Movie to wait for: Cinderella (2015)

Sneak peek of the new Cinderella!

Sneak peek of the new Cinderella!

In line with the current trend in Hollywood, Disney is putting out a live action Cinderella soon.  I’m sure they are banking on the same success that followed Snow White and the Huntsman and is still surrounding Once Upon a Time.  From what I hear, the story will be largely the same, but with some girl power twists.  Sounds good to me!  More good news: It’s directed by stage and screen maverick Kenneth Branagh (think any Shakespearean film or Thor).  It’s also starring Richard Madden (the late great Rob Stark) as Prince Charming.  Now THERE’S a prince I can swoon for!  If Lily James (anyone else thinking of Harry Potter here?  No?  Just me, then) falls ill, they can sign me up to play Rella!  The absolutely enchanting Helena Bonham Carter will be acting the part of the fairy godmother, surprising us all with such a goody goody turn after playing Ms. Bellatrix Lestrange (that’s two HP references, keep count!).  Annnnd rounding out this fabulous cast is Cate Blanchett and Stellan Skarsgard.  Sounds like it just my be a winner.  And Ms. James should watch out for her star to shine–the last actress to play our sooty princess was Anne Hathaway.  And look at her now!

What do you think?

8 Reasons We Love Once Upon a Time

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In honor of the Season Three premiere of Once Upon a Time, airing tomorrow at 8pm ET, I have compiled a list of eight reasons why we love it so much.  Captain Hook is not the number one reason, but goodness me, he’s up there. 

1. The story.  Not only is the writing fresh and relatable, it looks at the stories we grew up with in a whole new way.  Snow White and Prince Charming had a baby who is destined to save the storybook world.  Captain Hook is not the totally evil schmuck who can’t leave Peter Pan be.  And Rumplestiltskin moonlights as the Crocodile from Peter Pan and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.  Those are some interesting connections, but they work!

2. Rumplestiltskin.  Hands down, one of the best characters of the show.  He’s that villain you love to hate, but you also just sort of love.  He’s complex and well-written.  His backstory is fully fleshed out, so we know why he is the way he is.  He is multi-dimensional and has his own set of morals and rules to play by.  Basically, he’s badass.

3. The magic.  I’m not talking Harry Potter magic (although if they find a way to work in that universe I’m in fan girl HEAVEN).  This magic has a complete mind of its own where everything comes with a price.  Want to save your mom?  You’ll have to kill someone else.  More importantly, the aspect of magic creates new dilemmas for characters and transforms a sleepy Maine town into something extraordinary. 

4. Girl power.  Yes, Emma can be a little one-sighted at times, but how often do we get swashbuckling females on tv?  Although I wouldn’t mind seeing the girl in a dress once in a while.  We ladyfolk can be fierce AND beautiful, you know.

5. Plot twists.  Rumple is Henry’s granddaddy?  Say what?!

6. Character names.  If you pay close attention, almost all the characters’ real world names are clues to who their fairytale world personas are.  Regina: queen.  Miss Blanchard:  Miss White.  Mr. Gold: DUH the dude who can spin it!

7. Sexy men (and women).  Captain Hook rocks my socks.  There’s no denying it.  I want to see his black heart gain some romance red.  Not only is he man-pretty, he has an accent, too.  PERFECTION.  But he’s not the only one.  Our former Storybrooke sheriff/huntsman was a hunky piece of male as well.  And I keep holding out for him to come back to life somehow.  He has to, right?! Charming, our good ol’ Indiana boy, isn’t someone to throw out of bed, although his goody two-shoes persona is KILLING me, homes!  As for the ladies, I have a serious girl crush on Belle…but that’s because she’s played by Emilie de Ravin, who’s been on our radar since Lost.  Basically, she’s the shit.

8. We get to relive our childhood.  Belle, Cinderalla, ARIEL, the Genie from Aladdin.  The list keeps growing!

What are your favorite reasons for watching this soon to be timeless classic?  Better act soon before it disappears inside the vault!!!  Too much Disney reference?

