Tag Archives: videos

Video Review: Muppet Treasure Island

The Daughter went to the library and got out the video of the 1996 Muppets movie adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel Treasure Island. She really liked The Muppets (2011) in the theater, as did The Wife and I. I’ve also enjoyed some of the early Muppet movies and that classic TV program, The Muppet Show.

Tim Curry as Long John Silver was great. Yet this story Continue reading Video Review: Muppet Treasure Island

VIDEO REVIEW: The Sound of Music

One could reasonably make the case for movies one ought to see that came out this century. But there are SO many that I have never seen from the 20th Century that I don’t worry about the current stuff as much as I used to. Somehow, prior to this fall, I had NEVER seen The Sound of Music in its entirety. Oh, I’ve seen scenes, of course, but that’s not nearly the same thing.

It’s odd too, because my mother had the LP soundtrack going back to nearly when it was released in 1965. I’ve had the CD of same for at least a decade and a half, and I love it dearly. I have great affection for the Morning Hymn that the nuns sing early on, and it’s in my Top Five movie soundtracks ever, along with West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof.

Still, I had not seen many of the songs in the context of the film. Is there a more stunning opening of a movie than the background of the Alps while Maria (Julie Andrews) sings the title song? Continue reading VIDEO REVIEW: The Sound of Music

Video review: Singin' in the Rain

After noting in this blog that I had not seen the 1952 film in its entirety, it was total coincidence that The Wife decided the family ought to watch together Singin’ In the Rain.

I did not know this until watching the extras, but the film was MGM producer Arthur Freed’s plan to use his catalog of songs, written with Nacio Herb Brown, and used in previous MGM musical films, mostly from the 1930s. It became the job of screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green to create a script that would make sense. They decided that making a film that shows one studio’s foray into talking pictures in response to the real game changing film, 1927’s The Jazz Singer. Hollywood is usually good at showing Hollywood.

Singin’ In the Rain is mostly marvelous. Gene Kelly not only plays Don Lockwood, “a popular silent film star with humble roots as a singer, dancer and stunt man, ” he also co-directed it with Stanley Donen. He performs the iconic title song sequence, which I had seen often, but it works so much better once seen in context.

Don’s leading lady in the silent films is Lina Lamont, played by Jean Hagen, doing her best Judy Holliday routine. She has a voice made for silent films.

Donald O’Connor, as Don’s best friend Cosmo, is marvelous dancing with Kelly, particularly in Moses Supposes, a Roger Edens/Comden and Green piece new for the film. But O’Connor is most extraordinary in his solo stint, Make ‘Em Laugh.

Debbie Reynolds, not yet 20, plays Kathy Selden. Don, avoiding his fans, accidentally lands in Kathy’s car. She feigns disinterest in his “undignified” film career, but later Don discovers she is not a stage actress but a chorus girl. Eventually, romance is kindled.

After the disastrous preview of The Dueling Cavalier, Don, Kathy and Cosmo come up with the idea to change it into a musical called The Dancing Cavalier. It’s at this point the marvelous dance Good Morning with those three characters takes place, up and down a flight of stairs, among other tricks. Reynolds, a gymnast but not previously a dancer, managed to keep up with Kelly and O’Connor.

I understand it from a historic context, but the one part of the movie I wish were a bit shorter was the flashy Broadway Melody Ballet. Not sure what I would have cut out, although it would NOT have been the parts with Cyd Charisse as Kelly’s dance partner. Incidentally, Reynolds’ rendition of You Are My Lucky Star, sung to a billboard showing an image of Don, was cut; nicely performed yet unnecessary in advancing the plot.

All in all, Singin’ in the Rain is a quite enjoyable film, and a cultural icon to boot, referenced in everything from A Clockwork Orange to Glee. The extras, showing where the songs had been used in previous films, was entertaining, as was Debbie Reynolds’ recollections of the filmmaking.

Video reviews: Iron Man 2 and The Parent Trap

The Parent Trap (1961), if I saw it – and surely I MUST have seen it at some point – mustn’t I? – I watched SO long ago that the details are surely erased from my memory. It was a Disney film starring Hayley Mills… and Hayley Mills! I DO recall that ad campaign. The script was based on Das Doppelte Lottchen, a novel by Erich Kastner, that had been made into British and German films, using twin girls.

Two girls, one from tony Boston, the other from freewheeling California, meet at a summer camp and take an instant dislike to each other. Each just doesn’t like that other girl with her face. Antics ensue Continue reading Video reviews: Iron Man 2 and The Parent Trap

Video Review: Moneyball

I haven’t watched a movie on DVR/video in several months. One of the issues is that it becomes too easy to treat it like well, a video, stopping and starting at will, something substantially different than going to the movie theater and watching a film from being to end, without interruption.

Two things, though, converged to make the preferred viewing methodology possible last Sunday. A friend of mine who had Netflix received the Moneyball DVD in the mail, but would not be able to watch it over the weekend because she’d be out of town. Then my wife and daughter went to a play (at Steamer No. 10, for you locals), allowing me the opportunity to watch Moneyball as though I were at the movies. Well, not quite, with my 20″ TV screen, but otherwise, more or less the same. And I REALLY wanted to see this, having just missed it in the cinema.

Moneyball is the story of the Oakland A’s baseball team that competed in the American League with teams such as the New York Yankees, who had about thrice the payroll as the A’s. Continue reading Video Review: Moneyball

Y is for Yankovic, "Weird Al" Yankovic

I was flipping through the channels on a Saturday morning – unusual, that – when I came across a BIOGRAPHY Channel piece on “Weird Al” Yankovic, which I was oddly compelled to watch. Then I came across this Bat Segundo interview, a very interesting listen.

Most novelty acts last a year or three. So how is it that Weird Al has managed to mine the music parody gig for nearly three decades? Not only that, he is more successful than ever Continue reading Y is for Yankovic, "Weird Al" Yankovic

30-Day Challenge: Day 23- Favorite Music Video

Another difficult question. Probably from Year 2 through year Six, I watched MTV a LOT. Watched the video countdown almost every week, then not so much. I should note that, for the body of video work, I’d probably pick Billy Joel.

There are probably only three post-1995 videos I both saw and liked enough to even consider. Hey Ya by Outkast (and here’s a longer, though not better version) and I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow by the Foggy Mountain Boys are two of them.

Plenty of good picks in this list of best videos and in this one, although many of the actual videos have been disabled. Two on those lists that I was quite fond of were Once In a Lifetime by the Talking Heads and Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel. I was an irrationally big fan Continue reading 30-Day Challenge: Day 23- Favorite Music Video