Filmspotting Forum

Filmspotting Message Boards => Marathons => Topic started by: Sandy on January 10, 2012, 03:18:11 PM

Title: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 10, 2012, 03:18:11 PM
(http://i46.tinypic.com/9gbr82.jpg)

This was going to be titled Sandy Faces Her Fears, but because of a little serendipity, I will be studying musicals instead of horror films this semester. As much as I love musicals there is a vast amount still to learn, so any discussions, historical details, links to your reviews and marathons are very much welcomed.



(The semester is over and I'll continue this as a general Musical Marathon.)

42nd Street (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg664626#msg664626)
Across the Universe (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg662597#msg662597)
All-American Co-Ed (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg655009#msg655009)
Belle of New York (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=14755.msg888882#msg888882)
Born to Dance (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12826.msg770640#msg770640)
Brigadoon (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg661009#msg661009)
Cabaret (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=13471.msg871609#msg871609)
Calamity Jane (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg733575#msg733575)
Can-Can (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13865.msg839788#msg839788)
Frozen (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg757359#msg757359)
Gigi (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg655342#msg655342)
Girl Walk // All Day (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg720009#msg720009)
The Glenn Miller Story (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13341.msg804800#msg804800)
The Greatest Showman (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=10828.msg883313#msg883313)
Hairspray (1988) (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=14784.msg889203#msg889203)
Hairspray (2007) (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=14755.msg889255#msg889255)
Here Comes the Groom (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13341.msg802534#msg802534)
La La Land (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg865925#msg865925)
Les Misérables (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg713810#msg713810)
Love Me Tender (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12826.msg770439#msg770439)
A Mighty Wind (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13341.msg803338#msg803338)
New Moon (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg657339#msg657339)
Om Shanti Om (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg670842#msg670842)
One Hour with You (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13865.msg840007#msg840007)
Pina (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=14726.msg886751#msg886751)
A Prairie Home Companion (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg732266#msg732266)
Quartet (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12826.msg768527#msg768527)
Riding High (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12826.msg771069#msg771069)
Searching for Sugarman (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12095.msg770908#msg770908)
Silk Stockings (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg658799#msg658799)
Sing Street (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=13471.msg869792#msg869792)
Singin' in the Rain (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg763329#msg763329)
A Star is Born (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg666629#msg666629)
State Fair (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg668898#msg668898)
Stormy Weather (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12826.msg768994#msg768994)
Tales of Hoffman (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13341.msg805130#msg805130)
Tammy and the Bachelor (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13865.msg838978#msg838978)
That Midnight Kiss (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12826.msg771082#msg771082)
That's Entertainment (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg654736#msg654736)
Three Smart Girls Grow Up (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=14417.msg871427#msg871427)
The Toast of New Orleans (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=14755.msg888462#msg888462)
Top Hat vs. Swing Time (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg665992#msg665992)
Umbrellas of Cherbourg (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg687755#msg687755)
The Wall (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=13471.msg871755#msg871755)
The Wizard of Oz (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg763030#msg763030)
Words and Music (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12826.msg771097#msg771097)
Yentl (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg821686#msg821686)
The Young Girls of Rochefort (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=10828.msg860549#msg860549)
Young Man with a Horn (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13341.msg805541#msg805541)




Filmspotter's Musical Marathons

For Me and My Gal: Mr. and Mrs. 1SO Merry Musical Marathon (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9893.msg582805#msg582805)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: MartinTeller on January 10, 2012, 03:27:06 PM
Most of those are new to me.   I just watched Good News recently, review is up in the "Respond" thread.  My rankings of the ones I've seen:

42nd Street
Le Million
The Young Girls of Rochefort
A Mighty Wind  
Hallelujah
Monterey Pop
Umbrellas of Cherbourg  
Good News


42nd Street is almost a "teal" film (i.e., top 100-worthy) for me.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 10, 2012, 03:42:32 PM
 :) I put Good News on my list because I read your review and realized I hadn't seen it. I thought I had, but it was only the clips from That's Entertainment. Funny how memory works. Does teal mean masterpiece in your ratings?
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: MartinTeller on January 10, 2012, 03:47:04 PM
:) I put Good News on my list because I read your review and realized I hadn't seen it. I thought I had, but it was only the clips from That's Entertainment. Funny how memory works. Does teal mean masterpiece in your ratings?

Correct.

Good News has some nice tunes and choreography.  It's just that the rest of it is so terribly bland.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: jim brown on January 10, 2012, 04:45:33 PM
Where is Pennies From Heaven (Herb Ross)?
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on January 10, 2012, 04:51:08 PM
I've been meaning to do a musicals thing for a while now. Maybe I'll follow you along as I haven't seen anything on that list apart from the Jimi Plays Monterey and Shake!:Otis at Monterey parts of Monterey Pop.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on January 10, 2012, 05:32:14 PM
I'm in. Looking forward to your reviews.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 10, 2012, 09:39:52 PM
Where is Pennies From Heaven (Herb Ross)?
This is the all interactive, all the time thread! How' bout, I review the 1938 film and you review the 1981 one and then we'll see if they have anything in common.

Awesome 1SO and Corndog! Feel free to review any other musicals you come across and I'll add it to the list. 1SO are you okay if I link your musical marathon on to my first post? I would like to have easy access to any musical marathons I come across. I think roujin had a Gene Kelly marathon somewhere.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: jim brown on January 10, 2012, 10:58:57 PM
The only musicals I like (because I really don't like musicals) are:

Hair
The Music Man
Pennies From Heaven
West Side Story
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: jim brown on January 10, 2012, 11:00:22 PM
The only musicals I like (because I really don't like musicals) are:

Hair
The Music Man
Pennies From Heaven
West Side Story

That having been said, I look forward to you schooling me, Sandy.  :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on January 10, 2012, 11:09:32 PM
1SO are you okay if I link your musical marathon on to my first post? I would like to have easy access to any musical marathons I come across. I think roujin had a Gene Kelly marathon somewhere.

Absolutetly. It's one of my favorite projects on the boards.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: mañana on January 10, 2012, 11:10:25 PM
Pennies From Heaven looks good. Gonna check it out after the Filmspots.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: oneaprilday on January 10, 2012, 11:28:41 PM
Looks so fun, Sandy!  Looking forward to your reviews.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: roujin on January 11, 2012, 05:35:14 AM
Om Shanti Om 2007
Devdas 2002

Have to catch the latter myself, but the former is all kinds of awesome.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 11, 2012, 09:10:16 AM
Om Shanti Om 2007
Devdas 2002

Have to catch the latter myself, but the former is all kinds of awesome.

Can't wait! roujin, can I link your Gene Kelly marathon to my initial post?
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 14, 2012, 11:31:46 AM
I can't bear to make All American Co-Ed my first post, so as a prelude, I'll copy and paste some thoughts on That's Entertainment--The first movie of the semester. If you have a review, please link. :)

(http://i52.tinypic.com/nxszs6.jpg)
Day 25 - Your Favorite Documentary Film: That's Entertainment! (1974, Haley Jr.)
pixote and Bondo might have to set me straight on what constitutes a documentary. But my thinking is, if a study of the history and strategy of Donkey Kong can be considered a documentary then a study of the history and significance of MGM’s musicals must be allowed as well. This is a three tier experience. The musical numbers are introduced by the stars that are looking back with the perspective and distance of time; as they are walking through the dilapidated MGM lot. This is the last time that Esther William’s pool, The Band Wagon’s train station, and Good News' Tait University are seen; for the backlot is demolished soon after. All are now memories, the films, the hosts (excepting Reynolds, Rooney and Minnelli) and the location. It’s history within history, wrapped in beautiful nostalgia.


That's Entertainment! - Musicals are a relatively weak area for me.  I've seen a bunch of the big ones, but certainly not all of them.  Furthermore, my track record is very hit or miss, with a few that blew me away but a number I didn't like nearly as much as most people seem to.  So I thought this tribute to MGM (the reigning studio of the genre) musicals would be a good way to sample some titles for possible future consumption.  There were many that didn't appeal to me, but I did manage to put together a decent wishlist... made more difficult because many of the films, annoying, weren't identified.  So now I look forward to checking out: Broadway Melody of 1940, Thousands Cheer, Good News, Two Weeks With Love, Zeigfeld Follies, The Barkleys of Broadway, Royal Wedding, Million Dollar Mermaid, Summer Stock, and Anchors Aweigh.

I don't know if I can comment much on the merits of the film itself, since I was using it mainly as research.  The idea of experiencing a slew of highlights sounds good in theory, but doesn't entirely work in practice.  Of course it's fun when you're enjoying the numbers, but although it has the benefit of whetting your appetite for those films, it also makes you wish you were watching them instead.  There's a cringe-worthy Twiggy-era comment about "slightly overweight chorus girls" and Liz Taylor looks stoned out of her gourd.  But it's an enjoyable overview and there's a candid willingness to discuss their failures.  Rating: Good
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: smirnoff on January 15, 2012, 11:24:06 PM
Xanadon't, nowhere in sight. Good choice.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 16, 2012, 09:30:33 AM
Xanadon't, nowhere in sight. Good choice.

 :))

That goes under the thread: Just Because They Can Doesn't Mean They Should
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 16, 2012, 09:43:10 AM
All-American Co-Ed
(http://i39.tinypic.com/2nu1zpl.jpg)

Is there anything less attractive than gum chewing, five-o’clock shadowed, broad shouldered chorus “girls” lumbering around a stage? All-American Co-Ed begins with the apparant Hasty Pudding wannabes at Quincton college parading in a pseudo serious Ziegfeld parody. When the all girl school Mar Brynn derides their show, the frat boys infiltrate the school with one of their own, in hopes of finding a way to get back. The plot is about as well thought out as these costume pants.

(http://i39.tinypic.com/35k2upw.jpg)

Frances Langford, who sings the Oscar nominated song, Out of the Silence, is the only noteworthy performer of this mercifully short film. Even her song is marred by strangely posed, pajama clad, sing-along sorority sisters.

(http://i42.tinypic.com/5prcz7.jpg)(http://i43.tinypic.com/1qkbpt.jpg)

I promised myself that I would not use the word painful in this marathon--just thought you should know.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: smirnoff on January 16, 2012, 06:33:28 PM
So how do the girls eventually find out there's boys amongst them (the 5 o'clock shadow not being a big enough give away)? It must've been something pretty obvious. I'd guess but it'd be crude, lol.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: MartinTeller on January 16, 2012, 06:37:36 PM
This list is from a box set of 50 classical musicals given to me recently. I won't write down all the titles I haven't seen yet, but will start with a few.

I think you're going to find most of these to be disappointing.  Those 50-film box sets are always unrestored prints of public domain movies that no one really cares about.  But usually there's a few gems in them, albeit with lousy transfers.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 16, 2012, 08:11:26 PM
This list is from a box set of 50 classical musicals given to me recently. I won't write down all the titles I haven't seen yet, but will start with a few.

I think you're going to find most of these to be disappointing.  Those 50-film box sets are always unrestored prints of public domain movies that no one really cares about.  But usually there's a few gems in them, albeit with lousy transfers.

I believe you are right. Maybe I'll revise it to only those that get a 6 or higher on IMDb. All-American Co-Ed was 4.9  :)--and that seems generous.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 17, 2012, 10:10:13 AM
So how do the girls eventually find out there's boys amongst them (the 5 o'clock shadow not being a big enough give away)? It must've been something pretty obvious. I'd guess but it'd be crude, lol.

I thought at least the unveiling would be interesting, but the guy's wig gets caught during a show he's performing with the girls.  :P The fraternity sent in their most clean shaven of the lot--still an awkward looking girl IMO. I probably need to put my signature in bold while doing this marathon. Since I need to purge this movie from my memory, I've been watching The Merchant of of Venice on YouTube. Not the best source, but I'm desperate--and thanks again for letting me know about it.  :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: smirnoff on January 17, 2012, 04:08:41 PM
I'm surprised it's available. Enjoy :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 18, 2012, 09:50:49 AM
I'm surprised it's available. Enjoy :)

I'm finding that it's not complete, but at least its a start.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 18, 2012, 10:28:46 AM
Gigi

(http://i41.tinypic.com/n5hgqv.jpg)


I’ve spent much of my life not liking Gigi. To be more precise, I was disgusted by the men’s attitudes and infuriated with the women’s behavior. In the Most Hated Musicals Thread, I wrote, “With her grandmother and aunt's help up the steps, Gigi laid herself on the altar of second class citizenship. She had the chance to be formidable, but blew it.” I kind of resented her for caving and had similar reactions to the endings of Taming of the Shrew, Two Gentlemen of Verona and Annie Get Your Gun. Where’s the conviction? Where are the strong women role models? After watching the film again last week, I softened my feelings towards the grandmother. I hadn’t noticed how she had tried to inform Gigi about what she was getting herself into. A weak attempt maybe, but for someone who knew no other life pursuit, the grandmother did make an effort. Besides my overwhelming distaste for Gigi’s reversal decision, I found the story and music to be, for the most part, a bore.  There was little forward movement and the songs, though luckily shorter than song renditions in Kiss Me Kate, were uninteresting or worse, creepy.

Enter Dual Focus Narrative. My textbook for the semester is Rick Altman’s The American Film Musical, a wordy treatise on the theory of genre analysis. With the Dual Focus concept, he managed to turn on a light bulb over my head and walk me through a movie that I thought I had seen and understood, and said, “Forget everything you think you know and look at this from a different standpoint.” I’d become comfortable with the protagonist driven story and expected to follow along as plot points begat plot points. Sometimes I complained about the predictability, but I still liked the linear style.

The idea of parallelism as a “different principle of organization” was something I hadn’t really considered before, but I was intrigued, and by the end of the chapter Altman had sold me on the concept. Vincente Minnelli wasn’t wandering around haphazardly, fitting in songs willy-nilly. The scenes were very precisely choreographed to mirror Gaston and Gigi’s experiences and the montage scenes took on elevated meaning as they illustrated their similar predicaments. With the male/female, wealthy/beautiful, child/adult dichotomies all explored, the film turned into a much more interesting piece. I had dismissed it because of my convictions, but I had missed out because of my ignorance.

Dual Focus Narrative opens up a whole new way of looking at a film as psychology, sociology, history and ethics come into play while two characters slowly make their way to reconciliation. Even though I still don't like Gigi, I'm now aware that there is more to it than I had given it credit for.

Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: MartinTeller on January 18, 2012, 10:42:30 AM
The idea of parallelism as a “different principle of organization” was something I hadn’t really considered before, but I was intrigued, and by the end of the chapter Altman had sold me on the concept. Vincente Minnelli wasn’t wandering around haphazardly, fitting in songs willy-nilly. The scenes were very precisely choreographed to mirror Gaston and Gigi’s experiences and the montage scenes took on elevated meaning as they illustrated their similar predicaments. With the male/female, wealthy/beautiful, child/adult dichotomies all explored, the film turned into a much more interesting piece. I had dismissed it because of my convictions, but I had missed out because of my ignorance.

Dual Focus Narrative opens up a whole new way of looking at a film as psychology, sociology, history and ethics come into play while two characters slowly make their way to reconciliation. Even though I still don't like Gigi, I'm now aware that there is more to it than I had given it credit for.

I love this, especially the bolded part.  It makes me happy to see people embracing different ways of looking at movies.  I'm not familiar with Dual Focus Narrative, can you elaborate a bit on the fundamentals of it?


My old review of Gigi sounds rather shallow and embarassing now, but I'll post it anyway:

Quote
Kind of a poor man's My Fair Lady.  It's a period film about a girl growing up and becoming sophisticated, it's got a Lerner & Loewe score, it's got a guy who can't really sing that well so he talks through most of his lyrics (Rex Harrison/Louis Jordan).  When it doesn't have is that magnificent quality, and doesn't hold up as well as My Fair Lady (or other Minnelli musicals like An American in Paris or Meet Me in St. Louis).  But it does have Maurice Chevalier, delightful once again as a character both charming and pervy (few things are creepier than a 70 year-old Chevalier singing "Thank Heaven for Little Girls").  Nothing else really stands out, but it's all done well enough.  Leslie Caron is cute, the sets and costumes are serviceable, and if few of the songs are very memorable, at least none of them are obnoxious.  And another plus: no boring ballet sequence.  Rating: 7
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 18, 2012, 11:32:58 AM
Your review is exactly how I feel, so we can be shallow and embarrassing together. :)  I'm only a few chapters into the textbook, so please excuse the rudimentary attempt.

The traditional narrative is like A --> B--> C--> ...    Where the protagonist's actions and motivations (cause and effect) move the scenes forward.

The Dual-Focus Narrative focuses more on the opposite or dividing factors of two characters, male/female, poor/rich, child/adult and pairs scenes back to back to illustrate them. Added into the mix are the parallels or similarities they are both experiencing which move them closer and closer til the resolve.

So it might look something like A/B (Gigi being told to clean up for her lessons--showing her as a child/Gaston executing a transaction--showing him as an adult), C/C (Gaston singing "It's a Bore," followed by Gigi singing "I Don't Understand the Parisians"--both unhappy with their situations).

I think I'll let Altman elucidate:

We alternate between the male focus and the female focus, working our way though a prepackaged love story whose dynamic principle remains the difference between male and female. Each segment must be understood not in terms of the segments to which it is causally related but by comparison to the segment which it parallels... Whereas the traditional approach to narrative assumes that structure grows out of pot, the dual-focus structure of the film musical derives from character.

Hope that's helpful. Maybe soon I'll understand it more.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on January 18, 2012, 11:46:38 AM
That sounds really interesting.  I read half of Altman's Film/Genre when I was in school and have been meaning to pick it up again, along with his musicals book.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Bondo on January 18, 2012, 11:48:00 AM
I looked back at my Gigi review and didn't find anything useful. Mostly I just ranted about how a film that mediocre could have won more Oscars than any other film at that point and how it spoke poorly to how good films "used to be." Now my memory isn't good enough to really overlay the parallel structure and rethink it. As far as I'm concerned, the high point was "Thank Heaven" and it was all downhill from there. It's one of those things where just because a film is trying to do something interesting formally, doesn't mean it is doing it well.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on January 18, 2012, 08:55:36 PM
My review from this past June. Funny, when you posted your review, I had forgotten that I had even seen the film.

Quote
Vincente Minnelli is a director that is held in some regard. He is by no means championed as one of the few greatest directors of all time, but he has produced some notable films and had a solid career in the directors chair. However, I do not know anything about that, as when I sat down this morning to watch this film, it was the first time I had taken a seat for one of his films (I have also not seen one of his films standing up or lying down, just to clarify). Gigi won all 9 Academy Awards it was nominated for in 1959, a pretty impressive feat, though I failed to take a look at its competition.

Gigi (Leslie Caron) is a little girl in Paris, France at the turn of the century who comes from a family that is not super rich, though clearly not dirt poor either. Her grandmother is training her to become a mistress to the rich, someone who knows all about high society, yet resists ever marrying. One of the family's good friends, Gaston (Louis Jourdan), likes to come around and even takes Gigi on some fun trips. He is the best of friends with the girl. But when he starts to fall in love, things get complicated for the two, and Gigi's family.

The movie is a musical, and as such is full of songs which are ways of conversation between characters in this film. However, for it being a musical, the music really did take a back seat. I cannot say whether that is a shame or not, but overall I found the songs to be pretty forgettable. For that reason I wonder if they should have done more with the music, when it seemed they did so little. Or if they should have scrapped the whole musical idea. Whatever the case may be, the story ended up being bogged down by it in my opinion. It did not add to the charm or wit of the film.

The film did have its charm, however. It came in the form of the amazing costumes and locations of the film. Being set in turn of the century Paris, everything anyone wore on screen was great to watch. The fashion was so interesting and the manner in which it was shot was beautiful too. Good cinematography, but a lot of that had to do with shooting all over Paris and the rest of France. It added the type of feel you would expect from a "classic".

Yet, as the film went on, it became more and more evident to me that it was, well, "such a bore," to steal a line from the film. None of the acting was significant or interesting and I found that the humor often fell flat for me. The characters were only mildly interesting to the point that I didn't really care what happened with Gigi and Gaston, and I cared even less about any of the other characters and whatever they happened to be involved with. It is not a horrible film, in fact it has plenty to make it worth while. It just happens to be a fairly average film that doesn't seem to bear repeating. At least that is what my memory is telling me.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 19, 2012, 12:02:44 AM
Thanks for posting your review Corndog. I like how you are always willing to meet a movie at least halfway. I wonder if there is anyone we know who would champion this film.

