Category Archives: Sebastian Koch

Not enough films/too much football

One of the things I planned write about here was films, which is funny because I haven’t watched all that many films lately. In October I watched only thirteen films. On the other hand in that time I have watched sixteen football matches. In contrast to September in which I watched twenty-one films and twenty two matches. Eleven days into November I’ve watched eight matches and only four films. The Bundesliga has a long winter break, which could mean plenty of time for a film marathon. I don’t think that’s going to happen however since I have the 2010 World Cup on blu-ray and will by then have the 2014 one as well. Plus I have the 2006 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships on DVD.  I predict the winter break will be spent watching lots of those and making Jogi videos. Hopefully I can find some time for some German practice as well. I’m not getting any new games for Christmas which will help considerably.

It’s not just about the number of films I watched, it’s about the fact that I think about films less.  It’s also about the fact that whilst I like several people at the moment: Richard Sammel, Daniel Brühl, Sebastian Koch, Heino Ferch, Ulrich Mühe, Ulrich Tukur, Florian Lukas, Tom Schilling and August Diehl, I don’t have a film or TV related special interest right now. That is very unusual and as far as I can remember completely without precedent. I wonder if this lack of interest in film and fiction in general is a contributing factor in why I have no interest in working on my android story right now.

The closest thing I have to a film/TV related special interest at the moment is Richard Sammel, I watched all of The Strain for him even though I hated the show.  I think he must get sick of playing Nazis, but to be fair I don’t think he’s played one like this before. And he is so good at playing villains. I can’t wait to see him as a bad guy though, to see if I like him as much then.

The problem is I only want to watch films he’s in, and I don’t have many of those and I can’t get the one I really want at the moment which is Lila. I hope I can find the two German TV shows that he was in that look interesting, it would be great to watch something where he’s one of the main characters.

I also have less interest in TV shows in general at the moment, I only have on one at the moment, Person of Interest, but I am eagerly awaiting the return of Justified and a little less enthusiastically, Game of Thrones. I’ve given up on Boardwalk Empire at the moment, I’ll probably go back to it soon. Even if I don’t think much of the show anymore, I won’t be able to resist the allure of Michael Shannon and finding out what becomes of Nelson.

I have so many films to watch and yet I don’t want to watch any of them right now. Maybe I do really have too many films. I’ve considered that if my collection was signifcantly smaller, it make picking up and leaving easier. How many DVDs and blu-rays does a person need? I wonder, should I apply the same to my book collection too? Parting with my books I think would be a lot harder than parting with any of my DVDs or blu-rays. Maybe I should get a box and put all my favourites in, see how much I really want to keep something when I only have a limited amount of space.  I mean, it’s not like I’m going to read many of those books again, but I just like knowing they are there. I also like looking at them and thinking back to when I read them. Someone online commentating on a similar topic said that they always give books away when they are done with them, because books are meant to be read, not sitting gathering dust on a shelf. It would be interesting to do just to see which I would pick to keep, what my favourites would turn out to be. And to see how much fiction will end up in there.

The other problem with films is that when I really like something I watch it a lot, and then get sick of it. Then it’s the case that it’s the only thing I want to watch but can’t because I know it too well. That is my own fault having seen them too many times. I’ve seen Rush at least seventeen times since it was released in cinemas last September. Inglourious Basterds, somewhere between ten and fifteen times, Django Unchained, somewhere around the same amount. And I’ve seen certain of Daniel and Christoph’s films at least three times each. This also contributes to the problem of me not watching the rest of my collection.

 

 

Charting obsessions: Christoph Waltz

I can track the beginning and the end of my Christoph Waltz fascination, down not only to the exact day but the time too. This is definitely one of the good autistic traits (though applied to bad memories it can obviously work in a negative way too), I can remember everything about that day, the day I saw Django Unchained. It was a Saturday and a snow day. Unusual for the fact that I don’t like going to the cinema on Saturdays because there’s too many people there. Someone was meant to be joining us but couldn’t because of the weather. My normal reaction to a change like that would be to refuse to go out at all, rather than tolerate one change I would rather the whole thing not happen. But that’s not what happened.  I can remember being late to leave because I was making pictures of Sebastian who was my favourite German at the time. I remember being late and having to alter my plans, seeing Monsters Inc 3D first and Django later at 16:00. Another change dealt with and with a minimum of fuss. This Saturday also started the beginning of my book day tradition, the third Saturday in January, the cinema and books. That year I bought The Killing II, All That I Am and HHhH (it’s German for Himmlers Hirn heißt Heydrich).

Django Unchained marked only the second time in my entire life that I had gone to see a film in a crowded theatre (the first was Ratatouille). And it was awesome. For once I wasn’t worried about feeling uncomfortable, it was actually kind of fun, seeing what the audience laughed at and what they didn’t, I never paid any attention to that before.

The day after seeing Django I watched Inglourious Basterds for the first time (which I had gotten just before Christmas but hadn’t watched) and regrettably The Three Musketeers. With the former, I fell in love with CW as the sadistic Nazi Hans Landa. I think the first twenty minutes or so is the best opening of any film ever. I guess the question is, why? His charming and precise Austrian accented English, his whole manner of being,  the way he reveled in being so delightfully evil. I can’t really remember much now, about why. Looking back it seems kind of baffling to me. I know why I liked the two films, Django and Inglourious and why I liked Landa and Schultz, but CW in general, I’m not really sure.

