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

intouchables-languageBlog2

CTHD_LanguageBlogathon2

Retired…no chance in Tombstone…

kur11I’ve written about this particular movie before…but before you go “argh, not again”, I promise, this time I’ll steer away from Doc Holliday (read that post here) and have a chat about his close friend Wyatt Earp. Naturally, as this is the Kurt Russell Blogathon, I’m taking on the Wyatt as played by ta da…surprise, surprise….Kurt Russell in Tombstone (1993).

The story is roughly this: retired (and “famous”) lawman Wyatt Earp heads to Tombstone for a change in pace together with his two brothers and all their respective wives. En route to his new home, he has his first encounter and we already know that retirement is not going to happen.  And that’s exactly what happens…Wyatt just can’t stand by and watch as laws are broken, people hurt and the town is generally scared by some bullying outlaws, The Cowboys. So he cleans up the town. With loads of conflict along the way.

TombstoneposterKurt Russell is just perfect as Wyatt, well, in this movie i.e. as how he comes across (I did some reading on Mr Earp and boy is there a lot of material about him and his life that I lost track). We feel a genuine friendship between him and Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) as well as with his brothers. This, I believe, is only managed by actors who feel some sort of amicable working environment. But, we’re also totally convinced of that underlying toughness required for his former job as a lawman as well as dishing out justice in Tombstone. And, while trying to tell everyone what’s ethical and not, he’s not such an upstanding citizen himself. I guess there’s a lot going on underneath all that ruggedness. But all this won’t come across to the audience unless the right actor is cast. Here, Kurt Russell is absolutely spot on. Handsome, tough, caring, loyal (to certain people), hard as nails, loving, with and without flaws…oh, and he even has a resemblance to the “real” Wyatt Earp from what I could see online. All-in-all, great acting from Kurt Russell in a great movie (but all that would be meaningless if there wasn’t the right cast to support him. One that he wouldn’t overshadow). So, if you haven’t seen this one yet, you’re missing something…

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

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

Nürburgring…a new experience

Wow. What a weekend…it is all starting to sink in now. I’ve had some sleep. I’ve seen my own four walls again. And I’ve had time to reflect…

Yep…I went to the 24 Hour Race at the Nürburgring. It all started with me dropping my name into the lucky draw entry box at the office thinking that I’ll never win anyway. Until one morning, in mid-sip of my morning cuppa…I hear “You’re in!”. Huh? In what? “You’ve been drawn as the one of 6 to go to the race”. Wooow!!! And then… “Oh my…what have I just gotten myself into????”.

Basically, the company I work for is involved in a certain car part and so in short, sponsors a team in the 24 Hour Race. And staff can enter to be part of this experience…work obviously involved. While my duty was in the team tent making waffles and serving frozen yoghurt and cocktails, I still managed to get a lot of time to experience what happens on the track, in the “box” (boy, does it get manic in there during the race) as well as the general happenings in the “paddock”.

Driving up north last Wednesday, my colleagues and I arrived tired but the excitement soon kicked in when we realised how big this race really is…thousands of fans had already set up campsites in any available field. I was told some got there on the Monday morning already to get that prime spot. Little did we know that thousands more were to come. We found ourselves in full race spirit by Thursday morning for the build up to the 15.00 race begin on Saturday afternoon. Yes, by Sunday, being tired and braving the rain that arrived that morning, I was fed up and wanted my peace from cars and people, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the experience. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And so, here are some impressions:

Best view (thank you to the kind person who gave me this spot)

Preparation for the big day…

View of the “paddock”

More of the “paddock”

How many tyres does one need?

It was so interesting to see all the work that goes into preparing for a race (and that’s only the on-site preparations, never mind the pre-race work and admin). And then come the race-day….wow, the number of people and resources involved is something else…

While these pictures don’t really do the atmosphere and experience justice all I’ll say at this point is that it was awesome to experience this even not being a fanatical follower of motorsport.

(Please note, all images are my own and remain my property)

Michelle just shines…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Birthday Michelle Pfeiffer!

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

 

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

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

The only thing I “knew” was this:

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oh…and this:

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

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

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

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

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