The Princess Bride (1987) Movie Review

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Anybody want a peanut?

Cast: Cary Elwes played the extremely handsome farm boy named Westley. Westley, after working hard on the farm, goes on to seek what life has to give him, but instead ends up fighting giants, pirates and a frighteningly large rodent. Robin Wright played the beautiful young woman named Buttercup, who clearly enjoyed bossing Westley around the farm. Then one day, she realized she loved him as he loved her. Can I just say that Robin Wright was born to play this part? I mean, she looks like a real princess. I don’t care if she plays the part of an ax murderer in a future role, but if she does, all I will think of is that Princess Buttercup is having a very bad day. I’m sure Carrie Fisher goes through the same thing too as always being remembered as Princess Leia. As you can tell, I’m having way too much fun with this movie review I’m throwing out some of my blogging movie review rules with this post. Anyways, so while Westley is away becoming the black masked man, Buttercup ends up getting engaged to Prince Humperdinck, who is played by Chris Sarandon. Wallace Shawn played a very short, feisty and comical character named Vizzini. Vizzini appeared to like riddles and using his intellect, or lack thereof. Mandy Patinkin played the Spanish fencing character named Inigo Montoya who was accompanying Vizzini to capture Buttercup and kill her. Inigo was also intent in finding the six fingered man who killed his father. Andre the Giant had a fun part of playing… a giant named Fezzik. Billy Crystal played Miracle Max, a medicine man of sorts who brings Westley back to life, but not quite completely. The six fingered man does exist and he is played by Christopher Guest, who Inigo Montoya eventually meets later on in the movie. All these characters are brought to life by a grandfather, played by Peter Falk, who is reading and narrating the story to his sick grandson, played by Fred Savage.

Basic movie facts: This movie was directed by Rob Reiner that was based on a book written by William Goldman, by the same name as the movie. The “Cliffs of Insanity” do exists, but under a different name, of course. The location for the cliffs for the movie were The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Danny DeVito was originally cast as Vizzini. Christopher Reeve wanted to play the part of Westley. Robin Wright was one of the last people to audition for the part of Buttercup, behind 500 other actresses trying out for the part.

Pros: This movie is considered one of the all time best fairy tales ever filmed. A family friendly movie that the entire family can watch, The Princess Bride has become a classic to movie watchers all over the world. A quirky and romantic movie, the many characters keep you engaged and laughing.

Cons: None.

Cinematography: Adrian Biddle was the cinematographer of this lovely film. Adrian died in 2005 leaving behind 19 films to add to his legacy. His last known film was “V for Vendetta” which came out in 2006.

Music score: Mark Knopfler, from the British band Dire Straits, was asked by Rob Reiner to score this movie. What I noticed about the music score is that he used medieval sounding flutes, violins for dramatic emotional effect and a mix of eclectic sounds to match the quirkiness of the film. The music you hear in this film is unlike any other score you’ll hear in a movie in this day and age. There is a timeless sound to his music and that is something I love to listen to because it takes me to a certain part of the movie, such as the high pitched violins for the epic sword fight and the Story Book Love.

Favorite quote: The funny thing is that the entire movie is a movie quote! This movie has been known to be one of the world’s most quoted movie-ever! Here are some of my favorites:

Inigo Montoya: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. ”

Butter Cup: “You can’t hurt me. Westley and I are joined by the bonds of love. And you cannot track that, not with a thousand bloodhounds, and you cannot break it, not with a thousand swords. ”

Vizzini: “Do you know what that sound is, Highness? Those are the Shrieking Eels, if you don’t believe me, just wait. They always grow louder when they’re about to feed on human flesh. If you swim back now, I promise, no harm will come to you. I doubt you will get such an offer from the Eels.”

Westley: “As you wish.”

Audience reaction: I wish I could have seen this in the movie theater. I only got to see it via the VHS as a child. I’ve seen this so many times yet I never get tired of watching it. This movie reminds me that true love can still exist, as silly as this movie actually is. It is a sweet and romantic movie where the guy fights for his woman and the woman believes he is the only one for her. Unlike that other character who bought a house across a body of water and waited 8 years for the love of his life to come to one of his parties. Westley would have never waited that long! I love stories where the guy fights for his love, not sits around all day and puts on parties in hopes that she would attend. Sorry. I’m ranting about a specific movie!

Relatability: Can’t really relate to this movie, but I do love romantic comedies! The entire movie is so quirky, yet so sweet at the same time. There is something so timeless about it that it’s something you can’t find anymore in modern day romantic comedies. I’d like to believe there is still love that exists like this. If you haven’t seen this movie, go ahead and give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. Go in watching it with a bit of sarcasm, quick humor and silliness. Just have fun and be a child once again.

Bonus Video: Here is the cast on “Good Morning America” in 2011 for their Princess Bride reunion.


