Category Archives: Films

Advent Calendar Day 19 & 20: Not Again

This year has felt like a sort of groundhog day type year, the same stuff over and over again, and I don’t just mean in terms of the mistakes I’ve made. I wish I just meant that. With Monday’s night events it feels all so very familiar, indeed the same things are said all over again. The same hatred and racism is brought to the fore. Lots of things are said but little changes. A lot of people are ignorant of what’s going on in the wider world and they want it to stay that way. Syria seemed like a place far away and so the events there could be ignored, except now such things are happening right on Europe’s doorstep. And some people’s answer, to ban all refugees from entering Europe. To refuse to help the very people who are trying to escape things like this. I don’t know, nothing makes any sense, I’m not sure anything ever did. I just don’t understand how anyone could be so blinkered and ignorant not to care what’s going on there. The fact it’s so faraway should make no difference, nor that the people are of a different nationality or religion. People are people no matter where they’re from. It certainly doesn’t feel right to be celebrating Christmas whilst all this is going on.

Monday was not a good day anyway, and it become less of one because of what I woke up to. Just when you think you have a shot at getting back on track something else goes wrong. In reality I don’t think it had a shot of going right, I just wanted to believe it could. Everything feels just about as pointless as it’s ever done, yet I can’t stop writing or doing any of this. I’ve seen what happens when I do that, no matter how pointless it seems you have to carry on. A few days ago (I’m not sure which one exactly) I was watching The Counsellor, I don’t know why I decided to rewatch it, I didn’t think much of it the first time round. I felt drawn to it for some reason. I saw it at the cinema when it was released with a friend. Before seeing it I thought it would be good and they thought the opposite, after seeing it our positions were reversed. They said it was better than they expected and I was disappointed with it. I’m not sure I can articulate why exactly, I do however know why it angered me. The main character doesn’t care about the violence in Mexico when he has the potential to make money from it, he only cares when it affects him, when it’s someone he loves that gets hurt. Which is kind of like the situation now I suppose. The majority of people don’t care what’s happening somewhere else as long as it’s not affecting them. I’m not sure why it bothers me so much or why I can’t stop thinking about all this, maybe it’s because I’m often accused of lacking empathy, clearly that’s not true.

I have plenty of distractions but none of them are working, I don’t feel much like watching football, I couldn’t focus on tonight’s game in which Dortmund drew 1-1 with Augsburg. I don’t think the game made any difference, had I watched Gladbach’s game I probably would have felt the same. It’s a good thing I didn’t watch their game in fact, I would have felt even worse. After losing again there’s a good chance Gladbach will be parting ways with Andre Schubert before Christmas. I hope Wednesday’s game does a better job of distracting me, though at the same time it feels wrong but then almost everything does. Even writing this but I had to, I couldn’t not write it. As suffocating as routine is it can be comforting too, and sometimes it’s a little of both. Truth is without routine I wouldn’t know what to do.

Speaking of routine that brings me to the final part of the post, the advent calendars. Behind door number 19 in the Freiburg one was summer signing Janik Harberer and in the Dortmund one Andre Schürrle. And behind door number 20 was Julian Schuster and Roman Weidenfeller. Harberer scored his first Bundesliga goal the weekend before last against Leverkusen, he also got the assist for Niederlechner’s equaliser against Schalke last weekend:

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Captain America: Civil War Panini Album

There wasn’t a sticker album for The Winter Soldier, none that I could find anyway which is a shame. Had they made one there would have been a lot of Bucky stickers, not only that but there wouldn’t be any of Iron Man. Unfortunately he gets a whole four pages whilst Bucky only gets one. At least I did get three Bucky stickers in the first lot I bought, quite a few Iron Man ones as well though annoyingly. One thing I’m grateful for is that I only opened it after seeing the film, because just like the Avengers one the plot of the film is in there. Anyhow the album and my favourite stickers so far:

