Monthly Archives: May 2012

To hate and to love: Guyday Friday kicks off with angst


I love how Richard showed such a myriad of emotions crossing Guy’s face as Marian admitted to being the Nightwatchman by showing the scar on her hip. You could see as he entered the room that part of him still simply did want to believe his own eyes. There was a certain naivety, a gullibility at times about Guy that was so heartbreaking.

And still, even after this betrayal, he came up with a plan to save her from execution.  Guy, you were the one who truly, deeply loved Marian, not Robin. It’s a pity she could not see past the puppy love of her childhood and her lofty ideals and misguided allegiance to not-so-good King Richard to fully appreciate the man you were and the potential within you.

Stormy weather & sweet Richard


I am watching the delightful Strictly Ballroom— one of my favs and a movie I haven’t seem in a long while–on Ovation and playing with more images of Mr. A in Photoshop.  My brain is somewhat on autopilot at this point. I’m very tired and giddy so bear with me, darlings. We’ve had more storms tonight–heavy rain, wind, and the crackle of lightning. No loss of power this time around, thank goodness. Twice in one day is more than enough.  It’s quietened down for now.


Strictly Ballroom poster art.

Strictly Ballroom poster art. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is some more artwork celebrating our handsome, talented, expressive, down-to-earth lad. May we all have a good night’s sleep/a good Friday.

Oh, and even with the Worldwide North & South Watch tomorrow, it will still be Guyday Friday. He’d never let me hear the end of it otherwise.







Hemingway & Gellhorn and Faces that Move: Thoughts


So, I watched the HBO biopic Hemingway & Gellhorn, starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman.  I have read and enjoyed the bio of Martha Gellhorn, a respected and well-known war correspondent in her day as well as a travel journalist and novelist,  and of course, the exploits of Papa Hemingway are legendary.  I’ve seen the documentary on the Spanish Civil War,  Spanish Earth, the making of which is depicted here, and I found that aspect fascinating.

Nicole Kidman as war correspondent Martha Gellhorn and Clive Owen as Ernest Hemingway in Hemingway and Gellhorn.

A great deal of actual footage from that war and WW II is integrated into the film, which uses special effects to put the actors into the vintage footage. It’s a volatile and fascinating period of history, without a doubt, and you have two larger-than-life personalities, both talented, narcissistic and egotistical.  It seems inevitable their passionate affair and marriage will burn out, since they fight as much as they make love. It does.

My feelings are definitely mixed about the end results, however.

Some of the lines are groaners. The script is littered with platitudes. Some of the characters are pretty one-dimensional.  I confess I wonder if Hemingway was as much of an insufferable a**hole in real life as he is often depicted to be here.  Clive Owen is a gorgeous, sexy man but I kept wanting to “man up” and punch Papa’s macho lights out, frankly.

And then we come to Nicole Kidman. I had a lot of problems with Nicole in her role as Gellhorn. Actually, I’ve been having problems for years with a certain aspect of Nicole.

Talented, certainly. Beautiful, without a doubt. But I really, really wish she would stop messing with her face.  I saw her recently in a film from early in her career and she almost looked like a different person from the woman I saw in H&G.

While we all change somewhat as we grow older, we don’t change that much, not naturally, anyway.  Your nostrils don’t grow smaller, your Cupid’s bow doesn’t periodically disappear from your upper lip, your eyebrows do not elevate–well, you get the idea.

KIdman in 1989. A fresh-faced beauty.

NIcole, before and after.

The more current Botoxed and Restalyne-filled face of Nicole.

She’s lightened up on the Botox, thank goodness, and doesn’t have those tell-tale batwing brows these days.  She was actually able to crinkle her forehead slightly in some scenes of H&G.  Still, at times she looks almost too–doll-like in recent years.  I miss the originality, the quirkiness of her natural beauty.

Nicole is 44.  At 44, no matter how much you stay out of the sun, don’t smoke and take care of your skin (the measures that keep her complexion so perfect, Kidman claims), you should have a few lines and creases in your face.  Character. By that age, you should have some character in your face.

