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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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Entries in musicals (202)

Sunday
May182014

Linkages

The Film Stage Such exciting news. Looks like Luca Guadagnino (of I Am Love brilliance) finally has another feature lining up after many thwarted attempts. Not much is known about the thriller but he'll direct Tilda Swinton again but this time she's not the only major international draw: the cast also includes Ralph Fiennes, Margot Robbie and Matthias Schoenaerts.
Cartoon Brew the producer of Legends of Oz, that animated flop, is mad and blaming everything but the movie for the movie's failure
Pajiba gets righteously angry about how lightly the media is reacting to this "prankster" who is attacking celebrities on the red carpet. His latest victim was America Ferrera at Cannes . Naturally superhuman Cate Blanchett is the person that was quickest to console her.

The Powder Room wonders why none of the gay superheroes are hitting movie screens (and the comments sections raises a great point that X-Men Days of Future Past could have totally used Northstar in place of Quicksilver and been the first to do so) 
Playbill here's a fun list for those who love musicals: top ten signature showtunes for the original performer. Featuring Bernadette Peters, Babs, Sutton Foster and more 
HitFix listens to the Godzilla score via ubiqutous Alexandre Desplat 
Variety and Godzilla is crushing it at the box office but more on that and the review later today
The Guardian is reasonably fond of The Two Faces of January. I'm still so excited for that one despite the lack of excitement that greets it in general
Television Blend by now you've probably heard that the entire Twin Peaks series AND Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992) are coming to Blue-Ray with tons of new extras. It's been so long since I've seen the show that I'd love falling completely into that world again for awhile

Monday
May052014

Stage Door: Bullets Over Broadway

It's Tony season which means mucho theatergoing. Particularly if you've missed everything this year as I have. My first stop after that Estelle Parsons-free trip to The Velocity of Autumn was Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway and, if you can believe my luck, I got an understudy again. This time, though, it wasn't a big deal. Though the role was major ("Olive", the gangster's moll and terrible actress) I wasn't familiar with the actress playing her to begin with. And though the 1994 film won three deserved acting nominations this musical comedy's only nominated cast member is Nick Cordero who plays Cheech, the mob henchman who shows unexpected flair for dramaturgy.

Memories of the movie and pros & cons of the stage version after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
May012014

12 Thoughts I Had... While Watching "Pocahontas" Again

In the effort to be more succinct each week in my best shot entry -- it's called 'Best Shot' not "Ginormous Review of Everything I Think About This Movie and My 25 Favorite Images" and I'm so guilty of muddying that water --  I'm going to try and relegate all extraneous feelings into an additional catch-all post. So herewith some more ravings about Pocahontas and its relation to the Disney oeuvre (particularly Frozen). 

They're presented in mostly random chronological order. Thoughts I jotted down while watching or feelings I was feeling. So many felt feelings.

Confession: I almost never like Disney's Opening Songs. From The Little Mermaid's "Fathoms Below" through Frozen's weird chanting that sounds vaguely African though it's meant to be Norwegian, they're always B side filler, meant only to prep you for all the show tunes headed your way. The lone exception is surely The Lion King's "Circle of Life" which is really an A+ opening scene every way you look at it. 

• Thomas is totally gay (and gay for John Smith). [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr292014

Tony Award Noms 2014: Much Movie-to-Stage Madness

The Tony Award Nominations are upon us. 8:30 AM is, I think, officially my favorite time each day. It's always when award nominations for anything are announced. Plus I've already had a cup of coffee, am wide awake and have usually already written something. The curse of the Early Riser. The 2013/2014 Broadway season  -- at least for the musicals -- was completely dominated by movie-to-stage transfers or classics that have become movies and are back on the stage again but most of the transfers didn't fare as well as you might have expected.

Ever adorable Jonathan Groff and Lucy Liu announced the nominees this morning with A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder leading the tally and Hedwig and the Angry Inch close behind. A complete list with commentary follows

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Apr232014

April Showers: Éponine in Les Misérables

waterworks at 11. here's abstew on Les Miz...

Ever since the musical version of Victor Hugo's sprawling novel hit the boards, Éponine, the tragic waif whose love for her friend Marius goes unreciprocated, has always been a fan favorite. Her storyline in the musical is definitely the most relatable. I don't know about you, but I've never had to turn to prostitution to support my young child or served a 20 year prison sentence for stealing a loaf of bread. But being in love with someone that doesn't have the same feelings for you? Yeah, we've all been there. And this patron saint of unrequited love's anthem "On My Own" has become the rallying cry of broken-hearted teenage girls (and gay boys) for decades now.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr222014

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Visual Index ~ Pocahontas (1995)

For Earth Day, Hit Me With Your Best Shot returns to Disney's long neglected Pocahontas (1995). Can you sing with all the colors of the wind? The movie uses a lot of them and not shyly: blues, greens, pinks, oranges, yellows, and that glorious raven hair of Disney's most beautiful heroine.

