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Author Topic: Merry Music of May 2020  (Read 7823 times)

1SO

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #50 on: May 19, 2020, 11:54:01 PM »

Syncopation (1942)
"I don't know what to call it technically,
but I can play it for you."

In under 90-minutes, this ambitious picture attempts to cover the entire history of jazz. It opens with the purchase of a shipload of slaves in Africa and ends with a montage of the era's most well known (white) artists, like Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa. As you can imagine, many shortcuts are taken along the way and reality is quickly dodged to focus on a young white couple in love. She plays boogie woogie on the piano and he blows a mean trumpet. I've read some reviews that applaud the film for even mentioning the music's black roots, but that only points up where the films goes wrong. A great cast and toe-tapping music can only do so much. 
RATING: ★ ★

Eric/E.T.

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #51 on: May 20, 2020, 12:58:25 AM »
SING STREET


Once is an all-time favorite, and I really like Begin Again, if just for its industry-busting finale. So how is it that I've never seen Sing Street? Ugh. Well, this is the perfect film for capturing that "happy-sad" they talk about throughout, two kids in sad situations that find the happy in life through each other and their art. There are family subplots and backstories shaded in, but they capture their moment, as well as the new wave movement in punk and popular music of the time, primarily through the music and the music videos that were getting big at the time. We've got Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, aaaand...Sing Street. Can't remember the name of the song, but the scene that goes from shitty "American prom" music video concept with like 10 clueless extras to an all-out American prom with the pastor doing back flips may be an all-time scene for me when all is said and done. And somehow, they pulled of that ending, which seemed so very doomed to me. This is the audacity to strive for happiness when everything else seems to be crumbling around you. John Carney is the don of this modern musical shit.

PS: Rabbits.
PPS: Conor and Eamon kinda looked like they could've been a young McCartney and Lennon.
PPPS: It does not matter how quickly Conor learned to sing to the cords Eamon was playing. He's obviously a prodigy.
A witty saying proves nothing. - Voltaire

MartinTeller

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #52 on: May 20, 2020, 09:00:20 AM »
Can't remember the name of the song, but the scene that goes from shitty "American prom" music video concept with like 10 clueless extras to an all-out American prom with the pastor doing back flips may be an all-time scene for me when all is said and done.

That would be "Drive It Like You Stole It"

This is a top 250 contender for me. I only gave it an 87 but I have a lot of fond feelings about it. Maybe in the next revision.

Eric/E.T.

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #53 on: May 20, 2020, 11:18:48 PM »
STOP MAKING SENSE


Just from the gut, without reading anything on it, the images and sounds here in Stop Making Sense capture a religious musical experience and tap into something that the most lively and inspired will seek. Not that music is the only place to find that, but as much as I love movies, and am ever growing in my appreciation within the art of movie-making, music - be it via a great album or great show - has gotten me as close to a religious experience as I can get. The crowd doesn't play a huge role in this film, but when you see them, especially toward the end, you get the religious expressions and religious vibe of total exhilaration and grace. The energy is perpetual, David Byrne in constant motion. I joked that when he went offstage for a song, he was getting an IV. No way you replace those fluids with just water. Otherwise, you're just seeing a great show here. Only disappointment: no encore!

If there's anything deeper here that I'm not tapping into, maybe I can get some help from our members. Otherwise, just glad I got to take this one in. Neither my dad nor I knew many of the songs, but we were both dancing in our seats.  :D
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MartinTeller

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #54 on: May 21, 2020, 12:17:07 AM »
Itís my go-to feel good movie, it never fails. My review.

1SO

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #55 on: May 21, 2020, 12:54:35 AM »
My Review through the playlist.

As fate would have it, I was in the mood to watch Stop Making Sense again tonight. Probably because the last film I saw was called Life During Wartime and after two doses of the dark humanity of Todd Solondz I wanted to see something fun and upbeat.

This viewing was for me. I didn't plan on commenting, but now that I am, this is moving up my list for 1984. The performances of "Life During Wartime" and "Girlfriend is Better" are easily two of the greatest concert performances I've ever seen, and there are lots of delights peppered throughout. I can't even think of a challenger to this film's reputation as the greatest concert film of all time.

Sandy

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #56 on: May 21, 2020, 02:43:33 PM »
Meet Me in Las Vegas




Four years prior to Ocean's 11, this is a fun snapshot of 1950's Vegas; right on the cusp of the cool years. The plot is silly and takes it to the silliest, with it's hen laying, oil producing level of luck. I don't care much, because I get to see Cyd Charisse dance a lot. At first, watching her rehearse a conventional ballet number, I wonder if people would really go and see the show when in Vegas, but every dance after that is geared more to Vegas sensibilities. There's even another drunk dance, which is starting to be a theme this month. She's pretty coordinated when inebriated! Two of her other numbers are reminiscent of other movies, such as the homage to Seven Bride's for Seven Brother's barn dance, complete with the "brother's" colorful shirts, and her reincarnation of the Singing' in the Rain's "Broadway Melody's" femme fatale, in "Frankie and Johnny." Just switch the green sequined sexy dress out for the blue one and it's about the same. I'm not complaining though. Sheesh, she's a long drink of erotic water. This is a great showcase for her talents, even if I'm not loving the story. 

1SO

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #57 on: May 21, 2020, 03:12:15 PM »
You got here first on this one. Planning to watch it tonight.

1SO

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #58 on: May 22, 2020, 12:59:07 AM »

Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956)
Now, enter a doll name of Nelly, A weirdy the hipsters would boost,
Man, poets like Byron or Shelly, Would have dug this chick the most,
Jack, this gal came on, Sort of like a female Don Juan.

