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It’s One Fine Day…

…for a Meg Ryan movie. You know, those feel-good Meg movies? The Meg from the 90s (and a teeny bit of the start of the 2000s). Gosh, can’t remember when last I’ve watched something with her in. And, it’s a rainy day. Perfect for a screwball romcom. Oh…and even better for cheering up bloggers who found themselves in the Blogathon Blues.

So Paul here’s for you and what else but Addicted to Love (1997).

Back in the day, any Meg Ryan movie that came out, I’d head off to the cinema with my school friends to watch. No discussion. But Addicted to Love managed to fly under my movie radar. No idea why I missed that one. But, somehow it made its into my DVD collection. “Somehow” meaning: it had Meg in it and I was in the mood for a romcom I hadn’t seen before. And it didn’t disappoint back then or now (or the times I’ve seen it in between).

Maggie‘s (Meg Ryan) former fiancé and Sam‘s (Matthew Broderick) girlfriend (well, by this stage “former” too) have fallen in love. What was meant to be a two month teaching trip for Linda (Kelly Preston) to New York turned out to be a falling in love with French restaurateur Anton (Tchéky Karyo). Sam desperately believing he and Linda are soulmates, heads to New York to get her back. And finds himself in an abandoned building opposite the one where Anton has his swish apartment. This to bide out the time until what he believes will be breakup time. Maggie wants revenge. Big time revenge. She wants to bring Anton to his knees. For using her. And so ends up…well, in an abandoned building opposite the one where Anton has his swish apartment. Yep, that one. Sam’s one.

Maggie is tough, no-nonsense and cynical (as only Meg could be). Sam is sweet and naive. They couldn’t be different. And, while tolerating each other, they end up scheming together to reach their respective goals. Not noticing, of course, that they more than just a perfect team. That’s why it is a romcom after all.

This one I find slightly different to the others of the genre. While it starts out in that off-beat and screwball manner (you can see it coming just from the opening tune), I personally find it doesn’t quite follow the typical “formula” of this genre but almost becomes serious in the last third. Not in a bad way but it tends to be more thought provoking. The viewer (and Sam) soon comes to realise that Maggie has lost the plot somewhere along the line and that her revenge has gone far beyond just getting even. But, with this there comes a bittersweet ending. One not so typical of the screwball romcoms (I once again was in tears (poor Lassie)) but just as satisfying.

Perfect rainy day watching with Meg Ryan the best in these roles. I especially love her character in this one especially her biker look (love the glasses). As always, she brings a refreshing quirkiness to the movie.

But now, before you watch this, head on over to Paul of Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies (here) who is hosting this Addicted to Love on One Fine Day Blogathon and even more importantly, is the biggest Addicted to Love and One Fine Day fan ever!

 

 

6 Films, 6 Decades…6 Difficult Choices…

..but, I guess I need to get it down to 1 per decade. Really difficult, especially for the 1950s. And the 1960s even more so. Even the 70s…oh darn it, all the decades are tough calls. Oh? What it is? Yes, right, I forgot to tell you. I need to list my favourite movie from each decade starting with the 1920s to the 1970s or, we’re allowed to shift it from the 1930s to the 1980s. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do because, and I’m really sorry (I need to rectify this asap), I just haven’t seen more than one or two movies from the 20s. And, well, the 1980s, need I say more about that decade? But, let me stop waffling along and get to the point:The 1930s brings to mind one of my absolute best, and not only of the 30s, but in general. Ask a Policeman. Sergeant Dudfoot (Will Hay) and his two constables, Albert (Graham Moffat) and Harbottle (Moore Marriott) proudly boast that their village has had no crime for 10 years, 5 weeks and 4 days. But, this means that the quaint little police station is no longer required. So, to justify their positions, Dudfoot and Co are so busy trying to stage some fake crime that they are oblivious to the real thing happening right beneath their very eyes…quite literally so too. A great comedy that you should really try to see.

Moving along to the 1940s which brought many gems but, for those of you who know me, it should be no surprise that one of my all time favourites is Yellow Sky. Without even a second thought. It has Gregory Peck as Stretch heading up a gang of bank robbers on the run across the desert. Parched and close on dead, the stumble upon a ghost town. Not so abandoned after all, they are surprised to find Mike (Anne Baxter) and her (yes, “her”) Grandpa prospecting there. The gang slowly unravels when greed, love and priorities come into play. A brilliant western.

