Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Favorite Shakespeare Films

Well, after all these heavy posts about Dante and Hell, I think something on a lighter note is due. It's time for the weekly Top 5.

According to the source of all knowledge, Wikipedia, there are more than 420 film adaptations of Shakespeare's works. Of these I've seen probably around thirty, so I'm not the biggest Shakespeare-on-film expert. But I know what I like. Here are my:

Top 5 Favorite Shakespeare Films

1. Hamlet, 1996, Directed by Kenneth Branagh (This may be my favorite film of all time, period. It's infinitely better than the Zeffirelli version starring Mel Gibson.)

2. Macbeth, 1948, Directed by Orson Welles (Despite the extremely low budget, Welles nails the atmosphere of Macbeth perfectly and is far superior to the later and more expensive Roman Polanski version.)

3. Taming of the Shrew, 1967, Directed by Franco Zeffirelli (Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor are great in this.)

4. Much Ado about Nothing, 1993, Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Everyone in the movie was excellent except for Keanu Reeves. I especially like Michael Keaton's quirky Constable Dogberry)

5. Henry V, 1989, Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Branagh actually did better than Olivier in this role. Good, bloody fun)

Runners Up:
Richard III, 1995, Directed by Richard Loncraine
Romeo and Juliet, 1968, Directed by Franco Zeffirelli
Edit: For my sister's benefit.


Erica said…
Don John: I am a villain. I am going to do villainous things. In a villainous manner. Because I sound like an American.
Rose said…
Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. I watched it on a school night (bad idea that) and was just completely blown away. The power behind it all was just spectacular and the cast...I still can't get over how many brilliant people they crammed into one film. Haven't seen any of the others but am dying to see Taming and Much Ado.