OMFG Moment of the Week

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The terrorists in the Kenyan mall attack on Sunday used TWITTER to brag about their brutality.  WTF?!  What kind of world are we living in where terrorists are using social media to spread news of the bloodbath they are creating?!  It is so incredibly sick.  No offense meant to Twitter, of course.  They got on it and deleted the terrorists’ account once they realized what was going on. 

I’m not much of a Twitter fan, to be honest.  Not because of the terror tweets, but because of tweets in general.  To me, it’s one constant status update.  This latest incident just happened to be a more negative and terrifying update than normal. 

What do you think of the role of social media in today’s more negative news events?  Do the pitfalls of social media overweigh the positives?  Could the world being more connected actually be a bad thing?

Top Five Reasons You Should Be Watching British Shows

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1. There are fewer episodes than American non-cable equivalents.

Sure, having around 12 episodes instead of 20+ is a bit frustrating when you really love a show. But consider what it means. Half the season can mean twice the budget for each episode (this is why big-budget cable shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead can stay on the air). Even when a bigger budget doesn’t apply, it usually means the story is better. You are less likely to get filler episodes and meandering mid-season subplots.

2. Familiar faces.

What’s cool about BBC is that they tend to reuse actors even if it’s just as a guest appearance, especially where Doctor Who is concerned. For example, Merlin regulars Colin Morgan (Merlin), Angel Coulby (Guinevere), Anthony Head (Uther), John Hurt (Kilgarrah) have all appeared in separate episodes of Doctor Who. You will also see a number of BBC actors appear in movies. Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberpatch was the villain of Star Trek Into Darkness and Martin Freeman is Peter Jackson’s Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit movies. It’s not only fun to see different sides of actors but you sound well-versed in pop culture when you can reference past work. Win win.

3. The United States will steal the idea anyway but it’ll be horrible.

Plenty of US shows have come courtesy of our friends across the pond. Being Human, Skins, The Office, Mistresses, Viva Laughlin! and Eleventh Hour all started as British series. Most don’t sound too familiar right? That’s because they weren’t good. Watch the originals. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_television_series_based_on_British_television_series)

4. British humour.

Sarcasm, innuendo, satire, dark humor…it can take a while for some viewers to get used to it. There’s also a tendency for smart characters to do silly things. American shows, comedies in particular, tend to be over the top with stupid characters doing stupid things. The new FOX show Brooklyn Nine-nine comes to mind; I can’t even look at the promos without rolling eyes. Something can be said of some subtlety every once and a while.

5. The culture.

We live in a big world that is continually made smaller by technology. Learning a bit about British culture and history through their TV isn’t a bad thing. It makes you a bit more cultured and well-rounded and you get to listen to fun accents, which is always great.

Dead doesn’t mean dead in Sleepy Hollow

Death was just the beginning. #sleepyhollow

I’m officially jumping on the Sleepy Hollow bandwagon (not that it means that it won’t get cancelled). Last night’s episode managed to be creepy, quirky and not, in my opinion, overly campy. Some of the exposition was a bit painful (for you non-English geeks, I’m referring to the background information deemed “essential” to the plot). At one point we meet Abbie’s ex who is less than friendly to Ichabod, an encounter which suggests that they’ll play the sexual-tension-card with Ichabod and Abbie. The pair interrogate each other on their love lives because, you know, they just met and that’s important. Ignoring that, Sleepy Hollow has potential for horror fans and, if the success of American Horror Story shows us anything, it’s that many of us do enjoy the macabre and the bizarre. Ratings did hold strong: last week had about 10 million viewers and this week brought in 8.5 million; more impressive is the ever-important key demos, which last week was 3.4 before final figures and was an impressive 3.1 last night. It could be that what really sold me is the scene picture above. It felt very Pushing Daisies to me and, considering the fact that the creators are connected to another of my all-time-favorites, Fringe, I really can’t help but root for this one.

