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Posts posted by Ginger

  1. Can't wait to hear more from the attendees about their trailer impressions.

    Out of all the Orlando boards on the internet, to be singled out like this is a real recommendation and honour.

    And a testament to how much energy, drive, creativity and above all, enthusiasm, some folks give to this place. It would be difficult to find a more dedicated group of people. My hat's off to them. Well done ka-Bloom, indeed.

  2. We so believed and we've been rewarded . but oh to have seen this version on the big screen!

    While technically accomplished, it's also a breakout role for Orlando Bloom, who as Balian, sheds the nagging notion that he's merely a Tolkien pretty boy, unable to shoulder the load of headlining a massive period epic.

    I just won't be able to read that statement too many times. :crusader:

    Thanks Geri and Calimom for making my day!

  3. OT-Question: Does the title "Kingdom of Heaven" imply a singular heaven? It seems to me, but my english isn't good enough for the nuances of the language. The german title uses plural for heaven, meaning all possible (in this region and time) perceptions of the idea of a heaven.

    What an interesting observation Fenlika.

    I would say yes, the English title implies a singular heaven, as both Kingdom and Heaven in the title are singular in form, not plural. I take it from your statement that the correct English translation of the German title would be "Kingdom of Heavens", the addition of the "s" making Heaven plural. That does change things a bit, perhaps implying and/or acknowledging the different opinions on heaven held by Christians and Muslims.

  4. The Italians have a saying that immediately springs to mind . "He who laughs last, laughs best. "

    KLSMom, thanks for bringing that review over here. It was more thrilling than it should have been to read such effusive praise for the extended director's cut. I watched KOH last night on Cinemax and I was amazed at the flashing moments of brilliance that could be seen sprinkled throughout the film, and the surrounding sense that there was something else just there out of the audience's reach. Those moments would flare up quickly, brightly, then would be gone without delivering on their initial promise, and it kept happening over and over. There were a couple of scenes with Orlando that the energy cut from the screen was still resonating on it, palpable in his voice and his face. It left me feeling confused and really irritated, because it was apparent that the fullness of the story was not being told. I can't recall seeing a film that appeared so obviously hacked to pieces as much as KOH does. No wonder it fell so flat with theatre goers.

    I'm just so thankful the opportunity is given for Ridley to correct this, and so quickly. (How long was it before the Director's Cut of Blade Runner came out? :wink:) This whole experience just might make some folks in Hollywood sit up and take further notice of what they do with the big screen. In fact, perhaps they will bring the EE back to it. Now that is a Crusade I could get behind.

  5. This is the OFFICIAL word from the Yari Film Group of a TARGET date, for the United States for now. And this is the only information we have. :)

    Thanks Jan for keeping us Orlando fans up-to-date with the latest on Haven. I know how cautious you are about being absolutely accurate with what you post here as news, so this snippet brings some welcome relief. Even though it's officially just a target date, it's promising to see the film's distribution people are thinking in the right direction. Those unofficial May dates were just plain scary . talk about getting trampled before even getting out of the starting gate. If you can, get the word back to them that this date is a preferred one!

    Keep up the good work (not to mention the good contacts)!

  6. I think it didn't help that the weather was so nice here in our part of the South, when it's been a rather chilly Spring. Last weekend was nothing but gray and cloudly and ugly around here, and nobody was able to get outside. This weekend however it was positively beautiful, and you could barely find a parking space at any garden store or nursery. It was a weekend meant to be spent outdoors, and from what I could tell from all my friends, they all did.

    There was also a college graduation in our area this weekend, a week earlier than it is usually scheduled.

    Add in Mother's Day, it too a bit earlier in May than usual, and the attendant festivals and activities, and you've got some other factors that might contribute to the lower turnout.

    It is disappointing that the headlines can't be more positive about the box office, but I do believe it's going to remain a strong movie and I certainly don't believe the opening weekend numbers have hurt Orlando's leading man chances.

  7. We've already heard about this, but the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children posted up a press release yesterday on their website about the eBay auction, in which Orlando has donated his mini-bike.

    LOS ANGELES, CA – May 5, 2005

    In honor of National Missing Children's Day, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) will launch a national online auction with eBay commencing at 12 p.m. EST on May 5th and culminating on May 25th to benefit NCMEC and its ongoing efforts to reunite missing children with their families and create a safer childhood for all children. Items in the auction include celebrity experiences and one-of-a-kind items that range from a signed tennis racquet from Serena Williams to a personal phone call with Adrien Grenier from The Entourage to Orlando Bloom's very own mini bike signed by him to a hammer signed by Ty Pennington.

