A new Blogathon…in a different language…

…I was going to announce the “foreign language” blogathon but then “foreign” is all relative, isn’t it? So…I’ve had to rethink this a bit and I’ll call it “The non-English Film Blogathon” instead……yep…I’d like to hear about films in which the main spoken language is not English (and movies dubbed into a different language from the original English obviously don’t count). There are so many wonderful works out there from a multitude of countries. You could also write about an actor, actress or even director who’s main repertoire of work is not in English…if that makes sense…

Let’s read about all your wonderful entries on the 27th and 28th July 2018.

Just tell me in the comments below what topic you’d like to write about and I’ll add you to the roster. Then grab a banner from the bottom of this post (or make your own) and link back to my site on the big day(s) when you post your choice.

La liste des participants…ok fine…The Roster:

Thoughts All Sorts – TBC (probably La reine Margot (Queen Margot))

MovieRob – TBC

Realweegiemidget ReviewsMatti (Matti: Hell is for Heroes) (2006)

Realweegiemidget ReviewsSinkkulaiva (2013 – 2014)

Mini Media ReviewsTaeksi woonjunsa (A Taxi Driver) (2017)

Maddy Loves Her Classic FilmsGion no shimai (Sisters of the Gion) (1936)

Maddy Loves Her Classic FilmsJeux interdits (Forbidden Games) (1952)

The Stop ButtonShichinin no samurai (Seven Samurai) (1954)

Cinematic Scribblings – Aruitemo aruitemo (Still Walking) (2008)

dbmoviesblog Wo bu shi Pan Jin Lian (I am not Madame Bovary) (2016)

Amelie_LamguageBlogathon2

Lolarennt_LanguageBlogathon2

intouchables-languageBlog2

CTHD_LanguageBlogathon2

 

 

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Retired…no chance in Tombstone…

kur11I’ve written about this particular movie before…but before you go “argh, not again”, I promise, this time I’ll steer away from Doc Holliday (read that post here) and have a chat about his close friend Wyatt Earp. Naturally, as this is the Kurt Russell Blogathon, I’m taking on the Wyatt as played by ta da…surprise, surprise….Kurt Russell in Tombstone (1993).

The story is roughly this: retired (and “famous”) lawman Wyatt Earp heads to Tombstone for a change in pace together with his two brothers and all their respective wives. En route to his new home, he has his first encounter and we already know that retirement is not going to happen.  And that’s exactly what happens…Wyatt just can’t stand by and watch as laws are broken, people hurt and the town is generally scared by some bullying outlaws, The Cowboys. So he cleans up the town. With loads of conflict along the way.

TombstoneposterKurt Russell is just perfect as Wyatt, well, in this movie i.e. as how he comes across (I did some reading on Mr Earp and boy is there a lot of material about him and his life that I lost track). We feel a genuine friendship between him and Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) as well as with his brothers. This, I believe, is only managed by actors who feel some sort of amicable working environment. But, we’re also totally convinced of that underlying toughness required for his former job as a lawman as well as dishing out justice in Tombstone. And, while trying to tell everyone what’s ethical and not, he’s not such an upstanding citizen himself. I guess there’s a lot going on underneath all that ruggedness. But all this won’t come across to the audience unless the right actor is cast. Here, Kurt Russell is absolutely spot on. Handsome, tough, caring, loyal (to certain people), hard as nails, loving, with and without flaws…oh, and he even has a resemblance to the “real” Wyatt Earp from what I could see online. All-in-all, great acting from Kurt Russell in a great movie (but all that would be meaningless if there wasn’t the right cast to support him. One that he wouldn’t overshadow). So, if you haven’t seen this one yet, you’re missing something…

KurtRussell1

Ah…just read that due to some firing of directors or something like that, Kurt Russell actually directed a portion of this film. Whatever the case is, it all turned out pretty darn good in my opinion.

Now head on over to Realweegiemidget Reviews here and Return to the 80s here for the other Kurt Russell posts in this Blogathon. Thanks for hosting you two!

Nürburgring…a new experience

Wow. What a weekend…it is all starting to sink in now. I’ve had some sleep. I’ve seen my own four walls again. And I’ve had time to reflect…

Yep…I went to the 24 Hour Race at the Nürburgring. It all started with me dropping my name into the lucky draw entry box at the office thinking that I’ll never win anyway. Until one morning, in mid-sip of my morning cuppa…I hear “You’re in!”. Huh? In what? “You’ve been drawn as the one of 6 to go to the race”. Wooow!!! And then… “Oh my…what have I just gotten myself into????”.

Basically, the company I work for is involved in a certain car part and so in short, sponsors a team in the 24 Hour Race. And staff can enter to be part of this experience…work obviously involved. While my duty was in the team tent making waffles and serving frozen yoghurt and cocktails, I still managed to get a lot of time to experience what happens on the track, in the “box” (boy, does it get manic in there during the race) as well as the general happenings in the “paddock”.

Driving up north last Wednesday, my colleagues and I arrived tired but the excitement soon kicked in when we realised how big this race really is…thousands of fans had already set up campsites in any available field. I was told some got there on the Monday morning already to get that prime spot. Little did we know that thousands more were to come. We found ourselves in full race spirit by Thursday morning for the build up to the 15.00 race begin on Saturday afternoon. Yes, by Sunday, being tired and braving the rain that arrived that morning, I was fed up and wanted my peace from cars and people, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the experience. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And so, here are some impressions:

Best view (thank you to the kind person who gave me this spot)

Preparation for the big day…

View of the “paddock”

More of the “paddock”

How many tyres does one need?

It was so interesting to see all the work that goes into preparing for a race (and that’s only the on-site preparations, never mind the pre-race work and admin). And then come the race-day….wow, the number of people and resources involved is something else…

While these pictures don’t really do the atmosphere and experience justice all I’ll say at this point is that it was awesome to experience this even not being a fanatical follower of motorsport.

