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Like: Brave

25 Jun

I had high hopes for Brave, mostly because I’ve loved the two most recent Disney Princess movies: Tangled and The Princess and the Frog. By not having a romantic plot line I thought that Disney / Pixar were going to push the envelope with this one but it just ended up being a predictable (though touching) plot without a great deal of character depth. The animation was beautiful and the 3D fun to watch, I just feel that they had the potential to make this film something truly unique. For a more indepth review check out my article on entertainista.com

❤ R

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Like: Snow White and the Huntsman

2 Jun

Charlize Theron is mesmerizing

Though I had higher hopes for this film it is still worth seeing. The cinematography has a well developed style, the costumes and hair are breathtaking, and we get bits of strong acting as well (especially through Charlize Theron).

Actors worth watching:

Charlize Theron — she won an oscar, this should come as no surprise. The woman’s gifted.

Chris Hemsworth — proving he’s more than just a (stunningly) beautiful face.

Sam Claflin — after this I’m sure we’ll be seeing much more of him.

Kristen Stewart — her first big role since Bella, always worth investigating.

Important to note: this is Rupert Sanders‘ first credited movie as Director — wowzas!

 

If you’d enjoy a full recap on SWATH please check out mine on entertainista.com :

http://entertainista.com/2012/06/02/review-snow-white-and-the-huntsman/

also follow me on twitter for updates on movies, tv, fashion, beauty, and …. current affairs (what a mixed bag!) @RebeccaLamarche

 

❤ RL

Like: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1

16 May

click image to link to Breaking Dawn p1’s IMDB page

Acting Chops:

I’ve seen the acting qualities of the cast come a long way as they find their groove together and just develop as actors. In particular I commend Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner.  They have really progressed with their acting.

Kristen Stewart:

In the first few movies I really was bothered by Stewart’s acting chops. And yes, I had the bar high from reading the books like a fiend, but really I should be allowed to have the bar high for such a high profile movie. I found her portrayal of Balla as predominantly awkward instead of unsure.  The negatives weren’t balanced with Bella’s other positive qualities (like … hmm okay she was kind of annoying in the books to).  Anyways, to me it came across as if Stewart used to play Bella as a generality “awkward” instead of playing her with specificities. On top of this, her facial expressions were an ever constant lips-separated gaze / pout. Finally I really could not stand her vocals. I just have had a hard time getting past them. She grunts and moans and almost pants throughout the first film. I actually never realized how much Stewart’s voice hindered her performance until I watched the first movie in French; watching it in French made her performance far more enjoyable because there wasn’t all of that unnecessary breath work. 

In this movie however, she’s found her game. She’s less general, and has more intensions in her scenes (i.e. when she chooses to call Rosalie when Edward gets out of the car, you could see her thinking things through). Maybe it’s partially because her character has just developed more, she’s willing to fight against Edward for something she actually wants that doesn’t fully involve him.

… I still can’t get over that she cries over not getting laid, but that’s not Stewart’s fault, it’s the scripts. Also, I still don’t like her and Pattinson’s kissing scenes. They aren’t passionate, they don’t make me want to smooch someone, they’re just kind of uncomfortable to watch.

Taylor Lautner: I have never seen Lautner as a stronger actor throughout these films. Until now. It’s his little expressions that steal the scenes. His looks of poorly disguised disgust as Bella scarfs down some blood seem genuine and make the act that much more believable. His mini snarky look when he’s thinking that the foetus probably wants to eat someone is telling before Pattinson’s explanatory line even comes.
Bella’s Wedding Dress

the back of this dress is stunning, and perhaps reveals a bit of foreshadowing…

I thought that the wedding dress chosen was perfectly suited for Bella’s character. It fit Stewart perfectly and was sexy while still modest. The only thing that initially irked me is that it is such a mature style for someone who is still a teenager. But then I realized that is a reflection of Bella’s character who was always mature for her age (well at least compared to the other teens in Forks).

