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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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Amy Adams for Janis Joplin

"It's baffling to me that Amy Adams will potentially have as many nominations as Blanchett, Winslet, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, Thelma Ritter, Deborah Kerr, Sissy Spacek, and Glenn Close. This is weird, right?" -Aaron

"What is happening with Nina Arianda's Janis film with Sean Durkin? It's still listed as "announced" on her IMDB. Are we to assumed that it is a lost cause?" -Ryan

 

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Entries in musicals (204)

Saturday
Nov032012

Posterpalooza Pt. 2: Stoker, Quartet, Oz & Les Miz

(see pt. 1 if you missed it)

So many new posters. So little wall space. Let's look at seven new posters for four movies. Starting with this inky and intricate gothic family tree tease for Park Chan-Wook's Stoker, which works best if it's wall sized since the details will be lost in any other setting including the web...

STOKER (2013)

If you want to try and tease out plot details for yourself, Empire lets you hover over pieces of the poster. I've selected just a couple to focus on after the jump (plus six more posters)

 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Oct242012

c'mon. take another little piece of my link, babe

Next Movie Evan Rachel Wood & Juliette Lewis would rather they play Janis Joplin than Amy Adams! Agree?
Hark! A Vagrant stops for Quiz Time with Queen Elizabeth. If only Elizabeth: The Golden Age was this (intentionally) funny!
Stale Popcorn loves the costumes of Argo (as do I) 
Playlist will we see a Fincher-helmed sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. So many questions. So few answers but I am going to say a hard "yes" on my guesswork on this one. I have my reasons. 

Salon wonders if horror has reached a new golden age and whether European (Spanish to be precise) cinema is to blame. 
i09 Wally Pfister, the Oscar winning cinematographer of Chris Nolan's filmography will direct his own feature now. Johnny Depp to star.
/Film Zero Dark Thirty and Stand Up Guys have adjusted their release plans to barely show in 2012 but still be Oscar players. Oy... I hate this part of the otherwise glorious last quarter of each year. In related news: yes, I'm fully aware that I need to add Jessica Chastain to my Actress chart. Updates this weekend!
Playbill Whatever happened to that Soapdish remake? Never mind, it's now being adapted into a musical. Quite a starry lineup they're gathering for a reading: Kristin Chenoweth & Jane Krakowski? Blonde musical comedienne sensation x 2 !

Gawker 'my pussy is the temple of learning' Madonna's Sex and Erotica turn 20 years old this week. I love them both muchly. If only they were movies I would devote the whole week to them. Please do not say "Body of Evidence" as its the only embarrassing part of that Madonna 92/93 trifecta that's no cause for celebration. (Should I write about them anyway and just force the film connections?)
Cinema Blend Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone for Cameron Crowe's next movie? 
Pajiba on the Empires of the Deep trailer. Hmmm Errrr. The only recognizably non-computerized thing in it is one shot of Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) One senses this won't be her Resident Evil poor thing. 
In Contention talks to the very busy very awesome character actor John Goodman  

 

Sunday
Oct212012

Anna Kendrick for "The Last Five Years"

I've long dreamed of a film adaptation of Jason Robert Brown's possibly unfilmable The Last Five Years which is, frankly, my favorite original musical of this millenium (thus far). Only Michael John LaChiusa's The Wild Party and Adam Guettel's Light in the Piazza come anywhere near it in terms of my obsessiveness. I know every word backwards and forwards. Literally at that; half of this romance-gone-awry musical (Hers) is told backwards and the other half (His) is told forwards. 

Turns out a film version is very much in the works. Writer/Director Richard LaGravenese wants to make it and Anna Kendrick, she of the perfect pitch, plans to star in it. They'll have to get funding and a male lead still. The right male lead won't be easy to come by. He's got to be a) convincingly Jewish b) comedically and dramatically gifted c) blessed with enough sexual and intellectual charisma to have the audience buy into his sudden literary stardom and understand if not quite forgive his extramarital flings and he's got to be able to sell the show's single best dramatic song "Nobody Needs to Know". 

It's tough to imagine anyone surpassing Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott who originated the roles off Broadway but that's a problem that only those theater aficionados who were lucky enough to see it during its run in 2002 have to contend with.

One of Broadway's best - Sherie Rene Scott

I'm not sure what to make of this filmmaking combo. LaGravenese's work is all over the place quality wise from the sublime (The Fisher King's screenplay) to the let's-not-talk-about-that (two poorly received Hilary Swank vehicles for starters.) Anna Kendrick won't have any trouble selling the comedy or the vocals but it's tough to imagine Kendrick, who has made her career on scarily driven type A bitches (Camp, Up in the Air) who would eat Cathy alive, selling her frustrating doormat qualities and lack of confidence with the endearing comic neurosis and empathic sweetness that Sherie Rene Scott mastered. I love Kendrick's voice and y'all know I am thrilled that we're arriving in a place (possibly) where actors with actual vocal gifts are routinely cast in musicals, but the role is just such a 180º from the roles that made her famous.

