Disney’s Frozen Dazzles and Delights

ImageAbout this time every year, all the good movies flood theatres after the long summer and fall drought. After months of not wanting to see anything, my list now seems infinite—Saving Mr. Banks, The Hobbit, The Wolf of Wall Street, Catching Fire, August: Osage County, American Hustle. Disney’s latest animated feature, Frozen, was not on my list. Don’t get me wrong, I love animation, but after Brave (which lacked depth and continuity), I thought Frozen would be a renter. However, I leaped at the chance to see it when my sister said it would be her treat.

Let me cut to the chase—If Frozen is not on the top of your list, it should be. Run, don’t walk, to see it. Why? Continue reading “Disney’s Frozen Dazzles and Delights”


The Hobbit: Satisfaction Guaranteed

TheHobbit-Bilbo1Sht-Dom-RGB-1600x2366-jpg_183208I was totally stoked when I heard Peter Jackson planned to make The Hobbit! Now, almost a year later, the prequel to the beloved Lord of the Rings trilogy has finally arrived. It’s the first of another trilogy that follows young hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he leaves his comfortable home in The Shire for a dwarf and danger filled adventure to the Lonely Mountain. According to a recent trailer, critics already call it a “visually stunning” “movie of the year.”

Any LOTR fan knows it requires a solid commitment between backside and chair to finish one of the three-hour installments. The Hobbit is no different. I’ll confess right away, The Hobbit was noticeably three hours (or darn near three hours). Some moments called for dramatic shifting in my seat or cramming ropes of red licorice in my mouth to keep alert. Despite this, the commitment is worth the while. The acting was strong, the score beautiful, the cinematography dazzling, and the script pleasantly peppered with humor. Continue reading “The Hobbit: Satisfaction Guaranteed”

Les Misérables: A Miserable Failure

imagesTo say I’ve been excited to see the movie version of Les Misérables is an understatement. Ever since I saw the trailer about a year ago, I’ve been giddy with anticipation. As a choir nerd from elementary school to college I sang tons of Les Mis medleys, and I finally saw it live at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre over the summer. So I was ready to revel in its cinematic glory.

Well, with disappointment after disappointment, where do I even start? Director Tom Hooper decided to record vocals live instead of prerecording them, giving the actors freedom to match their singing to the spontaneity of their acting. Apparently, “freedom” meant freedom to rewrite the music. Between the flat and nasally notes, croaking, choking, and slurring of words it was hard to recognize the profound beauty of Claude-Michel Schönberg’s original score. Of course, all this was done in the name of “authenticity” and “raw” emotion. The thing is, the music itself conveys such depth of emotion all it needs is the proper musicality to deliver it. Instead, the film left me floundering in a sea of unnecessary overacting. Continue reading “Les Misérables: A Miserable Failure”

Does Hope Spring or Fall Flat?

Hope-Springs_2012_Couples-PosterMeryl Streep did it again. She garnered yet another Golden Globe Award nomination for her role in the David Frankel directed film Hope Springs. Trailers never sparked my interest, but I gave the flick a shot when I heard of Streep’s nomination.

Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) are trapped in a monotonous, tired, and unaffectionate marriage, so Kay decides to make a change. She signs them both up for an intensive week of counseling with Dr. Feld (Steve Carell).

To start, the characters fail to charm. I’m well aware that a good movie doesn’t depend on likeable characters that live happily ever after. Just the same, something about them has to capture me. Kay is mousy, submissive, and just plain pathetic while Arnold is narrow-minded, disrespectful and controlling. I was relieved when Steve Carell entered the picture—he’ll add some much needed humor and charm, I thought. But a surprisingly straight-faced and uninteresting Carell only asks the couple a series of awkward questions, making the film all the more unbearable. Continue reading “Does Hope Spring or Fall Flat?”

Lincoln: Somewhere Between Brilliant and Boring

uxaCVThe story of America’s (currently) favorite President has finally arrived. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln gives an intimate view of “honest Abe” as the fate of the thirteenth Amendment (to abolish slavery) and his re-election approaches.

I wanted to love it. I entered the theatre with words like “spectacular” in my head. Nothing beats a spectacular civil war movie (my favorite is Gone with the Wind). Despite the consistently witty script by Tony Kushner, other elements like the acting and score didn’t catch up to its merit for about  forty-five minutes. Continue reading “Lincoln: Somewhere Between Brilliant and Boring”

Take Your Place in History

It’s no news that movie theatre tickets have skyrocketed. I remember when a matinee was 5 bucks. The soaring prices even repel me (a most devoted movie fan) from the cinema. While the increasing prices devastate our wallets, the bigger tragedy is that people are forced to skip out on some cinematic masterpieces and are thereby excluded from history. Continue reading “Take Your Place in History”