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Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: Movies  (Read 51381 times)
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jbottle
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« Reply #3060 on: January 05, 2008, 03:11:16 AM »

I like a good three way as long as it's guy/girl/guy, that way you have the comfort zone of having a buddy involved, and I know what you're thinking, hey, that's contrary to the conventional wisdom, but if it's just you and two girls you have no idea what either one is thinking which is scary.  I'm not saying that I wouldn't "go there," it's just that I feel more comfortable in an "ensemble" of guy/girl/guy/girl/guy, so that on some level it seems like the guys have the advantage, if that makes sense.
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madupont
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« Reply #3061 on: January 05, 2008, 03:31:27 AM »

You must be mind-reading?

But first, I have to mention to jbottle that this escapes me.

$54,540,535  National Treasure: Book of Secrets
 
Slightly outdoing  somebody's favorite?
 
 
$11,890,622 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
 
I will never understand the taste of film-goers.

That's the box-office on these two opening opposite each other.

For the life of me, I thought they would all trot over for another look at Bonham Carter, as well as J.Depp on the same bill, outperforming each other's forte.  After all, they are fairly used to variations on being Nicholas Cage.

But it is Johnny Depp, that I want to bring up for oilcanboyd, who does an actual star turn, given that it is Restoration (you call this: Comedy?)so we will settle for calling it what it is,Restoration theatre and you can not have that without it being the ultimate ensemble style.  I had to watch it tonight, having just seen it two months ago, because  you can't get enough of observing every nuance that Johnny Depp comes up with or flaunts, in: The Libertine. In which he plays John Wilmot,the 2nd Earl of Rochester, a prodigy poet who is under the protection of Charles II,
until Charles banishes him, as he will time and again. Malkovich plays the royal role and perhaps better by far than the many variations that we have seen gradually but comparitively. Sam Neill for one. You can't beat those King Charles Spaniels. Here they are once again, but teeny,tiny in their little crewe by comparison to the Malkovichian majesty which is huge.

We have likewise seen Rupert Everett do this regal role as if he is really glad to be back in England and that's about it.  He has his favorite actress (and it is John who shall have his, Depp that is not Malkovich). Yet, if, in -- Stage Beauty, you were the least confused what Billy Crudup saw in Ben Chaplin --

after Johnny Depp is through with you, you will have no doubt what the Restoration was all about after the Puritan Civil Wars.  I imagine something like that could happen to us after what we've been through recently in the US, to the consternation of all the Christian candidates at large.

Yet you will never be confused just who these people are to each other. And that is the secret of ensemble performance. You may wonder now and again about  how Johnny Depp does those tongue twisters at such a rapid pace but then when you pick up the  rhyming cue which permits this feat in the stage monologues, and that Depp's lines are the result of being the poet of the age and that every word that comes out of his mouth "signifies", what can I say but turn up your volume and peer into the darkness. John Wilmot like Jack Kerouac managed to die by the time he was 43.    You may learn a few new words/expressions  that hadn't occurred to you before about matters of sexual congress, but there are enough of the good old four letter familiars there because the English invented them.
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jbottle
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« Reply #3062 on: January 05, 2008, 03:48:14 AM »

People in the sticks don't know what a "Sweeny Todd" is...but "National Treasure...," that hits a hot point in the brain, and goth doesn't sell to people who are scared of their own shadows and only want to "escape."  I'm not trying to be condescending, but maud, you certainly know that ST wouldn't be NT, though we can agree that the numbers for Cage put him probably at #1 again on the A-list of 1 through 5, #38 being Dane Cook and that other dude.

I mean, if you live in the city, sure, but "Sweeney Todd" is totally unknown out everywhere.  Nobody wants to see it, I promise, but I could've told you that months ago, that said, I thought NT "popped" in a bigger way than expected, which is good news for the rug hags that trail Cage.
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oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #3063 on: January 05, 2008, 10:15:31 AM »

My position on musicals (I don't like them) has not changed as a result of having seen "Sweeney Todd".

