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Entries in musicals (293)

Thursday
Mar272014

Scream Queens, Rusicals, and Snatch Games

If you can't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love someone else? Amen. I love myself therefore I forgive myself for being three weeks behind my promised RuCapping. I hate calling tv posts recaps, though that's the web's preferred terminology, because I'm not about to recount everything that happened. That's for the contestants themselves to do on reality television. That's the whole structure, right? Step 1: Talking head commentary on clip you're about to see from contestant involved. 2: What you actually see from the contest. Step 3: A recap of what you just saw via the same or different talking heads. Then the next day on the internet everyone who is not on the show recaps again. We're a very redundant pop culture, we are!

But I do feel bad for going AWOL because these three weeks of RuPaul's Drag Race were really movie friendly and you know how I love my TV at the Movies. After the jump brief notes on the queens forays into celebrity impersonation, horror movies, and off-key musicals.

6.3 SCREAM QUEENS

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar122014

"But the World Goes Round"

To any one of you out there having a rough time of it... this too shall pass. Take this electricifying piece of comfort from Liza Minnelli in Martin Scorsese's New York New York (1977) on her birthday. And who would know better than her? 

Somebody loses and somebody wins
And one day it's kicks, then it's kicks in the shins
But the planet spins, and the world goes 'round-
But the world goes 'round
But the world goes 'round

Sometimes your dreams get broken in pieces
But that doesn't matter at all
Take it from me, there's still gonna be
A summer, a winter, a spring and a fall

Thursday
Mar062014

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Annie" and Kneejerk Musical Reactions

"How many 'Tomorrow's until Annie comes out?"
"293, kids!"

Quvenzhané Wallis stars as little orphan "Annie"

That means we just need to get through 294 days of internet hyperbole BEFORE ANYONE SEES IT about how the new Annie (the third filmed version after a 1982 feature and a 1999 telefilm) is the worst thing that ever existed and musicals suck and it's going to kill everyone's career... Give me strength! BUT in fairness to whatever social media hatred happened (I only saw a little but I'm assuming there was more since I wasn't online much last night) the new trailer which is embedded at the end of the post, does ring alarm bells.

Here's the thing. I realize that my own kneejerk defensiveness/love for any and all new musicals before I see them, is, in some ways exactly like the internet's kneejerk distrust/hatred of any and all new musicals before they see them. Both reactions have less basis in reality than in indoctrination. But the reason my indoctrination is superior (heh) is because its self-indoctrination - a connosieur's faith in his own taste and in the possibilites of the genre and not lazy long-since disproven cultural indoctrination that this genre is over or passé. I can blather about this peculiar problem for HOURS but I should probably spare you and we'll get back to "Annie".

After the jump we'll discuss the pros, cons, and "which column do I put this in" beats from the trailer. 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb232014

Review: "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me"

This review originally appeared in my column at Towleroad


I saw Elaine Stritch’s famous one woman Broadway show “At Liberty” in the last days of 2001 a couple of years after moving to New York. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was nothing short of spiritual ecstasy but then showbiz is my religion and actresses are my only gods. You might then justifiably say that I am predisposed to love the hell out of the new documentary Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me and you’d be right. But I can still tell a peak performance from a Wednesday matinee and the last doc I saw on Stritch, which shared its title with “At Liberty” was significantly less stellar. Shoot Me is a must-see, even if you only know this Broadway legend from her hilarious guest appearances as Jack Donaghy’s impossible mother on 30 Rock

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb192014

Link Commando

Vanity Fair Bradley Cooper's commando White House trip
Theater Mania a screening of West Side Story on Sunday at 5 PM in New York. Rita Moreno will speak to the crowd. Who's going?
PopBytes Pushing Daisies might be coming back... as a musical! 
1:37:1 How often are entire Oscar nominated shortlists absent a Best Picture nominated film? Rarely. And almost always in the same category. I'll give you one guess  

