Category Archives: Films

“IF/THEN” The Musical on Broadway, Featuring Idina Menzel – Review

if/then

IF/THEN is a Broadway musical featuring the famous Idina Menzel. Let me tell you, she is so much better live in person than on television. That woman’s voice is heavenly. The octaves and ranges she can reach are incredible.

The plot is about Menzel’s main character, Elizabeth who just moved back to NYC after divorcing her husband in Phoenix.  There she meets her old college friends, makes a bunch of new friends, and finds love. Elizabeth is all about weighing the possibilities of any and every situation, especially when it comes to her love life.

The first act jumps between alternate realties depending on which path Elizabeth was to choose in a certain situation. After a fifteen minute intermission, some great dialogue, dancing, and singing, Elizabeth finds herself in a situation where she doubts the path she chose.

Her life revolves around all these “what if’s” and not until the near end does she realize that’s not a way to live life.

I won’t tell you anymore details (don’t want to ruin it for you), but it definitely has a great life lesson. You can’t doubt your life and focus on your past’s “what if’s”. You need to focus on the path you chose and stick with it, no matter what pain or happiness it brings your way. Maybe its destiny; maybe it’s your own decision. Either way, focus on the future and your current path, not the other paths you’ve already passed by. If you do, you won’t be living your life to the fullest.

One thing is for sure though, if my boyfriend is serious about joining the army after he graduates just because he thinks it’ll be easier after four years of service to be able to get his dream law enforcement park ranger position, he needs to rethink his options. Because no way in hell will I be able to deal with him away for four years with barely any contact, where he’ll be in a war zone thousands of miles away from me. I’d go insane, thinking if he was killed today or the next day. I wouldn’t be able to handle that.

So, here’s the connection to Memorial Day. Not only am I thankful for my troops, but I greatly admire the families and friends that deal with their loved ones being in the military. Let us be grateful for those who have given their lives to our country.

And I might be selfish for this, but I don’t care, my boyfriend isn’t allowed to give his life to our country if it means it can be taken away. He’s supposed to give his life to me, as I give my life to him. It’s not allowed to be shared. He’s all mine.

So ending on a selfish note like this isn’t that great of a review. But, I would definitely recommend IF/THEN to anyone and everyone, especially the hopeless romantic.

Be prepared to tear up at some parts and laugh at others. I hope (but it probably won’t happen) that IF/THEN gets turned into a movie, so I can watch it whenever I want. That’s how good it is. A-

2014 (c) Jennifer Gioia

Disney’s “Brave” Film Review

brave

Brave

Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson

Disney Pixar’s new movie, Brave, opens up with the illustrious Pixar short, “La Luna”. It’s quite magical and adorable.

Once the story begins, the authentic Scottish music sets the mood of a far away land full of lush greens. Here we meet Princess Merida, a skilled archer with bountiful red curls of hair. With this destiny-themed exposition, Merida tries to defy her mother’s wishes of marrying a suitor from one of the three clans. The clans, DunBroch, Dingwall, Macintosh, and MacGuffin, used to be enemies, but have found peace. With their past, some tension still arises when they all meet for the Highland Games, full of dancing and athletics such as the Caber toss and archery. The clans start to fight and it sets a humorous tone with bagpipes playing in the background and the silliness of how the men fight with biting and nipple twisting.

After a huge argument with the Queen, Merida rips her mother’s tapestry of their family and rides away into the forest on her horse, Ingis. She ends up in a circle of supernatural stones. Blue entities, called wisps, appear and Merida follows them to a secluded woodcarving cottage. The magic really emerges when Merida meets a witch who gives her a magical cake that will change her mother. Merida’s mother changes into the one thing her father despises. The triplets, with matching red hair, try to help Merida hide her mother from the clans. Merida regrets changing her mother and misses her.

Brave has more of a mother-daughter theme than the assumed feministic freedom that Merida craves in the beginning. This film is full of legends and magic. Although, there is a moral to Brave, it might not be suitable for all ages. It is quite violent and can appear a bit scary to young children. Brave returns to the aforementioned theme that you cannot run away from your fate, ending with the happy note of “mending the bond”. B+

2012 (c) Jennifer Gioia

“Ice Age 4: Continental Drift” Film Review

ice age 4

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary

Scrat the prehistoric squirrel is back with his nutty antics. While trying to store his acorn, he causes a continental cataclysm, which disrupts mammoth Manny (Ray Romano), Ellie (Queen Latifah), Peaches (Keke Palmer), sloth Sid (John Leguizamo) and saber-tooth tiger Diego’s (Denis Leary) community. After a massive earthquake, Manny, Sid, Diego, and Sid’s granny (Wanda Sykes) are set adrift on a piece of ice across the sea, while Ellie and Peaches lead the rest of the community to a landing that is supposed to be safe. The main theme is for the odd herd to find their way back home. Along the way, they run into an ice pirate ship captained by the cruel ape, Gutt. Gutt’s second-hand crewmate is a saber-tooth tiger by the name of Shira (Jennifer Lopez) who seduces Diego. The underlining theme is about Peaches trying to fit in with the other teenage mammoths that think she is weird from being half possum. Peaches’ crush, the popular mammoth Ethan, threatens herself to change who she is. This wacky adventure of Manny, Sid, and Diego involves sirens, Sid’s granny’s pet Precious, and little native rodents. Dreamworks does it again in the franchise’s fourth film with the hilarious, relatable dialogue. The ending credits include a wonderfully catchy song of all the characters about the love of family. A-

