RA Addiction: Sir Guy, how despicable yet handsome can you get?

I have a nightly dose of Richard Armitage by watching Robin Hood. In Episode 2 titled, “Sheriff Got Your Tongue,” there’s only a brief appearance of Sir Guy at the beginning. I was lamenting on the fact when my mom pointed out that Robin is the lead and Sir Guy is one of the villains. Oh, ok… 😀 Nevertheless, his brief appearance took my breath away. I’ve included some of the photos for everyone’s pleasure.

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In the third episode, “Who Shot The Sheriff,” I think there’s more of Sir Guy compared to the previous episode. I just love it when he smirks and he glares at people with his piercing blue eyes. But I also liked the way he smiles a bit when Marian is around. I just wish that I’m her. Ha ha. This is total fangirling. Some photos are included in the slide show as well. Anyways, the sheriff gets on my nerves while Much is soo funny. I like his punch lines.

Now, I’m down to the last episode of my free DVD copy. I dread watching the fourth episode tomorrow night. I do not think that I will be able to go on without obtaining the next episodes. Where, oh where will I get them?


RA Addiction: Sir Guy of Gisborne is Hot!

I have two approaches of de-stressing or relieving stress: READING and FANGIRLING/FANDOM. Such approaches can also be seen as forms of escapism. Sometimes, a workaholic like me needs a break from it all.

Anyway, I was ecstatic over acquiring a DVD copy of Robin Hood (BBC series) and I wrote my story here. It turns out that the copy I have features the first four episodes of Series One. Hurray! My only problem now is how to get the succeeding 35 episodes. *sigh* Oh well…

I confess that I’m watching the series because of the handsome and brilliant Richard Armitage, who plays the villainous Sir Guy of Gisborne. So in the first episode, “WILL YOU TOLERATE THIS?,” I was more anxious of Sir Guy’s appearance than that of Robin of Locksley, who by the way, is played by Jonas Armstrong.

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I find Robin actually charming and cute. But what can I do? Sir Guy is so intense and broodingly handsome. My mom who saw a glimpse of Mr. Armitage’s photo as John Thornton in my laptop and mobile phone already remarked on his good looks. But she was even more impressed when she saw him in Robin Hood. And so it turns out that my Mom is my Robin Hood-buddy.

Episode 1 was fun to watch. It was very entertaining. My mom and I would laugh so hard in those funny moments. I would often find my self waiting with bated breath for Sir Guy. He has such deep and rich voice that I melt every time he speaks . I cannot wait to see more of Sir Guy again. Now, I’m reduced to puppy-eyed fangirl. Ha ha.

I’m seriously thinking of going around hunting for the succeeding episodes. I fear that I would not rest until I have acquired all of it.

Mr. Armitage, see what you’ve done to a woman like me?

Surprise Find: Robin Hood BBC Series

Surprise! Surprise! Just when I thought that I would not be able to find any work of Richard Armitage here in the country, this DVD landed on my desk! Actually, this copy was bought by one of my staff assuming that the copy she is buying is the Robin Hood movie starring Russell Crowe. Hah! It turned out that the copy is that of the BBC series starring Jonas Armstrong as Robin and of course, Richard Armitage as the dark and villainous Sir Guy of Gisborne. *swoons*

My staff member knows that I love Richard Armitage because I use his photo as my avatar in my yahoo messenger and was so kind and sweet enough to give me the DVD. Yes! However, the copy contains only four episodes and I’m not sure yet what episodes are those. I’m positive that this would only whet my appetite; I know that I would be restless until I find the other 35 episodes. Poor me!

Anyway, it’s better that I have 4 episodes of him than nothing at all. 😀

Obsessing over Richard Armitage

image from flyhigh-by-learnonline.blogspot.com

I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it but I just have to blog about him. Period.

I recently discovered Richard Armitage when I came across “North and South,” a miniseries produced and aired by BBC in 2004. In the series, Richard Armitage, a relatively unknown actor, portrayed John Thornton.  His compelling portrayal of the young  cotton mill owner was considered a breakthrough performance as he earned critical acclaim as well as legions of fans (mostly female, but of course!). Moreover, it paved the way for his career as he also landed on several meaty roles: the villainous Sir Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood (2006-2009),  as Harry Jasper Kennedy in The Vicar of Dibley (2006-2007), and the sexy and mysterious Lucas North in Spooks (2008-present), to name a few.

As John Thornton

Different faces of John Thornton (Richard Armitage) -1

John Thornton is a self-made man who knew what it is like to have nothing. He incessantly worked hard to improve his family’s dire conditions. He is seen by his workers as a strict and no-nonsense employer. He, in turn, sees and treats his workers as “hands” which makes him appear rather tough and uncaring. His world was turned upside down when he meets Margaret Hale with whom he instantly likes. Margaret, however, dislikes him.  Differences in background and beliefs compounded with misunderstandings and prejudices, John and Margaret each has to struggle and realize different aspects of life they have never explored before.

