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27 February 2008 @ 11:35 am
The 39 Steps - February 26, 2008, 7:30pm
Last Saturday, my mother told me that we had to watch the movie version of The 39 Steps before it was too late, meaning, before we saw the play. She had it on her DVR, so we sat and watched what I think is the most cracked out movie made before 1939. I'm not going to be reviewing the movie or anything, but I will surely make mention of it, since the play copied the film's scenes and dialog nearly directly.

The play opens on Richard Hannay, 37, 5'10", wavy light brown hair, hazel eyes, and a very dashing pencil mustache. Believe me, I'm only describing him this way because they do it like five times during the show, and it gets more and more hysterical every time. He tells the audience that he is bored with his life, drinks some scotch or something, and decides to go out to the theater. He ends up going to a theater where a man named Mr. Memory is performing his act. Mr. Memory's gimmick is that he memorizes 50 new facts a day and can answer any question he is asked.

Now, a little bit about the show itself before I continue. Something that would be helpful to know going in is that there are only 4 cast members in this play (Hannay, a woman, and two guys). Mr. Memory and the man who announces him before he comes onstage are the first two of over 100 roles that Arnie Burton and Cliff Saunders play, and they're hysterical in every one. The play is also underscored with music from most of the Hitchcock collection, as well as other ambient noises and audience applause when it's needed in the show, but when we, the audience, would have no reason to applaud.

Back to the show, at least for a second. Hannay watches from the audience, and eventually, after a couple of other questions, he asks Mr. Memory the distance between two Canadian cities that I can't remember. Also in the audience is a woman: Annabella Schmidt. She is a spy (or as she likes to call herself, an "agent") and with no provocation, other than the fact that she knows two men are after her, she asks Hannay if she can come home with him. (Yeah, this is one of the many reasons I thought the movie was COMPLETELY cracked out.)

Annabella has vital information that's going to save the country, blahditty blahditty, and she wants Hannay to help her get to a place in Scotland I can't pronounce. Judging from the pronunciation banter that goes on, I guess we're supposed to believe no one can. Annabella is murdered that night, and Richard is left with her murder charge over his head, as well as curiosity over her secret and the 39 steps themselves. He ends up traipsing all over the Scottish countryside, and eventually gets handcuffed to a fiesty blonde doublecrosser. DUN DUN DUNNNNN

That's all I'm going to say about the plot right now. Although I really enjoyed knowing what was going to happen next, there is also something to be said for seeing this play for its mystery factor. That, and I just don't want to type up the whole story when you can read it on Wikipedia. The cast is excellent (and I'll give each a review below) and they really seemed to know each other's moves and played off of each other well. It amazes me that there's only one understudy for both guys that do the 135 non-main roles, but I suppose it's another testament to how well this cast does together that the poor man doesn't get confused when he's covering for someone.

Oh yeah, I suppose I have to mention the backlit puppet stuff. There, mentioned. Seriously, I wouldn't do it justice if I tried to explain it. Ha! My face hurt, I was laughing so hard.

Actors away!

Charles Edwards (Richard Hannay) - I really loved this character in the movie and my reaction to him in the play was no different. I think it has something to do with the hapless "I'm awesome but I'm really not" personality Hannay has. I told my mother the play reminded me of a Monkey Island game (hence the icon), and that character type is most of the reason why. Hannay = Guybrush. That being said, Charles Edwards made such a lovely comedic-ish straight man that it was almost painful. If I possessed independently-moving eyebrows like that, I would be the world's next great comedian. The only problems that occurred when Edwards was on stage were faults of the script and easily forgotten by the next scene. Awesome.

Jennifer Ferrin (Annabella Schmidt/Pamela/Margaret) - Now I hate to say this, but a play adapted from a movie that came out in the 30s is bound to have weak female characters. Stereotypical of me? Perhaps (Wizard of Oz), but here it's true. It's not like Jennifer Ferrin benefits from some sort of mathematical awesome quotient either. Just because she plays all the main women in the play, doesn't mean she's three times cooler. That's not to say that she doesn't do a wonderful job, especially as Annabella, I just don't find a woman who drastically changes her tune about a guy, even for comedic effect, just because she hears some bad guys talking about the fact that he's innocent to be entertaining in any way (that woman would be Pamela, by the way). Still, she puts up with a lot (getting dragged around by a handcuff) and does decently with the more broad physical stuff as Margaret.

Cliff Saunders (Man #1) and Arnie Burton (Man #2) - As I said before, these guys are fabulous. Mr. Memory, Professor Jordan, underwear salesmen, forty different sorts of bogs, streams and trees, women, cops, a bunch of guys in a parade... I would go on but I think you get the picture. The play would be nothing without good ol' Cliff and Arnie, and as was probably proper, they got the most applause at the bows.

If discount tickets come up for this any time soon (it only runs until 3/29), I will be going again.

mood: cold
10 February 2008 @ 11:23 am

I have to admit, I really liked it.
It's good in the omg-the-cheesiness of it all that if you just go into it for the ride, you'll actually come out enjoying it.
The "scares" had me cracking my shit up, I swear I think I annoyed every single person in the theater.
But c'mon, it was like scary/creepy/funny moments man, you can't honestly feel scared for something that's... I don't know... FICTIONAL.
It was great!!

This was a popcorn flick true and true, and if you come in with any form of expectations, well, prepare to be disappointed. (We heard someone say, as we left the theater, "that was it?" - well what do you expect!??! The Monster to mate with the headless statue of liberty?!?!)

