TDH in the past few days

Luckily not everything has been doom and gloom of late – to cheer me up from depressing world news there have been some Tall Dark Handsome people to really enjoy looking at!

Starting off with Richard Armitage and a second short video interview about the Wolverine podcast (I mentioned the first one on blog here). I still haven’t listened to Wolverine because of reasons, but the behind the scenes still looks good.

In the other post, I put many images of Richard talking with his hands, which is fascinating to look at, here are a few more screencaps I made from this second interview. He doesn’t only talk with hands, he talks with fists as well!

RA Wolverine Podcast 4-5-2018 (3)And he’s expressive when moving around (click on images to enlarge)…

The most evocative shot that I really fell for was this following one of him. In the first video we’d seen a close-up of him on the floor. This time we get the full body shot of him sitting on the floor, with legs pulled up, one crossed over the other. The other guy on the couch is watching him be the picture of focus and concentration, with Richard lost in his Wolverine world on the tablet; I just love that…

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Here, a closer look…

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I really like those boots too!

Moving from one tall, dark, handsome man to the next: Colin Firth and his wife Livia were at the recent Met Gala. They are embroiled in a legal battle with Livia’s ex-lover right now but they have been forming a united front lately and are going everywhere together, including the gala. They looked very handsome and very elegant!

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I especially loved this profile shot of them, with Colin’s hand resting lightly on his wife’s back!

colin-firth-livia-firth-met-gala-2018-02I really hope they get through this difficult time well together…

Speaking of the Met Gala, I have seen pictures here and there of people all dressed up in the Catholic theme of the gala. I don’t intend to show all those images here, except for the dress of one person, that really struck me. Zendaya, who did such an awesome job in the part of Anne Wheeler in The Greatest Showman, came looking like Joan of Arc. I found it a stunning look!

She certainly looked tall dark and handsome and gorgeous and should there be a new Joan of Arc movie in the works somewhere, I recommend they look to Zendaya for the title role!

Speaking of tall dark handsome and The Greatest Showman: on his instagram Hugh Jackman posted a lovely pic of him and his wife Deb all dressed up, ready to go to the Met Gala…

Hugh Jackman & Deb Instagram

He’s also been promoting his ethical coffee company called ‘Laughing Man‘.

Yes, Hugh Jackman makes me smile!

And finally, nothing to do with the Met Gala, but all to do with tall dark and handsome and making me smile: Pierce Brosnan who shared some lovely images on his instagram in the past few days. First, he shared a picture of himself with full beard for a role he has been playing. The man ages so beautifully, he’s become even more interesting to look at over the past decade or so! Anyway, I find him drop dead gorgeous here…

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… and then he shared a picture of himself with his paintings. I have seen paintings of his in the past before and I really like his colourful style! He’s pretty good at it. He has painted since 1987 since his first wife started fighting ovarian cancer (she died a few years later). The painting has apparently been very therapeutic for him and he still loves doing it…

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Apparently he is running out of storage space for his paintings…

If he needs space, I wouldn’t mind a Pierce Brosnan painting donation for my living room! Interesting to look at and the colours can lift my spirits… 🙂

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Stop all the clocks

Our neighbour very unexpectedly passed away at the age of 71 last week. We weren’t close but we were friendly and her sudden passing came as a bit of a shock. Her husband and two grown up children were left devastated. The funeral was held this morning, we attended with a few of our other neighbours and it brings home to me yet again how much I hate funerals… It’s so tough seeing the ones who were so close to the deceased struggling to deal with their loss and brings back memories of my own loss. The programme is always the same: there is music, there are speeches, sometimes readings – with every funeral I go to, the words of WH Auden, beginning with “stop all the clocks”, ring in my head (also so beautifully performed by John Hannah in Four Weddings and a Funeral) …

… and afterwards there’s coffee and tea and people lining up to give their condolences to the grieving loved ones.

I’m thinking that maybe, when I go, I don’t want a funeral… it’s too heartbreaking for the loved ones left behind. Just everyone have a party if they must and then have everyone just leave… No endless sad speeches and sad music, no endless line of people shaking hands and paying respects… Just party, send me on my way with images of things I have loved, like this…

… or this…

… or this…

… or this…

… or this…

… or this most recent one….

