Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Wednesday Walks: Watch Colin Firth Walk!

Just a bit of fun today! Here's a YouTube vid by TheGlitzieGirl1 of Colin Firth walking. :) She has a lot of Firth videos for your viewing pleasure!

And here's one of Lizzie and Darcy from the 1995 Pride and Prejudice that I made several years ago.

Happy watching, and walking!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Monday Musings: Magic in the Moonlight/Main Street

Photo via IMDb

First up, Magic in the Moonlight (2014/PG-13). I wanted to like this, as I love Firth especially in period costume roles. But, I couldn't get past the first half hour of this movie, despite Firth, Emma Stone, and the always wonderful Eileen Atkins. Atkins is as natural and as wonderful as ever, but Firth seems wooden, and Stone dull. And there's the obvious trajectory of the plot--Firth, though shown happy with his partner in the beginning, will fall in love with the twenty-eight-year younger Stone. Those are two big nos for me in a movie or book. There needs to be much more compelling writing to pull those off for me. Billed as a romantic comedy, this movie struck me as neither comic nor romantic. I suppose it's past time to give Woody Allen movies a pass.

Photo via IMDb

Next up is Main Street (2010/PG), which I managed to finish. Maybe because I had no expectations coming into this movie, or maybe because it didn't have any of the above-mentioned "no"s for me, I was able to watch the whole movie. It has a great cast, including Patricia Clarkson, Amber Tamblyn, Orlando Bloom, Ellen Burstyn, and, of course, Colin Firth, but overall the directing and screenplay are disjointed. Also, I can't get behind Firth doing an American accent; it was just too weird for me. Here are my thoughts: Ellen Burstyn is marvelous--the way she captures emotions in her expressions and movements. A surprise is Tom Wopat as Mary's father--he's so natural and comfortable in his role. There are some other surprises, but mostly not in a good way, like what seem to be inconsistencies and some of the characters' actions being unrelatable and confusing, as is the director's use of close-ups too often, cutting off characters' heads (or part of them) with the way he frames shots. The ending left me unsatisfied and slightly confused--the characters don't seem to have their changes of hearts on screen, so we don't follow them through their decisions, which creates emotional distance. The whole movie felt very inconsistent, and while I wanted to like it, I couldn't, despite the talented cast.

I'm not sure what I'll watch for Wednesday, but coming soon is commentary on Pride and Prejudice (1995).  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Friday Finds: Firth as Darcy Merch

This is a short post, just for fun, in case you love Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice (or Matthew MacFadyen in the 2005 version). Janet T. does lovely illustrations of Mr. Darcy (and other Jane Austen heroes), and she also has a blog, More Agreeably Engaged. You can purchase many fun items--stationary, calendars, mugs, and more--decorated with her illustrations on JT Originals, like this mouse pad:

Via JT Originals

I enjoy seeing so many people inspired to be creative by Colin Firth! Who, or what, inspires your creativity?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Wednesday Watching: The Railway Man

Photo via IMDb

The Railway Man (2013/R), based on the autobiographical book of the same name, is difficult to watch. The movie explores the story of Eric Lomax, a former British army soldier and prisoner of war, who is haunted by the events of World War II, even forty years after. The cast of The Railway Man is stellar; the art direction, costumes, and sound design are on par with The King's Speech; but, the direction and the script are sometimes disjointed, and the subject matter, while well-handled, is simply difficult to watch. The scenes of Eric Lomax's torture, and the treatment of the prisoners of war in general, encapsulates man's inhumanity to man; while it may be difficult to watch, it's also important to be aware of the pain these men went through, and how they survived.

However, leaving out the subject matter, the movie is flawed in that the cuts to flashbacks are sometimes jarring, and certain plot and character elements are left so vague that the viewer is confused. These elements could have been stronger if handled differently. But, that also has nothing to do with the outstanding and nuanced performances. Firth is able, even with the problems I felt existed in the movie, to show from the beginning Lomax's humanity and strength, his deep wounds and yearning for love and healing. Kidman gives a strong, subtle performance as Lomax's wife, Patti. But personally, I felt most riveted by Stellan Skarsgard as Finlay, Sam Reid as young Finlay, Jeremy Irvine as young Eric, and Tanroh Isida and Hiroyuki Sanada as young and old Takeshi Nagase. This is really an ensemble cast, with each actor turning in moving, quietly engaging and sympathetic performances. Because of this, and the message of reconciliation and forgiveness, I recommend it (but be aware that the images of torture and the grim turns may stay with you).