Pocahontas's Best Shot(s)
13 savages chimed in. Click on their best shot selections to read the corresponding article

One of the greatest marriages of image and melody in the entire Disney canon...
- Three Pounds Lost 


She's still dwarfed by the majesty of the earth...
-Film Actually

The best scene in the movie is a silent one... 
-Coco Hits New York 

...not one without its wonders.  The main two of which for me are its use of long lens widescreen framing and the music.
- Best Shot in the Dark 


It’s not that the film isn’t beautiful, it’s just that I remember it more for it’s music.
-Missemmamm


We're no longer looking at moving drawings, but being moved by the drawings...
- The Film's The Thing 

Pocahontas looks really good especially when her hair is wind blown (nature as her personal wind machine for the win)... 
- Sorta That Guy 

 At times it feels as if Pocahontas is a feature-length version of a lost Fantasia sequence... 
-The Entertainment Junkie

One of the least busy and textured images in the film, 
- Lam Chop Chop


Love Story, Flawed History Lesson, and Nature Appreciation Pamphlet all in one go? No easy feat...
-Minnesota Gneiss 

It's dealing with big themes that kids don't think about and visualizing them in a way that kids can understand at every level...
- Dancin' Dan 


For all of Pocahontas failures, I love it and feel deeply protective...
- The Film Experience 

 

Confession: I totally started to tear up here...
- I Am Derreck 

 

NEXT TUESDAY ON 'HIT ME...'

Tuesday
Apr222014

"should I choose the smoothest course...is all my dreaming at an end?"

Happy Earth Day to all! For this week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot we're looking at the environmentalist drama, romantic fantasy, historical epic, animated musical (*whew*) known simply as Pocahontas. Though Disney's 1995 release was a hit, in 2014 is has something of a stepchild reputation, coming as it did on the heels of four consecutive gargantuan critical / cultural smashes (The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King) that are all still beloved today.

Disney's most beautiful and best sung heroine ever

Should I choose the smoothest course
Steady as the beating drum?
Should I marry Kocoum?
Is all my dreaming at an end?
Or do you still wait for me, Dream Giver
Just around the riverbend?

Pocahontas admittedly suffers, as those earlier hits did not, with the weight of sky high expectations. You can feel the pressure and strenuous attempts to be all things to all people by repeating the things Disney knew everyone already loved: princesses, showtunes, jutting triangular cliffs (seriously what was with that visual fetish they had for awhile?), fat/skinny foppish villains, and animal sidekicks. But Pocahontas actually wants to be something else, something earthier and more grown-up (womanly rather than girlish for one) and thematically sober. That same push-pull friction between Delivering What People Want and Listening To Your Heart (to borrow Grandmother Willow's sound advice) to follow your true path beset Hunchback of Notre Dame the following year. But in many ways I prefer both of the "trouble" pictures to the latter half of Disney's Magnificent Foursome from 1989-1994.

Best Shot
For all of Pocahontas failures, I love it and feel deeply protective. This is a melancholy love without a happy ending. In other words, just like the movie itself. This image, from the penultimate climax (the true climax is Pocahontas's decision to stay with her tribe, screencapped above, while she lets her dream man sail away), was really my only choice, though hardly the film's most beautiful; it's a perfect snapshot of my love for the movie, and its adult romanticism. Note that the figures are nearly horizontal (as John and Pocahontas will be in the most passionate kiss drawn for any Disney animated film), which is a far cry from the moony eyed straigth to the altar romance most Disney films favor that's so removed from the earthier passions of the body.

I know Pocahontas is not the masterpiece it could have been if the studio had lifted its chin as proudly and bravely as their heroine does throughout. The absolute worst decision Disney made was to excise the love ballad "If I Never Knew You" which was relegated to the end credits but was to have been sung between John Smith and Pocahontas in the tent where he's held captive. Pocahontas might have been a masterpiece if they had pulled back on the standard Disney motifs to make more room for the things the movie is doing superbly. And that's chiefly Pocahontas herself who is the best-sung and most fully realized Disney heroine. Whenever the movie embraces her passions for her own truth ("Listen To Your Heart"), the bounty of the earth ("River Bend" and "Colors of the Wind") and John Smith (the missing song!), it soars like an eagle and gestures to the kind of grand romanticism that demands magical wind machines and a whole rainbow of leaves.

Speaking of, where were they in my Best Shot? Oh, thank god. They sweep in when we cut back to the Native Princess and her man after they realize they've saved countless lives by embracing love rather than fear. 

 

P.S. I actually have a lot more to say about Pocahontas, which I might share in random list form later this week if I sense that there's interest, but I wanted to return Best Shot back to its original beauy focus. That is to pick one image and discuss why it's the image for the beholder.

Next Tuesday Night

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