September 3, 2015

The Hawt Men From U.N.C.L.E.

Lookin' good, Henry.
Lookin’ good, Henry.

by Madeline Iva

Is Henry Cavill the most beautiful man on the face of this planet? Probably.* I’ve talked about him before, and goggled over him in Superman, but this time Henry is in THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.** a movie I shelled out the big bucks to see while it’s still in the movie theaters, cause in the previews, damn, he looked hot.

I’m happy to say the movie *is* as fun and stylish as it looked.   Although I was a little surprised—not by Henry–though he totally delivers on stylish eat-me-with-a-spoon charm. No, I was surprised by Armie Hammer.  He seriously gives Henry a run for his money.

How many fake crows were abused in the making of this movie?
How many fake crows were abused in the making of this movie?

I’ve seen Armie Hammer in interviews and just lurv his deep voice*** but this was the first time I’ve seen him in a movie role. Did you watch The Lone Ranger? Neither did I. Let’s not discuss why, but I’m looking at you and that dead bird on your head, Johnnie Depp.

DH and I discussed the name Armie –which I thought was Arnie, but no, it’s not. It’s Armie which is short for Armand. As in Armand Hammer – yes, as in THAT Armand Hammer – who was a big deal businessman from long ago, and is Armie’s grandfather**** but is not the baking soda. Glad we got that cleared up.

So, during the previews it was all “Get that Lone Ranger guy out of the way, I’m trying to look at Henry.” While watching the movie, however, a few thoughts were rolling around in my head at the same time.  Yes, the movie is enjoyable.  Henry is amusing. Guy Richie is doing for Henry Cavill what Hitchcock did for Cary Grant, bringing out his polished gorgeous perfection in a deliciously droll package that will make women all across this great nation purr.  Yet as we got deeper into the movie, they brought out Armie Hammer’s role a little more.  That’s when I started noticing him a LOT.

He has very nice hands as you can see below. The rest of him isn’t so bad either. He’s very tall. He makes Henry–at 6’ 1”–seem short, he’s that tall.

The brooding Russian plays chess while the girl tries to get his attention with her mad dance moves.
The brooding Russian plays chess while the girl tries to get his attention with her mad dance moves.

Armie is playing a Russian. Is he believable as a Russian? No. Not particularly. Does it matter? No, not particularly.

In fact the movie is a bit meta, and one of the quirky things about it is that ever actor in this film is playing a nationality they’re not. Henry is British but he’s playing an American (He took over the role from Tom Cruise).  He has a very nice accent, but like most Brits, it’s overdone. He sounds like he studied some American 50’s TV episode for decades, but hey, this is a cold war period film, so it kinda works. The leading actress, Alicia Vikander, is Swedish.  Yet in the film she is playing East-German.  She’s very cute and adds a lot to the movie, (seriously, she’s one to watch, and can act circles around all the men) but her accent is a mix of British, German, and American. Meanwhile, the villainess is an Aussie playing an Italian. (And at 6′ 2″ is also making Henry look short. Poor Henry). I think Hugh Grant is the only one in the entire film who’s actually a Brit playing British. Maybe that’s why he looks so chuffed.

Don’t want to use spoilers, here, but I think Armie has the emotional hook for the film.  He plays a wound up Russian with daddy issues in a fake engagement with a mechanic-turned-spy-bait named Gaby. Is the engagement as fake as it’s supposed to be? See, that’s what starts to hook us into him, as he tries to find an emotional grip. In these scenes he’s really good at connecting with his eyes.  So maybe that’s why I found him a bit more compelling than Henry. Though I didn’t like the ‘mad violence’ motif they used for Armie’s character.  Was that in the original? Dunno. I wasn’t born yet when the original came out, and haven’t checked it out.  Friends say it’s only meh.

Nice hands, uh, Ilya.
Nice hands, uh, Ilya.

Armie or Henry? Henry or Armie? Or hey, why not both? Throughout this movie you just want to be the filling in an Armie-Henry sandwich, and that’s what makes it such a delight. ; >

Though for you m/m fans out there, one could easily imagine an Armie-Henry pairing where you know, you just get to watch, because in true Guy Richie’s style there is plenty of queer baiting going on here.

No, lean over more. More! That's it.
No, lean over more. More! That’s it.

Obviously there are supposed to be more Man From U.N.C.L.E. films in the future. Guy Richie is working it with his film style.With the Sherlock films, he was a little too in love with his own talents and killed the pacing. He started off with British gansta films, and this light caper film is close enough to that form to be in his comfort zone. Now he’s upping his game, and with a few nods to Tarrantino, keeps us plugging right along so that at the very end of the film I wasn’t  sure if there was going to be another act.  If there was, I wouldn’t have minded. Is that a recommendation? I think it is.

