Weekend Roundup and Disney’s FROZEN review

‘Tis the weekend before Christmas. Hope all of you have gotten all your Christmas shopping done and not have to endure long lines at the mall!

Well, I went to the cinema to see FROZEN, but sounds like more people went to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, perhaps some were repeat customers. Bilbo ended up beating Ron Burgundy as The Hobbit 2 made $31 mil while Anchorman 2 earned $28 mil, which is rather low considering their super aggressive marketing campaign.

In any case, I saw The Wolf of Wall Street this past week, Thursday to be exact, which was good but boy was it ever dark and filthy. Martin Scorsese and Leo DiCaprio pulled all the stops in portraying the worst of human corruption based on a crooked Wall Street banker’s memoir (review upcoming). Well, by Friday I needed a palate cleanser if you will, something truly lighthearted and wholesome to erase all those gross and vile scenes from the day before. FROZEN did the trick beautifully.

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This film wasn’t in my radar until I started seeing reviews of it popping up everywhere. Seems that Disney didn’t market this one as aggressively as say, Tangled from a couple of years ago. In any case, I loved this one as much as Tangled, if not slightly more.

Though the film is set on a Kingdom in a far away land and there are princesses involved, the story is not quite what you would expect. Two sisters, Anna and Elsa, grow up in the kingdom of Arendelle and the film opens with the two of them playing together in the snow… but inside the palace. Y’see, Elsa has a certain powers that can turn anything to ice and snow, so as kids, it was obviously fun for Anna to have an older sister who can create their own Winter Wonderland, complete with a snowman they named Olaf. That is until an accident occured that their parents had to lock themselves away in their castle in order to conceal Elsa’s powers. It’s especially devastating for Anna that Elsa has isolated herself from anyone including her own sister, that year after year she sings ‘Do you want to build a snowman?’ in front of Elsa’s door. But every single time, her door remains closed.

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When the time comes for Elsa’s coronation to be Queen of Arendelle, Anna is ecstatic (naturally!). At first the story seems to have gone to a predictable route to a ‘boy meets girl’ variety, complete with exaggerated love songs that they’re destined to be together. But fortunately, there is more to it than that, in fact, Anna’s journey is just beginning.

The heart of the film is the epic journey for Anna to find Elsa, who’s driven away from the castle when her powers got discovered. As she flees, she has inadvertently set her kingdom to eternal Winter. Along the way, Anna encounters a rugged mountain guy Kristoff with his beloved reindeer Sven, as well as Olaf, the snowman from her childhood fantasy. I have to admit that I’m not always fond of silly sidekicks in animated movies as they can grow irksome pretty quickly. Thankfully Olaf is irresistibly lovable and hilarious, the sequence of ‘snowman in Summer’ is a real hoot! Kristoff is an easy fellow to root for as well, but the real star here is Anna (voiced by the adorable Kristen Bell) as the protagonist of the film. A fearless optimist with a big, big heart, she is definitely one of those people ‘worth melting for.’ Ever since she was a wee girl, you can’t help but love her.

What I love about this film is how Disney has taken the typical princess romance with its ‘true love’ concept and turns it on its head. It’s really a film for the whole family in that it celebrates the love between family, specifically sisterhood and the complicated relationship that often comes with that. There’s theme of competitiveness and jealousy, but ultimately, it’s centers on the bond and love between the two of them.

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I absolutely enjoyed this film from start to finish. For a film called Frozen, it’s definitely NOT a cold movie, in fact it’s the opposite. It’s a fun adventure filled with hilarious moments and genuine, heart-warming moments. I saw this in 2D as that’s the showtime worked best for us but I think the fantastic special effects would’ve made the 3D worthwhile. I absolutely loved the scene when Elsa built her ice palace, the visuals is so breathtaking that even though I’m already so sick of Winter at this point, I can’t help but admire the beauty of snow and ice crystals. Oh and of course you can expect the beautiful songs in Disney movies. I think the key song here is Let It Go as it’s Elsa’s defiant song about accepting who she is, but my favorite is Anna’s rendition of For the First Time in Forever that’s played twice in the movie.

I didn’t know Kristen Bell could sing so beautifully, truly I was pretty impressed by her vocals, plus I think her personality fits the character of Anna perfectly. Broadway star Idina Menzel did a great job as Elsa, and both Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad as Kristoff and Olaf did a smashing job as well. The strong female themes is always nice to see, and it turns out Jennifer Lee (who wrote the splendid Wreck-It Ralph) served as screenwriter AND director (along with Chris Buck in the directing chair).

I’m sure glad I saw this on the big screen. It’s one of the most enjoyable and emotionally-gratifying movies I’ve seen all year. My hubby had a great time watching this as well and we both agreed we will be buying the Blu-ray once it comes out!