Now, the 1950s is where I really struggle as there are a number of excellent movies here and my favourite really does sway from time to time. But, I need to go with nostalgia and the start of my love for movies. The one that brings my earliest classic movie memories to the fore. Therefore, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers just has to feature as my favourite here. Or, rather, as the favourite of the little girl I once was. I’m sure most of you know the story of how the 7 Pontipee brothers found their 7 brides. For me, though, it was about Milly (Jane Powell) and her beautiful dresses, her wonderful personality, her on-screen presence. Yes, of course I loved the singing and dancing but at that point I would have loved nothing more than to be Milly. Thinking back, I think it was because she could hold her own yet be the perfect romantic lead. Childhood memories aside, today, I’d probably say my 1950s favourite is Vera Cruz.

On to the 1960s. I really have a problem here as I have a whole lot of childhood favourites here which I cannot simply ignore…so, I’ll do a quick detour before finally coming to my real favourite. So, The War Wagon was how I fell in love with the Western and made John Wayne my movie star hero (no brat pack guys for this teen back then). I watched this over and over until I discovered The Reivers in my parents’ Super 8 collection. But, Mutiny on the Bounty and the adventure that came with it was also amongst those prized reels. And then I fell in love with Andrew Craig and his Nobel Prize Ceremony antics i.e. Paul Newman in The Prize. To this day, these movies, now on DVD, have a special place in my heart. But, one of my all-time favourites (ever) has got to be The Magnificent Seven. You all know the story so I won’t go into detail but who can resist the Western version of the Seven Samurai with none other than Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen heading a cast of favourite cowboy actors? I never tire of this one.

The 1970s brings on a similar situation as the 1960s. Gut feel, right now, says my favourite is Big Jake, another one I grew up with. To this day I know line for line of this kidnapping/ransom demand Western and give it a watch at least once a year. Need we mention the “you can call me Father, you can call me….but if you ever call me daddy again….” or “…your fault, my fault, nobody’s fault…”? You just need to watch it for these lines (amongst others…maybe “cold camp”). Here John Wayne is joined by real life sons Patrick and Ethan Wayne (playing on-screen sons), ever wonderful Maureen O’Hara, Bruce Cabot and perfect villain Richard Boone. So, hmmm, maybe I should just say it…my 1970s favourite. Although The Sting, The Cowboys, Lolly Madonna XXX and The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing all feature on my list of top movies in this decade.

The 1980s had some wonderful movies but Le Grand Bleu, without a doubt, is absolutely amazing and one of my all-time favourite movies. I started watching it late one night and just couldn’t go to bed….when I finally did I had cried myself silly. To wake up the next morning still dazed (and puffy eyed) and an emotional wreck, all I wanted was to watch it over. And over. Being a diver myself (although not a free diver) I could just “feel” the peace and calm that Jacques experienced. This Luc Besson movie has rivals Enzo (Jean Reno) and Jacques (JeanMarc Barr) diving dangerously deeper and deeper just to outdo each other. An absolutely stunning movie with the perfect tag line: Danger…Like Passion…Runs Deep. Just make sure you watch the Director’s Cut which comes in at 168 minutes.

So, there you have it. My 6 Films across 6 Decades. Thanks to Classic Film & TV Café for hosting this Blogathon. Head on over here for more entries.

The Pirates are to blame…

…that the Captain ran into the storm and abandoned ship with everyone bar the Swiss Family Robinson.

Run aground, en route from Europe to New Guinea are the members of the Robinson family and some drenched animals. Poor things. The start of one of my favourite movies.

While it may be dated (who cares?), I always sit there with a smile on my face watching this 1960 adventure movie. Before I go on…there might be some spoilers ahead. Just so you know.

Pirate Chief Kuala (Sessue Hayakawa), is not only to blame for the family’s new home on a magnificent island (I did a post on their house (here) a while back) but for introducing us to Fritz‘ (James MacArthur) future love interest (and Ernst‘s (Tommy Kirk) crush too. You see, they’re a bad bunch these pirates and have taken Captain Moreland (Cecil Parker) and his “cabin boy” Roberta (Janet Munro) captive. Fritz and Ernst, meanwhile, have embarked on some brotherly bonding and are exploring their new island home. Coincidentally and conveniently, they come across a pirate fist-fight and in the commotion manage to free Roberta. There flees the leverage for a handsome (or should I say pretty) ransom. That also means that we haven’t seen the last of our pirates.

