|Valentine Pelka (Kronos), Jeff Speakman, Jim Byrnes, Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo), Eric Etebari, Oded Fehr, Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)|
|Quibbles -- Questions -- Kudos
(listed in alphabetical order)
A to I
Note: My tongue was firmly implanted in cheeck during most of this writing,
then somebody said I was an opinionated old cuss. Well .... YEAH!!!
|Alan Rickman Movies|
|AN AWFULLY BIG ADVENTURE (1995)
Caution: If you haven't seen this one, try staying away from spoilers!!!!
Premise: 16-year old girl in the early 50's in Liverpool joins theatre company as unpaid apprentice in hopes of
becoming an actress. Falls hard for really grody director (well-played by Hugh Grant) but ends up the lover of
older leading man, the tragic P.L. O'Hara (Alan Rickman), who feels strangely drawn to her. Maybe I'm naive,
too (hmmm... not usually) but the developments toward the end, well, I didn’t see it coming; not until it hit
me right between the eyes with a 2x4!), very likely exacerbated by the fact that this film had been
advertised as comedy. Which, despite some light-hearted moments, it is definitely not (it's full
of child-abuse, neglect and abandonment, suicide and incest). Dark and moody is a much
more apt description. For all my quibbles, I still very much liked this film.
POSSIBLE SPOILER AHEAD (I'm trying to be careful, really, but...):
Quibble 1: It would have been a nice touch to let the audience learn why a certain young couple
ended up separated. Was he really just a cad, was she really that flighty, or were the vagaries of
wartime Britain to blame? Judging from his reaction (and as an incurable romantic), I just want to
believe the latter -- you know, good guy turned bad because of a broken heart blah blah blah. It is
explained in the book (which is becoming exceedingly hard to find, even on eBay).
Quibble 2: Contrived? Let's just say if this word hadn't existed before someone would have had
to invent it to explain the plot twist. Again, it is easier to understand if one has read the book
(finally found a paperback copy at amazon.com). But what the heck … sit back, suspend disbelief, enjoy the ride (especially AR's pefomance).
Question: Has anybody ever really been as naďve as 16-year-old Stella, even in the 1950’s ???? Of course, the girl did have a problem or two (or three).
That thing about Georgina Cates: Yes, it's true. There once was a 19-year old actress named Clare Woodgate who heard that somebody was looking for a 16-year old unknown face from Liverpool for a movie role. Adopting a new name, a Liverpool accent and a lot a naivitee, she acted her way to being cast in the role of Stella. Natch, everybody was a little miffed when the deception was discovered. Personally, I say 'you go, Girl' because in the cut-throat world of acting, an actress or actor sometimes has to do what it takes. She was splendid in the role and it would have been a shame had she not been cast because of being born at the wrong time, in the wrong place.
Miscellany: This story borrows the old Hollywood horror-flick premise which teaches us that anyone having sex (other than straight, properly married people, and preferably for procreational purposes only) will be punished!
|BLOW DRY (2001)
Premise: Hairsalon-owner Shelley (Natasha Richardson) is dying of cancer but longs to have her last hurrah at the Annual British Hairstyling Championship that happens to be held in her town. Her friend and cohort at the Salon, Sandra (Rachel Griffiths), is all for it, but they know they can't do it without the help of Phil Allen (AR), Shelley's estranged husband, and her son Brian (Josh Hartnett). Trouble is, Phil hasn't talked to Shelley in 10 years while he's hung up his comeptition scissors to sulk in his little barber shop, and her son is too embarrassed to be seen around town with his mum. Small wonder... Shelley and Sandra (who was Phil's model) fell in love and left Phil at the evening of a major competition (that's the part I major problems with ... WHY did they leave BEFORE the competition????).
Hammered by critics as being a cheap Truly Madly Deeply wanna-be, I nevertheless couldn’t help falling in love with this film. Predictable as all that, it's still a charming
|BOB ROBERTS (1992)
Premise: Dastardly, ultra-conservative, racist, sexist country singer (Tim Robbins) with his hands in more dirty deals than the whole 'Moral Majority' combined runs dirty campaign in an effort to bamboozle the voters to shoo him into the senate. With only one good man (a reporter) standing between him and success. I usually have to fast-forward to the Alan scenes (playing a dirty business man) to keep from getting sore from all the cringing. How easily the (washed and coiffed) masses are bamboozled (cynical? who, me?????).
|CLOSE MY EYES (1991)
Premise: Gosh. Goodness. Golly. Here we are treated to a love triangle between a husband, his wife and
her brother. You'd think this makes for interesting watching. Yet I was bored to tears. So much so that I
felt compelled to fast-forward mostly to the AR parts and pretty much ignored the rest. Which of course
made the ending utterly incomprehensible. But it was just too hard to take this seriously, thanks in no
small part to Saskia Reeves. Which brings me to the
Major Quibble: We all know some of the best actors come from the UK. To quote a pleasantly sur-
prised Sense and Sensibility director, Ang Lee, "can all British people act?" Mr. Lee, here is one
who can't: How did someone as untalented, ungainly and ungraceful as Saskia Reeves (she who
added majorly to the SciFi channel’s remake of “Dune” being such a disaster) get cast in this role?
or better yet, how is it possible this woman ever managed to become an "actress" at all?
