Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

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Director: Rob Marshall
Writers: James Lapine (Screenplay), James Lapine (Musical), Stephen Sondheim (Lyricist)
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Chris Pine, Christine Baranski, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone
Release Date: December 25, 2014
Runtime: 2 hrs. 4 min.
MPAA Rating: PG

 

 

Hollywood has made it a habit in recent years to take successful Broadway shows and adapt them for the screen. This has led to a resurgence of that lost gem of Hollywood films: the musical. Beginning approximately with 2002’s Chicago, the twenty-oughts saw a steady stream of musicals, including film adaptations of The Phantom of the Opera and Mamma Mia! Going back and looking at box-office records, you’d be hard-pressed to find a date that didn’t have at least one in wide release, something that couldn’t be said for the previous two or three decades (despite the occasional A Star is Born or Victor/Victoria). Turn to the current decade, and the musical seems well-ensconced as a theater regular. In fact, last year’s third highest grossing film domestically, number one overall worldwide, was Disney’s musical Frozen (read my review here). It’s the first musical to crack the top ten all-time list, sitting at number five with over a billion dollars in revenue. Now, Into the Woods is not about to break any records, but it is a part of this everything old is new again trend. And it’s a pretty good movie to boot. Click through for my full review.
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Maleficent Poster


Director: Robert Stromberg
Writers: Linda Woolverton (written by), Charles Perrault (based from the story “La Belle au Bois Dormant” by), Jacob Grimm (based from the story “Little Briar Rose” by), Wilhelm Grimm (based from the story “Little Briar Rose” by), Erdman Penner (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, story adaptation by), Joe Rinaldi (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Winston Hibler (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Bill Peet (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Ted Sears (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Ralph Wright (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by), Milt Banta (based from the motion picture “Sleeping Beauty”, screenplay by)
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley
Release Date: May 30, 2014
Runtime: 1 hrs. 37 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG

This is not your mother’s fairy tale. Maleficent is Disney’s attempt to go live action with the story they first showed in 1959’s animated classic Sleeping Beauty, itself an adaptation of Charles Perrault’s La Belle au Bois Dormant, which, one step further, was an adaptation of the tale as collected by the Brothers Grimm – which means it was an adaptation of a story transmitted orally. You’d think that an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation (just take a look at all those writing credits above!) might get a little diluted; but, with a message that drastically moves away from the typical Disney paradigm, and a powerful performance from Angelina Jolie, there is nothing diluted about it.

<<Spoiler Alert: There will be minor spoilers regarding thematic elements of Maleficent – bear this in mind before clicking through.>>
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star-wars-episode-vii-logo-2

It’s about a year and a half before the official release date of the J.J. Abrams helmed Star Wars Episode VII (currently planned for December 18th, 2015), but already the “leaks” have begun from the set in Abu Dhabi. Recently, TMZ got hold of a whole slew of photos; below, I’m sharing a series taken inside a warehouse where sets and props are being built from the ground up. It looks as though Abrams intends to shoot with tangible items rather than relying on CGI all the time – and I have to say, I believe this is the right choice. The original trilogy used models and built sets, and the movies hold up well all these years later; but some of the CGI in the prequels already looks dated. If you want to avoid spoilers regarding Star Wars Episode VII, don’t click through – for the rest of you, enjoy the photos!

<<Spoiler Alert: The following pictorial contains photos that give away information about the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII film. Do not click through if you want to remain spoiler-free.>>
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The Princess Bride (1987) 3

Director: Rob Reiner
Writer: William Goldman (Book and Screenplay)
Starring: Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Andre the Giant, Peter Falk, Chris Sarandon
Release Date: October 9th, 1987
Runtime: 1 hr. 38 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG

Released the year I graduated from high school, twenty-seven years ago, I didn’t actually see The Princess Bride until it came out on VHS; however, from the first time I saw it, it became one of my go-to movies, one of those films that, if I’m surfing through the channels and see it on, I’ll stop, sit back, and enjoy it to the end. There are only a handful of films that are in this category for me, and although it isn’t technically or artistically one of the best films out there, it’s one of my favorites, and can hold its own, thank you very much.

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