(Please note, all images are my own and remain my property)

Michelle just shines…

pfeiffer-blogathon3Pfeiffer that is. She has this “freshness” about her that she brings to the screen. And this shines through in the 1989 movie The Fabulous Baker Boys that I’ve given a re-watch because it has Paul’s (Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies) favourite actress and one of my favourite actors in it. Good excuse huh? Oh…and then there’s the Pfeiffer Blogathon. In honour of her birthday today (29 April 1958).

Jeff Bridges has always been one of my favourite actors. Hence I came across this movie many years back. I’d seen him in Lolly Madonna and Bad Company and wanted to discover more. Back then, there was no media for a quick look at a trailer to see if you might enjoy it. I simply bought this one “blind”. Besides, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Jeff Bridges, how bad could it be?

Bakerboys2

The story has brothers Jack and Frank Baker (brothers Jeff and Beau Bridges respectively) playing piano duet gigs at various venues, usually those with minimal patrons. Circumstances have them add a female singer to their act…enter Susie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer). And what a change…they fill the bars and lounges they play at. But, Susie not only changes the dynamics of the former duo act, she also influences the two brothers…challenges their “status-quo-happy-to-plod-along” approach. And about time as we realise that Jack, who is totally indifferent to his show, needed someone to question how things are done. To wake him up. Even though it takes him a while to do something about his dreams.

220px-FabbakerboyspostMichelle Pfeiffer really is great in this role. She perfectly balances Susie with enough care-free, take me as I am, nonchalant attitude and seriousness. I love how she questions the brothers and their decisions. How she tells them she doesn’t agree with enough attitude that it is short of plain insulting yet makes them, well, at least Jack, notice. I’m not sure what other actress would have fit into this role so well. So naturally. Not to mention her singing. No wonder she was nominated for an Oscar for this one. I didn’t know until last night that The Fabulous Baker Boys was nominated for 4 Academy Award (Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Music, Original Score).

The cast works well…Jeff and Beau Bridges’s arguments come across realistic, like only siblings could achieve. And the different personalities of the Baker/Diamond team complement each other perfectly. The music is wonderful…I’d love to sit and listen to this any day in a lounge.

Well, both watching it way back then and rewatching it last night, I can’t say this is a very happy, feel-good movie. Realistic…probably. But it leaves the viewer with an almost despondent aftertaste. Despite ending with hope. I’m not saying it is bad…just one of those that you need to be in the mood for watching. Not light escapism viewing, but absolutely worthwhile.

Happy Birthday Michelle Pfeiffer!

PS: How weird…but I’ve just clicked onto the Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies site to get the URL for the Blogathon and see that we’re on the same page today…Paul has likewise picked this movie (I think…as I haven’t read the post yet…will read it after I’ve finished writing mine). So head on over there now to see what he thinks…The Fabulous Pfeiffer Girl.

 

First Impressions of…Breakfast at Tiffany’s…were…

…not at all what I expected. That’s for sure. A tad wacky. In a good way. What was I expecting? Well, actually, I can’t really say. Not sure myself. A romance. Yes. But that it had Audrey Hepburn so exceptionally off-beat…now that I didn’t expect. To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what this classic was about or what to expect.

The only thing I “knew” was this:

Audrey-Hepburn-mostra-roma-2011

oh…and this:

1280px-Petó_Breakfast_at_Tiffany's

Yep, that and the song by Deep Blue Something (you’re humming it now, aren’t you?) is all I had to go on.

Then MovieMovieBlogBlog announced the 1961 Blogathon. I’ll give it a miss…but hmmm…in the mood to join up…ooh look…Breakfast at Tifanny’s  (I’m humming the song) is a 1961 movie and what do you know…nobody has claimed it yet. Yes…that’s how it went and so I had the perfect excuse to finally get around to watching one that has been on my To Watch list for ages.

1961-9For those of you, who, like me didn’t don’t know the story – it is about Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn), a socialite (or is that gold-digger?) with some interesting habits who is trying to find a rich husband. She lives in the same apartment block as writer Paul Varjak (that is Vee Ay Ar Jay Ay Kay – you’ll understand once you’ve watched). And so their paths cross…or should I say, Holly more often crosses into his apartment through the window. We watch them navigate around each other but ultimately towards each other. And Holly living up to her surname (hee hee) on the surface, but there’s actually much more going on. Not everything passes so golightly in this romance. In fact, there were times I wondered why Paul (George Peppard) didn’t walk away.

215px-Breakfast_at_Tiffanys.jpgThoroughly enjoyable, the Oscar nominations and wins are absolutely deserved. Audrey Hepburn is superb and shines in her role. Never contrived, she brings Holly to life in a natural and believable manner. But it’s more than that…there’s the story too. It had me thinking – about how we live our lives, the values, the people we impact and the rash decisions we make to prove a point (think Cat here). But, above all, it’s to be enjoyed. A great watch. Why did I wait so long??? And the title was put into perspective right from the beginning…didn’t see that coming.

So, MovieMovieBlogBlog…Happy Birthday for today…enjoy all your 1961 posts…I’ve linked to them here for all to see.

 

A Wild Bunch…

WildBunchWow…the third time that I’m having a chat about William Holden. But the weird thing is that I’ve only ever seen him in westerns (I’ll try change that for next year’s Blogathon). To me, he’s always that aging mature cowboy or outlaw (even father).**

Seriously, all three of his roles he’s been thoughtful, mostly level headed, even while on the run. He’s calm and collected. And in The Wild Bunch (1969), he’s no different. Yes, he’s an outlaw who’s pulled off some mighty big jobs and is planning one last big one…but, there is always a controlled air to him. And that approach of a planner.

the-wild-bunch-original+posterWhat a movie this is. The opening was quite hefty…wow. And visually…it is something else. The imagery is so well done. I mean really…just think about those poor scorpions being eaten alive by ants…to be burnt to a crisp. It sets the scene for what is to come more than any other scene ever could. What also struck me is the use of laughter…have you noticed how many scenes have big loud, overstated laughter…

Oh…I forgot to tell you…William Holden plays Pike Bishop, the gang leader who, with his men is fleeing from a group of bounty hunters led by his former partner Deke Thornton (played by Robert Ryan). Across the Rio Grande, they steal some weapons (that must be the best executed railway robbery I’ve ever seen) for a Mexican officer (he’s a nasty piece of work) and a whole lot of double-crossing and shooting ensues. That’s roughly the story.

