Two New Remakes With a Twist: Splash and Rocketeer

Posted on August 1, 2016 at 3:53 pm

More remakes! Two Disney films are getting remakes and both have gender twists. I’ve always had a lot of affection for Disney’s Rocketeer, with Billy Campbell, Timothy Dalton, Alan Arkin, and Jennifer Connelly. It was not a hit when it was released, but it is stylish and smart and exciting. I’m not the only one who considers it delightful.

Disney has announced a remake, but this time the title character will be black and female. And there’s a gender switch in the other remake as well. In a new version of Splash, Channing Tatum will play the mer-man, and Jillian Bell will be in the Tom Hanks role.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrBPajPTXuY
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In Production Remake

Carrie

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm

The remake of “Carrie” is not a bad movie; it’s just a completely unnecessary one.  The 1976 original is a horror classic, directed by Brian de Palma and the first film based on a novel by Stephen King, just 26 years old when he sold the rights for $2500.  Both of its stars were nominated for Oscars, almost unheard of for a genre film, and it is number 46 on the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 thrillers.Carrie poster

The idea of updating the story of the bullied high school girl to the era of Facebook and YouTube had some intriguing possibilities, especially directed by Kimberly Peirce, whose extraordinary “Boys Don’t Cry” had an insightful authenticity in the portrayal of young people who felt like outsiders.  But there is nothing especially timely, revealing, or surprising in this remake.  The performances are not up to the level of the original and even the special effects do not seem much better than those in the version that came out when Gerald Ford was President.

Less than a moment into the film, we are already immersed in blood.  We hear screams and we see a Bible.  Margaret White (Julianne Moore) is in bed, the sheets all bloody, moaning and praying.  She thinks she is dying and she thinks it is because she is being punished.  But the pains she feels are contractions and she is shocked to find a baby emerging from her.  At first, she wants to kill her new daughter with her sewing shears.  But she loves the newborn too much to hurt her and, as we learn, she sees the baby as another chance for her to be pure, to be kept safe from the predations of sin and the devil.

We then see Margaret’s daughter, Carrie (Chloë Grace Moretz of “Kick-Ass” and “Let Me In”), a shy, repressed, somewhat backward senior in high school and ignored or insulted by the other girls.  She gets her period for the first time in the locker room after PE and becomes hysterical.  Like her mother, she has no idea what is going on with her body and she thinks she is dying.  The other girls are horrified that she is so ignorant and make fun of her, throwing tampons and sanitary napkins at her.  Chris, the ringleader (Portia Doubleday) gets it all on her cell phone camera and uploads it to YouTube.

Margaret seems to think that if she had been able to keep Carrie “pure” she never would have gone through puberty.  She locks Carrie in a small closet under the stairs and tells her to stay in there and pray.

But puberty seems to have unlocked some special powers in Carrie, powers that seem tied to her emotions.  As she sits in the principal’s office, his water cooler bubbles and then explodes. Carrie gets books on miracles and telekinesis from the library and begins to see what she can do and how much she can control.  For the first time, she begins to sense some independence and to rebel against her mother.

Sue (Gabriella Wilde) feels guilty about her role in making fun of Carrie and asks her boyfriend, Tommy (Ansel Elgort, soon to be seen in both “Divergent” and ‘The Fault in Our Stars”) to invite Carrie to the prom.  She says no at first, but then accepts, and his kindness and courtesy make her feel appreciated for the first time.  Until….

And that’s the thing.  Everyone knows what happens at the prom.  It is one of the most famous images in cinematic history.  This replay adds nothing new.

Moretz is a thoughtful and serious young actor, but she is better at playing a precociously sophisticated and capable character like Hit Girl or even the friend of the Wimpy Kid than she is at trying to show us the innocent and vulnerable Carrie.  More at fault is the script, which fails to provide a consistent emotional truth for the character. Like the Hulk, her powers are rooted in fury.  King, even in his 20’s, knew how satisfying that would be for everyone who has been picked on (that is everyone), and Moretz is at her best when enjoying the sense of righteous revenge.  To make the movie work, though, that would need to be balanced by an underlying sense of the character that is never there.  The same goes for Margaret. In 2013, the thoughts of a religious fanatic open up some possibilities worth exploring but Peirce is more interested in re-creating the original than updating it.

Parents should know that this film has extensive and graphic peril and violence with many characters brutally killed, disturbing and bloody images, sexual references and situations involving teenagers, a graphic childbirth scene, teen drinking, and strong language.

Family discussion:  Why were the girls so mean to Carrie?  How has bullying changed since the story was first written?  How did Carrie feel about her powers and why?

