Review - Oliver Twist

I was fairly ambivalent with regards to the idea of probably my favourite directors creating a variant of the much beloved traditional tale Oliver Twist. On the one hand Roman Polanski crafts wonderful and moving movies well so I was curious to see how he would weave this one together. From his early 'Knife in the water' to 'The Pianist' each one has his hallmark directorial stamp on it although nonetheless being truly extraordinary and individual films. On the other hand, the Oliver Twist movie version has been screened to death both in two respected films as well as multifarious TV versions in the past. For me David Lean's variation is fantastic, Alec Guinness exceptional as Fagin and also the whole film experience has kept me going back from my childhood to adulthood.


Therefore it was with much trepidation that I went to view this spanking fresh version of the Oliver Twist movie and thankfully I was not unhappy. The character of Fagin, so critical to the tale, is carried out with excellent capability by Ben Kingsley. He really portrays this grotesque but somehow loving persona well from his minor manners and movements to his vocal abilities. Furthermore, finely carried out had been the parts of the artful dodger, Mr Brownlowe and of course Oliver Twist. There was clearly such sadness and despair in his eyes all through that he really captured the portion very well. Much less convincing was Bill Sykes who wasn't right for that part nor performed good enough to stand up against the masterful Oliver Reed in a preceding version. Foreman is often a regular in gangster type films and for me did not truly go with the cast or film well here.
The recreation of middle of the 19th century London is performed well with Polanski illustrating on the visual inspiration of Dore paper prints of the period pertaining to authenticity. The cinematography is as accomplished as always in a Polanski film plus the lighting style aided to create dramatic moods properly.
Overall this Oliver Twist movie is a very competent and entertaining version with great acting, an excellent tempo and an outstanding final scene of Fagin done and soon to face death grasping hold of Oliver tightly. I would highly suggest to adults, youngsters and die hard admirers of other versions. All great directors include different visions and Polanski has utilised his vision and experienced workmanship in effectively remaking this much loved story.
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Article Source:  Mike Mcwilsen 

Matilda - A Fantastic Family Fantasy and Comedy Movie

The movie Matilda was made with the book by Roald Dahl in mind. It begins with a family that is happy with the way things are. Then Matilda comes along. Her parents don't really like children and so she is ignored from the moment she is born. From a very young age she is left at home to fend for her self. However, Matilda is very smart. By the age of three she teaches herself to cook. Soon after that she teaches herself how to take the bus to the library, which is where she spends most of her day.

Matilda's father is a used car salesman that uses stolen parts to gain a bigger profit. Her mother plays bingo all day in hopes of winning money. Matilda also has an older brother that is in elementary school.
At the age of six and a half, Matilda begs her parents to let her go to school but her parents think she is only three. By this time, Matilda has read every book in the children's section of the library. Her father does not want her to go to school because she brings the packages of stolen parts into the house during the day.
The local principal decides that she needs to buy a car and Matilda's dad makes a deal with her to enroll her in school. The principal is a touch retired Olympian who did many throwing field events. Upon arrival she sees the principal bullying many children. She also manages to make a few friends in the process. One child came to school with pig tales, which the principal swings her over the fence by. Matilda ends up in a great first grade class with a great teacher names Ms. Honey. It is not long before Ms. Honey discovers how smart Matilda is when she states an impossible multiplication problem. Matilda quickly spits out the answer and is found to be correct after the teacher works it out on paper.
Soon an assembly is called because someone ate the principal's chocolate cake. A boy is found and made to eat an entire cake to help him remember if he ate a piece of the first one. The school is kept until nine that night as punishment for the missing cake.
The next day, the principal pays Matilda's class a visit to teach them a thing or two. In preparation everything colorful is covered. Some of the classmates put a newt in the water prepared for the principal. It isn't long before the class is snickering about what the principal is drinking. She begins yelling at the class for laughing and Matilda imagines the glass of water tipping over and the newt falling on the principal, which then happens. Matilda now knows that she has a superpower. After letting her teacher know about what she did, the teacher tells Matilda that the principal is actually her aunt and was raised by her after her father mysteriously died. The principal is now living in her parent's house. Ms. Honey has moved to her own little cottage.
Will Matilda get to the bottom of the death? Will the principal ever return to Matilda's class after the newt incident? Watch and find out.
Shelly loves kids movies, but she also loves bowling. Check out the selection of Cartoon Kids Bowling Shoes []. For more information, see Kids Bowling Shoes [].
Article Source: Shelly White  

The Phantom Of The Opera (Movie Review)

Nominated for 3 Academy Awards and 3 Golden Globes, including Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, The Phantom Of The Opera was one of the most talked about movies of 2004. Taking the smash commercial success of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage production to the big screen is no easy task, but long-time Hollywood director Joel Schumacher is more than able to get the job done. He takes an otherwise poorly written screenplay (minus the awe of a live performance no less) and manages to thrill the audience with the visual aspects of a film chiefly intended to rehash a successful stage musical. The costumes and set are simply magnificent, and Art Director John Fenner (Raiders Of The Lost Ark) helps Schumacher put together a fabulous production that's well worth a movie-goer's time...


The Phantom Of The Opera centers around a mysterious character who dwells underneath the Paris Opera House, imbibing himself on the music that emanates from above. Known as The Phantom (Gerard Butler), he wears a half-mask to cover the hideous facial scars that have plagued him since birth. A musical genius, the phantom is infatuated with the opera, and when he falls in love with the voice of a young chorus girl named Christine (Emmy Rossum - The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Mystic River (2003)), this love of the opera morphs into an outright obsession. The phantom provides Christine with one-on-one voice lessons, while during his spare time, he terrorizes the opera house in an effort to land his protégé the opera's leading role. When Christine finally rises to that position, however, she is reunited with childhood friend Raul (Patrick Wilson), and the two begin a torrid love affair. Vengeful and jealous, the phantom kidnaps Christine and holds her prisoner in his underground lair, and Raul is the only one who can save her...

Onscreen, The Phantom Of The Opera is weak by the standards of a traditional film. The cast does its best to make the most of a screenplay peppered with rigid dialogue - a script designed to sell "the music of the night". The supposed magnetism between Christine and Raul is non-existent and not really believable. As such, the audience is forced into believing that the phantom (who, by contrast, is quite charismatic in this rendition) would end up playing second fiddle to a man who makes Al Gore seem animated. Overall, however, other aspects of the film make up for this flaw...

Based on Gaston Leroux's 1925 novel of the same name, The Phantom Of The Opera loses much of its original edge given the phantom's transformation from a frightening and mangled lunatic to a watered down half-scarred/half-babe-magnet figure complete with likeable characteristics. But inevitably, that's the mark of an enduring franchise - its malleability in the realm of numerous genres and the public's willingness to embrace such changes. But arguably, the small changes in the original novel's plot were necessary to achieve Lloyd Webber's goal of a melodramatic and stirring Broadway musical boasting mass commercial appeal. In a year in which the Oscar nominations were mostly dominated by lower-budget, surprise hit films (such as Sideways, Million Dollar Baby, and Finding Neverland), The Phantom Of The Opera holds its own in many aspects (given its pre-production designation as a commercial success). But those who have not seen the stage version are unlikely to be won over to the ranks of the franchise's numerous fanatics. My advice is to definitely see the film if you've ever seen the stage performance or listened regularly to the soundtrack - otherwise, you might be disappointed. After all, no matter how good The Phantom Of The Opera translates to the big screen, there's a reason musicals are not the dominate genre in Hollywood...
Britt Gillette is author of The DVD Report, a movie review site [] where you can find more articles like this one of The Phantom Of The Opera (DVD) Review [].
Article Source:  Britt Gillette  

'The Sound of Music' Original Movie Introduces the Von Trapp Family to Audiences Everywhere

The year is 1930, the country Austria. A young nun with a vibrant personality and spirit matched only by her God-given talent for singing leaves the confines of her convent. Her mission is to serve as governess for seven children of a by-the-book navy commander, Captain Georg von Trapp, who spends too much time away from his children.

'The Sound of Music' Movie Adaptation Introduces Julie Andrews' Maria to Adoring Audiences

Maria, a young novitiate trying to find her place in life, runs headlong into teen-aged rebellion, recalcitrant pre-teens, an almost dictatorial boss and at least two wars in addition to the one with Hitler, whose minions are swiftly swallowing up Europe's beloved cultures and traditions.
Her tug-of-war with her new charges and her not-to-be-quelled feelings for Captain von Trapp pale in comparison to her own inner emotional turmoil. Where does she belong? In the convent, giving service to God? At prayer? Teaching the children to whom she has been entrusted while compartmentalizing her feelings for the Captain, who, almost as a side note, is engaged to a wealthy baroness?
'The Sound of Music' Cast of Characters Joins Real-life Members of the Von Trapp Family on Oprah in 2010
Based upon a real-life Maria von Trapp, The Sound of Music was adapted for the big screen in 1965 and will have warmed audiences for half a century in 2015. An Oprah Winfrey special in late October 2010 featured prominent members of the cast as well as members of the real von Trapp family, who still sing songs.
According to the Internet Movie Database, original cast members of The Sound of Music movie 1965
Maria: Julie Andrews
Captain von Trapp: Christopher Plummer
Liesl: Charmian Carr
Louisa: Heather Menzies
Friedrich: Nicholas Hammond
Brigitta: Angela Cartwright
Marta: Debbie Turner
Gretyl: Kym Karath
Kurt: Duane Chase
Rolfe: Daniel Truhitte
Baroness Elsa Schraeder:
Max Detweiler: Richard Haydn
Frau Schmidt: Norma Varden
Mother Abbess: Peggy Wood
Sister Berthe: Portia Nelson
Sister Margaretta: Anna Lee
Herr Zeller: Ben Wright
The Baroness: Eleanor Parker
The Sound of Music movie, according to Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards, by Mason Wiley and Damien Bona, won the following Academy Awards for Best Picture 1965:
Best Picture 1965
Best Director (Robert Wise)
Best Sound
Best Film Editing
Best Adapted Score
Julie Andrews was nominated for Best Actress, along with Peggy Wood for Best Supporting Actress. Andrews did win a Golden Globe for Best Actress, but Julie Christie, having newly burst onto the scene, took home the Oscar for her performance in Darling.
Julie Andrews spent most of 1964 in the glow of her 1964 Best Actress Award for her title role in Mary Poppins. Considered a shoe-in for her role as Maria in The Sound of Music, Andrews was the talk of the year. She graced the covers of magazines, including Life, and full-page newspaper congratulatory ads sponsored by both Disney and Fox studios.
The Sound of Music movie adaptation of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein Broadway musical cost $8 million to produce in 1964. It has gone on to become one of the top-grossing films in history, and certainly one of the most beloved films of all time.
Wiley, Mason and Damien Bona. Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards. New York: Ballantine Books, 1986
Internet Movie Database
Sydney Mason is a freelance writer who writes for a number of online websites.

Article Source: Sydney Mason