… and be done with it!

Handsome Hugh @Empire Awards

Hugh Jackman was in London yesterday for the Empire Awards (given out by movie magazine Empire). I had forgotten that he was nominated (for Logan) or that the awards were coming up but was reminded yesterday when Hugh tweeted this picture of himself, all dressed up and ready to go to the awards show…

I have a weakness for men in 3 piece suits and Hugh Jackman in a 3 piece is no exception! Wow! He looked handsome in the audience during the awards…

… and he won the award for Best Actor for his role in Logan (deservedly, he was truly brilliant in that!). When he got up he embraced his young co-star in Logan, 12-year-old Dafne Keen.

HJ Empire Awards 06

He looked handsome accepting his award and in his speech he apparently had his wife there with him on his phone on Facetime so that he could thank her as well…

Dafne Keen, with whom he starred in Logan, won the best female newcomer award (also deservedly, she was absolutely brilliant as bi-lingual Laura)…

At the MTV awards last year, Hugh and Dafne were photographed in Wolverine-pose as they picked up an award together for ‘Best Duo’, you could almost mistake them for father and daughter…

HJ & DK Logan MTV awards

Back to last night’s Empire Awards, Hugh also tweeted a sweet picture of the two of them together…

… and went on to looking handsome again in his 3 piece suit after the awards…

It was a double pleasure seeing all these images today – it’s always a pleasure looking at Hugh but I’m also very happy that he and Dafne were recognized for the awesome jobs they did on Logan.

Musicals through the decades

The latest Mach Was challenge is about musicals and ever since I saw that call, all sorts of musicals have been floating around in my head! Even though I am not the world’s greatest musical fan or connoisseur, I really do enjoy a good (movie) musical and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve seen quite a few of them over time – enough to be able to pick my favourites for each decade in musical movie history…


The 1930s – The Rogers & Astaire era

I realize that I should probably choose The Wizard of Oz (from 1939) as a favourite musical from the 1930s but I have to confess that I have never seen that movie! I’ve seen many clips & excerpts, I have read about it, but I have never actually watched it. For me, 1930s musicals are synonymous with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers! I have already once before enthused here on blog about this dancing and singing screen couple. I’ve been reviewing their movies again and I think my favourite would have to be Top Hat (1935), although I also really liked Swing Time (1936). The plots for both movies are somewhat contrived but, oh, the dance numbers!

Top Hat is a mistaken-identity movie. It centers around a model (Ginger Rogers) on holiday in London and Paris who mistakes an entertainer (Fred Astaire) for the husband of her friend. The movie features the very famous Fred Astaire in top hat dance…

… and the ‘Cheek to Cheek’ feather-dress-dance (the feathers on Ginger Rogers’ dress were flying around everywhere, if you look closely in the video you can see it – apparently after that, Fred Astaire nicknamed Ginger ‘Feathers’)…


The 1940s – More Fred Astaire!

The 1940s are still about Fred Astaire for me. He reunited with Ginger Rogers in The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), which I really enjoyed (and of all the Astaire/Rogers movies the plot of this one makes the most sense to me), but the movie I liked even more was Easter Parade (1948) with Astaire and Judy Garland. Easter Parade is about nightclub performer Don (Fred Astaire) who hires naive chorus girl Hannah (Judy Garland) to become his new dance partner to make his former partner jealous. He wants to prove he can make any partner a star. Hannah bristles against Don’s attempts to make her just like his old partner and grows into her own kind of performer.

‘Steppin’ Out With My Baby’ may be the most well-known song from that movie…

… and here’s a fun number,  ‘A Couple of Swells’, where Hannah truly is very different from Don’s elegant former partner…

It’s a fun watch! Especially Judy’s acting, and of course Fred’s dancing, stand out here.


The 1950s – The Gene Kelly era

The 1950s had a ton of musicals. I really like another Fred Astaire musical called Funny Face (1957), also starring my darling Audrey Hepburn, and a lovely jazz musical with Danny Kaye called Five Pennies (1959) but, most of all, the 1950s is Gene Kelly’s decade to me! He did An American in Paris (1951) with Leslie Caron, which is a fun musical, but I think my fave 50s musical has got to be Singin’ in the Rain (1952), which Gene Kelly did with Debbie Reynolds.

