“Shelf! SHELF!!! Where is she…any luck, Baron?”
TO BE CONTINUED…
“Shelf! SHELF!!! Where is she…any luck, Baron?”
TO BE CONTINUED…
So…Christmas just keeps coming earlier and earlier every year, doesn’t it?
All right, I confess I done goofed up. In the process of writing it I accidentally gave you guys a brief peek at one of your presents two months early. Blame WordPress’ system update that took me longer than it should have to figure out how to revert a scheduled post back to a draft and vice-versa.
So now you know that I’ll be doing Christmas-themed mini-reviews for December again. Surprise! Since some of you already got a look at what may – or may not – be highlighted that month, I’d like to apologize for the confusion in what happened with the disappearing post. If you’re wondering what else I’ll be reviewing, well, you’ll just have to wait and see what the holiday holds.
This blog, that’s who.
I’ll be sharing my all reviews on there as well as random thoughts and things I like (things that are safe for work and the family, by the way; I’m no sicko). If you don’t follow me here on WordPress you can through there and immediately get updated when I publish something new.
Also, it’d be really nice to have some followers that don’t go by the name “obese-loving-mama”. Just sayin’.
Addendum: This is my 100th post on this blog. How about this for a milestone?
Let the debates begin.
There are many, many things that are better than nothing. A home-cooked meal is better than nothing. A roof over one’s head is better than nothing. And a place to sleep, even if the bed is very small and the blanket is damp with tears is better than nothing.
But being raised in a violent and sinister environment by a man more interested in one’s fortune than in comfort and well-being is not better than nothing.
Trouble and strife can cover this world like the dark of night, or like smoke from a suspicious fire, and when that happens, all good, true and decent people know that it’s time to volunteer.
– Lemony Snicket, “The Bad Beginning: Part One”, A Series of Unfortunate Events
To all my readers and friends, I’d like to wish a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a happy and safe New Year. May your homes be filled with love, laughter, and light, and you get everything you ask for.
Now let’s leave 2016 like how a good guy walks away from an explosion in a movie, without looking back at the loud smoldering wreck behind us, and celebrate!
That was a nice nap. I should probably get started writing that Christmas –
IT’S DECEMBER FOURTH ALREADY?!
Sorry for falling behind on the announcement everyone. This past week has been pretty stressful. Also, something happened that I didn’t quite anticipate. Not as many people cast a vote for a review as usual, and everyone who did picked something different. Normally I would pick the winner from a hat, but with the holiday season in full swing my job is going to keep me extra busy so writing a full review of one movie will be very difficult seeing how I won’t have much time to even watch it.
With that said, I’m taking an alternate route. Throughout the month of December I’ll be looking at some of my favorite holiday shorts and episodes of classic tv shows. I’m sorry if I disappointed anyone, but I’ll still be doing my hardest to make these shorter reviews as entertaining as possible. Who knows, maybe you’ll want to check some of these specials out when they’re done.
Regarding the month of January, things should hopefully slow down by then. I haven’t set a theme or select picks for that time, and I’m considering taking a break so I don’t burn myself out, but if you want to leave a vote for then by all means do. You can find all the movies available to vote for under “What’s On the Shelf” at the top of the blog. You can vote once by leaving a comment or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I recently added some new movies there, so I recommend checking it out.
Thanks, and see you at the next review!
An unexpected occurrence has delayed this month’s review. An emergency backup countdown will shortly be deployed. Please keep your head and arms inside the vehicle and save all questions until after the list. Thank you for your cooperation, and please enjoy.
Disney was one of the staples of my childhood, and one of the sub-staples of that staple was the series of Sing-Along videos that came out from the mid-’80s to the 2000’s. With the dawn of home video, Disney jumped on the bandwagon to ensure every generation grew up with its classics in some form or another, and this was the perfect way to do it. Sure, many of the songs featured were taken from animated movies we all know and love, as well as from a few park attractions that have the most earworm-iest themes, but they also included tunes from the Walt-era of television shows and live-action films. That was my gateway to the Wonderful World of Disney that sadly is often overshadowed by whatever preteen crap the Disney Channel is peddling today. Each tape was a twenty-minute compilation of their greatest hits and they kept families entertained for hours…well, they kept the kids quiet for a half-hour at least. I know they did for me. So strike up the birdhouse school band Professor Owl, let’s look at my 10 favorite Disney Sing-Alongs!
