How in the world is July over already?!?! Seriously, this past month has been a total blur to me. I feel like I haven’t done anything worth writing about the entire Summer! I mean we’re finally gonna go for a bike ride outside of town with some friends, something we’ve been meaning to do since the beginning of Summer but just never got around to it, heh.
Well, the one thing I love about July was writing my birthday tribute to my beloved Stanley Weber and getting a thank you tweet! Yes I’m still giddy just thinking about it 😉 On a related note, I finally got around to writing my first ever script. It’s going well so far, I just hope I can keep the momentum and actually FINISH it.
Not Another Happy Ending (2013) I pretty much watch this one every other week, sometimes I just
have it running in the background whilst I’m working on
my laptop just to have Stanley to keep me company 😉
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Saw one episode of BBC’s Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express
I’m currently juggling a few British series: Downton Abbey | The Fall |Any Human Heart
Movie of the Month
It’s an easy pick this month. I absolutely LOVE this latest Mission Impossible movie, even more than the fourth one which was my fave until this one. I LOVE Rebecca Ferguson here, I’d love to see her replace Tom Cruise‘s Ethan Hunt for future MI movies! I mean if they can’t have a female Bond, why not have the protagonist of MI movies be a female spy?
I’ll be reviewing it this weekend, but for now, I’ll just say that ROGUE NATION is one of the most entertaining movie I saw all Summer and would likely end up on my top 10 of the year. There’s apparently plenty of juice left in the franchise!
So that’s my July recap. What’s YOUR fave movie(s) you saw this month? …
If you read my blog regularly, hopefully you won’t go ‘Stanley who?’ He’s my first French actor crush and I think it’d only fit to give him a proper birthday tribute!
The Parisian-born actor Stanley Weber turns 29 today and it’s just the perfect time to give him a proper tribute. It’s always a joy for me to give a tribute to my favorite actor… even if at the moment most people have no idea who he is yet.
I’ve mentioned in several posts that I fell for Stanley in the Scottish rom-com Not Another Happy Ending. He really took my breath away in that movie, much like Christopher Reeve did in Superman: The Movie, Gregory Peck in Spellbound, and Toby Stephens in The Machine, just to name a few. Obviously these are all incredibly beautiful men, but it takes much more than a handsome face for me to be so bewitched by an actor. After watching more of his work and reading from a handful of interviews [thank God for Google Translate!], I’ve come to respect him more as an actor… a man with substance who truly cares about his craft, instead of merely seeking fame and fortune.
I hope that by the end of the post, you’ll see what I see in Stanley… why he’s an actor whose work I appreciate and whose career I will follow for years to come.
Stanley’s Acting Background
The son of renowned French actor Jacques Weber, Stanley spent much of his childhood wandering the theater and film sets. It’s when he was 14 years old, when his dad staged Cyrano De Bergerac in a theater in Nice that it clicked for him and he decided he wanted to become an actor. I love that he didn’t rely on his dad’s fame and pedigree to get ahead and he’s said that he had to work a lot harder to prove his chops.
CNSAD – 3e Année –
LAMDA London (UK)
CLASSICAL ACTING COURSE
I’ve always gravitated to actors with theatrical background and Stanley is no different. In fact, he co-wrote/directed two plays with his classmate Pierre Giafferi, L’Eepouvantail (The Scarecrow) and Falstaff, during his Free Class session. He later joined the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Paris, and finished his classical training in LAMDA, London.
Your definition of success? Knowing that I have work all next year and I can afford to go two weeks on a boat, cutting the phone. That said, it’s like that, last year, I almost missed BORGIA as they had tried to reach me without success, and they were about to give up!
[per Optimum mag]
Outside of acting, with whom and where do you feel this connection to life? By sail, the boat – I am more and more – and rugby. The boat is the only place in the world where I reach a kind of serenity and a rare quiet home.
Personal hero: Eric Tabarly – French Navy officer and yachtsman
When I was working on, I watched five … ten times the documentary on Tabarly. I was absolutely inspired by this guy, who speaks very little, hyper taciturn and has trouble expressing his feelings. This is something I too find in myself, and that’s why I do theater.
Ever since April 5, the day I fell madly for Stanley, I’ve seen pretty much everything I could get my hands on, including the French movies he did with NO English translation, i.e. Cheba Louisa. I wish I could see more of his work, but sadly most of them are not available to see in the US. Hopefully that’ll change in the future.
