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Entries in Hedwig and the Angry Inch (7)

Sunday
Feb092014

I'm Mad As Hell And I'm Not Going to Link It Anymore

CHUD James Franco to direct a film based on the making of bad movie everyone obsesses over which I haven't seen The Room. You guys, I can't even with Franco's lack of focus. I mean I don't dislike him. I think he's interesting but he is way too scattered. 
In Contention on Santa Barbara's Robert Redford tribute
Guardian Valentino makes a gauche error, pimping the fact that Amy Adams carried a Valentino bag to PSH's funeral stating they didn't know it was a funeral photo. Um, everyone is in black and they look abso-depressed
MNPP who knew that Fran Kranz from Dollhouse had that chest under his clothes and why on earth didn't Joss Whedon exploit it on that oft-horny show?

NY Times Maureen O'Dowd wonders what Network's Paddy Chayefsky would think of today's click-driven world with its total monetization of every editorial decision
Awards Daily a BAFTA members favorites
Coming Soon Gravity becomes only the third film (after Avatar and The Dark Knight Rises) to earn over $100 million from IMAX screenings alone
Variety the ongoing saga of "Alone Yet Not Alone" continues. It's now selling briskly and nominated for the faithbased MovieGuide Awards 
i09 will The Runaways -- if Marvel ever makes it -- be their Godfather?
Salon talks to the director of The Great Beauty on Italy's Oscar dreams. (For those who are not aware Italy has the most Oscars in the Foreign Film category though France has the most nominations.)
Slate "You Still Have Control" Samantha Geimer ("The Girl in the Shadow of Roman Polanski") once again proves herself the smartest most well adjusted and least hysteric person in the room when it comes to the topic of sexual abuse cases - and she lived it! This is a must read for anyone who has struggled to move on from past traumas. 

And the Most Terrifying News of the Week
We're hearing from Coming Soon that John Travolta will be playing Gummy Bear, or Gummibear if you prefer or are European, in an upcoming animated film version of the yummy treat. The character designs look hateful, really and not much like the actual food stuff.

Frankly, I don't see the point in a Gummy Bear movie when the deliciousness was already twice immortalized via Robot Chicken and Hedwig and the Angry Inch...


Luther: You must like candy.
Hansel: I like Gummi Baerchen 

Wednesday
Oct162013

Need Something To Look Forward To...?

83 Days Until Tina Fey & Amy Poehler
(Start Planning Your Golden Globes Parties!) 

 


136 Days Until Oscar Night!


163 days until a slip of a girlie boy returns to the New York Stage!
(I saw the original Off Broadway production shortly after first moving to NYC.
It remains one of the theatrical highlights of my life. Do not miss this!)



448 days until it's Tina & Amy time again
(Aren't you thrilled that they signed for two more years of the Golden Globes?) 

Friday
Jun212013

"The Last Five Years" & "Hedwig" Jitters

I've seen a lot of theater since moving to NYC in January 1999 (wow. so long ago!) and four have stuck with me and become my informal holy trinity quadrilogy of modern showtunery: The Light in the Piazza (Adam Guettel), The Wild Party (John LaChiusa), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell & Stephen Trask) and the one I've listened to the most and feel the most proprietary about: The Last Five Years (Jason Robert Brown). 

For reasons which mostly have to do with equal parts scheduling problems, lethargy, and a case of "what if the lightning is no longer in the bottle?" worry, I did not see the recent revival of the latter. But my trip to The Last Five Years's original run with Norbert Leo Butz (brilliant) and Sherie René Scott (always a treat) is one of the definining theatergoing moments of my life. I loved everything about the musical in which you watch a 20something couple's troubled relationship told backwards (Hers) and forwards (His) in time as they both monologue/sing to the audience. They only ever sing together once when the stories meet in the middle.

When news broke that it was going to become a movie I wondered how they'd possibly get around the two character theatrical conceit but they've announced that for the film version they'll be singing to each other and the songs will be adjusted to accomodate this major change. My greatest worry is the casting since total two-handers require both hands to work.

Two time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz originated the role. Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan (pictured in Bonnie & Clyde on stage) will reinterpret it for the screen

Though noone is likely to replace Sherie René Scott in my heart Anna Kendrick is very talented, has good comic timing, and sings well, so I'm not worried about "Cathy". What worries me is "Jamie". Jeremy Jordan (from the late Smash) gets the tricky husband part. Jamie is super cocky, super talented, super charming, and secretive. All four of those traits ostensibly defined Jeremy's role on Smash but he was terrible at playing the "charming" part and just came across as a complete asshole whose career was handed to him on a silver platter but he just had to be all bratty about it anyway. In order for this musical dramedy to succeed he'll have to give the performance of his life and remember not to push the cocky assholism (it apparently comes naturally!) and work very hard on the charming part, the part that might draw a woman to him in an initially loving and supportive relationship. 

I did not see Jeremy Jordan onstage in Newsies (did you?) so perhaps he was charming in that but when I saw him in Bonnie & Clyde The Musical he had the same problem... the "run away with me" charm necessary for any successful take on Clyde Barrow was mostly absent and he just seemed angry. Maybe it's an age problem (Jordan is 28) but he's so bratty for lack of a better word. I hope to be converted since I love this musical so much it's like a part of me, but I am, as of yet, not a fan. If you are please talk me into reconsidering in the comments!