Singin’ in the Rain is set in the late 1920s when movies went from silent to sound. When two silent movie stars’ latest movie is turned into a musical, a chorus girl is brought in to dub the female movie star’s singing and speaking. Gene Kelly plays the movie star Don Lockwood and Debbie Reynolds plays the chorus girl Kathy Selden. The very iconic title song is maybe the most well-known musical number ever. It never gets old looking at this…

The one I catch myself singing sometimes, just like that, is ‘Good Morning’…

I swear, virtually every number in this musical is legendary, there isn’t a bad song and dance routine in it!


The 1960s – The Julie Andrews era

I liked Hello Dolly (from 1964, with Barbra Streisand) but the mid 1960s is really the Julie Andrews era. She famously starred in My Fair Lady on stage but wasn’t deemed well-known enough for the movie, so the Eliza Doolittle role for the 1964 movie went to Audrey Hepburn instead. In the meantime Julie Andrews made Mary Poppins (yes, we’re still in 1964!) and became very famous for that.  However, my fave 60s musical has got to be The Sound of Music, which was made a year later in 1965.

The Sound of Music is about a young postulant, Maria (Julie Andrews), who is sent to be the governess to the children of naval officer and widower, Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer). It is set in Salzburg (Austria) in 1938 around the time the Nazis gain power there and is based on a true story. It’s awfully corny in many ways, but I do love it; it is well-acted and has real heart. There are some songs there I don’t like very much (like when the Mother Superior sings ‘Climb Every Mountain’ or the ’16 going on 17′ song), but others are absolutely irresistible, like ‘Do-Re-Mi’, ‘Edelweiss’ or ‘My favourite things’ (which incidentally is also the tag-line of this blog)…

There is also this very romantic dance. Normally I wouldn’t be caught dead listening to German/Austrian ‘Volksmusik’, which this is to a certain extent. This scene, however, always makes my heart skip a beat…

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this movie; I even went to a Sound of Music sing-along once, eight years ago!

It was absolutely silly but a lot of fun.


The 1970s – The rock & pop musical era but I liked fairytales!

This is the time of the rock & pop musicals, like Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) and Jesus Christ Superstar (1970), or Saturday Night Fever (1977) or Grease (1978). All of them fine! But, I was a little girl in the 1970s and just starting to learn about movies and musicals. At the tender age of 7 I fell in love with a kitsch Cinderella movie musical called The Slipper and the Rose (1976) with Richard Chamberlain as the prince and Gemma Craven as Cinderella. I have blogged about The Slipper and the Rose before here and I have shared some fun musical clips from that movie here. It’s probably got a lot to do with nostalgia, but I still love this musical (that virtually nobody knows anymore). Let me share another romantic dance video with you: the prince and Cinderella meet and dance…

… and my father’s favourite song, I always think of him when I see or hear this…


The 1980s – Youth musicals

There was Fame (1980) and Flashdance (1983) and Footloose (1984) and Dirty Dancing (1987), which was all very youth centered and I remember them all being very popular when they came out. I liked them and enjoyed them and fell in love with David Bowie and a teenage Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth (1986), but the musical I loved most was Yentl (1983), which was not so youth oriented. In my house, the whole family loved that movie, we had the soundtrack on LP and played it continuously.

Set in early 1900s Eastern Europe, Yentl is about a young woman (Barbra Streisand) who dreams of studying Talmud but as a girl is not permitted to do so. After her father dies, she disguises herself as a boy and goes out into the world to find a place where no one knows her, so that she can get the education she so covets. Things get complicated when she falls in love (with Avigdor, played by Mandy Patinkin)…

The song ‘Papa’ from the movie, then and now, always makes me think of my own father. Again, in this movie, all the songs are great, like ‘One of Those Moments’…

… or the final song. ‘A Piece of Sky’…

This is also a musical I have seen many times and it never grows old!


