Weekend Viewing Reviews: Mirror Mirror and Angel (2007)

The last day of July is coming to an end, in fact it’s already August for some of you, but hey I thought I’d fit in a couple of reviews first before I post my Monthly Roundup tomorrow. Been watching the Olympics much? The only thing I managed to watch is the opening ceremony which was splendid I thought. Great job Danny Boyle! To me the main highlights were the Mr. Bean on the Chariot of Fire orchestra and of course, James Bond escorting the Queen! If you haven’t seen that Happy & Glorious clip you can watch it here.

Anyway, here are the two movies I saw over the weekend:

Mirror, Mirror

By the time I posted this Snow White battle post I was still on the fence about which Snow White movie I was anticipating most, but then after seeing the silly trailer, I decided I wasn’t going to waste my time on Mirror, Mirror. Well this Friday night my hubby and I were looking for something light and fluffy, and it’s either this or This Means War, and since we like a few of Tarsem’s work, we thought ok, what the heck.

Well guess what, it’s actually quite entertaining. Right from the early concept poster, this movie had always been marketed as a comedy and I think on that front it delivered. I was laughing throughout and despite some really cliche moments, I enjoyed it. Lilly Collins is definitely believable as Snow White, and despite marginal acting skills (this isn’t exactly an acting movie after all), at least she is far more expressive than Kristen Stewart!

I’m still bothered by Julia Roberts as the evil queen however, and her atrocious British accent (if you can even call it that) is just laughable. Why did Tarsem even insist on her speaking with a British accent anyway?? I mean this is a fairy tale, she could’ve been speaking with an Icelandic accent and it won’t matter, might as well let her keep her Southern drawl. Thankfully, it doesn’t derail the whole movie, and Armie Hammer as the dashing Prince more than makes up for her shortcomings. The 6’5″ hunky Californian looks like he practically jumps out of the Disney fairy tale princess storybook, but Hammer’s got some decent comic timing to prevent him from being more than boring eye candy. The part where he was under the puppy love spell is quite a hoot! The Prince and Snow White has a sweet chemistry, and there’s an amusing twist about the whole true love’s kiss notion.

Nathan Lane is a natural at comedy and he gets the most laughs here. A major plus here is that unlike Snow White and the Huntsman where the dwarfs were criminally underused, they have a pretty big part here. The relationship between them and Snow White are also much more developed in a whimsical but heartwarming way. That’s not to say this is a deep movie, but at least it’s consistent with the trailer and doesn’t over-promise us with something profound.

Tarsem’s visual is not as spectacular as in The Fall, in fact it seems too CGI-ish coming from the visual visionary. I’m also not too fond of Snow White’s makeup, I mean Collins is absolutely gorgeous but someone needs to wax her Leonid Brezhnev eyebrows! I normally don’t complain about stuff like that but those bushy brows do become quite distracting as I’m watching this.

Overall I thought it was pretty enjoyable and did I mention Sean Bean also had a cameo here? Oh, and Tarsem did an homage to Bollywood in the final scene which I thought was fun, but at the same time I’m glad he didn’t put this scene in the middle of the movie!

3 out of 5 reels

Angel (2007)

Now this movie seems to have everything going for it for me to LOVE it. It’s a period drama, one of my favorite genres, it’s about a writer, and it’s got a nice cast. I actually like Romola Garai in Amazing Grace and Atonement, I think she’s quite underrated. There’s also Sam Neill, Charlotte Rampling AND Michael Fassbender as Garai’s love interest. Ok, what’s not to love, right? Alas, it’s quite disappointing.

The story is set in early 20th century England where Angel Deverell (Garai) grew up with her single mother atop her grocery shop. She is a gifted writer who’s always dreamed of being a novelist. She defies all odds when somehow a publisher (Sam Neill) is willing to take a chance on her and publish her romance novels. The thing is, Angel is as far from angelic as you can get. She is a pompous brat with no manners and treats her own mother and aunt, pretty much the only family she has, like dirt. It’s tricky to create a story based on an unsympathetic heroine. She reminds me a bit of Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, only much, much less endearing. Heck, at least Scarlet treats her parents far better than Angel does.

The transformation from rags to riches feels rather abrupt as well, and I can’t seem to figure just what is the point of Angel’s story. We’re only given a glimpse into her best-selling novels but not enough to see just what made her the way she is. Those novels made her famous and rich enough that she could buy Paradise House, a sprawling estate she’s always dreamed of living in as a kid. But Angel remains an enigma up until the end, and it’s such a lost opportunity since the movie pretty much focuses mostly on her for the entire two hours running time.

