Author: thoughtsallsorts

Just someone with thoughts about whatever happens to inspire - generally music, movies and books.

Home (not so) Sweet Home from the Hill…

“This is a rotten home”, Wade Hunnicut’s own words. Just after admitting “We’re rotten parents”. Not such a sweet home after all. Not at all. But here, finally the realisation hits home (no pun intended) and plans to change things are hinted at. But all too late…

How did we even get to this point? Well, with Home from the Hill, the 1960 movie based on William Humphrey’s book of the same name and directed by Vincente Minnelli. Captain Wade Hunnicutt (Robert Mitchum), his wife Hannah (Eleanor Parker) and Theron (George Hamilton), the wealthiest family in town also appear to be the perfect family. Well, aside from Wade, who is known as a notorious womaniser (and so by the philosophy of “like father like son”, his teen son is deemed the same). He just doesn’t know it yet.

While his parents are silently fighting each other and over their son, Theron has other problems, the teenage problems like girls and growing up. Over and above that, Wade expects Theron to grow up and become a man. The perfect opportunity being the hunt of a massive wild boar. But the cracks are bound to open wider and once they do, it all comes spilling out. Theron finally understand the complexities of his home where he has been shielded the unpleasantries including the realisation that he has a half-brother his father won’t acknowledge. And that’s exactly what eventually leads to the realisation that something has to change. It is just too late…and I’ll leave it at that without totally spoiling it.

Home from the Hill is one of those movies that has had to grow on me, but I’ve also had to grow up. Back when I first saw it as a teen on Super 8 reels, I don’t think the real issues were noticed. I just wasn’t aware of the deeper meanings. I think I must have been young and naive and really just seen the superficial part of it all, the love story. But now, it is all different. The complexities of families. The complexities of homes. The lengths people go to just to keep things together or, the way they throw it all away.

Wade and Hannah try the best they can, despite their differences, to bring up Theron in the most “normal” possible way. Shielding him from their problems. While they are trying to do this, the underlying tensions are very noticeable. Wade‘s shenanigans are obvious. Theron is just so protected that he doesn’t realise what is going on and in his mind the home is perfect. But once it is all out in the open, his views are of a home he is scared to give his own family one day. He doesn’t even want to try.

But, it isn’t only about Theron here. Rafe (George Peppard), the loyal employee of Wade, knows he is also the illegitimate son. Likewise does he know he wasn’t and isn’t wanted, yet vows to make a home like he never had. To make sure a child has a father. To make a difference. And even opens the doors of his home to Theron’s mother as if she was his own.

This drama looks at values of the older and younger generations, how the home is influenced not only by our experiences and upbringing but what we make of it. How change might be too late, yet for other things at the right time. How we make our homes and how we live them. We see how the man who grew up alone is able to provide what the man who grew up with his family can’t. Perfect for the Home Sweet Home Blogathon, because even though much of it is bitter, there is a sweeter note the movie finishes off on. The start of a happy home, a change, to make up for all the darkness before.

Head on over to Realweegiemidget Reviews (here) and Taking up Room (here) for other entries to this Blogathon. Thanks for hosting ladies! Was good to go down memory lane again.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunshine Blogger Award * 2, Blogger Recognition * 1…what a 2021 start…

Wow…what a start to my 2021 Blogging Year…bam! not one but 2 Sunshine Blogger Awards together with a Blogger Recognition patiently waiting for me. The perfect motivation after my year-long absence in the Blogosphere.

Thank you so much for thinking of me dear Taking Up Room (Rebecca) and Realweegiemidget Reviews (Gill). The awards are appreciated. I’m going to combine my next round of questions into one post (hope you don’t mind).

So…of course, the required rules for the Blogger Recognition:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2. Post the award banner on your blog.
  3. Share the reason you started your blog.
  4. Share two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  5. Nominate a maximum of 15 other bloggers.
  6. Tell your nominees about the award post, so they can participate

and Rules for the Sunshine Blogger:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Taking up Room’s questions:

What’s your hope for 2021?

Well, this is very cliché but I hope that things will get back to some sort of normality, whatever that may be. And, of course the annual hope that they year will be a good, healthy and happy one for family, friends and the natural world we have around us.

What helped you stay sane in 2020?

Well, to be very honest, I was so busy in 2020 that I didn’t have time to think about staying sane. Although, I must say, 2020 was good in bringing me back down to earth…with forced reduced hours and working off of overtime hours, I could find myself again through hiking, reading, watching movies and just having down time in general. I guess that kept me sane…or at least stopped the “I can’t go further” I was inevitably heading for at work.

Are there any movies you’re looking forward to this year?

I really don’t know what is out there. I’ve totally lost touch with the movies to be expected (and even what’s current). I do vaguely know that there is a last Daniel Craig James Bond due to be released so that’s what I’m looking forward to.

You can visit any five celebrity homes from any era. Which ones would you pick?

Oh my…I’m really bad with these type of questions but I’ll give it a go…hmmm…let me think…whew…gosh…I’ll get back to this one…

.

.

.

…sorry, there really isn’t anyone that comes to mind who’s home I’m interested in seeing.

You’re about to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. What, if anything, would you take that the experts might frown on?

Ooooh…oooh…Rebecca, this looks absolutely awesome. Wow…one day I’d like to tackle just a small portion. Well, I’d obviously take whatever is required and maybe, just maybe, sneak in a hot water bottle…I hate cold toes 🙂

Who are your three favorite film critics and why?