Five Favorite Roles
Tom Duval – Not Another Happy Ending (2013)
Stanley replaced Scottish actor Emun Elliott in the role of Karen Gillan’s publisher. Sometimes the actor replacing the original cast member ends up making the role even more memorable. Think Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in LOTR and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Ok so Tom Duval isn’t exactly an iconic role, it is a small movie after all. But to me, I LOVE that the fact that they made the character a Frenchman, he adds so much flair to the movie. Stanley’s positively swoon-worthy as Tom Duval, who’s a bit of a scoundrel. He displays his comic timing as well as his romantic vulnerability in the role.
P.S. Check out my interview with NAHE’s screenwriter David Solomons where he talked about Stanley’s casting.
Juan Borgia – BORGIA: Faith & Fear (2011-2013)
Of course after seeing Stanley in NAHE, I had to see everything Stanley’s in. The first thing I checked out was this CanalPlus miniseries BORGIA: Faith & Fear. In the age of Da Vinci and Michelangelo, of enlightened creativity and unparalleled intellectual achievement, we’ve got the original Italian mafia family, led by Rodrigo Borgia. Juan Borgia is the eldest who’s described as an unscrupulous sexual predator.
It was one of his biggest roles straight out of his classical training, and Stanley carried this challenging role with aplomb. He held his own against more experienced actors like John Doman and was quite fearless in the most vicious and violent scenes of the series. It was quite a revelation to see his sinister side which both thrilled and scared me. He really got to display his range here given the volatility of Juan’s character. I’m grateful to Tom Fontana for discovering Stanley and giving him something really meaty to chew on.
Jean Azevedo –Therese Desqueyroux (2012)
This film was chosen to close the Cannes Film Festival of 2012 and it was director Claude Miller’s last film. Though Stanley only had a brief screen time with Audrey Tautou who’s the protagonist, he was not only memorable but adds so much energy to the film whenever he’s on screen. There’s a mischievous charm about his character, as Jean is a bit of a bad boy as he’s involved in a forbidden romance of sort with Tautou’s young sister-in-law. The French scenery is so beautiful and I particularly love the scenes near Jean’s shack by the water and the sailing scenes pictured above.
King Louis XV – Le Soleil Noir (2009)
In one of the interviews I read, Stanley’s described this role as one of the most challenging as he had to portray the French monarch from age 16 all the way to 64. It’s one of three-part French TV-movie/documentary focusing on three of the most famous French monarchs. It’s done with lavish production quality and exquisite costume design. Shot right in Versailles, it showed the splendor and extravagance of the day.
Even in the midst of his classical training when he did this role, Stanley’s natural gift and versatility as an actor was in full display. He’s got that regal and dignified sensibility to make us believe he is a King, and he can be convincingly playful and seductive in one scene and deeply tormented in the next. Seeing pictures of the real Louis XV, of course he wasn’t nearly as gorgeous as Stanley, but his casting certainly makes learning history a heck of a lot more entertaining!
Renee – Violette (2013)
Stanley only appeared briefly towards the end of the film, but it’s yet another memorable role. Like in Therese, Stanley’s paired with a more experienced French actress, César Award winner Emmanuelle Devos but he’s more than able to hold his own. It’s quite a sexy scene and I wish he had more screen time here.
Wish I had a time travel machine…
… to see Stanley on stage with Melanie Thierry in Anna Christie
I’d LOVE to have seen this Eugene O’Neill adaptation. Stanley played a young sailor who falls in love with a former prostitute who struggles to turn her life around. From some of the reviews I’ve read, Stanley displayed ‘sensitivity and passion’ the role requires.
Outlander season 2 – Dragonfly in Amber
The Comte St. Germain is a wine merchant who is a competitor of Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) cousin, Jared Fraser. Jared is the relative that Claire and Jamie set sail to meet with in the season finale. St. Germain is a French nobleman who seeks retribution against Claire after she costs him an entire shipload of goods, and who may be involved with even more sinister activities.
I can’t wait to see Stanley in French monarchy regalia once again. I was hoping they’d show a preview of season 2 featuring him as the Comte St. Germain. Well once I have that I will post it here. I sure hope he’s got a decent screen time on this series and lots of sexy scenes with the beautiful Caitriona Balfe [fingers crossed]. I sure hope this role would open more doors for Stanley in Hollywood!
Here’s Stanley talking about his role in Outlander with Nerdist.com:
In 13th century Ireland a group of monks must escort a sacred relic across an Irish landscape fraught with peril.