    Here is Orlando's contribution, starting out at $500.00.

  8. The Sydney Morning Herald chimes in with their review.

    Kingdom of Heaven

    May 7, 2005

    Ridley Scott has a big knight out in the desert in his latest swordy epic, writes Sandra Hall

    Kingdom of Heaven

    Directed by Ridley Scott

    Screenplay by William Monahan

    Rated M

    Cinemas Everywhere

    For proof of Ridley Scott's audacity in tackling the big-budget medieval epic Kingdom of Heaven, you need look no further than the name of the film's hero. He's called Balian, Baron of Ibelin - a handle with so many slippery, liquid sounds and rocky consonants that an actor could lose his grip in just having to pronounce it.

    And that's not the only risk faced by Orlando Bloom's Balian. He has to grapple with that familiar hazard of the historical genre, the helmet with nose guard. As shown by Brad Pitt in Troy, this piece of headgear can exert such a powerful magnetic force over any person unfortunate enough to have to wear it that he may find himself unable to speak without developing crossed eyes. This, I'm happy to say, doesn't happen to Bloom. He resolutely keeps his eyes on the job. In fact, he's almost too resolute - or maybe it's William Monahan's script, which works so hard to avoid stray solecisms that we get solemnity instead.

    But that's in the second half. The film makes a rousing start. It's 1184, and in wintry France, village blacksmith Balian is grieving over the deaths of his wife and child when Liam Neeson rides up. Dressed in chainmail, a tin hat and a Crusader's tabard, he announces that he's Godfrey of Ibelin and that Balian is his illegitimate son. And would Balian care to drop what he's doing and come to the Holy Land?

    Quickly rising to the challenge, Balian is soon in Jerusalem, ready to take part in a series of brutal battles, all of them filmed with Scott's customary flair for scale and spectacle. Prompted by the actions of extremists on both sides, the Muslim leader, Saladin, has decided to retake Jerusalem from the Christians, and Balian winds up in the thick of hostilities.

    But first comes a brief lesson in hand-to-hand combat from Neeson, who gets to utter what I remember as the script's only bit of banter. Keen to inspire his protege, he claims that he once fought for two days with an arrow in his testicle.

    And why not? With his Mount Rushmore profile and a curriculum vitae that runs from Star Wars to Rob Roy, Neeson is such an old hand at stoicism that even if you don't believe him, you want to.

    All the good guys are well cast. As the Hospitaler, Godfrey's counsellor, we have David Thewlis, whose bent nose and crooked grin are testimony to the fact that he can adapt to any circumstance as long as a fight is involved. And a beetle-browed Jeremy Irons makes an authentically world-weary Marshal of Jerusalem's armies.

    The only ham on show comes from the villains. As Reynald de Chatillon, an expert in the art of the senseless massacre, Brendan Gleeson takes his mission to be disgusting with total seriousness. So, too, does his partner in crime, Guy de Lusignan, played by New Zealander Marton Czokas, who looks as if he's done his homework by making a close study of Ricky Gervais in The Office.

    Shot in Spain and Morocco, the film has the smoky, lived-in look of all Scott's big pictures. There's nothing here like the shiny Toy Towns of Oliver Stone's Alexander and Wolfgang Petersen's Troy. Even so, the difficulties of telescoping great events into feature-film length spawn the usual absurdities. It takes Balian five minutes to transform himself from humble blacksmith to consummate swordsman and brilliant military tactician. And still he finds time to become a farmer. Under his stewardship, Ibelin, a dusty desert outpost, instantly blooms into an oasis.

    The Christian right has already registered displeasure over the film's sympathetic portrayal of the Saracen leader, Saladin. Tough - because its objections come 50 years too late. Hollywood set the precedent for chivalrous Saladins in 1954 when Rex Harrison was chosen for the part in King Richard and the Crusaders, a clanking version of Sir Walter Scott's The Talisman.

    As his Saladin, Scott has chosen Syria's Ghassan Massoud, who lacks nothing in the gravitas department, but his grooved cheeks and strangled English ensure that he could never be accused of possessing an excess of charm.

    Scott's basic message is a humanist one, put into the mouth of Balian when he negotiates Jerusalem's surrender. It's not the city's mosque and sepulchre that matter, he says, but its previously harmonious population of Muslims, Jews and Christians. These sentiments sound fine - or they would if Bloom had a voice with the timbre of Russell Crowe's. He looks great in the action scenes - on the battlefield and in his more intimate engagements with Jerusalem's princess, Sibylla (Eva Green). But when it comes to making us care about anything that happens to him, he can't manage it. For all its grandeur, Kingdom of Heaven - unlike Scott's Gladiator - is a very impersonal epic.