Make up

I hugely applauded the makeup department. I don’t know how much of Bella’s

the Makeup Department also skilfully created mystically beautiful creatures

transformation was computer generated but there were definite makeup components that need to be credited. Bella’s face looked sunken and sullen. Her chest bones were shadowed to show a cavernous form instead of her usual smooth fleshy build. Finally, her spine was exposed and protruding (reminiscent of  Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance music video) – again I don’t know if this was make up or CGI, but I would guess a minimum of both. Another interesting choice done by the Makeup Department was the specific decision to hire a contact lens technician—this made the vampire eyes believable, frightening, and beautiful in their own rights.

Camera movement

The camera is more kinetic in this film than others. Especially in the final scene where it swoops down along Bella’s body and creeps up to her face. We are in a tight close shot before her red-eyes pop open. The camera’s movements added tension, and even suspense, to the scene. It was silent (obviously) but incredibly powerful.

Cheese
On the whole, I thought that the wolfy scenes were handled pretty well. But the one scene where (spoiler) Jacob rebels against Sam, “I will not! I am the grandson of a Chief…”, was just so aerosol-cheese-bad) that I actually had to pause and look away from the screen while I quietly laughed.

CGI

As Edward’s venom spreads throughout Bella’s body we get a CGI transformation. Kristen goes from a corps to an instant jealousy-inducing beauty.

While we’re talking about the wolves though, let’s give some gentle props to the CGI people, I loved when the wolves snarled, the raising of the skin on either sides of their noses was a realistic touch.

Another thumbs up to the CGI team is during Bella’s vampire transformation. I liked the scene where the venom started to spread through Bella’s body. Furthering this, I liked how once it was going through we saw her hair colour revive, her flesh refill itself, her makeup intensify, and the shadows on her face recede – nicely done!

Give me a little more Continuity

Bella’s body is wasting away yet  and she turns into somewhat of a skelator. Yet her engagement and wedding bands stay snugly on her finger…

Eye Candy

Foy: this 12-year-old is a knock out already. Watch out.

Baby baby baby… So in no particular order:

Taylor Lautner – opening few seconds and BOOM no shirt. They really were anxious to get that out there.

Robert Pattinson – okay there’s a whole gaggle of girls out there as you read who are just hacking away at their computers trying to hunt Edward Rob down.

Kellan Lutz – If I need to explain this or even comment more, you should probably stop reading this blog (only don’t).

Ashley Greene – “that chick from twilight” when coming from the lips of a guy, I am learning, usually does not refer to Kristen Stewart. They love her, and you know what, we all should! Besides the fact that I love how she plays Alice, she’s gorgeous. Koodos to her all around. Maybe it’s the way her eyes twinkle (Greene wears lash extensions), or the overall symmetry of her face; but she’s quickly becoming a much talked about actress.

Mackenzie Foy – the girl who’s the teen of Renesmee.  She is a natural beauty. Even though she was only in frame for a few seconds, she left a startling impact.

Kristen Stewart– both naturally beautiful (pre-knocked up Bella) and mystically beautiful (vampire transformation Bella).  Stewart is beautiful throughout all of the films, she really plays up that mysterious outsider; but when she begins her transformation into vampirhood she becomes painfully beautiful (watch out Rosalie, there’s a new beauty Queen in town).

Stewart is achingly beautiful

<3RL

Dislike: New Year’s Eve

16 May

18 Stars, and yet…

A slow start…. And a slow run

NEW YEAR’S EVE walked the marathon. The movie never really took off. With over 16 big name stars, I would have liked to expect a great film. Unfortunately NEW YEAR’S EVE really fell through for me.  I almost felt that, on the most part, because none of the stars were the “main character” they all just sort of showed up and winged it and that was that. The exception to this was Hilary Swank and Robert De Niro.

Swank was very compelling on screen.  There is just something about her eyes that captivate me. I just get the feeling that her mind didn’t stop and that her character, Clair Morgan, was always trying to control her feelings but they were always just pushing through.

Swank & De Niro, strongest on set

De Niro plays a cancer dying patient who has refused treatment and who is “living on borrowed time”.  He has lived a selfish life and has pushed his loved ones away from him, as a result he is alone and his last wish is to live till midnight and watch the Ball Drop from the Hospital roof. For a person as alive as De Niro I was impressed by how genuinely frail he seemed. In one scene he’s going through a slight delirium in which he confuses Nurse Aimee (Halle Berry) for his daughter and is trying to fix their relationship.