I don’t have any here…sorry. I’ve never found (of the few I’ve seen/read) a critic who’s recommendations fit with me. Besides, I always feel we all have such different opinions and thoughts that I’d just prefer making up my own mind. Film critics (in my opinion) tend to overthink movies and often forget about “movies for the sake of movies” and escapism.

When you’re watching stuff other than movies, do you prefer YouTube and streaming services or traditional broadcast TV?

Absolutely…traditional broadcast TV. I don’t like YouTube at all…find the content very random and (sorry) pointless. The only things I do watch on traditional TV though is the odd show that I choose to watch and even then, I don’t watch much at all.

If you could adapt a TV show into a movie, which one would you pick and why?

I can’t really say because I rarely watch TV shows. And things like Graham Norton Show or Would I Lie to You or Strictly Come Dancing work perfectly just as they are.

Which film prop or costume would you most like to own?

No idea…maybe something from one of the classic westerns but even then…I can’t tell you what. It would sit forgotten in a box anyway…

Who is your favorite movie or TV couple? Your least favorite?

I absolutely love Arianne and Centurion Quintus Dias in Centurion as well as, of course you shouldn’t be surprised, Cora Munro and Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans. Really irritating, although, that’s part of the role are Johana and Jacques Mayol in The Big Blue. I guess they’re not really my least favourite but just the couple that don’t fit…that’s the movie though.

What was the last album you listened to?

No album…just a random selection of the music on my “Cat’s Mix” playlist. I haven’t listened to an album in years…although, was probably Human by band A Life Divided.

 

Now for Realweegiemidget’s questions:

Have you ever met a celebrity somewhere random?

Nope. I’ve never met any celebrity. Only seen Gerard Butler from a distance and then some cyclists up close…Jan Ullrich, Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara and a few more over the years. None of them I’ve “met”.

Have you ever had a celebrity write to you in response to your fan letter?

I’ve never written a fan letter (I’m not that kind of person) but, I did once write to author Sue Grafton asking her if she knew how I could get hold of her very unheard of book The Lolly Madonna War (turned into a movie I quite like). She answered me with a wonderful letter including wondering why I would want to find a book that she herself doesn’t much like herself. She continued to tell me that she was busy with book S in her alphabet mystery series. I now have that letter tucked into the hard copy of S is for Silence.

What’s your favourite advert with an actor or actress.?

Ahm…I rarely watch TV and don’t noticed adverts.

If you could ghostwrite a celebrity’s autobiography with their permission who would it be?

Once again…I really don’t know. Maybe Daniel Day-Lewis…but I’m really not that phased about celebrity lives.

Have you ever been on telly or in a movie?

Yes…when I was in primary school I was in a Winter Wonderland ballet production that was broadcast on TV. What a long day of takes and retakes and retakes. I also took part two years running in “The 24 Hour Film Project” where I had small role.

Who was your first film or TV love?

John Wayne! John Wayne! John Wayne!

You are allowed to snog, marry or avoid three movie or TV stars.. who are they?

Hahaha…just for fun I’ll go with this one…

Snog…ahm…a young Christian Slater (my film love after John Wayne once I’d discovered newer movies)

Marry…aw…hmmm…ok, Daniel Craig.

Avoid…absolutely wouldn’t go near many stars but for this one…let’s just say Jim Carrey.

If you could give out an Oscar which category would it be for..?

Most historically accurate picture (way too many are so horribly off)

Who would you like to accompany to the Oscars?

I’d rather watch it from home…but I’ll be some fun and say…Daniel Day-Lewis.

Which film would you watch again and again?

Would I? Rather do I…I watch The Last of the Mohicans, Yellow Sky and Catch and Release again and again and again and again and….you get my point 🙂

What’s your favourite TV Movie?

Hmmm…I don’t really know…hang on…let me go check in my collection what was a TV movie…so…The Legend of Butch and Sundance…yes, it doesn’t rate highly but I enjoy it. Actually…that’s an idea of what to watch this evening.

 

As for the questions required for this award…I find it really difficult coming up with questions I haven’t already asked…and nominating blogs that haven’t already been nominated by the person nominating me…so, I’ll park this part for now and make up for it on a rainy day. Promise.

 

Moving on to the Blogger Recognition award from Realweegiemidget:

Why did I start blogging? That was purely because I needed to write, to put my thoughts down. Never did I think of making them available to everyone out there in the blogosphere but only by doing so did I make a bigger effort to write. It was also at a time where I had a consulting drought and desperately needed to keep myself busy.

Advice to other bloggers…I always find this such a personal thing because everyone has their own thoughts and opinions so let me just say…write what you enjoy writing about and because you want to – blogging should be fun. And if you don’t want to or feel like it, leave it and write when it all feels right (no pun intended) again. Take a break if you need to…I’ve learnt that your blogging friends are still there when you get back.

And here too, I’m going to save posting it on to other blogs for now. I’ll save it for that rainy day.

Whew…that was quite a post…but I’ve so enjoyed writing it. Thanks Gill and Rebecca.

In a Nutshell…Den of Thieves (2018)

Gosh, can’t remember when last I watched Gerard Butler in a movie but he still is good. Aged he has (as have we all) but it works perfectly for his role as Nick, the rough and ruthless special cases sheriff. Here he, together with his crew, try to figure out the plans of a gang they’ve been surveilling. You’ll only start piecing it together roughly the same time Nick and the boys do and oh my, is it a clever piece of (reserve) bank robbery movie.

You’ll probably also get that gut feel that it is just not quite what it seems…or that there is something else on the go. You’ll never ever guess how this is all going to go down.

It might not be the most action-filled movie but the suspense and the puzzling is there from the very beginning. These are often the best (and no, it isn’t an “all talk” one either).

