Actors and Actresses

Retirees in full force…

Red_ver7That’s exactly what we have in R.E.D. That is Retired, Extremely Dangerous. So dangerous that they need to be knocked off. Oh yes…you read right…

Former Black-Ops Agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is going about his much slowed down life. The regular highlight being him tearing up his pension cheques so he has an excuse to chat to pension office administrator Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). In the early hours of one morning all that changes when he is targeted by some assassination team. Needing no further excuse to actually meet Sarah (he believes whoever is trying to kill him is a threat to her because of their phone calls) he surprises her one evening in her apartment. She naturally thinks he’s totally crazy and won’t go with him…but he has his means.

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Together they round up Frank‘s former team in order to get to the bottom of the assassination attempt…Joe Matheson who’s supposedly dead for about the umpteenth time but very much alive (Morgan Freeman), cellphone-sattelite-technology-of-any-sort-phobe-conspiracy-theorist Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich) and femme fatale Victoria (Helen Mirren). The retirees.

They make for one feisty foursome. And their respective personalities and idiosyncrasies make for an entertaining team. Frank is trying to deal with his new-found “broad” that he quite likes (and has to convince Marvin not to knock her off – Marvin believes everyone is out to get him). Marvin, well, need I say more with John Malkovich in this role??? He’s absolutely nuts but often right with his hunches. Joe is the perfect balance to this team and I like his calm, intelligent reasoning – figures that he was the former mentor of Frank…but he’s perfectly mischievous in his retirement home too. And Victoria…she’s a woman to be scared of despite the posh appearances…”I kill people, dear” she explains to Sarah.

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Add Sarah, who actually quite enjoys the whole “secretive” thing, William Cooper (Karl Urban), the CIA Agent instructed to track and kill Frank, exRussian Agent Ivan Simonov (Brian Cox), Henry, the Records Keeper (Ernest Borgnine) and you’ve got a movie that is a joy to watch.

I always find myself grinning in the two scenes where William Cooper tells Frank…”Grandpa”.

So, if you’re up for something fun and light but still in the action direction, give this one a watch. I think you’ll enjoy it.

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For some more Foursomes, head on over to MovieMovieBlogBlog and The Favorite Foursome Blogathon.

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Unsuspecting Crush…

RI Banner 2018Trying and trying to decide on who to write about I think I’ve developed a totally unexpected crush…he’s kind of snuck up on me. Cheeky bugger. Can’t believe it. And here I was looking through all (not that many, I’m not that shallow) my “obvious” crushes, desperately trying to decide who got the chance this year for the long awaited Reel Infatuation Blogathon. I didn’t even realise I had developed a crush on him until my conscious asked me why I kept watching a specific movie, hang on, rephrase that…specific scenes in a specific movie (you’ll cringe when you hear which one) over…and over…and over…and over…and…oh you get the idea. Definitely crush, right? I guess that’s how it goes with these things. They hit you full strength when you least expect them.

Even weirder…why one particular person and not another? I mean, what makes a person who is not normally one’s “type” be the object of a crush? Totally bizarre. Must definitely be something more than just their looks. Well, I guess that’s the thing…people aremore than just looks. Here’s my latest crush…

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It all started in a way that these things often start with me…that is…not knowing which movie to watch and not really thinking too hard, on goes an “arb” one…in this case, on went…oooh, do I even admit to this…hmmmm….gosh, I’m so embarrassed….ok, fine…Austenland (2013). I’d never heard of it before and I sure couldn’t imagine JJ Feild as a romantic lead. I mean come on, he was that bastard Thax, who (spoiler alert) cut his fellow comrade’s Achilles tendon to save himself from starving wolves. I was so happy when he met his deserving death in that role (Centurion (2010)). Anyway, movie starts, I’m a bit sceptical about this whole setup in general but I keep watching. I vaguely acknowledge Mr Henry Nobley (Feild) because, he’s the prejudged backstabber of course.

Hang on…I’m watching that introduction of him (peering over a book, pretending not to be interested, but totally intrigued) for the second, hang on, third, or is it fourth time?

Nobley12 (2).PNGOh, the joys of technology where you can go straight to the scene you want. Next thing I know I’m on the scene where he brings heroine in from the rain…second, third…oh sod it…however many-eth time. Oooh, and the ending…how romantic. But then…I guess, it is understandable that he is so wonderful because the character he is based on is the perfect gentleman in Jane Austen’s works. How could I not fall for him? And I have you know…I’ve fallen for the gentleman for a change. And you thought after the last two years’ entries I’d bring another bad boy along…huh? Huh? See?

I’m going to have to head on to spoilers now…sorry…just to point out the reasons that won me over…

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How he gazes at Jane so discretely but just wonderfully…aaahhhhh….There’s something about those “disbelieving” looks he gives from time to time that just…I don’t know…look good…damn good…and they are always to bring a bit of reality back to the ridiculous situation (you’ll understand when you watch).

Having just told Jane that while he finds Austenland quite grotesque he likes the simplicity of Jane Austen’s world where “love is straightforward and lasting”. Now a guy like that’s a keeper. Adding the cherry on top in this scene, who wouldn’t have a big humongous crush on a guy who delivers a genuine line “Jane, you are my fantasy.”? Even Jane thinks that only happens in movies:

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“Jane, you are my fantasy”

As for a guy who wears a “I ♡ Darcy” t-shirt for his girlfriend…need I say more? Actually, all along, he just goes with the flow and comes across totally at ease with Jane. No pretenses. Just himself. Even when admitting he was really bad in the play that was put on.

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Confirmation that this is a character that’s won me over and not the actor is when I go out looking for other roles for fueling the wonderful feeling and never find them. Because, it is after all, that particular character who has a way about him. Otherwise, I’d have developed a crush on Thax in the first place and trust me…I was disgusted by his actions. But Henry, ah, he’s so sweet. *Sigh*

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Thax? Oh no, whew, just Mr Nobley in costume…

And now you expect me to concentrate? Really? Actually, I’m still trying to figure out how this one wrangled his way into the Blogathon.

As for the movie itself…it is just wacky and over the top. Totally ditsy and silly yet good fun to watch and dare I say, has some clever moments. You may be a bit confused with the pictures i.e. the setting sometimes appearing period piece other times not. Don’t be confused. It all comes together.

Thanks to Silver Screenings, Front and Frock and A Small Press Life for another wonderful year of making us all giddy and starry eyed…

For my previous years’ entries check out Sexy Crush…Peaky Blinders’ Tommy Shelby and Crushing on Will Scarlett and Lucky Luciano.

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…

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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!

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?

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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:

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oh…and this:

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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:

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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.

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.