Different faces of John Thornton (Richard Armitage) -2

Richard Armitage (RA) depicted John Thornton as the ultimate brooding romantic hero.  Although his characterization is described as serious, tough and yes, brooding (he will be best remembered for this), he managed to let the audience see that his character has this certain vulnerability. And that John, too, has his own strengths as well as weaknesses. Despite being imposing and stern, RA was able to engage the audience by his charm.  He absolutely nailed it! I would say that RA is a brilliant and an effective actor to be able to make the audience fall in love with John Thornton who is a very complex man. RA’s deep and rich voice, endearing smile and smoldering eyes were a great addition to the delightful package of Mr. Thornton. It’s no wonder why I’m obsessively in love with John Thornton and Richard Armitage.

Different faces of John Thornton (Richard Armitage) - 3

I just wish that I have more access to his works. I have only seen “North and South” and I was wondering if his other works are available here in the country. Oh well, I’ll check and maybe, just maybe, I’d find some DVDs soon. In the meantime, I’ll continue to daydream about him. *swoons*

Credits:  Images in the collage are from richardarmitageonline.com

A weekend with Jane Austen, Part 3 (Last Part)

Alas! My Jane Austen weekend has come to an end. It was a wonderful way to cap the weekend by watching the movie, Emma (1996); BBC’s Emma (2009) and another movie, Becoming Jane (2007).

Emma 1996 (image from erasofelegance.com)

Emma (1996) stars Gwyneth Paltrow as the young, pretty and rich Emma Woodhouse and Jeremy Northam as the charming, reticent but kind Mr. George Knightley. It was really surprising to see Ms. Paltrow, an American actress, portray an Englishwoman. I found her English accent a bit weird but as the movie progressed, I became quite used to it. Paltrow, an actress blessed with classical features, had so much poise and gracefulness which just made it work. On the other hand, Jeremy Northam was splendid as Mr. Knightley. He is hot!!! I love how his facial expressions conveyed his feelings and how he delivered his lines. I particularly liked when he spars with Emma and when he scolds her. The film was entertaining and funny indeed. My only gripe with film is that events were much too compressed that there’s not much room for character development.

Emma 2009 (image from © BBC 2009)

In the recent BBC production of Emma (2009), I was really happy to find a familiar face. Jonny Lee Miller, who earlier portrayed Edmund Bertram in the 1999 version of Mansfield Park, is back as the quick-witted and charming George Knightley. I adored him in Mansfield Park even though his character there took a long time to realize his feelings for the heroine. But I believe that he was a great choice as Mr. Knightley because he absolutely nailed it. He was exceptional with his scenes with Emma, particularly when he is arguing with her, scolding her, goading her, or when they are just having a good time. Such a consummate actor! On the other hand, it is my first time to see Romola Garai but I liked her as Emma Woodhouse. Her Emma is youthful, clever and witty. Garai and Miller are great together. I loved how their argument scenes (there were several) were really played out, with both sides arguing their cases well. Another delightful surprise was the presence of Michael Gambon as Mr. Woodhouse. I was taken aback and I had to take a second look when he first appeared because I could only think of one thing: That’s Dumbledore!! He was such a dear old man, Mr. Woodhouse er, Mr. Gambon.

The advantage of a mini-series is that events are not rushed and forced unlike in the movies. Furthermore, there is much room for character development and event build-up. I liked how Mr. Knightley’s realization of his true feelings for Emma was depicted. It’s not rushed and forced. I think, this is the best adaptation of Emma I have seen.

Becoming Jane (image from http://www.tribute.ca)

Becoming Jane (2007) explores the untold story of Jane Austen, one of the greatest writers in English Literature. Jane is being pressured by the family to marry. But being a woman far ahead of her time, she refuses unless it is for love. She meets Tom Lefroy, a lawyer who is dependent on his uncle and his fortune. They both started on the wrong footing but eventually fell in love. However, the couple is faced by numerous obstacles – family, friends and fortune. Anne Hathaway, an American actress, plays the feisty, opinionated Jane. Anne was alright but I think a better actress might have been able to portray Ms. Austen. On the other hand, James McAvoy portrays Tom Lefroy who breathed life into his character brilliantly, so much so, that I wanted to love and hate him at the same time. The film left me with a bittersweet feeling, no matter how I am used to see such kind of endings.

The film gives an inside look of what might have been the secret life of Ms. Austen. I have read that Ms. Austen never married and I surmised that for a writer who created wonderful stories with happy endings – heroines marrying the men they love, she must have had loved deeply. That in her short life, she must have had, as poets and writers gush about, “that one great love.”

Discovering North and South (BBC miniseries, 2004)

image from selina.yichi.org

It was quite an accident when I discovered a period drama of a gem. I was researching for British period dramas and was actually on a marathon watching several Jane Austen film and TV adaptations when I came across “North and South.” Viewers were singing praises about it and decided to take the plunge. And wow! I’m glad I did.