Broadway World somehow I missed these images in early February from the set of Macbeth starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard so maybe you did, too?
Guardian films that use both black and white and color sequences
Film School Rejects looks to Foreign Correspondent, not Rebecca (both 1940) as the prototype for Hitchcock's Hollywood films 
NYT Neil Patrick Harris prepares for his Broadway turn in Hedwig and the Angry Inch
/Film Roger Deakins is not returning to the land of 007 post Skyfall for the the as yet untitled Bond 24. This is going to be a tough movie for all of them: how do you follow up that 50th anniversary behemoth?
NPR talks to Steve McQueen and the Oscar nominated editor of 12 Years a Slave about assembling the movie
MNPP Jake Gyllenhaal doubled up in Enemy, a behind the scenes look
In Contention an oral history of Reality Bites (1994) for its 20th anniversary 

Finally...  The Film Stage reminds us that Tom at the Farm, Xavier Dolan's wonderfully tense queer thriller still doesn't have US distribution but it has a new poster. Bam

I miss the days when US audiences went to the arthouse and talked about subtitled hits... *sniffle* Now people only binge-watch American television. We're a nation of shut-ins!

Tuesday
Feb182014

12 Days Til Oscar: Best Picture Nominations by the Dozen

Tim here, with your daily dose of Oscar numerology. We’re now in the third year of the Academy’s undoubtedly well-intentioned "some random number that always turns out to be nine" approach to selecting Best Picture nominees, and for some of us, this is irritatingly arbitrary. But it could be so much worse. Think of how awful it must have been to been a rabid Oscar fanatic in the first decade of the award’s existence: depending on the year, there were anywhere from three to twelve Best Picture nominees, until it was finally nailed down at a nice, round ten at the 9th Academy Awards, for the year 1936.

The magic number of the day being 12, I'd like you to join me, for a closer look at 1934, the first of two years with 12 nominated films (for space reasons, I am alas compelled to leave 1935 to fend for itself) - the first year, as well, that the awards corresponded to a single calendar year. What can we learn about the Academy’s tastes and habits down the decades from each of these?

BEST PICTURE It Happened One Night (released by Columbia)
What It Is: One of the greatest of all screwball comedies, in which the sexily odd-looking pair of Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable cross country and banter.
The Slot It Fills:
The long-abandoned "comedies are a valid form of artistic expression like anything else" spot. But, of course, the period in which the film came out was unusually good at producing top-notch comedies starring the best movie stars of the day.

Only 11 more slots to fill after the jump

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb112014

Shirley Temple Black, 1928-2014

Here's the last kind of news you want to hear, first thing in the morning. Shirley Temple Black, the quintessential child star, has passed away at 85 years old.

Temple's career exploded at the sage old age of 5, when she appeared in a string of massively successful hits for 20th Century Fox in 1934, including Little Miss Marker, Baby Take a Bow, and Bright Eyes. So fast and so complete was her success, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences created a brand new award that year just so that she could receive it, the non-competitive Special Oscar for best juvenile performance. She appeared in a shocking number of films throughout the 1930s, dominating the box office and generally making everybody much less depressed that there was a Depression on. Her career continued strongly until 1949, with the actress still appearing in classics like The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer and John Ford's Fort Apache even as an adult. In later years, she was the U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, in addition to sitting on the boards of a number of corporations.

To most of us, though, her name was and will remain fixed to a very particular idea of childish exuberance, the round cheeks and curly hair of pre-adolescent innocence at its most bubbly and aggressively charming. Temple, in the 1930s, was one of the all-time iconic movie stars, an instantly-familiar face with an immediately-recognizable personality even to people who'd never think to watch one of her movies.

 


It's easy to assume that her stardom was based on being abnormally cute and able to carry a tune, but even in her earliest starring roles, she had a gift for comic timing and a distinctly clever streak that keeps her roles from getting too sacharine. She was, by any standards that have ever fairly applied to a pre-teen, a genuinely good actress and commanding screen presence, on top of being a darling moppet.

We've lost a lot of terrific actors in the last couple of months, but with Temple we've lost more than that. This morning marks the passing of one of the few genuine Hollywood legends left to us, and everyone who loves movies is a bit poorer for it.