KUDOS: Between AR in general, (who once again treats us to a stellar performance, and Clive Owen’s
naked buns (if that's your thing) … well, it’s not a total waste then, innit?
Resolution: I really must be brave someday and sit through it all. Does it get better the second time round? I
sure hope so. I've seen so many glowing reviews of this movie that I'm thinking now I have missed something by forwarding too much.
|CLOSET LAND (1991)
Premise: Children's book author (Madeleine Stowe) gets hauled before a tribunal of one (AR) and is interrogated about subversive messages she supposedly sends to the kiddies that read her books.
In a very frightening way, this isn't as far-fetched as it may sound (Ms. Rowling, are you listening?). Just look around you. Book burnings are going on right now, all over the world, especially in this "bastion of freedom" the good old USA. Still screwing up my courage to sit through this and actually watch.
|DARK HARBOR (1999)
Premise: Husband and wife (with major relationship issues bubbling just below the surface) are on their way to catch a ferry to spend the weekend at their get-a-way home on a private island. They're delayed when they stop to help a drifter who has collapsed by the side of the road.
Observation: This is another one of those films where it's really best to have absolutely no clou the first time you watch it. Can a show with no more than three people through 99% of the film be anything but boring? You bet! This poor beastie was subject to some devastating reviews, which made me think I'd probably enjoy it thoroughly. And I did. Can't help loving a movie where one just knows that something is wrong, and the longer it takes to put one's finger on it, the better. Add to this the deliciously adorable Alan Rickman (as David Weinberg, the suspicious husband) .... cheap thrills? Sure, but I get 'em where I can find 'em *LOL*
MAJOR KUDO: The scene is over in a split second, but being treated to the Full Monty from Mr. Alan Rickman ... *gasp* *choke* *cough* ...... *aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh* *blush*
Premise: God is back, and he's trying to stick to his guns.
While the subject matter and the rest of the cast hold absolutely no interest for me, it sits on my shelve because,
well, it's got Alan Rickman in it *duh* Anyone agree that the short black hair doesn't particularly suit him (as opposed
to the long black hair in his incarnation as Professor Snape?). This is one I watch, remove in hand, fast-forwarding to
the AR parts. Your mileage may vary.
|GALAXY QUEST (1999)
Premise: While appearing at a SciFi convention, the cast of a long-cancelled but still much-loved-by-their-nerdy-fans Science Fiction TV show gets spirited away by aliens in the mistaken belief that the broadcasts they picked up were news instead of entertainment. Now they're relying on this motley crew to save them and the whole universe from a truly dastardly (and ugly) enemy. “Normal” people may think it totally weird, but convention-going fans of the genre (yours truly among them) can easily identify with the fans of "Galaxy Quest" in this movie (let’s face it, it's a SciFi addict’s dream come true!).
Quibble: Considering that the whole film was an exercise in tongue-in-cheek … absolutely none!
Kudo to Mr. Rickman: Excellent in his portrayal of Alexander Dane, the serious actor typecast for the last 20 years by his role as the alien sidekick, Dr. Lazarus. He manges to shine brillantly through the rubber and latex and shows us the love/hate relationship that Leonard Nimoy/Mr. Spock struggled with for so long in real life.
Kudo to the casting office: The line-up is perfect. I expected no less from Sigourney Weaver but was pleasantly surprised by Tim Allen and the rest of the crew.
|HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE (2001)
Premise: Known to all who haven't lived in a cave for the last few years.
What superlatives can I use that haven’t been used before by fans of this film? Right, not a one. Except to say … thank you, Professor Snape, for that wonderful dream you sent my way one night, and the fascinating (and very erotic) piece of fan fiction that arose from that dream.
Quibble: Was anyone else disappointed that Hermione left the scene after the chessboard incident, her greatest mental feat summarily dismissed as unimportant by the film makers? Especially since I believe that this was the feat that earned her the 50 points awarded at the end-of-term banquet (no way could it have been "just" her prowess at herbology).
Question (see Quibble above): Where the film makers dissing the Potion Master????? *gasp*
Quibble to the American distributors who felt it necessary to change the title. Generations of the learned have searched for the "Philosopher's Stone" but once again an American release had to be dumbed down. It's insulting, that's what it is!
|HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS (2002)
Premise: The future adventures of our intrepid little hero and his friends.
