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Entries in Stephen Sondheim (21)

Sunday
Nov272016

Five Teensy Reviews: Moana, Miss Sloane, Rules Don't Apply, Etc...

by Nathaniel R

Presented to assuage Nathaniel's guilt from not having properly reviewed them -- all five are now playing in theaters.

Moana (Clements, Hall, Musker & Williams)
Story: A chieftain's daughter sails the ocean to right an ancient wrong and save her people
Review: The episodic plot is ungainly and repetitive but the rest, from animal sidekick, to magical animation, to the heroine's self awakening and theme song ("How Far I'll Go") sure is dazzling. Disney's most resonant and hypnotic climax in forever and ever. "This is not who you are..."
Grade: B/B+
Oscar Chances: A nomination seems certain but Zootopia will be a tough film to dismount from this year's throne. It's worth noting that composer Lin-Manuel Miranda will complete his EGOT if he wins the Oscar.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct172016

Beauty vs Beast: Which of the Woods

Jason from MNPP here seizing the moment with this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" -- well, seizing one of many moments, but not only moments, because if life were only moments then we'd never know we had one. You know how it goes. Anyway this moment, this one of many not only, is the birthday of the director Rob Marshall, who makes magical movies that, uh... defy description. Like Into the Woods, perhaps? Yes, we are in the right story.

PREVIOUSLY Here it is a week later and I'm still pretty shocked it took me over 125 editions of this series to get to my favorite movie Rosemary's Baby - but who won? Well you guys sided with the Devil, just like the Oscars did, and gave the prize to Ruth Gordon's Minnie Castavet and her eternally chalky undertaste - said Marsha Mason:

"I think Ruth had the greater acting accomplishment. Mia was good at being afraid, but Ruth pulled off "loud old NYC lady in league with Satan," succeeding in making her both hilarious, outspoken and very creepy. She reminds me of Barbara Bush that way."

Wednesday
Oct052016

Judy by the Numbers: "Together Wherever We Go"

Anne Marie has been chronicling Judy Garland's career chronologically through musical numbers...

Episode 3 of The Judy Garland Show (which would eventually air in its eighth week) was an episode of personal importance for Judy. Her oldest daughter, Liza Minnelli, was joining her for a family-themed show. Liza was only 16 at the time, but she'd already begun building an entertainment resume. While in high school (or rather, while skipping high school) Liza appeared on a Gene Kelly TV special, The Jack Paar Program, Talent Scouts, her mother's London Palladium concert, and was in rehearsals for her Off-Broadway debut in Best Foot Forward. However, young Liza somehow found time in her every-busier schedule to put on a family act.

The Show: The Judy Garland Show Episode 3
The Songwriters: Jule Styne (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics)
The Cast: Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, directed by Bill Hobin

The Story: Two observations stand out watching this clip: 1) These are two talented women who love to perform and 2) These are two talented women who love to perform together. There's something delightfully meta-textual about their decision to sing a song from Broadway's most dysfunctionally overbearing stage mom. As Judy watches Liza, Garland exudes nothing but pride and excitement to share the stage with her daughter. Likewise, teenage Liza - not yet fully confident in her own overwhelming talent - takes her cue from her mother.

Though they're both polished and skilled performers, this song does not come off as a professional production number. Every improvised forehead touch, handhold, or giggle renders a public performance into a personal mother/daughter moment, exposing that vein of reckless vulnerability that made both women incomparable performers. Anyone who grew up in a musical household will recognize this kind of musical intimacy. This is a mother and a daughter goofing off around the piano at home, or belting showtunes in the car on the way to school. Liza and Judy sing together with real affection and private joy. It just happens a TV camera caught it on tape.

Wednesday
Mar302016

Q&A: Artists in Movies and Uninspiring Best Pic Lineups

For this weeks Q&A I asked for an art theme to celebrate the joint birthday of Vincent Van Gogh and Francisco de Goya on this very day! So we'll start with a few art-focused topics before venturing to rando questions.

TOM: Which film about an artist (in any field of the Arts) that you were not particularly knowledgeable about made you want to see/hear the real work by that artist? 

I vastly prefer non-traditional biopics so I'm susceptible to stuff that piques curiosity rather than gives you a greatest hits. So I like bios like Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993). I have some problems with I'm Not There (2007) which is my least favorite Todd Haynes film but I respect the hell out of it conceptually. In terms of movies about painters I definitely became more interested in Francis Bacon after Love is the Devil (1998) and not just because of Daniel Craig in the bathtub! I already cared about Caravaggio before seeing Derek Jarman's Caravaggio but I hope people see that one, too. 

BRIAN: If you had to recommend a budding Cinephile a movie based on an artist, a work of art, or has artistic themes what would it be?

Hmmm. A lot of movies about painting aren't very good (Watching someone paint being only a notch more interesting than watching someone write). So let's do "artistic" theme and the answer there is easily Amadeus (1984). It's such a useful movie to reference in ways both commonplace ("too many notes!") and contemplative (what makes the difference between competent journeyman skill and true genius?). One of my other favorite "art" movies is High Art (1998)...

8 more questions after the jump

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Mar122016

10 Linksfield Lane

Playbill Danny Boyle may direct the film version of the Broadway musical Miss Saigon
First Impressions a deep dive revisit of Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring "Sofia Coppola is a great filmmaker, in every way the equal of anyone of her generation"
Daily News
sad story about the disappearance of Richard Simmons. Fans think he's being controlled and held in his mansion against his will like the second half of the Love & Mercy plot

Film Doctor "the pleasure of withholding information" on 10 Cloverfield Lane
Awards Daily
have you watched the trailer for A Hologram for the King? How will it adapt the book?
AV Club thinks Zootopia is the inversion of Wreck It Ralph. Spoilers
EW Paramount has dumped The Little Prince animated movie just a week before its intended release. What is going on with that picture?
YouTube Anna Kendrick and Stephen Colbert are huge Stephen Sondheim fans
E! Adorable photo of the Malia and Sasha Obama w/ Ryan Reynolds
Vogue Lourdes Leon (aka Spawn of Madonna) makes her modelling debut for Stella McCartney

Showtune to go
It's Liza Minelli's birthday. Do your best Fosse in her honor...