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THEATRICAL REVIEW: Cinderella (2015)

March 25, 2015 2 comments
Cinderella (2015)Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Produced by: Simon Kinberg, David Barron, Allison Shearmur
Screenplay by: Chris Weitz
Edited by: Martin Walsh
Cinematography by: Haris Zambarloukos
Music by: Patrick Doyle
Starring: Lily James, Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, Stellan Skarsgård, Nonso Anozie, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Helena Bonham Carter, Hayley Atwell, Eloise Webb
Based on Cendrillon by Charles Perrault and the 1950 Walt Disney Pictures film
Year: 2015

 

I am admirer of the work put out by Disney, despite not always admiring the company itself. Their penchant for retelling the same stories time and time again admittedly gets old, and their recent attempts to remake and retell their animated films in live action, complete without songs, did not sit well with me. This isn’t the first time they’ve done this – they did the same thing back in the ‘90s when they did live action versions of The Jungle Book and the briefly franchised 101 Dalmatians and its sequel, the obviously named 102 Dalmatians, which… at least they got Glenn Close to come back? Anyway, I was not particularly looking forward to Cinderella – a retelling of a tired story which, to be quite honest, provided us with one of Disney’s lesser animated films back in the day – especially after the massive disappointment that was the atrocious Maleficent last year seemingly proved this whole thing was just one big cash grab, motivated by the money Tim Burton’s also-atrocious Alice in Wonderland made. When the trailers came out, the ones with actual actors and not just a spinning glass slipper, I didn’t even like the look of the film. So, no, I was not looking forward to the new and needless Cinderella, 2015 edition. Read more…

Theatrical Review: “Brave”

June 26, 2012 8 comments
Directed by: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Produced by: Katherine Sarafian; Pete Docter, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton (executive); Mary Alice Drumm (associate)
Written by: Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi (screenplay); Brenda Chapman (story)
Art Department: Emma Coats, Nick Sung (storyboard artists); Mark Cordell Holmes (graphic artist); Jason Merck (artist)
Music by: Patrick Doyle
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Julie Walters, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane, John Ratzenberger
Year: 2012

 

Many have worried, and even after seeing the film continue to assert, that Brave is a step backward for Pixar in terms of quality and storytelling. The film’s current score of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes, while nowhere near as low as last year’s 38%-scoring Cars 2, still puts the film just barely above the first Cars (74%), and just below the recent Madagascar 3 (76%), and though I haven’t seen the latter, I doubt these films would ever be considered in the same league as Pixar’s masterpieces like Up, The Incredibles, the Toy Story films, and Finding Nemo. Audiences and critics alike are seemingly seeing signs that this studio, once heralded as being home to the kings (and queens) of their craft, is taking its first steps towards the abyss of mediocrity — an assertion only further enforced by the fact that Brave had Pixar’s lowest grossing opening weekend of any of their films, despite taking the number one spot. But is Brave really the harbinger of a string of “just average” films to come? Has Pixar lost its edge, its brilliance, its originality? To be quite honest, I don’t see Brave in that light at all. Read more…

Review: “Quest for Camelot”

June 19, 2012 2 comments
Directed by: Frederik Du Chau
Produced by: Andre Clavel, Dalisa Cohen, Zahra Dowlatabadi
Written by: Kirk De Micco, William Schifrin, Jacqueline Feather, David Seidler, Frederik Du Chau (screenplay)
Art Direction by: Carol Kieffer Police, J. Michael Spooner
Music by: Patrick Doyle (original score), David Foster and Carole Bayer Sayer (original songs)
Starring: Jessalyn Gilsig, Cary Elwes, Gary Oldman, Eric Idle, Don Rickles, Jane Seymour, Pierce Brosnan, Bronson Pinchot, Jaleel White, Gabriel Byrne, John Gielgud, Frank Welker; Andrea Corr, Bryan White, Celine Dion, Steve Perry (singing voices)
Based on the novel The King’s Damosel by Vera Chapman
Year: 1998

 

I had been thinking of this movie for quite a while, contemplating whether I should watch it or not. Every now and then, the itch would hit, and I’d consider it, but then I would reconsider and decide to skip it for either a much better or (when the mood struck) worse movie. I’ve actually owned this film for probably over ten years, but, to be quite honest, I think the number of times I actually watched the disc could be counted on one hand, and for the longest time, the film kind of just stood in my collection as the lone Q in my alphabetized shelf, only to find its would-be partner, Quantum of Solace, stashed way up top with the rest of the Bond films in the B section (for “Bond” of course — I like my film series in sequential order, therefore U.S. Marshals is up there in the F section since it’s a sequel to The Fugitive. It makes sense to me!).

But before too long, the itch got too intense, and with the impending release of the Pixar film Brave, I figured it was probably about time that I gave this superficially similar-looking film its due before it was inevitably blown out of the waters of my mind by what is likely to be a far superior film. And so, like a forgotten relic rediscovered, I dusted off my old DVD copy in those awful cardboard snap cases Warner Bros. always used to use in the early days of DVD, set aside the old paper inserts still residing within that marveled at the wonders of this disc-based movie viewing technology, and threw the old double-sided disc (film on one side, special features on the other) into the PS3 to see if I could relive the magic… Read more…

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