We cannot catch a break here at TFE Headquarters this week (honesty this summer. Uff) so this one will be brief. If you haven't yet seen Baz Luhrmann's latest, the first half of a first season of a show about the birth of hiphop called "The Get Down" have at it. Due to time constraints we've only watched the first episode but it delivered on the Baz-ness that we have so desperately missed.
Here's my choice for best shot with commentary after the jump...
Shao 007. Man...
His Pumas are always pristine.
His hands are samurai swords.
And his pieces, they're all fireworks.
During a montage Dizzie (Jaden Smith) is talking about the empowerment of graffiti art ("I was here") and waxes rhapsodic about his hero Shaolin Fantastic (Shameik Moore, making good on that Dope promise) as we watch a sharply edited over the top collage of Shaolin at work, the camera in this shot standing in for the wall on which he strikes. This mythologizing of an artist, in a story about the origins of a frequently self-mythologizing genre is a perfect example of form following function. It's also very Baz.
The Get Down's charming mix of desperate living, theatrical fabulousness, and dreams of major artistry, and its lovestruck writer/narrator (Justice Smith, very charming) all recall Moulin Rouge! The wide array of broad comic side characters on display has been a Baz staple since his debut with Strictly Ballroom (Tony winners Billy Porter as a DJ and Lillias White as "Fat Annie" are absolute delights when we get to the disco memorably titled "Les Inferno"). The A.D.D. zooms, editing, tonal clusterfucks, and jarring fusions of practical sets with obvious CG fakery recall all of the movies and some of the awkward bits of Australia and The Great Gatsby but in an arguably more endearing way than the latter two. Despite the familiar Bazmark elements the hip-hop angle and urban youth cast gives this project enough of a fresh scrappy spin. The first episode doesn't play as self-parody, so much as a reenergized playfulness albeit with the kind of resources that are more Jay Gatsby than impoverished kids in the Bronx.
Best Shots Elsewhere
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We’re not looking at a very grandiose piece of work, though it’s very ambitious. But it’s nevertheless exhilarating, even despite it being the most low-key thing Luhrmann has done since Strictly Ballroom...
- Movie Motorbreath
it's a bit of a mess, but I think I know where the heart of the series lies, and what makes it special.
-Dancing Dan on Film
This could literally be a billboard for the show...
-I Want to Believe
This was one of the few times Luhrmann and company slowed it down a bit, giving us a better sense of the main character...
-Sorta That Guy
And make sure to check out Murtada's choice on Twitter, too. It's sex on a stick!
NEXT TUESDAY NIGHT:
Splash (1984) for our season finale. Please bid the summer farewell with the boy and the fish in love.