30 Day Movie Challenge – Day 8

Day 8 – The best movie score/music

I’ll not be long winded about this – the only movie scores we actually own on CD are all The Lord of the Rings ones. I love that music! And on The Hobbit (which we also have) – Richard Armitage singing Misty Mountains… man, I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of that… ever! That deep voice singing does something to my insides.

Except for that no-brainer, other music that springs to mind is the soundtrack from the Twilight movies. I thought the movies were OK, not bad or great, but the music was awesome. The music on Twilight introduced me to the English band Muse, who have since become my favourite band!

I’ve seen them live in concert twice already and can hardly wait to see them live again next March in Amsterdam (I already have awesome tickets) 🙂

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



30 Day Movie Challenge – Day 5

Day 5 – A movie that reminds you of someone

This one is easy for me, but in my case it’s a few people and a set of movies and it’s all about  The Lord of the Rings trilogy! This trilogy always makes me think of some people who are very dear to me…

I was first introduced to The Lord of the Rings by my husband. He loved the books and although I thought I wouldn’t much like this whole fantasy adventure thing, once I saw The Fellowship of the Ring in the cinema with him I was hooked! My husband wouldn’t give me any spoilers as to what would happen next, so I went on to read the book almost instantly; I just had to know how the story would unfold. My husband and I love these movies and the subsequent The Hobbit movies as well. The Hobbit also combined my love for Richard Armitage with my husband’s affection for Tolkien, which is of course an extra bonus! This is what one of our bedroom walls looks like:


If I hadn’t loved my husband so much already, I could have easily fallen in love with him then and there in December 2001 for introducing me to these stories J.R.R. Tolkien and Peter Jackson have so masterfully crafted.

The Lord of the Rings also reminds me of two of my very dearest friends. We met online not long before Fellowship came out and when they too fell in love with the films (and my one friend fell in love with Viggo Mortensen even more than I did), we suddenly had extra shared interests to talk (and gush) about. These movies also lead to us finally meeting in person in Boston in 2004 when my one friend said she wanted to see an exhibition there on how The Lord of the Rings was made.

LOTR exhibition

So we all travelled to Boston – me from the Netherlands, they came from their corners of the world in the US, and we met as part of a larger group. However, only the three of us went to that exhibition, which was an adventure in itself as two of us were, well, a little hungover and the third was such an excellent sport about it. Meeting each other in person and going to that exhibtion together cemented a friendship that is still going strong today!

Not bad, having such an excellent movie trilogy remind me of my husband and two of my best friends, right? 🙂

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


The last goodbye

I still have to wait for my The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies extended edition BluRay to come out. I have an empty spot saved for it in my movies cupboard, beside the other two The Hobbit BluRays and the The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Many years ago I was not into fantasy or science fiction at all but I had fallen in love with a man, my husband now, who did like those things. Through him I came to love Jean-Luc Picard and Star Trek and through him I was introduced to The Lord of the Rings.

My husband enjoys a good film but is not a real film fan. So, when we go to the cinema together, I am usually the one to pick the films. Over the years the man has come to enjoy a good romantic comedy or two and has even gotten to like Jane Austen of sorts. From the beginning of our relationship, some 23 years now (oh my, I sound old!), he has more than indulged me. So when 14 years ago he said he wanted to see the first The Lord of the Rings film in the cinema, I magnanimously agreed. Sure, I could make the sacrifce for him for once, I thought. I wasn’t really expecting much but he had proven good taste before with Star Trek: The Next Generation, so who knows, maybe this wouldn’t be too bad?

And then I saw The Fellowship of the Ring… and I was blown away! It looked gorgeous, the whole world, the story, the characters were fascinating! Of course, I fell in love with Strider/Aragorn, so that helped too (and I came to really, really like Viggo Mortensen).

Aragorn - Fellowhsip

Wait a whole year to find out what happens next? I don’t think so! When the film ended I badgered my husband to tell me the rest of the story but the good man wouldn’t. So, I immediately read the book which was a page turner and again to my surprise, I was hooked. I feverishly anticpated the next two Rings films and loved every minute of them and especially the extended editions when they came out! Kudos to my husband for not being smug about it and saying “I told you so”!