Bondo, I think it's interesting that there was discussion about what makes good art and whether intent is enough here as well as over in another thread at the same time. Oh, and chat too. I wish I had been there to read the discussion. It must be on our minds.

sdedalus, I was hoping you could teach me something about Dual Focus Narrative. :) Do you have a favorite film theory author?
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on January 19, 2012, 01:41:15 AM
Gotta be David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson.  Their blog (http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/) is invaluable, as are their books.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 19, 2012, 09:14:00 AM
Gotta be David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson.  Their blog (http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/) is invaluable, as are their books.

Thanks so much. Definitely bookmarked!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on January 19, 2012, 09:27:06 AM
Thanks for posting your review Corndog. I like how you are always willing to meet a movie at least halfway.

That is a nice way of saying I'm soft, which is true.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 19, 2012, 09:42:09 AM
Thanks for posting your review Corndog. I like how you are always willing to meet a movie at least halfway.

That is a nice way of saying I'm soft, which is true.

 :) Perhaps, but I admire the trait.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: oneaprilday on January 19, 2012, 12:43:21 PM
Your review is exactly how I feel, so we can be shallow and embarrassing together. :)  I'm only a few chapters into the textbook, so please excuse the rudimentary attempt.

The traditional narrative is like A --> B--> C--> ...    Where the protagonist's actions and motivations (cause and effect) move the scenes forward.

The Dual-Focus Narrative focuses more on the opposite or dividing factors of two characters, male/female, poor/rich, child/adult and pairs scenes back to back to illustrate them. Added into the mix are the parallels or similarities they are both experiencing which move them closer and closer til the resolve.

So it might look something like A/B (Gigi being told to clean up for her lessons--showing her as a child/Gaston executing a transaction--showing him as an adult), C/C (Gaston singing "It's a Bore," followed by Gigi singing "I Don't Understand the Parisians"--both unhappy with their situations).

I think I'll let Altman elucidate:

We alternate between the male focus and the female focus, working our way though a prepackaged love story whose dynamic principle remains the difference between male and female. Each segment must be understood not in terms of the segments to which it is causally related but by comparison to the segment which it parallels... Whereas the traditional approach to narrative assumes that structure grows out of pot, the dual-focus structure of the film musical derives from character.

Hope that's helpful. Maybe soon I'll understand it more.
Especially coupled with your initial experience of the film (I've not seen it), this is all so interesting, Sandy - thanks.  Reminds that I need to dig into film theory much more.


Thanks for this, sdedalus:
Gotta be David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson.  Their blog (http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/) is invaluable, as are their books.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on January 25, 2012, 09:59:59 AM
That's Entertainment! (1974) -

An interesting presentation. I am not sure if I have seen any other sort of conglomerate retrospective like this before, but what a joy it was to travel down the memory lanes of these great stars. I had a feeling of nostalgia despite having not seen the vast majority of the films featured in the documentary. If anything it is a motivating film because it makes me want to see all these amazing films. There is no doubt there were lots of breathtaking scenes throughout. It is hard to judge the film without being swayed by the films it features, and I don't think the film itself does anything special apart from feature greatness within it. I think it was good for me to have seen it if just to educate myself a little bit on the history of the golden age of musicals at MGM. Why don't they make musicals like this anymore? I would eat 'em up!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 25, 2012, 03:37:21 PM
That's Entertainment! (1974) -

An interesting presentation. I am not sure if I have seen any other sort of conglomerate retrospective like this before, but what a joy it was to travel down the memory lanes of these great stars. I had a feeling of nostalgia despite having not seen the vast majority of the films featured in the documentary. If anything it is a motivating film because it makes me want to see all these amazing films. There is no doubt there were lots of breathtaking scenes throughout. It is hard to judge the film without being swayed by the films it features, and I don't think the film itself does anything special apart from feature greatness within it. I think it was good for me to have seen it if just to educate myself a little bit on the history of the golden age of musicals at MGM. Why don't they make musicals like this anymore? I would eat 'em up!

You, Corndog, are amazing! First, I don't know how you have time to watch this doc, with your ESPN marathon in full swing. And second, you love movies regardless of the genre--no limitations! There are some great musicals out there. This marathon is a little on the obscure side (trying to chew through ones I haven't seen yet), but if you are interested in some of the greats, we could enlists fellow filmspotters and work on a list of recommendations.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on January 25, 2012, 08:36:57 PM
I would love that, though obviously it might be a few months before I actually get to it. And I have had pretty good experiences with recommendation marathons. Here (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7069.0) and here (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7494.0).
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 25, 2012, 11:11:59 PM
I would love that, though obviously it might be a few months before I actually get to it. And I have had pretty good experiences with recommendation marathons. Here (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7069.0) and here (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7494.0).

Those two were from before I found the forum. Can't wait to read them. :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 26, 2012, 02:23:28 PM
New Moon

(http://i44.tinypic.com/5pirna.jpg)

Six movies in and the plot gets pretty farfetched for the Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy team. Contrived grievances to keep them apart are irksome, but what can you do? I like Opera (with subtitles :) ), so the singing style doesn’t bother me... much. Jeanette’s clipped words and trilled “r”s get to me after a while and I find myself liking Nelson’s voice more. This is one of my favorite Nelson songs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vjqfvZVReM

It looks suspiciously like this clip from Babes in Arms which came out a year earlier. Check out the torches.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLH7q3Fyrmk&feature=BFa&list=PL8DC1CACAE76A3096&lf=results_main

I wonder if the studio was called out for plagiarizing another film. Wait a minute. I need to check something…  Just as I suspected; they are both from MGM. Reusing props and choreography is their prerogative I guess--you can’t steal from yourself.

I enjoyed this enough and am familiar with their songs so I want to see all of their films eventually. Naughty Mariette is first solely because of this song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_m7unArv8g

New Moon has similarities to Captain Blood, so if you don’t want to be sung to, I’d highly recommend that one. 

Next up: Silk Stockings
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: MartinTeller on January 26, 2012, 02:33:18 PM
Jeanette’s clipped words and trilled “r”s get to me after a while

I hate the way she sings.  She's tolerable in One Hour With You, but stinks in everything else I've seen her in.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on January 26, 2012, 06:47:40 PM
I can't stand Jeanette MacDonald.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 27, 2012, 10:11:24 AM
I'd say ouch!, but I'm in agreement.


I hate the way she sings.  She's tolerable in One Hour With You, but stinks in everything else I've seen her in.

That's funny because I have a hard time listening to Maurice Chevalier sing. Martin, the respond thread got away from me, but I really enjoyed your Summer Stock review. It's #61 on my top 100. I just fast forward past "Heavenly Music" and pretend it doesn't exist. :)

Here's a general question. Who are your favorite singers in musicals?
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: MartinTeller on January 27, 2012, 10:15:58 AM
Here's a general question. Who are your favorite singers in musicals?

Speaking of Summer Stock, I gotta say Garland and Kelly.  And Chevalier, too... not a great singer, but so much fun to watch.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: roujin on January 27, 2012, 10:17:18 AM
Maurice Chevalier and Jeannette MacDonald are both great!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on January 27, 2012, 11:45:47 AM
I like Chevalier a lot in those early musicals.

Garland's my favorite musicals singer.  Sinatra's great.  Fred Astaire doesn't have a great voice, but I like his style.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 27, 2012, 12:15:02 PM
I was thinking Garland and Sinatra as well. They're hard to beat. Possibly my two favorite performances are:

Judy Garland "But Not for Me" from Girl Crazy. Look at her face at 1:00 and 1:56. Nobody feels/expresses music like her.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X03uSwM07_A

Frank Sinatra "I Fall in Love too Easily" from Anchors Away
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UesYWymYKBE
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on January 27, 2012, 12:24:58 PM
I gotta say Bing Crosby still holds a place in my house as the master crooner. If you like your voices more manly than smooth, I love the power Howard Keel brings to his singing.

I also have an oddball favorite, James Cagney. Like Branagh with Shakespeare, he turns the musical cadences into everyday speech that rolls off the tongue in rat-a-tat fashion. There is no better delivery of...
I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy
Yankee Doodle do or die



For the women, Judy Garland has a lot of forgettable songs, but she also has the greatest of classics. For character singing, I immediately think of Gwen Verdon.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 28, 2012, 10:50:44 PM
For character singing, I immediately think of Gwen Verdon.

Gwen Verdon is A#1
(http://i41.tinypic.com/wresdf.jpg)

At 3:03 is the funnest and funniest little bit of choreography ever. I call it Bob Fosse on the prowl.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96hC32WwfKw

Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 31, 2012, 06:33:32 PM
Silk Stockings

(http://i40.tinypic.com/hwiryt.jpg)

I watched Ninotchka a while ago and realized I had seen something similar many years before and hadn’t liked it very much. I don’t know if it’s because I now have the original film as a reference or if I’m more open, but I had a much more enjoyable viewing of Silk Stockings this time around. Notably, it is a perfect example of the best and worst musicals have to offer.

Worst

Caricature characters: This one goes to Peggy Dayton played by Janice Paige. She’s loud, uninteresting and if Paige pantomimed knocking water out of her ear one more time, I was going to hit her upside the head myself.

(http://i44.tinypic.com/x59x1z.jpg)

Dated songs: Ritz Roll and Rock wasn’t in the Broadway Play and shouldn’t have been in this film either. The choreography is messy and has Fred Astaire on the floor for much of it. The only redeeming quality is Astaire crushing his top hat symbolically signifying the end of his movie dancing career.

(http://i44.tinypic.com/1z5jfdd.jpg)

Banal Songs: We got the Red Blues has no more than 20 words and they’re stuck on repeat like a needle on a record. Cyd Charisse saves the day by keeping our minds off the words with her magic.
 
Awkward Performers: I love Peter Lorre, but he gets put here. I know it’s not fair to pigeon hole someone into type, but watching Lorre sing and dance throws me for a loop. He himself looks a little bemused as if to say, “look at me, I'm dancing!”  I was watching his face closely throughout the film and it really looked like he was having a very nice time and for that I’m happy for him.

(http://i42.tinypic.com/301gjgp.jpg)

Best

The Great Divide: “What keeps the lovers apart?” is the question and plot to all romance stories; the greater the divide the greater the story. What could be a better source of division than ideology; it’s almost impenetrable. Communist meets capitalist-- It worked in Ninotchka and it works here.

(http://i44.tinypic.com/1qk5jp.jpg)

Memorable Songs: “Suggestive lyrics, clever rhymes and complex forms (Wiki)” are the trademarks of a Cole Porter song; and All of You hits everyone.  Hearing Fred Astaire sing the words, "The eyes, the arms, the mouth of you. The east, west, north and the south of you” is a little shocking and completely unforgettable.

Awe Inspiring Dancing: Fated to be Mated/All of You is performed by two of the greatest film dancers and marks an end of an era. There is one inexplicable aspect to the dance that I can’t figure out. For two small segments Charisse’s skirt is replaced with culottes. The cut and color are the same, so either they tried the dance both ways and the editors hoped no one would notice or the Hayes Code was in effect and required 2 of the shots be filmed in a split skirt. In this next picture, as they lunge back in hopes of catching the bar, I wonder if Astaire is saying to himself, "I'm getting too old for these pranks."

(http://i44.tinypic.com/ztabuu.png)

Another notable dance is during Red Blues. Again, Charisse is fantastic and the ensemble does very well filling in the Cinemascope sides.

(http://i39.tinypic.com/wqykqu.jpg)

Lead Characters: What can I say about Fred Astaire that hasn’t already been said in a hundred ways? He’s 57 years old in the film and there are only glimpses of him showing his age. When someone makes dancing look so effortless, there is a true artist at work. Cyd Charisse is the most unassuming of female leads. She never hogs the spotlight or demands greater attention, but she gets it by sheer talent alone. Her dancing is a triumph over polio as a child and her long, long legs and beautiful lines are impossible to improve upon. Because I enjoy these two performers so much, I wish I liked The Band Wagon, but Silk Stockings is a nice alternative.

(http://i42.tinypic.com/e14zdh.jpg)

Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: smirnoff on January 31, 2012, 07:08:49 PM
Hearing Fred Astaire sing the words, "The eyes, the arms, the mouth of you. The east, west, north and the south of you” is a little shocking and completely unforgettable.

Yah, I'd be shocked too. Old films surprise me with their scandalous talk!

I'll never watch this movie but I sure dug this review. :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on January 31, 2012, 07:27:45 PM
Mrs. 1SO and I will always be looking out for more Fred Astaire to watch. I couldn't tell if Silk Stocking was a worthwhile experience overall or a problem with a few highlights. Broadway Melody of 1940 will definitely be next, but I don't know if this should take precedence over Daddy Long Legs.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on January 31, 2012, 09:25:59 PM
I wish I liked The Band Wagon.

I wish you did too, because it's one of the greatest musicals of all-time.

I'm with you on everything else in your review, especially on Charisse's dancing: she makes the movie.  I don't know that Peter Lorre is enjoying himself so much as he looks completely soused through the whole movie (not acting, actually tanked).
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on January 31, 2012, 09:38:18 PM
Silk Stockings -

Participating in this marathon was an idea of mine because I know very little about musicals, other than that I tend to love the very few I have seen. I have had the pleasure of seeing the legendary Fred Astaire just once before, in the wonderful Holiday Inn and he is just as charming and impressive here as he was there, just in smaller doses. He is the co-lead character, trying to woo the Soviet Ninotchka from her communist ways in the beautiful setting of Paris. It seemed to me that Cyd Charisse was much more prominent in the film. Either that or she made it so because she was definitely my favorite part of the film. She had an element of grace in her dance numbers and managed to play the cold Russian with authority and conviction. Why have I not heard of Cyd Charisse before? And what do I watch next?

Like Sandy said in her review the important part of the romance is what keeps them apart, and I think that part is played beautifully and allows for the amount of fun that is found in the film. I definitely agree with Sandy as well about the other actress lady, er what's her name? Yea, whatever, she is a completely forgettable character for me, which I guess means I didn't hate her as much as Sandy, but could have definitely still done without her. And seeing Peter Lorre in a musical was a bit bizarre for me, but I also welcome his presence in any movie. I think the screenshot Sandy has of him says it all though. He is clearly there having fun, so I echo the sentiment of good for him, but I also couldn't stop laughing at the fact that he was doing that Russian dance between the chair and table because, presumably, he couldn't do anything else.

By the end of the film I was won over by Astaire and more so by Charisse and their chemistry and romance on screen. It is just a good romance story. There are parts of the film which are average and forgettable and for that the film is not great, but it is a good time, which is all I ask for any time I sit down to see a film. I think I may have liked it better than Sandy, but what do I know about musicals? I guess seeing the Red Blues sequence was just too much joy for me to contain.

***
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on January 31, 2012, 11:48:27 PM
Why have I not heard of Cyd Charisse before? And what do I watch next?

Well, The Band Wagon, of course.  Also Singin' in the Rain (she's got a small but memorable part).  Then Brigadoon and It's Always Fair Weather.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 31, 2012, 11:59:13 PM
I wish I could have gotten back here sooner to discuss, but I'll work my way through the posts.

 :)) to smirnoff.

1SO, I like Daddy Long Legs more. The supporting characters and plot have more depth, but I enjoyed this as well. For me it was a worthwhile experience with some problems. I think you and the Mrs. would enjoy Astaire and Charisse. The end of Corndog's review sums up the movie very well.

sdedalus, I just watched the dance in the park from The Band Wagon and was thinking I should revisit the movie. Who knows, maybe I'll have a similar experience and enjoy it more after a many-year absence. I hadn't thought of Lorre being soused--that puts a whole new spin on it. His smile was kind of vacant, now that I think about it.

Corndog, Thanks for watching it and for the review. I think you would be a fun person to watch a movie with--no griping, just enjoying the experience. Do you mind if I link your reviews back to my first page? Then you can keep track of where they are as well. I have class tomorrow night and will post what my professor chose to show us. Will you post here or link to here if you watch other musicals? I'd like to hear about your discoveries. I think you would really like these two scenes from It's Always Fair Weather.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcMd1Rcn_lo&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aus1PA5-SyI
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 02, 2012, 12:16:55 AM
Up next:

Brigadoon
(http://i40.tinypic.com/20p6g55.jpg)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 09, 2012, 01:18:02 AM
Brigadoon

(http://i41.tinypic.com/2pzck82.jpg)

As I watched the film in class, I mentally went over my top 100 list and wondered why Brigadoon isn’t on it. There are no songs that I don’t like. In fact, I really like every one of them—a lot. I’m a big fan of the three leads and they are well cast here. Is it the pastoral setting and the unfolding of a day that keeps it from standing out? It’s as if the mists had obscured my memory and when I rediscover how wonderful it is, the mists will roll in again after I leave. The movie is so low key and of another time, that the beginning narration sounds like a reading of an old book. The action happening onscreen might as well have happened long ago. We’ve been talking in class about how an audience walks away from reality to sit in a theatre and how a musical takes that a step further by having the characters walk away from their reality to a higher realm. It can happen through dream, memory or wish and is wrapped up in song. Brigadoon itself is that dream and does a fine job of taking the audience there. It’s time to reassess my list before the wonder of it all dissipates.






Next up:

Across the Universe
(http://i44.tinypic.com/30m5llf.jpg)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on February 09, 2012, 01:28:25 AM
Brigadoon

As I watched the film in class, I mentally went over my top 100 list and wondered why Brigadoon isn’t on it. There are no songs that I don’t like. In fact, I really like every one of them—a lot. I’m a big fan of the three leads and they are well cast here. Is it the pastoral setting and the unfolding of a day that keeps it from standing out? It’s as if the mists had obscured my memory and when I rediscover how wonderful it is, the mists will roll in again after I leave. The movie is so low key and of another time, that the beginning narration sounds like a reading of an old book. The action happening onscreen might as well have happened long ago. We’ve been talking in class about how an audience walks away from reality to sit in a theatre and how a musical takes that a step further by having the characters walk away from their reality to a higher realm. It can happen through dream, memory or wish and is wrapped up in song. Brigadoon itself is that dream and does a fine job of taking the audience there. It’s time to reassess my list before the wonder of it all dissipates.

Yeah, that's a great one.  I love the 360 degree studio backdrop, the fact that the dreamworld Kelly escapes into (out of a modern world very similar to the disappointing 1950s of It's Always Fair Weather) is a purely cinematic one, which I think is a key trope in Minnelli's films.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 09, 2012, 01:41:14 AM
Yeah, that's a great one.  I love the 360 degree studio backdrop, the fact that the dreamworld Kelly escapes into (out of a modern world very similar to the disappointing 1950s of It's Always Fair Weather) is a purely cinematic one, which I think is a key trope in Minnelli's films.

360! I didn't realize. I like your take on the artistic reasons for it. I had wondered with the elaborateness of it all with the trees, bushes and hills if it would have saved some money to go on location. But I guess that's beside the point.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on February 09, 2012, 02:28:05 AM
Hmm. . . I can't find confirmation that they went all the way around, but I'm sure i read that somewhere.  The imdb says the backdrops were 60 feet high and 600 feet long.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on February 09, 2012, 02:30:25 AM
TCM (http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/455912%7C64146/Brigadoon.html) to the rescue:

Quote
On the plus side, he had the services of his American in Paris creative team, including costume designer Irene Sharaff, and art director Preston Ames, along with veteran MGM cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg. Together, they turned those minuses into pluses. If they had to build Brigadoon on soundstages, Ames devised a way to build the whole village, as well as the surrounding hillsides, on a single, huge stage, so that the camera could wander through it, and shoot a full 360 degrees. Using the muddy AnscoColor to advantage, Ruttenberg lit interiors so that they resembled Flemish paintings. The wide CinemaScope screen is not the best setting for dance, but the large ensemble numbers like "Go Home with Bonnie Jean," filled it well. CinemaScope - as well as Ames's set --were also used to advantage in the "Heather on the Hill" number, as Kelly and Cyd Charisse danced up and down the moors.

Ruttenberg and Minnelli came up with an ingenious solution for the first sight of Brigadoon, which was supposed to emerge from the mist. They shot the scene in reverse, beginning with the village clearly visible, then pumping in chemical fog. Then it was projected backwards, so that the fog clears, revealing the village.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 09, 2012, 09:17:20 AM
Thanks sdedalus. :) That stuff is as interesting as the movie itself.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on February 13, 2012, 11:22:16 PM
Brigadoon -

Although I have an endless love of both Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, I have pretty much no experience with either of them. Of course my introduction to Charisse came just a film previous with Silk Stockings, but I was quite taken with her charisma and her skill on the dancefloor. The same can be said of Hollywood legend Gene Kelly, whose only outing to date I had seen was the iconic Singin' in the Rain, a film which happens to be my #2 of all time. When Sandy indicated it would be next in her marathon, I was excited despite having never heard of it, and I managed to not read the short plot description on the sleeve the film came in through Netflix, so when I sat down I didn't know what magical journey on which I might be taken.