Are there any other Last Five Years fans in the house? Speak up. Convince your fellow TFE readers to grab that CD. 

Thursday
Oct182012

How long can Russell Crowe hold a note?

I had an errant random and one might say spoilery thought involving Les Misérables just the other day. Read no further if you're the type of (possibly very young) person who was like "OMG. ANNE HATHAWAY DIES?!?!?" when people first started talking about the film version en masse...

...

Okay we lost two of you.

...

During Javert's (Russell Crowe) final number "Javert's Suicide", after Jean Valjert (Hugh Jackman) has inadvertently humiliated him by saving his life, he leaps to his death due to his twisted sense of honor -- apparently bayonets aren't so good with the hari kari -- and stage productions have to come up with some suggestive way to show this while the final note of the song falls with him. Whatever he jumps from, even if it's just a few feet off the stage, it's a long way down cuz his note will go on. and on. 

How on earth will they film this, sung live, without it looking and sounding absolutely ridiculous? Anyone want to guess?

 

Wednesday
Oct032012

"Into the Woods" Seeks Investors & Very Famous Witch

This happened Monday. (Thanks to Julia for alerting.) How crazy is that?

A live reading of Stephen Sondheim's wondrous "Into the Woods" shortly after its Shakespeare in the Park summer (with only Donna Murphy as The Witch transferring from Central Park) to raise interest/funding for Rob Marshall's film version. He's surely hoping to redeem himself post-Nine which angered critics and lost a ton of money at the box office and return to his Chicago heyday. But I swear to god if he makes up some stupid framing device where it's all a dream/fantasy...

I don't know about you but the idea of Patrick Wilson & Cheyenne Jackson as the eternally unsatisfied but self-satisfied Princes is to die for. The other names that most excite me here are Nina Arianda, Victoria Clark, Christine Baranski,  Anna Kendrick, Megan Hilty,... oh wait, I'd just type up every name! 

How do you read "Into the Woods" -- Did they talk/sing through their table read, stand beside the piano for Hollywood moneybags or was it very very short? Broadway.com confirms that this reading did happen as planned though the film version would obviously *sniffle* get an entirely new cast. (We once had a very robust discussion of who should play whom right here at The Film Experience.) Many of those names listed above are famous and accomplished and have golden statues of some sort and are amazing vocalists but you know they'll be thrown over in a second for bigger names with weaker chops.

Streep will probably get the role made famous by Bernadette Peters, and later played by Vanessa Williams and Donna Murphy

Meryl Streep is already reportedly in talks about the most coveted role in any production: The Witch (who raises Rapunzel as her daughter and sings "The Last Midnight" and the show's thematic anthem "Children Will Listen"). That sucks for the great great Broadway diva Donna Murphy who, to date, has only ever had one movie role worthy of her (The Witch... who coincidentally raises Rapunzel!... in Tangled) though she gets frequent tiny roles. But that's how it works for stage-to-film transfers. And Meryl does have a wondrous vocal instrument; I can and have listened to her tracks from Postcards from the Edge, Prairie Home Companion and Death Becomes Her on loop (Mamma Mia not so much). If rumors that Marshall originally wanted Toni Collette for Roxy in Chicago are true -- and why wouldn't they be cuz damn if she isn't great in musicals -- can't we throw her in this movie somewhere?

Monday
Sep102012

Chaplin: The Musical 

Hey everybody. Michael C here fresh from seeing one of the legends of the cinema sing and dance his way through his life story.

At one point during Chaplin, The Musical which opens tonight on Broadway, a troop of Little Tramps march on stage to perform a chorus line version of the classic dinner roll dance from Chaplin’s The Gold Rush. It was at this point that I began to suspect that the show had not quite licked the problem of how to adapt the life and times of the silent film genius to the Great White Way.

Trying to cram anybody’s life into a coherent story structure is always going to be a daunting task. Chaplin, The Musical attempts to compensate for the familiarity of their approach with heaping helpings of Broadway razzle-dazzle. And while there is an undeniable thrill to watching performers executing in real time the kind of stunt work that Chaplin would take dozens of takes to perfect, it isn’t nearly enough to distract from the fact that we are once again being pulled through the same old biopic paces.

