Discrepant Writer Reviews – Into the Woods

ITWposter*Some spoilers ‚Äď will try to keep to a minimum ūüėČ

Sigh…oh, Into the Woods, I had high hopes for you.

First off, I had no idea this was based on a play from the 80s, I just knew it was a musical fairytale, and I was in, but after the first scene, I quickly realized this was not going to be what I was hoping it would be.

Quick synopsis –

James Corden and Emily Blunt, both of whom I adore, are a childless couple living in a¬†small village as the local baker and his wife.¬† They have no names, unless Mr. “Baker” counts? ¬†A musical opening number offers us the information that they would like a child, but have yet to be successful in conceiving.

In flies the witch Рthe always fantastic Meryl Streep, who is the witch from the original story of Rapunzel, in which she offers a trade to the man stealing from her garden Рspecific greens for his pregnant wife Рthe veggies for the baby.*  Fair deal.  The witch gives over a whole lot of information to this childless couple about how their house is cursed and if they complete a ritual in a given time, she will lift it.

For writers, this scene will drive you crazy.¬† It offers all the information about the movie in one scene and without any real provocation.¬† It‚Äôs not as if the couple sought out her help or advice.¬† She just comes in one day and says, ‚ÄúLet me help you.¬† Here‚Äôs everything you need to do, no strings attached.‚Ä̬† Really?!

*The baker’s father was the thief, and hence Rapunzel is the baker’s sister, whom he doesn’t give a fig about finding, just FYI.

So off the couple go in search of four items that when combined by the witch will lift the curse and give them the family they desire.  They need a cow the color of milk, a cloak the color of blood, hair the color of corn, and a slipper made of gold.  Enter Jack of Jack and the Beanstalk with his white cow, Little Red Riding Hood (who The Sis groaned each time she opened her mouth Рshe was annoying), Rapunzel, and Cinderella.

As the title suggests, nearly the entire story takes place ‚Äúin the woods‚ÄĚ and they sing about it, often.¬† Sadly, none of the songs are catchy or even memorable except for one, which I will mention shortly.¬† The story does stay more true to the original tales in which the darker side of the storytelling is preserved, like killing the wolf to free Red and her grandmother who have been eaten whole, Rapunzel‚Äôs prince being blinded by thorns grown by the witch after being caught leaving the tower, and even Cinderella‚Äôs stepsisters cutting off parts of their feet to fit the slipper.¬† Yep and eww.

But the overall story is weak and drags, and this is coming from Disney…Disney! Who is the reason I have a princess complex!  And Rob Marshall, who directed Memoirs of a Geisha and Chicago.  Chicago is great and so catchy!

Maybe because they were trying to stay true to the original, they didn’t realize that it didn’t translate.  A play is limited in its location changes, hence all the woodsiness (I like that word and I’m keeping it) while the action seemed stifled and the dialogue was often too on the nose. Ugh.

The two saving graces of this film ‚Äď when the witch is transformed and looks like this:


Love it!

And when the two princes, one of whom is Chris Pine in a hilarious role as Cinderella’s prince, sing this song:

That’s it.

The story takes a weird turn about three-quarters of the way through, when the happily ever after seems too soon, but what follows is completely out of left field.  There is a moment of weakness that results in a really bad consequence and the remainder of the story threw me for an unexpected, and what felt like a forced, loop.

Given the cast, the people behind it, and the basis for the story, Into the Woods was not the fairytale I was hoping for.


What are your thoughts on Into the Woods?

*Video courtesy of Youtuber John Oncer.


Discrepant Writer Reviews – Death Comes to Pemberley


Death Comes to Pemberley recently popped up on Netflix, and as a Jane Austen enthusiast, I was excited to see they¬†had picked it up. ¬†I had been seeing articles, set photos, etc. for some months, so¬†I made the effort to watch it almost immediately. ¬†If you are wondering why I hadn’t watched it sooner, it’s because we haven’t paid for television in over 3 years. ¬†So yes, I’m fairly out of the loop on most things.

Based on the novel of the same name from 2011 by P.D. James, I have to say I have been less inclined to read any of what is basically fan fiction of one of the most famous love stories in all of literature. ¬†This is not a judgement in any regard. ¬†I love fan fiction, I write some myself, but what I have discovered in some of the reading I have done is that it lacks the…hmm, what’s a good word…magic?

