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.

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Proof of Life…Meg in a different role

meg-blog3Way back when, Meg Ryan was the light-hearted romantic lead. And she fitted it perfectly. Any RomCom that came out with her in it was an automatic “watch”. Well, that was the case for me and my circle of friends. And tucked in somewhere between the delightful You’ve Got Mail and Kate & Leopold was a more serious Proof of Life.

And you know what? She pulled off this role very well. I really enjoyed her out of that light-hearted stereotype we’d gotten to know her as.

Here she is Alice Bowman, living in South America with her husband Peter (David Morse), who is kidnapped by guerillas opposing the pipeline plan he is working on. Desperate to get him back, she hires negotiator Terry Thorne (Russell Crowe) to try secure Peter‘s release.

Having had some marital tensions leading up to the kidnapping, she is placed in a full stress situation of getting him back but at the same time spending many long hours with Terry. This stirs up some interesting situations. Which Meg Ryan pulls of so convincingly. What I enjoy about her role here is how she manages to pull us into her conflicting emotions of being the concerned wife but also feeling an attraction to the rescuer. And not once do we “see” her RomCom persona in Proof of Life as can tend to happen when actors focus on one type of role. This just shows how wonderful Meg Ryan was as an actress (“was” because I haven’t seen her in anything since Kate & Leopold).

That final scene always leaves me wondering how things would have turned out if circumstances had been different.

So, here’s to you Meg Ryan. Wishing you a very Happy Birthday for Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies “The Meg Ryan Birthday Blogathon”.

The Greatest Film I’ve Never Seen…

the-greatest-film-ive-never-seen-blogathonRephrase that…”I’d never seen”. “Greatest”, that I might need some convincing of but hey, I’ll get back to that later.

Who doesn’t at some point or another say, in a deep, creepy Schwarzeneggerian/Terminatorian voice…”I’ll be back”? Come on, admit it. And if you aren’t going to, then at least just come out with it that you’ve heard that line used many a time. I’m just going to come straight out and admit it. Together with…I’d never seen The Terminator (1984) until today. Yep. It’s true. Although, funny enough, because it is deemed such a, dare I say, classic, I have had the DVD for a number of years now. Cellophane still on. And I finally watched it.

What was I expecting? Actually, I don’t really know. I’d obviously picked up from pop culture musings that there was a terminator (yes, yes, cyborg, I know) who wrecks some havoc on earth. Why and where and how everything unfolds, well, there I had no clue. Like most of us, I think, all I had was this:

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Right?

And then maybe this…

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..which I have since learnt is a cyborg. A cybernetic organism covered with living human tissue. In this case, a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger). It has been sent to earth to terminate Sarah Connor. Sent to protect her is Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn). That’s pretty much the jist of the story. But there’s a catch to it…a really good one. One I didn’t see coming and one that I’ve been mulling over the whole day. Or rather, trying to get my mind around the whole day…almost a chicken and egg situation. I won’t ruin it for anyone who hasn’t seen this movie. Besides, I need to ponder the situation a bit more.

Anyway, all-in-all, not a bad movie. One I’m enjoying more and more as I rewind it in my mind and as I re-watch snippets of it. Knowing the end (a very tender one for me), the events leading up to it take on a new dynamic which wasn’t there on first watching.

Is it one of the greatest movies I’d never seen? Well, I’m not sure yet. It definitely wasn’t bad. And definitely deserves its status. I’ve been told I need to see the next two in order to better appreciate it. But whatever it is (or isn’t), I did actually enjoy it (80s feel and all) and must thank Moon in Gemini for hosting this Blogathon without which I probably still wouldn’t have gotten around to watching this one.

For more revelations on movies that hadn’t been seen, head on over to Moon in Gemini. You’ll be amazed that you are not alone with some of them. Whew. But one thing is for sure, I need to catch up with more of these “greatest” movies I’ve never seen.

 

 

Musical Notes: The Ballad of Lefty Brown (Maiah Wynne)

Great music is discovered in the most unexpected of places. Maiah Wynne is one of my latest findings…at the end of movie The Ballad of Lefty Brown…right there where the credits roll. The lamenting ballad hooked my straight away. That’s good music for you…

So, here is my newly discovered musician with titular song:

But don’t stop here…go see what else she has. Love her other piece The Devil in Disguise.

An excellent evening with Dada (Ante Portas)…

…ah, wow…that was so awesome! Such a fabulous concert. Don’t you just love those small, cosy venues? Those where you feel a band is playing just for you and a select few?

Oh man…it took forever for Sunday night to arrive (and funnily enough, it went past way to fast)…my tickets for “An evening with Dada” were fiiiiiiiinally valid. Whew…what a wait. For a band that I’d only recently discovered but who have been around for 22 years. How do I know this (aside from Googling)? Well…they told us…

…in this very unique evening. The band chatted and played us through their timeline. How they met (school sandpits are wonderfully social), how they thought they’d never get far at a band competition where everyone but them had “soundchecks” (along with lots of important looking pre-performance checks), the confusion between “Holland” and “Roland” (yes, a voucher for (to) Holland would have been awesome), personal space on stage in other countries and so much more. I had a big grin on my face from start to finish – it was sheer fun listening to their stories and music (acoustic). Gosh, did we all have a good laugh. And it all came across so natural. Perfect. No other words needed.

We were about 180 people (those few empty seats missed out big time) and had a vibe and atmosphere like no other. I’d say it will be a long time until I experience another concert (is this really a concert?) on this “niveau”. If at all, actually. There was something so special and so unique that repeated by someone else just won’t be the same.

If you get the chance to watch these guys – don’t hesitate, just go for it!

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).

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

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In a Nutshell: The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017)

BalladLeftyBrownLefty Brown (Bill Pullman), “a man who never got anything right”, happens to be alone with his friend and partner Edward Johnson (Peter Fonda) when Edward is shot down. Lefty swears to bring the murderer/s to justice but, on returning to the Johnson ranch is accused of the heinous crime. With the help of his friends, Lefty proves that some people are not who they seem and more importantly, that he does, actually, get some things right.

Having a few shootouts, this isn’t a wild, raucous western but rather a wonderfully paced character study showing how outward appearance/behaviour is not what we should judge on and that circumstances will drive people do to anything…be it good or bad.

Bill Pullman is absolutely superb as Lefty who is by no means as incompetent as people think he is. What a brilliant piece of acting he does. Tommy Flanagan as Tom, Jim Caviezel as Jimmy and Diego Josef as Jeremiah are all Lefty’s friends, while Kathy Baker is Laura Johnson. Excellent acting all round. What a pity these type of movies don’t get a bigger audience.

Thoroughly enjoyable. Well worth the watch. And watch out for that haunting but beautiful ending song “The Ballad of Lefty Brown” by Maiah Wynne.