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|56 reviews in total|
After several years of rumors on the internet, many fans wondered if
this episode actually existed. It does, but after viewing it, you can
understand why it is so easily forgotten.
Shelley Duvall (who created, produced, and starred in several episodes) is throwing a costume party for all of the actors who appeared in Faerie Tale Theatre. Her friend Teri Garr is helping her pick an outfit. The party gets underway and people like Dana Hill, Brock Peters, Jean Stapleton, and Paul Reubens are having a grand old time.
There are actors from the shows that have aired, as well as future episodes. Some of the actors wear costumes from their roles, others chose different fairy tale outfits (Bridgette Anderson was dressed as Alice in Wonderland, Dana Hill was a pink rabbit). Several of them are interviewed, and it does provide a little bit of insight to the creation of a brilliant show. Pam Dawber discusses how she got the role of the Little Mermaid, Paul Reubens (still in the height of his Pee-Wee Herman phase) discusses his interpretation of Pinocchio. Unfortunately, there are several actors who do not appear - Klaus Kinski, Mick Jagger, and Liza Minnelli being the three that jump to mind.
There is a tiny bit of a plot here: Shelley hits her head and dreams she is put on trial by the Brothers Grimm for doing justice to their stories. She has to defend herself,and does it by showing clips from several episodes. Really it's just an excuse to film the reunion party.
For those of us who are crazy FTT fans, this is one that you can't skip. It's just so unusual. But if you are only recently discovering the series, this is really just a fluffy addition to the new DVD set. It's okay, but not necessary to enjoy the rest of the show. Stick to the actual fairy tale adaptations, which were all fabulous.
I wanted to see this movie for years and finally found a copy this
year. Well, the actual production left something to be desired. The
sets seemed cramped, and the whole thing has kind of a thrown-together
feeling to it, but that's easy enough to overlook. The musical was
obviously a lot of fun to make and all of the actors seem to really be
Lauren Bacall shows her usual dramatic star-power, but (Tony Award or no Tony Award) the woman really can't sing. Fortunately, for her part at least, it really doesn't matter. She's a strong enough actress that she can put emotion behind the lyrics and it doesn't really matter if it matches the melody or not. Larry Hagman plays Bill - but he seems almost wasted, having very little to do until the end. Penny Fuller was a fairly good Eve, but she was definitely no Anne Baxter. Still, I doubt Anne Baxter could have sung as well as Fuller did. Her last number was very impressive.
The real surprise to me was English actress Debbie Bowen completely stopping the show with the title song "Applause." She nailed it. I never even knew she could sing, and she nearly steals the entire show with just that one number. Very impressive talent, too bad she seems to have disappeared from the entertainment world. She was the one to watch in this movie.
The rest of the supporting cast is mostly forgettable. The plot line is pretty faithful to "All About Eve" although the script does seem to nicey it up a little too much. Why did they get rid of one of the best characters in the movie - Addison DeWitt? George Sanders won the Oscar for that role, it was probably the most intelligent character in the whole story. For a long time the audience is kept sympathizing with Eve and hating Margo, which is not the way the story is supposed to go at all. The end is rather abrupt and doesn't really come across as satisfying. But the music alone is a great, great asset to this. It's worth watching if you can find it.
The Other Boleyn Girl - not to be confused with the book it claims to
be based upon. This movie is not even close to a faithful adaptation. I
could understand them changing or elaborating on a few things. The book
is not perfection, but it was well-written and became very popular. I
could understand if the BBC wanted to make this a little more faithful
to what actually happened, who Anne Boleyn really was - but it's not
even close to being historically accurate either. It's just fluff.
Mindless, made-up fluff. A real shame.
To begin with, the writer and director seemed to think it was a good idea to setup the story like it was a reality TV show. Seriously. They have the Boleyns sitting in front of the camera, confessing how they REALLY feel about what's happening in their lives. Anne Boleyn sits in a confessional (not the church kind, the Real World kind) and chooses what she wants to tell and what she wants to just sit and smile about. She looks stupid having to use such a modern cinematic device in a film set in the 1500s. It's "The Real World: Tudor England!"
