Beauty and the Beast Cordially Invites You


beauty-and-the-beast

Anyone who grew up during the late 80’s and through the early 90’s saw the return to it’s Golden Age of Disney animation. The Little Mermaid was the first to start it, but it was the follow-up animated film Beauty and the Beast which announced loudly that Disney was back after years upon years of lackluster and underwhelming animated films.

Disney is now in the midst of another era of dominating the film industry with both it’s live-action and animated films. Recent years saw Disney take some of its classic animated films of the past and adapt them into live-action films. We’ve gotten live-action version of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty (redone as Maleficent)

Next in line is the upcoming live-action adaptation of Disney’s own animated film (which itself was an adaptation of earlier films of the same title and premise) of Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Evans taking on the three iconic roles of Belle, the Beast and Gaston.

Beauty and the Beast is set to invite all as its guests on March 17, 2017.

Disney’s First Official Teaser Trailer for Moana


Moana

Since 2012’s surprise hit Wreck-It Ralph, Walt Disney Animation Studio (you know the other one that’s not named Pixar) has been on quite a winning streak. With each new film this animation studio cranks out it’s building a portfolio of critically-acclaimed animated films that’s also huge hits with the audience. This year, the studio released Zootopia which seems to have surprised many with it’s staying power.

This Thanksgiving we’ll see the second feature-length film from this studio with the fantasy adventure Moana.

A story set in ancient Oceania and about a young girl with the natural born gift of being a navigator who goes on a quest to find a fabled island with the help of Maui, her favorite hero who also happens to be a demigod (voiced by Dwayne Johnson, who is as close to a real-life demigod).

Moana is set for a November 23, 2016 release date. Just in time for Thanksgiving.

Beauty and the Beast Teases an Invitation


Beauty and The Beast

Walt Disney Studios continues to adapt their classic animated films into live-action and the next in line is 1991’s classic film, Beauty and the Beast.

This animated film was an instant classic and the first to be nominated outside of the Best Animated Film category in the Academy Awards. It was nominated for Best Picture and, for some, it truly deserve not just the nomination but should’ve won the Best Picture award that year.

The teaser trailer makes great use of the music written and composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman for the film. We get both the prologue and the title track from the 1991 soundtrack in the teaser trailer. For those who saw the original animated film during it’s original first run in 1991 should be taken back to those days when Beauty and the Beast enchanted a global audience.

With a stellar cast led by Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Evans, this live-action adaptation has a lot to live up to.

Beauty and the Beast is set to invite all as its guests on March 17, 2017.

Scenes I Love: The Phantom of the Opera (Part 3)


Point of No Return

It’s time to finish off my triptych of Scenes I Love from 2004’s film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera. The first two parts were my favorite solo and chorus scenes from film and now we finish it off with what has to be the top scene (IMO) from the film.

The characters of The Phantom and Christine have always been the focal point of the film. Even with the arrival of the wholesome and (as Lisa Marie would call him) vanilla Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, the film continues to truly sizzle when it’s all about The Phantom and Christine moving their relationship from ingenue and mentor to unrequited lovers.

It’s the latter which this scene looks to portray through a duet written by The Phantom himself and where he swaps himself into the role of Don Juan. This duet has always been a fan favorite for those who love the musical and many different versions of it have played throughout the years. Yet, they all have one thing in common and that is the heated chemistry between the two characters once the duet begins.

The scene itself begins and comes off pretty much like foreplay between the two characters without having literal sex on the stage. The whole scene is so sexually charged that even those watching the duet who set the trap looked so transfixed that they fail to act. Even Raoul, Christine’s own fiance, finishes the scene with such a look of cuckold expression once he realizes that he could never have such a deep and personal connection that Christine has with The Phantom.

For me, this duet pretty much sums up what the whole is all about.

Scenes I Love: The Phantom of the Opera (Part 2)


Masquerade

Here we have the second of three scenes I love from the 2004 film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera.

The first scenes was my favorite solo from the film with Emmy Rossum as Christine Daaé performing the solo “Think of Me”. It’s a powerful scene that more than holds it’s own against the other solos in the film. The second favorite scene from this film comes in the beginning of Act II.

“Masquerade” is really the one and only true full cast and chorus production in the film and in the stage musical. While both would have songs and scenes involving multiple characters and a large of background chorus, this one pretty much cements the film’s grandiose and epic visuals.

Director Joel Schumacher may have his detractors and critics, but he definitely nails the grand masquerade ball in the opera house to begin the second half of the film.

Scenes I Love: The Phantom of the Opera (Part 1)


Think of Me

Stage productions, especially musicals, have always drawn me. I think it goes back to my time in my final two years in high school when, on a lark, I decided to join the Drama production as part of my after-school activities. For a teenager whose never really had any experience watching musicals prior to joining one I was surprised as any to have fallen in love with the art when exposed to it.

Musicals range from classic Sondheim-style productions to the Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera epics right up to the Matt Stone and Trey Parker comedy musicals. I love them all. One musical production that I was literally obsessed with during those late high school years was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera production of The Phantom of the Opera.

I knew the songs by heart and, even now, I still remember those final years of high school fondly because of this particular musical. So, finding out that they were going to make a film adaptation of the musical had me feeling both excited and hesitant.

How could a stage musical translate to film if they cast more for acting and less for singing?

My trepidation ended up being unfounded once I finally saw the film and was satisfied that all involved were more than up to the task of performing the iconic roles in the musical.

This first of three of my favorite scenes from The Phantom of the Opera comes early in the film as Emmy Rossum’s understudy, Christine Daaé, gets a chance to show just how much she has learned from her mysterious tutor. “Think of Me” is the one of the signature solos in the musical (the other being the Phantom’s own) and Emmy Rossum nails the scene and song. The expression on the skeptical managers in the beginning quickly turns to surprise as does the rest of the cast and crew who never realized they had a genuine ingenue in their midst.

While I will admit that the song and the scene has been pulled off better on stage, Emmy Rossum’s own experience singing as a member of the Metropolitan Opera as a child leading up to being chosen for the role of Christine Daaé more than makes her hold her own against those who came before her.

Scenes I Love: Singin’ In The Rain


SinginInTheRain

Lisa Marie were talking tonight and the conversation went from her hurting herself dancing to our love of musical films. Yeah, our minds tend to go off on such predictable tangents. Well, for us at least it makes sense I don’t know about the rest of you people.

One such musical that we both seem to agree on was our love for the Gene Kelly-directed and starred musical film classic, Singin’ In The Rain. It’s from this musical that the latest “Scenes I Love” comes from. It’s a sequence that’s become an icon of a bygone era of Hollywood. Sure, there’s been musical films even up to the last year or so, but never in the same style, extravagance and joy shown in the musical films of the Freed-era of the 50’s and the following Golden Age of the 60’s.

It’s Gene Kelly singing the signature title song while dancing in the rain. There’s not much else to say other than it’s a scene that even the most cynical and elitist film snob can’t deny for it’s utter joy.