Ella Enchanted picture image

Ella Enchanted

This movie confuses me, I’m not really sure who it’s for. If I had to venture a guess I would say Ella Enchanted is for eight year girls who liked the Princess Dairies and like to shop at Claire’s. So if you fit that description you MIGHT sincerely like this movie but I can’t really imagine everyone else liking this movie. I sort of used to like this movie in a guilty-pleasure way but it’s really chaotically goofy and not in a good way as it takes itself seriously.

Anne Hathaway as Ella and Hugh Dancy as Prince Char Ella Enchanted picture image

Anne Hathaway as Ella and Hugh Dancy as Prince Char

Main plot goes a little like this, sweet little baby Ella who lives in a place called Frell gets a special gift from a well-meaning but incompetent fairy named Lucinda. Lucinda  gives Ella the gift of obedience which means Ella has to whatever she is told whether or not she wants to or if she is physically capable. Only her mother and their house-fairy know and before Ella’s mother dies she tells Ella not to tell anyone about the gift/curse.

Ella grows up to be a liberal-minded teenage and her father gets remarried to a vain woman with two daughters, meanie Hattie and dum-dum Olive. One day the handsome Prince Charmont a.k.a Char comes to Frell for a Mall opening, Ella and her pal take the opportunity to protest for Ogre’s rights which Char’s evil Uncle, Edgar is persecuting. Hattie gets mad and sends Ella off on her way but Ella then runs into Char and since she is the only girl to not fancy Char they have a snarky attraction. Hattie then finds them and sends Ella back to the mall where Ella gets into trouble because Hattie caught on to Ella doing what she is told and Hattie and Olive made her steal stuff.

Ella decides that she need to get Lucinda to take back the gift, so her house-fairy, Mandy gives her a special book named Benny who is also her boyfriend to help Ella find Lucinda as he can show people and not where they are, though looking at context Ella sees that Lucinda is going to a wedding in Giant-ville. So she off with a Book and along the way she runs into an Elf who wants to be a lawyer, some ogres and Char. They go to the wedding but miss Lucinda. Char recommends Ella looks at census stuff at the castle.

At the castle Edgar gets wind of Ella doing what she is told and orders her to kill Char when he pops the question because they are in love. Ella tries to break it off with Char and chains herself up to a tree. Her plan might have worked but Lucinda shows up, frees Ella and gives a dress for the ball. Ella goes to the ball and nearly kills Char but breaks the gift by telling herself not to obey anymore, that never crosses her mind before? To tell herself not to obey?  Ella is  arrested but her crew of oppressed magical friends help her, fight scene and Edgar inadvertently poisons himself, though doesn’t die. Ella and Char get married and they end with a song and dance number.

Anne Hathaway as Ella Ella Enchanted picture image

Anne Hathaway as Ella

Just so we’re 100% clear Ella Enchanted was based on a book of the same name by Gail Carson Levine from 1997. I haven’t read the book but from what I can gather the movie is nothing like the book, like you can’t even compare the two they are too different. So the movie wasn’t for fans of the book.

Also I have to wonder about the whole gift giving thing. The movie seems to indicate the giving babies gift was commonplace but we never hear anyone else talking about their gift. Maybe the book explains it but the movie doesn’t. Also is a fairy an occupation? Like what is the difference between Lucinda and Mandy. Mandy says she is a house-fairy but what does that MEAN? Do other houses have house fairies? Is she employed? Are any fairies good at the their jobs? These little things just take me out of the movie.

Cary Elwes as Edgar and Heston Ella Enchanted picture image

Cary Elwes as Edgar and his useless snake goon

There is one thing I liked about this movie but I kind of hate that I like it, the actors. There are so many actors I love who are in this movie, from Cary Elwes, Eric Ideal, Joanna Lumley, Heidi Klum, Jim Carter ect. I don’t really have a issue with Anne Hathaway, Vivica A.Fox, Minnie Driver or Hugh Dancy but most of these actors have been in things I have liked and yet they somehow are in this movie? I mean they wasted Joanna Lumley who is awesome in AB Fab. The trouble is expect for Elwes who is just chewing the scenery everyone is playing this movie fairly straight when the idea is supposedly to be taking jabs at fairy tales.

Anne Hathaway as Ella Ella Enchanted picture image

Anne Hathaway as Ella

It seems like the movie is parodying fairy-tales with it quirky stye but the basic story is being true to yourself and that is what Ella does while being perfect. I mean she is pretty and has no emotional hang-ups, she is smart and proactive. She is damn perfect that is not very interesting. The only thing that makes her interesting is her curse which is the source of most the film’s weak attempts at humor.