Holden is the perfect fit for his role – a  leader who is firm and fair, believable yet has enough meanness in him to be a successful (?) outlaw.

While I “enjoyed” (not sure “enjoy” is the right word for this one) this movie, I found the violence extremely brutal and I was struck by how much torture was presented in this one (be it animal or human torture). Add all the “massacre” scenes and it makes for viewing that you really need to be in the mood for. (I believe it was/is quite controversial because of all this violence) But don’t get me wrong…it is an excellent movie.

Directed by Sam Peckinpah, it also stars Ernest Borgnine (I always enjoy watching him especially in The Revengers which also starred William Holden),  Edmond O’Brien, Warren Oates, Jaime Sánchez, Ben Johnson, Emilio Fernández amongst others. The musical score is fantastic and deserves the Oscar nomination. Likewise the Oscar nomination for screenplay is well deserved.

To change the topic…I really want to know which movie this banner comes from because darn, I want to watch that one…clearly not the aging cowboy:

Golden Boy banner_Picnic

Head on over to The Flapper Dame, Love Letters to Old Hollywood or The Wonderful World of Cinema to read some more about William Holden.

And for my past entries into this blogathon, click here for The Revengers and here for Wild Rovers.

**Ooh…I lie…I did see him in The Bridge on the River Kwai…aeons ago.

Thank you, partner…

…for taking part in The Great Western Blogathon. To all those who joined in with entries, those who joined in with the reading, the comments and the liking…thank you. Much appreciated.

THankYou.jpg

And…wow, my To Watch list has just grown this weekend – so many great westerns I haven’t seen yet. But also some great ones that I was reminded about and am in the mood to watch again.

If you missed any of the posts…they’re all right here.

 

Westerns and more Westerns…

GreatWesternBlogathon2So, by now you probably know that I’m a big Western fan. Have been so since I was a little girl. I can’t really say what triggered my love for the genre but I suspect that a combination of the first western I recall seeing and the way it was presented have a great deal to do with it.

As many of you might know, my parents managed to “save” a whole stack of Super 8 movies from the junk yard back when the video store came up. Ah, the treasures I found there (so many classics but that’s a post for another day). BUT…The War Wagon was one of them (on 4 reels). And this is the first one I recall seeing. And somewhere during these early years of movies, John Wayne became my first movie star hero (even though my school friends had no idea who he was). And my love for Westerns was born.

Being the host of the Great Western Blogathon I was wondering which one I should write about but I just couldn’t decide. So, here are a few of the Westerns that are my favourites (* indicates additional post so feel free to click the title) or that hold a special sentiment for me (and even getting this down to just a few was really difficult):

War_Wagon_film_posterThe War Wagon (1967)*: it goes without saying that this one started not only my passion for the genre but for movie watching in general. John Wayne is Taw Jackson who, on his release from prison, wants his ranch back from the man who put him behind bars. With some additional help, he also plans to rob the same man of some gold he is transporting in a heavily armoured wagon…the War Wagon. To this day I pretty much know the dialogue word for word. Back as a little girl I watched this so often and had my parents beg me to see what else they had in their reel collection. Not a chance…well, when I eventually did watch something else I found…

Big Jake (1971)*: and wondered why I’d never given it a go before. I even loved it more than The War Wagon. Yes, I’d say when I was way younger, this became my favourite Western. And….as you can guess, I know a large portion of the dialogue too, although being a little older then and having discovered other movies too, I didn’t watch it until the film had almost burnt through. This one is a family affair having John Wayne, Patrick Wayne and Ethan Wayne all playing family. John Wayne is Jacob McCandles, who’s grandson is kidnapped and a ransom requested. Being a “harsh and unpleasant person” as his estranged wife (Maureen O’Hara) puts it, he is the perfect fit to bring the poor child back.  This one is worth watching just for this line by Jacob McCandles when his adult son calls him daddy…”You can call me father, you can call me Jacob, you can call me Jake. You can call me a dirty son-of-a-bitch, but if you ever call me daddy again, I’ll finish this fight.”

FIveManArmyThe Five Man Army (Un esercito di 5 uomini) (1969): A western with a different feel and back-story to those I was used to. Different, because it was a spaghetti western. There was something I always enjoyed about this one even though it might not necessarily be the best movie out there. I can’t say what it was about this one – maybe back then it was just refreshing to have a different feel. We have a group of bandits, led by Peter Graves who carefully plan a train robbery (gold of course)  on behalf of some Mexican rebels with the goal of having the gold fund the Mexican Revolution. And…I must tell you that this is the only role I’ve ever seen Bud Spencer in.

Other notable Western mentions from my parents’ Super 8 stash (oh I consider myself so lucky to have experienced them in this form): The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing*, Vera Cruz*, The Scalphunters*, Duel in the Sun* and The Revengers*.

Then came the time of DVDs (and by this time I had a student job). We never had a television (and no video cassettes) by choice so other than the movies on Super 8, I didn’t see many new films. The odd one at the cinema but nothing much notable. Well, not in the western genre.

The_Magnificent_Seven_(1960)_theatrical_posterThe Magnificent Seven (1960)*: How awesome that I now had the means to buy my own movies and due to having heard so much about this one, it became one of the first in my collection (The Cowboys being my first ever DVD I purchased). And I fell even more in love with the Western genre. How could you not after having watched 7 men give their everything to save a small Mexican village from oppressive bandits? On first viewing though I had to chuckle as I clearly remember trying to figure out who the 7 were with my dad purely from having heard of the movie. Neither of us had seen it. Back then there was no internet and “all” I had was Quinlan’s Movie Stars book….well, I looked and looked to eventually piece them together…I got Eli Wallach totally wrong through…he was the villain not one of the 7. That got cleared up very quickly when I finally got to watch what is now one of my favourites.

