Posted in 8-Tracks, Blog Posts, Week of Love

Ladyhawke: The Motion Picture Soundtrack, by Andrew Powell: a Album review

General Information:

-Album Title: Ladyhawke

-Artist: Andrew Powell

-Release Year: 1985

-Album Length:

-Genre: Instrumental Film Score, Medieval Dark Fantasy

-How to Listen: Spotify (with subscription), Apple Music (with subscription), iTunes (for purchase), CD, or look for it at your local library

-Page of Reference in RP1: 106

Lyrics:

NONE…all instrumental

Song Titles:

  1. Main Title
  2. Phillipe’s Escape
  3. The Search for Phillipe
  4. Tavern Fight (Phillipe)
  5. Tavern Fight (Navarre)
  6. Phillipe Describes Isabeau
  7. Navarre’s Ambush
  8. The Chase, the Fall & the Transformation
  9. “She Was Sad at First…”
  10. Navarre Returns to Aquila
  11. Narvarre’s and Marquet’s Duel
  12. Marquet’s Death
  13. Bishop’s Death
  14. End Title

Review:

This is a beautiful soundtrack.  It is one that plays throughout the background of the film and adds an incredible depth to the storyline.  The majority of the music seems to have medieval themes throughout it and many of the moments feel truly like what I imagine life in this time period would have been like (if you had the ability to carry music with you always).

The ups and downs of the score follow the action in ways that enhance, not detract from the story and the action that is going on upon the screen.

This is one of the few scores I can listen to that helps me focus.  Usually I need talking or singing to stimulate my brain well enough to focus but the depth here is just so beautiful that it is easy to listen to in the background.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Week of Love

Ladyhawke, created by Richard Donner: a Film Review

Synopsis:

In Aquila, a town in medieval France, a thief known as “The Mouse”, aka Phillipe Gaston, escapes from prison and the city proper.  On his flight he is nearly captured by the Bishop’s guards.  He is saved by Etienne Navarre, the former captain of the guard.

As they run Navarre picks up Phillipe and the pair, along with Navarre’s beautiful hawk, flee finding a safe place to lodge for the night.  As they settle in Phillipe is told not to disturb Navarre under any circumstances.  As Phillipe goes about his evening chores he stumbles upon a beautiful woman, and is nearly attacked by a solid black wolf who has already killed the farmer they are staying with.  Though neither is safe the night passes on.

The next day Phillipe tells the tale to Navarre who reminisces about the woman hoping she will enter his dreams.  Navarre tells Phillipe of his intention to slay the Bishop and demands the assistance of the thief.  Unwilling to do so, Phillipe spends his night tied to the tree.  As the same woman appears this night as well Phillipe begs for her help.  He escapes into the night.

When Navarre comes upon Phillipe the following day he again rescues the boy from the Bishop’s Guard who are about to kill him.  In the heat of the battle Navarre is hit and his beloved hawk attacks the guards.  She is hit with a crossbow bolt and falls to the ground.  Navarre finishes off the guards and proceeds to send Phillipe to a monk who can help to heal the poor bird.

When Phillipe arrives on horseback to the monk the sun has nearly set.  The beautiful woman has appeared again, with a wolf howling in the night.  She has a bolt running through her chest where the bolt had formerly been in the hawk.  When the monk is confronted by Phillipe he tells the story of Etienne and Isabeau, and the curse that they have been placed under by a jealous and powerful man (who Isabeau had rejected).

Will Phillipe help the pair to break the curse or will they be forever doomed?

General Information:

-Genre: Medieval Dark Fantasy Film

-Creator: Richard Donner

-Length: 121 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, medieval battle, mild profanity, mild alcohol use and drunkenness)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Leo McKern, John Wood

-Page of Reference in RP1: 106

Review (contains spoilers):

I absolutely love this film.  My father showed it to me at a fairly young age (I believe 12 or 13) and I was hooked.  But I love anything from the late-1980s to early 1990s.  This movie along with other like Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, and The Last Knight share a lot of similar flavor.

There is a specific feel to them that is just delightfully outdated by our standards, however, the writing is beautiful, the stories are robust, and the romance is just delightful in its rendition. 

This is a lovely movie with a beautiful story of a man and a woman whose love was so pure that they were determined to be together despite the fact that they were cursed and could never touch each other again. 

It’s a wholesome film that can be shared with older children and pre-teens.  The story is heartwarming, and the film is well developed and beautifully filmed.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Flick Central

Coraline, created by LAIKA, based on the novella Coraline by Neil Gaiman: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Eleven-year-old Coraline has just moved into a mansion turned apartment complex with her parents.  As the move happens her parents are busy trying to get their latest book done before their deadline.  They aren’t able to keep Coraline entertained in her new environment and encourage her to go and explore the grounds.

She meets a boy named Wybee whose grandmother owns the apartment complex.  He is weird and eventually gives Coraline a doll that looks like her.  When she asks where he found the doll he doesn’t seem to know, but comes back later when his grandmother is upset that Coraline was given the doll.

As rainy weather eventually prevents Coraline from exploring outside she takes to the inside of her home discovering a locked passage on her adventures.  When the door ends up opening seemingly of its own accord Coraline follows the hall into another world.  Just like her own…but better.

Better food, better entertainments from the neighbors…and another mother and father.  As Coraline makes herself at home the Other Mother offers her a choice… she can leave, or she can stay forever.  The catch? She must have buttons sewn into her eyes.

When Coraline asks to be given time to make the choice and returns to her world she gets the feeling that the Other Mother isn’t going to let her go so easily.  When her parents turn up missing she becomes frantic.  Will the Other Mother let Coraline go…or will this turn into a fight for not only her life but a fight for her parents as well?

General Information:

-Genre: Stop Motion Animation, Dark Fantasy, Horror

-Creator: LAIKA, based on the novella Coraline by Neil Gaiman

-Length: 100 minutes

-Rating: PG (for dark themes and horror, mild violence, death and discussions of death, fantasy themes, some language and suggestive humor, scary images and other thematic elements)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Starz, YouTube, iTunes, DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library!

-Main Cast: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Ian McShane

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

Absolutely one of my favorite LAIKA films.  I watched it long before I ever read the book or the graphic novel but I fell in love with the delightfully dark story of the young Coraline.

Between her bratty and self-centered behavior and the strange and mysterious Wybee to the very disturbing Other Mother, LAIKA did a fantastic job utilizing their stop motion techniques to the fullest.  I honestly don’t thing traditional 2D or 3D animation could have really pulled off the jerky and creepy movements of the Beldam, the strange soupy movements of the Other Father as he disintegrates or the lithe and graceful movements of the Cat.

There is so much that can be said of this film.

The story does a great job of following what was in the book with the exception of adding Wybee (which is honestly a welcome addition and a fun companion for Coraline).  The characters are the same, the story follows very closely with little variation and the animation is just beautiful.

Defiantly a must see but beware with younger children.  Just because this movie is a children’s story it is dark and deals with very dark themes (both real and fantasy) and may be scary for some young viewers.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by P. Craig Russel: a Graphic Novel Review

Synopsis:

When young Coraline and her parents move into a new apartment she starts to explore the surrounding area and visits the neighbors.  Everyone seems nice but Coraline soon becomes bored, even more so when it rains so hard that she isn’t able to go outside.

While exploring her own house she finds a door that leads to no where having been bricked up to turn the sprawling manor house into individual units.  When she is awoken in the middle of the night to find the door not only open, but no longer bricked up, she enters the hall to find herself in a house similar to her own only better.

More and better toys, food she likes better, and better neighbors.  With another mother and another father…just like hers but not really. 

What will Coraline do when she is asked to stay by the Other Mother?  And is the house…the better house…all that it seems?

General Information:

-Genre: Dark Fantasy Graphic Novel

-Author/Illustrator: Neil Gaiman with illustrations by P. Craig Russel

-Number of Pages: 192

-Main Characters: Coraline, Mother, Father, The Other Mother

-Where to Read: Look for it at your local booksellers (often they can order items that are not in stock), or check for it at your local library (like I did!)

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

Beautifully illustrated and rendered, this graphic novel edition of Gaiman’s classic Coraline is absolutely lovely.  The story is not lost in the art.  And while the story is quite dark (suitable for older children but younger children may be bothered by some of the imagery) the illustrations are anything but gory or overly graphic.

My first experience with Coraline was with the movie adaptation done by Laika film studio.  You can see my review of it here:

I was pleased to find that the story hadn’t been changed much.

This graphic novel form of the story is so wonderfully done that it makes an excellent edition to the novella.  It not only enhances the story but makes it accessible to more people.

