Posts Tagged ‘movies’
We’re gonna be The Producers!
I don’t write about every time I go out but it does look like it as I don’t go out very often. Last night was a special night as I’d managed to acquire tickets for the preview night of The Producers by JYM theatre co. We were in The Phoenix Theatre in Elwood, it’s a small theatre which they managed to make it work so well for them.
The Producers was released as a movie in 1968, written by Mel Brooks and with his voice over in the movie, the play and subsequent movie during the dance routine of Springtime for Hitler using the words ”Don’t be stupid, be a smarty/Come and join the Nazi Party”. It’s all rather irreverent and brings Hitler down to size.
I was never crazy about Hitler…If you stand on a soapbox and trade rhetoric with a dictator you never win…That’s what they do so well: they seduce people. But if you ridicule them, bring them down with laughter, they can’t win. You show how crazy they are. ”
Mel Brooks, in an August 2001 interview
The story is that of a washed up Broadway producer whose accountant suddenly realises it’s easier to make money with a flop than a success, thus begins the romp of a lifetime.
The play last night was a small scale version of the original. With a small cast, except for the leads, they all played multiple characters and the men often dressed as women. The walker scene where all the little old ladies are dancing with their walkers was made even more hilarious with the addition of the men in drag, some of the men hammed it up and enjoyed themselves way too much, total fun.
It was very polished and I have trouble believing it was the preview, there were very few gaffs and they were so minor such as dropping a champagne glass or having the adding machine fall off its perch. The scene changes were built into the play with the cast coming on in character and moving furniture etc around, I thought this very clever and managed to miss many parts as my attention was drawn elsewhere such as watching the tall, blonde, gorgeous man who was having way too much fun and hamming it up, I missed his name.
The performances as a whole were really great. The man playing Max Bialystock did a really good job as did the man playing Leo Bloom. For me, the stand out performance apart from the tall, blonde and did I say gorgeous? man was the man playing Roger De Bris, he had the most lovely deep voice and hammed it up to the max.
It’s well worth the money at between $35 and $42, rivalling the large and more monied productions which you can pay a mint for, if you can I really suggest you go, it has a short run starting tomorrow and finishing on the 25th May. Bookings can be made online here.
Last night I finally got to join the masses and watch The Hobbit movie on the big screen. Not sure how many ways I can say ‘I love it’ so I hope you’re counting although I will try to be balanced.
There are many differences to the book and some of them work for me while others don’t. The book starts off with a description of Hobbits and where they live, the movie starts off with some sweeping shots of Hobbiton, Bilbo’s house and then takes us inside. Bilbo sits down with pen and paper to start writing his memoirs which we hear as a voice over and see the history before our story begins, this is good as it gives us a good overview of why Thorin does what he does and how much emotional pain he’s in, something covered later on in the book. We move on quickly after Frodo’s been through and they’ve discussed The Party (Bilbo’s 111th Birthday from The Lord of the Rings), their relatives and then we move back 60 years to when Bilbo and Gandalf first speak.
In this early part, even through the party with the Dwarves, we don’t see Bilbo as being much of anything, he doesn’t appear to even have a sharp wit and doesn’t manage to rebut anything very cleverly at all. The Good Morning scene is funny though. The song is wonderful, just beautifully done and I loved how they threw all the plates around without dropping any (heavens knows how many takes they did or how much was CGI but I enjoyed seeing that scene). Later on, his wit seems to shine through, he’s the one who remembers Trolls have problems with sunlight and manages to delay proceedings until Gandalf gets there and assists the sunlight to hit the Trolls, so there’s been a little bit of rewriting of the story there.
The bit that interests me is where Bilbo actually makes up his mind to go on the adventure, this is so different from the book where he was caught up in the events of the night that he is eventually put to bed and Gandalf comes in the next morning to clean up and send him on his way. I think I prefer the film on this point, it doesn’t make sense for someone who is so wedded to his home that he has to be thrust out on an adventure to suddenly pluck up the courage part way through and be able to match wits, sword fight and generally get himself and his companions out of trouble, it makes far more sense for someone who’s chosen the adventure to do all that. I always wondered about that part in the book, just never really rang true to me.
