Archive for the ‘Out-of-Character Info’ Category

Maleficent: Movie Review

The much awaited Maleficent is finally here, in a multiplex near you! Check out Sarah’s review of the fleshed-out, epic live action version of Disney’s animated classic Sleeping Beauty, featuring Elle Fanning as the beauty and Angelina Jolie as Maleficent.

By: Sarah Diamondswirls

We all know the iconic animated figure; weird ‘horn’ cowl/hat, long black and purple dress and cape, magic ‘staff’ with a crow sitting atop it. That is Maleficent, the ‘wicked witch’ character who curses Sleeping Beauty to her long, long nap. Well, Disney has brought one of its most frightful villains to vibrant live action and Angelina Jolie is cast perfectly for the role!

Maleficent casts a spell

Maleficent casts a spell

Happy Youth

This new rendition of the The Sleeping Beauty tale focuses upon future fairy kingdom (called The Moors) queen Maleficent (later played by Angelina Jolie) as she happily grows up sharing her realm with magical wood creatures and soaring around using her magnificent and powerful wings. When she is a teen, Maleficent meets a human boy named Stefan who came to the Moors from the nearby human kingdom to steal a jewel but both are smitten and he keeps coming back to visit her. Finally, when both are 16, and she is totally in love with him, he seals their relationship with what he calls “True Love’s kiss”.

Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) with servant Diaval (Sam Riley)

Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) with servant Diaval (Sam Riley)

Raging Ambition and Betrayal

When the dying human king, whom Maleficent and her forest types have beaten in a battle, challenges anyone who can kill her with the reward of being his heir, Stefan’s driving ambition makes him the ideal candidate. He already can get close to her! Stefan (now played by Sharlto Copley), betrays Maleficent in a really horrible way leaving her soul-less and full of a desire for the ultimate revenge.

King Stefan (Sharlto Copley)

King Stefan (Sharlto Copley)

The Curse

The now King Stefan’s baby daughter Aurora is born after many lonely and angry years for Maleficent and she sees her chance to even the score. She comes to court to curse the child to prick her finger on a spinning wheel spindle when she is 16 and fall into a deep sleep that can only be broken by “True Love’s kiss”. Maleficent is sure the girl will never wake up because, after all, there is no such thing as a kiss from a true love. Look what happened when she believed there was!

Maleficent about to bestow her curse

Maleficent about to bestow her curse

Protecting Aurora

To protect his daughter, Stefan turns her over to three inexperienced pixies (played with silly charm by Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Leslie Manville) who live with her in the woods, barely even knowing how to feed her. Seeing the child possibly of never reaching her 16th birthday, Maleficent turns in secretly to “help”. She also has fun teasing the pixies and enlists the aid of a young man she rescues from being beaten (Diaval played by Sam Riley) whom she turns into a crow so that he can spy for her.

Aurora meets the glow fairies

Aurora meets the glow fairies

Pixies assigned to protect Aurora

Pixies assigned to protect Aurora

Teenaged Curse Time

A 15-year-old Aurora wanders into The Moors, meets a handsome prince named Phillip (Brenton Thwaites) who is passing through and is intrigued. Aurora isn’t afraid of Maleficent and adopts her as her “fairy Godmother”. Already charmed against her will by the younger Aurora (played by Angelina and Brad Pitt’s real young daughter Vivienne), Maleficent finds that this teen princess is much like herself at that age, relating to the denizens of the forest with warm and fuzzy glee. When Aurora learns about the curse and that it was her new “Godmother” who conjured it, she runs back to finally meet her dad at the castle.

Maleficent meets the young Aurora

Maleficent meets the young Aurora

Reversal?

Having gradually been drawn to Aurora and seeing her kind spirit, Maleficent tries to reverse the curse but, on her 16th birthday, Aurora does prick her finger on the spindle and falls into a deep sleep. Maleficent’s efforts won’t make the curse go away. She brings Phillip to the castle and Aurora’s bedside to try that True Love’s kiss thing, even though she doesn’t believe in it but that doesn’t work either.

