Wednesday, November 18, 2015

FRESH FROM THE THEATRE: Mockingjay (Part 2)

We have finally arrived to the end of this magnificent saga. I got the chance to see it in the theatre on the night before the premiere. So let us get down to it:

(Spoiler free review! Unless you didn't read the books, in that case, spoilers ahead!)

Katniss finally got Peeta back, but their troubles didn't end there. District 13 is ready to attack, and they want to keep Katniss safe, but she doesn't care. She heads out into the capital to try and get to Snow, but she is intercepted and is then given a whole team as assistance. Coin makes sure cameras follow her every move. Katniss loses parts of her team on the way, although she does get close enough, it is at a greater cost. Once the Capitol has been stopped Katniss asks to execute President Snow herself, only at the last moment she realizes that a greater evil is at hand, and it is not Snow, but Coin. Katniss kills her and afterwards heads back home, where she starts a life with Peeta.

I will never get out that creepy smile of President Snow's from my head. Nor how President Coin showed her true colors slowly, but very effectively. This is a story about war, and war is not pretty. No, war is very brutal and very sad. I was never angry at this story for the amount of people it killed, but here I just saw the pain in Katniss' eyes and it made it all too real. It is incredible that a fantasy dictatorship can hit you so hard. I, honestly, sat there with my mouth open, I was in utter shock at the horror of it. Gale's behavior? Cressida's bravery? Peeta's pain? And that sense of justice that drove Katniss? She was so afraid, so terrified, and yet she endured in the face of it all, she even lied, the one thing she hated. I think that in that moment she understood that for some this is really just a show, no matter how real it is. And as long as she can stay in character, she'll endure. And she did.
I read the books. I love the books. And no matter what happens, these movies keep reading my thoughts: This was in my head. My favorite book came to life in this movie and it is the most wonderful feeling! The ending... especially the ending. I just love that this crew opens the book when they need guidance and you can see how all movies connect perfectly. I am so grateful for the work they did. You feel the pain, the love, the characters get from A to B and you get a proper finale. The finale of the book, nonetheless. In the end Katniss smiles, and it is a genuine and kind smile, brought about the thought that tomorrow will be better, and every day after that even more so.

See it? Yes. I think this is by far the best adaptation of books I have seen in my life. I am telling you, it was the same as it was in my head when I first read it. And I'm going to re-read it again very soon. I loved this story, and I loved these characters, and I was happy to see them happy, even if sad that I had to say goodbye.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Katniss Everdeen - Jennifer Lawrence
Gale Hawthorne - Liam Hemsworth
Peeta Mellark - Josh Hutcherson
Finnick Odair - Sam Claflin
Primrose Everdeen Willow Shields
Effie Trinket - Elizabeth Banks
Haymitch Abernathy - Woody Harrelson
Caesar Flickerman - Stanley Tucci
Plutarch Heavesbee - Phyllip Seymour Hoffman
Beetee Jeffrey Wright
President Coin - Julianne Moore
President Snow - Donald Sutherland

Saturday, November 14, 2015

What's Next On My List? HAIR

As you know, I'm doing musical reviews until the end of the year and I decided to go with a classic for my next review. In light of the terrorist attacks in Paris I thought I would write this to remind people how great it is to have peace and to be alive. My thoughts and prayers to the people in the French capital, and all who lost loved ones to terrorism. War and guns are never the answer.

A group of friends encounter a man from the country, Bukowski, headed to the city to enlist in the army. However, these friends refuse to enlist as they believe that peace is much more important than fighting a war that America has no connection to.
Not enlisting, however, means incarceration, but even then, the group of friends refuses to give up fighting. Their new friend, Bukowski, although enjoys being free and living, still feels the need to serve his country. After his training he is liberated for one day by his friends before he heads out with his unit, but unfortunately, the unit heads out sooner and Berger, his friend who replaced him for a couple of hours, gets onto the plane and dies in the war. Bukowski stays with his friends and together rally for peace.

