amruniel: (aragorn legolas)
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10 - OTP

Do you REALLY need to ask???????!





















amruniel: (corsage)
Watched the last of my three thesis films last night - "The Revenant".

What a movie!

A story-line that could have bored me to death (and quite frankly can be easily told in two sentences without losing anything important) has kept me in its thrall for two-and-a-half hours.

It's mostly down to Leonardo DiCaprio's acting that the movie worked as well as it did for me. I know that there are quite a few people out there who think that while Leo did deserve his Oscar, it shouldn't have been awarded for this movie. I completely disagree. Carrying a film while being alone on screen AND without dialogue for most of the time is an achievement that can't be valued too much. Leo played many iconic roles in his career, but I honestly think that this role is the one that demanded the most of him in terms of pure acting.

Another thing that impressed me deeply are the visuals of the movie. There visual language throughout the whole film is unbelievably impressive. There are so many gems to be found in seemingly "simple" nature takes, there are great shots and stunning camera sequences. It's a joy to watch - and I'm quite convinced that one could enjoy the film without any sound or dialogue as well, the visuals are that good.

I'm impressed and I'm really looking forward to watching it again (well, apart from various really graphic scenes that made me feel a bit nauseous :) ).
amruniel: (corsage)
Watched the second of my three films today - Sean Penn's "Into the Wild".

The story about Christopher McCandless aka Alexander Supertramp, who left society behind and freely walked into isolation.

It's a lovely film I should have watched the first time years ago. Missed time, really. It's one of Himself's favourite films and ranks very high on my own "top movies" list.

It's a touching story, with a beautiful message - and an end that will make you cry. As is often the case with stories based in real life, there is no happy ending for this wonderful young man who set out to find happiness and peace. I'd like to think he's found both along the way, it certainly seems so to me.

It's a film I'm really looking forward to working with. After the first viewing I'm reasonable sure that I won't be able to make it fit into the "heroes journey"-mould I'm looking for in the three movies - which makes it all the more exciting. I love stories that are not told using the ages-old formula, and life certainly has is ways to bring out heroes that don't conform to the trial-loss-and-success pattern most of humanity's great stories are built upon.

I'm happy to have chosen this film for my thesis - I would have missed out on this gem for even longer if I hadn't. And if you haven't seen it, I really urge you to do it! It's really worth it!
amruniel: (aragorn legolas)
IMG_0862.JPG

06 - Ugliest Orc

Finally a VERY EASY question!

Without any further ado, I'll give you:



GOTHMOG - the very, very, very ugly :)

The Martian

Mar. 7th, 2016 12:42 am
amruniel: (corsage)
So today I've finally started to watch one of the three films I'll discuss in my bachelor's thesis... I'll need to fit in the other two before Thursday and -as usual- I have no idea how I'll find the time to do that.

Anyway - today I've watched "The Martian" and while it's been a bit better than I have anticipated, it's still on my "wouldn't re-watch if I didn't have to"-list.
I've been bored throughout most of the first half - it's soooooo predictable it's painful. Every single accident or setback comes with advanced warning, no surprises at all... and if you've seen the trailer you know the better bits already. The second half did pass a lot faster and while it had a lot more eye-rolling are-you-fucking-kidding-me moments, it also had a lot more of the one redeeming feature:

Sean Bean!

So yeah, he absolutely saved me from taking a lot more breaks than I did anyway. I practically lived from one of his appearances to the next ;) Although I'm sorely disappointed by the missed opportunity of slipping a "One does not simply..."-reference into the movie. I mean, come on! The guy who wrote the book is very probably a nerdy guy, I'm reasonable sure that quite a lot of other geeky or nerdy guys (and girls) worked on adapting the book or the making of the movie in general and NOBODY thought of slipping the quote into the script? REALLY? That's just plain dumb! *rants*