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton have done a lot of things that I liked a lot, e.g., I liked "Edward Scissorhands" and loved "Sleepy Hollow", so I am pro-both of them - this is not a "Burton sucks" or "Depp sucks" thing.  This is a musicals thing.  I just don't like them.  E.g., in one scene, Johnny Depp sends a kid to deliver a letter to Alan Rickman.  I immediately imagined the next scene (which thankfully did not happen) of the kid going "I'm running / I'm running / I'm running through the streeeeeets / The streets are very crowded / all the people / all the feeeeeeet...."

Cringing the whole time, I gained some insight (if not answers) as to my musicals thing.  In "No Country For Old Men", that's not actually Chigurh standing there about to kill whoever.  It's Javier Bardem, and about 5 feet from him, there's a sound guy and a lighting guy and a bunch of equipment and such.  But for whatever reason, you commit, or give in, or suspend disbelief or whatever, and accept that it's Chigurh and invest in the story and forget that it's just an actor and the fact that all that equipment and all of those other crew people are standing just off-screen.  That's what you do 99% of the time when you watch a movie.  Something in/about the movie makes you flip the switch and accept what you see depicted on the screen as happening.

When I was watching "Sweeney Todd", I just felt like I was looking at Johnny Depp singing a song and thinking about Tim Burton trying to get the shot right and so forth.  After a few minutes I resolved to forget about all that, just accept/invest in the story, he's Sweeney Todd and she's Mrs. Butterworth or whatever, and try to enjoy it.  That effort proved to be futile - with each successive song, it became more evident that there was no way my brain would see the things on the screen as anything but Depp and HBC  et al singing songs for Tim Burton and some musical consultant or whoever.

I've since been told that, well, since Depp and HBC do not have superior singing voices, there's your answer, one of the main reasons why "Mary Poppins" is great is Julie Andrews' singing voice, etc., i.e., her voice is so great that it makes you flip the above-described switch.  Maybe that's what it is, I don't know. 

It might also be the songs themselves - I remember thinking about the writer's task in "Sweeney Todd", like okay, this guy kills people with barber's shaving blades, so he has this fancy set of blades, and when he returns to London he finds where he (or she, I can't remember) hid his blades, and then he sings a song about how much he loves the blades, how they complete him, while he holds the blades up and Tim Burton gets cool-looking shots of the light reflecting off of the beautiful shimmering blades, etc.  Of course, this is after he sings a song about how much he hates London, etc.  In "Mary Poppins" (and I don't mean to beat MP to death - it's just a musical I've seen recently and said, "oh yeah, I don't like musicals but this is obviously a 5-star movie, etc."), it seemed like the songs were more than just the character looking at something and singing a song about how he or she feels about that thing.   

For example, the point of "Spoonful of Sugar" is to get the kids to whistle while they work, make it fun to do your chores, etc.  This makes sense because the story = she is hired to be their nanny, so it makes sense to have her first scene with the kids be "Spoonful of Sugar", getting them to do their chores.  Or "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" is silly simply on its face, but it's in the context of MP and Dick Van Dyke telling the kids about a word that comes in handy if you have to say something and you don't know what to say.  It also has a sublayer or whatever, in that DVD makes no secret about how he loves to spend time with MP, and she likes him too, but it's obvious they can't "date" or whatever, but there's a word they can say to just have fun or whatever and not worry about the nature of their relationship beyond friendship.

In "MP", she did not sing a song to and about her flying umbrella, that I remember anyway.

I could be way off in this analysis of my aversion to musicals, I don't know.  When the question is "Why do I feel a certain way about X?", I'm quite often in the dark.  Anyways, whoever has made it this far without scrolling on by, thanks for reading this way-too-long post.

« Last Edit: January 05, 2008, 10:29:00 AM by oilcanboyd23 » Logged
luee
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« Reply #3064 on: January 05, 2008, 12:19:35 PM »

Just caught Charlie Wilson, not great comedy but politically informative. Opinions?
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barton
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« Reply #3065 on: January 05, 2008, 12:30:27 PM »

All this Barton Fink chat has moved me to put it in my queue.  It's been a while, but I remember it as a work of delicious irony, the title character who seeks a bond with the common man, but is too neurotic and embedded in his own intellect to really like him or listen to him.