The characters weren't as annoying as I thought but the camerawork was borderline nauseating towards the end (and I'm usually unaffected by this crap).

It's just a fun movie to watch when there's nothing else on, I'm kinda sad it experienced such a precipitous drop into weekend 2 (75%, yeah that's gonna hurt), but hey, it is what it is.

I saw it as a fun romp of destruction right in my home town. (and the shot of the subway station in Spring St for the 6 was absolutely one of the funniest fake sets I've ever seen, apparently JJ Abrams thinks we Nu Yawkers take two-car subway trains everywhere - HYSTERICAL)

I give it a Donella (downgraded from a Kassir for no picture credits but seriously, why would there be picture credits for unknown actors? But still, lacking it gives it an automatic downgrade in life)
But the monster music in the end was kickass.
mood: chipper
music: 9 in the Afternoon - Panic at the Disco
10 February 2008 @ 11:02 am
The Little Mermaid: The Musical
it was actually really good and kinda cute

Sorry to say smerdle, but both Flounders in the production are NOT BLACK.
We got evening flounder, there's another one for the matinee shows.
Sherie Renee Scott as Ursula was really really funny.
Sierra Boggess, who played Ariel, has an awesome singing voice.
Even Eric's songs were worthy but not great, we got understudy Eric, who had platinum blonde hair, wtf.
My favorite song is sadly the one with Ariel's sisters and Flounder, it's the scene where they find out Ariel's in love, it's really cute and funny and I laughed immensely
People (meaning kids) were freaked out by black Triton, racist much?
He was ok as well, the ending had like a moment of incest that made me almost vom though.

The songs not in the movie were good but pale in comparison to the original songs, Under the Sea was awesome but Kiss the Girl was kinda weird, I was hoping for more, but it was just OK.
Les Poisson was HYSTERICAL but kinda mimicked Be Our Guest, which was odd
and Poor Unfortunate Souls was creeptastically good!

The sets for this thing is MASSIVE, like gigantically awesome with people flying on like gigantic conveyor belts and people drowning slowly by falling from the sky and shit and why was I not informed that Grimsby is played by the voice of Jafar?

I see tony nominations for set design, costumes and choreography, whether it'll win, i'll let smerdle decide since she's the resident Tonys expert.

Oh yeah and here was the thing really that made it suck.
The thing is, they completely had to rework the plot, ALOT, like alot of shit was moved, the songs were in chronology but like shit happens not in the same place and the end is completely different and kinda weirder than how it would've been.
Of course seeing Sherie Renee Scott getting stabbed by a gigantic ship's bow woulda been hysterical too, the ending in this one felt... weird
But yeah alot of the plot was fucked with and if you're basing it strictly with the movie (and since I just watched it this afternoon) be prepared to be sorely disappointed.

So basically, don't watch the movie before the showing, hehehe.

Grade: Kassir
mood: chipper
The trailers:
To be honest, I didn't write them down and I don't remember any of them except Funny Games and Mrs. Pettigrew Lives for a Day. It's a shame, because I think we got FOUR HUNDRED TRAILERS.

The crowd:
Crazy people. No, seriously. The guy in front of my mother kept snapping to the beat of Walk Hard and bobbing his head to That's How You Know, or whatever that song from Enchanted is (they were playing all the Oscar nominated songs on Screenvision). There was also this one time when Bradford Howe was like, "Do you know what our favorite part of watching stars on the red carpet is?" and this guy was like, "No!" all seriously to the screen.



The movie:
I don't think I could ever explain or express how much I love Martin McDonagh. About a year and a half ago now, my mother and I went to see a production of The Pillowman performed at a smallish theater in New Jersey because some guy she knew from her job had a minor role in it. I know this will probably make me sound like some sort of spaz if anyone ever sees/reads that play, but it seriously changed my perception of modern theater. Now, granted, that's one of McDonagh's best plays, and the rest are sort of predictable, but it doesn't matter. I love heem forevah.

So, yes, In Bruges is his movie, and being a rabid fan, I had to go see it, regardless of how I feel about Colin Farrell. It turns out I didn't mind him in this. I even went so far as to feel sorry for his character, imagine that. As far as the other actors went, I really enjoyed Brendan Gleeson, as I tend to do, and Ralph Fiennes was... I can't even describe the hysteria.

The crowd ate it up, and I heard lots and lots of people trying to catch their breath throughout because they were laughing so hard. Yes, it was funny, but when you've seen a sadistic member of an IRA splinter group hugging and crying over his dead cat's limp teddy bear corpse, you need more than a little bit of race-war discussion with a coked-out midget to get the belly laughs flowing.

The beginning was very slow, but again, that seems to be a McDonagh trademark. He tends to write about characters so despicable that you need a lot of time alone with them to become sympathetic, so he gives you that time. It may seem a little boring, but the payoff is excellent.

I don't want to give anything away, although, like most of his plays, it's predictable, but I really thought it was an excellent movie. Only this man could make me wonder if anyone would go home afterwards and write Gleeson/Farrell slash, and that's enough of a reason to give In Bruges a...

mood: satisfied
31 December 2007 @ 09:46 pm
I think I've finally finished my movies of 2007.
I'm sure there's alot more movies that I should've caught but for once in my life I'd like to actually finish my 2007 movies in the year 2007 and write up my year end movies listing on time.

So here goes the list of it all.
As always, behind the cut I'm going to be writing The Best, The Worst and The Rest.
I've seen ALOT of flicks this year and I am very grateful that many of them have been extremely well done.

So take a seat, grab a bag of chips and take a read as I close off another year at the movies... Collapse )
mood: accomplished