Actors and Actresses

Der Rote Baron (2008)…on this 100 Year Anniversary…

Red-baron_movie-posterI’m totally, emotionally drained. My mood is sombre. I’m quite angry…at the futility of war. It is just disgusting.

I tend to avoid watching war movies, not because I want to ignore that fact that these things happen but because I struggle to watch the atrocities, the lives being wastefully taken, the horror of it all…and the list goes on. But, as World War I ended 100 years ago today and Maddy from Maddy over at Maddy Loves Her Classic Films is hosting the World War 1 Blogathon, I decided to watch a movie I’ve long wanted to see…Der rote Baron (The Red Baron). I’ve just finished…hence my tender emotional state…but…it is an excellent movie.

The Red Baron is about the ace fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen (superbly played by Matthias Schweighöfer) who, as a child dreams of the freedom he might find up in the air. Born into aristocracy, he has the opportunity to follow this dream and so, during The Great War, finds himself using his skills for his country. We find ourselves following his ascent to the skies in his red plane but also in his status. He is known as the Red Baron not only because of his skills and abilities but just as importantly, because of his camaraderie with those around him. Initially, this is more a game for him…a means to live out his passion for flying, he even mentions that the objective is “..to bring down aeroplanes, not men”. At the beginning of the movie the atmosphere is lighter, with our young pilots having quite a number of cocky one-liners. As our story and therefore the war progresses, von Richthofen‘s eyes are opened to reality. This largely initiated by Käte (Lena Headey), a nurse desperately helping those less fortunate on a daily basis. As more and more of his pilot friends fall from the skies it all starts hitting home.

Excellent acting from all involved…so much so that you’ll find yourself sitting there feeling the losses, the decisions, the horrors of war. Der rote Baron doesn’t give many gruesome battlefield scenes but I think the emotional ones, the conscious decisions given and orders taken, those scenes are as powerful as any. It also tends to stay away from taking any sides but rather focuses on what would have been experienced by anyone, regardless of which side they were on.

 

Written and directed by Nikolai Müllerschön, it also stars Til Schweiger, Joseph Fiennes, Maxim Mehmet, Hanno Kofler and Volker Bruch amongst others.

When watching these things, I mourn the general destruction and loss of life…not only the human ones but also that of the environment, the fauna and flora. It makes me hope like crazy that at some point someone will learn from the past so that nobody ever needs to experience something like this again.

It is only fair that we honour the real man behind the movie too (along with everyone else fallen in battle).

vonRichthofen.PNG

For more entries to Maddy’s Blogathon head on over here.

ww1-banner-1

Advertisements

Notorious…my 3rd Ingrid Bergman movie

If you thought you saw this post and then it was gone (last month)…you weren’t imagining things. I was hopelessly early…so, here it is again…this time on the right dates:capture-d_ecc81cran-2018-06-03-acc80-17-37-24I have a confession to make…gosh…how do I say this…ok, the best is to just get it out there: I’ve only seen Ingrid Bergman once before (oops, I lie…twice before)…but only ever one Alfred Hitchcock movie, sometime last year. Spellbound it was. And, wait! There’s more. Uhm, I’ve never seen a single Cary Grant movie before. You’re probably shaking your head in disgust. I’ll just put it down to too many movies, too little time. But wait! That’s all being changed as we speak…yep, I’ve just started watching my second ever Hitchcock movie that has Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant starring. Impressive, huh? So now, let me go watch…

.

.

.

I’ve now added to my “Seen” list. Notorious is the latest addition. I’ve also added to a genre I’m not at all familiar with…film noir. Need to find some more of this genre. And much more Ingrid Bergman.

What more can I say other than…what a wonderful actress? Here she takes on the role of Alicia Huberman, the daughter of a Nazi spy. Deemed perfect to carry out an undercover operation within a group of Nazis, she is recruited by agent Devlin (Cary Grant) who fairly quickly falls in love with her. Part of her job is to gain the trust of Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains) who once had a crush on her, which she tells Devlin she didn’t pursue. Would you expect anything else than a love triangle with this kind of setup? All surrounded by espionage and plots.

Notorious.PNG

Ingrid Bergman comes across so natural, so convincing. She’s absolutely perfect. I have read though that she was actually very nervous and insecure during this second time working with Hitchcock but that Cary Grant was a guidance to her, thus helping her through. This quite interesting as in the movie there is also this guiding.

I’m really enjoying Ingrid Bergman’s work…the three roles of hers I’ve seen have all been great. I’m looking forward to some more….I’m tempted to do The Bells of St. Mary’s next…purely because a while back I saw a Blogathon poster with a scene from this movie and it looked wonderful.

For more Bergman, head on over to The 4th Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon here.

 

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.

Red_Movie_Bruce Willis & Malcovich

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.

Helen_Mirren_Red_Movie_Image_John_Malkovich

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.

foursome-1

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

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…

NObley7.PNG

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…

Austenland4

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:

Nobley11.PNG

“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.

Nobley12.PNG

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*

Nobley2.PNG

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…

KurtRussell1

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

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

Michelle just shines…

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

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

Bakerboys2

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

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

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

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

Happy Birthday Michelle Pfeiffer!

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

 

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

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

The only thing I “knew” was this:

Audrey-Hepburn-mostra-roma-2011

oh…and this:

1280px-Petó_Breakfast_at_Tiffany's

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

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

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

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

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