Other bits I absolutely loved:
Rivendell – We see it from across the bridge and it looks super gorgeous as it should, although we don’t hear the elves singing and greeting the travellers as they cross the bridge and I was looking forward to that. We do get the singing later on.
The Stone Giants – Loved these! They seemed to have matched the images in my head reasonably well and then taken it to the next level, awesome!
Goblin Cave – The entrance to their cave was bigger than I’d imagined but it makes great sense as it had to shelter 14 people and keep them dry, I enjoyed the entrance as it opened up as well. Just before it opened up Bilbo was awake and starting to sneak off home which just seemed to make sense as if you’re not really invested in an adventure then until your emotions change you’re going to take every chance you can to leave. Absolutely adored what they did with the inside of the cave, it showed so, so many levels and so, so many Goblins, lots of depth here.
The music – didn’t notice much during the movie but afterwards there was stirring music by Neil Finn and Steven Gallagher.
The Eagles – always loved the Eagles and nothing’s changed. We don’t hear them talking in this movie and they drop the company off on a totally out of the way place instead of in their eyrie.
Dialogue – various parts of it were taken directly from the book, yes!
Things that were just totally wrong:
Bilbo wasn’t appreciably smaller than the Dwarves. In the book they’re able to carry him on their backs without slowing them down but as he’s the same size as they are that’s not going to happen in the movie. Several of them do seem able to pick him up by the shoulders but it’s not as described in the book.
Bilbo kicked Gollum in the head as he jumped over him to get to the exit of the Goblin Cave. That never happened in the book and I don’t feel it added anything.
This is long enough, suffice to say I loved the movie, thought it was a good rendition of the book, many of the changes made it make more sense and I loved how they managed to get into my head and bring those images onto the screen. Now I need the DVD so I can watch it again, possibly as many times as I’ve read the book, and also view the extras. One day.
Here’s a few more pictures, same rules apply, when I can identify them I do and when I can’t I don’t guess. Some of them are just amazing and others blow my mind. There’s one really unexpected one and I’ll let you find it. Not sure if we’ll be getting back to normality with Squid Ink on Thursday as he might be taking some time off. This is all for today, ta ra!!
The book was written by Enid Bagnold in 1935 and filmed in 1944 only nine years later (just proving I can do the maths), MGM billed it as a ‘heart drama’. There are many differences between the book and film as there almost always are and I can tell you some of the reasons but not others.
The book is about 250 pages and if you were to transfer it directly from print to film I believe it works out at roughly one minute per page which makes a four hour movie, a bladder buster in most people’s language. MGM got it down to 123 minutes making it much easier to view, but in order to do that things get lost and other things get rewritten to accommodate the loss. So instead of taking the relationships between the family members and building it up slowly you’ve got to show them much faster in short snippets.
The story is much the same. Velvet Brown is horse mad and just wants to ride, she ends up winning a horse in a raffle and from there rides him in the Grand National horse race.
Some of the changes.
Mi Taylor (played by Mickey Rooney) is not a trusted staff member but comes along at the beginning of the movie. He has a different agenda and wants to get as much out of people as he can, even to the point of planning to steal everything he can from the Browns, this changes as he gets to know them and finds Velvet trusts him implicitly.
In the book everyone knows from very early on that Mi Taylor’s father coached Mrs Brown across the Channel, but in the book this is left as a cliff hanger for Mi and he’s not told until the very last moments and even then we only see the very beginning of the discussion from afar and can’t even hear Velvet tell him.
In the book Mrs Araminty Brown is a solid woman with a good solid body and it’s quite easy to imagine her being able to swim the Channel in her youth. Anne Revere does an excellent job as Mrs Brown and everything about her is right except she’s far too thin, she’s just not solid enough. It’s just like the Poirot movies on TV, David Suchet looks the part but there were a short series of movies made in the 1980s with Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot and he has the part down pat, it’s just a pity he looks wrong.
