The second random selection is…

A Cinderella Story; Once Upon a Song. Help me.

A Cinderella Story Once Upon a Song picture image

A Cinderella Story Once Upon a Song

Good news is this movie is mercifully short however I didn’t hate it. Granted I set the bar really low at the onset but it’s really just a dumb and silly movie with a Cinderella plot thrown in and  set in  a music school.

 

Megan Park as Lucy Hale as Katie and Matthew Lintz as Victor A Cinderella Story Once Upon a Song picture image

Megan Park as Lucy Hale as Katie and Matthew Lintz as Victor

The plot is Katie, our cinderella character, is the step-daughter of this shallow bitch name Gail who is the dean of a music school because she couldn’t hack it as a country singer. Gail has a daughter Bev, who can’t sing and a hellion genius of a son Victor. She also has a spiritual guru named Ravi who isn’t what he appears to be.

The Prince is this British guy named Luke. Luke’s father is a big shot music producer who loves money, because of course he does. Luke however just wants to sing and write music. Katie and Luke bond a little and when Katie turns up at a Bollywood themed dance to sing for Luke because she like-like him he falls for her. However he thinks it’s really Bev because of this  whole plot surrounding Katie singing vocals for Bev in a student showcase or Gail is going to take all Katie’s money her father left her.  Also Katie acts as the Cyrano de Bergerac to Bev’s Christian to woo Luke.

 

Lucy Hale as Katie and Freddie Stroma as Luke A Cinderella Story Once Upon a Song picture image

Lucy Hale as Katie and Freddie Stroma as Luke

Honestly this whole plot could have been avoided if Luke had just remember the color of Katie’s eyes. What is with Prince’s in Cinderella movies not recalling even one aspect of her appearance? It makes it worst since Katie’s eyes were the only thing Luke mentions about her other than her singing and he had meet two times prior to the dance.    

One good aspect was the movie did showcase the friendships between Katie and her best friend Angie and Luke and Mike. It’s just nice to see good representations of friendships with little or no drama.

Once big issue with the movie is that romance was lacking. Katie and Luke do bond over music, singing and guitars brands and there is a mutual attraction but it all feels very much like an after-thought to the larger lip-syncing plot-line. It wouldn’t be a big deal if wasn’t for the Cinderella aspect of the plot.   

The treatment of Bev was also problematic. It would have been one thing if the movie didn’t go out of its way to give her a moment of depth and vulnerability before it ends with her being throughly embarrassed on stage. It was off-putting.

 

Missi Pyle as Gail, Manu Narayan as Ravi and Matthew Lintz as Victor A Cinderella Story Once Upon a Song picture image

Missi Pyle as Gail, Manu Narayan as Ravi and Matthew Lintz as Victor

Since this movie is a musical I mention the songs. They are ok for the most part. They are by no means amazing but they suit the tone and style of the movie, bland and unassuming. The ONLY memorable part with regards to the music is the chainsaw. One of the random bands uses a chainsaw in their music and yes, it’s great. Also to the movie’s credit they did have a original Bollywood-like song made for the movie and not just a sample.    

Oddly I had a feeling I would get a Bollywood movie, like I was listening to Bollywood music right before this was randomly picked and in way perverse way I got one.

I wish this movie had a bigger budget because they had a chance for an awesome joke. At the end of the movie Gail says that she will have her ‘Nirvana moment’ and then it cuts for her singing a country version of one of the movie’s songs. It would have been much funnier  if she was singing a bad country-cover of a Nirvana song.

   

Lucy Hale as Katie and Freddie Stroma as Luke A Cinderella Story Once Upon a Song picture image

Lucy Hale as Katie and Freddie Stroma as Luke

A Cinderella Story; Once Upon a Song is a silly inoffensive movie. It’s not amazing but it’s not a total a waste of time. I would say watch it once and get a minor chuckle.

Last February I looked at four romantic period movies, this year I thought I would try something I have been watching to try for a while. I’m going to randomly pick a “romance” movie or TV show  and review it. I’m going to this four time so one post a week.  The selection is through https://reelgood.com/roulette/netflix with only the genre romance picked.  There will be no re-rolls, you have my word.

A few guidelines;

  • If I get a show I will only watch/review the first episode.
  • I reserve the right to stop watching the movie/show at least the 30 minute mark. It does take me a lot to quit a movie but I don’t want to waste my worthless time either.
  • If I have seen the movie before I will still review it but in the event that I get a movie I have already reviewed before I reserve the right to re-roll but I shall make a note in the post of that even.  The odds of very low of though so I don’t imagine that will happen.

So guide me oh Netflix gods… What is your first pick?!

The First pick is Red Carpet. Could have guessed that from the subject line though.

Red Carpet 2014 Korean Movie picture image

Red Carpet 2014

Red Carpet is a 2014 Korean Rom-com drama about a porn director, Jung-Woo who dreams of being actual film director. He also falls in love with a former child actress and encourages her to go on auction and she makes it big as an actress and she encourage him to make his movies. Oddly I figured was going to get something from Korea but I figured it would be a K-drama, which I have seen a few, not many but a handful. I just didn’t think it would be the first one but here we are. Wonder if I will get another before the month is done?

 

Jun-hee Ko as Eun-Su and Dal-hwan Jo as Jung-Soo Red Carpet 2014 Korean Movie picture image

Jun-hee Ko as Eun-Su and Dal-hwan Jo as Jung-Soo Red Carpet 2014

I wouldn’t say this was a bad movie but it had many issues. The biggest one was just have contrived it was. The two leads meet because the some apartment mix-up where Eun-Su  moves into Jung-Woo’s apartment. Not sure how that housing thing makes any sense other than in device to the plot. Then the encourage each other and fall in love and hook up then the plot misunderstand occurs. You see Eun-Su doesn’t know Jung-Woo works in pornography so she think he hooking-up with someone else and thus they part ways. He tries to make up with her and eventually he does. They film his legit movie but then scandal because he was  porn director and she is a top actress but it all works out in the end. It’s just all very contrived.

Then there is the humor. I didn’t get it. It might be that I either don’t resonate with Korean humor or I just didn’t work for me. It was all very awkward. Like sure the horse isn heat on the highway part was funny but it’s require so many mental loops to get there. Like the horse was used in a film production, so how does the production even allow for the horse to get off the set and on the highway and the horse was in heat. Do productions even cast horses in heat?   Is that a question I have to ask?

 

 Red Carpet 2014 Korean Movie picture image

Red Carpet, 2014

Also the passing was an issue. Most of the movie seemed like porn based comedic vignette than plot than more comedy till like the end. It made the movie  hard to get into and pay attention to and it wasn’t long movie, just two hours.    

It wasn’t a wholly bad movie, it had it’s moments but it’s very,contrived and not all the comedy lands. Plus as a movie about Pornography, it’s very tame and naive.    

 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame reference in Red Carpet 2014 Korean Movie picture image

The Hunchback of Notre Dame reference in Red Carpet

This movie oddly has a Hunchback of Notre Dame reference in it, what are the odds? One of their porno scripts or movies is called, according to the subtitles “The Hunchback of Notre Dick.”  What luck finding a Hunchback reference in a random Korean movie.

Richard Morant as Phoebus de Chateaupers 1977 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Richard Morant as Phoebus de Chateaupers

Ultimately, there is not that much to say about this version’s treatment of Phoebus. He is book-accurate. He’s a soldier and a slut, that’s it for his characterization. He makes it clear he’s only marrying Fleur de Lys for her money though they are well suited for each our but that could just be the actor’s chemistry.  

That’s really all there is to say on this version of Phoebus.

David Rintoul as Jehan The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977 picture image

David Rintoul as Jehan

Jehan is this version gets a lot of screen time because he actually has a functional role within the narrative. He is a plot exposition machine, if something is in need of explanation he is there to explain it to the viewer. Like how The Pope of Fools is crowned and Quasimodo’s deaf judge as well the implication what that means to the Parisian justice system which he doesn’t think highly of.

 

David Rintoul as Jehan The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977 picture image

David Rintoul as Jehan

Jehan also in his capacity for explaining is a bit of philosopher in this version, more so than Gringoire. He has this whole speech on storming Notre Dame for the “People” as it just as excuse for people to horrible things in the pursuit of wealth.

 

David Rintoul as Jehan The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977 picture image

David Rintoul as Jehan

He also doesn’t join the Court of Miracles,  he just joins in impulsive as they are in the act because it looks like fun and the promise of treasure before he unceremonious stab by a soldier.

 

David Rintoul as Jehan The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977 picture image

David Rintoul as Jehan

All in all Jehan is in keeping with his book counterpart as he is Frollo’s leech of a younger brother. He does has more of a role in this versions but he also means less to Frollo in terms of affection. Frollo just seem annoyed by his brother all the time and Jehan even mention that Quasimodo was a somewhat replacement brother. So Jehan has jealousy for Quasimodo for his brother’s affection.

 

David Rintoul as Jehan The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977 picture image

David Rintoul as Jehan

Jehan’s character is never at the forefront of these adaptations so there is less expectation  of the character, he’s not important and quite unlikable so while in this version he is in keeping with book he at least entertaining in this version.    

I found two gowns wore at the 2018 Grammy Awards that I would consider to be Esmeralda-ish in style.

 

Camila Cabello in Vivienne Westwood Couture with a Judith Leiber Couture bag at the 2018 Grammy Awards picture image

Camila Cabello in Vivienne Westwood Couture with a Judith Leiber Couture bag at the 2018 Grammy Awards

 

This Vivienne Westwood gown wore by Camila Cabello is more in keeping with the red costume from the 1956 version. Of course the color but the lines on the gown and deep neckline harken back to Gina Lollobrigida iconic costume.

 

Kimberly Schlapman in Raisa & Vanessa at the 2018 Grammy Awards picture image

Kimberly Schlapman in Raisa & Vanessa at the 2018 Grammy Awards

 

This gown but Raisa & Vanessa wore by Kimberly Schlapman as very similar elements to Disney’s Esmeralda costume. First off the color, while lighter does hint to Esmeralda. The other elements are the vertical seam details on the bodice and the tiers of the skirt.

 

Beauty and the Beast music video with Ariana Grande & John Legend picture image

Beauty and the Beast music video with Ariana Grande & John Legend

Given that the 2017 Live Action Disney Remake was just nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costumes, I thought it would be a good time to discuss at least the Belle’s iconic yellow ball gown.

Emma Watson as Belle 2017 Beauty and the Beast picture image

Emma Watson as Belle

Coming off Cinderella’s ball gown from the 2015 Cinderella designed by Sandy Powell, my first impression of Jacqueline Durran’s take on Belle’s gown was lackluster. Personally I find Durran’s work to be hit or miss, she did costumes for that Anna Karenina movie with Keira Knightley but that green gown from Atonement was amazing. She is a very capable costume designer who does deserves her accolades but this yellow gown miss the mark in a few fronts.

Emma Watson as Belle 2017 Beauty and the Beast picture image

Emma Watson as Belle

Let’s get some positives out of the way since there are a few. After reading a few interviews with Durran, I can say that the color of the gown was well thought out. Yellow is a very tricky color for people to pull off, it can also look terrible on film and can  very easily look cheap. The color did work well with Emma Watson and looked nice on film. Personally I just wish it has some other level of contrast to make it look less sweet and a little more grown up but that is a personal nitpick.

Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as The Beast 2017 Beauty and the Beast picture image

Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as The Beast

Another positive is the movement of the fabric. The gown just moves so well in the scene. I read somewhere that the gown was made from sustainable fabrics which is great on its own but the movement of the gown is stunning and it my favorite part.

Audra McDonald as Madam de Garderobe 2017 Beauty and the Beast picture image

Audra McDonald as Madam de Garderobe

And now the some negatives.  One BIG issue is that while this is a magical gown in that within the narrative it was created with magic it’s still rooted in the movie’s setting and own sense of style. Durran did mention that while the gown was created for Watson’s modern Belle, she still kept into within the French 18th century style. The problem is that in that first scene everyone is in costume that look like French Rocco style. The wardrobe herself knows this style and then operation against it for Belle’s gown. I suppose the trouble is the merging of the 1991 iconic design with the semi-real style that the 2017 movie was trying to achive.

Lily James as Ella Cinderella 2015 picture image

Lily James as Ella

In the 2015 Cinderella, it didn’t operation in real world setting, it had a pseudo 1950’s design  to the costume so everything looked integrated into a cohesive look. Belle’s ball gown is not integrated into movie’s larger style as it’s only looked to have a modern sensibility.   

Emma Watson as Belle 2017 Beauty and the Beast picture image

Emma Watson as Belle

However you know what COULD have pulled the modernity and the Rocco style together? Belle’s jewelry. Durran had freehand to whatever since Belle only has basic stud earrings and a hair piece in the 1991 version.  The jewelry that Belle wears is way too modern. The hair piece was fine with it’s feather motif but the other elements while lovely on their own did not work in the film. She has ear cuffs and this organic branch-like shape pendent necklace. When I first saw the jewelry in the film it took me out of the movie.  According to interviews the thought behind the ear- cuff and the necklace was keep it organic. The cuff was like a plant that was still growing and the necklace was a “tree of life that is still in motion” * It was all meant to echo the design of magical castle.

Emma Watson as Belle 2017 Beauty and the Beast picture image

Emma Watson as Belle

I’m not without knowledge of the creative process, most of the time you get into head space with an idea or concept and you just run with it. In this case it sounds like they had their idea to base the jewelry on the castle and didn’t relate the design back to the rococo setting even though the castle has that aesthetic. Typically Rococo is very organic  and botany was a favorite source of inspiration during this period. The point is the jewelry didn’t have to look so late 2000s in design and execution, they could have looked to period the film was set in into giving the costume more 18th century influence while still giving it a sense of otherworldly magical modernity.   

Emma Watson as Belle 2017 Beauty and the Beast picture image

Emma Watson as Belle

Unfortunately Belle’s yellow gown missed the mark for the style of the movie and the impact it made on screen. It’s just one of the many misses that this movie had in totality.

*Hollywoodreporter.com/news/beauty-beast-costume-designer

For more of Jewelry Art History;
A History of Jewellery 1100-1870

Jewelry: From Antiquity to the Present (World of Art)

Christopher Gable as Gringoire The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977 picture image

Christopher Gable as Gringoire

In many ways this version of Gringoire is on point with the book. He does pretty all the action in does in the book with the same attitude. He has a high opinion of himself with regards to his work, he does want Esmeralda but backs off when he rebukes with awkward attempt at seduction,  he cowardice about dying for Esmeralda, he doesn’t want to die in her place. Although he didn’t steal Djali, would have been easy for him to do but he doesn’t. In fact he pretty damn callous in that scene since Esmeralda is begging not to leave and he like “laters.”

Christopher Gable as Gringoire The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977 picture image

Christopher Gable as Gringoire

In fact this Gringoire is very callous at the end of the movie. After Gringoire makes off with Djali we don’t hear from him again but we hear that he went on to write tragedies, so happy ending for him.  This version seeks to give the viewer closure on Gringoire, so after Frollo and Esmeralda die, Gringoire looks around at their bodies in the square and he  says  “And only I spared to tell the tale” then he smiles. At first before he says that line he does seem a little sad but the smiles after the line is said. It gives some credence to the story but it makes Gringoire look unlikable in this version. It does beg the question, was Gringoire unlikable in the book?

Christopher Gable as Gringoire The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977 picture image

Christopher Gable as Gringoire

I’d say no. He was fairly relatable. He didn’t want Esmeralda to die but he didn’t want to die either plus he had no idea what Frollo’s motivation were regarding Esmeralda.  But it’s amazing how that one line that the movie adds in to give Gringoire an ending made him look like such a jerk. It’s not even the line itself it that smile and the fact that right after said smile he says “there is a god in heaven.” Such a massive jerk-face.

Is there anything good about this version? And don’t say adherence to the book, many Hunchback versions adhere to the plot so they don’t have to add anything else to make it good for a visual medium.  

Way back in 2016 I did a post on award season gowns that looked vague Esmeralda-like in style. One gown I mention was this one worn by Zendaya.

 

Zendaya wearing Marchesa at 2016 Golden Globes Image Source: Getty / VALERIE MACON picture

Zendaya wearing Marchesa at 2016 Golden Globes

 

It looks very similar to the dress that Esmeralda wears on the poster/album cover for the Notre Dame de Paris musical.

 

Notre Dame de Paris Album Cover

Notre Dame de Paris Album Cover

Anyway, I been a addictive to Pinterest and this came across my feed awhile ago.

 

Zendaya in a Zuhair Murad gown, 2017 MTV awards picture image

Zendaya in a Zuhair Murad gown, 2017 MTV awards

I can’t tell you how much this gown looks like it could have been made for the Norte Dame de Paris musical. It’s  literally has all the elements of the original gown. This color, the cut, the shape of the sleeves (that it even has sleeves at all), the fact that there is a texture with the beading. Even hemline is on point. If this gown was the costume used in production or even just for a concert, I’d be happy.  For the record, I do not think  Zuhair Murad was inspired by Notre Dame de Paris at all, but it’s eerie .