The cast is brilliant with Pablo Schreiber (now on my radar of actors…admittedly, I’d never heard of him before and didn’t realise how many movies of his rang a bell). Also part of a perfect cast are O’Shea Jackson Jr., 50 Cent, Maurice Compte, Brian Van Holt, Evan Jones, Mo McRae, Kaiwi Lyman amongst others.

It has been a while since I’ve watched a “gee, that was good” movie. This was it. Give it a go.

“…Don’t you worry…daddy’s home…”

…that’s the moment I knew The Boys was just great! Billy Butcher…I couldn’t imagine anyone else but Karl Urban in that role…here’s that bit:

One of those perfect lines followed by the equally perfect bit of soundtrack. I think the combo just did it. I was grinning from ear to ear. And shaking my head…in disbelief or who knows what…

Oh…The Boys? Yeah, well, that’s a strange one. Rogue superheroes and the shenanigans they get up to while saving (oh yeah? Saving? Right…whatever) the world.

As many of you know, I’m not really one that gets past the first, maybe second, episode of series (bar the few exceptions like Rome and Peaky Blinders), but this one kept me watching. As gruesome or just bizarre as it sometimes is (I mean come on, that dolphin scene is just wrong on so many levels – you’ll know which one when you see it), and as much as I absolutely detest Homelander (and threaten to switch off because I hate him), I’ve kept watching. Because, albeit the blood and gore, it is fun and sometimes just over the top.

The story starts with innocent Hughie (Jack Quaid) looking forward to a future with his girlfriend who become a bloody mess (literally) all over Hughie and the pavement….a casualty of a superhero rescuing someone else. And that’s where it gets going. The corporation behind the superheros (it is business after all) wants to make the incident disappear (with money off course) and through this all, somehow Hughie ends up with a bunch of seedy characters (I’ll avoid the c work from the snippet above) who are out to expose the sex, murder and corruption taking place in the name of saving the world.

Besides Karl Urban being brilliant as Butcher, I thoroughly enjoy the character Frenchie (Tomer Capon). Actually, the dodgy vigilante ensemble are absolutely super…who also include Laz Alonso and Karen Fukuhara (I’ve mentioned Jack Quaid). I must admit, I’m not a fan of the Supes (the Superheroes) at all including their business partners and bosses…but then, I guess that is goal achieved*. The series is there to portray them as shallow and self-centred. And gives me all the more pleasure when things don’t go how they envisage it.

I’ll never look at the likes of Spiderman, Superman and co the same way again…because, thinking about it, there were bound to be casualties along the way…we just never thought about it that way.

The Boys really does deserve that Primetime Emmy nomination for outstanding sound editing. The soundtrack is perfectly selected and timed (once again, the above snippet confirms that).

*Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Chace Crawford, Elisabeth Shue, Dominique McElligott, Jessie T. Usher amongst others form the supposed good guys.

Enjoy it! But please don’t expect a typical superhero series you’ve come to expect from the movies.

Liebster Award…overdue answers…

 

Gosh, Gill (RealWeegieMidget)…I “owe” you a big Thank You for nominating me for a Liebster Award…”Thank You”. And I definitely owe you some answers…rather late than never (and I’m keeping on the lower side of that max 11 of everything)…here goes:

The rules…

  1. Thank the nominator in your award post.
  2. Place the award logo somewhere on your blog.
  3. You must state up to 11 facts about yourself.
  4. Complete the questions that your nominator provided.
  5. Nominate as many bloggers as you’d like (11 is the maximum).
  6. Ask your nominees a series of questions (11 is the maximum).

Some Facts about Me

  1. I have a weakness for Cacti and Succulents. I just recently (yes, at the beginning of winter…how silly) decided I’d give a go at growing them from seed. Of the 14 seeds I’d planted…one appears to be doing ok, the other is hanging on for dear life and the third remaining one…I’m not really sure what’s happening…just too small to see. But…I swore I’d manage to get at least 1 going…let’s see. Otherwise, I have plenty of seed left…will just have to wait for spring like any normal person would do 🙂
  2. I started learning to Snowboard this year. What’s the big deal? Well…a big thing I have you know…I’m not a youngster (in the 40s range) and had never done any snow activities in my life (before moving to Switzerland 3 years ago). So far, so good…and lots of fun. Although, this winter might not happen…
  3. I work as a Business Data Analyst but am actually a music graduate.
  4. My favourite book of all time is Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.
  5. I have never seen the movie Forrest Gump. And somehow, I don’t think I will…as brilliant as everyone says it is, I somehow just don’t feel drawn to it. Sorry 😦

RealWeegieMidget’s Questions

1. Who would you most like to meet from the world of film?

What a difficult question…I’m not really one to want to meet celebrities but hey…just for fun…I’d like to meet…ahm…gosh…any of the nice, down-to-earth actors/actresses that I’ve enjoyed on screen. As long as they aren’t arrogant or rude.

2. If you could go behind the scenes on a movie or TV Show which one would it be?

Without a second thought…Peaky Blinders. I find it such an excellent series that has put a lot of effort into the outcome. It would be really interesting to see how it all works behind the scenes.

3. What’s your favourite genre…?

Do I really need to answer that? Westerns (the classic, traditional type ones) of course!

4. Who do you think deserves an Oscar nomination who hasn’t had one yet.

Well, most of the people I’ve hoped would get nominated have been nominated. But, maybe Cillian Murphy should be recognised.