Video Credit: William Forsche

Below is the trailer for the movie. It’s a little corny and doesn’t do any justice for the lovely movie, but check it out anyways.

Big Fish (2003) Movie Review

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Cast:  Ewan McGregor plays the younger version of Ed Bloom who reenacts all the stories told by Albert Finney who plays the older version of Ed Bloom. Billy Crudup plays Will Bloom (Ed Bloom’s son) who has been estranged from his father for years, but decides to return upon hearing his illness and pieces together all his father’s stories to figure out what it is about the people his father met that has made him who he is. The beautiful Jessica Lange plays the older version of Sandra (when she is married). Alison Lohman plays the younger version of Sandra and Marion Cotillard plays Will’s wife, Josephine Bloom. Matthew McGrory played Karl the giant who befriends young Ed Bloom and accompanies him in his adventure. UK’s talented actress Helena Carter, Tim Burton’s lady love in real life, plays a witch with a glass eye who young Ed Bloom sees into to see how he dies when his time comes.

Basic movie facts: Steven Spielberg originally was supposed to make this film, but Tim Burton took over in place of him instead. When young Ed Bloom lands in Korea during a show, there are four languages being spoken: Tagalog, Mandarin Chinese, Korean and Cantonese. I know. I’d be very confused too. One of my favorite French actresses named Marion Cotillard, makes her first American film debut with this movie. This movie is based on a book by author Daniel Wallace who plays Sandra’s economic professor in the film. It’s always fun when an author of a book makes an appearance in a movie based off their book. It’s even more fun when you see the Director make a cameo in his own film too such as when Tim Burton played a clown who leaps out of the way from the wolf. Look for that scene next time you watch this movie. Upon seeing pictures of a younger Albert Finney, casting directors wanted Ewan McGregor to play the younger version of Ed Bloom because they looked so similar.

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(Albert Finney)

Pros: This is one of my top 3 favorite movies of all time. I love what the story represents and how every person that walks into your life not only shapes your future, but has an everlasting impact on you, even if it’s only for a short time. This is something I’ve always had to grapple through life as everyone else in the world does too. This story “Big Fish” is what I’m going through right now with my mother who has stage 4 cancer. Unlike Ed Bloom, I believe all her wild adventures through the jungles of Brazil and other parts of the world. I’ve heard them over and over again being told to people. I’ve never gotten tired of hearing them (ok, maybe a few times), but they are fun to listen to just to hear the reactions of people listening to them. Often I would catch my boyfriends sitting on the couch as she would tell my childhood stories-much to my embarrassment, depending on what story it was. I especially love the one where she tells of how she delivered me at birth. She was a nurse at the time. She has written a journal telling of her adventures and has given me hundreds of slides that I need to transfer into a DVD for her about her life in Brazil. She wants to write a book one day and has lots of journals she has kept the past decades to organize into a book. Her life story would be interesting. I often wonder who she’d like to play her. Maybe I’ll ask her this weekend.

Cons: It pains me to even write in this section, but as beautiful as this movie was filmed, there were several editing errors. Did I mention there were several errors in the movie? Allow me to take a moment to bang my head on my bedroom wall for a few seconds. Ok. I’m back. Take notice of Sandra’s hands on the tub before and after when she is in there with her husband. You can see some equipment cables towards the end of the movie when the father becomes a fish in the water. The hands of one of the hoola hoop girls is different in two quick scenes during a “frozen” time and let’s not forget the notarized seal on the deed which any real estate person will say is a no-no since a notary has to be present. That’s just to begin with, but who is counting?

Music score: Danny Elfman. What can I say about that man? It would take me a hundred years. His music resonates through my mind and my soul. His music moves me much like my favorite compose who ever lived, Mozart. If Mozart was alive today, I’m sure Elfman and he would be best of friends because their music are so similar in so many ways. It’s hard to describe. The reason I say is that I listen to Mozart a lot and am familiar with all his music as I am with Elfman’s music. On my ipod, you would find several Elfman songs and if you have seen some of my Vimeo videos, you’ll see I’ve always added Danny Elfman’s song “Finale” for my ending credits. I think Tim Burton having Elfman score his movies is a match made in heaven; those two go very well together. One of my all time favorite scores is from Edward Scissorhands called “Ice Dance” which is so magical, sweet and epic. Maybe I’ll use it when I go to Canada and I see Quebec City for the first time for my vacation video. A movie isn’t quite a movie until you hear his first notes for the opening of a scene and it happens to be from Danny Elfman.

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Favorite quote: There were several favorite quotes in this movie I loved, but here are three of my favorites.

“Sandra Templeton, I love you and I WILL marry you!”. What girl doesn’t like a guy with that amount of confidence? I know I do!

