almaviva90: (Severus Snape)
Watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 again today. And Alan Rickman's Snape is still breaking hearts, it seems. I didn't cry like many Snape fans but goodness me, it was (and still) heartbreaking. For God's sake, just give Rickman the bloody Oscar now.

Oh, and is just me or is it that some of the scenes in the trailers weren't in the final film? E.g. like Voldemort saying 'Why do you live?' to Harry, Snape walking down a dark passage towards Godric's Hollow and looking up at it? Interesting. I hope there'll be a director's cut or something.
almaviva90: (The Big Three)
14th July 2011.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is finally here! And I'll be watching it in a couple of hours. =) Review and spoilers possibly to follow in another post if I can find the time!
almaviva90: (Danilo)
I literally squeed when I saw this little clip from a preview of the second (and last part) of HP 7. OMG, SNAPE...


Massive spoilers... )
almaviva90: (P&H - Partners (B&W))

Bertie:
However this turns out...I don't know how to thank you for what you've done.
Lionel: (pause) Knighthood?
The two men share a smile: Lionel's is jesting while Bertie's is fraught with nervous tension. The latter's mood passes to the other man and he adopts a more solemn expression.
Lionel: Forget everything else and just say it to me.
almaviva90: (The Merry Widow)
Rewatched the 1995 version of Persuasion the other day and it's reminded me yet again how much I love this adaptation out of all the Austen adaptations ever made - yes, even bettering the 1995 Sense and Sensibility with Thompson, Winslet, Grant and of course, Alan Rickman. Sounds sacrilegious perhaps, especially seeing how much I love S&S and especially this version of it. Persuasion hasn't as complex a storyline as S&S nor does it have as many characters but somehow I like it because of this. And not only does the novel differ from the others in this respect; it has a much more mature tone and heroine and while the heroines in the other novels fall in love for the first time in the books/films, this is perhaps the only time where the heroine, Anne Elliot, has not only fallen in love before but has also had to tend to a broken heart after being persuaded (this being the reason for the novel to be named so) by her mentor, Lady Russell, to break off her engagement to a handsome but penniless naval officer, Frederick Wentworth in 1806.

The film starts off in 1814, eight years later and Anne (Amanda Root), now aged twenty-seven and having lost her bloom, is facing certain spinsterhood - a situation which she treats calmly as a mere fact of life. However with her father's mounting debts, the once proud owners of Kellynch Hall are forced to retrench to Bath and lease the property to a certain Admiral (John Woodbine) and Mrs Croft (Fiona Shaw). All seems simple enough until Anne realises that Mrs Croft is in fact the sister of the now rich Captain Frederick Wentworth (Ciaran Hinds) who has returned to England apparently in search for a wife. Going to Uppercross, her sister Mary's (played hilariously by Sophie Thompson) home, she meets Wentworth for the first time in eight years and it is clear that his anger towards her breaking off their engagement has not subsided and he treats her with cool civility. He then expresses an interest in Mary's sister-in-law, Louisa Musgrove (Emma Roberts), who is more than welcome to the prospect of being the Captain's possible future wife. An excursion to Lyme Regis to visit his friend Captain Harville ends abruptly when Louisa, overly eager and confident to gain Wentworth's affections, sustains a concussion in a fall. While the others stand about the injured girl in shock, Anne is the first to regain her senses and administer aid, even ordering Wentworth and then a fellow Captain Benwick to summon help. Shocked by what his encouragement of Louisa's advances has resulted in and impressed by Anne's sensible and resourceful nature, Wentworth is once again forced to confront his returning feelings for his once-betrothed. However when Anne's estranged cousin, Mr William Elliot (Samuel West), expresses a sudden interest in marrying her, there is yet again another dilemma for Anne to solve. Lady Russell heartily approves of this match but Anne doubts the sincerity of Mr Elliot's intentions in marrying her despite admitting that he is exceedingly clever and charming. The storyline ends in Bath where the Musgroves are planning to buy wedding clothes for their two daughters (Louisa having now fallen in love with Captain Benwick during her recovery), Wentworth and Harville are also in the city and Wentworth is clearly quite jealous of Mr Elliot's attentions to Anne.



A most perplexing love triangle. L. to r. Ciaran Hinds as Captain Wentworth, Amanda Root as Anne Elliot and Samuel West as Mr Elliot.

