Sunday, April 17, 2011

NEW: Special Features (Orphan Feast)

A new bonus feature has been added to our online collection!  Have you ever had an overwhelming desire to be like Sweeney Todd, turning people into pies?  Well, now you can!  Play as Creaky Tom, running about 1886 London, capturing orphans and stuffing them in your sack.  Take them back to your lair where they will be made into pie filling.  It's a terrible, crazy game, and frighteningly addictive!  This Sweeney-esque story has a twist, though.  However, you'll have to play it through for a while to find it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Cinema Sweetheart's Rating: 9 out of 10
Director: John Madden
Starring: Joseph Fiennes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Geoffrey Rush
Rated: R
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama, Historical
Runtime: 123 minutes

William Shakespeare (Fiennes) is in trouble.  Not only has he sold his latest play (which he has yet to write), but he finds himself unable to write, and does not have a muse to inspire him.  He finds his muse in the form of Thomas Kent (Paltrow), a young actor who is actually noblewoman Viola de Lesseps  in disguise.  The two of them fall in love, but, like any of Shakespeare's plays, there are complications. And what starts off as Twelfth Night soon becomes Romeo and Juliet.  Viola finds herself in an unwanted engagement to Lord Wessex (Colin Firth) and Shakespeare reveals that he's already married to someone else.  What follows is a beautiful, if not tragic piece.

Now, I'm sure that I'm going to get in trouble for this....but I have to say that I don't like Gwyneth Paltrow.  I really don't.  So, when I saw her name on the DVD box, I was hesitant to check this out.  But, I was in desperate need of a good romance (I was depressed by aspects of my own love life), and the plot sounded very tempting.  After seeing this film, I feel as though I owe her an apology.  I really enjoyed her performance; in fact, she was wonderful!  I loved the character of Thomas Kent (and of course, Viola).  The idea of a woman pretending to be a man is, of course, not foreign to Shakespeare's works, and I loved how it was incorporated into the storyline.

As an English major, I was delighted by the literary references that were scattered throughout.  However, I'm not much of a romantic, and I thought that many of the love scenes (mostly the bedroom scenes) dragged on.  However, there were plenty of moments that made me gasp and "awww!"  It was, all in all, a delightful film. 

I'd recommend reading both Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night before watching this movie, or if you've already seen it, before watching it again.  There are various references that the average viewer might not pick up on if they haven't read them.  (And please don't say "I haven't read Romeo and Juliet, but I know what happens, so I don't have to."  There are references you wouldn't get if you hadn't of read it.  There is so much more than falling in love, potions, and death!)

This was one of the best movies I've seen in a while!  Normally, I don't like romances because I find them to be too predictable and "drippy".  But, this was one that I actually enjoyed very much, and I'd love to see more like it.  It appealed both to my English major persona, and to my inner romantic (apparently, there is one, deep down :P).

Jane Eyre (2011)

Cinema Sweetheart's Rating: 10 out of 10
Director: Cary Fukunaga
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Drama, Romance
Runtime: 120 minutes

Jane (Wasikowska), a young woman near death, finds herself at the home of St. John Rivers (Bell) and his sisters.  They take her in and save her life, only asking who she is and where she comes from.  She calls herself Jane Elliot.  Flash back to about fifteen years previously, and the story of Jane Eyre begins.  Raised by an aunt who hates her, and sent to a boarding school where she is abused, Jane eventually is able to free herself from the torments of her childhood, and becomes the governess to Adele Varens (Romy Settbon Moore), the illegitimate child of Edward Rochester (Fassbender), her dark, brooding employer.  Jane catches his eye and softens his heart, but soon learns that Rochester harbors a very dark secret; one that threatens all he holds dear.

As an English major and a lover of Gothic literature (Jane Eyre falling into this category), I was thrilled beyond belief to see that there was a Jane Eyre movie coming out. In fact, I've been waiting for months for it to come to theatres!  And Fukunaga's interpretation did not disappoint!  Besides a stellar cast, the plot was well adapted, and the cinematography was perfect.  I especially love what they did with Jane and Edward's relationship.  Reading the book, I always had a certain image of Rochester, but after seeing the film, I feel as though I've softened a bit more toward him.  That's to say, I've always loved the character, but Fassbender breathed new life into him, and only made me love him more.

