Foreign Film Friday -Romantics Anonymous (2010)

When the opening credits began with a French version of the song I Have Confidence from the Sound of Music, it set the tone and immediately convinced me that I would love this film.

A French-Belgian film originally titled, Les Emotifs Anonymes, Romantics Anonymous introduces us to Angelique, a woman crippled by shyness. We see her faint in her group meeting, for which the film is named, but she works up enough courage to attend her interview with the owner of The Chocolate Mill.

When we first meet Jean-Rene, he is introduced to us and to Angelique as a mean man, but it turns out he is also socially challenged and unable to deal with many simple human interactions. Although the interview between these extreme introverts is awkward, Angelique manages to impress him with her knowledge of chocolate and he offers her the job. The only problem is that she thinks that she will be making chocolate and he just hired her as a sales representative to help boost the shop’s faltering sales enough to keep it out of bankruptcy.

On her sales rounds, Angelique discovers that although their buyers think the chocolate is good, it is not exceptional and neither does it live up to current trends in the market. But she has a secret. Angelique is a gifted chocolatier who has had extreme success in the past with her chocolate recipes. The trouble is that she sold her chocolates anonymously. But with the shop in jeopardy, Angelique is convinced that she can help.

In the midst of the chocolate shop story line is a concurrent one about the relationship that develops between Jean-Rene and Angelique. As you can imagine, with their personality challenges it is a very awkward and bumpy path they travel. They are immediately stricken by one another, but their own insecurities keep cropping up as obstacles. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Romantics Anonymous (2010)”

Eight Reasons I Loved Beauty and the Beast

At this point, everybody and their dog has seen or at least knows the story of Beauty of the Beast. The last thing the internet needs is another review. Despite the few quibbles I had with Disney’s latest version, (the CGI Beast and wolves, just…no and what was up with Belle tucking her dress up to show off her bloomers? Weird) I found it absolutely enchanting. So, I thought I would share eight things I loved about Beauty and the Beast none of which have to do with the title characters or their romance.

  1. Old Songs -It was such a pleasure to hear the familiar and famous songs of the animated classic.  It brought a feeling of nostalgia and connection and it was fun to see the song and dance choreography portrayed in a feature film.
  2. New Songs -Honestly, I didn’t love two of the three new songs, but I did appreciate what they added to the film. I did love the Beast’s solo Evermore and thought the song itself was romantic and beautiful.
  3. Gaston & LeFou -These two were one of the highlights of the film for me. Despite the controversy behind LeFou’s character, I loved how Josh Gad played him. He made me giggle. Luke Evans nailed, the arrogance, self-absorption and manipulative anger of Gaston. I really thought his was the strongest performance of the film.
  4. Phillipe the Horse -Perhaps it was just me, but Phillipe the horse seemed like a character in itself. Somehow that animal displayed personality and some acting skill. I was more worried about Phillipe than Belle when they were attacked by the wolves.
  5. Unintentional Homage to a Classic Musical -Again, maybe it is just me, but did anyone else think that the scene of Belle finishing her song on the hill outside of town, looked remarkably like the scene of Maria singing The Hills Are Alive in the Sound of Music? It literally looked like Belle was plopped down into the Austrian mountains outside of Salzburg.
  6. Honored Other Versions -I didn’t realize this while I was watching the film, but after doing some research I found that this new Beauty and the Beast honored past film and stage versions by incorporating parts specific to each version.
  7. Backstory -I saw Phantom of the Opera on Broadway once and was haunted by so many questions afterwards. Thankfully, the film version expanded the story and gave more depth and detail, particularly to the Phantom’s story, answering some of those questions. Beauty and the Beast received similar treatment and I loved having a fuller picture of both Beast’s and Belle’s pasts.
  8. The Big Reveal -I know at some point in the marketing lead up to the release of this film, I came across the names of the actors who were in Beauty and the Beast. But aside from a few glimpses at the start of the film when I saw Audra McDonald and Stanley Tucci, I had no idea who was voicing the inhabitants of the castle. So, when the spell is finally broken, and the characters became human, it was a big reveal for me to see which actors played which part. I had reactions like, I KNEW that voice sounded familiar (Ewan McGregor) and Oh my gosh, he’s so perfect as this character (Ian McKellan), or Wow, I did not expect that (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and finally, Oh, I love her so much! (Emma Thompson) And even though I knew Dan Stevens was the actor behind the Beast, in the opening scene before the curse, he is so covered in makeup as be to almost disguised. So when the Beast was transformed into human form again, it was still the first time we see the real Beast. And can I digress briefly and just say how much I love Stanley Tucci?! He is reminiscent of the character actors of Classic Hollywood and steals scenes in every film he’s in. He’s fearless as an actor and I’m always thrilled when I see him pop up in a film.