Stanley plays the Cistercian – Brother Gerladus, one of monks escorting the relic, along with Jon Bernthal and Tom Holland. I LOVE that Stanley doesn’t always go for glamorous roles, as he had to chop that gorgeous hair of his for the role. He posted a video on his Instagram showing his co-stars, including the newly-cast Spider-man Tom Holland, shaving his head off! Of course Stanley still looks so gorgeous with a bald head. …
L’origine de la violence
During a school trip to Germany, a young teacher, Nathan Wagner (Stanley) discovered a photograph of a prisoner in the Buchenwald concentration camp who bears an uncanny resemblance to his father Adrien. Returning to France, he spends time with his father and his family, but the memory of photography haunts him. He decides to embark on a search that will change his life forever. [per the film’s FB page]
This is Stanley’s first lead role in a French feature film from writer/director Élie Chouraqui. I’m sincerely hoping this movie gets an international release, with proper English subtitles for his non-French speaking fans like moi! I love the premise of the film, ripe for an emotional human drama filled with mystery and suspense. I know Stanley would be fantastic as the protagonist.
Joyeux Anniversaire, Stanley!
Many happy returns + may we see more exciting projects from you in the future!
When I found out that Katy over at Girl Meets Cinema is hosting this awesome blogathon, I knew I had to participate! I LOVE travel, it’s really one of the best things in life to be able to see different parts of the world and experience other cultures, it enriches you in ways nothing else could. So here’s the gist of the blogathon:
If you could travel to any place in the film universe with any of your favorite characters or love-to-hate villains, what kind of a vacation would you take? Post your choice(s) of a destination(s), and at least three characters who would tag along.
I’m blessed that I have an awesome travel buddy that is my dear hubby, but of course we’re talking about a dream vacation here so why not indulge in our fantasy a bit, right? 😉
I was going to pick a totally fantastical place like Aasgard [with Loki as my travel companion of course] but in the end I decided to go with real places, two of which I have visited before but would return in a heart beat. Oh how I wish I could be transported to one of these places right about now…
Not Another Happy Ending – Glasgow
Certainly you can’t be surprised by this. I’ve always been obsessed with all things Scottish and then THIS movie happens. I fell in love with two things from this movie, the French Adonis that is Stanley Weber… AND the city of Glasgow, which was beautifully-captured here. I wish more movies would be set in Scotland’s largest city as it’s really as picturesque as London, which is such a popular city used in movies.
Glasgow during the day… [click image to see a larger version]
Glasgow in the night time…
Three characters I’d invite to tag along…
Obviously I’d want Tom Duval, the French publisher, to be my travel companion. As he’s not a Scottish native, there might be areas of Glasgow we both can discover together. Plus, he can help me refine my novel and later publish it… nothing like a gorgeous man who loves books 😉 He practically looks like a rugged French Clark Kent [swoon]
Ideally it’d just be me and Tom spending a whole day [or year] together in Glasgow, but Roddy is Tom’s BFF and he’s such a hoot! I love watching these two goofing off with each other.
I’ll invite Anne, Tom’s business advisor, along for the ride too, it’s be nice to have a gal pal to gush about Tom with 😉 And Darsie is technically an imaginary character but she’s a lot of fun so she’s welcome to show up anytime to spice things up!
Notting Hill (1999) – London
There are a bunch of great movies set in London but this is one of the first ones I saw that made me totally in love with the city of London. Notting Hill itself is a district in central London, a cosmopolitan neighborhood that host the famous Portobello Road Market. My husband and I went there in 2010 but I’ve always wanted to return to this charming city!
I didn’t get a chance to ride those iconic red double-decker bus as we rode the tube everywhere, but it’s gotta be fun to see the city above ground.
Three characters I’d invite to tag along…
I think William would just be preoccupied with Anna Scott so I’ll invite Bernie, Spike, and Honey to be my travel companion! Bernie has such a stressful job that I think he ought to have a little fun, something neither Spike nor Honey would have a problem with. I want to visit the posh stuff like Harrod’s and the Savoy Hotel where Anna was staying, but Honey would also take me to the off-the-beaten areas of London away from the tourists.
Sabrina (1995) – Paris
Aaaaah Paris… naturally I want Stanley Weber to be my own personal tour guide but he’s not exactly a film character 😉 I knew I had to include the City of Light and this is one of my favorite movies that made me fall for Paris every time I watch it.
“Paris is always a good idea.” – Sabrina
Indeed Sabrina… I’m right there with you. First time I visited Paris was when I was only 13, and I didn’t fully appreciate the beauty of the place until I returned last year with my husband. Needless to say, I fell in love with this city and seeing it on film always makes me feel so nostalgic.