Lucy Punch as Hattie and Jennifer Higham as Olive Ella Enchanted picture image

Lucy Punch as Hattie and Jennifer Higham as Olive

Then we have come to another major issue with this movie, the costumes. Execpt for Ella, all the costumes are AWFUL, they are trash. I don’t know how this movie managed to make Heidi Klum look bad but they did. The movie has this weird sense of fanasty fairy tale costume but they give them weird modern cuts with gross fabric. Olive at one point has to wear a purple hoodie that is the fuzzy and glittery at a ball. Also Ella’s ball gown was a snooze.

Anne Hathaway as Ella and Hugh Dancy as Prince Char Ella Enchanted picture image

Anne Hathaway as Ella and Hugh Dancy as Prince Char

Ella Enchanted has somethings going for it like the good cast and not abysmal pacing but the humor, style, tone and plot are corny as heck. But in classic this movie let’s go out with a song which is also a clue.

Bride Wars picture image

Bride Wars

At last, we come to the low hanging fruit. This movie hangs so low of that it’s on the ground, really this movie doesn’t seem like a challenge to review. I’m talking about the 2009 travesty known as Bride Wars. Really, this movie is so bad that Nostradamus himself predicated its coming. Ok no, that is giving this shit-poo too much credit and it’s not the worse movie in the world, it only has a 10% on Rotten Tomatoes when Happily N’ever after has a 4% and Alone in the Dark has 1%, so where not in that area of totally ass-ness but we venture close, very close.

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) at the wedding planners Bride Wars picture image

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) at the wedding planners

The movie is about childhood friends Liv and Emma. Both have a happy memory about having tea at the plaza in June and seeing a wedding, they both decide at the tender age of young girl that they both want to have June weddings at the Plaza. So they both Live in New York City and Liv (Kate Hudson) is a perfectionist control-freak lawyer who somehow lost her parents or something, the movie doesn’t really fleshed that out and Emma (Anne Hathaway) is a people-pleaser middle school teacher.

Both have serious boyfriends and both become engaged at the same time. Both go to the same wedding planner and they are told there are three spots at the Plaza in June, two on the sixth and one 27th. So Liv takes the 6th and Emma 27th but OH the plot, there was a mix-up and they are both on the same day Nooooooooooooo! So because they don’t really want to ruin their ideal wedding dreams, they start attacking each other in girly-bitch methods like getting one fat, rumors, embarrassment, messing with tanning and hair dye and full-on wedding fight. They pretty much reconcile when Emma, who had been having friction with her fiancee decides on their wedding day to call it off. SO Liv gets married and Emma doesn’t but at the end she marries Liv’s brother and they find out they are both pregnant a year later, hello sequel that never happen.

Liv (Kate Hudson) with blue hair Bride Wars picture image

Liv (Kate Hudson) with blue hair

Ok. number ONE, the plot of competing best friends could have and should been handled before they were even told. Second, it was a breech of contact and they had the right to sue. Third, why the fuck didn’t the other bride just switch? She would have been operating under the assumption her wedding was the 6th and not the 27th. The plot just rest on something that is stupid and fixable but the movie wants to spend more time on women acting like selfish bitches.

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) catching a bouquet Bride Wars picture image

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) catching a bouquet

The movie also tries to justify Liv and Emma acting like children. First they both have this idea that any wedding that isn’t at the Plaza in June it is beneath them but they wrap this up in Liv and Emma having reasons for their attachment. Liv’s excuse is that the Plaza was the happiest memory from her childhood, and yes that is a better reason than Emma’s who has just been saving up for it though she makes less money than Liv the Lawyer. But also Emma is a people-pleaser who can’t really say no, so she wants something for her.

So they both think they are justified BUT they both could have had it they had taken better action in the first place. And REALLY is June  important? I can understand the location but the month? Some months aren’t good but they made it seem like June was the fucking end all be all and not the person they were marrying.

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) Bride Wars picture image

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway)

Briefly let’s just talk about the guys, Liv’s boyfriend just gives in to her and pretty just chill, I forgot his name. Emma’s guy, Fletcher is overbearing and just wants Emma to be a sweet little person with no emotions or that is how the movie wants us to view him because we can’t feel sad when him and Emma break up to allow for Liv’s wedding. Also Emma ends up with Liv’s bother of whom gets like two scenes with Emma and exhibits no personality, so match made in heaven I guess.

