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Entries in Cabaret (15)

Tuesday
Nov252014

Stage Door: Emma Stone in "Cabaret"

Jose here. Earlier this year I reported back from the Kit Kat Club to share my impressions about Michelle Williams’ performance as Sally Bowles in the Roundabout Theatre production of Cabaret. Last night I went back to see what Emma Stone (Spirit-Nominated this morning) brought to the part...

Halfway through the first act of Cabaret, Sally Bowles realizes that life with her naive, new lover Cliff (Bill Heck) might be exactly what she needs. She sits with Cliff on a chaise lounge and for a moment she sees herself living the life of a wife and mother, satisfied with keeping home and raising her child. Suddenly, the Emcee interrupts this precious moment by bringing a microphone, its allure too powerful for Sally to resist, and drawn towards it as if under a spell, she performs “Maybe This Time”.

Onstage, the heartbreaking irony of this moment (Sally selling her soul to showbiz, while fooling herself into thinking she’s doing the opposite) is hard to detect if the actress playing her is too eager, or not eager enough; a delicate balance which I’m thrilled to report was beautifully achieved by Emma Stone.

Having already proved to be a truly magnetic screen presence, Stone brings her unusual sensuality to Sally Bowles by subverting the quirkiness that makes her so much fun to watch in movies. Gone are the traces of the goofy girl from Easy A, or the naivete of her Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man. If anything, she’s taking on the introspective self-destructiveness of her Sam from Birdman, the same volatile qualities that make her appealing and scary. Her Sally is a teenager who has convinced herself she can fool others into thinking she can play with the grown-ups. Her levels of delusion are such that she fails to notice she hasn’t really fooled anyone but herself.

Stone is also smart enough to know that in the stage version, Sally isn’t the star, she’s part of the ensemble. To a certain degree she's also a memory conveyed by Cliff who “writes” the show as it goes by looking back at his Berlin experiences. Stone’s Sally, while not the star of the show, is so seductive that we miss her whenever she’s not onstage, partly because we want to see her again, and partly because we are afraid of what will happen to her when we’re not looking after her. The audience develops caretaker feelings towards her, combined with sexual desire, making for Stone’s most mature performance to date.

And can she sing you ask? While she is obviously no Liza (then again who is?), Stone successfully delivers her numbers, bringing a raspy, sensual quality to them. (She often sounds like Lindsay Lohan did in her pop star moment!). Stone knows that singing isn’t her (or Sally's) true forte, so she lets this be an essential part of the performance, delivering the last third of the title song completely out of pitch, furiously fighting against the notes coming from the band. If a man can’t restrict her, why does this song think it can?

 

Tuesday
Apr292014

Tony Award Noms 2014: Much Movie-to-Stage Madness

The Tony Award Nominations are upon us. 8:30 AM is, I think, officially my favorite time each day. It's always when award nominations for anything are announced. Plus I've already had a cup of coffee, am wide awake and have usually already written something. The curse of the Early Riser. The 2013/2014 Broadway season  -- at least for the musicals -- was completely dominated by movie-to-stage transfers or classics that have become movies and are back on the stage again but most of the transfers didn't fare as well as you might have expected.

Ever adorable Jonathan Groff and Lucy Liu announced the nominees this morning with A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder leading the tally and Hedwig and the Angry Inch close behind. A complete list with commentary follows

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr112014

Splink!

In Contention the Stephen Hawking biopic Theory of Everything starring Eddie Redmayne is getting an Oscar prime November release. Best Actor is going to be tight this year, people
Telegraph interviewed Winona Ryder last month. Not sure how I missed this one but it's a good interview with smart comments on her career and age.
Shadowplay "things I read off the screen in In The Heat of the Night" interesting piece on 1967's Best Picture

Playbill has a history of Cabaret's journey from the pages of "Goodbye to Berlin" to the stage and screen
Cinema Blend I hadn't heard about this but there's a Twilight related lawsuit going on about profit sharing. Apparently Robert Pattinson made $25 million from Breaking Dawn. Wow.
Pajiba on Rob Lowe's "awesome" Reddit AMA
The Playlist Denis Villeneuve's career is heating up post Prisoners/Enemy and he's prepping a sci-fi thriller called The Story of Your Life which might star Amy Adams. It sounds vaguely Contact-esque to me.
Towleroad X-Men Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy do great impressions of Sir Ian McKellen and more. Adorable.
AV Club on "the return of the consumptive heroine" via The Wind Rises and Winter's Tale 

