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 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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Only Five Episodes Left - HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT

❝I don't want to be presumptuous, but could this (UNDER THE SKIN) be the best collection of visuals from this series?❞ -Andrew E.

❝Very cool line-up! Glad you're splitting GONE WITH THE WIND even in two parts it will be hard to pick just one shot each.❞ -Joel6

THE MATRIX is actually an unexpectedly awesome choice for this series❞ -Mark

 

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Entries in musicals (188)

Friday
Apr112014

TCM Film Festival: OKLAHOMA! is better than OK

“So it’s a film festival, but for old films? Why?”

When I told folks how excited I was to finally go to the 5th annual TCM Film Festival this year in Hollywood, I got this question a few times. This isn’t just about the old adage “see a film on the big screen, like it was meant to be seen.” This is about celebrating the old and new: old films for new audiences, new restorations for old classics, old audiences sharing the new experience, and at the center of it all, Turner Classic Movies, which turns 20 this year, thereby becoming something of an old classic itself.

Last night, TCM rolled out the red carpet and opened TCMFF with a brand new restoration of OKLAHOMA!(1955) starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae. Diana and I were able to nab (literally) front row seats to the screening at the TCL Chinese Theater, and this may count as the first I’ve been glad to sit front and center. The reason for the hooplah surrounding OKLAHOMA! has to do with its history: When Twentieth Century Fox brought the Rogers & Hammerstein musical to the screen in 1955, they shot it twice: once in Todd AO 65mm widescreen, and once in a lesser 35mm widescreen. This is a fact that has mostly been relegated to behind-the-scenes trivia, and the difference between the two versions has been negligible in home theater viewings. I’ve seen one or the other a few times on TV (including TCM) over the years, so I thought I knew what to expect. And then the film started, the camera pushed through the corn as high as an elephant’s eye, and I realized how very important it is that we save moments like this.

Photo Credit: Mark Hill

Twentieth Century Fox provided a beautiful 4K restoration of the 65mm version, complete with a restored 6 track stereo score, to play on the Chinese Theater’s huge IMAX screen.  Speaking as someone who usually isn’t usually an OKLAHOMA!-lover, I fell in love. When Shirley Jones said Gordon MacRae was her favorite singer, surely she didn't imagine him on such a grand scale. The sheer power of it won me over. Personally, I'm usually a South Pacific kind of gal, but I've been whistling since I left the theater and I would feel like a bad cliche if not for the fact that my fellow Metro passengers nearly broke out into "Oh What A Beautiful Mornin" with me. If you can get cranky Angelenos on a rundown train to sing at 1AM, then you've clearly made an impression.

Film restoration is a tricky balance between preserving the original filmgoing experience while also using to best advantage modern digital tools. Turner Classic Movies has arguably been one of the most important commercial advocates for restoration, providing studios with large audiences via the small screen for 20 years. How grateful we can be to TCM that for a weekend in Hollywood they’re bringing back the oldschool via new methods.

Anne Marie is our resident classic movie freak. Follow her on Twitter and read her weekly series "A Year With Kate"

Wednesday
Apr092014

Mickey Rooney (RIP)

I came to the news of Mickey Rooney's passing late due to my offline vacation but it wouldn't be right to not mention it here at the musicals-loving The Film Experience. My first exposure to Mickey Rooney, as far as I remember, was Babes in Arms (1939) for which he was Oscar nominated at 19. I think my parents took us to see it at an awesome revival house in Detroit. Tweens and teenagers, who always fear being uncool, aren't supposed to love old black and white movies made many decades before they were born but cinephiles and/or musical-fanatics are a different breed and I had no shame whatsoever about seeking them out. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr022014

Can't Stop The Glitter. Or the Best Shots. 

glitter attack!True story. In the late 1990s after graduating college, before New York City and The Film Experience years, I was working as an artist at a company that specialized in parties and events. Every day in a big warehouse I was a hot mess of glue guns, paint rollers, foam shavings, and glitter. Glitter above all else. Three years later in New York City I was still finding glitter in the weirdest of places; that shit lasts forever.

I thought about this as soon as the opening credits of Allan Carr and Nancy Walker's Village People origin comedy, Can't Stop the Music (1980), our "HMWYBS" April Fools Selection. It was like the movie was blowing its glitter load in the first frame. Turns out there was no refractory period. The glitter just keeps on coming and not just over animated fonts. Dancers actually FLING physical glitter at each other and in the final scene it RAINS glitter. David Hodo (the construction worker) falls victim to the glitter the earliest in his introductory song, the ghastly "I Love You To Death" (pictured left). Hodo is now 66 years old and only stopped performing with the group last year. I bet you anything that he still finds glitter in the retirement home.