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Solitude

Time alone is very important to me, solitude is not a luxury but an essential. I just don’t have a great deal of tolerance for being around other people, regardless of whether I want to be or not. So it stands to reason that today has been a very trying day. I’ve had twelve near continuous hours of social time, I’ve not been by myself for more than ten minutes all day. It’s a price worth paying for getting to see the Captain America triple bill and the all important midnight screening of Civil War. It’s a price I’ll be paying for dearly in the days to come. I’m already paying for it now in fact. Too much social time and having to adjust to being in a strange place at the same time means I can’t sleep. All I need is some time alone, not just from the person with me but from my own thoughts. My goal originally was to write something for my “Fallen Soldier” story before seeing Civil War, it didn’t work out quite so well. I have a lot of notes but so far no actual story. Seeing The Winter Soldier again fixed that. I now know how to start and have a few ideas for later on as well. Problem is I need to write them down now so I can sleep, if I don’t they won’t stop bothering me and I won’t get any sleep anyway.

Although I’m sure I would be having trouble sleeping anyway right now thanks to the end of Civil War, I can’t believe they froze Bucky. Just in case him having his arm torn off by Iron Man wasn’t enough, now he’s back on ice as well. I hope it’s a Han Solo type deal, him being unfrozen in the next film. Up till then the film was perfect, I certainly enjoyed seeing Iron Man getting smashed up and the scene with Antman going giant was just priceless. So many one liners and witty exchanges, too many to remember in fact so I’m glad I’m seeing it again later today. I have a feeling it won’t be the last time I see it either.

The only complaints I have is the fact Daniel Brühl was not in it much, a shame since I liked seeing him playing a different kind of character. Two things I have to mention, it was strange hearing him call Bucky by his actual first name James, weird because of course he played Niki Lauda in Rush, his rival and sort of friend being James Hunt. Second of all Daniel looked different, I can’t put my finger on it but he reminded me of how he looked in Rush a little, before the accident obviously. The other complaint is that there wasn’t enough of Sebastian, I would have liked more scenes delving into his and Captain America’s friendship, hopefully that’s to come in one of the next installments. As for German related trivia, the airport they fought at was in Leipzig, I hope that’s a good omen for later on. I don’t expect Bielefeld to smash Leipzig, holding them to a draw would do. Now I am rambling, it’s not a good mix at all. Popcorn, cookies, a late night and now too many ideas. I can’t wait to get home so I can be by myself again. I was fairly certain I could never live with someone else anyway, I mean actually choosing to because I do live with other people right now, it’s just not by choice. Now I have the proof that even choosing to live with someone may not work, I really do need my own space and a lot of it. This is just one day and night and I’m already going crazy. If it’s loneliness or this then the latter is definitely the better option.

The Education of Charlie Banks: Sebastian Stan Pictures

The hunt for my favourite Sebastian film continues, this one wasn’t quite so bad as the previous one but it’s not something I’ll be watching again. This time Sebastian plays a rich preppy jerk named Leo who has more money than common sense and who doesn’t seem to give a damn about anyone but himself. My main reason for not enjoying the film a great deal is Jessie Eisenberg, he just always feels like the same character, no matter what film of his you’re watching. He’s the main character Charlie who meets Leo at college. The film centers around Charlie, his friend Danny and their mutual friend Mick. The latter is not a pleasant character and is the source of much conflict. You’re meant to feel sorry for him but it’s not easy to. He may have a had a difficult upbringing and his life isn’t easy but that doesn’t give him the right to act like a thug and attack other people. Though some people would argue the treatment he meted out to Leo was warranted. He was being a jerk and his actions could have cost the girl her job, yet he didn’t care. Because he’s rich and has no concept of having to work for a living. But then you could argue Charlie and Danny equally have no concept of such things. At the beginning of the film when he’s defending his involvement with Leo and why what he does is not so bad Danny claims that he’s not rich, his parents are. That kind of logic is totally bogus, who does he think pays for his stuff and later on to send him to college? He’s certainly not working his way through college like some people have to. His indulging of Mick’s dangerous behaviour is a way of sort of living through him. He can’t or won’t take chances like that but he can encourage Mick to.