Today's Watch
It's a new Batman short in the style of his animated adventures in the 90s to celebrate his 75th anniversary (which is actually in but people are excited so they're starting early)

 

Creative Tributes
Cinema Blend Jackie Chan, who turned 60 this year, has been immortalized with a portrait in chopsticks
i09 2001: A Space Odyssey gets an homage via fruits and vegetables in this commercial 
Chaz Ebert her late husband Roger Ebert is getting a statue during EbertFest 

An Actor's Director
Guardian Sean Penn is returning to the director's chair for a South African romantic drama starring his new squeeze Charlize Theron (originally from South Africa so that's kind of cool) and Javier Bardem. My main concern with Penn as a director is that he's just so heavy/grim. I hope he finds a way for a range of tones here. This will also be Adele Exarchopoulos follow up to Blue is the Warmest Colour as she's playing a journalist

And finally...


AV Club let's us now the remake of Time Cop (1994) is back on. I don't care about this but I will take any excuse to post Jean Claude Van Damme's infamous kitchen counter split. It's one of my most vivid memories of 1990s moviegoing. What?

Monday
Apr072014

Stage Door: Michelle Williams in "Cabaret"

Jose here. I have a confession to make that might make me very unpopular around here: I don’t get Michelle Williams. I understand the reasons why she’s beloved and acclaimed and why she’s earned three Academy Award nominations so far, but I can’t bring myself to declare myself as part of her fanclub. The reason behind this is that I can’t fully fathom her as a true sexual being, yet time after time she’s asked to portray characters for whom sex is an essential trait. For instance, as much as she aced the moves, comedic timing and picaresque tone of Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn, she played the most famous sexual icon of all time as a timid porcelain doll, whose internal turmoils kept her from having an emotional life. What is the point of having Marilyn onscreen if you’re not having at least mildly naughty thoughts about her?

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb152014

Beauty Break: Marisa Berenson

Happy 67th birthday to Marisa Berenson. This New York born multilingual beauty, originally a model, has been around forever and in key films, too. Her film career couldn't sustain its major start but few careers could have. Consider that in her first decade acting she made  Death in Venice (1971), Cabaret (1972), Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975) and Blake Edwards S.O.B. (1981). Tough acts to follow, no? She was never prolific, opting for the occasional TV guest spot and films here and there in various countries, but that face -- memorable and impossibly beautiful.

According to IMDb she was rumored for a Vivien Leigh biopic in the 1970s (and wouldn't that be both a challenge and a coup for the right actress?) but the film sadly never materialized. 

More of the impossible beauty [nsfw] of Marisa Berenson after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan072014

I'm Linking As Fast As I Can

Who can keep up this week?

Vanity Fair Katey Rich on the embarassing Armond White display at the New York Film Critics Circle awards ceremony. I seriously don't know why the NYFCC risks their reputation this way each year?
BBC Jane Campion will head the Cannes jury this year. Yay! (Although this article weirdly states that Campion is the only female to win the Palme D'Or which is no longer true. Lea Seydoux & Adele Exarchopoulus won with their director for Blue is the Warmest Color
ScriptNotes with John August and Craig Mason wonder if filmmakers will ever be able to release a surprise feature a la Beyonce's surprise record
Time 50 things you didn't know about Nicolas Cage for his 50th birthday
The Carpetbagger Will Forte on his surprise detour into Nebraska
Towleroad Lily Tomlin finally marries longtime partner/collaborator Jane Wagner
THR hilarious interview about the forthcoming Golden Globes with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

Finally...
Cinema Blend Liza Minnelli loves The Dallas Buyers Club, says to McConaughey...

And, honey, if you don't win the Academy Award, I'm giving you mine."

Next time I hear "Mein Herr" I'll think, however briefly, of McConaughey. But I hear Mein Herr so often so it won't ruin it for me (what? You watch Cabaret monthly, too, right?). In fact, I'm okay with this regifting if:

1) Matthew can do the entire choreography of Mein Herr flawlessly
2) Matthew gives Liza a supporting role in Magic Mike 2