Sunday, May 22, 2005

Ice Princess (2005)

A "G" rated movie! About girls ice skating! And academics! Sounded good.

But then I had second thoughts. Disney. Feminism. Hmmm...

But I decided to go see it anyway with my girls, ages 8 and 3. James, age 5, tagged along. (David, age 10, declined my offer. LOL)

20 minutes into the film, my three-year-old lost interest. She decided that ballet dancing in the aisle was far preferable to sitting watching the movie. The lovely ice skating (as well as the ballet classes the skaters take) motivated her to dance, dance, dance! So, I spent much of the movie standing in the hallway into the theatre (with a view of the screen). This is the same child that watched ALL of The Incredibles. This movie is much shorter. Go figure.

My eight-year-old was utterly enthralled. Afterwards she said it was the best movie she had ever seen. The fickle opinions of a young girl!

Michelle Trachtenburg glowed as the main character, a high school physics 'geek' who develops an interest in ice skating as a result of a science project. Kim Cattrall, as her coach, and Joan Cusack, as her mother, had very little material to work with and delivered sadly limited performances. Cusack especially is capable of far more.

The plot was a little far-fetched, but fun all the same. I didn't particularly like the conclusion. Why do Disney movies always have the main characters ignoring their parents' counsel? OK, that was a rhetorical question. I don't really need an answer. But it bothers me just the same.

As far as movies go, this one is pretty clean. But sometimes we have to look beyond whether or not a film is clean or not and discern what the deeper meanings are. This one says "Follow your dreams", "Parents just don't understand", "Sports are more fulfilling than academics", and "Teenagers have to rebel." However, it also says, "Cheating is bad", "Work hard at whatever you're doing", and "You can achieve your dreams".

Maybe I am reading too much into a child's movie, or maybe I tend to over-analyze movies. But I think these themes are worth consideration.

I do think this film is worth a viewing for anyone with an interest in ice skating or for many young girls. However, I will be sure to set aside time to discuss these themes and not just allow them to simmer unchallenged in my children's minds.

25 Worst Movies of All Time?

GQ has picked the 25 worst films ever made. Here's the list and my own comments. Movies I have seen are in bold. How many have YOU seen?

#25 Smokey and the Bandit 1977 - I haven't seen this.
#24 Purple Rain 1984 - I loved this movie!! Loved the music! Loved Prince!!
#23 The Godfather: Part III 1990 - Haven't seen ANY of the Godfather movies.
#22 Rocky III 1982 - If I have seen this, I don't remember.
#21 Perfect 1985 - Another one I haven't seen. (Probably because I am definitely NOT a Travolta fan.)
#20 Boxing Helena 1993 - Still another I haven't made time to see.
#19 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?1966 - OK, this is getting repetitive.
#18 Black and White 2000 - OK, THIS one I HAVE seen. Only because Elijah Wood was in it. He kisses Brooke Shields. And THAT I had to see. But it is a BAD BAD movie. Yep. Highly NOT recommended.
#17 Point Break 1991 - [Looks indignant] I suppose I should be thankful that the previous 8 movies weren't Keanu's. I didn't like PB when I saw it in the early 90's. But I like it now. LOL
#16 Son of Ali Baba 1952 - Nope. Another one I don't ever have to watch.
#15 Vanilla Sky 2001 - Had no interest in this one.
#14 Il Postino 1994 - OK, I am beginning to sound like a broken record.
#13 When a Man Loves a Woman 1994 - Nope. Not this one either.
#12 Legend 1985 - No, can you believe I haven't taken in this flick?
#11 When Time Ran Out 1980 - Sigh. No again.
#10 Flash Gordon 1980 - I am SO not a Sci-fi fan.
#9 Jet Pilot 1957 - Don't think I have EVER seen any John Wayne movie, let alone his apparent worst film.
#8 Cocktail 1988 - I have seen this one. And I didn't like it. And please notice this gives Tom Cruise TWO movies on the worst list. And how many are Keanu's so far?? Hmmm?
#7 Raw Deal 1986 - Arnold Schwarzenegger. Nuff said.
#6 Hot Dog...The Movie 1984 - Um. No.
#5 Red Dawn 1984 - Oh man! I loved this movie!! I did! Can it really be the 5th worst movie of all time? (And Patrick Swayze's second one on the list, please note. lol)
#4 The Poseidon Adventure 1972 - No. I was barely alive.
#3 New Jack City 1991 - Nope again.
#2 American Gigolo 1980 - LOL I was too young to see this in 1980 and never had any interest in Gere til, um, lately. LOL
#1 Road House 1989- Oooh, Swayze's THIRD movie on the list! LOL I have seen this one. And I hated it.