I think the main reason is that his speech and manner of speaking is perfectly suited to Quentin Tarantino’s dialogue. Or as I put it once, Christoph Waltz is to the word Jew in Inglourious Basterds what Samuel L. Jackson is to the n-word in Pulp Fiction.

The time of CW really began with the day I saw Django Unchained at the cinema twice. In my defence, the first time I saw it I was alone and it was either that or Movie 43 (know I now that’s the kind of film that you’d be better off sitting in darkness staring at the wall for two hours, really dodged a bullet with that one) and the second time I saw it was with a friend. All in all I saw Django at the cinema fourteen times (the wonders of having an unlimited card) and I also saw Epic which was released later in the year seven times.

I beat the Django record however with Rush, becuase they brought it back twice, once for take two Thursdays and again in January of this year for the Bafta tour, with that I brought my final total for Rush to seventeen. I also broke the rule I devised, that you can only see a CW film twice in one day at the cinema and I did it on CW’s birthday on the 4th October, I saw Rush twice. That was when his time came to end.

Back then I would write pages of arguments to refute the assertion that he always played the same character, that August in Water for Elephants was basically just another version of Landa and now I’m not so sure that I can do that. The more I watched and studied his films, the more I could see Landa everywhere. That was the beginning of the end. I think it may have been also because I ran out of stuff to buy. There was more I could have got, but it was in German with no English subtitles, at the time I spoke and understood no German. It’s ironic, he was one of the main reasons I wanted to learn German (Sebastian Koch was another) and now that I know some German and can watch TV and films in German and be able to follow what is going on, I no longer care about doing so. Funnily enough him and Sebastian were in a German TV production together, I think it was called “Dance with the Devil: The Kidnapping of Richard Oetker” – something close to that anyway.

I amassed a huge amount of collectibles: signed photos, magazines, clippings, posters and press-books. I also spent a ludicrous amount of money buying an action figure of Hans Landa from Australia. And followed that up by spending a slightly less ludicrous amount getting one of Dr King Schultz. Two other big purchases were the banners, both of them about six feet tall I think, of Landa and Schultz. To think, just the money spent on all those, that would have been enough for at least a week in Germany. Mind boggling, to paraphrase Sheldon “obsessions be crazy.”

A random but related thought, the person who found my TK obsession baffling because he was too normal, not as strange as my usual choices, they didn’t find my CW obsession odd. If they did, they didn’t say so. What does that say about me? A normal, more conventionally handsome kind of guy equals strange. A kind of quirky Austrian who specialises in weirdly alluring psychopaths, not strange. That will be an interesting conversation. At the same time I’ll be sure to find out where Jogi Löw comes in on this strangeness scale of theirs.

I suppose since I posted my favourite pictures of Daniel in Rush, it would only be fair to post what were my favourites of CW as well:

FireShot Screen Capture #1642 - 'Christoph Waltz Fans_ Click image to close this window' - www_christophwaltzfans_com_photos_displayimage_php_pid=5391&fullsize=1

CW in Inspector Rex

FireShot Screen Capture #1643 - 'Christoph Waltz Fans_ Click image to close this window' - www_christophwaltzfans_com_photos_displayimage_php_pid=5384&fullsize=1

CW in Inspector Rex

 

 

 

 

 

 

FireShot Screen Capture #1638 - 'Pictures & Photos of Christoph Waltz - IMDb' - www_imdb_com_media_rm2562885888_nm0910607

SS Colonel Hans Landa – Inglourious Basterds

 

Dr King Scultz

Dr King Schultz – Django Unchained

FireShot Screen Capture #1648 - 'Pictures & Photos of Christoph Waltz - IMDb' - www_imdb_com_media_rm3164320768_nm0910607

Dr King Schultz – Django Unchained

Der Tunnel

Der Tunnel is an excellent German film about a group of people who dig a tunnel under the Berlin Wall (and a personal favourite of mine). It’s partly based on true experiences and sports a terrific cast which includes Sebastian Koch, Heino Ferch and Alexandra Maria Lara. It really is a terrific film and it’s on my list of films to watch every year. An interesting thing to mention about the story is that the tunnel in question was partly funded by an American news network and that they actually filmed the escape for American TV.

So with such a great film already existing, one might wonder why the Americans are making a film titled “The Tunnels.” Seriously, are you not even changing the title when you pointlessly remake films now? You should learn a lesson from Valkyrie, yes it made a lot of money worldwide but compared to the German version Operation Valkyrie, your film is awful. Actually it’s awful on its own terms as well. But it must be so insulting to have been bettered by a German TV movie who’s budget would have been but a fraction of your own. That’s not to say Operation Valkyrie doesn’t have it’s flaws, it does, but it has plenty of redeeming features whereas Valkyrie has none. For one thing, they have a believable von Stauffenberg.

Take the opening sequence in Africa where von Stauffenberg gets injured, your version, not so impressive. Why, I know you had millions of dollars to spend on special effects, the TV movie, not so much, so what they achieved is doubly impressive. Also your film is longer, gives more prominence to a character that Operation Valkyrie doesn’t (the character in question is played by Thomas Kretschmann, he was originally attached to play von Stauffenberg but was ousted by Tom Cruise, hence the increased prominence of Major Remer) and yet it adds nothing to the story. The mixture of Germans playing Germans and speaking accented English mixed with the English and American actors is distracting. Also pointless is the beginning of the film, where von Stauffenberg begins to speak in German and then continues into English. Is this supposed to be some kind of wink to the audience, as if to say “imagine they are speaking German?” And for the record, I have nothing against Tom Cruise, but he was not the right choice to play von Stauffenberg whether he could speak German or not.