Tag Archive: Emma Thompson


Beauty and the Beast Redo

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Plans do not always work out.

Our initial plan for Friday was to pack everything up and go to the drive in for the first night of Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens.

Beauty and the Beast PosterWe went on Saturday instead to the Paramount. The line was long but thank goodness for pre-bought tickets. Our group started at age 12 and end with adults. The audience was filled with little ones up to Grandmas. When we left that screening, the line for the next showing wrapped around the building. I was not surprised to hear the movie broke opening weekend records.

The people I went with loved the movie. We cried about a half a dozen times. My kids tell me that I cry at every movie so of course they were not surprised that I had to dry off tears. Perhaps it was the arrangement of the music, the rush of the notes leading to a rush of feelings. I felt myself just as engaged or more so as with the original animated feature.

The story remains the same: a young woman lives in a small French town with her eccentric father. He trespasses on a property and is thrown in the high tower dungeon of an old castle. His daughter comes to save him and trades places.

The master of the castle is a beast, becoming so after showing cruelty to an enchantress. If only he can love and win the love of someone in return, then he can become human once more. But the time is running out. His servants who were turned into household items are in danger of becoming fixed in their state. But they see the girl as a way out of the curse. It doesn’t hurt that she is pretty and kind.

It is a beautiful and grand movie. The tricks of the camera and computer animation make the various scenes of dancing china and attaching furniture a sight to behold. We are given a few back stories that clears up a few details from the older movie. And the OMG big scene of reveal about two characters was underwhelming in the end.

Beauty-and-the-Beast-2017 GastonI found this movie to be marvelous and that was confirmed when the pickiest of movie watchers stated it did not feel like two hours in length. It all went by so fast. The actors made it look so good, so easy. Luke Evans was superb as the villainous Gaston while Emma Watson held her own as Belle. Dan Stephens hit the right notes as the beast, giving him a sense of humor and mercy.

But as always with these movies it is the side characters who get to shine. Ewan McGregor and Emma Thompson do that as Lumiere and Mrs. Potts, respectively. Then there is Audra McDonald as the Armoire whose voice shimmers when she sings.

Some people told me they thought the movie was over-rated. Not everyone liked it. I get it even though I disagree with you.

Beauty and the Beast 2017 BeastI was afraid I was not going to like it because I love the original. And yet, Emma Watson won me over as Belle. I believed she would strongly dislike Gaston, I believed she would try to figure out how to escape the castle, and I believed she would find the good in a man who’s life had been wasted in cruelty.

The biggest compliment I ever give a movie is that I would go see it again. When it comes to Beauty and The Beast, I wouldn’t mind seeing it several times over.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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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?

Absolutely.

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

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

Dear Jane,

I wanted to drop a quick note to wish you a happy birthday. We won’t mention the year (235) or the fact you have been gone for nearly 200 years. If you are free, you are more than welcomed to stop by for some tea and cake. Just let me know what time you can make it. You need to have a discussion with the person who operates your Facebook page because your birth date is not listed.

Picture from Barnes and Noble.com

 I would love to discuss with you the current “Austenmania.” There are writers who are adding sequels to your novels, turning Darcy and Elizabeth or yourself into detectives and mashing your novels with horror genre monsters. My favorite makes you into a vampire. Plus, you get to have an affair with the most dashing man in English literature.

 Then there are the movies. So many handsome and wonderful men have been used to depict your romantic heroes. Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility (1995) may be the most romantic version of this character. There is a scene in which he reads poetry to Marianne (not a scene from the book) that makes many of us modern women swoon.

 The BBC has put out new movie renditions of your books a few years ago and really outdid themselves. David Morrissey stars as Colonel Brandon, making me swoon in a completely different way. He was given the opportunity to duel a young man on-screen and it was wonderful.

 Colin Firth has been called the definitive Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries. He is quite delicious, especially the scene in which he swims in the lake right before meeting Elizabeth again at Pemberly (another scene not in the book). But there is a part of me that really loves Matthew MacFadyen’s version of Darcy from the 2005 movie starring Kiera Knightly as Lizzie.

