Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Here We Are and Here We Go

Memories of 2015

Salome - Washington DC



Just some of my favorite memories 
from 2015

It was a good year for Richard Armitage and Sean Bean

A good year for me as a fan of their work, a supporter of their work.

Happy New Year Richard and Sean

Thank You


No New Year Resolutions - but some of my new year hopes: 

Richard -

*  Hope Urban and the Shed Crew goes global in the New Year - even if it's the global film festival circuit

*  Hope we see Pilgrimage, Sleepwalker, and Brain on Fire playing in all our local movie theaters around the world early in 2016

* Hope we get word Bridget Cleary is filming in the spring/summer and also Clearance and Edith Wharton's Summer sometime in the year, or at least some updates.

* Hope the Epix Berlin Station twitter account gives us some news, and the series air dates in the fall.

* Hope for an Armitage return to the stage, maybe in NYC this time, or both London and NY even better

Sean -

* Hope for a new home for Legends. The second season on TNT was so much better than the first, and in the right network it can only get better. 

* Hope for a second season for The Frankenstein Chronicles. Wouldn't that be an adventure! 

* Hope they finally start filming Enemy of Man


As for me, life can throw you a curveball any time, so all I hope for is manageable health and a roof over my head. 


Peace and Prosperity for All in 2016

Happy New Year

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A French Village (Un Village Fran├žais) and MHz Choice

I've been binge watching the second season of A French Village on MHz Choice this holiday.

This is the first series I've really watched on MHz's new online subscriber streaming service (with English subtitles).  I watched the first season of A French Village when MHz Networks wast still broadcasting international TV series on cable. Still too early to know how I'm going to like the move from cable to streaming. All I know is I'm now going to be paying a monthly fee and I still have MHz series in reruns on my TV. Right now it still comes with one of my cable bundles, together with the other international news channels the MHz network broadcasts, including France 24. 

There have been 6 seasons of this series that started in 2009, with a 7th airing in 2016.  Right now you can watch the first two seasons on MHz Choice, plus the first two episodes of Season 3.  The rest of the season's episodes will be posted once a week on Tuesdays (I think) until January 26.

The series follows the lives, losses, and loves of residents of the fictional village of Villeneuve after occupation by German forces in 1940's Vichy France.  During the time of the first three series, France has been defeated by Nazi Germany, and the Vichy regime, led by Marshal Petain, is now the government of  this new France. The Germans  occupy the northern part of the country. Villeneuve is an occupied village.  During series 1-3, 1940-1942, most of the villagers believe the Germans have pretty much won the war, and they are in a temporary state of "collaboration" between France and Nazi Germany. 

The series follows several families, including the children, and how each individual is affected and reacts to this sudden and violent occupation. Family members are divided and on different sides of the political struggle. Some are collaborators, some are active in the resistance, some try to carry on in quiet desperation. Some benefit quite nicely from the war and collaboration with the Germans. Some suffer the loss of liberty, torture, and death. 

There are many characters, some major some minor, but we get to know all of them and the effect the war has on their lives. One thing I truly like about the series is that we get to know intimately characters from all sides, even the occupying Germans. Even under these circumstances, life goes on, people fall in and out of love, people get sick and need attention, children go to school, chores must be done...

What would we all do under these circumstances? Would we risk our lives and join the resistance, or convince ourselves we're doing good by collaborating with the occupiers? I don't think we truly know what we would do.

Too many characters in this series to talk about in this short "review."  But I think one of my favorite families, the Larcher's, are a good example of what the series does so well.

Daniel Larcher (Robin Renucci) is the respected middle-aged village doctor when the German's occupy the village. He's soon enlisted to be the town's Vichy major (and so also German collaborator). He takes the job in the belief he can do good this way. But is he really doing good. He and his volatile wife, Hortense (Audrey Fleurot), who have no children, find themselves with a newborn baby they "adopt" in the confusion of the early days of the occupation. Daniel has a younger brother, Marcel (Fabrizio Rongione), who is a Communist and joins the anti-Nazi resistance. But Marcel also works, and is a loyal manager, in the lumber company of German collaborator, Schwartz (Thierry Godard). He has a darling 10 year old son, Gustave (Maxim Driesen), who is often torn between his uncle and his father. 

I find I like both Daniel and Marcel, and feel for the consequences of the decisions they make. Decisions that affect the life and death of others. 

Well, have to get back to binge watching. I have two episodes of S3 to watch tonight still.  

I would recommend A French Village wherever you can find it to watch.  

There are also a series of interesting and informative interviews with those that lived through the war, many were children then, and also scholars with some historical background to the events we see in the series. 

I would also recommend MHz Choice. Yes, something more to pay for, but some of these programs you can't find on Amazon or Netflix, and they are good to great international series from non-English speaking Europe.  (And a few UK/NZ/AUS series also.) Now everyone in the US at least can watch, if you subscribe. 

All series and extras with English subtitles.

For those that speak/understand French -a short interview:

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Dean O'Gorman: Hitting the big time - New Interview about Trumbo, Career, and Photography

An interesting new radio interview with Dean O'Gorman about Trumbo, his career after The Hobbit, and his photography.