Saw Walk Hard with daughter and friend last night. Let's just say...subtle and nuanced it ain't. But funny it is.

Some fine parodic moments -- the bathroom "you don't want to try this shit [reefer]" scene, the "it's devil music" mob response to the ultra bland-sweet song about holding hands, the Bob Dylan sendup (wickedly funny), the whole sexual tension thing with the June Carter equivalent and accompanying sexual innuendo song, "smell blindness" miraculously cured, and all the mindbendingly dumb songs culminating in the credits song in which the artist apparently has taken self-indulgence to the next level and written a song about his own death. I don't think one single music biopic cliche was left unskewered or unmangled.

 

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barton
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« Reply #3066 on: January 05, 2008, 12:33:34 PM »

And, yes, MADUPONT, I would also vote to scrap the Holiday Movie forum.  I think the blend of seasonal affect disorder, alcoholic egg nog and other libations, and general input of stupor-inducing foods leads people to overrate most "holiday films."

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madupont
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« Reply #3067 on: January 05, 2008, 12:39:07 PM »

jbottle,

Succinct but utterly convincing truth. Got you.
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madupont
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« Reply #3068 on: January 05, 2008, 12:51:07 PM »

oilcanboyd23

You may find this very strange but, those are my feelings exactly. I can not think of a musical that ever appealed to my aesthetic sense of propriety; although we do have to make an exception in  regard to the excellent voice of Julie Andrews. Much depends on the ability of the cinematographer and director to agree on how to provide the scene when you have a voice of this caliber but not embodied in someone moving down-stage center with appropriate lighting.

I even found Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn preposterously too cute.

Yes, you are right, it is the "suspension of disbelieve" that is everything to film more so than theatrics.

I'm wondering now if this show-biz musical play stuff occurs to bring the popular performance to the sticks jbottle so aptly described because it is no lounger possible to mount a road show at today's costs with the exception of one or two places, out there in fantasy land, like Las Vegas and Washington,D.C.
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madupont
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« Reply #3069 on: January 05, 2008, 12:58:41 PM »

One backtrack here before I arouse hostility as usual out on the fringes of the picky misinformed, so I will shove hostile back at 'em as necessary, Bertold Brecht and Kurt Weill, but that was not a "musical" per se, it was Dreigroshenoper.   

And that was a political statement couched as "entertainment" (I hesitated about using the term,"peoples' entertainment") with exceptionally hypnotic music performed by actors who sang in a class by themselves.
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madupont
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« Reply #3070 on: January 05, 2008, 01:02:38 PM »

News

"A spokeswoman said Friday that the guild would definitely take some action against Mr. Leno, who is a member.

“The answer is, he is not getting a pass,” said Sherry Goldman, a spokeswoman for the Writers Guild of America East. She said that the action to be taken had not yet been specified.

Another impediment that the guild and its supporters have raised against the affected late-night shows — pressuring high-profile show business guests to avoid appearing on them — is proving to be a serious challenge for “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” on NBC, as well as “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on ABC.

All three shows have reported resistance from publicists for many of the guests that the shows typically book.

In other strike news, the president of the Screen Actors Guild reiterated on Friday that members would not cross picket lines to appear on the Golden Globes awards show Jan. 13.

“There appears to be unanimous agreement that these actors will not cross W.G.A. picket lines to appear on the Golden Globes Awards as acceptors or presenters,” the president, Alan Rosenberg, said in a statement released after a meeting with some nominees on Friday.

The Golden Globes are scheduled to be shown on NBC, but the fate of the broadcast, and possibly the ceremony itself, remains unclear."
Quotes from the nytimes.com
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The problem of the tv night shows not getting guests leaves me with ennui. When they put Mike Huckabee, as a human interest personality from politics, in the position where by and large fundamentalists like himself are not up watching tv at that hour, it  may inadvertently present him as some kind of clown to sophisticates who are watching this "back and forth" on who will cross the line and not support them. It is a political statement that even Huckabee did not catch. It marks him as " a Republican".