Jane Austen ran in the circles she was writing about. ¬†Modern day writers can only emulate what they’ve studied, read, and seen because we have not lived it first hand, and again, by no mean is this a shortcoming. ¬†I love period pieces, and if we only wrote about what we “know”, we wouldn’t have the wide range of diversity we do in any medium. ¬†As writers, we each have a voice, and when it comes to something as widely beloved as Pride and Prejudice, you have to get it just right.

So here is my quick review.  Twoandhalfstars

The film was broken up into three parts. ¬†I’m pretty sure it could’ve been told in two. ¬†Anna Maxwell Martin and Matthew Rhys play our leads, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy in their sixth year of marriage planning their annual ball when tragedy strikes. ¬†A murder. ¬†Because of the people involved, a wedge is slowly driven between the couple and we are given a glimpse as to the repercussions of following one’s heart instead of one’s head – or at least in the minds of these characters.

The actors are both very good, but I felt Elizabeth was cast incorrectly.  She was not the same spirited woman I have come to love and this is where I blame the writing.  She seemed weak, and that spark that had attracted Darcy to her in the first place was replaced by insecurity and she was kind of dull.  Darcy was too distant, even from the beginning of the film, and because so little is really known of him from the original material beyond those honorable traits we know and love, he too came off a bit dull.

Now, I haven’t been married, so maybe after six years of marriage in this world, they’re a little bored of each other, but when we leave them at the end of Pride and Prejudice, it’s not that I expect the permanent happily ever after, because it is based in “reality”, but I expect more than this. ¬†Of course there will be hard times, etc., but I also expect that the challenge they presented to one another would carry over. ¬†They should have spirited debates, and still have some spark…well, I think so anyway, and that was missing entirely from this tale.

I didn’t feel/see any spark between these characters, and I almost felt like the obligatory “romantic”, oh, let’s call it what it was, the sex scene was meant to reassure us that they did indeed have “something”, but that doesn’t happen in Jane Austen’s stories, so I know it was meant specifically for modern day audiences, and for me it felt out of place.

There’s an odd side story involving Wickham, played by Matthew Goode, and that does have some bearing on the story overall, but in the vein of a mystery, it was still rather convoluted. ¬†The other failing was the absence of Jane and Bingley, the two people dearest to our main characters. ¬†I think there were two scenes with Jane, and they didn’t amount to much.

I love the idea of seeing more of two of my favorite characters, as I’m sure does every Janeite, but I would almost prefer to imagine their fates as an open-ended tale without any real knowledge of what happened. ¬†Looking back on what I’ve written, it doesn’t sound that promising of a film, but it had its moments, and I was glad to have the opportunity to watch it. ¬†If¬†I were flipping channels and it was on, I’d most likely leave it for a bit, but it’s lack of overall charm doesn’t compel me to go out of my way to watch it again.

Well, that’s my take anyway.

Happy Sunday!

The Discrepant Writer Rambles about Captain America: The Winter Soldier

CaptainAmerica2shieldSo as you may have noticed, I have been quite absent as of late.¬† The new job is just sapping my energy and creativity,¬†and by the time I get home the last thing I want to do is look at¬†another computer screen.¬† I thought by now I’d be on a better track, but I’m not quite there yet.¬† So I thought instead of rambling about the job and the lack of writing, I’d do something a bit more fun and do another movie review.

I am now¬†always behind in my tv and movie watching, this never used to be the case…I wanted to write this post over a month ago, and even then I was already behind.

As some of you may already know, I am a big fan of Captain America, the character.¬† Chris Evans is absolutely adorable, don’t get me wrong, but I am smitten with the good ol’ American blond boy in general.¬† I like to think of myself as a good person, that I would do the right thing; even in my video game playing I always choose the “right” path (for which¬†The Sis¬†will usually mock me) and something about that quintessential good guy is extremely appealing.¬† The good guy doesn’t necessarily have to finish last –¬†although if¬†Tom Hiddleston’s Loki was standing in front of me (or just Hiddles in general),¬†I might leave Cap in the cold. ūüėȬ†¬† I like a big action/blow ’em up type movie, and the surge of comic book movies has been¬†a lot of fun for the movie-going experience, especially with Marvel doing such a good job of mixing their universe.¬† Side note,¬†I’m not going to discuss all the prejudices and politics that have become the main topic of conversation recently in association with these films.¬† That can be for another day.

