Tag Archive: Ewan McGregor


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.

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

This past weekend, our church women’s group came together for a cookie baking session.

 

Image by Cohdra

Image by Cohdra

Each woman was to bring two batches or more of pre-made cookie dough along with any pans and decorations they had on hand. I made three different cookies doughs: Sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies and M&M cookie dough. At the end of the night, each woman took home a variety of cookies. Four hours of baking ended with nine different kinds of cookies that included ranger cookies and red velvet cookies.

 

The amazing thing is I still have some of those cookies as of Monday morning. I suspect they will all be gone by the end of the day.

 

At the end of the evening, we decided we needed to have another fellowship time and a movie seemed like a good idea. It was also unanimous that Les Mis should be that movie. Just the commercial with Anne Hathaway singing gave me chills up and down the spine.

 

Then again, I have always been a fan of a good musical. The first one that I remember as being life changing was Singin’ In the Rain which starred Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Conner. This movie about the change over from silent movies to talkies focuses on how one leading man is able to transition well while his abhorrent leading lady is not. To make matters worse, he has fallen in love with a chorus girl who has a great voice.

 

I believe it is universally accepted this is the best musicals of all time as well as being one of the best movies ever made. For the last ten years, however, it seems as if we are treated to a new musical every Christmas. While Les Mis has continual singing, making it more opera than musical, the songs break your heart with their beauty.

 

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Poster Image from IMDb.com

One of my favorite musicals in the past few years is Mamma Mia starring Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan. This musical featuring the songbook of ABBA is a happy, zippy movie that exists in a very adult world that might be a little hedonistic at times. I love putting this one on when I have to do housework.

 

Another musical in recent years that I love is Moulin Rouge starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. The story is a familiar one to opera fans. A young idealistic man falls in love with a beautiful woman who is a courtesan. She also has the dread disease of the early 1900s which is consumption, aka tuberculosis.

 

What I love about this movie is how director Baz Luhrmann uses modern songs in a period piece and somehow it all works out. You have a great love story, fantastic musical pieces and the sage wisdom given by tough people trying to look out for a young man who is writing his first show that must be a block buster. The sets are bright, eclectic and over-the top which matches the movie and it all works.

 

While these movies are not exactly little-kid friendly, they are something you can watch with your teens if they happen to like musicals. Otherwise, you can always join me. I am happy to have a sing-a-long at my house any time.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

Last week I talked about two different movies associated with Tim Burton. The American director has always had a different style that was interesting but hidden away by the weirdness of his movies.

 

Say what you will but there are times that his movies are magical and take you to a different place.

 

One of my favorites is mythical and large in its storytelling. But the story is one that an adult child can relate to when you have a parent who tells larger than life tales.

 

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Big Fish starring Ewan McGregor as a man who did incredible things –so he says – as a young man but now he is old and dying. His son does not believe a word from the old man. In fact, the son is incredibly angry at his father.

 

All of his life he has heard these fantastical stories that he could never prove. But as the old man – as played by Albert Finney – is in the hospital for one last time, the son does something he has never done before.

 

He begins to check the old stories out. He looks for the truth in the incredible.

 

Billy Crudup plays the son with the right mix of anger and love. Jessica Lange plays the mother who is losing the most extraordinary love of her life. And one of the most amazing pieces in the puzzle is Helena Bonham-Carter as a woman from the past.

 

I sometimes think Helena does the unbelievably strange parts to avoid being type-cast as the sweet girl next door. How else do you explain Sweeney Todd or  Harry Potter? But here, as she does in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Helena looks erethral at times. She glows with youth and hope, until the end when she reveals the truth. And then her natural beauty is simply there.

 

Now this movie is best suited for an adult crowd. And not because it is offensive. The movie is geared for adults with its content and the context in which we see it. The story is for adults. There is nothing wrong with that, some movies should be for kids and some should be for adults.

 

This one with its issues of death and dying, of losing a parent just as you, the adult child, finally get to know them. No teenager wants to deal with those issues. Some adults don’t want to either.

 

But there is something about watching a young man figure out his father as he is about to become a parent. There is something in watching a man discovering those crazy stories were based on some sort of truth, even the one that involves a final wish.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.