Saturday, January 29, 2011

Movie Crush - Sawyer from Cats Don't Dance

I've got to give it up to my favorite catgirl Sawyer, the female lead from the underrated Annie Award Winning animated movie Cats Don't Dance.

Beautifully sung by singer Natalie Cole and voiced by Jasmine Guy of Different World, Dead Like Me and various Broadway Productions, Sawyer was not your typical animated heroine from the get go. On the Unofficial Cats Don't Dance Fansite, animator Lauren Faust describes this unique female character.

"She was such an unusually deep female lead at the time, and I really got to sink my teeth into her personality wise... Most animated girls are too idealistic and perfect (in a shallow way) for my tastes."

Lauren Faust later on went to help make Powerpuff Girls as fabulous as it was; first by working on the animation staff, and then by marrying Powerpuff Girls creator Craig McCracken.

She is currently making the My Little Pony franchise fabulous with by producing the new show My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Last Time on My Little Pony

Wow. My Little Pony is back!!!!!!!! The newest incarnation of the animated series based off of the popular line of dolls immediately caught my attention by featuring some old classical characters like Twilight, Apple Jack and Spike.

Lead by Lauren Faust, who was also behind the scenes of Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, the series 2 part opener deals with an evil force trying to bring eternal darkness to the world, a nod to the original TV pilot in the 80s which also featured Twilight, Apple Jack and Spike prominently. Twilight is sent out on a journey with the other main pony girls, Apple Jack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Rarity and Pinky Pie to rescue their princess, Princess Celestia, from her evil sister Nightmare Moon.

What this new series does that I find genius is that is pays homage to it's roots while also taking the series in a new direction. There's still fun songs and there's grand adventures just like how it was the 80s. The ponies are treated as geniune, strong and fully realized characters. Apple Jack is now a butch farm girl with a huge farming family. Rainbow Dash could have easily been a throwaway girly girl type character, but here she's represented as hot headed and passionate about flying across the sky with the bestest pegasi out there.  Even the "cute" characters like Fluttershy, Rarity and Pinky Pie (my personal favorite) are more about their comedic timing than their foofiness. Our main character in the series, Twilight (Tara Strong), has the possibility of growing into a character who no doubt will be led on a heroes journey. Possibly.

While this first outing was an awesome adventure with interesting characters and interaction, I fear that future episodes won't be as epic and will take the "slice of life" approach that plagued the My Little Pony Tales TV series in the 90s and the 1st reboot of the Strawberry Shortcake franchise. I can only hope that with Lauren Faust at the helm that the show becomes as awesome as Powerpuff Girls. I especially hope it does well so Lauren Faust can get with Christy Marx to get the gears on Jem's comeback rolling. Come on ladies. :-)

My Little Pony - The Complete First Season - Watch the original classic before catching the newer version

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Black Swan - Natalie Portman Discovers Her Inner Swan

Black Swan is one of those movies that is said to be hard to tell people about. There's so much going on that it just has to be experienced. Natalie Portman headlines this psychological thriller that co-stars Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey and the always awesome Winona Ryder. She really needs to do more work. I love her.

The plot centers around Portman's Nina Sayers as she descends into her dark side in order to dance the part of The Black Swan in her ballet company's production of Swan Lake. What happens to her can be interpreted in many ways. It could be in her mind, it could be really happening, or the whole movie itself could just be an illustration of the artist's psyche as it goes through it's process. The movie tends to share a lot in common with German Expressionism and Argento's Suspiria.

The movie is very sexually charged as well as adrenaline induced. You're not really given a chance to breath. Just sit back and enjoy the thrill ride pretty much. The juxtaposition of the elegance of ballet and the dark imagery that Nina projects onto it and experiences in it can be very jarring, but Natalie portrays Nina with such reality that you're never really completely wondering what's going. Whatever happens to Nina is exactly what the audiences experiences so her questions are the same questions the audiences have and sometimes those answers are not given, to the audience or to Nina.

Elegantly and theatrically filmed, this film is surely one with class.

Black Swan - Purchase the soundtrack here