Jodhi May is a very good actress and after 'The Aristocrats' and 'A Turn of the Screw' I was becoming a real fan of hers. But she should never have been cast as Anne. Actually I think she would have been a better Mary. Natascha McElhone was a poor choice. She's a good actress, sure, but she has very modern features and does not appear convincing in period costume. (Honestly, I spent the first half of the film trying to figure out if she was "that girl" from 'The Truman Show.' She was.) She's also too old to play the teen-aged Mary so for some unknown reason they made Mary the oldest of the sisters. It makes no sense, I know. It's like the BBC seemed to forget that these people actually lived. They're twisting the story around and making things up left and right. I feel ridiculous having to correct the BBC on historical inaccuracies, but REALLY!
Apart from the two sisters the rest of the cast was actually very well chosen. Steven Mackintosh struck me as a brilliant choice for George, and his casting was the real reason I decided to seek out this movie. Big mistake. He does a great job, sure, but he's hardly in this. How can anyone pretend they're adapting The Other Boleyn Girl and hardly mention George Boleyn? That's just absurd. Philip Glenister was another very good casting decision, but yet again, was hardly in the finished product.
The real problem with this is the script. There's just no getting around that. It's bad. It's really, really bad. It's too melodramatic and not engaging. Anne is portrayed as an air-head, Mary as the ringleader, and George as the follower. Mary's first husband is hardly mentioned, her relationship with the king is never explained - they simply do not tell the story Phillippa Gregory wrote. The whole thing comes across as a great big waste. I have no desire to see this thing a second time. I guess I'll just have to read the book again and hope that the Natalie Portman version due out next year will be much better.
*Note: As of this writing, the only way of obtaining this miniseries in the USA is on the last disc of the miniseries 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII.' That's a great miniseries but can cost $50 to $60 and that's way to much to spend if you're just looking for this piece of garbage.
Hollywoodland has one of the best premises of any modern movie right
now. Those of us who are familiar with Hollywood history know all about
the George Reeves suicide/murder mystery, and the thought of a film
exploring the popular conspiracy theory sounds very intriguing. The
reality is not as great as the idea. There's a definite element of
Chinatown with the detective investigation. Brody seems to be doing a
bad update of Nicholson's Jake Gittes. And with all the fading old
Hollywood references it also seemed to try to be another Sunset
Boulevard - but that didn't work either. The film is muddy.
Ben Affleck is a bright presence in the film. He is a surprising choice for George Reeves, as he really doesn't look much like him. But his mannerisms are dead on. He does a very good job and after awhile you do forget that it's Affleck, and are pulled into Reeves's world. He shows a real insight into why this man felt and acted the way he did. His apparent suicide stunned everyone and it's a mystery that's still never been fully explained. Dianne Lane was a very strong supporting character and she deserves just as much praise as Affleck. As Lane's husband Bob Hoskins had very little to do and his part may just as well have been a cameo.
The real disappointment was Adrien Brody. This is a guy that we know can act. He was brilliant in The Pianist, even turned in great performances in some less-than-wonderful films (The Village and King Kong come to mind). But what was he doing here? His character is completely uninteresting, never mind unsympathetic. I didn't care two cents about his relationship with his ex-wife and his son, I thought it was boring. I guess he was trying hard, but he never should have taken this role. It's completely unworthy of him. I suppose the casting directors thought a well-liked Oscar-winning actor would bring more depth to an ill-written role. Unfortunately it came across as a waste.
It's an interesting film for the first hour, then just loses steam. After two hours, I no longer cared how the guy died. The film presents three possible scenarios, all of which make sense. The third and last one is the most probable, and is a satisfying answer, but by that point I just wanted the dang thing over with. It's too bad because there were some real possibilities with this picture. Old Hollywood has so many fascinating stories it's just too bad that they let most of it slip through their fingers. They could have done more by adding some more of the famous stars Reeves worked with or some of the other scandals that were going on (they show Carole Landis's picture but say nothing about it). On its own this is an okay movie. It just could have been so much more.
Luckily we have the beautiful 1995 version to remind us that this is
actually a wonderful story. You wouldn't know it from this. The actors
are wooden, the costumes are lacking and the locations are dreary. The
opening sequence with Elinor and Marianne sitting on some sort of
demented cousin of a see-saw is just out and out creepy. None of the
actors seem to have any interest and definitely no excitement with
their roles. They're practically sleepwalking! The first problem with
this is really in the script. The writers did not seem to find any of
the humor in the book, and seemed to focus on all the wrong things. As
has already been mentioned, the character of Margaret is completely
left out. This isn't really a big deal, she is hardly in the book at
all (kind of like Kitty in Pride & Prejudice - she's just there). But
in her version, Emma Thompson really saw potential in the character of
Margaret to add some cute one-liners and bring some comic relief. She
expanded the character rather than deleting it, and it's easy to see
which way worked better.
There's no comic relief in this version at all. No one's funny. No one's even interesting. This focuses too much on the Elinor/Edward factor and doesn't put any real energy in the Marianne/Willoughby/Brandon triangle - a real misfortune because I always found the latter plot line far more interesting.
Irene Richard does turn in an acceptable performance as Elinor. Tracey Childs is an okay Marianne, but definitely nothing exceptional. She loses major points when you compare her portrayal with Kate Winslet's Oscar-nominated one. Where Childs was quiet and accepting Winslet was all over the place with passion. To Childs's defense, let's note that she had the most wooden and irritating actors playing her suitors, while Winslet had the incredibly handsome Alan Rickman and Greg Wise.
All in all, this version just falls short in too many ways. See the remake, it's a shining example of how Austen *should* be done.
This is absolutely my favorite film of Robert Cummings. He's hysterical
and lovable in every scene he is in. Bob plays a lawyer who is newly
divorced from Rosalind Russell, and is determined to win her back. She
on the other hand is determined to become a federal judge and wants
nothing to do with him. A typical setup for the divorce-remorse films
that came along in the 40s.
Then there's Gig Young as the rival for Russell's affection, Clem Bevans as Mr. Roogle (it rhymes with bugle) and Marie McDonald adding a funny twist as the witness who keeps stalking Bob. For the most part, the cast is on top of their game and has some great moments. However, be forewarned, this is not Rosalind Russell's best work by a long shot. Despite the fact that she's given some wonderful performances (Auntie Mame, Trouble With Angels, etc) she's not very strong here and this is one situation where I really think another actress should have been cast. (Too bad Carole Lombard was already gone - she would have been PERFECT.) Some time the twists go a bit too far and get rather tedious on repeat watchings, but this is the screwball genre - it's not supposed to be realistic. It's a fun movie that still makes me laugh no matter how many times I see it. What more can you ask for?
I love Shakespeare and I love musicals. I really do. But putting them
together is almost never a good idea (the one exception I can think of
to this rule is West Side Story, which at least at the grace to
disguise its origins).
Kenneth Branagh has always struck me as an extremely overrated director. He made a perfect adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, but his Henry V and Hamlet were all about himself. He seems to suffer much from having no Emma Thompson to balance with.
This movie was a mistake from start to finish. To begin with, it's a bad play. Yes, even Shakespeare had his flops and this was one of them. It's already a complicated plot that makes little sense with a ton of characters that are impossible to keep straight. So what did Branagh say? Let's make a musical! Bad idea. If you're going to film a bad play at least leave Cole Porter out of it. The musical numbers don't fit at all and are incredibly overdone. They simply don't work. They don't add anything and really seem to take away any chance the film had of being taken seriously. It's just a bad movie.
Some people found it enjoyable, and I'm honestly mystified as to why. They may like seeing Cole Porter songs come to life, but they need to realize that a film should either be Hamlet or Moulin Rouge. It should never try to be both.
Well, to begin with, nobody should try and turn a title like "A Kiss
Before Dying" into a song. It's not a good idea. Within the first
frames of the opening credits a film that could be a stylish bit of
neo-noir is turned into 50s fluff. Too bad. Fortunately, the film makes
up for the credits.
Filmed on location, this has some beautiful scenery and the cinematography alone is worth the price of the DVD. The story is pretty faithful to the book, which is one of my favorite of Ira Levin's. True, it's no Rosemary's Baby or Stepford Wives, but it's a good bubble-bath read. A little predictable, but I enjoyed it. The same can be said for this film. A little predictable, but enjoyable.
As a leading man Robert Wagner was a little green for this part. He didn't seem quite comfortable yet. A shame because he's become such a fine actor in later years. On the flip side we have Mary Astor playing his mother which just seems a very strange choice. Sure, Mary Astor's played a mother so many times - but to Robert Wagner? It just didn't work. Perhaps she's too intelligent-looking to be believable as the sweet, dull mom. She just comes across as wasted here.
The younger actresses here are both fantastic. We have the legendary Joanne Woodward playing Dorothy who does a beautiful job of making her character sadly sympathetic. Joanne was so young in this her accent still sticks out left and right, but that's not too distracting. For me the real surprise was Virigina Leith playing Ellen. I'd never heard of this actress before or since, but she turned in a surprisingly strong performance as the younger sister. My main gripe is that my favorite sister, Marian, is completely left out of the movie. Or to be more specific, they merged the older two sisters Marian and Ellen into one character. It's understandable - the film can only be so long - but irritating none the less.
I like the film as a whole, I just thought it would be better. What I do have to say is stay away from the 90s remake with Sean Young playing both Dorothy and Ellen. Now that was terrible.
As a general rule, I normally don't post comments unless I have enough
time to write a thorough review, and have given it much thought before
hand. I'm sorry, but even though it's 2am, I can't bear to go to sleep
and let the review before me just sit there. Obviously the reviewer
before me seems to have no idea that the complicities that arise from
the various plots go back to Shakespeare himself - and it is a great
achievement by this film to manage to keep all the plates spinning and
all the stories interesting.
I am amazed by this film. I am a life-long Shakespeare fan and it's great to see a faithful American production. The British/American cast all worked fantasically well together - Christian Bale, Anna Friel, Dominic West, and Calista Flockheart were all perfectly cast as the four lovers. The fairies and the actors both worked very well to frame the story - and the director has managed to keep it both visually unique and incredibly entertaining.
I'm not quite sure why they decided to change the location from Greece to Italy, but in an age where Kenneth Branagh is trying to make a 1940s musical out of Love's Labour's Lost, I say, the changes could be a lot worse. All in all, this is a very impressive adaptation. I'm just happy to see that Shakespeare hasn't lost his appeal to modern audiences.
One of my favorite books of all time, Vanity Fair, had a splendid
adaptation done recently. The characters were exactly as described, the
music perfect to the theme, and everything all around perfect. Natasha
Little was a standout. What's the problem? I'm not talking about THIS
I'm talking about the fabulous production put out by the BBC in 1998. This, coming out six years later was not only incredibly inferior, it's utterly useless.
Reese Witherspoon was just about the last person on the world to be cast as Becky Sharp. Becky was a cunning English social-climber who was always with her own agenda. Reese is a southern girl from the US who doesn't look or act the part for a moment. She is a good actress, I'll be the first to say it, but she should NEVER have been cast in this.
Gabriel Byrne was an interesting choice for Steyne, but they totally twisted his character around so much that it made no sense to him, let alone the audience.
What I absolutely find unforgivable is the treatment of Amelia and Dobbin (my two favorite characters from the book). Amelia was supposed to be beautiful and timid, and utterly brainwashed by her love for George. The actress that played her was tall and strong - physically a survivor and a force to be dealt with - in short, everything Amelia Sedley WASN'T. The great realization she makes in the end which was a wonderful scene in both the book and the BBC version falls completely flat - the actress barely shrugs at the news. And Spike from Notting Hill as Dobbin?!! Oh come on! I really don't know what the casting directors were thinking. I know they never read the book, that much is obvious. Did they not read the script either?
The adaptation was actually not that bad, there was simply nothing special about it. The dance sequence with Reese was a perfect example of how desperate the screenwriters were to come up with something different. They tried too hard. But if there hadn't been a version made in '98 that was so wonderful, this might not have looked so bad in comparison. The lines would have benefited from better direction and casting.
The film was shot on location in Bath, one of my favorite cities, which by the way, looks nothing like London. This is very much a film made by Americans of what they think old England was like.
There was some real talent and potential in this production, but the horrendous casting and overall nothingness of the production make this a total waste of time for me.
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