Trolls (2016)

Trolls
Director: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn
Writer: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
Based on: Thomas Dam‘s dolls
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Baranski, Russell Brand, Gwen Stefani, John Cleese, James Corden, Jeffrey Tambor, Ron Funches, Kunal Nayyar, Quvenzhané Wallis
Seen on: 8.4.2017

Plot:
The Trolls live a very happy life, carefree and filled with music and definitely not thinking about the Bergens who are only happy when they can eat Trolls. Nobody more so than Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick). It’s only Branch (Justin Timberlake) who refuses to sing and who fears that the Bergens will be back. Therefore he is constantly trying to prepare for that eventuality. When Poppy throws a big party that actually does attract the Bergens and a few Trolls end up taken, Poppy knows that she has to rescue them. And who could help her better than Branch?

When Trolls came out last year, I decided pretty quickly that I really wasn’t interested in it. I did have Troll dolls when I was a kid, but I was never particularly taken with them and basing a film on them just seemed weird. But my niece loves the film and she wanted to watch it with me, so I did. And it turns out, it’s actually really sweet and funny.

Continue reading

Re-Watch: Cruel Intentions (1999)

Cruel Intentions
Director: Roger Kumble
Writer: Roger Kumble
Based on: Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ epistolary novel
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Louise Fletcher, Joshua Jackson, Eric Mabius, Sean Patrick Thomas, Swoosie Kurtz, Christine Baranski, Tara Reid
Seen on: 7.2.2016
[This concludes my Dangerous Liaisons marathon. At least until I can get ahold of the other adaptations.]

Plot:
Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillippe) and Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) are step siblings, united in their love to manipulate and destroy the people around them, a skill they have so artfully mastered that their ploys don’t fall back on them. Both have a new project: Valmont is trying to seduce Annette Hargrove (Reese Whitherspoon), the new principal’s daughter, who is widely known for her chastity pledge and that before school starts. Kathryn, on the other hand, is looking for revenge on an ex-lover who just dumped her for the naive Cecile (Selma Blair). So she enlists Valmont’s help to completely corrupt Cecile.

I was 14 when Cruel Intentions came out, 15 by the time I saw it the first time and I think that it is one of the defining teen movies of my generation. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good film, though it definitely does have its strengths, but it is very hard to view it separately from its influence.

cruelintentions Continue reading

Into the Woods (2014)

Into the Woods
Director: Rob Marshall
Writer. James Lapine
Based on: James Lapine‘s (book) and Stephen Sondheim‘s (music and lyrics) musical, which is in turn based on a few Brothers Grimm fairy tales
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Lilla CrawfordChris Pine, Billy Magnussen, Mackenzie Mauzy, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Meryl Streep, Simon Russell Beale, Johnny Depp, Frances de la Tour
Seen on: 11.3.2015

Plot:
The baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) dream of having a child, but due to a curse by the evil witch (Meryl Streep), they can’t conceive. But the witch offers to reverse the curse – if they bring her certain items: a cow as white as milk, hair the color of corn, a golden slipper and a red cape. They set off into the woods where they hope to find all of those items. As luck will have it, Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) runs away from her prince (Chris Pine) in golden slippers, Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) tries to sell his white cow, Litte Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) is visiting her gran in her red cape and Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy) and her blonde hair meet her prince (Billy Magnussen) – all in those same woods. But things don’t go quite as planned.

The first half of Into the Woods is extremely enjoyable. In the second half, the plot completely unravels, but at least cast and production design are still awesome.

Into_the_Woods

[SPOILERS]

Continue reading

Thank Goodness, the 70s are over…

I saw Mamma Mia! and, boy, am I glad that nobody dresses in silver (or violet or blue or …) one piece body suit thingies anymore.

What can I say, I don’t think I need to see it ever again. There were some funny scenes (when they sing Dancing Queen or Does Your Mother Know), I really loved the interpretation of Lay All Your Love On Me, but if I ever want to see them again, there’s youtube.

So, what was wrong?

First, most of the main actors couldn’t sing. Except for Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper, who were obviously cast for their singing abilities and not their popularity, it was awful. The best thing I can say is that I don’t really remember Stellan Skarsgard‘s singing and that Julie Walters‘ singing didn’t suck completely. Pierce Brosnan probably would have a nice rock voice, but not a good voice for singing ABBA songs, which are too high for him.

Apart from the singing, there was the acting, which had theatre written all over it, in huge, blinking, red neon letters. Theatre acting is not bad in itself, but it is different from movie acting for a reason. When you got a camera that catches every wrinkel in your face, there is no need for big gestures, they just seem weird. Which is exactly what happened here. And they managed to make Meryl Streep seem like she can’t act. Which is some kind of achievement, I guess.
Also, the way the story was structured is very theatre-like. I guess that’s due to Phyllida Lloyd, who also directed the Broadway version.
They could have done a little more adapting. Just a bit.

[SPOILER]

Colin Firth, I love him. No doubt about that. But he was completely miscasted. If there’s someone, who screams “straight” with every pore of his body, it’s him. And he seemed so completely, amazingly and unbelievably uncomfortable with hugging the young guy, who played his lover, that I actually pitied him for having to do that (I wouldn’t have minded, the guy was cute…).

[END SPOILER]

Okay, that probably sounds like I suffered the whole time, which is not true. I enjoyed Julie Walters (she’s just good in everything she does. And she’s really cool as Elvis) and Christine Baranski a lot, as well as Stellan Skarsgaard.

I laughed and I like the music (every 5 years or so, I even dig out the Best Of CD I own and listen to it), it was fun to see the young hippy versions of the guys and Meryl Streep.

I probably would have enjoyed it more, though, if I had been alone in the movie. Well, my sister could have stayed, but that’s it. People actually clapped along. Newsflash, dear audience: THEY CAN’T HEAR YOU! I understand that sometimes you might want to sing along softly, a verse or two. But clapping??? Really not happening.
[Deadra meant that I’d have to see it more like those Sing-Along Rocky Horror Picture Show showings. To which I say: You’ve gotta earn the right by dressing up first, then you can sing along and shout Weiss and throw toilet paper as much as you want (though I haven’t heard of anybody clapping along). But before I don’t see anybody in one of those one piecers and those shoes, and before I don’t get a warning that those things will happen before I buy the ticket, I stay annoyed.]

But what really killed me, was the buzz in the toilet afterwards, people screaming out “Dancing Queen, young and sweet, …” and one woman in particular, who said to a friend, “I love Colin Firth. But already since 1995, when he was in Pride and Prejudice…” [Translation: “I saw him first, he’s mine, mine, mine!”] [Well, I saw Valmont and that film is older, so he must be mine… But wait, L. saw Another Country before me, so he must be hers!]. I actually had the strength not to laugh out loud. Who’s the bigger person now?