Tag Archive: Brave

Working Up to Animated Oscar

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


Can I admit that I have not kept up with movie viewing as much as I should?


I have been watching some movies. The other week a friend and I went to see Les Mis. But let’s be honest, the movie that is the most grand at being sad is the one that will win the Oscar. The one that tries to state the most about the human condition and its actors will be the one that wins.


This year I have tried to focus more on the animated features with the thought that I have seen those.


Once I looked at the list I realized I had seen just one – Brave.


Judging an animated movie means I am not looking at just the story and how well it is told and portrayed. I am also looking at the animation. What about the animation of a particular film makes it better than any of the others out there?


This year, the big feat was creating the curls of Merida’s hair in Brave.


Poster Image from IMDb.com

Poster Image from IMDb.com

I assume that most animated characters have straight hair or a helmut of hair because it is very detailed work to make curly hair. Even the Japanese anime have hair that is a consistent collection of angles and sharp points. This way, hair does not have to change very much.


With curly hair, the story is different. Strands move with every tip of the head. You don’t have to merely move the shadow on the head, you have to move over 100 strands of corkscrew curls. That takes effort.


We did rent Frankenweenie after the nominations came out. The story is about a boy named Victor who re-animates his dog, Sparky, after the pet is hit by a car. But as competition for the upcoming science fair heats up, the other kids want the secret to Victor’s success. But problems occur, monsters are created, and only Victor and Sparky can solve the problem.


I like the stop action-animation, it worked smoothy and integrated well with the storyline. I also liked the black-and-white color palate which was a reference to every monster movie that would have inspired director Tim Burton.  This movie had many references that the parents or movie buffs would have recognized more readily than the kids for whom this movie was aimed.


I found the story to be very sweet, how actual love of a project makes it successful in terms of ending up the way you want it. But overall, I was under whelmed by Frankenweenie. It is a good movie, it is not a great movie. While that is good enough for deciding what to watch at home, is it enough for the grandest award in the film industry?


I would love to see Wreck-it Ralph before it completely leaves theaters. It is possible to rent The Pirates and ParaNorman but to be honest, neither of those movies appeal to me or my kids. Every time I say “Let’s get The Pirates,” they say “let’s not.”


When it comes to family viewing, sometimes what you want more than an award nominated film is something everyone wants to watch.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Thanksgiving’s Coming…

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


Next week is Thanksgiving already. Can you believe the year has gone so fast? Never mind that old chestnut; the better question is about what are any of us serving at the Thanksgiving.


What plans do I have for our menu?


Well, oyster stuffing is definitely on. Green Bean casserole in another must along with cranberry sauce


Another dish I plan on is Sweet Potato Casserole with a pecan topping. I love mashed sweet potatoes but my family is not so thrilled about them. That is until last year when I made up the topping with some pecans I happen to have in my pantry. I mixed the chopped nuts with a little flour, butter and brown sugar before spreading it on top of the mashed sweet potatoes already in a casserole dish. In the oven it went to get crunchy on top.


This was a Big hit!


As we make the ramp up to the holiday, I am sure there are a few movies that people like me say are “must see” because they focus on the turmoil and dysfunction of family get-togethers.



Poster Image from IMDb.com

How can you do Thanksgiving without watching Home For the Holidays with Holly Hunter and Robert Downey Jr. as they go home again. This movie – not meant for anyone younger than teenagers because of the context – has its bitter moments and sweet moments.


Another Thanksgiving adult-only feature is Pieces of April starring Katie Holmes as a young woman trying to turn her life around. She decides to show her family how well she is doing by hosting Thanksgiving in her NYC apartment. Problems start with a broken oven and continue with a mom having issues.


Image from IMDb.com

My personal favorite movie to watch during the Thanksgiving holiday is family friendly Miracle on 34th Street.But I am a sucker for sappy movies about mythological characters that want to inspire good in the world.


That aspect lead me to the summer movie now on DVD, Brave.


Set in the Scottish Highlands, we meet Merida , a young girl who is on the edge of adulthood. But she and her mother do not see eye-to-eye. That could not be more true as her family prepares for the Highland Games that will determine whom Merida will marry.


That is when Merida goes to find the witch to produce a spell to help her mother see her point of view. But you know it is never that easy. Things go wrong and now the girl has to find a way to undo all that she has done.


Poster Image from IMDb.com

Disney put out a movie a few years ago called Brother Bear that worked on a similar premise although it it was the main character who was turned into a bear. I was not fond of that movie and felt it missed something.


Brave perhaps touches closer to home for me because my kids are head strong and want their way. I connected with the mother as voiced by Emma Thompson. But I can also get how the daughter wants her freedom. Merida ’s solutions may not be the right ones at first but they are certainly interesting.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Are You Brave?

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Ever since the ads for Brave began showing up, my daughter wanted to see it.

With every sneak peak of different scenes, with every extended commercial my daughter made it clear we were going to see this movie on the first night. She even wrote it on our calendar.

We were going to do that right up until we noticed that soft ball practice was at the same time as when we needed to leave for the drive-in theater.

So we changed our plans and went the following night to Harvest Moon Drive-In Theater all the way in GibsonCity.

Poster image from IMDb.com

The movie tells of a young Scottish princess who has come of age during the middle ages. Her father (Billy Connelly) is the king and must preside over her betrothal to one of the sons of the three lords. Each man must participate in a skill test of the princess’ choosing to see if he is worthy of her hand. Along the way, her mother, the Queen (Emma Thompson), has been trying to teach her daughter decorum and the ways of royalty.

Unhappy at the turn of events, angry at her mother, and wanting to find an easy way out of her dilemma, Merida(Kelly MacDonald) seeks the local witch to create a spell to change her mother about the idea of marriage. But like many spells in fairy tales, this one has unforeseen consequences and Merida must clean up the mess she has made before it is too late.

What I loved about this movie was the stunning animation that reminds me of the quality of hand-drawn anime from Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki.  I also appreciated the dead-on casting of voice actors. Billy Connelly was great as the king while Emma Thompsonis sitting in her rightful place. Kelly Macdonald was excellent as Merida.

While this may go down as one of the weaker movies by Pixar, I still find it a strong tale about a girl who finds she has to fix a problem she created. She has to learn to take responsibility for her actions, which can be hard for a teenager as those of you with teenagers know very well. In that sense it is like many Pixar movies which forces the lead character to confront their own worst traits.

There are parts that might be scarier than pre-schoolers want to see. We took along our 7-year-old who loved the movie but, then again, he was sitting next to Dad. I could see how some of the fight scenes could be especially daunting for the youngest members of the family. Otherwise it is a fun action-filled movie suitable for the whole family.

As for the bear thing, I never saw it coming although when you think about it, the storyline fits with the first part of the movie. Would I go see Brave again?


And I would definitely get another funnel cake sundae from the concession stand.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.