Tag Archives: Stellan Skarsgard

Why we do the things we do

I only went to see Burnt because Daniel Brühl was in it. In fact if it weren’t for this fact I wouldn’t have gone out at all. Daniel was his usual excellent self but the film was as I expected terrible, the sticker album I’m so looking forward to getting isn’t in stock yet and to make it worse I didn’t even get to have Bratwurst from the Christmas market.

Halfway through the film I started to get bored and wondered why I’d bothered going out at all. I could have waited for the DVD, if I’d done so I could have fast-forwarded through the scenes I found to be annoying. Maybe if I weren’t so tired I would have been in a better mood. I probably just should have stayed in bed. I started thinking similar thoughts on the way home, about why I bother to do anything, especially anything that involves going outside and being around other people. I try my best to remember social rules and what I should and shouldn’t do, but apparently it’s ok for other people not to make the same kind of effort. I certainly don’t appreciate being stared at. You bought a train ticket, not a ticket to a freak show. You think I’m strange, fine, whatever, I certainly find other people strange a lot of the time but I’m not allowed to (and I don’t) sit there staring at those people. It’s somehow worse when they do this but don’t say anything, at least when they call you names you know what their problem is or just what it is you’ve done for them to consider you strange. What makes it worse is the more they stare, the more nervous I get and the more nervous I get, the harder it is to keep still. Though I have to admit I was on edge anyway so it probably wouldn’t have made much difference.

Back to my main point, I knew how the film was going to go, you have an idea of how most films are going to go, so what’s the point? Why bother watching them. In fact why bother doing anything. I got to thinking about the upcoming week, about the press conferences and the videos and the pictures I like to collect and upload. Why do I do any of it, because it’s fun and because I really like doing it or because it’s familiar and safe. How many other things does that apply to, where you do it because it’s the safe option and not necessarily what you really want to be doing? I remember reading in a book once that the difficulty with the author’s autistic son wasn’t that doing something twice would create a routine that he would want to stick to, but that doing it once would be enough to have that effect. I’m not exactly certain what my point was, I just felt like that belong here somehow. I guess what I was trying to say was do I do the things I do because it’s what I want to be doing or because they’re safe and familiar and I don’t know what else to do?

I’m not especially enthusiastic about this international break and yet I’m doing it anyway. Why, because I couldn’t bear not to, it would be unthinkable, it’s an international break. I have to do what I always do, it’s been almost a year now and it’s become routine. Therefore it has to happen because I expected it to. One thing was cleared up today anyway, I was reminded of a reason why I might not have been looking forward to this week. It’s not that I’d forgotten about the reason in question, more that I didn’t want to remember. Today is six years since Robert Enke died. Birthday’s are always tricky anyway, all the more so because mine is so close to Christmas and it’s generally an unsettled and difficult time anyway. But what happened to Enke makes it all the stranger and all the more difficult. Ever since I read that book last year I haven’t been able to let go of it, of what he did.

I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time, what the point of it is, or what anything means. When everything seems like such hard work it’s tempting to think that it’s easier not to do anything at all. But not doing anything at all just makes it worse. I don’t know what I’m doing or why. I just know that I have to keep doing it, to keep doing something. Whatever gets you out of bed everyday. Forget about other people, forget about whether they think what you do is a waste of time or not. It’s not important. You have to do what you need to do. Other people’s expectations and standards aren’t important here. That quote from the book about Enke is still worth remembering: “in the morning you don’t feel like you can do anything and so don’t try to do anything, then in the evening you beat yourself up for not having achieved anything.”

Maybe none of it never will make any sense. Regardless you still have to keep moving. Maybe accepting that little of it makes sense is what you need to do.

On the subject of making sense and accepting things, the penultimate episode of River was on tonight. One step closer to getting some answers, one step closer to letting go of River. I don’t want to, he’s a fascinating character and I’d happily spend more time watching him. But I don’t think it’s the kind of show they’ll make a second series of.

In tonight’s episode his partner Ira points out to River that he could talk to him instead of Stevie, that he’s right there in front of him. River admits he knows he could, but then he’d have to come up something interesting to say.