5. You are the only survivor on earth with one superhero, who is it? Why?

Maybe I should have answered this post before watching The Boys because now I have absolutely no wish to be left alone with any superhero. But, if I really have to…maybe Hawkeye as he is least like a superhero. Or so I think.

6. What’s your feelings about remakes or reboots?

On the whole, I feel that it is best to leave the originals as they are. Especially the good originals. Having said that though, there have been some brilliant remakes recently. So, I think my answer is…it depends.

7. What’s your fave all time find on those streaming packages…

Sorry…what?

8. Who would you most like to see in more movies and in what genre.?

I thoroughly enjoyed Michael Fassbender in Slow West and feel he fits the Western genre well. In fact, I’d like to see more of many actors and actresses in some good Westerns.

9. Favourite cake? with cream or ice cream?

I’m not a big cake eater but I do like a good chocolate cake. No cream! No ice-cream! Just plain.

10. What’s your favourite Hollywood era?

The Classic Era brought out some wonderful movies, however, I really enjoyed the early contemporary or modern period with the rom-coms and gems coming from the 90s.

11. If you could go back in time and warn a star about something that happens to them in the future, who would it be and what would you tell them…

Well, lacking on imagination here but I’d tell Brandon Lee that The Crow would be more realistic than he could ever imagine.

My questions

  1. Which screen character do you most identify with and why?
  2. Your place to escape and think?
  3. Is there a movie that ranks amongst your favourites yet has been deemed a failure or received low ratings? Which movie is it?
  4. What is the last movie you saw? Thoughts on it?
  5. Dog or cat person?
  6. They often say that the book is better than the movie. There are, in my opinion, instances where the opposite is true. Which movie do you think is better than the book? Why?
  7. Sometimes movies would be much better given a different cast. Re-cast such a movie.
  8. Longest movie ever watched (not series)

So, the nominees…always the hard part…as I’m really trying to find my way back into the Blogging world…I’ll leave this open to anyone who wants to participate. Sorry…but I’m so out of touch…I’ll make it up to all of you soon.

I’m back and ready to roll…

…oh yes! Bring on the last few days of 2020 and then boy oh boy…2021 here we come!

Seriously…what a ride 2020 has been…and you know what? Not all bad…believe it or not…

…time to reflect. Time to think. Time to come back down, to realise there is life beyond work…and…strange enough, I’ve built up some really awesome friendships…despite the restrictions and lockdown…you guys know who you are…

…so…I’m ready to pick up again…and just to get me going:

And…Gill @realweegiemidge …thanks for keeping me going with the most unusual (and awesome) Finnish chocolate. Your Ovomaltine is on its way (I’m popping past the Post Office tomorrow – sorry, such a bad blogging friend I am)!

To everyone who’s been around my site…I’ve seen you, just haven’t responded…but I’m back in action…whoohooo!

And my sexy crush post is still going strong (over 3 years later)…ooooooh…swoon… click here: here .Although, I’ve changed in those 3.5 years…I might need to rewrite that post. Anyway, new post coming soon…the above song might give it away…

…see you all this weekend!

Some belated Jeff Bridges Birthday anagram fun

The Anagram Hunter (@Thomas_W_Hunter) sent me this list of movies to unscramble – here’s to all you Jeff Bridges fans who want to give it a go.

Apologies for the delayed reaction with this…I’m afraid blogging, renovations and my work commitments just didn’t get in sync this week. Unfortunately, work had to come first…JBAnagrams

Jeff Bridges Blogathon Wrap-up

I’ve had absolutely wonderful entries to the Jeff Bridges Blogathon. Thank you to everyone who joined me.

Apologies to those of you who I only linked up today – timezones, different bedtimes and a long day at work made it difficult to get everyone’s linked on 4th December, Jeff Bridges’ Birthday.

Sam Simon of vengonofuoridallefottutepareti tells us about the excellent performance given by Jeff Bridges in his Oscar and Golden Globe winning role of Bad Blake, a washed out singer (and actually excellently sung by Mr Bridges himself) in Crazy Heart (2009). (here)

The Midnite Drive-In guides us through cult classic The Big Lebowski, which, dude, if you haven’t seen, you really should do so, man. This 1998 Coen Brothers movie is rated one of the top 250 by IMDB. Get inspired here.

Realweegiemidget Reviews tackles Jeff Bridges’ role as  homme fatale Jack Forrester in 1985’s Jagged Edge. This court-room thriller has you wondering if Jack is guilty or not. Pop past this post (here) to read all about it.

Taking Up Room tells us about Tron (1982) and the cyber world together with some really interesting things about the sets and costumes. It must be quite an experience finding yourself in a computer program. Here you can read it all.

MovieRob gives us his thoughts about Tron (1982) as well as Tron: Legacy (2010). Both star Jeff Bridges. Here and here are his thoughts about these two movies. Technologies change so be sure to read about his thoughts on the latter.

Read about Tucker: The Man and His Dream of 1988 over at Dubsism (here). Aside from the great movie reviewed you’ll also discover some interesting information around the hidden allegory to the rise and fall of the Alliance of American Football.

Want to read about a little heard of gem of a movie? Head on over to Diary of a Movie Maniac and read about Bad Company here. A western showing a less glorified west, with Jeff Bridges in one of his first starring roles.

Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies reviews The Fabulous Baker Boys of 1998 here. In this one Jeff teams up with real-life brother Beau and take on the role of musicians and the impact when a singer joins them.

And finally, I review the movie that first introduced me to Jeff Bridges, Lolly Madonna XXX here.

Happy reading!