  9. The wailing and gnashing of teeth continues.

    More than anything, this often fascinatingly confused Crusades epic lacks a leading man with the stature to put it over. Audiences know Russell Crowe. Russell Crowe is their friend. Orlando Bloom is no Russell Crowe.

    I find that bit extremely odd. Audiences, the general big blockbuster non-Australian audiences, did not know Russell Crowe before Gladiator came out, despite L.A. Confidential or The Insider and its Best Actor Academy Award nomination. And he certainly wasn't their friend. What is that statement supposed to mean? That the record making audiences went in to Gladiator because of Russell Crowe? I don't think so. That movie made Russell in the star wattage sense, not the other way around. People heard it was from Ridley Scott and great word of mouth about the film, and it went from there. Not to mention the film was strategically placed well at what was at that time an unusual early start date to the summer season. Russell's performance and presence was a part of that great word of mouth, certainly, but his name alone didn't have quite the pull at that time that this reviewer's statement seems to imply.

    This reviewer seems to have fallen into that expectation trap, like so many others. The movie is called KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, not KNIGHT for a reason. No, Orlando is not another Russell Crowe, but that's a good thing, not a bad thing like I hear in the tone of the reviewer's remark.

  10. UK's The Guardian has posted up a review:

    Kingdom of Heaven

    2 Stars - Cert 15

    Friday May 6, 2005

    The Guardian

    It is four years since President Bush used the word "crusade" to describe the war against terrorism, and then, while the liberal west winced, attempted to gulp it back into his mouth. Ridley Scott's achingly well-intentioned epic looks like a 145-minute dramatisation of that wince. Kingdom of Heaven is described on every poster as "from the director of Gladiator". Well, try imagining a version of Gladiator in which Joaquin Phoenix is half-heartedly given co-hero status with Russell Crowe. Because this is a modernised romantic-liberal fantasy about the Crusades, stuffed with some of the silliest supporting performances imaginable, in which a young blacksmith from 12th-century Europe (Orlando Bloom) finds himself joining the cause, not for the glory of battle or the supposed honour of restoring Christian mastery in the Holy Land, but aiming to broker peace between Muslims and Christians in a caring sort of multi-faith partnership.

    Religions and religious institutions are treated with punctilious correctness here - with the very conspicuous exception, incidentally, of the Vatican. Jerusalem is attended by a cringing Papal legate, who rubber-stamps all manner of butchery by the Templar hotheads and, when the city appears to be at the mercy of Saladin, he whiningly suggests they all convert to Islam and repent later. Too late. Everyone appears to have converted to ecumenical humanism long ago.

    Bloom plays the humble yet hunky blacksmith Balian in medieval France, modelling a range of close-fitting jerkins, in mourning for his wife who has committed suicide after the death of their child. A grizzled old soldier comes riding through his village on the lookout for Balian, who is his long-lost illegitimate son. This is Liam Neeson, who reveals himself to be of noble stock and invites his boy to join the Crusade. At first angry and confused, Balian then pursues him in anguish, believing that a prayer for his late wife in the Holy Land will rescue her from suicide's eternal damnation. On the way there, the boy becomes a man. He turns into a knight, a brilliant military tactician (somehow), a lover and a visionary of peace. In the desert, Balian has a Lawrentian moment of bonding and respect with a Saracen warrior, who approaches him, moreover, without any time-consuming gallop through the shimmering sand.

    The movie briskly distinguishes between good Christians, represented by the thoughtful and compassionate Bloom, and two-dimensional bad Christians like the belligerent Templars who simply want to crush the Muslim world. The chief baddie is Sir Guy De Lusignan, played by Marton Csokas, and he is the campest villain I have seen in a long time - always sneering and pouting and arching his body into all manner of haughty catlike postures. He's like a cross between Larry Grayson and Satan, with a touch of that serial killer from The Silence of the Lambs who liked dancing around in his lair with his penis tucked between his legs. Sir Guy owes his eminence to the fact that he is the brother-in-law of the peace-loving King Baldwin (Ed Norton) who is married to his sister Sibylla, played by Eva Green, last seen in Bertolucci's The Dreamers.

    Sibylla is enraptured by the handsome and noble Balian, and she is forever galloping in and out of courtyards with a simpering distaff entourage, and unwrapping her headscarf to reveal pedantically exotic makeup and jewellery. She favours Bloom with a bewitching smile of inexpressibly sensuous anticipation, like a mysterious princess who's about to get stuck into a bar of Fry's Turkish Delight.