Surprisingly my choice for Best Shot is glitter free. But it's still really gay, don't worry. But no it's not this one...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr012014

Visual Index ~ Can't Stop the Music's Best Shot(s)

April Fools! I needed an infamous 'bad movie we love' for today's edition of Hit Me With Your Best Shot a crowd source visual party, where anyone with a love for movies can watch the pre-assigned film and chime in on the one moment that makes it or defines it or reflects it. In other words, whatever "best" means to you.

The Village People musical Can't Stop the Music (1980) starring Valerie Perrine (of Lenny & Superman fame), Olympian Bruce Jenner (long before the Kardashian days) and Steve Guttenberg early on in his career, came through. And how. You can barely believe this movie while you're watching it but you can't exactly look away either. (Credit where it's due, the lightbulb for this week's selection came to mia via an e-mail from Awards Watch, about their new series pairing Razzie winners with Oscar winners.) 

This musical, the very first Razzie Worst Picture winner is awful, sure, but it's also adorable in its own glittery misguided 'let's put on a show' kind of way. The Razzies, which are also crowd sourced, have a long history of homophobia (they're no fans of camp or gay icons of any kind) so it's no surprise that it all started here with this super gay film that's weirdly caught between "Liberation" and the closet and the cusp of the decades it straddling. But more on that in these fine fun articles.

Can't Stop the Music's Best Shots
click on the photos for the corresponding article 

Its massively ineffective attempt to split the difference between the look and mood of the 1970s versus the 1980s...
-Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy 

The movie it might have been in another time. NOT THAT IT WOULD HAVE EXISTED IN ANOTHER TIME....
-Nathaniel R, The Film Experience


The kind of joyous, “ZOMG out of ★★★★” masterpiece that I would place in the same company as Battlefield Earth and Showgirls... 
-Robert Hamer, Awards Circuit 

Presented as a dream sequence with lyrics that veer quite close to an imagined rape sequence...
-Manuel Betancourt 

a wacko comedic origin story with occasional music-video interludes...
- Jake D, Minnesota Gneiss 


Half trying to phone it in, half trying to get out...
-Lam Chop Chop 


This is the '80s, darling. You're going to see a lot of things you've never seen before...
 - (Home) Film Schooled 

The Rosetta Stone to understanding the pleasures of Can't Stop the Music...
-Coco Hits NY 

I chose the reaction shot because I imagine he’s thinking what I’m thinking...
-Drink Your Juice, Shelby pt 1 and pt 2


It’s such a ludicrously mounted production that it thrills me to no end that it was a hit in Australia and nowhere else...
-Glenn Dunks 

I adore this shot for SO many reasons... let me list them for you"
-Nathaniel R, The Film Experience 


Following the film's gonzo logic, this sequence does nothing to advance the plot...
- Jason Henson, The Entertainment Junkie 


Guys! Wait! This can’t be The Gayest because LOOK AT THIS PRETTY STRAIGHT LADY!
- Anne Marie & Margaret, We Recycle Movies 

You can hang out with all the boys...
-Shane Slater, Film Actually 


a product of its time...
-abstew - The Film's The Thing

 

literally shooting out rainbows...
-Sorta That Guy 

These 15 articles are so fun, people. Please do enjoy them in all their jaw-dropped glory.

Previously on "Hit Me"
Eternal Sunshine & L.A. Confidential

Next time on "Hit Me"Bette Davis in the Best Picture noir nominee THE LETTER (1940). Choose and post your 'Best Shot' by 9 PM Tuesday April 15th to be included in the visual roundup.

 

Sunday
Mar302014

Yes, No, Maybe So: Begin Again

Can a Song Save Your Life? The Weinstein Company doesn't think so, since they've changed the title of that music industry Mark Ruffalo/Keira Knightley film. It would like to be known as Begin Again before it actually faces the fickle public. Presumably due to the widespread industry belief (it's not just TWC) that the more generic the title, the more likely it is to appeal to multiple quadrants. Why anyone interested in a dramedy about the music industry would object to the earlier title who can say without degrees in P&A?

Yes No Maybe So breakdown after the jump

Click to read more ...

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