It is hard to believe that it was almost a quarter century ago that Disney had its last hit based upon a Hans Christian Andersen tale. In 1989, The Little Mermaid reaffirmed the Walt Disney Company as the leader in animation and many attempts were made to make another Andersen tale, The Snow Queen, into another hit. In fact, as far back as the 1940s, Disney himself was trying to adapt the story into an animated film but was never satisfied with any concept. Even the talent behind Beauty and the Beast could not find a way to turn Andersen’s dark tale into an animated musical.
However, after the success of Tangled, Disney announced that The Snow Queen was indeed being made with the title Frozen, and the director would be Chris Buck (Tarzan, Surf’s Up), who helped design the characters for The Little Mermaid.
Frozen features the voice of Kristen Bell as Princess Anna, who must go on an icy journey to find her sister, “The Ice Queen” Elsa, whose powers have trapped the kingdom in an eternal winter. And it looks the decades of work have paid off as critics are comparing it to some of Disney’s best.
If you look closely at the credits for Homefront, what stands out more than stars Jason Statham, James Franco, Kate Bosworth and Winona Ryder is Sylvester Stallone as writer and producer. However, keep in mind that Stallone was nominated for an Academy Award for writing Rocky.
Statham gets to flex his action star muscles as an ex-DEA agent who retires to a small town for the sake of his 10-year-old daughter. Franco gets to play the heavy, a drug kingpin who makes Statham’s retirement less than quiet.
Based upon the novel of the same name, The Book Thief tells the story of a spirited young girl sent to live with a foster family in WWII Germany. Intrigued by the only book she brought with her, she learns to read while collecting more books and creates a magical world in a time of tragedy. Starring Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson, the young girl is played by Canadian Sophie Nelisse, who gained attention in last year’s Monsieur Lazhar.
Opening at the Paramount Theatre is the acclaimed Philomena, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. It is based on the true story about an Irish woman who, years earlier, gave her son up for adoption in the United States and decides to search for him with the help of a BBC reporter.
The Landmark Cinemas Encore in West Kelowna starts its weekly Free Holiday Movies for Food this Friday at 7 p.m. This week it is 2010’s Nutcracker starring Elle Fanning and Nathan Lane. Set in 1920’s Vienna, it is a tale of a little girl whose godfather gives her a special doll on Christmas Eve. Admission is two non-perishable food items for the food bank.
Through the end of December, Free Holiday Movies for Food will feature a different movie including Arthur Christmas 3D, Elf, The Nativity Story and The Holiday.