20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
As a part of their ongoing quest to take over every aspect of media, Disney will be adapting original fairytale The Princess Bride into a Broadway musical. Now, before you say "Inconcievable!" think of the possibilities. Disney invented the mold for fantasy fairytales, then completely dismantled and reinvented it 50 years later. Besides, The Princess Bride is the rare cult film that's family friendly and has a happy ending without feeling cheesy... not to mention the fact that "kissing books" tend to make great musicals. So with all that said, here are our best ideas for the Princess Bride soundtrack you're sure to have on repeat:
"As You Wish"A love ballad, first sung by Young Westley to Young Buttercup in the show's opening. We see the stage transform from a sick boy's room to Florin, the setting for the magical adventure.
"More Than a Farmboy"Buttercup laments the loss of her love with this plaintative yearning song. (This is what girls will be singing in their auditions for years to come.)
"The Battle of Wits, Or, Never Go in Against a Sicilian When Death Is on the Line"A Gilbert and Sullivan style patter song as the braggart Vizzini tries to outwit The Man in Black's poisoned glasses scheme. The song is anchored by the rhymes provided by a helpful Fezzik.
"Six-Fingered Hand"As Inigo and The Man in Black duel, they also duel with their twin stories of revenge and woe in this "Confrontation" type confrontation.
"I'm Swamped"Prince Humperdinck's evil plan is revealed in this brassy song about just how much work he has to do before his wedding day.
"Max's House of Miracles/Mostly Dead"Westly is triumphantly raised from the dead in this comic romp, where he gets the opportunity to show off his physical comedy chops.
"Mawwiage!"A huge production number that features dancing wedding guests, an easily exciteable clergyman, an angry prince, and the addition of "The Brute Squad," a group of 6'5" male dancers that thrillingly leap and thrillingly sneak into the castle with our heroes.
"Prepare to Die"In this adaptation, Inigo dies onstage, but not before killing the six-fingered man and avenging his father, who appears in this dream sequence to usher his son into the afterlife.
"As You Wish (Reprise)"As Buttercup and Westley ride off into the sunset, they reprise this now-classic love song.
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The hilarious Tumblr The Carter Family Portrait Collection reimagines Beyoncé, Jay Z, and baby Blue Ivy as famous portraits through history. While of course it's fun to see our favorite pop stars sans weave and sunglasses and instead posed as tasteful nudes, it's also not that much different from the shockingly well composed shots that grace Bey's official Instagram. I mean, some of those shots simply cannot be candid, right? (Unless it's possible to take a selfie while standing 40 feet away while holding a child, working a wind machine and lighting yourself from three angles.)
Do yourself a favor and pay your respects to Bey's fantastic hair and makeup game no matter what artistic style she's copying by checking out all of the pictures.
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Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.