Three characters I’d invite to tag along…
I’d take Sabrina and her two Parisian friends Louis and Irene. Every time I watch this movie, which is quite often, I enjoy seeing Sabrina’s interactions with both of them. They’re her first real friends who took her under her wings, so to speak, when she’s just starting out.
I LOVE Fanny Ardant as Irene, Sabrina’s mentor at Vogue. I always remember her wise words to Sabrina, “You seem embarrassed by loneliness, it’s only a place to start.” and my personal favorite: “Illusions are dangerous people, they have no flaws.”
I kind of have a crush on Patrick Bruel as Louis, and his character as a fashion photographer is so affable and cool. I’d LOVE to have someone like him show me his Parisian hang out and give me some photography pointers while we’re at it. …
So that’s my dream vacation based on some of my favorite movies. Where would YOU like to go on YOUR dream vacation?
You already know how much I adore this movie. If I had to do a list of top favorite cinematic discoveries by year’s end, surely Not Another Happy Ending AND Stanley Weber would be at the top of the list. I’ve seen this charming Scottish rom-coms more than a dozen times and it still feels fresh to me every time I watch it. Karen Gillan is lovely in the lead role, supported by a set of wonderful Scottish actors: Iain De Caestecker, Henry Ian Cussick, Kate Dickie and Gary Lewis. But having a French actor as Karen’s co-lead adds an international flair to the movie, plus Stanley’s got a great comic timing and works so well together with Karen.
I bought the bundle from We Are Colony a few weeks ago. It’s so well worth it as I can watch the movie over and over, plus there are tons of behind the scenes goodies to complete the experience. So when a rep from We Are Colony contacted me to collaborate on a post on this exclusive deleted scene featuring Stanley Weber himself, of course I’d be happy to do it! Check out this newly-released clip below:
Frustrated by Jane’s defection to prestigious publishers Klinsch & McLeish, Tom (Stanley Weber) does his best to poach one of their leading writers Glen Buchan (Tom McGovern).
So get your Not Another Happy Ending bundle and enjoy this charming movie time and time again! Also check out the We Are Colony website to get exclusive access on a ton of great independent films that include exclusive extras, including ‘making of’ documentaries, behind-the-scenes interviews, deleted scenes and much more!
Win Karen Gillan signed press book (and signed posters for runner-ups) + limited edition jewelry from Bonnie Bling!
Well May turns out to be quite a busy movie watching month! Surprising since I only went to one press screening all month (Tomorrowland). I am looking forward to quite a few screenings in June: Spy (this Tuesday!), Inside Out, Jurassic Worldand Terminator Genisys. I REALLY want to see Me and Earl and the Dying Girl but that’ll be three screenings back-to-back in a week so not sure I can fit that one in.
After seeing the stellar Mad Max: Fury Road, my hubby and I saw The Road Warrior (1981)this weekend and we loved it! I think I’ve seen it years ago when I was a wee kid but I could remember much of the plot so it felt like new to me. Clearly the Mad Max franchise is George Miller‘s magnum opus and even though it was made over 3 decades ago, it still has a certain timeless quality about it and the action set pieces are fantastic despite the limited budget compared to this latest one. I’d rank Road Warrior as high as Fury Road, though certainly the Furiosa story adds a great deal of emotional depth to the film. But hey, 25-year-old Mel Gibson was pretty damn hot in his prime 😉
Not Another Happy Ending (2013)
Last Night (2010)
Death Comes to Pemberley (2013)
[Belated] Top 3 Picks from MSPIFF 2015
It’s a month late but I thought I’d still post my friend Josh’s and my top 3 picks from MSPIFF as some of the films are now available to rent on VOD.
Josh’s Top 3
3: The Secrets of War A rushed ending notwithstanding, The Secrets of War is quite good. All three child actors are solid to excellent; the thematic and dramatic heft of the narrative carry the film; and the picture’s sense of period is terrific. That there are some deeply moving moments interspersed throughout helps, as well.
2: The Keeping Room Powered by strong performances from Brit Marling, Sam Worthington, and Muna Otaru, The Keeping Room fuses multiple genres well. At times, director Daniel Barber and writer Julia Hart make this dark civil war film suspenseful; at other times frightening; and at other times emotionally rife. Of course, it also helps that Barber’s visual aesthetics are a feast for viewers’ eyes.
1: The Connection The Connection overcomes a predictable plot by depicting complex characters. It also capitalizes on a perfect ending that captures proper thematic heft at the same time it fittingly ends the characters’ paths. Terrific performances from Jean Dujardin, Gilles Lelouche, and Celine Sallette make this a film worth seeing, as well.
