When life hands us lemons, the only thing we can do is make lemonade.
In the 2008 film, Sunshine Cleaning, single mother Rose (Amy Adams) is in a bind. She wants to send her son to an expensive private school to ensure that he gets a good education. But it is not within her financial means to do so. She starts a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service with her sister Norah (Emily Blunt).
Norah is to Marianne Dashwood as Rose is to her elder sister Elinor. Rose is determined to succeed. But she knows that it will not be easy. Especially when she is working with Norah and their father, Joe (Alan Arkin).
This movie is charming and adorable. It speaks to the ingenuity that kicks in when all seems lost. It also has two female lead characters in which romance takes a back seat to getting by on their own two feet.
Most fairy tales end with the words “happily ever after”. While this is certainly a satisfying conclusion, there is always room for more.
The new DisneyPlus movie, Disenchanted, was released last weekend. The sequel to Enchanted, it has been fifteen years since the first film ended. Robert (Patrick Dempsey) and Giselle (Amy Adams) are happily married and have a baby girl of their own. Robert’s daughter Morgan (played by Gabriella Baldacchino) from his previous marriage is now a teenager and dealing with what we all went through at that age.
The gift they bestow leads Giselle to make a wish for her previous fairy tale life. As usually happens when this kind of yearning, it all goes to h*ll in a handbasket. It is up to Giselle and Morgan to save the day and return their world to what it was before.
I loved the movie. It was entertaining, funny, and the perfect follow-up to its predecessor. The easter eggs are fast and furious in the best way possible. As with Enchanted, Disney is lovingly mocking itself while recreating a narrative that fans know and love. My favorite character is Malvina. Rudolph is clearly having fun with the role, hamming it up to the nth degree.
All in all, it was a blast to watch and well worth the fifteen-year wait.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely. I would also not be surprised if it was on any top ten lists at the end of next month.
Disenchanted is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.
The premise of Disenchanted is as follows: It’s been ten years since Giselle (Amy Adams) and Robert (Patrick Dempsey) had their happily ever after. But when Giselle starts to question that happiness, things go horribly wrong.
When it was announced some time ago that Halle Bailey was taking over the role of Ariel, I was not sure about that casting. To be perfectly honest, it was simply about the hair color, nothing more. If it came off as racist, I apologize. That was not my intention. Ariel is such an integral part of my childhood that she is a part of my essence. I just feel very protective of her.
Though it is only a teaser trailer, I have seen enough to be excited. Bailey has a beautiful voice and I look forward to seeing the film when it comes out next year.
Disenchanted will be released on DisneyPlus on November 24th. The Little Mermaid will be in theaters next May.
Art knows no gender. That does not mean, however, that a female artist is going to get the same respect/reception that her male counterpart will.
The 2014 film, Big Eyes, tells the story of Margaret Keane (Amy Adams). In the early 1960s, Margaret was a divorced single mother who was trying to get by via her art. She is soon swept up off her feet by Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz). After marrying Walter, Margaret continues painting. What she does not know is that her husband is claiming that the work is his. In doing so, he is getting attention for both the success and failure of the paintings.
When she finds out the truth, she knows that she has only one option. Reveal the truth and rely on only herself to get by.
Directed by Tim Burton, this film falls very securely within the theatrical vision that audiences have become accustomed to. Adams and Waltz are perfectly cast. My problem is that I quickly got bored. Within a half hour of watching this movie, I felt no need to continue on. I hate to say that I was bored, but there is no other word to describe it.
I liked this movie. It has the charm of the original with enough buildup to keep the overall narrative going. What makes it stand out from the first film is the subtle history lesson that the audience may or may not be aware of.
Politics is not known to be a clean or ethical business. While some may claim that they are getting into politics to serve the needs of the people, their actual reason for getting into politics is not quite as transparent.
The new movie, Vice, is the story of Dick Cheney, who serviced as Vice President under George W. Bush. The film starts in early 1960’s when Cheney (Christian Bale) is a drunken ne’er-do-well. After flopping out of college, he is working, but spending most of his time in the bar and getting into fights. His longtime girlfriend, Lynne (Amy Adams) gives him an ultimatum: clean up his act or their relationship is over. The film then moves forward in time as Cheney climbs up the political ladder and he and Lynne go through the motions of marriage and parenthood. His job with Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell) will eventually lead to the job of Vice President while George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) serves as President. Along the way, he makes many decisions, some which may be seen as unethical.