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)*: Wow…not much more I can say to this one. Absolutely brilliant. The acting, the soundtrack, the visuals…what a movie. And dare I admit that I only saw it for the first time in 2010? It has the man with the harmonica (Charles Bronson) team up with Cheyenne (Jason Robards) to protect the beautiful widow Jill McBain (Claudia Cardinale) from one of the biggest villains I’ve come across. And I’m sure you all know the theme tune to this one. And that opening sequence…that’s got to be some of the best movie making…the sounds, the textures…just everything. If there’s one western you watch, this is it!

YellowSkyPosterYellow Sky (1948)*: now for my all-time favourite Western. I only managed to get hold of this one in 2012. And…for shallow reasons at the time…you see, I had this love-hate relationship with Lewt in Duel in the Sun. Well, maybe not Lewt but Gregory Peck and naturally I wanted to see some other westerns with him in. Thanks to the internet and online shopping, Yellow Sky came my way.  It has Gregory Peck playing “Stretch” the leader of a gang who are on the run after having robbed a bank. They land up in a ghost town where “Mike” and her (yes, her) grandpa are the only inhabitants. They suspect that these two are secretly mining gold and try to get to it too. I won’t give away too much here as it really is worth watching. And for those of you who don’t like “black and white” movies…trust me, this one is so colourful.

Notable mentions from my DVD collection (well, the super 8 ones are also on DVD now but I won’t re-mention them 🙂 ): Open Range*, The Cowboys, High Noon*, The Quick and the Dead, Broken Trail*, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, True Grit* (both versions) and Slow West.

Well, that’s about it for now. So many westerns, so little time. But hey, we all find those we are meant to watch.

The Great Western Blogathon has ridden into town…

GreatWesternBlogathon2…that big day has finally arrived. As the tumbleweeds roll through the dusty landscape and the lonely cowboy whistles a melancholy tune by his campfire, the honky tonk piano from the nearby town provides the backdrop for this blogathon.

The western movie has been very dear to my since I was a little girl. Don’t ask my why that genre in particular – I don’t know myself. It just had the power to draw me in and whisk me away into that romanticised notion/dreams of being a cowgirl. Maybe it came down to the way I was introduced to movies in the first place (through the “rescued” Super 8 movies) or something about John Wayne in the first western I can remember seeing (more to that in my own post for the blogathon). But whatever it was, this genre holds something that raises it a little higher above the other genres I love. But, enough of me and let me hand you over to the wonderful bloggers who have joined in (a great big thank you for your time and efforts). And don’t forget to ride into town during the course of the day to see what else has landed up in the saloon roster:

 

TheNewLand

Cinematic Scribblings brings us The New Land (1972), a movie I’d never heard of before now. It tells the story of settling the West from a different perspective – that of a Swedish family and their coming to America. It’s about the realities of acting on those dreams. The hardships and joys faced. The perfect theme to start us off in this blogathon.

Here is the post: A Dream Made Flesh: The New Land (1972)

django-unchained-poster

MovieMovieBlogBlog, self-admittedly not a big Western fan still joined my Blogathon (thank you, really appreciated) and wrote about his exception to the genre: Django Unchained (2012). And, as to be expected with Quentin Tarantino, this one is brutal and well…Tarantino…from the story to the political incorrectness.

Here is the post: DJANGO UNCHAINED (2012) – Quentin Tarantino’s answer to GONE WITH THE WIND

War_Wagon_film_poster

Poster_-_Train_Robbers,_The_(1973)_01

The Midnite Drive-In brings you two wonderful movies. The first, The Train Robbers (1973), is one I’ve (ashamedly) not seen before but am going to rectify that as a matter of urgency. How could I not have seen John Wayne robbing a train and at the same time trying to do good?

But, at least I had seen The War Wagon (1967), the second movie in the post. Here we have John Wayne robbing a wagon of gold but for totally different reasons.

Here is the post: There’s Gold in Them Thar Trains

A_Million_Ways_to_Die_in_the_West_poster Realweegiemidget Reviews has me laughing as she reminds us of the antics, cliches and comedy that is A Milling Ways to Die in the West (2014). She also has me wanting to watch this again…as in immediately…as she mentions a host of cameos but won’t say who or when.

Here is the post: A Million Ways to Die in the West
Broken_Arrow_Film_Poster

Christina Wehner brings us the tragic struggle between settlers and Apaches in Broken Arrow (1950). Here, individuals across cultures can see beyond and overcome mass hatred in a story based loosely on facts.

Here is the post: Broken Arrow (1950)

SearchersPoster-BillGold

What Blogathon would be complete without John Ford’s The Searchers (1956) starring John Wayne? Maddy Loves Her Classic Films gives us some thoughts to ponder that give this classic film more depth than one realises on first viewing.

Here is the post: The Searchers (1956)

Hondo_1953

Hondo (1953) a thoughtful John Wayne western that I was coincidentally pondering to watch just the other day is confirmed as one to definitely seek out by portraitsbyjenni. It brings together half-breed Hondo, Angie, her young son and Apache Chief Vittorio to make for some great viewing.

Here is the post: For the Great Western Blogathon, 1953’s Hondo

Winchester73

Moon in Gemini brings her all-time favourite western to the Blogathon – Winchester ’73. It is about a Winchester gun and the “owners” it has as well as a shooting contest in which this gun is the highly coveted prize.

Here is the post: The Great Western Blogathon: Winchester ’73 (1950)

The_Man_Who_Shot_Liberty_Valance

Have you ever wondered who shot Liberty Valance? Taking up Room writes about a young lawyer, an infamous outlaw, a sheriff who doesn’t enforce the law and an “unofficial” lawman who does. We even have a love triangle in this one. All in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962).

Here is the post: Who Really Shot Liberty Valance?

 220px-Death_rides_a_horse

Cracked Rear Viewer brings us Spaghetti Western Death Rides a Horse with Lee van Cleef and John Phillip Law playing a game of cat and mouse. Revenge of a little boy, now grown up, having witnessed his family’s brutal murder.