In some way both Danny and Charlie are complicit in what Mick does because both of them could have turned him into the police and didn’t. If Charlie had not backed out of his witness statement all those years ago it’s possible Mick wouldn’t have been out to be able to kill or harm someone else. On the matter of being complicit, Leo’s friends play a part in his behaviour too. They don’t take his behaviour very seriously when he almost costs someone their job, they don’t laugh it off but they don’t pull him in line either. Because out of all of them Mick is the only one who knows what’s it like to worry about money that way. Yet it still doesn’t excuse his reaction, Leo may have deserved to be put straight but violence never solves anything and he certainly wouldn’t have learnt anything from the experience.

I guess the film was interesting and raised some interesting questions about what people become and if they are destined to be that way. If those things can change or are set in stone. Whether or not what happens to people growing up has to define who they become as adults. Whilst it was interesting it also lacked the final punch, I didn’t find the end convincing. At the beginning of the film Mick is shown beating up two jocks in a matter of minutes and with no real problem. Yet when it comes to beating up Charlie who should pose no problem it goes on forever even though Charlie isn’t fighting back. I’m also not sure that Mick would be able to stop himself from stomping on him, nor by how Charlie sees the situation. That it was a graduation of sorts, that Mick didn’t make that final blow because he cares about him or discovered his humanity or whatever. Another thing I was disappointed by was the lack of an explanation for why Mick was so interested in Danny. With the scene in his dorm they seemed to hint at some kind of romantic interest on Mick’s part but it never came up again. Anyhow, I did get some nice pictures of Sebastian. His character may have been a jerk but he was a handsome one:

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The Covenant: Sebastian Stan Pictures

Another Friday night with more of Sebastian Stan. This time round was The Covenant, it didn’t look promising from the description on the back of the case but then it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve sat through a terrible film for an actor I like. If I can put up with a terrible film for James Spader or Vincent D’Onofrio then I can do so for Sebastian. Though this one really tested my patience with rich kids, witches and plenty of teenage angst. Not to mention lame special effects and terribly predictable dialogue. The acting wasn’t great either. I always like to try and find something good in a film, just one redeeming feature. And I mean one other than how cute Sebastian looked or how much screen time he got, I guess it had it’s creepy moments, the spider nightmare and the darkling were pretty good.The scene in the shower where she’s convinced someone was watching her was very atmospheric too. On the counts of both character and plot development however, well almost non-existent would be the only fair word to describe both. Definitely not one to watch again. Up next on my Sebastian list is The Education of Charlie Banks, here’s hoping that will be one that’s worth a rewatch. Not that I could get sick of The Winter Soldier but it would be nice to add another Sebastian film to my favourites shelf:

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The Apparition: Sebastian Stan Pictures

Tonight I watched my first non Marvel Sebastian Stan film. I borrowed it from someone who’s a huge fan of him and they assured me it was scary so I was excited about getting to see it. I don’t watch many horror films because I don’t scare that easily so I don’t see the point. Other than getting a lot of cute Sebastian pictures this film was a disappointment in pretty much every way. Sebastian was ok, I don’t want to criticize not just because I like him but because he didn’t have a lot to work with. It was a pretty weak script, it’s not so much that I can’t find anything good to say about it but that I can’t really find anything to say about it. It was just kind of meh, for lack of a better word. I could see the moments where it was meant to be creepy but I wasn’t feeling it, I didn’t jump or get scared at any point during the film. And I didn’t cheat, I watched late at night with all the lights switched off but still no reaction.

It wasn’t scary and not interesting either. The story is when Sebastian’s character Ben was in college he and some fellow students attempted to conjure up a spirit of some kind. It went wrong and now that spirit is haunting them both. Tom Felton who’s best known as playing Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films plays his friend Patrick. So strange things start to happen, furniture moving, doors being left open and plants dying until things start to get steadily worse. Long story short his girlfriend Kelly finds the video of the experiment and she asks him to leave because he didn’t tell her about it.

