Tag Archives: Colin Firth

Happy 60th (x2)

I couldn’t help noticing that it is Colin Firth’s 60th birthday today. Have a happy one!

And as I did so, Hugh Grant appeared as well, having celebrated his 60th yesterday. Belated happy 60th to you too!

Don’t know whether I’m surprised they are so old, or so relatively young. It’ll be one of those. Darcy and the PM. How I wish he was. Hugh as PM, I mean. I probably prefer Colin in Mamma Mia as the ‘spontaneous one.’

At least they grow older with me, and if I play it right, maybe one day they will be older than I am?

Here we go again

Mamma Mia! ten years on, or five if you consider the plot. We’re all ten years older, but we – mostly – don’t look it. Do we? And a person can always have a young self, like they do in the new Mamma Mia! film. I adored the young Harry especially.

So, Donna is dead. Maybe this was for the best, as it left all of us crying, and it meant there was for the most time only two almost identical young women to be confused by. Sophie, and her mother Donna as a young woman, and made more confusing by shifting quickly between the two. Now we know what it was like for Donna and Sophie’s three dads, even if some of the continuity might not actually work. Who cares?

It’s like a family party. You’re just so happy to see everyone again. This time there were fewer old ABBA hits, and possibly less music too, but you’re happy, crying both sad and happy tears, and a film has to be pretty good to achieve that, and I don’t care if the film critics are still a little sniffy about it. Although they learned their lesson ten years ago, and now take Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again much more seriously.

There were the expected cameos from Björn and Benny. I suppose many of the appearances were somewhat cameo-like, really. I love Cher, but am not sure she was the right grandmother for Sophie, even if great. And ABBA songs are less well suited to a deep voice.

Lots of laughter, quite a bit of crying, both from me and Pierce Brosnan, not to mention from Julie Walters. I could watch the film again tomorrow, if only life didn’t need me for other things.

And thanks to Daughter who saw the film in Pasadena 20 hours before me, I knew to stay for the scene after the credits. I waited and I waited and everyone else left and the cleaners came, giving me funny looks, but eventually, there it was; the extra scene. I took a chance on it!

Mamma Mia! for mother

I’m continuing my trend of jumping into the middle of films. This evening Swedish television very suitably screened Mamma Mia! which was a good end to Mother’s Day. Not that I celebrate it, but any excuse will do.

Came in about halfway, which is good enough for me. Even the Resident IT Consultant seemed to enjoy it for a few minutes. What’s not to like about James Bond getting down on one knee and singing ABBA?

That’s the thing, really. We had Mrs Kramer singing with Dr Hofstadter on one side and Mrs Weasley on the other. Agent 007 has to share a third of a daughter with Mr Darcy and Bombi Bitt. And their offspring is in love with a History Boy.

My own Daughter/Offspring was so keen to see the film the first time that we were in the cinema hours after her returning from her Swiss school trip. And Switzerland continues to be on the agenda.

Anyway, nice treat for all mammas.

The Railway Man

How can a family of railway lovers not go and see The Railway Man? Even after being warned off by people that the torture scenes are so horrific as to make it unbearable.

The Railway Man

We were charmed by Colin Firth’s wooing of Nicole Kidman (I had feared she’d be too glamourous for the part, but she was fine) at the beginning of the film, in spite of the stations and railway lines and the rolling stock being ‘a bit wrong.’ It was all done in good faith. (But the bit with the guard saying Colin was on the wrong train was too much 21st century. They didn’t go in for that kind of thing back then.)

Somewhere in the middle, when it was – mentally – dark, and slow and very depressing, with little hope for improvement, I wondered what we were doing. The scenes showing Jeremy Irvine as the young Lomax during the war, as a Japanese prisoner, told me why we were there. It was good. Not fast paced action, nor enjoyable. But good. Stuff you need to see.

The torture was bad. But it was expected and it was once done for real, and it was nowhere near as awful as you get in some of those fun action films people don’t mind watching.

The Railway Man

Despite knowing the outcome, having read about Eric Lomax, it almost came as a surprise. Low key and quietly unassuming, this was an excellent film. And for all its awfulness, we found ourselves surprisingly cheery as we compared notes afterwards. That’s probably why you should see The Railway Man.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

They must have struggled with Benedict Cumberbatch’s hair. It’s not meant to be straight. It was – sort of – but kept waving at the back. Can’t quite get over Gary Oldman’s transformation from Sirius Black to Smiley.

The new Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is like good coffee or dark chocolate. Not that I use either, but I suspect it’s how it must feel if you do. Like this film. It’s pure art. It’s like being inside a good painting. Somehow.