It made me remember something in real life, a conversation where a friend told me they wished I would talk to them a little more, that I would share more of what I’m thinking. There’s one obvious difference here, my friends are imaginary, I know that, they aren’t delusions or anything like that. But the point is the same. I should talk to the person who’s actually there in front of me. But I can’t and in truth they wouldn’t really want me to. I can’t because I can’t talk out loud that much. And as for why they wouldn’t want me to, well because they’d be bored.

Back to the topic of River I’m still not that interested in the case, I mean obviously I want to know what happened to Stevie and who killed her but the real fascination is River and him dealing with her death. This is what makes it worth watching and Stellan Skarsgard certainly makes for compelling viewing.

He’s starting to accept that Stevie isn’t there anymore. At the beginning of the episode in the car he doesn’t talk back to Stevie like he usually does. He looks back at her but says nothing. Then she’s outside of the car, it’s the first time we’ve seen her when she’s not actually with River. She’s outside of the car and he hears the shot again. He knows she’s starting to slip away and he can’t accept it. He’s not ready to let her go yet. But the blood on his hands, what’s that about. I get the symbolism but whose blood is it, Stevie’s or the guy who fell to his death?

Whatever it means I liked Ira’s reaction to it, the way he didn’t make a big deal out of it. He didn’t get freaked out or get mad at him. He didn’t call him names or make a big deal out of it at all. He just calmly asks if he’s ok and then offers to drive. Him and Ira are good together, I just hope nothing happens to either of them in the final episode.

One final thing I have to mention, I know what the shirts look like now. I don’t have to wait until it gets here to find out. There was a presentation and a whole big show in Berlin today with some of the players. The home one is still white and I guess it looks ok, it has kind of a retro 90’s feeling to it, the away one not so much. I don’t like the grey and green. The goalkeeper one is a dark navy blue, it’s nice but I liked the green. I was right about one thing, not expecting it to be here in time for Friday, that is almost certainly not going to happen. So it’s a good thing I prepared myself for the possibility. Some pictures of the shirt and some from the presentation:

Heimtrikot EM 2016 Torwarttrikot EM 2016 csm_84429-GettyImages-496423798_0ea66fdb1a csm_84430-GettyImages-496423808_ba887b1f13 csm_84427-GettyImages-496423500_056aa28350csm_84426-GettyImages-496421354_d568cc633b

 

Revisiting the Marvel Universe

In anticipation of the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron I’ve been rewatching the films in the Marvel Universe. Technically I should rewatch season 1 of Agents of SHIELD and start to watch Agent Carter too but I barely got through AoS the first time round and I’m finding the second series equally as troublesome so I’m skipping that. So far I’ve seen Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and Avengers.

Next up is Iron Man 3 and now I’ve got to that I regret my decision to do this. I’ve seen Iron Man 3 three times, twice at the cinema and my opinion wasn’t altered by the subsequent viewings. I disliked it as much as Iron Man 2 and now Iron Man is officially my least favourite Avenger. What I disliked most about Iron Man 3 was the reason given for the vice president’s betrayal of his country, but not just that, it was the way it was revealed. A shot of his daughter in a wheelchair was considered enough to show to the audience why a man would betray his country. I didn’t like that at all, like that’s all “normal” people need to see and they will automatically understand. Disability is viewed as a enemy in a way, seeing as how it’s the center of not only the vice president’s betrayal but also of the Extremis program as well.

I have to say I did like the Mandarin though and the reveal that he was in fact an actor hired to play the part of a terrorist. Apart from that I found it as tedious as I found Iron Man 2, I no longer find Tony Stark an interesting character (at least not in his own films) and the second and third film lack the wit and intelligence of the first one.

I did like him in Avengers, in particular his interactions with Bruce Banner. That for me is the stand out feature of the Avengers film, the humor that is to be found in the interactions of the Avengers. My favourite moment of the entire film is when Hulk smashes Loki into the ground saying “puny God.” I think Mark Ruffalo is perfect as Bruce Banner, I much prefer him to Edward Norton in the role. I liked his line when Cap tells him to get angry: “that’s my secret Captain, I’m always angry.”

I’ve realised that the humor is my favourite thing about the films, the action stuff is of little interest to me so I’m not going to complain about which villains I do or don’t like or any of that.