Fassbender as the object of Angel’s affection is wonderful to watch, though even he still can’t save the movie. The moment Esme appeared he was quite breathtaking, and despite his not-so-kind words about Angel’s work, she was smitten [well naturally]. Yet there is something wanting about their romance, I don’t know why I just wasn’t enthralled by it, even their love scenes leave me cold, Fassbender’s shapely bum notwithstanding, ehm. There’s also a key relationship between Angel and Esme’s sister, Nora, who’s rather obsessed with Angel, but once again, there’s not much character development in that either, so the whole thing is just frustrating.

I generally like Sam Neill but I feel that he’s wasted here. Charlotte Rampling who plays his wife makes much more of an impression with her sardonic smile, she’s the only character who doesn’t think highly of Angel right from the start. As for the protagonist, I just can’t muster enough sympathy for Angel, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily Romola’s fault as I do think she’s a decent actress.

It turns out that this is French director François Ozon’s first English-speaking movie based on a novel by Elizabeth Taylor [no, not the Hollywood actress]. Well, I’m not exactly impressed by his work here. The set pieces and costumes are beautiful enough, but poor narrative really drags this movie down. Oh, to make matters worse, this film has got the worst special effects I’ve ever seen in a contemporary film. It looks like it was made for only $150K instead of  $15 millions!

So, unless you’re a die hard Fassbender fan, I really can’t recommend this one. It’s too bad as it seems to have the recipe of a charming period drama.

2 out of 5 reels

Well, what did you watch this past weekend? Thoughts about either one of these movies?

29 thoughts on “Weekend Viewing Reviews: Mirror Mirror and Angel (2007)

  1. Ted S.

    I don’t think I’ll be sitting down and watch any of those films you’ve just reviewed. 🙂 Definitely not my cup of tea.

    Saw TDKR again over the weekend at the fake IMAX theater, I liked it even more the second time around. I’ll be seeing it again maybe this weekend since I can now use a free pass at the real IMAX theater, they wouldn’t let me use it the first week the film opened. I also rented Sherlock Holmes: Games of Shadows, I thought it was kind of lame. I don’t remember much about it, glad I didn’t go see it in theater.

    I might actually consider seeing Total Recall remake this weekend, if it gets descent reviews, if not I’ll wait till it hits BD. I’m going to pick up the new Blu-ray of the original film and watch it again for the countless times.

    1. Ahah no I didn’t think either one of these is for you 🙂 As for Game of Shadows, I kept putting off watching that one, not too interested for some reason, I’d rather just wait for season 2 of BBC Sherlock which is guaranteed to be great.

      Yeah, I want to see Total Recall too, I know the reviews probably will be bad but I just want to see some fun, bombastic action.

  2. Mirror Mirror was perfectly okay and that is about it for my money 🙂

    OMG you saw Angel too? Many aspects of the film fell flat for me as well, but I did some digging around and found out there was a lot of subtext to the film that I apparently missed out on. Also a lot of the cheesier set design elements are on purpose.

    The reason for my fervent desire was I could not be convinced that the man who produced films as sleek and sophisticated as Swimming Pool and 8 Femmes could be responsible for such as film … some of the interviews turned out to be very explanatory in this regard. That is combined with the fact that the actors involved (esp Charlotte Rampling) are usually much more deliberate in their film choices.

    All that said, I stick by my initial observation about not being 100% convinced by the film despite its lofty ambitions.

    1. Hi Iba. Did you see Mirror Mirror in the theater? For me it’s worth a rental, can’t believe I like it more than ‘Huntsman’ but K-Stew is really to blame for that.

      I didn’t bother reading more about ANGEL as I was so bored w/ it. Seems like one of those projects that look good on paper and has everything going for it, but the production/direction/pacing, etc is just bad and the story seems rather pointless.

      1. Yeah I attended a preview of Mirror Mirror (same theater where they did TDKR) 🙂

        And yes I would NOT recommend any further research into that Angel film; I just happen to like the director’s other work and wanted insight.

  3. Hmmm,i may just give Mirror Mirror a chance now.

    And this weekend i watched rewatched Eyes Wide Shut with a friend(he came over with the blu-ray version of it).Thankfully he liked it also(this was his first time watching it), and the blu-ray does make Kubricks directing even more striking.And he has Pulp Fiction on blu-ray, so i will try to rewatch it with him at some point.

    My dad also showed me a older movie called the Great MicGinty, which was awesome. After watching it i realized there are basically no happy movies about politics

    Btw i got my TDKR review up.