They end up in a hotel where the spirit tries to kill her, because it’s not the house that’s haunted but them. Ben and Patrick try to send the spirit back where it came from but it didn’t work. Patrick gets taken by it and so does Ben when he and Kelly go to Patrick’s safe room. They get in the room and then he disappears. I have to admit that was kind of a neat trick. You think they’ve got to the safe room, so they’re safe. After all it’s where Patrick’s been hiding these past two years. I wonder if that means the spirit could have taken him anytime he wanted, if he was just toying with him. Because that is the worst thing such a spirit can inflict upon people, that kind of mental torture where they don’t what to trust or what’s going to happen next, the never knowing of if you’re safe. So I guess there is one good thing about the film other than how cute Sebastian Stan looked. Kelly gets taken by it too, though it’s not at all clear where she is. They didn’t show what became of Ben and Patrick. He mentioned purgatory, I wonder if that empty mall was her version of that. She hides in a tent but it gets her anyway. I don’t know what the point of that was. If maybe by putting the tent there it was providing her with the illusion she was going to get away. Toying with by making her feel safe and then scaring her to death. Or if it was meant to be symbolic of her denial of the situation. I don’t really care what happened to any of them, the film didn’t do a great job of making you care for any of them. If I didn’t like Sebastian Stan I wouldn’t have cared what happened to him.

Anyhow, to the good stuff. I figured since I put up pictures of Jogi from every match I watch why not do the same for Sebastian Stan and his films as I see them:

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The Winter Soldier Obsession

For a while I’ve been thinking that I want to write something different, something that isn’t connected to Jogi, Hansi or Manuel. I’ve had a few ideas but none that have stuck and the two I had last week are too depressing. They are good ideas and I think I might use them in the future, they just don’t feel right for now. I don’t need anything to encourage such feelings. I was starting to think I’d never get a non-obsession related idea. I was partly correct. Because I do have a new idea but it’s an obsession related one. Though as the title suggests, it’s most definitely not a Jogi or Hansi idea. For the first time in a long while I have an obsession which is unrelated to football. It’s ironic because my previous film related obsession was connected to CA:TWS too, my last film related obsession being Thomas Kretschmann who played Baron von Strucker.

The past week I’ve been reading Bucky fan-fiction. I read it on someone else’s recommendation and I have to admit I wasn’t keen at first. In the end I couldn’t resist, especially seeing as how CA:TWS is my favourite Marvel film. As it turns out combine the winter soldier and autism and you have my complete attention. So much so that I’m very disappointed it’s just fan-fiction, I can easily picture it as I’m reading it and I’m disappointed that I’ll never get to actually see Bucky in those scenarios.

Whilst I’m enjoying it I’m not entirely happy with it and thinking over some of the things which bothered me I started to wonder how I thought the story should be and how Bucky should be. For one thing I don’t like the idea Bucky is so quickly back to normal in some ways. I started thinking about how much more drawn out I’d like the process of his recovery to be. I made a note of an idea last weekend, it was intriguing but not quite right. The basic idea was there but the pieces didn’t fit. Now it fits, now I have my complete idea. Not only that but I have a few pages of notes and a working title, all I have to do is get started.

It’s good timing because my transitions story has hit a wall, I’ve got the next few chapters outlined but I’m having trouble getting back into it. I shouldn’t be too hard on myself, I’m up to 81 completed pages. I think I may have been spending a little too much time with Matze lately, taking a break wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world. The last chapter I just finished was more than a little intense. As it turns out writing about meltdowns can be almost as intense and exhausting as experiencing them in real life. Though it was worth it to write it and a most fascinating experience, to see the situation from someone else’s point of view. To see how scary it can be when you have to protect someone from themselves.

I just watched CA:TWS last weekend but I had to see it again so earlier this morning I watched both it and the first Captain America film in one sitting. I wanted to test a theory, to see if I like Bucky as much as I do the winter soldier. Or as my Marvel obsessed friend likes to say, to see if I like 40s Bucky yet. I also wanted to see if my view of the film had changed because the first few times I saw it I didn’t enjoy it that much. I’m not that much of a fan of Captain America and I found the film rather unsubtle and lacking the humor of the others which is what I enjoyed the most. But Bucky changes everything and I now like the film a little more, meaning it gets bumped up a few places on my list of Marvel films. CA:TWS is still my undisputed favourite. But the list goes like this now: CA:TWS, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, Thor 2, Avengers: AoU, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Iron Mans films in no particular order. Ant-Man is missing from the list because I haven’t seen it. I’m predicting Captain America: Civil War will be my no.1 favourite come April, it will be providing nothing happens to Bucky anyway.

