Friday, January 29, 2010

The Best Movie You've Never Seen: "For Me and My Gal" (1942)

Gene Kelly ("An American in Paris" and "Singing in the Rain") and Judy Garland ("The Wizard of Oz) team up in this gem from MGM studios, the first of three the pair would make. The movie marks Kelly's first film role and tells the story of two vaudevillians whose lives and love are interrupted in the outbreak of WWI.

This movie blends all the things I love about old movies: Great acting, spectacular vocals and fantastic dance numbers. This film really showcases the talents of its young stars and is one of my favorite classic movies.

Check it out. It's the perfect film to curl up and watch on a snowy afternoon.


Why We Still Need Disney Animation

In 2004, still reeling from the flop that was “Home on the Range,” Disney announced they would never again make another hand-drawn, traditional animated film. For 5 years, they kept that promise and gave us many of the Pixar films we know and love. But all I have to say is, thank goodness for broken promises.

With the release of “The Princess and the Frog,” Disney has not only returned to its roots, but made us realize what we never knew we were missing. There is something magical about traditional, hand drawn animation. Undoubtedly, for people our age there’s the nostalgia of the Golden Age of Disney that so many of us grew up with and loved. For the younger generation, who only have experienced Disney films on TV screens, it’s just one more for them to love. And for movie buffs, like myself, there’s the knowledge of the feat it is to hand-draw a movie.

“The Princess and the Frog” proves that Disney still has what it takes to make movies as good as “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King,” and “Beauty and the Beast.” It harkens back to a simpler time in life, a time of VCRs and VHS tapes, when all you had to worry about wasn’t term papers, final projects or lab grades, but whether or not the princess would find her voice, the cub could be the king, or an ambitious girl could help a beast find his heart. For two hours, all that mattered was whether Tiana and Naveen would get achieve their dreams.

Maybe that is why traditional Disney animation is so timeless, so beloved, and still so needed. The Walt Disney World motto is that it’s “where dreams come true.” And if you think about it, Disney characters always get their dreams. They always obtain what they set out to get, if not always in the way they expected. In these troubling times, what better message to give kids could there be than that. That no dream is too big and that reaching for the stars is an admirable thing. Without dreamers, there is no innovation. Without innovation, there is no progress. Without progress, there is no change and we stay exactly where we are. Here’s hoping we see more in this vein from Disney.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Trailer Park: "Date Night"

The gods of comedy must have been smiling on the producers of "Date Night" when they cast the movie, because they managed to hire two of the funniest people in the business, Steve Carell and Tina Fey.

Carell and Fey play Phil and Clara Foster, a married couple looking to spice up their marriage. On their "date night," Phil decides to be impetuous and take another couple's reservation who don't show when they're called. Turns out, the couple are actually in trouble with some mob-type people and the Foster's find themselves for more than they bargained for.

This movie promises to be one of two things: 1) Very funny or 2) one of those movies where all the funny parts are in the trailer. I think it will at least be worth checking out to see which one it is. With Fey and Carell, I would bet option 1. But we'll have to wait until April 9 to find out.