Actors and Actresses

My Five (Modern) Stars…

Inspired by the Five Stars Blogathon that invited bloggers to list their five favourite movie stars with an explanation as to why they are loved (from the silents to the 70s), I’ve decided to list my 5 (+1) favourites from the 70s to now.

In no particular order (well, maybe a little):

Daniel Day-Lewis

Without much thought required, and most of you already know it but Daniel Day-Lewis is my absolute favourite “modern-day” actor. He’s just brilliant. Full stop. I always enjoy the roles he takes on from the first one I ever saw as Hawkeye (naturally my favourite) to the lesser known Jack (The Ballad of Jack and Rose) and all those before, after and in between. I thoroughly enjoy his acting style, his screen presence, everything. He’s not an actor, no…he’s an artist.

Jeff Bridges

Jeff Bridges, another fantastic artist. I’ve yet to watch a movie that he wasn’t excellent in. I was “introduced” to him many years ago as a 24 year old in the 1973 role of Zack Feather in Lolly Madonna XXX (as in kiss, kiss, kiss signed on a postcard). A relatively unknown movie (which I’ll review soon), since seeing him there he was always on my favourite list despite the fact that none of my friends knew whom I was talking about.

Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett is…well…great. So often we “associate” actors/actresses with roles they take on…not her. She’s Stepmother without me ever thinking of Veronica Guerin or Elizabeth. All distinct characters. Brilliantly potrayed. Superb all around.

Michael Fassbender

This actor snuck up on me unexpectedly and now I’d (almost) never miss a movie of his. It all started with the unassuming Centurion (which I was soooo close to not watching)…well, technically with 300 where he caught my attention but I couldn’t quite identify who he was. It goes beyond his acting roles though. I’ve seen him a few times on the Graham Norton Show and he always comes across so fun and genuine (or so it appears). And a certain part of his anatomy in Shame has absolutely nothing to do with anything. Honestly.

Cillian Murphy

Simply excellent. Cillian Murphy is so versatile in the roles he picks…from John/Emma Skilpa in Peacock, to my crushable Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders. He’s even given the romantic lead a go in Watching the Detectives. And so many more brilliant roles that makes him one of my top 5.

Guy Pearce

Are you sitting down? Well, here I must confess…I initially disliked Guy Pearce because of his role in The Count of Monte Cristo (how shallow I am). Then came The Proposition and I was hooked. Now I even like his Edmond Dante role. I’ve since caught up with Memento (how utterly brilliant) and whole lot more including The Rover.

Reducing lists to a specific number, especially 5 (6), is extremely difficult but special mention goes to the following actors who I’ll generally watch no matter what they are in: Dame Judi Dench, Keira Knightley, Donald Sutherland and Sam Rockwell.

 

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Bond…in a different light…

In light of the 007 Blogathon, I though I’d give you something slightly different of probably the least known James BondGeorge Lazenby who did only 1 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Filming took place in Grindelwald, Switzerland where my mother was working at the time. She’s let me share these photos taken of her and James Bond in 1969 during Fasnacht (Carnival in Switzerland).

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Sexy crush…Peaky Blinders’ Tommy Shelby

I’d pretty much written this post (albeit unconvincingly)…then I went to Switzerland…

PeakyBlinders5My sexy crush was obvious from the very start – Tommy Shelby from Peaky Blinders. Yet somehow, I just didn’t know why. Last year’s choice for this Blogathon (here) was easy – a look back on a straightforward teenage crush. But now, 20 or so years later, what’s the appeal in a bad boy? I should be more mature than that. Actually, maybe that’s exactly it…as a teenager, the crush is probably more superficial, more about looks and visual appeal. Now, sexy (which goes hand-in-hand with a crush for me) is much, much more than that. It took me a week of time-out from the everyday with some awesome people* together with great conversation to realise this (I probably knew it anyway – I just hadn’t formalised it in my mind). In fact, one of the topics (co-incidentally) we contemplated one night was exactly that – what makes a person sexy and appealing? We’d agreed (I think) that it was more than just looks. While we didn’t chat about it long, it did get me thinking…

So…I consider myself a good girl who doesn’t really fall for bad boys but ooh, oooh, oooooh, I just couldn’t help falling head over heels with Tommy Shelby. From the opening scene of Peaky Blinders I was totally smitten. Whwwwwew…it isn’t easy trying to write up a post while totally swooning over the character in question. Moving along swiftly…but hey…he’s just sooooo sexy…

Yes…sexy. What is it that makes a man sexy in the first place? Why do you fall for him? Why do we have that crush? One that almost wrenches your heart out? Because crushes are infatuations we have with the unattainable.