Beauty and the Beast is a film that I will want to watch again and again. I really can’t wait to see which animated fairy tale Disney will choose to remake next. I think it would be really interesting to see how they would film The Little Mermaid.

What about you? Which Disney animation tale would you love to see on the big screen?

Reviewing a Family Favorite -The Man From Snowy River

An Australian western set in the 1880’s, The Man From Snowy River is the story of young Jim Craig who was born and raised in the mountains. After an accident that kills his father that also leads to Jim’s horse escaping to run free with a pack of wild horses, Jim must leave the family homestead to seek work and respect in the lowlands.

He finds a job with wealthy cattle rancher Harrison and meets Jessica, Harrison’s strong willed daughter. The boss assigns Jim to menial tasks, earning disdain from other ranch hands. But he finds relief in his developing friendship with the boss’s daughter who shares his love for horses.

When Jim and Jessica make the risky decision to break and train Harrison’s new and expensive colt, it leads to a confrontation with Harrison. Jim is fired and Jessica runs away from her father’s harsh hand and the threat of finishing school.

Jealous ranch hands then frame Jim for the release of the colt. Jim must prove his honor and integrity by rescuing Jessica and also recovering the colt which now runs with the Brumbies. This is the same group of wild horses which his own horse has joined and which has roamed freely for many years.

To read the remainder of my review for this beloved film, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

TV Series Review -Signed, Sealed, Delivered

 

In the last couple of years the Hallmark channel and it’s sister the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel have done an excellent job in filling and growing the niche market for clean, family entertainment. I have been a faithful viewer for many years now and find that some of their productions are better than others. In my opinion, their series Signed, Sealed, Delivered is one of their very best.

SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED SYNOPSIS

Signed, Sealed, Delivered has a unique premise which focuses on a group of postal detectives. The tight-knit foursome work in the DLO (Dead Letter Office) of the Denver post office. They are assigned with the task of tracking down and delivering mail which is usually so damaged that the recipient is undecipherable. These assignments usually take them out of the office into the world at large and the mysteries they solve often relate to their own personal journeys.

 

Please join me here at The SIlver Petticoat Review for the rest of the Signed, Sealed, Delivered review.

Foreign Film Friday – The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Based on a novel of the same name, The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is a Swedish comedy film.

SUMMARY

Allan Karlsson is the 100 year old man of the title, who has lived a fascinating life as an explosives expert. His work has taken him all over the world and introduced him to many important people. It has also put him right in the center of many historical events. This all happens despite the fact that he lacks a true awareness of the gravity of his actions and choices. He is not stupid, but retains a certain innocence which shelters him from fear, doubt and disappointment. Allan lives by his mother’s advice to take life as it is.

On the day of his 100th birthday, Allan climbs out of his window and takes off with no plan or destination in mind. He stops at the local train station to buy a ticket for as far as his money will take him. While waiting for the train, a young, dangerous man rushes in to use the bathroom and asks Allan to hold his suitcase. Allan then boards the train with the mysterious suitcase still in hand to head off on his last adventure. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday – The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”

Film Review -Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Welcome back to director Mel Gibson. It has been ten years since he last directed a film and boy did he pick a great story for his return.

SUMMARY

Hacksaw Ridge tells the true story of Desmond Doss, a medic who served in WWII but who refused to carry a weapon.

