Sunday, January 31, 2010

Walt Disney Animation Studios Part 16: Sleeping Beauty

Series Intro: Here's Part 16 of this multi-part retrospective of Walt Disney Animation Studios' endeavors. They'll mostly be in release date order, save for those that aren't available on DVD at Netflix. (Numbers will be skipped to note missing movies)

Some background info (compiled from Wikipedia and imdb and my own knowledge of the movie).

Official Title: Sleeping Beauty
Release: January 29, 1959
Running Time: 75 minutes
Estimated Cost: $8,500,000 (1959) ($62,665,446.74 (2009)) 
Estimated Revenue: $36,469,805 (1959) ($266,568,915.56 (2008))
Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Plot Summary:
Like any good Christian parents, Aurora's parents christian her and through a big party to celebrate. But after an expected visit from the Three Good Fairies, Maleficent  crashes and is pee'd off. She places Aurora under a curse that before her 16th birthday, she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die. The Three Good Fairies, still having one more present to give, change the curse so she will just be put into a deep sleep and only awoken by true love's kiss. The Fairies give up magic to take care of Aurora in hiding.

Just under 16 years later, Aurora (now Briar-Rose) is almost full grown and while in the forest, falls in love with a young man, who is later revealed as Aurora's betrothed. The Good Fairies fight over how to celebrate Briar- Rose's birthday and use magic - thus cluing Maleficent in to their hidden location.

The Fairies rush Aurora to her parent's castle - making her miss her date with the handsome gentleman caller - Philip. Maleficent finds them, forces Aurora to prick her finger, then captures the love-struck Philip and tortures him. The Good Fairies rescue him and he has to fight through many of Maleficent's traps, including herself as a giant dragon. Philip defeats Maleficent (thanks to the Good Fairies), kisses Aurora and all is revealed that they are actually betrothed.

And they live happily ever after.

There is a lot of background music in this movie (starting to set the stage for the movie/musicals down the road.

Plot Rating: 4 stars out of 5

OMG! This was amazing, I wish I was able to watch this in release order for a better apriciation of how the movie plots of WDAS have evolved. But I've got to say that Maleficent is a wicked bad a$$. She tries to ruin a baby's life because she wasn't invited to a party!

Animation Rating: 5 out of 5

WOW!! The cartoony-ness of Cinderella and other previous releases are gone. The angular faces and sharper contrasting colors really makes this movie pop. WDAS wasn't just learning how to make full length animated movies anymore, they have it! The stylized backdrops (according to Wiki) were full fledged paintings, taking days and weeks to create (thank you multi-angle panes and the new "Xeroxing" of the animation onto cells). I hope that this represents a changing point in the WDAS history, as the shorts are far behind and the renaissances is still decades away, WDAS has found a way to tell good stories and give it its own look.

I do feel disappointing though that even after over 20 years, WDAS is still filming live actors performing the entire movie. At least that's better than Snow, where WDAS animators were literally tracing the film of the the live actors.

The Test of Time:

Aurora has 4 Kingdoms! (Disneyland (Anaheim); Disneyland Paris; Tokyo Disneyland; and Disneyland Hong Kong. I would say she is very much ingrained in our society. (Although I have to say, I understand why the original Disneyland pays homage to her - as the film and the park were in the works at the same time; but why not use one of the other princesses some where else (as was started with the second park in Orlando with Cindy's castle). Snow White doesn't have a home and as we move towards more of the modern parks, why doesn't Bell (who's Beast's castle is actually one of the prettiest) have a kingdom; or Ariel (Eric's castle has some great architecture); or even the Palace of Agraba (from Aladin). I understand that by the time Eisner took over they didn't want to make mistakes so stuck with what they knew would work. I hope the new Disneyland Singapore uses a new movie castle.)

Sleeping Beauty was one of my least favorites as a child. I watched it once, and never again. At the time I didn't like the lack of songs or the fact that Maleficent really didn't need to be so mean. But now, both of these things create a great movie that really shows off what WDAS is capable of.

Next Up:
(Should be) One Hundred and One Dalmatians (but because of this movie going into the vault in just a few days, I pushed this very high on my Netflix queue.)


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Walt Disney Animation Studios Part 9: Fun and Fancy Free

Series Intro: Here's Part 9 of this multi-part retrospective of Walt Disney Animation Studios' endeavors. They'll mostly be in release date order, save for those that aren't available on DVD at Netflix. (Numbers will be skipped to note missing movies)

Some background info (compiled from Wikipedia and imdb and my own knowledge of the movie).

Official Title: Fun and Fancy Free
Release: September 27, 1947
Running Time: 73 minutes
Estimated Cost: none available (Like many of the shorts)
Estimated Revenue: n/a
Overall Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Plot Summary:
Series of two shorts, loosely connected by Jiminy Cricket (from Pinocchio.

