Category Archives: fairytale

Jack the Giant Slayer

Jack the Giant Slayer ~ Fairy tales are hot in Hollywood right now. Whether it’s the two Snow White flicks last year, Hansel and Gretel with guns a few weeks back, or the hit TV series “Grimm” and “Once Upon a Time,” or even the Fables comic books – fairy tales are big business. Now it’s Jack’s turn.

This weekend, The Bride and I saw Jack the Giant Slayer at the fabulously remodeled AMC Marlton 8 Theatre, and it wasn’t just the great reclining lounger seats that made for a great movie experience – the flick was pretty good too. The big budget CGI send up of the ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ story had adventure, horror, romance, and even comedy. I might go so far as to say it reminded me a bit of The Princess Bride. Now let me be clear, it’s no Princess Bride, but it had all the hallmarks.

Bryan Singer’s take on ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ is filled with CGI giants all in need of serious dental care and repair, and a fabulous cast of character actors. Ian McShane from “Deadwood” is excellent as the King, and Ewan McGregor as the protagonist who’s not the hero of this story is terrific. However, the leads are only adequate and the actors behind the CGI giants are pretty much unrecognizable. This doesn’t stop the flick from being enjoyable, despite the story’s simplicity and predictability. There are surprises, and that helps.

This is a great popcorn flick, moves quickly, never bores, and was the perfect film to test out a terrific new theater. Thumbs up all around.

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Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman ~ I was really unsure what to expect when I went to see this flick. What I did not expect was to be one of the few males in the audience. Much like when I saw Wolverine, this was a chick flick judging by the audience. I don’t want to be sexist, but I’m guessing it was all about Chris Hemsworth, especially based on the number of negative comments I heard leaving the theater by women angry that he did not take his shirt off. He was pretty good in the film although he didn’t really have much to do with Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart eating up the scenery the way they did.

Theron rocks the house as Ravenna the Evil Queen in this reimagining of the Snow White story. This is her film, no doubt, even though it really should be Stewart’s or Hemsworth’s. And I know it’s early, but wait until Oscar time, I think we’ll see a nod for costumes and make-up for this flick. Charlize wears some outfits in this flick, she’s like Cher from hell. I loved it.

Kristen Stewart is a major problem for me here. She’s never impressed me, even in the Twilight flicks where she is supposed to rule. My major problem here? The whole idea of the Queen asking the mirror who the prettiest, and the mirror picking Snow White over the Evil Queen. I don’t buy it even for a second. I’m not being subjective here, but there is just no way Stewart beats Theron in this movie in the looks department. It’s just not believable.

I liked the dwarves, in that they were played by well-known actors. Cool to see Nick Frost, Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, and Toby Jones among them. They were CGIed into dwarven bodies a la Lord of the Rings, which some of this movie resembles, and not in a good way. On the other hand, part of me kinda wishes however they would have gone with little people actors like they did in Mirror Mirror than doing it this way. Seems like they’re putting little people out of work, and in a worse light, it kinda feels like white folks putting on black face, ya know?

There are a great many things to enjoy about this film. One of them is the dark forest which is scarier by far than any depiction of any dark forest I’ve seen cinematically ever. And of course I loved the song over the closing credits, “Breath of Life” by Florence + The Machine, for once a perfect song matched to a flick.

But then there are things that infuriate me as well, like the loose ends and unanswered questions, regarding the troll and the mirror for instance. There was more to tell, perhaps we’ll see it in the deleted scenes of the DVD maybe. I also disliked the big LotR battle at the end, this didn’t seem to be that kind of movie. And that’s the problem, I don’t think the folks behind the scenes knew what kind of movie they wanted to make.

In the end, it’s visually stunning, but otherwise meh. Definitely worth seeing, but maybe more worth waiting for video release or OnDemand.

Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror ~ Sometimes it just seems too easy to me for Hollywood to take a public domain property like a fairy tale, in this case, Snow White, and put their own spin on it. Most times though, we’re not talking new spin, but a contemporary, sometimes mocking, and most times different for different’s sake, look at it.