What draws me to Mr Shelby (and yes, that’s “Mr” to you or anyone else he encounters who isn’t family or exempt from formalities)? I don’t know. I really don’t. Maybe it’s that he’s always well dressed. Maybe it’s that se… that was pre-mini-break…
Now, I think I know. It has something to do with his presence…definitely. He’s the first person I notice in the room on the screen. The only one who draws me in. Inexplicably. Immediately. Some sort of combination of charisma, outward confidence and yes, naturally (because I’m human), looks. Not the society-conditioned-hot-hunky look but a mature, sophisticated, yet very attractive look. And outwardly, he acts and dresses that way too:

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I’d never consciously noticed eyes on men before, but strangely enough, the eyes seem to be a striking trait found in the men I’ve found sexy. Don’t take me wrong….I don’t often have crushes, but those few I’ve had, now thinking about it, have something about their eyes. Just look at these:

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And the crush in question has some “rough” edges…he’s definitely not a boyish man…no, he’s a manly man but never old man. Oh just look at him:

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There’s some ruggedness about him yet at the same time he has a softer way with women. What makes Tommy Shelby attractive is that Grace never needs to go out her way to attract his attention. He goes about doing his job and whatever else he deems important and the relationship just happens – a natural “gel”.  He’s also able to hold a good conversation.

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And…it is not about the “deed”, the “s” word…not at all. Tommy Shelby has all the appeal without that. The ultimate for me, the defining moment, is where he (spoiler alert) “rescues” Grace from the men who want their own way with her (even though the “off-putting, totally un-crushable” part should be that he led her to them but I’ll just file that away for now).

PeakyBlinders6He has a history that has shaped him. Hidden daemons. Depth. Dimensions. But he’s not scared to admit it. Through this, he makes me feel alive. There’s a sense of living dangerously (of course, glamourised, it being a series). And that gives even more flutters. Re-ignites something that the day-to-day life doesn’t have. In fact, one of the people I spoke to overseas said something along the lines of falling not for the person but for the euphoric, electric feeling one experiences from the person in question. A high.

Realistically, I know I shouldn’t like him. I mean, who likes a guy who’s every move, every action has an underlying motive? Tommy Shelby never, ever does anything “just so”. Absolutely everything is calculated and for the good of him (and his family – which is totally sexy in the right context) or his business ventures. And he’s mean, cold and pure work, no fun. He’s a gangster.

While crushes and sexiness are far more than just this, I’ll ponder those thoughts some more. In the meantime, my tummy flutters. I’m totally aloof, struggling to think straight. There’s been some profound effect on me.

PeakyBlinders7.jpgOk, ok, fine…I’ll admit it, I’m shallow – he just looks so damn good. There. Happy?

On a less shallow and infatuated note…if you haven’t seen BBC’s Peaky Blinders, I highly recommend you give it a go. Yes, it is gritty, dark and violent but it is really excellent with superb performances from all involved. They include Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill, Paul Anderson, Joe Cole, Helen McCrory, Sophie Rundle, Ned Dennehy, Ian Peck, Annabelle Wallis, Tom Hardy, Iddo Goldberg, Noah Taylor and many more.

Gosh, I could go watch Peaky Blinders right now…I think I will.

*To L and S (Ihr wisst wer Ihr seid), thank you for putting my post into perspective and for some good conversation last week.

Thanks to Silver Screenings and Font and Frock for hosting this hot, hot Blogathon. Head on over to Reel Infatuation to read more…and…for my teenage infatuation with Lucky Luciano and Will Scarlett have a look at my entry from last year’s Reel Infatuation Blogathon: Crushing on Will Scarlett and Lucky Luciano.

Captain Von Trapp…first impressions of Christopher Plummer

I’ll always associate Christopher Plummer with Captain Von Trapp from The Sound of Music (1965). The serious widower and father of 7 wonderful children. I watched this movie over and over when I was small but must admit, I never looked further than Maria (Julie Andrews), the children and the songs. I honestly didn’t care much for the gruff Captain who summons his children by whistle.

Only on watching this recently and naturally much, much older, did I take note of the entire story a bit more, including Captain Von Trapp. With a more “holistic” or maybe, mature, approach I realised what a wonderful actor Mr Plummer is. But, I was also more aware of the character of the Captain. His motives and the situation he finds himself all give him depth that as a child you don’t notice. Naturally so, because as a child we watch movies on a different “level”, noting only the obvious, if that makes any sense. I found myself warming up to Christopher Plummer. He portrays the Captain so well and with just enough emotion, or lack thereof, required for me to start sympathising with him. I’m a sucker for romance and for the first time found myself enjoying the relationship between Maria and the Captain develop. As a child I’d always wondered what Maria could possibly ever see in him. Most beautiful is watching them dance together at the party where he steps in for young Kurt who is not quite managing. But just lovely to watch is the stern patriarch showing little nuances of a smile here and there.

What I didn’t know until writing this post is that Christopher Plummer apparently despised this movie and made it known publicly. According to IMDB, he only eased up on this opinion in his 2008 autobiography. What I also learnt is that he is/was the only member of the cast to have met the real Maria von Trapp.

