Archive for Tragic

Thoughts on Random Movies Randomly Selected by a Movie Poster Randomizer. Randomly.

Posted in Entertainment, Movies and Theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2012 by urbannight

I have a couple of movie reviewers I follow. I like reviewers that, for the most part, like the same types of movies I like and yet have some differences of opinion or tend to focus on different aspects of those movies.  Not a perfect match, but maybe a 85% match in tastes.  Because that leaves room to be challenged with different ideas and opinions and to rethink where I stand on a movie.

Today I want to mention Fog because his review has a string of movie posters at the top of the page. I really want to mention those movies. By the way, the movie’s at the top change out every time you go to the page so if you go look you will see different posters. I have no idea how this randomized selection of images is generated, but I like it.  I saw this selection all at one time one day and had a visceral reaction to it.  So I figured I would share this list of films and a few thoughts on them.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kidd w/ Paul Newman and Robert Redford. I haven’t seen it in ages. It has been over a decade for sure and possibly two. I remember watching it a lot whenever it was on T.V. For something I watched a number of times, I barely remember it. I remember that I really liked it a lot. This probably means it is more than time to re-watch it. I remember it as a comedy. It sort of bridged both comedy and western action genres.

Walt Disney’s the Jungle Book. I never could get into this movie. Everything about it seems ‘off’ to me. It seems like they didn’t have a good idea of what India was like so substituted it with the ‘deep south’. It never clicked for me. Although I remember reading the non-Disney version of the story and liking that. This was always a Disney ‘Fail’ in my book.

Animal House. This is one of those dim memory movies. Despite the fact I think I watched it not so very long ago. But then, the more I think about it, it could have been about 2 years ago. I always liked Peter Riegert. I think it was his thick, wavy hair and piercing expression. It always amused me that Donald Sutherland thought the movie was so bad and was certain that it would fail that, when offered a pay deal with 15% of the gross, he opted out and said he wanted a flat, one time payment. He was wrong. Despite being the highest paid cast member with little screen time, he lost out on millions. Not a great movie. Good concept. I liked the plot. And some really good acting here and there. It launched a few careers. But it decided that ‘gross’ was in and I hate that. Gross is what ruined it for me. I only re-watched it to refresh my memory after watching a documentary on the movie. As a big part of American pop culture, I figured I needed a refresher on it.

Airplane. A fun and funny movie totally making fun of comedies and disaster films all in one go. It is actually a remake of a 1950’s movie. The flight crew gets sick, with food poisoning. A former pilot who, is afraid to fly after the war, is on the plane chasing after an ex-girlfriend who wants to move on. His former military commander has to talk him down as he tries to land the unfamiliar plan. It was an all-star cast for the day. It was a huge success. If you haven’t seen it, why not and how old are you?

Pan’s Labyrinth. I love Guillermo del Toro’s films. This is one of the most haunting and beautiful and tragic (maybe) movies I have ever seen. This is the type of movie one never forgets, can list as a favorite, but may never watch again. The question always remains, was it a fantasy and she was really experiencing these things and did go to live in this magical world forever or was it just her very rich fantasy life making an unbearable situation tolerable and it ended with a horrible tragedy? That is what makes it so hard to watch more than once.

Goldfinger. This is the movie that makes the name Pussy Galore a pop-culture, iconical reference. If I can make up a word? Can I do that? (Can May, May Can, May can do the can can. 3 hrs of sleep, an exhausted mind, and I’m a little silly now.) I think I will. I think it is a word and this system just doesn’t recognize it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. This movie introduces us to Oddjob, who may have shown up in another movie or is just so famous that we keep thinking he had a repeat performance. Of course, if it wasn’t for his hat that can cut through stonework, we might not have remembered him. This movie taught us all that if you cover yourself in gold paint, you have to leave a patch open so your skin can breathe or you suffered epidermal suffocation. I’m not even sure if this is true or not be we all believed it back then.