    1. Also, in my Eyes Wide Shut rewatch i noticed a quick shot where the was a hint of homosexuality. Found it rather courageous, since this was before Brokeback Mountain and movies like that became popular

    2. It’s not a bad choice for rental, it’s more enjoyable for me than ‘Hunstman’ as I wasn’t cringing watching the protagonist! You like Eyes Wide Shut huh, I still don’t have interest in seeing that. What’s Great McGinty about? I just remember I still need to watch Franklyn that you recommended to me a while back. I wonder if Netflix Streaming has it.

      1. Part of me figures Eyes Wide Shut wouldn’t be to your tastes…but another part of me would be curious to see your opinion of it. And as for the Great McGinty its a political satire made in 1940.

        And FRanklyn may still be available. I think at some point it came off, but i could be remembering wrong.

        1. Sorry Julian, but I really don’t have interest in such a film. It’s just a preference thing, just like I won’t be seeing SHAME or something like Lust, Caution.

          1. Ted S.

            Yeah if you don’t like that particular subject then I recommend staying away from it. Eyes Wide Shut was about sex, sex and more sex at the end. Personally I thought it was good, not the best that I had hoped for since it was the first film Kubrick directed in over 10 years and unfortunately his last.

  4. I disagree on one point: Fassbender saves this movie until he leaves it and then I’m out. I can’t tell you the last time I watched this movie all the way through. Thank goodness I own it lol. Great review as always!

    1. Ahah, well if you’re a big fan of his then I can see why you’d say that 🙂 I’m just so so with him, but he is indeed good looking in this flm.

  5. I actually just watched Mirror Mirror myself the other night Ruth. I have to say, I didnt like it. Nice comment on the eyebrows. LOL. That’s exactly what I thought. Hammer was good but Roberts was terrible.

    1. Hi Mark, oh I agree Roberts was terrible, but I do like Hammer and Collins and there were enough laughs to entertain me. I was more disappointed w/ ‘Huntsman’ as it the trailer was so promising.

  6. Nice post 🙂
    Last week I watched To Rome With Love, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. Thoughts coming soon. I’ve also been watching the Olympics and catching up on the Opening ceremony (which I missed because I was at work) and some trashy shows.

    1. How’s To Rome With Love? Are you gonna post a review? It didn’t look as good as Midnight in Paris but I’ll still watch it for the scenery!

      1. Yes, I’m posting all my pending reviews in the following days 🙂 The scenery is pretty, of course, but the movie is so-so. There are a few things that make it worthwhile, particularly the acting but it’s a mess and it can’t compare to Midnight in Paris.

  7. yep, that ebil Julia Roberts ruins every film she appears in… but as you said at least the film doesn’t have that atrocious Kirsten Stewart or what her name is…
    I can’t wait to see what Tarsem will do with MARCO POLO which is his new project 🙂
    ANGEL sounds lovely too, love me some period pieces especially if it features Fassbending pieces 🙂

    1. Ahah, I love how you said ‘ebil’ Dez. Yep, this movie is already a plus as it didn’t have K-Stew in it! Oh, Marco Polo?? Interesting, I vaguely remembered him from history class 🙂 ANGEL is not as lovely as it could’ve been unfortunately, but yeah, the ‘Fassbending pieces’ are great to watch, ha..ha…

  8. You saw more movies over the weekend than I did, Ruth. 😀 I’ll probably be skipping over both of these, but I’m glad to hear you got some enjoyment out of Mirror Mirror. It sounds harmless enough.

    Now, you mentioned Sean Bean has a cameo in that. The big question here is, does he actually survive till the end?? 😀

    1. What?? Now that’s a first! I guess you played too many video games 🙂 Ha..ha.. well you’d have to find out about Sean Bean, can’t spoil it for you.

  9. Woah those two are awful. Glad you liked Mirror Mirror though at least you didn’t feel you wasted your time, I nearly fast forwarded through it Roberts was surprisingly not horrible though. Angel is very annoying movie but at least the visuals including Fassy were nice, though he played real douche.

    1. Yeah, Mirror Mirror was entertaining enough for a rental, at least it’s consistent w/ the trailer which is rare these days. Fassy is great in ANGEL but really the movie could’ve been so much better!

  10. Don’t think I’ll be watching either of these. I’ve enjoyed Tarsem’s work on a purely visual level before but, even on that aspect, I find him to be a little less masterful than everyone else. I think his films are visual treats, but not necessarily groundbreaking or wildly original. An early film from 1920 like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is more visually interesting and original to me.

    In any case, Mirror Mirror does seem to have some redeeming aspects, but not so much Angel, apart from the presence of the super talented Fassbender.

    I only managed to watch Traffic so far this weekend. I had seen parts of it before, so this is the first time I saw it from beginning to end. A solid 3.5/5

  11. Susanne

    I loved Angel, I don’t think you guys got it! It was a wonderful melodramatic tribute! I thought it was amazing….

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