Major Quibble: Not enough Professor Snape!!!!
Another Quibble: For anyone who hasn't read the book, some things only make sense after watching the "deleted" scenes on the DVD. Why, oh why, didn't they do what was done for "Lord of the Rings" and paste those scenes into the movie for the DVD release (same goes for the first movie)? Is the LotR audience more worthy of quality product??? As a member of that audience, I feel slighted by Warner Brothers. At least this time, we don't have to play games over and over to get to the scenes (it was fun the first time round ONLY).
Memo to Professor Snape: Let your gorgeous black hair grow out again, the shorter look isn't nearly as flattering!
|TO BE CONTINUED|
|and (dare I say) heartwarming story. No, cancer doesn't go away, yet we are still treated to the happy ending we all knew was coming.
Really Silly Quibble 1: As so many others, this film was made by people who very obviously know NOTHING about tattoos, or they do but count on the ignorance of their audience. Fake screen tats are notorious for looking, well -- fake. As a veteran of 4-times-under-the-needle, you can take it from me: The scissors on the bottom of Phil’s foot, which had been walked on for more than 10 years, would have been quite faded. Still, it was a clever touch, devastatingly sexy (not that AR needs any help in that department ;-) and this quibble is absolutely immaterial to anyone but a fellow tattoo lover.
Quibble 2: Concerns the strange compulsion of the American backers to hire non-Brits with more-or-less lousy accents.
KUDOS: For having a lesbian couple central to the story but being able to control the schoolboy urge to exploit this in a steamy but gratuitous sex scene.
|DIE HARD (1988)
So forgive me already ‘cause I rooted for the bad guy *LOL* And I believe y'all know the premise....
Kudos for Mr. Rickman: While actors rarely get an accent straight (for example, Brits faking American mostly sound like they’re refuges from the Kennedy compound with marbles in their mouth, or worse, a horrible throat disease, while most Americans straining to sound British just sound goofy (oh the pain -- make them stop!!!), AR’s attempts at German are laudable. In case you're wondering, German is my mother tongue so I feel qualified to make that judgement. And what a powerhose performance! In a role that in the hands of a lesser talent could have easily become a parody of every bad guy ever put on screen, he gives the villain individuality, personality, and utter, irresistible, devastating charm. Hans Gruber -- take me hostage ANY TIME and I'll promise to give new meaning to "Stockholm Syndrome"!!!
Quibbles: Absolutely NONE! (Ok, so I have a thing about getting cut and broken glass, but that's a personal problem). Except that I wanted to be there when a super duper lawsuit was filed against the turkeys from the TV station who put the children on the news without parental permission. Was the news directors brain on a leave of absence? I know, I worry about the small stuff too much!
Conclusion: Yippie Kay Aye Oh!
|Bonus: Not only the black velvet purr of AR, we also get the beautiful voice of Sasha Lazard singing one of my favourite songs. Wow -- double whammy! And Norman Reedus makes "creepy" an art! Conclusion: What's not to love?|
|IN DEMAND -- The TEXAS Video (2002)
After I saw this video for the first time, I was so much in love with Alan I was crying. OK, it was late at night, I was tired and emotionally vulnerable (sounds like a good explanation for getting all choked up, doesn't it?). Just imagine ... Alan and beautiful young woman (Texas lead singer Charleen Spirteri) in a chauffeur-driven cabriolet, top down, night wind in their hair, smooching. They stop at a filling station and break into an impromptu Tango (are you fanning yourself yet???). But then she pushes him away. Back in the car though they smooch some more, they are strafed by a helicopter, overtaken by a bunch or motorcycles, finally, the sun comes up. Next thing, the car is stopped in front of a huge, bleak-looking building, Alan gets a duffle-bag out of the trunk and starts walking around the car, they look at each other and for a moment it looks as if Alan wants to say something to the woman but then he shrugs sadly and starts walking up the stairs, keys in hand. The young woman looks after him, whistfully, sad, but stops herself from saying anything, then looks away and the car drives off. By now my heart in is a thousand little pieces ....
Interpretation: Seems there are as many takes on this video as there are Alan fans. So for what it's worth, here's mine: As is often the case with music videos, the song lyrics themselves seem to have little to do with the action on the screen. The woman is somebody "rich and famous" (a singer or actress perhaps) who has just shared a night of passion with a stranger. The helicopter strafing the car are reporters, the motorcycles are incidental. There is obvious electricity between them, but in the cold morning light, they both realise, much to their regret, that they are living in different worlds. So without another word, they part. But each has lost a little piece of their heart.
|DISCLAIMER: Images on this and related pages copyrighted to the original copyright holders.
No infringement intended, they are used to pay homage to this wonderful actor.