Cyd Charisse isn't even six feet tall. She's listed as 5′ 7″, same as Gene Kelly and two inches shorter than Fred Astaire. I'd love to know how much of it is leg because on camera that looks like most of it. A true flamingo of a woman.

This has one of those goofy fantastical musical plots like the Astaire picture where people in love start to literally float on air. The more I think about it - two people hold hands and never lose when they gamble, so long as they don't fall in love - the more I see the potential if you actually spend some time developing chemistry and growing the relationship. Dan Dailey and Cyd Charisse connect with a lot of people around them, but even at the farm the sparks just aren't there. Both get along better with Miss Hattie (Agnes Moorehead).

However, there's a lot here to enjoy for the monthly theme. Dan Dailey has Burl Ives' folksy charm when he sings and his duet with the Japanese girl is adorable. There's also an appearance by March Hare Jerry Colonna, Lena Horne and Frankie Laine who Antares taught us about last month. Then there are the cameos. (Thank you for not spoiling, though now I'm about to.) My eyes did a double take when I saw Debbie Reynolds. By Sinatra, I was onto this film and I have to wonder what were the circumstances for Peter Lorre to show up looking all sad. (It's even more odd that he arrives shortly after Casablanca co-star Paul Henreid.)

We're here for Lady Cyd and she delivers, though it's far from her best work. The perfection is there, under Astaire choreographer Hermes Pan, but it's all a little too pretty to be standout. Even the drunk dance, being a woman this time gives it a new angle, but it's still not as drunk as it could/should be.
RATING: ★ ★ Ĺ

Eric/E.T.

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Re: Merry Music of May 2020
« Reply #59 on: May 23, 2020, 02:32:26 AM »
Itís my go-to feel good movie, it never fails. My review.

My Review through the playlist.

As fate would have it, I was in the mood to watch Stop Making Sense again tonight. Probably because the last film I saw was called Life During Wartime and after two doses of the dark humanity of Todd Solondz I wanted to see something fun and upbeat.

This viewing was for me. I didn't plan on commenting, but now that I am, this is moving up my list for 1984. The performances of "Life During Wartime" and "Girlfriend is Better" are easily two of the greatest concert performances I've ever seen, and there are lots of delights peppered throughout. I can't even think of a challenger to this film's reputation as the greatest concert film of all time.

I think maybe Stop Making Sense is one I have to live with a little more. MT's reaction especially opens me up to the idea that it's more than just a great concert film. I thought it was really good, but not particularly transcendent in the way actually going to a concert is. That being said, I'd agree with 1SO, I have no idea what would be the competition for greatest concert film of all-time, since most of the ones I've seen are generic pieces of junk, and I'm surprised the approach with Stop Making Sense hasn't been more repeated, at least to my knowledge. It's kind of a back-to-basics way to throw a concert, if you consider that the visual highlight is a dance with a lamp. Then, there is the whole not showing the audience thing that is incredibly effective in making it feel like they're performing in your living room. It's nothing dramatic, but I don't know how many other bands would be able to pull something off like this. You think Demme and Byrne thought this thing would take-off and be considered a cinematic classic? I would say they didn't have a clue, but sometimes that's how brilliance manifests itself, when you're not totally expecting it.

I'm just going to make my next post here, because this 14.4K modem speed stuff is getting ridiculous:

Control



I'm a huge Joy Division fan. I was a bigger fan of this film the first time I saw it than now, but still really like it. I think it just might drag a little at some points. The music performances provide some of the biggest highlights as they are exceptionally well-done considering these actors are definitely not Joy Division, though Ian Curtis' descent into deeper depression and difficulties with his epilepsy are the most important aspects of the film. This is the most genuinely recognizable portrayal of mental health problems I have probably seen in a film. Through it, there is no need to patronize Curtis or "make" us feel something for him, because his truth is right there. Regarding his relationships with women and others, how much of that he can help and how much of it is a proclivity toward self-destruction brought about by mental health problems is hard to say. And it should be hard to say, because we cannot directly draw a point on a graph and say, "This is where the mental health condition takes over," and, "This is just him being a prick." The scene toward the end when he has his major seizure after his wife, Deborah, had left, and all that ensues, remains very difficult for me. Playing "Atmosphere" during the fall out makes it all the harder, but is the perfect time to put on one of Joy Division's greatest and most tragic songs. (Biggest disappointment, btw, is not getting a proper performance of Disorder, as this is the song where Curtis is unable to take the stage and subsequently causes a riot. It's a very good scene, but damn if it couldn't be during a number that isn't my favorite Joy Division song.)

Since watching Control for the first time, I've also read Deborah Curtis' account of this time period in her book Touching from a Distance. I think if you take into account his extremely young age along with his deteriorating mental condition, you can forgive him some of his sins, maybe not all, but it's a tough read and you rightfully feel for Deborah and his daughter Natalie. It's an eye-opening account, as is Control.

Speaking of Natalie, you can read her reaction to Closer from 2007 here.

Wanted to add a note on mental health issues in Closer: I know that epilepsy is not, in and of itself, a psychological disorder. However, Curtis is documented to have had dramatic mood swings and be prone to extreme depressive states, which is not uncommon for someone with epilepsy, especially considering all of the changes in Curtis' medications over time. In that, although his epilepsy was efficiently diagnosed, his exact psychological conditions aren't necessarily as neatly defined, which of course does not mean they weren't/aren't present or able to be diagnosed.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 02:58:30 AM by etdoesgood »
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