Mare and Arabella

I watched two miniseries that were on my need-to-see list recently. They have both really stayed with me and when things stay with me like that, I need to blog about them (without spoilers).

First off, Mare of Easttown with Kate Winslet and she’s really as good in this as everyone says she is! She won an Emmy for this role recently and deservedly so…

Mare is a police investigator in a small town in Pennsylvania, investigating the murder of a teenage girl. She’s divorced, lives with her two kids and her mom and, really, all she tries to do is keep her life running while investigating this murder and also dealing with some past trauma of her own. Yes, I liked the mystery aspect of this but what I loved most of all were the layered characters. No one is all good or all bad, including Mare, they are all just different people with highs and lows who make certain choices, some good, some not so good that feel very real and true to life. Life isn’t just black and white, good or bad and it has its ups and downs where little in the moment choices can occasionally have big consequences. And even when something Mare does turns out to be ‘heroic’ it’s doesn’t feel heroic in that moment, it just feels like something that needs to be done with both good and bad consequences. I love that Mare is this no-nonsense woman who just wants to get on with it but also very much cares about the people in the town. She looks like the normal, non-glamourous person next door, which I love too. Like all of us, she has to balance work and life with her family, her friends, her ex-husband and even a potential romance and it really isn’t always easy. Things get resolved at the end but, just like in our own real lives, one thing may end but there are other paths that still need to be taken and new decisions that still need to be made. Yes, this was good and felt real and I’m sure I’ll go back to this series again.

Another Emmy award went to actress and writer Michaela Coel for writing I May Destroy You and, again, deservedly so! She also played the main role.

Michaela plays a young writer, Arabella, who is trying to follow up her first besteller debut with a second book but finding it hard to do so. She goes out with friends one night, her drink gets spiked and the next morning she wakes up without any memory of what happened except for an occasional memory flash that unsettles her. As she tries to piece together what happened that night she finds out she was sexually assaulted. It turns her world upside down and she must find a way to deal with it all, not only with what happened but also with how other people react to it. In this series, just as in Mare, the characters aren’t all good or bad either, they are layered and here too the characters make small, almost innocent choices that can have detrimental effects. The lives Arabella and her friends live are so different from what my own life was and is (I have never been big at partying or having many sexual partners like these young people do) and yet, I can relate to and feel for every one of them. Not only are the characters layered and real, also the grey areas of consent and what amounts to sexual harrassment or assault are explored here and really leave you with food for thought. How do you move on from and live with something like this? The title of the series suddenly makes even more sense in the final episode, I will not spoil more than that. In addition to all this, Michaela Coel has such a fascinating face that I could never tear my eyes away from her. An excellent performance and a story based on her own life experience make this very real but sometimes also difficult to watch.

Bottom line: very real layered female characters, played by real looking actresses, and with a good story set in the real world make for gripping television. Congratulations to Michaela Coel and Kate Winslet on their deserved Emmy wins…

I want more!

Some Richard favourites

I’m still in non-Richard land right now but saw this blog post by Michele and then Armidreamer’s response and Rachel’s response and I thought I’d just jump in as well and dip back into Armitage-land again for a bit with my own response. He is never far from my mind but there are so few new things for me to get excited about (again, all that audio work is not for me), that I haven’t been that immersed in Richard of late. I did really enjoy these recent pictures of him filming Stay Close in Blackpool, though…

… and of course today congratulations are in order because of his Audie Award win for reading Chekhov’s short stories!

Anyway, back to Michele’s questions and my answers to them:

1 Your favorite John and why: Thornton / Proctor / Porter / Standring

Had to think on that one, was trying to decide between Thornton and Porter but I think it would still be John Thornton, mostly because he was my gateway to Richard Armitage and I still think Thornton is one of his most layered performances. Even after all these years, I still love looking at the details of what Richard did with this character.

2 Your favorite Richard action movie and why:

He’s done more TV action than movie action but even so I’d probably pick The Hobbit over any of his TV action stuff. He gave an excellent, again layered, performance as Thorin Oakenshield.

3 Your favorite pairing of Richard and ____

As in someone he already acted with or someone he should act with? I never have simple one-name answers to these.

For actresses he has already acted with, I thought he had good chemistry with Jodhi May (as Layla Thompson) in Strike Back or Orla Brady (as reporter Katie Dartmouth) also in Strike Back. Also with Rutina Wesley (as Reba) in Hannibal and of course Daniela Denby-Ashe (as Margaret Hale) in North and South.

