Saturday, December 31, 2011

Anno 1790: New Swedish Mystery Series for the New Year

One new television series I am looking forward to in 2012 is new Swedish mystery Anno 1790.  I love that this is not only a mystery series but also a period drama with handsome men in period costumes. Really,what is there no to love.

The series stars Peter Eggers as Johan Gustav Dåådh a doctor who is made district commissioner after his heroic return from serving the Swedish King during the war with Russia.  Problem is that Dåådh has Republican ideas (remember the French Revolution) and also brings unorthodox methods to solving crime. He and his assistant and friend Simon Freud, played by Joel Spira, are opposites in many ways but believe in working for the greater good.  

Peter Eggers 

Joel Spira

According to all descriptions I've seen about the show there is also forbidden love involved between Dåådh and the wife of  his boss,  Police Chief Wahlestedt.  Linda Zilliacus  plays Magdalena Wahlestedt and Johan H: son Kjellgren plays Wahlestedt.

In the US the series starts Wednesday, January 4 at 9:00pm on the MHz Networks as part of the International Mystery series that now moves from Saturdays to seven days a week. 

To check out whether you can view MHz in your area go to their website at the link below:

Below is a trailer for the series Anno 1790.  No, I don't speak Swedish, but luckily the series itself on MHz will be in Swedish with subtitles.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Review: A Dangerous Method (2011)

This holiday weekend I saw a very un-holiday film, A Dangerous Method, directed by David Cronenberg.  Two of the main characters are men whose work has penetrated our subconscious and certainly our vocabulary in the modern world, yet I think I’m not alone in knowing little about their lives.

Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender

The film follows two separate storylines that intersect through one of the lead characters, Carl Jung, played by Michael Fassbender.  In 1904 Jung takes on a young woman patient at a Swiss clinic, Sabina Spielrein, played by Keira Knightley.  Spielrein is a brilliant but extremely troubled woman who plans on becoming a doctor.  Jung decides to try Freud’s talking cure with her, the first time he has done so with a patient.  He is successful in returning her to a productive life and encourages her studies to become a doctor and psychoanalyst.  The two eventually become more than doctor/patient and friends, a relationship that complicates life for the very married Jung.

Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen

The second story is the relationship between the older founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, played by Viggo Mortensen, and Jung, the younger and ambitious colleague. The two men finally meet and initially become close friends.  Freud becomes Jung’s mentor and convinced he’s found his heir apparent to carry on his work after he’s gone. Jung first sees Freud as a father figure and collaborator and cultivates the relationship.  As the film progresses it focuses more on Jung’s disagreement with Freud’s theories, and the development of his own school of thought. Their relationship is ruptured and yet always connected by their personal and professional relationships with Sabina Spielrein.

There are some great performances in this film from the leads and supporting actors.  Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung goes from self-contained doctor and perfect family man to out-of-control lover so perfectly you are riveted any time he is on screen. Viggo Mortensen gives one of his best performances as the “legend” that is Sigmund Freud and brings to life this brilliant man with very human failings.  The scenes between Fassbender and Mortensen are the best in the film.  Supporting actor kudos goes to Vincent Cassel as Freud protégé and Jung patient Otto Gross.  Sarah Gadon is also convincing in a small role as Emma, Jung’s rich and respectable wife.      

Vincent Cassel

Less successful is Keira Knightley as Sabina Spielrein.  Knightley as an actor lacks subtlety and this makes her performance more than a bit over the top.  She’s a bit more convincing in her final scenes in the film as she reins in her performance and becomes more believable as the character.  I also felt there was not enough chemistry between her and Fassbender to make us believe the inevitability of their relationship, though Fassbender is excellent at portraying passion and sexual obsession.

Michael Fassbender and Sarah Gadon

I highly recommend this film though it is definitely not for everyone. It deals with very uncomfortable and very human subject matter.  Thanks to two very good actors and good performances Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung come down from their pedestals and become people living with the same temptations and shortcomings as the rest of us.  

A Dangerous Method is based on the play The Talking Cure by Christopher Hampton, with wonderful music by Howard Shore.  Method was filmed in Vienna, Zurich, and other beautiful locations.  The film is rated R.   

Update: "Bonus" Interview about the film with Viggo Mortensen.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Hobbit Christmas - Feliz Navidad

I woke up today and the first place I checked was and my heart leaped because there it was! What a lovely Christmas message from "the leader of our group" Richard Armitage.

