The Garden of the Forking Path

Dania Ramirez as Cinderella, Andrew J. West as Henry Mills & Lana Parrilla as Regina Once Upon a Time Season 7Episode 3 The Garden of the Forking Path picture image

Dania Ramirez as Cinderella, Andrew J. West as Henry Mills & Lana Parrilla as Regina

As a fan of “The Good Place” I must laugh at the title since “fork” is how that show says the F-word, it’s self-censorship for humor. Anyway on with this episode.  

So we get more plot and the show pretty much rehashing the episode from season 1 where Henry goes into the mines where Snow White’s coffin was. The only difference is that Lucy didn’t find a coffin with Henry but part of Cinderella’s shoe and in weird try at a twist it turns out Victoria dug up the gardens to FIND a coffin which is her daughters Anastasia. Speaking of rehashing, this Cinderella is ALSO a single mother like the previous verson.  

In the past Cinderella joins up with the resistance lead by Tiana. Somehow I just can’t take this seriously. First why? There is so far nothing on why there is a resistance and what makes Lady Tremaine so forminable that there NEEDS to be a resistance against her?  Also Why Tiana? Like why her as a character? It just seems like a random pick and I really can’t help but think that Esmeralda the way Disney made her out to be would have been better since she was all about social justice but whatever the show is really hit-and-miss when taking cue from the Disney movies so Tiana is Leia.

Anyway, we learn some nuggets of info like Anastacia’s death is somehow Cinderella’s fault making Victoria’s motivations reviving her daughter. ERGO her motivates are akin to Rumple’s but that also diminishes her menace. But to bring up the menace again, she needs a Heart.

Here is some confusion, Lady Tremaine in the past needs Henry’s heart which is The Heart of the Truest Believer. So the writers remember that plot from season 3 but FORGOT that there is a protection spell on it so no one can take it. BUT in the world without magic (except when there is) Victoria needs to break Lucy’s faith to revive Anastasias. What? At least I think that is the plot.

Honestly I can’t put my head around this episode.  We have Victoria formerly  Lady Tremaine who knows about the curse or as the show puts it, is awake, digging up a community garden and shelling out 5 dollars bills to get permit to do it so she can bring back her child from somewhat death. And we have Cinderella making speeches to save the community garden and that makes her the hero she was?  

Then we have to  wonder about the graves Henry saw that allude to his wife and child. Are they real or is this another wish-version doppelganger or part of the curse. Speaking of said curse last season Lucy was TOLD by Tiger Lily to find her father. So how is going to resolve the end of last season with this season. Did Lucy escape the curse but Cinderella still remembers her.

I just didn’t’ care for this episode aside from some plot exposition that is just adding to confusion  it was boring. Because watching a Fairy Tale character with amnesia talking about building codes to save a community gardens from a greedy builder is just want I want in a convoluted Fantasy drama.       


Also Jacinda did a Tom Jane from  Arrested Development


Season 7 Episode 1 Hyperion Heights

Once Upon a Time Season 7 Episode 1 Hyperion Heights picture image

Dania Ramirez as Cinderella & Andrew J. West as Henry Mills

And we’re back at this. Why? I don’t know. Let’s just say I was inspired by Hulu show Difficult People. There was an episode where the main character was doing community service by teaching inmates about recapping TV Shows and how that it’s not really about the recap it’s the person doing the recap. So here we go, Season 7 of Once Upon a Time.

Basically they Disney Straight-to-Video-Sequeled  it! What does that EVEN mean? You know how one model of Disney sequels is the protagonist’s kid doing the same thing? Well that is what is happening here extensively. Henry’s daughter is getting Henry to fix a curse which he does not believe. Henry is Emma and Lucy is Henry. However in this version Henry is cursed and Storybrooke is  Hyperion Heights a neighborhood in Seattle. Seattle is probably also going to play the role of Boston and New York City. Sorry Portland Maine,   Once Upon a Time forgot you exist but maybe Portland Oregon will get a Shout-out.  

It’s all a soft reboot, doing the same thing Once Upon a Time has always done, Amnesia Curses. However there are different people at play, maybe and different people affected, maybe. We know Regina is affected as she now goes by Roni, a bar owner and Hook is a cop named Rogers. Rumple goes by Weaver but who knows if he affected.  So they all get new names to go by which these reviews extra fun…  I hope you all get the puns here. Hook is Roger because of the Jolly Roger and Rumple weaved Straw into Gold. It’s all very clever. Not sure where Roni comes from.   

The new players are Lucy, Henry and Cinderella a.k.a Jacinda’s daughter. She knows about the curse. Cinderella is Jacinda a single mom working a some chicken restaurant.  There is Victoria the new Regina a.k.a The Wicked Step Mother and her daughter/ assistant Druzilla. Her name is credited a Ivy. There is also Alice and Tiana. Tiana has a bit part in this episode declining Frog legs at the ball because oh you get it but she to be a recurring character. Also I’m confused on the subject of custody with Lucy vis-a-vis Jacinda and Victoria. Does a stepmother have rights to custody over her step-daughter’s daughter? Guess it would depend on if Jacinda was minor when she has Lucy. Don’t know but it’s not like Once Upon a Time was ever hazy in custody details  before, oh wait, it was for like three seasons.  

While Once Upon a Time did do Mystery well in the first season, it never  managed to since the that opening season, it does do twists well because it withholds vital information to make the twists happen. Like for example Hook being the/a Dark One, there was no set-up just the reveal. Sure, it makes for a twist but not one that was set up or hinted at. It’s hard to see how this season will stack up to the other seasons since it trying to a lot at once.  