Another thing I'm completely taken aback by? The fact that this is a Ridley Scott movie! I'll be honest and say that I didn't even think about finding out who directed the movie beforehand, and I honestly did not catch Ridley's usual style while watching the film, so it quite took me by surprise when the credits started rolling and I first saw who directed the thing.
Thinking back now I do see some short sequences where Ridley's usual style shone through (most noticeable his tendency to have things floating around - be it pollen or snow or dust... there's a scene outside the Chinese Space Agency where I did think "now THAT's a nice shot" while watching, and now I realize that it's one of the few scenes with floating stuff, in this case snow).
Anyway - since I do think the film is rather meagre all in all I wonder how bad it would have been if somebody else would have directed it. Well, good luck for me, I guess :)

After watching the film I did take some notes and had to thumb through the book that's the basis of my thesis for some detail I have forgotten since the last time I've read it... and while I turned the pages I remembered a picture that sprang out on me the first time around:


("The Writer's Journey" by Christopher Vogler, p. 116)

Doesn't it look like Arwen and Legolas strolling through the woods in Rivendell or Lorien? Or is it just my imagination?
amruniel: (aragorn legolas)
IMG_0862.JPG

05 - Scene That Makes You Laugh

Well... there are a few, too :)

I'll try to keep this post shorter than the one yesterday, I promise...

Pics and Gifs once again )

And that's it ;)

The lovely [livejournal.com profile] silvan_lady alerted me to the fact that quite a lot of pics of yesterday's post don't work *sigh* I rather suspect the same will apply to this post - I'll try to fix it as soon as I've got a bit more time on my hands (and once it's a bit earlier than 3 am ;) )!
amruniel: (aragorn legolas)
IMG_0862.JPG

04 - Scene that Makes You Cry

Really? I mean... REALLY????????!

As I mentioned before I'm a crying mess during most of the third film - never mention various scenes in the first and second... how the hell should I be able to pick ONE scene that makes me cry?????

Right, let's do that another way... I'll tell you about the scenes that make me cry in each movie :)
(Warning: this might take some time :D)

Too many pics and gifs :) )

I'm not crying at every one of these scenes every time, but I HAVE cried at all of them (and probably some more) at some point...
amruniel: (aragorn legolas)


03 - Favourite Character

I think I'll have to go with the obvious:



Aragorn, Ranger of the North.

The reasons?
He's an incredible character with a wonderful backstory I really can't get enough of.
He's the guy with the most to lose (okay, apart from "all of our lives", but that's what every single person in Middle Earth is dealing with, so I'll just ignore it for now) - he could lose not only his self-respect, his dignity and the way he chose to live his life, he could also disappoint his foster-father, lose the love of his life, as well as the respect of his friends. Not to mention that there is the burden of letting down his people, even though they don't even know that their true king is alive and kicking ass throughout the whole continent.
He could give in to temptation and thus become what he most fears.
He could let the people he loves down.

And don't forget that he's had a really hard life thus far.

Losing a parent is hard enough on its own, but think about it: he then gets taken to Rivendell where he grows up surrounded by immortal, seemingly perfect and infallible people who must have seemed larger than life when he was a young boy. He - the fallible, mortal man who bears the legacy of a line of people who did very often fall spectacularly - must have been way out of his depth there more often than not.
I'm sure that Elrond and his sons became his foster family over the years - they became the role-models he strove to make proud of him. What a hard act to follow! (Side note: If you haven't read the Mellon Chronicles I really urge you to do so NOW! I've accepted this history of Aragorn and Legolas' friendship as (head) canon, and there's enough room to imagine slash where there is just slashy sub-text ;) )
And then, when he found a way of living with the ghosts of his past, when he found a way of being there for his people and the people in Middle Earth in general, by taking up the role of guardian and Ranger of the North, he finds himself falling in love with not only the most beautiful woman walking the woods in Rivendell, but also his foster-father's precious daughter. Not a position I envy him for.
So what does Elrond do? He tells the poor guy that he has to man up and fulfil his real destiny instead of lurking in the shadows and protecting the people of Middle Earth in the blessing of anonymity in order to be allowed to marry his daughter.

