Sunday, November 24, 2013

Disney Fun Day- Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins is a 1964 musical starring Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, and Glynis Johns. Julie Andrews plays Mary Poppins, the magical nanny who comes to work for the unhappy Banks family. The unruly children Jane and Michael Banks regularly drive their nannies away with their messy habits and tendency to escape for unsupervised adventures in the park. Their distant banker father decides to take the task of hiring a new nanny away from his distracted suffragette wife, but the children write their own job description, which mysteriously flies up the chimney and directly to Mary Poppins.

I love this movie. It charming, delightful, and full of magic and it still holds up for children today especially considering it was made nearly 50 years ago. The story it is based upon was actually written nearly 80 years ago! Most people are now aware of the fact that this Disney movie was based upon the book series written by P.L. Travers. Walt Disney actually spent 20 years working to acquire the rights to produce this movie, a story that will be brought to the big screen this December in Saving Mr. Banks. I am beyond thrilled to see this movie! Tom Hanks looks like he will be a wonderful Walt Disney, and I am very much looking forward to seeing the story of how Mary Poppins came to be. I do know that P.L. Travers was ultimately disappointed with the final result and felt it was a betrayal to her books. Though I can’t yet understand how anyone could hate Mary Poppins, I am looking forward to seeing a little more of Travers’ side of the story. But I am getting side tracked!! Back to Mary Poppins!

The music in Mary Poppins is delightful and the dancing is superb. Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are an incredibly talented and wonderful pair! Remember the robin Mary Poppins sings with while cleaning up the nursery? That is Julie Andrews whistling! Another interesting musical fact, the song “The Beautiful Briny Sea” sung by David Tomlinson and Angela Lansbury in Bedknobs and Broomsticks was originally written for Mary Poppins. In the P.L. Travers stories Mary Poppins takes the children on many adventures, including to the bottom of the sea! The song was ultimately cut from Mary Poppins and though I would have loved to see Mary Poppins bring Jane and Michael on more adventures, I feel that this song in particular is much better suited to the Island of Naboombu! 

I've spent a significant amount of time trying to decide which song is my favourite from Mary Poppins, but it doesn't seem to be working! So instead of trying to pick one I like the best, I've decided to include one of the most incredible routines I've ever watched "Step in Time!". The choreography, the set design, and even the pyrotechnics combine to make this show stopping number!

But Mary Poppins isn't just a musical joy as there was also incredible work put into combining the live-action with the animation such as the entire sequence within the chalk drawing. My favourite part of this is actually the carousel. This was an actual carousel that was built and painted to look like it was animated. The close up of the carousel operator is a close up of the actually carousel with the animation overlaid for the operator and the shadows passing him! Though, Bert’s interaction with the fox is also pretty darn incredible. All around there is just so much incredible attention to detail!! And we can't forget about the beautiful views of the city. These matte paintings were created by Peter Ellenshaw on large sheets of glass with holes cut to allow light to be shone through, illuminating the city. 

Now of course, I do have some problems with this movie but they are purely personal. I want to know more about Mary and Bert. What is there backstory? How do they know each other? Will they actually see each other again? I want details!! But there is one moment I know a lot of people took exception to- that Mary Poppins refused to tell the children she loved them. But I must say that I actually never had this issue which is weird for anyone that knows me. But I seemed to always be OK with the fact that Mary was there to fix the family, not become a part of it. She was there to show Mr. Banks the wonderful gift he had right in front of him.  

What I also love about this movie is that it brings together so many wonderful actors. My favourite type of movie are the ones with people in them I love so much that as soon as I finish watching I start looking for another movie with them in it, simply because I'm not finished! And then of course there is the fact that I'm just not ready to let go of that Disney magic!! And so I'd like to share my list of movies I'd like see again having watched Mary Poppins, though not all of them are Disney! I highly recommended everyone check out at least some of these incredible finds!

Ellie- 10/10

Mary Poppins is a magical story that draws me in every time I watch it. What is your favourite part of Mary Poppins? Leave a comment or

Friday, November 22, 2013

What's New?

Released on DVD this Tuesday

Tuesday, November 26
Click here to check out any of the trailers for these movies.

Retired C.I.A agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device.

Coming to Theatres Next Wednesday

Wednesday, November 27
Click here to check out any of the trailers for these movies.

Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman Olaf in a race to find Anna’s sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.

A former DEA agent moves his family to a quiet town, where he soon tangles with a local meth drug lord.

A street-wise teen from Baltimore who has been raised by a single mother travels to New York City to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged relatives, where he embarks on a surprising and inspirational journey.

Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked up in solitary confinement for 20 years without reason. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Dazed and Confused

Dazed and Confused is a 1993 film that chronicles a group of teenagers experiencing the last day of school before summer break. The film is set in 1976, and stars an ensemble cast of actors and actresses that would become high-profile actors in the coming years. Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Jason London, Adam Goldberg, Rory Cochrane, and Joey Lauren Adams are just some of those involved with the film.

The film takes place during the last day of high school, and focuses on two specific groups – the juniors who will become seniors at the end of the school day, and the incoming freshman. The juniors are excited to embrace being the kings and queens of the school, and are eager to haze the incoming freshmen. One of the key members of this group is Randall “Pink” Floyd, the school’s star quarterback. Much of the film focuses on Pink and his growing friendship with Mitch, the freshman brother of one of Pink’s close friends. Mitch is anxious to enter high school, and him and his friends attempt to avoid the newly crowned seniors throughout the day.