Is it bad? No. Was the premiere a rehash? Oh boy was it! Do I hope it does its own thing and is compelling? Yes, am willing to give it a try especially when without Emma we don’t have her whiny savior moping, no hope speeches from Snow White or toxic Belle and Rumple. Though it does seem like Regina/Roni will get the hope speeches this season.

I feel like I shouldn’t question the logic of this show since it’s a slippery slope that leads to head implosions but other Realm Cinderella can drive a motorcycle having only ever before operating a horse-drawn carriage? Stop trying to make How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days more realistic!


Episode 3:  The Other Shoe

Jessy Schram as Cinderella & Tim Phillipps as Prince Thomas Once Upon a Time Season 6 Episode 3, The Other Shoe picture image

Jessy Schram as Cinderella & Tim Phillipps as Prince Thomas

I had forgotten that Rumple was also the Fairy Godmother.  He just has so many roles in this show. This episode revisits Cinderella a.k.a Ashley and her step-sister who was in love with a footman but got hauled off to land of untold stories with the wicked step-mother because she didn’t want her daughter marrying beneath her. Apparently working for royalty isn’t good enough for a woman who sold porcelain for some dresses and uses slave labor.  Or is Cinderella an indentured servant?

The other plot going on is Emma’s issues with the  future and finally asking Hook to move into the house that he picked out for them to live. Emma’s proposal was sweet but weird when she added the bit about getting hit by a bus and space for leather jackets. Also there is a plot with Regina trying to out-think EQ, Snow White wanting to teach, David learning about his father’s death and Rumple getting a mixtape to Belle.  These plots are all at the expensive of the other stories going on like the Dwarves saved Dopey from being a tree and Dopey got into a masters program. In what and where? Fuck you, that’s not important when we got a mixtape and a 40+ year old hot cold case. I still wanna know how Mulan and Aurora saved Philip from the wraith back in season 2. That could have been an epic adventure but instead we got Tamara and Owen, Peter Pan’s anti-magic zealots.  It’s just like Why on that one.     

The past section was good, nice to see Cinderella’s step-sister get more characterization than nothing. How  she met the foot-man could have been interesting but there is no time for a line like that when there are like five plots per-episode  and a weird pilgrim lady coming to town,  the  show has its priorities people. Got to wonder what story that Pilgrim lady is from and why didn’t she want her story played out?

It was a good enough epsiode, loved Emma’s white embroidery shirt  especially with the leather jacket and the step-sister’s gown. That gown was awesome.

Mekenna Melvin as Clorinda Tremaine Once Upon a Time Season 6 Episode 3 The Other Shoe picture image

Mekenna Melvin as Clorinda Tremaine


Episode 4: Strange Case

Hank Harris as Dr. Henry Jekyll & Sam Witwer as Mr. Hyde Once Upon a Time Season 6 Episode 4, Strange Case picture image

Hank Harris as Dr. Henry Jekyll & Sam Witwer as Mr. Hyde

Well that was super unceremonious way to end the Hyde and Jekyll storyline. So many questions left unanswered only to answer a question that made Hyde’s story play into Rumple and Belle’s toxic relationship and to get the EQ to be her own character. I did like how their backstory played out but right when you start liking the plotline POOF it’s gone because we have to make way for the Aladdin plot.

Speaking of Aladdin, the b-plot with Jasmine being a teacher’s aid to Snow was SUPER boring. What does Snow White teach? Don’t care, I want to know what Dopey is getting his M.A in, I’m super curious about that. Maybe it’s dendrology, the scientific study of trees? I mean he was a trea.  In my head canon that is what he’s studying. I mean if the show’s not going to answer it might as well make something up.

This season seems like a kitchen-sink of plotlines. It’s like they knew there wasn’t going to be a continuous story for season 7 so they had to jam back season 6 but they had already started the Hyde/Jekyll/EQ plot. So while the backstory and ultimately Hyde and Jekyll were interesting in the heart/mind and social politeness vs not giving a fuck about society was interesting, nothing came from it.   I mean WHAT WAS HYDE’s PLAN? WHAT DID HE WANT?

Also Rumple got his hair cut! That’s an important plot point OR the actor got sick of the wig.     

Not a great episode. Minor points for concluding a story instead of having characters fizzle into the background, Lily and Maleficent.  The past section was really good.  

Also where are my Avonlea fans at because Jekyll reminds me a lot of Jasper Dale, sans the murder part.  

Jessy Schram as Cinderella in Once Upon a Time Season 1 Episode 4; The Price of Gold picture image

Jessy Schram as Cinderella in Once Upon a Time

Finally costumes I don’t hate. I mean they aren’t amazing I mean very much what you would expect from Cinderella’s ball gown not super gown and they other costume were not that bad either. Things are looking up.

So this episode focus one Cinderella however instead of the fairy godmother Rumpy gives Cinderella her chance at life in exchange for something that Rumpy never says and Cinderella agrees and signs the contract without reading it. The thing Rumpelstiltskin wants is Cinderella’s first born which makes Cinderella the miller’s daughter from the Rumpelstiltkin tale.

In the real work of amnesiac fairy tale people, Cinderella is a teen soon to be mom named Ashley. Get it? Ash? Cinders? It’s a pun. Better than calling her Ella or Cindy. Anyway the baby’s daddy’s father sold off the baby to Mr Gold and Ashley agree but is not reneging on said promise. In the end Emma Swan makes a deal with Mr Gold to owe him a favor and Ashley can keep her baby.