 

Lolly Madonna XXX

Lolly-Madonna_XXX…not a dodgy rated movie but a postcard signed with kisses by Lolly Madonna. And the cause of a whole lot of violence between the Feather and Gutshall families in Lolly Madonna XXX (1973).

Two families, living next door to each other in Tennesse, steal or damage each others’ property. And up to this point, things are relatively harmless and nobody gets hurt. But then, the Gutshalls sons place a postcard into their own postbox which is next to the Feathers’ one. It is addressed to one of the Gutshall sons and states that Lolly Madonna will be waiting at the bus-stop in the village nearby on a particular day. This all with the hope that the Feather boys Thrush (Scott Wilson) and Skylar (Timothy Scott) will find the card (yes, the look into each other’s post boxes) and head off to town to find this girl thus leaving the Gutshalls with a chance to steal some pigs.

BUT…there just happens to be a girl waiting at the bus stop. Not Lolly Madonna but Roonie Gill (Season Hubley). She has no connection to these feuding families at all and is running away from her own troubles. Thrush and Skylar kidnap her while Zeb (Gary Busey) and Ludie (KielMartin) Gutshall go get the livestock. And this is the start of the total destruction of these two families. Even the respective patriarchs Laban Feather (Rod Steiger) and Pap Gutshall (Robert Ryan) fail to restore some order with violence ensuing on both sides. We do, however, have some members of these families who try to keep civil, including Zack Feather (Jeff Bridges) who is tasked with looking after Roonie.

It is Zack who always stood out for me. He is the caring one, the one who seems to want to stay out of it all. And this is also the role which introduced me to a very young Jeff Bridges. And I’ve been a fan ever since. He brings this perfect balance of a young man both loyal to his family yet still trying to do the right thing. And, it turns out that this mostly level headed Feather boy is indirectly responsible for all the mayhem.

LollyMadonna

Directed by Richard C. Sarafian and based on a novel by…wait for it…you’ll never guess…Sue Grafton, I never really know how I feel about this one. At times unpleasant to watch at other times leaving a hopeless and then hopeful feeling, it is most definitely an interesting one to watch with a final climactic shootout. Oh, the futility of it all!

You’ll know most of the cast (also Ed Lauter, Randy Quaid) and yet will probably never have heard of this one. But, I’m forever grateful that this relatively unknown movie introduced me to such a phenomenal actor and artist. I’ve watched pretty much every Jeff Bridges movie since.

For more posts celebrating Jeff Bridges (it is his birthday today), head on over to my Jeff Bridges Blogathon page and read all the entries!

JeffBridgesBlogathon3

The Jeff Bridges Blogathon and a birthday wish…

So, first and foremost:

Happy Birthday Mr. Bridges! Hope you have a wonderful day.

And for Jeff Bridges’ 70th Birthday, I’ve decided to hold the Jeff Bridges Blogathon to honour this wonderful and often underrated actor.

JeffBridgesBlogathon1

As many of you know, I was introduced the wonderful world of movies through my parents’ Super 8 film collection (saved just in time from someone tossing them into the junkyard). And, it is amongst this wonderful collection that there was Lolly Madonna – XXX (and no, don’t get any ideas…that’s XXX as in kisses). The character who caught my attention was none other than Zack Feather played by Jeff Bridges. Since then, I’ve always enjoyed this artist and the movies he’s been in. From the up-to-no-good Jake (Bad Company) to Jack (The Fabulous Baker Boys and The Fisher King), be it Charles Howard (Seabiscuit) or Rooster Cogburn (True Grit) and those myriad other characters, every role he takes on is absolutely perfect.

Born on the 4th December 1949 as Jeffrey Leon Bridges, he has starred in movies such as The Fabulous Baker Boys, Tucker: The Man and his Dream, The Big Lebowski, The Fisher King, Crazy Heart, Hell or High Water, and and and the list goes on. It was year after year that I hoped this great actor would win the coveted Oscar and/or Golden Globe…finally 2010 came and Crazy Heart won him both awards. Photography is another gift of his and the shots I’ve seen are superb. As for his musical talents, those are fantastic too.

So, without further ado, here are the posts of my fellow bloggers in honour of today’s special birthday (I’ll update the entries as the day goes by…late entries welcome, including mine):

 

CrazyHeartPoster vengonofuoridallefottutepareti  (Sam Simon) – Crazy Heart (2009)
TheBigLebowskiPoster The Midnite Drive-InThe Big Lebowski (1998)
Jagged_edge_poster Realweegiemidget Reviews Jagged Edge (1985)
Lolly-Madonna_XXX Thoughts All Sorts – Lolly Madonna XXX (1973)
TronPoster Taking Up Room – Tron (1982)
TronPoster MovieRob – Tron (1982)
TronLegacy MovieRob – Tron Legacy (2010)
Tuckerposter Dubsism – Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
BadCompany Diary of a Movie Maniac – Bad Company (1972)
FabulousBakerBoys.jpg Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies – The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)

Faun’s latest delights…

…ah, what a feeling when you discover a band has released an album without you being aware of it (or rather, you weren’t aware there was one coming out and voila, you find it). It means it is a total surprise and you didn’t have to wait and wait.

Here is the new album from German band Faun. As the album name, Märchen & Mythen, suggests, their songs are fairy tale and myth themed.

I absolutely love the sound of Hagazussa:

This one, Seemann is also pretty cool (aren’t all of them though?):

Thalia is also lovely:

As always, happy listening. And for my favourite, head on here: Musical Notes: Federkleid (Faun)

Sunshine Blogger Award…Thank You!