The 1990s – Cartoon musicals

There were musicals like Sister Act (from 1992, which was fun) and Evita (from 1996, just OK) but to me mostly the Disney cartoon musicals stand out in the 1990s, like Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Aladdin (1992). The movie that sticks out most for me is The Lion King (1994). I thought I was all over cartoons by mid mid-20s until I saw The Lion King in the cinema (I only went because some friends wanted to see it). To my surprise, that movie made me cry in the first 15 minutes! For me it isn’t a musical masterpiece like some of the musicals I mentioned in earlier decades are, but I did love it! The ‘Hakuna Matata’ song was cute! At the time everyone also said ‘hakuna matata’ to each other, it was a bit of a hype.

Last year I went to London for a few days with my son and I promised him a stage show. He picked The Lion King, so we went to see that and very much enjoyed it!

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I like that this musical is now linked to my son like that. 🙂


The 2000s – Fairytales & books

Not many musicals spring to mind in this era, but I did really enjoy Moulin Rouge (2001 about a writer and a cabaret star). That movie didn’t have many original songs but it did have great covers of great pop songs which made it a joyous watch. As a Jane Austen fan, I also really loved the Indian answer to Pride and Prejudice, called Bride and Prejudice (2004). In fact, I need to share one clip from that movie. The actor Naveen Andrews (he plays Balraj, the Bingley character, dressed in black), really reminds me of my youngest brother and I could actually picture my brother doing this dance act as well…

I love the way P&P translates to an Indian story and the joy that seeps through in all the songs and dances.

My fave 2000s musical, however, has got to be Enchanted (2007). A young maiden called Giselle (Amy Adams) who lives in a land called Andalasia and is prepared to be wed to Prince Edward (James Marsden), is sent away to cynical New York City by an evil queen (Susan Sarandon), where she falls in love with lawyer, Robert (Patrick Dempsey). It’s a real princess story yet also a spoof on all (animated) Disney princess stories, with even a hint of The Sound of Music spoof thrown in. See if you can spot that reference in this joyous ‘That’s How You Know’ number…

It’s fun and funny for adults and there’s also serious princess stuff there for the little ones. I discovered Amy Adams through this; she plays the princess so brilliantly and is nicely offset by grumpy Patrick Dempsey who slowly thaws (and she learns how to be angry!).


The 2010s- The Hugh Jackman era

So, here we are – the musicals of this present decade! I probably should mention La La Land (2016) here, as it won so very many awards! I felt, however, that that movie was very over-hyped. It was nice enough but the quality of the main actors’ singing and dancing just couldn’t hold a candle to some of the musicals mentioned above. I was underwhelmed. For me, the best musicals of the past 7 odd years have starred Hugh Jackman, so to me this is the Hugh Jackman musical age!

First off, Les Miserables (2012). I have always loved Les Miserables. In the mid 1980s we had a tape at home with all the songs from the London stage musical. I knew all the songs before I even knew the story. I finally saw the musical live in the West End in London in the fall of 2013 which was a dream come true for me! About half a year before that, I saw the 2012 movie musical version with Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway in the cinema. I know several people who didn’t like it, but I absolutely loved it!

Les Miserables is set in 19th century France. It’s the story of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) who has served 19 years of imprisonment for stealing a loaf of bread. He breaks parole and after that is hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Russel Crowe). He agrees to take care of a factory worker’s (Anne Hathaway) daughter, Cosette (Amanda Seyfried). Once grown, Cosette falls in love with revolutionary Marius (Eddie Redmayne), while Valjean wants to keep Cosette and himself out of the way of Javert.

Jackman was brilliant, as was Hathaway (she deservedly won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for this, I felt) and Eddie Redmayne has this surprising angelic voice. Recently I already shared a clip of Hugh Jackman singing ‘Who am I’, let me share Eddie Redmayne singing ‘Empty Chairs’ here (makes me cry every time!)…

I can’t possibly begin to select songs here to post, I would have to post the whole movie! So, here’s a trailer that gives a nice sampling overview…

I can’t just pick one favourite for this decade, now that the latest Hugh Jackman musical installment is here: The Greatest Showman (2017). I thought it would be a mildly amusing movie to go see, I never expected to love it this much!

