PL Travers and Mary Poppins

Throughout her life, the reluctant author PL Travers protected her book “Mary Poppins” from making into a movie by Walt Disney. The dispute did not stop until Travers’ death in 1996. The story at http://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/saving-mr-banks.php has the details.

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Many people regards Travers as mean and unreasonable. However, when you suffer from the stereotyped series movies/novels of Twilight-Hunger Games-Divergent, you will admire Travers who did not compromise before the fortune of royalty from Mickey Mouse.

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Why Monuments Men?

I asked myself after watching the Monuments Men.

1) Why Clooney directs so badly?
2) For fans of art, will they like this movie? No, at least to me.
3) Any surprise, climax, or at least some conflicts developed in the movie? No, and ironically this is the only surprise I have.
4) The casting is totally a disaster except Cate Blanchett. We have Matt, Bill, John Goodman…what can you expect?
5) One thing is certain. This is the worst script adapted from a novel I ever watched.

My suggestion is Clooney, let others do it. You may have spoiled the story like the way Hitler burnt Picasso.

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Compare the movie with the true story. Go to this site: http://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/monuments-men.php

Hugo and Wolf of the Wall Street

Disappointed by the “Wolf” with its over 400 F—  throughout the film, I found and watched the “Hugo” that Scorsese made 2 years as a compensation.  If you like the Goodfella series, you might enjoy the “Wolf”. However with the recent “non-so-commercial” works of Scorsese on music, documentary & film  preservation, I don’t see the reason why Scorsese is interested to make a Wolf movie.

Hugo is different. It is a fantasy story with hearts and passions for dreams or magic. The Hugo film won some awards in 2011, and was regarded as “closest to Scorsese’s heart” (Rogert Ebert).  The long shots, 3D, and superb acting are easy for someone like Scorsese. However, there are still many shots or scenes that are classic and memorable. This is my most loved scene –  the boy Hugo opens the box with sketches of early films that Ben Kingsley kept as his “treasure”.  From the eyes of Hugo, the sketches are secrets to his sorrow and happiness. They are flying, dancing… in front of his eyes. So alive.

In my memory, I don’t remember Scorsese has made similar naive moments in his films before.

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84 Charing Cross Road

Another film about books starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins in 1987. The story begins post WWII in NYC and London where bookseller Hopkins found rare books for Bancroft who is a writer based in NYC.

They never met, but became friends through 20 years of correspondence.

Bancroft plays very well, as expected. Hopkins acting is subtle and hides all feelings and emotions in a controlled way. Compared with Bancroft, Hopkins’ life is difficult at work and at home. Hunger, death, people leaving…surrounds him.

With an Irish wife and two young daughters. Life is heavy in London and for him too. He handles very well, and through his correspondence with Bancroft, he shows his great patience and endurance. The life of Bancroft at NYC unaffected by the WWII, seems to be too easy and light.

Is it an Aristotle love between them? Yes and it was subtle until Hopkins wife admitted her jealousy to Bancroft when Hopkins died away. Frankly speaking, this scene can be removed, and keep their relationship as subtle as possible. With this, it will be more truthful to their relationship.

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The Book Thief

The book might be different, but the film is beautifully made and worth watching.

Like “Heidi in the Alps”, Liesel feels lonely in her new family and spends her time with books. Both stories have similar supporting characters: kind old man, wicked stepmother and a close friend who is a mighty boy.

In Book Thief, we have Hans as the “kind old man”, Rosa as the “wicked stepmother”, and Rudy as the “best friend”.

Like Heidi, Liesel represents the pure but fragile human spirit, that need others to protect and admire.

The narration by Death is the only thing I don’t like about the film. The know-everything angle diverts the story that we tend to find out the reasons why death did not take Liesel’s life away – which is not really the theme of the film.

I think the film does not have enough time to tell this theme clearly. Maybe the book can.

For this film, I would rather it was narrated entirely from Liesel’s eyes.

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Saving Mr Banks

I like this film, in particular the young Emma part. Emma’s father voice is so warm and sentimental that seal this film with romanticism which is rare today. It reminds me Bergman, Truffaut and Fassbinder.

The film could be better without Tom Hanks who don’t have the persona to free Emma from the memory of her father.

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