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Ask for Sebs Film Reviews

New Clip: Beauty and the Beast

As March 17th draws near, more and more trailers of Disney’s live-action feature Beauty and The Beast are coming out. Most recently, a :58 clip of Emma Watson and the townspeople singing the original song ‘Belle.’

There is no question that the creators are staying true to the original animated Disney film, and that Emma Watson can sing. 

As a little girl, I grew up with Disney movies, so I am looking forward to this film and am excited that they are staying true to the original, but adding their own flair.

If you missed the new clip, here it is:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nT1VQkTTT7M

Holy Self Awareness, Batman!

The Lego Batman Movie (2017) directed by Chris McKay,  stars Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Ralph Finnes, Rosario Dawson and Zach Galifianakis. 

The film is a continuation of the Lego Batman character from The Lego Movie (2014). 

The film is self-aware, chock full of self referential humor and references to classic pop culture.

The message was clear, however, the film started to drag by the second act. And the constant pop culture jokes over and over, made each joke less and less funny. 

The film also (like everything else nowadays) referenced 80s music and film. Hollywood obviously knows what is selling right now, 80s nostalgia. And quite honestly, (for better or worse), it’s working.

‘How’s ya Chinese Food?’ 

My Cousin Vinny (1992) stars Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei and Ralph Macchio. Directed by Jonathan Lynn and written by Dale Launer. 

Marisa Tomei won Best Supporting Actress Award for her absolutely fantastic and hilarious portrayal of Mona Lisa Vito.

The film is about two men while driving across country from New York to California are accused of murder in a rural Southern town. One of the men’s cousin, Vinny Gambini (Joe Pesci) drives down with his fiancée Mona Lisa Vito (Tomei) to represent the men at trial. 

Gambini has never represented anyone at trial and finally passed the bar exam after 6 tries. Not only that, but the Southern town, judge and prosecutor doesn’t take to kindly to what they presume is a big shot fancy New York lawyer. Obviously being from New York and having no experience, hilarity ensues.

Being from New York myself and moving to the South, I related to this film. The opening scenes of Pesci and Tomei driving into the town and they stick out like ‘a sore thumb’ as Pesci’s character says, hits the nail on the head. Not understanding people because of their accents, and people not understanding me! 

However, this film is also a great representation of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’ And that message is never, ever too old to remember.

I love how relateable this film is for me. It’s a perfect explaination for people who ask me what it was like to move to the South. 

And my never ending search for good Chinese food and pizza.

My Trip to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida

All Photographs are taken and edited by me. 

I had the pleasure of “vacationing” at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure last week. I use the word vacation very loosely; I am absolutely exhausted. And all I could think of is the scooter tipping episode of South Park. Well played, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, well played.

Besides the scooter tipping, it really was a great time, and the Harry Potter parks are absolutely breathtaking. The amount of detail is impeccable. Even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, you can appreciate the detail and hard work that went into these parks.

As a self-proclaimed film buff, it was fun for me to find some Easter eggs. I am not talking the obvious Hogwarts castle or the Jurassic Park entrance, I am talking the subtle references to films found in the New York side of Universal.

1. Mel’s Drive-In:

Okay, so this is probably one of the biggest landmarks in Universal. But I have to say, most people did not know (especially young kids) knew where this reference came from. And for those of you reading this article, it’s from American Graffiti.

2. Kitty Kat Club: 

Another ode to classic films is the Kitty Kat Club, or the Kit Kat Club used in Cabernet.

3. Stillman’s Gym:

Stillman’s gym is a real-life famous boxing gym in New York City, known for its unsanitary facilities and the famous boxers who trained there. However, this gym is also a reference to two classic films Somebody Up There Likes Me, the autobiographical film about famous boxer, Rocky Graziano. And was also host to a musical number in the film, Its Always Fair Weather.  

4. Louie’s and Genco Imports:


 

Louie’s and Genco Imports are references to the Godfather Trilogy. Scenes where the rise and murder of the mafia and corrupt police officers take place.

5. Hudson Street Home for Girls:


The Hudson Street is not only a home for girls, but is home to one of the most famous redheaded orphan, Annie. Hudson Street is a reference from the musical and movie, Annie.

6. Priscilla Hotel:

 

The Priscilla Hotel is home to the film Thoroughly Modern Millie. Millie moves into the hotel for single ladies in hopes to marry rich. Times never do change, do they?