The Greatest Showman is a musical inspired by the life of P.T. Barnum (played by Hugh Jackman). Barnum rises from nothing to create the “Greatest Show on Earth,” a spectacle and circus, starring ‘oddities’ like the bearded lady and a dwarf. It is inspired by true events but must certainly not be taken as gospel! It’s basically the fairytale version of Barnum’s life, with a nice message of celebrating difference and inclusion.

I can’t find many clips from the actual movie on YouTube (although you can see the trailer), but I can share a clip of a live performance the cast did of one of the songs…

And the anthem about being OK with who you are and showing yourself as you are, has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Song this year! Here is a clip from the movie, when the Bearded Lady (Keala Settle) sings ‘This Is Me’…

Again, with this movie I love every single song! I have been playing the soundtrack in the car virtually non-stop for all my commutes to work these past few weeks. I’m secretly hoping for the sing-along version to also come to The Netherlands… 😉


So, there you have it, my Mach’ Was musicals through the decades list! I’m sure I’m forgetting a ton of great musicals, so if there are any you feel should not be left unmentioned, feel free to do so in the comments. 🙂

A Valentine’s Day declaration of love

I’m not that big on Valentine’s Day – my husband and I say we prefer to show our love all year round, we don’t need V-day.  🙂 But on blog I felt I couldn’t quite ignore it, especially after I came across these very fitting Hugh Jackman gifs…

HJ Happy Valentine's DayHJ No I love you

So, a Valentine’s Day post it is. This means that, of course, one of my fave on-screen kisses ever by Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe needs to be featured here…

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And Colin Firth declaring his love can not be ignored…

CF ardently admire and love youCF I like you just as you are

The kiss I have been most pre-occupied with in recent months needs to be included. Suits finally returns for it’s second half of season 7 at the end of March when we will finally, finally see what happens after this Donna & Harvey (#Darvey) kiss…

Darvey kiss gifDarvey kiss gif 5

However, for all these things, the true love in my life really is my husband. After last year’s V-day post I came to singing his praises in the comments there and now here, in its own blog post, I want to reiterate what I wrote then, for all to see…

Mr Esther and I have been together for 26 years now and this is the first picture of us as a couple, taken during the first weekend in February of 1992, just a week after we got together (Mr Esther was close to 21; I was close to 22)…

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We were both in college at the time and from the very first kiss everything felt completely right between us. We’ve been soul mates, best friends and lovers ever since. In 1999, on our 7.5 year anniversary, we were married…

The declaration of love that I made in the comments last year still holds true today, even though we are really getting old and fat (these pics were taken last summer and 9 years ago respectively)…

I suspect I will always love this man from the bottom of my heart. Quoting from last year:

“No, Richard [Armitage or any other man actor crush for that matter] is in no way whatsoever a rival for my husband. I think even if I would know Richard in real life, who knows whether I could really love him in the romantic sense? He could be a Mr. Grumpy pants for all I know, or a work-a-holic who’s never around, whose life and career would possibly take precendence over me, etc. etc. I don’t share a 25 year personal history with Richard, I don’t have children with him, he isn’t the one who has helped me deal with losses and disappointments, he isn’t the one who supports me and leaves me free to be who I want to be, who nurtures me and encourages me, he isn’t the one who loves me completely as I am, warts and all, he isn’t the one who is there for me physically and mentally – my husband is all that and no one can replace that. And I hope I am all that to him. [It’s] a personal exchange. When my husband and I met I was already a fan girl of all sorts of movie stuff, with posters of faves all over my room, he doesn’t know better than that I am always in love with some actor or other and it never bothered him. Also, I find that the actors I love all seem to have a bit of my husband in them, so basically when I fall for an actor, I’m falling in love with aspects of my husband… Yeah, I’m so so lucky. 🙂”

We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day but today is as good a day as any to let my husband know yet again that I love him! Maybe when he reads this post it will earn me a surprise bouquet of flowers? Or at the very least an extra little caress and/or kiss, like these from the sweet movie Something New that Simon Baker and Sanaa Lathan made in 2006…

Happy Valentine’s Day!