Cinderella

New post, peeps!

Cinderella’s all the flavour of the season- or at least is a new movie that is in theatres at this moment in time. Watched it –  it isn’t the greatest movie magic wrought ever but the whole movie looks very nice, although the story isn’t as intense as the animation. The best scene in the movie – that twists up your emotions and makes you lean forward in your seat- is the spell breaking, the racing carriage turning back into pumpkin, furiously galloping horses turning into mice, and a fleeing before discovered Cinderelli thrown out of the pumpkin, now wearing the ripped up dress.

All the rest of the movie was pretty tame, and not even funny which is a big minus point. I don’t know if they thought too many scenes from the old movie (the king and the Duke arguing, the mice taking on Lucifer) were detracting from… what exactly? Dress and shoes time? But when you cut it, all you did was take all the drama and all the funny out, Mr.Kenneth Branagh. Well, I like how they thought out in detail how Cinderella ends up in the attic. They show the progression from loved only child to unwanted extra family member very realistically.

Still, I think danger, high excitement, and poignancy are notes you want to hit in a movie in quick yet sensible succession. Lucifer’s gonna eat Gus-Gus! Gus-Gus is rescued! Whew! Hahaha, the King and the Duke are arguing!!!! I love when they do that! Wooo look, somehow in ridiculous cartoon land they land on a chandelier (but it makes preeminent sense to a kid watching it, maybe  because it became what Bill Watterson liked to describe as “a visual metaphor”, it complemented the scene, and the energy, and the dialogue), Cinderella isn’t going to the ball?? Argh! Oh no, oh okay, she has a dress….. no they didn’t they can’t, they ripped it to shreds while it’s still on her? (Consider the savagery of such an action mes amis. It remains in the movie, but as watered down savagery.) And so into deep pathos as she’s in tears (and seriously wouldn’t you be if you discovered people liked you so little, and you apparently had so few rights of your own?). Cheerfulness! The fairy godmother!  Next: Romance! “So this love, la la la la” – high action! The carriage is chased! The slipper fits no one! She locks her in? This is indeed the face of pure evil. “May I try it on?!” Ohhhhhhh. She.Breaks.The.Slipper.?.?.?.? “But I have the other pair.” Oh my goodness, sweet relief. Wedding bells and more carriages.The End.

Cate Blanchett looks so interesting I would like to have seen a story that talked about her, not as a wicked step-mother necessarily,  but ,I think, as a trapped woman, a more fascinating Cinderella.

And say what you will, Cinderella was only rescued because the Prince married her. It may have been a splendid message to “have courage and be kind” but I don’t see how that was actually searingly depicted. I liked it okay, certainly didn’t mind it. Maybe the waist of the dress is too unrealistically small. But really that just shows you how little is going on in the movie if nothing else really gets your attention. Watch it, and then for good measure, counter it with some Shrek or Lilo and Stitch or Spirited Away or something.

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Review Scraplets

Watched Dracula Untold and it is pretty much the worst movie I have ever seen because I haven’t watched 2000 BC or Thor or Prince of Persia and I never really watched The Avengers through. I’ve never even really watched Iron Man properly until recently and it’s just better because it doesn’t have gaping plot holes (visible to me) and because it was driven by eccentric,lovable, and awesome instead of dull, and dark, and not scary.

Alright, Dracula Untold is not worse than 2011’s Red Riding Hood or 2009’s Jennifer’s Body. Although actually Megan Fox’s Jennifer was hella more scary than Charles Dance’s Master Vampire so score 1 point to the girl’s team. Yay.

Watching movies like Dracula Untold you’re reminded that although you may have an appetite for commercial flicks (MOAR, MOAR, MOAR!) you’re still always reminded of how silly they are every time you watch them. Just watch a popular action movie- all the stills from the movie, each shot chosen, all the dialogue assignment, is guided by a stupid little boy’s point of view. Pepper Potts’ legs have probably as much screen time as her face and possibly greater significance, every time they come gliding down Tony Stark’s staircase into the basement workshop. Also, although she’s smart enough to go looking for “ghost files” (what de hell? um is that just a “hidden file”, eh whatever) she doesn’t get to recognise an explosive device, and while everyone else in the scene gets to be smart, on the ball, and impassive, she needs to girlishly scrunch up her face and awkwardly flap around. It seems we have to choose between being Katniss and being a slight retard. My beef is this:could not an established Hollywood star wangle a better role?  Was not the august galaxy of talent that created The Ironman series capable of envisioning a consistently smart female role?

