Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Feature a Movie (3)

For a while, I’ve been wanting to start reviewing films, the occasional one, to try, so that’s what this is: each month, I’ll pick a film I watched and review it. It could’ve been the most memorable film, the strangest, the one that made me think or fear or- you guessed it- hope. You’ll just have to see.
This month I'm featuring Into the Woods and Plesantville.

I watched two particularly thought provoking films in June, so who cares for reviewing only one film a month! I'll review them both!

Into the Woods.
I haven't actually read the script or watched the original production (I gave up on them both) but the film looked- and was supposed to be- well done, and though I didn't love it, I love the discussion it presents.
The songs haven't been memorable, but I liked their use of language and rhyme- although the song between the Princes was wonderful in how ridiculous it was. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the actors in those leather pants, though.

These days I know plenty of people who don't like fairytale retellings, but I for one do. A lot. And I liked seeing seeing Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jack, Red and the bakers come together to tell their stories in a way that was wonderfully (and darkly) close to their original forms.

My main annoyance was that Cinderella was so indecisive, even if that was her character struggle. It was a little ridiculous how she just kept on going to the ball and then running, so unsure about what she wanted. I mean, I'm fine with not making a snap decision- she was going to be losing her freedom either way- her the way she went about it frustrated me.

The best thing about the film, though? It's not about good people and bad people. It doesn't have a happily ever after. It deals with people who do wrong things or bad things but aren't evil- and they're not good, either. They're just human. The Witch isn't bad, she's determined and she does the wrong thing, but she loves her daughter and wants to protect her and stop her from being stolen away.
Jack kills the giant, he steals, but he is desperately trying to get his best friend back the only way he knows how.
Everyone, practically, was just human. For good and bad.

I was a little apprehensive about Pleasantville, after hearing about a certain scene- I thought it might be uncomfortably explicit and that unnerved me.
But it wasn't. Not for me.
It deals with lust, sex, sexual pleasure, discovery- sexual and emotional- and it was all handled really well. Not explicitely or in excessive detail- kind of beautifully, actually. And these elements were so important to the film and the story it told.

The idea of Pleasantville is that it's the setting of a TV show where everything is just nice. Not necessarily good or bad or different, not emotional- just pleasant. And when a brother and sister from the 90s are transported there, back to the lae 50s, they consciously and unconsciously take elements of the life they're used to back- sex, reading, proper education, art. Joy. And gradually, as the citizens experiment, they change from black and white to having red lips and bright clothes.
This leads to some of the townspeople showing some spectacular racism, "No Coloureds" signs appearing in storefronts, hate crimes, even book burning.
There is a courtroom scene and all the "coloured" people were on the balcony, all the grey people below. It was enchanting, to see that stand taken, and horrible ad mournful. But so effective in the message it carried across.

Pleasantville gets you to appreciate the colour of everyday and it asks the leading question of what is the thing that brings you enough joy and independence to become yourself.


  1. Into the Woods was a difficult movie for me too - because I love the original musical so much, and the film just felt short in a lot of ways. But it is still quite a good film. Just not as awesome as the stage musical. :) I love how you broke down what it's all about though with the fact that there are no good and bad people, just people who make mistakes and have to live with them.

    I have never seen Pleasantville, but it sounds really interesting - I had no idea it was that thoughtful of a movie. I've only seen the posters for it I think. I hope to watch it sometime now, I think I would really like it!

    1. That's so interesting, especially as it was a fairly long film. I feel like they should have been able to capture a lot of what was in the original, but it's interesting that they must have focused on some elements more than others. Maybe I should give the musical another try, then!
      Aw, thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it; it was something that made me appreciate it that bit more and I enjoyed thinking about it so much, so I'm happy you found it enjoyable.

      Oh it is SO interesting, and I imagine you'd like it a lot, actually. It seems like a film you'd appreciate and enjoy, so I hope you do! xx

  2. Never seen either one. Yep. The only time I've featured a movie on the blog was when I was 'forced' to go see the Hunger Games premiere. Lol.

    1. Well if you're interested in either, I'd recommend them both! They're rather interesting, although I enjoyed Plesantville more. Wait what. You were forced to go to the premiere of HG? WHAT IS THIS?!