Ruth’s Top 3
3: El Critico I enjoyed this one immensely! Being a film blogger, I definitely identified with the protagonist, and I totally share his scorn for most Hollywood rom-coms. Definitely worth your time when this movie is available to rent.
2: Clouds of Sils Maria Seems tradition that I see a Juliette Binoche movie at MSPIFF and this is the best one yet! She came up with the premise of the film and director Olivier Assayas did a wonderful job penning the script and made the story come to life. Both miss Binoche and Kristen Stewart are tremendous here and the film work largely due to their performances.
1: Girlhood I rewatched parts of this French drama now that it’s on Netflix and I absolutely adore this film. Thanks to this film I discovered the lovely Karidja Touré in her mesmerizing acting debut. No doubt one of the best and emotionally-compelling coming-of-age film I’ve seen in some time.
Movie of the Month
I’ve been wanting to see What We Do in the Shadows ever since I saw the hilarious trailer months ago. Well this New Zealand mockumentary had me in stitches, it’s as hysterical as I had hoped and then some. If you’re a fan of vampire/werewolf movies, or just great comedies in general, I can’t recommend this enough. It pokes fun of the classic horror genre, but in a way it’s an homage to it at the same time. I sure wish they’re making a sequel of this as I would watch it in a heartbeat!
So that’s my May recap. What’s YOUR fave movie(s) you saw this month? …
I’ve been wanting to do this post for over a month now. In fact, if I had my way I’d just be blogging about this movie and Stanley Weber until my fingers bleed. But that’s what Tumblr is for 😉
Ok so you probably know by now I’ve been obsessed with this Scottish rom-com for some time. I’m gonna do a massive post on it when I can get my act together but one of the things I’m obsessing about is the songs! I love that the producers/filmmakers feature Scottish musicians which fit perfectly with the tone of the movie and the Glasgow setting.
Thanks to NAHE for introducing me to Sandi Thom. I really like her pop/folk/rock style, so definitely an artist to watch for.
I also love the instrumental score by Scottish composer Lorne Balfe.
There’s a certain Scottish charm in this song by TeenCanteen. It fits the rather neurotic personality of Karen Gillan‘s character perfectly! I love how their thick Scottish brogue is audible in the song, too.
Another track by Sandi Thom, a melancholy ballad that always gives me all the feels whenever I think of the male lead in the movie, ehm.
This one is a beautiful ballad from Scottish R&B artist Emeli Sandé. I absolutely adore this song, it’s become my daily routine to listen to it.
Now I especially love these two songs because the scenes they appear in are my favorites in the film. If you’ve seen the movie, I think you’ll know why 😛 But seriously, these songs are so awesome I’m glad I came across The Proclaimers and Twin Atlantic. Boy, the Scottish music scene must be quite spectacular!
Hope you enjoy this music break! Are you familiar w/ any of the songs/artists featured here?
Whoah, April’s been a freakishly busy month thanks to MSPIFF! Check out the banner below to check out our reviews from the Minneapolis/St Paul Film Festival, I have this image widget on my blog sidebar for easy access as well. I’ll have my MSPIFF recap next week as well as my and Josh’s picks top three movie picks.
I’m excluding MSPIFF films here as I’m going to do a separate recap. So this was an easy choice,Ex Machina is simply an excellent sci-fi… well, an excellent film in general.
Avengers: Age of Ultron was the last film I saw in April, and though there are some fun moments like the attempt to lift Mjölnir scene, overall it’s pretty forgettable. I don’t know when I’ll have time to review this movie but let’s just say I agree with Kenneth Turan I heard on NPR’s Morning Edition this morning: “Age of Ultron is made for the ‘instant gratification’ culture… It disappears without a trace as soon as it’s consumed.” Yep, that pretty much sums up my sentiment.
What I look forward to in May
It’ll be a fun weekend at Mpls Comic-Con starting tomorrow! Full programming all day Saturday, these are some of the panels I’ll definitely take part in:
11:30-12:15 – WETA workshop: character creation through prosthetics, hair & make up
2:00-2:45 – No “bones” about it: Karl Urban
4:00–4:45 – The truth is out there: Gillian Anderson
My hubby and I got tickets to attend this quickly sold-out lecture at Walker Art Center with Christopher Nolan! I sure hope there’ll be a Q&A segment at the end!
In celebration of 25 years of Walker Dialogues, the Walker presents acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan, one of the most innovative directors working today, in discussion with Variety chief film critic Scott Foundas. The lecture is followed by a nine-film retrospective May 7–24, 2015.
Whew, so that’s my April recap. What’s YOUR fave movie(s) you saw in April? …