As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.

Posts Tagged ‘Mad Men’

Snow White and the Huntsman

Posted by Hedwig on June 9, 2012

Note: I’ll keep it spoiler-free above the fold, but I would like to discuss the ending below it.

Updating fairy-tales is all the rage these days, with not just two Snow White movies but even a Jack & the Beanstalk one, but they’ve really never left the public consciousness. It can be safely assumed that like vampires and Frankenstein’s, they will never truly disappear, since the bare bones of the stories can so easily be adapted to the times, the core elements familiar but the subtext fluid. The stories of princesses might all look the same, and seem to embody only the most antiquated of gender roles, but their messages and lessons still ring strong.

Snow White, of course, has always been about beauty and youth. “Who is the fairest of them all?”, the queen asks, eager to hear her own name, and furious when it turns out she is fairest no longer, surpassed by a raven-haired pale beauty with crimson lips. In the fairy tale and in the new action-movie adaptation SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, Snow White “wins” the contest because she has inner as well as outer beauty. But the movie makes implicit that the queen’s desperate desire to retain her youth and beauty is not vanity alone – she fiercely defends herself because her beauty is the source of her power, perhaps even the only power she has. She’s a monster, but a monster made by the system, and this explains why Snow White can’t help but feel sorry for her. Charlize Theron clearly relishes playing such a grandiose, evil part, but she never forgets that her queen Ravenna is at heart a pitiful creature.

It’s too bad they haven’t found a Snow White to match her. Just to clarify: I’m no Kristen Stewart hater. The Twilight movies are easy targets, but she managed to give Bella something completely absent in the books: a personality. I can understand why she was cast: she projects a certain authenticity – carefully cultivated in her public image, too – that helps her play wide-eyed wonder and innocence without it going into maudlin territory. But this Snow White is a warrior too, and when called upon to give a St. Crispin’s day speech, she can’t quite pull it off. She shouts, and her chest heaves with labored breathing, but she lacks the authority Theron has no problem summoning.

Overall, though, I thought this adaptation was both visually stunning and thematically interesting. And what really sold me on it, the thing that made sure I left the cinema not just satisfied but elated, was the ending (and here be spoilers) Read the rest of this entry »

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Mad Men Season 2 (Warning: some spoilers)

Posted by Hedwig on October 29, 2008

I watched the last three episodes of season 2 of Mad Men yesterday, and all I can say is: wow. That, and poor, poor Joan.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a girl that the fate of the women on this show touches me so, but whatever the motivation, I laud Matthew Weiner for writing such well-rounded, different characters. They might be confined within their 1960 and then 1962 surroundings, but he never sees them as simply as the men in that context do. Even the simple secretaries with a secondary rule such as Lois and Hildy are real characters, and you can feel that each of them interacts with the limited options presented to them in their own way.

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Mad Men – Season 1 (spoiler free)

Posted by Hedwig on August 11, 2008

What’s this I see? A new post at the fruit stand? Yes, indeed it is. And get used to it: I just handed in the pre-final version of my thesis, and in a mere two weeks I will be officially and unambiguously graduated, which means the blog should pick up steam again. I’ve got a lot of grand things planned. But first…

The back of Don Draper’s head is a fascinating thing. Or rather: it’s fascinating how Mad Men manages to keep you mesmerized, trying to guess what’s going on in that marvelously shaped head. It’s not just that Draper has a secret – though it’s obvious that he has many, and watching them floating to the surface is part of the appeal. But he’s a man you want to figure out, even if he doesn’t always seem to have figured himself out yet. He’s a true mystery: an asshole but not without feelings, seductive but truly messed up, complex and flawed in a way we luckily see more and more in the protagonists of TV shows (see also: Dexter, House, The Sopranos, etc.)

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