“There’s a time when a man needs to fight, and a time when he needs to accept that his destiny is lost… the ship has sailed and only a fool would continue. Truth is… I’ve always been a fool.” Best.Quote.Ever. (This goes for girls too).

“They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops, and that’s true. What they don’t tell you is that when it starts again, it moves extra fast to catch up.”

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Audience reaction: I own this movie and it was my first DVD purchase. I’ve watched this so many times; I just love it.

Relatability: I can relate to Ed Bloom (the younger version) in how fearless he is when it comes to some things. I can relate to his determination in his goals and persistence in how to achieve it (Quebec City in my case). The older version of Ed Bloom with the very last scene is one that always gets me a little choked up. Wouldn’t it be nice to see everyone who you have encountered (at least the ones you would want to see) throughout life be there to say goodbye to you before you passed on? To have everyone clap their hands and have big smiles as you passed them by? I hope I have many more years here on earth so I can continue to encounter day by day the many different people who have made my days and years sprinkled with happiness.

Fracture (2007) Movie Review

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Cast: Ryan Gosling plays a young, overconfident, ambitious Deputy District Attorney named Willie Beachum. Rarely ever losing a court case, Willie finally meets his match and has to rethink and outsmart the man on the opposite end of the table. The character who is Willie’s mental match is none other than Ted Crawford, played by Anthony Hopkins. Ted Crawford is so meticulous with his so-called perfect crime that he toys with Willie’s ego like a master at a chess game with his every move. The woman who is the middle of all this due to her affair with a detective is Jennifer Crawford, played by Embeth Davidtz. Billy Burke plays Lt. Rob Nunally who is the detective (and hostage negotiator) that is having the affair with Ted’s wife. When Willie decides to take on another higher paying position at another firm, he goes and tells his District Attorney. David Strathairn, plays the District Attorney who plays an important role in Willie’s decision in taking on the court case and getting advice about the case he’s taking on. Rosamunde Pike plays Nikki Gardner who is Willie’s new boss. Nikki and Willie have an immediate attraction to each other and have to find a way to balance their personal lives with work.

Basic movie facts: There are several boxes that can be seen in the background when Gosling sits in his office. The names on the boxes are of the cinematographer, set designers and second assistant directors if you look close enough.  There is a slight reference to James Bond in the movie towards Willie in court by the judge, but that was only because Rosamunde Pike (Nikki Gardner) was in the movie “Die Another Day”. Billy Burke played Charlie Swan in the Twilight movies, so when Ted Crawford says that there are “a lot of vampires out there” to Lt. Rob Nunally (Burke), you know why.

Pros: As a person who takes and loves photography, it’s very common for me to view cinematography as a moving photograph. I have my own rules where if a movie can be paused at any time in the entire film and look like a perfect photograph, then I know that is talent with the cinematographer. This movie had that. Every frame was beautifully set and lighting was perfect. I was amazed at how easy each scene transitioned to another without too much effort and the angles and dimensions were smooth and flawless. You can thank  Kramer Morgenthau for such exquisite talent because you might have even seen many of his works from the list of 43 films he’s been involved in. If Hannibal had a nicer brother, it would be Ted Crawford who was played superbly by Anthony Hopkins. You can definitely see the pure and easy talent Mr. Hopkins brings to the movie. As you may already know, John Grisham is one of my favorite authors and his books deal with lawyers and suspense, so this movie was easy for me to understand.

Cons: I think Willie should have worn a hidden mic somewhere in his shirt to tape all the verbal confessions Ted Crawford gave him throughout the movie. But if he had done that, the movie would have lasted less than 45 minutes and that would not have been too fun, would it? I think Nikki Gardner’s character’s was thrown in last minute to give the characters a softer side and leverage out the seriousness of the court case, but I think the movie still could have worked without her.

Music score: Music scores were produced by Mychael Danna. I especially liked the track called “I decide when it gets pulled”. This particular track is mysterious, dark yet suspenseful. Just the sounds of the rapid pace of the drums is enough to get your own heart beating faster than usual for this particular scene.  Even if I never saw the movie before, just hearing the track is frightening! Well played Mychael Danna, well played (no pun intended). Mychael then goes on to make another track called “Beachum” in reference to Ryan’s character. The track starts off confident, sexy and alluring only to end much differently than when it began, just like the revolution of Beachum’s character in the movie. If you liked the music in the movie “Life of Pi” then you are already familiar with Danna’s work. He won an Academy award for Best Original Score for “Life of Pi”. Pretty impressive!

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Favorite quote: The reason why this movie was cleverly named “Fracture” is because the object in question may look fine and without any fault, but a small fracture somewhere (the weak spot) can be found and once found, can easily be broken. Ted Crawford already knew Willie’s weak spot, but it took Willie longer to find out what Ted’s weak spot was in order to break him.

