Wednesday, August 9, 2017

wordless wednesday / / collages

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

The King's Speech {2010}

This movie is just about everything that a good period drama should be. :)

DVD cover synopsis (edited by moi): When England's throne is suddenly thrust upon him, amidst royal family scandal and impending world war, King George VI must overcome a lifelong, debilitating speech impediment to lead his nation.  After his iron-willed, compassionate wife Elizabeth secretly enlists an eccentric speech therapist [a.k.a. Lionel Logue], the two men forge an unlikely friendship that will ultimately empower the monarch to find his voice, inspire his people and rally the world. Based on an inspiring true story, The King's Speech has been universally hailed as "a masterpiece. The majestic cast is overwhelming" (The New York Observer).

First of all, for anybody out there who may not have watched this movie but knows that it is rated R and is thereby scandalized that I am reviewing it, let me explain the rating before we go farther: Basically, the reason this movie is R is because part of Logue's therapy method involves trying to break through Bertie's composure in order to get him to truly emote and vent and all that jazz.  So basically he has him go on a little swearing rampage at one point, and the f-word and the s-word are used multiple times.  That's mainly just in the one scene, although it happens again when Bertie is preparing for the big speech near the end, and while Lionel is silently coaching him during the actual broadcast.  Make sense?  (There is other, relatively mild content as well, but nothing other than the profanity to warrant the R rating.  Okie-day?)  And it's bad 'cause I know swearing is wrong and all but it's actually really funny and kind of touching in this, to be honest. Oh, dear.

Now that we've got that out of the way, I really like this movie.  It is most excellent, m'dear things.

As you may have noticed in the above picture, the cast is fantastic.  Colin Firth as Bertie, Helena Bonham-Carter as Elizabeth, Geoffrey Rush as Lionel, Michael Gambon as King George V, Derek Jacobi as the Archbishop, Guy Pearce as Edward, Jennifer Ehle as Myrtle (Lionel's wife) . . . 'tis a period drama lover's dream cast. :)

Colin Firth won an Oscar for his role in this, and I'm so glad he did.  HE DESERVED IT.  Bertie has a terrible stammer, and it's painful to watch some of the scenes.  But that's all to the good, eh?  Shows what a tremendous job Firth did with it.  He really embodies the stammer and the character and you can tell that a lot of thought and research went into his portrayal. 

I think the two scenes that get to me the most (in terms of sadness) are 1) when Bertie goes to visit Logue *SEMI-SPOILERS* after his (Bertie's) father dies *END OF SEMI-SPOILERS* and he finally starts to open up to Logue about some painful things in his past, and then 2) when Bertie breaks down in the face of his succession to Edward's abdication.  It's difficult to convey how truly, truly poignant and heartbreaking it is to watch Bertie start to croon, "Then she wouldn't feed me . . . far, far away . . . " in the first scene, and to see him just totally break down in the latter scene and sob openly, safe in only his wife's company . . . those two parts just really get to me.

I also love Helena Bonham-Carter's Elizabeth (# classy sass level = through the roof), and Geoffrey Rush's Lionel is just fantastic.  I LOVE HIM. 

Like the best movies, The King's Speech has just the right blend of drama and humor -- it can be sober and sad, but I don't think it ever really feels weighty, per se.  There's the smooth, cutting, ever-so-British humor we all love, and several sweet relationships to let you know that the protagonist is going to be alright.  Lots of people have his back and love him; he'll make it through this.  And that's a nice thing to know sometimes, isn't it?

Since watching the first season of The Crown (another thing I meant to review and didn't), I've found it particularly interesting to pay to attention to Bertie's relationship with the young princesses.  (And, surprisingly, the girls both look strikingly like their adult counterparts in The Crown.)  It's odd, but now I think I see undercurrents of the different relational dynamics that TC (particularly in the episode "Pride & Joy") indicated that each of the princesses had with their father.  But then I feel like I'm just imagining things. :-P  Anyway, it's an interesting field of study within the movie, for me at least. ;)

All that aside, the relationship between Bertie and his two little girls is terribly endearing in this. :)

^^ Here's this. ^^

There's not much that I can think to improve in this movie.  A few scenes, such as Lionel's audition with the Putney company, seem to slow the story down a bit and seem a little random/unnecessary, but that may just be my impatience as a multiple-time viewer to "Get to the good parts". ;) 

Also, while it's ever so much fun to see Jennifer Ehle opposite Colin Firth again, her very first scene seems to be somewhat lacking.  It almost makes you think that maybe the Logues' marriage isn't so happy.  But then by the end of the film they've shown several times how they work together as a couple in a subtle but satisfactory way that relieves any slight concerns I may have.  (And the scene where she comes back from bridge early . . . ALL THE YES.  "Logue, you're being a coward."  "You're ---- right." <3 <3 <3  Sometimes, again, my movie-crossover imagination gets the better of me, and I wonder if the very calm, cool, and collected way Bertie greets Myrtle is a nod to P&P, because the makers knew all the period drama ladies would be in a dither to see the two of them together again and wanted to give them some sort of unspoken, crossover acknowledgement?  Again, I'm being silly, and I probably only think that because I saw a Pinterest edit to that effect. :-P)