Thank you Richard for being the lovely man you are, lovely in every way. It has been an adventure for us, your fans, and members of our community of "friends" to follow your adventure as much as we've been able. We also look at 2012 with great expectations, and some trepidation. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

To read Richard Armitage's Christmas message to his fans go to at the link below:

Thank you Sir Peter Jackson for your wonderful video blogs, for the marvelous trailer, but most of all for being you!

To all my fellow Richard Armitage fans and Sean Bean fans I wish a Very Merry Christmas - Happy Holidays- Feliz Navidad.

Enjoy some Christmas songs from my childhood and the great Celia Cruz! Azucar!

Celia Cruz y La Sonora Matancera El Cha Cha Cha De La Navidad

(screencap from

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Hobbit Trailer and Lyrics to the Song

Update: 12/21/11 - Great review of  the trailer in The Guardian:

" Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield has a certain Aragornish regality to him that I did not expect, though it makes a sort of sense in the context of the later films."

Lyrics to the song Richard Armitage and the Dwarves sing in the trailer:

Over the Misty Mountains Cold by JRR Tolkien

Far over the Misty Mountains cold,
To dungeons deep and caverns old,

We must away, ere break of day,
To seek our pale enchanted gold.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells,
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

For ancient king and elvish lord
There many a gleaming golden hoard
They shaped and wrought, and light they caught,
To hide in gems on hilt of sword.

On silver necklaces they strung
The flowering stars, on crowns they hung
The dragon-fire, on twisted wire
They meshed the light of moon and sun.

Far over the Misty Mountains cold,
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
We must away, ere break of day,
To claim our long-forgotten gold.

Goblets they carved there for themselves,
And harps of gold, where no man delves
There lay they long, and many a song
Was sung unheard by men or elves.

The pines were roaring on the heights,
The wind was moaning in the night,
The fire was red, it flaming spread,
The trees like torches blazed with light.

The bells were ringing in the dale,
And men looked up with faces pale.
The dragon's ire, more fierce than fire,
Laid low their towers and houses frail.

The mountain smoked beneath the moon.
The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.
They fled the hall to dying fall
Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.

Far over the Misty Mountains grim,
To dungeons deep and caverns dim,
We must away, ere break of day,
To win our harps and gold from him!

The wind was on the withered heath,
But in the forest stirred no leaf:
There shadows lay be night or day,
And dark things silent crept beneath.

The wind came down from mountains cold,
And like a tide it roared and rolled.
The branches groaned, the forest moaned,
And leaves were laid upon the mould.

The wind went on from West to East;
All movement in the forest ceased.
But shrill and harsh across the marsh,
Its whistling voices were released.

The grasses hissed, their tassels bent,
The reeds were rattling—on it went.
O'er shaken pool under heavens cool,
Where racing clouds were torn and rent.

It passed the Lonely Mountain bare,
And swept above the dragon's lair:
There black and dark lay boulders stark,
And flying smoke was in the air.

It left the world and took its flight
Over the wide seas of the night.
The moon set sale upon the gale,
And stars were fanned to leaping light.

Under the Mountain dark and tall,
The King has come unto his hall!
His foe is dead, the Worm of Dread,
And ever so his foes shall fall!

The sword is sharp, the spear is long,
The arrow swift, the Gate is strong.
The heart is bold that looks on gold;
The dwarves no more shall suffer wrong.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

On silver necklaces they strung
The light of stars, on crowns they hung
The dragon-fire, from twisted wire
The melody of harps they wrung.

The mountain throne once more is freed!
O! Wandering folk, the summons heed!
Come haste! Come haste! Across the waste!
The king of friend and kin has need.

Now call we over the mountains cold,
'Come back unto the caverns old!'
Here at the gates the king awaits,
His hands are rich with gems and gold.

The king has come unto his hall
Under the Mountain dark and tall.
The Worm of Dread is slain and dead,
And ever so our foes shall fall!

Farewell we call to hearth and hall!
Though wind may blow and rain may fall,
We must away, ere break of day
Far over the wood and mountain tall.

To Rivendell, where Elves yet dwell
In glades beneath the misty fell.
Through moor and waste we ride in haste,
And whither then we cannot tell.

With foes ahead, behind us dread,
Beneath the sky shall be our bed,
Until at last our toil be passed,
Our journey done, our errand sped.

We must away! We must away!
We ride before the break of day!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fun with Clothes: The Armitage Cardigan Line

I'm sure by now all Richard Armitage fans have checked out Jonia's Blog to see the wonderful 2002 photos of Richard Armitage starring in a play called "Use Me As Your Cardigan".  Well, what an offer. Who among us wouldn't love to have RA as our "cardigan" on a chilly night. 