If you like this, try: the original film and some of the other Stephen King adaptations like “The Shining” and “Sleepwalkers”

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Based on a book High School Horror Remake Stories about Teens Thriller

Remake of “Steel Magnolias” with Queen Latifah and Phylicia Rashad

Posted on March 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I was thrilled to hear that Lifetime is working on a remake of “Steel Magnolias” with Queen Latifah as M’Lynn (the part played in the movie by Sally Field), Phylicia Rashad as Clairee (played in the movie by Olympia Dukakis), Jill Scott as beauty salon owner Truvy (played in the movie by Dolly Parton) and Alfre Woodard as the irascible Ouiser (played in the movie by Shirley MacLaine).  Rashad’s daughter Condola will play Shelby, a character inspired by the playwright’s sister, who died of complications from diabetes but who would “rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime full of of nothing.”   This is a dream team of performers and I can’t wait to see what they do with this juicy story.

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Based on a play Inspired by a true story Television

Interview: Taylor Firth of ‘Ice Castles’

Posted on February 4, 2010 at 8:00 am

taylor_lg.jpg

Figure skating champion Taylor Firth makes her acting debut in a remake of the beloved 1978 film Ice Castles. The original starred Lynn-Holly Johnson as the skater who has to start all over after an accident leaves her blind and Robby Benson as her hockey-player boyfriend. I spoke to Taylor about skating, acting, and her favorite Bible verse.

When you were growing up, did you have a favorite ice skating movie?

I would have to say Ice Castles is probably my favorite. It is the most realistic. And The Cutting Edge, that was a good one, too.

Ice skating and acting both require a lot of discipline and focus. How do you work on that?

You need a lot of patience. I’m a redhead so I am quick to anger, but God definitely gives me the patience and the strength I need to do it all with a good mind and a good heart.

What have you learned from your coaches and teachers?

My coaches that I have right now are amazing people. They definitely have given me some great tips about being the best that I can be and keeping on with what I love. Sometimes there are things that you don’t want to do or things that are hard for you, but usually when you keep going with them and are determined with it, they end up being some of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have. There are sometimes things that seem a little scary, but once you start doing them, you realize that everything was worth it in the end. It doesn’t matter what you are doing. As long as you are doing it with the right heart and the right mind and doing it for God’s glory, that is all that really matters.

So your connection to faith is very important to you.

Definitely. My figure skating is my God-given ability and so I want to use it for His glory.

And acting, too?

I don’t really know how good at it I am, but I have had some good feedback and would like to think that it is another way do do that.

As a person of faith, is it important to you to work on projects that communicate your values to the audience?

Oh, absolutely, yes! Definitely. There were some parts in “Ice Castles” that I had a difficult time doing, to play someone who is blind, to be honest about what someone who doesn’t have sight would be acting and how they would really feel. It was important to me to be sensitive to that experience, to be careful not to be offensive or portray a blind person as incompetent because they are really amazing people. My faith is a huge part of it and keeps me well-grounded.

Did you observe blind people? How did you prepare for the role?

I really have not had much acting experience, just the kids’ drama team at church. So it was a little hard to prepare for it. But Donald is a great guy and a great director and he really gave me the tools I needed to learn what I needed to learn in a really short time.

Could there really be a blind figure skater?

Yes, I definitely believe so. I did an ice show for SABAH, Skating for the Blind and Handicapped, and there’s people that skate blind all the times, and one of the main skaters they had the year I performed with them was a girl, she was about 12 at the time, she was blind and she was doing her own solo program. She didn’t really perform the way Lexi (in the movie) does. Lexi can perform on her own because she can see light and shadows. This girl was completely blind so she needed someone on either side of the boards to say her name so she knew how far she was from the boards, but it is definitely possible.

I am really interested in the way you make your musical choices. You have selected some songs for your programs that are unusual and I think exceptionally well chosen. What do you think about when you are looking for music?

The biggest part for me is trying to get into the character of the music. It’s music that I have to listen to every day for an entire year so I have to pick something I know that I’ll be able to thoroughly enjoy skating to and show that love on the ice. Two of my favorite programs, one was jazz and I loved it. My mom actually found that piece. I didn’t like it when I first heard it because I thought it was a little strange. But my choreographer loved it so I had to put my trust in her and it became one of my favorites that I have ever done.

Another one is a song called “Prayer for Taylor” by Michael W. Smith. That’s another one of my favorites. It was a year I was having a hard time finding something. I would like something and my coach wouldn’t like it or my coach would like something and I wouldn’t like it. And then my mother was in a store looking for music and a man brought out a new CD and the song was on it. I used it for quite a few years. I was praying that I would find the right music and there it was.

What makes you laugh?

I’m a little bit of a quirky personality, I guess. My boyfriend and I laugh, and my sisters, I have three sisters, the best in the world, and they are really supportive. If one of us makes a mistake, trips up or something, we all just laugh and we impersonate people and review movie scenes of our own. One of my sisters is like a one-girl movie. She can act out scenes and knows all the quotes. And that makes me laugh.

Do you plan to do more acting?

In my perfect world, I would like to do something with the Christian film industry. I want to act some more in projects with a good moral based and I want to be a good positive role model in the world.

And what is your favorite Bible verse?

2nd Timothy 2:22 — about fleeing from the things of the world and looking to God for His guidance.

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