Anne's doubts of Mr Elliot's character is proven after she is told that the reason why Mr Elliot is interested in marrying her is to get the title and land belonging to her father who is a baronet and to pay off his own debts. By marrying Anne, Mr Elliot will gain a stronger foothold in the family and fend off anyone wishing to marry her father who is a widower and thus remove anyone from endangering his inheritance. Realising and disgusted by Mr Elliot's intentions, she is set against any proposal which might come her way from that gentleman. The conclusion of the story comes during a conversation between Anne and Captain Harville on the faithfulness of both men and women in love which Wentworth overhears while writing a letter for Harville. (One of my favourite quotes said by Anne from the film crops up here as well: "If I may, so long as the woman you love lives, and lives for you, all the privilege I claim for my own sex, and it is not a very enviable one - you need not covet it, is that of loving longest when all hope is gone.") Wentworth then hastily writes another letter, confessing his feelings for Anne and begging her to reconsider taking him back, and leaves it for her to read before leaving the room. Having read it, Anne goes after him and they reconcile and renew their engagement. Later that evening, Wentworth asks Anne's father for permission to set a date for their marriage to which Sir Walter replies in disbelief: "Anne? You want to marry Anne? Whatever for?". The couple in question merely smile at this and the film ends with the newlywed Captain and Mrs Wentworth aboard a ship sailing off into the sunset.

The story is simple but simplicity sometimes means better and the film certainly packs a more emotional punch because of this. Not only are the two leads at conflict with their own feelings, they are also at conflict with society around them which alas are made up of usually the snobbish who only think of social class and standing, e.g. Sir Walter Elliot or those who are endlessly trying to persuade them from their own liberty of thought, e.g. Lady Russell. Upon first watching this film, you might be struck by how nearly none of the cast are exceptionally pretty or handsome (I fear that the Hollywood obsession to put priority on good looks rather than acting ability in the majority of their films may have spoiled us somewhat) but I think that's a good thing - good looks will distract you from the acting which you might not necessarily notice when you're too engrossed with some stunning beauty or other. But having said this, Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds do grow on you during the course of the film and by the end of it, I personally thought Root to be exceptionally pretty (she does in fact bloom and transform from pale, wan woman at the beginning to one glowing with beautifully calm serenity) and Hinds to be extremely attractive (he very closely resembles Alan Rickman in this film in both looks and voice). The rest of the supporting cast were excellent with kudos going especially to Sophie Thompson as Mary (her "Where's my toast?" line always gets me laughing) and John Woodbine and Fiona Shaw as the Crofts (who also represent throughout the film the kind of close and affectionate marriage which Anne and Wentworth would end up following). The film was shot in natural light which means that the indoor scenes, particularly at night, appear to be very dark indeed but this lends an authenticity which one usually does not see in Austen adaptations...it really *was* that dark at night in those days while to further this goal, the women were not given any makeup at all. Jeremy Sams (who I know was the librettist of The Merry Widow production which premiered at the ROH in '97 with TA) is responsible for the delightfully atmospheric music which never overwhelms the listener and lends a wonderful musical insight of the mood in various scenes.

Overall, this is probably the most Austen-ish of Austen adaptations so far (and please do not attempt to watch the 2007 version of Persuasion where Anne appears to run a marathon across the wet streets of Bath just to get to reveal her feelings for Wentworth...and bizzarely enough without the inclusion of the letter scene [outrageous!]) and if you ever get the good chance to watch this film, I can bet you can easily see why I'd heartily recommend it.
almaviva90: (Wellington2)
Further proof of me being a complete Wellington nerd? Only to happy to oblige...see that painting behind Colin Firth's King George VI in this scene from The King's Speech? Instantly recognised it as none other than a portrait of Wellington in what appears to be his Field Marshal's uniform. Another interesting thing is that on the opposite end of the same room is a portrait of Nelson which doesn't surprise me at all.

almaviva90: (Default)
Come on, this picture is not a publicity still from The King's Speech...it's a slyly arranged reunion of Firth and Ehle 15 years (Good Lord, has it *really* been that long?!) after Pride and Prejudice.



Just joking, of course it's a scene from the film where Firth plays George VI while Ehle plays the wife of Geoffrey Rush's Lionel Logue. Regardless, it's lovely to see them working together again...and they've hardly changed a bit!
almaviva90: (wellington2)
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Despite being the HP fan that I am, I have never watched any HP film twice when it was out at the cinema...and this time, I loved the film so much that I saw it a second time.
almaviva90: (Default)
Hurrah, I have finally watched HP7 Part 1 (just over a month after it was released everywhere else but never mind...) and yes, it was worth the wait. Also, it's clear that though there's yet another wait for the next and final part, the producers have done well to decide to split the film into two since this means that I think 95 percent of the book is going to be included in the films. Kudos to them.