Here is the post: Best Served Cold: DEATH RIDES A HORSE (United Artists 1967; US release 1969)

 Saddle-the-wind_poster

Shadow & Substance discusses some great dialogue, amongst other things of course, in Saddle the Wind (1958). And, the decisions made when brothers need to face each other, when there are conflicts of opinion, when one’s conscience goes against what direct family believes…

Here is the post: Saddling Up With Serling: A Pre-TZ Wild West Detour

 Hombre_(film)

MovieRob tells us about what he thinks is Paul Newman’s best role. Hombre (1967) deals with prejudice and the fight for survival as we see the story of a white man, raised by Apaches, who is the last hope for some stagecoach drivers.

Here is the post: The Great Western Blogathon – Hombre (1967)

BigJake

The Flapper Dame counts five reasons as to why Big Jake (1971) is a worthy John Wayne movie. Never mind the fact that is has John Wayne, Patrick Wayne and Ethan Wayne all taking on roles as family. Michael Wayne even produces with John Wayne.

Here is the post: Great Westerns Blogathon – Big Jake (1971)

Dodge_City_1939_Poster

You want to see a good saloon brawl? Dodge City (1939) has just that and more. LA Explorer presents on of her favourites where a cattleman experiences the lawlessness of Dodge City and decides to step in.

Here is the post: Spotlight on Dodge City

GreatWesternBlogathon

I bring you some of my favourite and other special westerns, purely because I couldn’t decide on just one.

Here is the post: Westerns and more Westerns

The suspense…

Interstellar_film_posterHow could you do this to me ZM? Yes, you…you know who you are. That suspense you made me sit through…whew…after close on three hours I finally got to breathe out. Wow. Interstellar (2014) was  (is?) quite something. Something I never expected. Something I hadn’t considered watching until it was recommended to me two weeks ago. My reasons for “avoiding” it…well, I’m generally wary of Sci-Fi movies, especially those around which a big hype is made (and that hype-avoidance isn’t restricted to the Sci-Fi genre I must tell you). But slowly these “realistic” Sci-Fi movies are growing on me…Arrival being another one I enjoyed.

So…what had me glued to the screen and oblivious to much going on around me? The story of a near to totally destroyed earth. One where dust and corn are the only things thriving (corn…just, just…not sure how much longer). Nothing much more. And in this, a quest to find an alternative planet (or even planets) to populate and ensure the survival of our species. And…this planet isn’t in our solar system. Nope, the plan is to find one in another galaxy (or is that solar system?). By means of zooming through a wormhole. Naturally things like time, fuel, human issues all come to play and we feel like these brave characters are utterly helpless. But the plot is more than just this…there is something else to it…something quite thought provoking. As if the almost-reality of a ruined earth isn’t thought-provoking enough. But…so that you likewise need to sit through apprehension, I won’t disclose much more.

interstellar2-1024x570

Christopher Nolan once again pulls it together so well (ok, ok, many more cast and crew members are involved) and the acting ensemble gels too. And what a interstellar (sorry…couldn’t resist) cast we have: Matthew McConaughey (who I’m liking more and more as an actor), Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Mackenzie Foy (wow, promising actress), David Gyasi, Matt Damon, Topher Grace, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, John Lithgow and the list goes on….

OuterSpaceBlogathonWhat really struck me was the brilliant soundtrack (or lack thereof). Nothing could hit home that vastness of space as…silence. How utterly powerful a lack of sound could be. And the musical score where it was available was just as excellent. The appropriate balance of a “classical” score with a modern one. But then, having Hans Zimmer take care of this could only bring success.

At times heavy (because of the totally plausible state of things) but always intelligent and thought provoking, this movie is one I’ll have going through my mind for a while yet. The what ifs and hows will definitely be pondered upon when triggered in my day-to-day life.

Give it a watch. You won’t regret the time (in some far out stellar locations you’ll spend almost the equivalent of 21 earth years watching this one).

So…ZM, this one’s for you. And also for the Outer Space on Film Blogathon hosted by Moon in Gemini…go through this wormhole to read some others: Wormhole.

Gunslingers, cattle drives, bank robberies and more…

…The Great Western Blogathon is only 10 days away. Never too late to sign up for the cattle drive. All ranch hands welcome. Sheriffs, lawmen and outlaws too. Settlers. Saloon gals and cowgirls. Posses and bounty hunters. Apaches and Comanches. Drifters too. Pony express riders, homesteaders and their families, braves, railroad laborours and corrupt railroad barons. Circuit Judges, Indian Chiefs and barbers. Senoritas and schoolmarms. And all those I’ve missed (not because they are lesser)…bring them on…

I look forward to reading about all the wonderful western movies out there on the 14th April 2018. For the Announcement Post click here and the current roster is listed below. Feel free to join in by sending me a note in the comments area.

 

SearchersPoster-BillGold Now “live”:

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films

 A_Million_Ways_to_Die_in_the_West_poster Now “live”:

Realweegiemidget Reviews

 220px-Death_rides_a_horse Now “live”:

Cracked Rear Viewer

 Robertryan2 Phyllis Loves Classic Movies
TheNewLand Now “live”:

Cinematic Scribblings

 Winchester73 Now “live”:

Moon in Gemini

 django-unchained-poster Now “live”:

Movie Movie Blog Blog

 War_Wagon_film_poster.jpg Now “live”:

The Midnite Drive-In

 Poster_-_Train_Robbers,_The_(1973)_01 Now “live”:

The Midnite Drive-In

 BigJake Now “live”:

The Flapper Dame

 Broken_Arrow_Film_Poster Now “live”:

Christina Wehner

 The_Man_Who_Shot_Liberty_Valance Now “live”:

Taking Up Room

 Dodge_City_1939_Poster Now “live”:

LA Explorer

 Hondo_1953 Now “live”:

portraitsbyjenni

 Saddle-the-wind_poster Now “live”:

Shadow & Substance

 Hombre_(film) Now “live”:

Movierob

 220px-Barbary_Coast_1935_poster In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood

80s Fantasy…what else but…

neverending2…The Neverending Story? Oh my, I fondly remember that movie. It was back in the day before DVD. Yes, Video Cassettes were out but my parents had decided against TV and Video. So, The Neverending Story (1984) was reserved for the days we went to visit our family friends. And, without fail, I’d beg and plead to watch it…beg and plead because they had become sick of it (the last few times I ended up watching on my own while they did their own thing). Naturally, with the limited viewing chances, I couldn’t get enough of it. And I bet you have the theme tune bouncing through your head right now, don’t you?