Our trio have an adventure and discover the island along with the fact that Roberta is a girl (and the daughter of Captain Moreland). Of course we’d be disappointed if there wasn’t some romance and I admit, it really is sweet.

Of course there can’t be an end without another pirate showdown. After all: “The pirates know you took their prisoner. They also know you are someone on this island. Do you think they are likely to forget about that?”. It really is a fun ending with coconut bombs, rolling logs and a single family taking on a whole lot of pirates.

We know what to expect just before those credits roll but we also know that it is a family movie after all. A great one of learning to survive, that plans unexpectedly change and that romance can be found in the most unusual of places. Yes, every now and then you have to look past the absurd, or the things that somehow just don’t fit in properly, but if you remember that this is Walt Disney escapism and 1960s pirate fun, you’ll enjoy it.

John Mills and Dorothy McGuire are Father and Mother, with Kevin Corcoran completing the family as son Francis.

For other pirate related topics, head on over to Hamlette’s Soliloquy (here) for her Pirate Week Blogathon.

 

 

 

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!

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.

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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!

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In a Nutshell: Locke (2013)

Locke_posterI went into Locke not really sure what to expect. The only reason I watched it was because I’m quite enjoying Tom Hardy at the moment. And that’s the thing with this movie…you’re not really sure of what to expect. It keeps you wondering where it is heading. You wonder what is going to unravel where the only on-screen character is driving a car and mostly making/receiving phone calls. And, seemingly all about concrete pouring. For roughly 80 minutes or so.

And then you start realising how it all fits together. And, for me it isn’t so much a story but insight into a person. Into people in general. How, through a single incident one’s entire life can crumble. The consequences of an action. Until it all falls apart, you don’t realise what you have (or rather, had).

I can’t give you many details because you need to discover this one on your own. It isn’t an action-filled movie…just driving and talking and a brilliant performance by Tom Hardy. To watch him transform right before your eyes (the camera rarely leaves him) from being the best at his job, from the perfect family man to what he ultimately reveals is unbelievable. Fantastic acting.

This one stays with you. Long after the credits roll because it takes some processing. Some time to digest and think it all through.

I’m honoured…The Versatile Blogger Award…

versitle-blogger-bw2…Thank you so much Taking Up Room. What really made my day (other than you awarding me this reward in the first place) is a line in your final paragraph: “…because I want to give a shout out to just a few of my blogger inspirations.”. Wow…thank you!

Moving along…I aneed to get the “formalities” out the way…here they be:

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. (Yep, done)
  •  Include a link to their blog. (Also done)
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.  (Well, this is where it gets hard because my blogging community runs in the same circles…so, we may be nominating each other back and forth…so, no offense if I haven’t nominated you…many of you have already been nominated by Taking up Room or even Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. If I “re-nominate” you, please don’t feel you need to do a second tag): 
    • Daskleinebunte – here
    • What the Craggus Saw – here
    • The Immortal Jukebox – here
    • Book Beach Bunny – here
    • Film 4 Fan – here
    • The Lonely Author – here
    • SindrElf – here
    • Assholes Watching Movies – here
    • Wolfmans Cult Film Club – here
    • Maddy Loves Her Classic Films – here
    • Moon in Gemini – here
    • mf Monika Fülöp  – here
    • Tranquil Dreams – here
    • The Stop Button – here
    • Caftan Woman – here
  • Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award. (see previous comment)
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself. (see below)
    • I, not having thought myself a “cat person”, was given this gorgeous few week old bundle of fur and bones a few months back…and I’m totally a cat person now. Wow…I never expected the affection, the character that are cats. Yes, it has taken us a mindset change from having had dogs my entire life…but wow, worth it in every way. And…the cat will NOT sleep on my bed…well..I guess the picture shows how well that has gone…
    • My ultimate genre of movie is the Western (so…the more “traditional” ones, those set in the old “wild west”…I really can’t watch these sci-fi and contemporary ones) . And I go through “binge” every couple of years where I pretty much watch all my western DVDs back to back (as much as family and work allows for this) and then feel all disappointed that I have to face the “modern” world again.
    • My love for movies comes from the Super 8 reels my parents rescued from the rubbish dump when video cassettes came out. There was something special about changing light bulbs in projectors, “helping” the stuck film along before it melted, rewinding reels, changing reels (usually 4 to a movie) and just the general experience.Super-8-mm-film-on-a-spool-01
    • My all-time favourite movie is The Last of the Mohicans (1992) and that line “You survive! You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you! No matter how long it takes, no matter how far. I will find you!” is my ultimate quote and declaration of love ever.mohicansposter
    • A little over a year ago I moved country and continent. From the Southern to the Northern Hemisphere. And I’m still getting used to this Christmas in Winter idea…very strange concept 😉 Christmas is swimming pools and days in the hot sun for me.
    • I’ve only discovered the book Pride and Prejudice this year (thus far I’d only seen the movie version). I started it on Audio Tape and couldn’t wait those arduous hours each day/night before my next commute to or from work so I read the book version whenever I could. Ah…it is wonderful!1200px-PrideAndPrejudiceTitlePage
    • After finishing Lonesome Dove in a matter of days I just couldn’t read another book for at least two weeks because I had been so deeply pulled into the characters that reading about anyone else felt traitorous.

