Blancanieves Presents Snow White Like Never Before

Courtesy:  Cohen Media Group/mpi media group

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group/mpi media group

The Brothers Grimm’s classic fairytale, Snow White is one of the most beloved of all classic literary works.  It has been imagined and re-imaged so many times both in books and on the big screen that it would seem impossible to count just how many times the story has been adapted for every new generation.  Regardless, the story has stayed largely the same from one rendition to the next.  But never has the story been told as it has been in the recently imported silent Spanish film, Blancanieves.  This Spanish import takes the timeless tale and turns it completely on its ear.  Yet ironically enough, it somehow manages to entertain in its own right.  It does so first and foremost with a wonderfully written script.  Secondly to the movie’s credit, the acting of the cast was just as impressive as the story itself.  And the fact that audiences have only been re-introduced to the beautiful world of silent films once in recent years makes this movie even more of a treat for fans of not just classic films, but films in general.  All these factors together make Blancanieves a must see for anyone that has yet to see this love letter to the golden era of film making.

Blancanieves is the story of Snow White as it has never been seen before.  Whereas most renditions of the classic Brothers Grimm fairytale take place in a land of kings and queens, this updated take on the story places young Snow White in 1920s Seville, Spain in the world of professional bullfighting.  It seems, on the surface, like a rather unbelievable setup for this rendition.  But somehow, writer/director Pablo Berger has managed to make it work, tying together the Brothers Grimm’s original literary work into his own rich story.  Audiences will appreciate that despite the change of setting and other differences from the original fairytale, Berger maintains most of the original story’s elements, including the dwarves, the evil stepmother, and even the poisoned apple.  Speaking of the dwarves, Berger actually pokes fun at himself in a way when the dwarves paint on their wagon that there are seven dwarves.  He then has one of the dwarves point out that there are in fact only six dwarves.  It’s such a small moment.  But the laughs that it adds to the story make it such a welcome addition to the script.  It was just one of many wonderful moments included throughout the story that make the whole work such a pleasure to watch.

So many directors have tried to update classic stories with their own takes on said classics.  Most have failed.  But Pablo Berger is one of the rare directors that have succeeded in his task.  His success is directly tied into another factor that makes Blancanieves a success.  That second factor is the acting on the part of the movie’s main cast.  Macarena Garcia, Daniel Gimenez Cacho, and Maribel Verdu (Pan’s Labyrinth) are wonderful as Snow White, her father, and her evil stepmother, Encarna.  The bond between Snow White and her father is touching to say the least.  By contrast, it makes Maribel Verdu’s take on the evil stepmother character that much more vile.  Audiences will love to hate her and will love just as much to root for Snow White and her father.  The dwarves are just as wonderful an addition to the cast.  They along with Verdu, Cacho, and Garcia expertly interpret Berger’s script and pull audiences into the story with ease.  They pull in audiences so easily that they won’t even realize that nearly two hours have passed by the time that the story has ended.  That is the sign of both an expert acting cast, and an equally expertly written script.  Even Berger himself notes in the bonus “Making of” featurette just how difficult it is for actors to do their jobs in a silent movie because of how they can hide behind dialogue in regular movies.  Obviously this movie’s cast wasn’t afraid to drop their proverbial security blankets.  Their acting was spot on.  And it shows throughout the entire story.  Together, they make for two of the most important factors in the success of this movie.  There is one other factor to be taken into consideration when examining Blancanieves’ success.  That remaining factor in question is of the story’s originality.  It brings the entire presentation full circle.

The writing and acting involved in Blancanieves make it an unsuspecting success.  The fact that the last time a studio—independent or major—released a silent film was in 2011 makes it even more of an unsuspecting success.  It was that year that Sony Pictures and The Weinstein Company released the mega-hit, The Artist.  Few studios if any have tried their hand at making a silent film since save for this release from The Cohen Media Group.  Keeping that in mind, it makes Blancanieves even more special.  And thanks to the combination of Pablo Berger’s writing and directing, and the cast’s acting, it’s even more special of a film.  As a matter of fact, those factors come together to make Blancanieves one of the year’s best independent movies.  It is available now and can be ordered direct from the Cohen Media Group website at http://cohenmedia.net/blancanieves/synopsis/.  More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online at http://www.facebook.com/CohenMediaGroup and http://twitter.com/cohenmediagroup.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Mirror, Mirror’s not your parents’ Snow White story

Mirror, mirror on the wall, which Snow White Tale is the fairest of them all?  The answer there is this brand new spoof of the classic fairy tale.  This is not your parents, Disney-fied version of the classic story.  Rather, it’s a wholly tongue-in-cheek story that’s a laugh riot for the entire family.

