22 Entertainment 12/17/08
Mirador Reviews December Movies by Sophia Bollag
New Moon I am sad to say that Robert Pattinson has finally mastered his American accent. Too bad. His strange pronunciations and awkward pauses were one of the only reasons Twilight was entertaining. The worst part of the sequel, New Moon, is that it is far better than Twilight, which sounds odd, until you take into account that it was the cheesy, awkward moments in the first movie that made it worth watching (and laughing at) in the first place. Take those away, and you are left with a poorly scripted, clichéd film with a shallow plot; Pattinson’s improved line-delivery is just one example. Photo: K. French/MCT For those of you who have not read the Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart star in “The Twilight Saga: book, the storyline of New Moon is centered New Moon.” around the main character Bella’s grief when to “see” Edward (of whom she has hallucinations when her beloved vampire boyfriend, Edward, abandons her. she gets an adrenaline rush). She spends the majority of the movie moping around, Bella’s friend, Jacob, who lives on the nearby Indian screaming, and doing stupid things, like deliberately reservation, becomes concerned with her reckless crashing into a tree while riding a motorcycle and jumping behavior, and tries to comfort her about Edward. Jacob off a cliff. Her reasoning (or, more accurately, lack of turns out to be a werewolf and promises to protect Bella reasoning) is that practicing daredevil stunts will allow her from the evil vampires (not to be confused with Edward’s
The Princess and the Frog
I entered the theater to see Disney’s new animated film, The Princess and the Frog, with raised eyebrows, but just minutes into the movie, my expression changed from skeptical to enthralled. The trailers for the new Disney princess movie really had not done the film justice. The movie, set in New Orleans in the 1920s, follows the story of hard-working and ambitious Tiana (voice of Anika Noni Rose), who, as she says so well herself, “has been working twice as hard as everybody else to get half as much.” As a young, African American woman at that time, Photo: Disney Enterprises, Inc./MCT) the path to her ultimate goal, owning a successful restaurant, is rife with obstacles. When she is Walt Disney Pictures introduces its first African-American convinced to kiss the smooth-talking Prince princess, Tiana, in “The Princess and the Frog.” Pictured are Naveen (Bruno Campos) who has been turned characters Frog Naveen, left, and Princess Tiana. into a frog by the evil Dr. Facilier (Keith David), classic animated heroine. Many of the songs are catchy she magically turns into a frog herself (the reason for this and upbeat, and definitely have the potential to become is unclear, but is not so confusing as to ruin the effect). Disney classics. What is so refreshing about this particular movie is that Almost everything about The Princess and the Frog, it is about a princess saving a prince, and not the other from the characters to the animation, was enchanting. The way around. Although both Tiana and Prince Naveen are moral of the story, that you have to do more than just wish in trouble, it is primarily Tiana’s wit which enables them to get what you want, is not bad either (for a children’s to triumph, and not Naveen’s. movie). The film also touched on deeper themes—although The music is excellent. For the first time, Disney has there was no blatant racism, it was clear that Tiana had to created a princess whose voice isn’t ridiculously high work harder to get what she wanted than her Caucasian and sweet. Tiana’s voice is deeper and smoother, yet still peers, and the contrast between the standard of living for very feminine; perfect for a more updated version of the the whites in the city and the blacks was portrayed well.
Invictus Despite the impressive cast and director (Clint Eastwood), Invictus was rather disappointing. The movie chronicles former South African president Nelson Mandela’s struggle to unite his people in the wake of apartheid during the early 90s. Mandela decides that the easiest way to do this will be to create national pride in the country’s rugby team, the Springboks. He encourages the captain of the team, Francois Pienaar, to lead the Springboks to victory at the World Photo: MCT Cup. As a parallel storyline, the movie depicts the tension between Matt Damon stars as Francois Pienaar in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and SpyMandela’s black bodyguards and the glass Entertainment’s drama “Invictus.” new white ones who join them when by members of his cabinet for being eccentric. Overall, Mandela is elected president. There is also an element of Eastwood did not portray Mandela in an especially tension regarding Mandela’s family, which is never fully flattering way, although it is clear that the director intended explained. Morgan Freeman plays the part of Mandela, to do so. The scenes depicting Mandela’s prison cell were and Matt Damon the part of Pienaar. moving and the film’s namesake, the poem Invictus by While the screenplay and acting were impressive, the William Ernest Henley, is truly inspiring, but these aspects plot, which could have been inspiring, was simply boring. alone are not enough to make the film worth watching. For the majority of the film, Mandela is shown interrupting Although the story itself had potential, the way it played meetings to watch rugby matches and being frowned upon out in the film was dry and uninteresting.