7. Adrienne’s Pet Shop:

 

I stared at this for a long time, convinced that this was a definite reference to a film. I looked it up, and found out that this (although, a terrible reference) is a reference to the film Rocky. In the film, Rocky’s future wife Adrien works at a pet shop. I appreciate the effort, but her name is spelt incorrectly and the pet shop she work at was called J&M Tropical Fish. 

8. Embryo Books:

This reference is a tricky one. Embryo Books is actually a reference to an Audrey Hepburn musical, Funny Face. In the film, she is a book store clerk at an obscure bookstore, Embryo Concepts. Hepburn’s character is discovered by a fashion magazine photographer and is catapulted into the modeling industry with her unique, somewhat nerdy look.

9. Blues Mobile:

I know, just like Mel’s, I’m kind of cheating. But, this is a classic prop and, admittedly comes from one of my all-time favorite movies. The Blues Brothers, is a film based on a Saturday Night Live skit, and would have to be the best film to come out of SNL.

After visiting Universal and seeing all these references, I quickly came home to sit down and watch them. Next time you are in Universal, check out all the old references, I bet you can even spot some Jaws references in Harry Potter.

Harry Potter and the Change in Plot Elements

Currently, I am rewatching all of the Harry Potter films. And I can’t help but notice (or get angry) at the very obvious element or plot changes from the novels. This has bothered me since I first started reading and watching this franchise. Why the hell would you leave out extremely important characters and even change subtleties like how Harry acquired the Marauders Map in the Prisoner of Azkaban.

I have started to research and dabble in Screenwriting myself. And realized that a movie can only be so long. It can hold only so many plot elements at once, even if readers would love to see everything on screen, it’s just sometimes not possible. Harry Potter, if you have ever read the books, have a TON of characters. The character development alone would take forever.

It is also up to the director to make his creative decisions. You may not agree, but hey, he’s making a movie of one of your favorite series’.

So as angry as I am when certain elements that I looked forward to when reading the books, I have to look at it at a more practical way.

Besides, you still have the books (they aren’t going anywhere), and you still have your imagination. And quite honestly, you still spent money to see the films.

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!

Valentines Day is the one day of the year you are required to either do something nice for your loved one, or be reminded that you are still single. 

In my opinion, this day is awfully commercialized and quite frankly, you should not have one day or one reason to do something nice for your significant other. Furthermore, if you are single, don’t worry about it, and definitely don’t make others feel bad about being in love and being with their significant other (because they don’t care what you think anyways). Don’t be a hater.

Film always makes me feel better (whether or not it’s a holiday). But there are some films I would recommend you not watch on this day. Purely for the sheer fact that they are terrible movies, a total misrepresentation of love or the science disputes it.

1. The Twilight Saga (2008-2012)

These films portray a sickening manipulation, control and stalking in the guise of love.

2. Fifty Shades of Gray (2015)

Twilight is the reason we are plagued with Fifty Shades of Gray.

3. Titanic (1997)

Jack could have fit on that door with Rose.

However, there are other films that are (in my opinion) fantastic films about love, break ups and everything in between. There are way more films that are great representations, but for now, here are few:

1. Annie Hall (1977)

This is a film that shows us opposites attract, but they can certainly lose their magnetism after awhile. Little idiosyncrasies become painful annoyances. The film shows us that although it’s hard to go through relationships, it’s necessary to learn and grow from them, other than dwelling and obsessing over them.

2. (500) Days of Summer (2009)
This film shows us that there are always warning signs in relationships, and we can be so blind to them, only realizing those signs after the relationship.

3. When Harry Met Sally (1989)

It’s true, male and females cannot just be friends. Just ask Harry and Sally.

4. Casablanca (1942)

The ultimate sign of love and the age old statement: “If you love something set it free.”

5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

This film is a priceless example of: if you knew how terrible the ending would be, would you still do it? Do the good times completely outweigh the horrible times?

6. The Princess Bride (1987)

Classic fantasy film that shows us true love conquers all – except for a nice MLT.

9. West Side Story (1961)

This film is classic for all times; that no matter where a person comes from, what they look like and the prejudice they may face – love is always more powerful than hate.

These films show us that people and love are not perfect but, it’s worth the heartache.