The final interaction between Swank and De Niro was so genuinely heart warming that I couldn’t help but cry a little in the cinema. In a film where character development is limited, and where each story line only gets so much time on screen, I was incredibly impressed by how moving their reunion was. Acting wise, their moments together were the best of the film.

Fall through

Josh Duhamel’s big speech comes up. It’s been one of his two big deals throughout the movie, he hasn’t even written anything to say for this big galla, it’s going to come from the heart. I wanted to, I really wanted to feel it with him – but I just couldn’t. He starts chocking up and addressing his dead father and, honestly, I felt nothing. It just seemed so random and out of place. There was no back story ever given, I don’t even think they mentioned him before the speech.

Duhamel’s speech and that bloody dog…. epic fails.

At this same Gala his mother’s giving an initial speech before Duhamel’s character even arrives. She’s in her fancy floor length evening dress holding what looks like a miniature white poodle (some small white curly haired shaven dog).  Here the continuity is completely off! Every time the camera cuts to a different view the dog’s position moves from hanging over her shoulder  to hanging over her wrist (almost like a purse) …. PEOPLE GET WITH THE PROGRAM. … Really it was just kind of laughable.

Favourite story line

Efron and Pfeiffer stole the show

The interaction between Paul (Zac Efron) and Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) was your classic Holiday feel-good. Basically, Ingrid is a middle aged woman who struggles with a self confidence / image complex, and who we get the impression has never really lived her life. As a result she’s starting her little midlife crisis and quits her job – the first thing on her list of new year’s resolutions. Ingrid however has Tickets to the a swanky masque Gala and bribes Paul with them – if he can creatively complete all of the crazy wishes on her lists that day he can have the tickets for the night.  Efron and Pfeiffer have a really enduring, non romantic, chemistry.  But what I have a hard time believing is that Paul would continue to try and help Ingrid complete her list after he was already given the tickets. Regardless, I found their story line adorable and very endearing. It gave you the “I know this would only happen in a Rom Com but there’s a romantic in me so I’m going to secretly dream of a version of this happening to me” feeling.  HA!

Best part of the film

Honestly, the most enjoyable part of the film was at the very.  Literally, all of the story lines had been resolved and it was just different

Efrona and Pfeiffer dancing

clips of the characters living their ending on the New Year.  Mainly this involved Zac Efron and Michelle Pfeiffer dancing all goofy at the ball; what was also fun were the snippets of Bloopers in between the different clips.  It was a really cute way to end the film— but really how sad is it that that was the most enjoyable part? Pretty disappointing for such a star studded cast.

<3RL

Like: Something Borrowed

16 Dec

Hudson and Goodwin play childhood besties, whose friendship knew no limits…  

When I first saw the movie SOMETHING BORROWED I left the cinema with my best friend feeling unsure and uneasy. The film follows Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) who falls in love with her best friend Darcy’s (Kate Hudson) fiance Dex (Colin Egglesfield).  The film poses the uncomfortable question: What do you do when you truly love your best friend’s fiance? And worse yet, what do you do when those feelings are reciprocated? The answer should be obvious right? You stoically ignore your feelings and let your best friend live her happily-ever-after. But if we’re honest with ourselves, human nature is a lot greedier than that.  It’s this human greed that gets Rachel — a do-good kind of girl — into a lot of trouble, where the stakes are a lifelong friendship vs. a potentially lifelong romance.

Truthfully I don’t think that it’s the narrative so much that bothers me, but the fact that I constantly find myself sympathising with Rachel.

What happens when best friends fall for the same man?

I find myself validating Rachel’s choices by the flaky, shallow, and insincere nature of Darcy’s character. On the flip side I’m horrified by what she is doing — it’s her best friend’s fiance, and they’ve been best friends since they were kids.