While in the fairy tale world Cinderella and her Prince are trying to magically trap Rumpy out the contract. They also go Game of Thrones saying the magic needs a price. So in exchange for trapping Rumpy something happens to Cinderella’s prince because he took reasonably for the price and magic apparently is cool with people taking the price other the one who did the act, I guess.

All in all, it was an enjoyable episode, a bit highhanded with the whole baby thing a Emma put her baby up for adoption and Ashley is desperate to keep her baby. I’m not sure how I like the idea of Rumpy killing the Fairy God mother and then baiting Cinderella but it made for an interesting plot/ twist of the sources materials so I really don’t mind it. Also it seems like Regina and Graham are hooking up…

This are movies that I was disappointed in and in a few cases just missed the worst list. These are in no particular order.  Also only did five of them.

Jang Dong-gun as Kunlun & Cecilia Cheung as Qingcheng The Promise picture image review

Jang Dong-gun as Kunlun & Cecilia Cheung as Qingcheng

The Promise –  This one just nearly missed the worst list. A few things kept it off, one being it was its own thing so it didn’t  oppose a source material, at least to my knowledge, the visuals in parts were very nice and I gave it the benefit of the doubt that the Chinese version was better. However, I wished the plot focused more on the lead female like Netflix suggested it did and not a fast runner fighting an evil duke that has a thing for feathers. Overall this one way really confusing and disappointing.

Vincent Cassel as the Beast and Léa Seydoux as Belle La Belle et la Bete 2014 picture image

Vincent Cassel as the Beast and Léa Seydoux as Belle

La Belle et la Bete (2014) – This movie I really wanted to like but the film-makers really messed most of this up. They gave the Beast a backstory that confused things and they went too far with trying to make it epic. I’m not saying that Fairy Tales movies can’t be epic but film makers need to stop doing it because you can’t pull if off. But more than that they didn’t even bother to have  Belle and Beast fall in love which should have been a crime. This movie is lucky that they were so many other terrible  movies or it would been on the worst list. The costumes were nice though.

Moira Shearer as Vicky having to choice between love and dancing The Red Shoes picture image

Moira Shearer as Vicky having to choice between love and dancing

The Red Shoes – This movie is yet another movie that people like and I was more disappointed in. If they had spent the time to establish Vicky’s love of dance, the romance,  and why she really had to make the choice between dancing and love it would have been better. The plot was just too rushed and unexplained. The Ballet part of the great though, so it’s slightly forgivable that the rushed the boring icky movie parts. I just want to note that shot  which is the picture shows  is really great.

Rutger Hauer as Navarre with Isabeau in Hawk form Ladyhawke picture image

Rutger Hauer as Navarre with Isabeau in Hawk form

Ladyhawke – I really wanted to like this movie but it was just too boring, too bland, too tonal confused  and too fill of 80’s cheesiness.   It’s a weird yet bad combination.

Lily James as Ella and Richard Madden as Prince Kit Cinderella 2015 picture image

Lily James as Ella and Richard Madden as Prince Kit

Cinderella (2015) – Again I really wanted to like this movie, the casting spoke to me and it had lovely costumes but it wasn’t enough. The choices they made just confused the plot and Ella was less proactive than her 1950 counterpart. I don’t need or really want a super hero military leader Cinderella but girl just spins and twirls. Also the pacing of this one was really bad, it felt so much longer than it needed to be.

Honorable Mention

The Snow Queen (2002) – Just because it was super long, the acting was bad and the weird to heck plot. But I didn’t have any excpetations of it so that helped.

A Cinderella Story 2004 picture image

A Cinderella Story

A Cinderella Story is a by the book modern telling of Cinderella. It used to be a guilty-pleasure of mine. I know it’s dumb, cliched and very early 2000’s but really there something clumsy and likable about it that I don’t dislike it,  I don’t it but this shit could be so much worst.

Hilary Duff as Sam & Chad Michael Murray as Austin A Cinderella Story 2004 picture image

Hilary Duff as Sam & Chad Michael Murray as Austin

Story follows smart, down-earth Cinderella named Samantha in this movie. Of Course, in the  trope of making her “likable,” Sam is more “guyish” as she doesn’t like fashion or girly stuff like her arch-rival, the popular bitchy mean girls, who prefer rice crackers to big macs. Anyway, she has the world bestest childhood evar, till her dad remarries and dies. She the does chores and works at a diner so she can go to Princeton, which is why she stays the awful people. Through a chat she meets the Prince character  who is the popular guy at her high school. He plays  football but also likes Lord Alfred Tennyson because it’s he is less well known than Shakespeare.  Also her mean nickname is Diner Girl, real clever kids.

It’s pretty by the book, you have the godmother, who is Sam’s kick-ass manager, a cell phone fills in as the slipper. And instead of getting “married‘ they both go off to New Jersey.

Hilary Duff as Sam and Regina King as Rhonda A Cinderella Story 2004 picture image

Hilary Duff as Sam & Regina King as Rhonda

I think the real reason I don’t dislike this movie as much as I probably know it, is the supporting cast sells the movie more than the leads. Like everyone but the leads are making the cast work, maybe because they don’t need to be likable and perfects and since Sam and Austin are bland and boring, there is nothing to work with for characterizations.  But methinks Duff isn’t the most talent actress and a better actress could have made the dialogue more natural sounding.