I have to tell you that I love this story. The reason for that is that through it I learned more about America's take on the Vietnam war than I ever did reading books. This movie truly highlights that some wars are not meant to be fought. And just because you can, it doesn't mean you should... I always hear the voice of one of my teachers saying "I hate hippies", and he was a soldier, so although I know he doesn't vote for war in case of a conflict, he also understands that serving your country is one of the most valuable things one can do. I also get that he hates hipsters for the same reason, meaning that he is not against pacifists, but more people who lack hygiene :D Still, his approach to hippies made me see two sides of the same coin and more importantly, it made me understand how hard it is to choose a side. Especially in a country with the history of the United States.
That having been said, this movie wasn't my favorite at first, and one of the main reasons for that was simply the fact that I didn't really like the main character. I don't understand if it was a deliberate choice to make him less likable in confront of the other characters, or simply to enhance the difference between him and his new friends. Still, he fell a bit short to me and until I got older I never really understood his motivations. He seemed like someone who came from nothing and has nothing, until he got friends and a girl who cared for him, yet he still chose to serve. I'm not judging him, I just didn't understand for a very long time what drove him, but now, now I understand that serving your country in more embedded in a man than it might seem on the surface. Thus, seeing it now, this small but significant cultural knowledge makes this movie a favorite of mine.

See it? WELL YES! It's a classic, why haven't you see it yet? I am 100% sure that you have heard at least one, if not all songs, several thousand times already. And trust me, with the movie, they become much better and really hit the strings in your heart.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ 

Claude Hooper Bukowski - John Savage
George Berger - Treat Williams
Sheila Franklin - Beverly D'Angelo
Jeannie Ryan - Annie Golden
Lafayette aka Hud - Dorsey Wright
Woof - Don Dacus

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Why Should You Enjoy Rock Of Ages In Spite of Public Opinion

I decided to talk about musical movies in the upcoming two months until the end of  the year, starting with a Halloween review. Next up is something not a lot of people liked ... and really, why wouldn't you like it?

It's a story of a young girl and a guy seeking to become the next best thing in the world of rock'n'roll. Like everyone else before them, they care about the music, but are taken apart by the corporate business that surrounds music. And the town itself is fighting the fever that is caused by rock'n'roll. It is, however, the enthusiasm of these two young artists that make a washed up old rock-star realize why he got into the business in the first place.

Before we head in, let me just say that I don't understand the American public at all. Do you know the one criticism I kept hearing about this movie? That the music was not original... I talked about this in another post regarding Glee (click here to read!), America complains when they make a musical using old songs, but a show that uses original ones gets cancelled (like Smash and Hull High, and so on). I don't get it, and quite frankly I hate it. Music is overall just a magical medium, something that connects all people, why do we always feel the need to criticize it? If you don't like some songs, that's your personal problem. If you don't enjoy musical movies, DON'T GO TO SEE A MUSICAL! You would be surprised at how simple it is. The musicals advertise that they feature music by other artists, so if you want new songs, then watch musicals of that sort. Easy.

When it comes to the movie, I've heard that some people said that Tom Cruise and Alec Balwin made a fool of themselves... this is a fun story! It might not be the most original movie out there, but do I care? No, I don't. Why? Because the performance was incredible, the casting was brilliant and I laughed my ass off! Literally! There are so many small jokes and little puns, and the actors are aware of their characters and what lines they shouldn't cross. So, what to do next time you see the movie? Laugh! Let yourself go, listen closely to the dialogue, pay attention to the editing and focus on the characters individually. And you know what my favorite thing about the movie was? The dancing.

There was one scene in particular after which I was sold, the moment I knew this movie really had it all: Rock Me Like A Hurricane by The Scorpions. The choreography? It blew me away. I could re-watch that scene over and over again. I love that song and I never thought someone could make me love it even more, well, guess what? They did. Just watch this one scene from the movie and tell me you didn't have goosebumps!

This is a brilliant movie. It's funny, it makes fun of norms and it uses cliches appropriately. The actors are not making fun of themselves, they are making you laugh! I adored every single scene Cruise was in, I loved every choreography and I believe that the songs where adapted perfectly.
You need to see this movie to realize that people judged it based on some premeditated notion that a movie that uses old songs can't be good. And I think that's a bunch of crap! 
Watch it, judge for yourself, discover it, SING OUT LOUD and LAUGH A LOT!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ 

Stacee Jaxx - Tom Cruise
Sherrie Christian - Julianne Hough
Drew Boley - Diego Boneta
Lonny - Russell Brand
Dennis DupreeAlec Baldwin
Mike Whitmore - Bryan Cranston
Patricia Whitmore - Catherine Zeta-Jones
Paul Gill - Paul Giamatti
Constance Sack - Malin Akerman

Saturday, October 31, 2015

What's Next On My List? The Rocky Horror Picture Show

I have been meaning to write a series of reviews on musical movies. I have decided to take up this opportunity to start with a very particular one, in regards to the start of the holiday seasons: Halloween! The last review will be Christmas related, and that having been said, let us now dig in:

A young couple gets lost in the woods and end up in an old castle where they seek help, and instead find a mad scientist from outer-space who tries to create a new man by using components of living humans. Being drawn to what is happening inside the castle, they stay for the night and horror ensues... Very funny horror, that is, with great music.