I can’t say I understood all of it, and I can no longer recollect if I ever read this particular novel by John le Carré or not. Suspect not, but the Resident IT Consultant assured me they stayed close to the plot. But it’s not the kind of film you need to understand. You just enjoy. Immerse yourself.

It probably helps that it was directed by a Swede. I’m not sure why, but it appears to be something Swedes are good at. And Tomas Alfredson strikes me as very good indeed.

As usual the authentic 1970s were too authentic, so to speak. But it looked good. And I’m amazed to see they unearthed some blue cups this time. We’ve had the green ones in every single period film or television programme for decades.

Colin Firth

Benedict Cumberbatch

No sex please, we’re so very British

Not that I am, but I won’t let that deter me.

You know, coming from that den of sin, formally called Sweden, I’m used to the idea that we are a bit less concerned about sex and other horribly immoral things. Oh the joy of being propositioned by all and sundry as soon as you divulge your origins!

But I’m rapidly drawing the conclusion that it’s Britain and the US who are behind everyone else. More or less. That goes for both books and films and television.

My foreign reading challenge on Bookwitch proves that people in other countries can write books, too. It’s like fashion, though. If totally immersed in one ‘culture’ you think you’re on the edge of fashion, or at least not too dreadfully behind. But once comparisons are made with other countries, a certain dowdiness emerges. Clothes definitely. School Friend was most disappointed at being unable to spend any money at all on clothes when visiting Manchester a few months ago. ‘They’re so ugly!’ she exclaimed.

And yes, we do get sex in Young Adult fiction in British books. But not surprisingly, the Swedes have gone further.

It’s not just Swedes or books. Having seen some (well, only two this time, because I seriously ran out of time) Spanish language films in the Cornerhouse ¡Viva! film festival I realised they were saying and doing things in both the Spanish and the Chilean film that surprised me for a 15 film. Much more nudity and seemingly much more normal. They even let fat people undress in Gordos. And the discussion about different types of sex that the main character in La Vida de los Peces had with the two boys aged about ten or twelve at a family birthday party, was most refreshing.

I don’t often watch foreign films other than Scandinavian ones, but what I have seen tends to have an almost total lack of concern for what’s ‘decent’, the way we still stumble over here in Britain. And the Americans couldn’t even let Colin Firth swear in the King’s Speech.

It’s time for a rethink and some loosening up of silly rules.

Btw, I have found out that it’s going to cost me £80 to prove that I’m not. British. So glad they keep coming up with new ways to make money. A few foreigners like me and we’ll soon have paid for a library to remain open. Or does it not work like that?

Hello Hallé

And hello Beth. Just testing, as Daughter said in her email to the kitchen this morning. People want to see if things work. In my case I’m seeing if the (Google?) alert is alive and well for Beth. Hallé, Hallé, Hallé, but not Halle Berry, although apparently that works just as well. Or not. A bit like when I mentioned Colin Firth without really meaning to.

Sorry, waffling too much.

I stuffed envelopes again this morning and rather a lot of them too, even if I my dodgy knee left to go home before they were all done. Towards the end, as we lost a couple of the other stuffers to fluffy things like book clubs, an almost total silence ruled and we stuffed and we stuffed. I was down to a mere ten minutes per fifty letters, which improves my average of 200 an hour.

One letter was for a family concert at the end of March:

Hallé Family programme

Another was for a more grown-up concert in three weeks’ time. Currently the Hallé orchestra are in Hong Kong. The instrument packing instructions were displayed on the walls as I walked along, still almost getting lost after several years. Too hot and your violin melts and too cold and your cello will not be too happy either. Except the cello and his pal the double base at least stand a better chance of sitting with their humans on the plane.

I rarely stuff letters addressed to friends, but today was different. One letter for husband of Borås Girl, which had me pondering why men so often are the ones listed on lists. At Witch Towers it’s the witch who’s on most of the mailing lists.

As I deserted the last of the stuffers I had a few minutes spare, just in case dodgy knee wished to walk even more slowly to the train. It walked fairly well, so I had a minute in which to pop into Cornerhouse for a programme for their Spanish language film festival ¡Viva!, which begins tomorrow.

So much culture! So little time!

Filip & Fredrik

We’re back to this business of knowing what you don’t know, or even what others don’t know and might want to be informed about. Every time a news presenter on television says ‘and this afternoon the prime minister, Mr Joe Bloggs,..’ I want to scream and say that one of them is enough. We know who’s prime minister, and we know who Joe Bloggs is. Well, a great many of us do, anyway.

It’s the times when no information is forthcoming and it would have been really useful to have, that I think of this the most. Years ago I stopped my subscription to Swedish magazine Vi on that basis. It was getting a bit expensive, and when I had finished reading an interview with two tremendously well know Swedish women (I’d never heard of them, exile that I am) and I wasn’t even sure which one was on the left and which one was on the right in the photographs, that I decided Vi was obviously no longer catering to me, the ignoramus abroad.

OK, so I’ve gone back to subscribing again. Several times. And mostly I’m very happy and like the quality of the writing and feel the photos are suitably labelled. I feel I have learnt something.

Today I finished reading an interview with Filip & Fredrik. I would have finished it earlier had I not delayed halfway through because I felt lost. Loads of pretty pictures of the duo, by Evalotta Fredén. Information on where they were taken. No information which of the Fs was on the left and which on the right. So I still have no clue.

And I’m still left feeling I didn’t quite grasp what these two men have done for Swedish television that is so exciting. I’ve seen their names mentioned often enough, but never seen them in action. But the photos were good, and some of what they said was interesting enough.

Once I’ve written this I will google image them and see if I’m any the wiser. I’m doubtful because I know what happens when I google image myself. I either look like some half naked dominatrix in skimpy black leather (not me) or I’m some famous person who has appeared on this blog and therefore bears my name in the search engine world. Or maybe I really am Colin Firth? Who’d have guessed?

If Vi are worrying, I am not intending to cancel my subscription again. But I may ask for clarification on left and right.

King Colin

The King’s Speech is the kind of film you want to watch again as soon as the credits roll. It’s not often that happens to me.

What I want to know is if King George VI was as interesting in real life as he seemed in the film, or if it was Colin Firth? I’ve gone from having no particular interest in the good King to thinking he really was quite fun, and can’t help but compare him to his descendants.

In fact, I’ve been surrounded by royals for a week or two. Just finished reading about Richard III and all the people surrounding him, including iffy bishops. I thought the George VI bishop was pretty iffy too. And the abdication was covered as recently as last week in Upstairs Downstairs, so I’ve had two Wallis Simpsons to contend with. The film one was better.

It’s one thing to know the King stammered and suffered in public. It’s another to witness how it actually was to be him. Trying every cure or doctor you can think of is familiar to many of us, whatever the problem. The Duchess of York seems to have been determined to help him, although I wonder if much of what was in the film was true.

Fun, though, and it makes you like both of them. The Duchess sitting on the Duke (to help with the breathing?) was amusing. Watching both of them doing things they’d never done before, like using a lift, is illuminating. Having to borrow a shilling to bet.

Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech

Seeing Lionel Logue and how he worked was wonderful. It may have come as a shock that he was no doctor, but it goes to prove that neither titles nor official qualifications mean that someone is any good at what they do.

The swearing was priceless, and so was the singing. I’ll never hear that tune again without thinking of George VI.

Seeing the reactions of the Duke and Duchess to Lionel’s ‘common’ ways of treating them as people was lovely. Royals need some resistance, I believe.

Finding out what might well have caused the stammering was heart rending and the cruelty to children shocking. It looked as if our current Queen had a slightly better start in life.

The plot is so simple that you can barely write about it: King stammers. King eventually receives decent treatment. King can speak in public. But there’s so much more to this film.

Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth in The King's Speech

I will have to see it again, soon. Annoyed it’s not even out yet, but grateful we were able to catch a preview at the weekend. It’s definitely a ‘buy the DVD immediately’ kind of film. The more immediate the better.

A Single Man

‘I’m English. I like being wet and cold.’ So says Colin Firth to his young student played by Nicholas Hoult in A Single Man. It’s a film that people will flock to watch, starring three handsome male actors covering a wide age range. Now, I don’t mean that our Mr Darcy has grown old, but next to Matthew Goode he is. Somewhat. And Nicholas Hoult is barely old enough to be a college student.

Matthew Goode and Colin Firth

It’s only thanks to the ladies hairdos that you can tell whether it’s a flashback or not; late 1940s or early 1960s. A Single Man feels quite Christopher Isherwood-ish, which was to be expected. Not much happens. Matthew Goode dies in the opening scene, but the only aspect that made this a really sad occasion is that with homosexuality having to be hidden in those days, Colin Firth’s character can’t go to the funeral or even be seen to grieve very openly.

Other than that, I wasn’t convinced that there was much feeling there at all. He wants to kill himself, and spends the day preparing his suicide, but then things don’t go as he, or we, expect.

Julianne Moore

Beautifully filmed in wonderful locations, and with some great, if possibly overdone, 1960s authentic props. Very nice touch to have the mild mannered Colin Firth offering to kill the neighbour’s brat.

The James Dean look-alike was a fresh breeze in a fairly stifling drama about hurt feelings among people it was hard to like. And perhaps nobody realised that it’s his British accent that makes Matthew Goode so sexy. Fake American works nowhere near as well.

At Cornerhouse from today.