a visibility spell. Coriakin encourages the crew to defeat the mist by laying the lords’ seven swords at Aslan’s Table on Ramandu’s island, but warns them that they are about to be tested. Lucy recites a beauty incantation she found, and enters a dream in which she has transformed into Susan and neither Lucy nor Narnia exist. Aslan chides Lucy for her self-doubt, explaining that her siblings only know of Narnia because of her.

Another sword is recovered from a magical pool that turns anything that touches it into gold, including one of the lost lords. Meanwhile, Eustace finds, and steals from, a rock pit full of treasure. While Edmund and Caspian look for Eustace, they discover the remains of another of the lords and recover his sword. A dragon approaches and is driven away from the Dawn Treader. The dragon is Eustace, transformed by the treasure after succumbing to its temptations. Reepicheep befriends Eustace, and Eustace is touched by the mouse’s kindness. He undergoes a change of heart and becomes helpful to the crew.

The crew arrive at Aslan’s Table to find three lost lords sleeping. As they place the swords on the table they realize one is still missing. A star descends from the sky and transforms into Lilliandil, a beautiful woman who guides them to the Dark Island, lair of the mist, where they discover the last surviving Lord, Rhoop. Edmund’s fear manifests itself as a monstrous sea serpent that attacks the ship. Eustace fights the serpent, but Rhoop wounds him with the last sword, causing him to fly away with the sword impaled in his side. He encounters Aslan, who transforms him back into a boy, removes the sword from his body and sends him to Ramandu’s island with it. As the crew fights the serpent, the mist tries to distract Edmund by appearing as Jadis, the White Witch. Eustace reaches the table and places the sword upon it, allowing the swords to unleash their magic and bestow Edmund’s own sword with the power to slay the sea serpent, the death of which awakens the three sleeping lords, destroys the mist and Dark Island and liberates the sacrificed slaves.

Eustace rejoins Lucy, Edmund, Caspian and Reepicheep, and they sail to a mysterious shore before a massive wave. Aslan appears and tells them that his country lies beyond, although if they go there they may never return. Caspian refuses, knowing that he has more duties to do as king, but Reepicheep is determined to enter, and Aslan blesses him before he paddles beyond the wave. Aslan opens a portal to send Lucy, Edmund and Eustace home, but informs Lucy and Edmund they have grown up and can never return to Narnia. Aslan encourages them to know him in their world by another name, and tells a reformed Eustace that he may return. The three enter the portal and swim up to the bedroom. Eustace hears his mother announcing a visitor, Jill Pole. The three leave the room, stopping to look back at the painting, which shows the Dawn Treader sailing out of sight.

the special effects were very good and the action scenes were well thought out without being too gory for the kids. A very good end to the trilogy. Hopefully the rest of the Narnia books will be adapted.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN

CAST

George Henley (Perfect Sisters)
Ben Barnes (Dorian Gray)
Skandar Keynes (Ferrari)
William Moseley (The Royals)
Anna Popplewell (Reign)
Sergio Casellitto (In Treatment)
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Ken Stott (The Hobbit)
Tilda Swinton (Constantine)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Warwick Davis (Star Wars – Episode VI)

