Archives for posts with tag: Sean Bean

I watched Jupiter Ascending last night. What I’m left with now is more a mental montage of images, thoughts, ideas, and feelings than a coherent story to ponder. While I was watching I was aware of the plot and how it played out, but there was just so much going on onscreen that the finer points were buried.

That’s not to say I didn’t like it. I did. There was a lot to enjoy. The FX and cinematography were striking, the cast was solid, and the through line of the story compelling. I got it because Sean Bean is in it and was not disappointed in any way by his performance. Channing Tatum has really grown on me over the years. He’s a solid leading man now…and looks great with pointed ears! Mila Kunis was good, as well. She looked really beautiful in the elaborate wedding costume, though the pale purple dress was my favorite piece of clothing of the entire movie. Perhaps it was a little too Oscar ready for the setting, but it was really pretty. And I am partial to purple, you know.

There were some serious issues at the root of Jupiter Ascending. The idea of the earth being owned was disturbing. Even moreso that in the framework of this particular story it was a farm for the time stretching properties of juiced humans. One of my favorite things was the way that after her unexpected rise to royalty and ending up owning her homeworld, Jupiter went back to her old life, humbled and appreciative. That she also had a secret space age elf lord for a boyfriend and a pair of her own flying boots was the icing. Forget hoverboards in our time. I want those boots!

The thing about the fight, fight, fight imagery overload is that, for me at least, I start to get imaginary worlds battle fatigue. Don’t get me wrong. I love science fiction and action movies, ships, aliens, their cities, and landscapes. Always have. Always will. I just regret the way new movies often forget that just because you have awesome new technology that gets awesomer with every passing second you don’t have to cram every bit of it into one movie. George Lucas Syndrome. We all know what I’ms a talking about, don’t we, JarJar? I need more moments like the pristine snowfields of Hoth, marred only by the palpable heat and stench of a life saving eviscerated steed to rest my eyes and my mind from the frenetic, flaming image jammed background of the alien worlds where I live for the duration of a movie.

However, throw in Sean Bean, with hidden scars from the wings taken from his back, and that’s all the subtle, angst ridden mind and eye rest I need. Though I would have loved to see him fly briefly across a solitary sky.

Jupiter Ascending certainly provided a jam packed Entertainment O’rama. Not to mention a brief and subtle answer to where crop circles come from. I have a feeling that a second watch might provide more little did-I-really-see-that gems…if I can get my eyes to stay off the cool, shiny ships…and boots…for long enough to notice.

Jupiter Ascending Trailer #1 US

Here’s a really cool interview with Sean Bean from Entertainment Weekly. He talks about being Ned Stark, fun with Ned’s dead head, and muses about what might have been.

It’s intriguing that he’s never read any of the books. Funny, I thought I was the only person on the planet who could say that.

He’s such a prolific actor that it’s telling that he still thinks of Game of Thrones, especially to the extent he speaks of here. Powerful storytelling will do that to a person. It must be even more impactful when you’ve lived in a character and been deeply immersed in a fictional world in order to portray him.

I keep hoping for a dream sequence or something, someday, but it sounds like any Ned appearances are as elusive as his hopes and dreams for the family he left behind. What’s left of it….

As I’m still enjoying being thrilled that Sean Bean has a weekly TV series, TNT’s Legends, I found this little Entertainment Weekly slideshow very entertaining indeed. It shows pics of his death scenes from a half dozen of his roles. The best part is that each one is accompanied by an anecdote from Bean himself. Since it was Boromir’s beautiful, arrowstruck demise that made me a Sean Bean fan, I’m rather fond of that one. Others, like the infamous Dead Ned’s Head of Game of Thrones and the gruesome torn apart by horses swan song in Black Death, not so much. He seems cautiously optimistic that his state of mortality is in on upswing now, so hopefully he’ll be around for seasons and seasons of Legends. I thought the premiere on Wednesday was excellent, and a wonderful showcase for his enormous talent. When it’s time for the series finale though, all bets are off. I wonder if it will be impossible for them to resist the longstanding tradition of finding a new way to kill Sean Bean? Until then I intend to enjoy watching him transform himself into his character’s legends every week.