Quite some years later, imagine my thrill when I hear my favourite actor is going to play Thorin Oakenshield in the new Peter Jackson/Middle Earth fantasy adventure! I hadn’t read The Hobbit yet because, well, it didn’t have Aragorn in it… But I corrected the situation, read it… and was a little underwhelmed by the character of Thorin. But by now I trusted Peter Jackson and the things he did for Middle Earth. I figured he would find a way to make Richard Armitage shine as Thorin Oakenshield and I was not disappointed!

I am awed by Richard as Thorin and I absolutely loved Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and last night I couldn’t resist and downloaded the last Hobbit extended edition and watched it. I don’t have the extra’s (I will wait for those when I buy the BluRay), just the movie… and I was hooked again! I admit to getting a little battle-weary and The Hobbit trilogy isn’t quite as powerful to me as The Lord of the Rings trilogy was, but even so, I loved it! And I loved what Richard did with his role, the subtle emotions battling in his eyes and on his face. He moved me to tears and I know I am not alone in thinking he did a great job. I loved Bilbo in it too, and his love for Thorin made me cry extra at the end… This, more than the other two Hobbit films, was Thorin’s film.

When the titles rolled, I was wiping away tears but Billy Boyd singing “The Last Goodbye” didn’t help (it’s all really over now!). I love love love the artwork for these films and the character drawings at the end, shown during the titles, are absolutely stunning to me, like this one:

Thorin Oakenshield drawing

Afterwards I went to YouTube and watched the video to Billy Boyd’s song and saw all the Lord of the Rings images as well…

… and now I just want to watch all 6 movies back to back again… extended editions only!

The Oscars 2015

Every year, for many years now, I stay up all night to watch the Oscars live on TV (ceremony starts at around 2 am here and ends at around 6 am!). For the past 5 or 6 years a close friend of mine comes over to watch it with me. We take the Monday off work and after breakfast/lunch at around 1 pm she heads home again…


Ever since my early teens in Germany ‘discovering’ Hollywood I always wanted to see the Oscars. It was a celebration of film and I could ogle actors in ‘real life’ – but more glamorously. Yes, there’s always criticism about the choice of nominations and who wins and the awards show itself and the speeches and who wore what and looked stunning/awful and in the grand scheme of things I do realize it is fluff and not so important. But it is fun and I like fun! I could never watch the ceremony then, it didn’t air on any channel we received. In later years in The Netherlands it occasionally aired somewhere on a channel somewhere and then some years I couldn’t find an airing of the ceremony anywhere, to my great chagrin. Only in more recent times have I been able to watch regularly on a paid cable film channel that opens up for free on Oscar night! And so, maybe 10 years ago or so, my all-nighters began and I could finally see for myself on a regular yearly basis what everyone was writing about.

Watching the Oscars also means that I like to see at least some of the movies nominated. I don’t go see them all, just the ones that really interest me and sound good to me beforehand. I had seen The Imitation Game and loved it. Last week on a Wednesday afternoon, while my husband was working from home, I was able to catch the very last screening in our local cinema (on my own, with just 4 other people present in the room!) of The Theory of Everything. Yes, excellent performances by Eddie Redmayne and for me, especially from Felicity Jones! I wanted to blog about that as well, especially about Felicity, but I was too busy and then this past week I have been ill (hence the Oscar post only now and not 3 days ago).

Felicity Jones - Jane HawkingWow, I so would have liked for her to win an Oscar for playing Jane Hawking! So strongly acted and culminating in the heartbreaking  scene near the end at the break up of their marriage. Beautiful, understated, so well done!

David Oyelowo - Martin Luther King

Then on Sunday evening, before my all-night Oscar party, my friend and I went to see Selma. The name “Selma” is special to me and I love that it is now also associated with a good movie! For me, it was not the best movie of the year (somehow The Imitation Game touched me more, but that may be because that story is less known) but, boy, was it solid and good. And especially David Oyelowo was excellent! That man has been robbed for not being nominated for his role in Selma!