As the film started and we were swept across the Scottish hills I began to think of my heritage, having a very small portion of Scot in my own blood, but I too grew tired of the direction of Vincente Minnelli quite quickly. Not really familiar with him either, other than the disappointingly forgetful Gigi. True the set design was remarkable and the cinematography gorgeous, but I also couldn't help but feel the color in the film was poorly used and to the point that I felt it ugly and unbecoming of the film. But more than anything else from Minnelli, the direction just felt flat and uninspired. The film was underplayed a bit, which can be fine, but it was done so to the point that it did lose me a bit. It was quickly 40 minutes in and I felt nothing much had happened. In a way it was a success because that time seemed to fly by, but also a failure for taking that 40 minutes and not infusing it with very much which is memorable.

Charisse and Kelly are still magic, though less so than the previous films I had enjoyed them in, and overall the film is a fun little ride with a bit of magic and a lot of heart behind it. But I definitely do not hold the film in the same Top 100 contention regard as Sandy, as much as I am magnetically attracted to musicals. I just feel like it has been so much better, and in the case of the film, could have been done so much better. It was disappointing in its mediocrity, but also marginally successful in its charm and entertainment, albeit fleeting.

**1/2
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 14, 2012, 11:28:58 AM
It was quickly 40 minutes in and I felt nothing much had happened. In a way it was a success because that time seemed to fly by, but also a failure for taking that 40 minutes and not infusing it with very much which is memorable.
This is so true--going nowhere fast. Also, "albeit fleeting" is my experience as well. When I was younger, the movie frustrated me with its calmness and lack of momentum. This time around it was reposeful like a warm blanket (like your Grandma's :) ). Sometimes that's enough and welcomed--I think my age is showing.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 16, 2012, 03:01:36 PM
Across the Universe

(http://i43.tinypic.com/jug84i.jpg)(http://i39.tinypic.com/scqpmp.jpg)(http://i43.tinypic.com/2jf1740.jpg)(http://i43.tinypic.com/nn5z7a.jpg)(http://i44.tinypic.com/15uj3s.jpg)(http://i44.tinypic.com/2008si9.jpg)(http://i41.tinypic.com/10hizpe.jpg)(http://i43.tinypic.com/34do5qr.jpg)(http://i39.tinypic.com/16nbxh.jpg)(http://i43.tinypic.com/vi2lcm.jpg)(http://i41.tinypic.com/ej6428.jpg)(http://i43.tinypic.com/5lyzbk.jpg)

I'm starting with fliegeresque faces and will continue letting pictures speak, since I'm a little comma phobic today.  ;)

Best Use of Choreography

(http://i41.tinypic.com/zt6poi.jpg) (http://i42.tinypic.com/34dgcon.jpg)
This whole sequence is beyond creative.

(http://i41.tinypic.com/30stz4k.jpg) (http://i41.tinypic.com/116mdc5.jpg)
Two frenetic dancers. I'd throw my back out trying this kind of stuff.

Best Use of Lyrics

(http://i40.tinypic.com/28kivsi.jpg)
And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be.

(http://i41.tinypic.com/311rnfk.jpg)
I WANT YOU

(http://i39.tinypic.com/jpa68z.jpg)
She's so heavy

(http://i42.tinypic.com/2dgvln7.jpg)
Open up your eyes

(http://i40.tinypic.com/262wkdl.jpg)
Look around round round

(http://i39.tinypic.com/ftd75.jpg)
Because the wind is high it blows my mind

(http://i39.tinypic.com/vp89zc.jpg)
Always, no sometimes, think it's me

(http://i40.tinypic.com/2wdsrcm.jpg)
But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow

(http://i39.tinypic.com/dqmyw4.jpg)
Jai Guru Deva, om

(http://i39.tinypic.com/35n8nz6.jpg)
Mother Superior jumped the gun

(http://i43.tinypic.com/r1l7ol.jpg)
(no lyrics, just crescendo)

(http://i42.tinypic.com/34zdjs0.jpg)
Juday, Juday, Juday, Juday!

Best Scene Transitions

(http://i44.tinypic.com/9pne2u.jpg)(http://i40.tinypic.com/2en5k51.jpg)
Hands and metal

(http://i39.tinypic.com/efh37s.jpg)(http://i44.tinypic.com/2z3ylnl.jpg)
Plastic wrap

Addendum

(http://i41.tinypic.com/1zb3r0j.jpg)
Now that's a kiss.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: smirnoff on February 16, 2012, 03:59:37 PM
That looks mad!

side note: an old girlfriend sat me down to watch Brigadoon once. It was a long time favourite of hers and the first time for me. I nodded off, but to the film's credit she didn't even notice. Even after all those viewings it still kept her full attention. :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on February 16, 2012, 04:23:12 PM
I won't be doing a review proper for Across the Universe because I have already seen that one a few years back. One of my good friends in college was a huge Beatles fan, as I am too, so she had me watch it with her. I was sort of middling on my response to the film.

The things I liked: The actors, whom I thought did a good job with their characters
The music, obvi, they used it pretty well with the story
The cinematography, which I thought was beautiful

The things I didn't really like: The narrative felt too haphazard to cater to getting as many Beatle classics in as possible
And in relation to that thought, it was a little too weird for my liking

I liked it at the end of the day, and probably because I am such a huge Beatles fan. Did you notice how Prudence comes in through the bathroom window? I thought it was a nice touch. Little things like that.

Plus it has Jeff Beck's version of "A Day in the Life" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldSyXe85rVg)! which features Jude reading a newspaper just before the "I read the news today" part.

I'd probably go with ***
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 16, 2012, 11:54:10 PM
That looks mad!

side note: an old girlfriend sat me down to watch Brigadoon once. It was a long time favourite of hers and the first time for me. I nodded off, but to the film's credit she didn't even notice. Even after all those viewings it still kept her full attention. :)

And, I left out all the crazier stuff!

It was nice of you to sit with her and since the movie has a lulling affect, you're completely justified in falling asleep.

I won't be doing a review proper for Across the Universe because I have already seen that one a few years back. One of my good friends in college was a huge Beatles fan, as I am too, so she had me watch it with her. I was sort of middling on my response to the film.

The things I liked: The actors, whom I thought did a good job with their characters
The music, obvi, they used it pretty well with the story
The cinematography, which I thought was beautiful

The things I didn't really like: The narrative felt too haphazard to cater to getting as many Beatle classics in as possible
And in relation to that thought, it was a little too weird for my liking

I liked it at the end of the day, and probably because I am such a huge Beatles fan. Did you notice how Prudence comes in through the bathroom window? I thought it was a nice touch. Little things like that.

Plus it has Jeff Beck's version of "A Day in the Life" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldSyXe85rVg)! which features Jude reading a newspaper just before the "I read the news today" part.

I'd probably go with ***

I completely forgot about the title She Came in Through the Bathroom Window. I was wondering why he said that in the film, since it looked like the window was off the hall. I thought I was pretty familiar with the Beatles, but I'm probably missing a lot. I too loved the details (the ones I'm picking up on  :) ) and the lyrics pics above were mostly in appreciation for the attention to detail.  I was also impressed with the care that was put into the music. Even though re-imagined, every song was a tribute.

Since we watched animation this week in class and I don't have anything new to say about The Prince of Egypt and Hunchback of Notre Dame, the next movie is:

42nd Street

(http://i.imgur.com/WsXFn.jpg)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 28, 2012, 01:14:14 AM
Slow to get this posted--had some difficulty getting a copy.


42nd Street

(http://i42.tinypic.com/2zrnxx4.jpg)

42nd Street doesn’t look like a film that came out a few years after the introduction of sound. The influence of more than a decade of backstage musicals on Broadway carried over to help this and other films hit the boards running. Add to that the genius of the transplanted Busby Berkeley. The proscenium arch gets blown apart as the audience watches, voyeuristically, what goes on behind the scenes. The popularity of this musical subgenre can be likened to dish-the-dirt tabloids.
 
Stereotypes abound where not much is needed to establish a character: the ingénue, Any Time Annie, the over worked director, the world weary leading lady and the sugar daddy. What’s nice about this is that the film doesn’t get bogged down, but hums along at a brisk pace. The concept could get old, but now here. This is brand new. Let the musicals that come after deal with changing things up. I enjoyed every minute of this movie that up until now had only been seen in bits and pieces. Best surprise; Ruby Keeler is adorable. No wonder she was so popular.

(http://i39.tinypic.com/xf3sih.jpg)



Up next: Double Feature

Top Hat                                               Swing Time

(http://i40.tinypic.com/2qbd9o3.jpg)                  (http://i43.tinypic.com/107pc9j.jpg)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on February 28, 2012, 02:15:43 AM
It doesn't get better than those two.

By 1932, the transition to sound wasn't an issue.  Really, by 1930, less than three years after The Jazz Singer, most of the major issues had been dealt with and you get films that don't look or sound out of place in any other era.  The Berkeley films are a huge leap forward past something like The broadway Melody, but that's more a matter of competent direction of musical sequences than anything else.  Ernst Lubitsch made a cycle of musicals starting in 1929 that don't look particularly primitive.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 28, 2012, 02:23:15 AM
I've been wanting to see The Love Parade. Is there a Lubitsch film from then that you like in particular?
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on February 28, 2012, 02:30:21 AM
The one without Jeanette MacDonald. . . .  The Smiling Lieutenant has Claudette Colbert and Miriam Hopkins, two actresses I like as much as I dislike MacDonald.

They're all good, really, I just can't stand her. I think The Merry Widow is the best of the MacDonald-Chevalier films, as I recall.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 28, 2012, 03:23:13 AM
I forgot about your MacDonald aversion. I do like Claudette Colbert and will look up that one. Thanks.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on February 28, 2012, 07:56:53 PM
I watched 42nd Street last night and I kind of had mixed feelings about it. I was somewhat tired so I'd be lying if I said my heart wasn't all the way in it, but I always give it a fair shake for the first 20 minutes and it didn't then wow me enough to keep me at full attention. I watched through the whole thing, but definitely snoozed from time to time. It was okay, and did feature some really cool dancing, but it started off kind of slow I thought, with very little song and dance. It culminated then in the show at the end, which is where the song and dance finally struck heavy and hard and what made that so interesting, and actually entertaining, was the way they filmed these sequences, which is even more amazing considering it was made all the way back in 1933. So what may at first seem nice yet conventional is probably actually quite innovative for its time. I would have probably liked it more had I seen it in a more alert mode, but I can appreciate it enough I suppose.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 28, 2012, 09:40:20 PM
You are a trooper Corndog! I owe you. Pick one of the following films and I'll watch it and try very hard to stay awake too.  :)

Moneyball
Bang the Drum Slowly
Angels in the Outfield 1951 or 1994
Henry O!


In my textbook Rick Altman mentioned two reasons for the backstage musical having a different song ordering structure:

"The early musical treats the backstage plot as a convenience, a simple ploy to justify showing off the full range of sound technology."

"The success of the show is sensed as a displaced display of success in love. A joyous show properly reflects a successful romantic union. When the show matches the lover's mood, it becomes a celebration of their mating, a ritual reenactment or prefiguration of their coming together. The energy invested in the show no longer appears unexplained or misplaced, but rather displaced; i.e., it is the sexual drive itself that energizes the show. If the backstage musical of the mid-thirties consistently places the major numbers at the end, it is not without reason; indeed, the typical Berkeley finale has the camera aiming at the center of concentric patterns or tracking between the legs of semi-nude chorines. Not only does love inspire the show, but love is the show--the climax of the one must serve the other  as well."

So it seems to corroborate with Bondo's statement, "sex is life."
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on February 28, 2012, 09:52:15 PM
I don't see how watching a baseball movie equates to what I did. Just wait til right before bed and then watch something you actually want to watch because that is all I did. And as for the films you picked, I had actually never heard of Henry O!, though and really interested now if not in the film but in the man. I've somehow to this point still not caught up with Bang the Drum Slowly, and then the others are great. I prefer the 1994 Angels (Joseph Gordon-Levitt!). Why not something like The Sandlot or Rookie of the Year, or Little Big League? All four of those last ones were released within a year of each other, thereby making my childhood.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on February 28, 2012, 10:44:18 PM
I watched 42nd Street (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9893.msg588760#msg588760) almost a year ago. What sticks with me is "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" and the adorable chemistry between Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell. I watched Gold Diggers of 1933 more for Keeler and Powell then the extended screen time given to Ginger Rogers. They're why we'll definitely be watching Dames at some point in the near future.

Anybody know if Go Into Your Dance with Keeler and Al Jolson is worth a look?
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on February 28, 2012, 11:11:13 PM
Don't know that one, but I hear Jolson is unbearable in everything except Hallelujah, I'm a Bum (which is awesome).

The Altman analogy, musicals climaxing at the end, seems appropriate for other genre films as well.  How many action films follow the same basic structure, with the action sequences slowly building until the final craziness?  What's great about the 30s musicals (most of the Berkeleys I think, and several of the Astaire-Rogers, Follow the Fleet in particular) is that after the final climax, the plot comes to an end as quickly as possible.  No cuddling, just wrap it up and get on with our lives.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 28, 2012, 11:15:31 PM
There was the perfunctory smoking of the cigarette. :)

1SO, I remembered when you reviewed it, I was kicking myself for not having seen it. It took me a year to finally get to it. :P The only thing I know about Go Into Your Dance is that its deals with the shadier side of putting on a show and that Keeler and Jolson were married for a time.

Corndog, I'll start with Angels in the Outfield. I don't dislike baseball, I just get bogged down with the stats sometimes. The heart is willing, but the brain gets tired.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 06, 2012, 04:17:05 AM
(http://i43.tinypic.com/207w6rc.jpg)
Ladies and Gentlemen, the main event this evening is the bout between two champions of the silver screen and the winner will be rewarded a position in my top 100.


(http://i40.tinypic.com/nfsili.jpg)                                                                         
In this corner we have Top Hat, an Academy Award best picture nominee for 1935, #15 in the AFI’s list of best musicals, and supported by corner man Irving Berlin.                             


(http://i41.tinypic.com/s662k4.jpg)
And in this corner we have Swing Time, conceivably an underdog but definitely no Tomato Can. Having an Academy Award win for best song “The Way You Look Tonight” and the capable second of Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, makes this 1936 film a serious contender.

Pound for pound they will be judged in seven rounds of grueling competition. With the skill level of these greats, it is sure to go to the scorecards for a final decision.


Round 1
The screwball comedy premise: masking attraction with an antagonistic front. Fred and Ginger’s variation on the theme: Astaire’s actions propel him to fall in love and for Ginger to fall in hate.

TH: Fred’s nocturnal tap dancing wakes Ginger and she confronts his inconsiderate behavior. Then she mistakenly thinks he’s her friend’s husband.

ST: Ginger thinks Fred has stolen a quarter from her purse and in trying to make things right, Fred accidentally gets her fired from her job as a dance instructor.

Both serviceable show launchers, but this round goes to Top Hat. The tap dance scene is funny and endearing. The familiar mistaken identity device gets a little long in the tooth, but it sets up some good comedy and the sweet conflict for the “Cheek to Cheek” dance. In Swing Time, Fred’s actions make for a superb challenge dance (see round 2), but he needs to continue to make other blunders to keep Ginger sufficiently angry.


Round 2
The Challenge Dance: advance, retreat, conflict makes way for cooperation.

TH: Fred and Ginger get caught in a storm and seek refuge in a pavilion. He persuades her with a complex dance to call a truce.                                                                                                                 

ST: Fred wants to help Ginger get her job back so shows the boss how well he can dance because of her instruction.
 
Swing Time wins this one. “Isn’t this a Lovely Day to be Caught in the Rain” may have better examples of dance steps that illustrate the conflict/cooperation, but “Pick Yourself Up” is technically intricate and humorously emerges right from the plot.

Round 3
Supporting Cast: Helen Broderick and Eric Blore

Top Hat best utilizes these two actors. Helen delivers some great dead pan lines that raised the show’s comedy level up much higher. Eric isn’t laugh out loud funny, but does some interesting physical humor and gets to articulately insult a police officer. I don't find either one of them is particularly funny in Swing Time and think their talents are a bit squandered.


Round 4
Fred Astaire Specialty Song and Dance

This might not be a popular verdict. The iconic “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails” should be the winner of this round but I’m going to go with “Bojangles of Harlem” in Swing Time. My belief is that Fred’s was paying a loving tribute to Bill Robinson, who had been an influence on his dancing. The black face is jarring, but with the filter of what I think was the intent, it allows me to watch and enjoy the prowess and innovation.


Round 5
Best Bittersweet Romantic Dance

I’m going to get in trouble with this one too. “Cheek to Cheek” is a flight of fancy. Ginger is swept away and doesn’t come back to reality until after the notes fade away. The dips and lifts are beautiful. But, I’m going for bittersweet as the emphasis. “Never Gonna Dance” is charged with emotion and despair. The dancing is breathtaking and the undercurrents remind me that Fred and Ginger are not just great dancers, but believable actors as well. Swing Time wins this round.


Round 6
Best Dress

Oh those controversial feathers wafting in the air and onto the dance floor. Ginger designed the dress for the "Cheek to Cheek" dance in Top Hat and with her mother stood up to Fred’s disapproval. Good for them and good for us. I watch the dance carefully to see if I can find any trace of Fred’s disgust, but I can’t. Now that’s a professional.


Round 7
Best Song

“Cheek to Cheek” is top tier, but I give this round to “The Way You Look Tonight” from Swing Time. It’s played over part of “Never Gonna Dance” and makes me want to cry, it’s so beautiful.


Fouls: -½ point each

Swing Time
Forced Hilarity (band leader's pants) This is going to be an issue as well when I get to A Star is Born.
Convertible in the winter (All for a windshield wiper/snow gag)
Georges Metaxa (the band leader who can't sing or act)



Well folks, It’s been a barnburner, but Top Hat has been decided the winner by a mere ½ point. It looks like my top 100 needs some adjustments to accommodate both of these fine films.





Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Bondo on March 06, 2012, 07:55:00 AM
Hmm, this would have been no contest in favor of Swing Time. I found Top Hat extremely contrived as a plot.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on March 06, 2012, 09:09:44 AM
I also would've gone with Swing Time, because of Top Hat's plot and the too-long section in Venice.

"Pick Yourself Up" from Swing Time is my favorite Astaire/Rogers moment, topped by the perfect punchline of Victor Moore and Helen Broderick trying to repeat some of the steps.

If both of these made your Top 100, then you have to watch Shall We Dance which has the screwball comedy, the dances, the dresses. All of it.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: smirnoff on March 06, 2012, 09:18:25 AM
(http://ih3.redbubble.net/image.10096080.4575/fc,220x200,white.jpg)Pip pip gentlemen, I do believe your monocles need cleaning!
The plot for Swing Time is every bit as contrived.

Quote
Ginger thinks Fred has stolen a quarter from her purse and in trying to make things right, Fred accidentally gets her fired from her job as a dance instructor.

Outrrrrrrrrrrrrrageous!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: MartinTeller on March 06, 2012, 09:57:30 AM
Hmm, this would have been no contest in favor of Swing Time. I found Top Hat extremely contrived as a plot.

A rare occasion where I'm in agreement with Bondo.  All it takes for the plot of Top Hat to collapse is for someone to NOT talk in circles for a second.  Neither would make my top 100, but overall I find Swing Time more satisfying.

I love the way you wrote this up, Sandy!  Very clever!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 06, 2012, 10:05:06 AM
Thanks Martin. :) Just don't look at it on an itouch. My forced formatting is all jumbled.

Yes, two wimpy little plots that provide an excuse to see Fred and Ginger perform! The contrived nature of both films keep them from being higher on my top 100, but oh the songs and dancing.

"Pick Yourself Up" from Swing Time is my favorite Astaire/Rogers moment, topped by the perfect punchline of Victor Moore and Helen Broderick trying to repeat some of the steps.

If both of these made your Top 100, then you have to watch Shall We Dance which has the screwball comedy, the dances, the dresses. All of it.