Another reason for watching them all again was to figure out who my favourite Avenger is and which of the films I like the best. I’m not done watching the films but I already know the answer to the second question at least. My answer is unchanged, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my undisputed favourite. If not only because in this one, I actually enjoyed the action scenes as well as the rest of the film. Also because I think it’s better written than the others, the one liners and the overall dialogue are far better than the others. I saw it at the cinema at least five times and I couldn’t imagine sitting through any of the others films that many times in the space of six weeks.

I had a hunch TWS would be a favourite of mine before I even saw a single second of it, the reason being that it was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo who worked on Community. Joe Russo in fact directed what are not only my most favourite episodes of Community but what I also consider to be some of the best TV ever. The paintball episodes, the Dungeons and Dragons episodes and the missing pen episode.

The Russo brothers are directing the next Captain America film and Avengers Infinity War Part 1 and 2. All of them will also be written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, news which makes me happy indeed, though not even that can make up for the fact that Tony Stark is in the Captain America film. Given that Daniel Brühl is in it, I will most likely want to see it quite a few times, which means having to tolerate the presence of RDJ a lot. As it turns out Daniel is playing Baron Zemo, I can’t wait to see what his costume will look like and to find out where he fits into the story in regards to Von Strucker, if he’s in this film that is. From what I’ve read and been told by someone who is far more knowledgeable about these things than myself that would seem to the case. I’m not into comic books, my sole comic book experience consists of reading the first Nick Fury comic where he duels with Von Strucker. I have nothing against comics, or graphic novels as they are sometimes referred to these days, I just can’t get into them.

This is what Baron Zemo looks like:

https://i2.wp.com/comicattack.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/373465-19408-baron-helmut-zemo_super.jpg

As for my favourite character, that is actually none of the Avengers. My favourite character is Dr. Eric Selvig, partly because I like Stellan Skarsgård and partly because of how great he is in Thor: Dark World, he is easily the best thing about that film. My favourite Avenger would be either Hulk or Thor. Hulk because I can identify with being angry all the time, with that risk of turning into a monster at the drop of a hat, though obviously I don’t turn into a green hulking giant. It’s not quite so clear to me why I like Thor so much all of a sudden, at least not until someone asked me this the other day, “is the reason you like Thor so much because he’s from another planet?”

That may very well be the reason, the fact that he doesn’t get any of their references and is usually a step behind in the conversations. Then of course is so is Steve but it’s different with him. he’s from another time not another planet.

Four favourite films – 2014

My four favourite films that I’ve seen at the cinema in 2014, usually it’s a top five but here its four, in honour of Germany’s fourth star:

1. In Order of Disappearance – I was resigned to waiting for the DVD to see this, so it was a pleasant surprise to find it was at the cinema, albeit only for six days which was a shame, since I would have liked to see it again.  A dark Norwegian revenge thriller with a little something extra beneath the surface and Stellan Skarsgard and Bruno Ganz are in it, plus a few moments of that deliciously dark Scandinivian humour, what more could you want? I don’t want to repeat myself, not when I’m not sure that I can sum it up any better than what I wrote not long after seeing the film: https://kretschmannland.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/in-order-of-disappearance/

2. What We Do in the Shadows – I just saw this yesterday, it’s about a group of vampires who have a film crew following them around in order to make a documentary about them. It was a riot, very funny, lots of good vampire jokes. One of them wanting to go to a party dressed as Blade for example. All kinds of funny situations that you just never would have thought of, like a 3000 year old vampire called Peter having his teeth brushed for him by one of the younger vampires. Or a vampire who refuses to do his share of the dishes and leaves blood encrusted dishes around the place. Of course my favourite moment was the scene in German, and the pedant in me enjoying correcting the slight but important (at least to me) translation error. I liked that the film starts out as if it’s a real documentary and the format is maintained throughout the film, including towards the end when the cameraman is attacked by a werewolf and we see him being torn to shreds through the lens of his own camera. The fact that it feels like a real documentary just adds to the humour. As for why it makes my list, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen, it’s weird and different and made me laugh a lot, which not a lot of films that are meant to be funny do.