SunshineManiacs and Monsters (here) has nominated my for a Sunshine Blogger Award. Thank you so much. For this round though, I’m going to be taken out of my comfort zone. Because, Maniacs and Monsters, I’m such a scaredy-cat when it comes to Horror. Yet, somehow this genre is coming to haunt me these days…recently I entered the Gothic Horror Blogathon where the banner tempted me to watch Crimson Peak (but am totally too scared to start it), I’ve had 28 Days Later on my To Watch list for ages (but am totally too scared to start it) and now, because things come in threes, you’ve given me some horror related questions. I think I need to stop being such a wuss and tackle a genre that, believe it or not, as a teen I had no problem watching (or reading).  (And I’ve just checked my watch list and seen that I’ve watched almost 40 horror movies in my time…so maybe it is simply a matter of getting back into it).

Here goes…

…starting with those rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Answer the eleven questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  3. Nominate eleven bloggers.
  4. Create eleven new questions for your nominees to answer.

…and here we go:

Thanks Maniacs and Monsters. I appreciate the nomination but also for giving me a push to the horror genre. Here are the questions of yours:

  1. Do you consider yourself a fan of horror, adverse to horror, or a patron of any genre including horror if it is entertaining? Well, when I first started writing this post I was a “oh, I can’t watch horror these days. I won’t sleep at night” person, probably the “any genre…if it is entertaining” approach. But, the more I think back and see what I used to watch…I’m actually probably a fan. I just need to get back into it. To stop being scared. To just watch this stuff and enjoy like I used to! But, I just can’t watch those gruesome, blood and guts torture horror movies. That for me, is just sick.

  2. What is the first horror film you remember watching and what was your reaction? This is going to be a very strange answer…because I actually don’t know what it was and I’ve been trying to find recently (another sign that maybe I’m ready for horror again). So…let me explain: my parents had Super 8 movies salvaged back 220px-Candymanposterwhen Video came out. Amongst them was some black and white horror movie with, I think, a vampire. All I can remember is something moving under a floor of straw (later to have may parents say they must have pulled something underneath it to give the effect). Oh, and I’m sure there was a barn of sorts. Someone screaming? What can I say? A black and white movie that has the reels whirring in the background and creepy vampires biting people, that’s got to be scary. But, strangely enough, I’d watch it over and over.
    Then came Candyman…I remember being so damn scared and to this day won’t whisper the name five times while looking into a mirror (that was the summoning, wasn’t it? Or did I remember it incorrectly?). But as a teen, it was awesome!
  3. What is your opinion of real world paranormal activities such as ghosts, spiritualism, UFOs, cryptozoology, or extrasensory perception? I definitely think there is something out there, something we can’t explain, something that doesn’t necessarily conform to the “normal” world as science might try explain. I do also think that many stories and myths had some form of explanation behind them. Possibly many were not as outrageous as we think but there were probably some truths to them. As for spiritualism…yes, there are signs we get that can’t be logically explained and that come with a purpose. I’m not making any sense here…
  4. Have you ever had what you believe to be a paranormal experience or at least an experience you could not explain? As per point 3 above, I have experienced signs or happenings I couldn’t explain, well, the only thing it could possibly have been is something present that I couldn’t see that did whatever it was. Once again, I’m not making sense…but I can’t explain…
    GothicHorror
  5. If you were cast in a horror movie, which of the following roles would you want and why:
    – last girl/guy

    – killer/monster
    – fodder for the slaughter
    – evil genius/mad scientist/cult leader
    – tortured soul
    – kick-ass hero/military leader
    – creepy caretaker/gas station attendant/neighbour/sea captain
    – member of the faceless zombie/demon/alien horde
    – wise stranger that warned those reckless kids 

    Oh gosh, my imagination is running wild here. I’m going to be cheeky and do a few:
    I’d be the (supposed) last woman, doing my utmost to stay alive, to remain undetected, living mostly on the move while killing off those damn, un-killable monsters. But, I’d find an abandoned (off-course) gas station where I’d make my base. When a group of know-it-all kids (and supposed last people alive) come my way I’ve got to get rid of them, they need to move on, so I’m going to be creepy. But as they finally leave, I’ll whisper a wise warning…because where they are headed, they are doomed. But…I told them so…njahahahahaaaa….
    Abandoned gas station?  Take 2

  1. Horror films, much like comedies, have been historically ignored by the Oscars. What horror film or horror performance do you feel deserved, but did not receive, recognition by the Academy? Strangely enough, all the horror I was going to suggest actually did win Oscars (not for performances though) – Sleepy Hollow (1999) and  Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). The Others received a Golden Globe nomination for Nicole Kidman so that was probably overlooked. Sorry, I’m no help here but yes, performances should get more attention and not only effects, music etc.
  2. Which subgenre of horror is most appealing to you (noting that these subgenres often overlap):
    • action horror
    • ‘B’ movies/camp
    • body horror
    • comedy horror
    • disaster/natural horror
    • giallo – what is this? I’m so green when it comes to horror…
    • gothic horror – after the recent Gothic Horror Blogathon, I’m tempted by this.
    • horror thriller – sounds good but not sure my nerves will handle it…
    • kaiju
    • psychological horror – this was the last type of horror I watched because it usually all had some explanation to it. And with that, I could cope.
    • science fiction horror
    • slasher
    • splatter
    • supernatural horror
  1. Assuming you observe Halloween, describe a favourite costume (scary or otherwise) that you have worn. Oh, without a doubt my lovely Red Riding Hood Cape that I’ve made from a nice heavy material. It has a hood that covers the face so nicely:
    RedRidingHood
  2. What is your greatest fear/phobia? That our future is going to be like all these dystopian movies (another genre I can’t watch).
  3. You die only to awaken as a ghost, vampire, or zombie. What do you do? I go feed…I’m a vampire after all…but a romantic gritty type take on the vampire. Like Lena in Wir Sind die Nacht (We are the night).
    WirSindDieNacht
  4. Darkness falls across the land. The alien invasion has begun.  Civilization is collapsing.  The dead are returning from the grave.  Cthulhu is rising from his eternal slumber.  The Horsemen of the Apocalypse are on the ride.  It’s the end of the world.  You are among a small group boarding an experimental starship to escape to another galaxy.  You are allowed to bring any three items of your choosing.  What do you bring (and no fair bringing something ‘useful’)? You said Items…so I’ll stick with that…but hang on…everything cool is useful…that samurai sword, or the kick-butt knife I can gouge an alien’s eye out and watch it oozing gloop. Or that camera with flash that can take photos (and blind the invading alien that is about to bite my head off). I’m going to have to think this one over…