I do love that whole sequence at the dance studio and it was Helen's bright moment in the film. I just saw Shall We Dance last night! I didn't like the end production, but "Slap that Bass" is my favorite Astaire solo so far. The story line was a little more enjoyable as well.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on March 06, 2012, 10:17:48 AM
Swing Time is in my top 100 (#72), mostly because it has the best combination of songs and dances.  Top Hat and Shall We Dance are at 251 and 276, respectively.

The biggest disconnect between quality of musical sequences and plot has to be Follow the Fleet, right?  I still maintain that that film's final number, "Let's Face the Music and Dance", is the greatest thing Fred and Ginger did together.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on March 06, 2012, 11:24:36 AM
The biggest disconnect between quality of musical sequences and plot has to be Follow the Fleet, right?  I still maintain that that film's final number, "Let's Face the Music and Dance", is the greatest thing Fred and Ginger did together.

Oooo, I doubt they've ever been more beautiful together for sure. However, in Shall We Dance they perform "They All Laughed" to which I said "Astaire and Rogers are dancing a duet, but they're not two people doing the same exact moves at the same time. Each one is doing slightly different moves, but the variations come together to create some kind of awesome mega-dance."

Also "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" has them dancing on ROLLER SKATES. So, I definitely hear what you're saying, but my definition of 'greatness' differs from yours.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on March 06, 2012, 11:47:40 AM
Dancing in roller skates is always awesome.  Check out Gene Kelly in It's Always Fair Weather and Donald O'Connor in I Love Melvin.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on March 07, 2012, 06:13:13 PM
(http://i41.tinypic.com/30lgxg2.jpg)
Top Hat & Swing Time

The history of cinema is deep. Very deep. How many classic films have been made? Countless. There have been so many icons from so many eras and so many genres that to keep up or catch up is seemingly impossible, but as a movie buff it is my duty. Sadly, I had not really seen much of the legendary Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers duo, or musicals in general really, which is also surprising given I have loved the musicals I have seen, rating Gene Kelly's Singin' in the Rain as my 2nd favorite film ever. So what better place to jump into things than with a nice double feature, two of Astaire/Rogers' best: Top Hat and Swing Time. And after having seen these two films, and a few other older musicals, it somehow amazes me that musicals and dance numbers are so rare in film these days. There really ought to be a dancing/singing icon in cinema today. The talent has to exist.

I decided to combine my write ups of these two films into one for a few reasons, but one of the more obvious reasons was the fact that the only real difference between the two films seemed to be some minor plot differences. With these types of films, one assumes, you will have Fred and you will have Ginger. You will see them dance, you will see them sing. You will have them meet by chance and Ginger will despise Fred, Fred will immediately fall for Ginger and work the rest of the film, and almost effortlessly, to make her fall for him, which she inevitably will. The basic plot is fairly transparent, but it does lend itself as a great platform to feature these two great artists and their craft.

And their craft is magical. I think I might be able to watch these two dance for hours upon hours and glean nothing but joy from the experience. They honestly are not the greatest of actors, but they are the greatest of performers and their chemistry is well developed and quite believable. Between the two films there are a handful of wonderful dance moments and each have their moment in the sun with a great song a piece, so I would pretty much call the comparison between the two a wash in the category of song and dance, which is a major part of the musical. So bookoo bucks for both in that category.

And since I've basically already said the plots of the films run similar enough that I can hardly really tell between the two, we must dig deeper to truly find a winner, though perhaps there needn't even be one, that we could appreciate each equally. But there is no fun in that, and plus I can honestly say that I enjoyed one a little bit more than the other anyway. I thought that Top Hat was a little bit more enjoyable because I thought it was a little bit more charming, which has a lot to do with Astaire's character's situation. In Top Hat we have the classic case of mistaken identity, which has Rogers believing this charming man is essentially an adulterer. In Swing Time, Astaire basically is an adulterer. A gambler, he goes to New York to make enough money for his love's father to consider him eligible to marry his daughter. And while there, he falls for Rogers instead, having to overcome her disdain for him after he steals a quarter from her.

Top Hat is just more attractive to me than Swing Time, though I agree we are probably splitting hairs for the most part. Paired together the films managed to run together for the most part and created a few nights of a simple good time. Neither was majestic in their storytelling or technical achievements, save maybe the dancing. But being able to look back into this era when dancing and musical was as big as it was is a lot of fun to do when musical performances are no longer on screen. Why can't be have those triple threats anymore? Instead we are 'treated' to the antics of Lady GaGa, Nikki Minaj and Justin Timberlake, which are fine and dandy, but a boy can dream of a renaissance when somebody was not only able, but also willing to cross over into film again.

Top Hat: ***
Swing Time: ***
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 08, 2012, 12:41:58 AM
I think I might be able to watch these two dance for hours upon hours and glean nothing but joy from the experience.
  :))  :))  :))

I'm loving your reviews Corndog. Thanks for joining in.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 09, 2012, 11:57:18 PM
A Star is Born

(http://i39.tinypic.com/s43p0i.jpg)

I am undone. Trying to write about this movie has brought me low--three tissues low. Art imitates life, but in a mirror so that Judy Garland must look at herself critically and respond to the destruction through James Mason's tragic character. It's too much, yet there's more. She reenacts her past with the stripping of her identity/name, the reshaping of her nose and the altering of her unacceptable appearance.

The lines blur as her real life continues to peek through. A piece of property, to be poked and prodded, medicated and demeaned, so that she will perform accordingly. I can't watch any of her films without thinking about the too high price and this movie is the most difficult of all. How do I appreciate properly something that has cost the giver everything?

That's all I can do, so I'm going to elicit the help of 1SO and Mrs. 1SO to shed some light on the matter. (Thanks to the 1SOs in advance.)

 listen to this while (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h3SjisivsA&feature=BFa&list=PL1C181F1370DA0570&lf=results_video)

 reading this (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9893.msg595021#msg595021)








Up Next:

State Fair

(http://i44.tinypic.com/c466h.jpg)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on March 10, 2012, 12:22:19 AM
A Star is Born is great.  Looking at my year by year lists, for some reason I have it way down at number 22 for 1954.  That can't be right.  Should probably be at least 15 spots higher.

The 1937 non-musical version with Janet Gaynor and Frederic March is also really good, as is What Price Hollywood?, an even earlier version.

Speaking of Gaynor, I just recently watched the original (non-musical) version of State Fair, which she stars in with Will Rogers and liked it quite a bit.  Much more daring than I expected (it was from 1933, just before the Code, I believe).  I haven't seen the musical.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: saltine on March 10, 2012, 12:55:01 AM
Can it be true that Beyonce and Tom Cruise are together in the remake of A Star Is Born, directed by Clint Eastwood?
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on March 10, 2012, 01:35:53 AM
That would be. . . interesting.  I hope they do it as a musical.  I'd love to see an Eastwood musical.  (Bird doesn't count).
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on March 10, 2012, 07:44:03 AM
Too fast! I probably won't get to it until late next week, but I am definitely looking forward to it!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 10, 2012, 01:54:59 PM
At your leisure Corndog. :) I just needed to set down the Star is Born burden.

sdedalus, I haven't seen any of the State Fair films yet--just bits and pieces. I also haven't seen the earlier versions of A Star is Born. Looks like I've got some catching up to do, but am sure to like them a lot.

Tom Cruise as Norman Maine? I could see him wigging out.  :)
 
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: oldkid on March 11, 2012, 12:51:31 AM
What a wonderful marathon!  So many great musicals have been watched this year and so many great reviews have been written that I want to watch more musicals myself.  Thanks Sandy and Corndog!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 16, 2012, 11:09:02 PM
What a wonderful marathon!  So many great musicals have been watched this year and so many great reviews have been written that I want to watch more musicals myself.  Thanks Sandy and Corndog!

Thanks oldkid! Join in anytime or add in your own reviews. The more the merrier.  :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 24, 2012, 03:55:29 AM
State Fair 1945

(http://i41.tinypic.com/1553tid.jpg)

Last summer, I took my kids to the state fair to hear my brother's high school jazz band perform. Because we were there at the tail end of the fair's run, withered rows of produce and resigned livestock failed to capture any of our enthusiasm. Outside, it started to rain so we hurried past the dingy food carts of deep fried Coke and bacon wrapped bacon to wait it out under the awning of a ticket booth. Upon finding out the exorbitant prices for the rides, I put our options to the vote. Unanimously, we chose to go to a Chinese restaurant instead. Goodbye fair, we won't be back. Egg foo young wins out again.

It's fortunate that I hadn't shown them State Fair before our foray. Instead of everyone being mildly disappointed, I could have had a full revolt on my hands. For what State Fair does best is paint a very pretty picture of an impossibly perfect celebration. Reality can never measure up. That's sort of the point of a folk musical; to bring people back to a simpler time through a memory of myth. The good ole' days shouldn't be scrutinized to closely when musical escapism is afoot. In every aspect, this film fits the folk musical mold: family centric, ritualistic and cyclic (day, season, life). Unfortunately, these elements created a dreadfully dull second half. I couldn't care less if the pig won the prize or if the homemade pickles got a ribbon. After a certain point the only thing keeping me involved was Dana Andrews. Sigh. This is him below. Get a load of the suit and dress--I didn't see anything like that on my outing. Also of note, this is the cutest scene in the film--the highlight for me.

(http://i44.tinypic.com/1zny002.jpg)

This is the brother and he's a schmuck. I won't get into his story, which I disliked the whole of, but suffice it to say he is one. But, along side him is the wonderful Harry Morgan--another highlight.

(http://i41.tinypic.com/2q3bszb.jpg)

I stopped the film for a few minutes so I could study this campsight. Can you imagine such a perfect set up? Cordoned of private space with an outdoor kitchen and a token tent for those that want to rough it. Each of their meals was on dinnerware, with linens. I didn't think the mom would ever get a chance to enjoy the fair, but the prop people took care of everything and she was able to have a fine time.

(http://i44.tinypic.com/5v15hd.jpg)

Some memorable songs, Jeanne Crain and, of course, Dana Andrews keep me from giving away the DVD. And, it's a sight better than the 1962 version.





Up Next (heaven help me):

Om Shanti Om

(http://i42.tinypic.com/s15jm1.jpg)
 




Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on March 24, 2012, 10:17:18 AM
You are now treading into territory where I'm too afraid to follow. (Both this week and next). Your review had lots of color, plus Dana Andrews, but it warned of a dull 2nd Half. I can't take another Carousel (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9893.msg597293#msg597293).
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 24, 2012, 12:37:00 PM
You are now treading into territory where I'm too afraid to follow. (Both this week and next). Your review had lots of color, plus Dana Andrews, but it warned of a dull 2nd Half. I can't take another Carousel (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9893.msg597293#msg597293).

Ha! Carousel--another folk musical. I agree with your summation on it. Folk musicals can be done right though, such as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Meet Me in St. Louis and even West Side Story.

As for Shanti, I've already sat through the 3 hour film in class--couldn't leave. It wasn't dissimilar to the Ludovico Technique.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on March 24, 2012, 12:40:45 PM
The early 30s version of State Fair is pretty dark, with the parents' traditional farm antics (the pickle and pig contests) contrasted with the adventures of the kids, who each get lurked into a kind of underground that sees the state fair as a kind of pre-Code sexual playground.  Any of that in the musical?
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: oneaprilday on March 24, 2012, 12:51:58 PM
State Fair 1945
Great review, Sandy. :)

My high school best friend and I watched a version of State Fair over and over again when we were 15, delighting over the silliness of it.  I can't remember now though if this is the version we saw.  I think so.  But the determining question: Does Margy wear a dress with dangling cherries on it?
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: roujin on March 24, 2012, 01:36:11 PM
As for Shanti, I've already sat through the 3 hour film in class--couldn't leave. It wasn't dissimilar to the Ludovico Technique.

 >:(
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: verbALs on March 24, 2012, 02:04:45 PM
You are now treading into territory where I'm too afraid to follow. (Both this week and next). Your review had lots of color, plus Dana Andrews, but it warned of a dull 2nd Half. I can't take another Carousel (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9893.msg597293#msg597293).

Ha! Carousel--another folk musical. I agree with your summation on it. Folk musicals can be done right though, such as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Meet Me in St. Louis and even West Side Story.

As for Shanti, I've already sat through the 3 hour film in class--couldn't leave. It wasn't dissimilar to the Ludovico Technique.
Class reference!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 24, 2012, 03:38:09 PM
 :D


As for Shanti, I've already sat through the 3 hour film in class--couldn't leave. It wasn't dissimilar to the Ludovico Technique.

 >:(
Oh roujin, you know I love ya, it's just that I think I need my Bollywood in small doses and not in three hour showdowns. Hopefully when I write my review, you can tell me all the reasons you love it. :)



OAD, This is the one! I lost count of how many times she changed her clothes.
(http://i40.tinypic.com/a4080l.jpg)


I forgot to answer 1SO's question, but I can do so in answering sdedalus'. The Hayes Code must have been alive and well because the movie is innocuous and bland. There is a little bit of romantic misunderstandings, but no wife-beaters here.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: oneaprilday on March 24, 2012, 04:01:54 PM
OAD, This is the one! I lost count of how many times she changed her clothes.
(http://i40.tinypic.com/a4080l.jpg)
:D  Wonderful! Oh, how those cherries kill me.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on April 04, 2012, 02:12:12 AM
Om Shanti Om
Chant
Err, Chat


(http://i40.tinypic.com/14vtmdj.jpg)


Sandy: I heard that Bollywood was a lot like an Indian meal—rice in the middle with lots of little bowls of different curry surrounding it. But instead of curry there's melodrama, comedy, action and musical mixed in. 3 hours of this “feast” was almost more than I could bear. For the love of all that is holy, please make it stop.

Mx. Bondo: joined the chat

Sandy: tell me what you liked about Om Shanti Om

Mx. Bondo: Om Shanti Om requires a certain depth of experience with Bollywood because it's kind of a parody

Mx. Bondo: "Om Shanti Om isn’t a bad film but it’s not something I’d recommend to those who aren’t already Bollywood fans.

Mx. Bondo: to like Bollywood is to often decide "I don't care if this song has no point relative to the film's story, it is catchy and has nice choreography so I shall enjoy it"

Sandy: I was thinking it was a parody, but it was also in love with itself—so smug

Sandy: I wonder if the “royalty” of the acting families have caused them to lose sight of what is really funny and what they think is funny.

Sandy: the songs didn't bother me so much except for the Om Shanti Om, where they paraded out their relatives (I'm guessing) in the business

Mx. Bondo: probably

Sandy: I wanted to like it, I really did

Mx. Bondo: heh, pretty much everyone who is anyone had a cameo

Sandy: patting each other on the back for how awesome they are

Sandy: throw a little free market into the mix. Let’s see who is left standing

Sandy: I'm not trying to throw all this at you. I'm just trying to get my mind around it

Mx. Bondo: well, roujin's the real backer of it, I gave it a 3/5 :)

Sandy: not an apologist? :)

Mx. Bondo: I'm an apologist for plenty of Bollywood

Sandy: do you have a favorite?

Mx. Bondo: hmm, of proper Bollywood I'd say Swades or Veer-Zaara

Mx. Bondo: Bride and Prejudice is probably my favorite but that's Western styled Bollywood, My Name Is Khan is really good but not a musical.

Sandy: I won't give up til I've tried those.

Mx. Bondo: has left the building




Sandy: Next up: Daddy Long Legs  :D


(http://i41.tinypic.com/a4o31x.jpg)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: oldkid on April 05, 2012, 01:22:59 AM
For Bollywood, I'd really recommend Swades or Pyaasa (1957!).  Bride and Prejudice has some amazing musical scenes and wonderful choreography, but I think I would have been better off to have watched Swades again instead.  It was a fun romp, can't really complain.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Bondo on April 05, 2012, 09:33:36 AM
Well, subsequent in that chat Sandy realized she had seen Bride and Prejudice already.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: MartinTeller on April 05, 2012, 09:35:17 AM
I gotta go with my standard Lagaan recommendation.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on April 05, 2012, 09:44:30 AM
I'll try Pyaasa first (retro!) and then Lagaan and Swades. I'm determined to find aspects of Bollywood to love. :) Thanks for the recommendations.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on April 20, 2012, 10:41:41 AM
Daddy Long Legs

(http://i41.tinypic.com/33usxmd.jpg)

What's this? A Fred Clark and Thelma Ritter musical? Well, yes and no. They don't sing and they don't dance, but they are the perfect eggs that bind this confection together. The other leavening agent consists of the writing duo of Phoebe and Henry Ephron (Nora Ephron's parents!). Bon appétit.

(http://i40.tinypic.com/30djip5.jpg)

Fred Astaire was 30 years older than Leslie Caron and knew ignoring that fact, could be detrimental to the picture. The writers met the issue head on with direct and clever dialogue—never shirking the issue. In fact, the dialogue continues to bring up the inherent conflict throughout the story. Here's a sampling from Alex the Ambassador, “You can’t adopt an eighteen year old girl. They have a name for what you’re asking me to do.” Johnny Mercer wrote the song Somethings Gotta Give that Astaire was particularly fond of because he said, “That’s it! I’m too old for this part anyway. This is a wonderful way for me to tell the girl that I’m too old for her.” The words he sings are: “When an irresistible force such as you meets an old immovable object like me, you can best as sure as you live, somethings gotta give.” It fits the scene perfectly. The interesting thing about this method is that even though the age difference is addressed, much of the film is spent showing the youth and vitality of Astaire’s character and the growing maturity of Leslie Caron’s. They eventually meet somewhere in the middle.

Two small points: This is one of my first memories of watching musicals, so whether it's good or not, it's good to me. And, Fred Astaire's wife passed away right as they were getting ready to shoot the film. He tried to back out, but since his wife had liked his role and the story, he decided to go through with it. I had read that sometimes when he wasn't needed he would spend time alone and cry. Once in a while his eyes look sad and a little puffy in the film.




Up Next: Umbrellas of Cherbourg

(http://i39.tinypic.com/ristnc.jpg)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on June 11, 2012, 09:33:33 PM
A Star is Born (George Cukor, 1954) -

I have sadly neglected this most wonderful endeavor I have had the privilege to share with the lovely Sandy for far too long, not to mention that A Star is Born has sat on my counter, home from Netflix, for probably longer than I care to comment on. So at long last I turn to Judy Garland and her irresistible nature to bring me back, to capture the combined joy and sorrow of this marathon and this story. Judy Garland succeeded. However, not a whole lot else in the sprawling three hour film did. I must admit that at three hours, this was a split viewing, though in neither of those sittings was I ever compelled to truly care whether I would have to, or was, seeing it in two parts. There was just nothing that ever popped off the screen and really made me smile, or made me cry, the way great musicals can with wonderful numbers and great drama.

Much of this has to do with the bloated three hour runtime and the bizarre "restored" parts which often consisted of broken pieces of still photos and unpolished, supposedly uncovered, film and bits of sound that absolutely killed whatever flow the film had to begin with. Not sure what the story here is and I wasn't compelled to research it afterwards. But there was much I felt probably could have ended up on the cutting room floor to make a tauter film. It works as a director's cut maybe, with bits of extra illumination of the characters particular fans may eat up, but I didn't much care for it. Buuuut, Judy Garland was electric and I couldn't take my eyes off her wonderful performance the whole film. Certainly a different style back then, with some overplayed scenes, but Garland was just a lot of fun to see on screen there. And James Mason was a pretty good counterpart to her.

I promise this film didn't spoil my taste for wonderful musicals surely to come in this marathon, but it was slightly disappointing to me. It is definitely a film I could see many people cherishing, but just not me this time round.

** 1/2
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on June 11, 2012, 11:47:46 PM
Corndog, how wonderful!

A Star is Born is sure a bear to get through, but I'm glad you made it. Judy Garland's performance is definitely a touchstone and a great reference point, so in the end it's all worth it. As for the next ones, just choose any films that look good to you. I do recommend Daddy Long Legs because it's my favorite of the three. You called me lovely. :) For that, you pick which musical we watch after Umbrellas of Cherbourg.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on June 21, 2012, 09:58:41 PM
State Fair (Walter Lang, 1945) -

Oh goodness! Oh gracious! This is amazing. I have no idea how to go into talking about this film because there is so much I want to say, yet so very little I feel I need to explain. Let me put it this way, this film is corny as all get out, but they don't call me Corndog for nothin'!

This is the type of musical I love for its sheer joy and corniness. All through watching it, I couldn't help but think about Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which broke into my Top 100 last year. State Fair is not near as good as that film, not even close really, but I definitely felt their style was similar. A nice farm family from Iowa goes to the State Fair, the biggest event of their year and aren't they all just so darn cute! And they all fall in love! Even the pig! None of the songs were standouts and none of the performance were really memorable, but they fit beautifully into the flow of the film for what was being delivered.

