Wednesday, July 27, 2011

European Film Gateway Goes Online - and Patsy Cline's House Opens to Visitors - Film, Music and Museum News

Alain Delon and Monica Vitti

The European Film Gateway

The European Film Gateway (EFG) went online on July 26.  The website will give  film lovers and film historians access to European film archives, photos, newsreels, posters, rare documents and much more. Researchers will have easy access to 16 archives that hold the original documents, photos, or film.  The EFG website can be read in three languages: German, English, and Italian.  

The European Film Gateway:

Patsy Cline

Patsy Cline's House:

Visitors to Winchester, Virginia, can now visit The Patsy Cline Historic House  opening on August 2. The Country Music legend lived in the house from her teens to late 20's. Patsy Cline died in a plane crash in 1963 at the age of 30.

Thanks to, Yahoo, and Associated Press

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Aurelio Zen Mysteries- Interview with Late Author Michael Dibdin

Masterpiece on US Public Television has been airing the BBC Aurelio Zen series starring Rufus Sewell, This coming Sunday July 30 they'll show the last episode of the series at 9:00pm EST.  

Below is a video interview with Michael Dibdin the late author of the Zen series of detective novels.  Though Mr. Dibdin was British, the novels are set in Italy and Zen is very much a Venetian.  In the interview below from The Guardian Dibdin talks about how losing his job led to writing the books and also his years and experience of living in Italy. He also talks about his relationship with his creation, Aurelio Zen.

Update:  Video of Rufus Sewell talking about Zen from PBS Masterpiece

Watch the full episode. See more Masterpiece.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My "Two Cents" about Captain America

I just came back from seeing Captain America: The First Avenger in 3D.  Below are some thoughts about the experience.

*  I have followed Captain America and went to see it today because Richard Armitage is in it.  He's in the film much too briefly.  I always marvel about his ease of movement and his" believability" in  action sequences.  To me the chase scene between Heinz Kruger and Steve Rogers is the most exciting action sequence in the film - a duel between two men. Armitage has only a few lines of dialog, but he always manages to add extra touches without a word. My favorite, the knowing half smile. A good intro for him to the world of huge action blockbusters in what is already becoming a popular, and also enjoyable film.  

Watching him on the big screen I did wonder if some Heinz Kruger scenes were left on the cutting room floor during editing, happens in every film and TV show, and maybe we'll see them on the DVD.  I don't know of course, but it's always possible.  It was exciting to see him on the big screen. 

Update: RA Fest continues! Wonderful new interview in The Scotsman thanks to

* I was excited to see the streets of Manchester and Liverpool  that we've seen in the behind-the-scenes and fan photos posted when they were filming in the UK.  

 Thanks to 

*  I don't remember seeing Chris Evans in any film before.  He's the perfect All American Boy and a refreshing non-swagger hero. I look forward to seeing him in a serious non-CGI film one of these days.

*  Hugo Weaving always a solid performance as a villain.  Oddly enough I found him scarier without the red Red Skull face. 

* For those of us in the US that watch lots of UK television programs and films, always fun to recognize familiar faces, even in small roles.  

* Tommy Lee Jones delivers as always.  The best lines and probably having the most fun of anyone in this film.  He's played this tough-as-nails with a soft heart part before, and it's becoming his specialty, but he does it so well.  

* Good performance by Hayley Atwell and glad to have a strong but believable woman in an action film. Only a hint of a romance with Captain America  as fits a film for a very young audience, but both actors do it very well.  I last remember seeing her in Any Human Heart on PBS and recommend seeing it for anyone not familiar with her work. (I confess not  always remembering her name really, but certainly remembered seeing her before in several different roles on other good programs as soon as she appeared on the screen here.)

*Saw a preview of every single action and superhero film slated to open the rest of this year. Sensory overload!!!!!!!!!!! Lots of UK actors though in the lead playing Americans...except Mission Impossible with Tom Cruise.

I enjoyed the film more than I thought I would, it is an action film with an actual story and characters you become attached to.  Good job!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Few Minutes with Thorin (Richard Armitage) and Kili (Aidan Turner)

So I thought this Wednesday evening after work I would sit on my couch with my laptop and catch up with all the photos and videos and reports and news from the exciting Captain America Premiere I saw LIVE last night in Los Angeles as RA Fest continues...and then late tonight in my part of the world, all Hobbit fans received an unexpected gift from Middle-Earth:

So here's a short video of clips from Peter Jackson's Hobbit Video Blog #3 of mostly our marvelous leader Thorin and his nephew Kili, or Richard Armitage and Aidan Turner

As Richard Armitage fans this has been an amazing time and I am full of wonder at all we have been so lucky to see and hear because of Captain America and The Hobbit.  Since Richard is on my side of the continent this evening, and only a few hours away from me right now, so near and yet so far, I am truly floating on air tonight.

