Quick (tired) first impressions of The Lodge [no spoilers] #richardarmitage

•June 16, 2019 • 7 Comments

This isn’t going to be a long post as it’s half past one and I’m in a hotel room in Kenosha. I had bought a ticket to the Cinepocalypse showing of The Lodge but I didn’t know whether I’d be able to use it until this morning. Fortunately for me, it worked out, and so I drove the four hours to the Music Box Theatre to see the show tonight!

I think I’m going to write two more posts about this film but I wanted to share a few quick things. First, while it’s definitely true that I would never go to a film like this if Armitage weren’t in it (thanks very much, though, to Csprof for making it all right for me to try it out), I do think that a lot of Armitage fans are going to “enjoy” this film. It’s not wildly gory, and if you can overlook several plot improbabilities and weird representations (I’ll just say: it’s obvious Austrian atheists wrote this film as modern North American Catholics are definitely not preoccupied with Purgatory), it shares the quality of Sleepwalker that the viewer may wonder exactly what is happening in the plot or what any particular plot point means. Although I got a few jump scares, I did not find it suspenseful to the extent that it affected me physically, but I thought Riley Keough was a disappointment. She just has no affect at all. The real performances come from the children, especially Lia McHugh but also Jaeden Lieberher. The film does a good job of conveying the way that extreme cold distorts perception — this was maybe the most interesting observation I thought the film made about its events — and I was pleasantly surprised about the extent to which the film was self-consciously artistic. Really great cinematography (if on occasion somewhat heavy-handed, it didn’t bother me much). And the ending is simply fantastic; I was impressed with how the script resolved.

About Armitage I will say that he was sure looking fantastic — there’s a scene where he’s wearing big clunky fishermen’s boots and shoveling snow on the ice that just about made me squee in public — and also that his American accent had reached completion here; good, bland but convincing American standard. I also thought he was fine in the role but as many reviews and people who’ve seen it have noted, it’s a really a nothing role. I think there will be a fangirl cut of this film where we get gorgeous Armitage as clueless / distressed and gorgeous paterfamilias, and that will be okay as he really does look gorgeous. The real point for me is that I had forgotten how badly I needed new Armitage visual material. And if nothing else — this film will make us all want to go to a ski lodge with Armitage, if only to see how his wardrobe plays out. (Unfortunately: no flannel!)

As to the film’s chances: I’m not sure this piece will make it to smaller markets like ours. It’s a bit esoteric / intellectual. I think it’s great material for horror festivals and I can see it catching on in bigger cities that have more screens and in arthouses that have audiences that really want to see this kind of thing. I don’t see it having mass market appeal to horror lovers, just because it is paced really deliberately, doesn’t include much violence, and I’m sure some people will say, moves a bit too slowly. On the other hand, what do I know about audiences for this kind of film, given that I am never in them? In any case I would pay to see it again on the big screen and I hope I will have the opportunity.

OT: Two nations separated by a common language, or: Expletives don’t translate well

•June 15, 2019 • 18 Comments

[An attempt to get back into blogging with something I have commented on before and which I am not conflicted about. Thanks for your toleration.]

Elton John (Taran Egerton) just before his first gig at The Troubadour, as portrayed in the movie Rocketman.

It seems like the audiences I’ve seen this film with are confused about whether it’s a comedy or a drama. I’ve heard just about everything in the cinema from broad laughter to singing to people sniffing back tears. But there are two scenes in it that call forth the same reaction every time I’ve seen it.

The first is the scene pictured above. Elton John (Taran Egerton) is ready to go on stage at The Troubadour when Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) informs him that Neil Diamond and “half the Beach Boys” are in the audience. Elton is not enthused about this news, and stomps off to the bathroom where he shuts himself in a stall. After Bernie fails to reason with him, Ray Williams (Caleb Rowe) comes into the bathroom and reminds him that Dick James has paid for the trip and concludes by saying, “Now get out there and play, you little twat!” Elton then raises his eyebrows in a very comic way, and stomps back out of the stall. However, when I’ve seen the movie the gasps always cover the laughter. “Twat” is a much heavier thing to yell at someone in the U.S. than it is in the UK, I think.

The second is the scene where Elton and Bernie are sitting in a bar with the soul singers (played by James Pennycooke, Alexia Khadime and Carl Spencer) that Elton’s band has been backing up till then, discussing Elton’s future. Bernie notes that Elton is engaged to be married. The third singer (I think, Carl Spencer), who has stolen a kiss from Elton in an earlier scene, says, “What are you going to about the fact that you’re a fag?” Elton and Bernie look at each other in confusion. I think the U.S. audience — which is familiar with this homophobic slur — probably reads the scene differently than the UK audience would. I think at this point Bernie and Elton are confused — not offended — because it’s not until Bernie says, “what?” that the third singer (Spencer?) says, “Your little friend is a homosexual” (drawing the syllables of the word out and licking his lips ostentatiously). But the U.S. audience sees the danger of the scene much more quickly than either Elton or Bernie does and may potentially read their confusion as playing for time to deal with a potentially difficult moment (something Americans do a fair amount of and did more of, fifty years ago). The film does make clear the British meaning of the word, “fag,” in a much earlier scene, but at that point there are already sniggers; I think the clarification there is also potentially misunderstood by the U.S. audience.

It’s the little differences.

Richard Armitage tangentially related

•June 14, 2019 • 10 Comments

From this morning:

Another on the list of “things I’d like to write about” topics. Sigh. I think the theme of this post will be “frustrated blogger.”

Current projects:

Past projects:

Collateral attractions:

Things Armitage has said:

Industry issues:

Things we’ve talked about:

Just for me:

[Just as a footnote: the format of these info posts is probably going to need to change (I am not certain how yet). No, I’m not closing up shop but I’m increasingly aware that I’m going to have to make some changes.]

The last time Richard Armitage filmed in Manchester

•June 13, 2019 • 23 Comments

Fall 2010. More photos / description here.

The Stranger set. More photos here.

I saw these pics and thought he looked a bit like a stranger

•June 12, 2019 • 5 Comments

Yes, I know he’s not playing a stranger in the series but I had one of those “I don’t recognize this guy” moments.

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Ooh ooh ooh!

•June 11, 2019 • 3 Comments

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I was doing paperwork all day but Richard Armitage has this to offer

•June 11, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Do click on the picture.

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