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Liv's groom cutting their "Trendy fusion" cake Bride Wars picture image

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Liv’s groom cutting their “Trendy fusion” cake

Now we talk about the weddings. The most ironic thing about this movie is that wedding that is not in June and not at the Plaza is better looking than Emma’s and Liv’s dream elitist weddings. Granted, we didn’t see that wedding only the reception. I forget what their themes were but Emma was something like minimal romantic and Liv’s was trendy fusion but the two decors didn’t match. Emma’s was like black with roses and not like fun Victorian gothic a la Phantom of the Opera but like just ugly and dour. Liv’s was just like gold tones, which I think looked prettier but it wasn’t trendy fusion and futhermore WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Romantic minimal yeah I get that but Trendy Fusion? Fusion with what? Do you have  like mason jars with like Indian wedding deatils mixed with Cherry Blossoms? I’m so confused. Everything about Liv’s wedding SCREAMS traditional and not at all trendy or Fusion.

Their wedding looked like shit and they played $350 plus taxes per person for that venue. Gah F this movie its ear.

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) in their wedding gowns Bride Wars picture image

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) in their wedding gowns

Then we have the gowns. Both were designed by Vera Wang. Ok, first this movie makes the claim that Vera Wang gowns are so wonderful, that you don’t alter the gown you alter yourself to fit the gown. First this was supposed to be for giggles and a Liv’s gained 5 pound pay-off but so the fuck-of-sake that is the just elisted bullshit that Vera Wang herself said was dumb, and this shit was giving her free adverstiment but really she doesn’t need it. So f-you short girls, you better figure out how to grow seven inches so you can fit into this overpriced gown, may be you could stench yourself.

But the gown themselves, Liv’s tulle ballgown was overrated. It’s pretty standard as wedding dresses go. I mean there is nothing really to it other than sheer volume. Emma’s wedding gown is much better BUT in the context of the story it was her mother’s wedding gown which means now I have to do MATH, I so hate this movie. So let’s just say Emma is roughly late twenty to early thirties and for this let’s just say she is 28 given the college being ten years ago lines, This would mean that she was born roughly early 80s‘ about 1981 or 1982. This means her parents could have been married anywhere from 80 to sometime in the 70s and let’s me just say, NO WEDDING GOWN FROM THAT TIME LOOKED LIKE EMMA’S FUCKING WEDDING GOWN YOU DUMB FUCKS! Just google pictures. Good GOD, really I can’t like Emma’s gown on a contextual level and I don’t like Liv’s gown on a personal level.

 

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) after bride bitch fight Bride Wars picture image

Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) after bride bitch fight

Bride Wars sucks as it just elitist bullshit about two horrible women doing terrible things to their best friend because f-you my wedding day.

 

Les Misérables Poster, picture image

Les Misérables Poster

I finally got around to seeing the movie version of the musical of Les Misérables. Before I discuss this movie I will admit that I’m not the target audience for it. I was not well acquainted with musical prior to seeing this film and while do like the idea of Musical movies I only really like a few of them. That said I really didn’t care for this movie, I didn’t hate I just didn’t like it. (WARNING; this gets ranty)

Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Les Miserables , picture image

Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Les Miserables (Get used to this framing style, it’s everywhere )

 

Les Misérables fails as movie. There is a visual language to movies that keep it interesting for a viewer. When a movie just has a actor perform without any camera work or interesting edits for 3 minutes the scene becomes stall. There is no point to filming a movie if you are not going to present the story in way that is visually interesting. I Dreamed a Dream is a prime a example.

Anne Hathaway as Fatine performing  I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables, picture image

Anne Hathaway performing I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables (This looks more like an Ad than a still from a film)

Anne Hathaway gives a heartbreaking performance but after 30 seconds I became distracted by lacks of edits. How about a reverse shot? Even if was one take you can still have two camera angels. How about some zooms or pans. How about using the space in your sets? What’s with this stationary medium shot that is off center? It’s dull. The camera moves a bit but it’s really just to keep up with Hathaway’s movement and maintaining the frame. I understand that director Tom Hooper likes the off center placement of the shots and consider it “his thing”. It does promote a feeling of uncomfortableness and it worked well in The King’s Speech but it doesn’t work in Les Miserables. though it works in I Dreamed a Dream but I find it distracting after 30 seconds. Watching Anne Hathaway sing uncut for 3 minutes is not really any different from seeing the musical live but at least at live a performance you feel the energy of the actor. Then again, maybe I’m just heartless.

 

Paris, maybe, Les Miserables, picture image

Paris, maybe, Les Miserables

Then there is the issue that film doesn’t have any establishing shots and doesn’t give any indication of the passage of time. This make the narrative feel confused. But more than that without establishing shots you can’t see the sets. What is the point to having these sets that look like they could be great if you not going to show them to the viewer.

