{challenge} once upon a time on film

The other night we thought “hey, let’s watch a film for the Once Upon a Time Challenge…” Okay I thought it, and did I have any ideas as to watch we should watch?! No. We own and watch many a film that fit the parameters of Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy and/or Mythology but narrowing it down became a task. We were not necessarily in the mood for Dark, (nearly 12) N is involved so there was content to consider, we didn’t want to watch something too recently seen, nor did the idea of catching upon on the tv episodes of Once Upon a Time occur to any of us.

We googled for fantasy film lists thinking we really should organize ourselves and get ideas. Wow do people’s opinions vary. But they reminded us of ones we could watch. We are still working out a list. In the meantime…

What are your Top 5 (or 10) Favorite Fantasy Films?

(notice, I said “favorite” so they needn’t be the “best-made”)

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in our list search, we came across io9’s “70 Science Fiction and Fantasy Films to watch out for in 2012

we can vouch for The Woman in Black, The Hunger Games, and The Secret World of Arrietty.

Sean needs someone to see Cabin in the Woods; Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter; & another Resident Evil with, but we are both looking forward to:

Eagerly: Prometheus, Brave, Lock-OutThe Dark Night Rises, Frankenweenie, and The Hobbit!!

In theater or no??: The AvengersTotal Recall, Gravity

Inexpensively: Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Amazing Spider-Man (wasn’t gonna, but the trailer has appeal), Looper (J.Gordon-Levitt is in it),

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{image: Princess Mononoke by Yaphleen (check out her work)}

{film + life} unemployment

Seeking levity amidst the #*!@ news of Sean’s getting laid off Monday morning, we began compiling a list of films to NOT watch in this recently unemployed condition. We listed 12+, though surely there is more. Enjoy!–or not enjoy!–you know what I mean.

Ramona & Beezus (2010). This sweet family comedy ambushed us last time. None of the synopses or trailers mentioned the Dad getting laid-off, in Portland; a man who started with an Art degree… It took all our restraint to not gasp-loudly and run from the theater sobbing.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) Mr. Wonka outsources, and Charlie’s dad, too, is replaced. Grandfather, Grandfather, and son live in a shack and subsist cabbage stew. It may be nice, however, to dream of an eccentric wealthy business owner looking to hand over their empire to you.

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) If we could make it through the end without falling into a drunken stupor, this might do.

Office Space (1999). Because maybe the firm should have brought in consultants to help with the decision-making. And maybe we shouldn’t watch a film with that kind of conclusion.

Up in the Air (2009). The protagonist fires people for a living; thus the reasons are obvious. –no matter how cathartic our witnessing upset people might be or however life-affirming it may be to see someone like George Clooney get screwed, too.

Hot Fuzz (2007). I suppose Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) was technically relocated, but the idea of having to move to somewhere like Sanford (or NM) for a job is too scary to contemplate.

The Matrix: Reloaded (2003) There’s The Architect, and no one offering pills that wouldn’t land us in worse trouble. Although there is Monica Bellucci as Persephone.

In Good Company (2004), um yeah, let the guy with all the experience and contacts go for someone who will drink the kool-aid for much less money; wait ’til his school loans kick in.

Falling Down (1993), though, I can’t imagine us watching this one ever again. now would not be the time.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) Jason Segel is a favorite of Sean’s, but how many times have we, too, come back from vacation without a job?

Inception (2010), Ellen Page, the brilliant Architecture student; which is depressing year round because out-of-school few Architects get to create such fantastic work. Also: this isn’t all in our heads.

(500) Days of Summer (2009). Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom would be an Architect; true, he isn’t one yet because he hasn’t pursued it (and shouldn’t); also because Sean isn’t married to Zooey Deschanel, but then, neither is Tom.

Which brings me to other films to be avoided because they sorely misrepresent Architects by casting them as the wealthy, trendy, never actually working, oft romantic lead:

The Lake House (2006), Keanu Reeves (not that we would re-watch this). Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Tom Hanks. Playing by Heart (1998), Jon Stewart. Death Wish (1974), Charles Bronson. We’re even robbed of Love Actually (2003), Liam Neeson.

Here’s a list compiled by “architecnophilia”.

