Belated Birthday Tribute to Sam Riley

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I can’t believe I missed my darling Sam’s birthday yesterday!! My favorite actor turned 37 on January 8… and since he made his breakthrough debut in Control in 2007, he doesn’t seem to have aged a day!

He was born on January 8, 1980 in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. I love his Yorkshire accent, spoken with his signature husky voice. He’s a chain smoker which likely contributes to that… and he’s got that devil-may-care attitude paired with self-deprecating wit that’s so irresistible!

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Oh Sam Riley… how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Yes I know the word ‘underrated’ is not a popular word to use right now, but I really do think Sam is grossly under-appreciated as for whatever reason, he’s simply hasn’t gotten as much work as his fellow Brits. Maybe because he lives in Berlin, away from Tinsel Town or even the UK’s movie scene in London. And he’s a happily-married man, he’s been married to Romanian/German actress Alexandra Maria Lara for 8 years (a lifetime by Hollywood standards) and has a young boy together.

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Sam w/ Alexandra on the premiere of Free Fire, Fall 2016 – photo courtesy of SamRiley.org

They met on the set of Control, which is kind of a fairy tale romance in itself, and they worked together again in Suite Francaise in 2014.  Look at these two, such a gorgeous couple!!

I was literally hyperventilating last week when I saw BBC ONE’s preview featuring SS-GB … can’t wait to get my copy of the February edition of EMPIRE magazine. Lookie here, Sam in a glorious spread as a Scotland Yard detective, decked in a dapper suit and fedora? YES PLEASE!!

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Courtesy of @CarryOnScarlett tweet

I’m also super excited to see Sam in Free Fire! I’ve posted the first trailer here, which looks like a hoot w/ a terrific cast! So there are at least two of Sam’s work I’m looking forward to in Spring, hopefully more to come later in the year.


Photos courtesy of AdoroCinema

Well, I did a Sam Riley marathon last year which made me appreciate him even more as an actor. He’s so self-deprecating that he often says in interviews that they only hire him ‘to blow smoke rings and cry’ as his debut role as Ian Curtis is a forlorn, suicidal tortured soul who smokes like a chimney. But clearly he’s more versatile than that, having played a psychopath (Brighton Rock), Beat Generation pioneer Jack Kerouac (On The Road), a naval vampire (Byzantium), an Austrian cowboy (The Dark Valley), a man bird (Maleficent), a French farmer (Suite Française), and of course, Colonel Darcy (Pride + Prejudice + Zombies)… the role I fell head over heels in love with.

So in my tribute to the phenomenal actor who I think should get more leading roles… here are five key roles that will forever mark me as a Sam Riley fan.

CONTROL (2007)

A profile of Ian Curtis, the enigmatic singer of Joy Division whose personal, professional, and romantic troubles led him to commit suicide at the age of 23.

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Since January 8th was also the birthday of rock icon David Bowie, it’s only natural I include THIS very scene from Sam’s debut role in a feature film. It’s been a decade since that film came out and I think it’s still regarded as one of the greatest, most poignant rock biopic ever made. Sam’s devastating performance doesn’t just capture Ian as a musical genius, but he captured the enigma and inner pain of the young man, who’s dealing with epilepsy and depression as his band gained fame beyond his control.

On the Road (2012)

Young writer Sal Paradise has his life shaken by the arrival of free-spirited Dean Moriarty and his girl, Marylou. As they travel across the country, they encounter a mix of people who each impact their journey indelibly.

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Sam once again portrays a real-life persona, as his character Sal is basically Jack Kerouac. He sports an effortless American accent as a quiet, reflective writer observing his wild and carefree friend Dean. He works well with Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart, who at the time was at the height of Twilight’s mass hysteria. He’s the kind of actors who can disappear into his roles, he has an earthy every-man quality about him, yet he makes even the most mundane activity like typing or just scribbling in a notepad seems so darn sexy.

 

Byzantium (2013)

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Residents of a coastal town learn, with deathly consequences, the secret shared by the two mysterious women who have sought shelter at a local resort.

Sam didn’t have a big part in this film but his role of Darvell is an important one to the story. Like the rest of the cast, the actors portray their roles in two separate timelines centuries apart. I’ve done a full review of it here, it’s quite a mesmerizing film by Neil Jordan… eerie, ethereal and mysteriously romantic. Wish I could find the exact clip, but I love all the scenes between Sam and Gemma Arterton. It’d be cool to see them do a film together again one day.

The Dark Valley (2014)

Through a hidden path a lone rider reaches a little town high up in the Alpes. Nobody knows where the stranger comes from, nor what he wants there. But everyone knows that they don’t want him to stay.

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This is the film I tell everyone to see if they’ve only seen Sam in Control. It’s an excellent Schnitzel Western (read my full review) shot entirely in the Austria Alps where the characters are Austrian/German except for Sam. He learned German when he married his wife, and to me he sounds very much believable as a taciturn, lone-ranger type who exacts vengeance on a group of townsfolk in a meticulously-calculated way. I always love actors who could convey a lot of emotions with his eyes and facial expressions alone, and Sam certainly got to do that here, whilst also being a bad-ass cowboy at the same time!

Check out my Music and Cinematography appreciation for this film here.

