Daily Archives: October 2, 2012

That face

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The dark brows drawn slightly together, a furrow between them. Pensive, apprehensive. The eyes, framed in a fringe of dark lashes, half in shadow, so intense. The sculpted plane of those high cheekbones. A delicately shaped mouth, both soft and firmly resolute.  The chin, strong and masculine.  A man of beauty.  A man of reflection. A man of character.

I did get some well-needed sleep during the day after being awake all night. I was feeling marginally better earlier but seem to be going downhill again. I still sound like a man. 😉 I hope the rest of you out there dealing with sinus/allergy/colds/bronchitis and what have you, are improving. Take care, everyone. Time to try to eat supper.

Positively Protean Armitage: TAE Word for the Day

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protean: (adj)  (1) Assuming many forms; variable.  (2) Able to handle many different things, as roles in a play. Versatile.

After Proteus, a sea god in Greek mythology, who could assume different forms. He got his name from the Greek protos (first) as he was one of the earliest sea gods. Earliest use: 1594.

The dark knight who captured my heart.

The first thing I ever saw Richard Armitage in was Robin Hood. I was taken with the nuances, the depth, the vulnerabilities he gave to what could have otherwise been a bog-standard one-dimensional henchman (not to mention the Guyliner and leather). That, of course, led me to investigate some of his earlier material. In a fairly brief space of time, I saw North & South, Sparkhouse, and The Vicar of Dibley‘s Wholly Holy Happy Ending.

I can only say I was truly blown away. This actor was clearly no one-trick pony. It was hard for me to believe the same human being who had given us the smouldering, swaggering, staggeringly sexy Sir Guy had also brought to life a painfully shy Yorkshire farmer, that gentle giant John Standring.

Sweetie John, the shy, steadfast friend and husband.

And the sunny, sweet, cheeky accountant Harry. And created the Victorian mill owner Thornton, the good son who had borne the responsibility of restoring and maintaining his family’s good name and fortune.  Wow.

Harry discusses “one kiss. With Tongues.” with Geraldine as part of paying up on her debt.

Thornton, the sober mill owner who develops a “foolish passion” for a young lady from the genteel south.

The man is a veritable acting chameleon, assuming many forms in a convincing manner, subtly altering voice, facial expressions, body language and mannerisms in order to create a new and different character.

And then, of course, there’s all those talents and skills. Swordfighting and horseback riding; singing and dancing; writing, painting, playing musical instruments . . . well, you get the idea. As I said, not a one-trick pony at all.

I would say Richard Armitage is a positively protean actor, wouldn’t you? And aren’t you glad you discovered him, too?

OT: Need a feel-good fantasy film? Catch “Stardust”

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Are you looking for a feel-good movie that has wit, charm, humor, intelligence, a bit of swashbuckling derring-do and sweet romance? A film offering beautiful location scenery (Scotland, England and Iceland) and a talented cast of Brit and American actors giving memorable performances?

Then might I suggest 2007’s Stardust, a delightful fantasy film centered around the magical kingdom of Stormhold. There’s a race by scheming witches, fratricidal princes and a young man infatuated with the village beauty to capture a star which collided and bonded with a gem as it fell to earth. The witches want the star in order to reclaim their long-ago lost youth; the princes want the gem so they can become the next king of Stormhold and the young man, Tristan, wants to capture the star for the girl he fancies to prove his devotion to her.

The original theatrical poster for Stardust.

There’s a problem: Tristan (Charlie Cox) lives in the village of Wall, and he is never supposed to cross over the wall into Stormhold.  His father Dunstan (Nathaniel Parker) reveals that Tristan’s mother was from Stormhold, and she left a Babylon candle for her son, which will allow him to travel to any desired destination.

He lights it and is transported to the location of the star. Much to his surprise, it has a human form, that of a lovely young woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes).  Much to Yvaine’s dismay, Tristan takes her prisoner, intending to return to his sweetheart Victoria with Yvaine as her gift.

Of course, things do not go as the young man has planned, and a great adventure gets underway that involves a magical inn, a flying ship of pirates who capture lightning, led by Captain Shakespeare (Robert DeNiro) and more.

Yvainne (Claire Danes) and Tristan (Charlie Cox) are served by Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro) as they enjoy a meal upon his flying ship.

Danes is absolutely incandescent as Yvaine, even without the help of special effects (her bleached-out eyebrows do take some getting used to, I must admit). Cox is a sweet and likeable hero who undergoes an attractive physical transformation in the course of the film.

Michelle Pfeiffer has great fun as the eldest witch, Lamia, who uses what is left of the three witches’ last captured star to restore her beauty as she tries to chase down the celestial body.  Mark Strong is a villain to watch as Septimus, the prince who is pitted against the other remaining brother Primus (Jason Flemying)  in an effort to capture the throne. The other five brothers, including Rupert Everett and Julian Rhind-Tutt, are now ghosts (having done each other in) who look in as a sort of Greek chorus and provide amusing commentary on the proceedings.  And the narrator for the film is none other than Gandalf himself, Sir Ian McKellen.

Mark Strong as bad boy prince Septimus.

The film is based on a 1998 book of the same name by Neil Gamain. Gamain gave his approval to trim portions of the rather large novel to keep the film a reasonable length. The author said he also agreed to a larger dose of whimsy and humor in the film than is found in his book. The author said he preferred the filmmakers depart somewhat from the book and craft an enjoyable film, rather than attempting to slavishly follow the source material and ultimately fail.  I have not read the book but I can certainly attest to the creation of a very enjoyable movie.

The film is currently airing on Showtime in the U.S., and is available through Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. It is also available on DVD and Blu-ray at very reasonable prices through Amazon.

It’s something the whole family could enjoy together and it’s definitely not just a chick flick. I could easily see Mr. FL sitting down with me to watch Stardust.  This romantic fantasy-dramedy really has a magical quality all its own. Highly recommended.

Danes as Yvaine.