The change I find the most interesting is what they did with Velvet Brown and Mi Taylor. The dynamics were mostly right but in the book Velvet just wanted the horse to run and do his best while Mi had all the ideas and did all the work with getting everyone to the Grand National, finding a Polish jockey who wouldn’t be riding and ‘borrowing’ his papers so Velvet would be able to take his place, while the movie shows it to be mostly Velvet’s ideas with Velvet rejecting the jockey due to his lack of ideals and then persuading Mi to help her by cutting her hair and walking her through all the procedures. Basically they’ve made Velvet be much more forthright and far less wishy washy than the book, she’s far less of a dreamer and much more of a doer.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally enjoyed both book and film. I loved seeing Elizabeth Taylor in her first big role and I always enjoy seeing Mickey Rooney, he’s such a good actor. It was great to get a different picture of a life totally different to mine. Angela Lansbury played Velvet’s older sister and it was lovely seeing her in her youth, she hasn’t changed all that much. I could rave on forever about the different actors but I won’t, I’ll let you go.
Yes, I need that many, and more, exclamation marks. I’ve been waiting most of my life for movies that don’t follow the norm. You know what norm is in horror or thriller movies where the hero/heroine survives and often saves someone else while everyone else dies. The hero/heroine is generally an athlete and a scholar and blitzes everyone else’s skills. Joss Whedon looks at this and thumbs his nose at it, he puts together a movie that actually works and makes sense, he turns these conventions around and creates a truly wonderful experience.
Cabin in the Woods is his latest masterpiece, I saw it last night as a fundraiser for Nullus Anxietas 4. The movie was going to go straight to DVD but they screened it last night at the Cinema Nova in Carlton and thank goodness there are a few more screenings over the next week. I believe you can see it at The Astor in Windsor and possibly one or two other places around the country.
As you’ll know from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel or Firefly, Whedon doesn’t do straight horror he puts in the comedic element and makes it feel as if it could really be happening. This movie is no different, it’s about five teenagers who go away to a cabin situated in the woods for a relaxing time and the events that enfold them. There are hints of the other story surrounding it but it takes a little while before we find out they are related and that every move made by these five people is being watched and celebrated.
They buy fuel on the way to the cabin and the man is less then forthcoming with both his fuel and his information. Some time later we hear him on the phone to the people behind the cameras, he’s ranting and raving and suddenly his tone changes as he asks if he’s on speaker phone, he’s told he isn’t so he continues ranting, he’s supposedly taken off speaker phone and continues his ranting until he realises he’s been conned and is still on speaker phone. Just one gem of a scene in this movie.
I can’t write too much more about the movie without giving too many spoilers so I won’t. I can’t tell you if there is a hero or a heroine as that’s spoilers and I can’t tell you who this could possibly be. I will tell you it was well worth the price I paid and I now can’t wait for the DVD as I really need to see it again to get the full impact of the music and sound effects and I’m also intrigued to see what extras Whedon has put on. There’s the opportunity for so many side stories and it’d be lovely to see them and see how he turns things on their heads.
Someone must have taken Squid Ink to see The Adventures of Tintin, I plead not guilty to that offence. He enjoyed it thoroughly as you can tell. It was a great movie and I thoroughly enjoyed the epic sword fight, I do wonder if it’s possible to do that in a real movie…safely.
Way back when I was much younger than the 18 years I profess to be, we used to visit the Drive In Cinema at Tooronga on the on corner of Toorak and Tooronga Roads. Back then it was a shopping centre and drive in but now it is a much bigger shopping centre and the home of the Coles Headquarters, commonly called Battlestar Galactica. We didn’t have a lot of money so entertainment like this was a must, it was reasonably cheap so we could all go and there’d be no fights as to who would be left behind. My aunt used to live at the back of the drive in and we could see the screen from her driveway which meant we were able to relive the video for nothing, the audio track was non-existent but it was better than nothing.
