Posts Tagged ‘movies’
When I was in fifth or sixth grade, I learned the word vulcanization. It had to do with a heat process involving the manufacturing of rubber tires, usually involving adding sulfur to the mix. The word was derived from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, from which the word volcano also evolved.
Thus, I was somewhat confused when I started watching the original Star Trek television series. I was not a big enthusiast initially, but my father was. The first officer was a character named Spock, not to be confused with the then-famous pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock. Read the rest of this entry »
An Opinion Piece On A Controversial Topic. “Pretty awesome meta.”
Heidi Boghosian joins Bill Moyers for a conversation on what we all need to know about surveillance in America. “Spying on democracy,” indeed.
Exclusive excerpt from Art Spiegelman’s Co-Mix retrospective. Some lifetime ago, before Maus Read the rest of this entry »
One could reasonably make the case for movies one ought to see that came out this century. But there are SO many that I have never seen from the 20th Century that I don’t worry about the current stuff as much as I used to. Somehow, prior to this fall, I had NEVER seen The Sound of Music in its entirety. Oh, I’ve seen scenes, of course, but that’s not nearly the same thing.
It’s odd too, because my mother had the LP soundtrack going back to nearly when it was released in 1965. I’ve had the CD of same for at least a decade and a half, and I love it dearly. I have great affection for the Morning Hymn that the nuns sing early on, and it’s in my Top Five movie soundtracks ever, along with West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof.
Still, I had not seen many of the songs in the context of the film. Is there a more stunning opening of a movie than the background of the Alps while Maria (Julie Andrews) sings the title song? Read the rest of this entry »
Sunday morning, my brother-in-law calls; he’s fixing up a house in my area. His wife’s trip back from Ukraine has been delayed a day – he’s planning on picking her up at JFK airport then driving back to Pennsylvania with their daughter. With some extra time on his hands, did we want to go to the movies? He’ll pay. OK! The choice they made was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.
My family (wife, daughter and I) meet them (BIL, daughter) at Colonie Center, and actually don’t enter the theater until the previews were already going for three minutes, then we see 10 MORE minutes of animated coming attractions, most of which convinced me NOT to see them.
By happenstance, my family had seen the first movie in the series and had liked it. This take, even in 2-D, Read the rest of this entry »
I was quite moved watching Malala Yousafzai on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this past week. Malala is the teenager shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan, but survived, and has since set up a fund to support girls’ education. Here’s Part 1, the section that aired, but see Part 2 and Part 3 as well. If those links don’t work, try The group that shot her were pleased she didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize this week Jon Stewart may want to adopt her but she is reviled in her own hometown as not being Muslim enough or being a CIA plant.
My job is funded by state and federal monies. Which is to say I’m still working, but if this partial government shutdown continues for a while Read the rest of this entry »
After noting in this blog that I had not seen the 1952 film in its entirety, it was total coincidence that The Wife decided the family ought to watch together Singin’ In the Rain.
I did not know this until watching the extras, but the film was MGM producer Arthur Freed’s plan to use his catalog of songs, written with Nacio Herb Brown, and used in previous MGM musical films, mostly from the 1930s. It became the job of screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green to create a script that would make sense. They decided that making a film that shows one studio’s foray into talking pictures in response to the real game changing film, 1927’s The Jazz Singer. Hollywood is usually good at showing Hollywood.
Singin’ In the Rain is mostly marvelous. Gene Kelly not only plays Don Lockwood, “a popular silent film star with humble roots as a singer, dancer and stunt man, ” he also co-directed it with Stanley Donen. He performs the iconic title song sequence, which I had seen often, but it works so much better once seen in context.
Don’s leading lady in the silent films is Lina Lamont, played by Jean Hagen, doing her best Judy Holliday routine. She has a voice made for silent films.
Donald O’Connor, as Don’s best friend Cosmo, is marvelous dancing with Kelly, particularly in Moses Supposes, a Roger Edens/Comden and Green piece new for the film. But O’Connor is most extraordinary in his solo stint, Make ‘Em Laugh.
Debbie Reynolds, not yet 20, plays Kathy Selden. Don, avoiding his fans, accidentally lands in Kathy’s car. She feigns disinterest in his “undignified” film career, but later Don discovers she is not a stage actress but a chorus girl. Eventually, romance is kindled.
After the disastrous preview of The Dueling Cavalier, Don, Kathy and Cosmo come up with the idea to change it into a musical called The Dancing Cavalier. It’s at this point the marvelous dance Good Morning with those three characters takes place, up and down a flight of stairs, among other tricks. Reynolds, a gymnast but not previously a dancer, managed to keep up with Kelly and O’Connor.
I understand it from a historic context, but the one part of the movie I wish were a bit shorter was the flashy Broadway Melody Ballet. Not sure what I would have cut out, although it would NOT have been the parts with Cyd Charisse as Kelly’s dance partner. Incidentally, Reynolds’ rendition of You Are My Lucky Star, sung to a billboard showing an image of Don, was cut; nicely performed yet unnecessary in advancing the plot.
All in all, Singin’ in the Rain is a quite enjoyable film, and a cultural icon to boot, referenced in everything from A Clockwork Orange to Glee. The extras, showing where the songs had been used in previous films, was entertaining, as was Debbie Reynolds’ recollections of the filmmaking.