On a lighter note, Skarsgard and Firth also share the screen in both Mamma Mia! movies, and they seem to have a great rapport. And, I recently saw Sam Reid in an episode of Agatha Christie's Marple, "Greenshaw's Folly," in which he costars with Julia Sawalha, who plays Lydia in Pride and Prejudice (1995). I like finding those Jane Austen connections. :)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday Musings: Nanny McPhee

Photo via IMDb

I rewatched Nanny McPhee (2005/PG) last week as part of Firth February and had forgotten how delightful the movie is! There are so many familiar faces: Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Imelda Staunton, Derek Jacobi, and Angela Lansbury, to name the most memorable. It's a bit of over-the-top whimsy that felt just right this dreary month. Thompson and Firth are both enjoyable, as usual, and the character of Nanny McPhee is interesting and fun to watch, as she guides the children to learn what is most valuable--their family and their love for each other. I particularly enjoyed the rollicking and then fairy-tale ending, and seeing favorite actors together in a comical yet touching movie. I give it four Firths. ;)

Friday, February 8, 2019

Friday Finds: The King's Speech

Photo via IMDb

I was pretty blown away by how good The King's Speech (2010, R for language) is. I hadn't watched it in years, and had forgotten how wonderful a film it is; also, I have a new appreciation for it, having seen more Royal-centric fare, like The Crown, The Queen, and Victoria.
There is a lot to enjoy in the film--all the performances are excellent, as are the set and costume design, as well as the script. It feels almost intimate, like we're right there with the characters during this pivotal time in their lives. In case you aren't familiar with it, The King's Speech is, according to IMDb, "The story of King George VI, his impromptu ascension to the throne of the British Empire in 1936, and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch overcome his stammer." 
But the film is so much more complex and layered than any simple description can give. Firth deservedly won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in the film, and it won Best Picture in 2010. The stellar cast includes Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, Geoffrey Rush, Michael Gambon (Dumbledore!), Guy Pearce, Anthony Andrews, Timothy Spall, and, two favorites from the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice (also starring Firth), Jennifer Ehle (Lizzie) and David Bamber (Mr. Collins). When Firth and Ehle shared a brief scene, I felt a pop of joy at seeing them together again. And, it's a line delivered by Ehle's character, Mrs. Logue, that's my favorite of the film: "Perhaps he doesn't want to be great."
For more about King George VI you can click on his name to go to Wikipedia. I love media that inspires me to research--what about you?

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Wednesday Watching: Loving

Yes, it's still Firth February, so why am I reviewing a movie that doesn't have Colin Firth in it? Because he's one of the producers! 😊 According to Wikipedia, he was instrumental in getting this beautiful film off the ground. Apparently, Firth became interested in American history and culture while filming in North Carolina. Loving (2016, PG-13) is set in late 1950s/1960s Virginia, where, at the time, interracial marriage was illegal. It's the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a real-life couple whose case went to the Supreme Court and changed the laws concerning interracial marriage. Though depicting a sweeping historical change, this film is intimate, quiet, and loving toward its characters, as they are toward each other. Ruth Negga (Mildred) and Joel Edgerton (Richard) inhabit their characters with quiet grace and dignity, showing their strengths and weaknesses, and their love for each other and their families. Truly, Loving is a beautiful film, its almost leisurely pacing and muted sets and costumes the perfect match to the characters and their story. There's no big action, loud histrionics, or crude language or humor here--it's a well-crafted, engaging love story of two people who, in living their lives with integrity and courage, change American history. Have you seen Loving?

Monday, February 4, 2019

Monday Musings: Mamma Mia!

Here we go again... I rewatched Mamma Mia! (2008, PG-13) this weekend, my first movie for Firth February (to read my summary of Colin Firth movies, click here). Let's get right to a stream-of-consciousness recap:

Firth looking sharp... Cue "Sharp Dressed Man"

That's a lot of screeching girls--yikes!

Thank goodness: Pierce Brosnan and Firth together.

More squeeing from the girls, and she doesn't care that her mom doesn't know who her dad is--she just wants him to walk her down the aisle and she'll magically know who he is. Okaaay.

Oh, yay, Christine Baranski! So much talent. Wait, who's that other actress? Is that Mrs. Weasley from Harry Potter? Her hair is different.

via IMDb

And of course Willoughby is tackling the bridesmaids. (I explain to my friend that the actor played rakish Willoughby in the 2008 Sense and Sensibility.)

Firth has so much verve. Is that Julie Walters? (Checks Internet Movie Database) Yes, it's her--oh, she was Mrs. Austen in Becoming Jane--how have I not seen that yet?--she was just in Mary Poppins Returns with Colin Firth! And of course she was Mrs. Weasley in Harry Potter.

More squeeing. Blah blah blah. *Fast forward through some of the young people's songs...* ABBA songs are fun, though...