What’s it about? If you aren’t of “that” generation…well, it is about the land/world of Fantastia dying. And Bastian Balthazar Bux, our unlikely hero in the “real” world, going on a parallel adventure with Atreyu, a character in the book.

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It all starts out with Bastian being bullied and taking refuge in the closest door he can find. This turns out to be a bookshop and the store owner is reading something that intrigues the young boy. Ending up with this book in the school attic he is absorbed into the story in such a way that he becomes a key part of it. There is a more serious message that I feel is more and more earnest in this day where the beauty of imagination and the ability to create one’s own fantastical world is becoming a rarity.

I have the DVD in my collection and recently re-watched it. Yes, it has a very 80s look to it but there is something special about it. Something magical. Something nostalgic. Many find it cheesy and silly, others love it but whatever you think, it is definitely one that can’t be ignored when looking at 80s movies. Specifically fantasy ones.

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Based on the wonderful (yes, it really is wonderful) book my Michael Ende, it stars Barret Oliver as Bastian and Noah Hathaway as Atreyu.

Is it 80s Fantasy Film Genre Grandeur worthy? Yes, yes, definitely.

Just…whatever you do…do not watch the second one…

But do head on over to Movierob for more 80s Fantasy Genre Grandeur entries here.

80s-fantasy-movies-montage

 

 

It’s the end of the world as we know it…Sunshine

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So, yes….uhm, I’m presenting the end of the sun. Technically, I guess it is the end of the world…right? Oh well…whatever…here it is…my entry into the End of the Sun, woops, World Blogathon

“Our sun is dying….mankind faces extinction”. Pretty serious opening lines. They come from a serious, yet excellent (and I think little known) movie. May I present…Sunshine (2007).

And yes, that’s the situation we find ourselves in. The sun really is dying and the world is in a permanent state of cold and dark. I get shivers just thinking about that possibility. Not so far-fetched. We never know, right?

The solution? “8 astronauts strapped to the back of a bomb…my bomb” (as explained by character Robert Capa) on a mission to detonate it. Inside the sun off course! And this stellar bomb is the size of Manhattan Island! Just so we are clear how dangerous this task really is. Gee, what a horrifying thought that must be for those responsible? Can you just imagine yourself on that journey? That’s the gist of the story…sending a bomb into the sun.

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I think they all take strain as is clearly displayed by the tensions that run high. So, these 8 carefully selected team members are the second group to attempt this mission after the first one failed before the bomb was even detonated. The reasons will become clear but I can’t disclose them here. We watch these individuals deal with the task(s) at hand, as they face unexpected challenges and expected reality. Oh, they also have to deal with Icarus, the on-board computer/AI-being who has a mind of her own. And once you, dear viewer, realise the inevitable and the weight these characters carry on their shoulders, you will be as tense as them. It really had me thinking. How far would you go for the greater good of humankind? How far would you go when, as an individual, you are nobody in the greater scheme of things, yet, you are everything?

endoftheworld6A superb cast of Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Chris Evans, Michelle Yeoh, Benedict Wong, Hiroyuki Sanada, Cliff Curtis, Troy Garity heat up the screen, while, amongst others Mark Strong  and Chipo Chung have less screen time but just as important roles. Alex Garland has a knack for writing fantastic stories doing so once again in this case. And who better than to bring his stories to life than Danny Boyle? These two always seem to make a great combination (The Beach and 28 Days Later also had them team up). Add stunning, sweeping visuals and a soundtrack (by John Murphy) that heightens the atmosphere and you’ve got not only a movie but a piece of art. One that is definitely worth watching.

I wasn’t sure Sunshine would fit the bill for an End of the World Blogathon but…I’m convinced it does. No sun, no world, right?

For some more world shattering posts, head on over to MovieMovieBlogBlog or The Midnite Drive-In, the hosts of this Blogathon.

 

 

I’ve fallen in love…

….sigh, ah…where do I start? That, I shouldn’t have waited this long to discover my feelings? That, I’ve realised we shouldn’t judge people by their apparent looks? Or, is it sufficient to say…Mr Darcy? I suspect for most of you, that should sum it up perfectly…right?

1200px-PrideAndPrejudiceTitlePage.jpgSo, now that it is all out in the open…I can’ believe it took me so long to “read” Pride and Prejudice. That is just soooo inexcusable…isn’t it? I say “read” because it wasn’t a book but the Audiobook in the car the last two weeks. And never before have I wanted to carry on driving purely to get in a few more minutes of listening. Thank goodness I have the book at home (have had so for years and years) so sneaked (or is it snuck?) in some proper reading when I had the moment. It is one of those books that I didn’t want to end (but did, because I needed to know how it ends – even though I already kind of knew…make sense?). And, when it did end (all too soon), I wanted nothing more than to start at the beginning again.

I’ve always loved the movie (the Matthew Macfadyen one) but now, seeing how much character and story development, dialogue and other is left out, it isn’t quite the same. The book absolutely tops it by miles. Not to say I don’t like the movie anymore. But I can’t get the full story, as intended by Jane Austen, out of my mind.

And make no mistake…it isn’t only about the gentleman mentioned above. It’s about all the wonderful characters and how they make for a story that is timeless. I’m sure we all know a Miss Bingley or a Mrs Bennet whose snotty or  ignorant comments are no different now as back then.