As in someone I’d yet like to see him act with? I’m not sure I have a real preference there, I want to see him opposite someone strong and smart. Kate Winslet might be an obvious one, or I really like Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

Or maybe he could team up with a male actor, like Gabriel Macht or DB Woodside, both of whom have recently been on my mind a lot…

4 Richard’s best trait is his ________

For many years now I’ve been trying to figure out what it is exactly that makes him remain my favourite. I wish I could pinpoint the one trait I like best but it’s not that easy. So, I think I’m going to cheat by naming three traits and combining them into one: intelligent introvert soulfulness.

5 What one question would you ask Richard about his roles up to now?

Which role would you best like to be remembered for and why? It doesn’t have to be the most (commercially) successful one…

6 If Richard asks you to dinner and where to eat, what type of restaurant would you take him to?

Sushi. I love sushi. Or if he’s visiting me here in The Netherlands I’d take him in the summertime to a lovely typical Dutch pancake restaurant in the center of Utrecht, right next to a canal. If he doesn’t like pancakes, no problem, there are many more restaurants to choose from alongside that canal.

7 What song comes to mind to describe his acting career?

Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake – it’s got nothing to do with his acting career, though. I’m not sure I could think of any one song that would characterize his acting career to me. However, in my early years of fandom after I first fell in love with the man in 2006, I couldn’t get enough of a video someone had made to the song Sexy Back. The first Sexy Back video was so popular that a year later a second one was made…

… and then even a third one came along. To this day, when anyone asks me what music I associate with Richard Armitage it is this song that immediately springs to mind.

8 What board game would you play with Richard during another lockdown?

Scrabble.

9 What two fandom items would you give to Richard as tokens of appreciation?

I’m not sure giving him pictures of himself on posters, playing cards or other items would feel right, it would be something of more value to us as fans than to him, I think. Having said that, I would offer to make him a phone cover with my mother’s The Crucible painting on it, similar to the one I have.

Also, many many years ago some fans made a Guy of Gisborne concert tour (called The Havoc Tour) t-shirt for Richard and I thought that was absolutely brilliant! He actually mentioned that t-shirt way back when at the end of this video interview.

Source

10 Complete this sentence: “Richard you are the ________ to my __________.

Oh man, I suck at these. I can think of a very dramatic one: Richard, you are the balm to my tortured soul. Or a slightly more light-hearted one: Richard, you are the chocolate to my tea.

Happy birthday, Richard!

Richard Armitage is 45 years old today and I wish him all the very best for the coming year and beyond with lots of love and happiness and success!

It almost feels a bit like my own birthday, as I’ve been catching up with Richard news since coming back from my vacation: Berlin Station trailers and pictures, Richard in a lovely lovely light grey suit…

… and I love this picture…

RA July 2016

The Berlin Station trailers look really good. And I don’t just mean Richard looking good, those trailers and the story look good too! But let me focus on Richard here (images sourced from RichardArmitageNet.com, but cropped and lightened by me – click to enlarge). We get political-Richard (OK, long shot, but there is Obama in the background!), crinkle-Richard and goofy-grin-Richard!

And of course intense-Richard…

I find it weird to hear his voice with an American accent but from what I gathered from the trailer, the accent seemed better than I remember it being in Into the Storm (where his accent felt totally off to me). And this following image really made me smile – Richard mimicking his intense phone stance from the Berlin Station image:

RCArmitage2-twitter-30Jul16

If Berlin Station is as good as the promos promise, then the coming year may be a good one for Richard!

RA BS1

There have also been two nice Brain on Fire  images, of Richard as doting dad.

Especially that second image, his whole face as well as his body exuding love and concern, warms my heart. Here, have a close up, look at the crinkle at the corner of his eye and the tender smile and the leaning… ahhh!

BOF2 crop

And apparently the movie is going to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) as well. I went to TIFF once with two close friends of mine and am just realizing that that was 10 years ago! At the time we tried to get glimpses of Brad Pitt… but yeah, this is all we saw at best (i.e. nothing):

IMG_2315 Brad Pitt - saw nothing

We did catch very far away glimpses of Kate Winslet (the blonde in the middle of the left picture) and Russel Crowe (in the top middle of the right picture):

Anyway, even though we never actually got to see the stars properly I have very very fond memories of going to TIFF with my two friends and I would love to go again, especially with Brain on Fire screening there! Alas, I have no money-tree in my back yard… just like I probably won’t be able to go see Love Love Love either… but today isn’t a day for feeling sorry, it’s a happy birthday day and I am thankful for all the goodies I have been looking at since my vacation! And it looks like a very good beginning, career-wise in any case, to Richard’s 46th year…

It’s lovely to celebrate today with all these lovely goodies. More celebrating can be done by donating to one of Richard’s preferred charities on Just Giving or be quick and join in Guylty’s auction or Servetus’s charity pledge today! Or,  just enjoy the man and his work. 🙂