Similarly, in Dracula Untold , Mirena’s great moment of definite action comes when she has a curious desire to have her life sucked out right in the end, “Oh go on, I’m dying anyway.” “Well if you really don’t mind…gaaaaaah!!!!!!!”

Well it’s all to the good –  for the furtherance of masculine life anyway. It cheers me up to remember here that other internet squawkers noticed this plot hole and wonder why she couldn’t just drink Vlad’s blood and get cured. Most of the time she hovers around, angelic expression never giving way to anything except helpless wide eyed gaping or righteous indignation on behalf of her son, and husband. The movies are sometimes quite a dull place to be.

Watch Dracula Untold if you want a scary movie that isn’t scareifying.

Oh yeah, and amuse yourself with Tony Stark’s awesomeness anytime you like.

Interstellar

interstellar

Interstellar is a great movie and also one with a disconcerting level of strangeness. We begin with a gravitational anomaly and end with time that can be experienced as a fifth dimension. At sixteen, I took logic and psychology as optionals, see.

So like I said the movie begins *gravitational anomaly* and continues onto more familiar territory with *message in morse code?* and then really takes off from there with “wormholes bend time in space”. At this point I feel a little oversensitive as I notice they take mercy on gormless, drooling Wall-Eesque audiences everywhere looking for that last bit of caramel popcorn, and triumphantly hand us a bit of candy – “What’s a circle in three dimensions?” asks a scientist of an engineer, “A sphere.“, the rest of us chorus proudly and a whole instant before Matthew Mcconaughey,  who is uncompetitive. Well I did do geometry in the tenth. Oh god. Or Algebra, or Trig. –   point is I still remember that (for me) piece of trivia and am now an unbearable companion.

Time as the fifth dimension looks like a tesseract. A tesseract is to a cube as a cube is to a square. So sayeth the Google. You enter the dimension of time by being almost pulled into a black hole (I think?) and ejecting yourself from your little space ship (before that happens?). Here (in the tesseract) is where you tap out messages in Morse code on how to save the world to your brilliant daughter because you can see her and reach out to her at all moments of her childhood owing to the fact that your strong personal connection to her is “quantifiable” (which is kind of  undeniably sweet and made me cry. This happened at least once or thrice.). Thankfully, how to save the world is not gone into in depth and is merely called “the data”. “The data” is typed out in “Morse” (half the definition of which is given around the beginning of the movie in case you hadn’t read the Trivia section of your daily today) and in the next to next scene, Mathew Mcconaughey’s body is floating unconscious in space breathing the last of the oxygen from his tank because the Tesseract closed after he sent out his message. So the Tesseract is entered physically or by the mind alone? Ask me not for I couldn’t tell you. After I was reassured that my favourite wasn’t gonna pull a Gravity on me and die I found and ate the last of my popcorn.

The story does tend to refer to human experiences as performed on a grand scale, well it would have to with a story line pursuing  voyages and discoveries and new planets and new dawns. There is a grand scene on Dr. Mann’s planet where the evil brought in by the humans (or at any rate, Dr. Mann) to a still, remote, lifeless place springs into action and with a camera that pulls out to show us this unpeopled place we can also see attempted murder by an egoistic megalomaniac. Sorry if I seem pedantic but that could be a scene borrowed from Shakespeare or maybe a Greek play. The movie flourishes at moments of mighty ponderings by characters who have to try to be mighty. Or who have situations of weight handed over to them. Will they snap under the strain or take the hero’s part? (Spoiler alert: Mcconaughey is a hero.)

It’s  a gorgeous movie in its themes, while it can be funny in its swings between touching on the vast goals of space research and then harping on secondary school level science as the rationale behind certain important plot points- what is Newton’s third law by the way? Snigger, snigger, snigger. Oh well, I don’t see me making a big banner, large scale, grandiose themed Hollywood motion picture, so I won’t be rude. Go see this picture, folks.