I already started talking about this movie in my previous entry where I admitted my undying love towards Tim Curry (click here to read!), and I decided to write about this movie because it is celebrating a very unique anniversary: the 40th!
Besides the 'horror' part you might wonder why I decided to write about this movie now. Well, you might be right in saying that there is nothing Halloweenie about it... however, because of the 'horror' part my sister and I watched it the day before Halloween a couple of years ago. And I'll be honest with you, it wasn't my favorite after we saw it... the reason for that is I think I was too little. This movie is very deep and there are a lot of layers to it. When it comes to the comedic part, it hit all the right notes with me and I adored it. With the serious stuff instead, well... I should re-watch it. But what got me hooked was...

That's right, the music. You know you have famous songs from this movie and they are great, but my favorites are actually the ones that you don't hear over and over in every movie. Although I can't resist a singing Tim Curry, still, my favorite song must be "Hot Patottie Bless My Soul", followed by "Planet Schmanet Janet", which in musical versions actually is a lot longer than in the movie. Then "Dammit Janet" was love at first hearing :D and since then I have been listening to the soundtrack CD over and over again and slowly every song has become dear to me in a way or another. Still, I mostly enjoy the fun parts of the movie, so the actual 'rocky' songs are the ones that draw me closer to the story. Since then "Eddie" as well as "Toucha Toucha Touch Me" have become favorites of mine, but upon hearing the songs for the first time, I gotta say that I was super jealous of Tim Curry's body... I mean come on... he's the model I strive to be, I think he wears those heels more gracefully than any woman I know!

And the other element of the movie that made me fall for it were - of course - the actors. I knew these actors from the 90's, and well, this movie was not set then... have you ever had that experience? That you knew an actor and really liked them and then found out they were child actors as well, or simply had more movies before you discovered them in the role of a mom or a dad, or a grandparent? That happens to me often, and I always love it, because it is quite fun. It was the same here for me. Most adults do know Susan Sarandon as Janet, for me she's Mrs. March from Little Women; and they know Barry Bostwick as Brad, but for me he'll always be the stupid mayor from Spin City; and Tim Curry will always be Dr. Poole from Oscar to me, no matter what he does!

I think that overall this movie became such a success in the end because there is something in it for everyone. The shy ones, the sexually overheated ones, the artists and the mad scientists of our generation and other three generations before that all have someone to relate to.
The movie was a flop when it first appeared in the theatre and to be honest I wasn't surprised because America has a history of over looking musical movies... it's like they don't understand them... my favorite comment I always come across is "There were too many songs"... YOU'RE WATCHING A MUSICAL, for God's sake... but I talked about this in detail in my entry entitled "What The F*ck Is This Sh*t? Glee" (click here to read it!). However, to show what a cult following this movie has now I do recommend watching Glee! Why? Well, there is an episode in it where they are preparing to showcase the musical, but they switch the order of the songs. This shows you that for people who really know the source material this is a great homage and it is - in my humble opinion - very entertaining to use the same songs to tell a different story! (The Glee episode in question was in season 2, episode 5! Check it out!)

Having said all that, you should see the movie, trust me. And yes, being a cult classic, you are very lame to not have seen it yet! You'll want to dress or sing like Dr. Frank-N-Furter for a while, and that's OK. You'll laugh a lot and even if you won't like it at first, there will still be at least one song that will get stuck in your ears and that beat is gonna make you crazy - in a really good way!
It is unique, it has its magical moments and the 'horror' part is equally good as the 'rocky', so I just know you won't be disappointed!

Until the next item on my list!