I don’t watch anywhere near as much TV as I used to. Over recent years I’ve whittled it down to a few favorites that go on for season after season, and tend to try one or two new shows a year. This time the new ones are The Crazy Ones and Almost Human, both of which I really enjoy.

The ones I’ve watched the longest from day one are Criminal Minds, the NCIS twins, Once Upon a Time, and The Big Bang Theory. Newer finds are Haven, Warehouse 13, Falling Skies, The Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead. And I have to throw in occasional bouts of Spongebob, because that’s the perfect show to chase away minor annoyances with its goofy yellow giggles.

Futurama deserves its own special difficultified category, because I love it so much. This year brought an awesome season that they insist really was the last one. At last. I add a whispered maybe, because it’s returned from the dead before. More than once…

Um…turns out I still watch quite a lot of TV. I guess I used to watch so much that the pruned back current version seems positively sparse. It seems like less since the seasons tend to be shorter and some series are summer only or split into two separate parts of a single season.

There’s usually an episode or two of all that I watch that take an emotional toll. This year has had so many that it’s been gutwrenching.

The worst one that comes to most minds is probably The Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding. That was absolutely a shocker, though I’m not as deeply involved as most fans. I’ve never read the books and only started watching the series because Sean Bean was in it. We all know how that ended after one season. I now refer to his character as Dead Ned’s Head. I didn’t watch the most recent season for quite a long time after it aired, so I’d picked up the general drift from frenzied wailing and gnashing of teeth that blew up Twitter. Then when I watched it, I’d thought it was one episode later than it was, and blindsided myself with watching it unexpectedly. It was painful, gory, and perhaps Michelle Fairley’s finest GoT moment. If a character has to go, it’s nice when their swan song is a tour de
force.

Whether he’s Rumple or his Storybrook counterpart Mr. Gold, the baddie we’ve loved to hate has had a rough Once Upon a Time season. His journey has had enough twists and turns to make even The Dark One queasy. His reunion with Pan led to the kind of twist/reveal fest that makes TV shine, and the road that led him down made me tumble into a rabbit hole lined with alternating layers of admiration and disappointment, until he redeemed himself grandly. The final fatal twist left me horrified, though if next season’s preview was to be believed you can’t keep a great bad guy down…or doomed…for long.

NCIS did it to me twice. I was sad to see Ziva leave, but devastated when near the end of the previous season they killed off her father. I’m a huge Michael Nouri fan and always looked forward to his appearances as the complicated, sometimes difficult, always riveting Eli David. Blindsided, horrified, jawdroppingly disappointed. I kept waiting for it to turn out to be a ploy…still waiting…not really waiting anymore. Sigh.

And then there’s The Walking Dead. I didn’t start watching that until they were at the farm. Just had a chance to figure out pretty much who everyone was…in time for Sophia to go into the barn. Daryl is my favorite character there. I was impressed with Norman Reedus all the way back to Dark Harbor, and that drastically increased from watching him on The Walking Dead. It’s probably easy to see this next part coming. My second favorite character? Why Hershel, of course. By the time the fall season finale was through with me, I was left wondering if I want to continue watching a show that can hurt me so much. Ridiculous, isn’t it? To feel so devastated by the fate of a fictional character. There it is, though. Hershel put the human and the humane in what was left of humankind, as the zombie apocalypse wore on year after year. The walkers walked on and the infected living fought to live. It’s one thing to fight against herds of unknowing undead, another entirely another to go up against a broken, depraved, vulnerable, psychopath like the Governor. First the can’t look away little girl in the flashflood walker trap and then the didn’t look away fast enough brutal, grisly (senseless?) use of Hershel as a way for the Governor to discharge at least the raw, initial explosion of grief and rage over losing a second little girl to the new normal. That sequence seemed to go on and on, leaving little room for satisfaction in what came after. I’ll probably keep watching the show. It’s got a rare finger on the pulse of the place where bloody horror meets humanity at its worse…and finest. But I’ll be wary from now on, watching for the defining moments that gut me where I sit.