I’ve seen SOMETHING BORROWED twice more since it was released this summer, and since then it’s really grown on me. I think that’s because I’m falling more and more in love with Dex and Rachel as a couple, and that is largely due to Ginnifer Goodwin’s performance…

Acting Chops

Ginnifer Goodwin as “Rachel”

Goodwin is so compelling in this film. She has an understated quality which really shines through. It’s as if she internalizes every emotion before she expresses herself; breathing in each thought and letting it shine through her eyes before she even speaks. What’s interesting about Goodwin’s character is that she understands the full ramifications of her actions. She’s cared for Dex since they first met but never knew that he felt the same way, she knows that she shouldn’t proceed, but then she can’t not! She is a good person who cares about her friends and has always put Darcy of all people first.  But ultimately, she can’t fight it; she loves Dex and she has to pursue those feelings.

Colin Egglesfield as “Dex”.

Egglesfield masterfully plays the infidel fiance in a way that makes me feel sorry for him! …Do I need to repeat myself? I actually feel sorry for the poor, technical, shmuck. He’s this guy who cares so much about making other people happy, that he doesn’t necessarily consider the consequences of ignoring his own happiness. What makes Egglesfield stand out in this film is that he projects true love towards Goodwin whenever they are on scene together. It’s not an undeniable lust that we see between them; it’s feelings, emotions, and possibilities. Without Egglesfield’s projection of a Dex who’s at odds with his feelings, the film could have taken an drastically different turn; we could have ended up with a Dex who just wants one last whoopie with the girl that got away.

Dex (Egglesfield) and Rachel (Goodwin) sharing a moment.

In virtually silent scenes between Dex and Rachel it’s the actors’ use of breath that builds the impression of love for me. There are so many things which they feel towards each other, things that they are too scared to say. They breath in the thought and then they pause and hold onto it, tasting it because that’s the closest they can let themselves get to the other, and then they fight it back and say nothing.

Darcy (Hudson) is absolutely vapid while practicing her “bridal moment” to see if her mascara will run…

Hudson presents Darcy, a woman who is so vapid and shallow that it takes away from her physical beauty (think about that for a second, Kate Hudson is gorgeous). Hudson goes against the grain of her normally charming characters by playing a woman who is obnoxious rather than outgoing; self obsessed rather than caring and compassionate; and all through vain. It is largely through Darcy’s personality flaws that I find myself somewhat validating Rachel’s choices.

<3RL

Love: Burlesque

11 Dec

Aguilera plays Ali. A good girl gone “bad”…but still good. Her stage makeup has exaggerated eyes and lips with bronzer contouring her cheeks and boobs. 

“What? … I Am a Good Girl.”

Why have I seen BURLESQUE three times in cinema, and many more times since? Well clearly I love it. It always leaves me feeling energized, and optimistic towards my own dreams. Yes, the movie has an unfair advantage: I adore musicals and I love Christina Aguilera, but really, it all comes down to being a fun ride.

Beautiful to Watch:

BURLESQUE is often set in the self titled night club, Burlesque, and takes advantage of the many components that go into live performance. What really stands out to me is the dynamic use of lighting, bejeweled and skimpy costumes, and aggressively bold and beautiful  hair / make up.

Aguilera’s silhouette has a seductive allure as beams of light cut her out of the shadows. 

In the club scenes the lighting designers play with a lot of colour, movement, and shadows. Though there is quite the pallet the colour motifs seem to be a combination of red, blue, and inevitably purple. The lighting styles range from beams of light shooting down onto the stage and moving in sweeping gestures; to diffused colours onto a background of ruched curtains. In other shots it’s the absence of light that shapes the images within the frame. These shadowy images add a sexual mystique to the club that takes on a tenacious quality of their own. The lighting is as much a form of presentation as the girls dancing on stage.  It creates a sense of possibility and intrigue, and it is often through the lighting that I am drawn into the performance before a line of text is spoken or beat of music played.

feathers, sparkles, and lighting –oh my!

