Archive for January, 2010

Casanova – Tennant’s infamous lover with heart!

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So when I first heard of David Tennant as Casanova I was already watching him as Doctor Who and hadn’t had a chance to see his previous collaboration with Russell T Davies. Now I finally have I must admit I was surprised by how much I liked it. As a notorious slash fan a show about a man seducing countless women and having a lot of strait sex doesn’t sound like my cup of tea. Also the fact that while I think David Tennant is a fantastic actor and he is attractive but more so because of that insane vibe you sometimes get form the Doctor I do find him a bit too skinny to really make me think of him as the ultimate sexual predator. But here is where this series of Casanova did grab me so well. While Casanova is a bit of a sex fiend sleeping with countless women he has a heart he isn’t some lothario that only uses women for sex, he does in his own way love each women he sleeps with, as he says himself, “they are not just notches on a bed post”. Giving real heart to the character makes this a far more emotional and beautiful drama to watch. Casanova learns very early on that you have to listen to the needs and views of women, respect them and they will open up to you in ways most men will never understand or have the pleasure of witnessing. Casanova listens to these women gives them what they want, it’s not just a series of meaningless encounters it’s a mutual thing for both parties involved in these escapades. The other beautiful aspect of the character is the way he also somehow retains his innocence. All through his adventures there is still a naïve quality, a child like wonder to the world and the people he encounters, he is a boy playing a very adult game and while he knows what he’s doing he still acts like a child on occasions. He is still able to see the world with that childlike innocence so many adults lose when they grow older, to be able to enjoy his life without the added pressures most succumb to in adult society. It’s this quality that makes him a likable rogue rather than just a pervert or womaniser he could have so easily been.

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While Casanova goes through his life his brilliance and ingenuity getting him in and out of every situation there are some constants, his faithful companion Rocco, always by his side trying to be his conscious or the voice of reason at his wild schemes and his one true love Henrietta, the only women he can never have. From the moment we meet Henrietta she is already engaged to Grimani, who has a title and money. Casanova at every step of the way is denied her by these obstacles as well as Grimani himself, who is always there to seek his revenge on Casanova taking the heart of his love. The series itself weaves a few story lines together; there is Casanova and Henrietta’s doomed relationship, getting close to each other finding their happiness only to be torn apart. There is also Casanova’s own adventures through Europe trying to stay a step ahead of the law, the schemes he hatches, the situations he finds himself and the relationships he forms with other people along the way. Lastly there is also the story of what happens to people that lose their innocence, when society becomes ruled by the rich with more money than sense, when people are corrupted by their own passions and indulgencies, lastly what happens when you have gained everything you think you truly desire. This last plot is at the heart of Casanova and is seen in the various courts he visits and the transformation of his son who he is united with after he escapes jail for fraud in Vienna.
We know that Casanova has great capacity for love and is not just a womaniser because of his relationship with one Bellino, a talented singer who is also a male castrato. Casanova is beginning to have feelings for Bellino but is so torn by the fact that he is a boy. This relationship is what makes us endeared to Casanova, he is capable of true feeling, he is not just using women and he does understand love. We know this because he finally goes to Bellino, say he loves him and is willing to break the law (homosexuality was illegal in this time) and be with him. Bellino so touched and happy about this finally reveals that he is in fact a women in disguise ( I wont spoil the ingenious little way he reveals himself its too funny a scene to spoil) and the two of them finally form a relationship with Casanova proposing. Next for them is to reveal Bellino the female singer to the world and announce their engagement and it is at the party that Bellino notices the friendship between her future husband and the engaged Henrietta. Bellino is a smart and capable woman she knows that with her career now taking full shape that her and Casanova’s life will be full of concerts and travels, Casanova will be a kept man living in her shadow and not the brilliant free spirit he is now. She recognises the love and friendship between the two denied lovers and decides that Casanova would be better of in Vienna with Henrietta so points them in the right direction. All seems good Bellino goes off to her fame, Casanova and Henrietta admit their feelings and by a twist of luck Casanova saves a priest and becomes his adopted son gaining a title and money enough to propose to Henrietta. It could have been happy endings if not for Grimani and his accusations of fraud that land Casanova in jail and by escaping making him a wanted man and forever separated from Henrietta. This is where our next journey begins.
We are introduced to Jack, Casanova’s illegitimate son who will not utter a word and we take a tour of Europe in a search for a pardon so Casanova can return to Vienna. This journey is truly beautiful and fantastic because it explores each country though its Courts, the French court so decadent and risqué. This is right before the French Revolution and you can see why the poorer classes revolute against the aristocrats. These aristocrats are so indulgent with their lives, on the surface it looks like fun and games, beautiful clothes, parties and luxuries a plenty but we also see the dark seed in the joy that comes from the Parisian’s enjoyment of watching a man being tortured and killed in front of them as if it was a sport. It is also hear the seed of darkness is placed in Casanova’s son as he smiles as he watches the execution. We start to see that he may not have inherited his father’s innocence and good heart. The striking contrast between the French Court and the English Court is brilliant. In true British fashion and a small bit of stereotyping the English court is a far more sober affair, its tea and crumpets, there isn’t dancing and exuberant costumes, its proper and well mannered the most risqué someone is being is having lemon in their tea!! It’s all very British as you would expect at the time and it’s Casanova that brings his own bit of scandal to rock the boat. But Alas things don’t go as well and our travellers have to move on once more. We go through illness and death until we end up in Naples the city below a volcano and the shocking conclusion to where a life of sin without innocence, indulgence without consciousness, risk without consequence, sex without love and what happens when you have everything you want. By this time Jack is 20 and has apparently learnt much from his father about the seduction of women, but he has taken his fathers teaching but none of the heart, none of the gentle playfulness and childlike wonder. He knows how to get what he wants, how to indulge and seduce but not to respect and love, no Casanova has lost the fight to turn his son into a good man. Naples is a bed of sin, we learn that Bellino has settled here having attained everything she has every wanted as well as raising Casanova’s daughter. Casanova is not only shocked that she never spoke of their child but at the turn her life has taken, so happy to indulge in pure sin even at the risk of her own life (after all they are living at the foot of Pompeii. But worst of all Jack has taken a liking to his sister and when Casanova tries to stop this interlude Jack reveals he doesn’t care, after all this is what his father has taught him, to take what he wants. Finally Casanova is disgusted he sees what his life has done to his son, the man he has raised, all the things he never accomplished and the friends he has lost along the way. He finally decided to hide himself stop the running, stop the lifestyle and settle believing he has lost everything in his life.