It is just a delightful film, one that can instantly bring a smile to my face, and what more should I ask from a film such as this? There really isn't anything. It's like I could go down to the fancy restaurant and treat myself to a great meal, or I could pick up the phone and order a nice pizza and enjoy the heck out of it. More times than not I'm gonna pick the pizza because that's the kind of guy I am. Some movies are just built in such a way that they fit your personality. If I were to live in 1945, I would want to spend time at the Iowa state fair I think.

***
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on June 22, 2012, 09:49:05 AM
Corndog! I missed seeing this last night. I've said this before, but I've got to say it again--Watching movies with you would be the funnest thing ever! I love how you love the experiences of life. The second half of the movie was a little difficult for me, but your delight would have kept me going. :) I like how it made you think of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, one of my all time favorite movies. Thanks for reviewing!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on July 12, 2012, 10:04:21 PM
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

(http://i48.tinypic.com/2lm6q8m.jpg)


For the first 20 minutes I was saying to myself, "oh, no, no, no. Is this what I'll be watching for the next hour? Please don't continue like this." Beautiful people, singing beautifully, in brightly colored clothes and rooms without a substantial thought in their heads. I didn't know if I was going to be able to take it, but then something shifted and things got real. Most. Unexpected. Musical. Ever.

Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: MartinTeller on July 12, 2012, 10:17:40 PM
Definitely one I need to revisit... Gave it a 6 the first time, but it's been about 9 years.  Have you seen Young Girls of Rochefort?  More of a straightforward musical, but colorful and charming.  I also like the bizarro Demy-Deneuve fairy tale/musical Donkey Skin.

edit: nm, just checked the first post and was reminded that Rochefort is already on your agenda
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on July 12, 2012, 10:34:23 PM
I don't know what I would rate Umbrellas, but the beginning so threw me off track, that I give it a lot of credit. I should put Donkey Skin in my marathon. :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on July 12, 2012, 10:44:30 PM
You should check out Demy's Lola as well.  It's not a musical, but it's the first film in a loose trilogy with Cherbourg and Rochefort.  If you recall Roland Cassard's song about his love affair gone bad, that's the story and musical theme from Lola.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: MartinTeller on July 12, 2012, 10:49:22 PM
Seconded, Lola is terrific.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on July 13, 2012, 12:21:21 PM
I didn't realize there was more.

Lola goes on my list. Thanks.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on August 27, 2012, 07:19:15 PM
I must confess, I just cancelled my DVD subscription from Netflix and sent Om Shanti Om back unwatched. I was just wasting money at this point, so I must bow out of this marathon, except for those I can stream on Netflix, cause I still have Instant...

Sorry Sandy.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on August 27, 2012, 07:28:13 PM
No worries Corndog! I'm relieved that you are unable to watch Om Shanti Om. :D If there is a musical you want me to add, just let me know :) and join in anytime you like.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on September 07, 2012, 07:29:37 PM
Daddy Long Legs (Jean Negulesco, 1955) -

So I encountered a fine strike of joy when I cancelled my Netflix DVD subscription, yet they still sent me this one last disc before the change actually took effect. So I live to fight at least one more day in my commitment to this marathon, and am treated to the wonder of Fred Astaire. Or so I thought. I love musicals, and the dancing in some of them is just mesmerizing, but I also must admit that I am not well versed in the genre and as such my Fred-Astaire-o-meter is not astronomical. I hear all about him, but between this film and Top Hat from earlier in this same thread, I have not been blown away, and perhaps it is just a case of high expectations. He is a fine dancer, I see the charisma; I feel as though I have just not yet seen the truly remarkable scenes of Fred Astaire. Please reassure me.

I don't think this film helped matters much either. Before I start, and before you yell at me, let me make this statement: This movie is fine. There is nothing outwardly wrong with it (except maybe the fact that they make it okay for a man to fall in love with and woo an innocent girl young enough to be his niece's roommate; can you imagine that in this day and age?). My problem with the film was just how bland everything felt. I felt like nothing was really happening for the first hour of the film. And the protagonist was just boring. Was he supposed to be an attractive personality outside of the fact that he had a ton of money? Because I didn't think so. The only good move I think Pendleton made was employing Thelma Ritter. Am I being overly critical? Myea, maybe, but I don't think so. I did not enjoy the film, which is a rare occasion for me. I usually find something to walk away with, but not this time. Again though, I didn't hate the film, I just thought it was utterly and completely mediocre, bland, dull and uneventful.

** - Fair
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on September 07, 2012, 10:01:26 PM
Well at least you gave it the good ol' college try. You are right that Thelma Ritter is the best thing about the movie and Fred Clark is a close 2nd. Sorry it was a let down. Between this and The Words, you are due a great movie. Hope it's soon.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on December 29, 2012, 03:48:45 AM
Les Misérables

(http://i48.tinypic.com/2w6f9kg.jpg)
"Where will she end, this child without a friend?"


This is turning out to be the review I'm most concerned about, for I am so entrenched in the songs and the story, there is no way I'll come at this with any kind of objectivity. My saving grace is that no one here really expects that from me anyway, so I'm diving in...

The first and biggest chill that runs up my spine during the movie isn't from one of the big show stopping solos, but from a non-descript woman in an alley during At the End of the Day. I think she is singing something from these lines, "And the righteous hurry past. They don't hear the little ones crying." (When I go back to see the film, I'll take note and get the exact moment.) This tells me a couple of things. One, is that the movie is an ensemble piece. Each participant, from actor to grip, is an essential cog in the product's wheel and they are all fully devoted to the enterprise. And second, since I'm already worn down from Look Down and What Have I Done? I know the chill is telling me that the movie owns me completely and I'm grateful for it. Take me to the dark places and walk with me there. Show me what utter despair looks like and let me hear the words I've heard a hundred times sung from faces that fill the screen, so they can sink even deeper into me. "I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I'm living. So different now from what it seemed, now life has killed the dream I dreamed." Scour out the hiding places in the soul and lay it all out to be examined.

What about the soul? The priest said he bought Jean Valjean's soul for God, but what does that mean? Valjean sings, "Why did I allow that man to touch my soul and teach me love? He treated me like any other. He gave me his trust. He called me brother. My life he claims for God above. Can such things be? For I had come to hate the world, this world that always hated me." The turning point, for from then on, he searches (for) his soul. I can't think of a better concept for a story, or a life for that matter.

My first tears slip out as Valjean crests the hill with the rising sun and sings, "Freedom at last, how strange the taste! Never forget the years - the waste... And now let's see what this new world will do for me!" They don't really stop for the next three hours. Who knew there are so many tears? Luckily I'm very good at being quiet when I cry, so as to not be a bother. But, I'm put to the test, first with Fantine in her "casket" belting out, "As they tear your hope apart. As they turn your dream to shame." If Anne Hathaway doesn't win an Oscar, I don't know what those gold naked men are for. Then, even though I had mentally prepared myself for Eponine's On My Own because I know it's an automatic trigger, they unfairly throw too much at me--on screen closeups, in the rain, and Samantha Bark's beautiful rendition of, "I love him, but every day I'm learning, all my life, I've only been pretending." The third strike is Hugh Jackman's crowning moment,

God on high
Hear my prayer
Take me now
To thy care
Where you are
Let me be
Take me now
Take me there
Bring me home


His choices for the entirety of his portrayal of Jean Valjean are impeccable, but the way he performs these words? I'm lost. How do I sob in silence? I can't. I just have to swallow them (which is painful) and wait til I get home. Are there flaws in the film? Yes. Does it matter? No. If a movie can transport me that far and fling me about in waves of ruin and redemption then it is perfect in it's imperfections.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Junior on December 29, 2012, 08:32:49 AM
Yeah, I had a similar reaction. Not as intense, I didn't shed a tear, but all the drama totally worked for me and I let all the other problems with the movie slip out of mind. Is it a perfect version of the story? No. Do I care? No.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: sdedalus on December 29, 2012, 11:04:33 AM
Jackman and Hathaway are really good.

This was the first version of the musical I've seen, is it a complete adaptation?  Did they cut out stuff from the stage version (obviously much has been cut from the novel)?  Is there dialogue simply spoken in the stage version (like there is, a little, in the film) or is it all sung recitative?  I was expecting it to be a musical, not an opera (not that I'm complaining).
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on December 29, 2012, 12:26:19 PM
sdedalus,
GothamCity is better able to give specifics, but I'll write what I know over in the discussion thread. In my mind, it's opera and I'm not complaining either--it's like a hybrid that is much more accessible to me.



Yeah, I had a similar reaction. Not as intense, I didn't shed a tear, but all the drama totally worked for me and I let all the other problems with the movie slip out of mind. Is it a perfect version of the story? No. Do I care? No.

Junior! I'm so happy that you had a great experience with it. Your post shows me that I'm just a big cry baby. :D
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Bondo on December 29, 2012, 03:17:42 PM
I took a similar "I don't care" approach toward the film's faults. If the emotions of the film hadn't grasped me so completely, I easily could have paid them more attention and had it drop right out of my top-10 but none of the details matter when a film works like that.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on December 30, 2012, 02:29:20 PM
I took a similar "I don't care" approach toward the film's faults. If the emotions of the film hadn't grasped me so completely, I easily could have paid them more attention and had it drop right out of my top-10 but none of the details matter when a film works like that.

Well said Bondo, I'm glad I got to share that same experience.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 01, 2013, 03:27:57 AM
Holiday Inn

(http://i49.tinypic.com/2hnrig5.jpg)


1SO, you're killing me. I'm all rattled. You've taken my beloved White Christmas and had the audacity to say there is something better! You may be right, :-[ but admitting to that possibility turns my world upside down, so I'm withholding that final judgement until I've seen Holiday Inn as many times as White Christmas. That buys me a lot of time. For now, I'm going to love them both and not make them fight for a place in my heart, for there is room enough.

I'll address the elephant in the room first, so I can move on to more positive aspects. I would say the dual tragedy of using black face as a plot device, though well meaning, shows a great lack of respect. (It reminds me of a modern play that, even though it doesn't offend me, still carries those same traits. I may ask your opinion about it some day.) And, because of the lack of respect, instead of being right up there with It's a Wonderful Life and White Christmas, it gets barely a nod during this season. It really is a shame, because it's chock-full of wonderful moments created by Irving Berlin, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and cast.

Most of the songs are very clever, including the opener "I'll Capture Your Heart Singing," which had me chuckling throughout. Here's the first four lines:

[Fred:] Here she comes, down the street
[Bing:] My, oh my, ain't she sweet?
[Fred:] Why, here comes my hot toddy
[Bing:] Over my dead body :)

It sets up the whole premise of the movie. Pretty ingenious. Bing sings a lot. Fred dances a lot. I'm happy. Two of my favorite moments are the juxtaposition of the song "Lazy" with the montage of farm life and even better, Fred's Scotch fueled New Year's Eve dance. He makes it looks so effortless and his dance partner is a good sport. It may be the cutest dance I've ever seen him perform.

I surmise that White Christmas owes a lot to this film: it's title song, the duo's song and dance act, the inn!, patriotism, the car sabotage inspiring Danny Kaye's game leg sabotage...  I should never begrudge a predecessor.



Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on January 01, 2013, 12:07:07 PM
Your plan will only work in my favor because Holiday Inn gets better with rewatches. Except for "Abraham" you keep wishing it won't be as bad as you remember (and the song is rather good) but the offensive imagery just grows up until the moment when darling Linda Mason comes out looking like Buckwheat and does the full racist poses and shuffles.

Then there's the rest. The greatest crooner vs. the greatest dancer. Bing's hep cat improves ("a slug from the mug") and his tossed off songs. (After "Happy Holidays" went into "Holiday Inn" did you think he'd pull out "One Minute to Midnight" so soon?) Walter Abel plays manager Danny Reed perfectly. That moment of recognition in the flower shop when he realizes why Linda Mason is helping him. Marjorie Reynolds grows increasingly delightful on rewatches. (She looks like Katherine Heigl, but her sweet charm is the polar opposite.) With "Be Careful it's My Heart" she has Bing crooning to her while she whirls across the dance floor in Fred's arms. This is Mrs. 1SO's 1940s Valentine dream. Fred having the music changed on him whenever he tries to kiss Linda. His firecracker dance, Bing listens to himself sing about Thanksgiving and makes fun of his singing.  And the reprise of "I'll Capture Your Heart Singing,"which changes to lyrics to wrap up the story.

I'm planning to watch White Christmas again next year, but the only thing it has to it's advantage is the lack of blackface. Even the performances of "White Christmas". In the more recent film it's Bing performing a holiday classic, but in "Holiday Inn" he has no idea the phenomenon that's being unleashed. Plus I like that it becomes a duet. Tapping the bells with his pipe should be in any great movie montage.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 01, 2013, 04:32:47 PM
Your plan will only work in my favor because Holiday Inn gets better with rewatches.

 :D I do believe you. I "watched" it twice through while wrapping presents. I usually try and break that up over some days, but this year? All in one fell swoop. Just getting to hear the songs made the time go quickly. Then I got to really see it and was happy the songs were already more familiar to me.

Quote
Except for "Abraham" you keep wishing it won't be as bad as you remember (and the song is rather good) but the offensive imagery just grows up until the moment when darling Linda Mason comes out looking like Buckwheat and does the full racist poses and shuffles.

Such a blight on an otherwise magical film.

Quote
Then there's the rest. The greatest crooner vs. the greatest dancer. Bing's hep cat improves ("a slug from the mug") and his tossed off songs. (After "Happy Holidays" went into "Holiday Inn" did you think he'd pull out "One Minute to Midnight" so soon?)

No, I was surprised how they just kept coming and all the dance numbers too. Very generous!


Quote
Walter Abel plays manager Danny Reed perfectly. That moment of recognition in the flower shop when he realizes why Linda Mason is helping him.

His look. I missed it the first two times and was surprised to see how great he was when I could watch him as well as hear him.

Quote
Marjorie Reynolds grows increasingly delightful on rewatches. (She looks like Katherine Heigl, but her sweet charm is the polar opposite.) With "Be Careful it's My Heart" she has Bing crooning to her while she whirls across the dance floor in Fred's arms. This is Mrs. 1SO's 1940s Valentine dream.

My compliments to Mrs. 1SO. I like her style.


Quote
Fred having the music changed on him whenever he tries to kiss Linda. His firecracker dance, Bing listens to himself sing about Thanksgiving and makes fun of his singing.  And the reprise of "I'll Capture Your Heart Singing,"which changes to lyrics to wrap up the story.

Reading this makes me want to watch it again right now. :)

Quote
I'm planning to watch White Christmas again next year, but the only thing it has to it's advantage is the lack of blackface. Even the performances of "White Christmas". In the more recent film it's Bing performing a holiday classic, but in "Holiday Inn" he has no idea the phenomenon that's being unleashed. Plus I like that it becomes a duet. Tapping the bells with his pipe should be in any great movie montage.

I laughed out loud at that. How lovely to have perfectly tuned bell ornaments. :D When next year rolls around and you're looking for reasons to like it, I'll make you a little list of things to look for. :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 01, 2013, 02:08:46 PM
Girl Walk // All Day

(http://i45.tinypic.com/2zdzvqv.jpg)

And don't you know
It's a beautiful new day hey,hey
Runnin' down the avenue
See how the sun shines brightly in the city

                                              --Mr. Blue Sky


I saw the first chapter of this a while ago and had a pronounced knee jerk reaction to the girl. That, in your grill, attitude combined with the American Idol-tryout-clueless-ego just wasn't doing it for me. george96 and oldkid sum up my problem very well with one of their Filmspots best line picks: "We are not all supporting characters in the drama of your amazing life!" --Margaret

It's taken me a while to work up the right frame of mind to watch it. I decided that in order to like the film, I needed to find reasons to like her. That was just the ticket, because there is so much to like about her throughout, that it tempered all the things that bugged me so much.  One such scene is when she comes to the rescue of the Gentleman and then proceeds to pull him out of his quietly inward revery to show him how to experience joy. It's that balance that comes from disparate personalities. Three different dancers. Three different walks. I started writing down descriptive words while watching each of them perform and knew right away which was my favorite and why.


See Me!
(http://i48.tinypic.com/sqj9s8.jpg)

Needy
Messy
Exuberant
Reactionary
Demanding
Enthusiastic
Endulgent


I See You
(http://i45.tinypic.com/mbobow.jpg)

Driven
Aggressive
Transient
Work from the Core
Frenetic
Observant
Appetite


Who Am I?
(http://i46.tinypic.com/2nr20p0.jpg)

Introspective
Apologetic
Self Discovery
Quiet
Graceful
Measured
Controlled

Except for the graceful part :D, that's my walk through and through.



What's your Walk // All Day? :)


Thanks AAAutin and 1SO for the encouragement I needed. (Those mashups! Kind of a new thing to me. Any favorites out there?)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on February 01, 2013, 04:06:00 PM
I like the way you describe The Girl's attitude in the beginning. I have the same reaction. It's too much, too strong and in your face right off the bat. She's not breaking free but acting like a punk. It's the intro of The Creep that pulls me in. When I rewatch I usually start there.

As for mashups...
Mantronix vs. EPMD "Strictly Business" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-QjwbKT8YQ)
"Rapture Riders" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dnhKPw2NXIw)
"Stayin' Alive in the Wall" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=U13xOvDa19U#!)
"A Fifth of Golddiger" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJI4eBsKLAY)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Junior on February 01, 2013, 04:15:37 PM
I really liked The Girl at the beginning. Loved the color shift and the song there is awesome. My favorite mash up is this:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPtWh5XjiH0&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 02, 2013, 01:16:47 AM
These are great 1SO and Junior! Thanks!

Junior, you're way out ahead of me when it comes to acceptance. I need to learn how to shed my protective armor more quickly.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on May 03, 2013, 03:14:13 PM
A Prairie Home Companion

(http://i41.tinypic.com/2v1nu5h.jpg)

Singing's the only thing that puts me right.


Tishomingo Blues (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRYa2p3PQWI) is a great opener, but it's not the one I remember. Hello Love (http://open.spotify.com/track/4lw6F897OD5d3pJlFr82gK) is the opening song I heard on Saturday nights back in the 80's. My dad was a big fan of the radio show and at home or in a car, Prairie Home Companion was my background companion. I didn't appreciate it much at the time. I laughed a little, but the string of music, pseudo sponsors and monologues blended together to form a type of white noise as I went about doing my own thing.

What a difference a few decades can make...

Well, look who's coming through the door
I think we've met somewhere before
Hello love, hello love!

Where in the world have you been so long
I've missed you so since you've been gone
Hello love, hello love!

I've heard it said time and again
You'll often go back where you've been
I really didn't believe it was true
But I left the door unlocked for you

It's wonderful now, you're back with me
And things are like they use to be
Remember love, remember love?


 :)

The movie, A Prairie Home Companion, feels like that and this time around it has my complete attention. So many of the elements are there; Guy Noir, Dusty and Lefty, the "commercials" and Keillor's smooth lulling voice, but this isn't a concert only. The film keeps my attention because there is as much, or more time spent behind the scenes as in front. The stories all intertwine and my favorite thread to follow is the Johnson Sisters, who have been singing together since they were children. They know their stories so long and so well that they can talk over each other with ne'er a problem, shaking their heads in agreement as they go along. The sister's duets make me tear up, as they pour out their shared past through them. Asphodel the "dangerous woman" threw me off for a few minutes, but after awhile I liked her paralleling the finality of the show. Time marches on and all.

I'm happily surprised that I loved this movie more than I thought I would. It's funny the blocks our teenage selves can make for certain things. I wonder what else I might love, that I dismissed so readily then.