I know actresses often have to do things to maintain their looks in order to keep their careers alive. Unfair, but there you are.

And they often play characters younger than their actual ages. Therein may lie some of the problem. Gellhorn, who was born in 1908, was in her late 20s, some 15 years younger than Kidman, when she met Hemingway.

Gellhorn was a very attractive and glamorous woman, but  she was also expressive. Nicole’s facial expressions don’t really mirror the robust personality of the writer (Gellhorn has been described as a woman capable of awe-inspiring rage).  Nicole’s Gellhorn doesn’t look as if she’d get really worked up over much of anything.  I don’t think it’s a terrible performance by any means; but for me, it was missing something essential.

It concerns me that Kidman may keep up this tweaking as she grows older to the point where her face won’t move at all.  She won’t look young, she’ll just look–weird. And ultimately it will limit the roles she can effectively play. And that’s a shame.

It’s not as much of an issue for men, but I do hope Richard does not ever feel the need to succumb to paralyzing his face, nipping and tucking. I don’t honestly think he will; he’s aging beautifully and I think that will continue.  In terms of his acting, he is so dedicated to getting the details right and has never minded making faces that can be downright unattractive at times.  Think of Thornton giving that thrashing or some of Guy’s thunder faces.

An expressive, mobile face is an actor’s friend, surely? Anyone?

There’s just something about the man in a tux . . .


Even back in the day when he wore the dodgy elastic bow tie and rode the Tube to the BAFTAS, Richard Armitage already exuded that star charisma. He is simply dazzling in general and even more so when you put him into a tux. That mega-watt smile, that presence–he simply commands your attention and keeps it. There’s that real old-fashioned, silver screen movie star vibe to RA.

And it doesn’t hurt at all to know this talented, gorgeous, charismatic man is also modest, kind and sweet-natured, a true gentleman.  No wonder we love him.




 From a photo by Hedgey taken at the 2009 BAFTAs.








A salute to the bearded beaut


Enjoy some views of the Bearded Beauty. I am not sure what is going on with me, but between my dull brain and general feeling of malaise, I am having trouble getting it together. Of course, if I ever do get it all together, I will probably end up forgetting where I put it.  More later if I can rise to the occasion.













Sir Guy and the Flatigious Foe: TAE Word for the Day



Flatigious Vasey throwing Guy under the bus and turning him over to the guards after the debacle with Irish Spring and the Lucky Charms Guy.

Sir Guy didn’t have it easy. The woman he loved and did his best to protect played him for a fool, He was constantly thwarted by that glory hog git Hoodie and the Mysterious Man with Boobs known as the Nightwatchman–and he had to deal with the capriciousness and ire of Vasey, who would definitely be in consideration for “Worst Boss.”

In fact, Vasey was downright flatigious, which seems a particular shame for the good people of the shire, considering he was the chief officer of the law in Nottingham.

Flatigious: (adjective): extremely wicked; criminal.

From the Latin flagitiosis, from flagitium (shameful act),  flagitare (to plead or demand persistently). First used prior to 1384.

Poor Guy, getting an earful once more when his great plan to trap the gang goes completely awry. (screencaps courtesy of RANet)




We can hardly blame Sir Guy for expressing such feelings to the flatigious Vasey.



Beginners: a small film with a big heart–and a dog


Melanie Laurent and Ewan McGregor in a scene from “Beginners.”

Beginners, an indie film from 2011, won me over tonight. I’d heard good things about it, and I knew it starred Ewan McGregor, one of my absolute favorite actors. The actress who played my favorite character in Inglourious BasterdsMelanie Laurent,  is featured as his love interest.