Two Chaplins: Robert Downey Jr in 1992, Rob McClure now

Robert Downey Jr.’s uncanny screen performance in the title role was the main selling point of Richard Attenborough’s disappointing Chaplin (1992), and the same could be said of Rob McClure’s work as Sir Charles on stage. McClure is splendidly effective when performing Chaplin-esque pantomime during Charlie’s pre-fame days and manages to convincingly evoke the enormous appeal of the Little Tramp. His recreation of that most famous of movie characters holds up even when a giant screen is produced on stage to incorporate the actor into some of Chaplin’s most famous images. Yet McClure’s efforts are never able to gather momentum as Chaplin, The Musical proceeds haphazardly from event to event, in the familiar fashion of unfocused biopics. From Chaplin's series of young gold-digging brides to the controversy over his outspoken leftist politics. From his struggle to adjust to the advent of sound to the torment of dealing with his institutionalized mother, who acts as the story’s Rosebud, the motivation behind all his choices artistic and personal. Chaplin often veers dangerously close to Walk Hard territory in moments like the one where Mack Sennett commands Chaplin to go from onscreen novice to comedic genius literally overnight or be fired.

Chaplin could have compensated for its well-worn material with some dynamic musical numbers, but unfortunately the songs by Christopher Curtis- though enjoyable enough while being performed – evaporate from memory upon reentering brightness of Times Square. It’s difficult to recall any song specific to Charlie Chaplin. Rather, we get generic showbiz material and love ballads that could be from a dozen other Hollywood stories.

costume sketches for Charlie young and old by Amy Clark

That said, it's hard to imagine a Chaplin fan isn’t going to have some fun at this show, despite all its flaws. The choreography by Warren Carlyle, fresh off his smashing work on Follies, is consistently inventive and the set decoration and costumes do a nice job evoking the black and white world of Chaplin’s films. Most important of all, the creative team succeed in expressing their deep love of the subject, even as one wishes they had endeavored to find a fresher approach. As tiresome as all the movie to stage adaptations have become I can’t help but think they would’ve had more success simply making a musical version of Modern Times or City Lights. As it stands, Chaplin, The Musical fails to conquer that central question that faces all biographies, be they musicals, movies or otherwise: Why isn’t the viewer’s time better spent experiencing the work which made the subject famous in the first place? 

Tuesday
Aug282012

Nathaniel On His Travels: Streep Branding & Les Miz Jitters

Hi kids. I thought I'd check in briefly from my mom-centric travels. I'm typing this from my hotel room in St. George, Utah where the air is hot, the rocks are red, and my nephews live. They were inundating me last night with all sorts of information I didn't understand (mostly about video games) but once we got to the movies I was on sound footing (their preferred topics: superheroes and Miyazaki).

But how are you doing -- Aren't the guest bloggers doing a bang up job keeping us entertained? I ate up all of Leslye's posts (by which I mean read them multiple times) and pricked my ears up to a new voice in our sound mix, Matt Zurcher. Thank you as ever to longtime regulars Jose and JA. And to Beau, too,  because Sharing is Caring -- TFE is like his new Confessional which I guess makes me (and you) the priest? Hee!

I bought two books in the airport from sheer indecision about what to read (why don't I have a kindle or iPad yet?) and the one I've started is "The Meryl Streep Movie Club" which is probably a shameless attempt to borrow TFE's most discussed movie star's bankability to sell some books. But here's the catch to shamelessness: it often works. I bought the book didn't I? It's about an estranged family of sisters, who after a tragic orphaned childhood, reunite as adults and get some very bad news. Their aunt hosts a weekly movie night at the inn where they've gathered and it happens to be Meryl Streep Month. So far Silkwood has been name dropped the most -- a choice I fully support -- and they're about to watch Bridges of Madison County. I'm not very far in because my inflight movie was The Avengers (more on that in a couple of days when I'm back to NYC) which was more than enough to keep me occupied.

As you read this my soul is being stirred.

 Chances are at least. See, I'm off to see Les Misérables on stage for the first time in aeons. As a teenager I wore out my tape of the soundtrack and when I found out it was playing at Cedar City's annual widely acclaimed Shakespeare Festival (they've even won a regional Tony Award) I jumped at the chance to take my mom because a) she doesn't get out much and b) she's never seen it on stage but loves musicals and started me early on them for which I can only give her millions of hugs. It's a perfect opportunity to see the show before the movie hits and becomes the possibility definitive version for millions upon millions of people who don't get to stage shows often or ever. Which is unfortunately a lot of people -- even for shows as successful as Les Miz which has earned over $2 billion globally in its 27 year life.

I have no jitters about seeing the show on stage again because it's a magnificent epic in its original medium. But will it work on the movie screen? Bring it home, Tom Hooper! Bring it home.

Which brings me to my exit questions:

  • Have you ever seen Les Miz on stage?
  • Which is your favorite song? (If you must know mine is "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables")