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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Dreamworks Animation Pt 2: The Fall

"I loved this article. It reads like vintage EW, back when they relished the behind-the-scenes stories of Hollywood and the studios." -John T

"Dreamworks should not have oversaturated the animation market. Home is Dreamworks 31st animated film. Do you know what is Walt Disney Animation's 31st film? Aladdin. It took Disney over 5 decades to get there." -Chinoiserie

Part 1 here if you missed it

 

 

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Entries in musicals (228)

Wednesday
Mar062013

Smash: "The Song" & "The Read-Through"

What's happening on SMASH: They're trying to make Jennifer Hudson happen.Sometime last week between episodes four and five of Smash's ill-fated second season I had an unhappy epiphany: I was no longer looking forward to new episodes of "Smash". Last season, when everyone else was 'hate-watching' I was actually unironically enjoying. Yes, it had issues but where else were you going to see showtunes on TV? And besides, MANY shows have troubled first seasons as they find their voice. Bunheads, for example, recently leapfrogged from 'who-is-this-for?' curio to must-watch in the final episodes of its first season.

Yet, for all of my "Support the Musicals!" blog fervor, Smash is now a chore. They've basically cut the staged musical numbers and all we're left with is solos on bare stages or by pianos, usually by Jennifer Hudson. "The Song" as an episode was, and I couldn't believe it, a Jennifer Hudson concert. That was the plot! She's a fine singer but not a good actress and therefore hardly worth tuning into as the lead of a serialized scripted television. (I'm as surprised as you that the show suddenly thinks of her as the lead. I thought it was a guest arc!). Smash already fell on this sword in season 1 whilst trying to make Katharine McPhee happen. 

Ivy & Karen are reduced to back-up singers... wth showrunners?

More...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb282013

Podcast: Oscar Night Season Wrap

For the final podcast of the season, Joe Reid, Katey Rich, Nick Davis, and me, your host, Nathaniel R let reader questions be our guide for this spontaneous Oscar Night Review.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Musical Performances: Adele, Shirley Bassey, Babs, Jennifer Hudson, and Catherine Zeta-Jones's Jazz
  • Future Nominations or Backlash for the winners: Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Lawrence or Anne Hathaway?
  • Ben Affleck's speech
  • Can Michael Haneke ever return?
  • What were the best reaction shots and when did we do our best reaction shots from home?
  • On Naomi Watts' career choices and Oscar's love of "it" girls
  • Documentary and Costume Design
  • Seth Macfarlane versus Jokes and Musical Theme
  • Emmanuelle Riva cutaways

You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen right here at the end of the post. 

All That (85th Oscars) Jazz
The Big NightFun ArrivalsWinner's ListJennifer Lawrence in the Press Room
The Look BackSeth's HostingFunniest Tweets, & This Podcast
The Fashions: Fifteen Men, The Ten Nominated Ladies, Goodbye Glamour

Oscar Night Season Finale

Saturday
Feb232013

A Musical Diversion

Composer Adam GuettelKnowing that the next 48 hours for most of us (well, the next 96 for me) would be filled with nothing but Oscar Mania, last night I went totally off-cinema to a night of cabaret with brilliant and unprolific composer Adam Guettel (Floyd Collins, The Light in the Piazza). [Tonight is the finale, the 8:30 is sold out but there's one more available at 11:00 pm]  Although I wasn't thinking it through properly exactly. The night didn't turn out to be all that off-cinema since the material and the train of thought kept rushing there.

Guettel is, famously, the grandson of the legendary and prolific composer Richard Rodgers, the first person to ever EGOT. Rodgers practically defined the American musical with his first partner Lorenz Hart and his second Oscar Hammerstein II: Babes in Arms, Pal Joey, The Sound of Music, The King and I, Carousel, Oklahoma... the list goes on and on and on. Guettel is an engaging witty stage presence (and unlike many composers has a beautiful singing voice to boot) but his grandfather's long shadow was ever present and referenced in self-deprecating hilarious ways.  And yet after I was done laughing I felt totally sad. The world's resistance to the musical form, and Guettel's own personal creative struggles have combined in an truly unfortunate way and we're all missing out!

Floyd Collins (1996) and The Light in the Piazza (2003) Guettel's two most famous shows are nearly breath-stoppingly beautiful musical works. I personally think both would make utterly rich film musicals if done correctly (The Light in the Piazza was already a movie, albeit a non-musical one) and since they're also serious period pieces they could be Oscar hits, too. Not that that matters... but it's just something for movie producers who might be reading to think about *cough*. If Floyd Collins, a true story of a miner trapped in a cave, was approached with the conviction and delicacy of something like Once it could be a movie masterpiece. And I've long felt that if Piazza went back to screen, there'd be a potential Best Actress winning role for the 40something/50something actress who got the plum lead role

In the years before/between/after? Guettel has written unfinished works and three musicals that are based on movies...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb172013

20 Musicals From Warner Bros

It would be incorrect to say that musicals were made to lift one's spirits since plenty of great musicals are as grim as any ruthless drama. But the genre lifts mine even through tears. So I was instantly in love with the new box set that Warner Bros sent. It's called Best of Warner Bros: 20 Film Collection Musicals (on sale now) and it will serve me well in March once I have time to settle in with some older movies again. I wish I had a copy to give away but I'm keeping this one all to myself - mine! mine! mine!

The collection consists of the following films, packaged in chronological order: The Jazz Singer (1927), The Broadway Melody (1929), 42nd Street (1933), The Great Ziegfeld (1936), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), An American in Paris (1951), Show Boat (1951), Singin' in the Rain (1952), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), A Star is Born (1954), The Music Man (1962), Viva Las Vegas (1964), Camelot (1967), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), Cabaret (1972), That's Entertainment! (1974), Victor/Victoria (1982), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), and Hairspray (1988).

Wanna know which musical I watched the first time last night? Continue reading...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb062013

Smash: "On Broadway" & "The Fallout"

If I had to hold a Playbill while waiting for "Smash"'s second season to begin, my hands would have all smudged with the ink from the anticipatory twisting and rolling and general "start already!" fussing. Though "Smash" was never exactly a critical hit in its first season, the idea that it was "hate watch" appointment television was sad (sigh. people and their it's-cool-too-hate-musicals predictability!). Smash was really no worse than your average struggling-to-find-its-voice first season TV show but in its finest moments it was like nothing else on television and pretty thrilling, too. I would hold up last season's early episode "The Cost of Art" up against virtually any episode of any show last season in terms of quality.

American Idol Alumni: Hudson & McPhee duet "On Broadway"

We could definitely see the behind-the-scenes turmoil on the screen in Season 1 as the show went on. But the show must go on... [more after the jump including new characters and songs]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb062013

Cabaret Winners!

"Beedle dee, dee dee dee,
Two winners.
Beedle dee, dee dee dee,
And I'm the only man,
Ja!"

It's time to announce the winners of the Cabaret contest, pulled randomly from your entries which were doubled if you sent along a Cabaret inspired photo along with your note about your favorite moment in the 1972 masterpiece.

I had fun reading all of your opinions and even more fun watching the film again... though the strangest thing about seeing it on the big screen for the first time after a lifetime spent watching it on various sizes of screens at home was that it suddenly seemed to have less musical numbers. Minnelli's peak razzle dazzle and Joel Grey's indeligible emcee suck up all the oxygen in terms of memories of the movie but there is so much more to the movie which is a really brilliant and disturbing drama about a world(s) about to collapse, specifically Weimar Era Germany (and its funhouse mirror in the Kit Kat Club).

Anyway... I asked you to either "like" the film experience facebook page and tell us your favorite bit of Cabaret or do the same thing by email with a "photo" inspired by Cabaret to win yourself an extra contest entry. The winners of the remastered restored and booklet-beautiful 40th anniversary blu-ray, chosen randomly are:

JOSHUA FLOWER who writes:

My favorite moment comes right at the top - the opening shot that pulls back off the reflection of Joel Grey as he turns to the camera/audience and starts singing "Vilkommen." It might be my favorite opening shot, period. The precision and energy of the camerawork, the hall of mirrors distortion of the reflection, in contrast to the reality, which is kind of garish and severe, combined with the music, which is peppy and weirdly melancholy at the same time... That one shot has always felt like a perfect little encapsulation of the movie as a whole, somehow.

KATE IMY who sent a photo of herself performing "Money Money Money" - how cool is that? She writes:

...a too-literal entry into your "inspired" photo challenge. These are from when a friend and I sang the song "Money Money" in our high school Broadway review style show "Knights on Broadway." Thankfully they hide the fact that I was/am an atrocious singer. My friend with the fantastic makeup was actually quite good. So for purely selfish and awkwardly self-promotional reasons "Money Money" has a special place for me in the movie. Especially the "When you haven't any coal in the stove..." bit. So hard to do but so exciting to watch when it's done well (in the movie). 

CONGRATULATIONS TO JOSHUA & KATE!

After the jump, I thought you might enjoy a few more losing but great contest entries from readers. I'm sorry I didn't have dozens of blu-rays to give away but you all won my heart and that has to count for something!

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb022013

♩To see- to sell- to get- to bring- to make- to LINK- to go to the Festival! Into the Woods ♫

Slate Why do people hate Anne Hathaway? Might it be sexism?
Yahoo Movies Roundtable on the Supporting Actress. I'm quoted here defending Hathaway naturally. One person even disses her for being so isolated as an actress like she's in her own movie. Um... THAT IS HOW IT SHOULD BE. Fantine's tragedy is that she's abandoned by the world and utterly alone. No safety nets or support systems.
Yahoo Movies Roundtable on Supporting Actor. This one is less divisive.
Variety's The Vote this is pretty horrifying. The Hobbit was added to the visual effects Oscar bakeoff without the committe actually seeing it. Terrible slippery slope there, Academy. Fix yourself! 

Kevin O'Keeffe on the twin protagonists of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty
Pajiba this is so freaking sexy - 47 leading ladies in mannish clothing
Guardian Penelope Cruz is pregnant again... at least we'll see her a couple of times this year before she's gone again (Ridley Scott's The Counsellor and a cameo in Pedro Almodovar's I'm So Excited)
Billy on the Street "It's Spock! Do You Care?" haha. Zachary Quinto is a good sport. 
Awards Daily Mark Wahlberg and Ted will present at the Oscars. It's going to be a Ted heavy night what with the Norah Jones song, the host, and this presenting duo.
The Film Experience my choices for "best poster design" are up in the Film Bitch Awards 


Hollywood by now you've surely heard that it's official that Meryl Streep will play The Witch in Into the Woods. The film will be directed by Rob Marshall so expect lots of terrible reviews since the world probably hasn't forgiven him for Nine yet. Anyway I thought this called for a poll for all my fellow Sondheim fanatics out there. I've listed my favorite musical phrases from the Witch below and you tell me which you're most excited to hear Streep singing? Got it? Okay... Into the woods with you...

 

 

 

Off Cinema
Boston Globe "Smash" refashions itself into a show about the making of Broadway musicals for its second season. Promises promises, people. We shall see... (I'll be writing about the show weekly again this year)
Rasky Baerlein When pop culture and politics interlock: Obama and Jay-Z