Aurora on her 16th birthday

Aurora on her 16th birthday

Outcome?

Will the unfortunate Maleficent somehow manage to wake Aurora before Stefan learns she is in the castle and kills her? Who will Aurora’s waking kiss come from? Will Maleficent ever be able to return The Moors to their early fairyland glory?

Sleeping Aurora with the Prince

Sleeping Aurora with the Prince

Wrapping Up

Two words are at the top of the plus column for this film: Angelina Jolie! She is amazing, totally succeeding in bringing a one-note, iconic animated character to rich, multi-faceted life. You can not take your eyes off her expressive, sharp-angled face (make-up by Rick Baker) whether she is relishing her vengeance or is shattered that it can’t be reversed. Her eyes alone express volumes. The real success of the film is in fleshing out this one-note character to give her a reason for her behavior and Angelina should get an Oscar nomination for doing so.

Maleficent asks for silence

Maleficent asks for silence

Unfortunately, the rest of the tale doesn’t fare so well. Elle Fanning is ideal to play the young, innocent princess but has little else to do. Sharlto Copley does an admirable job of portraying the power-mad king but his descent into selfish ambition isn’t really explained. The three pixies (are they pixies or fairies? They were fairies in the animated version of the tale) who reluctantly care for Aurora are so inept and relatively uncaring that their attempts at comic relief fall flat. Despite the well-acted portrayals, we just don’t like them. Sam Riley is sympathetic as Maleficent’s gofer sidekick made to change into various animals at her will but it seems he is really only there to represent the crow that the animated Maleficent traveled with and be a possible distraction, i.e. could he be true loves’ kiss?

Aurora in the woods seeking her fairy Godmother

Aurora in the woods seeking her fairy Godmother

The most baffling story turn comes near the end. I can’t discuss it without spoiling some of the film’s most poignant moments, but it involves Maleficent’s wings very suddenly and inexplicably “getting” a power of their own and “coming” to save the day. Talk about something out of the blue and contrived! Just bad story-telling.

The young, winged Maleficent

The young, winged Maleficent

The look of the film in production design, costuming, cinematography (even though all 3-D seems a bit “dark”) is stunning, creative and beautiful.

On the strength of Angelina Jolie’s knock-out performance alone, despite story flaws, I have to go four stars but without her, it would be three.

Maleficent Movie Rating: 4

Maleficent movie poster

Maleficent movie poster

Maleficent is in theaters now!

Million Dollar Arm: Moview Review

By Sarah Diamondswirls

Is it possible for two teens, who have never even picked up a baseball, become major league pitchers? With the right support, love, care and training, you bet! Check out Sarah’s review of Disney’s Million Dollar Arm.

Show him the money!

Popular sports agent J.B Bernstein (Jon Hamm) loses a money-making client to a bigger agency. This may mean a failure for the agent’s small firm. Unless he can find a another major client or whip up some kind of promotion that will bring in the required money, he might be doomed and his partner Ash (Adsif Mandvi) would have to quit to support his family elsewhere. A single playboy without any solid emotional support in his life, J.B. starts telling his troubles to his tenant Brenda (Lake Bell), a pretty, smart medical student. There might be a glimmer of hope there.

J.B and Bella watch the boys play

J.B and Brenda watch the boys play

The Million Dollar Idea

While watching a  reality show on telivision, J.B. gets the idea to create a sports-based talent hunt for the next big major league pitchers. He would start in a country like India, where cricket is considered as big as a religion, recruit cricket players, turn them into star baseball players and convert that country’s residents into baseball fans! He would more than save his small agency! A backer gives him promotion money. He’ll have to do it in a year, only in an year.

J.B is certain that his scheme would work

J.B is certain that his scheme would work

Putting the Team Together

J.B. recruits a coach (played by Bill Paxton) and an elderly but amazing baseball scout (Alan Arkin) and is off to India to set up try-outs to find the fastest young pitchers; the guys with “million dollar” arms.  Looking for speeds 80 mph and above, J.B. and team are discouraged with try-out speeds only hitting 45 until two impoverished Indian teens Rinku Singh (Suraj Sherma of Life of Pi) and Dinesh (Madhur Mittal of Slumdog Millionaire) both throw in the 80’s! The guys aren’t even cricket players. They just have natural talent.