Meryl Streep is so talented. She was also in Mary Poppins Returns! (My friend thinks it's funny that she's in this outrageous movie, but I say it's definitely not the first time--like when she played a stereotypical wealthy romance author who steals someone's husband in She-Devil back in 1989. I like her as a rocker more in Ricki and the Flash.)

Whew, Firth is back. He's "spontaneous"--he's also the brightest spot in this movie!

If I drank wine, this would be a lot better with a bottle of it. (My friend laughs and says it's very over the top.)

And there are the three "dads" on the ship. Girl says in her head to Firth: "Are you the man of my dreams?" Why yes, yes he is...*lol*

*snort laughing* Is Pierce Brosnan taking this singing thing seriously--he looks really serious. *snort laughing* He must have a sense of humor--he was Bond, and Remington Steele!

There is not enough Firth....zzzzzzzz

There he is! He's adorable. And there's the iconic wet white shirt...for way too short. (I explain to my friend--who hasn't seen it--the scene in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice.)

And there's the scene I used a GIF from, the other day on Twitter! Firth can sure shake it.

Wow, I rewatched it. Firth was delightful, but then, he usually is. I must rewatch Pride and Prejudice as soon as possible.

That's my recap! Have you seen Mamma Mia!? What's your take on it?

Friday, February 1, 2019

Friday Finds: It's Firth February!

All February, I'm celebrating Colin Firth, because, why not? 😊 I'm a shy, somewhat socially awkward introvert, and it can very challenging for me to interact with people, even (or even more so) online. So, I came up with the idea of having theme months that would be fun for me, and hopefully, some other people. I know I'm not the only one who enjoys watching Colin Firth, right?
All this month, I'll be posting photos on Facebook (Fridays) and Twitter (at least Monday--Friday, look for #FirthFebruary), and blogging about his movies. I may even live-tweet sometimes as I watch. Will any of you join in? I hope it's going to be fun--at least I know watching his movies will be! And it gives me an excuse to watch the 1995 Pride and Prejudice again. What's not to love about that?

I had high hopes for seeing a bunch of his movies I hadn't, but unfortunately, most aren't readily available (I'm looking for free views, as I'm on another minimal spending year). Here's a link to Internet Movie Database if you want to see which of his films you've watched, or missed.

What I'll be watching:
Camille (1984)
Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Nanny McPhee (2005)
The King's Speech (2010)
Arthur Newman (2012)
Emily Blunt and Colin Firth in Arthur Newman, via IMDb
Magic in the Moonlight (2014)
The Bridget Jones trilogy
And more, depending on what's available at the library and what I can get friends with Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch with me. :)

What I've already seen--and Firth is fantastic in them all:
The Secret Garden (1987): This may be my favorite adaptation of the beloved book, but I haven't seen it in so long, I can't be sure. I couldn't find it anywhere, so I'm not rewatching. Recommended.

Circle of Friends (1995): I also haven't seen this in awhile, but I most remember Alan Cumming playing someone smarmy in it. Recommended (PG-13).

Pride and Prejudice (1995): To me, Firth is Darcy. This adaptation is one of my all-time favorites. Glorious set and costume design, wonderful cast and script. Highly recommended.

The English Patient (1996): I saw this in the theater when it came out, but I found it tedious. I know a lot of people love it, and it's beautifully made, with a superb cast, but I can't personally recommend it.

Shakespeare in Love (1998): I haven't seen this in awhile, and it didn't make much of an impression, despite the marvelous cast. I may rewatch if I have time.

Bridget Jones's Diary (2001): It's been awhile--come back later this month to read a review of this and the other two in the series!

The Importance of Being Earnest (2002): I enjoyed this adaptation of the Oscar Wilde classic. Great cast, sparkling dialogue--lovely!

Firth in The Importance of Being Earnest, via IMDb

What a Girl Wants (2003): Cute teen movie, enjoyable cast. (PG)

Girl With a Pearl Earring (2003): Solid period drama set in 17th century Holland. (PG-13)

Love, Actually (2003): While I usually watch this every year, I have mixed feelings about it. Recommended (R).

Nanny McPhee (2005): Emma Thompson. Need I say more about this magical movie? (PG)

St. Trinian's (2007): Broad English comedy. Recommended if you like that sort of thing :)  (PG-13).

Mamma Mia! (2008): This musical was only okay for me, but I know it's a favorite of many people.

The King's Speech (2010): Excellent period drama about King George VI. Firth gives a wonderful performance. Recommended.

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014): Violent, darkly comic movie. I hid under my pashmina for much of the movie. Not really my thing.

Mary Poppins Returns (2018): My son and I recently saw this. It's another one of those "great cast" films, but it fell flat for both of us. Recommended with some reservations, but worth the price of a matinee.

What are your favorite Firth films? Hope to see you for Firth February!