Don’t forget, this week TV us rolling out a slew of season premieres. I’m looking forward to ABC’s Agents of SHIELD, CBS’s Person of Interest (today), NBC’s Revolution (Wednesday), CBS’s Elementary and both ABC’s Once Upon a Time and Revenge on Sunday.

Netflix Find: Antiviral

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Are we too obsessed with celebrity? It’s a worthwhile consideration when you consider the fact that people probably know more about their favorite actor than the person in the next office that they see Monday through Friday. Celebrity obsession is the basis of the science fiction flick Antiviral, written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg  (yes, he’s the son of director David Cronenberg).  If I could use one word to describe the film, it would be disturbing. But don’t take that the wrong way! It’s definitely worth your 108 minutes.

Syd March works for a company that supplies live viruses, harvested from celebrities, to fans looking to feel closer to their favorite star. The premise is fascinating.  We see celebrities as “perfect.” They are almost always made up and blemish free. You certainly don’t see a cold sore or a runny nose. But the film turns these very human “imperfections” into a commodity. It shows that celebrities are regular people and not regular people at the same time. These characters’ obsession with celebrities goes much deeper than viruses. Syd also smuggles out viruses, in his own body, to sell to piracy groups looking to cash in on the craze. One buyer runs a deli where people can buy celebrity “steaks.” Even restaurants serve this lab-grown meat. Syd gets into trouble when he injects himself with a virus he took from starlet Hannah Geist. She suddenly dies and he is left being hunted for the virus he carries all while trying to find a way to save his own life.

Without giving too much away, the movie is supposed to be disturbing. You are supposed to question the state of society (science fiction is great for that after all).  The film itself is very minimalist. I’m not usually a fan but it really helps create a tone of monotony. The characters follow the celebrities in an unquestioning robotic pattern and so do we, the viewers, fall into a similar pattern.

So next time you sit down to find a movie on Netflix—and it’s a challenge indeed—consider Antiviral, it’s guaranteed to make your skin crawl and your mind race.
Leave us a comment with some of your Netflix Finds, thoughts on the movie, the premise , your favorite celebrity, or all of the above.

International Banned Books Week

Truth

In honor of International Banned Books Week, I’m going to share some of the most challenged books of the decade.  Annually the last week of September (aka, now) celebrates the freedom to read anything and everything.  Librarians, teachers, authors, publishers, and readers of all kinds are united together in their shared support of the right to search for knowledge and express ideas, even if they may not be the most orthodox.

Think of what our classrooms and libraries would be like if some of the once banned books were removed from our shelves.  There would be no Great Gatsby or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, no Beloved, To Kill a Mockingbird.  Most importantly, there would be no Lord of the Rings (gasp!).  Today, some of the most challenged works include the Harry Potter series, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Hunger Games Trilogy.  I mean, seriously?  You may be asking yourself, as I was, “what can possibly be deemed wrong with such life-changing works of literature”.  Let me enlighten you to the world’s crazy.

The Hunger Games: anti-ethnic, anti-family, insensitivity, offensive language, sexually explicit (huh??  WHEN?!  In my humble opinion there was hardly any sex and DEFINITELY not enough), unsuited to age group, violence

Harry Potter: occult, Satanism, violence

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: homosexuality (because that’s a sin, guys, don’t forget!), offensive language, sexually explicit (now that I’ll buy), unsuited to age group, drugs, nudity (you can’t be naked anymore.  Get your bathing suit on before you enter the shower, Johnny!!!), suicide (shhhh…if you don’t talk about it, it doesn’t happen).

This blows my mind.  Enraged housemoms actually get out their pen and paper and write itemized lists of what’s wrong with award-winning literature, and send it off to get it banned.  WTF?!  As a rather stubborn person who hates being told what she can and can’t do, I can vouch for many when I say that a list of “banned and challenged” literature just makes me want to read it more.  For example, what’s the fuss about And Tango Makes Three?  People are HATING on this book.  Sorry, guys, I need to get make a purchase on Amazon….

For more info, check out these links!

http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10

http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek