Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review: The Tree

The Tree
Dir. Julie Bertuccelli
Year: 2010
Aus Rating: M
Running Time: 97mins

Julie Bertuccelli’s The Tree is a rare breed, indeed. Based on an acclaimed novel titled Our Father Who Art in The Tree by Brisbane-born, UK-based novelist Judy Pascoe, adapted and directed by a Frenchwoman and made in Australia with a cast of local and French talent. It is a deeply moving affair that will slowly work its way into the hearts of viewers thanks to the bare emotions on display and the heart-breaking work of its cast. The Tree is something special and something to be treasured.

Read the rest Onya Magazine

I'm going out on a limb here (pun not intended) with my grade for The Tree. I know many who were either underwhelmed or merely whelmed, but I really responded to the film so I'm giving it a rare A. I can only explain it as I do in the review.

I do it find it interesting though that the two A films from 2010 involve foreigners moving to the strange land of their family. First Tilda Swinton's Russian goes to Italy to become the matriarch of a dynasty and now Charlotte Gainsbourg travels to Australia to be with her Australian husband and raise their children. I'm not sure if that's saying something to me or if it's nothing but an interesting coincidence, but it's an interesting parallel nonetheless.

I can't wait to see The Tree again and I have at all convinced you to see the film then I have some double passes to give away! To win one just email glenndunks (at) gmail (dot) com with answer to this question: What type of tree is the titular tree in The Tree.

Whoa, that's a lot of "tree"!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Luckdragon

Sometimes it really baffles me the connections I am able to make between movies, but the poster for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest sent my mind immediately to Wolfgang Petersen's 1984 adaptation of The NeverEnding Story. Just look at these two posters and tell me you don't think the same thing.

That's just what Lisbeth Salander needs, a luckdragon getting in her way!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sequel on a Stick

Head on a stick.

What's that do for ya? Shivers, shudders and sweats?

The news of a new sequel (or remake) brings about a flood of different feelings. Since word of a new sequel (or remake) seems to come about every other day it can be a rollercoaster for us cinephiles. Yesterday came word, and today official 100% conformation, that Wolf Creek 2 was a go and... well, I don't know. On one hand I think Wolf Creek is a very well-made movie and does what it does with a visceral edge that is missing from so many other films going after the same thing (it's a flavour that another local upcoming horror title, The Loved Ones, also has in spades). Also in the film's favour was an iconic performance by John Jarrett as "Mick Taylor" so it will be legitimately interesting to see where he takes it, especially since Jarrett's last attempt at recreating the success was a big, fat dud.

On the con side of things is the unmistakable vibe of desperation about the project. It's quite obvious that Wolf Creek's writer/director Greg McLean decided to proceed with this project because his last original movie - the underrated killer crocodile movie Rogue - disappointed at the box office. McLean was on record as saying he didn't want to make a sequel and yet here we are several years after Rogue and McLean's directorial slate has remained empty (he has helped produce the upcoming Aussie horror/western Red Hill), which leads me to suspect he's doing it to get some confidence back.

The film is being produced by Darclight Entertainment and, I think we can safely assume, won't have anything to do with the Weinstein brothers, who have royally screwed McLean twice before in the past (first by releasing Wolf Creek on Christmas Day, and then barely releasing Rogue at all). Since the original was made with a minuscule budget, I do wonder whether McLean will be able to resist grabbing more money from the funding bodies.

If he does then maybe he will be trying to broaden the film, make it bigger and better. But if he does that he risks stripping the movie of what made Wolf Creek so successful. It's a delicate line that he must travel. Does he want to make another film like Wolf Creek, but just BIGGER or does he want to completely reinvent it and turn it into some deranged Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 styled effort. We'll see. Moviehole has some exclusive words from McLean himself so check them out if you're interested (and if you've read this far then I assume you are.)

I just hope he resists the urge to title the movie Wolf RIVER or Wolf Creek 2: The Return of Micky Dundee or something ridiculous like that.

Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

I watched William Friedkin's controversial 1980 gay S&M thriller Cruising the other night and felt compelled to write about it. I can't begin to imagine what it was like to be gay (openly or not) in 1980, and there are moments in this film that are, without a doubt, hopeless in their representation of gay culture. I do, however, think there's something to be said about several things like the way the Paul Sorvino character (and several other peripheral police characters) are actually quite empathetic towards the gay men and how Al Pacino's undercover cop seems so nonchalant about the whole thing was surprising. Even as Friedkin's camera roams the gay bars that are its primary setting for the early half of the movie, it doesn't do so with fear-mongering angles and overdone hysterics. I'd like to see a piece of gay cinema made in 2010 that is this frank and open in its displays of homosexual sexual acts. You just don't find many movies starring the likes of Al Pacino that feature fistings and rimjobs, ya know? Or, for that matter, a modern day movie in which a star of Al Pacino's fame and stature is shown hog-tied to a bed by a gay lover. You just wouldn't. Tasteless Cruising is, but its brashness ultimately becomes one of the film's most eye-popping and fascinating aspects. Just how far will they go and so forth?

If Cruising were made today then it wouldn't be the gay men protesting it like they were in 1980 - read on and you'll discover that, these days, gay men will champion anything that is remotely "omg homos on screen!!!" - but it would be the conservative "tea party" thing calling it disgraceful, immoral and yelling to anyone who'll listen (aka Fox News) that the filmmakers are "pushing the homosexual agenda" onto audiences (audiences that have paid their money for a ticket so you must assume they want this so-called "agenda" pushed onto them). Technically, the film is well-lensed by James Contner that obviously recalls similar milieu found in Taxi Driver, and Jack Nitzsche's music is menacing yet fun. Of course, the central idea that a perfectly heterosexual man cannot enter the gay "scene" without reconsidering his sexual preference, and, furthermore, become a violent serial killer because of it, is an inherently homophobic one, but Cruising is far from the most damaging that gay cinema has to offer. I tend to think movies like Another Gay Movie are far worse, but maybe that's just me.

In fact, my main criticisms towards the film have very little to do with the homosexual stuff and more to do with the fact that just a very messy film with plot strands that start and get unceremoniously dumped, with a lead character that doesn't seem to know what he's doing and a good chunk of the actors are woeful. Some of the early sequence in the gay club, to my eyes, felt like wildly exaggerated portrayals of gay life, but what would I know about the New York gay scene of the 1970s? As for Al Pacino? He spends far too much time towards the beginning doing his mumble routine, but he actually ends up getting out without tarnishing his reputation, and hey he was certainly nice to look at "back in the day". I get what it was trying to do and it's a better movie than I remember Friedkin's The Boys in the Band being, but I saw that other 1970s bookend title too long ago to really remember. Cruising? It's probably better to look at it as a mood piece, as a moment in time that we'll never see again and if you can't like it for its politics then you have to at least admire it somewhat for having the balls to even attempt what it was doing. B-

As I was link hopping around I came across this list of "The Top 50 Favorite Gay Films!" at AfterElton. Obviously, such a list - voted for by readers - on such a website as AfterElton is a dubious one to begin with, but reading over the list is quite... and I don't want to sound hyperbolic here, but... depressing. Cruising is not to be found on the list, understandably, but just look at the list and tell me honestly that half of these titles don't make you want to vomit all over your monitor.

50. Priest
49. The Wedding Banquet
48. Redwoods
47. The Celluloid Closet
46. Velvet Goldmine

At this stage I thought it was an incredibly strong list of contenders. Sure, I have never heard of Redwoods, but those other four are blistering, powerful works of cinema. Alas, never underestimate the dog shit taste of online gay film watchers.

45. Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Also, never underestimate gay people's ability to clutch onto anything that has even the slightest ounce of gayness about it. Really, AfterElton readers? Scott Pilgrim? The movie isn't even interested in the bisexual nature of Ramona since the female ex is given such incredibly short shrift by the filmmakers. And Keiran Culkin's Wallace does not a gay movie make (no matter how good he actually is.)

44. Jeffrey
43. Edge of Seventeen
42. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
41. The Bubble

Another nice mini-segment of movies. I'm not going to question how The Bubble made it and other foreign-language gay cinema like Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education or Miguel Albaladejo's Bearcub, but at least they chose something that wasn't about plucked circuit boys!

40. Mambo Italiano
39. Eating Out

Now, Eating Out makes my blood boil. It's one of those films that only gay people could like and the only reason they would is because it's about gay people. Of course, it's "about" gay people in the most superficial ways. Never mind the fact that its terribly written ("my life is so not Sex and the City right now" is a quite I seem to remember), acted, shot and is amateur hour compared to even the most unsophisticated of arthouse cinema. But, hey, it features hot boys with big muscles so it must be good! Throw in some obvious pathos about "finding yourself" to appeal to those who don't want to appear completely shallow and ta da! I guess we should be thankful that Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds didn't make the top 50, too! Or how about Another Gay Movie? I'm surprised that wasn't top 10 let alone not on the entire countdown!

Mambo Italiano? I'd rather not go there.

38. The Trip
37. Making Love
36. Yossi & Jagger
35. Boy Culture
34. The Birdcage
33. The Boys in the Band
32. Love Songs
31. All Over the Guy

Apart from two or three of this combo, these all seem like films that I would think interchangeable with so many others. What places Don Roos' All Over the Guy above Don Roos' The Opposite of Sex, I wonder. Is the latter too lesbiany (to steal a phrase from Henrie Stride.)

30. My Own Private Idaho
29. Parting Glances
28. C.R.A.Z.Y.
27. Shortbus

An admirable selection here, but these are the sort of titles I would expect to see ranked much higher on the list if this were an actual, legitimate list of the best gay cinema. I haven't seen Parting Glances though, should I?

26. Philadelphia

See, now here is where I call umbrage on this list. As a gay person I am supposed to hate Cruising, but like Philadelphia? As misguided as parts of Cruising are at least it has the guts to be out there. "We're Here / We're Queer" and what have you. Philadelphia, on the other hand, is more like "We're Here / But Well, We'll Stand Over There and Maybe You Won't Notice That We're Queer... But We ARE Here! Sort of! Maybe!"

25. Summer Storm
24. I Love You Phillip Morris
23. Hedwig and the Angry Inch
22. Angels in America
21. The Broken Hearts Club
20. My Beautiful Laundrette

Let it be known that My Beautiful Laundrette, one of the three finest gay films of all time - not to mention Hedwig and Angels in America - are ranked below...

19. Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom

Okay then. Glad we got that settled. Granted, I've never seen this Jumping the Broom movie (the title alone gives me hives), but surely Brother to Brother (starring Anthony Mackie of The Hurt Locker) is a better examination of homosexuality within the African American community? I'd be interested to know how I Love You Phillip Morris managed enough votes, but Kevin Kline in the hilarious In & Out did not. Is that movie too old/not old enough. Is it not gay enough because Kevin Kline doesn't have anal sex with someone (but merely quotes Barbra Streisand)? Hmmm. That's not a knock to Phillip Morris, mind you, it is a hilarious film, I'm just curious is all.

18. Just a Question of Love
17. Prayers for Bobby

Don't ever underestimate gay people's willingness to enjoy TV movies about parents' guilt over not accepting their child's homosexuality. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE!

16. Patrik, Age 1.5

I have never seen this Swedish film, but I'm curious if the voters just haven't seen Bearcub? It seems much higher profile than this and it's a really lovely movie. I guess I should be thankful they didn't choose Breakfast with Scot though, right?

15. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
14. Torch Song Trilogy
13. Longtime Companion
12. Mysterious Skin

Priscilla is one of the funniest movies ever made (I'd probably rank it only behind Flying High! actually) and I adore Torch Song Trilogy for being everything that something like Mambo Italiano is not. Mysterious Skin... well, I don't want to jump to assumptions, but if the lead character of Joseph Gordon-Levitt was played by someone who wasn't as attractive I can't imagine it would rank as high. That's how cynical I am about these sort of lists from websites such as AfterElton. Amazing film that it is, do we really think the sort of AfterElton readers that can rank some of these upcoming top ten titles as high as they are would watch a movie as tough and unrelenting as Mysterious Skin if the eye candy wasn't so sky high? I mean, Gods & Monsters isn't even on this list! And I suspect it's because of, as Dame James so eloquently put it on Twitter earlier today:

Gods & Monsters was about an old guy. EWWWWW. Who wants to watch that?


(He was being sarcastic in case you were wondering...)

11. Trick

In the subgenre of "Attractive Man with Big Muscles Falls for Attractive Man with Bigger Muscles", Jim Fall's Trick is actually pretty decent. There's more there than just "here are some gay people acting gay, which means the gays will like it." I'd much rather watch this one again (fast forwarding through the Tori Spelling garbage, obviously) than, say, Latter Days. I do query though how Edge of Seventeen didn't rank as high as this one since it's actually quite good with some good performances, excellent 1980s sense of place and soundtrack and plenty of pathos (same should be said for Gypsy 83, which didn't make the list at all).

10. Get Real
9. Big Eden
8. Were the World Mine

Get Real I haven't seen since I was actually in high school so the whole plot of Outsider with a Crush on the Jock Who OMG Turns Out to be Gay plot didn't feel as cliched. Of course, I remember it being a bit better than the usual fare, so perhaps it wouldn't be terrible on a revisit. As for Were the World Mine? I happen to think it's one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Absolutely dreadful in every conceivable way that it makes even Another Gay Movie look like Shakespeare (a language that this film murders with fairy dust).

7. Maurice
6. A Single Man
5. Latter Days
4. Beautiful Thing
3. Shelter

As for A Single Man, I'm on record as saying that it is not a particularly good movie, nor do I think Latter Days does enough outside of it sexually-repressed-religious-boy fantasy to warrant a placement so darn high, but Beautiful Thing was lovely, wasn't it? I remember watching it in my room late and night with the volume right down so my parents couldn't hear it. It's one of the few young gay romance movies where the characters aren't supermodels. Whod've thunk it?!

2. Milk

Okay, I wouldn't go that far, but it is a good a movie. I would've liked to have seen The Times of Harvey Milk rank this highly actually since I think that Oscar-winning documentary from 1984 is even better than Gus Van Sant's dramatic take on the subject matter. But, hey, at least this movie is on the list!

1. Brokeback Mountain

Naturally. I'm not going to complain about this being no. 1 since it's very nearly a masterpiece, although I tend to not even think it's the best gay film of 2005 (that would be Mysterious Skin), but it's a powerful piece of cinema and Heath Ledger forever immortalised himself with this performance. Ang Lee very almost bookended the countdown, actually, what with his The Wedding Banquet making no. 49 on the list.

I know it's a lot to ask that general readers should actually have taste, but as much as I have issued with AfterElton, surely even they can tell the difference between a film such as Eating Out or Latter Days and one such as Paris is Burning (a documentary masterpiece) or Neil Jordan's groundbreaking The Crying Game, two titles that I find absolutely disgraceful and flat out embarrassing at the exclusion of. And whither Y Tu Mama Tambien, Urbania and Humpday. And if they were going to choose movies with such tenuous connections to homosexuality such as Scott Pilgrim Vs The World then I can't figure how something like Far From Heaven or Billy Elliot couldn't make it.

I should just thank my lucky stars I didn't have to read that The Fluffer or O Fantasma had made the list. I already shave my noggin, but I think if I'd seen them listed I would have torn a few more chunks of what little hair I do have up there. What horrible films they are.

I'd like to see a list such as this for the female side of gay cinema, which I find curious was made ineligible (or, so I imagine - could anyone seriously not rank Bound or Heavenly Creatures if they were allowed?) I'm interested to hear what you guys think so speak up in the comments!

Review: Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
Dir. Ricki Stern & Anne Sundberg
Year: 2010
Aus Rating: MA15+
Running Time: 84mins

It's interesting to note that Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work is the greatest celebrity documentary to come along since In Bed with Madonna in 1991 because they both put a woman who has been relentless in her determination to subvert the public's perception of what a woman in their field should be and can do. And, furthermore, they do it while facing ever-mounting criticism that they are "going too far" and "too old". Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg's documentary may focus on the tail-end of the comedienne's life, whereas Alek Keshishian's groundbreaking meld of black and white backstage divadom and lavish onstage performance pieces focused on the early peak of its subject, both serve as viable testaments to the tenacity and fire-in-the-belly spirit of two women who have each been equally liberating and man-baiting in line with men's expectations. A Piece of Work isn't the masterpiece that Madonna (also known as Madonna: Truth or Dare outside of Australia) is, but it's a searing portrait and wounding testimonial for the celebrity funny woman that can also rank as the funniest movie of 2010.

Beginning at the time of Joan Rivers' 75th birthday, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work spends a year in the life of the icon (to use a word that so many of her followers, comedians and fans alike, use.) She indicates that it has been a tough time and, ever the workaholic, she will play any gig offered to her no matter the seat venue. If it's a hundred seat dive bar in the Bronx with stools held together using gaffer tape or a 4000-seat Las Vegas-style double-hitter with Don Rickles, she gives it the same energy and force. Throughout the year she will reach highs (Celebrity Apprentice, she hopes, will put her back on top), lows (the loss of a lifelong business partner and friend in circumstances that the directors leave mysteriously unresolved) and everything in between and it's all incredibly fascination.

Again, much like In Bed with Madonna, this film's big moment is one that exemplifies everything that is both incredible and terrible about its big star. Whereas Madonna strutted across the stage in 1991 performing "Express Yourself" whilst grabbing her crotch, disrobing herself and her male dancers and belting out one of the defining songs of her career so too does Joan Rivers go through, at a mile a second, all the things that have made her JOAN RIVERS: SUBJECT OF DOCUMENTARY in a bravura sequence that will split the haters from the lovers. As Rivers makes her way through a comedy routine in the Midwest state of Wisconsin, a place she jokes has no gays because they murdered them all, she breezes through joke after joke that should feel rote and blasé ("we've seen it all before" you can hear people commenting about Rivers AND Madonna in equal measure), but her energy and force power her and the audience through. It's a thrill. Of course, for Rivers, it doesn't come easy and a joke about Helen Keller brings about a heckler who, let's just say, feels the full force of Rivers' wrath (although backstage she expresses her sadness at the man's situation). Both stars are in their element in these equally compelling set pieces and much like how "Express Yourself" is the musical highlight on In Bed with Madonna, Rivers' comedy routine in Wisconsin is the funniest sequence in A Piece of Work. Even a joke about the vintage of a bottle of wine ("May? That was a good month!") kills. Sometimes, and I suspect Joan Rivers knows this too even when she wouldn't admit it, you have to have your back against the wall before you reach your truest potential.

At 85 minutes long the film is brisk and cuts very close to the bare bones that Stern and Sundberg have given the film. It does not provide a detailed, start to finish look at Rivers' life as much is missing from her story including her first marriage, her successful daytime talk show (although she is seen winner her Emmy for it) and her several film roles, which is especially odd since Rivers talks about never being taken seriously as an actress. Instead they show footage of the 1994 TV movie Tears and Laughter: The Joan and Melissa Rivers Story, which she co-starred in with her daughter Melissa (as themselves), which is as navel-gazing as it gets. Whether it was the directors' intentions to omit this stuff or if Rivers didn't want it included lest audiences see that she hasn't suffered as much as she suggests, it feels sloppy.

Nevertheless, occasional sloppiness can be forgiven when the movie is as funny as it is. It's not the film itself is particularly funny - it's sad rather than uproarious - but Rivers' act is legitimately guffaw inducing. Jokes about Osama Bin Laden, vagina slippers, anal sex, Asian mail-order brides and all the other smut that has filled Rivers' repertoire for decades is as funny as ever and if you respond to Rivers' acidic comedy then you will be in good stead with this documentary.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work isn't so much about "unmasking" a famous pop culture icon - in fact the opening scene involves make-up artists putting Rivers' face on in a moment that recalls The Devil Wears Prada - but aims to show the life of someone who has seen it all and can't give up because, if she does, what does she have left? As her daughter Melissa says, her mother needs the gratification. Without it she will feel her life is a waste and so while her life may appear easy - giving out fashion advice during awards seasons for ludicrous amounts of money (although, to her, it's not ludicrous since she lives in a Versailles-in-NYC style apartment, sends her staff's children to private schools and provides for several relatives), the film proves it is not. You may not like her or her act, but you can't deny her work ethic. Furthermore, it speaks to the universal nature of why artists do what they do and how deeply they are filled with self-loathing, self-doubt and misery. Rivers' life is reduced to a few upcoming pages in a diary. If it's empty her life is meaningless, if it's covered in ink then it means she's wanted and that she has purpose, and isn't that the same for us all? It's a remarkable piece of cinema and if the same mission had been attempted with someone far less funny and far less fascinating then it wouldn't have been as successful, but with Rivers it is, indeed, a piece of work. A-

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hay, Gale! Behind You!

Is it time to start worrying about the fate of everyone's favourite cheesy tabloid journalist in the upcoming Scream 4? This newly released production still - the first official one, I believe - seems to suggest that yes, Gale may finally reach the end of the line, but she's been in similar perilous situations and made it out alive so let's not get too carried away.


I don't believe that Gale will be dying in Scream 4. If any of the major three does then I think it will be Dewey. My early hunch is that the killer, or one of them at least, will be a policeman and since I think it's safe to rule out Anthony Anderson (sorry, but Ghostface ain't got a gut) then that leaves either Adam Brody or, the one I've been leaning towards ever since she was cast, Marley Shelton. She doesn't like Sheriff Dewey so he gets the knife, but Brody survives and he becomes the new Sheriff so it sort of is like a true "passing of the flame" situation as Wes has been claiming.