But while there is love and humor and relationships, this is no rom-com. It’s 2003, and Oliver, a 38-year-old graphic artist, finds himself dealing with two very difficult bits of news from his father.  First, Oliver discovers his 75-year-old father Hal (Christopher Plummer) is gay and ready to come out of the closet. “I don’t just want to be theoretically gay. I want to do something about it,” Hal earnestly tells his son. After more than 40 years of marriage and living a lie with Oliver’s late mother ( who knew he was gay but said she could “fix” him), he doesn’t want to hide any longer.

Cristopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor star as father and son facing some hard realities as they search for love and friendship.

And so Hal gets involved with various gay pride groups, makes lots of new friends and even gets the sort of tender romantic relationship with a younger man ( that handsome gent Goran Visnjic, sporting an unfortunate John Porter Security Man Shag) he’s hoped to find. He’s suddenly discovered his joie de vivre. Oliver–who never saw real love between his parents, only a polite cordiality–looks on with interest.

Poor Oliver is an uptight guy–he’s sad, he’s lonely and he yearns for a lasting, loving relationship, something that has eluded him.  You don’t have to be told this; you can see in McGregor’s expressive eyes.

I said two difficult bits of news. Just when Hal is enjoying his new freedom of expression, he is diagnosed with lung cancer.

The movie is narrated by McGregor and features flashbacks to the childhood that helped mold into the adult he’s become. We follow Oliver’s relationship with his terminally ill father (his love for his dad is so touching), and later, his blossoming romance with a lovely French actress, who is as emotionally skittish as Oliver. There are a lot of serious moments, and at one point I was boo-hooing (keep the tissues handy).

But  there are lighter moments as well, and it’s never melodramatic; these seem like real people in real houses and offices, not actors emoting on some Hollywood soundstage.

It’s not for everyone; it moves at a leisurely pace and there isn’t a lot of action.  But as one reviewer said, it has an innate sweetness. Beginners offers plenty of humanity with a literate script ( based on the real-life story of the writer-director’s relationship with his late father) and wonderful performances by all involved.  Not to mention the cutest Jack Russell Terrier who “speaks” in subtitles to add a bit of lightness here and there (and it works. I fell in love with Arthur). Ultimately, it is a life-affirming film.

I have to say this is the kind of small indie gem I would love to see Richard appear in from time to time, in between big budget productions and any stage work he might pursue. I think he would find such a project a satisfying and rewarding one and we would enjoy seeing him engage with good actors and a good script in an intimate setting.

Arthur, the adorable Jack Russell who provides delightful comedy relief and a real “awwww” factor to the film.

Some Guy Funnies


Because part of the joy of Guy for me is this ChaRActer can make me laugh and cry and drool and sigh–wow, that rhymes! 😉

“Well, I am very–multi-talented, Ladywriter,” A chuckle that morphs into a purr. “And I do aim to please . . .”

“Oh, you do, Sir Guy. You totally do.  Now, come here and get a piece of lime coconut macadamia dessert and a glass of milk. Because you are pretty cute with that milk mustache . . .”












OT: The Price is–wrong? My problems with an Austen poor relation


We’ve been discussing some of the pros and cons of various adaptations of period dramas in comments on other posts, so I thought I would bring up another Austen novel. Mansfield Park has been adapted several times for television and film, but it seems to be a difficult task, judging from some of the results.

Nicholas Farrell and Sylvestra Le Touzel as Edmund and Fanny in the 1983 mini-series version of Mansfield Park. This is reportedly an adaptation faithful to the original novel.

To summarize: Fanny is one of a large brood of children, more than her parents can afford to keep, and so she is sent at age 10 to live with her wealthy relatives, the Bertrams.  She grows up to be a very timid and demure young woman. Her spoiled female cousins never let her forget that, as the “poor relation,” she is their social inferior.

Only her cousin Edmund shows her kindness, which develops into a romantic attachment for Fanny (upon which she is too shy to act).   Edmund, who plans to enter the ministry, is a steady, sensible soul, unlike his drunken wastrel of an elder brother. He and Fanny are clearly the two most virtuous characters in the story, and that virtue will be tested.

