Tag Archives: movie

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Short review: I’d much rather watch Barbie in the Nutcracker. 

Longer review: Disney takes one of the most classic ballet storylines, removes dancing and imagination from it, and returns with a generic tale of girl power and Newton’s Third Law of Motion. 

To be fair, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms contains beautiful costumes and lovely, lush scenery. Considering the amount of character depth she has to work with, Mackenzie Foy does a good job with Clara. Several other big names make an appearance, including Matthew Macfadyen, who either plays only one role or decided to approach “grieving Father” the same way he approached Mr. Darcy. Broody. Very broody. 

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Unfortunately, those are the highlights. The plot gave off a Narnia-wannabe vibe, but it reminded me more of Disney’s live action Alice in Wonderland. And that is not a good thing. I did appreciate that costumes stayed fairly period-specific in Nutcracker, though. No trousers. (* cough, Alice, cough *)

The storyline contains several plot holes and inconsistencies that never get resolved — or even addressed. The lack of magic and emphasis on science might fit society’s interest in encouraging girls to go into the STEM fields, but it removes any sense of wonder or imagination from the plot. Finally, the story’s treatment of females and womanhood in general goes overboard trying to correct traditional female movie roles and as a result sidelines some of the most beautiful elements of the ballet and the movie, including the lush costumes.

Overall, I would say a movie that could have reached something great but gets sidelined and loses the point of the Nutcracker. 

 

 

SPOILER

I said the movie falls “trying to correct traditional female movie roles.” That is true…until it doesn’t. The villain in the movie, besides being utterly predictable, behaves like a typical femme fatale. She wants strong men around and vindictively targets the other female guardian. This isn’t a groundbreaking female character. This is an annoying stereotype. And further, she is the only character who appears to relish the fashion and beauty around her. She’s the most traditionally feminine…and so predictably the most evil character. I found the motivation here disappointing. 

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Ever After

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Me: “Why didn’t Mom let us watch this when we were little? I can’t remember anything inappropriate.”*

Sister: “It was probably all the tight pants.”

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Yeah, that look didn’t age well.

 

 

*Upon re-watching, I understand why. Lots of innuendo. And those tights are awful. Sorry for doubting, Mom 😉 


It Takes Two

“We’re watching It Takes Two,” said my housemates, all 8 crowded in the living room together. 

It sounded vaguely familiar – maybe a popular chick flick? – so I flopped down to join them. And then the movie began and my childhood came rushing back. 

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The movie was one long déjà vu. It also reminded me of a favorite series of mine growing up: 

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Their dog made the most lasting impression on me. Good times. 


Girls’ Night Out

Yesterday I had a charming girls’ night out with some of my fellow interns. We got mani-pedis, went out for Thai food, got ice cream, and concluded with the movie I Feel Pretty. 

I Feel Pretty was funny and not as vulgar as I expected. Not sure I would watch it again, though. It has great potential but never strays from the predictable and piles loads of angst onto otherwise good material. 

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Did you see the movie, and if so, what were your thoughts? 


Laura by Vera Caspary

Remember my enthusiasm when I found out my favorite movie was first a book? Well, it finally came in at the library! 

Plot: Laura Hunt’s mysterious death has shocked New York. The ambitious young woman has been found dead, shot in the face in her apartment. Lieutenant Detective Mark McPherson has been assigned to the case. As he uncovers more about Laura, he becomes increasingly obsessed with her. Soon he realizes he’s been seduced by a dead woman—or has he?

Thoughts: I love this movie. I could probably quote most of it.  There is something about the scene where McPherson, played by Dana Andrews, is staring at the portrait of Laura and falling in love with her even though he thinks she is dead that wins my heart every time.

I set such high expectations on this book that I don’t think it ever could have lived up to them. It was a really good read and yet not quite what I hoped for. It was wonderfully written. I liked the changing viewpoints. I liked the story. The twists are good. Yet, it wasn’t the movie. The pacing felt off. Lines were delivered in different settings and certain, critical scenes from the movie are non-existent in the book.

However, separating the book from the movie…it was a solid read. It was one of the most enjoyable noir reads I’ve found in a long time. The author uses light and darkness, shadows and storms, flowers and foreshadowing, to highlight scenes and create atmosphere. There were many themes laced throughout the story. The romance was somewhat more believable than the movie (oops, not comparing those two anymore) and I thought the balance of the three suitors and what they represented to Laura was interesting. Laura herself is a very complicated character. We get glimpses of her from a few different perspectives and it is interesting to try and figure out what is false and what is real. Womanhood itself gets examined in this story. Is Laura a doll? Dame? Femme fatale? Society woman? Country girl? Are the women around her grasping, slutty, innocent, or confused? This isn’t so much a whodunnit as a examination of human character. I think that is why there is less “shock value” with the final twist at the end. The point isn’t so much “Who killed Laura?” as “Who was Laura?”
I liked the ending. It was somewhat different than the movie. 

Overall, I would give the book a solid 4 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed it and might have loved it if I didn’t know the movie so well. 


Tea and a Movie

Today Sara and I went to a fabulous tea shop, visited a cute used book shop  (where I didn’t buy a single book!), and saw the movie The Case For Christ. I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. Considering it is based off a non-fiction book, the movie does a good job turning it into an interesting story. It was a perfect movie for Easter. 


Beauty and the Beast (Take 2!)

This afternoon, my beautiful, amazing, and wonderful Mother kidnapped me from work and we went and watched Beauty and the Beast (again.) Still a lovely movie. We were both amazed at how quiet the theater was for a Friday afternoon. There were maybe 20 people in the movie theater with us. It was completely different from when I took my youth group girls on Tuesday. 

On Tuesday, the place was packed. We barely found seats together in the third-to-front row. To our left, there was a Mom with a baby. The baby was very well behaved but tended to gurgle and applaud. She got up and returned 4 or 5 times with the kid during the course of the movie. In front of us, there were two grade school girls. Their Mom was sitting behind us. Any even remotely scary scene had them freaking out and near the end one had to come sit by her Mom because she was sobbing so hard. 

However, the most memorable part of the theater experience came during the ballroom scene. This is the iconic, Beauty and the Beast moment. Beast looks up and sees Belle in her yellow ballgown, the music starts, and suddenly…someone started booing! The guy booed on and off throughout the entire scene. It was quite an experience. I thought they danced rather well! 

The first image of Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. Beauty And The Beast is scheduled for release on March 17, 2017 and is the latest of Disney's live-action offerings. | photo by Laurie Sparham, Walt Disney Studios | Daily Mail: