12 items from 2017
Iconic actress Jeanne Moreau’s death this week at 89 received muted American coverage, with remembrances that hardly captured Moreau’s essential presence and influence in world cinema. Overshadowed by the passing of Sam Shepard the day before (more contemporary, American, prominent in multiple fields, and younger), she received back-page obituaries in major papers. Her lack of any Oscar nominations, or a deserved honorary award, didn’t help the cause.
Even more unfortunate is the treatment of her death reflects American audiences’ ever-increasing disinterest in French-language film. Jeanne Moreau is significant for her transcendent artistry and the directors with whom she worked, but she also represented the iconic qualities of her country’s cinema.
Though the boom in “art houses” (a term popularized in the late 1940s) came more from Italian films (“Rome, Open City,” “Shoe Shine,” and particularly “Bicycle Thief”), French film became a steady part of the subtitled market by the mid-1950s. »
- Tom Brueggemann
Actor Kelsey Grammer is to lead the cast of a new West End production of Big Fish: The Musical. Based on the novel Big Fish by Daniel Wallace and the Columbia Pictures film screenplay by John August, this new production will be the London premiere of the musical and also marks Kelsey’s first time on the London stage.
Directed by Nigel Harman, Big Fish: The Musical will play at The Other Palace from Wednesday 1 November 2017 – Sunday 31 December 2017. Tickets go on sale on 31st July 2017.
The Other Palace opened in February 2017 as a home for musical theatre. Discovering, developing and reimagining musicals is at the heart of what The Other Palace is about. The spaces are used to nurture the next generation of musicals, and the creatives behind them; celebrating the very best of the art form, from the established to the brand new.
Kelsey Grammer played the role of Dr. »
- Paul Heath
Author: James Kleinmann
It’s rare that a producer’s name becomes as familiar to the public as the stars of the films he or she makes, but in the late 1970s and ’80s, Allan Carr was a regular talk show guest and caftan wearing celebrity in his own right. A new fast paced, fascinating documentary by Emmy winner Jeffrey Schwarz (‘I Am Divine’, ‘Tab Hunter Confidential’) follows the highs and lows of Carr’s colourful career featuring interviews with those who knew him best.
Starting out in the entertainment industry as a talent booker for Hugh Hefner’s television show, Carr soon became a talent manager representing the likes of Ann-Margaret, Peter Sellers, Tony Curtis and Mama Cass Elliot. Following Carr’s legendary New York subway station premiere party for ‘Tommy’, he gained a reputation for being able to launch a movie with a splash. »
- James Kleinmann
A life lived very large — although his plus-size physicality would be the source of perpetual insecurity and eventual health woes — Allan Carr was both the quintessential Hollywood showman and an exception to most of its rules. His attraction to glamour and glitz was old-school, yet the camp edge he brought to it as a “flamboyantly” out gay man was often a bit much for staid industry mind-sets. His hits (big-screen “Grease,” the stage “La Cage aux Folles”) were record breakers, though some might argue his flops were even more unforgettable — one, the notorious 1989 Academy Awards ceremony he produced, stirring such intense backlash it abruptly ended his career.
Garishly colorful, packed with stars, legendary parties, and a wide streak of pathos, it’s a singular life story entertainingly recounted in “The Fabulous Allan Carr.” This latest documentary by Jeffery Schwarz isn’t as warts-and-all dishy an approach to that saga as the 2010 print tome “Party Animals,” by »
- Dennis Harvey
La Cage Aux Folles is an evening full of music, dancing and singing. The musical is a story with many different strands running through it. Originally written by Jean Poiret in 1973, as a French play, set on the French Rivera.
Albin is brilliantly performed by John Partridge, formerly of EastEnders, a drag artist who is the star of Cage aux Folles. Adrian Zmed portrays Albin’s partner, Georges, the owner of the theatre. Their world is tilted on its axis when Georges son Jean Michele (Dougie Carter) arrives to tell them that he is getting married (to a woman) and the potential in Laws are coming to visit. As the son tries to decide how to introduce his unorthodox family to the potential in laws, chaos ensues as »
- Katey Thompson
Michel Serrault, like his co-star here, Isabelle Adjani, used to be in everything. As ubiquitous as Depardieu. La cage aux folles might be his best-known film. Despite his omnipresence, he seems surprising casting as a private eye known only as "the Eye," but then he does have inverted Vs for eyebrows, just like Hammett's description of Sam Spade.The Eye has a class photograph of a group of schoolgirls. He's talking to his ex-wife on the phone. She won't tell him which one is his daughter. He guesses wrong. He'll be allowed another guess in a year. There are about thirty kids to choose from.What a brilliant opening scene! We'll forgive the strutting eighties music and neo-noir Venetian blind shadows. This is a film besotted with movie-ness and wallowing in plot contrivance, but it's also perverse, haunted and romantic. The Eye is warned against letting his new case get too complicated. »
Can radical theater make a good movie? Elio Petri continues his string of biting social comment movies with a black comedy about rich people, thieves, and the notion of ownership — it’s a caustic position paper but also a funny satire, with quirky yet believable characters. Ugo Tognazzi is terrific as scheming capitalist, as much a prisoner of his wealth as a poor clerk is of his poverty.
