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Tag Archives: musical

One from the Heart (1982): Shammett

One from the Heart (Francis Ford Coppola, 1982)

A small figure stands, staring out at a cityspace on the horizon, on the movie poster.

I’ve seen this place before and you were standing by my side.
photo credit: Amazon

One from the Heart initially stuck in my head because of Sneak Previews, the original Siskel and Ebert movie review show back when it was on public television. My favorite section of the show was always the Dog of the Week, at the end, when each critic would highlight the worst film he’d seen that week. I got a lot of recommendations from the Dog of the Week. That, naturally, led to a year-end list of the ten worst movies of the year. If a movie showed up on the Ten Worst list, I was almost guaranteed a good time. One from the Heart was on Gene Siskel’s ten worst list for 1982; if I recall correctly, it was #1. (Pretty much anything that made their lists from that year is gold; they also included Inchon, Pink Floyd: The Wall, and Halloween III.) But I’d never gotten a chance to see it until recently. While Coppola has always been an on-and-off director for me, I’ve found over the years that it’s pretty hard to go wrong with Frederic Forrest, and with One from the Heart, Forrest gets a rare starring role. It’s not the best movie in the world—certainly not in the same league as Forrest’s other major 1982 film, Hammett—but it’s certainly not one of 1982’s worst movies.

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The Devil’s Carnival (2012): More Bob Barker than Glen Benton

The Devil’s Carnival (Darren Lynn Bousman, 2012)

photo credit: Wikipedia

Such a promising poster…

Strike one: Darren Lynn Bousman is the guy who took over from Wan and Whannell, and turned Saw from a single excellent film into the laughable crap franchise that it had become by the third movie.

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Dil Bole Hadippa! (2009): In the Crease

Dil Bole Hadippa! (Anurag Singh, 2009)

photo credit: Wikipedia

In India, people are easily fooled by fake facial hair, or so this film (and its accompanying poster) would have you believe.

I admit it—I’m a sucker for big Bollywood productions. (Which is odd considering how much I despise most American musicals.) I’m also a very big fan of cricket and I have generally been impressed with many of the “updated Shakespeare” attempts that have come across my screen (viz. recent Coriolanus review). So what we have here is a Bollywood movie about cricket that’s based loosely on Twelfth Night… it’s like someone went fishing in my brain and came up with the perfect combination of stuff. Which is not to say Dil Bole Hadippa! Is the best movie in the world or anything, but for what it is, it’s a barrel of fun.

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West Side Story (1961): What Blight Though Off-Key Window Breaks?

West Side Story (Jerome Robbins et al., 1961)
[originally posted 16May2000]

photo credit: Wikipedia

Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today.

(If you don’t, somehow, know the plot of either West Side Story or Romeo and Juliet, skip this review.)

As the glory days of the musical were winding down, and musicals were more adapted from Broadway than written specifically for the screen, it seems that a cadre of musical directors got together and set down some ground rules for making musicals in America in the 1960s. The first rule was that singing voice was less important than stage presence. And while West Side Story isn’t quite as bad about it as, say, the shrieking harridans who make up the thoroughly awful off-key chorus of My Fair Lady, there’s still a good deal of off-key, annoying, baleful whining running through Robbins’ adaptation of his own stage play. At least the lead parts were cast with people who could sing (Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer, both of whom can stay on key, unlike much of the supporting cast).

Now that my complaints about on-key singing are out of the way, it’s actually not a bad script. It’s not Romeo and Juliet (hey guys, aren’t both of the lovers supposed to die in the end?), and leaves out some of the finest plot twists and most endearing characters from that play. Needed more time for big dance numbers, I guess. I would have preferred the nurse. **