While I wait I will just stare at this NSFW photo (after the jump) to try to generate warm feelings for Mr Jordan...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov132012

Top Ten: Strange Golden Globe Musical Snubs

Glenn here with a tuesday top ten on a topic dear to my heart, and Nathaniel's too. We both have a strange fondness for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual Golden Globe Awards. Beyond the gif-ready celebrities-getting-drunk setting and the organisation’s occasional flurries of bonkers brilliance (too many to list), I think I like most of all that their splitting of films between drama and musical/comedy means so many very worthy films get big awards and nominations that they otherwise wouldn’t have. The general rule of thumb is that musicals have a much easier time getting a nomination because there are far fewer of them and, thus, stick out more. Sure, Burlesque, Across the Universe, Nine, and Mamma Mia are recent examples of none too acclaimed musicals landing big time best picture nominations.

Forgotten Awards Trivia: The Globes didn't consider "Dancer in the Dark" a musical (???) and Björk's awards show bird fetish didn't begin with the Oscar swan dress. Note that owl purse!

But what about those that didn’t? There’s more than you’d think!

11 with an Asterisk
Given the somewhat lax definition of “musical” by the HFPA – Ray? Coal Miner’s Daughter? Walk the Line? The Rose? – it’s a surprise that Robert Altman’s classic Nashville and Lars von Trier’s masterpiece Dancer in the Dark weren’t classified as such. The former because, well, it’s also pretty funny, right? The latter because it was a true, honest to god MUSICAL in the tradition sense. Altman’s ode to country garnered a whopping 11 nominations (including multiple for the now defunct “Best Acting Debut” category) and Dancer in the Dark snagged one for Bjork’s performance. Still, it’s about as dramatic as you can possibly get so we’ll let it slide.

TOP 10 MOST MYSTIFYING GOLDEN GLOBE MUSICAL SNUBS


10. Xanadu (1980)
Nominated instead: Airplane!, The Coal Miner’s Daughter (won), Fame, The Idolmaker, Melvin & Howard
Oh sure, laugh! Yes, this infamous movie was scorned upon release, but so was Burlesque and they had no trouble nominating that fabulosity twenty years later. Given the universal acclaim for, if nothing else, its soundtrack you’d think it could have at least gotten an original song citation for the title track. No, it’s not great art but who’s ever heard of Taylor Hackford’s The Idolmaker since?

Nine more increasingly acclaimed and tuneful snubbees after the jump

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun092011

Unsung Heroes: The Animation of 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch'

Hey everybody. Michael C here from Serious Film. I wasn't necessarily feeling it when I sat down to write this week's column so I went searching for a subject I couldn't help but get enthusiastic about. Five minutes after I pulled Hedwig down off the DVD shelf and Presto I can't type fast enough. 

When the movie musical experienced a mini-renaissance at the start of the last decade I doubt I was the only one to notice a disturbing trend. For some of these broadway adaptations it's as if appearing on the big screen required them to apologize for being musicals. Chicago couldn’t do a number without first cutting to a close up of Rene Zellweger’s retinas to assure everyone that all the strange singin' and dancin' was in her imagination. When Dreamgirls’ characters ventured offstage, as in “Steppin' to the Bad Side”, it's cut as if they’re hoping no one will notice it is the characters singing and is not just a song on the soundtrack.

Even when movies were unapologetic about being musicals, like Sweeney Todd, the movie's advertisements went to great lengths to conceal its Broadway roots. The tagline on the Sweeney’s poster should have been “Stephen who?”

During this time period, one of the movies that defied this trend was John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001). I remember working in a movie theater the day the poster arrived. No ticket buyers for this were going to be surprised when the characters burst into song. 

Hedwig embraced the rock musical. It wanted to squeeze every last drop of joy, pathos, wit, and fun out of it. Like Cabaret, it was logical to construct the story around a series of stage performances, but within that structure Mitchell stripped it down and decorated it like a punk teenager graffitiing his text books with Sharpie. The star/director throws in everything from split-screens to follow-the-bouncing-ball sing-alongs (with the occasional *ahem* car wash) but I think his most brilliant movie was to hire animator Emily Hubley to create a short film to accompany the song "The Origin of Love". With lesser material the addition of all these elements might seem like flash over substance, clutter for the sake of it, but the songwriting here is so strong that it can support grand gestures. 


 

Hubley's scaled down, hand drawn animation is a perfect fit for Hedwig's cheap, trailer park punk aesthetic. A more polished animation style would have stuck out horribly. It's simplicity allows it to add a bit of dazzle and underline the substance of the piece all without distracting from what's really important, namely, the character of Hedwig and what this all means to her. When the song climaxes with Hedwig singing directly into the camera until the animation gradually takes over half the screen it's easy to miss how well this technique works because of how surprisingly moving it is.

I don't know exactly how else to praise Hubley's work except to say that it is just plain beautiful. Origin of Love is my favorite song from Hedwig (which places high in my favorites from musicals in general) and as strong as Mitchell's performance of it is, he was right to conclude it deserved something extra.