Rinku, J.B and Dinesh visit Rinku's village in India

Rinku, J.B and Dinesh visit Rinku’s village in India

The Finals

After he goes  to rural areas in India to meet the families of Rinku and Dinesh, J.B. realizes just how much this kind of dream means to the boys and their families. There is no money, but there is love there. Now the guys will go to L.A. with sixteen others to see who can win “Million Dollar Arm”. J.B. and Brenda are regularly skypeing now and she is growing on him.

J.B. and the scouts hope to discover great pitchers

J.B. and the scouts hope to discover great pitchers

Strangers in a Strange Land

In L.A., Dinesh and Rinku are “boys gone wild” as they discover all the strange, high tech gadgets and club life, opposite to their simple lives in India. They push all the buttons in their hotel elevator (!) and are kicked out. They have to come to stay with J.B. , who is not in a good mood as Brenda has grown distant from him. The guys start training at USC but can’t catch any balls with the big, awkward baseball gloves they are given. It’s not looking good at all. They have to be ready for try-outs in six months. Bored and homesick, the boys watch soaps  on J.B.’s TV . What’s more, they also discover yummy pizza!

J.B. introduces the boys to pizza and T.V

J.B. introduces the boys to pizza and T.V

Missing Family Love

With their parents so far away, the guys really need support and J.B. is too busy trying to save his business to even come watch them practice. They feel abandoned and go on a partying spree, finally throwing up in J.B’s Porsche and he yells at them, making them feel even worse. Poor they!

Brenda comes to watch a game

Brenda comes to watch a game

Brenda to the Rescue!

Brenda advises J.B. to be the “family” that the two guys need or they might fail completely. He’s got to stop putting deals before people! He finally “gets” it and starts being their pal. He and Brenda get closer. Can this strange group become a family? After blowing one try-out, Dinesh and Rinku are almost ready to go home but J.B. now really cares for them and fights to get them another chance to make the big leagues. Will they make it this time?

 

John Hamm (J.B.) with the REAL Rinku and Dinesh

John Hamm (J.B.) with the REAL Rinku and Dinesh

Wrapping Up

Although the story gets a bit repetitive as the  young Indian pitcher hopefuls have trouble when trying out for the big leagues then have to re-rally their skill and determination to try out again, Million Dollar Arm is a very warm, fuzzy and inspiring tale that is based on a true story. “Mad Men” TV star Jon Hamm is wonderful as the career-driven playboy who has to learn that family, no matter how unusual, is really and truly everything.

The boys want to hit the town in Hollywood

The boys want to hit the town in Hollywood

As the wide-eyed, talented young men from India, Suraj Sherma and Madhur Mittal are really believable and sympathetic. You can certainly put yourself in their shoes. What would you do if you got transported from a lower class life into fame and fortune just because you could throw a baseball — really fast?

Lake Bell does a great job as Brenda (whom the real J.B. later married). She’s a strong woman yet sensitive and is really the catalyst for putting everything into working order for J.B. and his young protégés. She also shows J.B. the importance of family.

The film also has music composed by two-time Oscar winner and Indian legend A.R. Rahman.

The movie might be a bit slow in the middle for very young audience members but there is enough fun and heart there for me to rate the film 4 stars, thus being just behind ‘outstanding’, and getting labelled as ‘very good’.

 

Million Dollar Arm Movie Rating: 4

Million Dollar Arm Poster

Million Dollar Arm Poster

See Disney’s Million Dollar Arm starting May 16th!

Have you seen Disney’s Million Dollar Arm or are planning to see it? Let us know in a comment, below. :D

Disney Princesses are just like us!