4.5 out of 5 reels

P.S. The short film Get a Horse! in the beginning is awesome in that John Lasseter puts a fresh spin to a vintage Disney animation.


So what did YOU see this weekend? I’d love to know your thoughts about FROZEN as well, so let’s hear it!

Five for the Fifth: OCTOBER 2013 Edition

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Hello folks, welcome to the 10th Five for the Fifth of the year!

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item, observation, trailer, actor/director spotlight, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. There are two actors I like who’s having a birthday today: Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce. I’ve dedicated a post to the luminous and massively talented miss Winslet and posted my top five favorite roles, so I’m going to focus my attention here on the Australian thespian.

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Mr. Pearce who turns 46 today, I haven’t seen enough of his work to do a top five but I absolutely love him in L.A. Confidential and Memento (in that order), and also his supporting roles in The Hurt Locker, The Count of Monte Cristo, The King’s Speech and Iron Man 3. I still want to see the Aussie drama Animal Kingdom and also Lawless, he’s so unrecognizable in the trailer!

What’s YOUR favorite Guy Pearce roles?


Timberlake_RunnerRunner2.  I just read this article on The Wrap on Justin Timberlake after I saw the trailer for Runner Runner (review coming Monday). Truth be told, I wasn’t fond of the pop star at all, nor do I find him to be remotely attractive. But I’m slowly warming up to him, though I still much prefer him in supporting parts (preferably more comedic than dramatic roles) as he’s just not leading man material to me. Case in point: In Time, which would’ve been a lot more compelling had Cillian Murphy is in the lead instead of him. Granted the Irish actor is perhaps not a ‘marquee name’ (though he SHOULD be) so he’s not as marketable, but he’s certainly a much better actor.

In any case, it’s interesting to see how many films Timberlake has done, but his most successful one is still The Social Network, which I think is still my fave film he’s been in. I guess he’s not as good an actor as he is a singer, and his star power doesn’t exactly translate at the cinematic box office.

Thoughts on Justin Timberlake? I’m also curious if there a musician-turned-actor whose work you admire.


3. Ok, this is one piece of news I find truly mind-boggling.

Earlier this Spring, the crime drama BROADCHURCH aired on ITV in Britain, and then the show was bought by BBC America and it was shown this past August. The show just concluded its first season run on BBC America last week. Former Dr. Who David Tennant and Olivia Colman star as two detectives investigating the murder of a young boy in a small coastal town, which brings a media frenzy that threatens to tear the community apart. My friend Novia (a huge fan of BBC shows) praised the show in her review, and I’ll be posting a guest post on why people should check out this series.

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Well, I just read on BBC America web site that FOX is going to remake it and though Tennant will reprise his role as the lead detective, the show will be “thoroughly Yankified,” as the article says. “The Fox redo will be set in an American small town. The network hasn’t said whether Tennant will play a Scotsman (which he is in real life) who has ended up on this side of the Atlantic or will adopt an American accent for the U.S. version of the series.”

I guess it’ll be similar to the show Elementary on CBS which capitalizes on the popularity on BBC’s Sherlock, and just as pointless. I really don’t get this types of projects but maybe there’s actually people who thinks this remake is a good idea. If so I’d like to know why. I’m also puzzled why Tennant is willing to play two separate versions of the same character [scratch head]

So perhaps one of you smart folks could enlighten me as to WHY Hollywood is doing this??


4. A couple of trailers got me super excited this week:

Before I get to it, watch Thorin er, Richard Armitage introduces the trailer [swoon] 😛

… and the trailer itself:

Totally agree with Sati that every woman who sees The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug trailer better has medics waiting for her outside!

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I LOVE that there are more scenes with Thorin this time and also Thranduil (Lee Pace), the two major eye candy by two actors who really should get more roles already. I wish those two were as busy as Benedict Cumberbatch, whose dragon voice sounds awesome. Fun to see Sherlock tormenting Watson again, ahah.

Speaking of Cumberbatch, I just rsvp-ed to see The Fifth Estate this coming Tuesday. Can’t wait to see the controversial film about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. It’s got a great cast, too, including Daniel Brühl and Dan Stevens. Check out the latest trailer:

Are you excited for either (or both) of these?


5. Now, the last topic is inspired by my recent review of GRAVITY, which still lingers with me a week and a half after I saw it. Few films have such power to really get under my skin (in a good way). In my review I mentioned about the deep emotional/spiritual aspect of the film, yet another strength of the film on top of its technical and visual spectacle.

Well, now my last question to you is: What’s the most emotionally gratifying film(s) you’ve seen this year?


That’s it for the OCTOBER 2013 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these subjects.