Well…that’s it for now.

Musical Notes: Unvollständigkeit (Einstürzende Neubauten)

A band I haven’t listen to for quite a while…Einstürzende Neubauten. Translated…Collapsing New Buildings. This West Berlin formed (1980) band tend to use instruments made of scrap and tools as well as various noises which they then blend in with standard instruments. Having said this, you’ll need to “sift” through their works to find something you like. While everything is interesting in its own right, not everything is “listenable” in the traditional sense.

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Enjoy! Have Fun! (sorry, sound only – no real video…but then, we’re here for the music, aren’t we?). The best thing is to continue once it is over and see what they’ve got…some weird, some wacky and some really nice…

And for the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds fans, Blixa Bargeld of Einstürzende Neubauten once played with the Seeds.

Happy New Year (Blogathon)…A Long Way Down

happynewyearblogathon5I can’t believe that we’ve already come to the end of another year. Or rather, the start of a new one. Well, bring it on…

…with The Happy New Year Blogathon hosted by MovieMovieBlogBlog.

I’m tackling A Long Way Down (not to be confused with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman‘s cyling trip Long Way Down). And…for those who glance through the story on the internet…don’t think it is dreary for New Year because of the “subject matter”.

What is it? Let me count you down:

10…Another one of those movies…the ones that I almost don’t watch, pick up when not really sure what I really feel like watching…and ending up thoroughly enjoying. This is one I went into with absolute no clue of the story.

9..The opening is what caught my attention. Not knowing who was in it or what it was about when I started out…having Pierce Brosnan show up meant it surely can’t be that bad. When his character announces that he’s decided to kill himself (on New Year’s Eve), first instinct was to switch off but shortly afterward I saw him trying to get a ladder up London’s Toppers building…and I was wondering what lay in store. Not in a morbid way.

8…The additional opening credits presenting me with Toni Collette, Imogen Poots and Aaron Paul likewise promised something good. Oh…Rosamund Pike and Sam Neill too.

7…Within the first four minutes, the mood is lightened  (dare I even say that) on the rooftop with the wonderful entrance of Maureen (Toni Collette)…spoiler alert…asking Martin (Brosnan) if he will be long and if she should wait somewhere. What a brilliant scene (although, actually not something to laugh at but this is probably deemed a black comedy after all).A-Long-Way-Down-Poster

6…By the time Jess (Imogen Poots) and JJ (Aaron Paul) turn up (independently of each other) with similar fates in mind, I know that this is going to be an interesting one.

5…Clearly, the chosen spot is a bit overcrowded and after brief introductions, they all go their separate ways…well, for a few minutes anyway…until fate has them all in Martin‘s car. The four former strangers decide to make an agreement. They will work at getting through their respective problems, together, until Valentine’s Day. So unravel the respective stories while four relationships develop.