By Sarah Diamondswirls

When was the last time you saw Cinderella and wished that your dress also changed over a course of three seconds? Didn’t you wish to go an epic journey that would change your life, like Mulan?Or did you desire discovering a whole new world?

Well, just look back and think. Aren’t Disney Princesses just like us, with a little of magic added (of course)?

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Disney Princesses: They’re Just Like We Are!

A Disney Princess is just a regular girl… with a little bit of magic.

Tiana the Disney Princess is Just Like We Are

Belle the Disney Princess is Just Like We Are

Ariel the Disney Princess is Just Like We Are

Cinderella the Disney Princess is Just Like We Are

Aurora the Disney Princess is Just Like We Are

Jasmine the Disney Princess is Just Like We Are

Mulan the Disney Princess is Just Like We Are

Pocahontas the Disney Princess is Just Like We Are

Snow White the Disney Princess is Just Like We Are

There you have it. They’re just like we are. (Okay, not entirely, there’s that magic thing… but just go with us.) Now keep that in mind the next time you’re wishing you were part of the royal family!

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I love my pets, so does that make me like Jasmine? ;) Which Disney Princess are you the most similar to? Tell me in a comment, below! :D

 

Disney Film Costumes

I found this fun little article on the Disney Style Blog that I thought my readers would enjoy  :-)

I wish Pixie Hollow were still open, because I would have suggested to Marina and the Never Council to make most of these dresses available for us fairies to purchase  ;-)

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Disney Costume Changes

Lots of Disney character costume changes, all in one beautiful infographic. Also, who knew that Tiana had so many outfits?

 

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Which dresses are your favorites? Leave me a comment below  ;-)

♥Marigold

 

Covet Fashion Game

I don’t know how many of you out there are as fashion-obsessed as I am, but I just recently discovered a new app that is totally worth recommending  :-D

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No, this game doesn’t involve Disney Fairies or Pixie Hollow…BUT it does let you shop clothes, accessories, shoes, hair styles/colors/cuts, and makeup for a virtual model with objectives that are geared for specific events or themed photo shoots.

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What’s REALLY awesome about this game is that all the items you style your model with are actually REAL! They’re items you could literally buy in a store right now!!!  :-o

Dress your model with REAL clothes and accessories!

Once you create a total look and submit it, other people then vote on your model, and you can win prizes, points to level up, and/or game money to shop with! It’s really fun and addicting  ;-)

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Give it a try for FREE on your Apple, Android, or Amazon device through your preferred app store, or click this link: Covet Fashion

You can login using a Facebook account or you can create an anonymous Covet account to play the game. I’m personally not a big fan of Facebook for security reasons, but please ask a parent’s permission before playing either way.

Try it out and let me know what you think!  :-)

♥Marigold

 

 

LAFF: Locate A Fairy Friend

LAFF: Locate A Fairy Friend!

LAFF

 

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Many of us loved playing the Pixie Hollow online game, because it was so easy to find great fairy friends  :-) 

Sadly, since Pixie Hollow closed rather abruptly in September 2013, many of us didn’t have time to communicate with all our fairy friends to find out how we could still talk to them outside of the game…

To help you find your lost friends, I have decided to dedicate an entire section of my blog to what I’m calling the LAFF Service:

 

Using my new LAFF service, you can try to locate your old friends by either posting a profile of your fairy and/or creating an ad for particular fairy friends you are looking for  :-D 

To use this service, visit my blog’s homepage and either click the “find fairy friends” tab or click the image with LAFF on it:

LAFF Link

 

♥Marigold

 

New Disney Beauty and The Beast film?

We’ve had Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and there’s aSleeping Beauty’ reboot called ‘Maleficent’ on the way along with a Kenneth Branagh directed ‘Cinderella’ – now Disney are looking at a live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

beauty and the beast live action

It’s reported ‘The Beast’ will be a slightly darker take on the tale and Disney is in talks with screenwriter Joe Ahearne.

I can’t wait for the news to be confirmed! I totally love Beauty and The Beast! :3

Any thoughts? Tell us in a comment, below. :D

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