Talk about burdening the poor man with another set of responsibilities and worries.

Well - and then a bunch of Hobbits come along and the long-lost bane of his ancestors makes a sudden reappearance. Not the best news for him, I'm sure. And then there's the small matter of getting along with the son of Gondor's steward, who not only wants to take the ring to his daddy instead of throwing it into the fires of Mt. Doom, but also isn't very ecstatic in face of the fact that this rugged nobody claims to be Gondor's real king and who might take daddy's job -and therefore his future job- sooner than later. Not a position you want to be in while travelling through a war-zone, chased by nine megalomaniac ghosts in black capes and not only one, but ultimately two warring armies of orcs/uruks.

But Aragorn being Aragorn rises to the occasion, sheds his doubts on the way and later willingly faces death and the army of the dead in order to save a city that he's sure won't welcome him. Having done that, he rallies the remaining guys for a suicide mission they ALL know is more likely than not going to ruin them in minutes rather than hours or days - and they follow him, because they all can see in him what he himself can't.

Aragorn is a complex, virtuous and ultimately good character who inspires loyalty and love in everyone he meets (well, we could probably safely say anyone but Wormtongue, Saruman and Sauron's Mouth).

I love him for his doubts, for his insecurities and his reluctance to take up a role he doesn't feel comfortable with. And I love him even more for gradually accepting that if he doesn't do it, nobody will, and finally taking on his destiny and making it his own.

He is the king Middle Earth and we need and deserve!
amruniel: (corsage)


02 - Favourite Battle

Oh dear... another one of those really hard questions. Hm...

Quite frankly, I love them all :) Each of the battles have at least one moment that is simply amazing, so choosing one is really hard.

All right, I think I'll go with the Battle of Helm's Deep.

I love the setup of this battle. The despair. The too-old men and the too-young boys. Aragorn and Legolas quarrelling (and isn't it fucking hilarious that Aragorn switches back to Westron/English right at the very moment he confirms that they most likely WILL die? - "Then I shall die as one of them!"). The women and children in the glittering cave. The darkness. The hopelessness.

And then: Haldir and his elves showing up, delivering this wonderful and very welcome speech:


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Haldir's face when Aragorn hugs him - he looks like he's thinking something along the lines of "What the fuck is this unwashed man doing? Why is he touching me? He STINKS!" :D
And Legolas' background-face? *snickers*

And then the rain starts and all hell breaks loose...

I'm a huge fan of the orcs simply standing in front of the wall, chanting, stomping. I think that's one of the most powerful ways of striking fear in the hearts of your enemies. (And to think that a lot of this shot came to pass by bored and cold actors passing the time between shots makes it even better for me ;) )

The battle itself is nicely done with a lot of comic relief thrown in (I can't stop giggling about the "back door" that Aragorn and Gimli use to sneak out ... a stroke of genius of the architect, right? *grins*).
And then Haldir dies. One of the worst moments for me. I hate it, I cry my eyes out every time. *sigh*

I adore Aragorn, Legolas and Theoden's last stand - for me it's one of the bravest moments of the "hunters" when they ride out to battle. And of course, Gandalf's timely rescue isn't bad either ;) I'm forever impressed that Gandalf can predict his re-appearance that precisely... or is he waiting on the other side of the mountaintop, twiddling his thumbs while waiting for sunrise?

Okay, and now the deciding factor why I chose this battle: Theoden's speech.

I love the whole scene - Gamling dressing his lord in armour is one of the best and most powerful scenes in TTT, maybe even in the whole trilogy.
And it's so wonderfully done cinematically. I love the shadows you see walking by in the background - this very simple detail adds momentum and urgency to an otherwise very still and secluded scene.