I wanted to see CA2, but when it was being released I wasn’t quite the Cap fan that I am now.¬† I have one friend in particular¬†to thank for turning me on (pun intended) to the world of Captain America.¬† So when I realized how much more I wanted to see this movie, it was already on its way out of theaters and I had to wait for the dvd release – months later.¬† Another reason for my late entry on this subject.

So here’s my insight, kept to a minimum because I’ve already rambled a bit more than I anticipated (and¬†it’s been a little while now¬†since I watched it),¬†of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I was aware of more of the particulars by the time I finally saw the film, so I felt I understood more¬†going in then I would have before this new interest.¬†¬†And don’t worry I won’t spoil anything for those of you who are behind too.¬† The movie had a more realistic feel, despite the superhero nature.¬† Of course there are some big action sequences and massive destruction, but most of the time, I didn’t feel like I was watching a comic based movie.¬† It is based in the real world and deals with the¬†current political climate and the lengths some people are willing to go to.

I like Natasha being a part of the film, as Steve’s friend and partner, without there being that underlying romantic theme.¬† I don’t understand why the majority of movies feel it necessary to put the guy and girl together, regardless of their compatibility, just because.¬† God forbid a man and woman just be friends and work together…side note, she deserves her own movie!

We meet Falcon, who, from what I’ve seen in other mediums is a teenager, but is now a war vet.¬† He’s not a superhero, but just a good man who wants to do good and because of his admiration for the Cap joins his fight.¬† I’d like to learn more about him.

The title gave me hope that we would see more of The Winter Soldier, which unfortunately was kept to limited, mostly non-verbal scenes.¬† Although the few scenes he does have are poignant and will make you more sympathetic to his plight.¬† There is a whole other post I’d like to dedicate to this character and his relationship to Cap.

After watching the film, I was interested more than ever to learn more about Captain America and his story, especially as hints of The Civil War story line continue to spread.¬† Then the move happened, and the new job, and I’m no closer to knowing any more than I was just after watching the movie.

My final take on the movie – it’s among one of the best of this genre.¬† I’d say it’s in my top 3; behind The Avengers and Iron Man¬†and no, I have not seen Guardians yet..I know.¬† It doesn’t feel as far fetched as some of the other stories, and I think it resonated more with audiences because of its modern take.

Needless to say, I’ve been on the hunt for just the right Captain America shirt and have some comics waiting to be purchased.¬† I bought a reusable water bottle with Cap’s likeness from the comics and it is this new habit, that could be the right word, that got me the job.

So thanks, Cap!

If you’re interested in some Captain America fanfic, give¬†Archive of¬†Our Own a look.¬† That’s what started all this.

Have a great week everyone!

Review – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

I have been horrible at watching movies lately. ¬†I have Netflix, but I’ve been on a kick of watching tv series (serieses? ¬†What is the plural? ¬†Is it like sheep or Lego?) and my movie watching has fallen by the wayside. ¬†Then I got the notice from Redbox – free rental. ¬†Well then, let’s take advantage of that!

So, yes, this review is a good six months after the premiere, but if you’re like me, a little behind, then you might find this useful, or at least interesting…I hope.

My sister suggested that I write reviews. ¬†When I countered with, “but I’m so behind, and nothing would be relevant”, she replied that reviews don’t require a time frame. ¬†She also reassured me that because I always had a clear understanding of what I liked or didn’t in something that others may be inclined to watch a film¬†they hadn’t considered before, or not. ¬†I don’t care for reviews that offer big vocabularies and technical terms to make the writer of the review proud of themselves. ¬†I like honest reviews that tell me if I’m going to like the film. ¬†My goal is to write a review as if I were talking to friends, which I am. ūüôā ¬†So here is my first go at a review…which I will now be sure to keep shorter since I rambled.

Also, I will need some sort of catchy title for my reviews, like, Geeky Girl Reviews “said film”, or Discrepant Writer¬†Reviews…any thoughts?