If I'm ever in Saint Paul Minnesota on a quiet, rainy, Saturday night, I'll drop by Mickey's Diner for a grilled cheese sandwich with a chaser of beans, but for now, I've a hankerin' for one of those Powdermilk Biscuits, because they "give shy persons the strength to get up and do what needs to be done. Heavens, they're tasty and expeditious."
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Bondo on May 03, 2013, 03:37:03 PM
As a Minnesota-born, Lutheran-raised Norwegian, I am obligated to love Prairie Home Companion. I love the film so much. It does have some dramatic depth about the end of things or changing times...and end that will eventually have to be faced with the show, but it is also like a warm, soft blanket. It is that comfort of old times and nostalgia, that not entirely real notion that there were good old times really. I had the pleasure of seeing PHC recorded live when it was on tour in Colorado and now that I'm close to MN, I'm hoping to get down for one at The Fitz in St. Paul when the show returns from its summer tour this fall.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on May 03, 2013, 03:54:03 PM
I'd love to go to the Fitz! (So that's what the locals call it.) My dad is a Rockford IL-born, Lutherin-raised Norwegian! He must be obligated to love it too. :) I like your take on the movie, Bondo--end of things as well as comfort.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: oldkid on May 03, 2013, 04:03:21 PM
I thought that the film wasn't PHC enough.  But then I found out it was a Robert Altman film, I saw it in a different way and forgave it everything.  What a fun film.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Junior on May 04, 2013, 08:45:11 AM
It was on my top 100 at one point. Saw it as a teenager and really enjoyed it. Still can't stand the actual show, though.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on May 06, 2013, 10:45:13 AM
I too prefer the movie Junior and you're right oldkid, it is a lot of fun. :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on May 13, 2013, 02:35:24 AM
Calamity Jane

(http://i40.tinypic.com/166g0p.jpg)


This post, as far as I can reckon, could be placed in 3 specific threads: this musical marathon, my Western marathon and the Merry Music of May group marathon. If only I had been dictated it for the May MDC and smirnoff had inexplicably put it in his Top 100, I could have made it 5 threads!


So slight, but who the heck cares! I can see the story coming miles down the road and the only people the movie insults more than women (that’s female thinkin’), are the Indians, but I can't stay mad at it for long, because, well, just look at Doris and Howard. They're game and so am I. Doris' Calamity is all purposeful walking and tall tale talking, while Howard's Bill is the more laid back, affable version of Annie Get Your Gun's Frank Butler. They still have to square off with, Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better. Oops. In this movie it's been altered to I Can Do Without You and although it's not as genius as the Anything You Can Do (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO23WBji_Z0) version, it still gets the message across. To get a feel for the timbre of the mood the movie wants you to be in by the end, this simple and pretty song should do the trick: The Black Hills Of Dakota (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jc5OPe2Nl5c). Hearing the two leads harmonize is worth the price of admission alone.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on May 13, 2013, 09:27:22 AM
Ha! I'll be watching this one today.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 02, 2014, 03:22:56 AM
Frozen

(http://i41.tinypic.com/2jy1ea.png)


I almost missed this. That teaser trailer, a la Ice Age's Scrat, turned me completely off of it. I had no desire to watch a snowman and a reindeer battle it out for a carrot. No Thanks. Tangled on Ice was another catchphrase that gave me pause. I like Tangled fine, but the idea of rehashing the bound for Broadway tunes that felt already oh so slightly tired, left me with zero motivation.

Enter chore and good behavior leveraging. Frozen was getting a lot of traction around here, so to make it worth my while, I utilized it's impetus powers and soon felt it had earned my time. I couldn't have been more wrong.

From the opening shot, I knew I was in for something very special. The sights and sounds were so meticulously and lovingly presented that my fears dissipated. Music wise, there is nothing rehashed here, as the story weaves in and around the words and music. It feels completely new and besides having incredible musical talent from all areas, it works so well, because the story itself is rich with characters that live and breath. The overall outcome is song after song of pure emotion. It has it all, loneliness, fear, hope, joy, and best of all of them, empowerment. This is music I embrace. And the story is none to shabby either. :)

One last word about the snowman. I was prepared to hate him with all the hate I had in me, but he won me over in about 10 seconds. Josh Gad is a voice acting treasure. I loved every word out of his buck tooth mouth.





Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on January 02, 2014, 09:39:56 AM
I want to get your opinion about the songs. I liked them (except for the trolls "Fixer Upper"), but other Disney animated films maintained a consistency in the style of music. The "Ice" song gives the film a Lion King or Little Mermaid sense of time and place. (You can probably trace it back to Dumbo's "Song of the Roustabouts.") Then I heard a distinctly Broadway sound with "Do You Want to Build a Snowman". However, with "For the First Time in Forever" and "Let it Go", that's tossed aside for a modern, High School Musical or Glee style pop ballad.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Also, did it strike you as odd that the front half was loaded with wall-to-wall songs eventually tapering off to practically no singing?
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 02, 2014, 07:47:37 PM
Such great questions 1SO! I want to think on it for a little and get back to you.  :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Mike Shutt on January 02, 2014, 08:54:43 PM
I think the music style shifts slightly to accommodate the character singing it. If everyone sings in the same fashion, it's boring. Take "Reindeers Are Better Than People". Kristof is a laid back, take it easy, doesn't want to be bothered kind of guy, so he sings a silky, brief song with nothing but an acoustic guitar.

And the power ballad of "Let It Go" is definitely something that has been gestating from Evita to Chess to Miss Saigon to Wicked. Now it's sort of commonplace. Also, when Idina Menzel is your voice, you better utilize her belt.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 03, 2014, 01:31:05 AM
Yes, those are very good points GC. The songs really did fit the characters personalities. Also, when I heard  "Let It Go" it was "Defying Gravity", the turning point of the film, moving it into a new direction, like "Soliloquy" from Carousel, which is Broadway through and through. Nice evolution there. I can completely hear the echoes of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and "I'd Give My Life For You."

I want to get your opinion about the songs. I liked them (except for the trolls "Fixer Upper"),

These kind of songs never do much for me, stuff like "One Last Hope" from Hercules or "Topsy Turvy" from Hunchback, but "Fixer Upper" does a nice job of turning the idea of typical perfect Disney love on it's ear. I give it credit for that.

Quote
but other Disney animated films maintained a consistency in the style of music. The "Ice" song gives the film a Lion King or Little Mermaid sense of time and place. (You can probably trace it back to Dumbo's "Song of the Roustabouts.")

I forgot about "Rousatbouts!" When I heard the Ice song, I was thinking of "Virginia Company" from Pocahontas. So when I said in my review that Frozen feels completely new, it's not that I don't hear past musicals, it's that it somehow has brought it to a new and fresh place. Not sure how to describe it except that it comes from the story and the talents of all involved.

Quote
Then I heard a distinctly Broadway sound with "Do You Want to Build a Snowman". However, with "For the First Time in Forever" and "Let it Go", that's tossed aside for a modern, High School Musical or Glee style pop ballad.

With Glee doing so much Broadway and the lines between Broadway and Pop being so blurry, I'm not sure where one ends and the other begins. :) I do know that as I was watching this and the same when I watched Tangled, I knew that putting it on the stage was just a matter of time. There's formulas that work for that kind of adaptation and Disney knows how to create them.

Quote
Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Also, did it strike you as odd that the front half was loaded with wall-to-wall songs eventually tapering off to practically no singing?

Yes, it did bother me some. I was so surprised and happy how song heavy it was, where the story could be beautifully told through music. GothamCity said that he wished "Fixer Upper" wasn't the last song, but that they could have had one later in the movie. I would have loved to hear Jonathan Groff's Kristoff sing about his conflicted heart when he had to let Anna go. What would even be cooler is to add in the gorgeous voice of Santino Fontana as a cool counterpoint of altruism vs. opportunism! Yeah, that would have been perfection.


Thanks for asking 1SO. Hope that answered some of what you asked. :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: oldkid on January 05, 2014, 05:11:31 PM
It seems to me that the heart of the movie is the emotional impact of the interaction between the characters.  At first we need the songs to stir the emotions within ourselves, to take years of oppression or separation and to give us that impact in just a few minutes.  But I didn't feel the loss of the songs because I understood the impact of the characters and their interactions.  I'm not saying the songs were only a crutch for our emotions, they are too well made for that.  I'm just saying that I was ready to move past the songs to see what would happen to the characters.  If there was a song in the midst of the climax to express the emotions of the moment, it would have cheapened it, I think, like the songs at the climax of Beauty and the Beast.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on January 05, 2014, 10:55:04 PM
Excellent feedback. I think a lot of my disappointment stems from Frozen ending on "Fixer Upper", which is incredibly weak, and sung in a gospel style which couldn't be more of a mismatch for trolls.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 05, 2014, 11:35:20 PM
 :) Yeah, that is a strange music style choice. I too like your take oldkid. It makes the way they chose to do the latter part of the movie sit better with me.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Junior on January 05, 2014, 11:37:31 PM
Frozen is boring now. Go see Inside Llewyn Davis.

"It's death-haunted!" - Michael Phillips.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 05, 2014, 11:43:29 PM
 :))
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 23, 2014, 01:07:01 AM
The Wizard of Oz

(http://i61.tinypic.com/4qh6ir.jpg)


A case where the third time really is the charm as Victor Fleming comes in to direct after Norman Taurog gets reassigned and Richard Thorpe can't catch the vision of Oz. And, not counting George Kukor, who has a short stint as surrogate, making a few tweaks here and there; most notably is scrubbing Dorothy's glamor away to reveal the fresh faced girl from Kansas. Thank you Kukor! At first glance, Fleming might not seem the obvious choice, but to hear his words on the matter, everything becomes clear. "I made the film because I wanted my two little girls to see a picture that searched for beauty and decency and sweetness and love in the world." One more director adds his sepia touch to the film. As Fleming goes to salvage Gone With the Wind, King Vidor steps in to finish up with the Kansas scenes and beautifully direct the number one "Song of the Century" and the American Film Institute's choice for greatest movie song of all time.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow is, as Judy Garland's daughter Lorna Luft said, "The most perfect marriage of a song and artist that's ever been." A song that almost got left on the editing room floor, because some felt it slowed the movie down. It's a two minute song for heaven's sake! Although, there is something that does occur during that song and it doesn't just slow things down. Time stands still and breathing is forgotten as this girl who's not being heard, pours out her fondest dream to only her dog Toto and, by now, at least a billion people.

Arguably the most watched film of all time, The Wizard of Oz is a universal cinematic handbook for childhood, with chapters on facing fears, dealing with an expanding world, valuing friendship, learning how to function emotionally, mentally and socially and believing in yourself and your dreams.

A most personal film, if ever, oh ever a film there was.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on February 23, 2014, 08:00:56 AM
I recently gave this a rewatch for my catalog marathon but have been struggling for the words to review. I may just copy these, since I agree wholeheartedly.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 26, 2014, 01:04:32 AM
I recently gave this a rewatch for my catalog marathon but have been struggling for the words to review. I may just copy these, since I agree wholeheartedly.

Thanks Corndog :), I'm glad you feel the same way.

It's an absolutely crazy movie to try and write anything about. So daunting!!! I wouldn't have even attempted it, except I've been asked to write and narrate a city's symphony concert of music from movies and Somewhere Over The Rainbow is one of the songs. Up next is another behemoth, Singin' in the Rain. Gulp!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 26, 2014, 02:35:39 AM
Singin' in the Rain

(http://i62.tinypic.com/2uo5atl.jpg)


Singin' in the Rain has gotten me into a few predicaments here and there over the years. I'm sure it's not intentional, but the movie is just so irresistible, it can't help itself. Or, I should say, I can't help myself.

Do you remember those dome umbrellas that you could watch the rain through the clear plastic. I loved them. I thought they were the greatest invention ever. I was so proud going to and from school on those days I was lucky enough to have rain. Well, not anymore after seeing Singin' in the Rain. So what if I could see through the dumb thing, it wouldn't spin. Nor was it aerodynamic as I swung around in big circles. The clunky thing held me back and kept me from having that glorious feeling. Umbrella dissatisfaction was the first incident.

The next one I'm not proud of and I paid dearly the rest of the day for it, but as we lined up for school one morning right after a heavy rain, the water spout was pouring out the most tempting gush of water and I don't know what possessed me, unless it was Gene Kelly's big smile, but I had to get underneath it, I just had to! Five seconds of bliss. Five hours, fifty-nine minutes and fifty-five seconds of miserable wet clothes sticking to me. Plenty of time to wipe the smile off my own face.

I found that I was taxing everyone's patience as phrases from the movie started creeping into my vocabulary like, “What dope’d wear a thing like this?”, “You and who else, you big lummox?”,  “Well, at least you’re taking it lying down.”, or “How did you come, by way of Australia?” and my personal favorite, "I'm a shimmering star in the cinema firmament."  Fun the first 10 times, but after that it's pushing it and boy did I push it.

One trip to Hollywood in pre-GPS days, had me facing a carload of angry, frustrated people as I was bound and determined to find certain intersecting streets, so I could take a picture and sing out, "Here we are Sunset and Camden!" So worth it to me, but I failed to convince anyone else of it's importance.

Let's see, what other things did I have to learn the hard way? I'm not capable of running up walls. Spinning around on the carpet propelled by my elbows, creates good and painful rug burns. Reenacting the crazy veil dance cannot be accomplished with a portable fan. Making faces behind people's backs doesn't work, because of something called peripheral vision. There's more, but suffice it to say, I'm a slow learner when it comes to the compelling nature of this movie. Why is it so compelling? I'll tell you. There's not a misstep in any moment of this film. Each one is perfectly choreographed and executed and practically begs me to infused it into the very fibers of my being. So I oblige and I'm happy again.  And again.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on February 26, 2014, 08:30:33 AM
Yes.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: MartinTeller on February 26, 2014, 09:31:34 AM
Love it, Sandy!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 27, 2014, 10:10:22 PM
Thanks Martin! Now you know how foolish I can really be. :)


Yes.

I knew you liked Singin' in the Rain, so went to see if it landed in your top 100.

#2!!!  :))

Have you ever written about it?
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Corndog on February 27, 2014, 10:41:14 PM
As part of my favorite marathon I've done here.  (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7494.msg428421#msg428421)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on February 27, 2014, 11:18:36 PM
As part of my favorite marathon I've done here.  (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=7494.msg428421#msg428421)

Oh! That marathon was before I got here. Such a great idea for one. I've been enjoying all the reviews. :) The idea of seeing SitR for the first time ever, makes my head spin a little. Seeing it through your eyes by way of your review is a real treat.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on June 01, 2014, 01:30:56 PM


(http://i59.tinypic.com/2uf6bup.jpg)
Born to Dance (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12826.msg770640#msg770640)

(http://i58.tinypic.com/1zbgino.jpg)
Love Me Tender (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12826.msg770439#msg770439)

Quartet (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12826.msg768527#msg768527)

(http://i58.tinypic.com/jhuix3.png)
Riding High (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12826.msg771069#msg771069)

Searching for Sugarman (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12095.msg770908#msg770908)

Stormy Weather (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12826.msg768994#msg768994)

(http://i58.tinypic.com/2i75wg1.jpg)
That Midnight Kiss (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12826.msg771082#msg771082)

(http://i59.tinypic.com/2gvk47p.jpg)
Words and Music (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=12826.msg771097#msg771097)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: oldkid on June 01, 2014, 05:12:15 PM
Busy month for musicals!

It was so great to read your refreshing take on these films!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on June 01, 2014, 09:50:30 PM
Thanks oldkid! I love this musical May theme. There were more I wanted to get to, but I can put them here anytime.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on May 06, 2015, 10:03:05 PM
Hang the Group Marathon, this is too good an opportunity to pass up.

State Fair 1945
You are now treading into territory where I'm too afraid to follow. (Both this week and next). Your review had lots of color, plus Dana Andrews, but it warned of a dull 2nd Half. I can't take another Carousel (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=9893.msg597293#msg597293).


It's fortunate that I hadn't shown them State Fair before our foray. Instead of everyone being mildly disappointed, I could have had a full revolt on my hands. For what State Fair does best is paint a very pretty picture of an impossibly perfect celebration. Reality can never measure up.
Mrs. 1SO didn't like the story but liked the more famous actors and the way the film presents State Fairs. So much so that she looked up when ours is happening and now we're going to visit it... but only for a day. And we're padding the trip out with other fun activities so we're not putting all our fun eggs into one State Fair.


After a certain point the only thing keeping me involved was Dana Andrews. Sigh. This is him below. Get a load of the suit and dress--I didn't see anything like that on my outing. Also of note, this is the cutest scene in the film--the highlight for me.

(http://i44.tinypic.com/1zny002.jpg)
I like that scene too. There's a moment where he holds up his coat to her and she thinks he's striking a cocky pose but then the coaster drops and she grabs the coat for something to cling to.
After a certain point the only thing keeping me involved was red hair, but not in the usual sexy way. The film stars Jeanne Crain, whose hair is usually red but here dyed mousy brown. Then there's Vivian Blaine, who's hair is my favorite shade of red, except you can tell she's a fake. A blonde in disguise.


This is the brother and he's a schmuck. I won't get into his story, which I disliked the whole of, but suffice it to say he is one. But, along side him is the wonderful Harry Morgan--another highlight.
Soon as I saw him I thought he must be from the stage because on camera the brother just looks like a jerk and a tool. He's also always the less interesting person in his scenes. Getting into his story, he spends the entire film chasing a girl only to end up with someone else. Had we met her before. By the last scene, I already couldn't remember. I thought about it and what the writing is trying to do could work. Redheaded blonde was a seasonal fling, a brief moment in time. But the way it plays out here it's like having Myrna Loy enter at the end of Casablanca to walk away with Bogie.


I stopped the film for a few minutes so I could study this campsight. Can you imagine such a perfect set up? Cordoned of private space with an outdoor kitchen and a token tent for those that want to rough it. Each of their meals was on dinnerware, with linens. I didn't think the mom would ever get a chance to enjoy the fair, but the prop people took care of everything and she was able to have a fine time.
I'm not a camper or trailer person, but I also saw that set up and thought it looked so much more fun than a hotel. If you're going to do a State Fair, this is the way to do it. One of my favorite parts of the film was the way mom griped about dad taking care of the pig and the sweet way she told him he was taking her out on the last night.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on May 06, 2015, 10:50:12 PM
 :D

Looking up Vivian Blaine's hair color...   Yes, that's very pretty!

My recommendations for your state fair visit is go early in it's run, while the produce is fresh and the animals haven't been cooped up for the whole duration. :)  I like that you have other plans as well!

The only things keeping me involved the second half were counting Jeanne Crain's changing outfits.

Bogie and Loy. You're right. There's a certain clunkiness to it. :)

I too liked the mom and I too would have loved that set up. It's pretend camping!



Merry Music of May Group Marathon 2015

The Glenn Miller Story (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13341.msg804800#msg804800)
Here Comes the Groom (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13341.msg802534#msg802534)
A Mighty Wind (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13341.msg803338#msg803338)
Tales of Hoffman (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13341.msg805130#msg805130)
Young Man with a Horn (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13341.msg805541#msg805541)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on November 17, 2015, 12:29:42 AM
Yentl

(http://i65.tinypic.com/25ggvmt.png)

I haven't learned a thing. I might as well be sixteen years old again, seeing this for the first time. The whole of life is contained in the story and songs; all for the taking. And I thought I did take it. I listened to the album uncountable times, pondering on the lyrics, the lessons. But, here I am again, pondering the same words, wondering why I'm still such a neophyte. I had them practically memorized, so why are they hitting me so hard now, like lightning strikes of awareness? I have to figure this out...


What's right or wrong, where I belong
Within the scheme of things


As a teenager I sang along to these words, wanting to really know and here I am a grown woman, still asking the same questions. And these as well:

And why have eyes that see and arms that reach
Unless you're meant to know there's something more
If not to hunger for the meaning of it all
Then tell me what a soul is for?


I know these are big questions, but I've been on the planet for a good amount of time now. It's aggravating not knowing if I'm making any headway with them.


Hmmm, these next words give me comfort, for time has given me more moments, gifts to know that I'm not where I was, because I am acquiring experiences.

I will always remember this chair, that window
The way the light streams in
The clothes I'm wearing, the words I'm hearing
The faces I'm seeing, the feeling I'm feeling
The smell, the sound, will be written on my mind
Will be written in my heart as long as I live



I believed in these next ones tenuously, for sixteen is an uncertain age by right, and so they became a pale promise.

I've wanted the shadows, I don't anymore
No matter what happens, I won't anymore
I've run from the sunlight, afraid it saw too much
The moon had the one light

I bathed in, I walked in, I held in my feelings
And closed every door
No matter what happens
I can't anymore


But, not having conviction behind that promise, I lost them for a while and as I hear them again tonight, I mourn that loss. I'm not afraid anymore, like I was then, so when the next part comes, my promise now is much bolder:

For too many mornings, the curtains were drawn
It's time they were opened to welcome the dawn
A voice deep inside is getting stronger
I can't keep it quiet any longer
No matter what happens
It can't be the same anymore
I promise it won't be the same, anymore


Whew, there is hope for me yet!! :)


Oh, this next one hits especially hard. And, it's difficult to explain. Suffice it to say, I'm trying to learn that I too get to say, "So am I."

She's mother, she's sister,
She's lover.
She's the wonder of wonders
No man can deny.
So why would he change her?
She's loving-she's tender-
She's woman-

...So am I.



