Archive for the ‘Family’ Category


Posted: December 29, 2014 in Comedy, Disney, Drama, Family, Musical
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Into-the-Woods Stephen Sondheim’s musical masterpiece, Into The Woods, has hit the big screen! FINALLY! After a year of waiting, it finally came! I have already seen it twice!

As a theatre person, myself, and a skeptic when musicals hit the screen, I was so pleasantly happy with the film adaptation that I highly recommend it for everyone. Fans of the stage production will not be disappointed, nor will new comers to the Woods.

Into-the-Woods (1)The plot revolves around five main story lines: Cinderella, Little Red Ridding Hood, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and the Childless Baker. They are all interwoven into this wonderful story line. I don’t want to give too much away because it is much better experienced that having it explained. Basically, the first half is all the characters getting their “happily ever after” and the second half, there is this catastrophe that occurs that causes everything to unravel.

The music is genius. Some of Sondheim’s finest work. If you don’t know Sondheim’s work, he loves words and word play. His songs have some of the most complex lyrics ever. Into the Woods is a prime example of this just look up the songs “Giants in The Sky” and “Your Fault” But aside from the lyrics, his music is gorgeous and moving. “No One is Alone” and “Stay With Me” and even “Children Will Listen” are three of the most beautiful songs ever. Sondheim’s music makes up almost 90% of the script. Everything else is spoken. Which is not a lot.

Colleen Atwood was the costume designer for this film and it shows. Her beautiful designs are prevalent in movies such asInto_the_Woods_00008 Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy HollowSweeney ToddDark Shadows, ETC. Granted I think i just proved she is Tim Burton’s favorite costume designer. But, I digress, her creations are period and are known to meld the eccentric and whimsical, but they dont take away from the period that is to be portrayed. They are beautiful and intricately color schemed. Its a feast for the eyes. Needless to say, she is one of my favorite costume designers, as well, and I flipped out when i saw her name i the credits.

The world created in this film is gorgeous. I am not sure where the location it was filmed in is located, but it is one of the most beautiful forests anyone could ever hope to get lost in. There are so many different tree styles in the movie and the lighting choices were alluring. It was creepy at times, inviting at times, and comforting even. I loved watching this movie if for nothing but the scenery. The locations were beautiful all around, but my favorite were the scenes at Rapunzel’s tower. It was so ancient looking but flourished with splashes of greens and greys and even a hint of red from the berries on the briar patch. It was beautiful to look at.

Something else that was amazing in the movie were the CGI effects that did not look CGI (for the most part). The best effect in my opinion was the cow. Milky White (The cow) was a real cow for about 90% of the movie but there were at least 3 times during the movie that it became CGI. The most noticeable was when they had to feed things to the cow and it ate a shoe and a cape in the same shot. My other favorite effects were the Witch’s entrances and exits. They were each different and unexpected (to an unknowing audience). And they looked so magical. This movie is chalked full of special effects and they are handled brilliantly.

Overall, I thought this movie was as perfect as it could be for a Disney movie adaptation. As a theatre enthusiast, I had my complaints with some changes made, but as a whole I was very pleased. It is a fantastic film. Everyone should go see it right now! And don’t forget….be careful what you wish for.

Fun Times with a Fox!

Posted: December 22, 2014 in Comedy, Family
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th (1)I absolutely love writer/director Wes Anderson’s work. The Royal Tennenbaums, Grand Budapest Hotel, and Moonrise Kingdom are some of my absolute favorite films of all time. So today, I decided to sit down and watch Anderson’s family film, The Fantastic Mr. Fox. It is a screen adaptation of the book with the same name by Roald Dahl.

I have nothing but good things to say about this movie. I have never read the book so i do not know how close to the actual story Anderson kept it but I loved it regardless. It made me think of the movie Chicken Run quite a lot in the twinge of British humor that was throughout it, as well as, the antics and things the animals in the movie get up to.

I guess if you are unfamiliar with this film, as I was earlier today, you might want a short synopsis. So here it goes. Basically the plot centers around Mr. Fox and his family, and how, due to his need to be amazing (fantastic), Mr. Fox decides to quit his journalism job to go back to his old career of stealing poultry from farmers. He uproots the family from their borough to move into a tree (wild animal real estate {so funny}). This tree they move into is close to the top three poultry farms in the city…im sure you see where this is going. Mr. Fox decided to plan this amazing heist to clean out all three farms, and all is going well until the farm owners decide to hunt him down which put he and his family and friends all in danger. Eventually they move into the sewer where they hatch this grand strategy to fight back, save a captive family member and still wipe out the farms of their stock. This being a family movie everything goes as planned…Oh and I forgot…get Mr. Fox’s tail back. Needless to say it a great plot full of physical comedy.