PS: Have you heard? Los Angeles declared October 30th national Rocky Horror Day! Read about here!
_ _ _ _ _

Dr. Frank-N-Furter - Tim Curry
Janet Weiss - Susan Sarandon
Brad Majors - Barry Bostwick
Riff Raff - Richard O'Brien
Magenta - Patricia Quinn
Columbia - Nell Campbell
Dr. Everett V. Scott - Jonathan Adams
Rocky Horror - Peter Hinwood
Eddie  - Meat Loaf
The Criminologist - Charles Gray

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Blogger: Tim Curry, My First Love

To be honest, before I fell in love with Sylvester Stallone, there is one other person who was very close to my heart because of a character he played in Oscar (1991), one who gave Mr Provolone his elocution lessons, one Dr Poole played by Tim Curry.

This man has played every single role available out there. From transvestite, to villain, to side-character, to headmaster, to pirate and receptionist. And I could go on and on. For a very long time I wondered based on what he chooses the characters he plays and I come to realize that perhaps he is one of those people who truly are happy to play any and all roles. He sure had high and lows, but there has not been a single movie where I wasn't happy to see him!

After the first movie where I fell for him, his next role that I came across was in Muppets Treasure Island, where he played Long John Silver. To be honest, I haven't seen his movies in a linear fashion, some would say, as the last movie I came across might actually be the one he is most well known for. However, before we get there, this one was a childhood favorite of mine too. I just didn't care he was the bad guy, I rooted for him! Yes, he deserved that gold, yes, he should be the captain! It might just be that coax that he already had, the one that got Jim to like him so much from the beginning. He had a charm that simply hugged me while watching it!
Then came the funniest movie I have grown up with, Loaded Weapon, where he played the right hand of William Shatner, Mr. Jigsaw. In my favorite scene he is dressed up as a girl scout who tries to sell cookies to Whoopi Goldberg. She jumps around and then steps on a cigarette butt, and that beard... it's perfect! I adore that movie and my sister and I recall that scene on a daily base!
Next movie he was a sassy concierge, in Home Alone 2, and then came the Charlie's Angels movie, which is up to today a big-big favorite of mine. And then I saw him as the most evil man in all of France, Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers.
I loved him in that role, as he really was a bad guy and when you watch the movie you can't help, but hate him. But it's a good kind of hate! Mostly, because you know he won't win in the end anyway, but it's fine because he truly is a horrible human being.
A couple of smaller roles followed and not so long ago I was introduced to one of the silliest roles he has ever played in his life, at least in my opinion... it was the headmaster of a witch school in The Worst Witch - which seems to have a far better rating than I thought it would. In this scene he is singing a song that has rhymes which were probably written by a seven year old, and the Nostalgia Critic and Nostalgia Chick made fun of it a couple of years ago. (For the review click here!) And I advise you to check out the song if you don't know it yet, because it is truly fantastic! Click here to see it! He also did a lot, and I mean A LOT of voice acting! Among my favorites is G. Gordon Godfrey in the series Young Justice, also Pretorious in The Mask, and the Cat King in The Cat Returns, finally a smaller but a favorite, a Hot Dog in the Regular show, just to mention a few. 

I decided to leave the best - some would say - for last because it is one of the last things I saw. I was told I was too little to see it for a while, and to be honest I think I still was when I did see it. This movie is really deep and a lot of ground is covered, disguised in a musical about aliens.
You guessed it, I am of course talking about The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I just love musicals, and some of these songs have become a favorite of mine in a very short time. The way Curry plays this role? It's fantastic. Truly! Most little girls dream of becoming super models - not me! If I have to put on tights and a corset, then I want to look like Tim Curry! The movie is now 40 years old, which is really something and I am quite proud to say that I have seen it. It is a Halloween classic for me when it comes to the songs. I have been planning to re-watch it for a quite sometime now, because I think I have grown up since then, so maybe I'll be able to take in more. Still, when I hear Curry sing I just melt and because of that this movie quickly became a favorite of mine! I really do want to see it in the theater at least once in my life.

Curry has disappeared a bit from the public scene, I have heard that he is sick, which I am very sad about, but I have all of these awesome movies to keep me company and I am always happy to recognize his voice in various cartoons! He might not have roles that deserve an Academy Award, but if you ask me, you can grow tired of those movies pretty quickly! Making people laugh or sing along with you is a much-much harder job. And if I'm concerned he always succeeds, that is why he is a favorite of mine. Tim Curry truly was my first crush, and yeah, he stayed as such even as a transvestite! (Have you seen him? He's smoking hot!)

Thank you for all your hard work Mr Curry, with love, CsorEsz

Next up will be the Halloween Special for this year, and also the first of a series of musical movie reviews, starting with The Rocky Horror Picture Show! Stay tuned!