4…Based on the novel of the same title by Nick Hornby, this isn’t such a dreary movie after all. It has some dark and light comedy moments with some really beautiful ones and other quite serious ones mixed in. The topic at hand is never made a joke of.

3…Directed by Pascal Chaumeil I found this movie really beautiful despite the many negative reviews it received. Here’s the trailer to give you a taste of what it’s about:

2…Another spoiler…but the movie ends on the following New Year’s Eve. And…well, because it would be totally wrong any other way, with all four of them still friends.

1…Happy New Year (what else does one say here?)

 

A Strong Character…

A few (I think) years back, the following ad caught me eye on TV (and I NEVER notice ads) not because of the brand being advertised…actually…give it a watch…I won’t need to explain:

So, I take it you know where I’m heading…definitely not the car route… 😉

But more specifically…one of these “bad” men…Mark Strong. Until recently, he was typically cast in the villain roles (hence the above appropriate clip). In fact, I’m often drawn to the actors not in the lead. And, don’t think bad of me, the villains are often exactly those that catch my eye. So much more exciting aren’t they? And just possibly a means of “living a little wild” from the safety of my mind…anyway, that’s not the point…but…hmmm….I assume that explains why a particular villain (or rather, the actor behind that villain) caught my eye in Robin Hood (2010). Yes…Godfrey, played so brilliantly by Mark Strong. Cold and calculating, ok, fine, sooooo cliché, let me start again…he was a man with an agenda…and played so convincingly.

MarkStrongRobinHoodIt was also at this point it dawned on me that I’d seen this actor before. In a number of roles. Yes, definitely a familiar face. Yet the person a mystery. But finally, with his role as Godfrey, I could put a name to the face. Off to look him up…and voila….you see…I was right…I HAVE seen him before. He was Wictred in Tristan + Isolde. And yes, at the time of watching this movie I’d also wondered who the actor was (I wasn’t focusing too hard on the leads and, I digress, I didn’t really mind Isolde being won by Mark…but that’s a topic for another day), but, because I never caught the character’s name I had no way of knowing the actor. And once again, a more “unsavoury” character…back-stabing and with a lust for power. One with some “oomph”.

Then came Lord Blackwood a la Jack the Ripper in Sherlock Holmes (2010). Oh what the perfect villain he makes. (cackle, cackle)

So, by this stage, I had a particular, should I say, “expectation”, of Mr Strong. Therefore, when The Way Back came along, I had a preconceived idea that his character Khabarov would be the “usual” up-to-no-good traitor or the like. I won’t, however, tell you if he is or isn’t. That would take all the fun out of this…wouldn’t it?

Now, I must tell you something terrible…I honestly cannot remember Mark Strong being in The Eagle, but apparently he was. I’m so sorry but I just can’t remember. Although, am I forgiven for saying I can’t remember another prominent actor (and I’m not talking about the two “leads”)?

JohnCarterAnd if I’m already on confessions…the only reason I watched John Carter (yes, I cringe too)…uhm…was for Mark Strong (and James Purefoy and Dominic West). And I only got as far as I did because of these supporting actors. Definitely wasn’t because of the story. But, that said, another fine performance by the actor I’m chit chatting about.

I’ll give you points for recognising Mark Strong in the movie Sunshine (he was in two Sunshine movies…here I’m on about the 2007 one, not the 1999 one). While not a big on-screen role, his actions play quite a part in the story. Need I mention that he isn’t the good guy? Oh but what I must mention is that this is such a superb movie that seems to have slipped under the sun radar.

welcome-to-the-punch-pic04Along came Welcome to the Punch, another one that didn’t get many positive reviews, but you know what? I thought it was great! Not only was one of my favourite “villains” back but the entire movie was fun (or at least I thought it was). And somehow, Strong‘s character Jacob Sternwood didn’t feel like such a baddie…

Hmmm…it is quite strange though, that the last two roles I’ve seen him in have not fallen into this “type” (for lack of a better word). Chronologically I know that Body of Lies goes somewhere into the midst of the movies mentioned above, but in my personal viewing history, it comes very recently. Here it has him as Hani, Jordanian General Intelligence Directorate head. I kept expecting him to be the main antagonist. *Sigh*

Kingsman

And the last, wonderful role I’ve seen him in (to date. More to come)…Merlin in Kingsman: The Secret Service. I absolutely loved this “lighter” role. Oh, the characterisation of Merlin, was, delightful superb. But then, would you expect anything else from such a dynamic actor?