It's strange but since we had to have dinner before watching the film at 9.45pm, a group of four (all in their late 20s and apparently American educated) at the table next to us was coincidentally talking about the latest HP film. They obviously hadn't seen the film as we had but neither did it appear that they had read the books either. Then they were going on about how they heard that the film was apparently slow, etc (apparently because J.K. Rowling had made too much money by the time she wrote the last book) and that the gang should make out with each other already, that the actors were getting much too old...I was soon wondering why the bloody hell they decided to watch it then. And hey, yes...the film I admit is much slower than the others but the BOOK was slow as well. Read the damn books for the God's sake! And it has to be slow otherwise you wouldn't understand a thing. *rolls eyes*

Anyways back to the film. Yes, first thing's first...the pace is slow but if you think the pace is slow here, you obviously haven't watched a Merchant Ivory film which can be unbearably slow at times. Which is a good thing since slow-paced films are usually like works of art and I quickly got the impression that the filmmakers were really focused on telling a good story (courtesy of J.K. Rowling, of course) rather than attempt to be all flashy and say how bloody fantastic they are with CGI and special effects. What really got my attention was also the music composed by Alexandre Desplat whose music is usually heard in very cinematic films like Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Painted Veil; another indication that the filmmakers want to make a big final effort to make the last two films not merely the finale of the series but pieces of cinematic art which stand apart from the other six films.

Ron as usual got the audience laughing while I couldn't help grinning to myself when I saw the Patronus in the Forest of Dean. Snape! Yes, definitely not enough Snape/Rickman in this film but that's understandable. I loved the bit where the camera focused on his face for so long when Charity Burbage begs him to help her; you can see the inner turmoil working away in his mind. We'll definitely see more of him in the next one (inevitable really seeing how central he will be in the plot). And I have to admit I nearly cried when Dobby died...and I usually found him annoying in the second film. Now that's quite something. Goodness knows how I'll react when Snape gets killed...*shudders to think of herself sobbing in the cinema with everyone staring at her in disbelief* Ooh, and it was nice seeing Jason Issac's Lucius Malfoy back again though he looked unkempt and rather pathetic (poor fellow). Oh, and yes...the old Gellert Grindelwald. I can't believe I didn't recognise him in the trailer. It was only when I saw him onscreen in the cinema that I said: 'Now, wait a minute. I know that face!' and sure enough, he was Michael Byrne (Major Nairn) from the Sharpe series with Sean Bean and Hugh Fraser. What a coincidence...media crossovers everywhere.

Ah, I can't wait for the second part! *hopes very much that July 2011 will come ASAP*
almaviva90: (la ci darem la mano)
What I find odd is that actors known for playing villains most of the time who sometimes play good guys or romantic leads don't really make an impact on me (in most cases, they make me totally root for them in the film XDD).  However, I've realised that watching an actor who you're used to seeing as a good guy play a villain/baddie is utterly bizarre.

Take the example of Alan Rickman who's basically the best and well-known onscreen villain ever (e.g. Hans Gruber and The Sheriff of Nottingham)...once he started playing Jamie in Truly Madly Deeply or Colonel Brandon () in Sense and Sensibility, he was instantly the one you liked and you didn't bat an eyelid as to how strange or unusual it is to see him play a totally different role to which he usually did.

I watched Patriot Games the other day (yes, the one with Harrison Ford and Sean Bean) and what I found so odd was seeing Hugh Fraser (who I confess was one of the reasons why I wanted to watch this film; the other was of course his Sharpe costar Sean Bean XD) playing a trusted British secretary to a peer who later turns out to be not so trustworthy and ends up betraying Ford and his employer. You see, I'm just so utterly used to his Captain Hastings in Poirot who is so utterly incapable of betraying or killing anyone in cold blood (seriously he even thinks looking through keyholes and reading other people's letters as 'not playing the game') so to see him do both these things was weird. Also seeing him basically being beaten up, roughly thrown against walls and down the stairs (the latter job is something that Hastings sometimes finds himself doing) and being shot in the knee by Harrison Ford was strange too. Also the fact that his character is accidentally killed by Sean Bean later on didn't help...I just ended up thinking: 'OMG, Sharpe has just shot and killed Wellington!'

It seems that these actors are just waaay too fixed in my mind in their particular roles for me to accept them as anything else XDDD
almaviva90: (Captain Hastings)
I'm noticing more and more recently that though actors can play characters who are great friends in one book/series/film, they can also play each other's enemies in another...take the example of David Suchet and Hugh Fraser who play the fantastic duo of Poirot and Hastings in the television series...