I think what makes this great is, yes it is animated, but it is not CGI or hand drawn, it is a stop-motion animated feature like James and the Giant Peach  or Nightmare Before Christmas. And it is beautifully animated. The speech patterns of the animals is so “life-like” (if animals could talk). Frame by frame it is so aesthetically pleasing to watch. You know it took hours to do one frame, but it is done so flawlessly that you get consumed in it and forget you are watching essentially a very well done puppet show. The sets just envelope you in this world from Dahl, and Anderson’s imaginations that is so magical and well thought out you believe it could exist. I think the sets might have been my favorite part of the art of the whole experience.

The script is also phenomenal. The humor is smart and witty, but unlike many of his other films, Anderson branched awayth (2) from the sarcasm and went more to the satirical and farcical in this script. The comedic timing of the script is perfect. Some of the line are said three times but they are spaced through the film so well that the power of three rule still works wonders. I also did not find it to be predictable at all, which I liked as well. So many movies have such predictable scripts that i can sit there and finish lines having never seen the movie, and that was not the case with this film at all.

The soundtrack was great as well. I was immediately interested to see where this movie was going to take me when the opening shot are backed by “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” which is not British (setting of story) or a 20th Century Fox (production company) song but an American, Disney song. And that was not the only Disney song heard in the film either. “LOVE” from Disney’s Robin Hood is also played and I enjoyed this more than I probably should have because in the animated feature of Robin Hood by Disney, Robin Hood and Maid Marian are also foxes. But over all the music was superb and just brought the world of the film that much closer to reality for me.

Fantastic Mr. Fox wallpapers desktop background HD 3D movie review (21)Anderson also cast the voices so well. Of course it is Wes Anderson so the cast usually is made up of people that would not usually be cast together minus three staples of Anderson filmography: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Willem DaFoe. But George Clooney does and excellent job of bringing Mr. Fox to life. Meryl Streep was also a fabulous choice for Felicity Fox, Mr. Fox’s wife. She was sweet but visceral when she had to be and Streep was excellent. My favorite, however, was Jason Schwartzman as Ash, their son. His role was perfection. An angsty teenage fox who just wants to be and athelet like his father was just to make his father proud. Jason Schwartzman did wonderful as Ash and I could not hear another person as him in my head at all. It was a perfect casting decision to me.

Needless to say, I was beyond pleased by this movie, and will now try to purchase it for myself at some point. Wes Anderson, you are a brilliant genius of film and comedy. Please, keep doing what you are doing for the cinema today.

And with that I also want to wish my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season!


5156973_orig10 years ago, Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen took to the screen in Christmas with the Kranks, a film adaptation of John Grisham’s holiday novel, Skipping Christmas. It also happens that last night this hilarious holiday feature was being aired last night on one of America’s well-known drama network, Lifetime. I watched this to kick off the Christmas season with my best friend. As always, I loved and laughed at it so much. This movie has everything from hysterical physical gags, to fun scenarios, to heart warming messages about what Christmas is really about, making this film a great feature to watch with your family at this time of the season. The plot follows the story of Luther and Nora Krank who plan on skipping Christmas to take a cruise because their daughter would not be home and because they spent so much on the holiday the last few years. Immediately after the decision to skip Christmas is made, hilarity ensues. From making their friends and neighbors angry because they were cancelling their annual holiday Christmas Eve party to Luther getting Botox and Nora having a humorous tanning experience and eventually leading to angry mobs coming to there house demanding them to “FREE FROSTY!” and decorate for the season. Needless to say, the humor is endless and I was laughing to the point of tears many times. Eventually the plot twists to the Kranks getting a mysterious phone call from their daughter saying she is on her way home and would be at their door by 8 pm Christmas Eve…just in time for the [cancelled] party. Of course this starts a panic in the Krank household for Nora. Luther is just upset the cruise is not going to happen, so he goes into mope mode. The humor is never-ending in the final scenes when Luther has to borrow a neighbors tree because there were no more for sale with the boy scouts, Nora has to “fight” people at the local grocery store for a Hickory Ham that in the end gets flattened by a semi truck, and eventually Luther almost gets arrested, falls off the roof while decorating, and breaks Frosty. All before the daughter gets home. In the end, every thing works out, and leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy inside because of its message of how important family and friends are at the holiday season. I highly recommend you watch this movie during the holiday season. It is a great family movie, there is no off color humor or language to worry about. It is great fun for all ages. It might even make you think about your own family and what you go through every year, and what would happen if you actually tried to skip Christmas.