Into the Woods: A Movie Review

Photo source: IMDB

From a young age I have been a theater person. Growing up, I participated in community theater and then theater in high school and college, where I chose to minor in theater. I actually was in a performance of Into the Woods one year (where I had my first non-ensemble part: I was cast as Lucinda) and really enjoyed the premise of the show. I love fairy tales and really enjoyed the thought of a bunch of fairy tales being told in one story. So, when I heard Into the Woods was being made into a movie I was pretty excited.

Into the Woods tells the story of Cinderella, Jack (associated with the bean stalk), and a childless baker and his wife as they all strive to achieve their deepest wishes. But getting what you wish can lead to some dire consequences that you may not be expecting or ready for.

Overall, the movie did not disappoint. They kept the majority of the main songs while replacing some of the smaller songs with dialogue. Besides some minor changes in the plot, the story line was exactly the same as the musical (which may have something to do with Stephen Sondheim helping with filming…).

I was disappointed they took out the Narrator/Father role, especially since that also removed what I consider to be one of the best songs. I also thought the beginning of the opening song was a little shaky. However, that could be because I’m so used to the flow of the stage version. Honestly, I don’t think there is really any way they could have made it flow similarly. I think they could have done a little more with the scenery and special effects. Again, I’m so used to the staged version that I didn’t even notice it at first (especially since the majority of the play takes place in the woods). But after thinking about it, I felt certain scenes (Red Riding Hood getting eaten by the wolf and Jack’s account in ‘Giants in the Sky’) could have had something a little different than what they had shown.

Even with the small, nit-picky details, I still thought the movie got across the main lessons of the show: that you are never alone in what you do; that children listen to what you say even if they don’t obey; and to be careful what you wish for. The lessons are one of the main reasons I love this show, because Sondheim has found a way to get three important lessons across in such a way that they don’t come across as preachy and in a way that both children and adults can understand.

But beware: I’ve heard that parents have taken their kids to see it and had been shocked by what they saw. Although this is a Disney movie and rated PG, I wouldn’t say it’s for very young children. It’s not gory or anything, but there are certain scenes that may not be suitable for five year olds, especially since the fairy tales are based on the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I suggest this movie for children 10 and older, but really it’s up to the parent and if they feel like their child can handle the situations presented.

Looper: A Movie Review

The year is 2044 and time traveling has not been invented. Yet. But it will be.

Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works as a looper, who are a kind of hired assassin. When time travel is invented, it will be controlled by the mob bosses who send people they want killed back into the past and it’s the looper’s job to get rid of them. Looper’s are only finished being a looper when they are sent their future selves to kill. It’s called closing their loop.

When Joe’s future self (played by Bruce Willis) is sent to him, he hesitates in his surprise and lets him get away, which is a big no-no in the looper job description. Now Joe must hunt him down and kill him before his present self is apprehended by the leader of the operation. Tracking him down won’t be as hard as he thinks. His future self has a goal: to find and kill the child who will be the future Rain Man, a powerful entity who begins closing loops in the future. But which Joe will find the child first?

Looper was an interesting movie. I thought the concept was intriguing, which is what drove me to see it, but other than that the rest was just OK. There were some parts that I felt were forced, such as the people being telekinetic. It felt like that was just added in there as an excuse to why other things ended up happening. For me, personally, there weren’t any parts of the movie that “wowed” me. Not that everything was totally predictable. Just not surprising. I also didn’t have a connection with any of the characters. There was nothing in the movie that made me care what happened to the characters in the end. Overall, good movie, interesting concept, but not winning any Movie of the Year awards from me.

Grade: B

The 5 Year Engagement: A Movie Review

The 5 Year Engagement is a great date night movie when the girlfriend wants a romance, but the boyfriend wants a comedy.

Tom Solomon (Jason Segel) decides to propose to his girlfriend who he had been seeing for a little over a year, Violet Barnes (Emily Blunt). Although they’re excited, plans get a little off course when Violet’s sister (Alison Brie) ends up pregnant by Tom’s best friend (Chris Pratt) and they have to have a shot gun wedding. Just as plans begin to start rolling again, Violet is accepted to the master’s program at the University of Michigan. Being supportive, Tom agrees to move from San Francisco, leaving the great cooking job he had, to move to Michigan. Jobless, Tom picks up the wedding planning, but as life becomes busier every day the wedding is pushed off until it seems like it’s never happening, especially after resentment becomes the third wheel.

This movie had to be one of the funniest romantic comedies I have seen in a while. I was cracking up throughout the majority of the movie. The characters are also very well done and the viewer gets to the point where they actually care about what happens to their relationship. This movie is especially fun to watch if you are currently engaged (like me). As I watched this movie with my best friend, I would text my boyfriend random things that happened in the movie, asking if we could have that at our wedding. (Yes, he did know what movie I was watching; otherwise I think he probably would’ve thought I’d gone mad.)

The 5 Year Engagement definitely shows Jason Segel’s writing talent as well. The events weren’t predictable and the script was hilarious. He definitely has a lot of talent.

Grade: A