And how wonderful to visualise the movie Mr Darcy for an entire book! Yes, yes…sorry, but I just couldn’t resist…

pride_and_prejudice_matthew_macfadyen

A few thoughts…

…(seeing that I was a bit late with “entering” the Marvellous Michael Caine Blogathon hosted by Realweegiemidget Reviews) is what I’ll give for now (next year I’ll wake up earlier and grab one of his movies). You see, for some reason, it is not that face that comes to mind when Michael Caine is mentioned but rather that distinctive voice. Likewise now…I can hear it clearly in my mind. That timbre. That tempo. And for some reason…always a mentor type persona comes to mind (well, on the whole). Specifically two:

I tend to “hear” Michael Caine as Alfred, the wonderful butler who raised Batman in movies Batman Begins and The Last Knight (remember, I’m only talking about movies I’ve seen here). I always admire his character. The trustworthy gentleman who would never give away the man behind (or under) the mask. The man who guides Batman and gives him advice in that perfect firm but respective manner: “Drive sports cars, date movie stars, buy things that are not for sale… who knows, Master Wayne? You start pretending to have fun, you might even have a little by accident”. Always Master Wayne. Despite knowing him for an age.

batman alfred

And then, I think of that other poor mentor who has a really hard time…”I’m sorry, what was the question? I was distracted by the half-masticated cow rolling around in your wide-open trap” and “What, no armored car?”. Can’t you just see him? As Victor in Miss Congeniality? Poor man. He really has a challenge there. But, Michael Caine perfectly suits these kind of roles.

Over the years, I’ve seen a number of his movies, and he always does a good job…be it the sleazy Ray in Little Voice, the weird uncle in Secondhand Lions, journalist in The Quiet American or one of so many more characters that he takes on with ease. But, those mature-mentor type roles are those that stick to the forefront of my Michael Caine associations.

So, here’s wishing him a very Happy Birthday.

happy-birthday-words-outline.pngOh…head on over to Realweegiemidget Reviews here for all the other birthday wishes, thoughts, musings and so on…caine2

 

Most beautiful…

About Time. Oh sigh…such a lovely, delightful movie…not to be taken lightly.

About_Time_PosterI was talked into watching this one by a friend and wow, I can’t believe that I hadn’t been that keen on it because it is absolutely worth seeing. Just look at the poster above…doesn’t it look simply wonderful? So heartfelt? Uplifting? Genuine?

The men in Tim‘s family have the amazing capability to travel in time. The “catch” is that they can only go to a place and time that the traveler in question has been to/experienced before. So, no going forwards, no going sideways (to a place not been) and definitely no going to someplace “unvisited”. Oh, and can only be done from a dark place, ideally a cupboard or such while clenching your hands and thinking yourself to the selected place. Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) is informed of this on his 21st birthday by Dad (Bill Nighy) who, being the good father he is, advises his son to use this special ability to enrich his life in a positive way and avoid the glamorous temptations.

After initial disbelief, Tim tries it out and…voila…it works! One of the first things he does is use it to his advantage with girls. Having a romantic advance on a girl he likes not work out the way he wants  it to, and taking the knowledge/feedback from that incident, he travels back to repeat the attempt. This time, however, something else doesn’t quite go to his liking so…repeat. So, it all starts.

However, as the movie moves along, Tim matures and has more meaningful experiences (like Time Travel Bannermeeting Mary..) that he repeats for supposedly optimal results. The truth, however, is that each time he goes back and makes a change, something else changes (naturally) and the outcome isn’t always as expected or hoped for. But…it all works (if you can get your mind around the time travel concept) quite well and becomes a wonderful, meaningful movie. Initially all light and funny, the seriousness of it all becomes evident. Never heavy, heavy, (double heavy intended) there is a lesson to be learnt but on a whole you’ll be smiling yet keeping in mind that second chances may not always be second chances…

The performances are excellent all round…I mean, how can you go wrong with Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Nighy, Rachel McAdams, Lindsay Duncan, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie (oh wow, was that her?) and many more? And, furthermore…how can a story written by the same man (Richard Curtis) who wrote Pirate Radio, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love, Actually, Notting Hill et al. not be great? He also directs this one (as he did Love, Actually and Pirate Radio). You know what? If you haven’t seen this one…go on…give it a go. I’m sure you’ll love it.

This is the second Time Travel movie I’m covering for the Time Travel Blogathon (The Lake House entry can be found through this portal here and other awesome entries can be found by transporting yourselves here and here).

Time Travel…sort of…with The Lake House

Time Travel BannerTime Travel. Hmmm. That’s a type of movie that I’m always nervous of watching…will it “work” or not? But every now and then, they get it right. Or, rather, the story writer gets it right. And so, for this Time Travel Blogathon (for more awesome entries travel a few seconds in time to here or here) I’ve even got two wonderful movies to chit chat about.

So, without further ado, let me give you the first of the two…hmm…where should we start…I think with the one that springs to mind first…

The Lake House (2006).

Maybe it isn’t time travel as much as a story set in two simultaneous but alternate time planes. Possibly even the same plane (because both characters….oh sod it…this is getting too much). Although, there must be some element of time travel at play here…not from the characters but rather from the letter in question. Or the post box. Letter? Post Box? Huh? Let me explain…

TheLakeHouseWe have Kate Forster (Sandra Bullock) a doctor who, having sold a house on the lake (yes, The Lake House, duh) leaves a letter to the new occupant in the post box. However, the new occupant is actually the former occupant, architect Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves). Confused yet? You won’t be for long if you give it a watch..it all sorts itself out in a plausible-ish kind of way. Basically, Kate and Alex write to each other from different years yet, by means of the post box, at the same time. Initially, neither Kate nor Alex comprehend the situation but as they start sharing more and more letters that magically appear to the other (standing at the same place at the same time yet not) a new sort of magic evolves…that of romance.

Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, opposite each other for a second time (we won’t get into technicalities here re the time travel), have a wonderful chemistry together. I think their “aging” or “maturity” (I’m not saying old…I just mean that they are no longer 20 somethings as they were in Speed) works in their favour here. I like their slow romance, their gradual way of getting to know each other.

As the story unfolds, the pieces come together and, while the post box portal thing may might not be realistic, the possibility of their encounter (or lack thereof) is. Forget about trying to explain it all and simply enjoy it for enjoyment’s sake. Overthinking, reasoning – that will ruin it. Sit back and enjoy.