Based on Elizabeth Gaskell’s Victorian novel, the series has both political and social overtones. It explores England’s industrial and “gritty” North and the agricultural and cultured South. The heroine (Margaret Hale) and her family moved from the Southern town of Helstone to the Northern industrial town of Milton. Margaret longs for her life in the South and detests Northern ways. She also develops an aversion to the young cotton mill owner, John Thornton, because she witnessed an encounter between Mr. Thornton and one of his employees that puts him in a bad light, at least in Margaret’s eyes. On the other hand, John is besotted with Margaret because of her spirited, outspoken and sometimes haughty demeanor.  Matters between the two worsen when different issues were thrown in their paths.  Amidst the rather “bleak and dark” backdrop, these two people from entirely different backgrounds struggle through first impressions and misunderstandings and ultimately, realize where the other person is coming from. And yes, they do discover a whole lot more.

So, what is addicting about this series? What has made me into a raving lunatic, swooning fan, and obsessed follower?

Richard Armitage as the brooding John Thornton

Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale

Sandy Welch‘s screenplay is just as awesome and Brian Percival‘s direction is seamless. The supporting cast was also good in their performances. But I would rather focus on the two actors for breathing life into their characters by way of their brilliant characterizations. Daniela Denby-Ashe who portrayed the young, outspoken and caring Margaret Hale was delightful. However, it was the compelling presence of the relatively unknown Richard Armitage which glued me to my computer screen and endure long hours of streaming from Youtube just to watch this series. His portrayal of the brooding John Thorton was absolutely riveting!  He was able to convey his feelings even with subtle facial expressions and body language. And the EYES, the EYES! His eyes were so expressive – all that brooding and smoldering! He just smoldered, my goodness! Oh, I couldn’t help but wish I am Margaret, the object of his affection. 😉

Other aspects of the production were also outstanding, particularly, the music and cinematography. The music was haunting enough, I was blown away by the musical scores. The cinematography, on the other hand, while it focuses more on the bleak and dirty industrial setting gives it more realism.

I understand now why it has had a cult-like following after it has been aired and why it continues to draw newbie fans, such as myself, even after 6 years. North and South is a treasure!  It is now one of my all-time favorites. I have seen the series a week ago but I can’t seem to stop talking, thinking and obsessing about it. I want to get a DVD really bad but I think I have to wait for someone in the US to buy it for me. Though I have recently acquired an ebook edition of the novel, I would certainly love to have my own hard copy of the book. And maybe one day, I’ll write something about the novel itself. In the meantime, I just have to start reading it.

John and Margaret

Credits: Photos from richardarmitageonline.com and jrinla.com

A Weekend with Jane Austen

I was sick over the weekend. To pass the time and to amuse myself, I watched several film adaptations of some of Jane Austen’s novels.

I’m going to be in a fangirl mode and talk about the “heroes” of the films.

image from janeausten.co.uk

I already watched “Sense and Sensibility” years ago but it was a great treat to watch it all over again. I love Alan Rickman, who in the said film, played Colonel Brandon. He is such a wonderful actor. Mr. Rickman is also known as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. I just found out that there is a 2008 adaptation of the said title, I will watch it when I have time.

image from pbs.org

And then I saw “Persuasion”. I adore Captain Frederick Wentworth who is dashing, handsome and very charming. Rupert Penry-Jones was the perfect actor to play the said character. The epitome of an English gentleman! I cannot help but swoon whenever he appeared on screen. Hot! Hot! Hot! *sigh*

I also got to see two versions of “Pride and Prejudice.” The earlier version was the 1995 BBC mini-series where I fell in love not only with the heroine, Elizabeth Bennet but also her counterpart, Mr. Darcy, which were portrayed by Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth respectively. Ms. Ehle gave life to her character magnificently! She is so charming, beautiful and witty! I really love her face! And Darcy, my Mr. Darcy! Colin Firth breathed life into such “complex character.”  He was perfection! I just love it when he appears on screen. I cannot help but think of a similar character, one I also love, who appeared in one Korean series (but of course!) – the infamous Maestro Kang/Kang Mae.

image from erasofelegance.com

On the other hand, I find the 2005 movie version quite lacking but I would admit it has its moments. Mr. Darcy’s rendition of his two proposals to Elizabeth were quite romantic and passionate.  And Matthew Macfadyen who played Mr. Darcy was good looking and smashing compared to Colin Firth. But…I’d still prefer Colin’s Mr. Darcy anyway. I found Keira Knightley who played Elizabeth Bennet a bit bland.

image from lovefilm.com

I guess I love the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice because the chemistry between Ehle and Firth was undeniable. Furthermore, both actors gave outstanding characterizations. I also didn’t like how the film was compressed into 2 hours and 9 minutes, which sacrificed a lot of significant developments in the lives of the characters in the novel. The series, however, encapsulated the important events and dialogues, consistent with the novel.

image from erasofelegance.com

I would love to watch other film adaptations of Ms. Austen’s novel. I believe, there are a few still that I have to look for. Meanwhile…where can I find my Mr. Darcy? 😉