This year the Oscar viewing was a bit different – I didn’t have to stay awake after the Oscars to get the kids up and off to school as they have the week off. And they decided they wanted to watch the Oscars as well with my friend and I! So, kids had gone to bed early and we woke them up about an hour before the ceremony began (just after 1 am!). They watched some of the red carpet with us and then the ceremony as well. My husband gave up at around 3.30 am and went to bed but the kids, my friend and I watched till the end. It was so nice having the kids do this with us, although I suspect they were more fascinated by the staying-up-through-the-night aspect of it all than by the actual Oscars thing. 😉

ThiEddie Redmayne Oscars year I didn’t have so much to really root for. I would have slightly preferred Cumberbatch to win over Redmayne but did love that Redmayne had won and his joyous acceptance of the award. I really like Julianne Moore but I was rooting for Felicity Jones. Loved that The Imitation Game received one vital award (adapted screenplay – and the wonderful speech that went with that!) but wished they could have received more. I loved the speech the winner for best foreign film gave (Polish film called “Ida”) and how he went on talking through the music and the disarming honest humor in that speech. I couldn’t join in the Birdman fuss as that film isn’t out here yet I don’t think… and that’s where my gripe starts…

This was mostly about films no one the-hobbit-Thorinhas seen! Granted, I love small films and feel they deserve awards like these, but a little more recognition for a blockbuster like, oh, The Hobbit would not have been amiss! I think people are so used to the wonders of Middle Earth that it isn’t considered special anymore… I really missed The Hobbit in all this…

As for the show itself – Neil Patrick Harris didn’t do it for me as a presenter. I so much preferred last year’s Ellen DeGeneres and some years before that: Hugh Jackman, who had really surprised me at the time! Harris delivered some nice jokes – only to undo each and every one of them after the punchline with a little grin!

I really liked the song “Glory” from “Selma” that won the Oscar – very powerful performance on Oscar night with John Legend, Common and a gospel choir to back them up! And then the most surprising performance of the night and real high point for me – when Lady Gaga did that The Sound of Music medley! I mean, yeah, I knew Lady Gaga could sing – but like that?!? Wow!

Lady Gaga - Julie Andrews 2 Lady Gaga - Julie Andrews

And then Julie Andrews came out and hugged her and said “Dear Lady Gaga… thank you for that wonderful tribute, it warmed my heart”… my goodness, goosebumps and the best 5 or 6 minutes of the whole show for me!

So, yes, thereColin-Firth-Oscar was little for me to get excited over on the awards front this year (unlike 4 or so years ago when Colin Firth won – I was over-the-moon then! Still so happy about that, that I need to share a picture on the right here). And yet, this still was a memorable Oscar night for me: there was the Lady Gaga surprise and Julie Andrews, there was sadness at missing The Hobbit and, most memorable of all, there was the sharing of this Oscar night with my kids for the first time!

Liebster Award


Fellow blogger Richartreehouse (http://richardtreehouse.wordpress.com/) has nominated me for the Liebster award. It is designed to introduce fellow bloggers to each other and I thought I’d give it a go, answering the questions.

Okay, ready? Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog into your post.
  2. Answer 11 questions which you have been asked by the nominating blogger.
  3. Nominate 5 to 11 other bloggers who have fewer than 1,000 followers.
  4. Add a new list of 11 questions for the nominated bloggers.
  5. Paste these rules into your post.
  6. Make sure your nominees know about your post and their nomination.

I am violating rule number 3 – I have no idea who to nominate. Another fellow blogger, Perry, said that was OK, so I’ll just do the answers. Thank you for nominating me Richardtreehouse!

So, my answers:

1.) Richard Armitage Beard, Stubble, Freshly Shaven?  (Important question from Obscura 😉 )

Love the beard! This is one of my favorite pictures of Richard with beard! Actually, one of my fave pictures of him, period. (And I have this as a The Crucible poster with my signed ticket to go with it as well, it’s hanging on my dining room wall). 3679

RA & I

But I think I may love the stubble best. He tweeted a selfie in December that made my tummy do flip flops, but I think that also had to do with the smile and the general look of good humor in his face. What I like even more, however, is the stubble with longish hair like in the “woof” picture on the right. 🙂

RA before Paris Q&A RA Woof

2.) Favorite premiere outfit with description or photo:

Oh gosh, I don’t have a ready answer to this one, had to research. I think I’ll go with the Berlin premiere of The Desolation of Smaug. Maybe it’s the long hair with stubble again that I love. And I definitely love blue on him.

RA berlin 2 RA berlin

3.) How long have you been a fan of Richard Armitage?

