RIP Andy Whitfield

12 Sep

 

It breaks my heart to report that our Bringer of Rain has passed away today at the age of 39. I’m literally at a loss for words here…

 

for those who wish to read more, here is AP story:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j7aqMZ4JLRDJgTRmkmnsVTrhy1vA?docId=1c4eadecfc66499fa5c36a37695f2fd3

Rest in peace,Andy. You were an incredible actor and brought the story of Spartacus to life for millions of people, including me. You will be very much missed and never forgotten.

Condolences to Andy’s wife and children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Official Spartacus: Vengeance (Season 3) Trailer is out! with analysis!

15 Aug

Starz put up the official trailer for Spartacus: Vengeance and this requires an immediate analysis.

  • Lucretia is alive?! I mean I suppose you didn’t really see her die at the end of Spartacus: Blood and Sand but that was not exactly a flesh wound! She looks a bit manic and bedraggled in the trailer so I am assuming she’s now going turn into a crazy revenge-seeking harpy ala Catelyn Stark/Lady Stoneheart. I wonder if she’ll try blackmail Illythia again to get her way. Illythia certainly did not look like a happy camper when she saw Lucretia…
  • The new Spartacus looks like he’ll fit right in! In most of the scenes, he bore such a strong resemblance to Andy and he seems to have  Andy’s speech patterns and body language (and the 6 pack) down pat. He’s certainly mastered the withering look that we all know and love.
  • More Romans! I’ve almost totally forgot about all the previous non-Capuan Roman characters so I got a bit startled when Legatus Douchebag (Glaber) made an appearance in the trailer. I can’t wait for Spartacus to cut that smug little look off Glaber’s face this season. I will make that scene in a GIF.
  • There is a lot of blood and fighting in this trailer (how unusual for Spartacus, I know) but its important to note that is mostly outside of the arena. We haven’t properly seen any battle scenes since Spartacus’ capture in season one and I really look forward to seeing the gladiators take on the Romans. I hope there will be enough room in the budget for at least one massive battle scene. Historically, the slaves hang out in the mountains of Sicily for a while, coming down to loot and occasionally fight some Romans and I think that would make for some good TV.
  • GANNICUS! He’s in the trailer. Go to 1:23! HE’S THERE!!! Someone get me a paper bag because I am getting overly excited about this, but can you really blame me? Gannicus is awesome and I was really hoping he would be back for some “Vengeance” (I crack myself up). I am also curious to see what will happen with the character of Gannicus this season. Will he get along with Spartacus? During the eventual Crixus/Spartacus army split, whose side will he choose? Gannicus is a pretty vague figure in history so I’m excited to see what crazy plot line the writers come up for him!
  • Why is Oenomaus being whipped? Is this a scene from a previous season? I think I would remember if that happened, if you haven’t noticed I’m pretty obsessed with this show. I don’t even have any explanations for this but I suppose the creators of this trailer but that scene in deliberately to pique my interest. Cold-hearted bastards, I won’t be getting any answers till JANUARY!
Well that’s about all my crazy Spartacus-hungry brain can come up with but all I can say is that this season looks like it will be a wild ride! Also, though Liam aka the new Spartacus looks like he is gonna be a total boss, let’s not forget to spare some thoughts and prayers for Andy’s recovery. He’ll always be Spartacus in my heart.

Top 5 Portrayals of Historical Figures in Film

13 Aug

Serving as a foil to my post on the 5 Most WTF Castings in Historical Movies, this article aims to bring you the best, the brightest, and the most convincing portrayals of all our favorite figures.

1. Siân Phillips as Livia (I, Claudius)

The look really says it all

You gotta hand it to Livia. Girl just don’t give a shit! She’ll kill anyone and everyone and still have time to curl her bangs in that weird way every morning.What I love about this portrayal of Livia is that it plays into that wonderfully evil character that was so popularly displayed in all the ancient sources. Was the real Livia probably not a psycho killing biatch? Probably not (to that extent). But who doesn’t love to hate the wicked step-mother and Sian Phillips’ portrayal of the imperious Livia hits the nail on the head. Love her or hate her, the lady’s got style and Blair Waldorf could really take a page out of Livia’s papyrus scroll!