What I’d like to remember is The Sound of Music for the movie it is, so I’m going to disregard all comments supposedly made by Christopher Plummer to bring it down. Hmmmm, I think I may just give it another watch.

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Gunslinging Dentist?

Doc Holliday, gunslinger, deputy marshal, gambler and forever connected, through his friendship with Wyatt Earp, to the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Before I go on…if you are looking for historical accuracy, you won’t find it here. Just a look at Doc Holliday in Tombstone (1993). So, where was I?

Oh yes. So…having watched him in Tombstone played by Val Kilmer, you probably know that he was suffering from tuberculosis. You’ll also know that he was an avid gambler (which I believe was a respectable profession back in the day). Doc Holliday, born John Henry Holliday, continues gambling and drinking despite his illness.

oie_yqU5SVcKigzSWhat never fails to amaze me (and, I really admire him for it), is that, no matter how ill he is, he is there for his friend Wyatt. As for Val Kilmer, to me he is the star in this movie portraying the sickly, and later dying, Doc so convincingly. What a fabulous character both externally and internally. A man, who claims he wasn’t as ill as he looked so he could face Johnny Ringo rather than have Wyatt take the risk. Or, who got out there to ride posse and did what needed doing despite feeling dreadful. “I’m in my prime” he proudly announces when Johnny Ringo questions if he has also retired from the law despite his obvious suffering.

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“I’m in my prime”

What I appreciate is that he doesn’t rely on the excuse that he is sick and therefore has no need to put himself out there…quite the contrary, I think he knows his days are numbered and therefore makes sure he puts himself out there. What does he have to lose, after all? I think his last scene emphasises this in that he asks Wyatt to leave before he dies – the Doc Holliday doesn’t want to be seen as vulnerable.

But, can you imagine him treating your pearly whites? Didn’t think so. Yes, he was also a dentist, having been admitted to the degree at the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery. He even worked in a dental practice before heading to a warmer climate because of his tuberculosis. While Tombstone doesn’t mention this directly, there is reference to the fact that he is an educated man in the wonderful bar-scene “duel” with him and Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn, also fantastic in this role) showing off their Latin and gun-spinning talents.

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Quite an interesting character this Doc Holliday. Isn’t he? And perfect for this Medicine in the Movies Blogathon as he is both a patient and doctor.

As for Tombstone, if you haven’t watched this one, it’s high time you do. A wonderful movie narrated by Robert Mitchum and starring a host of well known actors including Kurt Russell, Sam Elliot, Bill Paxton, Powers Booth and many, many more.

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My Five (Classic) Stars…

“The Five Stars Blogathon invites bloggers to list their five favorite movie stars and explain why you love them. It’s that simple. (And, they need to be from the silents to the 70s).”

So, here goes….(apologies if some of these actors still made a few movies after the 70s  but I’m taking the liberty of including them, as to me, they were stars during the classic times and thats I how I got to “know” them). In no particular order:

John Wayne

My childhood hero. Need I say more as to why I love him? Well, “love” may be a bit strong, but more, “admire”. He was the first movie star on my radar. While friends at school didn’t know who he was (they were all into Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt), that didn’t stop me thinking that nobody, but nobody, can leap onto a horse quite like John Wayne. The Duke was (and still is) special to me.

Jane Powell

Not so much Jane Powell, but “Milly” (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers). Oh did I dream of her. Her dresses, her mascara, her will to stand up for herself amongst those 7 brothers. In a way, I still dream a little of that greyish-blue dress she wears while singing “Wonderful, Wonderful Day”. *Sigh* She’s one of the reasons I fell in love with the magic of film.

Gregory Peck

Swoon… 😉

There’s something about Gregory Peck that takes up a whole lot of screen space. Probably, it comes down to the role I was introduced to him by: Duel in the Sun. He’s the bad boy (like you have never seen a bad boy) yet in a deranged way, he’s likeable (well, his likeability comes and goes) but boy oh boy is he something. He pulls this role off perfectly. And then there’s him as “Stretch” in Yellow Sky. One of my favourite movies. But, it comes down to the fact that I simply enjoy watching the younger Gregory Peck. Be it The Big Country or Roman Holiday or any one of his other roles.

Yul Brynner

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Yul Brynner is fantastic in his portrayal of such a variety of characters. Most notably, the contradictory roles of Chris (The Magnificent Seven) where he has such high morals to the Gunslinger (Westworld) where he totally creeped me out. And then again the King of Siam. For me, he’ll forever be the cowboy clad in black saving a village, a role that nobody else can pull off like he did. Smooth, sexy and simply swoon-worthy.

Paul Newman

Paul Newman (always the young one in my mind as those are the movies I’ve seen). Another childhood hero. For me, he’s Andrew Craig, Luke, Butch Cassidy, Henry Gondorff and all those classic roles. With his striking blue eyes and his screen presence , he’s always a pleasure to watch.

Here are my Five (Modern) Stars.

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