Since the spring of 2006! My mother, knowing that I like period drama, had gifted me a North and South DVD some weeks prior. She hadn’t seen it either but had seen it in the shop and had thought I might enjoy it. I finally got around to watching it when I was sick and home from work one day. Watched the first episode… and got hooked. I remember when I first saw him on the steps overlooking the workers in the mill thinking, “oh, here goes, another tall dark handsome actor. I will not succumb to that” and for about one episode I was able to do that. By episode 3 I was hooked and the “look back at me” scene in episode 4 sealed the deal. I re-watched and then went online to research and became a member of C19 (under another name, not Esther) and wrote a fan fiction piece continuing on where the adaptation had left off and read the book. For a while I thought it was John Thornton I loved but nope, the fascination with Richard Armitage remained long after John Thornton had ‘worn off’ (although, he never really does wear off). And then he played Harrry on one of my favorite comedy shows “The Vicar of Dibley” and then I knew for sure that I was in this for the long haul…

4.) Would you consider yourself a serious, middle of the road or casual fan?

Serious fan. I can’t always obsess, obsession scares me a bit, plus I don’t have the time to always obsess but I do read and watch all interviews and watch everything he does on film or TV. Only thing I haven’t gotten around to is his audio books… and my RA shrine is quite sober with a small (signed!) N&S poster in my bedroom:RA N&S signed posterIt’s near my The Crucible program and The Crucible poster I mentioned above is in my dining room. And I will possibly put up a Hobbit poster as well (next to The Lord of the Rings one already up on my bedroom wall – the husband luckily approves) but still have to decide. The poster should include Bilbo and Gandalf as well (at least).

5.) Favorite Richard Armitage photo shoot:

Oh man, so hard to pick, there are so many good ones out there! Some of my faves recently are from Sarah Dunn:

RA5 nov 2014 RA6 nov 2014 hiding beard

But I also like this DAMAN one (on the left) and the one of the right, but I can’t remember who the photographer is:


And there’s this old photoshoot one that springs to mind that I really like (but don’t know who the photographer is either, this is a cutout of the actual picture)

armitage05vd2cutout6.) Lucas North or John Porter?

Easy for me: John Porter. I thought he did some of his best work as John Porter. I was not a huge Lucas North fan. Not a huge Guy of Gisbourne fan either although Richard did awesome jobs with both characters. (Images below thanks to http://www.RichardArmitageNet.com).

ep1_307 ep4hd_094

7.) Favorite RA fantasy vacation:

Er… well… I like city trips or a hike through the woods or just relaxing infront of a log fire reading or watching movies. I remember at the Berlin premiere he said he was going to visit the Holocaust museum. I used to (almost obsessively!) study the Holocaust (I grew up in Israel and Germany, so sorta comes with the territory, I guess) and would have loved to have accompanied him to that museum.

8.) A kindness you’ve done/received from a fellow fan: (Great question from Jollytr)

The encouraging and welcoming comments I have received while starting up this blog, including inviting me to do this Liebster award thing. Thank you! I yet have to do a kindness…

9.) Favorite (in character, any character) screen shot:

Oh man, how can I pick? So many! Obviously any North and South screenshot will do (thanks to RichardArmitageNet.com for the shots):

ns1-165 ns4-264

And then there are Vicar of Dibley shots, the man was having so much fun on that show (these shots are my own):

vod1-048 vod1-060

And then there’s Thorin, of course (also with thanks to RichardArmitageNet.com):


And maybe my absolute fave of the past year, as John Proctor. I haven’t seen the filmed version yet but the theatrical version was absolutely stunning and draining and a wonderful thing to have experienced. This shot shows some of the intensity of Richard as John Proctor. I am so looking forward to seeing The Crucible again on screen!

RA Crucible 110.) Role you would love to see Richard play:

Anything that will challenge him, I don’t really have particular ideas about that. I wouldn’t mind a romantic (comedy) role for a change. I like the idea of him doing an adaptation of the Discovery of Witches books by Deborah Harkness, I hope there is a chance for that happening (I follow the Armitage4Clarimont campaign: http://www.armitage4clairmont.com/). I also very much like the sound of the new Pilgrim project he will be doing this year.

11.) Favorite male and female co-star:

Well, really, I love him in my fave roles and that is also due to the people he stars with. I thought he had great chemistry with Daniela Denby-Ashe and from what I remember from The Crucible he was great with Anna Madeley too. Also Jodhi May and Orla Brady had good chemistry with Richard! As for men, I think I liked him best with Martin Freeman.

That’s it, my modest answers! And look at the time, I need to head off to bed now, it’s close to 2 am! And here I was writing about not obsessing…. 😉