Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Traditions: The Nutcracker


Good Evening Guests!

How are you on this fine Tibb’s Eve? What’s Tibb’s Eve you ask, well it’s a Newfoundland thing. I’ve always called December 23rd the Eve of Christmas Eve but a few years back I learned it was also called Tibb’s Eve, you can learn more about it here.

I spent this evening watching The Nutcracker. Not just any Nutcracker, the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s version! I have talked about it here on the blog before but really I cannot sing the praises of this film loud enough! Compared to all the other ballet versions, this one is the best.

Not to say that all the others are worthless, certainly not! I’m just a sucker for the story of the Nutcracker. Like with Phantom of the Opera, I’ve tried my best to get my mitts on every version made.

Also, I was trilled to learn that this most treasured movie of mine is now available on iTunes for rent and download. I want to scream this from the rooftops. The movie was never released on DVD. There are a few used VHS tapes floating about on eBay and Amazon, but this iTunes download will be a real treat. Until I do get around to downloading it, I shall stick with the copy I have.

Speaking of my copy, it’s a VHS that was taped from TV, in 1990. 1990! 21 years old, almost as old as I am! I can’t believe it still works!

This year I was finally able to place a date on the year of the VHS by paying attention to the commercials. You should see the commercials on it, seriously, they’re brilliant! Yes, I’m the sort of person who will give up an hour of her life to watch old commercials on YouTube ^__^ It was a commercial for the film Havana (1990), announcing the date it would be in theaters. As well, there’s a commercial for Sports Illustrated which mentions the coming year, 1991. One less mystery in the world...

If you want to view the trailer for the film you can view it on iTunes, sorry I couldn’t get code to embed it here. What I do have for you is the trailer for the ballet. See, that’s the exciting thing about the movie. The designs, the dances, everything you see in the movie is still being used by the PNB in their yearly performances of the Nutcracker. Of course, there have been some changes, but still, the thought warms my heart.

The PNB YouTube channel not only posts trailers and clips of their performances but interviews with their dancers, like this one, On Being Peacock:

I admire this young woman so much! This is the role I dreamed of having as a child. When I was young, I would take several of my play skirts, layering and tucking them in such a way as to try and create a sort of tail for myself. Ended up being more of a bustle I suppose, an early sign of the lolita fashion to come perhaps? ^__^


Tomorrow I’ll be watching another VHS I have of the Nutcracker, and I may even re-watch the Care Bears Nutcracker Christmas Special ^__^ And tomorrow night, Christmas Eve, me and mom will be watching A Christmas Carol (1951) with Alistair Sims as Scrooge.

In other news, I must quickly note that it’s been snowing all this evening. The next few days are forecasted for snow as well. Perhaps I will get the white Christmas I wish for every year.

We get plenty of snow in Newfoundland, just not in December, mainly in the New Year. Oh yes, ask me in January and February if I’m enjoying the snow!

Stay Spooky,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Trailer

My dear guests,

This was not my original post for tonight. My post talking about my birthday can wait. We have more important matters to attend to! The internet is all abuzz tonight with the newly released trailer for the first part of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Here is the trailer,

Now that I’ve finally had a chance to re-watch this multiply times & calm down from all the excitement, let’s discuss the trailer. As always, leave your thoughts, comments & concerns down below in the comments section!

There’s plenty to geek out over in the trailer, isn’t there? There are familiar faces to squeal over, objects & places as well.

We see Ian Holm portraying an older Bilbo (Martin Freeman plays the younger role), as well as Elijah Woods returning as Frodo. Though, these are only small cameos, Frodo does not play a role in the story of The Hobbit. There’s Ian McKellen once again as Gandalf the Grey. We see Galadriel played once more by the beautiful Cate Blanchett. We get to see & hear Andy Serkis bring the character of Gollum to life once more. Be honest, we all freaked (in a good way, of course) out to hear him say "Precious" ^__^

There is Narsil, "the blade that was broken" & Bilbo’s sword which is given to Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring, Sting. & displayed beautifully against the darkness of Gollum’s cave is the One Ring.

It’s great that there is so much familiarity in this trailer, there is a level of comfort to it, everything is as we left it, we are returning to the Shire, to Rivendell, to Middle-Earth. The level of familiarity I feel is very important with this story since there are so many new characters to be introduced, most of which whom the dwarves.
Speaking of dwarves, 2012 looks like it will be a very good year for them. You’ve got this film, along with the two Snow White films, each with seven dwarves in them, goodness, what a mess of dwarves! & did you note the “sexy dwarves” in this trailer? Fíli and Kíli I am referring to, though my dwarf crush is Ori <3

And then there’s a real treat, the song that the dwarves sing,

Far over the misty mountains cold

To dungeons deep and caverns old
The pines were roaring on the height,
The winds were moaning in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread;
The trees like torches blazed with light.