Fave scene: Livia’s revelations to Claudius. I will never eat a fig in peace again.

 

2. James Purefoy as Mark Antony (Rome)

Playboy. Binge drinker. Gambler. Warrior. My friends, meet Mark Antony as played by James Purefoy. He’s kind of like James Bond but Roman, so that makes him MUCH cooler. Purefoy really brings out his inner frat boy in his portrayal of Antony and i would not have it any other way. Also, to be honest it is not exactly historically inaccurate! Mark Antony was one crazy mofo whose past-times included dressing up as the god of wine/orgies, kicking ass in battle, and racing around in his chariot which would be like the ancient Roman equivalent to Call of Duty (….just roll with it). His portrayal Anthony probably is totally relatable across a millennia, translating perfectly to our generation. I mean who doesn’t want to eat, drink, and fight their way to glory and riches?

They're just following Antony's example!

Fave scene: Antony takes on the Senate post Caesar assassination. Also, when Antony tries to buy tigers to pull his chariot. BOSS.

 

3. Maria Kennedy Doyle as Catherine of Aragon (The Tudors)

Poor Catherine of Aragon. For generations, she has been stereotyped as the fat, dowdy, hag who was totally eclipsed by Anne Boleyn’s hotness. Generally, her portrayals in cinema have only reinforced this (Exhibit A) (Exhibit B). However, in my mind Katherine of Aragon is stately and though older, still regal and Maria Kennedy Doyle hits the nail on the head. She’s definitely not some spring chicken, but you could tell she had a little something-something working for her back in the day! Maria also possesses that spiritual quality that I think was a very big part of Catherine’s personality and something that has been missing in a lot of other depictions of Henry’s first queen. I find myself liking Catherine during the course of the show, which is strange as I am Team Anne all the way. it is this likeability that Maria Kennedy Doyle brings to the role that makes this portrayal of Catherine so great.  Also that accent could not have been easy, I commend you!

Fave scene: Catherine rips Henry a new one in front of the special divorce council.

4. Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus (Gladiator)

As a preface- Even if you don’t think that Joaquin Phoenix was a very good Commodus, you’ve got a lot of shiny trophies and an Oscar nomination going against you. Personally, I thought Joaquin was perfection. Commodus does not have the best reputation in history probably due to the fact that he was undeniably deluded, pulling stunts such as changing the name of Rome to “Commodiana” and fighting in gladiatorial games as Hercules (yeah, this Hercules).  Joaquin, being the fearless bastard he is, not only embraced this crazy character but he brought to the creep so hard that to this role that even to this day when I see Joaquin on the red carpet, I can’t help but shiver a tad. Apparently, Joaquin got so into it, that after filming the (Spoiler Alert, but I hope anyone reading this blog would not consider it so) scene where Commodus kills his father, he fainted from the intensity. Nuff said.

Fave scene: “Tell me what you have been doing, busy little bee….”

5. Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette (Marie Antoinette)

This is a pretty controversial pick. A lot of people really disliked Kirsten in this role as well as generally hating on the movie due to its modern feel and its frivolity. However, that is exactly why I liked it and why I thought Kirsten was a perfect Marie. She took the character of Marie from a careless queen from the pages of history and made her into just another girl. Kirsten brought a level of relate-ability and humanity to the infamous queen and as the movie progressed I genuinely felt sympathy for Marie. I mean, imagine being nineteen years old, having unlimited access to wealth and power, and living in a world that composed entirely of partying. Wouldn’t we all go a bit crazy? Kirsten’s Marie seemed to me like just a normal girl who was thrown into a crazy world and tried to keep afloat. I get that!

For a party girl with unlimited wealth, Marie could have turned out a lot worse!

Fave scene: Any scene where Marie bought things! It’s all so prettyyyyy

OMG NEWS: New Spartacus and Season 3 trailer out now!