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Casanova’s story is wonderful told by Peter O’Toole as and aging Casanova reliving the events through his stories being told to a young servant girl. She is us we love, we hate, we laugh and we cry just as she does. We wish for a happy ending even though we know there cannot be one but we want to go on the journey regardless. Apart from great acting and great story telling the thing that makes this production truly brilliant is the costumes. I have never seen such luxury and diversity in costumes. The colours are amazing, the designs unique and fantastical. Each court has a different look, rooms of twirling, colourful and ingenious costumes that are a true feast for the eyes. The production is pure magic, truly original and magnificent to behold that it really took my breath away each time we were introduced to a new setting. The costumes really brought out all the hidden depths and themes of each new place. Without words but with visuals alone you are able to see the truth behind each society and how it conducts itself. I truly recommend this wonderful drama for it really brings magic and heart, yet the nature of human want and need to us.

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Misfits – Superheroes with ASBO’s?

Misfits is one of the best new shows to have come out of British telly in years an absolute masterpiece. What makes this show so brilliant is how perfectly current and approachable it is. It deals with the kind of characters we are so very used to seeing and knowing, people we meet all the time that are part of our modern culture. Our main characters are a group of teens, the kind we are used to seeing, our social misfits, the chav’s, the socially awkward, the ones hiding behind false bravado, the ones that use there sex appeal to get what they want and the ones that could have done well if not for one mistake and the temptations offered to youth who succeed. Our 5 main protagonists are doing community service in London, we recognise the type as well as the location its familiar and real making it part of a world we know and understand. We the viewer can be a part of the drama because it is accessible showing us what our youth culture is like, how dissatisfaction in society has breed this new youth full of contempt, lacking in respect and as a result getting ASBO’s and serving community service. But of course there is more to each character, true feelings, issues and insecurities we are all familiar with, issues we may have been through ourselves and that also helps to make us part of the drama as we can understand some of the feelings of these characters. There is at least one character you can relate to in some way, for me it was Simon, anti social, awkward and desperate for people to pay attention to him, to be noticed to make friends. I myself went through this period in my life being the shy geek that found it hard to stand out and be heard let alone make friends and be accepted.