Picture by Karyn Bowman

When you come for tea, I will show you the cup I found at a sale this summer that looks similar to one I saw in Persuasion (1995). Ciaràn Hinds is the good captain and I have never forgotten his looks at Anne when he thought she wasn’t looking. He uses a very similar cup during a conversation with Charles Musgrove.

 At this point of the column I usually discuss a Christmas movie to watch for the season. One of my old time favorites is A Christmas Carol (1951) starring Alastair Sims. The Sims version has a non-quantitative something about it that brings joy to the heart and thoughtfulness to the brain.

There are many versions of this story in movie form but the 1951 version is my favorite, completely suitable for all family members with just enough scary moments to remind us of the total joy of Christmas.

 It is based on a short story by Charles Dickens, a Victorian-era writer whose work seemed to constantly explore the theme of not having enough money or charitable spirit.

Picture from IMDb.com

 Another British movie set during the holidays in our modern times is Love, Actually and it stars various actors from the movies based on your books – Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman and Kiera Knightly.  It is a modern tale of several people discovering their way to love or through love. Liam Neeson is also in this movie and I find him quite yummy.

Please let me know if you can make it for tea. After recently re-reading Lady Susan, I suddenly realized that only Kate Winslet could play her at this time in a movie and we must discuss. If not, please let me wish you a happy birthday on the 16th.

Your sincerely devoted reader.

 Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below. Become my friend on Facebook.

Yesterday  I talk about my latest favorite Austenesque books and promised what I consider to be good casting ideas for these books, should Hollywood come calling. I have no idea if there is a planned movie yet but this is what I think. Lets start with Jane Bites Back.

Jane AustenHere is the lovely Emma Thompson from Last Chance Harvey. in my mind should be played by none other than Emma Thompson. It seems perfect. But here is the problem. I am afraid that Emma might be too old (forgive me, Emma) for the part. So that is one starts thinking about other actresses. Again, I keep thinking of people who are fabulous but slightly aged out of the part.

Olivia Williams who has already played Jane in Jane Austen Regrets.Then I remember Olivia Williams from Peter Pan. I loved her in that and thought she did the best she could with Ria in Tara Road. Having already played the part in Miss Austen Regrets, wouldn’t be fun to see her do a modern version that has comedy and action.

But then there is Brian. Who should play Brian? Could Hugh Dancy fill the bill for Brian? My original thoughts ran to Colin Farrell as Brian need to be a late twentysomething extremely handsome and charismatic. But then I thought  about Hugh Dancy who was in Confessions of a Shopaholic. He is suave and handsome. Can he be a bit devilish as well? I am willing to find out.

Lucy needs to be bold and daring. Emma Stone has all of that!Did you see Zombieland? I fell in love with Emma Stone right there and then. I was reading the book at the same time and knew she could be Lucy. It takes the right mix of intelligence and moxie and Stone has it.

Luke Wilson from My Super Ex-Girlfriend

I had a real problem figuring out Walter. He has to be a guy you immediately feel comfortable with, someone who is cheerful but has a sad side that does not get out much. He is extremely capable and likable. And he knows how to use a cinnamon bun to bribe you into action. My first thought was Bill Pullman but hit the ‘slightly too old’ wall again. That is when Luke Wilson came to mind. He is the right age, but more importantly, Wilson appears accessible. Like someone with whom you can have a beer  and talk about the game or remodeling an old house.

Finally, it comes down to Violet. Could HBC be the greatest Viola ever?You need someone who can appear sane but go off the deep end. Someone who can hold a grudge for 100 or so years. The natural first pick was Helena Bonham Carter. She was the Merchant-Ivory poster child for a while. She has done strange  out there movies with her husband, Tim Burton. Helena can be luminescent or horribly Evil. Sexy or frumpy.  Oh, let her do justice to Violet.

Now, let me know what would be your suggestions!!!!!