Now to the next bit…the following bloggers (not sure I’ll get 11) get my nomination. I wanted to nominate a few more but you already have the honours from Maniacs and Monsters:

Dubsism

Sam Simon of vengonofuoridallefottutepareti

Jay of Assholes Watching Movies

The Craggus

The Stop Button

The Ü

Caftan Woman

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies

sevendoorsofcinema

Book Beach Bunny

Wolfmans Cult Film

Here are my 11 questions:

  1. The number of Western movies in my DVD collection far outnumber any other genre. What genre do you have most of in your collection and, well, why?
  2. Where movies are based on books, what is it for you: book before movie, only movie, only book or each is its own medium and not compare?
  3. You have to create a story using a mish-mash of your favourite existing book or movie characters – a good character (your protagonist), a villain, a superhero and a fantastical being, who would you bring together?
  4. Now, which actors would you cast in your story in 3 above?
  5. As this is a Sunshine Award, what is the movie or book that brings most Sunshine into your life?
  6. I’ve recently watched Rear Window and now have a different take on my neighbours. I’m sure you’ve all observed your own neighbours. What is the strangest or most interesting thing you have witnessed?
  7. Is there an actor or actress who’s movies you will watch regardless of the story, genre, content, reviews etc. and why?
  8. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
  9. Favourite movie from your childhood? Does it still appeal today?
  10. Who is the most interesting villain (movie or book) you’ve encountered?
  11. It is a rainy, cold day (as today is)…what do you do…read or watch a movie?

 

 

 

Intense, heavy, tragic, excellent…

Now…where do I even start? This is such a difficult movie to “digest”. I find it extremely disturbing and heart-breaking yet I do consider Brothers (2009) an excellent movie.

Well, I guess I should start at the beginning. We’re introduced to Marine Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire), his wife Grace (Natalie Portman) and their two little girls. We’re also introduced to Sam’s brother, Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal) just as he is being released from prison. And then, we discover Sam is about to leave for Afghanistan in the line of duty. Shot down and reported dead, in reality he and good friend Private Joe Willis (Patrick John Flueger) have, in fact, been taken captive and undergo extreme torture* by the Taliban in a remote village.  Back home Grace and the family try to make sense of it all while Tommy additionally needs to deal with getting his own life sorted.

*I barely managed to watch these scenes on my first viewing so please be warned…they are not easy watching. And may disturb you long after the credits roll.

brothers-movieThis in itself is so heartbreaking to watch as every member of the family, from father to son, mother to daughter and even friends have their own personal daemons and grief process. While watching this I found it difficult to even try to understand what these people are going through with such a loss. The blame, the guilt, the hope and the list goes on. And we see how everyone has their own means of dealing with it. This must be so unbelievably difficult.

On the other hand, we also see positive healing in an unexpected manner. Tommy, the son who never followed his father’s military footsteps and instead went the criminal route, finally finds responsibility, a purpose and a way of rebuilding his life.

2009_brothers_011But then, Sam comes home. And things become even more difficult. The effects of Sam’s traumatic and extreme experiences (I won’t go into the details) are of course felt by all. And once again, an entire family must rediscover itself, it’s purpose, redefine relationships and question everything they thought they stood for. It almost becomes even more challenging because when presumed dead, Sam’s family had some means to move on and rebuild. But with him back that normalcy falls away. Relationships are tested. And we are reminded of the emotional impact of war. The ever-lasting after-effects. How, when the physical scars heal, those mental ones are barely, if at all, heal-able. I cannot imagine that anyone can ever fully recover from experiences such as Sam (and countless others) have.

Sam’s final line sums it all up perfectly: “Only the dead have seen the end of war. I have seen the end of war. The question is…can I live again?”. And that’s the sad thing…the lives that are ruined.

Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal as always, deliver stellar performances and even Tobey Maguire is superb in his role, earning a Golden Globe nomination. Overall, absolutely worth watching but as I said, this is a heavy one.

For more Marine related movies, head on over to my blogging friend Gill of Realweegiemidget Reviews (here) and her co-host J-Dub of Dubsism (here) for their The Send in the Marine Blogathon.

MarinesBanner

Grace shines again…

Rear_Window_film_poster…as always. I’m really enjoying watching Grace Kelly and this time I finally got around to a movie that I’ve been meaning to watch for ages. Rear Window (1954).