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Now here comes that magic of watching this well crafted show, we have our Misfits, our setting and our issues, our social commentary on today’s youth, now lets add super powers!! Yes Misfits is Britain’s answer to Heroes. But instead of making a highly expensive and glossy show with characters we can’t relate to struggling with issues beyond our comprehension and settings we will never know we make a gritty drama about teens with ASBO’s getting super powers. We bring the consequences of this to us instead of wrapping a story around conspiracies and the fight between good and evil, Misfits makes it simple. What would happen to a bunch of unfortunate teens that were in the wrong place at the wrong time (the story of their lives considering they’ve all got caught for breaking the law) and how gaining powers would affect them? These teens are not heroes, with great powers doesn’t come great responsibility instead it just helps to amplify their own problems. As each characters power awakens it helps to emphasise the problems they are having. It’s a great way to explore the insecurities of today’s dissatisfied youth and instead of the glamorous world of superheroes we get the very real world of how powers would affect real people. Their powers do more to hinder and isolate them, there is no great speech about what should they do, no one talks about using their powers to become vigilante super teens keeping the streets safe, after all their all doing time for their own crimes why should they be out there saving others when they couldn’t even save themselves.
Let take my favourite character to start, Simon, the creepy kid that tried to burn a house down. He has no friends, wishes nothing more to be noticed and is sick of being ignored so his power is invisibility. Now people literally can’t see him the more he is denied and ignored the more often he disappears from view. Then we have Kelly our loud mouth overly aggressive Chav, she got into a fight and has a rap for GBH. Why did she get into a fight, well she is so very opinionated always has something to say and is always worried what people are saying about her, if she thinks you’ve bad mouthed her she will turn her aggression on you so what could be worse for a girl so conscious of what others think well she can now hear peoples thoughts! Next is Alisha, attractive fun loving party girl Alisha she got caught drink driving, again. Well Alisha knows she’s attractive and men go gooey at the sight of her, she can use her sex appeal to get what she wants. But what happens if that sex appeal increases too much, well poor Alisha would give Rouge a run for worst ability. Every time she touches someone they are taken over with the mad desire to have sex with her normally so aggressive that they will try and rape her. So for a girl that uses sex appeal she can no longer touch anyone without them trying to rape her. We next come to Curtis, he had so much potential, was going to be an Olympic runner his future secured his life couldn’t be getting better; he had everything to gain and everything to lose. One mistake is all it took, one night out and being caught for possession of drugs, ruining his career and to set an example being charged community service. He wishes more than anything to change what he did to turn back time and re do that one night, well he get his wish, he is able to rewind time but unfortunately his control of his power isn’t that good and it happens at unpredictable intervals. Lastly we have Nathan, the boy with the mouth. He is facade wrapped in facades and false bravado, arrested for stealing pick ’n’ mix. What his true thoughts and feeling are we don’t know he is more lies and comebacks never sharing his true nature. He thinks about sex, plays practical jokes, insults everyone, takes nothing seriously and seems incapable of forming real connection even with his own family. So what’s his power well like us the viewer he doesn’t know, it’s not until the very end that we find out along with him but I’ll leave particular spoiler undisclosed.

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There are many things that make this series perfection, not just its fabulous way of marrying real drama with essential sci-fi. The series has great score using music to highlight the scenes and represent the characters and their emotions. The editing is modern and brilliantly ingenious. The production team on this show knew exactly when to cut, when to pan, when to use slow motion and to tilt a camera. The lighting is perfect and the style used of a gritty piece of realism makes it all that much better. It is filmed like a British drama it has a truly British feel, from the colour schemes of greys to the lack of spectacle of the powers. I for one now can’t wait for a second series as this truly is an original series, with its brilliant dialogue and great plotting and a fantastic take on the super heroes’ genre!

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Doctor Who – the last days of David Tenants Doctor

I have to admit that I am pretty devastated about the fact that Doctor Who has to continue without David Tenants Doctor he was brilliant and will be missed so much. We all knew it was coming but that still didn’t make it easier when the time came. We knew the significance of “he will knock 4 times and then you will die” but how it happened and the journey that would be taken was a mystery to us. I have to admit that I loved Waters of Mars; it had a great atmosphere and a much darker tone. I loved the way the series became that bit more adult in dealing with the issues that were plaguing the Doctor and his final adventures. Waters of Mars may have left a few plot holes like where the aliens came from, how they got into the ice and basically anything about the nature and background of this alien race. We assume that they saw Earth and all the water and decided that it was a much better planet for them and that’s why they went all evil and take overy. But what really impressed me about this episode is we saw where the Doctors character was heading and what he could become, a being like the Master. We saw the Doctor succumb to his ego, something he never would have if he had been with a companion. The loneliness and anger hidden by his determination and ego don’t balance anymore. For the first time we understand why this Doctors time may be coming to an end, he is turning into a person he never wanted to be so convinced of his own superiority he forgets why he respected humans and begins to think himself a God. This is the Time lords we see in the last episodes, the ones gone mad with power and delusion on their rights to this universe. The Doctor and the Master have never been so close and when the Doctor realizes it shock both him and us. If the Doctor doesn’t change he could develop into a man like the Master and as we saw in the final we see the Time Lords as they are now and how close the Doctor came to being just like them.

