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Doctor Who (2005)
The Bitter with the Sweet
I came late to this new "Doctor Who" series, missing most of the first season. The first thing I was aware of was that it was respectful of the classic series - seeing an old friend like Sarah Jane at the start of the second session for example. The second thing I noticed was the companion Rose was not just there for the Doctor to rescue, she was a strong force in her own right, so gone was the paternalistic sexism of the classic series. The third was the bittersweetness of many of the episodes that I don't remember being there in the classic series. Most of the bittersweet comes from the mixed emotions of the Doctor himself. He is a being, the last of his kind whose loneliness and not yet revealed reasons why he survived mix with his joy of the infinite variety in the universe and his fascination with the still full of potential humans. I don't know where the Doctor's journeys will take him or how his personal past will affect his future, but I'll be there along side him hoping he finds what his looking for.
Wonderful adaptation of a classic story.
This much anticipated telling of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" is a visual feast. Everyone of the beloved characters are there: Aslan, the children, Father Christmas and of course Mr. Tummus.
The audience at the 12:01 showing were completely enraptured in the breath taking scenery and action - again New Zealand shines! Unlike previous live action versions the creatures are photo-realistic,not cartoons or "stuffed" animals. The special effects houses that worked on this including WETA and ILM out did themselves. This is the world I imagined it when I read the book.
The scene at the Stone Table is moving, you weep with the girls over Aslan and the battle scene is spectacular, you really fear for Peter and Edmund as they go one-on-one with the White Witch.
There are a few changes in the plot, as with any movie. The telling of a tale in a book is much different than telling a tale in a movie. The changes are minor and add to the story and distract little from the plot for those familiar with the story.
Highly recommended for everyone!
Ring of the Musketeers (1992)
When you want something light - this fits the bill.
This made for TV movie may not be at the level of Shakespeare, but it doesn't have to be. It is meant to be light entertainment, in other words you don't have to think too hard. I watched it originally because John Paragon directed it. (He also has a small role as the air control supervisor). I re-watched it because it's just fun and a bit silly.
The only performers credited I recognized were John Rhys-Davies, David Hasselhoff, Corbin Bernsen and Cheech Marin. But it has several surprise performances in small parts. Keep an eye-out for Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Edie McClurg, Lynne Marie Stewart (Pee Wee's Playhouse's Miss Yvonne), and Suzanne Kent (Pee Wee's Playhouse's Mrs. Rene).
Le ballon rouge (1956)
Can still warm my heart 35 years later.
The RED BALLOON was introduced to me in elementary school when I was in the third grade. I have vivid memories of the mother putting the balloon out of the window and it stayed near-by, of the boys breaking the balloon and of the "rescue" of the boy by the balloons of Paris. Even after 35 years I remember it with fondness.
I work for a school district and was excited to find a VHS copy of the film at the media center. I immediately checked it out to share with my students. Watching it again after all these years was like going back in time it filled my with awe and wonder. With the added bonus of seeing these third graders respond to it the same way I did all those years ago.
I would recommend this film to elementary classroom teachers as a stepping-off to teach story-telling and to mid-school and high-school teachers teaching film. It is a wonderful classic that shows that the simplest story can have great impact when told with care and love.
The Frog Prince (1988)
Charming and Heart Warming.
This is a film I was introduced to by a friend who gave it to me as a Christmas present back in 1988. I have worn out three copies of the film since then sharing it with friends and family. This is one of the films I watch when I am feeling blue. And in spite of its flaws (weak dialog at times and almost saccharine lyrics) it is charming and warms the heart. For me the highlight of the film is John Paragon (probably best known as Jambi the Genie) in the role of the title character. His physicality brings the Frog Prince to life. His mixture of high energy, melancholy and sense of humor showcases this under-rated performer's talent. Aileen Quinn's performance as one of the princesses, is another example of her ability to shine in front of the camera. Every time she cries, I cry. And Helen Hunt as the mean sister is classic. You really want to hate her, but at the same time are feeling sorry that she doesn't understand what it means to "be a princess". Over all a very enjoyable film for children and adults alike.