The last song, I could quote all the words, really. It's so full of wonder. I think I posted it somewhere before, but if you don't mind a little spoileriness, it's well worth a listen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kT7R-QCrhtg

So why am I still such a beginner? The answer is in the song.

The more I live, the more I learn
The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.


Or as the Rabbi said, "It's by their questions that we choose our students, not only by their answers." I guess, I'm a life long student!

This has been a very useful exercise. If you've read along, you have a lot of patience for my need to process. Thank you. :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 27, 2016, 08:05:03 PM
I can't stop watching this. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGo5WahEukY&feature=youtu.be


My friend Anna made it. She's synced the song so well with the tempo changes and has really highlighted Astaire's charm.

Enjoy!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: oldkid on January 28, 2016, 09:29:24 PM
Really nice.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on January 29, 2016, 03:25:54 AM
Makes me want to watch a Fred Astaire movie.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: mañana on June 30, 2016, 11:35:30 PM
I can't stop watching this. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGo5WahEukY&feature=youtu.be


My friend Anna made it. She's synced the song so well with the tempo changes and has really highlighted Astaire's charm.

Enjoy!
Interesting combination. I like it.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on June 30, 2016, 11:59:20 PM
 :)



Merry Music of May Marathon 2016

Can-Can (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13865.msg839788#msg839788)
One Hour with You (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13865.msg840007#msg840007)
Tammy and the Bachelor (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13865.msg838978#msg838978)
The Young Girls of Rochefort (http://www.filmspotting.net/forum/index.php?topic=13471.msg837470#msg837470)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 15, 2017, 02:45:16 PM
active!

Intermission will be over in May, at the latest.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 15, 2017, 04:11:32 PM
Remind me, have you watched Les Demoiselles de Rochefort?
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: smirnoff on January 15, 2017, 04:35:07 PM
active!

Intermission will be over in May, at the latest.

Just so you know, I don't need you to declare any marathons active that you intend to resume. I will update the index if and when they resume.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: DarkeningHumour on January 15, 2017, 04:40:38 PM
Oh 'noff, I wanted to see how long it would take her to figure out...
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 16, 2017, 12:08:11 AM
Oh 'noff, I wanted to see how long it would take her to figure out...

It might have been awhile. :)

Remind me, have you watched Les Demoiselles de Rochefort?

Yes! Last May. I forgot to link it to this thread...
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 16, 2017, 12:08:30 AM
The Young Girls of Rochefort

(http://i66.tinypic.com/20gblhs.jpg)

A frothy pas de deux times two and a pair to spare. Nothing is more consequential than whether a beau's last name is too silly to consider marriage, forgetting the little detail that he has parental rights. And, nothing has more depth than a glimpse of an ideal image, an object to be loved. What if the object turns out to be vacuous and contrary? Not to worry, for conversation and compatibility are highly overrated, when it comes to soul mates. True love is all about eye and hair color, don't ya know?

Everything floats above the surface of substance and it cares not one whit, for it's too busy color coordinating its pastel pallet. Forgive me, but I'm feeling a bit nauseous from the empty calories of this fount of soda. But, all is not lost, because I get to enjoy Gene Kelly and his winning smile and signature moves, though I have to wait 40 minutes for him to show up!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 04, 2017, 06:03:24 PM
La La Land

(http://i67.tinypic.com/352hvk2.jpg)

Sitting in a jazz club, Sebastian extols the virtues of the genre to Mia, "It's not cocktail music. It's a high-wire act. These guys are performing and composing and rearranging all at once..." Or words to that effect. I get it. I do. Jazz is dynamic in it's innovations and improvisations. So, why take the time to pen a love letter to jazz (and LA) and turn it into the same cocktail music it just eschewed? Yawn, it's such a sleepy movie, where all the songs and dance steps are as safe and careful as if they were done with a paint by number kit. I can almost hear the counting in their heads, turn, two three four, bend, six seven eight... It's Dancing with the Stars without the live audience. Where are the polyrhythms, call and response and heterophony? Or as the girl in Strictly Ballroom says, "A little musicality, please!"

I'm having flashbacks to The Young Girls of Rochefort while the roommates are singing in their coordinating colors and wish there could be some substance in the song (and characters) at all. And how "City of Stars" won an Oscar is beyond me. Vacuousness, thy name is Gosling, with hat in hand, on the Hermosa Beach Pier. There is a song in the film, "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)," where the love letter actually begins to be real, with it's emotion and range and I'd feel better if it won instead.

For all the carefulness in the music department, many of the scenes come across as extremely sloppy. When Sebastian is talking with his sister, it's like a first time line reading and another glaring one is where Sebastian and Mia are walking on the movie lot and choose to stop in front of a scene being shot and have a conversation. How awkward it is and how pointless. I can neither concentrate on the words they are speaking, or the scene in the background. The disparity going on in the scene behind them is supposed to be funny, but it's lost on me. Also, the camera work is distracting, right from the opening song. I don't know how to explain it, except to try and speak the words I hear him saying in his head, "wait for it" and again, "turn, two three four..." and then, "I'm so pleased with myself for capturing that moment!" I hear the dancers saying the same things and it becomes a very self satisfied opener and not one I enjoy. Maybe it comes down to the song itself... I'm really struggling with this movie!

I hate to leave off here with so much naysaying. I want to show my appreciation for the ending scene, with the path not taken. I would have liked it to not be more artifice to wade through, but the idea itself is masterful.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: oldkid on March 04, 2017, 09:49:44 PM
Thank you, Sandy.  That expresses my feelings quite well, although perhaps a bit stronger than I would put it.  Still, excellent.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 05, 2017, 12:39:43 AM
Thanks, oldkid

As for putting it a bit stronger, I was in a mood. :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 05, 2017, 04:23:24 AM
The dance sequences are anything but safe. What the cameraman had to go through in the first two bits is pure madness. It is astonishingly difficult to operate the whole apparatus with the control he displays.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 05, 2017, 08:16:10 PM
The dance sequences are anything but safe. What the cameraman had to go through in the first two bits is pure madness. It is astonishingly difficult to operate the whole apparatus with the control he displays.

I agree that the degree of difficulty in doing the traffic jam is very high, but the trick of movie magic is to make a scene look effortless, not difficult. I'd have to watch it again to give clearer details (and I don't think that is going to happen), but the lingering effect is one of laboriousness. I found myself "holding my breath", hoping they'd hit each subsequent mark and feeling there was a missed opportunity for something much more dynamic. 

We may have different definitions of "safe," but the dancing itself felt safe -- dance lesson painstakingly safe. I don't want to take the joy of the movie away from anyone who had a great experience, but needed to process what my own was.

Just for fun, here's some decidedly unsafe dance numbers. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhdFcSFJkDU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIxNN8ptE90

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNKRm6H-qOU
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: oldkid on March 05, 2017, 10:19:20 PM
Not that all musical sequences need to be THAT unsafe.  But La La Land is (except for the first dance scene) decidedly safe and mediocre, especially compared to some of the amazing classic Hollywood musicals I've been watching the last few years.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on March 05, 2017, 10:29:40 PM
La La Land was proof that the entertainment industry is no longer creating triple threats with years of training who can build off of the greatness of the past. The closest we will come to this level of skill is on the stage, but most of them don't yet have the movie screen talent of Stone and Gosling. Idina Menzel is a great singer, but can only work as a character actress, like Nathan Lane. Lin-Manuel Miranda is the hot ticket, but Hamilton is about the songs. The dancing is part of the atmosphere and most everyone agrees Miranda is one of the weaker actors in the cast.

There seems to be a number of actors who can sing, but breathtaking dancing ability is elusive. The top of the list is Justin Timberlake, but while he's come along as an actor I still wouldn't put him with Hugh Jackman or Neil Patrick Harris. Everyone is on level with James Corden.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 06, 2017, 12:31:35 AM
Nice breakdown of what types of talent are out there. I wish Miranda wrote the music to La La Land and somebody like John Gallagher Jr. took the role of Sebastian (not a big fan of Gosling). Actually, I bet Gallagher could have written some great songs. oh well... I like the idea of doing musicals and want Hollywood to not give up! There's got to be enough talent out there and you're right, it might need to come from the stage.




Not that all musical sequences need to be THAT unsafe.

:)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 06, 2017, 03:52:50 AM
Channing Tatum's probably the best actor/dancer combo. No idea what his vocal cords look like though, and I always care more about the singing than the dancing.

Those comparisons are unfair (I am talking about the YouTube clips) because they're not the same kind of dance scenes. The ones you posted are dance numbers being filmed. The whole point of them is to have someone dance on set and follow them along with the camera. All the musical scenes in LLL are about the story, except for the first one. The opening is about spectacle, and the explosion of colours, the camera pirouettes, the extravagance of it all are at least as important about the quality of the actual steps. The second song is about the party side of LA and the life of people who live there and places Emma Stone in that context, as someone who wants to make it but feels alone and isolated. And so forth. Every other song progresses the romance or brings something to the story. It's never just about dancing. In fact, yeah, the dancing is often pretty basic, but that's not the point. The observatory scene is about that space background more than what the black figures are doing.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 06, 2017, 09:44:49 AM
Channing Tatum's probably the best actor/dancer combo. No idea what his vocal cords look like though, and I always care more about the singing than the dancing.

The little he sang in Hail Caesar! sounded pretty solid. Technology can help a lot nowadays with vocals, so it could be the weak link, but still be serviceable.

Quote
Those comparisons are unfair (I am talking about the YouTube clips) because they're not the same kind of dance scenes. The ones you posted are dance numbers being filmed. The whole point of them is to have someone dance on set and follow them along with the camera.

You missed the part about "just for fun." You're right, they're not the same, but they are unsafe!

Quote
All the musical scenes in LLL are about the story, except for the first one. The opening is about spectacle, and the explosion of colours, the camera pirouettes, the extravagance of it all are at least as important about the quality of the actual steps. The second song is about the party side of LA and the life of people who live there and places Emma Stone in that context, as someone who wants to make it but feels alone and isolated. And so forth. Every other song progresses the romance or brings something to the story. It's never just about dancing. In fact, yeah, the dancing is often pretty basic, but that's not the point. The observatory scene is about that space background more than what the black figures are doing.

Again, I'm really glad this movie worked for you. It just wasn't my thing.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: DarkeningHumour on March 06, 2017, 09:54:11 AM
I am not objecting to your liking it; I just don't understand how the tour de force scenes can be safe, or insipid.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 06, 2017, 10:12:49 AM
It's like calling someone's baby ugly and I don't like doing that, but I do want to answer your inquiry.

The opening scene didn't work for me, because I could see the strings (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=See%20the%20strings) and the missed opportunity of something really wowing. The roommate one left me cold (like The Young Girls of Rochefort), because the song really was insipid and I didn't care one whit about the characters. The story had the makings of something interesting, but it was presented as insular, smug, superior... If people wants to celebrate the greatness of themselves, they better be prepared to back it up in a big way, for skeptics like me. The Griffith Observatory scene was nice, but I ceased carrying by then. The only times I was moved is during Mia's first audition (her vulnerability and how it was ignored) and her little song about her aunt. I wanted more of those moments. I didn't see the tour de force scenes as impressive as others did, so had a different experience with the film.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on June 01, 2017, 02:45:48 AM
Cabaret (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=13471.msg871609#msg871609)

Three Smart Girls Grow Up (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=14417.msg871427#msg871427)

The Wall (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=13471.msg871755#msg871755)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: smirnoff on June 01, 2017, 07:52:57 PM
the camera work is distracting, right from the opening song. I don't know how to explain it, except to try and speak the words I hear him saying in his head, "wait for it" and again, "turn, two three four..." and then, "I'm so pleased with myself for capturing that moment!

This kind of thing? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpFJ8ipxkcw#no)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on June 01, 2017, 09:27:40 PM
 :D

The shoulder tap method! And yes, they were very pleased with themselves.


I need to cleanse my palate after that, so here's a two minute long take of Powell and Astaire. No camera tricks needed when talent can hold its own.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWW6QeeVzDc
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: smirnoff on June 01, 2017, 09:34:44 PM
La La Land was proof that the entertainment industry is no longer creating triple threats with years of training who can build off of the greatness of the past. The closest we will come to this level of skill is on the stage, but most of them don't yet have the movie screen talent of Stone and Gosling. Idina Menzel is a great singer, but can only work as a character actress, like Nathan Lane. Lin-Manuel Miranda is the hot ticket, but Hamilton is about the songs. The dancing is part of the atmosphere and most everyone agrees Miranda is one of the weaker actors in the cast.

There seems to be a number of actors who can sing, but breathtaking dancing ability is elusive. The top of the list is Justin Timberlake, but while he's come along as an actor I still wouldn't put him with Hugh Jackman or Neil Patrick Harris. Everyone is on level with James Corden.

I'm very interested in this point. I can't name the great dancers of cinema's past, but I wonder, was their background generally dancing and they transitioned into acting? Like Jackie Chan was in a school for the Peking Opera for 10 years as a child (which taught him all kinds of acrobatics and martial arts)... does Gene Kelly and others have similar backgrounds?

Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on June 02, 2017, 02:13:55 AM
Jackie Chan is the real deal! I like these questions. I'm hoping someone else has more info than I do, but off the top of my head, when he was a kid, Gene Kelly's mom put him in dance class, but he wanted to play baseball. As a teen, he came back to it and later his family opened a dance studio where he taught. There's more, but I'd have to look that up. :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on June 02, 2017, 10:05:23 AM
From what little I know of Fred Astaire, his background was dancing and the acting came later. Back then vaudeville was the main training ground, where you had to sing, act and dance. The better you were the more time you got and the larger your salary and billing. This is how James Cagney and Ginger Rogers came up in the world, but even then their big break came through dancing first. I haven't been able to find a talent where dancing came later. So you end up with people like Nicole Kidman and Anna Kendrick, who can sing and act but are not known for dancing.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on June 02, 2017, 12:26:14 PM
Me neither, except for Debbie Reynolds and she went through torture to look good dancing in Singin' in the Rain. My guess is that she knew how to dance before, but Gene Kelly was a perfectionist and demanded it from others too, if it was going to be put on screen.

You mentioned earlier that the talent should probably come from Broadway. I concur! There is sky-high skill demanded there and if there is a movie trend toward musicals, it should start there for casting.

Patina Miller is a perfect example of triple threat and luckily is finding a place in television and film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI7SZnwRCJI
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 20, 2018, 03:02:50 AM
The Greatest Showman

(https://i.imgur.com/52cUqLB.jpg)

"Spectacular, spectacular. No words in the vernacular."  -- Moulin Rouge!

A song by song reaction:


"The Greatest Show" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyVYXRD1Ans#no)

You had me at the syncopated prancing horses entrance, stage right. Actually, you had me at the behind the bleachers silhouette start off point.

(https://i.imgur.com/eTBLmyG.jpg)

But, those horses! All counterpoint and percussion! This is slick, bold and camera choreographed to the hilt. The visuals along with the aural hit full force and though the film may be called The Greatest Showman, this song is The Greatest Salesman as it pulls out all the stops, demanding to be acknowledged, "Just surrender 'cause you feel the feeling taking over. It's fire, it's freedom, it's flooding open..."  Visceral and as smirnoff has penned here on the boards, "Full of good will." Love the reverse of The Phantom of the Opera's opening transformation, but instead of a whole series of organ scales, it's accomplished in the span of a downbeat. The space is suddenly quiet and empty, as Barnum surveys what is and what will be.


"A Million Dreams" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSQk-4fddDI#no)

Wee! Child to adult shift through song! I get a chill up my spine when Jackman's voice takes over expressing the dream of his younger self. "Every night I lie in bed, the brightest colors fill my head. A million dreams are keeping me awake." Then Williams joins in... Screeching halt! Williams is beautiful and lovely and sweet, but her character is as interesting as a painting on a wall. More on her later.  Back to the song... So happy with the vocals and the dancing! Real honest to goodness, difficult to execute dancing! :) (Yeah, I'm talking to you la la land.)


"Come Alive" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BURBlSYPmBU#no)

Nice sister song to "The Greatest Show," and it picks up where "A Million Dreams" leaves off. From "I close my eyes and I can see," to "You're dreaming with your eyes wide open." Putting together the show with people from the fringes becomes the ultimate pep talk. "And we know we can't be go back again to the world that we were living in!"


"The Other Side" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk008ADh4iY#no)

Ugh. Can't abide this song. It's back to High School Musical with it's staccato verses then sweepy chorus rhythms and overly complicated execution coupled with a simplified message. "But I live among the swells, and we don't pick up peanut shells." Really? Okay. Hard Pass.


"Never Enough" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKEMBn_JdCE#no)

The best and worst an ear worm song can offer. I love it now. I'm going to hate it soon. Oh well, it can't be helped.


"This Is Me" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEJd2RyGm8Q#no)

Overheard from a YouTube clip, "After the election night of 2016, the movie subtly shifted. It stared out as a movie about the power of imagination and will and never give up on your dreams, but it grew into a deeper idea that what makes you different, makes you special. The director Gracie also noted that it's an incredible privilege to make a film about inclusivity and acceptance."

(https://i.imgur.com/BOZ47Q6.jpg)

This is the song that evolved from the shift of focus in the film and it's everything a showstopper song with a message should be. "I'm not scared to be seen. I make no apologies, this is me."


"Rewrite The Stars" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6JZnqvOnXs#no)

Visually wowing, but the song is nothing special and it feels like filler. Wished for more, but it's serviceable, even if it's like Troy is singing again.


Tightrope (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He5NctQPXK8#no)

I get that using a careful waltz for a song entitled "Tightrope" makes a lot of sense, but man I wish this was a torch song in a big way. Williams' character really needed a "spill your guts" song, but this comes off as a sigh and a weak resignation. Also, the Oxford English Dictionary has 171,476 words in it. Please Benj and Justin, just pick a few of them to fill in the gaps in this song. There is no excuse for lyrics like,

Walking a tightrope
With you, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
With you, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
With you
With you, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
With you, ooh, ooh, ooh
With you


As you can see, I have a little bit of a love/hate relationship with the lyricists' choices. These men have flashes of brilliance and will continue to grow and become even more talented. Looking forward to seeing more of what they can do.


"From Now On" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW2FUY3N-n0#no)

My favorite song from the show. A word here about Hugh Jackman. There's been some discussion on this thread about triple threats and Mr. Jackman fits it to a T. He is the greatest showman right now, as far as I'm concerned. He carried this film and elevated the cast and director with his intense work ethic and enthusiasm. This might be a strong statement, but they would be the first to attest to it. This clip is something else! As moving as anything in the film.

"From Now On" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PluaPvhkIMU)

Even though it's a little too slick and Barnum the Musical is probably closer to the real story, this project is a labor of love and I'm going to really enjoy owning it.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: smirnoff on January 20, 2018, 03:24:01 PM
I like your strong opinions here, both for and against certain choices. Your love for and experience with the genre really comes through. :)

So happy with the vocals and the dancing! Real honest to goodness, difficult to execute dancing! :) (Yeah, I'm talking to you la la land.)

My smoke detector just went off.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on January 20, 2018, 04:55:24 PM
So happy with the vocals and the dancing! Real honest to goodness, difficult to execute dancing! :) (Yeah, I'm talking to you la la land.)

The flatness and simplicity of the dancing and the lack of pizazz of the songs left me with meh feelings about La La Land.

Quote
Tightrope

I get that using a careful waltz for a song entitled "Tightrope" makes a lot of sense, but man I wish this was a torch song in a big way. Williams' character really needed a "spill your guts" song, but this comes off as a sigh and a weak resignation. Also, the Oxford English Dictionary has 171,476 words in it. Please Benj and Justin, just pick a few of them to fill in the gaps in this song. There is no excuse for lyrics like,

Walking a tightrope
With you, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
With you, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
With you
With you, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
With you, ooh, ooh, ooh
With you


As you can see, I have a little bit of a love/hate relationship with the lyricists' choices. These men have flashes of brilliance and will continue to grow and become even more talented. Looking forward to seeing more of what they can do.

Beautifully put.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 20, 2018, 07:19:40 PM
Thank you, smirnoff and Dave. :) I wanted to temper my snark with real appreciation.

The flatness and simplicity of the dancing and the lack of pizazz of the songs left me with meh feelings about La La Land.

In agreement and luckily, none of the dancing in The Greatest Showman is anything like that.


My smoke detector just went off.