Click below for the interview:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Award Time: Richard Armitage, Hugh Dancy, Dean O'Gorman, Sean Bean

(Don't know who created this image - saw it in tweet from Kirk Whelan-Foran)

Great news from the Critic's Choice Award


Richard Armitage 
 Hannibal – NBC

Congratulations Richard


Hugh Dancy – Hannibal – NBC




Dean O'Gorman in the cast

(Trumbo cast also nominated for a SAG Award)

The Martian
Best Picture

Sean Bean in the cast 

 The awards will be held on January 17 at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. It will air simultaneously on A&E, Lifetime and LMN.

The Critics' Choice Movie Awards (formerly known as the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award) is an awards show presented annually by the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA).

 The awards were originally named simply Critics' Choice Awards. In 2010, the word Movie was added to their name, to differentiate them from the Critics' Choice Television Award, which were first bestowed the following year by the newly created Broadcast Television Critics Association. The name Critics' Choice Awards now officially refers to both sets of awards collectively. (Wikipedia)

The Broadcast Television Critics Association was formed to represent the professional interests of those who regularly cover television for TV viewers. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Trumbo Review

I went to see the new movie Trumbo this holiday long weekend.  I will confess right away that my main interest in going to see this movie was to see Dean O'Gorman. 

For those that don't know, Dean O'Gorman plays Kirk Douglas in the film about blacklisted award winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.

The film of course has a political viewpoint, it's a political film. I mostly keep away from politics on this blog, and I certainly don't want to get into the politics of this one. But I recommend this film to everyone as a good film, good acting, true story. It's not just about Hollywood history, but part of American history, and Cold War history.

I haven't seen any of the shows that Bryan Cranston is famous for, but he made me believe he was this man, Dalton Trumbo. He was funny, tragic, and always human in portraying Trumbo. Lucky for the actor though that we may know this man's films, but few would know the look and sound of the real Trumbo. 

I liked the Trumbo family dynamics too. I especially liked the two young actors who played his oldest daughter at different ages, Madison Wolfe and Elle Fanning. 

Helen Mirren also had the good fortune that most film goers today won't have seen the real Hedda Hopper. Though a good performance, I thought at times she was a bit too extreme in showing Hollywood columnist Hopper's villainous ways. Scary how much power she and fellow columnist Louella Parsons had in their day. 

Not that the Hollywood media still doesn't have power to make or break careers. But now we have Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, Instagram, and who knows what else. 

I also have to confess that I grew up watching classic movies, from the time I was born probably! I know all these legendary actors portrayed in this film very well, know their movies well.What a challenging job for this group of actors. I'm glad none of them tried an impersonation of Edward G. Robinson, or John Wayne, or Kirk Douglas. That would not have been successful, and almost impossible to do without it looking a bit like a comedy act. So, to the actors and director's credit, they all played their characters as "regular" people, with a mannerism or two thrown in to make us acknowledge who they were playing. The one I had the most trouble believing as Edward G. Robinson was Michael Stuhlbarg. But I did believe in the troubles of Robinson as a man, confronted with a choice most of us are lucky we don't have to make. 

To me, Dean O'Gorman was very convincing as Kirk Douglas. He looks very much like the young Kirk. I thought O'Gorman's confident attitude and slight bravado on screen were much like Douglas the man and movie star I've seen in talk shows most of my life. It's a small role, but a pivotal role, in the film. 

And yes, Dean looks very good in the Spartacus....costume.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Watching the BOTFA EE Appendices - Oh Joy

I love all the Behind-the-Scenes docs on all the The Hobbit (and also LOTR) DVDs. Peter Jackson knows how to please us BTS lovers.

Just some random thoughts of moments I liked, or loved, or caught my attention, or made me laugh, or cry, as I'm watching them for the second time. Not anything deep, or any analysis just sitting here watching and enjoying. No particular order either.

SPOILERS (maybe)