Firth and Rush do a fantastic job in bringing Bertie's and Logue's friendship to life.  Their buddy banter (if I may use so casual a term for a movie like this) is understated, but SO real and evident and moving.  I love me a good bro unit, and they do it so well.  Logue truly cares for Bertie, initially just from a therapist-patient perspective, but eventually as truly equal friends, and I love how we can see that *SEMI-SPOILERS* Bertie's rejection of him at that one point truly does hurt *END OF SEMI-SPOILERS*.  Gahh, the more I think about the way their relationship evolves throughout this movie, I keep getting happier. :)

All in all, I highly recommend this movie, as long as you're prepared for the outbursts of strong profanity and the sub-plot that revolves around Edward's scandalous relationship with Mrs. Simpson.  (There are some different innuendoes regarding this throughout the movie.) 

It's a wonderful film -- the story of a truly touching historical friendship excellently told. 

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[Also, super random, but I found this recently and Felt the Need to Share.  You're welcome.]

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Summer Look + NEW BLOG REVEAL!!!

YES, you read that correctly.  I'm here to reveal a new, second blog.  And since I'm assuming y'all are more interested in that than my puttering about the new look on this blog, I shall address it first.

So.  Several months ago -- during the second half of last year, actually -- I began to get some new and exciting leadings from the Lord regarding my post-high school plans.  I won't go into all of it here, since I talk a lot about it on the new blog, but suffice it to say that one of these promptings was to take the plunge and create a second, more personal blog, on which to document what happens next.  (And technically I was supposed to have this ready to reveal at graduation, more than two months ago, but oh, well.  Better late than never, eh?)

And don't worry, I have every intention of continuing THIS blog for many, many years to come.  It will probably still be my main blog. :) 

This new blog will probably take a while to get up and running, and it'll probably continue to be tweaked (possibly completely overhauled).  In theory, it will focus mainly on my writing, musings, and, as I said, post-high school (a.k.a. probably college) adventures. 

But enough of all this introduction!  Behold the title and link of my new blog!!! :D

*confetti and bursts of applause*

Two more things about the new blog and then I shall return to this one.  First, I realize that's an odd title, but you'll have to visit it to find out what it means. :-P  Second -- and I mean this -- you are under no obligation whatsoever to follow this new blog.  Seriously.  I mean, obviously, I HOPE you'll follow it, but only if you're really actually interested in the description I gave above.  Because I would C.O.M.P.L.E.T.E.L.Y. understand if you're more interested in what I talk about here on "Meanwhile, in Rivendell . . .," since personally, I'm not ALWAYS interested in more "writing-focused" blog posts.  I'm not trying to dissuade you from coming, of course --  I'm just trying to say that I promise I would understand if you'd rather stick with what we talk about here. :)  (And, of course, there will be some overlap -- things from MiR will come over onto TIaPS, and vice versa.)

Okay, enough about that. 

Well, as you can see, I've changed this blog's look again.  I usually like to change my headers with the seasons, at least, so I decided since July is already almost half gone, it's probably time to get a summer look up. :-P  I'm pretty satisfied with it on the whole, I think. 

(And yes, the picture on the right is me, finally revealing my face on zee blog.  Behold.  :-P  As a matter of fact, that picture was taken by a certain special someone on the occasion of the wedding of another certain special someone. ;))

You know, I was reflecting recently:  I love this blog.  It's been such a blessing in my life.  You've all been such a blessing in my life.  I love "doing life" with you guys.  Thanks a million for being such awesome people. <3

Okay, sentimental sappiness over.

What think you all of the new look? 
 How's your summer going? :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

My Top 10 Chick-Flicks

Soul-baring time: I actually really like chick-flicks.

I haven't seen a ton, but I've seen several, and yes, I'm now going to talk about my favorites. ;D  But first, some preambles:

#1.  Since chick-flicks do tend to be heavier on innuendo and such (duh), there are varying levels of content in each of these movies.  I probably won't give a very detailed summary of said content for each film, for time reasons, but if any of you want to know more about my thoughts on a particular movie, feel free to ask in the comments.  I'll try to provide a satisfactory overview. :)  (One blanket statement I can make, however, is that there are no sex scenes in any of these films, though some of them do feature main characters who are living with partners prior to marriage.)