1,300  Narnian years after the Pevensie siblings left, Caspian, a Telmarine prince and heir to the throne, is informed by mentor Doctor Cornelius that his uncle, Miraz, is plotting to kill him and seize the throne for himself and his newborn heir. Cornelius gives him Queen Susan’s ancient magical horn, instructing him to blow it only at his greatest need. Caspian flees into the woods where he encounters two Narnian dwarfs, Trumpkin and Nikabrik, and a talking badger named Trufflehunter, and blows the horn to summon help.
 Only one year in England has passed since the Pevensie children returned from Narnia. The children are waiting for a tube train when the station suddenly starts collapsing and they are magically transported to Narnia. At first they are overjoyed, but soon realize that much time has passed since their last visit, and their castle at Cair Paravel is in ruin.  In the Telmarine castle, the lords of the council learn that Prince Caspian is gone, and Miraz, using Trumpkin, who has been captured, persuades them to attack the Narnians to retrieve Caspian while secretly plotting to kill him instead. Lord Sopespian suspects Miraz’s motives, and discusses his treasonous thoughts with his ally, General Glozelle.
 The Pevensies save Trumpkin from being drowned by two Telmarines; he realizes that the four children are the Kings and Queens of Old and they continue on together. Lucy glimpses Aslan and tries convincing the others that she has seen him; only Edmund believes her. Nikabrik and Trufflehunter lead Caspian to a gathering of the old Narnians, where he convinces them to help him win his throne so he can return their land. They meet the Pevensies and Trumpkin, and all journey to Aslan’s How. Peter decides they will attack Miraz’s castle, rejecting Lucy’s advice that they wait for Aslan to return.
The Narnians raid Miraz’s castle, but Caspian ruins the plan by freeing Cornelius instead of opening the gate. He learns that Miraz killed his father, and confronts Miraz but is wounded. Overwhelmed, Peter calls for a retreat. Peter, Susan, Edmund, Caspian and the Narnians escape with heavy losses. Upon returning to Aslan’s How, Peter and Caspian argue, while back at the castle, Miraz is crowned King.
Nikabrik, with the aid of a hag and a werewolf, offers Caspian his help to guarantee victory. The hag uses black sorcery to summon Jadis, the White Witch. From inside a wall of ice, the White Witch tries convincing Caspian to free her, when Peter, Edmund, Lucy and Trumpkin arrive. Peter kills the hag, Edmund kills the werewolf, and Trumpkin stabs Nikabrik when he attacks Lucy. Peter knocks Caspian aside to face the Witch himself, but begins to be entranced, until Edmund shatters the ice, destroying the Witch’s apparition.
As Miraz and his army arrive at Aslan’s How, Caspian suggests Peter and Miraz duel to the death, with the loser’s army to surrender, to buy Lucy and Susan time to find Aslan. Miraz agrees to the duel, not wanting to look like a coward in front of his men. The girls are attacked by Telmarine soldiers, so Susan remains behind to fight them while Lucy continues alone. Peter defeats Miraz, and gives Caspian his sword to finish him off, but Caspian spares Miraz’s life. Sopespian kills Miraz with one of Susan’s arrows and accuses the Narnians, leading to a battle, with the Telmarines gradually winning. Lucy finds Aslan in the woods and he awakens the trees, turning the battle in the Narnians’ favor. Sopespian orders retreat to a bridge, where they are confronted by Lucy and Aslan. Aslan summons the river god, who destroys the bridge, killing many of the soldiers, swallowing Sopespian and winning the battle.  Caspian invites the Telmarines to remain in Narnia if they will coexist peacefully with the Narnians; but if they wish, they can return to the human world from which they originally came to Narnia. Some, including General Glozelle, agree to do so, and Aslan creates a portal for them and the four Pevensies. Susan kisses Caspian, knowing they will never meet again, as Aslan told her and Peter that they will never return to Narnia. The Pevensies return to England, leaving Caspian as King.Prince Caspian drops the children’s fantasy feeling, in favor of a darker, more militaristic story. But despite its darker overtones, it never forgets the light side.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE

CAST

George Henley (Perfect Sisters)
Skandar Keynes (Ferrari)
William Moseley (The Royals)
Anna Popplewell (Reign)
Tilda Swinton (Constantine)
James McAvoy (Atonement)
Jim Broadbent (Hot Fuzz)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Ray Winstone (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Dawn French (Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban)
Kiran Shah (The Hobbit)
James Cosmo (Game of Thrones)
Elizabeth Hawthorne (Cleopatra 2525)
Patrick Kake (30 Days of Night)
Katrina Browne (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Sophie Winkleman (Two and A Half Men)
Rupert Everett (Shrek 2)
Michael Madsen (Species)

In the London suburb of Finchley, the Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, are endangered by a Second World War attack of German bombers. They are then evacuated to the country home of Professor Digory Kirke, who is not accustomed to having children in his house, as Mrs Macready, the strict housekeeper, explains.

