Is Cinderella The Best Live-Action Fairy Tale Movie?


(Click here to download this week’s podcast episode)

Hey conspirers! This week on the podcast, we talk Cinderella, the latest Disney fairy tale movie to grace the big screen. Critics have been pretty kind to the film, but does it stand out amidst the ranks of Red Riding Hood, Jack the Giant Slayer, Snow White and the Huntsman, Alice and Wonderland, last year’s Maleficent…OK, maybe the competition isn’t so stiff.

On TWIL (this week I learned), we share some of our favorite YouTube channels for mocking our favorite movies, as well as the recent news on Popeye. Stick around for the Netflix Recommendation of the Week, as well as new Movie Releases for this coming weekend.

Our Song of the Week is “Our Own House” by Misterwives (yes, they do a song besides “Reflections” and I argue it’s better).

Enjoy the show, and don’t forget to rate and subscribe us on iTunes if you haven’t already! We always appreciate your feedback.

Question of the Week: What is your favorite live-action fairy tale movie?

Cool Things We Mentioned: 

The “Honest Trailer” for Cinderella

Everything wrong with Cinderella in 10 minutes or less

Genndy Tartakovsky and the new Popeye movie


Review: ‘Cinderella’

Cinderella review

You’ve already seen this movie.

I could leave it at that, but I’ll also add that if you’ve seen  Ever After: A Cinderella Story with Drew Barrymore from 1998, then you’ve seen the entire movie.

This new live-action retelling of the fairy tale classic combines the beauty and magical whimsy of the classical animated film with the sincerity and fleshed out character development of Ever After. Oddly enough, 2015’s Cinderella surpasses neither of these movies.

It plays it safe and matches the original fairy tale formula to the letter. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not funny, though it manages to be charming thanks to beautiful sets, inspired musical scores, and Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother working as an acceptable counter balance to the fresh face of Lily James (no Harry Potter jokes, please). Even Helena Bonham Carter finds a way to fit her own flavor into this mostly vapid retelling.

Everything else is sadly forgettable, but that won’t prevent Cinderella from pleasing its many fans. I just wish it could have tried a little bit harder to be a little bit more.

Cinderella mostly excels at costume design and more in-depth imaginings of crucial characters, namely the prince. No longer a side character, there’s a real story now behind who Prince Charming is and why he’s so desperate for a life love. His first meeting with Cinderella is now outside of the ball, and under more humble circumstances. This time, she’s the one who doesn’t quite know what to make of the Prince, and that’s a fun change to the original story.

There’s less focus on the misadventures of the animals, but there’s a surprisingly odd amount of anti-feminism present in Cinderella herself. Unlike previous adaptations where she at least tried to escape the clutches of her evil Stepmother, this incarnation is content to just wait for someone to rescue her. It’s a strange decision for a movie that otherwise tries harder to feel more updated.

But in the end, this is the cut and dry Cinderella story with more detail, style, and story. It’s just a shame they forgot to infuse the little substance this movie has with some classic Disney whimsy.

Grade: B

Extra Credits:

  • Director Kenneth Branagh also helmed Thor, another “B” movie that feels surprisingly empty for such a rich mythology.
  • I would argue that Branagh is overshadowed in the credits by Chris Weitz, best known for About a Boy. Unfortunately, the script here is more akin to his other film, The Golden Compass.

20 Most Anticipated Movies of 2015

20 most anticipated 2015 movies


This week on Now Conspiring, Maria and I start off the new year by highlighting which movies we’re looking forward to the most in 2015. We even have a list of movies that aren’t sequels, reboots, or adaptations!

PLUS we talk about the worst movies of 2014 that have been nominated for a Razzie. We share our thoughts on The InterviewInto the Woods and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. And finally, we talk about the new movies coming out this weekend that you might want to check out.

Enjoy the show, and don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes if you don’t want to miss a single episode!

Question of the Week:

Which movies are you most excited to see in 2015? 


New Promo Confirms “Heroes” Is Returning To NBC In 2015

Titled Heroes: Reborn, NBC’s blockbuster show-turned ratings disaster is coming back for another round with a standalone miniseries.

The 13-episode event series will come packaged with a digital series preceding it, but we don’t know much about the plot or character details yet. Still, we can probably expect some old faces to return or at least be referenced.

Here is the first promo:

You may recall that Heroes was a wildly popular show during its first three seasons, reaching its peak somewhere between the first and second season’s middle. Cut short by the Writer’s Strike in 2007, the second season suffered a plot rewrite that damaged the show’s continuity, a disaster that the writers never seemed to recover from.

By the fourth season, viewers were done. The show became a complicated, boring mess, and the series was cancelled after a cliffhanger in 2010.

But NBC has seen fit to give the superhero show another shot, likely due to the recent success of comic-book superheroes in mainstream movies (think Avengers, and you know where I’m getting at).

One thing Heroes managed to get right was capturing the fun of a comic book, pulling bizarre continuity events that kept us tuning in every week. They lost this along the way, trading interesting characters and powers for recycled plot devices and characters we rapidly got sick of. Not even the salacious villainy of Sylar was enough to keep the show moving.

Will NBC’s revival of the show spawn a new series? That’s certainly the plan, and FOX is definitely trying the same thing out with 24. On the bright side, NBC has had a few years to reflect on where Heroes went wrong and (hopefully) make the changes necessary to put the franchise back in our good graces.

After all, anything’s possible—a lesson we learned from episode 1 of the show in question.

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