Another thing about Captain America I wanted to see was the scene where Captain America rescues the 107th and getting back Bucky leads the cheers for him. Reading discussions online and listening to rather endless theories from my Marvel friend I learnt that some people think Bucky looks jealous of Steve in that scene. Now I know I’m not always the best at reading facial expressions but he didn’t look jealous to me. I thought he was proud of Steve but also a little angry maybe, not at Steve but at the others. Because it took for Steve becoming Captain America for them to see what Bucky could see all along. It’s like people don’t truly appreciate Steve for who he is. It’s wrong but people take him more seriously as Captain America. Simply doing the right thing or having morals isn’t enough, they shouldn’t but people judge on looks. Character is what should count but the world just doesn’t work that way.

I thought the scene a short while later in the pub makes it quite clear that Bucky’s not at all jealous of Steve and he doesn’t harbour any feelings of resentment. When Steve asks if he’ll join him Bucky says he won’t follow Captain America, but he will follow that “dumb little guy from Brooklyn who wouldn’t run away from a fight.”

Unlike everyone else he remembers the guy behind the shield because he knew him before, he knew that he always had it in him to be the man he is now. Which is kind of fitting because it seems that after the events of CA:TWS Steve will have to do just that for Bucky. He’s going to have to help him remember the man he was, that Bucky is still in there.

I love that scene in CA:TWS during the final battle when Steve is trying to get Bucky to admit he knows him. He tells him exactly what Bucky said to him after his mother’s funeral, “because I’m with you to the end of the line pal.”

In my previous post about revisiting the Marvel universe was well as trying to work out what my favourite film is I also tried to figure out who my favourite character is. Back then I decided Dr. Erik Selvig is my favourite character and that if I absolutely had to pick a favourite Avenger it would be Thor. Both those facts are still true, I still adore Erik. But he has to take second place because Bucky now tops the list for me. Meaning my list of favourite Marvel characters goes like this: Bucky, Erik, Thor, Nick Fury and Baron Zemo.

Hulk gets struck from my list because I don’t like his newfound friendship with Tony in AoU. Hawkeye I also like but that’s based more on fan-fiction than the films so I don’t think he should be on the list. As for Baron Zemo you might ask how he can be on the list seeing as how the film isn’t even out yet. Simple answer is I love Daniel Brühl and he’s not disappointed me yet so I’m counting on him being awesome.

As for why Bucky is my favourite all of a sudden the logic is similar to my liking of Hulk. I felt a kinship with Hulk in regards to controlling his anger. With Bucky I can’t identify with him at all before what happened to him. It’s after he becomes the winter soldier that I can identify with him a little. Not so much the film version of Bucky because obviously no-one knows what he’s like yet. It’s the fan-fiction and because it’s so good to me that’s Bucky, whatever happens in the films. It has it’s flaws and I don’t agree entirely with certain aspects of it but they’ve done well in creating a well rounded version of Bucky from the fragments of what is known about him. He’s unsure about who he is, has nightmares, can’t escape from his memories of the past, is worried about hurting people and controlling himself and he can’t sleep. Whilst my nightmares and the memories which haunt me are nowhere near as bad as Bucky’s I understand a little what it’s like to have your mind dominated by memories of things you’d rather forget. As for the having trouble sleeping, I certainly know what that feels like.

When you start to write a story you’re committing not just to the story but to spending time with the characters in question. I have no idea how it works for other people but for myself when I get attached to a character they become a part of my inner universe. They become a part of my thought processes as a whole whilst I’m working on the story. There is much simpler way of putting this and it’s something I’d never say in real life because people can and do misinterpret it but I guess I don’t have to worry about that here. What I’m getting at is they take up residence in my mind, I hear them as easily as I do my own thoughts. I spend time with them, talking to them and testing out scenarios to see if they work before committing them to paper. If something doesn’t flow in my mind then I don’t even bother writing it down.

I feel like I can spend some time with Bucky right now, I don’t see why not given I’ve spent the past few days dreaming about him. It sure feels strange to be dreaming about someone who isn’t Jogi, Hansi or Manuel. But then that’s a sign in itself, if I’m daydreaming about him then I like him enough to write a story centered around him.