What Does Cinderella Do?

Thanks to the recent release of Disney’s live-action movie, Cinderella, there’s been a resurgent popularity for the romantic fairy tale. In a February post, I mentioned my enthusiasm for the upcoming (at that time) movie and my eagerness to see it. (I’m hopeful to catch it this coming weekend.)
Unfortunately, from about the 1960s and forward, the Cinderella mythology fell out of favor because the feminist dogma unofficially rejected her as an undesirable sexist stereotype. Google “feminism and Cinderella” and numerous posts result, many of which attempt to provide a new take on this formerly discarded fairy tale heroine.
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A Tale of Elsa and Fred

In an earlier post, I referred to the film, The Sound of Music, which marks its fiftieth anniversary big screen release this month. Vanity Fair magazine‘s most recent issue notes the anniversary with an amusing interview of both Maria (Julie Andrews) and Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer). Having enjoyed friendship for these fifty years, the aging pair (she’s 79, he’s 85) reflect a genuine affection, exchanging what VF describes as the “well-worn patter of an old married couple.chris-maria

As someone who has watched the film multiple times, I found the VF feature enlightening. Never having delved any deeper into details about the film, I didn’t know Plummer’s antipathy for the film was so ingrained. Watching him on the screen in that film, I always assumed his general aloofness was the result of a director’s instructions for him to play the part that way. Reading the VF piece, I see now it was actually a reflection of Plummer’s overall distaste for the project! Continue reading “A Tale of Elsa and Fred”

A Measure of Life

The obituary was glaringly spare … So-and-So was born in the community of Hither-and-Yon on Such-and-Such a date, beloved child of So-and-So-Mom and So-and-So-Dad, dear sibling of other So-and-So persons, several who predeceased So-and-So. Deceased leaves behind offspring and respective spouses plus more than a couple So-and-So grandchildren. The celebration of So-and-So’s life will occur under the direction of Here-and-There Funeral Services and in lieu of flowers, donations to This-and-That Charity will be gratefully received. (Names not used for privacy’s sake.)obituary_national_3

Notice anything missing? Perhaps because we knew So-and-So, it was immediately clear So-and-So’s former spouse of four decades failed to make the cut. The spouse with whom So-and-So had produced offspring was never mentioned. The spouse with whom So-and-So had adored and nurtured said offspring in a shared, loving home was seemingly non-existent – insofar as public records were concerned.

After more than forty years of marriage, divorce split this union … one whole suddenly became two parts, pieces, uh, wholes? Contradicting the “Gone but not forgotten” sentiment in the above image, So-and-So’s ex-spouse has been effectively purged, similar to a Soviet commissar, from official accounts. Continue reading “A Measure of Life”

Home Before Midnight

In spite of the hype of the 2015 Oscars last evening, it wasn’t enough to lure me in. Don’t get me wrong. I love movies, especially the films with well-drawn characters and a sensitive story line. (I’m much less interested in films that go for cheap laughs and ugly or superficial relationships.) If I’m going to devote two hours to a film, I need to care about the characters on the screen.

The Oscars broadcast didn’t draw me in because, much as I love movies, I’m disinclined to care about and choose to watch the Hollywood glitterati preen and pose and suffer through the tedium of a inane questions asked and answered inanely.2015_1$largeimg215_Jan_2015_104948370

From some of the comments I heard today and the brief posts I read online, I think it was a blessing I didn’t watch … no need to witness the awkward moments – Neil Patrick Harris in a diaper or John Travolta imitating Joe Biden’s lecherous moves, nor to note the stunning absence of Joan Rivers’ mention during the In Memoriam tribute.

I did note the Best Supporting Actor award earned by J. K. Simmons, the recent face of Farmers Insurance commercials. (I suppose it goes without saying, his price per ad will be going up, right?) I also took a gander at the gowns this morning and watched Lady Gaga perform the Sound of Music medley, as well as the Vine video of Common appearing to ignore (diss, some suggested) Oprah. All in all, the twenty minutes I spent was preferable over the extended live production. Continue reading “Home Before Midnight”