Throughout the film, the new seniors attempt to hunt down and haze all of the incoming freshman, in order to welcome them to high school. While this sort of thing is no longer encouraged today, I found it extremely funny watching all of the seniors scour the town for the “fresh meat”.  Some of the punishments were just demeaning, especially the senior girl’s surprise for the freshman girls.

Because the film is set in 1976, it is only natural to include some of the best songs from the era in the soundtrack. Bands such as Foghat and Lynard Skynard are featured throughout the movie, and really add to the party theme. Music is a big aspect of any film, and I really felt that the music in Dazed and Confused helped put the audience into the time period.

Dazed and Confused has long been my favourite movie. It is a coming of age film that really just shows how teenagers don’t always want to grow up; they simply want to have fun. One of my favourite aspects of the film is its low-key drama…the biggest problem on the minds of the teenagers is whether they should get Aerosmith tickets. While it does not focus on heavy-handed drama, the plot still flows well, making the movie enjoyable. The only complaint I have ever had about the film was Mitch’s insistence on playing with his hair… drives me nuts. Other than that, this film is simply awesome. Watch it.

Cody- 10/10

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games is the first movie of a trilogy based on the bestselling books written by Suzanne Collins. This movie stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, Stanley Tucci as Casar Flickerman, Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and surrounds the events of the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games take place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic future in the nation of Panem and involves 1 male and 1 female tribute between the ages of 12 and 18 being selected to participate in the annual Hunger Games. This selection is made during The Reaping which is essentially a lottery process set up in each of the 12 districts to select 2 Tributes from each district, for a total of 24 participants. Based on this annual event The Hunger Games film follows Katniss Everdeen as she becomes a Tribute and her journey surviving the Hunger Games.


As someone who has only ever seen the movie and never touched any of the books I am unable to comment on anything regarding differences or similarities however because of the books I was at first hesitant to see this movie. The Hunger Games arrived after all of the Twilight hype originally in theaters, so then I heard about the popularity of this book I assumed that it was just another one of those types of stories. However after seeing the initial trailers for this film I realized that I would be seeing it in theaters and it did not disappoint. Watching this movie again for this review I was not disappointed, The Hunger Games is an all around good movie. 

I could easily sit here and rip this movie apart over minor things or defend the movie from all the criticism, just like any other movie, but I think when it comes down to it this movie is an all around good movie. I find it annoying how some people will try to compare all movies on the same standard, and with The Hunger Games being a big blockbuster film I think it is just that. The story is interesting and easy to follow, the action is interesting, and visually it looks stunning. 

Maybe it’s just Jennifer Lawrence, but this movie is one of those movies that I can watch over again without being bored to tears. It generally moves at a strong pace and anytime it slows down I at least have Jennifer Lawrence to look at. This isn't to say this movie is only good because she is in it, but she certainly was a very strong cast for this movie. 

The problem for me though while watching this movie was that it left me wanting to know more, and being that I have never read the books I am left waiting for Catching Fire to come out. Now I could just read the books, but I read comic books and have enough of those to catch up on, so I am rather excited to see Catching Fire to continue this story.

Chris – 8/10 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Condemned

The Condemned stars Steve Austin as Jack Conrad, a former member of the United States army who is imprisoned in El Salvador. At the beginning of the film, he is "purchased" by a company along with nine other criminals. The company is led by Ian Breckel, who has purchased these criminals to take part in a battle to the death. This event will be broadcast over the internet, and the survivor will be granted his/her freedom. All of the contestants are forced into this event, and are fitted with explosive ankle bracelets that will explode if there is not a sole survivor after thirty hours. The rest of the film follows Conrad as he attempts to survive the game.

The film brings up an interesting question of morality. Many people find Breckel’s idea to be despicable, and find that airing this content is the equivalent of a global snuff film. However, he argues that these criminals are already condemned; they are set to die anyway, so should he not be a hero for letting one of them have the opportunity to survive? A number of people oppose Breckel, including members of his own crew, who initially support the idea until they see it in action. While many of the members of the crew are excited for the game to begin, they get a quick dose of reality when they realize these criminals are not simply going to act civilized. Some of the rape scenes are difficult to watch at times, and the amount of brutality between the criminals is excessive.

The film itself suffers from a number of issues. The entire FBI side plot seemed disconnected in relation to the events on the island. We are not given a real reason why this FBI agent is so invested in the case of Jack Conrad, and for the most part it does not seem to fit with the rest of the story. Also, throughout the film Breckel mentions how many millions of viewers are currently watching the battle to the death take place. Other than Jack’s friends at the bar, the film lacks any scenes to show how the world is reacting to Breckel’s game. We are led to believe that while many people oppose his tactics, the majority are tuning in to the game. Even a simple scene showing people around the world watching the game would have helped solve this issue.

Jack is also able to infiltrate the crew’s base way too easily. They just released ten, dangerous, murderous criminals on an island, and they don’t have a ridiculous amount of preventive measures to ensure their own personal safety? Guard dogs, a battalion of armed guards - even a fence that can actually keep people out would have been nice.

The Condemned is a nice action flick, but the number of issues with the film prevent it from being a truly enjoyable movie.

Cody- 6/10