Richard Armitage therapy

The new second series of Castlevania has started on Netflix…

… but as much as I love Richard and Richard’s voice (and his world-weary humour in voicing Trevor Belmont), right now is not the time for me to watch this. I feel a little… I guess I could call it unbalanced at the moment. Nothing I can’t deal with, I just need a little time to settle myself again. There’s some unsettling family stuff right now and I think I’m going through some beginning stages of menopausal stuff and every time I turn on the news and I hear something from the US, it depresses the shit out of me, the latest being this ridiculous caravan fear-mongering thing. Trevor Noah expresses it much better than I can in this video.  Anyway, suffice it to say, my mood really isn’t the best of late. So, yeah, watching a possibly good but bloody and dark vampire series is not something I can mentally handle right now. I will in time, itching to hear Richard in this, but not right now.

Speaking of hearing Richard – there are so many audiobooks he’s doing now, I can’t and won’t even try to keep track. I think I am (by now famously) known for really not enjoying any audiobooks, from Richard or anyone else. Still love that he does them but they’re not for me. So, yeah, I’ll be skipping all these too. What I do love are the images that have popped up surrounding the audio books releases. This one yesterday was very nice…

RA HarperCollins tweet 2018-11-01

… but this one from a few days earlier, with Richard holding a Philippa Gregory book he narrated, is one I just love! This image prompted a fun series of white t-shirt shots from Nellindreams over on her blog, by the way.

RA HarperCollins tweet 2018-10-29It’s a pretty staged photo but I love how relaxed Richard looks with a book in his hands and the friendly look he gives us through the camera lense. He looks like he was caught reading and now seems to be inviting us in to join him. I like that.

Then, for Halloween, Richard shared this selfie of himself…

RA selfie 2018-10-31It feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a fun Armitage selfie. ✅ Approved!

And today I saw this image (tweeted yesterday by the man himself)…

RA selfie 2018-11-02

… and I think this may be one of my fave Richard Armitage selfies ever! He is recording Castlevania season 3 now and is apparently very excited about the guitars in the recording studio. The glee in his face and eyes makes me think: someone give him a good, fun rock musical to do!

Where audiowork by Richard can’t really cheer me up right now, these images most definitely can, which is why I just had to capture them all together in one blog post here. Oh, alright, and these also cheer me up…

Richard Armitage smile and laughter therapy is always good. It’s part of the getting me settled again process. 🙂

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It’s amazing…

…. how after only 4 months in my new job I already feel like there is so much to do that it almost feels overwhelming! I really need to make lists, prioritize and plan. And yet, even with how busy it is, I am truly enjoying it! I have a lot of autonomy, people seem to be enthusiastic that I’m there and the organization is a very interesting one to work for. My 6 month contract that was going to end mid-september has already been extended for another year and my boss is also giving me a pay rise. It feels good to be needed, to be appreciated and to feel like you are making a small difference already. But, I am tired. It’s been a stressful few weeks, with work and with some issues at home that are now finding some resolution. I am glad I only have 3 more days of work left before my 3.5 week summer vacation starts! I am already looking forward to the down time with my family.

With all that’s been going on, what is also amazing is that I have finally been able to make time (and space in my head) to watch Pilgrimage and also Castlevania. I watched Castlevania over the weekend and Pilgrimage on Wednesday evening with my husband.  I won’t go into long reviews here, I’m a little too tired to  write a nice coherent review of both shows. I’ll just stick to impressions.

So, first off, Pilgrimage, a story about 13th century Irish monks who must escort a relic across the land, challenged by danger and menace. Richard Armitage is the baddie…

Pilgrimage

From what I had read beforehand I was expecting a lot of gross violence and I was dreading watching it. In the end, while it really was grossly violent at times, it wasn’t as bad as I had expected and I felt the violence just fit with the movie. I guess, after watching Inglorious Basterds (which I truly loved, despite the gore!), I know I can stomach it. I really only turned away during 2 or 3 scenes and even those weren’t focussed on too long, I felt. By the time you realized what was really happening, the scene was already moving on. I found Hannibal to be far more disturbing than Pilgrimage.

I thought Richard was really good in his role of Sir Raymond de Merville. The character was somewhat two-dimensional, but even so, he gave it real intensity and presence. When he came up riding in his armour (alas, not a knight in shining armour), just by how he was bearing himself on his horse, I recognized him.

His French mostly sounded good to me and I really liked that original languages were used in this movie. Richard was scowling and very intense, he does intense so well!

He even looked good with a scar…

Richard Armitage - Pilgrimage (5)

The acting by all the actors was very good, the landscapes were so beautifully captured on screen and I liked the gritty look and feel. I did enjoy the movie, yet it could somehow never truly capture me. I guess, I didn’t quite see the importance in moving this relic and when the movie ended in a Shakespearean way, I was left wondering what the message was that this movie had tried to convey. Was it just the coming of age of a young man? Maybe it was aimed to show that in the end violence is pointless? It could even be interpreted that fighting for something you truly believe in is pointless. Or that religion and relics are pointless. I guess I just missed a good ending to this. In the end, I didn’t hate it or love it, it just sat as a medium-rated movie with me. I’m sure I’ll watch it again, more often than I ever plan on re-watching Hannibal. I’ll watch again for Richard and to try and make more sense of it all, but it’s not my all-time fave medieval movie.

And then there’s Castlevania, an adaptation of a video game in animation form where Richard Armitage voices the hero. A short synopsis from Netflix: “A vampire hunter fights to save a besieged city from an army of otherworldly creatures controlled by Dracula.” I’ve seen pretty much everyone raving about it from day one, so I was getting quite excited about it!

Castlevania title

Before I say anything else, you should know that I don’t do Dracula stories very well. While I have in the past enjoyed an occasional vampires/mythical creatures/magicians or even zombies movie, mostly I just get impatient with them. It’s just not my genre. Nonetheless, I was looking forward to this because of all the positivity out there. If I could enjoy a movie like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, there was a good chance I could enjoy Castlevania as well. So, last Sunday I got around to watching it and, oh dear, dare I say it? I was a little underwhelmed…

I really wanted this to be the best vampire thing I had ever seen but it really wasn’t… I even nodded off here and there… Maybe I was just too tired to watch? That would be highly plausible. In any case, the story couldn’t grip me, this whole vampire alternative universe just can’t interest me. Also, the style of animation isn’t flowing enough for me and in some places the story was really slow, I felt. However… I did wake up every time Richard’s character, Trevor Belmont, was on screen. Not so much for how he looked (although he really is quite handsome, just like the real man behind the voice is), I woke up because Richard Armitage really did do a stellar job voicing the character!

He does world-weary sarcasm so extremely well! It also sounded like he was having a blast acting his lines, some of them made me grin widely. It almost made me think that maybe I should actually try one of his audiobooks after all. Almost. (Regular readers here might already know that I really don’t do audiobooks).

So, while I don’t really like this whole vampire-story thing at all, I am curious enough to see what happens next with Trevor. And with Sypha, I really liked her (and her people) too!

Castlevania season one feels like a teaser series, so season two is welcome (I hear it is already planned)! Maybe I will like that more? I’m sure that at the very least I will really enjoy Richard in it.

OK, yeah, so I’m not 100% in love with these two projects but they do show me yet again why Richard Armitage really is and truly remains my favourite actor! His portrayals have real presence, intensity, depth and soul, and in the case of Trevor, humour as well,  and I just love that. Richard Armitage is amazing.