Films

Simply Splendid…Serendipity

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To start…I apologise for poor layout or incorrect spelling…you have no idea how hard it is writing a post on a phone. Anyway…

You know you’re in for a treat when the opening scene of last minute Christmas shopping is accompanied with Louis Armstrong’s Cool Yule. And that can only mean something light but special is heading your way. Serendipity is just that. Besides, how could a movie with such a title not be special?

It all starts during that last minute shopping rush…over a single pair of gloves. She wants them (for herself) and he wants them (for his girlfriend). They spend a wonderful evening together and leave the rest up to fate – a dollar bill with his name and number on it. A book sold to an used book store with her name and number. Life unfolds for both of them but somehow neither can forget the other.

The way this light romantic movie unfolds is simply magical. As the viewer it is such a pleasure (and often frustrating, in a good way) watching them, and fate, miss each other by seconds yet in doing so, working their way to each other. They just don’t make them like this anymore.

Set in New York, mainly during the Christmas period, it has some beautiful sights to show with my favourite being the snowy evening (two of them in fact) on the ice rink of Central Park.

Ah, I simply adore this one. Oh..“them“ is Sara and Jonathan…Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack. They work so well as a couple.serendipity

For more wonderful Winter in July posts, head on over to Moon in Gemini.

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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.

Lust in the Dust…oops, I mean Duel in the Sun…

..is my entry into The 4th Annual Sex! (Now that I have your attention) Blogathon. I’ve been at a bit of a loss as to what movie to write about for MovieMovieBlogBlog‘s Blogathon (whom I’m sure had given up hope on receiving an entry from me despite my promise to submit 😉 ). I’d picked a movie, yet wasn’t quite convinced…and then it hit me…how could this Blogathon not have a post on Duel in the Sun (1946)? It is suggestive from the very beginning…and never really lets up…

Just look at the very first image we see…

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Come on…it gives such a clear indication of what is yet to come…before it has even started.

So, while many don’t like it (even I have a love-hate relationship with it), it did receive two Oscar nominations (for Jennifer Jones (Best Actress in a Leading Role) and Lillian Gish (Best Actress in a Supporting Role)). But it’s quite the story…loaded with sexual innuendo throughout. The introduction of the movie (during the Overture section), gives us hints…”Duel in the Sun, 2 years in the making, is a saga of Texas in the 1880s. When primitive passions rode the raw frontier of an expanding nation.” Maybe I’m looking too deeply into it (and things were interpreted on a more innocent level way back then) but the words “primitive passion” and “raw frontier”, for me, are as provocative as anything.

Once the movie starts we see Pearl (Jennifer Jones), who the narrator describes as “quick to blossom” (need I elaborate?) dancing, supposedly innocently, but we soon see the sultry side to it (after seeing the actions of her mother as well as the comment made by an acquaintance “Like mother like daughter….I like the daughter better”). At this stage, and often throughout the movie, I think she is sometimes ignorant of what her subconscious really wants. Or…she knows.

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Maybe she is still naive at the early stages of the movie (the unstated undertones are definitely there though)…she’s quite happy to change into a green dress for the “good son” Jesse (Joseph Cotton) right there and then on the wagon as they ride home from town. And she’s only known him for a few hours, if that.

But of course, it all gets steamy when we meet (for me, the ultimate bad boy), Lewton/Lewt (Gregory Peck). First thing he does, before his mother even has a chance to introduce him properly, is look Pearl up and down. And boy is this a looking up and down. No words can explain. Things are already heated up and he hasn’t even said anything. As for their simple phrases “Pleased to meet you Lewton.”

and “Pleased to meet you (pause)…Pearl.” – never have introductions been so steamy. Totally confirmed as she drops her eyes to the floor. And we know he’s just desperate to get to know her when mother Laura Belle (Lillian Gish) shows Pearl to her room telling her that she and Lewt will have plenty of time to get to know each other later. “I’m sure we will” utters Lewt out of the ladies’ earshot. Yes Lewt, I’m also sure you will.

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Oh my…the screen is sizzling.

And I don’t think it is only Lewt who has some ideas about Pearl. Nice boy Jesse just doesn’t make it as obvious. He’s the lawyer after all. There are expectations in society. Read between the lines when he tells her “I think you’d better go to bed. Like a good little girl.” moments after this:

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But fear not…he might send her off to preserve their dignity but Lewt has no problem with showing his desires. He just doesn’t give a damn. He’s waiting for her:

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And as she closes her bedroom door after telling him “good night” (while he’s still outside), her gaze to the door tells us she probably does want him coming to visit. She’s intrigued.

Duel in the Sun if filled with such scenes. Nothing romantic (well, not for me), they are purely about lust. Even Lewt “innocently” showing off his horse is simply a different approach to his one goal. One that is visually confirmed in the scene where he chases after her on horseback. Never have two horses galloping had more sexual meaning.

But make no mistake. Pearl isn’t so innocent in all of this. Those swaying hips and fluttering eyelashes don’t help the situation. It doesn’t even go unnoticed by the other cowboys working on the ranch. There’s bound to be trouble at some point. And yes, plenty there is.

I could go on and on about the endless scenes, but by now I think it is very clear what this one is about. Possibly this it isn’t the best movie out there but it is undeniably sensual. And you thought no western could be that, didn’t you? No wonder it was nicknamed “Lust in the Dust”. And if you don’t believe it…once you’re done watching the final dusty and sweaty scene, there won’t be much doubt in your mind.

