December 27th, 2016


Movie Critique 2016 – 08/26/2016: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a movie review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars:  5 / 5
Recommendation: Absolutely a delightful animated movie with the undercurrents of darkness to it.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the 1937 American animated musical film produced by Walt Disney Productions. Based on the German fairy tale by Brothers Grimm is the earliest Disney animated film. The movie has since then been re-created in so many ways with so many different kinds of stories based on this original story, yet the first movie always remains a treasure in your heart and mind. At the 11th Academy Awards, two years after the movie was released, it received an honorary Oscar Award.

I don’t need to outline the plot of the movie as everyone knows. But I would like to point a few things - at least those that I felt astonishing. Loved the initial frames showing the actual book and two paged bringing up to the beginning of the story.

I don’t remember that her Prince Charming meets her even before she was put into a death-like slumber by the poison apple. He first sees her singing at The Wishing Well.

The scullery maid outfit of the princess depicted in the film was far more realistic than those depicted in most of the movies that came after.

Interesting to know that the Evil Queen's name is Queen Grimhilde - that I have never heard before either - and The Huntsman is named Humbert.

While we were visiting Washington D. C. that August with my brother's family and my parents, this movie was playing on the TV. For some reason my nephews were scared of the depiction of the evil Queen, the portrayal of her more-like and also the scene where Snow While was left alone in the forest in the dark - only that particular scene. Other than that they had liked the movie. I wonder what they would say if they see the recent gothic versions of the movie.

But don’t you think the movie has a dark-side although in this earliest version Disney has softened it considerably - including quite a few gags and going as far as to make the Prince look like a clown. However, there are so many hidden meanings behind this seemingly children's story - Don’t be obsessed with yourself (like the evil Queen); Don’t trust strangers (just like Snow White when she takes the apple); Live simple and enjoy everyday things;

The movie is timeless classic and has inspired many adaptations in several languages. A movie that I had watched for the first time though. :) And would watch it again and again any time.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) This movie may be the earliest Disney animated film, but The Adventures of Prince Achmed still stands as the earliest known animated film-ever. This was released in 1926. Check out my review about that here:

2) The official trailer for this movie that introduces the characters by their personalities and also explains how the animation was made - cel animation to be precise (each frame is drawn by hand. More about it here). Very interesting.


Movie Critique 2016 – 08/27/2016: The American President

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a movie review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars:  5 / 5
Recommendation: Political drama with comedy and romance all tied up neatly and happening in the Oval Office to charm you every second along the way.

During the month of August when one of my brother and his family were here in CT visiting me and my parents, one of the trip we took was to Washington D. C. Although we had been there before, we hadn't been inside the White House. This year we got the chance to be inside, thanks to the President's approval of the invitation. We had a great time going through the East Wing of the White House. My nephews had such thrill going thru the rooms, knowing the history, and knowing different presidents and understanding the key events during their presidency. One of the room that we were shown was the China Room. Although we weren't allowed inside the room we did get a glimpse of the room. That room reminded me of the "Dish Room" comment by President Andrew "Andy" Shepherd in the 1995 American romantic comedy-drama The American President.

And here is the dish room that I took picture of.

Well, there you go, the reason for me to post review of this movie for this particular day.

The film starred Michael Douglas on the title role, with Annette Benning as Sydney Ellen Wade - a closer hired by environmental lobbying company Global Defense Council (GDC) to convince the president in getting 20% reduction of CO2 emissions - Martin Sheen as A. J. MacInerney - White House Chief of Staff - Michael J. Fox as Lewis Rothschild - Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy - Shawna Waldron as Lucy Shepherd, Richard Dreyfuss as Senator Bob Rumson - President's Republican opponent from Kansas.

The movie opens with the President Andrew "Andy" Shepherd preparing for a re-election and already has a 63% approval rating when he along with his Chief of Staff, A. J. pass a moderate crime control bill that is still being looked at by both parties with leery. Sydney Ellen Wade is hired by GDC to convince president in getting 20% reduction of CO2 emissions. While Lewis Rothschild is trying to have President use the 63% approval rating to go against the Gun Crime rather than General Crime. Providing an appropriate attack response to Libya. In the midst of all of this the attraction between Andy and Sydney increases and unfolds into a full-fledged romance much to the delight of the opposite leader Richard Dreyfuss who doesn’t hesitate in smearing Sydney's name in whatever way he wants. The plot continues with Sydney and Andy trying in their own way to get the CO2 emission bill passed, fighting the character attack by the opponents and at the same time working towards a win in the election year.

Each and every actor fit perfectly in their roles. The dialogues have a perfect timing that has comedy with an underlay of seriousness of the issues being highlighted. Gun Crime is always a serious business and so is smearing on characters or attacking another country because everyone expects him to or struggling to understand the virtue of proportionate response or courting between Sydney and Andy. Gives you an insight into how much a president carries on his shoulders when ruling a country.
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The first time I saw this movie which was perhaps 10 years ago on television, it made me think that the role Michael Douglas played as the president was too good to be true. How ironic that Michael Douglas plays a Democratic President in the movie. Very Very too good to be true. I have not heard of a president who would be so down to earth, humorous, handsome, very matriculate while taking decisions of many lives on both domestic and foreign soils, sympathetic even to the foes, devoted parent, keeping personal and public lives as separate as possible, spur of the moment decisions to drive his staff crazy in a good way and above all a people person. A very fantasy and fictional person who exists only in books, movies and in dreams. Until Barack Obama became the President. It will be really sad to see him leave come 2017, a marvelous man to be ruling the free world, his amazing wife Michelle and gem of kids. I don’t know if I will get to see such a person and a family in my lifetime again.

Although I am posting this way behind in my schedule, so many of the scenes shown in the movie play into the real politics that I recently watched when two candidates were running for president. It has been 21 years since this movie released, and so much of what is shown holds true to the current date. For some reason I feel that this movie has been made as a precognition of Barack Obama's ruling and the following 2016 Presidential elections at his term end. Anyways, this is a movie I thoroughly enjoyed watching then and continually enjoy the movie anytime it plays on television. If you haven't yet, I would suggest go ahead and watch it.
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