    More whimsy is provided by Jeremy Irons, whose performance sends the thesp-o-meter into bleeping overdrive. He plays the king's trusted aide Tiberias, doing his gruff best to keep up the city's decent current practice of moderation and understanding with the Muslim world. Weirdly, everything else about his look suggests villainy. He has close-cropped hair, a nasty scar under his eye, a very growly voice, and marches and grumps about the place in the manner of Darth Vader without the helmet.

    Once the main battle starts, culminating in a massive siege of Jerusalem with zillions of pixellated soldiers massing on a computer-generated plain, then at least we get the impression of something happening, partly reversing the sclerosis of boredom that has been creeping into the movie from the opening credits. Perhaps the siege scene can't match up to those legions of orcs in Lord of the Rings, or even Brad Pitt's battle at Troy, but at least the battle lines and storylines are clarified a little.

    As for the rest of it, the movie is uneasily like Scott's Black Hawk Down: an attempt to acknowledge a flawed military adventure, but fundamentally hamstrung by a deep reluctance to make our heroes look bad in any real way. Any movie showing returning crusaders must do battle with the memory of Max Von Sydow coming home in The Seventh Seal. There's no law that says a director has to reproduce the nuclear winter of Bergman's disillusion, and attempting to imagine a consensus between the Christian and Muslim world is no bad aim for a film-maker. But everything about it looks glib and naive, and Muslim audiences might well have mixed feelings about this fictional good-guy crusader, congratulating himself on doing the right thing at all times.

  11. Strong review for the film, even if the critic makes the mistake of comparing apples to oranges when it comes to the lead character.

    Magnificent visuals and a rousing tale sweep aside 'Kingdom's' flaws



    More than ever, Hollywood has become a cinema of fantasy and escapism. But every so often, a powerful director manages to marshal its forces to make a statement or impart a vision that's courageously relevant to what's going on in the real world.

    We had a good example of this just two weeks ago with Sydney Pollack's United Nations thriller, "The Interpreter," and we have another in Ridley Scott's "Kingdom of Heaven," a 12th-century epic that takes on one of the defining political issues of our day: the control of Jerusalem.

    It's flawed and often confusing, and its lead, Orlando Bloom, delivers nowhere near the rousing star turn that Russell Crowe pulled off in Scott's last historical epic, "Gladiator," which opened Hollywood's summer movie season on this same date five years ago.

    But its concept is gutsy, its script is literate and intelligent, its visuals and cinematic craftsmanship are mouth-dropping, and its vision of the insanity of various religions vying to dominate the real estate of the Holy Land comes through with great power.

    Its hero is Balian (Bloom), a grieving French country blacksmith in need of absolution who, in the film's opening sequence, is reunited with his contrite nobleman father (Liam Neeson) and joins him in his crusade to the Holy Land as one of his knights.

    On the way, he earns the animosity of the evil heir apparent to the crusaders' Kingdom of Jerusalem (Marton Csokas); and, when he gets there, he finds himself attracted to the man's wife (Eva Green), the sister of the present king (Edward Norton, uncredited).

    This king has leprosy but he's an enlightened leader who keeps the city open to all religions and has a shaky truce going on with Saladin (Ghassan Massoud), the great Muslim sultan and general who also wants to maintain peace and keep the city open to everyone.

    So the plot has the two visionary leaders struggling to keep this order as fanatics on both sides (particularly the Christian side) conspire to destroy it, and Balian gradually finds himself leader of the Christian forces defending the walled city in a climactic siege.

    In the course of all this, Bloom is both a strong and weak point of the film. He is a good actor with a likably soulful presence, but he looks physically frail and never seems especially credible slashing around the screen with a broadsword.

    (Yes, he was effective as Legolas in the action scenes of "Lord of the Rings," but in those films he played an elf. His part here demands a bulkier, more physical actor, such as Crowe or Neeson, who is so good in his few scenes that you want him to be the star.)

    Moreover, the script doesn't even hint at how this rural blacksmith might have learned the skills of knightly combat he displays throughout or, even more perplexing, how he learned the complex battle strategy and tactics that he displays in the climax.

    The script also makes it hard to follow the line of his moral growth. At a key point, he's offered the kingdom and the women he loves but he won't accept them because they come at the expense of his villainous rival, and his new-found moral code won't allow it.