25 Jul

Spartacus: Vengence is apparently ready and no words can describe my glee. I have waited for this season of Spartacus for so long! This is the season that Spartacus takes on the Roman Empire and I believe it will be the most epic yet! I mean firstly, we get the motley crew of Sparty, Crixus, and Doctore but also if the series follows history, then the love of my life, Gannicus, teams up with them to kick some Roman ass! Speaking of Roman ass, who else is dying to see Crassus and Pompey? I hope they make Pompey hot. After his portrayal in Rome, Pompey needs to redeem himself! I also want to see some Crassus antics and FINALLY to see Rome itself.

The only grey cloud on the horizon with this is the replacement of Spartacus himself. You may remember that Andy Whitfield was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma after season 1 which went into remission but then returned again last year. Andy stepped aside from the role of Spartacus understandably and I know that I personally will miss him very much in that role. However, Aussie actor Liam McIntyre has been cast as Spartacus in the upcoming season and he seems to be very promising indeed!

I mean i just did a double-take thinking that was Andy so he at least will be physically very similar which I approve of.  In an interview at Comic Con, Liam seems to be dedicated to the part: “I hope it all goes well,” says McIntyre, “The best thing I can do is work my ass off and do amazingly well,” (article here).

That’s all I ask for. I’m sure he’ll step up to the plate and that Season 3 will be just as epic as ever!

Season 3 comes out in next January, so 2012 will be an epic year all-round with new Spartacus, my graduation from college, and then subsequently, the Apocalypse. Cannot wait.

Gannicus. Nuff said

Camelot UPDATE

4 Apr

Anyone else watch the new Camelot? I’m going to risk sounding like Capitain Obvious and say that I did!

The show is growing on me, not gonna lie! I always know that I’m into a program when I find myself getting verbally and physically hostile towards my monitor and during this last episode…well, let’s just say THINGS GOT A BIT TENSE. Especially during a certain scene involving a waterfall (sounds dirty, but it’s not).
I am also very intrigued by Morgan this episode. I really get worked up when a series get intentionally vague in some aspects merely so that there will some “grand revelation” in a later episode and that is exactly what Starz (curse them!) are doing here. I guess we will just have to wait and see…which is going to kill my soul.

Before I take my leave, can I just have a wee rant? I have this thing about historical accuracy in costumes, it’s just a little tiny thing but it drives me absolutely Christian Bale crazy when programs try to sex up historical garments. FIRSTLY, Dark Age Britain was a pretty conservative place with all the Christianity going on so WHY are all of these women dressed like total skanks with no sleeves and plunging necklines. And even if that was acceptable, on a more practical note- are they not COLD?! I live in the UK and I would hardly dare venture out into the night air in what those harlots are wearing. SECONDLY- I said it with The Tudors and I’ll say it again but what is up with the strange headwear?! No headcovering of any sort seems to exist apart from circlets which I am pretty sure are a symbol of royalty…so why is everyone in the castle wearing one!?! and on a final note- VELVET?! Really, Guenievere…1970 called and it wants its material back…or forward…whatever.

Anywho, I have started watching Showtime’s The Borgias which is looking to be promising indeed. Yum, Jeremy Irons!

"Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking?"

Starz’s Camelot, A Short (yet thrilling) Review

22 Mar

Due to my ability to sniff out reboots of Arthurian legend like a bloodhound, I happened to chance across the preview of the new Starz series, Camelot. I think it can be established that I love Starz. After their absolutely FLAWLESS rendition of Sparatcus (both Blood and Sand & Gods of the Arena), I had put my faith into their wonderfully creative hands. So far, I have only seen the one episode (the season premiers officially April 1st) but I have hope for this new rendition of the Arthur story.

Firstly, you cannot go wrong with this cast. I have always harbored a girl crush on the incredibly talented and beautiful Eva Green and as always, she does not fail to deliver. Her portrayal of Morgan Le Fay is unnerving; ruthless and cunning, this version of Morgan will send you running for the hills! Of course, she is matched by the equally sexy -though not particularly in this role- Joseph Fiennes as the legendary Merlin. And this Merlin is not your typical wise, bearded but friendly old man. This Merlin is unsettling: he is ruthless in his mission to protect England, he is the anti-social genius, and at times he is impish. Joining these two amazing people is Jamie Cambell-Bower (previously seen as that hapless tard in Sweeney Todd, Anthony) as a LAD-ish Arthur and Peter Mooney as the LAD-at-arms brother to the future king, Kay. Not to mention the ULTIMATE BRO, James Purefoy as King Lot, adding the perfect cherry on top.

