SHE WAS PROUD OF HER GRANDCHILDREN; I heard her talk about them enough times to know. They were respectful and polite which made me like them right from the start. According to their grandmother, the boy was a star player on his school’s football team and his sister was the school’s photographer. When I met and spoke with the 2 siblings, I learned the grandmother’s description of their school activities was exaggerated a bit. The girl enjoyed photography and had submitted one of her photos to the school’s newspaper; it was one of several to be chosen to accompany an article about the plant life around the school building. The boy was on the football team as the grandmother had mentioned; however, he was one of the 2nd string players on the team. Most of his time was spent sitting on the bench. So, the grandmother expanded the truth, I get it. She was not the first grandmother I met who used hyperboles when it came to her grandchildren. It did appear to me; however, she spoke a lot about these kids. It is one thing to mention one’s children or grandchildren if it comes up in a conversation; but, without solicitation or prodding one talks excessively about them then I start to wonder what could be fueling it. YOU THINK YOU KNOW A PERSON, but then something happens that forces you to re-evaluate everything you thought regarding this individual. This is what happened to me and explained why the grandmother talked a lot about her 2 grandchildren. Her and I were part of a small group of people who had met for lunch one day. During the meal many topics were discussed. However, it was during the subject of racial tensions when the grandmother said something that led me to believe the reason behind her excessive talking about her grandchildren. She had said a derogatory remark about another race. I was shocked because up until that time I never considered her to be a prejudicial person. As I sat there processing this new information the conversation drifted off to something else. No one questioned her about her comment, but I had to because what she said did not make any sense to me. I asked her how she could make a derogatory remark about a person’s skin color when her grandchildren had the same color of skin. She said it was not the same. Her grandchildren were born from a mixed-race couple; evidently, she was not comfortable about it which explained the constant talk about her grandkids. All of this because someone looks different? She has something in common with one of the characters in this adventure fantasy. AGREEING TO MARRY PRINCE PHILIP, PLAYED BY Harry Dickinson (Beach Rats, The Darkest Minds), would be the easiest part compared to having each of their families sitting down together for a dinner. Aurora, played by Elle Fanning (The Neon Demon, Super 8), would have to convince her Godmother Maleficent (Changeling, Mr. & Mrs. Smith), to meet the humans she so distrusted, for good reason. With Michelle Pfeiffer (Hairspray, What Lies Beneath) as Queen Ingrith and Sam Riley (On the Road, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) as Diaval; this family film was beyond colorful. The opening scenes may take one’s breath away because they were so filled with colors and creativity. Along with my amazement of the visual aspects to this picture, I thought the cast was wonderful. Angelina, Michelle and Elle were so good together that I could see them doing another film together. My only complaint had to do with the story and script; it was uneven and convoluted at times, besides sharing similarities to another story made famous as a Broadway musical. Despite this, I found the movie entertaining. It had great special effects, was visually stunning and had a killer performance by Angelina, Michelle and Elle.
No four words have the ability to unlock one’s imagination quicker than, “Once upon a time.” How many times have we sat on a soft lap with our heads resting on top of the beat from a loving heart? Maybe instead it was when you were curled up in bed, under the thick warm covers with your favorite stuffed animal or toy? Those four words started a journey where you saw faraway places and talking animals as they sprung up in your mind when it was tickled by your listening ears. I have always been fond of fairy tales and folklore. Part of the reason for my love of books is due to the great storytellers I had in my life. With the ability to change voices, display emotions and act out gestures matching the action; story time was one of my favorite parts of the day. As I got older I began to appreciate the folk tales and legends from other countries. Though they may have common elements and themes, it was always interesting to hear a story through the experiences of a different set of eyes. BASED on Irish and Scottish folklore, this Oscar nominated animated movie’s story was not only wonderful to hear but to see. I do not want to say the animation was old-fashioned but it was more akin to the type I used to see as a kid; in other words it looked hand drawn. I noticed many of the scenes had objects with elaborate patterns on them which made me wonder if there was some significance to them pertaining to Ireland or Scotland. The main focus of the story had to do with brother and sister Ben and Saoirse, voiced by David Rawle (Moone Boy-TV) and newcomer Lucy O’Connell. Annoyed by his younger sister who had not started to talk yet, Ben did not realize she was the last of her kind. This is all I want to tell you about this fantasy film so you can experience it with as little knowledge as possible. The actors were all ideal for their characters, especially Brendan Gleeson (Calvary, The Company You Keep) as Conor/Mac Lir and Fionnula Flanagan (Yes Man, The Others) as Granny/Macha. This is listed as a family film which it is; however, it is not a mainstream type of movie that involved marketing focus groups or product placements. There were no jokes or singing and dancing; it was simply telling an enchanting story. There was one extended scene having to do with near death that made a couple of younger children in the audience whimper. I have to say that watching this movie was like sitting in a comfortable lap to hear a fanciful tale.
3 1/2 stars
Their skin had a distinct glow that made it look like soft amber. Only their teeth, when revealed in a wide smile, could outshine the beauty of their skin. If one could pull their gaze from that face and widen it to include the rest of the body, they would see a sculpted form that would remain solid as a statue in any environment. There are some people whose heart would lasso such a being, letting their love wash all over them. Unfortunately they do not realize one very important reality; there is a slow moving poison pushing inside of them. I refer to this condition as “dark heart.” The individual may be the perfect fit for what you consider to be beautiful; however, there is darkness inside of them. You may remember I consider our bodies to be rented, that they are constantly in a state of change. So I put little emphasis on the external side of a person. I find someone who displays things like kindness, honesty and respect to be much more interesting. Things like hair and height have no relevance in determining if a person is a good human being or not. EVEN in a world inhabited by elves and fairies, true love can have a strong influence. When the Bog King, voiced by Alan Cumming (Spy Kids franchise, The Good Wife-TV), kidnapped Marrianne’s, voiced by Evan Rachel Wood (Across the Universe, The Ides of March), sister and held her hostage until he received a magical potion; it would take someone with a determined will to combat all the forces that were put in place. Based on a story by George Lucas (Star Wars franchise, American Graffiti), this animated fantasy was not only colorful to watch, it was one of the oddest movies I have seen in a while. The idea behind the story was solid and I could relate to it; however, having various characters break out into popular songs from the past decades to tell the story was weird. All the actors like Elijah Kelly (Hairspray, Red Tails) as Sunny and Kristin Chenoweth (The Boy Next Door, Glee-TV) as the Sugar Plum Fairy were in good voice, but I did not care too much for any of the characters that were voiced. The villain character was weak which contributed to me remaining bored throughout the movie. Honestly this film was not only dull it had little magic compared to recent animated films I have seen. I was so surprised to read later that George had been developing this story for years and finally pushed it forward to become a movie. All I can say is behind this pretty facade of a film there was only boring dreariness. There was an extra scene in the middle of the credits and at the end.
1 1/2 stars