The movie opens with Julia Roberts’ evil queen setting up the story, explaining how she came to be Snow White’s stepmother.  Is it just coincidence that in these classic stories, the stepmother is always portrayed as evil?  Random thought.  The key to remember in the story isn’t so much that Snow White received her father’s dagger.  Though it does come in to play later in the story.  But the more subtle nuance of the two moon shaped necklaces.  Roberts does a great job playing the evil queen.  America has come to know Roberts as this loveable character in every role she’s done before.  But now, audiences will love to hate her character of the evil queen.  That means that she’s doing her job, and doing it well as an actor.  So kudos to Mrs. Roberts for her role in this movie.

Of course, Roberts isn’t the only star of the movie.  One could argue that in a sense, Mirror, MIrror is another ensemble movie, considering how everything was executed.  And typically, ensemble movies don’t work.  But this one does.  Every star has their part.  And every star executes said part wonderfully, to make for plenty of laughs all the way through the story.  Fellow veteran actor Nathan Lane was hilarious as Brighton, the King…er…queen’s servant.  Kids’ll love watching his reaction as he gets turned into a cockroach, and later reaction when he finally turns back to a human.  Parents will get a kick out of the joke he makes, too, about it.  That’s not giving away too much is it?  The chemistry between Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) and the dwarves made for plenty of funny moments, too.  And of course, there’s Snow White (Lily Collins), too.  We can’t forget her.  On another random note, she [Snow White] looks oddly like legendary actress Audrey Hepburn, especially at the story’s end.  So perhaps congratulations are in order to the makeup and costume department for that.  Snow White in this story is a great role model for young female audiences, as she’s a very self-assured, empowered character, rather than the typical damnsel in distress that most renditions present her as being.

Getting back to the dwarves. They were their own comic element in themselves.  It could be argued that they were the real stars of the movie.  Forget the dwarves that everybody recalls from the Disney-fied tale of Snow White.  These dwarves aren’t Doc, Grumpy, Bashful, etc.  But comparisons to those dwarves can be made.  These dwarves are bandits, not miners.  But they’ve got heart.  And Snow White brings it out of them without eliminating their great comedic timing.  One of them even has something of a crush on her.  That alone makes for its own share of funny moments.

One of the story’s really funny moments (Brighton being turned into a cockroach aside) is the sword fighting scene between Snow White and Prince Alcott.  Anyone who has seen The Mask of Zorro will see an instant comparison to the scene from that movie with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas.  Whether that comparison was intentional or not, it’s still there.  Wolf asks Butcher if they should help Snow White.  When she knocks the Prince off his feet, butcher laughs and says he thinks she’s doing fine on her own.  That will make any viewer laugh.  There is also the scene in which the dwarves are trying to get the Prince from out of the Queen’s spell.  They don’t know what to do at first, so they try all kinds of outrageous things, from hitting him to blowing a horn, to boxing his ears, and more.  That moment will get audiences young and old alike laughing.  Mirror, Mirror has so many more enjoyable moments that one could ramble on for ages about all of them.  That having been noted, all of those moments, combined with great acting make this movie a great lead in for the upcoming Summer mnovie season.

Whether for the great acting by everyone involved, or the fanciful set designs, or the simple tongue-in-cheek manner of this movie, MIrror, Mirror is really an enjoyable movie for the whole family.  While it may be about Snow White, the main focus is spread to each member of the movie’s main cast.  That balance, combined with plenty of funny moments, makes for a movie that while it may not be totally memorable, is still a great watch every now and then for audiences of any age.