Pride + Prejudice + Zombies (2016)

Five sisters in 19th century England must cope with the pressures to marry while protecting themselves from a growing population of zombies.

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Well, THIS is the role that got me to notice Sam, which is a major reason why PPZ is on my top 10 list of the first half of 2016. Though I’m a huge period drama fan, for some reason I’ve never been into Mr. Darcy. Give me Captain Wentworth or Colonel Brandon any day over Darcy, but that is until Sam’s COLONEL DARCY came along. From the moment Lizzy saw him arriving at the ball (beginning at 01:48 in the clip below) I was a goner!

Then of course there’s the initially-awkward proposal scene that ends in a glorious, sexually-charged battle between the two… woo wee… THIS is the kind of Darcy I’ve ever hyperventilated over. The chemistry between him and Lily James is off the charts!

Some might say Sam isn’t as dastardly handsome as Colin Firth (which I beg to differ), but he certainly imbued his Darcy character with an extra dose of badassery without sacrificing his romantic side. In fact, in his second proposal scene, he’s perfectly swoon-worthy!

Favorite Sam Interviews

Well I always say that I can’t fall for any actor who lacks personality… no matter how good looking *cough* Henry Cavill *cough* But Sam’s interviews are a hoot, they’re almost as entertaining as watching him act.

His voice is music to my ear too, and he’s just as entertaining to listen to in a podcast interview!


I literally could go on and on in this post about Sam… but I better wrap it up and post this. I hope you learned a bit more about the talented actor, and hopefully check out more of his work!


What film(s) have you seen Sam Riley in? 

JUNE 2016 Viewing Recap + Movie of the Month

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Wow, the first half of the year has come and gone! I don’t know about you but 2016 felt like a blur to me for some reason. I gotta do a list of the best 2016 movies so far.

Well, it has been a relatively busy month for me that I was unable to make a few screenings, i.e. Central Intelligence, Finding Dory. But I am looking forward to Captain Fantastic, Ghostbusters, Absolutely Fabulous and Suicide Squad later this month!

So anyway, here are movies I saw this month:

New-to-me Movies

EddieEagle
Eddie the Eagle

Zootopia

Zootopia

Concussion

Concussion

TheBFG

The BFG

Tarzan

Tarzan

MidnightSpecial

Midnight Special

HunkyDory

Hunky Dory


Look for Ted’s review of The Purge: Election Year, as well as my reviews of The BFG and The Legend of Tarzan next week!


TV Series

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Starz/BBC’s The White Queen (2013)
The series that got me all obsessed over Richard III…
and Aneurin Barnard! 🙂

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BBC Three’s Thirteen Miniseries (2016)
I ended up watching all five episodes on my laptop
in just three days. Again, thanks to Aneurin!

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BBC One’s War & Peace (2016)
I haven’t finished this yet, just watched ep. 3 last night.
All three of these series have Aneurin in it 😉

Once I finish War & Peace, I might get into Mr. Robot!


 Rewatches


So basically my rewatches consist of Sam Riley in period costumes being all sexy and bad ass! He played a vampire, a zombie hunter and a vengeful American cowboy in these three movies, respectively. Talk about being versatile!


 Currently Reading

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Learning history hasn’t been this much fun. I’m almost done w/ The Daughter of Time, and of course I picture Aneurin as Richard whenever I’m reading it 😉

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MOVIE OF THE MONTH

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It’s an easy pick this month. Zootopia is by far the best new release I saw this month, and will likely end up in my top 10 best list. Judy Hopps is such an awesome character, perhaps one of the best from Disney yet!


Well that’s my viewing recap of June. What’s YOUR favorite film of the month?

MAY 2016 Viewing Recap + Movie of the Month

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Time for another monthly recap, folks. Well, May is actually not a really great movie-watching month for me after a very busy April. I was pretty busy with my script and also my trip to Montréal/Québec City took up a lot of my time. But hey, I did manage to see Captain America: Civil War twice, and plenty of great rewatches too!

So anyway, here are movies I saw this month:

New-to-me Movies
CivilWar

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

OneDay

One Day (2011)

ABiggerSplash

A Bigger Splash (2016)
[review upcoming]

GreatExpectations1998

Great Expectations (1998)

AboutABoy

About A Boy (2002)

UnderCherryMoon

Under the Cherry Moon (1986)


 Rewatches


Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Sense & Sensibility (1995)

Casino Royale (2006)

Ant Man (2015)

Belle (2013)

Love & Friendship (2016)

Pride + Prejudice + Zombies (2016)

..


MOVIE OF THE MONTH

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I went to see this again last night with my hubby and I still loved it!
As I mentioned in my review, this is such a delightful adaptation. Another Austen movie I could watch over and over for years to come.


Speaking of an Austen adaptation…

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Of course I immediately purchased a Blu-ray copy of Pride + Prejudice + Zombies as soon as I left work. Just when I thought I couldn’t be more ardently in love with Sam Riley’s Darcy [le sigh] I know I’ll work that one to the ground in no time [not to mention my remote pause & rewind buttons, ehm] So yeah, suffice to say this is my favorite rewatch 😉


Well that’s my viewing recap of May. What’s YOUR favorite film of the month?