...but play both Napoleon and Wellington respectively (though in two totally different films, I have to say!) who as we all know were historically enemies:




[They also look eerily similar to the real life historical people they were portraying...O_O]

As Hercule Poirot would say: 'Interesting. Very interesting.'
almaviva90: (Captain Hastings)
Bought two books online today despite my awful experience of having to wait for my last book to come by bloody effing ship (which I think is ridiculous). Thankfully they weren't so expensive this time and I made quite sure that the books would be delivered to me within 14 working days. I must say though that most British booksellers are amazingly fast in shipping them off soon after the order is sent to them...I believe they sent them off only 4-5 hours after I requested them O.O

As to what these two books are about; well, one's about Welsh National Opera (the first opera company that TA sang with) and I believe it's really the ONLY book written about the company and the other is about the TV series (and my new obsession) Agatha Christie's Poirot.

I read somewhere recently that there's a new film coming out later this year about King George VI (who is the current Queen's father) and guess who's playing him...Colin Firth. Hurrah...it's nice to see Firth doing roles we don't usually associate him with; first the gay English professor in A Single Man and now the stammering and nervous George VI. I think I'll also give this film a go when it comes out in the cinemas later...and talking about cinemas, I simply can't wait until HP7 Part 1 comes out!

almaviva90: (Default)
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1. The Sound of Music (1965)
2. The Remains of the Day (1993)
2, Sense and Sensibility (1995)
4. Great Expectations (1946)

...those four films should definitely not be remade in any way.
almaviva90: (TA 1980s)
Hurrah! They're making another film adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's books; this time it's Never Let Me go and probably it'll be released sometime this year.

On the down side, it's got Keira Knightley in it and in probably the main role. *groan*

I've got nothing against Knightley in particular (she was pretty good in Atonement, I must admit) but I unfortunately don't like her that much.

First a musical version of The Remains of the Day and now another film of another novel...I wonder what else will crop up in relation to Ishiguro's works? *ponders*

Now I'll have to get back to writing my essay which is due tomorrow afternoon. *sigh*
almaviva90: (Default)
First of all, it's 2nd April so happy birthday to the great Sir Alec Guinness who would have been 96 this year if he were still alive. It's hard to believe that he passed away nearly ten years ago now. Scary how time flies.

Anyways...finally was able to watch a film at the cinema today after weeks of desperately wanting to but being unable to find the time. I personally wanted to watch The Young Victoria since I have wanted to see it since I first realised there was a film about Victoria and Albert but then my mother was so adamant in seeing Colin Firth in A Single Man so guess who won? My mum, of course. Colin Firth galore for the one and a half hour duration of the film...XDD I can see why he was nominated for the Oscar this time and it was damn well earned, I say. A totally non-Darcy role this time but even though Pride and Prejudice was made 15 years ago, Firth has definitely maintained his good looks even now.

Oh, and what a surprise I got when I found the 1988 ENO Billy Budd with TA in the shops today. (I, of course, bought it straightaway since it was a reasonable $138). Totally wasn't expecting that since I thought it was now out-of-print. Other two great surprises today was that I found two books I've been looking for quite a while (a volume of Agatha Christie novels which have four of the novels that Captain Hastings was in while the second was Christopher Plummer's memoirs). Alas, both of them were nearly or were actually $300 so obviously, I couldn't afford them this time. I might try my luck in getting Plummer's book later on while I'll just wait and go to the UK to buy the Christie novels XDDD Yes, the books in the UK are DEFINITELY cheaper than in Hong Kong, darn it. *imagines that she will go on a mass book/CD/DVD spending spree when she finally gets to the UK*

Ah and yeah, finally decided to order the book about Wellington's doctors online today. Hopefully it'll arrive in a week or so. *crosses fingers*

almaviva90: (Default)
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER HAS BEEN NOMINATED FOR AN OSCAR!

HURRAH!

Yes, that was random...sorry. But he's always been one of my favourite actors in many of my favourite films, e.g. Waterloo, The Sound of Music, Murder by Decree, etc as well as being the original narrator of Sir William Walton's Henry V. Also he's inevitably getting older (he just turned 80 last December!) so there aren't many more chances for him to win. I can't believe that this is his first Oscar nod though...he's been in film for such a long time already. Here's hoping that he wins!

Oh, and also Colin Firth surprisingly got a nomination for Best Actor. But he was playing a very non-Firth/Darcy role this time so I'm not that surprised. It's good for him though...he'll probably now be able to budge the shadow of Mr Darcy off him after 15 years of P&P obsession with him.

HP6

Jul. 7th, 2009 01:10 am
almaviva90: (TA evening dress)
OMG

www.youtube.com/watch

Excuse me while I squee in the corner about how cool Alan Rickman is as Snape in this...XD

And yeah, I so do not want to be Harry when having his hex deflected by a master duelist like Snape...
Some Snape goodness...XD )

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