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{images: 1. Office Space. 2. Hot Fuzz . 3. (500) Days of Summer}

{film} two briefly + one

Saw Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) last night. I will very likely write a review at some point, but for now: suffice it to say, it was brilliant fun. It was all we have come to love from Guy Ritchie, and then a bit more. ie. If you recall the trailer with Sherlock (Robert Downey, Jr), Watson (Jude Law), and Simza (Noomi Rapace) running through the woods amidst a maelstrom of explosions/gun fire. The full scene was incredible. The camera work, the editing, the lighting, color…Bliss.

Was glad to see the talented Noomi Rapace of the Swedish Millenium Series, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009), etc. in such a successful film/role with the release of David Fincher’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) with the eye-brow-less Rooney Mara (which I am looking forward to seeing/hearing, btw).  Jared Harris as Professor Moriarty is very good, very convincing. The acting was solid throughout the cast. And what a pleasure Stephen Fry was as Mycroft. I loved their translation of the elder brother! and well, I love Stephen Fry.

Have yet to read this NY Times Review, but I’m sure it is good. It’s A.O. Scott, so…[okay, had a skim. He doesn’t care all that much for it; story-/character-wise anyhow). and well, Roger Ebert’s review–the same, yet read, but he is a wiz.

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The other day, we watched Cowboys and Aliens (2011) as directed by Jon Favreau, starring Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Adam Beach, Sam Rockwell, and Paul Dano. I was debating a review, because honestly, afterward, I looked at Sean and shrugged. Olivia Wilde had the privilege of working known talents, and Ford and Craig and Favreau, etc were as expected. However, Olivia Wilde’s character was so ridiculous, and disturbing. And the chemistry between her and Craig’s Jake Lonergan went from uncomfortable to a discomfort of a different kind. Then there is the slow chase to get their people back is a challenge all its own. If Daniel Craig and his character were less well-rendered, the film would have been impossible to stomach. I mean, I love Harrison Ford, but the script/plot was painful.

This is a film where “just go with it” is absolutely necessary. You will have more fun this way, especially if you like Western meets Science Fiction-Alien. It had a quality that transports the viewer to reminisce older Westerns, while recalling classic alien encounter cinema: vistas, dark & claustrophobic interiors; colors–earthy and yet heightened; great sound effects and chase on horseback. The explosions, the effects, the sets, are notably higher tech than say Joss Whedon’s Firefly–no suprise budget-wise, right? Regardless of tech and cast, Cowboys & Aliens comes across more B or C movie in result. {image note: fans of Daniel Craig’s physique will be very pleased by all the shots of his rearend. It was becoming embarrassing how the camera was objectifying Craig. Then, it didn’t have much to linger on with the waifish Wilde.}

again w/ unread reviews, but I like to link them. Ebert’s review. Manohla Darghis at NY Times, review.

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Have you discovered Kees van Dijkhuizen and his [the films of] series? Oh My but he is wondermous! I will post his [the films of] David Fincher and [the films of] Guy Ritchie, but follow the link and carve out a few hours. He is a gifted editor, his use of soundtracks are marvelous. He’s too good not to share, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to introduce him into a post a couple weeks now. Happy Holidays! enjoy!

 

american gods, archetypes, and remakes

a few things:

A–Have your heard? According to The Guardian, Neil Gaiman is going to adapt American Gods to screen for HBO. Are we excited?! Yes. But who should be cast? Sean suggested Brian Cox would be a good fit for Wednesday. I’m curious to see how it all shakes out.

B–Have you read this? I meant to mention this NY York Times film article by Manohla Darghis and A.O. Scott earlier. “Babies to Heroes: A Field Guide to Big-Screen Men” is about male archetypes in today’s movies. What do you think? What do you think about The Husband? I despise the idea that the empowered female necessitates/equates to the emasculation of her partner; when will we get past this?  “A man rearing children in partnership with a woman is barely a man at all, but a man raising kids by himself is perfect,” the section ends. Darghis and Scott’s readings of current archetypes are dead-on however depressing the implication.

C–Have you seen Carl V.’s review of Conan the Barbarian (2011)? His lament? It is wonderful.

