Monday, March 16, 2015

Insurgent Short Movie Review

Draggy and overlong, devoid of much of a pulse in what is supposed to be a high-octave dystopian action movie, Insurgent disappoints when it should thrill.

2 out of 5 stars for me.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Cinderella Short Movie Review: Visually Gorgeous and Sumptuous but Emotionally Inert

The Cinderella bracelet I wore to the screening. My friend Jenna sells a variation of it in her Etsy store.

The Frozen necklace I wore to the screening. The Frozen Fever short before the movie wasn't at all narratively satisfying, seeming to exist more to give everyone a glimpse of all the characters from Frozen than anything else. Jenna also has it in her store.

And to complete the ensemble, a Game of Thrones t-shirt, which seems apt since Prince Charming (Richard Madden) and his Captain of the Guard (Nonso Anozie) were both Game of Thrones alums. You can get the shirt from

"Have courage and be kind." And so, with her parting words to Cinderella, which gets repeated ad nauseum in the movie, Cinderella's mother, played by Hayley Atwell, condemns our titular heroine to a life of drudgery under her stepmother and stepsisters after her parents pass away. (Centuries old spoiler alert here)

Cinderella, or Ella, as is her real name, is played winsomely by Lily James (Downton Abbey), as is her Prince Charming, played by Richard Madden (Game of Thrones), he of the toothsome grin and oh-so-blue eyes. Their onscreen chemistry is palpable and strikes a magical spark for the film. Indeed, it is one of the few things, besides the gorgeous visuals and a crackling campy performance by Cate Blanchett as the Wicked Stepmother, that makes it a decent movie, but alas not a great one.

Great as the casting is, and wonderful as the visuals and costumes are, the movie is let down with a merely serviceable script by Chris Weitz and a very by-the-numbers directorial effort by Kenneth Branagh. Which is crying shame really, because the movie could have and should have been so much more.

Both director and scribe should have heeded the movie's message to "have courage" and instead crafted a more bold and daring rendition than this very safe and rather bland adaption of Disney's classic 1950 animated feature.

3 out of 5 stars for me.