Desmond Doss grows up in a home with an alcoholic father whose experiences in WWI haunt both him and his household. Thanks to his religious beliefs and a few personal experiences including a confrontation with his own father, Desmond is adamantly opposed to violence.These views are severely challenged when he joins the army as a “conscientious co-operator”. He feels compelled to be a part of the war, but refuses to carry a weapon. As a medic he wants to help save lives, but the Army does not know what to do with a soldier who won’t even touch a gun. Continue reading “Film Review -Hacksaw Ridge (2016)”

Foreign Film Friday -The African Doctor (2016)

A French film originally titled Bienvenue a Marly-Gomont, The African Doctor tells the true story of Seyolo Zantoko, a Congolese native and his struggles to serve as a doctor in a small French village in order to obtain French nationality and to expose his family to wider world.

SUMMARY

The tale begins as Seyolo graduates from a French medical school. He is offered a prestigious job in his homeland of Zaire/Congo working for a corrupt government official. Despite the money and the perks attached to this position, he has heard instead of a small French village which has been seeking a doctor for its citizens for many years with no success. He decides to take this job in the hopes that it will allow him to become a French citizen. When phoning home with the good news to his wife and children, the family is thrilled due to the mistaken impression that his job is in Paris. Needless to say, they are all in for a shock when they arrive in France and find themselves feeling like fish out of water, in a very rural community which is not happy that their new doctor and his family are black foreigners. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -The African Doctor (2016)”

Film Review -Hidden Figures (2017)

Hidden Figures is a biographical drama which tells the story of three brilliant African-American women who worked at NASA in the early years of the space program and their struggles and success in contributing to that program in an era of segregation.

I often lament the fact that “they” just don’t make movies like they used to. Today’s films often seem short of a good story and rely too much on special effects and obvious, sometimes gross humor. The development of the characters is often lacking as well as interesting and witty dialogue.

When I envision what a good movie should be, Hidden Figures is exactly what I am talking about. A quiet story about ordinary people of courage who are persistent in the face of rejection and defeat, who live their lives with integrity and honor while also challenging the status quo. Continue reading “Film Review -Hidden Figures (2017)”

Film Year 2016 in Review

I’m almost ashamed to admit that by my count I watched over one hundred films in the past year. That is not including made for television movies (I’m looking at you Hallmark.) Most of those were classic films, but I did manage to see a few new releases.

Here is a rundown on my film year.

In 2016 I saw the following new releases:

Of these films, the only one I didn’t enjoy was Hail Caesar. I was very disappointed as this was a movie I was eagerly awaiting due to its story about classic Hollywood. I’m a fan of series or sequels as long as the story is entertaining so I enjoyed Greek Wedding 2, Civil War and Jason Bourne.  It was great to be introduced to a new Jane Austen story in Love and Friendship and I thought the new Ben-Hur was interesting. Continue reading “Film Year 2016 in Review”

Seven Reasons to Love The Holiday (2006)

The Holiday is not just one of my favorite Christmas films, but one of my favorite films period.  This story which is now a decade old follows two women who decide to switch homes and lives for the holidays. In the process, they both meet new people, including potential love interests, and learn something about themselves.

Although there are many implausibilities about this film, I really don’t care because it has charm, warmth and heart. It harkens back to the days of classic films when you fell in love with a movie, because you fell in love with the characters and the story was moved along not by CGI action and graphic sex scenes but by great dialogue.

So, to rip off one of my favorite poets (I’m looking at you Elizabeth Barrett Browning), and without further ado…

How do I love thee, The Holiday, let me count the ways:

  1. Arthur played by Eli Wallach -Arthur is the elderly next door neighbor who Iris (Kate Winslet) befriends and who becomes a pseudo-therapist/mentor to her. I love the way they each see the truth about each other and encourage one another to live more meaningful lives. My favorite scene of Arthur is towards the end when he thinks he’s been forgotten and he walks into a benefit in his honor.  I cry every single time, because who wouldn’t want to come to the end of their life and realize that they have made a difference and are remembered well. I want an Arthur!!

Continue reading “Seven Reasons to Love The Holiday (2006)”