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New Trailer for ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Starring Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth

A gorgeous trailer for Romeo and Juliet has just been released by MTV and you can watch it right here!

The film is directed by Carlo Carlei and stars Oscar-nominee Hailee Steinfeld in the role of Juliet, and Douglas Booth in the role of Romeo. Ed Westwick and Kodi Smit-McPhee join in supporting roles.

“Romeo & Juliet” opens in cinemas October 11.



[Review] Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame


Published: 1 May 2012

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Edition: U.S. Paperback

Summary:  ” Eighteen-year-old Maggie Darlington has turned into an entirely different person. The once spirited teen is now passive and reserved. A change Lord and Lady Darlington can’t help but be grateful for.

It’s 1912, and the Darlingtons of Wentworth Hall have more than just the extensive grounds to maintain. As one of Britain’s most elite families, they need to keep up appearances that things are as they have always been…even as their carefully constructed façade rapidly comes undone.

Maggie has a secret. And she’s not the only one…the handsome groom Michael, the beautiful new French nanny Therese, the Darlingtons’ teenage houseguests Teddy and Jessica, and even Maggie’s younger sister Lila are all hiding something. Passion, betrayal, heartache, and whispered declarations of love take place under the Darlingtons’ massive roof. And one of these secrets has the power to ruin the Darlingtons forever.

When scandalous satires start appearing in the newspaper with details that closely mirror the lives of the Darlingtons, everyone is looking over their shoulder, worrying their scandal will be next. Because at Wentworth Hall, nothing stays secret for long.”

I, along with 99% of readers, picked up Wentworth Hall from Barnes & Noble’s shelves because I love Downton Abbey. Currently this book has a 2.88 rating on Goodreads which will tell you the average reaction to this book. While I thought it was mediocre it was not because it was a disappointment in comparison to Downton Abbey, it was because the characters lacked the depth that good YA books usually possess.

Maggie, who I kept reading as Mary Crawley, was a typical unlikeable rich girl with a bad attitude, and her character throughout the book only grows to be more unlikeable. I found it quite odd that she was introduced as the central character and then sidelined without much else from her perspective in the rest of the book. The twist at the end felt uncomfortable, given that it involved Mar-I mean Maggie showed very little signs of being changed by something that is life changing. Her new ‘maturity’ was not enough to convince me that she was anything but a child who the author used for a plot twist. I understand that if she had given away some more signs of bodily or emotional change the plot twist would have been too obvious. I greatly enjoyed the interspersed caricature newspaper publications that I imagined in the kind of stop-motion that Harry Potter used to convey the three deathly hallows story. If only the rest of the story had been that interesting!

I can’t give it the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps I couldn’t like it as much because none of the characters were likable. Not even the maid, Nora. Divergent has many characters that I can’t identify with but I can still connect with the story and understand the reactions of the characters based on my understanding of their personalities. Unfortunately Wentworth Hall doesn’t have the same well thought out character development and so their actions as the story unfolds doesn’t meet with expectation.

Given that this is Grahame’s first attempt at writing a novel, I salute her caricatures and hope that she writes another book to show off the talents that she does have. Perhaps something that people won’t read with expectations of drawing similarities to tv shows.


[Opinion] What if Downton Abbey was a Book Series?

It is a crisp winter’s afternoon here in Melbourne, Australia and I’m settling in for a night of Downton Abbey. Despite watching the two seasons available about a hundred times each I still can’t get enough of this appealing Edwardian costume drama. When it first aired it was a refreshing change from the usual criminal dramas that fill up the nightly prime time television spots. I remember being surprised to hear that it wasn’t based on a book or play. (Technically. You could say it was based on Gosford Park but Downton is significantly more developed.) The ITV hit was simply an idea that Julian Fellowes wrote and of course, being a period drama, it was a hit.

But what if Downton Abbey had been a book series first? So many movies and tv series are based on books. In fact, you could say that at least 90% of movies being made now are based on books. So if Downton had been a book series would it have been turned into a movie or a series of movies with a split ending? Downton Abbey: The End Part 1!  Or would it have remained a TV series? I feel like the answer is both. In this alternate universe it would depend on how many books Fellowes wrote in his series. If it was three or less I think movie execs would have been happy to condense it into a blockbuster movie to rival something like Pride and Prejudice. It would make a nice sum of money that’d be sure to make even Fellowes smile all the way to the bank. But then a whole other series of questions would arise from this: Would Fellowes take his success from a Downton Abbey movie and turn it into a tv series, like the one we have now? I rather think he would.

All of these thoughts swirling around my head suddenly stop when I think of what kind of state these poor books would be in. What kind of integrity would be left for the written form that it started in? It would have been torn to pieces for a movie, and then put back together with additional parts sewn on for a television series. All of these things make me glad it wasn’t a book. But wait one minute! We haven’t yet considered what the book would be like in itself.

It would be amazing! Combine Fellowes wit and skill with a feather quill… or rather a pen, together with the powerful characters of Grandma Grantham, Robert, Mary, Matthew and friends, and I imagine that Downton Abbey the book would be quite riveting. The book/s might include some stream of consciousness, maybe we could fall in love with Matthew all over again when he describes to the reader how his feelings toward Mary are changing. We would get far more information and development from the Sybil/Branson relationship. And can you imagine how fun it would be to read a book from the Dowager Countess’ point of view?

This post is all in fun, so I hope nobody thinks there are actually are Downton Abbey books out there or that they’re being written and developed into a film – they’re not, because they’re all in fantasy land. If you want to read about the world of Downton Abbey though, I hear there are some great fanfictions out there. Or better yet write your own!

I leave you with two fantastic clips of Maggie Smith doing her stuff in a sneak peek of Season 3! Season 3 premieres September on ITV in the UK and January 2013 on PBS in the US.