Helm's Deep is a great battle from start to finish - and every battle that makes me laugh, cry, and bite my nails despite knowing the outcome deserves an award!
amruniel: (aragorn legolas)
Since I've had so much fun doing the February Fandom Challenge, I've decided to give another one a go:



As you can see, it's officially a 30 days challenge, but I won't do it like that. I should be working on my bachelor's thesis and semester starts again next week, so I doubt I will find time to write every single day. So I'll do a number whenever I have some minutes (or hours - this is about LotR after all! I want to do it justice!) to spare - if it takes 5 weeks or 5 months, I don't care ;)

(And yes, I've created a new icon especially for this occasion :D I sorely lacked a LotR-themed icon up until now.)

Right, folks, here we go:

01 - Favourite Film

That's a tough one. *sigh*
If I have to choose one, I'll probably go with: Return of the King

Why? Because it's the one that makes me laugh and cry the most - and more importantly: it makes me laugh and cry at the same time, which is a feat in and of itself.

I love RotK because it closes the trilogy with a bang. For me, it's the most emotional part at the same time as it's the part with the biggest and best battles. I particularly love the Extended Edition because it gives us quite a few of the more personal, quiet scenes that balance out the tension and violence.

I've watched the film too many times to count by now, and still it makes me cry like the first time around. I'm a mess at the very latest when the beacons are lit (my absolute very favourite non-actor scene EVER! I'm covered in goose bumps every time. It's the perfect combination of score and majestic visuals.) And once Sam says "I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you!"/we're at the gates of Mordor and Legolas sees Aragorn nearly getting trampled I'm a mess. The floodgates open and I can't stop bawling my eyes out until the credits roll.

The scene that makes me cry out of happiness is when Frodo wakes up and the Hobbits are jumping around. There's a quote in the books about Gandalf smiling (“Pippin glanced in some wonder at the face now close beside his own, for the sound of that laugh had been gay and merry. Yet in the wizard's face he saw at first only lines of care and sorrow; though as he looked more intently he perceived that under all there was a great joy: a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom laughing, were it to gush forth.”) that always touched me - and for me Ian McKellen brings this quote to life in the "Frodo awakes in Gondor"-scene. "To set a kingdom laughing" - that's it!

If I manage to stop my crying for a few minutes the next scene that sets me off again is Aragorn's "My friends, you bow to no-one". Frankly, this scene gets me even completely out of context. I still remember the wonderful Oscar night - for whatever reason they used this scene as "trailer" for RotK and I had tears in my eyes every damn time ... which was quite often with 11 nominations ;)

And then there's the "smile of all smiles" as I termed it (don't ask).
I'm not sure why, but this smile hits me hard every damn time. It's - well, maybe it's the way I'd like to have people smile one day in the future when I move on to the other path that we all must take when our path in this world is at an end, as Gandalf tells Merry. There's tears and sadness, but what's more, there is happiness and thankfulness to have known the other person/hobbits. It's a bitter-sweet moment and a smile that's just as bitter-sweet.

Right, and now I've successfully made me cry by watching a YouTube video of the scene. Time to end this entry, I guess...
amruniel: (corsage)
Let me start by saying that I am trained to analyse theatre productions. I've been studying theatre and film science for years, I really know what I'm doing...

...usually.

This is one of the few times that I am left speechless. This is one of these glorious times where the analytic part of my brain simply shut up in face of the brilliance and enjoyment before my very eyes.
I can assure you, it usually sucks big time to have a little (or rather highly persistent most of the time) voice in your head that constantly rambles on about staging, acting and technical details, when you just want to sit back and enjoy a play or movie. I know I've lost a lot of enjoyment of these things during the last years, and I also know that I'm not too good company in any theatre - constant commentary usually isn't that high on people's priorities when going to a play or a movie. And harsh criticism is not everybody's post-movie/play pastime of choice either. Thankfully, there are a few people who either are trained to do what I do, or who don't mind my rambling who still watch things with me (and big kudos to them, I sometimes can't even stand myself...)
The times a theatre production or a movie really makes an impression on me are limited, and the times I fully sink into the story, just enjoy and don't analyse are very, very, very seldom.

