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You're Making a Musical, what's Not Theatrical?
For anybody that knows me, they know that I am a musical theatre geek, and they also know I love Sondheim and this musical in particular, so I was bit miffed when I finally saw this.
Certainly the cinematography was top notch in capturing the dark side of London, as only Mr. Burton can do, and I was dazzled by the camera movements, sets and costumes. I had my reservations with the casting of Johnny Depp for sure, but he surprised me and pulled off the title role wonderfully. The same can be said for Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen and Jayne Wisener, who was a perfect Johanna. The number "By the Sea" was probably the best number of the whole movie. Cinematically it was brilliant, and the sullenness of Sweeney coupled with the buoyancy of Mrs. Lovett and Toby made the song a delight to watch. Although the brightness did make my eyes wince a little from the almost total blackness from the first hour and half of the movie.
However that's about where my positives end. Jamie Campbell Bower, who played Anthony, and while a good performer, he had a very effeminate air about him. I mean he looked like a girl with that hair (what is with these movie musicals and the girl hair on the male love interests (Roger in Rent, Raul in Phantom)?), and he sounded like a low alto. The kid who played Toby, while awesome, I thought was too young. It made Pirelli's abuse just sad instead of funny like it should have been (see more about lack of humor below). My biggest casting complaint was definitely with Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett. For one thing she talk-sang the entire part, which I could have forgiven had she acted the hell out of the character, but she didn't. Instead all I got was this very tired woman who watched everything happen bemusedly. The whole movie I wanted to go in there and slap her, or give her a Redbull. Anything to wake her up. A completely nepotist miss-cast. I would have loved to have seen what Toni Collette could have done with the role.
Casting issues aside, my biggest complaint was the lack of ensemble. I mean he took out the opening song which sets the mood, and is the freaking' title of the musical. How could you not include "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" in Sweeney Todd? I read that Burton was originally going to have a chorus of ghosts fill the role of ensemble, but it was too theatrical so he dropped it. Too theatrical? You're doing a freaking' musical, what's not theatrical?! The lack of ensemble also made certain songs either lose their luster (like in Pirelli's Miracle Elixer) or questioned the entire point of why it was there (God, That's Good). On that last one, I especially questioned why it was there since half the song, the bit about Sweeney worrying over his new chair, was depicted already. I later heard that Depp and Carter tried to really focus on the music but Burton told them to stop it because it sounds too Broadway. Refer to my above mentioned comment on theatrics. I swear, if Tim Burton hates musicals and all their conventions, why didn't he just do away with the music all together? Get a Danny Elfman score if it'll make him feel better.
The other main beef I had was the fact that Burton took virtually all the humor out and made it darker than it had to be. I mean the show is essentially a black comedy, but all the funny lines were either taken out or made in such a way that it wasn't funny, such as the above mentioned abuse of Toby by Pirelli. The number "A Little Priest," could have been a lot better had they not just looked out a window the whole time pointing at what they were singing about. It's supposed to be their version of foreplay that they delight in, but the direction coupled with half the song cut, the comedic genius of the number was wasted.
Despite all that I said above, I didn't hate the movie. It's just my musical bias. I probably will buy the DVD when it comes out and I already have the soundtrack. The thing is, like I said before, I'm a musical theatre geek so I notice these types of things. My brother, who is certainly not a MT geek, absolutely loved it and apparently the awards deciding public loved it enough to nominate it for top awards already. It's not bad, I was just disappointed with some (most) of Burton's decisions that's all.
High School Musical (2006)
This is everything a musical is not
So the other day I finally got to see what all the hullabaloo is about this movie, and I have to say, it's gotta be the most over-rated piece of garbage Disney's ever put out. I'm a Theatre major and this was no musical. Let me list thy ways:
(1.) The movie's title is misleading itself because there was no actual musical in it. It all took place during the auditions, which never take a month by the way. (2.) If you're going to dub the singing, at least get a voice that sounds like the person's speaking voice. Troy's "singing" voice was like a complete octave above his normal voice. At least older movies like West Side Story and My Fair Lady matched the singers with the actors. Not to mention the lip-syncing was off practically the entire time. (3.) The story is almost a complete rip-off of Grease but with a slightly different ending. But Grease had a better setting, better actors and singers, much better music, and better characters. (4.) The script, and therefore the acting was terrible! Probably the best acting (and only the acting, not the singing) was from Ashley Tisdale. By the way, what the hell kind of a name is Sharpay? Did the writer get such a block on the character name that he spotted a Sharpie marker and thought that it sounded good? (5.) Are high schools really that taboo about people trying out for shows? Why is it such a big deal about these people auditioning? And only trying out since it seems both basketball and the Decathalon would be over before the cast list would even be posted, which brings me to (6.) What, does this show only have a cast of 2? Is there not an ensemble and secondary characters? Last time I checked Twinkle Town is not Last Five Years. (7.) Troy had the best line with "Why can't I do both?" Hmm..what an interesting concept this multi-tasking. (8.) The songs themselves were just pop songs, with little harmonizing. Sometimes pop songs work, like in Wicked. Not here, here they sounded like Ashlee Simpson rejects. (9.) Was it just me or did Zac Efron have more makeup on then the girls? (10.) Last but not least were all the stereotypes and disbelieve ability. Why is it so wrong for a jock to want to be in a musical. A friend of mine who's done a bunch of musical leads is a jock and in fact all his friends are jealous of him! He's converted a few too. Also what was with the coach getting worked up over a 15 minute detention? Wow 15 minutes is an eternity! Also it seems their classes only last 5 minutes since the bell rang, Darbus yells about theater and hands out detention, and oops there's the bell for end of class! Those kids got it easy since the teachers don't have time to assign homework.
What gets my goat the most about this movie and most likely its sequel is that people who are not that into musicals will see this and think all musicals are like it and completely dismiss the genre. Musicals are not like this, they have better story lines, characters, usually acting and singing, and much better music. You want to watch real musicals? Go rent Chicago, Hair, Godspell, The Sound of Music, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, The Producers, Rent, the filmed stage copies of Into the Woods, Passion and Sunday in the Park with George, among countless others. Or better yet, go see a real show on stage. Whether it be Broadway, Off-Broadway, West End, Fringe,Community, or a real high school musical just get up and see it! Anything is better than this tripe.
Now excuse me while I get one of those shirts that say "Come See a REAL High School Musical"
A good adaptation
I really wish people would stop judging this movie without having read the book first. It really shows when they haven't read the book, and it really makes them look stupid.
I however have read the book, and after seeing the movie I believe it was a great adaptation and as true to the book as possible. I was just disappointed that they left out the whole tournament, and the character of the black knight, but I guess De Kere was enough. Have a piqued your interest? Good, then go and read the book.
There were just 2 problems I had with the movie: The first and foremost would have to be the casting of Paul Walker. Who in the hell decided to have his talent less ass as the lead role? Everybody else acted circles around him, and it really showed. The second was really a minor thing and shouldn't base your decision to watch it. It's just that La Roque and Castlegaurd looked 600 years old when they went back, and if it's 1357, those castles should look new.
But as I said before, the movie stayed true to the book pretty well, and except for the cut out scenes, different explanations and changing around of characters, it was good. I mean you should expect that from a movie adaptation. However if you do want a little tidbit of changed info from the book, the character of François never went back to 1357. If fact he didn't even know about it. François was the French Prime Minister that kept good relations between Doniger and France. Oh and Chris was never Johnston's son. He was Johnston's graduate student that was like a son to him because Chris had a tough time growing up. Want to read the book now?
Four Dogs Playing Poker (2000)
Perfect for rainy nights!
I just happened to stumble upon this movie one day after class, and was immediately captured by it. The storyline was intriguing, the actors were suburb, and the ending surprised me. Now whenever I catch it on TV again, I have to watch it! A prefect movie for when you're bored.
Mediocre script, excellent acting
Before seeing this movie, I was expecting another stupid teen thriller sex filled, curse out movie, but I was pleasantly proved wrong. It was a suspense filled movie and I found myself guessing how Madison was going to mess up Ben's life more and what was going to happen next. They didn't show any part of the sex except the initial start of it, and there wasn't more cursing then need be. However the script was all right and could have used a bit more work. But I found the acting superb! I got what I expected of Jesse Bradford, but I was blown away by Erika Christensen. Her acting was so emotion filled and dead on I almost felt sorry for her character when Ben kept pushing her away.
However I do have something to say to the people who say this movie is a rip off of Fatal Attraction. Well I think the writers had that in mind when they came up with it, and what mildly serious teen movie isn't based on another adult filled movie? Ever here of She's All That? Well that is just a teen version of My Fair Lady.
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Why are people saying it stunk?
I just recently got back from seeing this movie, and I have to say it was a great ending to a great trilogy. Sure it wasn't as good as the first one, but what sequel is? I though the movie was a little slow at times, but it was never boring. In my opinion, I think that everybody that said this movie was a let down was because they didn't get it. I understood the movie fully, and got everything out of it. Just open your mind a little and really look at the movie beyond it's surface. Then you will enjoy it.
Gosford Park (2001)
You just love those Brits!
This is one of my favorite movies, and sorry to have seen it lost to A Beautiful Mind. I have seen A Beautiful Mind, but I thought Gosford Park was much better. Although it did take me a few viewings to get everything, (thank you subtitles) I must it was definatly an entertaining movie. But what gripes me is that everyone calls it a murder mystery or a whodunit, when it's not. Sure a guy does get killed and there's an investigation, but that doesn't happen until the last 45 minutes of the movie. And the whole figuring out part was subtle as compared to full blown murder mysteries. No this movie is more of a witty way of showing the relationship between the rich and their servants, and what their opinions of each other are. All in all a great movie and a great way to spend a rainy afternoon if you can't go out.
Not the best Bruno has to offer
I don't know how you can call it a movie. You just see it played as 3 episodes. Anyway, a great edition to the Bruno the Kid saga, but it doesn't have the best storyline. It's rundown is basically like a normal episode, only longer. Except the fact that it brings in all the best bad guys working together, and a load of great gadjets. All in all a great "movie," but not the best.
Bruno the Kid (1996)
I loves this show
I remember every weekday at 2:30pm on UPN during the summer this show came on, and I couldn't miss it. Sadly it went off once school started, and never came on again. It was one of my favorite cartoons, and I don't care if it was a vanity cartoon. Isn't every cartoon a vanity cartoon? This one was actually good. It was entertaining, exhilarating, and I loved all the gadgets he got with each mission. Not to mention all the ways Jarley told Bruno to call GLOBE at the beginning. Oh and if you are so upset about the fact that Bruno is bald, I mean if that thought haunts you so much that you lose sleep, think of it this way. Wasn't Charlie Brown also bald?
Top Secret! (1984)
One of my favorite movies!
From the first time I saw this movie I loved it. Just that subtle humor makes me laugh every time. I know a lot of people don't like movies like this because it has no meaning. Well duh! It's not supposed to have meaning, but just to entertain. In my opinion, if it made you laugh, then it did it's job. And it certainly made me laugh!