2012 (c) Jennifer Gioia

“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” Film Review

Over the summer, I was interning at Hudson Valley Parent Magazine. My job was to review summer family films. This is the first of the three films I reviewed. It is directed more towards parents. The other two films I reviewed (that will be posted later this week) are “Ice Age 4: Continental Drift” and Disney’s new princess, “Brave”. Enjoy! :) Continue reading “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” Film Review

The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

This past Monday was Halloween. In celebration, the Student Association put together the play The Rocky Horror Picture Show. There were two showings, one at 7:30 p.m. and one at midnight. The ticket was only five dollars. I went to the midnight showing with my roommate Lexii, my floor mate Alyssa, and my CA Max. Max and I sat on the floor so we had a front row spot. Lexii and Alyssa didn’t want to sit on the floor so they sat a couple of rows back in chairs. Max dressed up in only his black underwear and a red tie. I dressed up as Wonder Woman, Lexii was Robin, and Alyssa was Batman.

It was my first time seeing the show live. I’ve seen the movie tons of times; however, they still considered me to be a virgin. So in the beginning before the show, they called up all the virgins and scribbled a big V in red lipstick on all their foreheads, including mine. Then the challenge they gave us was to make the best sex noise into the microphone. Let’s just say it was very funny and embarrassing. Once the show began, I was mesmerized. The music, the costumes, the make-up, the dancing. It was so much fun! I sang along with the songs, however, didn’t do the shout-outs. I would have if I knew them.

My favorite part was when the Master of the castle was fooling around with Janet and Brad, yet Janet and Brad didn’t know it was the Master. It was pretty funny. My favorite character is Creature, because I love his golden underwear and his big muscles. It was kind of funny though, because he sort of looked like my floor mate Charlie, but I knew it wasn’t him. The only negatives were that the music kept skipping every now and then, and sometimes the microphones didn’t work. It was okay to me because I was in the front so I could still hear them, but I doubt the people in the back could.

We got back to the dorm around one in the morning. It was a lot of fun. The play is way better live than from just watching the movie. The next day I called my mom and told her about it. She was happy I finally lost my “virginity” to the play like she did when she was younger. Now, I can’t wait until next Halloween to see it again. Maybe my mom will come up and we’ll see it together. That’d be really fun. It’d be a night full of laughter to remember.

“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played With Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest”: The Films.

I just finished watching the best-selling Millennium trilogy written by the late Swedish author, Stieg Larsson, directed by Niels Arden Oplev.

The films were all amazing. The lighting, angles, and direction of each film was very unique and professional. Oplev did a great job.

Even more credit goes to the man behind Lisbeth Salander, Stieg Larsson. He presented each character very delicate and precise. The plot was very well put together and grabbing. I was on the edge of my couch seat for the whole 428 minutes of all three films combined.

My opinion of the films are very high, 9/10 stars. (:

However, what I had to say about the plot was that either Larsson had a ludicrous amount of hatred for me, which is ironic considering he was a man, or he just knew of the horrid, unspeakable things men do to other human beings.

Throughout the whole trilogy, there was rape, murder, sex, violence, child pornography, trafficking, and language. Now granted, murder, sex, violence, and language can be found today in many movies, and real life. However, child pornography, trafficking, and rape is what I believe a little too much for me. It was rated R for a reason, and being seventeen, I am legal to watch it without an adult. Which I did. My mother didn’t want to watch it and my father was away on business.

I just believe that Larsson perceived men to be, in the words of Lisbeth Salander, “Sadistic pigs and rapists.”

Horrible.

Gross.

And wrong.

I can’t begin to imagine living in a world with this everyday. Yes, I am, as are all of you reading this. However, more than half of us don’t live next door to a rapist, have a father with a double life as a trafficking boss, or fall asleep every night watching child pornography. And for those who do, you have problems and I pray the best for you.

Sure, not all men are sadistic pigs and rapists, but according to Larsson’s trilogy, all men, including those of government titles are sadistic pigs and rapists. It’s just sad to think that it is true somewhere in the world.

Either way, Larsson’s Millennium film trilogy was very good. I plan on reading the novels soon. It’s a shame, really. I usually read the books first before I see the movies. That how I like it. In my opinion, the books are always better. So Larsson’s novels will be outstanding compared to his films.

I would recommend the films to you all very highly.

Continue reading “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played With Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest”: The Films.