    Yet this follows a scene in which he energetically commits adultery with the villain's wife and, since his acceptance of the kingdom would have been a blow for justice and spared a slaughter, we lose all sympathy for him: He just looks like a stubborn hypocrite.

    It should be noted Scott also employs something of a double standard throughout, depicting his Christians and their clergy mostly as villainous buffoons but being very careful not to show the Muslim religion and its mullahs in a similarly dim light. No use starting a jihad.

    Still, even though the movie is easy to pick at and doesn't entirely work, its guiding vision does come through, and, in its totality, it's bravely anti-organized religion in its celebration of individual common-sense right action.

    And its best scene -- in which Saladin explains how Jerusalem means both "nothing" and "everything" to all involved -- is a very compelling argument for the growing contention that the city should be internationalized and administered for all faiths by the United Nations.

    There's also no getting around the fact that "Kingdom of Heaven" is one of the most visually beautiful historical epics ever made by Hollywood: a film in which every shot seems so imaginatively and strikingly composed it could hang in the Louvre.

    Mixing Moroccan and Spanish locations, a huge standing set of Jerusalem, life-size siege towers and catapults, and the movies' most realistic computer-generated battle scenes to date, "Kingdom of Heaven" makes a large and important chunk of history come alive before our eyes.

    Like his hero, David Lean, Ridley Scott always has trouble with his scripts, but -- whether he's dealing with the past of "Gladiator," the present of "Black Hawk Down" or the future of "Blade Runner" -- he also always manages to magnificently fill his screen.

    It's more than just visual opulence: His scenes have a verve and naturalism that are positively thrilling. None of his contemporaries, not even Steven Spielberg, has a greater eye for the epic and, in this department, "Kingdom of Heaven" is one of his finest achievements.

  12. Even the title to this one stinks. Feel free to call Mike Clark all kinds of silly names for not paying the least bit of attention.

    'Kingdom' needs a horse; Bloom isn't it

    By Mike Clark, USA TODAY

    Orlando Bloom's box office tallies and hunk-meter readings aside, he fails to carry director Ridley Scott's Crusades epic. The movie leans toward the cerebral — an uh-oh right there — despite heavy on-screen blood loss.

    The dispiriting result of Bloom's blandness is that in a movie touted as the first big-ticket picture of the summer, even Edward Norton's leper king proves more interesting than Bloom's French blacksmith. And Norton spends the entire movie behind a mask.

    Less brooding than chronically gloomy, Bloom's character comes by the condition honestly. He's ostracized by the community following his wife's suicide, a religious taboo.

    But the surprise appearance of his long-lost knight father (Liam Neeson) provides a respite, immersing the lad into Christian-Muslim tensions in 12th-century Jerusalem. Neeson's character teaches the lad some tricks of the trade before expiring too soon for the movie's good.

    So it's off to Jerusalem and a studio accountant's headache: How do you take a sides in a religiously contentious story when pricey productions need to recoup bushels of international dollars? As it turns out, Heaven's Muslim leader (Ghassan Massoud as Saladin) is enough of a principled guy to nearly steal the picture. And the Christians causing all the trouble are hotheads at odds with their superiors, including Norton's king and polished members of his brain trust (Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis).

    The heavies are the king's brother-in-law (Marton Csokas) and his volatile lieutenant (Brendan Gleeson, with amazingly ratty hair and beard).

    Bloom manages to assimilate with all but these malcontents and even walks through a no-sparks romance with Csokas' princess wife (Eva Green, wearing three times the garments she did in Bernardo Bertolucci's NC-17 rated The Dreamers).

    But this is an epic, and eventually, you know that blazing arrows are bound to start flying into an armed fortress. That's done with all the technical skill that Scott, who also directed Black Hawk Down, can muster. But by now, the movie is an old-hat action situation.

    Dramatically, even a persuasive supporting cast gets Heaven only so far. I know Gladiator somehow won the Oscar and The Duellist deserves its cult. But when you add them to 1492: Conquest of Paradise and now this lumbering film, it's tough to make the case that Scott's historical films show him at his best.

    See Black Hawk Down, Thelma & Louise, Alien, Blade Runner and Matchstick Men for top-drawer alternatives.

    Of course, if the DVD really runs 80 minutes longer — as Scott has hinted — it'll be a different movie. It makes you wonder if seeing the movie in theaters is beside the point.

  13. But he has taken the roles for very good reasons and done great acting in them. And he will continue to grow and develop as an actor. At the very least, in later years, when he pulls a "Johnny Depp" and people all of the sudden connect with him in some role, his earlier work will be re-examined and seen for how good it is.

    Yes, and we are all living for the day!

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