10. The Bare Necessities (1987)
I have to be honest, The Jungle Book was never one of my favorite Disney films, but I love the music from it. Frankly I think I may have watched the sing-along more than the actual movie. It features two of the best musical numbers, “I Wanna Be Like You” and of course the song where the title of this video comes from, and it doesn’t disappoint. It even provides room to do some jazz scatting with King Louie and Baloo. This is also the video that probably has the most obscure tunes; apart from the aforementioned Jungle Book songs, the Work Song the mice from Cinderella sing, and the theme from Winnie the Pooh, it features “Look Out for Mr. Stork” from Dumbo (remember the last time you hummed that ditty?), one of Jiminy Cricket’s songs from the original Mickey Mouse Club, “The Ugly Bug Ball” from the lesser-known Hayley Mills movie Summer Magic (and the only reason I knew that it’s from there is because my grandma somehow got that movie on VHS while I was in middle school, and when I watched it for the first time and the song came up I was like “Hey! I remember this from that old sing-along video I used to have!”) and the theme from Old Yeller, which was my intro to the classic movie long before Animaniacs, every critic and their mama made fun of the infamous ending (they wisely leave it out during the song itself). These are some interesting choices to have on this tape, especially considering this was released to coincide with The Jungle Book’s 20th anniversary.You’d think they’d have more songs from the film on there, but I appreciate that they decided to shine the spotlight on some nice melodies that would have otherwise been overlooked.
9. Heigh-Ho (1987)
The first (though technically second released) in the Sing-Along lineup, “Heigh-Ho” was made in time for Snow White’s 50th anniversary with the song everyone remembers and loves the most at the forefront. Like with the previous entry, it only features one other song from the movie, “The Silly Song”, but I’m not complaining. I love the Seven Dwarfs and I’m glad they get quite a bit of screentime. Professor Owl even helps point out which dwarf is which for anyone who gets confused. I’ve tried to glean what kind of theme runs through the video, and the best I could come up with are songs of adventure. We’ve got The Three Caballeros, the theme from Pirates of the Caribbean (the ride, not the movies) which kind of used to scare me what with the stiff animatronics, dark lighting and explosion at the end, the theme song to Zorro (my intro to the classic series, which I can’t recommend enough; the version played here is also the complete one!), “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”, “A Cowboy Needs a Horse”, and a few others. My Disney nitpicking alarm goes off whenever I see them spell the “Heigh” in “Heigh-Ho” as “Hi”, but I guess they wanted to make sure it was easy for kids to say. I grew up with several videos mashed together on to one cassette, and Disney Sing-Alongs were no exception. This one always came first, and it was a great way to kick off the series.
8. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah (1986)
Once upon a time, there was an actual period in Disney history where they not only acknowledged Song of the South’s existence, but celebrated it, as is the case with this video. The Oscar-winning tune Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah is taken straight from the movie and performed by Uncle Remus himself, James Baskett. The reprise at the end is also from the movie, though they superimpose clips of other Disney characters singing it. It was, like most people from my generation, my introduction to the movie Disney will never let us see. I’ll save my thoughts on Song of the South itself for another day, but I will say it’s nice that for a time Disney didn’t try to sweep it under the rug, because take it in or out of context, Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah is a nice, catchy tune and it deserves to be heard and seen as it was originally intended.
7. Disneyland Fun aka It’s a Small World (1990)
The first sing-along to be solely live-action, this one was made for Disneyland’s 35th anniversary, because why stop at making 20 minute commercials for movies and television when you can also do it for theme parks? Anyone who grew up watching this tape will tell you this is exactly what they dreamed a day at Disneyland would be like – cavorting with your favorite characters, riding the rides and exploring the park with them, hell, Winnie the Pooh makes the act of sitting down and eating seem like fun! Every one of the tunes featured are catchy as hell, even the version of Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah with the “radical” 90’s rap that was cheesy even back then shoehorned in, and the addition of a ton of familiar faces makes it even more enjoyable. Most fans of the sing-alongs will say that makes this the best one, so why am I putting it so low on the list?