This is one of the many poems & songs that J. R. R. Tolkien wrote for his novels. For anyone who’s read The Hobbit or LOTR, you know what I’m talking about.

The first two lines are the beginning of the song, while the rest is the full seventh verse. There are ten verses in all.

For anyone’s that interested, here’s the whole song:

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

For ancient king and elvish lord
There many a gleaming golden hoard
They shaped and wrought, and light they caught
To hide in gems on hilt of sword.

On silver necklaces they strung
The flowering stars, on crowns they hung
The dragon-fire, in twisted wire
They meshed the light of moon and sun.

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away, ere break of day,
To claim our long-forgotten gold.

Goblets they carved there for themselves
And harps of gold; where no man delves
There lay they long, and many a song
Was sung unheard by men or elves.

The pines were roaring on the height,
The winds were moaning in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread;
The trees like torches blazed with light.

The bells were ringing in the dale
And men looked up with faces pale;
The dragon’s ire more fierce than fire
Laid low their towers and houses frail.

The mountain smoked beneath the moon;
The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.
They fled their hall to dying fall
Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.

Far over the misty mountains grim
To dungeons deep and caverns dim
We must away, ere break of day,
To win our harps and gold from him!

It’s exciting to see that more of Professor Tolkien’s songs & poetry will make it into the movie. There is so much that was written for the books that were not able to be put into the films.

Something I must confess about my reading of the novel The Hobbit is that I can barely keep track of all the dwarves ^__^' In that way, I am concerned for the movie. However, from the trailer, & from the official production photos, we can see that the dwarves all look very different from each other, which is wonderful, & perhaps seeing them instead of reading we’ll all be able to keep track xD

I also confess that I prefer The Hobbit over The Lord of the Rings. A major reason being that it is easier to read because it is shorter, this has led me to reread it often. I very much enjoy the opening chapter of the novel
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."
It is a comforting book to me, like The Chronicles of Narnia. & though I dearly enjoyed LOTR, I have never reread it, though one day I’m sure I’ll get up my nerve to do so again.

What did you think of the trailer, are you excited for it? Are you a Tolkien fan, of the movies, of the books, or both?

Stay Spooky,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Un Monstre a Paris

A while ago an intriguing movie came up on my radar, an animated French film, Un Monstre a Paris.

I found out about the film through the art of one of my favorite artists, Abigail Larson. I’m always ridiculously excited when she posts new art on her Deviant Art page & I want everything in her etsy shop! xD

On her blog, she posted this beautiful piece inspired by the film

I just knew I had to learn more about this film!

On IMDB, the film is described as

"A 3D-animated movie set in Paris in the year 1910 and centered on a monster who lives in a garden and his love for a beautiful, young singer."

Wikipedia expands on this summary saying,

"The film is set in Paris, France, during the Seine flood of 1910. An experiment gone bad turns a flea into an anthropomorphic monster (Matthieu Chedid), who eventually meets and is hidden by Lucille (Vanessa Paradis), a singer at the cabaret L'Oiseau Rare, where he develops musical abilities."

Here is the trailer for the film

The film is directed by Bibo Bergeron, whose name you may or may not recognize, but perhaps you are familiar with his previous works, which include The Road to El Dorado & Shark Tale.

Interesting thing about Vanessa Paradis who voices Lucille in the film, the name didn’t ring a bell at first, but since 1998 she’s been in a relationship with Johnny Depp! Lucky gal ^^

Also, is anyone else seeing the Phantom of the Opera story elements here? The setting is Paris, there’s a beautiful singer, a frightening monster with musical abilities who has feelings for mentioned singer, & you even have a character named Raoul who has feelings for Lucille!

Yes, the Phantom elements alone make this a film that I need to see!

I do, however, worry for this film. It was released back in October of this year but didn’t fair so well at the box office. According to Wikipedia the budget for the film was € 28.22 million but after four weeks at the box office had only earned € 14.4 million, making back barely half its budget. But those are only two numbers that are not telling the whole story. It did say that was only in four weeks & didn’t say how many theatres it was open in. Also, not sure how much advertising was done for the film. As well, I’m not sure what kind of expectations there were for this film.

It has been hard to find out information on the film. There isn’t even a page for it on Rotten Tomatoes yet. & honestly, I’m scared to do too much poking around for reviews. There are all of four reviews listed for the film on IMDB, which I’m nervous to read. Unless I’m reading for a trusted review site, I’m always concerned about spoilers. That’s how Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland was ruined for me, bloody reviewers... If you must spoil the ending at least warn us you will do so! *cough* rant over...

Despite all this, I’m going to be keeping my eye out for this film & get my paws on it when I can. & I’ll be crossing my fingers & hoping that there will be subtitles rather than having the film dubbed in English.

Another thing that drew me to the movie was the music, which I will be discussing in a future blog post, stay tuned!

Stay Spooky,