Tag Archives: Idina Menzel

Thoughts On Saturday Night Seder

I don’t think it is much of a stretch to say the coronavirus is a major downer, to say the least. It has changed everything about the way we live.

Anything we can do to cheer up and help goes a long way.

On Saturday, Saturday Night Seder aired on YouTube.

Featuring a number of Jewish (and non-Jewish) celebrities, the story of Passover was told in a way that I have never seen.

It was funny, it was charming and educational without hitting the audience over the head.

If there was one part that was the shit, it was Idina Menzel singing Ma Nishtana (starts at 23:53). I’ve sung that song many time over the years, but this is the first time I’ve gotten a chill down my back.

It was also an opportunity to make a worthy donation to the front line workers via the CDC Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.

If the Israelites were able to survive slavery and forty years in the desert, we can survive coronavirus. We just need a little light in our lives and Saturday Night Seder provided that.

Leave a comment

Filed under National News, Thoughts On....

Uncut Gems Movie Review

Life is a gamble. Every choice we make is a gamble. But at a certain point, most people know what is a good gamble and what is a bad gamble. The question is, can we recognize what is a good gamble and what is a bad gamble?

In the new movie, Uncut Gems, Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) is a business owner in New York City’s Diamond District. He sells jewelry to the rich and famous. Howard’s life is akin to walking a tightrope. He is a compulsive gambler who loves basketball and makes bets on games worth six figures. His gambling is getting him in trouble as his losses pile up and those who he owes money to are looking to get their money back.

Howard’s personal life is just as much of a tightrope as his professional life. Though he is married to Dinah (Idina Menzel) and they have three children, Howard has a girlfriend on the side, Julia (Julia Fox).

The bets he is making are becoming more precarious and more dangerous. Will his gamble pay off?

This is an interesting film. If the audience goes into the film expecting the man-child character Sandler played in the mid-90’s, they would be surprised. Howard is a complicated character, driven by the need to gamble, but also playing the role of husband and father.

I don’t know about this film. Howard is not an unlikeable character, but he is highly flawed and makes questionable decisions. Though it is obvious that Sandler is stretching himself as an actor, I still kind of prefer the man-child of the past.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Uncut Gems is presently in theaters.

1 Comment

Filed under Movie Review, Movies, New York City

Frozen II Movie Review

Six years ago, when Frozen was released into theaters, it was a phenomenon beyond phenomenons.

Last weekend, Frozen II hit theaters.

Elsa (Idina Menzel) is firmly installed as Queen of Arendelle. Anna (Kristen Bell) and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) are still going strong. But as things return to normal, Elsa is called away from Arendelle by a mysterious voice that she cannot ignore. With Anna and Kristoff, Elsa, Olaf (Josh Gad) and Sven go on a journey to discover the source of the voice and the unanswered mystery of their family’s past.

While most sequels are decent, they do not hold up to their predecessor. Frozen II not only holds up to its predecessor, it exceeds all expectations. Though this film is firmly aimed at children, there is more than enough material for the adults to be entertained. There are themes of growing up, dealing with change and moving away from relationships that were once considered unquestionably important.

I recommend it.

Frozen II is presently in theaters.

1 Comment

Filed under Fairy Tales, Movie Review, Movies

Flashback Friday- Enchanted (2007)

Disney is known for a certain type of fairy tale.

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.

I recommend this movie.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies, New York City

Frozen Review

I gave in this weekend. I finally saw Frozen.

I rented it mainly because Once Upon A Time will be incorporating several of the Frozen characters into season 4, so I wanted to understand what I was watching. I was also a little curious about this movie that has become cultural phenomenon in a very short of amount of time.

Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) are sisters. Elsa has the power to turn anything she touches to ice. When she accidentally injures her sister when they are young girls, their parents make the decision to lock up the castle, with their daughters in it.   Years later, when Elsa is to be crowned Queen, her power is revealed.  She runs away, building an icy kingdom, separated from her sister. Anna goes after her sister with the help of Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), leaving her kingdom in the hands of her very quickly chosen fiance, Hans (Santino Fontana).

I surprisingly enjoyed this movie. I’m not part of Disney’s standard demographic, I haven’t been for a long time. But I still enjoyed this movie. As time goes by, the writers and producers at Disney seem to not be just rewriting fairy tales for re-writing’s sake, but there is an underlying message for kids and adults. I also like that the true love aspect was not the standard Disney happily ever after.

Would I see this movie again? I don’t know. But in the anals of Disney movies, it certainly stands out.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Fairy Tales, Movie Review, Movies