Deconstructing Fifty Shades of de Sade

Here we are … celebrating Valentine’s Day 2015. It’s a long weekend due to the so-called Presidents’ Day holiday … which was initially a celebration for George Washington’s birthday (the 22nd) … but then was expanded to include Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (the 12th) as well … and when Congress suggested honoring all US presidents with a single holiday to be known as Presidents’ Day, they never actually approved the bill! Still, Presidents’ Day became the default – though unofficial – name anyway! So, Happy Presidents’ Day / Valentine’s Day or Happy Valentine’s Day / Presidents’ Day or if you prefer … Saturday!ValPresDayThis is also a highly-anticipated (by some) blockbuster movie weekend. According to BoxOfficeMojo’s forecast headline, “‘Fifty Shades” To Dominate Valentine’s Day Box Office, the film will “set a handful of box office records” this weekend. The same website’s Friday Report employs an apt headline:  “Moviegoers Submit to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’.Continue reading “Deconstructing Fifty Shades of de Sade”

The Precious Precinct of Imagination

Perhaps you’ve already heard about the predicament of nine-year-old Aiden Steward, a Texas school-boy whose whimsical offer to make his classmate “disappear” has landed him in hot water.

Having watched with his family the most recent entry in Director Peter Jackson’s film oeuvre, The Hobbit:  The Battle of the Five Armies, young Aiden strode to school one day carrying his own “magic ring” and suggesting the ring’s magic powers were available and at his disposal (if you will).

FROM:  http://tiny.cc/mw3jtx
FROM: http://tiny.cc/mw3jtx

Apparently, Steward’s unnamed classmate had no intention of hanging around to have the ring’s “magic” demonstrated on him. The offended child – seriously lacking-in-imagination – complained to a teacher who notified the school principal. In short order, Steward’s claim of magical power reached the district superintendent, resulting in the boy’s suspension for “making a terroristic threat.

Wow!

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How Much Wood Can A Groundhog Chuck?

Since as early as the 1840s, Groundhog Day has been observed in parts of Pennsylvania. In places like Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the observation has become a highly-celebrated tradition, thanks in large part to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, which hosts a series of events throughout the weekend.

One of the best things to ever happen to Groundhog Day (in my opinion) was the movie of the same name. It is a great comedy, as well as a unique view of human behavior and change. It wears well and even after multiple viewings, the predicament of the main character still resonates … we identify with Bill Murray’s Everyman.GroundhogDay

A number of my mother’s ancestors hail from Berks County PA where the earliest observations of Groundhog Day took place (in Morgantown PA), so I enjoy knowing something about PA festivals. These are my peeps! However, celebrants in Punxsutawney PA claim their tradition goes back more than a century. Those are not my peeps, though having watched the movie several times, I find their enthusiasm for this event contagious!

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Foyle(d) Again, Love Affair for Another Time and Place

Something strange has happened to me over the last couple months. It was totally unexpected and I was blindsided … I fell in love again! (Please don’t tell my Beloved, though I think he’s beginning to suspect!) I’m having trouble understanding myself of course, because this is a love affair that completely goes against all my preferences. The man is short and balding! Anyone who knows me will recognize immediately I’ve gone off the rails.

foyles_avatarIt began innocently enough when my brother-in-law recommended a British television series he thought I’d enjoy. That was more than a year ago. I added the series to my Netflix queue but that’s where it ended. Then recently, my brother also recommended the series … and instead of just letting the series continue to gather dust in my queue, I sat down one night and watched the first episode … and the second … and the third!

Immediately, I was in love! (I blame my brother-in-law and my brother.)

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Plugging A Movie

As actors Seth Rogen and James Franco prepared to plug their new movie, The Interview, for its release on Christmas Day, they probably didn’t expect Sony studios to pull the plug on them. But that’s exactly what happened.

interview1The film, billed as an “action-comedy,” is described by reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes as a “guilty pleasure,” “fast and buoyant,” a collision of “the profane with the profound,” and an “admirable” film that “deserves to be seen.” When my grandson arrived home from work this afternoon, he was genuinely miffed that Sony announced it had scrapped the completed project. Continue reading “Plugging A Movie”

Deja Vu and French Class

Recently, the Turner Classic Movies channel (TCM) ran the old movie La Belle et la Bête. This 1946 version of the ancient fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, is part of what’s called The Criterion Collection. I think I’d seen this film years ago but I decided I needed to revisit it.

la-belle-et-la-bete-1946-a03Many people familiar with the story line know Beauty and the Beast from the 1987 television series that ran three years and starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman. Another made-for-television rendition from 1976 aired as a Hallmark Hall of Fame film starring George C. Scott and his wife Trish Van Devere. There have been a number of other iterations (less notable in my view) through the years.

The 1946 La Belle et la Bête is different from all the others. First of all, the dialogue is delivered in French (start to finish) with English subtitles. If you’re not someone who has the patience for subtitles, you may not enjoy the film. Because the film is black and white, it’s dark (though at the same time luminous) and the score has a haunting feel about it.

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