No reason. I just want to be obnoxious about not liking what everyone else likes. Call me a hipster, it’s better than –
If anyone here has been following me for the past year or so, you are well aware of my thoughts on this election and its results. I was as devastated as most of the country when it was over, and eventually resigned myself to waiting the next four years out in quiet anger and frustration.
For those who need a refresher in high school US Government or don’t live in the States (how I envy you) and thus have no need to learn the annoying intricacies of our complicated system, here’s how an election usually goes: every person in the country who is registered can vote for their candidate of choice.
This is called the popular vote.
This does NOT affect who becomes our next president.
What does is the vote that comes afterwards from the Electoral College. It is a vote made up of a minority in Congress that makes their decision based on which political party came out on top in each state.
The outcome of this election was that Hilary Clinton won the popular vote by a close margin, but Trump won because of the system in place. So what you may have read is in fact true; the people didn’t want Trump, but we got him because of our system.
It’s been nearly two weeks since the election announcements, and I have never seen my country in such uproar. There have been countless protests in streets, some peaceful, some not. Violence has openly broken out against gays, Muslims, women, and people of color because bigots feel validated that someone who shares their malodorous beliefs is in a position of power. Vandalizing places of peace and acceptance with swastikas has become a norm. I am reminded of it every morning when I get on the bus and find them etched in the back seats in permanent marker. Any time I go on Facebook I’m terrified that I’ll find one of my best friends is another victim of the neo-Nazis and KKK’s horrifying resurgence. The fact that all this is encouraged by a man who should be held to the highest of moral standards in our country makes me sick to my stomach, and even more fearful for the state of the world than any of the shootings, bombings or acts of terror that have taken place post-9/11.
It is not too late to stop this.
On December 19, the people of the Electoral College will officially cast their vote for the President of the United States, regardless of party alignment. Less than a few days after the election results, a petition went up on Change.org pleading directly to them to vote for Hilary Clinton instead of Donald Trump. The initial goal for this petition was for it to be signed by 3 million people.
It surpassed that goal within two days.
Since then, the number that the makers of the petition have asked for before it is officially presented to the Electoral College has gone up to 4 million, and now 6 million. It has gained enough traction to be mentioned numerous times in the media and is still passed around from site to site. I urge you to sign it and share it with anyone who also doesn’t wish to see the White House become Trump’s weekend home.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Online petitions and bitching and moaning on the internet doesn’t do jack, right? In this case, you’d be surprised. Not long after the petition went viral, two things happened.
One – it got people to thinking about the last time this sort of reaction happened over an election. In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote, but thanks to the Electoral College, George W. Bush was made the President, and we all remember what a wonderful eight years that was for our country. The Electoral College was put in place by none other than bastard, orphan, son of a whore and as of late musical Vice President “harasser” Alexander Hamilton to keep elections from being bought and sold by people like Trump, but these incidents have proven that it’s an outdated system that no longer speaks for the people. Petitions have popped up calling for the eradication of the Electoral College, and those either for or against this radical change have made themselves heard. Almost a week after the elections, Maryland became the first state to proclaim that they will bypass the Electoral College and stand by the outcome of the popular votes when it comes to Presidential elections, and from the looks of it other states aren’t too far behind.
Two – Around that same time, two Republican senators who are part of the Electoral College announced their intentions to vote against Trump in the upcoming final rumble. They don’t support Hilary either, and have asked fellow Republicans to write in a third candidate like Mitt Romney or Ted Cruz, but hey, I’ll take whatever I can get. Two more Republicans have also joined them this week and they’ve begun calling themselves the “Moral Electors”. Is it gimmicky? It sure is, but when going against someone like Trump who’s proven to have almost no morals, the Republican party and this country in general is in dire need of morality. That brings the number of electorates to 4, which, yes, is a far cry from the amount needed to fully turn the tide, though it is a start. “Faithless electors”, as they’ve been called, are nothing new in these kind of elections. There are punishments in place for anyone who tries to switch parties, but the worst is a fine that anyone in that position can pay without worrying about it taking a huge chunk from their bank accounts, or they get switched out with someone who will vote for the reigning party (see? Absolutely backwards.)