Ted Crawford: “No, I used to candle eggs at his farm. Do you know what that is? You hold an egg up to the light of a candle and you look for imperfections. The first time I did it he told me to put all the eggs that were cracked or flawed into a bucket for the bakery. And he came back an hour later, and there were 300 eggs in the bakery bucket. He asked me what the hell I was doing. I found a flaw in every single one of them – you know, thin places in the shell; fine, hairline cracks. You look closely enough, you’ll find that everything has a weak spot where it can break, sooner or later.”

Audience reaction: This movie is a psychological thriller, one of my favorite types of movies to watch. I love story lines where there is mental challenge between two very strong and equipped characters. The movie tells you what happened, but it does not tell you how it happened, which is great to figure out as the movie unfolds. I was transfixed and mesmerized the entire movie as I watched it online. This was a fun movie to review! I should do more Ryan Gosling movie reviews throughout this year.

Relatability: I personally know two negotiators. It definitely takes a certain type of person to do such a job. Anyways, I highly recommend this movie. Go see it!

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) Movie Review

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Cast: Nia Vardalos plays a 30 year old Greek woman named Toula Portokalos who is looking for love, but at the same time trying to understand her Greek roots and traditions. John Corbett playes Ian Miller, a High School teacher who is not Greek, yet falls in love with Toula and wants to be accepted by her family. Ian Gomez plays, Mike, Ian Miller’s bestfriend. Michael Constantine plays Gus Portokalos, Toula’s very Greek father who is steadfast in marrying his daughter off to a Greek man. Lainie Kazan plays Maria Portokalos, Toula’s very well meaning, but loud mother.

Basic movie facts: One night Rita Wilson saw Nia’s one woman stand up comedy show about her life as a Greek woman and decided to make her standup live into a movie. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are two of the movie producers of this movie. Ian Gomez who plays “Mike”  is Nia’s (Toula) real life husband. Many of the extras who played family characters  in the movie are real life relatives of Nia and Ian’s family. I recognized Ian Gomez in this movie only because he was in one of my favorite tv shows called “Felicity” where he played a gay guy. John Corbett I obviously knew from Sex in the City, duh.

Pros: This movie is one of my top 10 favorite romantic/comedy movies of all time. I laughed out loud throughout the entire movie which is a good sign that this movie could keep my attention. The dialogue was fun, funny and sarcastic. Nia’s narration was not too much and you could sense her personality through it as a result. One scene I thought was funny was when Toula served Ian’s (John Corbett) coffee cup leaving Ian Gomez looking at his real life wife (Nia=Toula), like, ok….whatever! I just thought that was such a funny scene!

Cons: None. It’s in my top 10, so all movies face immunity in this case.

Music score:  Original music was produced by Alexander Janko and Chris Wilson.

Favorite quote: There were so many quotes I wanted to use, but this one was crazy and funny at the same time. Aunt Voula: [to Ian’s parents] “Now, you are family. Okay. All my life, I had a lump at the back of my neck, right here. Always, a lump. Then I started menopause and the lump got bigger from the “hormonees.” It started to grow. So I go to the doctor, and he did the bio… the b… the… the bios… the… b… the “bobopsy.” Inside the lump he found teeth and a spinal cord. Yes. Inside the lump was my twin.”

Audience reaction: It was only me watching (with you out there, of course). I laughed and laughed! I hope you did too.

Relatability: The reason why I love this movie so much is because I can easily relate to Toula and her personality. There is a scene where she meets “Ian” in the travel agency and she forgets that her headset is on and she walks away only to be yanked back by her headset cord and falls to the floor. That is something that would happen to me. I can be such a dork sometimes. I’m also very shy when it comes to guys I like; I’ll hide behind something if I know he’s looking straight at me or cover my face with the dinner menu at a restaurant (that has actually happened on several occasions). I know that seems shocking to those who say I appear extremely outgoing, but I do have a very shy side to me when it comes to guys I am attracted to.  There is also a scene where Toula asks Ian why he likes her and that is something I find myself asking guys who have been my boyfriends. Sometimes I get a little insecure and just have to ask them why me? All these girls out there and you love me? Why? Haha. I found that scene very sweet and sentimental. John Corbett’s character, Ian, is a combination of all the great qualities of guys I have dated or have had as boyfriends in the past. The guys I’ve dated in the past have come from Holland, Russia, Sweden, Egypt and the United Kingdom. They have all shared their culture with me and I’ve learned about theirs. At the end, you can’t stop love no matter where they come from. It is up to us to look beyond our differences and get alone. We can each learn something from each others culture. Overall, this is a cute movie and not something to over analyze or else it will take away from the funny and sweetness of it. I recommend this movie to anyone!

 

*To see the entire movie, look at the blog post before this one.