Bongo is about this circus bear that escapes the circus and finds himself trying to be a wild bear and is completely bad at it. He falls in love with a wild girl bear, but because he doesn't understand the courting rituals of bears, he almost looses her. Until, finally he learns more about being a bear and they get together.

Mickey and the Beanstalk is a standard Jack story with Donald, Goofy and Mickey all playing "Jack." Not much here that you don't know already. This bit was also bookended with live action sequences starring some famous ventriloquist of the time.

Honestly, there were songs, but I can't remember any!

Plot Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I'm tired of commenting on the lack of through lines in these shorts. But, here it is again. Bongo had nothing to do Beanstalk... god, how much longer am I going to be watching these "package films"

Animation Rating: 2 out of 5

Bongo felt too cartoony and Mickey was too dark.

The Test of Time:

None. This series of shorts still should stay in the vault.

Next Up:
Melody Time (god another packaged film!)



Friday, January 15, 2010

Facebook Events of Homophobia

Ok, this one is scary, My State Line is reporting about a high school facebook event in Massachusetts called "Kill All Gay People." Apparently 9 people RSVP'ed "yes" to this event which is supposed to take place on January 19th! The High School's Gay-Straight Alliance is encouraging all queer and queer friendly people to travel in large groups that day, just to be on the safe side.

This kind of Hatred is scary. Is the next generation supposed to be more accepting of "others?" It's this kind of blind homophobia that scares me. How can people hate a whole group of peoples because of one thing. At least when I dislike someone, it's at a personal level (lol).

Sigh, I hope that the f*ckers who made this group get caught by the police (who are actively investigating this threat).  


Legal Male Prostitute!

My friends over at Queerty just shared a great story about Nevada's first, legal male prostitute!

His stage name is "Marcus" and you can have him for $200 for 40 mins (kind of low balling it there if you ask me) (although for his level of attractiveness, this might be right).

Sadly, Mr. "Marcus" is neither gay nor gay for pay. So all my ladies who need this male gigolo, just set your sights on Nevada and don't stop 'till you see the line of women in front of a Rhamada Inn... lol

On a more serious note, this is a major step forward is Sex Workers rights. I believe that all prostitution should be legalized. This is my body and I should be able to do what I want with it.

And the more laws there are to protect Sex Workers, the safer the whole profession would be.



Thursday, January 14, 2010

Walt Disney Animation Studio Part 12: Cinderella

Series Intro: Here's Part 12 of this multi-part retrospective of Walt Disney Animation Studios' endeavors. They'll mostly be in release date order, save for those that aren't available on DVD at Netflix. (Numbers will be skipped to note missing movies)

Some background info (compiled from Wikipedia and imdb and my own knowledge of the movie).

Official Title: Cinderella
Release: February 15, 1950
Running Time: 72 minutes
Estimated Cost: $2,900,000 (1950) ($26,031,410.79 (2009))
Estimated Revenue: $85,000,000 (1950) ($752,299,839.02 (2008)) (just a smidge over the 3mill (1942) that Bambi brought in... which was WDAS' last true feature length release before Cinderella)
Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Plot Summary:
Cinderella's father had died and she is now living, as a servant, with her step-mother and step-sisters. Cinderella helps a new mouse escape a trap, gives him clothes and starts her daily chores to make sure her step-family's lives are wonderful. Cinderella appears happy through all these chores and such. While Cindy is working, we get a side story of Lucifer the cat and the mice Gus Gus and Jack as they get into many different happenstances throughout the story. Another sub-plot consists of King Charming trying to find a princess for his son, when he decides that every eligible maiden in the village should attend a ball. Well, Cindy's mice and bird friends work to make her gown while she's off doing her chores, but at the last moment the step-sisters ruin the dress. Cindy's Fairy Godmother comes, makes mischief with the animals and turns Cindy into a beautiful princess.

After wooing the Prince, by dancing the night away, the clock strikes 12 and Cindy must return home for the magic is ending. But lucky for the Prince, she leaves behind a shoe (that isn't transformed when the magic is over). He sends a search the next day for a woman who fits this shoe, and despite Lady Tremain's (step-mother) best effort and because of Jaq and Gus Gus, Cindy finds a way to prove she is the Prince's mystery date and the two promptly get married.  

Cinderella, A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes, Oh Sign Sweet Nightingale, The Work Songs, Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, and So This Is Love

A Dream I A Wish Your Heart Makes would become one of those staple songs that would represent the ideas of WDAS productions for ages to come.