clan, the Cullens, who are good vampires). The cast included Kristen Stewart (Bella), Robert Pattinson (Edward), Taylor Lautner (Jacob), and Dakota Fanning (who played an evil vampire). The acting, for the most part, was decent. The screenplay however, was terrible, so the good acting didn’t make much of a difference. Cheesy lines such as Edward’s: “Bella, you give me everything just by breathing,” filled the dialogue. Clichés can be forgiven in small quantities, but the writers of New Moon clearly know nothing about moderation—every other line was predictable. Despite its many flaws in other areas, the movie’s cinematography and soundtrack lived up to expectations. The spinning camera angle when Bella collapses in the middle of the woods after Edward abandons her, for example, is appropriately dizzying and effective in communicating her confusion. Scenes of lush forest and jagged cliffs conveyed a sense of believable romance that was missing from the script. Camera work was consistently impressive and gave the film a professional aspect that, unfortunately, clashed with the rest of the movie. Many of the songs were played at the same volume as the characters’ voices, but the artistic decision to have the background music much louder than is customary for films was a good one as it gave the movie a moody feel (and helped to drown out some of the poor dialogue).
Winter Tunes by Jamie Riley It’s wintertime, and the cool, crisp breezes are enough reason to stay indoors. This winter, what could compare to spending afternoons snuggled up by a warm, inviting fire with a rich cup of hot chocolate, while enjoying the company of family and friends? This issue Mirador compiled the best songs to compliment the season. Here’s what made the list: 1. “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” Bing Crosby and Doris Day This song lifts spirits during this winter season. Its cute, innocent lyrics celebrate the cold weather. 2. “White Winter Hymnal,” Fleet Foxes With enchanting harmonies and surprisingly dark lyrics, this song compares to a mysterious, winter’s day. 3. “Hanukkah Song,” Adam Sandler America was touched when Adam Sandler wrote this sentimental ditty “for all those nice little Jewish kids who don’t get to hear any Hanukkah songs.” I’m sure when listening you will feel the same way. 4. “Let It Snow,” originally recorded by Vaughn Monroe Enjoy this traditional song about the cold winter weather with family and friends. 5. “Winter Lady,” Leonard Cohen Although this song isn’t quite as uplifting as some would prefer, it stands out as a simple and beautiful song, with inspiring lyrics by a genius songwriter. 6. “Last Christmas,” originally recorded by Wham with George Michael This Christmas favorite is a romantic, hopeful tune. Mirador staffer Dani Vignos says, “It’s not your traditional song, but it makes you want to get up and shake your badonk!” 7. “Wintertime Love,” The Doors With lyrics like, “Come with me dance my dear, winter’s so cold this year, you are so warm my wintertime love to be,” this is one of the sweeter Doors’ songs that sets the stage for an ideal holiday season. 8. “Little Saint Nick,” The Beach Boys This holiday song combines unforgettable voices with great harmonies, all packaged into a catchy beat about Santa. You can’t go wrong with this one. 9. “A Hazy Shade of Winter,” Simon and Garfunkel This song focuses on the gloominess of winter. For some it may be a downer, but it is nevertheless beautiful and definitely worth listening to. 10. “Winter Wonderland,” Bing Crosby This timeless classic is treasured by all generations, and is sure to remind us of childhood and holiday memories.