Richard Armitage as Thorin
From New Dwarves Photo Released by Peter Jackson July 21, 2011

But back to Peter Jackson's marvelous gift to us on Wednesday.  The video is really dedicated to the dwarves, and what a marvelous and fun group of guys.  Thorin looks very different than the recently released photo , older, but with more gravitas and less bravado I think. Kili looks very different too, very cute, but his wig is a light brown, rather than dark brown of the recently released photo. We do get to see Aidan's smile a few times, and that's a bonus. 

Of course, I love listening to Richard Armitage talk about his characters, and we get to hear him talk about his experiences for the past five months, just lovely as always.  Has to be such a special experience for him for so many reasons. His career, yes, but there's more and you can feel it from him how special this is, to be part of bringing a book he loved as a child, part of his life for a long time, and now he gets to bring it to life for the world as one of the main and most unforgettable characters of this magical quest. He's working hard as always, but having the time of his life, and he's sharing a bit of it with his fans around the world.

I'm very excited, that's why it's 1:00am my time and I'm not asleep, and I still have to work tomorrow. But what a marvelous excuse to stay awake and enjoy the experience. 

If you haven't seen the entire video blog, please click on the link below. There are a few more surprises from Peter Jackson for all of us:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Welcome to the USA Richard!

Photo from

What a week! Another exciting premiere for Captain America, this time in New York City. Richard Armitage and others in the cast tonight, 
July 20, 2011

Richard Armitage at the Captain America Premiere in 
Los Angeles, July 19, 2011
Photo thanks to

According to two news sources are reporting that Richard Armitage will be at the Captain America: The First Avenger  premiere on the Red Carpet tomorrow in Los Angeles.

So in case by some miracle RA should find my blog entirely by accident (that's really the only way people ever find my blog, accidentally while looking for gardening tips!) I want to say:

Welcome dear Richard to our part of the world. Wish you were in my part of the continent,the East Coast. I am sending my best wishes and support for a great event tomorrow night together with all your fans around the world.  You know we'll all be watching and wishing we were there with you.  Much deserved success.

For those of us not in LosAngeles, we can watch the premiere LIVE tomorrow on one of the sites linked below (and maybe others) at 6:00pm Pacific Time/9:00pm Eastern Time:

Richard plays Nazi spy and villain Heinz Kruger.  A little taste of the comic book Kruger below to get us even more excited for the movie opening in the US July 22:

Click Image to Enlarge (and Read)

The RA FEST Continues...

comic book page from scans.daily.dreamwidth.or, pics from

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield Revealed

Thanks to The One Ring Net:

I expected a full body pic of Thorin! But I'll take it!

I'm still processing it.. may say more later.  Would love your comments!

Later today :)

Now that I've had a chance to look at Thorin in more detail, I see a similarity between Season 3 Guy of  Gisborne and Thorin Oakenshield. Not just the look of the dark eyes and long hair, but the dark and ferocious Guy and the Thorin we are seeing now in this new photo:

Do you agree that there is a resemblance, and that maybe The Hobbit costume and makeup designers might have been inspired by it. Do you agree or disagree?  

Uncle (Thorin) and Nephew (Kili)

See the resemblance?  

hair, eyebrows, expression, beard, attitude!

Equal Time - Reaction from Staff to Thorin Photo:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Marilyn Monroe, Dennis Leary, and Jane Austen - Movie, Television, and Literature Art and Museum News

Marilyn Monroe Statue Unveiled in Chicago

A 26-foot-tall sculpture of Marilyn Monroe was recently unveiled on Chicago's Magnificent Mile. The sculpture by artist Seward Johnson shows Monroe in a pose from the film "The Seven Year Itch". 

Actor Dennis Leary Donates Props from his Television Show

Denis Leary  recently donated props, costumes and other objects from his TV series "Rescue Me" to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington DC.  Donations included Leary's firefighter costume, helmet and tools.  The FX  television drama is about firefighters dealing with the grief of losing friends and relatives at ground zero on 9/11.

Rare Jane Austen Manuscript sold at Sotheby's 

Last week Sotheby’s sold the earliest surviving manuscript for a novel by Jane Austen – The Watsons – which sold for £993,250 /$1,601,218 /€1,125,748, triple its pre-sale high estimate. It was sold to an anonymous bidder. The work is believed to have been written in 1804 and never published during Austen’s lifetime. The Watsons remains incomplete.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Profile of Thorin Oakenshield and Richard Armitage in Hobbit in 5

Finally it was the turn of the letter "T" and Thorin to get a character profile on Hobbit in 5 and  also a short bio of Richard Armitage for the Tolkien, LOTR, and Hobbit fans that don't know a great deal about him.  I've been waiting for the Thorin profile since Hobbit in 5 started and was very happy to see it today, even on this banner day for Richard Armitage fans. 

On first viewing I thought they should have mentioned his starring roles in Robin Hood, Spooks and Strike Back, even if no time to go into details. Having looked and listened to the video again I understand why they chose to emphasize early roles that set him on his career path, and also two roles that would appeal to the main Hobbit in 5 audience, Star Wars, and  RA's upcoming villain role of Heinz Kruger in Captain America.

