Tag Archives: Sebastian Koch

Fifa Street

I got the game a few weeks ago but only just got around to playing it. It’s pretty cool, not only can you create your own squad but you can choose what lanaguage they speak (plus accent choices) and what country you’re going to start out it in.

It’s cool hearing German. It’s bugging me because I think I recognise some of the voices. I can’t figure it if it’s because I actually recognise them or it’s just because I think they sound like someone else. It’s Cars 2 in German all over again. Whilst watching that I was convinced that one of the characters was dubbed by Gedeon Burkhard, turned it out it wasn’t him but the voice actor it was is also from Munich. So not so good that I mistakenly thought he was Gedeon but good in the sense that I must be getting a little better at beginning to recognise German accents.

My squad is Jogi Löw, Hansi Flick, Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, Roman Weidenfeller, Bastian Schweinstiger, Max Kruse, Daniel Brühl and Sebastian Koch.

My third match was in Stuttgart. The opposing team was composed of Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinstiger, Frank Ribbery and Arjen Robben.

My team: Manu, Schweini, Hansi und Jogi.

This was definitely going to be interesting, Neuer against Neuer. It was quite some time before anyone scored. Eventually it was Hansi that broke the deadlock. Funnily enough the only player to come close to scoring for the opposition was Neuer on his usual travels.

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

Charting obsessions – Thomas Kretschmann

I’ve been putting off writing this, mainly because I can track the exact process of it with exact dates and records, the source of annoyance being that I can’t do that for Jogi.

Stalingrad is where it begins, the 2013 Russian war film, not the 1993 German classic. I saw it twice at the cinema, first on the 22nd February and again on the 26th. The first time was weird because we saw The Lego Movie first and I had that everything is awesome song stuck in my head. The second time not weird, just bad because I saw The Book Thief after it. At the time I thought I should have seen Stalingrad twice instead. I like the book of The Book Thief, it’s one of my favourite books ever, yet despite both Rainer Bock and Oliver Stokowski (funnily enough he’s in Schneeland with TK) being it, I hate the film, it really was a huge disappointment for me. I just realised, February, that’s the month of Joachim’s birthday, that is not good, I do not like that at all, even though he reigns supreme now.  I shouldn’t see it as bad thing, I should treat as yet anothe pre-cursor to the domination of Die Mannschaft.

I can track when it started, how the collection started and how it grew, I can’t explain why him though. The closest thing I have to an explanation is that I love how he sounded, I fell in love with his Eastern sounding accent, with his softly spoken German and with his accented English and the sometimes odd ways he expressed himself in English.

This video being one of those occasions:

I wasn’t completely unaware of his existence; I was familiar with the Downfall parody videos, obviously I’d seen him in Downfall and The Pianist. I also had two of his films on DVD, Grimm Love and Eichmann both of which were bought during the German obsession at the beginning of 2013 when I started collecting the films of Christoph Waltz, Daniel Brühl, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Mühe, Ulrich Tukur and any German film I could find. I never got around to watching them and I didn’t buy any more at the time, he didn’t capture my imagination like Sebastian and the others did.

Looking back now at many of the films he was in and I can’t help but agree, he was a baffling choice. King Kong, Next, Hostel Part III, What A Man, U-571, Valkyrie, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Head in the Clouds, Wanted, Transsiberian and Karate Dog. There are some good films he’s been in as well true, Stalingrad, Immortal, Rua Alguem, Open Grave, Dracula and The Stendhal Syndrome, but more bad than good and more importantly more of the stuff I hate.

What I find interesting is the way in which fragments of an obsession remain, for example there are scenes from Stalingrad that I just can’t get out of my head. I wonder how much of it is because they are in German and how much is because of him. No doubt some of the appeal is that I understood a lot of the German without the subtitles.

This has some of those scenes, my favourites in particular are the tank scene, the speech to his men, for whatever reason I love the way he says “ist ganz Deutschland” and also the scene where we see him visit Masha for the first time.

I’ve done exactly the same with Thomas, Daniel, Sebastian and Christoph. I watched their films so many times that I can’t bear to see them (the only exceptions to this rule are Das Leben der Anderen and Der Tunnel), at least not any time in the near future. I still enjoy quoting them to myself and in conversation, I still like playing certain scenes back in my head but I can’t watch them in their entirety. I guess there’s a point of over familiarity even for me.

The seeds for Thomas’ downfall (pun intended) were sown long before the World Cup, to be precise in February with the purchase of a Germany football t-shirt. The February connection isn’t all bad. I wanted a t-shirt with the German flag on, that was the closest thing I could find. Funny how things work out.

There were some unusual acquisitions in connection with the Kretschmann Collection, I started by collecting Nazi era stamps and moved onto DDR stamps and then to all sorts of random historical items from both Nazi Germany and the DDR. Postcards from the front, propaganda posters, a DDR soldier jacket, coins, photos, envelopes with German and Austrian postmarks, books, DDR medals and randomly a set of 10 DDR paper flags. Not forgetting my favourite acquisition at the time, a white cotton undershirt almost identical to the kind the Wehrmacht wore, this one being from Sweden.

My first directly related TK purchase (not counting DVDs) was a huge door size poster for The Pianist and some press stuff for the same film from Japan. Then followed the usual stuff, posters, pictures, signed pictures, press clippings and magazines. I’m still pleased with some of the posters I managed to get, especially the Stalingrad ones because they’re originals. I was especially happy at getting a press book for Stalingrad. Not forgetting Professor Zündapp of course, all three of them, one of which talks, in English unfortunately.  In the summer, more original posters, press books and photos. The last items obtained were a Valkyrie lobby card and some press clippings from Germany. The former is of particular importance since I got this wonderful stamp as a result:

German football stamp

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.