I love that more and more novels and novellas are being turned into graphic novels. There are many people who struggle to read novels for various reasons and having graphic novels or audiobooks of these makes them more accessible.

And this one shows how art and story telling can go hand in hand.

The illustrations capture the essence of the book.  Sweet and not startling.  Just creepy enough to be on the dark side of fantasy but not too graphic…as the story is intended for children.  Coraline is an inquisitive child who is learning that her parents don’t always have time to keep her entertained.  They seem unattentive from her point of view.  Yet she grows to realize that they love her deeply and that she loves them too.

She learns to use her kindness to help others and save the future from the Other Mother. Her cunning and her quick wit keep the story interesting and charming.

Overall an enjoyable read and a lovely graphic novel.

Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

The Addams Family Values, based on the The Addams Family by Charles Addams: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The Addams Family has welcomed a new member.  And not everyone in the family is happy about this.  Morticia hires a nanny as Wednesday and Pugsley’s attempts to murder their little brother go unfinished.

The nanny seduces Fester while Wednesday uncovers her dark secret.  Because of this she convinces Morticia to send Wednesday and Pugsley to summer camp.  A normal summer camp.

And as always…hilarity ensues because it is the Addams Family…

General Information:

-Genre: Black Comedy

-Creator: based on The Addams Family by Charles Addams

-Length: 94 minutes

-Rating: PG-13(sexual innuendo and slight sexual themes, violence and gore, some fantasy theming, mild profanity, dark comedy)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play or find it at your local library!

-Main Cast: Anjelica Huston,Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci, Jimmy Workman, Joan Cusack

-Page of Reference in RPO: 177

Review (contains spoilers):

I had forgotten how long it had been since I had seen this movie…but it was just as delightful as I remember.

The introduction of Debbie added a fun juxtaposition to the film.  She is very light, bright and pastel and incredibly evil.  A distinct contrast to the dark mysterious and incredibly loving Addams Family.  Its really a unique design choice.

They seem to use it in the obvious way… to show that outside appearance has nothing to do with what you are like underneath.

I love the portrayal of Debbie and her homicidal tendencies but Wednesday almost rivals her performance with her own at summer camp.  Rarely do the children outshine the performances in a film full of adult stars but the way this film was written the children truly get the chance to shine.

I love this movie from start to finish.  It is one of a rare few that is entertaining the whole time and on repeated watches.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

The Addams Family (1991), based on the The Addams Family by Charles Addams: a Film Review

Synopsis:

We pick up on the Addams Family after a 25 year fall out between Gomez and his brother Fester.  The family is about to hold their annual seance to speak with, what they believe, is a long dead Fester.

Meanwhile, Gomez’s lawyer has gotten himself into a sticky situation with a loan shark.  He is unable to pay back the loan but hatches a plan with the loan shark and her son…who oddly looks like he could be Fester’s twin.

On the night of the séance the pair show up and convince Gomez that Fester has returned from the Bermuda Triangle but must return in a week…

Hilarity ensues because this is the Addams Family…

General Information:

-Genre: Black Comedy

-Creator: based on The Addams Family by Charles Addams

-Length: 99 minutes

-Rating: PG-13(sexual innuendo and slight sexual themes, violence and gore, some fantasy theming, mild profanity, dark comedy)

-Where to Watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play or find it at your local library!

-Main Cast: Anjelica Huston,Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci, Jimmy Workman, Elizabeth Wilson, Dan Hedaya

-Page of Reference in RPO: 177

Review (contains spoilers):

This is by far my favorite rendition of the Addams Family.  From top to bottom the casting and the story are fantastic.

Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia’s portrayal of Gomez and Morticia Addams is absolutely spectacular and I do believe showcases one of the most devoted and lovely couples in television or film. Their performance is truly where the memes come from about their love being #goals.  They show their devotion in every moment on screen from the way they look at each other to their utter devotion to the dark and slightly depraved tendencies of the other.

Pugsley and Wednesday also have a stunning performance on screen. Their little moments of dark humor and play are just a wonderful bit of comic relief from the general story line.  And their interactions with the rest of the family truly capture the feel of the two children that Charles Addams created.

The rest of the performances are just as fantastic.  Between Fester getting his memory back slowly and both Thing and Lurch in their silent moments on the periphery and the general insanity that is the Addams Family…. This film really showed it all.

