Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Watching Sleepwalker

I just watched  Sleepwalker.

Just finished watching a few minutes ago. I'm going to think about it for a while, and then watch again.

SPOILER - Think maybe something that I had noticed already may change the way one views this film. But something not everyone that will watch this film will be aware of. Even so, still kept the suspense for me.

Watch it and please judge it as a small, independent, film. Not everything is, or should be, Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, or Hitchcock.  Or the Marvel Universe.

I feel if I discuss the film beyond what I have said, it will have to be with someone who has seen it. Some films are easier to avoid spoilers than others. Think this is a film best watched with no spoilers. 

I will say I liked Richard's performance, and also liked the two of them together, Armitage and Ahna O'Reilly.

Hopefully it will be available around the world and not just in the US. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Berlin Station - EPIX - Curious about Trevor's Birthplace (Daniel Miller's Cover Identity) - Richard Armitage

Thanks to Violet Dutchblogger on Facebook


I'm probably the only one who is curious why Alexandria, Virginia, was chosen as the place of birth of neo-Nazi cover identity for our favorite Berlin Station CIA spy Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage).

Alexandria, VA

 Alexandria, VA

Alexandria, VA




Alexandria, VA


Did they select Alexandria from a list of places near Washington DC, or because CIA HQ is in Northern Virginia (not Alexandria, but Langley)?  Or is one of the writers familiar with Alexandria?   

I'm not exactly happy that Trevor Price is from Alexandria, would prefer if maybe Daniel's US family came from Alexandria.  But still, curious to see my "hometown" for a second. Wonder if Richard visited Alexandria as part of his research? 

Trevor is also an interesting choice of name.  For a minute I thought maybe Daniel could go undercover as a British arms dealer named Trevor, and RA could use his own beautiful accent.  

Have watched the first two episodes of Berlin Station Season 2 (thank you EPIX) and have a good feeling about this second  season and Daniel Miller's role in it.  Good to see Richard Armitage in a more central role in the series, especially in the first episode.  I think Richard prefers to play conflicted characters that are challenged, and think Trevor/Daniel may be that transformation. Certainly more interesting to play than "good guy" Daniel in Season 1.  






Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Happy Birthday 2017 Richard Armitage



Richard on the day I met him - not my photo


"I will love you in silence… like someone inaccessible,
Like a dream that will never come true,
and the far perfume of my impossible love
will touch your hair… and you will never know."
(by José Ángel Buesa)


My Birthday wish list for Richard Armitage

. That you get the funding and support and wide distribution deals you wish for to finally make
The Burning of Bridget Cleary

      That you get to fulfill your dream of bringing Richard III's real story to the screen, and to play Richard III (or Warwick). 
      
      That you and Yael Farber get to work together again even if I won't be able to see you on stage in London. But always hope for a play in NY or even Washington DC?

       That you get to work with all the directors you've mentioned in the past you hope to work with.

       That you get to film some of those films you were cast in that somehow never made it beyond pre-production:  Clearance directed by Aku Louhimies, Edith Wharton's Summer,  Mid-Life Crisis 

       That Audible finds who owns the rights to The Lords of the North audiobook that you recorded years ago and releases it again so a wider audience can experience your amazing performance. 

       That the BBC or HBO decides to produce a series based on the Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, and casts you as one of the leads. (Woland maybe?)

        That someone casts you in a movie that requires you to sing and play the cello in character. Not a musical, since I know you don't want to return to that, but a movie that requires the characters to be involved in music or the music industry in some way so you have to sing and play the cello. (This wish is for me).  

Feliz Cumple - Happy Birthday

Richard 




Saturday, July 15, 2017

My Favorite Vampires



Have watched Castlevania a few times now, and it has renewed my interest in vampires (in fiction of course).  (Also renewed my interest in vampire hunters - yes that means you Trevor.)

I confess that the only vampire novel I have ever read is Bram Stoker's Dracula.  I keep the book in my bookshelf, though it is decades old, and has been decades since I first read it. Have been thinking that Audible should get either Richard Armitage or Graham McTavish to narrate a new audiobook version. 

But through my life, starting in my early teens to today as a woman of a "certain age" I've kept my interest in vampires in film, TV, and stage.   I do prefer a certain style of vampire, one not just deadly and scary, but a seductive vampire with sophistication and charm. Yes - a certain type of seductive dangerous charm!

(Maybe that's why I couldn't get into True Blood - I tried watching a few episodes, but somehow not for me, though very popular with others.)

