Idina Menzel

The Little Mermaid and Magdalen

Hey parents, can you believe it hasn’t even been a year since Frozen came out? I know, it feels like you’ve been hearing you kids belt “Let It Go” for eons, but the Disney animated feature officially opened on a single screen in Hollywood on November 22, 2013, before going wide five days later. Technically, though, it did play as early as November 10th, at the New York Children’s Film Festival, so I guess we can start celebrating its first birthday. Stuff some cake in its face, because it’s barely a baby anymore. My son is pretty young, so he didn’t see Frozen until a couple months ago (it’s also when I had my viewing), and ever since he’s wanted to watch it all the time. Whether he calls the movie “Let It Go” or claims Elsa’s name is “Let It Go” or mostly wants to watch Olaf the snowman, not a day goes by that he doesn’t mention the possibility. Not that I give in every time; more often we’ll just sing or play one of the songs. I know he’ll eventually move on to something else (his last, and first, obsession was Dumbo). I also know I can’t force the change on him yet. I don’t even mind Frozen yet, strangely, but I bet parents who’ve been there for the past year are ready to forget it ever existed. Whatever the case, I’m devoting this week’s dozen movie recommendations to moms and dads who’d like some alternatives to try out. Most may […]


Idina Menzel and James Marsden in Enchanted

Seven years after Disney brought Amy Adams into our lives as the real life princess that we’d always dreamed could exist, they’re attempting to make magic happen again with a sequel to their 2007 hit Enchanted, according to Deadline. In that first movie, doe-eyed, full of wonder and dressed like an adorable cupcake Giselle (Adams) peeled herself away from the animated kingdom of Andalasia when a wicked queen (Susan Sarandon) banished her to plain old regular Earth for fear that she would marry her princely stepson (James Marsden) and unseat her from her throne. With Enchanted 2 now a reality, maybe that means Giselle and her true love from New York City (Patrick Dempsey) didn’t wind up happily ever after as it so tidily seemed at the end of the first film. Or Prince Edward and his equally earthly girlfriend (Idina Menzel) weren’t exactly a match either. Having a partner who sings constantly, no matter how dreamy they might be, probably gets a little grating. No cast members have signed on yet for the sequel, which is being written by David Stem and David N. Weiss (The Smurfs; Are We There Yet?) and directed by Anne Fletcher (The Proposal; The Guilt Trip), meaning the doors are open for some healthy speculation about plot and premise.



The royal family of Arendelle is hiding a secret. The eldest daughter, Elsa, was born with a magical gift that allows her to create snow and ice simply through thought. She uses her power for playtime with her younger sister, Anna, but one day she causes an accident that almost kills the littlest princess. Troll magic is used to wipe the memory from Anna’s mind, and the castle closes its doors to keep Elsa separated both from the public and from her sister. Years pass, and the two now-grown princesses prepare for Elsa’s (Idina Menzel) coronation as the new queen. Anna (Kristen Bell) is excited as the event means not only more face-time with Elsa but also her first exposure to the outside world in a decade. Dignitaries and townspeople are invited in for the celebration, and it’s not long before Anna has met and fallen in love with a young prince named Hans (Santino Fontana). What should be yet another reason to celebrate instead triggers an icy outburst from Elsa that reveals her powers and terrifies her subjects. Accused of being a monster, she takes off into the mountains leaving a town trapped in permanent, crystalline winter behind her. Disney’s newest animated feature, Frozen, is a fun and witty delight from start to finish. Far more of a musical than the studio’s recent releases have attempted to be, the film ties together an unconventional take on princesses, heroes, and villains, with a melodic ribbon of songs both catchy and affecting. […]



When it comes to group movie-going, it’s not always a question of who you can take to see a film (as we previously explored with Blue Is the Warmest Color), but who you should take to see a film. Such is the case with the week’s expanding Disney release, Frozen, which has “holiday weekend crowd pleaser” written all over it. The latest entry in the Disney princess canon (we are still partial to The Little Mermaid, but what can you do) has some familiar elements – Princesses! Dead parents! Fairy tale magic! Singing! – but it’s also nicely rounded out with some sassy humor and the occasional twist on a trope (let’s put it this way, one character very keenly scoffs at another’s chattery depiction of falling in love at first sight and it provides some very welcome respite for Disney’s romantic notions). But does that mean that the film has an appeal that will reach beyond the usual Disney fans? We think so – simply because there plenty of people you should take to see Frozen who will enjoy it immensely, thank you for making a solid holiday weekend film pick, and spend the next five weeks loudly asking strangers if they want to build a snowman. The magic of Disney! And also of getting out of the house and away from leftovers!


Olaf Frozen

Channeling DreamWorks’ favorite nut-hunting squirrel, Disney has released a mini-cartoon to serve as the teaser trailer for Frozen from director Chris Buck (Tarzan, Surf’s Up). As the story of a pair of adventurers trying to end a magic-induced winter, it’s unfortunately not an animated remake of Adam Green’s ski lift horror flick from 2010. Hopefully Disney will get on that soon. Kristen Bell voices Anna, the hero who partners with Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff) to end Elsa the Snow Queen’s (Idina Menzel) reign of wondrously beautiful icy conditions. None of them are in the trailer, though. Instead, we’re treated to Olaf, a wacky snowman (Josh Gad) who gets in a fight with a reindeer over his delicious, delicious nose. Enjoy the slapstick on ice:



What is Casting Couch? It’s the movie news column that’s easing into Christmas with a cup of coffee and some casting reports. Let’s take this one step at a time. Marvel Studios is on such a roll now that any movie they make that ties directly into their upcoming Avengers 2 is going to be a big deal—even if it’s based off of a comic book that nobody’s ever heard of like Guardians of the Galaxy. So, the competition among young actors to get cast as the Guardians’ leader, Star-Lord, is pretty fierce. According to Variety, that competition has been narrowed down to two guys. The trade reports that Jim Sturgess is the sole survivor of the original crop of five actors the studio screen tested for the role, and Zachary Levi impressed so much playing the smaller role of Fandral in Thor 2, that Marvel is looking to give him a larger role in their universe by maybe making him the half-human, half-alien leader of this ragtag crew. Who would you find more believable commanding a gun-toting space-raccoon?


Jennifer Lee

Seeing as Wreck-It Ralph was Disney Animation’s most well-received movie in quite a while, the studio has wasted no time in getting one of its main creative talents to work on a new project. Today they announced in a press release [via ComingSoon] that Ralph co-writer Jennifer Lee is not only going to be handling some writing duties on their upcoming animated feature, Frozen, but that she will also be serving as co-director alongside studio vet Chris Buck (Tarzan, Surf’s Up). Frozen is an adventure tale about a magical kingdom that’s suffering under a spell that keeps it trapped in a perpetual winter. Its main characters are a brave young girl named Anna, a burly mountain man named Kristoff, and a reindeer sidekick named Sven. The main thrust of the film’s narrative is said to be this trio’s journey to find the Snow Queen and find a way to reverse her spell, which of course leads to them encountering treacherous mountain passes, all sorts of magical whatsits, mystical trolls, comical snowmen, and who knows how many other examples of weirdness along the way. Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s Kristen Bell and Enchanted’s Idina Menzel are already on board to supply voices.

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published: 02.01.2015
published: 01.31.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015

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