More realistically however, wouldn't we all rush to the store to buy the next best thing, a line of Armitage  cardigans (sweaters for us in the US) and jackets inspired by several of his characters.  

We'll start with one inspired by Mr. Cardigan himself, the 7th Earl of Cardigan and a military inspired one to bring us cozy thoughts of John Porter:

The Earl of Cardigan - not John Porter

Of course for the winter months we have the always cozy Harry Kennedy cardigan with matching scarf:

Now for the holidays we may feel like getting close to the fire with a good mystery novel and maybe wearing a more traditional cardigan, the Philip Durant:

Sometimes a cardigan or sweater just isn't enough to warm us on a cold and blustery winter day. Our Armitage character inspired jackets are sure to delight any fashionable woman.

What is more stylish than a Lucas North inspired pea coat:

And for those moments when we feel a bit adventurous a leather jacket inspired by Ricky Deeming:

We're only a week away from Christmas and the Holidays wouldn't be complete without a good Christmas Sweater.  Here's one inspired by RA's "Mr. Rogers" red sweater:

Not Richard Armitage - Mr. Rogers 

For my dear RA Friends - hope Santa leaves you a lovely RA inspired cardigan under your tree. 

Take a look at the right hand sidebar poll and vote for your choice of  favorite Armitage Cardigan.

Poll Results Are In - The "Lucas North" wins with 52% of the vote! My thanks to all who voted.

(To Richard Armitage - I'm counting on your sense of humor, you know I only tease the ones I love)

Check out Phylly's Faves February post on Sweaters and RA:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Countdown Day - One Year – 365 Days- Until The Hobbit Premiere! Revisiting Our Journey So Far with Thorin (Richard Armitage)

If you look at the countdown clock on the left sidebar you’ll see that today starts the one year countdown to The Hobbit premiere on December 14, 2012.  To mark the day I wanted to take us all down memory lane and take a brief look back to what we’ve been privileged to share of Richard Armitage’s  Hobbit journey so far.

I believe that in this interview on September 20, 2010 he was giving us the first hint of the news when he said:

“I was having a head cast made where they make a prosthetic of your head”

Why a prosthetic?  Well maybe this is why?

 Update 12/23/11 - and here it is!!!!!!!!

Screencap from Peter Jacksons new Vid Blog
(If you want to know about the use of scale doubles in LOTR, and now The Hobbit we assume, click on link for video. Beware - spoilers:

Then dramatically in October 2010 the news came that Peter Jackson had cast Richard as Thorin Oakenshield, one of the starring roles in the movie version of The Hobbit.

Maybe by the time The Hobbit premiere's the international press will learn to pronounce his name!

To commemorate the day I've put together a video compilation of what we've shared so far of Richard Armitage's journey on The Hobbit: 

 (Thanks to for articles and screencaps)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Van Veeteren - Now This Is What I Call Retirement!

Why is it that in mystery fiction the genius detectives never retire to a sunny place somewhere to spend their days soaking up the sun and playing golf.  As any mystery fiction fan knows great detectives retire so they can be always available to their replacements who never have a clue about solving a crime. How the new guys got their job is always a mystery because they must run to consult with their retired colleague in order to solve the case of the day. 

That is certainly the case with Van Veeteren another interesting Scandinavian Noir mystery program. The Van Veeteren series is based on the novels of Swedish writer Hakan Nesser.  Mr. Nesser was a secondary school teacher until he became successful with his Van Veeteren series.

Håkan Nesser

I haven't read the novels yet and have only seen the few episodes of the series that have aired so far in the US. I love Scandinavian detective fiction, but I must confess it took me a while to warm up to Van Veeteren and his colleagues.  

Van Veeteren, played by Sven Wolter, has retired from the police force in Maardam (a fictional town). In the series it looks like a small Northern European city.  Of course, like any former detective or spy, Van Veeteren opens an antique bookstore that never has any customers.  That's actually a good thing because he has more work now than he did when he was on the force, lending more than a helping hand to his successor and protege, Munster, played by Thomas Hanson. Wolter plays Van Veeteren as a grumpy old man with a grandfatherly exterior, but an iron interior, who appears to be a sweet lamb to the occasional customer, but is really quite demanding of those around him. 

I have to also mention Munster's partner in the police force, Eva Moreno, played by Eva Rexed.  I'm quite surprised that "Eva Moreno" is a Swedish name. Seriously, I'm quite happy that a fellow Latina (is she?) is the smartest cop in the Maardam police force.  One reason Munster never solves any crimes by himself is that he has a huge crush on Moreno, and probably all he can think about. This office romance would be fun to watch except that Munster has a lovely and loving wife and adorable children. 