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Born in 1963, more specifically, on the 5th August 1963, this British actor complements any ensemble he joins. Perfect in any role. Be it the good (Merlin), the bad (need we mention roles?) or the ugly (Pinbacker). And, apologies if I have “pigeonholed” this wonderful artist….but oh how I do enjoy a good villain.

Thanks to the hosts of this wonderful Blogathon ( Outspoken & Freckled, Paula’s Cinema Club and Once Upon a Screen). This is my second time joining them and it is always a pleasure. Last year I covered Michael Wincott (here).

 

Wow…I’m on an adrenaline, stress high…

…but I feel good. For now. Until reality hits home. Then we’ll talk again.

Never did I realise what a big thing moving is. Not “down the road” big…but “to another country” big. “To another continent” big. 

I’m trying to find my feet but with family support and a relatively familiar environment (holidays are always different to living in a country though) I should be back to my usual comments and likes soon. Thanks for your ongoing support. I really appreciate the time you take to read my posts and comments and have felt really bad for being distant and distracted these past few weeks.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

So, until my high crashes to a “what the *%#! have I done?????” low…I’ll take each blogging day as it comes. 

Have a wonderful weekend.

Movie Rob’s Genre Grandeur: Open Range (Western)

For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Westerns, here’s a review of Open Range (2003) by Catherine of Thoughts All Sorts Thanks again to Catherine of Thoughts All Sorts for choosing this month’s genre. Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Sean of SeanMunger.com We will be reviewing our favorite Nautical Film. “Loosely defined […]

via Genre Grandeur – Open Range (2003) – Thoughts All Sorts

Or read it here…

(more…)

Grace Kelly’s Mrs Kane in High Noon

High Noon (1952). A masterpiece western which I must admit, I appreciate more on viewing this time round than the first. It may be one of two reasons: 1) the fact that I know what it is about and so can concentrate on other aspects or 2) the fact that I viewed it with a focus on Grace Kelly for the Grace Kelly Blogathon. Either way, it is still a brilliant movie that has more to it than first meets the eye. But, that’s a topic for another time. Grace Kelly is the star for now (minus all the gossip that surrounds this movie).

Beautiful Grace Kelly plays devout Quaker Amy Fowler Kane, newly wed to Will Kane (Gary Cooper). And I mean newly, newly wed…as in the wedding takes place in the first few minutes of the movie. It is at this point that Will Kane hands in his marshal badge and intends to live quietly with his new bride. However, it is not meant to be…you see, the noon train is expected to bring Frank Miller (Ian MacDonald) to town. The problem? Will Kane had put this dangerous outlaw behind bars. Waiting at the station are Miller‘s gang (played by Lee Van Cleef, Robert J. Wilke and Sheb Wooley) setting up wonderful tension by simply “hanging around”. Kane feels responsible for the situation that will undoubtedly arise and cannot just ride away.

Amy, is expecting a quiet, peaceful life with her new husband so desperately wants Kane to get out of town, leaving it all to the new marshal (who is only due to arrive the next morning). She can’t understand why Kane won’t run. At one point she tells Kane “Don’t try to be a hero! You don’t have to be a hero, not for me!”. The thing is, if he does back down, he won’t be able to live with himself and there will probably always be some sort of animosity towards Amy. It really is a tricky situation but personally, he has to do what he does. It is at this time that one already wonders why these two are together. They seem so different. I just don’t understand why Amy doesn’t support her husband. Surely, being married, they are now a team? Instead, she takes the easy option out and buys a ticket on that very same dreaded noon train that is bringing in Miller. To me, Amy becomes as much an antagonist as Miller. She’s a problem (among others) that Kane shouldn’t have to deal with at this perilous time. I’m not sure Amy is quite convinced about her actions. Yes, she decides to wait in the town hotel because she’s nervous of the gang waiting at the station. But, I think her heart isn’t totally in it. She’s hoping he will change his mind but also, giving her the benefit of the doubt, she’s not ready to abandon Kane just yet.