Aside:  The subject of remakes and sequels returns me to a question rant I’ve been mulling over:  Are we just leaving it up to the Independent branches of Studios, as well as the true Indies, to create original content, while the Major Studios re-boot and sequel the crap out of old (recycled/upcycled) content? The exceptions being, of course, Directors’ and Producers’ own original works making it to screen, making use of their industry footholds. Outside of Pixar, most (if not all) Family Films are adapted from books–not that I am unhappy to see these author’s getting picked up. But, seriously? Next thing you’ll know, most of the juvenile graphic novels section will be novelizations and adaptations from film and literature.

What do you think about the barrage of re-makes and re-boots? Comforting? Tiresome? How does Nostalgia come into play? And how can we make it stop. I mean, another Spiderman re-boot, so soon?!

oh that dreams would come true…

First:  For my friends who are fans of  Joss Whedon’s Firefly, Nathan Fillion, and/or author Patrick Rothfuss—

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly:

Entertainment WeeklyIf Castle had its series finale tomorrow and Fox said to you and Joss: “We screwed up, let’s try doing Firefly again.” Would you do it?


Nathan Fillion:  Yes. Yes. I would examine very closely Fox’s reasoning — I’m a little gun-shy. If I got $300 million from the California Lottery, the first thing I would do is buy the rights to Firefly, make it on my own, and distribute it on the Internet.

Patrick Rothfuss’ response? An open letter to Nathan Fillion.  Here is an excerpt, but naturally you want to read the letter yourself,

Here’s the deal. My second book is about to come out. My publisher tells me there’s a decent chance of us selling a truly ridiculous number of copies. If this happens, I will have more money than I’ll know what to do with.

Except that’s not exactly true. I know exactly what I’d like to do with that money. I’d like to help you buy the rights to Firefly back from Fox.

I’m only a fledgling author. But by a strange twist of fate, I happen to be a fledgling author who is also an international bestseller.

Will anything come of this other than further adoration of Rothfuss by his fans and massive interest by Firefly cult-followers? I don’t know, but this was very happy making to come across yesterday.

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In other news of Yesterday: What did you think of the Academy Awards?

–While I realize I do not watch commercials anymore, didn’t it seem like there were a gazillion during the show? Sean shrugged and said, “Recession.” I grumbled about “You cut speeches short for this?!”—though Melissa Leo’s speech could’ve been cut short…what a disaster. I guess that method-acting took a little too well.

–Beautiful gowns—so few hideous ones, and Scarlett Johansson’s was not nearly as spectacular as they were trying to sell. I particularly liked Sandra Bullock’s gown and Gwyneth Paltrow’s.

–Any disappointments?–  Only two real disappointments:  I thought Cronenweth should have gotten the award for Cinematography for Social Network over Inception’s win.  2) As much as I cried and reminisced and appreciated the excellent closure of the series by Toy Story 3, it was surpassed by How to Train Your Dragon and I think the awards should have reflected that for Best Animated Feature Film.

–Added a few films to the “must-see” list.  The winner for Best Animated Short, and that 3rd nomination for Best Animated Feature.

–Great speeches last night. Colin Firth was so charming…I adore him, and happy for his win and glad that it didn’t wholly feel like an apology for his not winning last year. Really, did you notice that King’s Speech winners made the best speeches of the evening.

–I am glad Christian Bale is getting some awards/recognition.

–Enjoyed Anne Hathaway, but as per usual, I could do without James Franco (even as he did have a few humorous moments—ala Marilyn Monroe).  It was good to see Billy Crystal on the stage, cracking jokes.

—What was this 127 Hours film?  The only name attached that would appeal—Danny Boyle, who was rarely mentioned. Otherwise, what a competition for most of the categories!  It was a satisfying year for most of my favorite directors—and then the award goes to an unknown… I’ve yet to see King’s Speech, and I’m sure it’s satisfying and all…

–I was pleased that Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland received the two awards it did.

–I was pleased that Baxter/Wall won for Editing and Ross/Reznor for Score on Social Network.

–there were several lovely moments, but wonderful and memorable for me was Natalie Portman’s husband making sure she ascended the steps safely and gracefully.

——anything to add?