Gillespie Life


Do your homework, then go 'Into the Woods'

Many audiences have left the Disney-produced fairy tale film, “Into the Woods,” disappointed and with little right to be.

Certainly, the studio is to fault for not clearing up the confusion surrounding the film. Too many people have left screenings surprised they just watched a musical and many others probably were in shock when the film doesn’t end with Cinderella’s marriage to the prince.

But moviegoers should have seen this coming.

The film, a clear adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s 1986 Broadway musical of the same name, is a darker intersection of several classic fairytales, including “Cinderella,” “Jack and the Giant Beanstalk” and “Little Red Riding Hood.”

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rightly rated “Into the Woods” PG “for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material.”

The film is more “Snow White and the Huntsman” than the animated classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”


'Wild' captivates audiences, thanks to Witherspoon's stunning performance

Some films are designed for escapism, a chance to remove the viewer from the everyday grind and stresses of real life and pull them into somewhere new and exciting.

Other films are meant to draw the viewer into a cinematic experience, offering us something to learn from along the way.

Cheryl Strayed’s true-life story of a newly single woman hiking the 1,100 mile Pacific Crest Trail as a means to cope with loss isn’t meant as escapism.

There’s a passionate message of empowerment and rebirth in “Wild,” the latest film from director Jean Marc Vallée of “Dallas Buyers Club” fame. The film is an emotional roller coaster that will resonate with anyone who has lost a close loved one or feels alone with a sense of loss.

With a terrific script adapted from Strayed’s 2012 book by Nick Hornby, the film itself centers around Strayed’s journey from southern California to Canada and requires a tour de force performance from its leading actress.


'Secret of the Tomb' helps viewers bid farewell to Robin Williams

Now that the final installment of “Night at the Museum” has arrived in theaters, it’s sad to think that this will be the last time that comedy legend Robin Williams will be shown on the big screen.

Sure, we can hear his voice again as Dennis the Dog in the upcoming animated feature “Absolutely Anything,” but it just won’t be the same.

Things aren’t quite the same in “Secret of the Tomb,” the last of the “Night of the Museum” movies pitting Ben Stiller as a bumbling security guard managing exhibits that magically come to life at night.

The story isn’t really relevant and takes a general backseat to the notion, played up in the film itself, that with the death of Williams, this is the end for a heartwarming era in comedy.


'Exodus' lacks both gods, kings in Hollywood's latest Biblical epic

Biblically-inspired 3D epic film doesn’t really sound like a very appealing genre, especially after Russell Crowe’s dud “Noah” released to much derision earlier this year.

There’s a lot of unevenness to Ridley Scott’s latest feature, “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” which re-imagines the Biblical story of Moses as action-adventure fodder.

Oscar-winner Christian Bale picks up sword not staff to play Moses, a highly conflicted character uncertain of what actions are morally just.

Understandably, “Exodus: Gods and Kings” might not play very well with devout Christians, who could find the liberties taken in the depiction of the plagues and God’s interaction with Moses off-putting.


Area stores show creativity in Christmas decorations

By Richard Zowie


With the Christmas shopping season in full throttle, area businesses have been lighting up the town, which is known for its yule-time displays and lighted building outlines.

While clerks are busy with customers inside the Peach Basket Natural Foods, a familiar face is outside the store at 334 West Main Street.

Maria Guzman, Peach Basket’s warehouse receiver, works outside in front of the store. While traffic moves on Main Street, Guzman quietly strings up multi-colored lights along the awning and support poles. She also decorates small, wire reindeer with the lights.

Putting up Christmas lights can be a tedious task, especially when lights go out.

Guzman, however, says nothing, works calmly and seems to prefer talking through her creativity.


Redmayne transforms as famed physicist in 'Theory of Everything"

Eddie Redmayne better be nominated for an Academy Award.

He might not win, but with a pitch-perfect performance requiring such specific nuance in physicality, Redmayne certainly deserves acclaim for his turn as famed physicist Stephen Hawking in the British drama “The Theory of Everything.”