  3. I HATED Into the Woods, with a deep and fiery burning passion. Practically from the first minute, I wanted to turn it off but SOMEHOW I made it through those two hours intact (barely). I thought the songs were irritating, and I didn't like any of the characters. Everything about it just rubbed me the wrong way, to be honest. And I had SO been looking forward to it, because it's a Disney film AND a musical, and how could those two things together go wrong? Well, they did. SO HORRIBLY. The only thing I liked was the scenery and cinematography - they were ace.

    I haven't heard of the other film you watched, but it sounds pretty powerful!

    1. Oh no! Really? That must have been disappointing. I suppose I had a bit of background, having skimmed the script and seen a little of the original, but still. I definitely enjoyed it more than you. It was shot so beautifully, though, and the backgrounds... they were completely lovely.

      I'd definitely recommend it, Chiara. I think you'd find it really very interesting. xx

  4. I was so entertained by Agony (the song between the two princes.) I loved the human quality to the overall story too. My friends were disappointed by the film (one thinks that maybe musical-film adaptations aren't for her anymore - only live musicals.) I enjoyed it but the pacing felt a bit strange e.g. the last half was a bit rushed.

    I loved Pleasantville too! I studied it in high school and I completely agree about how beautifully executed the whole concept of colours, emotions and desire in that context was (I also loved how the colour red was used in those awakening scenes too). I need to watch more quietly surprising films like that.

    1. Wasn't it fantastic? It was so out of the blue, a totally unexpected interlude for me, and I enjoyed it enormously (once I worked out what on earth was going on). I agree that the pacing was a little peculiar- the beginning was perhaps a little slow, the middle dragged and the end went a bit quick.

      Isn't is so neat? It's definitely stuck with me more than I anticipated and I'm excited that I'll definitely watch it more in the future and hopefully take different things from it. Yes! It was so interesting, too, to see what it took to bring colour to the different people. xx

  5. Oh wow, I can't remember if I've seen Into the Woods but Cinderella does sound pretty frustrating. That's actually a deep and insightful way of looking into the movie and the people actually all being human - I mean it just makes you think of real life.

    Pleasantville...I remember watching many, many years ago. It was a really stark contrasted movie, I don't remember much about it because I was really young at that point.

    Great reviews Romi!

    1. I enjoy thinking of it in that way- it makes me feel a little differently about the actions and struggles of all the characters. It covers people from so many different walks, too, and yet they're all just human.

      Maybe you should watch it again, so long as you don't have bad memories of it? It's really interesting and quite a discussion starter. xx

  6. Everyone was raving about Into the Woods when it came out it made me really want to see it. Hearing something negative about it for once is really strange haha. But at least it will remind me to not go in with high expectations. I've been a little wary from the start because I'm not typically a fan of musicals, but I like the sound of how it shows that everyone is human.

    I haven't heard of Pleasantview before. It sounds interesting!

    1. I think it came out when I was offline, so I only briefly saw the excitement of it before it hit cinemas, and when I was online again it was kind of... over. I'm glad I watched it, though. It was pretty thought provoking. Oh! I totally get that, Bec. I always get super interested in any negative reviews if I'm only seeing people raving about something. I want to see how others take those same aspects or point out different elements.
      If you do watch it, I hope it's at least an interesting experience!

      It so is. I'd definitely recommend. xx

  7. What a breath of fresh air! Nowadays, I tend to read book blogs all the time, and while that's wonderful, it can get too repetitive to boot. I missed Into the Woods when it came out in our country and since its release, I haven't heard a single "rave" about it. But I still want to see it nonetheless. And ooh, Pleasantville sounds intriguing.

    1. Aw, thank you, Shlumiel! I'm incredibly pleased to hear this made a nice change for you. I really enjoy reviewing films, too; it feels different from books and makes a nice change, for sure.
      I hope you enjoy Into the Woods, if only for the Princes song, which is absolutely wonderful.
      I actually think you'd enjoy Pleasantville a lot! It's so thoughtprovoking.

  8. haha omg Pleasantville! I remember having to study that in high school English. It was actually a really good film to study especially because of the black and white vs colour- lots of motifs and things. I didn't really enjoy it that much overall to be honest though. Maybe because I had to study it- sucks the fun out of it a bit, rewatching certain scenes 20 times to dissect every little film technique.

    1. I am distantly infatuated with it, myself. I'm so glad it ended up being such a winner for me, since I had started to feel pretty hesitant. I can imagine that, to certain levels, studying something for school or work could make it less a joyful experience and more a "work" one, which makes it perfectly understandable that you don't have lasting happy memories of it. I'm sorry for that, Nara! xx


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