Plot Rating: 3 stars out of 5

How nice it was to have a through line for the entire movie again. But the side plot of Lucifer (the cat) and Jaq and Gus Gus doing anything seemed more of a filler than adding anything of value to the plot. It was as if, WDAS had forgotten how to make a strong plot since Bambi (more like Pinocchio). While watching their interactions I felt like I was watching a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

Animation Rating: 3 out of 5

The cartooniness of several of the previous WDAS releases was gone. Real actors were used once again as models for the cast, thus giving the characters a more realistic feel (unlike the humans in the packaged films). Cindy could also emote much more than her previous princess predecessor, Snow White.

What really keeps this from getting a higher rating is background art. Bambi had amazing backgrounds, while for Cindy the background was very undefined. Looking at the castle, it's actually hard to see how Imagineers created the Walt Disney World castle.

I also have to say though, I saw this movie on my old VHS, because it was put back into the Disney Vault back in 2008.

The Test of Time:

Considering Cindy heads the Princess campaign, has had 2 direct to video sequels, has a real life castle in Florida, I would say this movie still kits home as a happy ending movie.

Now, I'd like to comment on this movie from a feminist stand point. How ridiculous is it for Cindy to marry Prince Charming after just a few hours of dancing? I do understand that Fairy Tales are just that, but still, this just doesn't fly anymore (Tiana from Princess and the Frog at least spent several days with Naveen before marrying him).

Next Up:
(Should be) Alice In Wonderland (but because of the vault, things will be out of order)


Walt Disney Animation Studios Part 8: Make Mine Music

Series Intro: Here's Part 8 of this multi-part retrospective of Walt Disney Animation Studios' endeavors. They'll mostly be in release date order, save for those that aren't available on DVD at Netflix. (Numbers will be skipped to note missing movies)

Some background info (compiled from Wikipedia and imdb and my own knowledge of the movie).

Official Title: Make Mine Music
Release: August 15, 1946
Running Time: 75 minutes
Estimated Cost: Can't find any figures
Estimated Revenue: No info available
Overall Rating: 1 stars out of 5

Plot Summary: Music, music and more music

I honestly don't remember enough of it, to remember which ones were which.

There were a lot, but none of them were stand-out-ish

Plot Rating: 1 stars out of 5

Knowing that the war was still on in Europe (and at this point on the Asian front too), this series of shorts was still bad. Each segment might have had it's own merit, but for me, Plot includes the story from beginning to end.

Animation Rating: 2 out of 5

There were a lot of greatly animated scenes here, but none that stand out one week after watching.

The Test of Time:

Yet another miss for WDAS. Grant it, this was only supposed to hold over the studio department until the end of the war, but this is one that I will never need to see again.

Next Up:
(Should be) Fun and Fancy Free (another "shorts" movie) (but I saw Cinderella recently so that's up next)


Photo of the Day...

So I've already gotten bored with photo of the day!!! Maybe I'll start it over again in the summer, when I'll be doing more interesting stuff.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Photo 11: January 11, 2010

Title: Every Season

Picture Date: January 11, 2010

Subject: My current bulletin board

Location: Takoma Park ES

Event: When we completed our study of "Seasons" we hung out our paper products


Monday, January 11, 2010

Photo 10: January 10, 2010

Title: Double, Double, Toil and Troubl

Picture Date: January 9, 2010

Subject: Pete, me and the Atomic Meltdown drink

Location: Ben's Apartment

Event: Ben's birthday party, I'm pouring Sprite into the Atomic Meltdown drink which has a boatload of dry ice.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Photo 9: January 9, 2010

Title: Sad Day

Picture Date: January 9, 2010

Subject: Downtown Fountain

Location: Downtown Silver Spring Plaza

Event: The Christmas trees have been removed from the downtown area...


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Photo 8: January 8, 2010

Title: Delayed Opening

Picture Date: January 8, 2010

Subject: Snow covered tree outside my window

Location: Thayer Ave

Event: Woke up this morning to a Winter Wonderland


Friday, January 8, 2010

Photo 7: January 7, 2010

Title: Deconstructing Christmas

Picture Date: January 7, 2010

Subject: Christmas decorations all on the floor

Location: My Apartment

Event: Day after that last day of Christmas, after a month and a half, my apartment looks bare.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Photo 6: January 6, 2010

Title: 12th Day of Christmas

Picture Date: January 6, 2010

Subject: Unlit Christmas Tree

Location: My Apartment

Event: Feast of Epiphany is the 12th Day of Christmas, Christmas is over :(


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Photo 5: January 5, 2010

Title: Shame

Picture Date: January 5, 2010

Subject: Amy and Chris

Location: Jenn's Apartment

Event: Boozy Eggnog Holiday Party, redux.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Photo 4: January 4, 2010

Title: Yummy Gruel

Picture Date: January 4, 2010

Subject: Cauliflower Soup

Location: My kitchen

Event: So I'm back on Phase 1 of South Beach (working off all those holiday cookies), and this is a delicious soup that I just made!