#2.  I've thought long and hard about this list (too long and too hard, heh), and especially about what constitutes a "chick-flick" in my mind.  (Condensed version for you curious types:  has to be at least semi-contemporarily set, has to be at least mostly lighthearted, and has to feature at least a light romance for the main character.  I'm probably forgetting something else, too.)  Movies like Ever After, Mirror Mirror, Roman Holiday, The Princess Diaries, A Walk to Remember, and The Parent Trap won't appear in this post because they seem to me to belong to a different genre. Okie-dokie?

#3.  An asterisk next to the title indicates that the title is linked to a review that I've written!  (Whiiiich will only happen for three movies.  But anyway.)

#4.  Since a picture is worth a thousand words and all that, I'll probably let the pictures do most of the talking for most of these films.  (But then again, most of the pictures have dialogue on them, so . . . )  And again, they're all over the place in terms of size.  Sorry for any disorienting effects. :-P

And now, the list!

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#10.  10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

This is one of those that is what some would call "edgier," but I really like it.  Yes, some of the content seems a bit unnecessary to me (particularly the guidance counselor's "novel" and conversations), but for all that I think the movie actually has some really good messages.

For those of you who don't know, 10 Things is a modern-day spin on The Taming of the Shrew (and in my personal opinion is vastly superior to the play).  I LOVE the characters -- Kat, Patrick, Bianca, Cameron, Cameron's friend (is his name William?), Mandela, Mr. Stratford . . . even Joey is entertaining.

(Plus, there's Heath Ledger as Patrick Verona, and he is . . . a dear chap. :D)

#9.  The Proposal (2009)

I really like Ryan Reynolds' and Sandra Bullock's chemistry.  This one has some great banter, good character arcs, and some awesome scenery (since it takes place in Alaska).  The supporting cast is also great.  (Be forewarned, though, that this one also has some more content than some of the others.)

#8.  What a Girl Wants (2003)

This one is so cuuuuuuuuuute. <3  I mean, it's Colin Firth in a Parent Trap-esque story, and it features culture clash and a mainly British cast and, underneath all the corniness, some surprising heart.  The teen romance isn't too annoying, which is always a plus.  (I really like Anna Chancellor's character, even though she's an antagonist -- she's really funny. :)  Plus, just the fact that Anna Chancellor is in it with Colin Firth -- it's like P&P all over again.)  And it's just very fun and humorous (the dialogue is golden) and sweet and I like it a lot. :)

#7.  Two Weeks Notice (2002)

I think at least a solid 35% of why this movie is so engaging is the fact that George is British, but the basic storyline is cute, too. :)  Hugh Grant is ridiculously endearing as George, and Sandra Bullock is a nice balance for him as Lucy.  Sandra Bullock does really well in chick-flick roles, I think. :-P  (She's good in dramatic roles, too, of course.)

I don't know what to say about this here, since I said most of it in my review and you can just go read that, but I really like this movie.  I love how atmospheric it is, and I love the characters and the cast (Harrison Ford <3) and the storyline.  So basically all of it. :-P

#5.  Leap Year (2010)

I've seen this one so many times that I'm not suuuuuper crazy about it at the moment, but it was one of the first chick-flicks I watched, and it's still a great one.  Anna is adorable, Declan is awesome, it's set in Ireland (so the scenery and soundtrack are wonderful), and you should try it.

#4.  While You Were Sleeping (1995)

This one is so SWEET and wholesome and mainly clean and feel-good and adorable, aaaaaahhhhh!  Lucy Eleanor Moderatz (I love her name) is totally #friendgoals and the family focus is just precious . . . *sighs again*  (Also, can we all just take a minute to appreciate Joe Jr. for a minute??)  I love the Callahans so much. 


Granted, Lucy's loneliness can actually give the movie almost a depressing tinge at moments, but that makes the bonds that develop between her and each member of the family all the more heartwarming and satisfactory.

#3.  You've Got Mail (1998)

I love this one!  It's so fresh-seeming and engaging, and such a pick-me-up.  Also, the script is amazing.  And it's semi-clean!  (Not all the way.  But it's fairly harmless.) 

Also, CAN WE JUST TAKE A MINUTE TO APPRECIATE THE BRILLIANCE OF MEG RYAN'S SICK SCENE.  So. stinking. accurate.  For some reason, it always just makes me so happy -- the congestion ("It was personal to bme"), the flurries of Kleenex, the random-osity. 

(Really, Meg Ryan's performance in this movie in general just makes me happy.  She's so effervescent and cheery.)  And, of course, Joe is adorable in this scene, too -- how he comes to check on her and bring her flowers and tucks her in to bed.  Happies. :)

Okay, so, this one is technically kind of a fantasy, but it's also enough of a chick-flick that I felt justified in including it.  I love this movie; it's very special to me.  Go read the review if you want more deets. :-P

And #1 is . . .

I LOVE THIS MOVIE LIKE REALLY A WHOLE LOT. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3  I don't even know if I could fully explain why.  I just do.  :) 

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Do you like chick-flicks?
If so, do we share any favorites?
Are there any you recommend?