Tag Archive: amanda seyfried


Sing It, Anne, Sing It!

Family Movie Night

One of the great things about being a parent is all of the things we do with our kids.

Just this past weekend, we went to the RV and Boat Show at McCormick Place. There the kids climbed on boats, tramped through RV’s, and planned a life of camping as we looked at pop-ups.

Sara and Sam had fun jumping and running in a floating tube while David explored a Coast Guard boat. All of us marveled at beautiful wooden boats.

On Saturday, the kids insist we have a picnic outside while the weather was still warm. We watched the colder temperatures roll in with darker clouds but for that moment we ate our lunch outside. Who does that in January in a northern state?

Later that same day, I took in a movie with a girlfriend.

This was not a movie meant for small kids. And sometimes that’s OK, parents should have movies that are meant just for them. Sometimes we want adult situations, adult context and content. Some of us adults want music and soaring vocals to accompany a grand story.

Anne Hathaway as Fantine in Les Miserable, image from IMDb.com

Anne Hathaway as Fantine in Les Miserable, image from IMDb.com

Les Miserables is a movie about the poor in post -revolutionary France. Life is hard and unforgiving of mistakes made in your youth. Victor Hugo created conflicted characters, people who do wrong in the hope they are helping to do right.

We have characters who acknowledge their sins, characters who believe they are acting correctly in all circumstances. There is a political power struggle and love-at-first sight. We see unrequited love and a parent’s love for a child that pushes a woman to the brink.

The story starts with men working as slaves to bring in a big ship that has been damaged. But the focus goes on one prisoner who is about to go free on parole. That man is Jean Valjean, imprisoned for stealing bread and trying to escape.

His greatest moment of salvation comes when a priest forgives his sins, even after being released from jail and stealing from the church. But the greatest love of his life starts when he agrees to take care of a child left behind by a former employee.

We will have battles of will, battles of faith, battles against the harsh realities of life. Mixed in all that are horrifying moments when a woman loses her pride, a man loses his purpose, another realizes that he was only taking care of a child before she found her true love. And then they sing about how their hearts are broken and love did not go the way they had hoped.

Just when it gets too heavy, we have Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham-Carter to lighten things up as the inn keepers who are willing to lighten their customers’ pockets.

So is this movie worth your time? Is it Oscar worthy?

Yes IF you are a fan of musicals. Yes IF you do not mind sitting through a two and a half hour movie. Yes IF you do not mind going through a slow spot. Yes IF you love great singing and acting from Hugh Jackman.

If you prefer chase scenes, explosions, and fighting with weapons such as swords I am going to disappoint you and let you know those things to not happen in this movie.

If you are looking for commentary on the human condition, if you are looking for a testimony of faith, if you want to see a person die with dignity then this is the Oscar-nominated movie you have been waiting for.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Fairy Tale Night

Family Movie Night

I was looking at the movie rental rack the other night in our little store and noticed that two of the newest movies were based on fairy tales.

Beastly is based on the Beauty and the Beast fairly tale with a bit of high school bullying angst thrown in. Amanda Seyfried stars in Red Riding Hood which is based on the darker aspect of the familiar tale.

If you have ever read the original tales that the Grimm’s brothers recorded, you know that this is dark territory. The punishments are harsh with their bloodletting. Gothic and gruesome, some of these tales are simply amazing.

Poster image from IMDb.com

The stories we tell children have been incredibly cleaned up from the originals.

What these two movies do with their fairly tales is not meant for children.

Red Riding Hood takes us to a small village that has made a deal with a werewolf by feeding him farm animals. However, one month a villager is killed and revenge is exacted. But doubt remains and a werewolf hunter is called in.

Around this is the love triangle with Valerie, her true love Peter and her promised husband Max. Valerie also discovers she has a connection to the werewolf. There is more to the plot but it gets a little crazy and then you have Gary Oldman as the werewolf hunter.

Now there is violence and some sensuality in this PG-13 movie that is aim squarely at those teens who also like Twilight.  

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Beastly is also rated PG-13 and focuses on a young man at a high school who is rich and handsome. Kyle’s heart is cold and cruelty lies beneath those good looks. His latest victim is goth girl Kendra, rumored to be a witch. When his latest prank hurts her – as planned – Kendra turns the tables on Kyle. She casts a spell making his appearance as ugly as his soul.

Now Kyle has a year to find so

meone to love him or stay in his ugly state forever. And his hope rests in the quiet Lindy, a classmate he has never talked to in the past. The rating reflects crude comments and some violence.

What these two movies represent to me is popcorn watching. They were both rated terrible by critics and movie goers gave both movies a 50% enjoyment rating, according to Rotten Tomatoes movie review website.

I have a few fairy tale movies that I love.

Fiona and Shrek from "Shrek," image from IMDb.com

My family pick is the Shrek series. Mixing all sorts of characters from fairy tales across Europe, Shrek weaves a tale of freedom from repressive rulers and true love and magical transformations in the first movie. As the series moves along we are transfixed by great musical selections and simply good storytelling.

Drew Barrymore in "Everafter," image from IMDb.com.

My second pick is great for a girls’ night or a couple date night at home stars Drew Barrymore. Everafter is a retelling of Cinderella that takes my breath away every time, even though Barrymore does a terrible accent. The movie is filled with little moments of discovery about the story we never thought about.

A young Fred Savage and the late great Peter Falk in "The Princess Bride," image from IMDb.com.

Lastly, my favorite fairytale movie – and perhaps one of the best movies ever – is The Princess Bride starring Cary Elwes and Robin Wright. The tale of a woman about to marry a prince after her true love was killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts never fails to fascinate me with incredible sword play, amazing dialogue and the deepest essence of true love.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.