The charming but shallow and materialistic Crawfords come into the Bertram family’s universe and turn it upside down, leading to several romantic entanglements. Will Fanny lose Edmund to the worldly Mary Crawford? Will she herself fall under the spell of Mary’s dashing brother, Henry?  Will virtue triumph over vice?

Alessandro Nivola as Henry and Frances O’Conner as Fanny in the 1999 film version of Mansfield Park, which took some noticeable departures from the source material.

I have to confess, Mansfield Park as a novel is a problem for me largely because Fanny Price is a problem for me as a heroine.  She’s so shy and demure and virtuous, she’s downright dull. I have no objection to virtue, mind you; but a bit of spark and spirit, a noticeable sense of humor, the sorts of qualities we see in Austen heroines like Elizabeth Bennett and Emma, would have gone a long way.  Fanny on the page comes across to me as–blaah.  So good she’s boring.

In the 1999 film version written and directed by Patricia Rozema, Frances O’Connor brings us an intelligent and forthright Fanny who keeps a journal in which she makes clear-eyed and witty observations of the world around her. I like O’Connor as an actress and I like her Fanny; but is she really Jane Austen’s Fanny?

The whole production takes considerable liberalities, including the addition of social commentary concerning slavery in Antigua, where the Bertrams have holdings. It hints that Mary Crawford may be attracted to women as well as men. We see Maria Bertram in flagrante delicto with another character rather than simply hearing she’s run off with him.

Purists often detest this version, but I confess I find it very watchable and enjoyable as a period comedy/drama. I’m just not sure it’s Jane Austen, if you know what I mean.

The other Mansfield Park adaptation I have seen is the 2007 ITV version starring Billie Piper as Fanny. Oh, dear.

Billie Piper, a great companion for Doctor Who, but a strange casting choice for the role of timid little Fanny Price.

Piper was charming as the companion to the first two Doctors in the rebooted Doctor Who.  But she was truly miscast as Fanny Price. First of all, the look was all wrong. The nearly black eyebrows with the loose bottle blonde hair tumbling about her shoulders and the dresses more suitable for a serving wench than the demure poor relation made her look like she’d walked in off the set of one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Piper’s Fanny was more of a boisterous tomboy, giggling and cavorting about. I think she even played footsy at one point with Edmund, who came off as cute but a bit wet.

And once more there were departures from the source material, all of which I do not recall as I watched this only once and then tried to put it out of my mind. I had reservations about the last Persuasion, but found it considerably better than this.

The 1983 mini-series with Nicholas Farrell and Sylvestra Le Touzel is one I haven’t seen but I hope to do so one day. It appears to have the highest overall rating of the three productions, adhering the most faithfully to Austen’s novel. Would I find Le Touzel’s Fanny more palatable than Piper and more faithful to the original than O’Connor–and also interesting?

Have you read the novel and/or seen the film adaptations? I would love to hear your thoughts.  (images courtesy of IMDB)

This Ridiculously Good-Looking Man


Up all night yet again. Made some pretty pictures. Watched the latest ep of Game of Thrones for the third time. Can’t believe next week is the season finale.  I’ve become completely engrossed. Of course, it would be even better if the bloke below had a role in it.  He IS ridiculously good looking, isn’t he?  I do believe I am going to attempt a nap.







Some Macalwain for Monday


Before Sgt. John Porter in Strike Back, Richard played another soldier, Captain Ian Macalwain in several eps of the “macho boys with dangerous toys” TV series, Ultimate Force.  Ian was a by-the-book kind of officer who “got no respect” from his men and ultimately got an ending he certainly didn’t deserve. I can’t watch Ross Kemp in anything now without wishing dire things for him. Not that I liked Kemp much before, frankly.

Anyway, UF was far from great, but Richard, as usual, gave a good performance as an Army officer whose arrogance masked his shyness and vulnerability. He does look terrific in a uniform (and out of it). And the rugby kit? Yum.  Here’s to the Haughty Hottie!