Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Scramble

Drink pink.

Ballet ain't for sissies.

I will not make an over nine thousand joke, I will not...

Lipgloss for liberation.

Rebels without a literary agent.

A show at the Met I'd love see.

Style in Storyville.

The importance of telling stories.

How to fall in love with them.

Turning the tables on colonialism.

By Krom.

Young players.

Diamonds were James Joyce's best friend too.

A profile of a favorite site.

The stories of the real wild west, just waiting to be found.

Friday Jukebox, everybody is linking to the 90s GoT, which is giving me warm fuzzies for the sword and sorcery trash of the 80s, enjoy.

Music in the Air, "I Want it All" Queen

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Scramble

A crossroads in an unlikely place.

Finding love in an even unlikelier one.

Saving a life.

Windy city pilgrims.

A illustrated history of liberation, bring food to share.

There is not a single detail in this story I'm not in love with.

As usual my favorite action pieces are love stories at heart.

A female filmmaker and her pets.

Friday Jukebox, It's the birthday of one of my icons, happy 83rd Mr. Sondheim .

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Scramble

One of my favorite new writers on film peers through the telescope at Brian De Palma's magnificently misanthropic Body Double. (images NSFW)

Imaginary real estate.

A master talks shop.

Finalists in The Smithsonian's photo contest, so you know, jaw dropping.

Benjamin Franklin read in the nude, of course he did.

A ghostwriter revealed.

Lee Marvin knows how to party.

Saying hello to the audience.

Famous scribblers drop a card.

The family album.

If you add " bed" to these, they still work.

Lady Writer sings the blues.

Monday Jukebox, some fabulous Kate.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

5 More is More Musical Sequences

Should it seem that less is automatically better let us now praise the wisdom of excess. Rather than being glittery, feathery filler, the numbers below are a reminder that sets, lights, colors, and costumes can be as much an extension of character and say more than a wordy monologue.

"I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise" An American In Paris. I run hot and cold on this film, but never this number. In less than three minutes I think it better captures the brio and life force of creating art than the lengthy ballet. And it's practically a throwaway bit too, but what an utterly sumptuous and rose damask covered one.

"Remember My  Forgotten Man" Gold Diggers of 1933. The scrappy, not giving a good goddamn of Warner Brother's thirties musicals is an age we are not to see again, and we're all the worse for it. The climatic number might seem a sucker punch coming on the heels of much baldly randy numbers, but it's the darkness that has been lurking at the edge of every frame, every shadow of a nude chorus girl. Joan Blondell doesn't step outside the moment, she lives it, making it devastating.

"Think Pink" Funny Face. A giddy celebration of fashion, glamour, color, and rank consumerism  And I don't begrudge them a note of it. Kay Thompson begins her march of utterly walking away with this film.

"Singin' in the Rain" Singin' in the Rain. If "Make 'Em Laugh" was the genius of simplicity, this is the genius of the Freed Unit at their full powers. It's why you fall in love with the movies in the first place, scenes like this.

"Aquarius" Hair. Milos Forman's adaptation of the stage show might have arrived a decade too late, but it's lovely elegiac vision of New York City and youth in autumn. His sharp eye and Twyla Tharp's thumping, earthy choreography making for a potent mix.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

5 Less Is More Musical Sequences

As I can never forgo an opportunity to slam Les Miserables or add another voice to the pile that Tom Hooper is a no good, very bad director I decided to take a different approach today. There's a lot of guff that his "style" of presenting stripped down musical sequences lends them greater emotional truth. I'll let the hogwash of that speak for itself, and only mention that they seem to be confusing "visually impoverished" for deliberately spare stagings. Here are a few of my favorite less is more sequences, showing that simple does not mean revoking complexity, or embracing headache inducing tilts and wastes of frame.

"The Man That Got Away" A Star Is Born (1954). All this appears to be is a late night jam session after the chairs have been put up and the lights turned off. But it's one of Garland's most magnificent screen moments. She sings and the brief cuts to Mason put us in his seat, and then the focus on Garland are he, and us, falling in love with her and recognizing her potential.

"Make Em' Laugh" Singin' In The Rain. Cosmo Brown was my first movie crush, and this here is why. A deceptively simple idea, a friend goofing around trying to cheer his friend up, becomes a tour de force tribute to comedy in film.

"Les Chanson Des Jumelles" Les Demoiselles De Rochefort. This is number I like to watch in the bleakest days of winter, as it is spring to me. The bright, sherbet colors of the girl's dresses, and the equally bright brass of the music as the pair introduce themselves and set the movie up.

"Pick Yourself Up" Swing Time. Fred and Ginger, does anything more need to be said? Well yes, directors who insist on shooting dancers from the waist up should be beaten with a sock full of nickles. Or at least forced to watch Astaire and Rogers films on a loop until they get it.

And last but certainly not least, "Dancing in the Dark" The Band Wagon. Minnelli's style often gets dismissed as pure fluff, as if a filth encrusted waif isn't as much a creation of the makeup and hair department as a feathered show girl. Here it's just two people dancing in a sound stage park, but it's one of the most ravishingly romantic and erotic moments in movies.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Friday Scramble

The ache of memory.

The verses that sustain.

Take my hand and follow me.

The moving picture show.

A love letter to the city of angels.

Nice is different than good.

Asian Dawn?

A witness to the 20th century speaks.

Ice cold tunes.

Cats have always been the worst.

Cats have always been the best.

An otter playing basketball, AN OTTER PLAYING BASKETBALL.

Friday Jukebox, feeling a bit off the wall all this week, so why not...

Faces I Love IV

Thanks as always to the marvelous The Shelia Variations for this idea.