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So we enter the Christmas final with the knowledge that the Doctor will die and that he needs to be a new man in order to not be a man like the Master or the Time lords. So we have the return of the wonderful John Simm which is the best Xmas present. John Simms performance is nothing short of brilliant and the entire episode is carried on this brilliance. So you need to get over a few plot holes or plot lines that seemed a bit random. I mean what are the books of Saxon, how did that secret society remember the year that never was, where did the positions of life come from, who does Lucy have connection with that could make an antidote, how did the master manage to jump around like the Hulk in the first movie. I know he was burning off his own life force and all, which is what he was shooting out like lightning but still not sure how that made him super strong and on some kind of cocaine laced gummy berry juice. But alas the Doctor Master relationship was brilliant they way they interact and the Doctor desperate need to save him and maybe save himself. I love having tale from their youth, all the history these two have and how desperately the Doctor needs the master, likes he’s the only one who will understand him and complete him. But this relationship is doomed by the Masters madness and even though he has gone too far he know the Doctor will never betray him and uses this devotion to continue to commit his crimes. It’s almost like he is a misbehaving child purposely causing chaos to impress the Doctor. He wants the Doctor to see the mess he creates and try and stop him. Outwitting the Doctor is like a drug to him, he also needs the Doctor in his own twisted way, and one can’t be without the other. The final scenes of the episode made me a very happy girl; I mean how can you not smile when everyone in the world has become John Simm. Humanity never looked so attractive and John Simm played the many version of him wonderful, flowing with insanity and excitement. Russell T Davies is brilliant at penultimate episodes but unfortunately he never can conclude as well. He sets up so many brilliant plots and the mind overflows with ideas of what can happen but he fails to deliver all that is promised.

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The very last episode could have been so much more, it could have been beautiful. Of course Tennant, Simm and Cribbins were brilliant and at the centre of the story they were a delight to watch. The dramatic and character based scenes were fantastic and so emotional, they made me well up, which is what you get from having such great actors. However I hated the green aliens they were annoying and pointless. I couldn’t stand the females attitude like the Doctor was of no importance, she had no respect, and she didn’t get the gravity of the situation and just had a bad attitude and displeasing manner. I didn’t want to see the Doctor stuck on some ship I was hoping for some kind of Doctor Master working together to disrupt the threat of the Time Lords. The return of the Time Lords was brilliant and so was the idea of them placing the drum beat into the Masters head as a solution to their imprisonment and thus causing the Masters insanity. But it was a little lack lustre they kind of came through and then 10 mins later got sucked back in again, where were all the horrors of the time war, we hear about all these horrible things coming through with the Time Lords but without even seeing it the drama of how awful this is lost. You lose some of the danger and gravity of the situation when not being able to witness this great threat. I loved the speech between the Doctor and Master about how beautiful the Master could be and how he could just see the world not own it, the tears in the Masters eyes were so touching. Somewhere in the Master he too would like nothing much but to be with the Doctor but he’s gone too far and he knows it and the noise it control him too much and he cant fight it so he chooses to stand against the Doctor instead. By the final scene we see the Doctor hold a gun something that has never happened again a line even the Doctor has ever crossed, showing us how bad things have become. They are down to the final face off, The President or the Master and then the random shoot the box. I mean come one we have the dramatic choice to make, will the doctor shoot a person, who will he choose, will he choose the Master over humanity, will he sacrifice the Master, will he stand against the Time Lord race and condemn them. Oh no the Doctor will shoot a random box and that saves the world. Is it me or was that a little disappointing, did he really have to procrastinate so much about whether of not to shoot a box. At least the Masters final act was to save the Doctor and I am hoping the Master didn’t go back into the portal with the Time Lords because he is such an important part of Doctor Who law that he can’t be gone for good. Also on a side note anyone notice that the Presidents glove looked a lot like a Torchwood resurrection glove!

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We are now left with the upsetting death of the Doctor, Tenant does it so beautifully, he isn’t ready to go, there is more too him, more to be learnt and done. He feels so much pain and unfairity but alas “maybe a Time Lord lives to long!” His final act is to save Wilf, his final sacrifice such a small and touching thing one man of no real importance to humanity but to the Doctor an essential and human a good friend. I loved his reward being the people he has come across, going back to see Rose before he regenerate was touching. Though Mickey and Martha being married, how that happen, I mean what happened to Tom.  And again Donna has no memory of the Doctor which makes me sad but at least she has money cause that does apparently solve all your problems!! Also loved the little Star Wars cantina and Captain Jack scene. I loved this cameo, I liked it linked to the end of Torchwood, Jack not being on Earth and drowning his sorrows in a bar full of unsavory characters. The Doctors last act to him after all those “Stop it” was to get Jack a date and with Russell Tovey. I am a big fan of Being Human so that was great, now I am a huge Janto fan and the death of Ianto broke my heart and good do I wish Ianto could come back but Jack cant stay celibate he’s Captain Jack and sometimes a bit of comfort in all his unhappiness should be allowed so I am pleased he got a date. In all I did really love the ending even with some of the strange plot twists but I’m not sure about the new Doctor. I will give him the benefit of the doubt until I see him in action but at the moment he just seems too young and has too much face!!!!

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