Here’s another rec: follow us at Lady Smut, where we’ll bring you much hotness at matinee prices.

Whew! I culled a lot of digressions from this blog post–want to read more? Here they are.

* Is Henry the most beautiful man on earth? I used to think Song Seung-heon from AUTUMN IN MY HEART, a Korean Drama, was the most beautiful man on the planet, but now I am willing to let Henry share the title with him.

Song Seung-heon is crazy beautiful. He and Henry can share the crown.
Song Seung-heon is crazy beautiful. He and Henry can share the crown.

**DH saw the movie with me and said Matt Bomer must be like: Hey! That was my role. While Henry plays a well dressed thief forced to work for the government in THE MAN FROM UNCLE – Bomer had a very VERY similar role in the television show WHITE COLLAR. When pressed by DH, I will admit that there is some physical similarity between the two actors. However, I feel they are miles apart in terms of chemistry. DH liked Matt Bomer in his TV show, but I’ve never cared for him, and was not at all surprised when he came out of the Hollywood closet. (Good for you, Matt.) Except for thinking “damn, that man can wear a sarong like nobody’s bizness” in Magic Mike XXL, he has never done it for me. (Though I know some would disagree. *cough* Kiersten *cough*).

He can rock a sarong, that Matt Bomer.
He can rock a sarong, that Matt Bomer.

***John Krasinski, who also is mega-tall and has a wonderfully soothing low voice must be hating Armie Hammer, thinking, “Hey, that was my role,” because they have a very similar warm, tall man charisma. Alas, I think Armie’s a better actor than John. Sorry, John. You know I still love you.

BTW, are you wondering what John’s been doing since The Office ended? Cause he kinda fell off the face of the earth. Welp, his much more successful British wife had a baby, and he seemed like he ate his way through the pregnancy while doing a ton of voice over work. Other than being so pleased with himself about the lip sync battles he did with Jimmie Fallon that he produced a show called Lip Sync Battle, (which has done quite well,) John hasn’t been acting much–if you can call lip syncing acting.  However, he is in a Michael Bay war movie called 13 HOURS. I saw a preview for it, and he does not speak one line.  : (13hours-1024x576

So, I don’t think war movies are going to be his thing, though I get the feeling he likes to rock the bushy beard. Poor John.

****Turns out Armie’s also from a super Christian background. Does that help, does it hurt? Dunno. I think at heart he’s a large, sweet guy.  Ring ring! Hello? Oh, Armie, that was the rom-coms.  They’re calling for you.

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  • Post authorTara

    I love Arnie – I’ve pinned a couple pics of him to my Hero Inspiration board. 🙂 He got on my radar after Mirror Mirror – a movie he starred opposite Lily Collins (Phil Collins’ daughter) and Julia Roberts. It’s a quirky – fairy tale style – take on Snow White where you get to see “Prince” Armie in nothing but some long underwear in a couple of scenes. I did watch Lone Ranger, which was way different than I thought going in. Probably won’t watch it again, though.

    Reply to Tara
    • Post authorMadeline Iva

      Well, I’m just going to have to check these movies out, Tara! I’ve been tweeting with erotic romance author Charlotte Stein about him, and she said he’s in a terror/thriller movie called BLACKOUT that she thought he was really good in. Have gotta see it. Oh, and he played twins in that facebook movie. Charlotte has based a lot of her heroes on him — see twitter: @charlotte_stein “Dude YES. He was my jam for about six months. Based the twins from Doubled and Van from Sheltered on him! Also Artie from Restraint.” All FABULOUS BOOKS —

      Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Post authormadeline iva

    Well — just watched Blackout. The movie stills of him are nice, but Charlotte Stein said it was pretty dreadful and it was.

    Reply to madeline iva
  • Post authorAlexa Day

    I was — probably still am — a huge fan of the original. What can I say? This age is working out pretty well for me. 😉

    Anyhoo, David McCallum, who was Illya Kuryakin before, is a big part of the reason I’m a sucker for blonds. He and Dolph Lundgren (as Ivan Drago in Rocky IV) put this glasnost-era girl into two years of Russian language classes, and they are both about as Russian as I am.

    Now I’m digressing.

    I think a big part of the reason the original Kuryakin worked so well — because I was definitely not the only one all fluttery over him — is that there was much more to him than he would ever tell you about. He was a great contrast to Robert Vaughn’s Napoleon Solo, a wonderfully WYSIWYG fellow.

    Because I’m so giggly over the original, I considered not going to see the movie, but now I wonder. The trailer put me on the fence, and you’ve just about got me convinced.

    Reply to Alexa Day
    • Post authorMadeline Iva

      Okay, well I’ll check out the original on You Tube. If you do go see this one, brace yourself. The bromance factor is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

      Reply to Madeline Iva
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