And yet, against all odds, it happened today.

I was fully prepared to sit through 2+ hours of my brain drawing comparison to the umpteen other stagings of Romeo & Juliet I've seen (or had to criticise at uni) in my life, of derogatory comments of my inner critic and of the much-hated feeling that I'd like to love what I'm seeing yet still being utterly unable to do just that.
I was looking forward to see Orlando Bloom acting on stage, but I dreaded it at the same time. As I said before, I always felt that he belonged in a theatre, yet I really expected to be disappointed. Not because I thought he would be bad, but because I feared he wouldn't be able to shut up the annoying voice inside my head. Very few actors can do that. I've seen some of the best theatre-actors of the German-speaking world, some of the most acclaimed actors, and hardly any of them really got me. So chances were good that I could respect Orlando's performance, that I could rationally tell he was as good, as I suspected him to be, but at the same time it was highly unlikely that I could really enjoy the whole thing.

Well, I've been proven wrong. Thankfully. Stunningly. Unbelievably.

I'm still not really ready to get out the trained part of my brain and try to make real sense of the why's and how's. I know that I could analyse the performances to death, I know that I could figure out why this staging touched something in me that made the experience so special if I really tried, I know that I could say a lot about the individual performances, about the stage- and production design, about every little detail that I should consider...

...but I simply don't want to.
I don't want to spoil this unexpected experience by putting everything under my usual scrutiny. I want to just relish and savour it for once.

Yet, there are some things I really do want to say. Without going into too much detail, without waking the inner critic out of its stupor. Just a few things that I feel should be said.

Let's start with the obvious - the stage. I'm usually a Shakespeare-purist. Okay, scratch that... I'm a theatre-purist. I hardly ever like modern stagings of old plays. They're usually overdone and awfully forced. I don't want to see some people with pink bunny-tails tucked into their trousers chasing each other around the stage waving floggers, while the heroine recites her lines swinging on an oversized four-poster bed dangling from the ceiling. And yeah - I've sat through that. That's not my over-active imagination speaking.
I'm more than happy to see a modern play set in a modern set. I've actually seen a brilliant contemporary play that ended in a scene of ripped-out intestines and gushing blood that would make any splatter-movie proud, while the surviving characters had their glorious masturbatory moment fully naked. It's been great! Trust me. It's been fucking great because it fit. I was the right ending to a disturbing and deeply unsettling play about modern society and the numbing effect media has on our lives. While about 90% of the audience left in a huff somewhere in the third act or even sooner, my friend and I had the time of our life,
But as I said - I usually don't like a modern setting, and particularly not when it's Shakespeare we're dealing with. But here? It worked. Beautifully. It worked for me because the whole setting has been so perfectly reduced, that it opened up a new canvas for my imagination to paint on. I particularly loved the constant of the wall and -most of all- the wonderfully executed symbolism of the "bell of doom" as I termed it.

And now to the actors. Except for Orlando I don't know any names, and I honestly don't want to go and find out about them now, because it really doesn't matter in the long run. (Remember, I don't want to wake up the annoying voice inside my head... and checking actors and their previous work, etc. just hits too close to home to my profession.) Let's just say I particularly loved Juliet's father... a groovy, charming performance that made the beautiful rhythm inherent to the text so brilliantly obvious. Mercutio also rocked big time... energetic, seductive and perfectly dancing the fine line between humour and parody. Friar Laurence had me at the opening soliloquy and continued on this high level. I also enjoyed the performance of Juliet's nurse, but I've seen the actress somewhere before, so it wasn't so much a surprise.
Juliet herself was great at the humorous parts - I particularly loved her crawling along the "balcony", unfortunately she couldn't hold that level in the dramatic scenes. All in all she played the character too naive for my taste, but I recognize that this is actually quite near to the original text, so I guess that's just me and not a real point of criticism.

