Inside Lane

Movie Review(s): American Hustle and Frozen

Warning:  Here there be spoilers.  I will not go into great detail, but if you’re the kind who gets upset over finding out Gandalf the Grey and Gandalf the White are the same person, you should skip this post.

American Hustle:  The Desolation of Smug

I was mystified by Silver Linings Playbook.  We didn’t see it until after it had done so well at the Oscars, and were expecting a good movie.  What we got was a weird mish-mash that made me crave watch Sophie Ellis Bextor videos for an hour.  Mystifying.  Given that, I was wondering if I would feel the same sense of, “what?” when watching American Hustle.  But Rotten Tomatoes had it at 94%, and some friends had raved over it.  

Three hours into the movie, I looked over at B and mouthed, “This is terrible.”  He agreed.

Four hours later, we walked out of the theater and I said, “That was awful.  And so long!”

He said, “It was awful, but it wasn’t that long.  It was just a little over two hours.”

I said, “Seriously?  Because I thought it was Lord of the Rings long.”

Nope.  It only felt that way.  138 minutes of Christian Bale’s wig, Bradley Cooper’s perm, and Amy Adams’ side boob.  The story goes that Christian Bale’s wig falls in love with Amy Adams’ side boob.  Together, they con a lot of people out of a lot of money.  Bradley Cooper’s perm works for the FBI, and he blackmails The Wig and The Boob into working for him.  (Sort of like The Blacklist,which is also about a wig and a boob, and the FBI, but in a different way.)

The Wig, The Boob and The Perm find themselves mixed up with mafia, played by Jeremy Renner’s quiff, and everything is tipped toward destruction by The Wig’s Wife, played by Katniss Everdeen possessed by Effie Trinket.

It’s a lot of hair.  If you are into 70s hair, this is the movie for you.  If you are into Amy Adams’ side boob, you will be in heaven.  If you think you’re going to see Jennifer Lawrence, think again.  You are going to see Christian Bale’s wig, Amy Adams’ side boob, and Bradley Cooper’s perm.  Let me reiterate: This movie is about hair and side boob, with some plot thrown in to keep the camera focus on hair and boob.

It is terrible.  It is so terrible, I apologized before we cleared the theater door.  I apologized and agreed that I will go see the next Conan or Robocop type movie B wants to see, and I will sit there and take my medicine without saying a word.  I will thank him for taking me to see a Kung Fu movie.  Or whatever.  Because American Hustle is terrible.

0 out of 5 stars


Frozen:  The Desolation of Squee

I have a boy child, so getting him to a princess movie isn’t easy.  I had to promise pizza to get him into The Frog Princess.  He hated it.  I had to promise ice cream to get him into Tangled.  He hated it.  I promised nothing to get him out to Frozen, but he’s been grounded from electronics for a week, so he went happily enough.  And. He. Loved. It.

You know a kid’s movie has scored when your kiddo is trying to sing along with the music.  He was fully engaged from the first scene, and he stayed that way throughout.  He laughed, he frowned, his little eyebrows knit with concern, and he laughed again.

But you don’t want to know what a boy child thinks of Frozen, do you?  Because the whole uproar about the movie is how it was a) repackaged to attract a wider audience–boys, and b) how it drives home the age old ideal that girls need a boy to succeed.  You want to know that after seeing this, I vowed to stop shaving, throw away all my tiaras, and picket Disney.  Nope.

Best. Princess. Movie. Ever.

Let me say that again:  Best princess movie EVER.

We open with Elsa and Anna, a pair of princess sisters, playing with Elsa’s magical powers to make ice and snow.  Elsa accidentally hurts her sister and after saving her (with the help of a group of friendly trolls, who remove all Anna’s memory of her sister’s powers, but leaving in all the memories of the fun they had–which is very important), Elsa is instructed to hide her abilities to keep from hurting anyone.  She locks herself away from Anna for Anna’s protection.

Anna has no idea why her sister has hidden herself.  She only remembers that they were close and happy, and now they aren’t.  The castle gates are shut and Anna’s life is suddenly lonely.  Of course their parents die, leaving Anna really lonely and susceptible to the advances of the first man she meets outside of the castle gates, a gentlemanly prince who has come to the coronation of Elsa.

Elsa rightly freaks out when she finds out her sister has agreed to marry a man she’s only known for less than the amount of time it took Christian Bale’s wig to humiliate Bradley Cooper’s perm, and all frozen hell breaks loose, setting the plot in motion.

That includes:

Self-saving princesses.

Sisters who challenge everything, even themselves, to save one another.

Girls who understand the difference between True Love and An Act of True Love.

This movie gloriously illustrates that difference.  It isn’t a feeling, or chemistry, or kismet that saves the day.  It is an Act of True Love, and it has nothing to do with romance.  There are no weddings.  There are no engagements.  There are no Prince Charmings who save the day.

When we left, I asked Thor, “What do you think the main theme of that movie was?”

He said, “Don’t be afraid of things.”

That was a really interesting takeaway, because it was fear that pushed Elsa into destruction.  Thor took away that if she hadn’t been afraid to be herself, everyone would have been fine.

I asked him what he thought of the way the boys and girls interacted.  He said, “The boys didn’t really do much to help.  They were just kind of there, but they were funny.”  Did that dampen his enjoyment?  “It was an awesome movie!”

It was.

Idina Menzel voices Elsa, and I was really surprised at that.  She has a very mature, distinct voice, and it isn’t what you think of as a Disney Princess voice.  Kristen Bell’s Anna is much more the expectation.  I was thrilled with what Menzel was able to do with vocals, and Bell was fantastic.

It was a great movie.  Great.  At the end, Thor begged me to wait through the credits to see if maybe they had a little extra at the end, “Like the Avengers,” he said.  Like the Avengers, indeed.  There was a little extra and he was slapping his legs laughing at it.

Fair warning:  I cried through the whole thing.  I’m not sure how you’re supposed to listen to Idina Menzel’s heart break and not cry.

5 out of 5 stars–this is a princess movie your boys will enjoy and that you will feel good about letting your daughters watch.



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