Writer/Director Adam McKay is not known for dramatic films that have a political edge. But with Vice, he is able to create a film that succeeds. This success comes down to the slightly unorthodox narrative and the lead actors who disappear completely into their characters. This disappearing act, especially by Bale, could lead to multiple awards come next year.
Sometimes, when life throws us a curve-ball, we can only think quickly and hope for the best.
In Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008) Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is a middle-aged governess who has just lost another job. The agency who has found her work in the past is not so quick to find her a new position. With no other way out, she steals the information of a new client and presents herself as the new social secretary for Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams), an actress and nightclub performer. Delysia is juggling three men: Nick (Mark Strong), the owner of a night club, Michael (Lee Pace), who plays piano for Delysia and is ready to marry her at a moments notice and Phil (Tom Payne), a young theater producer who is eager to cast her in his newest production.
While juggling all of that, Guinevere has caught the eye of Joe (Ciarán Hinds), a fashion designer. Will Delysia choose from one of her three boyfriends and will Miss Pettigrew be unmasked for whom she truly is?
Set during World War II, this film is the perfect modern screwball comedy that was a staple of the movie going experience in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Amy Adams channels Marilyn Monroe as a goodhearted, but not all there actress who does not know what she wants. And of course, there a couple of 1990’s Austen leading men, which always makes a film that much better.
The science fiction genre can be pretty predictable, like any genre. Especially when it comes to alien invasion narratives.
In the new movie, Arrival, Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is a doctor whose specialty is languages. When 12 mysterious flying objects land around the world, she called to learn their language and help to figure out what their purpose on Earth is. Recruited by Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker), Louise joins a team that includes physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner).
While trying to learn the alien’s language and figuring out how to communicate with them, Louise is also dealing with the death of her daughter.
Based on the short story by Ted Chiang, this movie has been hailed by the critics as one of the best movies of the year.
What I liked about this movie was the strong female lead in Louise and the fact that it was a science fiction film that dealt with real human actions and emotions as opposed to shlock. I also appreciated the message of our shared humanity and how important it is to get along with each other simply because underneath it all, we are all human. While it was not, in my opinion, everything that the critics stated, it was a heck of a lot better some of the movies that have come out this year.
There is something about good food that brings people together.
The 2009 movie, Julie and Julia is about food and how it brings people together.
Julie Powell (Amy Adams) dreams of being a writer. But, like many writers, she has a day job. In post 9/11 New York City, Julie works in a call center speaking the survivors of the attack. To create a balance in her life, Julie decides to try to recreate every recipe in The Art Of French Cooking within a year. She documents her progress on her blog. In 1950’s Paris, Julia Child (Meryl Streep) is an American housewife who is taking French cooking lessons at the Le Cordon Bleu. The classes lead her collaboration on a cookbook, which she hopes to sell to other American housewives.
This movie is interesting because both main characters take a chance. Julie’s attempt to recreate the recipes and documentation of her progress will lead to her success. Julia who is looked down upon for wanting to become a cook, eventually becomes a success. Taking a chance is never easy, but the results are well worth it.
A young woman, usually a princess, has met her prince or is on her way to her prince. But there is usually a witch or another barrier to their happily ever after. They usually take themselves very seriously.
In 2007, Enchanted, the good people of Disney satirized themselves.
Animated Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) is on her way to her happily ever after with Prince Edward (James Marsden). But Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) will do anything to prevent Giselle’s and Edward’s union. Giselle is banished from the magical, musical world that she knows and find herself in gritty, complicated New York City where true love does not always win out in the end.
Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) is a divorce lawyer raising his young daughter by himself. He is practical, realistic man who takes Giselle home. He also has a girlfriend, Nancy Tremaine (Idina Menzel), whom he is trying to propose to. Giselle begins to have feelings for Robert and understand that love is not as simple as she thought. But with her fairy tale prince searching for her, she has to decide what she wants: the simple, predictable happily ever after or the ever questioning, complicated real world?
I’m not a huge Disney fan. But the fact that this movie satirizes and respects Disney earns my respect. I liked the character’s journey, especially the ones that come from the animated world and have to learn that life is not so simple.
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