Samantha Barks as Eponine Les Misérables, picture image

Samantha Barks as Eponine Les Misérables

The point of taking a musical and making a film is to give the songs and story a visually interesting telling. The most interesting visual presentation of a song in this movie is Stars. Javert is walking on the edge of a bridge. That is interesting! (Even if Russell Crow was miserable in this movie) Jean Valjean pacing back and forth in a church, dull. Fantine crying about her life because of her crap day and half uncut, didn’t work visually . Epoine walking heart broken in the rain, zzzzzzz (and I like that song). What is the point of adapting this if your not going to be interesting with staging, filming or editing? Was it just to use establish actor is these roles? I think it might have been. Frankly I don’t give crap if the actor are singing live for a more a emotional performance. They played this way too straight. They should have been more artistic. The whole of this movie feels like gimmick to use the live singing and promote it. After all that seems what the film and the director are concern about not the viewer’s experience watching a movie.

Samatha Barks as Epoine & Eddie Redmayne as Marius Les Miserables 2012, picture image

Samatha Barks as Epoine & Eddie Redmayne as Marius,
Les Miserables

However, because the film tries to play with the viewers’ emotions about these people we have to look at the characters to see if the film was successful. Because the film steamrolls over the narrative I can’t feel for any of these characters. It’s like BAM here is a character, BAM here’s their issue, BAM they’re in trouble don’t you feel sad? Answer, Not really. You meet Fantine, I don’t know who this character is so don’t feel that much when she goes through her hellish day and half (without time passage I don’t know how much time pass between her firing and death). How did she die? I know she dies of TB in the book but in the movie it seem it like death by plot….? Sorry Fantine, I wasn’t moved. I didn’t get a sense of your character so meh to you. Epoine same, you like Marius that’s nice he’s not into you….. ok…. oh you’re dead…… oh well. Javert’s obsession? Didn’t see it at all.

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean,  Les Misérables, picture image

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Les Misérables

Oddly enough the rare lines that are spoken (like 3 lines) were most genuine parts of the movie. I feel like Hathaway and Jackman were trying to win awards. Crow didn’t seem to care very much. Redmayne, Tviet and Barks did seem to try and they were at least successful for the most part. I think Tviet was probably the best as Enjolras.

Do you hear the people sing, Les Miserables, picture image

Do you hear the people sing, Les Miserables

Do you hear the people sing felt like a movie, with visuals, that were slightly interesting, that kept your attention. Though I could do without the Dutch angles…. a pox on Dutch angles.

Anne Hathaway and  her Oscar,picture image

Anne Hathaway and her Oscar

I feel like this movie was blatant Oscar bait and considering it was nominated or 8 Academy Awards and won three I guess it was successful. It also won heaps of other awards and earned $437,710,466 at the box office, its budget was $61,000,000, and grossed $376,710,466. So, it was successful at that end of movie making which is the important part for studio. The film however has a polarizing effects on audiences and critically was not much cared for. Had the movie had clear establishing shots, clear passage of time indication, and more interesting presentations of scenes and songs it could have been much better. But for m,e as a viewer, it failed to be visually entertaining and emotional interesting.

Pictures and Trailer from the upcoming 2012 Les Misérables  movies. I’m still not sure on the casting and the production values seem a bit to  much like “Notice Me Academy”.

 

(Please Note –  I’m not as familiar with Les Mis so I may have misidentified  characters or actors)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7_pOyPYGUQ

How do you think Notre Dame de Paris would translate to a movie format? I think a cinematic treatment could be cool but the musical doesn’t have the best “narrative.”

 

Helena Bonham Carter picture image

Helena Bonham Carter

 

All signs  point signs point  to yes! Helena Bonham Carter has been cast in the upcoming  Les Miserables movie as Madame Thenardier. And Since Tim Burton is the frontrunner as Director of “Hunchback” she’ll be probably be in that as well.

Hugh Jackman picture image

Hugh Jackman

Russell Crowe picture

Russell Crowe

 

 

 

 

 

Also Hugh Jackman is playing Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe has reportedly accepted the role of Inspector Javert. I can’t really picture Crowe as Javert but maybe my conception of Javert is different from the Hollywood casting person.

 

Anne Hathaway Picture image

Anne Hathaway

 

Anne Hathaway is playing Fantine.

 

 

 

Claire Danes as Cossette from the 1998 Les Miserables picture image

Claire Danes as Cossette from the 1998 Les Miserables

 

I know this movie is going to be a musical but I think it would have been ironic if Claire Danes had played Fantine. After all she did play Cossette in the 1998 version.    I still don’t agree with Hathaway as Fantine and Crowe as Javert causes me to raise as eyebrow, but I’m not a casting director and they didn’t ask me either.