One year they were showing Around the World in Eighty Days written by Jules Verne one of the founding fathers of science fiction. We were very excited to be going along but we only managed to see 60 days as Dad got so upset with the noise in the car he drove off early. There was a reason the car was so noisy. One of my sisters is very short sighted and she apparently couldn’t actually see the screen so she kept asking questions and other sisters spent a lot of time telling her to be quiet so Dad lost his temper and we left early. It’s funny how she and I got glasses very shortly after this movie.
I was invited to a media screening of Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, I took with me a good friend and her young son. They’re in the right demographic and didn’t want to go alone. I’m not excited at attending movies by myself, I’ve done it on occasion and it just hasn’t felt right.
Anyway, it was a lovely little movie and it will be released in cinemas on the 5th of August and then to DVD and Blue-Ray on the 15th September. The story is about Tinker Bell and how she meets a human, or maybe it’s about how humans meet Tinker Bell the fairy. Anyway, it’s a feel good story with some gorgeous graphics, Disney has taken great pains to ensure it looks just fabulous, they have paid great attention to detail. I didn’t know any of the voices, but I should have as Lucy Liu was in it, she’s the only name I recognised but if you’ve seen some recent children’s movies you’ll recognise more than me. The problem when your kids grow up is you don’t get to see many kids movies unless you take someone else’s children.
There are a couple of issues they deal with in this movie. The issues of friends and helping them when they’re in trouble is pushed quite a number of times throughout the movies, in big ways as well as small ways. Comforting friends and also fixing things and making them work are also in this movie.
You will find the usual spinoffs that come with movies these days. Last night I saw the ad for the figurines so your child can play fairies and the Disney website shows the books and colouring books you can buy if you haven’t had enough of fairies after a couple of days.
I’m just going to go down memory lane for a few moments. The first thing I noticed was the Disney logo, not the little logo but the big one which has expanded many times over the years. I remember watching many Disney movies when I was young and seeing the latest logo and how it’s changed but still has enough of the same characteristics that I remember from watching Disney on a Saturday afternoon really took me back. I loved Disney in those days and would watch as many of their movies as I possibly could. Kurt Russell was gorgeous and young when he played Dexter Riley in a series of movies: The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes; Now You See Him Now You Don’t and; The Strongest Man in the World. I loved those movies.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was originally a television adventures series first released in 1964. The books followed fairly close behind starting in 1965. They were a wonderful series full of tongue in cheek references, humour and great actors. Ian Fleming had a big hand in developing this series and there were references to James Bond.
Napoleon Solo was played by Robert Vaughan (currently playing Albert Stroller in Hustle), Ilya Kuryakin by David McCallum (currently playing Dr Donald Mallard in Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service) and Leo G. Carroll played Alexander Waverly. This was the basic cast and many stars of the day had guest roles. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy paired together two years before Star Trek, the gorgeous and glamorous Barbara Feldon (from Get Smart), Robert Culp, Vincent Price, Joan Collins, Terry-Thomas, Nancy Sinatra, Leslie Nielson, Kurt Russell and Angela Lansbury among many others.
There appear to be 23 books in the core collection and others in the periphery as well as some spinoffs. For many years I thought I had the whole collection until tonight when I thought I’d talk about them and in doing some research discovered I’m quite a way off. I have numbers 1 through to 16, The ABC of Espionage and The Girl From Espionage numbers 1 and 3 and the best one of all is one I can’t name as it’s in Hebrew. And just to make collecting harder I’ve been checking the titles I have with this list on Wikipedia and they don’t match up so I have no idea which ones I’m missing. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more.
I’ve read all of the English ones several times and the magic has been the same each time. I’ve also managed to pick up some recordings on VHS of some of the episodes. How I picked them up is an interesting story and I only have my part of it. Some amazing person had carefully recorded many, many series and movies from the TV. They had taken great care to remove as many ads as possible, labelling the cases with the appropriate clipping from the The Age’s Green Guide and a catalogue number. I can’t believe the amount of work and care that went into amassing this collection, when we saw them outside the house there were three big boxes and more arrived some time later. We managed to pick up some treasures including a couple of episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Dad’s Army.