3. Frank – Frank is another weird one. A bit too strange for some people I think, definitely not something that appeals to everyone’s tastes. I’m not a big fan of Michael Fassbender, I think he’s a little overrated, but he was brilliant in this. My favourite scene was him and Dom talking when he comes up with the idea of saying his facial expressions out loud, that was genius. I can’t really explain how or why it worked, I’ve seen the film three times (twice at the cinema) and each time it has defied any real explanation. There’s just something about the band and how their for lack of better word “craziness” feeds off of each other. I enjoyed seeing Dom put in his place at the end, after his earlier musings about why he couldn’t have anything dark in his past, when he asked Frank’s parents about what caused his illness. It’s good for something to dispel the myth that mental illness equals genius, or to be more precise that they are related in some way, that such an illness always comes with such a talent or a gift. Besides isn’t it kind of offensive, like implying that their talent is because of their illness, not something that they are good at and worked at?

Random tangent, one of the things that amused me greatly at the time (because of what I called the Kretschmann Connection) was that when Dom is getting tweets about where Frank might be, he gets one from a call girl agency located on the Volga. This amused me because the Volga is a river in eastern Russia which flows into Stalingrad, the Kretschmann Connection needing no further explanation there.

4. I couldn’t decide about my fourth favourite, at first I put The Rover here, then I changed it to Rush. I know it’s cheating a little since Rush was not released in 2014, but I did see at the cinema this year as part of the Bafta tour. I still think The Rover is an excellent film (as is Animal Kingdom) it’s just that Rush is special, even if I am still disappointed in Daniel Brühl. Rush is  just perfection, it doesn’t get anything wrong. It’s top class in every aspect. The acting is first rate, Daniel is just as perfect as anyone could ever be in any film ever. Chris Hemsworth is equally as terrific as James Hunt. Also great is Pierfrancesco Favino as Clay Regazzoni, he manages to hold your attention which is quite something given that most of his scenes are with Daniel. One of the first things I thought after the film was, why have I never heard of this guy. I just looked him up and it turns out I had seen him in two films, World War Z and Angels and Demons. In the first he was  W.H.O doctor, there quite a few of those, so impossible to remember him. I don’t even remember seeing Peter Capaldi. Though funnily enough I remember the German one, Moritz Bleibtreu. As for Angels and Demons, I will never submit myself to that borefest again. I only did the first time because Stellan Skarsgard, Nikolj Lie-Kaas and Thure Lindhart were in it.

Anyway, back to Rush, the film itself is a bit like Niki Lauda, to the point with not a wasted word. There were some areas that could have been covered a little better, their marriages for example, neither Marlene nor Suzy were well used and their characters were a little underdeveloped. But personally I don’t mind that so much, the film was about Lauda and Hunt’s rivalry and racing, and a film can’t always cover everything that happens. Anyway to cover all of the intrigues that surrounded the two of them, would take a whole mini-series.  I will concede that it’s a shame that Alexandra Maria Lara didn’t get more to do.

Forget about Daniel winning the Oscar for best supporting actor (which he should have done) the people responsible for the makeup should have won one for their work. Before the accident, their work was great, afterwards it was incredible.

I think the best thing about Rush is that in all the excitement and drama of the track there is room for the little moments, Niki and Marlene’s exchanged glances as he gets out of the car and decides to stop to name one. There are plenty more but I haven’t seen it in a while, that moments there sticks in my mind, I really liked that and think about it often. And little details, like James Hunt going around with no shoes on. The film somehow manages to find a way to please diehard F1 fans and people who have no clue or interest in the sport at the same time. On that count it did it’s job a little too well, with some people pointing out that it makes F1 look more exciting and action packed than it actually is.

Other than being a truly terrific film, the reason Rush is on my list is that I really liked Niki Lauda. I knew who he was before the film but I knew nothing of what a character he was back then and how interesting he is. I loved his blunt “I don’t care what you think” style. I loved him in the car with Regazzoni and the scene where Marlene and him break down and he ends up driving an Italian’s car way too fast. My absolute favourite is when he drives a Ferrari for the first time, that scene is just genius.

If the list had been five and not four, either The Rover or The Unbeatables would have been fifth.