We are lucky to live in a land where the people, all the people, have a free voice. We do not have to lie down and take whatever the government says is so. We still have a voice, and we can protest to the heavens until we are heard. The worst thing we can do is be indifferent to the changes around us. If you are unhappy with this outcome and want to share your concerns with those who are paid to take the thoughts of the American people into account, you can reach out to them. Call your senators, governors, representatives and those running your state to tell them directly that you do not want Trump sworn in as our President. They are not as hidden or far away as you might believe. http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ can help you get in direct contact with them. This is the best way to let them know, through a direct line from you to them. Here you will also find the names of the Electorates slated to vote soon. I urge you to contact them as soon as you can.
We have less than a month. The fight is an uphill one, but then again it always has been. The voice of hatred has gotten stronger this past year, but I fervently believe the voice of hope and love can still overcome it.
I’d like to end this with two lines from two different but similar groundbreaking works of theater that have given a voice to the voiceless these past several years:
I am not throwing away my shot
‘Til the world turns upside down
The great work begins.
This morning another trailer for the upcoming Beauty and the Beast live-action remake dropped. Since some of you were pretty keen on what I thought of the first trailer, I thought I’d give you my impression of this new one. You already know what I think of the original animated classic. Let’s see if this gives any hints as to whether this new adaptation of a tale as old as time measures up or not.
We open on another shot of the castle, and this time we see more of the grounds – snowy open fields, mazes, crumbling walls and statues, even a closer look at the torn up portrait inside…which isn’t as torn up as I thought it should be, but meh, there’s more important things to nitpick over. Again, I love this version of the prologue music that they’re playing in these trailers.
Someone rides through the courtyard on a white horse – it’s Kevin Kline as Maurice! Ok, gonna fangirl for a bit here, I love that they cast him in this role. Kline is one of my favorite comedic actors (I’ll get into why when I review A Fish Called Wanda eventually ) and the fact that he’s in this movie, especially because he’s very choosy when it comes to what films he’s in, means that there’s something about this part that’s very well-written, a comic goldmine, or both. Sadly we don’t see him do much in the trailer apart from being captured and be supportive of Belle, but I have hope that he’ll be given a lot to do in the movie.
So Maurice picks a white rose and the Beast comes crashing down on him and WAIT WHAT?!
I’m sorry, I have to get this off my chest before I go any further. One of the things that made the animated Beauty and the Beast so great was that it improved upon aspects of the original fairy tale, one of them being the reason why Belle rescues her father in the first place. In the Disney one, Maurice was locked away because the Beast thought he was trespassing and “came to stare at the Beast”, not to mention he very likely believed that he would reveal his existence to the world if he let him go. In the story and nearly every other adaptation, it’s because he picked a flower without his permission. Is this flower important? No. It’s just a rose, no different from any other garden variety. You could guess that this rose is magical and may be connected to the Beast’s life in some way, hence his rage when a stranger takes it, but A: there are few adaptations that take advantage of that plot twist, and B: there’s the little fact that this Beast already HAS one of those enchanted roses in the West Wing. It’s kind of hard to make the Beast likable if he’s willing to imprison and/or possibly kill an old man and hold his daughter hostage over a flower. At least in Robin McKinley’s Beauty or the tv movie starring George C. Scott and his wife (which you should definitely check out if you’re a fan of the fairy tale or the actor by the way), the Beast flat-out admits to Beauty once she arrives at the castle that the “daughter-or-die” thing was just a way of getting her to come over and break the spell, that he was going to let her father go unharmed if she didn’t sacrifice herself. I understand the desire to try to pay homage to the story and Cocteau’s classic film, and I have a few friends who love both versions and are excited to see it here, but the point I’m trying to make is that they had no need to do that in the first place. It over-complicates an already simple first act beat and makes it harder to root for our protagonist. I can only hope that those other roses do have a significant meaning that would warrant an overreaction like the Beast’s.
…I’m sorry, I was reviewing something wasn’t I?
