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Blu-ray/DVD Review: Brave

What makes Brave a standout is not just Pixar introducing its first Princess, but a film that shines light and encourages young girls that no prince is needed to be a heroine.

Brave follows Merida (Kelly Macdonald), a free-spirited princess-in-waiting, who would rather shoot arrows and ride horses then be be forced into a relationship with a prince her parents, King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) have picked.

Instead of going the typical Disney princess route and relying on a wishing star to find her one true love, Merida makes a deal with a forest witch. And thus, the adventure begins.

Brave features something that many fairytales lack – a headstrong, female protagonist.

Merida is headstrong, holds her own and fights her own battles. Her fire is as bright as her tightly curled red hair.

The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is filled with special features that take you through much of Pixar’s production process, which is a great glimpse off the film’s immaculate storytelling.

Edited: November 27th, 2012

NYGossipGirl Interview: Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley is a jack-of-all-trades. She can play a soccer player, a Duchess, Jane’s Austen’s heroine and now Tolstoy’s masterpiece, Anna Karenina.

The film, which is set in late-19th-century Russia high-society, follows aristocrat Anna Karenina, who enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count Vronsky.

NYGossipGirl chatted with Knightley during a roundtable interview about the demanding role, what it was like working with director Joe Wright again and her upcoming projects.

Can you talk about playing this complex character, because I think she’s one of the most complex ones you’ve played.

Knightley: She is. I think it was weird because I initially read the book when I was sort of in my late-teens, early-20s and my memory of it was as Anna being somebody who was sort of a victim and in the right and almost saintly and everybody else being wrong. And then all of a sudden, I read it again last summer, just before we did the film. All this is not what I remember at all and this is not the same person that I remember at all. I saw her as much darker and questioned the function of the role within the whole piece. I think because it’s called Anna Karenina you expect her to be the heroine. You expect  her to be the one that you should always sympathize with and you should be seeing through her eyes. I don’t know that that’s the function of the character within the piece. I think the one to be idolized is Levin, and if you like, the goody is Levin. Anna definitely walks the line of being the anti-heroine, not always. She is also the heroine. I thought if you’re having the Levin/Kitty storyline within the piece, which is the romance, which is the idealized kind of hope, then what’s the point of doing the same thing with Anna. So, I thought it would be more interesting if we looked at that kind of darker, more morally ambiguous kind of side to her.

Is that why you think it still resonates to this day?

Knightley: I think it resonates to this day because it’s about love and not just romance or just that happy bit, not love in the way it’s all sold to us but love as the thing that we’ve been fascinated and obsessed by for centuries. Love is that thing that we are all after and yet can destroy us and is painful and can be madness and can be joy and can be happiness. It looks at the whole thing. I think that’s why it’s so complex. It has more questions within it than it has answers because we never manage to answer the questions. Love is something that is so inexplicable and so complex and strange. I think it’s a novel that looks at all of that. I think that’s why you keep going back to it. That’s why within preparing for this, when we were talking about it, every single person, whether they were a member of the crew or the cast could go, oh yes, I relate to that because everybody had a story within their lives that was applicable to the situations. It didn’t matter that we lived in 2011 or 2012 or in 1873 that it was written because it’s about that emotion.

Check out the rest of the interview after the jump! (more…)

Edited: November 21st, 2012

DVD Review: Vamps

Forget about everything you were thought about vampires. Well, basically forget about Twilight.

In comes Vamps. A refreshing, comedic film that reunites Clueless star Alicia Silverstone with Clueless writer/director Amy Heckerling.
The film centers around Goody (Silverstone) and Stacy (Krysten Ritter), two female vampires living in New York City. What makes them different to the typical blood-sucking creatures is that they are also abstaining from indulging in drinking human blood.

What’s interesting about Vamps is that it’s unlike any vampire show or film that we’ve seen. We’re so accustomed to viewing vampires, and anything that has to do with them, as dark. However, what makes Vamps entertaining is that the film takes a light approach.

Goody and Stacy spend their days asleep in their coffins – with soil from their birthplace – and their nights working, attending college and hitting the clubs.
Unlike other Vampires, both Goody and Stacy want more about of life, like love.
Sigourney Weaver, Wallace Shawn and Kristen Johnston, Dan Stevens, Justin Kirk and Richard Lewis round out the cast.
Kirk is hilarious as Vadim, a Ukrainian stem vampire. He really plays out the exaggerated “creature-of-the-night” quite well. And, it’s also great seeing Shawn, another Clueless alum reuniting with Heckerling and Silverstone for this film.

Edited: November 20th, 2012

DVD Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

When studios tend to reboot films, especially ones that have a huge fan following, it falls short.

The is clearly not the case with Marc Webb’s take on Spider-Man.

There is no doubt that Sam Raimi’s 2000s’ trilogy was impeccable and featured a stellar cast. However, Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man, takes the film in a fresh new direction.

The film follows Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) who becomes an orphan when his parents are killed in a plane crash. Peter lives with his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). He goes to high school and develops a relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). After having discovered that his father worked with an organisation called Oscorp, Peter sneaks into the laboratory, gets bitten by a genetically modified spider and discovers he has super-abilities.

After sneaking into Oscorp, Peter meets his father’s former colleague Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), a scientist working with gene-splicing who takes Parker under his wing. However, Connors becomes monstrous due to a formula.

Garfield and Stone shine in the film with evident chemistry. Furthermore, Garfield brings his familiar wit – think The Social Network – to his performance, which adds another dimension to Peter.

The film features compelling performances and the actors do a great job bringing their complex characters to life.

The bonus features on The Amazing Spider-Man DVD include a production art gallery, stunt rehearsal footage, deleted scenes and an audio commentary track that feature’s Webb, along with producers Avi Arad and Matthew Tolmach.

Edited: November 16th, 2012

NYGossipGirl Contest: Fully Loaded Mommy Giveaway

To promote the upcoming  release of Fully Loaded, co-written and directed by Shira Piven, and executive produced by Adam McKay (“Anchorman”) & Jeremy Piven (“Entourage”), NYGossipGirl is giving one lucky winner 3 digital downloads (via iTunes) of Fully Loaded, I Don’t Know How She Does It and My Week With Marilyn.

Fully Loaded is based on an original play by Paula Killen and Lisa Orkin. They also wrote, produce and star in the film.

The film is a hilarious dark comedy that chronicles the misadventures of two feisty single moms who spend a night cruising L.A. and discover it’s not as easy as it used to be to hook up with a total stranger. The “mom-edy” pokes fun at their attempts to reclaim their single swagger and features a soundtrack of classic songs – aka, a “Mommy mix” – and features cameos by:  Dweezil Zappa, Dave Koechner, Ana Gasteyer, Danny Pudi and Mark Boone.

Fully Loaded will be available on demand starting Tuesday, Nov. 13 on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, Xbox, PSN, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T U-Verse, Verizon FiOS, Cablevision, Cox, Charter and more.

To win, tell us what you’re favorite dark comedy is.

Edited: November 13th, 2012

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