Here she takes on the role of snob high society fashion expert Lisa, who is desperately trying to win the full attention of her boyfriend Jeff (?, hmm, is he really? Maybe she thinks so…I’m not convinced he does). He, however, is confined to his apartment in a wheelchair due to a broken leg courtesy of some action shot he took (he’s a photographer). Bored, Jeff (James Stewart) spends his days spying on casually watching the comings and goings of the surrounding neighbours. One couple living across the courtyard is constantly fighting until suddenly, the wife is gone. Under very suspicious goings on. Lisa at first isn’t really interested – she’s more worried about serving lobster and being the perfectly styled lady around. Oh, and becoming the undivided attention. However, gradually she is pulled into the mystery of the missing wife. And eventually is fully involved in contributing theories.

I absolutely love watching Grace Kelly go from pretty much being disinterested to being hands-on with this personal investigation going on. An absolute pleasure to watch her transform yet still allow the underlying prim and proper lady to shine through. And she seems to manage this so will in all the movies I’ve seen her in (which, I’m afraid is really a small handful). She has the knack of subtly bringing out a woman who does, in fact, have more substance/strength than we initially believe. And yet she always keeps her poise.

Grace-James

As for the movie, well, let’s just focus on Grace here. She is magnificent. And gives another fine performance.

Here the movie that first introduced my to this actress: Grace Kelly’s Mrs Kane in High Noon and here she is in another Hitchcock movie: To Catch a Thief (1955).

For more of this wonderful lady, head on over to The Wonderful World of Cinema (here), Musings of a Classsic Film Addict (here) and The Flapper Dame (here), the wonderful hosts of The 5th Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon.

GraceKellyBlogathon

In case you missed it: The Jeff Bridges Blogathon

With so much on the go at the moment, I thought I’d just casually mention that the Jeff Bridges Blogathon is a month away. I’d love for you all to join me in celebrating this wonderful actor on his 70th Birthday.

Here’s my original announcement: Announcing the Jeff Bridges Blogathon

JeffBridgesBlogathon1

Northanger Abbey? Gothic?

Northanger Abbey_1I was quite surprised to see an image of this wonderful Jane Austen story on Pale Writer‘s Blogathon announcement. So I learn something everyday…and actually, it is right there, so obvious. Because Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey’s main character is engrossed by Gothic stories, particularly Anne Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho. Ms Radcliffe was, in fact, one of the first writers of Gothic fiction. Or, at least someone key in making it a “genre” if you like. Something else I’ve learnt.

Any excuse to watch the 2007 rendition of Northanger Abbey again…this time for the Gothic influence. It is absolutely wonderful watching Catherine, played perfectly by Felicity Jones, daydream (and dream) of all things “horrid” and terribly suspenseful, all influenced by those novels she loves to engross herself in. I absolutely love how this movie integrates the characters into her various fantasies all dark and moody (I’m not sure how they are portrayed in the book…will find out soon though as I have it waiting patiently on my bedside table to be read) from her daily encounters…including Henry Tilney and his brother. Ultimately, our dreams and daydreams involve people we know, I guess. And don’t we all build up our own expectations of the unknown…like Catherine expects a haunted mansion with ghouls and ghosts. And Henry just loves to tease her about it.

NorthangerAbbey1

Felicity Jones is perfect as Catherine who gives us that wonderful contrast between innocence and her “wild” haunting romantic dreams. I’m enjoying J.J. Field (Henry) more and more…

Her staying over at the Tilneys’ place is a delight. I thoroughly enjoy watching her build up her own mysterious world based on her readings and what she’s heard. The lightning storm adds the perfect atmosphere.

NorthangerAbbey4

All-in-all, a wonderful movie, well worth the watch.

For other entries of the Dark and Deep: The Gothic Horror Blogathon give Pale Writer a visit (here). And be sure to check out my Sleepy Hollow post for the same Blogathon (here). And while not part of this Blogathon, also thematically fitting is a previous post of mine on The Crow both comic and movie over here (here).

gothic-horror-banner

 

Some delightful magic…

practical-magic-poster-01Practical Magic. Remember that one? One of those feel-good Sandra Bullock movies with a bit of magic and of course, romance. I came across it again last weekend. And thoroughly enjoyed it. Again.

There’s a curse around. A curse on the Owens witches. Passed from mother to daughter, generation after generation. All because of love. Or, rather the “agony of love”. Maria Owens, casts a spell that any man who is truly loved will die. And that’s exactly where the problem for sisters Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman) comes in. Sally falls in love, with detrimental effects and Gillian, well, she also meets a man but has other problems. Ending up temporarily living with the aunts who raised them, these problems needs solving and the two sisters are left to deal with it, and a handsome investigator mostly on their own. What results is a wonderful, feel-good movie of magic, spells, family, laughter and love.

Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman are perfectly juxtaposed as sisters – different enough yet still convincing. Who better to play the two wacky aunts, and wacky they are…chocolate for breakfast, no things as bedtimes or brushing teeth (eeuw), than Stockard Channing and Diane Wiest? They remind us of what we should do a little more in our lives…worry less about what others think and just be ourselves. Granted, that is not always easy, but honestly, I think rate others’ opinions of us far too highly. There are some other lessons to be learnt but I won’t bore you with that right now.

PracticalMagic2

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, romantic (comedies?) movies had something that just worked. They were light, delightful and just…well, uhm, romantic. Especially if you had Sandra Bullock and Aidan Quinn (remember him?) crossing paths. Aidan Quinn is Gary Hallet, the detective following a lead and finding himself face-to-face with the most disliked ladies in town. Ladies who are totally misunderstood.

So, if like me, you are way too scared to watch real horror movies for Halloween, give Practical Magic (1998) a watch. You’ll smile and you’ll feel good by the end.

And remember ladies, “There’s a little witch in all of us”. Well, that’s what the aunts think anyway.