So it was a difficult TV year. I’ll hold out at least a little hope that 2014 will bring a little glee for Daryl and Michonne shippers, a fun and adventurous reboot for transplanted Storybrookers, and for Joffrey to fall face first into a dung heap…full of flies…with his entire kingdom watching…at the very least. However, at the same time I’ll be bracing for a not so charming ever after, for the rest of the Starks to fall into new ruin, and a new big bad that makes the Governor look like Gandhi. At least one of those shows will still manage to blindside me anyway.

I hope.

Black Death is one of those movies I watch entirely because it stars an actor whose career I follow. While I’m interested in historical sword and chainmail movies, any supernatural horror element usually puts me off. However, though the plot hinged on finding the cause of a small village being untouched by plague, it was to me a minor player compared to the greater, more thought provoking insights into devotion, loyalty, faith, and courage. It also provided an uncomfortably clear window into what Dark Ages life was like, and just how brutal battle could be.

Most movies covering all eras depict hand to hand conflict in a stylized way that can make it almost beautiful to watch, poetic and at times balletic. Black Death went for the jugular. As I watched the flash of sword and fierce concentration of self-preservation, light glinting off swinging blades and bits of realistic looking human flesh flying about like ash from a disturbed fire, it was as if the screen were a door and I had inadvertently opened it, waiting one step away from walking into the Dark Ages. At times I held my breath, and I will admit that at times I no longer looked, yet I was mesmerized by the almost too real experience of life and death struggle playing out on a flickering screen in my darkened living room.

In contrast to the less gruesome depictions I’ve seen of such combat, Black Death’s band of truth seekers, hacked, chopped, and gouged their way through a living gauntlet of death on the move. While their world fought for its own collective life against an affliction none truly understood, these men fought a parallel battle against ignorance, cruelty, and pure evil. Zealotry of an ilk that wrapped it up in pious self-righteousness, an enemy that left few weapons in a thinking man’s arsenal.

I applaud all involved for the attention to detail, dedication to a depiction that while it repelled it also enlightened, and the way that somehow even in the face of such brutality the movie left me with a respect for the band of believers bravely seeking a truth they might have better left undisturbed.

Many will see it as violence porn and relish it as such or walk away, but I hope that even those will stop to draw a breath and look beyond the horror of it to the beauty of the cinematography, the acting, directing, writing, and everything else that went into making it a film watching experience that has the ability to make a person think long after it’s over, about things they might not have considered before about our distant past.

The actor who was the reason I watched it? Sean Bean…an incredibly talented man, most gloriously known for his brilliant portrayal of Boromir in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, who is a joy to watch whatever role he plays. He brings a nobility, intelligence, and devotion to his character in Black Death that elevates it far above any one part of its sum.

Black Death Trailer

Most of the movies I watch are ones I pick because one (or more) of my favorite actors is in it.  I just watched Age of Heroes solely because Sean Bean stars, after grabbing it previously viewed when I saw his face on the box.

Since he’s the reason I watched it, I’ll start by saying he is as wonderful as in everything else I’ve seen him in. He also looks amazing, with dark, close cropped hair and in the dashing WWII uniforms of the British major he portrays, wearing the period costumes so well he looks as if he were born for them. He carries off the challenges, grit, and courage of his character so beautifully that he disappears into the major and makes me forget the actor embedded within. That is the kind of talent that still makes me cry over Boromir, even when I just come across LotR:FotR in passing on TV.

The movie itself is a harrowing account of a British commando team with a vital mission to gather intel on enemy radar technology. I didn’t realize until I read the description under the trailer on YouTube that it’s a true story involving Ian Flemming.

Among the horrors of war lie instances of heroism, courage, and perseverance. The gorgeous mountain scenery is a breathtaking contrast to the deadly nature of the mission.

This movie is not for everyone. It’s brutally violent in places and contains strong language. I don’t think this story would have been adequately told without either. It has a very gritty, real feel to it. Not the kind of thing the word enjoy feels right for, it demands attention and respect, and leaves me thoughtful and impressed.

Age of Heroes trailer