Monday, January 4, 2010

Photo 3: January 3, 2009

Title: Horizons

Picture Date: January 3, 2010

Subject: Georgia Ave in NW DC

Location: My balcony

Event: Sunset, what beautiful colors.



Sunday, January 3, 2010

Walt Disney Animation Studios Part 7: The Three Caballeros

Series Intro: Here's Part 7 of this multi-part retrospective of Walt Disney Animation Studios' endeavors. They'll mostly be in release date order, save for those that aren't available on DVD at Netflix. (Numbers will be skipped to note missing movies)

Some background info (compiled from Wikipedia and imdb and my own knowledge of the movie).

Official Title: The Three Caballeros (in English: The Three Friends)
Release: December 21, 1944 (Mexico City)
Running Time: 72 minutes (more respectable)
Estimated Cost: Can't find any figures but the whole cost was underwritten by the US government
Estimated Revenue: No info available, other than "highly successful"
Overall Rating: 1 stars out of 5

Plot Summary: We follow Donald Duck as he opens birthday presents from his friends in South America (Jose Caricoa (from Saludos Amigos, representing Brazil) and new friend Panchito Pistoles, from Mexico). Again, this was a series of shorts, but much more connected. This one also features many popular Latin American live action actors. These shorts all feature some kind of bird (or flying creature)!

The Cold-Blooded Penguin - a Penguin named Pablo, is so cold in the South Pole he makes several attempts to go leave. He successfully travels to the western coast of South America (in the tropics), where he begins to feel home sick.

The Flying Gauchito - A little boy from Uruguay is hunting for a bird but finds a flying  Donkey. He uses the donkey to cheat at a race, when he wins it is soon revealed that he cheated!

Baia (Pronounced Bye-ee-ya) - Jose Carioca comes out of a pop up book and takes Donald on a samba dance with a live action actress (Aurora Miranda) in Brazil.

Las Posadas (The Inn) - Panchito comes and tells Donald a Christmas story of children in Mexico reenacting Mary and Joseph looking for a room on Christmas eve. Then after the story, Donald tries to break open a pinata, physical comedy ensues.

Mexico: Patzcuaro, Veracruz and Acapulco - I honestly don't remember this one, but Wiki says that the three leads fly on a magic sarape to see what's going on in Mexico.

The rest of the shorts blend together for me: You Belong to My Heart and Donald's Surreal Reverie. I honestly don't remember it at all.

1.  The Three Caballeros
2.  Baia (The Aracuan Version)
3.  Baia - Jose Oliveira
4.  Have You Been To Baia? - Jose Oliveira
5.  Train To Baia (Score)
6.  Os Quindines De Yaya - Aurora Miranda
7.  Pregoes Carioca - Jose Oliveira
8.  The Three Caballeros
9.  The Three Caballeros
10.  Mexico - Carlos Ramirez
11.  Mexico (Reprise) - Carlos Ramirez
12.  Pandeiro & Flute
13.  Lilongas
14.  You Belong To My Heart - Dora Luz
15.  Jesusita - Carmen Molina
16.  Finale
Yet again, I have no idea about the music (other that the opening lines of Three Caballeros. How did this receive two Oscar nods already?

Plot Rating: 1 stars out of 5

Again, this series of shorts was more a Mickey Mouse club endeavor, rather than a feature length. The was was still raging in Europe and Walt was still helping to sooth out relationships between North and South America. At least this time, the stories revolved around Donald.

Animation Rating: 1 out of 5

Again, the shorts just don't have the same quality as the features that came before it.

The Test of Time:

I couldn't find if this had multiple releases. This movie also inspired an upgrade to the EPCOT ride in the Mexican Pavilion (not a good overlay if you ask me).

This is another movie that can stay in the Disney Vault. It was another miss for WDAS, at least for the longevity

Next Up:
Make Mine Music (another "shorts" movies)


Photo 2: January 2, 2010

Photo 2: January 2, 2010

Title: Dreams Come True

Picture Date: January 2, 2010

Subject: Kymera Wand

Location: My living room

Event: This is my new remote control. When I swish and flick, it controls my tv/dvd play. Check out their website: The Wand Company.



Photo 1: January 1, 2010

New Series: In an ever expanding way to post more on my blog... I've decided to publish one picture a day.

Photo 1: January 1, 2010

Title: Party Like A Rock Star

Picture Date: December 31, 2009

Subject: Me

Location: My bathroom

Event: New Year's Eve off to Colbalt