:))
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: oldkid on January 20, 2018, 08:43:42 PM
I like your strong opinions here, both for and against certain choices. Your love for and experience with the genre really comes through. :)

So happy with the vocals and the dancing! Real honest to goodness, difficult to execute dancing! :) (Yeah, I'm talking to you la la land.)

My smoke detector just went off.

Yeah, that one line by Sandy alone means I need to see this film.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on January 20, 2018, 09:37:45 PM
Until that post I had zero interest in The Greatest Showman. Now I know I will see it.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on January 20, 2018, 09:46:25 PM
Yay, oldkid and 1SO! Wish we could go see it all together and then you could tell me what works and what doesn't for you. Hope you'll report back even without us getting to have an after film chat. :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on March 18, 2018, 02:14:40 AM
Pina (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=14726.msg886751#msg886751)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on April 24, 2018, 01:12:36 AM
The Greatest Showman

As promised. My Turn.
A song by song reaction:

"The Greatest Show" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyVYXRD1Ans#no)

You had me at the syncopated prancing horses entrance, stage right. Actually, you had me at the behind the bleachers silhouette start off point.

But, those horses! All counterpoint and percussion! This is slick, bold and camera choreographed to the hilt. The visuals along with the aural hit full force and though the film may be called The Greatest Showman, this song is The Greatest Salesman as it pulls out all the stops, demanding to be acknowledged, "Just surrender 'cause you feel the feeling taking over. It's fire, it's freedom, it's flooding open..."  Visceral and as smirnoff has penned here on the boards, "Full of good will." Love the reverse of The Phantom of the Opera's opening transformation, but instead of a whole series of organ scales, it's accomplished in the span of a downbeat. The space is suddenly quiet and empty, as Barnum surveys what is and what will be.
I liked the horses, but it was the bleachers and the stark lighting that pulled me in immediately. I wasn't a fan of the song, and many of the songs here are extremely vanilla, as if the most important thing was to be radio friendly. However, the slick presentation and the way it transitions into the story is good.


"A Million Dreams" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSQk-4fddDI#no)
Is Adult Contemporary still a genre. That's the vibe I get from these songs. It's a step up from La La Land in that this is closer to a true musical, but I'm thinking about Mark Kermode who said there isn't a memorable tune in the bunch and then reversed his position on a 2nd watch. I can see the songs growing on me, but except for two of them I have little interest in letting that happen.

There's an amazing bit of visual magic here when Jackman and Williams are dancing on the roof. He spins her towards the lines of sheets and two of them part like curtains, but ever so subtly, as if the breeze from Williams spinning briefly opened them for her.

"Come Alive" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BURBlSYPmBU#no)

Nice sister song to "The Greatest Show," and it picks up where "A Million Dreams" leaves off. From "I close my eyes and I can see," to "You're dreaming with your eyes wide open." Putting together the show with people from the fringes becomes the ultimate pep talk. "And we know we can't be go back again to the world that we were living in!"
Jackman's greatest gift to this film isn't his singing or dancing but the way he convincingly captures Barnum's ability to sell people on his dreams. The song is like an updated version of Miami Sound Machine's "Conga", but within the song we see Barnum work his magic on the artists and the audience.


"The Other Side" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk008ADh4iY#no)

Ugh. Can't abide this song. It's back to High School Musical with it's staccato verses then sweepy chorus rhythms and overly complicated execution coupled with a simplified message. "But I live among the swells, and we don't pick up peanut shells." Really? Okay. Hard Pass.
I didn't hate this as much as you, but they really bet the farm on the staccato lyrics, amped up by the rap-tap-tapping choreography. It's cool to see Zac hasn't turned his back on his musical chops, and it's strange to think he also belongs on the triple threat shortlist, possibly even more well-rounded than Tatum and Timberlake, though a distant 2nd compared to Jackman.

I also like the song ending with the shot of Zendaya literally swinging into Efron's life. The moment slows to a crawl. It deserves to. (I've only seen Zendaya in two movies, but she's got the makings of a triple threat too.)


"Never Enough" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKEMBn_JdCE#no)

The best and worst an ear worm song can offer. I love it now. I'm going to hate it soon. Oh well, it can't be helped.
I feel like a boy when I say Blech! That said, I like the reprise later on and I like how the lyrics fit Zac and Zendaya's story too.


"This Is Me" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEJd2RyGm8Q#no)

Overheard from a YouTube clip, "After the election night of 2016, the movie subtly shifted. It stared out as a movie about the power of imagination and will and never give up on your dreams, but it grew into a deeper idea that what makes you different, makes you special. The director Gracie also noted that it's an incredible privilege to make a film about inclusivity and acceptance."

This is the song that evolved from the shift of focus in the film and it's everything a showstopper song with a message should be. "I'm not scared to be seen. I make no apologies, this is me."
The 2nd best song. With such a powerful message, the kind that deserves to be belted to the back of the theater, it'd be hard to screw this up. Still... well done, and there's that extra bit of movie magic where everyone jumps and they slow down while Lettie remains at regular speed. The song gets to take a breath until the group all land at the same moment.


"Rewrite The Stars" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6JZnqvOnXs#no)

Visually wowing, but the song is nothing special and it feels like filler. Wished for more, but it's serviceable, even if it's like Troy is singing again.
I like this one more than you. It's poppy, but I like the singers and by this point I was enjoying Z&Z's relationship more than Barnum and his love triangle.


Tightrope (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He5NctQPXK8#no)
Complete agreement about the song's approach being wrong and the lyrics underserving Williams. My least favorite song.


"From Now On" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iW2FUY3N-n0#no)

My favorite song from the show.
Mine too.

"And we will come back home,
And we will come back home,
Home Again!"


The dancing in the bar is the film at its best, joyous and spirited. I watched it 4 times before starting this post. If the rest of the film was at this level I'd be buying the Blu-Ray.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on April 28, 2018, 03:59:19 PM
The Greatest Showman

As promised. My Turn.
A song by song reaction:

I'm so happy you did this! I wanted a chance to listen to the music again before replying.

Quote
I liked the horses, but it was the bleachers and the stark lighting that pulled me in immediately. I wasn't a fan of the song, and many of the songs here are extremely vanilla, as if the most important thing was to be radio friendly. However, the slick presentation and the way it transitions into the story is good.

yes, powerful opening moment.


Quote
Is Adult Contemporary still a genre. That's the vibe I get from these songs. It's a step up from La La Land in that this is closer to a true musical, but I'm thinking about Mark Kermode who said there isn't a memorable tune in the bunch and then reversed his position on a 2nd watch. I can see the songs growing on me, but except for two of them I have little interest in letting that happen.

There's an amazing bit of visual magic here when Jackman and Williams are dancing on the roof. He spins her towards the lines of sheets and two of them part like curtains, but ever so subtly, as if the breeze from Williams spinning briefly opened them for her.

Great catch. Love details like this. I've only seen the movie once, but have heard the soundtrack a lot. I feel saturated with it all. :) But, there are a few songs which still catch me smiling. "A Million Dreams" is one of them.

Quote
Jackman's greatest gift to this film isn't his singing or dancing but the way he convincingly captures Barnum's ability to sell people on his dreams. The song is like an updated version of Miami Sound Machine's "Conga", but within the song we see Barnum work his magic on the artists and the audience.

"Conga" What a fun comparison! I agree with you on his abilities. Jackman also worked his magic on me and won me over. Now that's meta. :)

Quote
I didn't hate this as much as you, but they really bet the farm on the staccato lyrics, amped up by the rap-tap-tapping choreography. It's cool to see Zac hasn't turned his back on his musical chops, and it's strange to think he also belongs on the triple threat shortlist, possibly even more well-rounded than Tatum and Timberlake, though a distant 2nd compared to Jackman.

Yes, on this too. Zac has plenty going for him. I hope to see him develop these talents more. I did enjoy the bartender in the song. Did I mention that before? :)

Quote
I also like the song ending with the shot of Zendaya literally swinging into Efron's life. The moment slows to a crawl. It deserves to. (I've only seen Zendaya in two movies, but she's got the makings of a triple threat too.)

An ooh, ahh moment. Loved it. Looking forward to her future work too!

Quote
I feel like a boy when I say Blech! That said, I like the reprise later on and I like how the lyrics fit Zac and Zendaya's story too.

Sometimes the boy in you makes a great critic! Don't underestimate him. :)


Quote
The 2nd best song. With such a powerful message, the kind that deserves to be belted to the back of the theater, it'd be hard to screw this up. Still... well done, and there's that extra bit of movie magic where everyone jumps and they slow down while Lettie remains at regular speed. The song gets to take a breath until the group all land at the same moment.

Amazing trick! Those moments deserve shout outs, so I'm glad you're highlighting some of them. Happy this song worked for you.


Quote
I like this one more than you. It's poppy, but I like the singers and by this point I was enjoying Z&Z's relationship more than Barnum and his love triangle.

You're much more forgiving. I'm the child saying blech in this one. :D Maybe when I watch it again, I'll like it more. We'll see.


Quote
Complete agreement about the song's approach being wrong and the lyrics underserving Williams. My least favorite song.

How did this song get past committee? Or the actors themselves? :)

Quote
Mine too.

"And we will come back home,
And we will come back home,
Home Again!"


Yay! Still my favorite too.

Quote
The dancing in the bar is the film at its best, joyous and spirited. I watched it 4 times before starting this post. If the rest of the film was at this level I'd be buying the Blu-Ray.

Now you've got me wanting to see the movie again! Listening to the music and reading your post has got me excited for Musical May! Thanks for doing this reply. Loved it!
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on April 28, 2018, 11:15:35 PM
Quote
I liked the horses, but it was the bleachers and the stark lighting that pulled me in immediately. I wasn't a fan of the song, and many of the songs here are extremely vanilla, as if the most important thing was to be radio friendly. However, the slick presentation and the way it transitions into the story is good.

yes, powerful opening moment.
It was funny that I watched Hair just a couple of days later, which also uses horses in the opening song. (Plus this week's Filmspotting Podcast Top 5 was Great Horse Scenes.) Makes me wonder what other films do this.

Yes, on this too. Zac has plenty going for him. I hope to see him develop these talents more. I did enjoy the bartender in the song. Did I mention that before? :)
I also liked the bartender. This could've so easily stayed as a bro duet but making the dance a trio is inspired. I'll admit, this is the song and scene that's grown on me most.

Quote
Complete agreement about the song's approach being wrong and the lyrics underserving Williams. My least favorite song.
How did this song get past committee? Or the actors themselves? :)
Hollywood seems to be making a hobby out of under-appreciating Michelle Williams.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on April 30, 2018, 11:21:33 PM
You've talked me into going back and giving "The Other Side" another look. :)

You've also got me thinking about horses in musicals. Maybe in one of Streisand's parade songs, in Funny Girl, or Hello Dolly. I'll have to keep on eye out for such a thing.

As for Williams, what is your favorite performance of hers?
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on April 30, 2018, 11:47:30 PM
You've also got me thinking about horses in musicals. Maybe in one of Streisand's parade songs, in Funny Girl, or Hello Dolly. I'll have to keep on eye out for such a thing.
I just remembered this scene (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_50_9fqXcr4#noembed) from a mostly forgettable Astaire film "Belle of New York". Astaire dances with the marvelous Vera-Ellen and at around 3:15 the horse gets involved. The first shot is definitely an effect, but the second is not.


As for Williams, what is your favorite performance of hers?
Wendy and Lucy, no question. I'm honestly not a fan of Williams. Back in the Dawson Creek days I bet Katie Holmes was going to be the breakout star. Boy, did I lose that bet. Williams is great in Manchester by the Sea and Synecdoche, New York and she's uncomfortably raw in Blue Valentine, but her being in a movie doesn't raise my interest in the film one bit.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on May 01, 2018, 12:43:06 AM
I just remembered this scene (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_50_9fqXcr4#noembed) from a mostly forgettable Astaire film "Belle of New York". Astaire dances with the marvelous Vera-Ellen and at around 3:15 the horse gets involved. The first shot is definitely an effect, but the second is not.

How fun! I haven't seen Vera-Ellen dance with Fred Astaire before and they work well together! She's one of my favorites. Great memory on a horse song!


Wendy and Lucy, no question. I'm honestly not a fan of Williams. Back in the Dawson Creek days I bet Katie Holmes was going to be the breakout star. Boy, did I lose that bet. Williams is great in Manchester by the Sea and Synecdoche, New York and she's uncomfortably raw in Blue Valentine, but her being in a movie doesn't raise my interest in the film one bit.

I remember how beautiful she was in Dawson's Creek. Nobody has the right to be that pretty. ;) Good choice with Wendy and Lucy. I haven't seen much else she's been in.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on May 03, 2018, 11:06:35 AM
For Merry Music of May 2018

The Belle of New York (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=14755.msg888882#msg888882)
Hairspray (1988) (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=14784.msg889203#msg889203)
Hairspray (2007) (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=14755.msg889255#msg889255)
The Toast of New Orleans (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=14755.msg888462#msg888462)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on June 05, 2019, 02:23:19 AM
Rocketman

(https://i.imgur.com/09TRybi.jpg)

Quick Takes: I left the theatre nauseous, because it was such a visceral kick to the gut. There is no subtlety here; not in the characters, not in the messages. It's an all out, unashamed spectacle of a larger than life life. The flat out talent in song and dance vindicates my hate for La La Land. This is what it means to perform, and to earn its right as a high caliber musical. The fantasy/musical elements couldn't have been chosen for a more fitting artist. It's a perfect expression for Elton John's biopic. Everyone should have at least one Bernie Taupin in their lives. The dismantling of Elton's costume during his session throughout the film is a beautiful metaphor... Oh! And gay sex is hot! :))
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on June 05, 2019, 09:50:28 AM
As the conclusion of my Dexter Fletcher Marathon (http://forum.filmspotting.net/index.php?topic=14980.msg900622#msg900622) this was a letdown. The magically natural transition of Sunshine on Leith are now more conventional "my songbook is my life" interruptions. Elton John's life belongs in the fantasy, but the songs are too pop and often nonsensical to work as one-to-one equals. Some of it is really good, but overall it's more like Bohemian Rhapsody than it is different.

I also wanted the scene where he decides to rework his tribute to Marilyn into a tribute to Lady Diana.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on June 06, 2019, 04:57:47 AM
I can understand wanting either version of the song in the film, but skipping the Lady Di bit was fine. It would have done little to develop the story of Elton, it does seem like it would have been a strong positive moment in the film (in that from the outside it is Elton expressing his grief). However I am happy they kept it to his rise and his battles with himself.

I will also say that either the cinematographer or the person who did the colour in the initially scenes of the movie did a fantastic job. The scenes in particular are when he is in the street in front of his family home with the orange costume on and it really looked like they had dropped the levels of all the colours except for Elton and his costume. Then in the early scenes in at rehab, the lighting which darkened out the others in the room with Elton.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on June 06, 2019, 08:28:33 AM
The thought of "Candle in the Wind" never even crossed my mind! He has so many songs. :) I too didn't see a lot of poignancy in the songs themselves, as a reflection of his life. The poignancy came in Egerton's acting. The music itself and the way it was placed created great emotional buoyancy though.

1SO, when you say it's more like Bohemian Rhapsody than it is different, are you saying you didn't like Bohemian Rhapsody, or that Rocketman didn't bring anything new? I really loved Bohemian Rhapsody. They're basically the same story - the rise, fall and rise of a musical prodigy, so I was happy the two movies came at it differently, style wise.

You mention somewhere about wondering if Egerton would be too "cool" for the role. This is the first time I've seen him, so I didn't have that concern. To me, he came across as rather adorkable. Was he able to pull off the role, in your opinion? (Thanks for the pic! I've been having difficulty with either Imgur or my new-to-me Mac laptop. There's a big learning curve ahead!)

Dave, I too loved the color choices! I picked this particular screen shot, because of how the red costume eclipsed those session scenes. Glad it wowed you too. :)
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Junior on June 06, 2019, 08:44:08 AM
Going into the movie I was wondering if/how that would handle the 4 songs of his that have had huge cultural impacts, particularly in movies. Tiny Dancer probably couldn't have been shipped, even though it instantly conjures memories of Almost Famous for me. It makes sense to set it in the film's scene that evokes that movie most strongly. I thought that the whirling around EJ playing the piano during Pinball Wizard was a fun night to the zaniness of that scene from Tommy. But I was sad to see that Candle In the Wind and Can You Feel the Love Tonight were excluded (even though they fall outside of the time period covered in the movie and I can't think of a way to put them in anyways). I think those two are the most detached from Elton John as a figure and more connected to Princess Di and The Lion King respectively than they are too him, so including them might have felt a little out of place, but I was still sad to see them absent.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on June 06, 2019, 09:55:17 AM
1SO, when you say it's more like Bohemian Rhapsody than it is different, are you saying you didn't like Bohemian Rhapsody, or that Rocketman didn't bring anything new? I really loved Bohemian Rhapsody. They're basically the same story - the rise, fall and rise of a musical prodigy, so I was happy the two movies came at it differently, style wise.
I'm mixed on Bohmeian Rhapsody. Beyond Rami Malek and the Live Aid scene, I liked the behind the scenes conflict during the creation of the songs. Rhapsody's biggest problem isn't the editing - which is as good during "Another One Bites the Dust" as it is bad during the much ado cafe scene the internet pounced on - but the bland domestic scenens, which never divert from the musical biopic template. Rocketman does that as well, to where I started to feel bad for Bryce Dallas Howard having to play the mother with less dimension as the film goes on. Also, the scenes with Record Producer Dick James (Stephen Graham) look like outtakes from the scenes with Mike Meyers in Bohemian. Could've been shot in the same set, just bring the back wall in closer.


You mention somewhere about wondering if Egerton would be too "cool" for the role. This is the first time I've seen him, so I didn't have that concern. To me, he came across as rather adorkable. Was he able to pull off the role, in your opinion?
Nope. I should find some interviews where he's a nice lad because his Kingsmen persona is something I cannot shake.
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: 1SO on June 06, 2019, 10:01:23 AM
I will also say that either the cinematographer or the person who did the colour in the initially scenes of the movie did a fantastic job. The scenes in particular are when he is in the street in front of his family home with the orange costume on and it really looked like they had dropped the levels of all the colours except for Elton and his costume.
That was a great early choice. I was most impressed with the way they staged "I'm Still Standing". At first I thought they were recreating the video, which I've seen hundreds of times. Then i noticed they used special effects to replace Elton with Egerton, leaving everything else exactly the same.


Also what Junior said. I knew you couldn't exclude "Tiny Dancer" but my mind went to Almost Famous. The "Rocketman" scene made me think of Booksmart, because I just saw that two weeks ago. I tried to find a list of films where people hit bottom in a pool. My mind thinks there's another example from this year.

I was surprised how low-key they went with "Your Song".
Title: Re: Sandy Faces the Music
Post by: Sandy on June 10, 2019, 12:02:15 AM
1SO, when you say it's more like Bohemian Rhapsody than it is different, are you saying you didn't like Bohemian Rhapsody, or that Rocketman didn't bring anything new? I really loved Bohemian Rhapsody. They're basically the same story - the rise, fall and rise of a musical prodigy, so I was happy the two movies came at it differently, style wise.
I'm mixed on Bohmeian Rhapsody. Beyond Rami Malek and the Live Aid scene, I liked the behind the scenes conflict during the creation of the songs. Rhapsody's biggest problem isn't the editing - which is as good during "Another One Bites the Dust" as it is bad during the much ado cafe scene the internet pounced on - but the bland domestic scenes, which never divert from the musical biopic template. Rocketman does that as well, to where I started to feel bad for Bryce Dallas Howard having to play the mother with less dimension as the film goes on. Also, the scenes with Record Producer Dick James (Stephen Graham) look like outtakes from the scenes with Mike Meyers in Bohemian. Could've been shot in the same set, just bring the back wall in closer.

:)

granted!

Yeah, Producer without vision.

As soon as Howard stood at the door with martini in hand, I knew she was going to be a cut-out character. Not a lot of dimensions on any of them, except for Egerton. And that's not because of the writing. I'm going to give credit to him and the director.

The two dimensional characterizations feel like they were created directly from Elton John's personal opinion about the people in his life. Either they were out to get him, or they were the salt of the earth. He isn't very nuanced with his memory.


Quote
You mention somewhere about wondering if Egerton would be too "cool" for the role. This is the first time I've seen him, so I didn't have that concern. To me, he came across as rather adorkable. Was he able to pull off the role, in your opinion?
Nope. I should find some interviews where he's a nice lad because his Kingsmen persona is something I cannot shake.

Ha! I understand! I'm fortunate to not have seen Kingsmen prior.