actors, Film Spotlight, movies

Film Spotlight: Robert DeNiro in Stardust

I’m glad to partake in the Robert DeNiro blogathan hosted by Tyson and Mark. My job was to pick a DeNiro film I hadn’t seen and give a brief review. I focused on the 2007 film, Stardust.

The British fantasy-romance-adventure film included all the elements one would expect from a fantasy and with great special effects, it was as charming as The Princess Bride or The Golden Compass.  From Claire Danes as the fallen star to Mark Strong as a scheming prince to Michelle Pfeiffer as the wicked witch, everyone played their roles convincingly except for, I’m sorry to report, Robert DeNiro. I never thought I’d admit he was the weak link in the chain.


The comic relief?

Robert DeNiro’s character was a confused pirate, Captain Shakespeare. One minute he’s the tough guy you’d expect DeNiro to play when he kidnaps the pair and brings Tristan and the fallen star, Yvaine, on board his flying pirate ship. The hero, Tristan, played by Charlie Cox, crossed into the fantasy world called Stormhold and falls in love with the fallen star who shines brighter and brighter as her love grows for Tristan.


As Captain Shakespeare, he mimicked the dramatist by accentuating the effeminacy. Then he  added the can-can routine and the audience was privy to transvestite tendencies.  Seeing DeNiro in drag was not funny. His interpretation was a muddled mess.

Oh, Robert DeNiro, if I could have reviewed twenty other films of yours that showed your brilliance. You were more offensive in this role than any other time you beat someone to death with whatever prop was handy. Goodness, what were you thinking?


What did work in the film were the dead brothers on the sideline watching as ghosts.  They were funny and the technique clever.


Michelle Pfeiffer was great as Lamia, the wicked witch in this story. The make-up was great. It was disturbing to see the beautiful legend turn hideous. Ouch.


Stardust was a commercial success and kept me interested for the most part. I would rate the film 7 out of 10 under one condition: Bobby never agrees to play a transvestite pirate again.

actors, authors, books, movies, oscars

Magical Realism: Books and Films



Magical Realism is a genre prevalent in literature and film that incorporates fantastic elements into an otherwise, realistic, mundane setting.  Ancient beliefs, mythology, and legends speak to the heart. The King of Magical Realism is Columbian, Gabriel García Márquez, and his masterpiece is One Hundred Years of Solitude(1967) about the South American mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Don’t be fooled by the genre fantasy. In fantasy novels, the created world adheres to a natural or physical law. In Magical Realism, like One Hundred Years of Solitude, descriptions such as poverty and housekeeping are surrounded with fantastic happenings and presented in a way that is completely believable. Magic!

Here’s some of my favorite examples….

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This is only a brief list.  Which Magical Realism books are your favorite?


Films shine today when they use special effects to bring Magical Realism to life. Magical Realism in films are often those cool films that cause you to speculate and think about the meaning of life. The realism of boring life seems to spawn a magical element that becomes convincing. Magical Realism in films question philosophical themes like what is real, or join legends and myths to the “real” world. Don’t be fooled by fantasy. Magical Realism is not The Lord of the Rings or Avatar.  Is it The Wizard of Oz? Yes.

Frequently, a great classic novel finds success on the screen.  Again, fantasy follows a law of physics or natural order set in another time or dimension. Magical Realism inserts fantastic elements into a mundane life to create the extrodinary.

Here’s a sampling of my favorite Magical Realism films:

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Magical Realism is one of my favorite genres for telling stories. It’s escapism at it’s best.

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Ang Lee is my favorite director when it comes to Magical Realism. He is my hero!  Which novels and films are your favorites?