(Here’s the means to travel to my other post on About Time in this Time Travel Blogathon…here)

Lightly dusted with snow…

So, maybe I haven’t lived in Europe long enough but wow…winter is just gorgeous…and that atmosphere. I know it is cliché but it really does look like someone has dusted the trees with icing sugar…

_DSC6236

…ok, ok, fine, let’s talk again next winter. This is still that “new” phase where everything is wonderful (I’ve never seen so many beautiful icicles and gaze in awe at frozen waterfalls) and after a few winters I probably won’t appreciate it anymore…well, hopefully I will, as it is magnificent. Oh…we even had sun today but I couldn’t take any pics as I was stuck at the office! And my first really cold weather experience… -12 Degrees Celsius is a tad chilly when barely awake and heading to work in the morning…it did go up to a nice warm -1 though.

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Isn’t nature amazing? The “live” version is spectacular.

The Great Western Blogathon

It’s high time we need a Western Blogathon don’t you think? So…here it is:

The Great Western Blogathon

14 April 2018

I want to hear all about your favourite western movies.

I’m no fan of “rules” however, I do have one ask here…can we please restrict this to the “traditional” feeling westerns (movies set in the “later half of the 19th Century”?). They don’t specifically need to be set in the Old American West (the Australian Outback will be fine too) but at least roughly during that period and have an appropriate feel. So, as excellent as they are can we please leave the likes of “No Country for Old Men”, “Hell or High Water” and other contemporary/neo/modern-day-setting westerns (you get the idea, partner) out of this Blogathon? Hope you don’t mind.

Let me know your choice in the comments section below (duplicates welcome), grab a banner and we’ll be saddling up for the round up on the 14th April 2018.

Here is the cattle blog drive (i.e. the entries) so far:

Thoughts All Sorts – I’m yet undecided…so…TBC

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films – The Searchers

Realweegiemidget Reviews – A Million Ways to Die in the West

Cracked Rear Viewer – Da uomo a uomo (Death Rides a Horse)

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies – The Westerns of Robert Ryan

Cinematic Scribblings – The New Land

Moon in Gemini – Winchester ’73

Movie Movie Blog Blog – Django Unchained

The Midnite Drive-In – The War Wagon and The Train Robbers

The Flapper Dame – Big Jake

Christina Wehner – Broken Arrow

Taking Up Room – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

LA Explorer – Dodge City

portraitsbyjenni – Hondo

Shadow & Substance – Saddle the Wind

Movierob – Hombre

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Barbary Coast

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John and Jeff are Rooster…

How cool is this…two of my favourite actors, in my favourite genre playing the same character and both being nominated for an Oscar. Pretty awesome right?

TrueGritYep, the amazing John Wayne and Jeff Bridges were nominated for their respective roles as lawman Rooster Cogburn in the 1969 and 2010 versions of True Grit. That is, of course, actor in a leading role (or however the award is phrased at any given time). Pretty much…some pretty darn good acting by an actor in the lead role.

As it would be totally wrong to compare the two and their take on this iconic role, I’m not going to do so. To ensure this, I’m only going to re-watch the 2010 True Grit after I’ve written up my 1969 True Grit bit. (No way…already 8 years old!)

Let me start with John Wayne purely because I only just watched this last night (well, by the time I post this it will be “three nights ago”). I’ve had the DVD in my collection for years. Yes…years. And I can’t believe I put it off so long. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

RoosterCogburnJohnWayneAt first, I thought John Wayne was…..well…John Wayne. Then, as the story unfolded, I realised that, actually, yes, it is John Wayne being John Wayne but that’s the whole reason why he’s my Western movie hero. Some fantastic acting. As he had more and more screen time, I noticed that it was more than that. Something different, something grittier, something Oscar-deserving. He took on this role with enough grumpiness and seeming indifference to make it believable yet under it all managing to subtly show a tender side. And, the unintentional comic moments and/or witty lines are perfectly timed – for a second here and there, that is. Then back to pure grump again. Never before had I been aware of small facial expressions like I was here. Absolutely perfect.

The other thing I noticed was that, despite being the legendary man he was (and still is), he never once overshadowed his co-stars. Now that is great artistry.

True-Grit-2Did he win? Yes, third Oscar nomination lucky (2nd nomination for actor, the other in 1950)…in 1970 John Wayne received an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role (his 3rd nomination had been for directing in 1960). Very, very well deserving. He likewise won a Golden Globe (same role, obviously).

Slightly off-topic, while watching the outlaw at different points I had this feeling of “I know this face” with two of them. I just couldn’t pinpoint who….until the credits rolled and hey! of course! Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper. I couldn’t believe it. Keep an eye out for them if you watch this.

So…save post…and…off to watch Jeff Bridges

Gruff and no-nonsense roles require actors who can portray such traits naturally, without seeming “acted”. Jeff Bridges achieves this spot on in the “newer” version. What I appreciate is that he hasn’t tried to “copy” John Wayne‘s role at all. Granted, some of the lines are the same but that’s purely because it is based on a book (by Charles Portis and superb reading if you haven’t yet done so). He breathes life filled with the perfect balance of  “grump” and disillusionment into Rooster Cogburn. But underneath it all, still caring, albeit not obviously so.

His Rooster is the man who is not used to being with anyone else. Who does his own thing, makes his own decisions, fighting his daemons. There is no light relief in this portrayal and had there been, it just wouldn’t have worked. Am I allowed to repeat “Absolutely perfect.” that I used a few paragraphs earlier? Definitely Oscar deserving.

RoosterCogburnJeffBridgesAnd did he win? Unfortunately, in this second nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, he wasn’t as lucky as in the year before when he won for Crazy Heart. Overall, this was his 6th of 7 total nominations.

Having watched these two fantastic movies within 3 days of each other…and I’m not about to compare…do I have a preference? No, I don’t. The two roles are so totally different that they can’t be compared. John Wayne and Jeff Bridges bring us outstanding performances and are equally deserving of their Oscar nominations. Besides, 2010 as opposed to 1969 is a new age of movie making, a new era of actors, a new approach to roles. How could I possibly put them side by side? So, no, absolutely no preference.

Although, I do favour one of the movies over the other, but that is totally besides the point here. And has nothing to do with Rooster Cogburn or the actors playing him.

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This is my entry for the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon hosted by Paula’s Cinema Club, Outspoken and Freckled and Once Upon a Screen.

For my previous entries, The Sting and The Piano, click here and here.