I think that my biggest disappointments had to involve the few places in the film where the original story was deviated from.  For example, I had been looking forward to seeing the infamous "Gypsy" scene, but it was sadly omitted.  Also, I was a bit annoyed that the ending did not completely hold up to that in the book (although, I still thought that they did a wonderful job!) 

Finally, my last complaint has to do with my favorite character: Rochester.  Fassbender's Rochester is too attractive!  One of the main characteristics of Jane and Rochester is that they are not very attractive.  Jane is supposed to be plain (and while Wasikowska is beautiful, they managed to make her "plain" enough).  But Rochester is supposed to be almost ugly; and as a female college student who went with a group of gal-pals, I can honestly say that this Rochester was handsome!  (of course, that's not a bad thing, per se...more of literary purist complaint than anything else).

This is a must-see film for all English majors and anyone who has ever loved the works of Charlotte Brontë!  Also, if you happen to be a Mr. Darcy fan-girl, you might want to check out Rochester; he's my personal favorite ;)  Even if you are not acquainted with the book, but happen to love a good drama, then you'll have to check this out!  If you don't know much about the book, however, please, please, please don't look up a summary!  You'll enjoy this so much more if you're completely surprised!  Of our group of four girls going to see the film, one of us was completely uninformed about the plot and storyline.  Her reactions were among the best, since everything was a complete surprise!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A New Header and a Review

Loyal Readers,

I'm sorry its taken me this long to get a movie review out; honestly, I don't know what's wrong with me lately!  I've just been having trouble writing reviews...But, as promised, I've published a review of O,Brother, Where Art Thou? and I've also updated the blog header to Hello, Dolly!, which I hope you guys like.  I'm hoping to get another review out by the end of the week, although, I'm not quite sure if that's going to happen or not.  If I do, it will most likely be Amélie (2001), starring Audrey Tautou.  I just watched that this weekend, and HAVE to share it with you :)

O, Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Cinema Sweetheart's Rating: 9 out of 10
Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring: George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Comedy, Adventure
Runtime: 106 minutes

This wonderful adaptation of the Classical story of The Odyssey is set in the Southern United States in the 1930s.  Ulysses Everett McGill (Clooney) escapes from a chain gang while still chained to two of his fellow convicts Pete (Turturro) and Delmar (Nelson).  The three of them go off in search of a treasure that Everett buried before his arrest.  On the way, they encounter many trials, including a trigger-happy bank robber; three seductive Sirens; and Big Dan Teague, a one-eyed Bible salesman (John Goodman).  And Everett, finally reunited with his “faithful” wife Penny (Holly Hunter), learns that she not only told their children that he was dead (hit by a train!), but is actually engaged to someone else!

What makes this film so great is that besides being an amazing adaptation of a classic story, it combines a stellar cast with perfect cinematography and breath-taking scenery.  I was totally enthralled by many of the scenes; it was absolutely beautiful!

I also love how seamlessly this film blended the original story of Odysseus’s homecoming with a plot and cast of characters that were totally new.  While Everett might have been based on Odysseus, George Clooney breathed new life into the character, making him far more accessible to modern audiences.  The additions of Pete and Delmar were also very welcome.  Delmar in particular was incredibly endearing.  His simple-minded charm made me absolutely love him.  When Pete disappears after their encounter with the Sirens, Delmar’s reaction was by far one of my favorite parts of the movie!

If you are a fan of Classic (Greco-Roman) mythology, have read The Odyssey, or are looking for a movie with good music (GO, SOGGY BOTTOM BOYS!!!!), then I strongly recommend this film.  Even if you don’t know the whole story of Odysseus’s journey home, this is still a fun film to view and share.  I watched it twice before writing this review (within a two week period) and I have to say that the second time around was almost funnier than the first!  And for about a week afterwards, I was still humming “Man of Constant Sorrow”! (Again: GO, SOGGY BOTTOM BOYS!!!!)

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