Gone Girl the Movie

Warning! Spoilers!!! Gone Girl will make sure you never trust your spouse again … or your friend’s spouse… or that low life with the sore on her lip. In fact, TRUST NO ONE. You are now Mad Eye Moody. It’s a gorgeously disturbing take on a claustrophobic marriage, the way it begins with two halves of  a whole, church bells and wedding cake, and eventually came down to a marriage between a sophisticated, edjicated big city girl and – a person from Missouri. One year long adulterous relationship, one large scale operation for revenge,one murder and one fabricated story for the press later a new relationship emerges; apparently a marriage, though in a new and highly compromised avatar. Gone Girl cannot take into account positivity but a story has to tell you what it is geared to say. But I wish they hadn’t pinned most of the blame on to the lady wife. She was a brilliant psychotic who twisted laws that protect vulnerable women in order to harass and harm the men who left her. Where have I heard that before? The Missourian husband is just a guy. All guys are just regular assholes as nature intended them. Woman though, this unstable and unknown quantity, real freaks of nature, spin out of control and have to be either feared or used. Except Mom. As a line of dialogue from the movie goes, “Mom would fix everything.” The Mother, the hag, the virgin, the child, the whore, also (in light of this movie) The Twin . Which one are you? Someone should invent a card game. Oh wait. We play that one everyday. There is the character of Detective Rhonda Boney. Reassuring as she is, her character is not enough to sufficiently challenge the plot.

Fraser redux : Reviewing The Mummy in 2014

The trouble with Brendan Fraser is, I guess, that he doesn’t take himself very seriously. At least I don’t think he did in the past but may be he does now, I don’t know. I haven’t seen the The Nut Job yet but I’m looking forward to William Tell. Fingers crossed it will be a great story, well told. The actor Fraser is so much more than a goof ball. And you know, saying so shortchanges a really good actor. People (and critics) love the The Mummy. They also criticize it. Like they really, really have to. Like bulimics eating chocolate. Like Roger Ebert who not only waxes cautious in his review of the movie but exudes a slight cold chill of disparagement with every indulgence of his gentle sense of humour, “There is within me an unslaked hunger for preposterous adventure movies…I cannot argue for the script, the direction, the acting or even the mummy, but I can say that I was not bored and sometimes I was unreasonably pleased. There is a little immaturity stuck away in the crannies of even the most judicious of us, and we should treasure it.”  But never mind bulimical critics and a bulimical public. Never mind sequels that root themselves less and less in the same giving patch of soil that made the original. Let’s firmly turn our faces towards the sunshine – of “immaturity” – which nevertheless perceives difference between The Mummy 1 and The Mummy 3.

For one, it has perfectly modulated relationships between the main cast, they match each others’ steps as if the movie were a dance- in short they are a well put together team. Take Rick O’Connell and Beni, perfect partners in hate, their enmity playing out in tandem- remember the matching emphasis in the delivery of these lines:

“Beni:
Hey O’Connell! Looks to me
like I got all the horses!
O’CONNELL:
Hey Beni! Looks to me like your
on the wrong side of the river!”

 

Jonathan and Evy- one is disreputable,unfocused, comically greedy but redeemed by loyalty and affection the other is smart, passionate, furiously goal driven with an unimpeachable sense of fairness. Evy and Rick,  Evy: book-smart and romantic, Rick: street-smart and clear headed.

Perfectly defined setting. You need to milk history’s veins at suitable junctures to create good fiction and the setting here is one such point, keeping in mind the extensive interest of British and French archaeologists in the Middle East in the early 20th century.The stereotypes that have come down to us from these pursuits become a touchstone for recognition – with a slight twist- since e.g. the “bookish archaeologist” is a woman. Someone, somewhere in the movie (Heh. Probably the director. )had an endearing sense for history, which permeated through to the rest of the cast and into the film’s atmosphere. It expressed itself in Weisz’s ankle length straight skirts, French heels and her application to the “Bembridge scholars”, the Egyptian Curator’s accented conversation, the drunken RAF pilot. Our story takes place in Cairo, Egypt and plays out either in the Museum of Antiquities which has its own definite, individual atmosphere and creates a place for the modern, upper class characters like the anglicized Egyptian Curator, and (given that it’s the 1920s) the mixed race albeit more British than Egyptian brother and sister pair Evy and Jonathan who can participate in the story from this point of belonging. Lower class Egypt comes to the fore in the grimy, lecherous, sing-song voiced Warden surrounded by brutal guards, tooth decaying prisoners and a ruffianly O’Connell, slightly destroyed after days in the desert, and- right now- no longer the spruce soldier.