Belle comes in looking for her father, and it follows the original scene rather closely. He tells her to run, Beast shows up in the shadows and offers an exchange, Belle asks him to come into the light and is startled by what she sees. There are two things here I’d like to mention – one is that it looks like Belle is holding a wand in this scene, and seeing how this is Emma Watson I can’t help but think in the back of my mind “Why doesn’t she just hit the Beast with Expelliarmus, unlock the cell with Alohamora, grab her dad and apparate out of there?” (yes, I’m kind of a Harry Potter nerd if you haven’t already guessed). Second, in one of my illustration classes in senior year, I took a turn at trying to storyboard the Broadway version of this scene for film and everyone – teacher included – said it was completely pointless because we’ve only got the animated version and no other. Well, Class of ’13 and esteemed Professor –
Now the theme music kicks in, and I love it even more. Even though it’s clearly made just for the trailer what with the heavy bass, percussion and choir as the editing gets more frantic near the end, it’s a pretty kickass rendition of the classic song.
We have Beast looking at Belle through the mirror (which could use some cleaning up if the frost encircling it is any indication) and let’s talk about the Beast for a moment. While I would have loved to have seen a practical/CGI-hybrid version of Glen Keane’s awesome design, it’s not that bad. Could have been uglier, but not bad. The mo-cap is good, even better than what we saw for Vincent Cassel’s Beast in the recent French remake, and I do appreciate that they did something different while building off of Keane’s Beast. They kept the human eyes, which is important, gateway to the soul and all that.
Then we have the enchanted objects.
This was the red flag for a lot of people. When pictures of Cogsworth and Lumiere showed up online they were almost universally hated because the designs for them were, and let’s be honest, from deep in the bowels of the Uncanny Valley. I’m willing to overlook some things for the sake of CGI and time and such, but wow they looked creepy. Thankfully those images were revealed to be concept art so this trailer provides our first look at how the objects will appear in the film.
Again, I would have liked seeing some practical costuming/makeup because the Broadway show provided a great template for that -heck, Lumiere looks almost exactly like his Broadway counterpart but tiny and golden – but the CGI isn’t awful and even though they don’t look exactly like the animated characters, they still act like them. I don’t entirely buy Ian McKellen’s deep baritone with wound-up Cogsworth, but Emma Thompson’s Mrs. Potts I’m all over (I don’t even mind that they moved her face to the side instead of the spout). Also, is that -no, that’s not Daniel Huttlestone as Chip (dang it!)
Strangely enough, it looks like the objects take Belle to a new room other than the dungeon instead of the Beast, so fingers crossed that Beast got too ashamed to go up there and take Belle himself and decided to send the objects to do it, instead of him being a jerk and leaving her there intentionally.
We’ve got some of the wolf fight (bring it on!!) Luke Evan’s Gaston rallying up the angry mob (poor haystack still gets burned up in this one), and some flashes of Belle/Beast moments I’d love to see expanded – out with the horse (Phillipe?) in the snow, showing her the library (sadly not as ginormous as the animated one) while Beast says something cryptic about heart’s desire, the arrival of the angry mob intercut as they waltz in the ballroom, the battle between Gaston and the Beast, and it looks pretty awesome, but through it all one thing concerns me –
It was announced that this remake, unlike the previous ones, will not only be retaining the film’s songs but also adding some new ones (sadly not from the Broadway show), and yet nobody sings anything. Is anyone else getting sick of Disney misleading us like this? Tangled and Frozen proved that people want to see Disney musicals again; there’s no need to trick us into going like in the past. We get hints of musical numbers like Gaston’s song in the tavern and some waltzing people, but nobody sings a note. I’ve got faith in Kevin Kline’s pipes, he was the Pirate King for pete’s sake, but everyone apart from Audra McDonald and Josh Gad…I’m praying that the reason why they’re keeping us from hearing anyone’s vocal prowess yet is because they’re misleading us into thinking it’s a music-less adaptation and not because they don’t match the standards of the original cast.
Despite all my nitpicks, however, this is a pretty exciting trailer. I’m serious. As much as people have their fingers crossed that it will suck and end the rampant trend of live-action remakes, this trailer offers plenty of hope that it might actually be good. Regardless of the changes, it’s not going to take away the impact of the original movie or erase it off the map. The acting looks and sounds pretty good, Luke Evans and Josh Gad are spot-on as Gaston and LeFou, and I’m excited to hear the new music.
I’m eager to hear what you think of the trailer. Do you think it’s good? Are you excited for the film in March? Let me know in the comments!