Disney’s Live Action Cinderella

Please be aware that spoilers abound below. If you haven’t yet seen the film, read at your own risk.

glassI’ve been looking forward to seeing Disney’s live action Cinderella for a while–for me, that usually means once they put out more than teaser trailers, and you can get an idea of what’s actually going to go on in a movie. While the initial shots of a glass slipper were nice, I was quite ambivalent, as we didn’t know how the material was being treated.

james-blanchettOnce the more substantial trailers came out, however, I was looking forward to seeing it. I am a fantasy girl, and thus have an interest in fairy tales. Lily James and Cate Blanchett are of course also great draws for the movie–Lily’s portrayal of Rose on Downton Abbey is delightful, and Blanchett has the caliber to pull off Lady Tremain. We saw it this past weekend, and I can equivocally say they both deliver in the film.

The film is a lovely example of Disney’s fairy tales, with a slightly more modern influence than most of their classics. The characterization is what you’d expect, and they did try to explain why Lady Tremain is the way she is, although Ever After did a much better job of it in just one scene. However, the world they created for the movie is clearly fairy-tale in the sense that goodness and virtue is always raised up (eventually) over deceit and negativity. There is much to do with talking to animals–well done, I think, and much less singing.

Most of the costuming and sets were quite lovely. I’m not a fan of the butterflies on the blue ball gown, or the waspie-style waist, but the rest of it was quite lovely. Lady Tremain also had some quite striking outfits.

The score mostly didn’t jump out at me, although I did see it’s by Patrick Doyle (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Thor, Brave). There is only 1 sung song in the film, which is Lavender’s Blue. A huge part of me dearly wants to believe this is because the creators have read The Ordinary Princess, a fairy tale by M. M. Kay (The Far Pavilions). It is my favorite fairy tale book and if you haven’t read it, you should (it’s out of print, but well worth the effort of finding it). That song is all over this book, and the sections are even titled with lines of the song.  And Lily James can sing, which is even better.

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The Ordinary Princess, singing Lavender’s Blue.

Many features are included from Disney’s original animated film, such as names, how characters relate to one another, and quite a bit of characterization. In almost every movie I’ve seen, the stepsisters are a source of comedy, and this is no exception. Sophie McShera sings horribly as Drisella, sometimes quite a feat when one can sing well. I would have liked to see them dressed less like crazy people, however, considering their quite discerning mother.

Two further notes here. Disney has finally done their equivalent to a henshin sequence, and holy carriage, Batman! She arrives at the ball in a carriage made of nothing but gold and glass, an no one bats an eye. It would be have been all over the palace on no time with all the guards around.

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Overall, I think they hit the right balance for the film, humanizing it a little more while still keeping it very fairy tale. There are scenes in which people break down, yet it doesn’t loose its’ air of virtue and goodness. I’m not sure if I’m describing it sufficiently, so do go see it yourself if you haven’t already.

2015 Philedelphia Flower Show

Mom and I have gone to the Philadelphia Flower Show ever year since high school, and have yet to miss one. This year, she became a PHS member and got 4 tickets, so Dad and DH joined us. This is probably a one-time thing, but it was nice to be able to share it with them. It is the largest flowers show in the world, and I am of the firm opinion that everyone aught to go at least once in their life.

There are two reasons for this. One is experience. The other is to see what’s possible, and what people can do with both plants and flowers, even in an indoor environment. Where else can one see sections of forests and country meadows on built on a convention floor? Or floral arrangements literally a dozen feet tall or more? It’s quite an experience, usually one in which you’re bumping into someone every time you turn around, but worth the crowding and sore feet (Mom enjoys the shopping and we make a full day of it between the displays and vendors).

This Year’s Highlights (in no particular order)

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1. Cinderella. While there was a huge table display sponsored by Disney, I’m talking about the one in the aisle of princesses. A more lush and romantic display would be hard to find. The movie was very good, and I do recommend it.

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2. Gene London’s costume collection. I enjoy historical fashion and the history of clothing, so seeing so many costumes from famous and classic movies was great. The $5 fee was worth every penny, and goes toward maintaining the collection. Included were Audrey Hepburn’s pink rose dress and black and white gown from My Fair Lady, Marilyn Monroe’s white dress, several costumes from Gone with the Wind, and Charlton Heston’s rags from Planet of the Apes. The one disappointment was that Scarlet’s white and green ball gown from Gone with the Wind was locked in the tea room and we could only see it from afar.

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3. The Chinese garden inspired by Mulan. This landscape display was full of the most beautiful peony bushes, something we don’t normally see at the show, as well as a pond with some lovely ceramic fish.

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4. The Nightmare Before Christmas display. I’m not sure what I can say other than simply provide some images. It was epic, but didn’t come out so well in my photos.

The Bucket

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Sometimes you get the right combination of flowers, and they look great before designing no matter what you do with them. These are from last year, and I just can’t get rid of this photo. Hydrangea, roses, peonies, and trachelium.

Spaghetti with Clams

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Spaghetti with clams, artichokes, tomatoes, and herbed cheese.

Everyone has their comfort foods, and sometimes I find myself craving a delicious pasta dish. That usually involves ample amounts of white sauce, but sometimes it’s just plain tomato sauce or something like this. Luckily, we had the right ingredients around for it, and it was delicious. Pasta often gets a bad rap for being common and cheap, but the right pasta on a day when you need a pick up or a nice warm meal works wonders.

Spaghetti in with Clams

1 box spaghetti

1 quart ham stock, plus water

1 can chopped clams

1 small jar artichoke hearts, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes

2-4 Tbsp of herbed cheese spread

Butter

Put stock in a pot and add enough water to cook pasta. Drain and leave pasta in a sieve. Cook clams and artichoke in pot with butter, and add tomatoes when close do done. Finish off with cheese spread. Add as much pasta back into the pot as you like, and cook everything together until heated through. Plate as desired and serve.