In the case of Mirror Mirror, more than a different take, we get a spotlight for Julia Roberts with her fading star to vamp and overact in the confines of a fantasy over the top role – the evil queen. Roberts is so delicious in the part, she overshadows the rest of the cast, including the usually overwhelming Nathan Lane and the seven dwarves who were particularly entertaining. And if you’re fans of “Little People, Big World” and “Pit Boss,” you’ll see some familiar faces.

This take on the Snow White, despite the differences, was a tad predictable (and not just because most of the flick has been telegraphed in the previews either), though still entertaining. If nothing else is playing, a good afternoon out, but better a wait for rental or OnDemand. Whatever you do, stay for the Bollywood credit sequence, it’s awesome.

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Tangled

Tangled ~ Much like Disney’s last animated feature, The Princess and the Frog that re-imagined the fairy tale of “The Frog Prince,” Tangled gives “Rapunzel” a new spin. And while very little of the film has the energy or the verve of the preview featuring the music of Pink, it is still very good.

Leads Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi, though not most folks’ choice of a male lead, hand in terrific performances. Levi, especially proving the magic of animation is about voice work, not appearances. Character actor Donna Murphy rounds out the singing cast as the heavy, with Alan Menken doing the music this time out.

The songs are formula unfortunately and go in all the right places and do everything these types of songs have done for Disney songs for almost two decades. They’re almost interchangeable, which again, is not to say they are not good. One tune, “I’ve Got a Dream,” stands out far above the others in its difference above all else. It’s an almost Monty Python-ic madcap piece that brings more than a few laughs with it.

All in all, a great entry for Disney’ fiftieth animated feature, and their first CGI one without Pixar. We’ve seen it before, but it’s still worth seeing again, ya know? Terrific holiday fare for the kids, and the adults, recommended.

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True Blood: Everything Is Broken

In the pre-credit teaser of this episode we get our first look at the vampire law enforcement/military. They are very Robocop, very Starship Troopers, and very old school cyberpunk, and of course, they are armed with silver. My first thought is ‘kewl,’ but my second thought is ‘how do you keep something like that a secret?’ I’m all for secret empires and ages-old illuminati and the like, but whoa.

“Everything Is Broken,” title derived from the Bob Dylan tune that closes the episode, is written by Alexander Woo, who also wrote the less than satisfactory episode “It Hurts Me Too” from earlier this season. We open on Russell cradling what’s left of Talbot and then move to a vampirically erotic shower scene with Bill and Sookie. Nice juxtaposition. The chatter between them, about what normal couples do, is fun and charming.

When Sam suggested to Tara that she see a shrink, I nearly snarfed Coke through my nose. I think the last thing this show needs is a psychologist creeping around Bon Temps. They would have to commit the whole town! Crazy aside, it’s a good episode for other things. Bill and Sookie get some, Lafayette and Jesus get some, and Sam’s brother gets some.

Eric rats Russell out to The Authority (not the comic, although that’s the first thing I think of when I type that). Full confession, baby. Only the result is not what he hoped. They leave him high and dry. Russell is too hot to handle, so if something is to be done, Eric has to do it himself.

Bill gets to visit fairyland. I have to wonder at the logic of this however. After Sookie’s blood saved his life, there was a weird effect where he could momentarily stand the sunlight. Here, he goes to that watery place of light near the cemetery and the hostess says he’s there because he has Sookie’s blood. But now, hasn’t Bill had Sookie’s blood before this? Why hasn’t this come up before this?

Franklin! He sure scared the crap out of Tara, but we knew he wouldn’t be gone long. Lesson learned for folks not in the know, like Tara – you must stake or decapitate a vampire or they just ain’t dead. Stake in the heart, or head off body, or there’s just no true death.

And finally, Russell takes his war public and worldwide – wow and holy crap – in one of the best cliffhangers on television in quite some time. I cannot wait for the next episode!

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Fairytale – The Official Music Video

Been long enough, but they’ve finally released the ‘official’ music video for Norway’s winning entry into this year’s Eurovision Song Contest – “Fairytale” by Alexander Rybak. Enjoy.

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And the Winner Is…

The winner of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest is… Norway!

“Fairytale” by Alexander Rybak. Like I said, never underestimate the power of a cute boy and a catchy song.

Congratulations, Norway!

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