Well, and then, there's Orlando.
And there's brilliance. A kind of brilliance I wouldn't have thought I'd see. This man really belongs on a stage. That's where he can shine, that's where his heart is. And he really shone.
I particularly tip my hat for the utterly brilliance of his portrayal of the stunning character-change he put his Romeo through. Where in the first "half" (let's not bother with acts here, okay?) he played the young playboy, relying on his boyband-charme and enthusiasm for everything female brilliantly, with a sometimes highly annoying high voice that tumbled over the words - an overdramatic performance of the exuberance of youth, the second "half" turned into a maelstrom of despair, pain, grief and madness. It was sheer brilliance. A performance one can only hope for in a Romeo. And the stunning and so subtle changes in character-performance I hinted at? It's all in the voice. In the second half there's no more boyish sighing and melodramatic recitation, there's a powerful voice ploughing through the text, seemingly tearing the words from his tortured soul. It's all in the voice - and it's a stunning transformation, a heady ride.

The absolute high-point of Orlando's performance was the scene with Friar Laurence after Romeo killed Tybalt. I really can't say much about it ... I was spellbound. I've had goose-bumps chasing up and down my spine, a thing that very rarely happens to me in a theatre-setting. I loved and revelld in the enormously powerful emotions pouring out of every word, every gesture. I don't think I blinked even once during the whole scene. I simply couldn't miss a single second of this performance.
Even now, hours after the fact, I can't think about this scene without my brain simply shutting down and just feeling. THAT'S what powerful theatre can do, ladies and gentleman. THAT'S what a stunning performance feels like. (And bear in mind, that I've watched the whole thing second-hand in a movie-theatre thousands of miles away from NYC... I might have stopped to actually breathe if I'd been live on Broadway...)

My verdict? So worth it! So fucking worth it. Stunned. Relieved. Touched. Aaaaaah.... simply loved it! (and, oh boy, Orlando on a stage might be exactly what I've been waiting for in order to reconcile me with actual stage-work and make my love for theatre come back - and I won't even start about the very high probability of a distraught, pained and emotional Orlando featuring in my dreams tonight....)

Utterly brilliant. So happy!

OMG!

Mar. 26th, 2014 04:54 am
amruniel: (corsage)
Oh my god! OH MY FUCKING GOD!

I'm about the happiest person on earth at the moment. I guess.

I've always mourned the fact that I'm living a long, long, long way from America, which always made my dream of catching a Broadway-play a bit difficult ;)
When I fell in love with the great VigOrli pairing, I mourned the fact that I simply couldn't catch a plane and go to New York to see Orlando act in "Romeo and Juliet". Since I first set eyes on Orlando I've told all and sundry that I'd love to see him in a play, that I'm sure he should be on stage and not (just) on film. When I learned some time later that he actually attended Guildhall and learned to be a stage-actor there, I had my suspicions confirmed. This guy should be on a stage.

Well, as I mentioned - he finally got back on stage, and yet I didn't have a chance to catch the play. And YouTube didn't prove very friendly towards me in that regard... there's hardly anything on "Romeo and Juliet" there either. So I resigned myself to the fact that I simply would have to wait and that maybe somewhen in the future the fates would be a little nicer ... I hoped that he would someday play theatre in London, which is just 3 hours of flight from here. I really could go there and fulfil my dream.

Well, and today I got an email from my local cinema, the usual newsletter I hardly ever read except if something in the title catches my interest... and oh boy, it did! So, I don't know how, I don't know why... fact is, on April 1st my cinema has a special planned, namely they're showing a performance "Romeo and Juliet" from Broadway... and yep, the lead is really Orlando...

So, I got Himself on board, booked tickets (and hell, they're really really really expensive, but hey, money doesn't matter in this case) and I'm going to make my dream come true as best as possible at the moment in just a few days... I'm really going to see Orlando act on stage... I can't believe it! I really can't!

This really is the next best thing to actually being there in the theatre... and I'm really looking forward to it.
(And I still hope that someday he'll be playing in London... because then I'll be there for real! No matter what!)

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