-   Wonderful how many of the cast, crew, extras,etc., etc., were affected by The Hobbit when they were children, and their enthusiasm of working on these films now as adults.
 -  Bard (Luke Evans) being hit on the head by that bell- LOL! 
-   Orlando Bloom's Mum as an extra - and his adorable son
-    Richard mentioning how he was mostly hiding when they were filming the BTS documentaries, the reason at the beginning of filming makes me want to go through the screen, space, and time, and hug him. 
-   The amazing dedication and work of the real wizards at WETA
-  Well, well, Adam Brown :)
-   Things they had to do to get to the locations, and things the production people, art directors, etc. have to do in all these locations. Appreciate their work more than ever.
- Andy Serkis needs a comedy role. He could direct it too.
- The Armitage dedication - admire him more than ever after watching all the Hobbit films appendices.
-  My Dwarves - I adore them
-  Worried for them at the Rock and Pillar 
-  I would have done the same as Victoria (Victoria's Cross) - smart woman
-  Loved the story of the retirement village and their connection to the film and also the kids
-   Realizing I have the perfect physical attributes to be a Dwarf woman (come here Thorin my darling)
- Don't understand why some deleted scenes were left out not only of the theatrical version of the film, but out of the EE. Hope we'll see them in a future Director's cut. -Some great scenes. 
- Enjoyed getting to know the Extras and the crew as Extras
-  A surprising regal WETA worker 
- The development of the costumes for Thranduil and Tauriel and the armor for Thorin and the Dwarves, and for Dain, was not only fascinating, but seeing how the concept evolves once the real actors who wear them are there. 
- Also the concepts and designs that Guillermo del Toro and the designers and WETA were working on, and then the change to PJ, and that evolution. Makes me wonder is there any possibility of using all that work in a future GDT film? Also at moments makes me glad that it was PJ who directed the films, because though fascinating, it would have looked so different from LOTR if GDT had directed.
-  What are or were Richard's questions for the Tolkien Scholars - inquiring minds want to know
-   I need to find the story of Thorir
-   We so need that Christmas album 
-   Alan Lee - dance with me! 
-  I want to live in Dale - before Smaug
- Thorin Oakenshield - caterer 
-  Everyone that works on those sets, all of them, deserve a special award  
- Wish we had the wheel in my office 
-   Can't stop watching Thorin's battle with Azog, and it's torture every time
- The moment they all come out of Erebor to fight. Loved watching them film that scene and how excited our dwarf knights and our king were. 
-    Those farewells - I'm still crying 

I'm still watching

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In the Eye of the Beholder

In the recent Q&A for the Leeds Premiere of Urban and the Shed Crew (link below), Richard Armtage said he "looked like crap"  (forgive the inexact quote) at the end of the shoot for the film. I remembered that during the shoot in 2014 we were lucky enough to see him at several times as himself doing PR for The Hobbit and Into the Storm. 

In the interest of scientific study I offer the photos below of Richard during the filming of Urban (March - April 2014) as well as during rehearsal for The Crucible (May-early June), not long after he finished filming Urban to explore for study purposes if he did look "like crap" during this time.

Crucible Rehearsals in May/June:

You can all come to your own conclusions.

As for me, I think that Richard's definition of "looking like crap" is certainly totally different from mine.  I loved those hair extensions! 

(Photos from and Richard Armitage Central)

Day 31 - 31 Day Film Challenger

Favorite Film 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Day 29 - 31 Day Film Challenge

A Show You Would Love to See as a Film

At one time I wanted to see Spooks (MI-5) as a movie, starring the actors in the photo above

Didn't quite happen that way

I haven't seen Spooks The Movie yet - but I will. 

I really believe that there are some stories that are best told on Television, in a longer format than in film. Especially today when many good films aren't given the time for audiences to hear about them and find them at the movie theater. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Chapel FM Urban and the Shed Crew Movie Q&A at LIFF29

Thank you Chapel FM

Candida Brady, Richard Armitage, Bernard Hare

(this definitely goes into the "why I love Richard Armitage" category )

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Day 27 - 31 Day Film Challenge

Least Favorite Film Based Off A Book

Read the book and liked it as a thriller. It has it's faults, character development being one. But kept me turning the pages in anticipation until the end.

I thought it would make a good film thriller. Two actors I happen to like starring in the film. So what happened that the film felt wrong from the opening scene? 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Elusive Richard and Armitage

Twitter sighting of my favorite cheetah brothers:

Friday, November 6, 2015

Interview with Salome Cast Members Olwen Fouere and Nadine Malouf - Play Closes in DC November 8

Salome - Directed by Yael Farber 

Olwen Fouere mentions watching Farber's The Crucible (starring Richard Armitage) thanks to Digital Theatre and being "astounded by it" 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Day 26 - 31 Day Film Challenge

Favorite film based off a book 

Sense and Sensibility 

I have many favorite films based on books. Very difficult to select just one, but I decided to feature one of my favorite films based on a Jane Austen novel.  

(Yes, I'm not really following the 31 day days countdown- but does it matter? I had good intentions, but, oh well)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Day 25 - 31 Day Film Challenge

Favorite Score

Composers: Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman

The main theme of the movie is taken from the tune "The Gael" by Scottish singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean on his 1990 album 
The Search.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Day 24 - 31 Day Film Challenge

Least Favorite Trilogy

Difficult time with this one.  Some trilogies I've only watched the first one and then no more. I think Mad Max is not a trilogy, there was a new one recently, wasn't there?

I did watch the first three Mad Max films.  Liked the first, the other two, and especially #3, not so much. Does that count.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Day 23 - 31 Day Film Challenge

Favorite Trilogy

My King

My Hero

The Hobbit Trilogy


The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

My favorite Six-logy

(what is the term for a set of six movies?)


My favorite Hexalogy

" if you want old-fashioned still-waters-run-deep, then he is your man" - Interview with Sean Bean

'Even a regular guy has to have a six-pack now. It's not realistic'by Shane Watson (with thanks to Winona Kent for...
Posted by / on Friday, October 30, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Day 22 - 31 Day Film Challenge

Favorite Star Wars Film

The Empire Strikes Back 

My favorite character


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