Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday Faves: All About Movies

Happy Friday!   This Friday Faves edition is all about movies.  It's funny;  I love movies but will go for some time without seeing any (schedule!) and then I end up seeing several in a short time.  This past week has been like that.

Fiddler on the Roof
I saw this movie first as a child with my family.  I was young and mostly remembered the daughters' love stories and all the music.  After reading the play for a book review last month (link here), I really wanted to see the movie again.  I'm so glad I rented it!  Fiddler on the Roof tells the story of Tevye, who drives a milk truck in Russia in the early 1900's, his wife Golde, and their 5 daughters.  The 3 oldest girls are interested in love and marriage, and the story is about their lives, but also about the changes in tradition within the family.  This 1971 movie was directed by Norman Jewison and stars Topol as Tevye.  It is a beautiful, sprawling musical epic.  I found the gravity of the story moving as an adult, although I still loved the light moments, and of course, the music.  It is 3 hours long - a time commitment, but well worth it.

Into the Woods
I've wanted to see Into the Woods since I first heard it was being filmed.  I saw, and loved, the play a few years ago and only imagined how it would translate to the big screen.  The movie adaptation far exceeded my expectations.  Into the Woods is an imaginative retelling of several fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, interweaving plots:  Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel.   It is beautiful, with fanciful set design and costumes.  The Stephen Sondheim music was amazing.  Standout performances included Meryl Streep (the Witch), Emily Blunt (the Baker's Wife), and Lilla Crawford (Little Red Riding Hood).  It is a family friendly movie, produced by Disney, and I recommend it very highly.

Big Eyes
I love Tim Burton's movies, and am fascinated by Mid-Century pop culture, so this movie intrigued me.  Big Eyes tells the story of Margaret Keane (Amy Adams).  She was a single mother in 1956 California, working as a struggling artist, when she met Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz).  Walter Keane was all bluster and schmooze, and he claimed to also be an artist.  Walter ended up taking credit for Margaret's work, and marketing her iconic "big eye" paintings of children and animals as his own.  The film has a spectacular 1950's setting, including a glimpse of the jazz club where Cal Tjader played, galleries, the New York World's Fair, and the breathtaking Mid-Century home where the Keanes lived.  Tim Burton had a less stylized look than usual for this film, letting the MCM design and setting stand on its own.  I think this was a good choice.  I found Margaret a compelling and ultimately inspiring character and have enthusiastically recommended this film to friends.

I won a year's subscription to Netflix.  Hooray!  I've wanted to try their streaming service for a while now, and am so excited to finally check it out.  Although I may end up watching more classic tv shows than movies via Netflix, I had to add it to my Friday Faves list this week as well.  (I'm sure some movies will sneak into my play list there!)

Have you seen any of these movies?  I would love to read your thoughts in the comments section?  Are you a Netflix fan?  Any recommendations there?