We shall see.

Nevertheless, Gale up there needs to look out. We've seen the barnhouse setting before in an on-set tweet pic from Wes Craven himself of a Casey Becker lookalike so I think it's safe to say that Gale will be reliving the events of Woodsboro 15 years ago very up close and personal. Still, I hope she makes it out alive. Maybe that's not even the actual Ghostface though? We've heard that the town of Woodsboro celebrates Stab-a-thon where, much like the opening sequence of Scream 2, Ghostface masks are adorned by locals and the real killer can weave his or her way through the pack without notice, which sounds juicy.

The third returning cast member, as we all know, is Neve Campbell as reigning Final Girl Sidney Prescott. This below footage from Entertainment Tonight shows Sidney and her cousin Jill, played by Emma Roberts (sidebar: I love the thought of Julia Roberts going to see Scream 4 just to watch her niece on screen!), being chased up some stairs and Sidney being thrown about on the roof. I've never thought they'd kill of Sidney, but if Wes and his "new decade, new rules" mantra really want to make an impact then, yes, killing off Sidney would be a good way of doing it. If they go that way I just hope she gets a more respectful send off than Jamie Lee Curtis did in Halloween: Resurrection.

Cannot wait!

Hit Me With Your Best Se7en

I'm feeling a bit too crook to really delve in David Fincher's Se7en as a part of Nathaniel Rogers' Hit Me With Your Best Shot series, but thankfully I revisited the film back in May so you can read that if you would like.

Naturally, I had trouble choosing just one, but choose just one I did... after choosing six others. Here are my seven favourite shots from Seven ranked from 7 to 1. I'm not going to go into the hows and whys or these very much, they are are. Enjoy.

I like the slight introduction of colour into this very bleak, very gray world.


He is his gun. He is violence.

The first sight of the van and the unease of "what the hell is gonna happen next?" increases tenfold.

From the opening credits. It's just striking is all.

Love the composition and the way that actual beauty in this world is hard to find, but it can be found in, of all places, the symmetry of study lamps.

My favourite shot is one of the only in the entire film that radiates. Innocence, which is hard to come by, emits from her face and brings a slight ray of hope into the film. Probably why I latch onto this shot most of all.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tonight, Tonight...

Today I saw the current production of West Side Story playing here in Melbourne at the Regent Theatre. It's a grand old building and one befitting a classic, masterful production such as this. The show has problems - how about those B-R-O-A-D accents or the far too operatic voice of lead Julie Goodwin? - but is generally a fun trip to the theatre. I mean, it's hard to truly stuff up a show as good as West Side Story, isn't it? The dancing was great, the production design simple by effective and, it must be said, the male cast were almost all dreamy. I certainly didn't wanna poke my eyes out as I watched Rohan Brown as Riff who was basically sex on stage. If I had to choose my favourite scenes it would come down to "Quintet" or "Somewhere". I'm not sure what was lacking in "America", but... well, there was something lacking. Was it because the girls all went barefoot? Or maybe I just missed the the boys in the number, which is the way I've always known that number to be staged from watching the film.

Speaking of the film, naturally the production really isn't as good as the 1960 movie. That film is such a monumental piece of cinema, I know, but even less than perfect stage productions can be so great to watch purely due to the thrill of seeing it live. But, no, the movie most definitely has this particular staging beat. There's not even anything more that needs to be said about Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins' film other than you must see it if you haven't already (and why haven't you?) Let's revisit the trailer as well as my two favourite scenes from the film.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The First 33 Seconds are Bad. So Is the Rest, It Would Seem

When I heard about Ron Howard's The Dilemma I thought it was nice that he was finally going back to making comedy. I think Howard's best movie is Parenthood after all. The two leads of Vince Vaughn and Kevin James did not inspire hope, but with Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder and Queen Latifah amongst the supporting players I was thinking quality potential was there.

And then I saw the trailer. After the first 33 seconds I was abhorred. Then after the next 39 seconds I was repulsed. And then after the rest of it I wanted to stab Ron Howard in the face, be found guilty, get sent to prison, get out 9 years later on good behaviour, travel to Hollywood, find Ron Howard and stab him in the face again.