Is it just me or do all these photos look like a online dating advert?

Secondly, I’m liking the way the producers are pitching this show. They say that every generation needs a Camelot…perhaps they’re right. Also, they promise that this show is gonna show the story of Arthur in a way that has never been told before which totally peaks my already craycray curiosity. I’m a total sucker for Arthurian cinema and despite recent set back in the field, I think this show has a pretty good chance. The pilot to this show did not really do it justice, but neither did the pilot for Rome and that ranks amongst my all-time favorite shows ever! I think this first episode was meant to lay down the story line and introduce characters and I hope the next episode will take this foundation and epic-ize it.

"Hi, I'm Merlin and I like magic, adultery, and long meals by the fire. Call me."

So, I guess overall my verdict (after ONE episode) is that this show still has a way to go to prove itself but I remain hopeful towards its future. All I can say is that this show will either be a hit or a miss; it will be difficult to re-make the story of King Arthur but I challenge Starz to bring it. Game on!

BTW- Happy spring break everyone! So what if I developed a serious caffeine addiction and have not slept for the past month due to essay season!? My reward will come in the form of traveling to new places with dear friends, eatings lots of bread (sorry, diabetes!), dancing in the sunshine and exploring the glory of LIBERTY FROM RESEARCH! Huzzah!

5 Bastardizations of Famous Legends

9 Mar

1. King Arthur (2004)

Sometimes directors think its “edgy” and “COOL!!!” to reboot famous legends. I usually think this idea is “stupid” and “POINTLESS!”. Enter King Arthur, the worst of the reboots. In order to take a “fresh” look at a familiar story, the director of King Arthur decided to look at the legend of King Arthur in a “realistic” way. Problem #1: KING ARTHUR WAS NOT REAL! It’s a stupid idea to try to create a “historical” approach to the legend of King Arthur precisely for that reason: it’s a legend. It would be like trying to make a realistic approach to Jack and the Beanstalk. Or the Trojan War. Oh wait….yeah, it was not exactly THE BEST idea. Problem #2: By taking out all the “unrealistic” stuff, you take out all the fun magical stuff  as well. And the fun magical stuff makes the legend what it is!! If I’m watching Arthurian cinema, I wanna see at least one Avalon sighting!! This is why King Arthur is on this list and movies like Merlin and Mists of Avalon are not- because although the latter are a bit ridiculous, they embrace the crazy! Problem #3: Lancelot dies?!! I’m sorry but WTF? If this movie is trying so hard to be historically accurate, why is it dissing its only primary sources so hard? In pretty much every Arthurian legend Lancelot lives at least far enough into the story to get freaky with Guinevere….so why is this movie being so awkward about it?? IDK!

2. Tristan et Yseut (2002)

Adultery. Fornication. Crimes of passion. What do these things have in common? They are the things that make the story of Tristan and Isolde epic. They are also things you generally wanna keep on the DL around the kiddies. Not in France, though, where they recently created an animated version of Tristan and Isolde for the kiddies. So much is wrong with this. Firstly, how creepy are those animations?! And secondly, how can one even broach the topic of ‘lust’ in a child-friendly manner? “Though Isolde was married to Duke Marcus, all she wanted to do was hold Tristan’s hand”…NO! Not okay in the slightest. What makes Tristan and Isolde so legendary is its sexiness and the idea that Isolde just wants a hot young stud for her very own :( You just can’t create a PG version of this story, nuff said. At least the 2004 version has a got hot people in it (pre-stoner James Franco).

3. The Last Legion (2007)

So at first I was totally high-five-ing myself because I found a period movie with Colin Firth that does not involve him prancing about in hose and it had that sweet little kid from Love Actually but as per the usual…I was let down. The Last Legion ended up being one of those movies where I just have to turn to the person sitting next to me and LOL in their face because I could not take the events of the film seriously. It starts out as just one of those Romans on a mission movie (which is bad enough) and follows every lame cliché known to man: sexy female warriors, Colin Firth in a white shirt, cute kid, wise old and creepy man. But then it starts to butcher Arthurian legend!!! WHY!?!? As if it hadn’t offended me enough??? I want my funeral to include an open fire where people destroy DVDs of this film in my memory.