Going back to the name Pussy Galore and the use of double entendres for bond girls, I noticed an interesting trend in some research I was doing on Hammer Films. As European censors were growing more concerned with violence in movies and films watched the amount of violence but sex was okay, the reverse was happening in the U.S. and American censors were limiting sexual references and visuals but violence was a-okay. Just an interesting thing to see in the evolution of the film industry in Europe vs America. I never did get around to writing an article about that one phenomenon and now can’t remember all I wanted to discuss on the topic so I thought I would mention it here as a side note.

Young Frankenstein. I think is my favorite Mel Brooks movie. A true tribute to 1930’s Frankenstein movies, the black and while filming, the use of period transitions, and the use of period style music make this movie superior in every way to other tribute movies. I can’t imagine anyone not having seen this. Unless they are 10, in which case, their parents ought to be showing it to them.

Sweeny Todd, The Original Urban Myth

Posted in Art, Entertainment, Life, Movies and Theatre, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2012 by urbannight

I came across an OLD post of mine from when I decided I needed to start writing again. It was an effort to dust the cobwebs off my decaying skills. I re-read it and was horrified. I decided it was time to rewrite this and do a much better job. I will not being doing this to all my old posts. But since this is one that people occasionally still pull up, I thought I had better do a better job of it.

When the movie came out I was pleased; although, some of Johnny Depp’s notes were painful to hear. He shouldn’t sing.

I highly recommended it to everyone. I was pleased with the show as a whole. Some people were disinclined to view it as they were not Burton fan’s or Depp fans.

I informed them that I was not recommending it as a Burton or Depp film. I like some of their work and dislike some of their work. I am a big Sweeney Todd fan. In college we had to watch the Angela Lansbury version of it. Sweeney Todd was played by Len Cariou. It is an excellent version with outstanding performances.

People don’t realize that the story of Sweeney Todd has been around for a long time. The earliest print stories are from the mid 1840’s and it may be one of the earliest known examples of Urban Myths as bits and pieces of the story may have been around since the 1700’s. In the oldest stories, Todd is not a tragic figure who was framed and deported because someone wanted his wife. He is literally a murderous barber killing people for their possessions. The silent film version is one of the earliest horror movies and reflects the original story. It evolved over the years into the musical we know now.

Many of the characters in the modern version existed in the original story ‘The String of Pearls’ but have transformed into different roles. Tobias Ragg was originally Todd’s assistant who gets sent to a madhouse. Johanna goes undercover as a boy to work for Todd in order to find out what happened to a Lieutenant who was bringing her a pearl necklace from her lover who was lost at sea. It turns out her lover was imprisoned and put to work in a pie shop as a cook.

Prior to A String of Pearls being released, Dickens made a reference to preparers of cannibalic pastry in one of his novels. And even earlier story (1824) refers to a barber’s victims being made into meat pies. So that part of the story had been around since the earliest part of the 19th century at the very least and maybe longer.

I nearly purchased a dvd of the 1928 silent film version but passed on it. I went back a week or two later and there were no copies left and I’ve not been able to find it anywhere again. Someone was releasing very old black and white talkies and silent films in very cheap cardboard cases with two movies on one dvd. They were being sold in Walgreen’s.

Now back to the most current adaptation. I think it was well done, although listening to the two leads sing was a bit annoying. Having purchased the cd and listened to it often I’ve come to the conclusion that even their less than ideal singing voices actually work in favor for their parts. Carter’s voice does something odd at the highest notes. Almost like her voice catches but not exactly. But it works well with the accent and with the socioeconomic strata she is representing. Depp actually goes off-key which was more painful to hear at first. Made me wonder, if that was the best take of his singing, what did the others sound like?

The movie is true to the tragic love story that evolved out of the basic horror story. It is as if the story spent several decades being codified into a final version. Burton’s interpretation of this version was visually very beautiful. Depp singing to his razors was very creepy. The costuming was almost like a fantasy version of the clothing of the time period. This gave a fairy tale like quality to the film. I enjoyed it immensely.

Afterwards, I went to a local eatery and was surprised to discover that the movie’s release corresponded to a food special campaign of meat pies. We all opted to pass on that and just had desert.