There’s a part of her that is intrigued by her husband hence she keeps asking the hotel clerk about him, hoping for more information than he gives. Clearly she doesn’t really know Kane as well as we’d expect (and we never get any insight into their relationship before the wedding). This is also confirmed when she goes to see Kane‘s former girlfriend Helen Ramírez (Katy Jurado) who tells Amy that if she doesn’t know Kane, she doesn’t know her husband. That she asks around confirms that she does care about him. If she didn’t ask at all, I’d say she was indifferent and probably not worth Kane‘s hand. It also shows that she isn’t just the helpless damsel. That she does actually have some oomph as it must take quite some courage to face your husband’s former lover on your own.

This courage shows itself when she finally helps her husband (and so, in my opinion, she redeems herself). In fact, she’s the only one in the entire town who comes to his aid. She does the unexpected (I won’t reveal) which symbolises to me that she is, after all, committed to the relationship which one questions during the rest of the movie, especially when she steps onto the that dreaded noon train.

I’m not big on finding hidden meaning in movies but it seems fitting to me that Grace Kelly is always in her white dress when everyone else is darkly dressed (Kane has a mix of white and black and I think this shows his inner torment).  It is very interesting how at the end, as the show-down is about to begin, both Amy and Helen, one dressed in white, the other in black are side-by-side in the carriage going to the station. It is almost like good and bad, right and wrong being represented. The angel and the devil sitting on Kane‘s shoulder. In the same way we have both Amy and the outlaws waiting for the same train.

Directed by Fred Zinnemann, High Noon was nominated for 7 Oscars and won 4 (Best Actor in Leading Role, Best Film Editing, Best Music (Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture), Best Music (Song)).

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Interesting stuff…Morgan’s trailer and AI

I read something really, really cool this morning…on my company’s news site of all places! I was sure my colleague had posted in the wrong spot but no! I have recently been ‘playing’ around with IBM Watson Analytics as part of my job. Up to now, the usual business stuff.  The real appeal just revealed itself….I’m soooo excited (and freaked out)…IBM Watson was used in the making of the Morgan trailer. Very interesting…

What is Watson? Well, as this is not a technical blog, I won’t go into the details (you can look those up yourself) but, in a nutshell, Watson takes data it has been given, assesses it, together with any outcomes or responses (so this requires some sort of human input) and tries to “teach” itself patterns or other possible outcomes.

Now for Morgan (2016) the new movie about an AI being. Apparently Watson analysed a large number of horror trailers to determine what type of scenes, music etc. would be best suited for the Morgan trailer and from this isolated a handful of clips that were ultimately used.

While for me the trailer is very creepy and uncomfortable to watch (ok, I don’t think Morgan is something I’d watch anyway) I think the result is fascinating (and maybe just a little scary from a technology perspective). Does the trailer work? I don’t know. Is it different to what humans would come up with? I don’t know. Possibly? After all, Watson has based the clip selection process on assessing other human-created trailers. What I did notice is that after watching I still wasn’t sure as to what the movie is about (maybe all-revealing trailers are a thing of the past?). But what better way to create a trailer about an AI being than with AI?

Here it is (watch to the end for a commentary section):

To Save and Be Saved: Yellow Sky (1948)

Wonderful write-up on this awesome film!

The Roadshow Version

I’ve been on a big Gregory Peck kick as of late, which after four years or so, I’d say I’ve waited long enough. I’ve always read a lot of reviews where people complain that he’s somewhat of a “wooden” actor. I’ve never thought that about him, but I can understand where people are coming from. He has that stoic, clipped manner of speaking and what other people take as wooden, I take as calm and collected. To each his own though.

Gregory Peck shirtless
Gratuitous shirtless shot of Gregory Peck–because I can.

But for those people who do find him “wooden”, I’d highly recommend William A. Wellman’s 1948 western, Yellow Sky, where he’s anything but. He’s dangerous and sexy, while Anne Baxter matches him moment for moment. Its plot revolves around a gang of bank robbers that make their way through the desert, only to wind up in a deserted…

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It’s Quite Fun Really

It took me forever to pluck up the courage to start this thing called blogging and I won’t even get started on clicking that Publish button the first time. But wow, once you’ve done it and you’ve seen that someone is actually reading your stuff, then it becomes lots of fun and quite addictive really. For me, it is just about expressing myself and how I feel. This is typically about movies, music, books and art. Oh, and, about writing and having fun!