Jennifer Coolidge as Fiona, Madeline Zima as Brianna, & Andrea Avery as Gabriella A Cinderella Story 2004 picture image

Jennifer Coolidge as Fiona, Madeline Zima as Brianna, & Andrea Avery as Gabriella

The Technicals aren’t specials in any way. They feel a lot like Ella Enchanted with the cheesy styling. The camera work and editing is very basic. There isn’t much to it. This movie also seems to be ad for it’s soundtrack.

Hilary Duff as Sam & Dan Byrd as Carter A Cinderella Story 2004 picture image

Hilary Duff as Sam & Dan Byrd as Carter

A Cinderella Story is like sugar-water, it’s too sweet, sappy and doesn’t have any substance but more or less harmless. I wish I disliked more.

This movie like next week’s movie has a be your self theme, which is trite and has been done a billion times because it’s easy yet seemingly genuine, very basic.


The Slipper and the Rose Cinderella picture image

The Slipper and the Rose

The Slipper and the Rose is another title I randomly found. It was made in 1976 and it was based on a book of the same name. From what I can gather it was musical movie not based on a stage show, which was more of the standard back then. These days it’s more typical that movies are based of a pre-exiting stage show unless it’s Disney.

Anyway this is a Cinderella movie. So we have have seen intellectually ass-kicking Cinderella, a Gandhi type Cinderella and one who likes nuts but how does this one compare? Well Cinderella in this one is nice, as in the norm but this movie isn’t really Cinderella’s story it’s more about the Prince.

Gemma Craven as Cinderella and Richard Chamberlain as Prince Edward The Slipper and the Rose Cinderella picture image

Gemma Craven as Cinderella and Richard Chamberlain as Prince Edward

The plot is quite simple but have some differences. Prince Edward of some made-up European country, Euphrania, is being pushed to marry a royal princess for both succession and secure an army. Edward however would rather marry for love and doesn’t fancy any of the princesses.

Meanwhile, Cinderella’s‘ father has died and she is pushed into serving for her mean stepmother and dum-dum step sisters. It was either that or go to an orphanage. One day Cinderella seeks off to her parents graves. She then spies on the Prince who does notice her. When she returns home her stepmother is mad at her and gives her a mountain of vegetables to prep. She then gets a visit from a woman who has magical powers who gives her a dog and while Cinderella’s back is turned finishes her prep work.

The King arranges a ‘Bride Finding Ball” for the Prince which he is not keen on but his  foppish cousin wants a lady. Also there is a subplot that Edward’s servant companion, John, is in love with a lady too far above him and his position in life makes him unable to anything about. The king extends invite to his subject to fill up the room. The stepmother and the step-sisters miss their chance to get new gowns she Cinderella is forced to rework old gowns into new ones. She doesn’t do a good job and the magical woman visits her again and she reveals she is a fairy Godmother. The Fairy Godmother does Cinderella work and stepmother and the girls are please. The Fairy Godmother decides to revisit Cinderella and decide she will borrow magic to get Cinderella to the ball. The magic has to be return at midnight so she must leave before then.

Cinderella makes her entrance as Princess. Edward falls instantly in love with her. They dance and bond for a little but she runs away at midnight and leaves her very dainty glass slipper. Edward does the customary slipper search but can’t find her. Three months later Edward makes a monument to his lost love. He then elevates John to a knight so he can go after his lady love. Edwards get mad and throw the slipper away off some tower.

Cinderella’s dog finds it and brings her to it. John sees Cinderella and tells Edward. Edward and Cinderella reunite and decide to get married. Edward asks the stepmother for permission which she grants and Cinderella forgives her which the stepmother doesn’t take kindly too.

The political implications of Edward marry a girl without the aid of a strong country backing her prompts the king to send Cinderella into exile. Cinderella then asks the Chamberlin to lie to Edward saying that she never loved him. Edward mad that he has lost his love twice says he will marry who ever father wants but the line ends with him.

On the day of Edward’s wedding, The Fairy Godmother sees Cinderella in exile saying this wasn’t her plan and now she will have to something spectacular. As Edward is getting married Cinderella comes down the aisle after the bride which causes a commation. The Fairy Godmother convinces the King to allow the marriage and makes it so Edward’s cousin and the Princess Edward was suppose to marry to fall in love. And thus Cinderella and Edward get married.

Gemma Craven as Cinderella and Annette Crosbie as the Fairy Godmother The Slipper and the Rose Cinderella picture image

Gemma Craven as Cinderella and Annette Crosbie as the Fairy Godmother

I knew nothing about this movie so I was very surprised to actually like it as much as I did. It’s very entertaining. Is it deep with developed characters? Yes and no. There isn’t much to Cinderella though she does have a bit of a mouth of her when the stepmother first made her a maid. She also doesn’t except anything from the ball and meeting the Prince. He wanted marriage and she wanted a fun night out, they make that clear. But this movie does give the Prince a.k.a Edward and the Fairy Godmother more to do.

A common complaint I have seen about the Fairy Godmother is that she only helped Cinderella go to ball after years of abuse. Here she does help her more than once and Cinderella wasn’t subject to years of indentured servitude, maybe nine months, tops. Also I like that movie gives a reason for why Cinderella must leave before Midnight instead the standard magic shit just wears off.

Gemma Craven as Cinderella and Richard Chamberlain as Prince Edward The Slipper and the Rose Cinderella picture image

Gemma Craven as Cinderella and Richard Chamberlain as Prince Edward

This movie is really about the Prince. His motivation is just he just wants to be in love with someone he wants. Not a deep or novel motivation but it works. The movie builds up the class systems and how it’s in opposition to Edward’s desire. In fact every song with the exception of the the Fairy Godmother/Cinderella’s make over song is either about Positions in society or love/marriages.

