Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.
Kim’s Pick – Swan Princess (1994)
Based on the ballet Swan Lake, Swan Princess is a 1994 animated musical film which tells the story of Princess Odette who is kidnapped and falls under the curse of a sorcerer Rothbart who wishes to take over her father’s kingdom through marriage. This curse makes her turn into a swan by day and only can turn back into human when she is on the lake and the moonlight touches her. While others have started to stop looking for her, her childhood friend and now prince that she likes hasn’t given up and continues to try to seek out clues. At the same time, Odette makes acquaintance with a turtle called Speed, a frog who believes that he is a prince called Jean-Bob and an Irish puffin called Lieutenant Puffin who wants to help her escape and break the curse by reuniting with Derek.
Much like many 1990’s animated film, The Swan Princess is something of a fairy tale story. It has a lot of fantasy, comedy, musical elements that center around a love story. While Derek and Odette start off as a set-up pairing by their parents when they are young who are attracted to each other, Odette is a a princess that has a little personality and certain of what she is looking for. Even in the face of her demise, she still tries her best with the help of her hilarious companions that also break the expectations, to escape her situation. While the story itself might seem fairly formulaic, the characters itself are very charming and its a lot of fun to watch with some nice songs to pair.
Its voice actors are not all very known with possibly the most popular being John Cleese doing the voice of JeanBob. The shining elements of the film does go to these three companions who bring a lot of fun comedy as they all bring a lot of quirks especially seeing a turtle called Speed who actually is a fast swimmer, and a puffin who is a little silly despite thinking he is a lieutenant and then JeanBob who thinks he is some French prince and wants to win a kiss from Odette to lift his own curse, playing with a very familiar tale of its own. These three, especially in the escape scene against two hungry alligators, win the scene through it all.
Despite its disappointing box office for its theatrical release due to its release alongside Disney’s much more popular, The Lion King, it did find its audience for its home release. Call it a cult classic or whatnot, but overall, The Swan Princess may not be the most polished movie and did come out under the radar and the love story itself is fairly predictable however, it also is one that is suitable for kids especially as it has some good humor, gives out a good message of courage and has a villain that actually isn’t too scary but actually fairly silly as well. At the end of the day, The Swan Princess does come together pretty well.
Elwood’s Pick – Uncut Gems (2019)
While at the most recent Oscars there was certainly a lot of discussion regarding what many felt was the snubbing of Greta Gerwig for a Best Director nomination. At the same time there could be equally as much frustration being felt that Adam Sandler hadn’t been recognized for this film which see him breaking away from his usual diversive comedies for his first serious role since 2002’s Punch Drunk Love.
Here Sandler plays the high end jewelry store owner Howard Ratner who operates his store in New York’s Diamond District dealing with celebrity clients while at the time fueling a gambling habit was his lives his life constantly avoiding his creditors while banking everything on a series of ever more high risk bets as he pursues that one big pay day. However when he acquires a rare black opal he soon finds himself in an ever escalating situation that even a hustler like him won’t be able to walk away from.
Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie whose previous film Good Time proved to be their breakout hit which enabled them to not only secure funding for this film but also caught the attention of Sandler who they had in mind while writing the film. Opening with a Fight Club-esque journey through the compounds of the opal which will soon cause Howard so many of his problems before the journey blends into a colonoscopy which is how we are introduced to Howard though whether the footage is of Sandler’s colon we cannot confirm.One we can confirm though and that Howard is kind of a scumbag.
While the Safdie’s might prefer to view him as more a lovable rouge, Howard is a difficult character to follow especially with his high risk and self-centred worldview and yet much like Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant we still for some reason want to see him succeed but not before the brothers have put us through the kind of grimy ringer that’s usually reserved for Abel Ferrara’s films who it would seem is certainly amongst their influences when it comes to crafting this world were nobody is exactly a shining example of humanity while the dialogue is thrown at the audience with little space to breathe and punctuated with enough f**ks and c**ksuckers to cement its place as the 3rd most profanity heavy film ever.
An engaging if grimy experience while it might not have left me rushing out to see the rest of the Safdie’s filmography and certainly I did get the same Oscar vibes as some people did it’s at least great to see Sandler trying something other than another throwaway comedy plus who doesn’t want to see a blinged out Ferbie?
So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?
Let us know in the comments section below.