Other than that, all I can say is that I am not in the habit of watching these shows and trying to find the humor in their tacky snideness. They went down hill gradually over twenty to thirty years.

On the other hand, I will severely miss the Golden Globes. The ramifications are bad for the business when you have to suppress publicity of your film  because some entrenched  attitude refuses to acknowledge the existence and presence of creative personnel across the boards of the Industry.
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harrie
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« Reply #3071 on: January 05, 2008, 01:15:52 PM »

I'm neither a musical lover nor hater, though some I do really enjoy.  One of my favorites is Guys and Dolls, which gets ripped on by experts and regular people alike. Yet, the whole bursting into song thing doesn't bother me because everything in the flick is larger than life to begin with -- the bright colors; gangsters who dress the part; showgirls; pre-Disney Times Square and old Cuba; and so on -- so of course the characters burst into song.  It also helps (me, anyway) that Brando does his own singing and is passable but not great, so things aren't too perfect. But I think all the things I like about G&D is what everyone else hates about it, so go figure.

Same principles apply to my other favorite musicals, like The Music Man, The King and I (which also has the Yul Brynner factor, so I'm sooo there) and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the Gene Wilder one).  Oklahoma also ranks up there, but it doesn't have the larger than life factor that runs through my other favorites.

But hey, what do I know -- I liked the Xena and Buffy musical episodes, so that probably says more than anyone needs to know about my taste, or lack thereof. Just my two cents on musicals.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp -- not a musical, right?  Or did they sing?
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madupont
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« Reply #3072 on: January 05, 2008, 01:46:08 PM »

Harrie,

"The King and I (which also has the Yul Brynner factor,", if you get a chance to read Marlene Dietrich's daughter, who wrote a heavy all-inclusive tome on her mother's career, you may find yourself changing your mind about "the Yul Brynner factor".

It seems they became lovers during this period when he was appearing on Broadway in this production, something about his bronzed body and arms akimbo masculinity appealed to her. Maria Riva, who wrote the book on her mother, for posterity was much condemned because people presumed she was pulling an attitude. She wasn't. They had a very tight mother/daughter relationship in which Maria observed, knew, and Marlene discussed everything.   Maria reports that Marlene told her, Brynner came directly from the theater to her apartment every night, without removing the  total amount of body makeup(if you are picturing the costume); and left it all over the bed sheets.

(Riva, Maria (1994). Marlene Dietrich. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-38645-0.)

And, about that Brando thing....
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harrie
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« Reply #3073 on: January 05, 2008, 04:26:13 PM »

Okay, madupont, but the book itself said that the body makeup appealed to MD, so in effect, YB was just giving MD what she wanted.  Clean linens be damned! 

Besides, my whole thing is fascination from afar -- I don't want to know too much truth about my favorite dead actors.  I know YB smoked like a chimney, so if I had ever met him in real life, I'd have been extremely disappointed by that alone - I hate cigarette smoke and seem to be able to smell an ion of its residue on clothing.  But if he'd been wearing the all-black outfit from The Magnificent Seven/Westworld.....I dunno, that would be a toughie.
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jbottle
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« Reply #3074 on: January 05, 2008, 06:50:53 PM »

Without the Globes you don't get to play that annual game:  How stoned is Tim Robbins.  Like, really, really high?  Or just catching a buzz, etc.  

NBC makes a lot of money on the Globes.  A whole lot.  That should get the donkey moving I would think.  

I haven't followed the sticking points too closely but I think it has to do with the remuneration by residuals for intellectual property distributed on the internets, etc., and possibly some impasse as the DVD becomes obsolete withing the next 10 yrs or so.  I'm of the opinion that a DVD, like a book, is a good size for human use, but then I don't have an IPhone and have no idea what the digital future holds, so yeah, I'll miss the Globes, too, but it seems like if you are going to make an assload of money distributing "Lost" digitally or whatever, while you are intentionally have a strategy of not paying writers, or very few for game shows and reality shows, a real effort at marginalizing writers even as cable original programming expands seems fundamentally unfair...

Pay a brother.
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