Honestly if there ever was large scale production of Notre Dame de Paris made for an American audience, be it a Broadway level production or a movie (one can dream), Zendaya would be a great choice fro Esmeralda. And after listening to Rewrite the Stars from The Greatest Showman, I really need her to sing Bohemienne, even if it. just a cover. Heck I’d like to see her as Esmeralda if Disney ever does a Live-action of Hunchback, again one can dream.

Note – I Love Zuhair Murad designs. They are so pretty.

I’m still on the Star Wars actor casting, maybe next time I’ll do an anti-one, like an all Gungun casting, shudders.  

 

Mark Hamill picture image

Mark Hamill

 

As far as the different versions take on the role of Clopin they portray him in one of two ways, he’s either leader of Gypsies or leader of the beggars and thieves. Basically Clopin is combination of three characters from Book but MOSTLY he’s still the character of Clopin because that character just has more to do than the Duke of Egypt and the the other guy, whose name I have completely forgotten but know that he does have a name and there are three leaders of The Court of Miracles.  

 

Mark Hamill picture image

Mark Hamill

 

So as I was thinking about the Star Wars casting I really wanted to get my head out of the Sequel Trilogy even though I love it, yes I liked The Last Jedi, and then I thought of Mark Hamill and it was BOOM, he be so great as Clopin. It’s a dream casting that I never knew I always wanted.   

   

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Star Wars The Force Awakens picture image

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Star Wars The Force Awakens

 

Hamill is most well known for his role as Luke Skywalker, really don’t I even need to say that  but he has had a long career and has been a very prominent voice actor including being consider one of the best Jokers ever. He was also in Castle in the Sky as a Villain. If you do know any about Hamill it’s that he loves to troll, in a jovial sense, and has  great sense of humor. I could really see Hamill playing Clopin with a delightful dark humor which is there but I think he could only improve of it.  

 

Mark Hamill picture image

Mark Hamill

This casting just so perfect that even if just vocal performance it would still be awesome but Mark Hamill would still kill it as live action role.

But what do you think? Would mark Hamill make a good Clopin?

Michelle Newell as Esmeralda The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977 picture image

Michelle Newell as Esmeralda The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977

This version of Esmeralda is baffling. It’s neither good or bad. It’s super boring though. This Esmeralda hits all the marks of the plot that this version is going for; she is a gypsy dancer who likes her goat and Phoebus and doesn’t like Frollo very much. She doesn’t fear him like in the book so he is really a second thought.     

Michelle Newell as Esmeralda The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977 picture image

Michelle Newell as Esmeralda The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977

This version also tries to go for the charming, doe-eyed, innocence Esmeralda, which is not very convincing. Gina Lollobrigida was also unconvincing with her lines about innocence but she had more interest and charisma.  It’s just hard to separate this Esmeralda from her actress, as she  is styled in a very 70’s style, her costume doesn’t look very in character, more on that later, and again she is gypsy being played by a white woman.  If her name was Melody it would make the some amount of impact. I don’t feel Esmeralda’s character even though that is what being presented. More like a wax fruit than the real stuff.

Michelle Newell as Esmeralda The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977 picture image

Michelle Newell as Esmeralda The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977

It the same issues that the 1982 version had with Lesley-Anne Down, except there she was fearful and didn’t like dancing. That’s not a positive it just makes the role more the movie’s version and therefore different. This Esmeralda does have nothing  that separate her from her book persona and because of the gap in the execution there is nothing there, again it’s wax fruit when instead of actual fruit. She says the lines and there nothing believable or convincing about it. It’s a very boring and dare I say by the book, No it’s like act by numbers.  

Michelle Newell as Esmeralda with Christopher Gable as Gringoire The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977 picture image

Michelle Newell as Esmeralda with Christopher Gable as Gringoire

There are some scene where she is believable  but it’s mostly when she is being playful, like the scene with Gringoire but that is really it. It’s just boring depiction.

Michelle Newell as Esmeralda The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977 picture image

Michelle Newell as Esmeralda The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1977

I think they best way to showcase this this version of Esmeralda is go watch her introduction scene when she is dancing. The camera spends more time on shots of ugly extras than her dancing. The director would rather focus on extras than the woman that all the male characters obsess over.