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For my entries into this Blogathon for 2016 and 2017 (and a lighter more romantic movie), head on over here (for Subtly Sexy Pride & Prejudice) and…oh no!!!! I’ve just realised I covered the same movie here last year…well, I honestly hadn’t checked what I’d covered before…promise. Right this minute, as I was finalising and about to publish (while adding the links) I see my entry from last year…gosh, should have stuck with my original choice for this year. Oh well, so, totally new material today, just the same movie as last year (Heated Lust with Duel in the Sun). MovieMovieBlogBlog, I’ll make it up to you in The 5th Annual version of this Blogathon (too late to write a new post now). I guess it pays to know what you’ve written about in the past. Spreadsheet, here we come…

 

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.

You learn something every day…

broadwaybanner51Yep, there’s always something new. I mean, can you believe that only recently (I’d say late last year, early this one) I discovered that there was actually a Broadway production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? The movie I’ve been watching ever since I can remember (it comes tie with the number of times I’ve watched The War Wagon, also ever since I can remember). I absolutely adored this musical when I was young (and still have a very soft spot for it now), especially Milly (Jane Powell) and her wonderful dresses. Not to forget her fluttering eyelashes and that wonderful voice.

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So, one evening, fairly recently as I’ve mentioned, I was wondering what else Jane Powell and Howard Keel starred in together (and was also curious about all the other brothers and sisters of said movie) while surfing (or rather, trawling) the web, as is bound to happen,  along came a webpage with characters that didn’t look familiar. Huh? What’s this? Ah, not a remake or such but a stage production. Broadway in 1982. And various others too.

When the Broadway Bound Blogathon came along I got all excited to enter this movie but, alas, looking at it in a bit more detail, I read that it wasn’t really successful on Broadway or subsequently in London. Well, I guess the “original” was (is) special so, while I’m sorry that the live performances didn’t make it, in a way I’m also relieved that my precious childhood movie treasure stays exactly that…special. Although, not all is bad – the Broadway version did receive a Tony nomination for best musical score.

I’m not going to go into the story…I’m sure you all know it by now. So, at risk of warbling on and on, I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Rather head on over to Taking Up Room  over here to read up some more Broadway entries…or read my second entry in this Blogathon, a personal little gem called Proof, over here.

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Proof…a little gem..

Proof_poster…in my humble opinion. If I remember correctly, it didn’t get too many positive reviews (but then, I don’t really care about reviews anyway…it’s all about personal preference, isn’t it?).

Having watched this one when it first came out on the “big screen”, I’d only realised afterwards that it was based on a play by David Auburn which won both a Pulitzer Prize as well as a Tony Award in 2001. As to who wrote the screenplay, I’m a little hazy…one source says David Auburn, another Rebecca Miller (I love her works) and yet a third credits them as co-writers. Anyway, the play that this movie is based on was originally staged Off-Broadway (I’m learning new things from this Broadway Bound Blogathon hosted by Taking Up Room) and was later moved to Broadway.

broadwaybanner51What’s the story? Often told in flashbacks immediately after brilliant mathematician Robert’s (Anthony Hopkins) death, this is about Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow), also a mathematician struggling to deal with her father’s death, her potential brilliance and at the same time, the fear that she, like her father, may be mentally ill. To complicate matters, Robert’s former student Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal) spends many hours at Catherine’s (and formerly Robert’s) house sifting through endless notebooks believing that something noteworthy is to be found. Add Catherine’s prim and proper (or is that uptight?) sister Claire (Hope Davis) to the mix and you have some sums working and others not (ok, sorry, that wasn’t a good line)…let me retry that…you have quite a mix of characters which make for some interesting dynamics.

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The cast, for me, works well. Gwyneth Paltrow and Hope Davis are the contradicting sisters…one not worried what she looks like, the other totally obsessed with appearances. In the flashbacks, Anthony Hopkins and Gwyneth Paltrow have a believable father-daughter relationship. Jake Gyllenhaal rounds off the equation as academic/hobby-musician.

And it’s not only the play that received accolades, but the movie too. Gwyneth Paltrow was nominated for a Golden Globe in this role. Well deserving. She’s excellent…just enough balance of normal and loopy. You’ll find yourself wondering about her sanity long after the credits roll. I’m still not sure what to make of her after multiple viewings…hmmmm.ProofScene3

 

A new Blogathon…in a different language…

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

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

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

La liste des participants…ok fine…The Roster:

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

MovieRobLa cage aux folles (1978)

MovieRob – Fanny och Alexander (Fanny and Alexander) (1982)

Realweegiemidget ReviewsIncubus (1966)

Realweegiemidget ReviewsSinkkulaiva (2013 – 2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moon in GeminiAguirre, der Zorn Gottes (Aguirre, the Wrath of God) (1972)

The Wonderful World of CinemaNuit Américaine (Day for Night) (1973)

Silver Screen Classics – Du rififi chez les hommes (Rififi) (1955)

Silver ScreeningsMon Oncle Antoine (1971)

MovieMovieBlogBlogLa historia oficial (The Official Story) (1985)

The Midnite Drive-InM – Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (M) (1931)

WadsWordsLe Million (1931)

Amelie_LamguageBlogathon2

Lolarennt_LanguageBlogathon2

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CTHD_LanguageBlogathon2