Hello, everyone – if you’re still there!
I’ve decided to launch a new site, one that will have more in-depth writing and looks at things with frequent posting while maintaining the same focus found here on readthiswatchthisplaythis – movies, games, and the world of arts and entertainment.
If you’re interested in joining me, check out my new site, scrapshot, here.
Hope to see you soon!
Disney’s latest animated hit is wintery, beautiful, and totally worth seeing. Focusing on the relationship between two sisters, Anna and Elsa, the latter of whom has the ability to control and produce ice and snow, a gift which is ultimately powerful beyond her control. Accidentally, Elsa brings an unending winter upon the land, and Anna must find a way to return summer to the world with the help of a few friends along the way.
I saw Frozen a couple of weeks ago and really loved it. I’m a sucker for anything cute and animated and pretty and Disney (I’m wearing a Little Mermaid sweater as I write this, actually), and the film definitely holds up well as a Disney princess movie. I love the emphasis on the relationship between the two sisters rather than on romantic relationships – granted, there are some of those as well, but the film itself pokes fun at the typical fairytale notion of and points towards something at least slightly more realistic. The fact that Anna and Elsa reminded myself of me and my little red-headed sister really helped to pull at the heart strings, too.
The animation itself is visually stunning, as well. This rings especially true in the scenery and the background settings. They are absolutely breathtaking. Since the world of Frozen is so white – a land plunged into an everlasting snowy winter – the emphasis shifts instead to the lighting. The way each scene is illuminated is completely breathtaking, and the lighting became one of my favourite aspects of the movie as a whole.
My favourite scene is the opening scene in which a group of ice cutters chip away at the ice covering the fjord in large blocks, pulling it out of the water and hauling it away singing. This scene is absolutely beautiful – the lighting, the animation (the ice looks incredibly real, sleek, and shining) and the music all combine to form a gorgeous opening scene that hooks you right from the start and pulls you into the world of the movie.
Concept art for the opening scene
Overall, Frozen has a great message, great characters (Olaf the snowman is charmingly hilarious) and truly beautiful visuals. Definitely worth checking out. Try and see it soon while it’s still in theatres!
Okay, okay, I know. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. A long time as in, like, three months. So a really long time.
BUT I’M BACK.
And there’s a hell of a lot of amazing books, movies, and games out right now. This is exciting stuff, guys.
I saw The Book Thief last weekend and loved it. I must admit that I’ve never read the book – though I’ve heard very good things about it – but I still managed to really enjoy the story and bawled during the film. A lot.
The Book Thief is about a German community and a girl and the people she meets during World War II. At first unable to read properly, the girl – Liesel – learns about the power of the word, and language, and stories, and books. It’s a truly beautiful story that makes for a beautiful film that, without giving away too much, will have you sobbing uncontrollably in your seat by the end. That’s a guarantee.
Filled with fantastic actors including Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and Canadian newcomer Sophie Nélisse, the movie properly displays the strength of humanity and the horrors of war from the perspectives of German civilians at the time. Featuring also the clever narration of Death (voiced by Roger Allam), the film reveals the fear and destruction that the second world war brought on while at the same time highlighting the little things that kept people going.
Worth checking out, whether you’ve read the book or not. I really liked it.
The Book Thief was directed by Brian Percival and is currently in theatres.
If it can be written or thought, it can be filmed. – Stanley Kubrick
I met a guy at TIFF yesterday with this Kubrick quote tattooed on his arm. Inspiring stuff.
I had the great luck of seeing this lovely film at TIFF at Roy Thomson Hall on saturday night after my volunteer shift (they had a few empty seats and let us sit in on the screening)! Also, I got to see these amazing actors, Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche, who play the main characters in the film, at the screening.
Words and Pictures is a sort of romantic comedy with more dramatic elements that was truly a delight to watch. The movie features Owen as a passionate English teacher at a prep school and Binoche as his counterpart; the school’s dedicated and talented art teacher. The film has never before been showed to an audience (either through previous testing or premieres) so director Fred Schepisi joked that he was nervous as to how people would react. Laughter, shock, and tears – throughout the course of the film, the team managed to bring it all.
I must quickly mention that I missed the first 15-20 minutes of the film while finishing my shift, so I’m not actually entirely sure of how it started. What I do know, however, is that the two teachers quickly begin a clever flirtatious game with one another in which they, with the aid of their AP classes, argue over which medium is more powerful: words or pictures.
The two may bicker and argue along the way, but it isn’t long before they find that they truly do get along and that the friendly competition urges their students to give their all while working on their artistic projects.
Although lighthearted in many respects, the film does deal with the troubled lives the two teachers lead outside of school as well – Binoche’s character suffers from rheumatoid arthritis while Owen’s battles with alcoholism and his strained reputation in the workplace. These backstories serve to strike a nice balance between the comedic moments throughout the film while still grounding them in a more dramatic reality.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film, knowing nothing about it in the first place and by chance being able to catch a screening, so I was truly delighted and satisfied by the simplicity and entertainment value of the story at hand. Also, Owen and Binoche pull off their characters with easy grace, and as a student of both cinema and English, I too found myself debating about the value of words verses the value of pictures.
I don’t think I can come to a conclusion on that one, but it is certainly interesting to think about.
Words and Pictures was filmed in Vancouver, BC, and does not currently have a widespread release date. If you do manage to come across the film in the following months, I’d say that overall it’s a fun film that is worth a watch.
TIFF13 begins today! The Toronto International Film Festival kicks off today and will run from September 5 – 15. A ton of huge celebrities are confirmed to be there, including Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Daniel Radcliffe, and Meryl Streep (to name a few!), as well as many creative filmmaking teams from around the world.
This is my second year as a volunteer at TIFF and I’ll be sure to keep you updated about all of the great films and stars that I see along the way! Volunteering at TIFF is truly an amazing experience. It’s tons of fun – if you live in the TO area, I’d recommend getting involved!
On another note, I will be heading back to school in a few days. Reviews will be posted more often about a variety of things, including the films that I watch in my classes – look for a ton of artsy classics from the 60’s-now!
You can click here to visit TIFF’s official website and learn more about the films in the lineup as well as to purchase tickets!
If you’re going to Festival ’13, let me know! What are you excited to see?