When I think show girl, I think BIG, BOLD, and BEAUTIFUL. In the case of BURLESQUE you can never have enough sparkles, feathers, fake-jewels, or frankly: skin. These dancing divas get to wear all sorts of frisky outfits from leather-hand-printed bustiers, to beaded pearl negligées. Despite the excessive nature of the costumes they are not tired or even predictable. Michael Kaplan, costume designer, says on behind the scenes footage that he wanted the look to be mint:  “We didn’t want to have feathered bowas, we didn’t want to have a strip tease. We wanted it to be fresher than that.”

Don’t trick yourself into thinking that the clubs scenes are the only spot for hot fashion action in this film, because the costume department certainly doesn’t skimp out when it comes to Aguilera’s out-of-club wardrobe. In particular there is a pair of Louboutin pumps that her character, Ali, wears which are so increadibly beautiful that I accidentally screamed  the first time I saw them in the cinema.  According to an NBC article, Kaplan worked with Christian Louboutin to make a custom pair of pumps for Aguilera to wear in the film. This white and silver pair have the wonderous look which Ali’s name plays odes to… Alice, welcome to wonderland.

Perhaps the most beautiful shoes I have ever seen in my life, a custom Louboutin pump made for Aguilera. 

Finally, if you like feathered fake eyelashes, lots of liner, sparkle-based eye shadow, bronzer (contouring everrrywhere), and a rouge lip: you’re in for a make up treat. All of the show girls’ eyes grow about 10 sizes when we get a closeup of their stage-made-up faces. When it comes to hair you get two options: big, textured, curled, and blown out; or a fringed bob.

A taste of Burlesque: beautiful women dancing in beams of blue, red and purple light; big hair; and frisky costumes.

To make things even better, all of this visual stimulation comes together in baudy dance routines to catchy music…

Music

Despite the beautiful images on screen, it’s the music that reals you into BURLESQUE. Aguilera has the vocal strength and diversity to pull off Etta James covers, such as “Tough Lover” or “Something’s Got A Hold On Me”, without you pinning for the sounds of the soulful originals. According to Director Steven Antin in behind the scenes footage, it’s not just Christina’s voice which changed the film but her writing: “Christina changed everything when she came on board… She went out and wrote song after song after song, it was spectacular.” Within those songs came “Express” which hit number 2 on Billboards 100, and “Bound To You” which was nominated for a Golden Globe under “best original song”. Every time I watch the movie the different songs are seared into my head for days on end — without even annoying me!

Acting Chops

BURLESQUE has a stacked cast including Oscar winner Cher; beloved Stanley Tucci, up and coming actresses Kristen Bell and Julianne Hough; and finally first time ever actress  Christina Aguilera. Cher is Cher, need we say more? Tucci hits his one liners with an almost patented witty delivery. Bell and Hough dazzled the screen in their short but snappy scenes; however it was Aguilera who really surprised me. Being her first time acting I was slightly concerned when first going into the cinema. I was worried that she was plugged in as solely a big name and great voice. Acting, it turns out, is another strong point for Aguilera.  She presented an Ali who was strong, confident and determined, but who was also breakable and endearingly vulnerable. I wasn’t watching a “Christina Aguilera” persona on screen but a fully crafted character. I don’t think another actress would have brought the same dimension’s to her character, in fact Aguilera as an actress was entirely irreplaceable to this film. In a video Aguilera largely credits Cher for her performance, saying that she inspired and taught her the roaps on her first acting job.

Cam Gigandet, provides some much appreciated slates of man-candy.

Man Candy… 

Well clearly there is lots of scantily clad female beauties but what of the men? For me the winner goes to Cam Gigandet who plays Jack, Ali’s love interest. Ali’s fling Marcus however is also a note worthy contender, played by Eric Dane who is most known for his role as Mark Sloan (a.k.a. McSteamy) on Greys Anatomy.

Eric Dane…no this is not from “Burlesque” but doesn’t he look beautiful!

The chemistry between Aguilera and Gigandet is obvious from the first moment she learns that he is both straight and unavailable, plus Gigandet will leave you craving cookies long after the film ;). Meanwhile, Dane plays his usual rough-but-combed bad-boy-man-toy role. Though he doesn’t have a large role in the film, and though his character didn’t develop, I loved his minutes on screen… He is the lone wolf man-babe and every eyecandy movie needs one.

❤ RL