Well, I cannot believe that Gigli isn't on this list. LOL I think that's the worse movie I have ever seen. (Although Black and White does come close. I didn't watch all of that one though.) And Surviving Christmas is pretty bad as well.

Here's the link if you want to see pix of these terrible films. LOL

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Much Anticipated Upcoming Movies

Well, I am getting excited about a few movies coming out, and NO, Star Wars is not one of them! LOL I don't plan to see that.

I don't go to the theatre for every movie; I save lots of them for DVD. There are a few that I will pay full price in the theatre for, however, and these are them:

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory - July
The Libertine - August in limited release
A History of Violence - September
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - December
A Scanner Darkly - March 2006

There could be others, but these stand out!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

Kingdom of Heaven is a film I have been anticipating for a long time. It was released on Friday and I made it a priority to see on its release date. Maryann, Ann, Tracy, and Lynn went with me.

Balian (Orlando Bloom) is a blacksmith who finds out that he is the illegitimate son of a knight who comes to recruit him for the Crusades. Balian ends up in Jerusalem, taking a stand to protect the people of the city.

I often found myself making Lord of the Rings comparisons, not least because of Orlando Bloom's presence in both films. Unbeknownst to me until after viewing was that Marton Csokas was also in both films - playing the evil character Guy (husband of Sybilla) in KOH and Celeborn (husband of Galadriel) in LOTR. Many lines and scenes reminded me of LOTR as well. At one point, I thought Balian would shout, "What say you!" One reviewer pointed out that the viewer nearly expects ents and elves to come to the rescue! (

Although the movie has some stunning cinematography, I was exceedingly annoyed by the battle scenes. The filming was intentionally shaky or blurred during the fighting and the blood spattering was overkill.

I felt that Orlando Bloom was able to carry the weight of the movie well, his first turn at being the main character. I was also impressed at how well he has grown up. I sat in front of a few drooling fangirls, who let out audible sighs at Balian's shirtless scenes. Maryann and I kept our drooling silent. ;-) Many excellent actors - Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, David Thewliss, and Edward Norton among them - rounded out the cast.

The plot, on the other hand, was ragged and confusing. The fates of some characters was left ambiguous (such as Guy). Other plot points, such as the shipwreck and Balian's time with his father, were skimmed over so quickly that I had a bit of trouble following the storyline. Two and a half hours were not enough to tell this whole story clearly. However, I have heard rumors of an additional 80 minutes on the DVD, so I look forward to that.

The politically correct anti-war theme of the movie nearly beat the viewer over the head. For such a nonviolent theme, I found the battle gore of the movie to be a contradiction. However, I do agree that peace is a worthy goal and there is much in the movie to admire. Balian was a mostly admirable character, refusing to compromise his values in many ways (although his love for a married woman, despite her unhappiness in marriage, was certainly not something to emulate).

The movie is rated "R". In my opinion, this is solely due to the overly bloody battle scenes. If some of the gore had been eliminated, the movie could have received a PG-13 rating. I was disappointed in that, because this is a movie that my ten-year-old son could have enjoyed, if the bloodiness had been less overwhelming.

I'd like to see it in the theatre again, if only to examine Balian's character a little more closely! :-)