Book Recommendation: ‘So, Anyways…’ by John Cleese

I am a HUGE Monty Python fan. British humor is make-your-stomach-hurt, pee-your-pants good.

For Christmas, I received one of the founders of the group’s autobiography, John Cleese’s ‘So, Anyways…’. Cleese writes about his childhood, schooling and his anxiety-ridden mother. 

I love the book for his honest and carefree style of writing. I relate a lot to how he originally went to school for law – and ended up loving writing comedy and performing. Where he ended up essentially fell into his lap.

There’s still hope for me yet!

If you love Monty Python, read how one of the founders grew up and provided us with Silly Walks and Fawlty Towers.

No One Is Safe From Mel Brooks’ Comedic Genius 

Mel Brooks is a comic genius. He’s a writer, actor, producer and director. He makes fun of everyone; no matter if you are male or female, young or old, black or white. No one is safe from Mel Brooks. 

1. The Producers (1967)

The Producers is Mel Brooks’ first film. It stars Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. The film is about a Broadway producer (Mostel) and an accountant (Wilder) who come up with idea that they could make more money with a flop on Broadway than with a hit. They find their flop – a play that is a love song to Hitler and the Nazi party.

The screenplay is one of the funniest that Brooks has ever written. Not only does he make fun of the Nazi party and Broadway, but little old ladies are the butt of the joke as well. And let’s not forget unintelligent apartment landlords who, quite honestly all wear the same night gown, shower cap and curlers in their hair.

The song and dance number of the sure fire flop “Springtime for Hitler” is just one example of Brooks’ humor at one of the most infamous hate groups:

“Don’t be stupid, be a smarty. Come and join the Nazi party.”

2. Young Frankenstein (1974)

Young Frankenstein is a wonderful screenplay written together by Wilder and Brooks. It stars Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn and Teri Garr. The film is about the relative of the infamous Dr. Frankenstein and how he reanimates a monster.

During the movie, the character of Frau Blucher is an ugly old woman, the running joke is that she is so ugly and horrible, that even the animals know and can’t stand to hear her name:

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Goodnight, Frau Blucher.

[horses whinny]

This film makes fun of old horror films as well as uptight women, horrible, ugly women, neurotic men, and don’t forget – sex with monsters.

3. Blazing Saddles (1974)

Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor and several others penned the screenplay. It stars Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder and Harvey Korman. The film is about an African American sheriff who is sent (under false pretenses) to help get rid of corruption in a town, only to find out that the corruption leads him to the very man who appointed him as sheriff.

This film combats racism in the only way a Mel Brooks film can, with comedy. Not one group of people; young or old, straight or gay, hate groups, government officicals were left out the comedic antics of this film. 

4. History of the World Part 1 (1981)

Mel Brooks penned the screenplay for this film. The film stars Mel Brooks, Gregory Hines, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn and many more. The film recites historical events from the Bible all the way to the French Revolution.

Brooks makes fun of history and the social issues that would have appeared at that particular time. As well as taking a stab at historical stories such as Oedipus.

One scene Brooks and Hines’ characters are trying to escape, a beggar is outside and greets Hines’ character:

Oedipus: [walking around collecting donations] Give to Oedipus! Give to Oedipus! Hey, Josephus!

Josephus (Hines): Hey, Motherf***er!


5. Spaceballs
(1987)

Mel Brooks penned the screenplay with Thomas Meehan and Ronny Graham. Spaceballs starred Mel Brooks, Rick Moranis, John Candy, Bill Pullman and Joan Rivers. The film is a parody of the Star Wars franchise as well as all Sci Fi movies.

Mel Brooks made fun of a widely popular franchise by not only just parodying the characters and storylines, but the behind the scenes drama of the infamous merchandising rights of the Star Wars franchise.

One of the ending scenes is one of the truest statements – especially with today’s Star Wars obsession:

Lone Starr: I wonder, will we ever see each other again?

Yogurt: Who knows? God willing, we’ll all meet again in Spaceballs 2: The Search For More Money.

Happy Groundhog Day!

As we pray for no more winter weather today, don’t forget that Bill Murray lived this day over and over again. In the film that almost wasn’t made, Groundhog Day.

Let us reflect that Bill Murray relived this day to our amusement and that he obviously has an issue with small animals that begin with the letter ‘g’.

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