I'm sure I've told this vampire story before, can't remember if I did so on this blog.  If I did, I apologize for telling it again.  A personal vampire story I still find amusing.  OK - here goes.  Over a decade ago now, I started a new job, not at the place I work now.  On my first day at work I walked into the main reception area of my employer (a university) to find a huge and very ornate plate on the wall back of the reception desk, with this portrait in the center:



For those that don't know, that is a famous portrait of  Vlad Tepes, the real life Vlad Dracul, Vlad the Impaler,, who it is said inspired Bram Stoker's novel.  Now, as someone who has followed fictional vampires for a long time I recognized him immediately.  But being my first day at work, I said nothing and proceeded to go on to my new office.

Weeks later I was having lunch with some of my new co-workers and I thought maybe it was a good time to bring up a question that I wanted to ask since my first day of work.  So I said "Why do we have a portrait of Dracula at the reception area, entrance, to our department?"  Everyone looked at me with a mixture of horror and disbelief.  "What are you talking about?" they said.  "Well", I said, "The portrait on that ornate plate that is on the back wall of the reception desk, that you can't miss when you open the suite door, is of Vlad Tepes, a real life historical figure that inspired the legend of Dracula. I was wondering why such an otherwise conservative and otherwise serious place would have that so prominently displayed. We don't offer any degrees related to Vlad or vampires in literature."  (OK,  this is approximately what I said, it has been years, but something like that.) Well, everyone laughed and looked at me and asked how I could possibly know who that was. None of them did, or had heard of him before.  So they changed the subject,this was not a group that liked to talk about vampires, and I, being the introvert I am, never mentioned this again.  

Weeks later I happened to come in through the reception door (my office was in another part of the building) and I noticed that Vlad's portrait had been moved away from reception, and into an inner office.  I feel I must have had a small part in that, though it was never mentioned to me at all. It wasn't really my intention that they move it, I just wanted to know why it was there. Years later, when I no longer worked there, I asked a friend who still did, and she told me the plate had been a gift from a visiting group of international students. 

Anyway, to go back to my favorite vampires, here they are below, from my early teens to today:





Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins - Dark Shadows











Frank Langella - Dracula - on stage and screen 







Aidan Turner - Mitchell - Being Human 

(still my favorite Aidan Turner role)











Dracula - Castlevania

Voiced/Performed by Graham McTavish 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Mall Walking - Frederic Bazille at the NGA



I haven't posted a Mall Walking post in a long time, but I thought this one might be of interest to some.

I've been looking forward to seeing the Frederic Bazille exhibit at the National Gallery in DC for a while, and finally made it just before it closes on July 5.

In a strange way I feel more of a connection to Bazille, and Monet, and Renoir, and Manet, and Cezanne in recent years from my repeated viewings of this TV series:


Crazy, I know

Richard Armitage as Monet (seated), in the back,  standing, James Lance as Bazille , and Charlie Condou  as Renoir



The real Claude Monet from the Bazille Exhibit:




Flowers (L to R) by Monet, Bazille, and Renoir



Before this exhibit I had only seen one or two of Bazille's paintings on exhibit. It was quite a wonderful experience to see more of his work. I especially liked his two artists notebooks/sketchbooks,one from his student days and one he was working with just before his death, that shows not only some wonderful drawings but some preparatory drawings and sketches of work he was planning before his life was cut short in such a tragic way.

Also enjoyed seeing his work next to his contemporaries, especially his good friends Monet, Renoir, and Sisley.  

Some of the quotes on the wall that NGA has used for this exhibit from Bazille's letters to his mother and friends, give us a bit of insight into Bazille the person.  One of my favorites is from a letter to his mother telling her he's now supporting not one, but two, needy artists, Monet and Renoir. Bazille came from a well-to-do family and his parents sent him an allowance to help him live in Paris while he pursued his career as an artist.  He first went to Paris from his home in Montpellier to study medicine, but his love of art won. 

Bazille's career only lasted for seven years.  




I'm not an art critic, only a perpetual art history student, so if you want to know more about this exhibit and Bazille's work, below is a lecture from the NGA about him and the other Impressionists:



Thursday, June 15, 2017

So Happy for Him - Sean Bean in Broken



The world has suddenly discovered that Sean Bean is a great actor.  
I'm so very happy for him. Because you see, I've been a fan of Sean's since 1988. (I'll let you all do the math). And I've known for all these many years what a great actor he is.

I love Sean Bean. 

An article in The Guardian today brought me to tears:


(Beware of spoilers in the article)

A love letter to Sean Bean – the most heartbreakingly mesmerising of actors


https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/jun/14/sean-bean-mesmerising-actor-game-of-thrones-broken?CMP=share_btn_tw

"Bean’s Father Michael is quiet and conflicted, haunted by his past and battling a sadness that has seeped deep into his soul. He commands the screen, his pain flitting across that gaunt, ravaged face reminding us that some of the best actors say most when speaking least."