Property is No Longer a Theft
Blu-ray + DVD
Arrow Video USA
Cinematography: Luigi Kuveiller
Film Editor: Ruggero Mastroianni
Original Music: Ennio Morricone
Production design / Costume design: Gianni Polidori
Produced by Claudio Mancini
Directed by Elio Petri
Essere o Avere? »
- Glenn Erickson
La Cage aux Folles theatre review
It’s hard to believe that Harvey Fierstein‘s Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles dates all of the way back to the early 1980s. Following countless revivals and nationwide tours across so many countries around the world over the years, not only does the story feel so worryingly relevant in today’s social and political climate, but also still manages to harvest so much magic, wonder and rapturous applause night after night, nearly thirty-five years since its conception.
Set in St. Tropez on the French Riviera, La Cage aux Folles opens in the famous establishment of the same name; a renowned drag nightclub, »
- Paul Heath
NBC has added stage director Jerry Mitchell and live-television director Alex Rudzinski to the creative team for its next live musical event, “Bye Bye Birdie Live!” Mitchell and Rudzinski worked together on last year’s NBC musical, “Hairspray Live!”
“It’s a joy to work with Jerry Mitchell and Alex Rudzinski again after their incredible partnership on ‘Hairspray Live!,’ which elevated our live musicals to a new height,” said Bob Greenblatt, chairman, NBC Entertainment. “Jerry is the cream of the crop of Broadway director/choreographers with two hits running on Broadway right now, and Alex is peerless in the world of live television direction.”
Mitchell served as choreographer on “Hairspray Live!” and is the director of Broadway musical “Get On Your Feet,” about the life of Gloria Estefan. He is a Tony winner for 2013’s “Kinky Boots” and 2005’s revival of “La Cage Aux Folles.”
Rudzinski, who directed “Hairspray Live!” is »
- Daniel Holloway
There’s deep irony in the producers’ decision not to make the new revival of “Sunday in the Park With George” eligible for the Tony Awards. It is, after all, the Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical that infamously lost the Tony for best musical to “La Cage aux Folles” in 1984. Back then, the contest was between hummable show tunes and a musical that eschewed melody (at least the kind you could go out humming) in favor of novel changes in key and time signatures that highlight the lyrics. In 2017, it’s easy to watch the new “Sunday,” which opened Thursday. »
- Robert Hofler
Being called the French Hitchcock does Claude Chabrol a disservice, as his dark thrillers approach mystery and suspense almost completely through character, not cinematics. These three very good 1990s productions are completely different in tone and approach, and each showcases a stunning French actress.
3 Classic Films by Claude Chabrol
Cohen Film Collection
1992,1994,1997 / Color / 1:66 widescreen / 103, 102, 105 min. / Street Date February 21, 2017 / 49.99
Starring Marie Trintignant, Stéphane Audran, Jean-François Garreaud, Yves Lambrecht; Emmanuelle Béart, François Cluzet, Nathalie Cardone, Dora Doll; Isabelle Huppert, Michel Serrault, François Cluzet, Jean-François Balmer.
Cinematography: Bernard Zitermann; Bernard Zitermann, Eduardo Serra
Film Editor: Monique Fardoulis (x3)
Original Music: Matthieu Chabrol (x3)
Produced by Marin Karmitz (x3)
Directed by Claude Chabrol (x3)
Not all Claude Chabrol films are equal, but »
- Glenn Erickson
‘Toni Erdmann’ (Courtesy: Tiff)
By: Carson Blackwelder
It’s not too often that foreign-language films get recognized for anything at the Oscars beyond the best foreign-language film category — but it does happen. And, believe it or not, it happens more for best original screenplay and best adapted screenplay than many other categories. A prime example of that is Toni Erdmann, Germany’s submission this year that is proving to be a cross-category threat, which could score a nomination — or a win — for its writing.
The story of Toni Erdmann — which has a solid Rotten Tomatoes score of 91% — follows a father who is trying to reconnect with his adult daughter after the death of his dog. It sounds simple enough but, of course, the two couldn’t be more unalike. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016 and where it won the Fipresci Prize. Since then, it »
- Carson Blackwelder
12 items from 2017
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