I should first preface this review with the fact that I have not seen the first Hobbit in the series in its entirety. ¬†I am a fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, although, that is neither here nor there, but it is one of the reasons I was compelled to watch this series. ¬†The other, Benedict Cumberbatch. ¬†If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you are probably aware of the love my sister and I bear for this actor. ¬†Looks aside, and yes, he is incredibly sexy (if you need proof, and are among one of the last people on Earth to hear about his work on Sherlock, it’s on Netflix, go watch it immediately, and all will be understood), he is an amazing actor with a¬†voice so rich in timbre that it makes 99% of all women weak in the knees. ¬†I’m not sure if that fact is true, but it sounds accurate. ūüėČ

Hobbit:SmaugPosterLet’s try out one of the titles…Discrepant Writer¬†Reviews¬†¬†The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Quick overview: The dwarves are trying to reclaim their homeland currently occupied by the dragon, Smaug.

I read The Hobbit many years ago. ¬†So many, in fact, that I couldn’t tell you that the movie I was watching was even remotely related to what I had read. ¬†Nothing seemed familiar, except for Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and the ring. ¬†The movie had the feel of the Lord of the Rings in design and scope, which was a welcome sight that they had not detoured from appearances (I’m looking at you George¬†Lucas).

We are again transported to Middle Earth, and there are some familiar faces, even if some of them shouldn’t be there – Legolas, I didn’t realize how much I had missed you, until just now. ¬†There are plenty of new, pretty faces – Evangeline Lilly as the elf, Tauriel, Lee Pace as the elf king and Legolas’ father, Thranduil, Richard Armitage as the dwarf king, Thorin Oakenshield, and Luke Evans as the human smuggler, Bard – the only ones whose character names you might be inclined to hear and remember. ¬†The character of Bard reminded me quite a bit of Aragorn, the human with a noble lineage who is a “more than meets the eye” type.

Right off the bat, I was confused. ¬†I had the volume up on my tv well beyond its normal range and I still could not hear what was going on around one of the initial scenes that takes place in Rivendell between Gandalf, Saruman, Galadriel, and Elrond. ¬†My mind wandered easily throughout the film, and I think this had to do with the pace (some scenes just lagged or were completely unnecessary), and maybe in part because I was not yet invested with these characters. ¬†This may be because I hadn’t finished watching the first film. ¬†Maybe.

Everywhere the dwarves go, they are captured and pulled along to stand before whoever is the ruler of that particular area, be it an orc, an elf, or a human. ¬†They are considered vagabonds basically, even though one of them is a king by birthright and he is leading a small band of what is left of his people to their rightful home. ¬†At times, I was a little annoyed at Thorin’s behavior, wanting him to be more than he seemed, and maybe he will in the final film.

Gandalf goes off on his own journey to find a wizard called¬†the Necromancer, who everyone continues to comment on can not be a human because humans aren’t powerful enough to control the dead. ¬†There’s a battle that occurs that left me confused, because orcs were present as well, and I didn’t know why any one was even in this particular place to begin with. ¬†Maybe because my mind had wandered earlier.

Cut to, Smaug. ¬†*Side note, I like dragons. ¬†I hate that most of the time they’re referenced as evil, as in the game Skyrim. ¬†You have to slaughter dragons by the dozen, with only two that are actually nice and helpful. ¬†When Smaug speaks, it’s like hearing Darth Vader for the first time. ¬†It’s wonderful and sends a thrill down your spine. ¬†He has lovely dialogue, knows everything, and you kind of hope he wins. ¬†At least I did.

When it cut to black, I laughed, because I knew that what I had heard would be the last line of dialogue and hence the end of the film.  And it was.

Overall, fun to watch if you’re already a fan of LOTR, but it’s a bit long and tedious, and you could probably skip to the end where Bilbo meets Smaug to understand the whole of the film thus far. ¬†The book is not that long, only 365 pgs. vs LOTR at nearly 1200 pgs. which is why it’s understandable that there were three films for that series. ¬†I don’t think The Hobbit requires the same approach.

3of5starsI’d give it 3 out of 5 stars. ¬†It’s well done, but I wouldn’t take my time to watch it again, except maybe for Smaug, and a little more Legolas. ¬†Well, that’s my take. ¬†I’d love to hear your thoughts. ¬†Feel free to share.

Have a great weekend everyone!