Richard Armitage, Project Magazine, July 2011
Photos Thanks to

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Marvel's Heinz Kruger for the Uninitiated

We are only 12 days away from the opening of Captain America: The First Avenger and for fans of Richard Armitage, our first opportunity to see him on the big screen in 3D.  Armitage is playing the role of Nazi villain and Captain America’s first nemesis Heinz Kruger. We know he will make his Kruger a multi-faceted character, a bad guy who is still very human with an inner life beyond the dialog on the page. As a matter of fact, Armitage has said so:

“I didn’t want to play a two dimensional bad guy” says Armitage. “Kruger had to believe that he was doing something for the good of his country.”  Total Film, August 2011

Update - July 15:  Interview with Richard Armitage about playing Heinz Kruger:

Video thanks to Bccmee:

But who is the comic book Heinz Kruger?   I know other bloggers posted about this when Richard Armitage was first cast, but now that the movie experience is so close, maybe it is time to revisit the background of Marvel’s Heinz Kruger, without too many spoilers of course.

Heinz Kruger first made his appearance in March 1941 in Captain America Comics #1 and appeared 19 times in the comics. He is a Nazi agent and German citizen tasked with infiltrating the top secret military base where Professor Erskine is working on the Super-Soldier Serum and Vita-Rays that will transform Steve Rogers into Captain America.  Kruger adopts the alias of Special Agent Frederick Clemson from the US  Department of the Interior. (A bit like Spooks isn't it?) He also has several special weapons, among them a special Luger able to pierce protective glass. (Remember this is 1941 technology).

He also appeared in some of the early Captain America film and television serials made in 1944 and also 1979.

We also know a few personal details about him. Kruger is married and has a wife named Elise, and he has children, but number unknown.   He is known for having a lovely and much admired singing voice, and also for building beautiful model ships, though we don’t know from which era.

Heinz is described as having blue eyes (CHECK), and black hair (YES!) but from the comic book Kruger that is pretty much where the resemblance ends (see pics if you need proof).  Interesting that Kruger had different looks in his various appearances in the Captain America comics, and apparently sometimes had a mustache and sometimes not.  I’m glad they decided on no mustache for Armitage’s Kruger.

By the way, tomorrow, Monday, July 11th,  Chris Evans, who stars as the Captain himself in "Captain America: The First Avenger," will be at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the Opening Bell at 9:29 a.m. ET with Marvel Executives and guests….Guests? Could there be a guest from the UK? If curious, you can see it on the homepage of

 No Heinz Kruger - Just a glimpse of  Captain America

Info and pics from,,,,, Caps mine or

Are you looking forward to seeing 
Captain America? 

Update 7/12/11

Saw today on the official Captain America:The First Avenger's website they unveiled the "Character Dossiers" of several of the movie characters, but sadly not Heinz Kruger.  I did send Marvel a tweet this morning @Marvel letting them know fans would love to see Heinz Kruger (Richard Armitage) included in the dossiers, and also wallpaper, I mean they do have Hydra! Of course one tweet in the information sea that is Twitter won't make a difference, but at least I feel I let them know what I thought :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Richard Armitage- Caps from New Peter Jackson The Hobbit Video Blog Today

The few seconds of Richard Armitage on the new Hobbit Video Blog:

Peter Jackson has posted a new video blog for The Hobbit on his Facebook page- Click below:

My own caps by the way.

I almost didn't recognize him and then I heard his voice and new without a doubt it was him.  His hair is back to his natural color and so is his beard! Now that I look at his haircut more clearly I see what they've done to make Richard more Thorin-like. We can't really see him clearly as Thorin yet, but looks like maybe they attach some dwarf braids to the sides of his head. They've also shaved/cut his hair so it looks a bit like a receding hairline in the Thorin photos, but now we can see his own natural hairline on top.  Good to know it is his own beard mostly and not a totally fake beard.  Need to look at it a bit more and get used to the new look- LOL

I think he looks tired, no wonder he needed a break, but also looks happy. Still love the beard!  

Now we know also from the video blog that they'll start filming again on September 5.  

Thank you again to Peter Jackson for another wonderful video blog.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Exhibits With A Hollywood Connection

Depending on where you are in the world, or maybe on where you're going on vacation/holiday there are a couple of interesting Hollywood related art exhibits on display this summer. 

Starstruck  an exhibit of famous costumes from Oscar and BAFTA winning films will be at the Ulster Museum in Belfast from July 1 - September 25.  The exhibit includes costumes from The King's Speech, Downton Abbey, Shakespeare in Love, The Duchess, and other award winning films.


Glamour of the Gods a new exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in London examines the importance of photography in creating movie stars. Featured are photographs of stars like Clark Gable and Carole Lombard,  Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh, and James Dean. Many of the photos are vintage prints and date from the 1920's -1960's when the studio system dominated the film industry and had great influence in creating the image of their stars. The exhibit runs from July 7  - October 23. 

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