 

Oscars, Blindspot & Berlin refugees

So, last week wasn’t really great for me but despite that, there were a few highlights. A little highlights recap…

First, there were the Oscars. I watch the Oscars live every year, I stay up all night to do so. It’s all nonsense, I know, but I love it. I do this with a friend and this year a new friend of mine joined us as well. We went to my parents’ holiday cottage in the north as the only channel we could watch it on this year wasn’t a Dutch channel but a German satellite channel that we can receive there. My old friend and my new friend didn’t know each other but that didn’t stop the fun, they got on well together. We had a great time! Alas, the Oscars themselves weren’t that eventful…

I enjoyed the Chris Rock opening but after that #OscarsSoWhite was the only topic and frankly, that did get a little old. I prefer not only more diversity at the Oscars, I would also have liked more diversity in presentation jokes. In addition, there were no stand out winners for me, but maybe that’s because quite some of the movies haven’t been in the cinemas here yet. That annoys me, that these newest movies get nominated that no one has had a chance to see yet. But, I was glad to see Leonardo Di Caprio finally win an Oscar (even though I haven’t seen The Revenant yet) and as I had ony just seen Brie Larson the week before in Room, I was very pleased for her as she was excellent in it. Bridge of Spies with Mark Rylance and The Danish Girl with Alicia Vikander I have yet to see but they seem sympathetic wins too.

Oscar winners acting 2016As for the the red carpet… we loved looking at the dresses and commenting from our couch. From what we saw we loved Lady Gaga’s outfit the most (we couldn’t say that for her Oscar nominated song, though – none of the songs were too good, I thought)! We also liked seeing Leo and Kate Winslet together. Aww.

Yep, Oscars were fun, but more due to how much I enjoyed watching it with my friends than due to the show itself…

After Oscar-night I got sick… but the highlight was that Blindspot has started again and I was able to watch it while I was sick! Not only does Jane (Jaimie Alexander) completely intrigue me (and gosh, she’s bad-ass beautiful!), Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) is sympathetically intense and those two just have great, crackling chemistry together. I also just love Patterson the tech-lady, played by Ashley Johnson (screencaps all mine from last week’s 11th episode of season 1)…

Yep, so nice that the show is finally back from it’s hiatus, looking forward to the next episode!

The rest of the week didn’t have that many highlights but the weekend did; it brought tweets by Richard Armitage who was visiting a refugee shelter in Berlin. He also tweeted three pages of text about his experience there (click on images to enlarge)…

This refugee issue is one close to my own heart. I know there are difficulties and I know there are no easy and quick solutions but first and foremost it’s humanitarian action that counts! These people need help and not the hateful backlash I see so much around me now. They aren’t criminals, these are people who have to give up home and hearth and flee under dangerous and uncertain circumstances to find some semblance of a peaceful and good life. I love that Richard has highlighted the humanitarian need and, in his recount, has tried to give the word “refugee” a sympathetic face, like little Lego-Paul and the Cinderella girl. Yep, good on ya, Richard!

So, in the midst of all the sad news and sickness and funerals, I love that there are these positive highlights that can make me happy. I am after all, in general, a glass half-full kinda girl.

30 Day Movie Challenge – The End!

Ok, I’m rounding this challenge off by answering the last two questions in one post!

Day 29 – A new movie you are most looking forward to

The movies I am most looking forward to are any of the new movies Richard Armitage has aleady made but that have not been released yet! I’m especially curious to see Urban and the Shed Crew…

I wasn’t able to go to the Leeds International Film Festival to see it and the movie has yet to get a distribution deal, preferably an international one. Fingers crossed it won’t take too long!

And I’m also very curious about Pilgrimage which should be released in 2016 according to IMDB!

pilgrimage_still

But it looks to be quite a while before I will see either of these movies… Must stay patient… must stay patient…

Day 30 – The next movie you plan to watch at the cinema

There are two movies I really want to see that are already showing and I have absolutely no idea when I will be able to actually go see them!

First off, I really want to see Suffragette. For the story, for Meryl Streep (even though her part is small) and Carey Mulligan is said to be amazing in this!

And I want to really see Steve Jobs in which Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet are also supposed to be excellent…

Hopefully these two movies will still be playing for a while, I would love to see them in the cinema!

The End!

That’s it, the end of my 30 Day Movie Challenge (done in 27 days)! It was fun doing it; I always love to think about movies and this challenge  gave me the chance to really do that and go on and on about it. 🙂 Ending the challenge also means this is the end of daily blogging for now which, I have to admit,  is a bit of a relief actually. Schedules are nice, freedom is nicer!

Whew. I think I need a vodka now.

(30 Day Movie Challenge – the full list of questions)