4. Hercules in New York

This movie is actually the funniest thing one can experience. I mean The Governator as Hercules?? It’s just KOOKY! However, as far as bastardizations of legends go, this is pretty much William of Normandy pre-conquering England. Yet, how can I hate this movie? It’s so bad, it’s good and it has the highest LOL factor of any movie on this list!! I can’t even watch the trailer without pausing it every 4 seconds to ROTFL. I’m pretty sure there is a scene where Hercules fights a bear in Central Park. All I can say is that I choose to think of this movie as a gift from glorious Zeus rather than a curse…and can you blame me?!? I will let Arnie himself show you:

ADDED BONUS: 

5. Beowulf (2007)

I don’t even know where to begin? Is it the horribly tacky 3D effects? Or the creepy eyes of the characters? OR BOTH? To be fair though, Beowulf, while not being the fully accurate portrayal of the century, is no king Arthur. I mean I totally fell asleep when we studied Beowulf in Medieval History, but even I don’t seem to remember a naked Angelina! I guess what bugs me the most about this whole film is how much they SUCKED at making Beowulf cool…which is not an easy task!! Beowulf is like the Middle Age version of Chuck Norris: he kicks your ass, does your mom, and fights sea monsters at impossible depths. The man is a machine!!! I think that if Beowulf saw this movie he would find the director, the animator, and high kick them into oblivion.

Happy 2011! and Some Announcements!

15 Jan

Well, happy 2011 everyone!! WordPress sent me this lovely update about my stats as a blog…which totally made me as happy as Hadrian in a bathhouse. So thank you so much everyone and have a lovely 2011!

Now update time. I am aware that I have been completely MIA and I really do have to apologize. I’ve had pretty insane semester at university (why didn’t anyone warn me that sleep would become an extracurricular activity?!?) but now I have slept and eaten all the chipotle I could manage and am ready to write anew.

Not to mention Spartacus: Gods of the Arena is coming out next week (the 22nd!) and I could not be more excited! So expect yours truly to share her take on that :)

Well thanks for bearing with me through this and without further ado: the stats that join us all together! I personally am humming ‘The Circle of Life’ while I read them but feel free to add your own soundtrack.

Crunchy numbers:

“A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

In 2010, you wrote 10 new posts, not bad for the first year!

Your busiest day of the year was November 19th with 46 views. The most popular post that day was ‘ 5 Most WTF Castings in Historical Movies’”

Thoughts and Prayers to Andy Whitfield

19 Sep

It is with a truly heavy heart that I return from my vacation to break some sad news. Andy Whitfield, star of Spartacus: Blood and Sand has been re-diagnosed with cancer. Mr. Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma this past March and it was announced earlier this summer that his cancer had gone into remission. However, it seems that the cancer has returned and that our beloved Bringer of Rain is departing from the program to undergo more serious treatment and to focus on his health.

Andy released this statement to People Magazine:

“It’s with a deep sense of disappointment that I must step aside from such an exceptional project as Spartacus and all the wonderful people involved. It seems that it is time for myself and my family to embark on another extraordinary journey.”

Starz has said it does not have any immediate plans for the future of the series, but extends their support to Andy and his family. Word is that the Spartacus prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena will be coming out January 2011 and will follow the gladiators of the House of Batiatus before the arrival of Spartacus. Read more here.

I would like to personally send my support and love to Andy and his family at this time and I know that with our thoughts and prayers it won’t be long till the Slayer of the Shadow of Death is back to kicking serious ass. Get better, Andy.

5 Most WTF Castings in Historical Movies

24 Aug

Cate Blanchett, Joaquin Phoenix, Ben Kingsley. What do these actors have in common? Their amazing portrayals of historical figures (as Elizabeth, Commodus, and Gandhi respectively), portrayals that were captured viewers and brought history to life. What do the following actors have in common apart from their crazy eyes? Ladies and Gentlemen, these are the 5 Most WTF Castings in Historical Movies.

1. Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII in The Tudors


A Venetian ambassador once described Henry VIII as “the handsomest potentate I ever set eyes on; above the usual height, with an extremely fine calf to his leg, his complexion very fair and bright, with auburn hair.” Historically speaking, Henry VIII was a ginger,around 6’2 (a giant in his day!), and as most importantly, English. So how on earth did the part of Henry VIII go to Jonathan Rhys Meyers, a small, dark, Irishman with crazy eyes?! As far as I’m concerned picking JRM to play Henry would be like picking Kevin Costner to play Robin Hood…oh wait. I don’t Henry would have approved of this!

This however, anyone would approve of

2. Daniel Defoe as Jesus Christ in The Last Temptation of Christ.

This performance has really taught me a lot about Jesus and his society. I mean, who knew Jesus was born in Brooklyn? Also, who knew that Jesus’ peers wold be so accepting of his randomly Nordic appearance.  (Sidenote: I also didn’t know that 1st century AD Judea was the first to discover the perm treatment!) I know this movie is not the high of realism, but Really, Martin Scorsese?! You’re gonna cast a scrawny blonde dude with crazy frog eyes and a Neeew Yorkah to play a Middle Eastern carpenter?  I just don’t see it! But then again Martin Scorsese is the one with Oscar so who’s to say who is right in this situation. Oh wait, I am. Ask wikipedia. To be honest, if Jesus was anything like the way Daniel Defoe played him, I highly doubt he would have gotten any followers. Daniel Defoe lacks any kind of spiritual charisma or air of goodness in his performance of Jesus and would perhaps have played Judas better. He’s certainly got the crazy frog eyes for the role.

3. The entire cast of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (sans Alan Rickman,who kicked serious ass)

I don’t even know where to begin with this movie. Okay, I’ll get the elephant out of the room: WTF KEVIN COSTNER? Who to pick for to play an English national icon? Oh I know, lets pick the most All-American guy out there! Kevin Costner’s ridiculous accent and his general outlook on life are that of a cowboy in the Wild West not an English lord in the Middle Ages. Did they really run out of English people to play Robin Hood? The townsfolk in this film are no better. They are either unapologetically American or a laughable parodies of Englishmen. I am genuinely surprised that the United Kingdom did not sue Hollywood for what Kevin Costner did to Robin Hood; surely it must be defamation of character?

4. Milla Jovovich as Joan of Arc in The Messenger

You know, I really can’t decide what made this director think Milla Jovovich was the best actress to play Joan of Arc: the crack he was on or the fact he was married to her. Milla Jovovich (sarcastic) interestingly (/sarcastic) chooses to TAAAALK LLIIIIIIIIIKE THISSSSSSSS!!!!!!!! throughout the whole film and her emotions fly from possessed to RAGE in a second. Not to mention, she makes Joan look like a crazy Eastern European hooker after doing too much coke. Milla, you may be hot and all but I think you need to tone down the crazy by at least 5 notches and then we might be able to talk.

5. Eddie Redmayne as anyone in anything.

Poor Eddie Redmayne. The only look in his arsenal is the constipated mouth breather look and when I first laid eyes on him, I doubted his career would reach far. But it did reach far- or at least far enough to murder some good characters in the world of historical fiction perhaps. Take for instance William Stafford from the Other Boleyn Girl: described a burley dude, very much a manly man. Naturally to piss me off, the studio cast Eddie Redmayne and his reedy body and weirdo face to play him. Eddie was also cast in Tess of the D’Urbervilles (2008) where he played Angel Clare. This annoyed me a little less because as a reader I have always found Angel to be most annoying, a habit both him and Eddie share. However, I did not imagine Angel to be so…hapless and stupid looking! At last, Eddie is currently playing Jack Jackson in the Starz adaption of Pillars of the Earth which infuriated me to no end. Jack is supposed to be a hot ginger (oxymoron, I know) and full of confidence yet Eddie Consistently makes him into a crazy-eyed mouth breathing freak. Thanks a lot Eddie. Now every time I see your stupid face in a poster, I shall avoid that movie like the plague.

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