Gemma Craven as Cinderella The Slipper and the Rose Cinderella picture image

Gemma Craven as Cinderella

The reason why the simplicity of the characters work is because this movie is really well acted. The actors sell everything. Edward and Cinderella have such a good chemistry with each other that it makes up for their love at first sight love. I don’t think the roles are hard to play but they do a good job conveying everything. For example right before Cinderella enters the ball Edward makes this face the indicated he annoyed by another Princess arriving but then his face lights up when he sees her. It’s a subtle little thing but it a good example of the acting in this movie.

Gemma Craven as Cinderella and Richard Chamberlain as Prince Edward The Slipper and the Rose Cinderella picture image

Gemma Craven as Cinderella and Richard Chamberlain as Prince Edward

So at last we come to the technicals. Well this movie is very stagey in its editing and direction. I can see this being off putting to some. I didn’t mind it. It’s not the best but I think it adds the tone of the movie. The songs aren’t amazing but they are fun. I didn’t hate any of them. Protocolligorically Correct might have been my favorite.

Now the costumes. They were wonderful. They were all impeccable and just added so much to the vibe of the movie. They were in that 1740’s style of fashion. They even recreate Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s Swing painting for Cinderella’s exile gown. Even Cinderella’s working dress is pretty. However there is an subtly in the way the movie presents the costumes that it doesn’t really call attention to itself as it just woven seamlessly into the film. I think comes the movie keeps to one style and all the costume even for the extra seems just as lovely as the ones for the leading characters, with some exceptions.

Gemma Craven as Cinderella and Annette Crosbie as the Fairy Godmother The Slipper and the Rose Cinderella picture image

Gemma Craven as Cinderella and Annette Crosbie as the Fairy Godmother

Is The Slipper and the Rose the best Cinderella movie version? Maybe not but it is very enjoyable. I would recommend it if you want 2 hours of fun songs, beautiful costumes and likable acting.

One clue this week because I’m making it too easy.

Into the Woods Picture image

Into the Woods

Here is a conversation I had with this movie right after I wanted it.

Me: You can’t have your characters sing/say how they feel, that makes me feel angry!
Into the Woods: Look, what do you want?
Me: I want my two hours back!

This is common info but I have to say it anyway, Into the Woods is a 2014 musical fantasy movie based on the musical of the same name by Stephen Sondheim. It’s a parody of classic fairy tales as multiple fairy tale characters meet in the woods, get it?

Apparently this movie was in development for a long time, like early 90’s but it wasn’t till the  another musical that this movie got the interest of Rob Marshall, director of Chicago.

As you might be able to gauge from my conversation with Into the Woods, I didn’t care for this movie, but you would be wrong, I utterly loathed it.

 Emily Blunt as The Baker's Wife, James Corden as The Baker and Daniel Huttlestone as Jack Into the Woods Picture image

Emily Blunt as The Baker’s Wife, James Corden as The Baker and Daniel Huttlestone as Jack

The “story” goes that this Baker and his wife want a baby but they can’t for some reason. Reason comes busting through their door in the form of a witch who tells them that it was a curse that was put of the baker’s family for his father stealing her vegetables so that the family tree would stop. However he also stole some magic beans which cursed the witch into be old and ugly. So she makes the Baker and his wife get some items, A white cow, a red cape, a gold shoe and yellow hair. And they have to find them in the woods.

Lucky all the characters they meet in the wood have the items they need. Jack an idiot, has the cow. The Baker and wife trade the beans which they happened to find in the Baker’s pocket. Jack uses the bean to climb up the beanstalk and steals from the giant to get his cow back. Red Riding hood, a kleptomaniac with a sugar addiction has the red cloak. The Baker at first tries to steal it from her but she gives it to him after he saves her and her granny from the pedophile wolf. The Baker’s wife then runs into Cinderella, a shy insecure girl who just wanted to go to festival a.k.a the ball. The Barker’s wife tries really hard to get that shoe. The Baker’s wife gets it when on the third night of the festival Cinderella runs away from the prince and she just lets her have it. The barker’s wife also get Rapunzel’s hair, who is locked in a tower and no real personality what so ever. She is locked up there by the same witch who they are getting the items for. Rapunzel is also the baker’s little sister too and his also mixed up in a love story with random prince #2. The hair turns out a bust since the witch can’t have touched the items, that’s a rule and then cow died so Baker had to get another and covered it with flour. But it’s really whatever since the witch just brings the cow back to life and the use corn silk. So yeah wife gets pregnant instantly and witch gets pretty and happy ending for Cinderella for her prince seems to come but then LADY GAINT attacks. She is pissed for Jack killing her husband and robbing them and he’s the good guy.

Then I guess things go to shit. Cinderella and her prince aren’t working out. Jack’s mom dies. The Cinderella’s prince cheat on her with the barker’s wife and then she dies. The witch wants to give jack to giant but no one agrees with her so she just peaces out. And then Cinderella uses her birds to beat the giant and happy ever after with the baker.

Anna Kendrick as Cinderella Into the Woods Picture image

Anna Kendrick as Cinderella

So what makes this movie bad? Well lots of things but let’s just focus on the only positive I had about it. And if you read my reviews with any regularity you might think it’s the costumes but nope, I will get to that later. It would be the actors. I think all the actors try really hard to make it work while movie itself doesn’t care. They all sing well though Little Red Riding Hood’s singing style I find annoying.