Truly, what a repugnant, foul, cretinous movie The Dilemma looks to be. Of course Jennifer Connelly looks like she plays a boring ol' fuddy duddy, of course Winona Ryder plays a villainous liar, of course Queen Latifah is accepting a pay check for doing nothing, of course these unattractive men can stag hot, sexy wives and of course Vince Vaughn and Kevin James are playing Vince Vaughn and Kevin James like they do all the time. Jokes about things being "gay" (but not "homosexual gay" just "my parents are chaperoning the dance gay" - whatever that means), grotesque displays of male idiocy as some sort of applaudable achievement and dialogue written by someone (Allan Loeb who co-wrote Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) who thinks "I got serious lady wood" is funny.

Watching it for a second time, or attempting to, I nearly gagged (actual near vomit) at Vaughn's air guitar routine. I had to turn it off it's SO BAD. Truly a disgusting waste of two and a half minutes.

Ron Howard? Consider yourself stabbed.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Scream to Scream, Scene by Scene: SCENE 26 of Scream (1:07:13-1:10:00)

In this project I attempt to review the entire Scream trilogy scene by scene in chronological order. Heavy spoilers and gore throughout!

Length: 2mins 47secs
Primary Characters: Sidney Prescott and Billy Loomis
Pop Culture References:
  • The Silence of the Lambs (Billy compares Sidney's life to this film)
  • Meg Ryan (Sidney wishes her life was more like "a Meg Ryan movie")

I'm going to be perfectly honest with you and say that I always skip this scene. Much like scene two, I think this bit is all just a bit wishy washy and slows down the picture. I get why it's there, I definitely think it needs to be in there, but once you've seen this movie as many times as I have it all gets a bit useless. Plus, I actually think it's one of the few scenes in the first two movies where the writing is on the nose.

Like this bit where Billy compares Sidney's life to the bit in Silence of the Lambs where Clarice flashbacks to her childhood. I think it just goes a little bit too overboard with the references. Nobody would bring up that at a time like this, especially someone such as Billy who is clearly trying to seduce her so that he finally gets to bed her before murdering her later in the night.

"But this is life, this isn't a movie."

For someone who seems to look at a life in a very real way, Sidney sure does sound like a movie character. All this talk about "wallowing in Post Traumatic Stress" and being "nearly filleted". Do you think she realises?

"Why can't I be a Meg Ryan movie ..."

"... or even a good porno?"

You know Billy was all like "say WHAAAAT?!"

Meanwhile, when she says she wants her life to be like a Meg Ryan movie, I take it she means something like Sleepeless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally or French Kiss and not When a Man Loves a Woman or Courage Under Fire. Or IQ. *shudder* IQ? *shudder*

Ew. Straight people getting all sexxed up in a Scream movie is just wrong! It should be repressed homosexuality or nothing at all!

Intro, Scene 1 Scene 2, Scene 3, Scene 4, Scene 5, Scene 6, Scene 7, Scene 8, Scene 9, Scene 10, Scene 11, Scene 12, Scene 13, Scene 14, Scene 15, Scene 16, Scene 17, Scene 18, Scene 19, Scene 20, Scene 21, Scene 22, Scene 23, Scene 24, Scene 25

Scream to Scream, Scene by Scene: SCENE 25 of Scream (1:06:44-1:07:12)

In this project I attempt to review the entire Scream trilogy scene by scene in chronological order. Heavy spoilers and gore throughout!

Length: 28secs
Primary Characters: Gale Weathers and Kenny the Cameraman
Pop Culture References:
  • The Pulitzer Prize (Gale wants to win one)

Tiny scene, this one, but it's with two of my three favourite Scream characters so it gets an entry all of its own.

I wish they could have replaced Joey and Ross on Friends with Kenny the Cameraman. Yes.

"Tell me Kenneth, has a cheesy tabloid journalist ever won the Pulitzer?"
"...first time for everything!"
"You're damn right."

The way she said "Kenneth"! The way she leans in towards him and stares into his eyes as she asks her question. The way this movie actually focuses on some adults in a way that they become full characters and not just token stock "cop" characters. Love it.

Intro, Scene 1 Scene 2, Scene 3, Scene 4, Scene 5, Scene 6, Scene 7, Scene 8, Scene 9, Scene 10, Scene 11, Scene 12, Scene 13, Scene 14, Scene 15, Scene 16, Scene 17, Scene 18, Scene 19, Scene 20, Scene 21, Scene 22, Scene 23, Scene 24