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Entries in fairy tales (34)

Saturday
Apr232016

The Huntsman: Winter's War

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad...

The Huntsman: Winter’s War, now playing, promises a “new” fairy tale. That’s true only if you’re willing to stretch the definition of the word. This “new” and awkwardly titled picture is both prequel and sequel to Snow White with some Frozen fan fiction in the middle. It begins long before the events of the revisionist Snow White & The Huntsman (2012) and eventually skips ahead to pick up where the last movie left off. In case you’ve forgotten your blockbuster history — spoiler alert! — Snow White and her Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) triumphed at the end by killing the true twin stars of the picture: Queen Ravenna and Her Oscar Nominated Costumes (a.k.a. former Oscar winners Charlize Theron & Colleen Atwood).

Dead though Ravenna was, when there is money to be made in franchise resurrection, nobody stays buried. In the new film we learn that the royal witch came to power alongside her kind loving sister Freya (Emily Blunt). After an unspeakable tragedy, though, Freya also became evil. Ravenna had that Magic Mirror to inspire her wickedness but Freya opts for a worn Blu-ray of Frozen as unholy talisman...

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Monday
Apr182016

The Furniture: The Wonderfully Weird Production Design of the Wonderful World of The Brothers Grimm

With Tale of Tales and The Huntsman: Winter’s War both opening this weekend, we have a sudden double feature of fairy tale movies on our hands. That makes it an excellent time to revisit the only fairy tale film nominated for the Oscar Best Production Design, The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm. (That seems impossible, I know, but it's true.)

The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm was the first narrative feature to be shot in the original 3-panel Cinerama process. The second, and last, was How the West Was Won, which I showcased two weeks ago. While the epic Western, or at least some its directors, tried to smooth over the unwieldy 3-camera process with landscapes and the occasional single-camera 70-mm shot, directors Henry Levin and George Pal really ran with Cinerama for their fairy tale epic. The results were a bit bonkers...

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Saturday
Oct102015

Posterized: Joe Wright's "Pan" and Peter Pan Movies

Jackman and Wright talk on setYou have to admit that Joe Wright was asking for it. He went and titled his Peter Pan epic, Pan, which is functioning like a command for the nation's critics who have done so mercilessly. It probably didn't help that he uglified one of our most handsome movie stars (no one needs to see Hugh Jackman going the Johnny Depp route). Worse, he truly stepped in it early on by casting the very white Rooney Mara in one of the few iconic roles meant for a Native American actress. (This issue has been discussed at very high volumes in the past few years since moviegoers and the media are sick to death of Hollywood's white-washing. But Hollywood is still wearing ear plugs.)

Will you see his latest despite the reviews?

And how many Peter Pan related movies have you seen? (More on Peter and Joe after the jump)

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Saturday
Jul182015

Say What? Charlize & Emily 

Amuse us. Add a caption or dialogue to this image of Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron on the set of The Huntsman. (No Snow White this time. It opens in April 2016) 

Sunday
Mar152015

Review: The New "Cinderella" Is a Real Beauty

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad.

The Game of Thrones Stark family was fond of the imminent warning "Winter is Coming" but their King of North, actor Richard Madden, doesn't need to worry this time. He's due a much happier Royal ending as the latest charming Prince to hit the movie screens. Winter is most definitely never coming to Kenneth Branagh's luxe adaptation of the most beloved of fairy tales, Cinderella. From its opening vista of a well-to-do country estate, filled with warm yellows and verdant greens and one very happy family, a pleasant merchant and his sunny wife (Ben Chaplin & Hayley Atwell) and their kind daughter Ella (Downton Abbey's Lily James), this Cinderella screams springtime and summer.

Its timing couldn't be better after this particularly long winter.

Spoilers if you're freshly arrived from another universe: Ella's loving parents are not long for this world and after imparting their wisdom and reinforcing her enchanted goodness (yes, she talks to animals), they take turns dying. Lady Tremaine, the stepmother, is introduced inbetween those deaths in clever multi-tasking voiceover courtesy of Fairy Godmother Helena Bonham Carter. [More...]

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Friday
Mar132015

A Twist On a Classic With "Ever After" (1998) 

Cinderella Week continues with abstew ...

The Barrymores and the Hustons. Two dynasties that over decades and generations left their legacy on stage and screen, taking their place as acting royalty. It's fitting that the classic tale of the young cinder girl that manages to actually become royalty would finally bring these two families together on film. Other than a 1939 documentary about the history of America called Land of Liberty which contained footage of John and Lionel Barrymore and Walter Huston (and if you look at the cast list from IMDB, apparently every star in Hollywood at the time...), it was 1998's Ever After that marked the first time a member of the Barrymore family acted alongside a member of the Huston family. And for Drew Barrymore and Anjelica Huston, representing their respective families, the pairing proved to be as enchanting as the timeless tale. 

Unlike the other magical, musical versions of Cinderella that we've been discussing, in this version, made during the height of late '90s "Girl Power" our main character is far from passive and pet mice aren't trying to help win her the love of a prince. Renamed Danielle de Barbarac, you are more likely to find her reading a tattered copy of Sir Thomas More's Utopia and debating the worth of all human beings than you are to see her harmonizing with songbirds. Tough, determined, and able to fend for herself, thank you very much (punches, daggers, and apple throwing employed when need be), at one point in the film she even rescues the prince (Dougray Scott) by throwing him over her back and carrying him away. Screenwriter Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) created a modern woman (that just happens to be living in the 16th century) for modern audiences perfectly embodied by modern-day Drew Barrymore. [More...]

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Saturday
Mar072015

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (1957)

Cinderella Week continues with Manuel on a true event in showbiz history...

How's this for a televised live event: on March 31st 1957, more than 107 million people watched Rodgers & Hammerstein's written-for-television musical Cinderella starring none other than not-yet-household name Julie Andrews. Critics and networks have bemoaned the increasingly fractured TV landscape and when you look at numbers like that (aided, of course by novelty as well as lack of choice) you can't help but marvel at what that must have felt like. Think of the snarky tweets and memes 107 million people could have come up with! This is, of course, what NBC has been trying to accomplish with its musical events (kickstarted not coincidentally with another Julie Andrews vehicle and followed, oddly enough, with the production that gave CBS the idea in the late 50s to produce a new musical for a Sunday night broadcast).

More...

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