Also I don’t really believe Anna Kendrick as the shy demure Cinderella, she does try but I don’t believe it but she sings it well. Really this movie should have been more about the actors conveying emotions than then telling us how they feel.

Lilla Crawford as Little Red Riding Hood Into the Woods Picture image

Lilla Crawford as Little Red Riding Hood

Which bring us to greatest sin in this movie, this movie at EVERY SINGLE turn just tells the a viewer what the characters feel through narration, dialogue and singing. I feel like a broken record but show don’t tell is a cardinal rule of movie making.

In a stage show you say a little more since there is an energy that is part of the experience but not in a movie. In fact at one point in this movie, the narrator says that Red Riding Hood is suprised but it doesn’t show in her acting and then she SAYS that she feels uneasy. Just fuck you movie.

Chris Pine as Cinderella's Prince and Billy Magnussen as Rapunzel's Prince Into the Woods Picture image

Chris Pine as Cinderella’s Prince and Billy Magnussen as Rapunzel’s Prince

This anti show don’t tell concept is a massive step further as the movie tells the audience about the things that are happening to the characters. For instance we never see Cinderella at the ball in fact we never seen Cinderella interact with the Prince at all, save for like two exchanges with them same with Rapunzel and her prince. We do see them talking about it though. In fact the princes sing about the their agony of not being with there lady loves to each other despite the fact that we never seen them together. The two princes whining constitutes more scene time then with their loves. So any character development is told to us after the fact.

This make the musical numbers boring as instead showing us what they talking about in creative ways it’s just basic editing as someone sings about what just happened. Though in one instance there is a flashback but the movie literally presented the same scene like 90 seconds before the flashback so even the flashback is boring and pointless.

I won’t say I’m an expert of musical movies but I alway want to like them. But if you’re just going have a characters sing and spin around you might as well just have then say lines. Musicals in movie form need something visually interesting to help keep attention. Climbing a tree or moving around a set doesn’t work. Play with the lightening, editing, or something. It very bad and telling that at the ten minute mark the movie becomes exhausting to watch and the first song was the most visually interesting as it moved from character to character.

Anna Kendrick as Cinderella and Emily Blunt as The Baker's Wife Into the Woods Picture image

Anna Kendrick as Cinderella and Emily Blunt as The Baker’s Wife

Speaking of lightening and sets, why does it seem like all recent live-action musical movies are gritty and dark? Why is Hollywood trying to make musical movie real life?

This worked a movie in Les Mis though I still didn’t like that movie because it was all sort of pretentious shlock, but it worked in Chicago but that movie played with Roxie Hart as she imagined the musical numbers. Considering Rob Marshal directed both Chicago and Into the Woods he should had a handle on what a musical movie good and entertaining. People wandering in a dark forest and singing about their feeling without giving a reason for them and cutting all the pesky story parts doesn’t a good movie make, I don’t care what your bubble of Hollywood says. You know Hollywood I hate to tell you this but if you’re a musical where singing is a norm to convey information you kind lost the right to give the movie a weird sense of legitimacy but making it “real.”

Then there are the costumes which I could barely see through the dark lightning of the movie. Though when you can make them out they aren’t really anything. They are just adequate at best at worse they are uninspired. Really they could have just had wearing back unitard with their role written on them and it would have had the same effect.

Meryl Streep as The Witch Into the Woods Picture image

Meryl Streep as The Witch

Into The Woods could have been a good movie if the movie cared enough to tell the story instead of reporting it through songs that were performed with ugly sets and poor lightening. It they had done more interesting things with adapting the original musical into a film it could have been so much better. Skip it but then again the movie skips itself.

Clue 1 and Clue 2

Cinderella 2015 picture image

Cinderella 2015

I feel like on some level, the 2015 version Cinderella was cast just for me. I mean it had people from Game of Thrones (Richard Madden and Nonso Anozie), Downton Abbey (Lily James and Sophie McShera), The Borgias (Holliday Grainger) and a former Frollo (Derek Jacobi). Plus it has pretty costumes. How could I could not love it? Well, all I can say is that I wish I could like this movie more than I do. I respect it on one level but on another I’m tepid to it.

This movie was based on the 1950 version of Cinderella which is the Disney version and it also has peppering of Ever After all over it. I should also note that Kenneth Branagh.

Lily James as Ella and Richard Madden as Prince Kit Cinderella 2015 picture image

Lily James as Ella and Richard Madden as Prince Kit

This movie is for the most part a standard re-telling of Cinderella. Ella lives in a dream of peace with her loving parents until tragic fatal disease #742 kills her dear momma. As she dies, she tells Ella to have courage and be kind, which is the mantra of the movie.

Flash forward years as teenage-ish Ella’s dear papa remarries Lady Tremaine who has two daughters, Anastasia and Drisella. After a month Ella’s dear father goes off on merchant business but not before Lady Tremaine overhears Ella and her new husband recount that they miss Ella’s dear momma and that Lady T can be trying, this is the reason why Lady T dislikes Ella, at least the best reason the film offers.

While Ella’s dear papa is gone Lady T literally wastes no time pushing Ella into the attic and calling her Madam. Then Ella’s dear papa dies of tragic fatal disease #1092 while he is on his business trip. This is when Ella becomes the help which she doesn’t mind that much as it offers a distraction. Lady T and the girls are mean to her by calling her Cinderella as she sleeps in front fire and not letting her eat with them. This makes Cinderella ride off into the woods. There she see a stag that being chased, she help the stag by having it run off with her animals speaking powers which is powered with kindness. She then meets the Prince who just introduces himself a Kit. They bond and stuff and Ella tells Kit that just because things are done doesn’t mean they should be.