And finally dialogue, extremely funny writing and always well delivered, my favourite line belongs to Rachel Weisz’s character:

Evy:
I may not be an explorer, or an
adventurer, or a treasure hunter,
or a gunfighter! Mister O’Connell
But I’m proud of what I am.
O’CONNELL
And what is that?
Evelyn plops back down beside him, really drunk, she grins
and proudly lifts her head high.
EVELYN
….. am a librarian!”
Perfect! 🙂

One Fine Day (Now a bi-annual post!)

I think I have mentioned this movie before. I am now slightly more critical of it. It’s probably impending older age that makes me disagreeable but the interactions between Clooney and Pfeiffer seem to be presented as a “battle of the sexes” which I find childish. If a complete stranger started weighing in on your life (even if you messed up their day) and got really personal wouldn’t you think they were rude or mad? Of course it would take great strength of mind to take exception to George Clooney (and M. Pfeiffer by that standard) merely on a point of etiquette and in the cause of breaking through gender stereotypes but I’m a rock star like that. But should we cut the movie some slack since this was the early nineties? The very early nineties when your male boss/top clients (also male) could say of you (to your delight), “She’s quite the little discovery, isn’t she?” and apparently actor/writer/director heads did NOT roll for NOT conveying the least hint of humour, irony, sarcasm or a trace of self-awareness. 

But noticing other things lends and retains a vernal charm to this movie. For example, I have never, not once, in the past 18 years noticed that although it’s called One Fine Day it was actually cloudy and rainy all through. Except for the brief moments (splashing through the puddle to get to Sammy’s soccer game) when the romantic leads connect with each other, the sun never peeps out. I love the poetic truth of the title: it was a fine day because the leads met each other and fell in love. Unless it’s ironic because as pointed out above the weather was terrible. Or may be it refers to that story telling phrase, “And one fine day… such and such a thing happened/ this is what she did/ this is what happened.” 

 Ha, ha. With the right perspective you will never run out of food for speculation.

Spanglish

Here’s a quote: “Deborah, you are going to lose your husband… if you don’t stop what you are doing. And you will never find someone as good. There’ll only be men who you know are cheap and shallow… and have no real warmth in their souls. You may have gotten by on those surfaces once but now… you have been spoiled by a good man. If you do not act quickly… you will soon cement an awful fate for yourself…”

(Emphasis as in the movie and many thanks to script-o-rama.com)

Kind of reaches out and grabs you, huh?

Movies written by Adam Sandler are sometimes just embarrassing in parts.

Remember Barrymore’s slob of a brother in 50 First Dates? He must have been meant to make Adam Sandler look like George Clooney. Never gonna happen. But in Spanglish Sandler wins back his self-respect (it could never have been intact) as an actor and major props from Me. He plays genuine and decent so well . Also requiring mention are the other actors – Sarah Steele -Paz Vega – Cloris Leachman – Tea Leoni.

Casting directors should be credited first for all the satisfaction afforded.

Brave

Everyone’s seen Brave. The excitement started before the movie released with people going gaga over the graphic book (or do I mean artwork?). However, moving pictures top mere pictures with me any day,and have you anything more beautiful than Brave? Ha ha if nothing else Brave reconciles me to my own unmanageable hair. Give me a bow and an arrow and a legend and I shan’t ask for more. I want the vivid colours and the bright excitement. Why can’t legends be real and fantasy true? Can’t I be a Scottish princess please?? Or a Scottish anybody in a Pixar animation? Let me know where all the adventure is please so I can go find it.

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