Munster is quite insecure as a detective and seems to need constant affirmation of his worth from Van Veeteren, Moreno, and his wife.  He sees Van Veeteren as his mentor, but also resents him, and seems unable to take over as lead detective because the older man is still actively around. Though I don't find Munster's character appealing, I find the relationship between him and Van Veeteren the most interesting in the series. Moreno is really the strongest detective and person, and the true successor to Van Veeteren on the force, except that she's a woman in a man's world. 

I finally warmed up to Van Veeteren in a recent episode when he has to deal with his prodigal son, a former drug addict, who is now becoming reacquainted with his family. In a very human scene father and son meet over lunch and Van Veeteren discovers he's about to become a grandfather.  Everyone is happy but cautious about the news, wondering if the son has really mended his ways and on the way to becoming a responsible adult. A tragic incident results in a crime that hits too close to home for Van Veeteren but that he must use all his genius to resolve to bring the guilty party to justice with the help of Munster and Moreno.

If you like psychological mysteries, unrequited crushes, and antique bookstores I highly recommend spending some time with Van Veeteren.  In the US you can watch the series on Instant Video or MHz Networks along with other international mysteries. All International Mystery series on MHz are broadcast in their native language with subtitles. You can also buy the DVD's from MHz Worldwide.

Below is a short interview with author Hakan Nesser (beware there are some spoilers of course):

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Please Say It Isn't So! The Hobbit Moved Back to December 2013?? Update is reporting that Warner Bros may push The Hobbit's release date back one year to December 2013 to give Peter Jackson more time to work on the two films. Only a report, so it may not be true:

"When it comes to Peter Jackson’s return to Middle-earth, the more time the merrier."

To read the entire article from click HERE.

Please say it isn't so! Can we wait another year to see Richard Armitage as Thorin? Can Peter Jackson make enough Video Blogs for another year to keep us from going crazy without much Armitage news?

If it is true, on the positive side, maybe it means PJ will be working on editing and the technical part of the two films for 2013 and Richard Armitage will be free to take another job before The Hobbit.  Maybe a program or movie "all about love".

UPDATE: Looks like Warner Bros has issued a statement, according to

Update: Warner Bros. has reached out to debunk the rumor:
"Contrary to inaccurate reports - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is being released on December 14, 2012" - Dan Fellman, President, Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

Is this the beginning of things to come, more rumors as the release date approaches, or was it Warner Bros. testing the waters to see how fans would take the news of pushing The Hobbit back one year? We'll probably never know - LOL

Today's King Richard Armitage Post: Book Reviews

As one of the King Richard Armitage (KRA) website's participating bloggers I've also been posting about the artists who contributed fan art during October. Some of the contributions during that month were also books and so today the KRA site is recommending some great books, fiction and non-fiction, about Richard III and his life and times.  

You might just find the perfect book for the King Richard III or history lover on your Christmas list:

One of the books on the list is one Richard Armitage has mentioned in interviews.  Here is an excerpt from an interview he gave to Vulpes Libris in 2009:

VL: Now, you were born on August the 22nd and your given name is Richard. I believe those two facts are not completely disconnected – and that there are plans afoot for a bit of Richard III rehabilitation. Can you tell us a little more about it?

RA: I was named Richard being born on the anniversary of Richard III’s demise at Bosworth; one of my father’s favourite novels is The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman, and I read this many years ago. In recent years it has lead to a tentative interest and line of research into the rehabilitation of this story. As an actor, it’s a project I would love to achieve. I believe it is a great story, a socio-political thriller, a love story and a dynastic tragedy. My challenge is to convince commercial producers to see beyond ‘history lesson’, but I strongly suspect that this will be a long way off, probably outside of my ability to play the role, but I wouldn’t rule out playing another role, I may even be producing by the time someone wakes up and realizes the potential for this project.

Petition for “Richard III”

For several years, Richard Armitage, starring in the upcoming “The Hobbit” films, has been seeking financing to make a film or television series exploring a more historically accurate portrayal of King Richard III of England.

Please support Richard Armitage’s effort by signing this petition and encouraging potential financiers and production investors to support the “Richard III” project. Click on the link below to go to the petition:

This website (KRA) is created through a fan-initiative to support Richard Armitage with his “Richard III” filming project and to demonstrate that there is a substantial global audience who support this project.

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