An hour into the film, it’s all too easy to forget that Redmayne is an actor portraying a character on screen.

While the film certainly deals with Hawking’s emergence as one of the world’s premiere scientists, “The Theory of Everything” focuses more on the development of Hawking’s relationship with his future wife, Jane, amid the onset of his debilitating ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

One part biopic and two parts love story, the film works only because Redmayne’s heartbreaking portrayal of Hawking pairs perfectly with Felicity Jones’ understated, yet firm Jane.


'Horrible Bosses 2' fails to live up to standard set by original film

It’s easy to tell when a screenwriter is actually trying and when they’re filling in the blanks around a tired, formulaic plot.

“Horrible Bosses 2,” the sequel to the aptly named “Horrible Bosses,” is a fill-in the-blanks kind of movie — largely unfunny and 100 percent a cash grab sequel in a “Spaceballs 2: The Quest for More Money” sort of way.

Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Bay reprise their roles from the original, which saw the trio poorly attempt to murder their terrible bosses.

Scenes between the trio, which worked well in the original film, fall much flatter in the sequel as none of the characters have developed beyond the loose framework created in the original.

The film suffers from the same fate “The Hangover 2” did as neither sequel is able to replicate the humor or maintain the momentum created by the first film despite trying to copy the original beat for beat.


'Hunger Games' sequel saved by its 'Mockingjay'

Lionsgate got really lucky.

The movie studio, hoping to leapfrog on the success of the “Twilight” film franchise, dove headfirst into the young adult book trilogy market, coming away with a violent dystopian world and needing a female lead to match Bella of “Twilight” fame.

When they cast the girl from “The Bill Engvall Show,” they probably had no idea that she would become the most successful young actress in years, dominating multiple movie franchises and single-handedly carrying the studio forward in much the same way that Katniss carries the rebellion in Lionsgate’s latest installment of the “Hunger Games” series.

What separates the “Hunger Games” films from “Divergent” or the “Maze Runner” is the difference between Lawrence and Shailene Woodley.

Woodley, a nice up-and-coming actress in her own right, could settle into a Kristen Stewart career arc with a little less venom from the general public.


Celebrating the flavors of Texas

With the October release of “Texas on the Table,” Terry Thompson-Anderson has eight cookbooks to her credit. The author calls Fredericksburg home. — Photo courtesy Sandy Wilson

By Yvonne Hartmann

Terry Thompson-Anderson’s newest release is more than just a cookbook.

“Texas on the Table” is 448 pages filled with 150 new and classic recipes along with stories of people — the farmers, ranchers, shrimpers, cheese-makers, winemakers and chefs — who inspired the recipes and who are changing the taste of Texas food.

Also featured in the book are 189 color and 14 black and white photos taken by Thompson-Anderson’s sister, Sandy Wilson of Houston.

The book also includes a number of recipes from some of the state’s most renowned chefs.

“This is so much more than a cookbook,” Thompson-Anderson said. “It took us three years and 30,000 miles.”

“We enjoyed working together so much and meeting all of the fascinating people in this book who opened their homes, their hearts and their businesses,” Thompson-Anderson said. “Without them, the book would be just another collection of recipes.”


Eisbahn to open Nov. 28

One of Fredericksburg’s Christmas-time traditions, Eisbahn, will open for the 2014-15 holiday season on Friday, Nov. 28.

Eisbahn, which means “ice rink” in German, will give residents of the Hill Country and their guests a chance to celebrate the holiday season with a bit of ice skating, regardless of the weather outside.

The rink is set to open 10 a.m. on Friday after Thanksgiving. The rink will remain open until 10 p.m.

Hours will be 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturdays, 1-8 p.m. on Sundays and 4-8 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays and 4-10 p.m. on Fridays (before school is dismissed for the Christmas holidays.) Once classes are out for Christmas break, hours will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays–Fridays.

On Christmas Eve, the rink will have shortened hours from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The rink will be open as usual on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.


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