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Venice Film Review: ‘The Shape of Water’

Venice Film Review: ‘The Shape of Water’
For those few cinema scholars who speak of some motion pictures as “films,” and others as “movies,” Guillermo del Toro’s glorious “The Shape of Water” refuses to go tidily into either box. A ravishing, eccentric auteur’s imagining, spilling artistry, empathy and sensuality from every open pore, it also offers more straight-up movie for your money than just about any Hollywood studio offering this year. This decidedly adult fairytale, about a forlorn, mute cleaning lady and the uncanny merman who save each other’s lives in very different ways, careers wildly from mad-scientist B-movie to heart-thumping Cold War noir to ecstatic, wings-on-heels musical, keeping an unexpectedly classical love story afloat with every dizzy genre turn. Lit from within by a heart-clutching silent star turn from Sally Hawkins, lent dialogue by one of Alexandre Desplat’s most abundantly swirling scores, this is incontestably del Toro’s most rewarding, richly realized film — or movie, for
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Judy by the Numbers: "Get Happy"

In 'Judy by the Numbers' Anne Marie looks back at Garland's career through key songs

By the time Judy Garland turned 28, her entire adult life and her entire star persona had been a product of MGM. In 1950, Judy Garland's image - as cultivated by MGM and the Freed Unit - was of an exuberant talent, small in stature but big in heart and voice; a buoyant box office sensation. However, the reality was different. In the 13 months between the release of In The Good Old Summertime and Summer Stock, Judy Garland fought drug addiction, rehab, an increasingly strained marriage, an unsympathetic studio, and a suicide attempt that made headlines worldwide. Filmed before her attempt but released two months after it, Summer Stock is a record of the conflict between the image of Judy Garland and the reality of Frances Gumm.

The Movie: Summer Stock (1950)

The Songwriters: Harold Arlen (music
See full article at FilmExperience »

Top 25 Twenty-First Century Jazz Albums

Today being international jazz day, there will be much celebrating of the greatness of its history. I’ve done that in the past; it is a great history. But it is not all back in historical times; jazz lives, and evolves, and continues to be great. Yet how many lists of the greatest jazz albums include anything from the current century?

That they do not is no indictment of them; only sixteen percent of the years when recorded jazz has existed (not counting the present year yet) are in the twenty-first century, after all, and some prefer to bestow the label of greatness after more perspective has been achieved than sixteen (or fewer, for newer releases) years.

Nonetheless, if people are to respect jazz as a living art form, a look back at the best of its more recent releases seems worthwhile. Here’s one man’s “baker’s dozen
See full article at CultureCatch »

Etta James versus Beyonce: Divas duel No. 2

Etta James must be taking lessons from Faye Dunaway in how to be a diva. Etta James came out swinging against Beyonce for daring to perform her signature song — "At Last" — as the first dance for Barack and Michelle Obama at an inaugural ball. At a Jan. 28 concert in Seattle, the veteran singer let rip: "I tell you, that woman he has singing for him, singing my song, she gonna get her ... whipped. I can’t stand Beyonce, she had no business up there singing ... my song that I’ve been singing forever."

However, that was not the first time Beyonce had sung "At Last." She played Etta James in the December release "Cadillac Records" and performed that tune among many others in the film. And at the premiere of the picture, Beyonce sang her predecessor’s praises: "She’s a living legend and I want her to love the movie,
See full article at Gold Derby »

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