"There are few actors capable of bringing that weight to a role. Of allowing you to see how a person can be both good but heartbreakingly, perhaps fatally, flawed. Of convincing you that a man so betrayed by the Catholic church as a child might return to that church thanks to a faith deeper than those betrayals and, crucially, of making you believe in every aspect of his character’s life from the good-natured interventions into his parishioners’ lives to those moments when, terribly, he ignores them out of a desire to be off-duty for once, to put down the candle, to be alone."

__________________

I've written many "love letters" to Sean during the years. Not just on this blog, but other sites and blogs and fan forums. He doesn't know of course, but maybe he can feel the support and affection of all his fans in his heart. 

So for those just discovering this "heartbreakingly mesmerising" of actors, below my list of some of the best of Sean Bean. 


Stormy Monday (1988)

  • (when I met Sean Bean)


Caravaggio (1986)

Windprints (1989)

The Field (1990)

My Kingdom for a Horse (1991)

Clarissa (1991)

Tom & Thomas (2002)

North Country (2005)

Far North (2007)

Red Riding (2009)

Black Death (2012)

So if you're newly discovering Sean, or just discovering Sean, check out some of the work I've listed above. 

Some are difficult to find, but worth the effort if you do. 

I didn't include the work that the world knows him for: Sharpe, Boromir, Trevelyan, Stark... but maybe watch those again too and you may discover new treasures there. Sometimes we think we know what we'll find, and we may discover we were wrong all along. 



  

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pilgrimage - Tribeca Film Festival - April 23






I was lucky to be able to go to New York on April 23 to see the premiere of Pilgrimage at the TRIBECA Film Festival starring Richard Armitage.




Beware of Spoilers below.


These are just my impressions of the film and Richard Armitage as Raymond De Merville.

I'll try to keep it fairly free of spoilers, though there are bound to be some. I know other RA fans have posted already about seeing the movie on Sunday, so by now many things have been revealed.

I found that the movie was much more than what I expected from watching the trailer. The location, scenery, and music set the stage and we were transported to another time, and another world.

To me the story is about a fight for control and conquest, of Ireland and the world, by two powerful groups in 1209, the Normans and the Catholic church.

I loved the use of three different languages in the film (or was it four?). Gaelic, French and English not only marks each of the groups we're about to meet as different, but again serves to take us to another time. As a bilingual person who also speaks a third language, I felt instantly comfortable with the use of different languages, and of English as the "common tongue".  Reminded me of the use of "Spanglish" in my life.  (But have no fear, there are subtitles).

The locations in Ireland and Belgium are beautiful yet unearthly. The perfect composition and selection of music also contribute to transporting us into another time. 

Being a non-native French speaker myself (fair, not fluent), I thought Richard Armitage did a marvelous job speaking French. I was impressed.  He was very natural, even when speaking with Frenchman Stanley Weber.

Richard Armitage rides in as the perfect villain. From the moment he takes off his helmet, you know Sir Raymond is a man used to intimidating people, and liking it. He looks marvelous. Richard was born to wear chain mail and wield a sword.

I've seen Richard play bad guys before, but he's particularly villainous as Raymond De Merville.

The actors and their great performances really make this movie worth seeing. Great performances by Stanley Weber, Jon Bernthal, Tom Holland, and Richard Armitage. But also wonderful performances by the other monks in this story, John Lynch, Hugh O'Connor, and all the other actors that I haven't mentioned individually. The actors more than the story really make this film worth watching.

Pilgrimage is an indie action film with historical and religious tones. This is not a historical epic, or a historical documentary. It is also blood and  gore and violence.  Worth seeing for the locations, the music, and most of all for the great actors in this film. 

I hope Richard Armitage fans around the world will get a chance to see it, and will go and see it. 





I greatly enjoyed the Q&A at the end with some of the cast, the director, writer, and producers, of Pilgrimage.

Photo by Aram Tertzakian


Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Birthday Sean Bean - April 2017


Happy Birthday dear Sean Bean

It has been a long time since I first saw you on screen. Some days I can't even remember the person I was then. Does that happen to you?

But one constant since then has been you, and I'm proud of you as a fan. Very happy about your long, successful, and often surprising, career that I've had the pleasure to follow.

Have a wonderful Birthday


Many new adventures to look forward to this year as a Sean Bean Fan:


 DRONE

BROKEN

THE FRANKENSTEIN CHRONICLES
SEASON 2

and maybe


old photo
Dark River





Still Sharpe 

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