This is the film I think people really think of when they think of the Addams Family.  It’s a perfect combination of dark humor and family togetherness.  The writing is just spectacular. And the costuming and set were beautifully done.

The film is extremely entertaining. And one of my favorites to watch over the Halloween season (though it is fun to watch other times of the year too.)

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

The Addams Family, created by David Levy and Donald Saltzman, based on The Addams Family by Charles Addams: a Television Series Review

Synopsis:

The Addams Family is all about the exploits of the eccentric and wealthy Addamses.  The Father, Gomez, is madly in love with his wife, Morticia.  They have two children, Wednesday and Pugsley.  They live in their mansion with Uncle Fester, Grandmama (Morticia’s mother), and two servants- Lurch and Thing.

From going to school for the first time to romances to dancing around the house the stories of this loving but macabre family were created as a contrast to the accepted “normal” American family with its 2.5 children, house in the suburbs and the white picket fence.  They show throughout all of their episodes that the love one has for ones family is not determined by outside appearance but by a person’s heart.

General Information:

-Genre: Black Comedy Sitcom

-Creator: David Levy and Donald Saltzman, based on the cartoons of Charles Addams

-Length: 2 seasons, 64 total episodes, 30 minutes each

-Rating: TV-8+ (morbid and macabre moments, dark comedy, some slight violence and some slight sexual innuendo)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, DVD, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Carolyn Jones, John Astin, Jackie Coogan, Ted Cassidy, Blossom Rock, Lisa Loring, Ken Weatherwax

-Page of Reference in RPO: 177

Review (contains spoilers):

Season 1:

Such a fun show and lovely, well-developed characters right off the bat.  Jones and Astin laid a wonderful foundation for Gomez and Morticia.  They are loving, and kindhearted, and care deeply for their family.  They jump right into the troubles of their children, hate to be parted from each other and their brood. 

The eccentric acts of the family are sweet but interesting enough to keep you entertained. And the writing is amazing.  I’ve been laughing all throughout the season.

Season 2:

The show continues to be delightful.  The main cast is impeccable and I’m floored by the fact that the writers could continue to do such a good job considering the fluctuating group of side characters.   I honestly don’t understand why the show would have been done after a mere two seasons.  I am glad that I was able to watch this show for the first time ever having already fallen in love with the Addams Family.  It made seeing where they came from all the more enjoyable.

Overall the show is quite entertaining and watching it after having fallen in love with the later renditions of the family is definitely unique.  I can see how the actors in the early series laid a very detailed and comprehensive character study for later performances.  They captured the odd but loving couple.  The rather insane and morbid (but not disgusting) pastimes and various moments of chemistry that made later renditions so beautiful.  Its also fun to know that the entire set was bright pink because it was what created the shade of grey they wanted for the set.

And no matter the rendition of Gomez and Morticia they will always be my favorite couple. And their love remains #goals.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

The Addams Family, by Charles Addams: a Comic Strip Review

Synopsis:

A series of one panel comic strips that were about an unnamed macabre family that consisted of: a loving father, a stern but compassionate mother, a despondent daughter, a michevious son, an eccentric uncle and a flighty grandmama. 

The strip was published in the New Yorker starting in 1938 and ran throughout the next 40 or so years.  It told moments in the lives of this family, a stark contrast and a satirical look on the white-picked fence and 2.5 kids polished and living in suburban America.

General Information:

-Genre: Dark Humor Comic Strip

-Author/Illustrator: Charles Addams

-Number of Panels: unknown (as far as I can find the strip didn’t have a consistent publishing schedule even though Charles Addams did publish some comic panel in nearly ever issue of the New Yorker Magazine from 1932 to nearly his death in 1988)

-Main Characters: an unnamed family (we now know them as Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Uncle Fester and Grandmama)

-Where to Read: old copies of the New Yorker can be found at local libraries and in locally owned antique stores… you can find a variety of the comic’s panels online

-Page of Reference in RPO: 177

Review (contains spoilers):

Super cute but inconsistent and lacking the depth that was given to the characters later onscreen.  The panels are sweet and often funny and a true commentary on the idea that the macabre is automatically bad.  Charles Addams challenged that idea by creating a loving and kind family that had interests the exact opposite of the traditionally accepted interests of America at the time.

Review:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.