Because Kit didn’t get Ella’s name he asks his father, the King (name withheld) to allow all the maidens of the kingdom to come to the ball. The King agrees but urges Kit that he needs to marry a Princess and for some reason the Grand Duke wants it to be the Princess Chelina of Zaragosa, which is this movie’s answer to Spain, hey wait why she get a name but the villains don’t?

Anyway so the ball comes and Ella wears her dear momma’s dress but Lady T rips it and tells her she can’t go to the ball. Then enters the Fairy God Mother who does the magic, coach, animals to servants, beautiful ball gown, glass shoe and a disguise spell so Lady T and crew won’t know it’s her. So yeah, grand ball scene and dance with the Prince and running away at curfew and leaving the shoe. You know the drill. Also Kit still didn’t get her name.

Ok so here is where the movie gets little confusing, or just weird. So the King dies and he tells Kit he can marry for love but the Grand Duke is REALLY pushing for Princess Chelina. But Kit and him strike a deal that all the maidens will try on the shoe that Ella left and if he can’t find her he will marry Chelina. It’s also at this point that Lady T figures out that Ella is the mysterious princess that danced with the Prince. Lady T tries to brokerage a deal with Ella that she will allow Anastasia and Drisella to marry well and that Lady T will manage the country. Ella rejects this deal as Lady T would be terrible for the country. So then Lady T break the shoe and then goes brokrage a deal with the Grand Duke which is the Lady T will make Ella out of the way and she will get a peerage and the good marriages for her daughters.

So the royal maiden shoe fitter search is on and you would THINK Kit could tell which one was Ella was  or at least have the fitting apply only to young blonde but they go through every single maiden. The last place is Lady T’s house. Ella is up in the attic and she doesn’t even care that people are in her house as she just figure it not for her and she would rather twirl around and sing. The mice open the window so the people can hear her singing. As it turns out Kit, who now the king is with them unknown to The Grand Duke. So they get Ella and she finally tells Kit her name, or rather her mean nickname but it’s ok he is happy that he found her. Ella forgives Lady T who then gets banished. And Ella and Kit get married, yay.

Jana Perez as Princess Chelina and Stellan Skarsgård as The Grand Duke Cinderella 2015 picture image

Jana Perez as Princess Chelina and Stellan Skarsgård as The Grand Duke

I have a few questions. Number #1 why did the Grand Duke want princess Chelina as Queen? Did I miss that plot point? Was she or someone from her kingdom black mailing him? Were they lovers and her marrying Kit would allow for them to be together? Was he bribed? I mean tell me movie because that was his core character. If there is no reason for it what is the point I mean for more than drama? Number#2 Kit was hunting in the forest near Ella’s house and judging from shot of them going to house for the shoe it looked pretty remote, so why didn’t go there in the first place? Was it because he thought she was a Princess? Also he knew her features. I dunno seemed out place with the narrative. Number #3 How did Lady T figure out that it was Ella at the ball? I didn’t see anything that indicated that she knew till the scene where she knew. Did she read the scripit? I have other issues with Lady T, so let’s just continue.

Lily James as Ella and Richard Madden as Prince Kit Cinderella 2015 picture image

Lily James as Ella and Richard Madden as Prince Kit

As was mentioned before, this movie is a live-action remake of the Disney movie. As it goes it follows the movie decently but the focus is a little weird. To bring the movie into the modern standard, Ella and Prince Charming now named Kit meet prior to the ball. I just want to point out that Kit is a nickname for Christopher which is the name of the Prince in the Rodgers and Hammerstein version. However is having them meet once while both of them withhold information about themselves any better? Ella not giving her name for really no reason and Kit saying that he apprentice, being heir to the throne isn’t really an apprentice thought it’s a clever bending of the truth. At least in Ever After, Danielle’s lie made sense as she was trying to save a man while prentending to a member a court.

On a story level this makes sense, we need them to have more to their romance other that their being attractive but I don’t get a sense of love from them. But what this movie is really doing is giving the Prince and his father more of a characterization than in the Disney movie where the King just wanted grandchildren and the Prince is a plot point.

I do respect that Kit went along in the search for Ella. I mean it’s like duh that he should search her out as he wanted to marry her but it was entertaining that the mere fact that he was there thwarted the Grand Duke and Lady Tremaine.

Lily James as Ella and Cate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine Cinderella 2015 picture image

Lily James as Ella and Cate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine

Then we have the villains, Lady Tremaine and The Grand Duke. I would say Lady Tremaine is more the villain, however compared to the Disney version and Ever After she falls short.

First off she comes more cartoony than the cartoon and she is really chewing the pretty sets. The reason for her hating Ella is that Ella’s father prefers his first wife so she was jealous and that pretty much it. At least in Ever After, Danielle’s father’s last words were to Danielle after he looked at Rodmilla and passed her over to give his dying words to his child. Both women are petty but still, Ella’s father didn’t know she even heard him.

Second Lady Tremaine was more concerned with having parties so why the hell did she try to make a power grab? It was WAY out of character. On the practical level in the story Ella can’t go with any deal Lady Tremaine offers so there needs to the bull-shit where Ella has to be sacrifice her chance for happiness for the good of Kit and the country but it was dumb. Lady Tremaine’s deal with The Grand Duke made more sense and I think Ella probably would have gone for that deal over the one the Lady Tremaine offered her in the place.