While the Pevensies are playing hide-and-seek, Lucy discovers a wardrobe and enters a wintry fantasy world called Narnia. Seeing a lamppost, Lucy encounters the faun Mr. Tumnus, who explains the land she has entered and invites her to his home. He puts Lucy to sleep by playing a lullaby on his flute. When Lucy wakes up, she finds Tumnus grieving, and he explains that Jadis, the White Witch, has cursed Narnia and it has been winter for 100 years. If a human is encountered they are to be brought to her. Tumnus cannot bring himself to kidnap Lucy, so he sends her home. When she returns to Professor Kirke’s house, hardly any time has passed in the normal world; her siblings do not believe her story, and when they look in the wardrobe it has a normal back.

One night, Edmund follows Lucy into the wardrobe. He enters Narnia as well, and after searching for Lucy he meets the White Witch, who claims to be Queen of Narnia. She offers him Turkish Delight as well as the prospect of becoming king and having power over his siblings if he brings them to her castle. After she departs, Edmund and Lucy meet again and return; Lucy tells Peter and Susan what happened, but unfortunately, Edmund lies. Professor Kirke talks with Peter and Susan and suggests she is telling the truth, though they are unconvinced. While running away from Mrs Macready after accidentally breaking a window, the four siblings retreat to the wardrobe and enter Narnia. They discover Mr. Tumnus has been taken by the Witch, and meet Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, who tell them about Aslan. According to the beavers, Aslan intends to take control of Narnia from the Witch. The four must help Aslan; it has been prophesied that if two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve sit in the four thrones, the White Witch’s reign will end.

Edmund sneaks off to visit the Witch. When he arrives at her castle, she is angry that he did not deliver his siblings. The Witch sends wolves to hunt down the children and the beavers, who barely escape. Edmund is chained in the Witch’s dungeon, where he meets Tumnus. The Witch demands that Edmund reveal where his siblings are. After Tumnus claims that Edmund does not know anything, The Witch tells Mr. Tumnus that Edmund betrayed him, then turns Tumnus to stone.

While Peter, Lucy, Susan and the beavers travel, they hide from what they believe to be the White Witch. It is really Father Christmas, a sign that the Witch’s reign is ending. Father Christmas gives Lucy a healing cordial, a drop of which will bring back to life anyone injured, and a dagger to defend herself. Susan receives a bow and arrows and a magical horn that will summon help when blown, and Peter a sword and shield.

After evading wolves led by Maugrim, the group reaches Aslan’s camp. Aslan is revealed as a huge and noble lion who promises to help Edmund. Later, two wolves ambush Lucy and Susan. When Peter intervenes, Maugrim attacks him, and Peter kills him. Some of Aslan’s troops follow the other wolf to the witch’s camp and rescue Edmund. Peter is knighted by Aslan.

The White Witch journeys to Aslan’s camp and claims Edmund, but Aslan secretly offers to sacrifice himself instead. That night, as Lucy and Susan covertly watch, Aslan is killed by the White Witch. In the morning he is resurrected because “there is a magic deeper still the Witch does not know”. Aslan takes Susan and Lucy to the Witch’s castle, where he frees the prisoners that the White Witch turned to stone.

Edmund persuades Peter to lead Aslan’s army to fight the White Witch’s forces. To stop the Witch from attacking and killing Peter, Edmund attacks the White Witch and destroys her wand, but is gravely wounded by her. As the Witch fights Peter, Aslan arrives with reinforcements and kills her. After Edmund is revived by Lucy’s cordial, the Pevensies become Kings and Queens.

Fifteen years later, the Pevensie children have grown into young men and women. While chasing a white stag through the forest, they encounter the lamppost that Lucy saw on her first trip to Narnia. They make their way through trees, arriving in the wardrobe at the same time and day they left, becoming children again. Lucy later attempts to return to Narnia via the wardrobe, but Professor Kirke tells her he has tried for many years, and they will probably return to Narnia when they least expect to.

A Fantastic adaptaton, the story never ages and is a delight for all the family