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Entries in fairy tales (30)

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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Monday
Jan192015

Fairy Tales, Witches, and Oscars. An 87 Year History

Over on Twitter Alex posed an interesting question to me and I thought I'd share it with you. Is Meryl Streep the first actor to be Oscar-nominated for playing a witch, or anyone in a fairy tale for that matter? As far as I can tell the answer is "in the way that you mean, yes" and "I believe so."

Though no witches in the fairy tale or broom-riding sense have been nominated before Streep, technically a witch star turn has won an Oscar and another spell-caster has been nominated. The first would be Ruth Gordon's diabolical coven leaderbusybody in Rosemary's Baby which we discussed in worshipful detail here.  And Sir Ian McKellen was nominated for playing "Gandalf the Grey" who, being a sorcerer, is basically the male equivalent of a witch. Otherwise, no witches. The famous witches we think of when we think of the movies weren't actually nominated. No, not even the greatest of them all, Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz (1939). 

After the jump let's look back through cinema history and see how fairytale or witchy films like Into the Woods have fared at the Oscars shall we?  (This is an incomplete history. Feel free to share things I missed. Especially great witchiness.)

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Wednesday
Nov192014

Yes No Maybe So: Cinderella (2015)

Disney has been on such a billion dollar roll lately by returning to their roots and trusting in princesses and classic children's literature that we're now getting a live action Cinderella. The trailer dropped today. Are we a Yes, No or Maybe You?

Let's try this trailer on for size after the poster (I'm concerned her head might start spinning around Exorcist style, that neck is seriously uncomfortably swivelled) and the jump...

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Thursday
Jul312014

I Wish... we'd get an "Into the-- Hey, I wasn't done wishing yet!

Well, this is unexpected. Just one day after releasing 10 new images, and an hour after posting about them, there's a teaser, too.

You'd think they'd want to space out the media attention since Christmas is still a long way away but we'll take it. As per usual, they're not quite admitting it's a musical yet in advertising. You hear the opening words "I wish..." of the prologue chorale number over and over again but nobody quite sings it as if the spirit of Rex Harrison has taken over. Anna Kendrick comes closest to sounding melodic while just speaking. But the teaser is enticing.

Come what may, for better and we-hope-not worse, it will be an event to see this musical on big screens during the holidays.

Thursday
Jul312014

Thoughts I Had... while looking at new "Into the Woods" images

If there is one thing in life that's certain at TFE beyond daily postings, Actress mania, Oscar chart delays, and time-jumping movie coverage, it's this: if Meryl Streep is featured there are a bajillion comments. And yet the last two Streep attacks, a look back at 2009 and a subliminal Hours reunion proved the exception. Is this merely summer doldrums or a sign of the Streepocalypse? Or were people just waiting for Into the Woods news? If so, it has arrived.

UPDATE: And the Teaser too!

Yesterday a bunch of new images surfaced from the movie and you know how this goes. We look at the image and we list off thoughts as they come without self-censorship to keep the brain loose and the words flowing and to not be too mundane about what this actually is - free advertising for Disney and regurgitated photo sharing.

Meet Rapunzel
• I always forget her in Into the Woods because she's immobile and shares her scenes with the Witch (Meryl Streep) who invariably steals them.
• So annoying when movie studios release one image with different proportions than the others. Rapunzel gets a vertical rectangle. Is this to show off the hair? 
• I love Tangled.
• When I was a wee boy it was my dream to make a Rapunzel movie because it was the only fairy tale I loved that DIDN'T have a Disney movie and also because my big sister had long hair and Crystal Gayle was still famous and yes that makes me an ancient - shut up! #40somethingisthenew30something
• Mackenzie Mauzy is literally the only Into the Woods cast member I don't know from anything. I guess she was on soaps? Are you familiar?

10 more photos after the jump...

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