Lily James as Ella Cinderella 2015 picture image

Lily James as Ella

Speaking of Cinderella, this version of her is polarizing. The point of her character is that she is kind and has courage but this also makes her looks like she is a push-over. She doesn’t really stand up for herself, instead she just takes the abuse. The idea here that she has the strength and courage to look the other way and she still be kind. This isn’t a bad thing so much but even if we compare her to the Disney version, Cinderella had snarky comments and she did try and talk back. Really it does make this Cinderella look more passive than the 1950’s version.

However my big issue with Cinderella is that when it came done to her getting a happy ending, she literally didn’t care. She just twirls around then sat her window and sang a little song. If the mice didn’t open the window she wouldn’t have married Kit. There was a deleted scene where she did write Kit a letter and the Grand Duke withheld it. Honestly the should kept that scene as it gave her a little agency and made the Grand Duke more a villainous bent.

I like that the movie didn’t make Cinderella some super-hero woman but it’s telling when the “Passive” 1950 does more to get out the attic (it was her idea to get the dog to save the mouse with the key from the cat) than this “modern” re-telling who really just twirls and dreams. Though I like that she was never a princess, she went right to Queen.

Helena Bonham Carter as The Fairy Godmother Cinderella 2015 picture image

Helena Bonham Carter as The Fairy Godmother

One of the big issues with movie is the pacing, this movie feels very long. It could be because the movie spends a longtime setting up Ella’s happy childhood and downfall but rushes Lady Tremaine’s contempt and the love story. It also doesn’t get into the Grand Duke’s motives.

Also the movie has weird set-ups. Like Ella’s dear momma tells her about fairy godmother when she is a kid but when the Godmother is introduced she starts as old woman and then changes. It would better to either set up the old woman, like they do in the Rodgers and Hammerstein version OR have the her be a butterfly that followed Ella (since they do set-up the motif on her dress). OR just mimic the original where the Godmother appears while comforting her. I really just felt that scene was awkward. And I hated the narrating by the fairy godmother, it got in the way.

Lily James as Ella Cinderella 2015 picture image

Lily James as Ella

If I seem like I’m bitching about this movie too much well there was something I liked. The technicals, this movie is glorious. Everything about the look of this movie is beautiful.

This movie lives in the costume. Most of the costumes have a 50’s vibe to it which is homage to the original movie. Cinderella’s ball gown really is a work of art, it moves so gracefully and has a watercolor quality that is just lovely. Really this movie looks so lush and rich.

Also the acting is not bad on the whole, though I wish Anastasia and Drisella did more, they really aren’t much more than featured extras.


Lily James as Ella, Sophie McShera as Drisella and Holliday Grainger as Anastasia Cinderella 2015 picture image

Lily James as Ella, Sophie McShera as Drisella and Holliday Grainger as Anastasia

On the hand I do like Cinderella (2015) but it feels too long and some the decisions that movie makes with updating the plot are just weird and confusing.

Side Note – if we got Jana Perez (the lady who played Chelina) and Holliday Grainger (Anastasia) as Esmeralda and Fleur-de-Lys in a movie version of Hunchback, I would be a-ok with that. Or Lily James as Fleur-de-Lys that would be fine too.

Clue 1 and Clue 2

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

As mentioned before  Hunchback versions seldom ever passes The Bechdel Test, including the Disney version read here.  But it made me think about the other Disney movies. I was going to go through and look at each movie but I  don’t have to because this site  did all the work for me, But I’m going to offer some analysis.

Disney Princess Line UP with Esmeralda, Megara and Kida, picture image

Disney Princess Line UP with Esmeralda, Megara and Kida

As a refresher, to pass the test a work needs to meet 3 criteria; 1) It has to have at least two named female characters, 2) That talk to each other 3) About something other than a male.  Most movies fail the Bechdel test. Also passing or failing does not indicate the quality of a movie. Terrible movie pass and great movies fail.

Aurora and Prince Phillip Sleeping Beauty picture image

Aurora and Prince Phillip Sleeping Beauty

So what does this mean for Disney?  Well the purpose of the test is show the  female presence in a given movie.  Interestingly enough the older movies, Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty all pass. Which is valid as at least with Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty  there is a decent amount of named female characters. Though movies that don’t have lots of female characters still pass, like 101 Dalmatians, Peter Pan, Hercules, and even The Emperor’s New Groove, which is a male buddy comedy.

Jasmine Aladdin picture image


Movies like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are often criticized for passive lead female characters but the most of the characters in the movies are females. So having one strong likable female character doesn’t help the over-all female presence. Like Aladdin fails, hard.

Ariel's Fin The Little Mermaid picture image


I would disagree with The Little Mermaid failing as the site says because Ariel and Ursula had a fairly long conversation about a few topics, I would give it a pass.  The Lion King could have passed if Nala and Sarabi had spoken more. I’m a little unsure if Snow White should have gotten the pass, as the Queen has a name but after the fact. Her name isn’t said in the movie. Though to be fair, I haven’t seen Snow White in a very long time.

Elsa and Anna frozen picture image

Elsa and Anna

I do find it interesting that with modern day Disney movies that are Princess that try to aim with boys in mind they do keep a strong female presence. Tiana with her mother, Rapunzel with her “mother” and the sisters of Frozen.

Yzma The Emperor's New Groove picture image


I would  thought more Disney movies would have failed but it pretty mixed. It’s just really interesting that the older princess movies have a stronger female presence than the Disney movies that have a single “strong” and “Independent”  female character.