Friday, November 30, 2007

On attending the tale of Sweeney Todd/Some "Enchanted" Evening...

Heya muggles...

So I'm back in action now, and will be blogging furiously this week, and every week from this point on.

We're just gonna get right into it...

Today's blog is going to be about three reasonably zeitgeist-y productions I've taken in recently, and exactly what I thought about them:


Currently the tops at the box office, "Enchanted" is about a classic Disney princess, Giselle (played to perfection by Hollywood's newest and most interesting IT-girl, Amy Adams) who's ripped from her whimsical cartoon kingdom of heritage and thrust into modern-day New York City by the resident evil queen (Susan Sarandon... in a part that should have been played by Glenn "the jaw" Close... every evil female character ever should be played by Glenn Close... but that's neither here nor there...)

She's banished because she falls in love with the Evil Queen's stepson, Prince Edward (played by superfox James Marsden) who fears that Giselle will become queen and steal her throne. Determined to find his true love, Prince Edward transports himself into present day NYC and embarks on a wild goose chase to find her. This is all complicated by the fact that she's shacked up with a kindly divorce lawyer named Robert (played by Patrick Dempsey from Grey's), despite his better judgement.

Anyway - the whole thing is touted as a spoofy, farce-y, parody-y amalgam of every classic Disney fairytale involving a helpless, annoyingly wholesome damsel-type a-la Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, the list goes on and on and on... and it certainly is, for the first half of the film. It's very entertaining in that respect and for that time - seeing exactly how a cartoon princess would fare in present day New York all the while sending up fairy-tale conventions that we're all familiar with... yes.

The second half - and I can tell you EXACTLY where this begins... that fucking musical number in the middle of Central Park - is a different story. It turns into an actual kid's film. Which I was not prepared for at all. It completely lost its edge and turned into a paint-by-the-numbers fairy tale. For the last half-hour of the film, I don't think 30 seconds would go by without me turning to Yerxa next to me and whispering "Ug, well that's retarded..."

Being a kid's film, it was rife with logistical errors, which just drives me fucking nuts... as I'm somewhat of badge-carrying member of the logistic's police... among them:

- The first thing that had me scratching m'head: Where the balls did Prince Edward get money to buy that corned beef on rye sandwich? And various souvenirs? And pay for that hotel room (Furthermore - how did he know what a hotel was)? If Giselle didn't have any money, where the balls did he get it? Yes, since he's a prince, I can imagine he might have been carrying some gold coins, and I'll even go so far as to believe that his royal garments would be emerald and ruby-encrusted... still, one quick scene with him at a currency exchange/ruby appraisal kiosk would have made things that much more believable and that much less irksome for me.

- In the enormous musical number set in Central Park, entitled something like "How Will She Know" - which I just have enough problems with as it is, what with the fact that thousands of park-goers join in her choreographed number in the first place and think nothing of it, but I'll subscribe to that particular fantasy and stick to one gripe - in that song, she seems to speak-sing of a lot of dating/relationship nuances that wouldn't be factors in her native kingdom... "wearing a colour that will match her eyes" (cartoon's only have 1 outfit! That's a well-established fact!)... "dedicate a song to her" (on what radio station in your cartoon kingdom, asshole?)... and others... again... irksome...

- Idina Menzel was playing a winsome, romantic lead. WHAT THE BALLS WAS THAT ALL ABOUT? Giselle's wicked stepsister? I could certainly believe that. Bitchy salesgirl at Donna Karan who refuses to sell anything to Giselle a-la "Pretty Woman"? Totally could have played that. Kind-hearted garbage lady who points Giselle in the right direction of 37th street? Abbbsolutely. But not as the rival love-interest! I find her face so unusual... she has this really unappealing 'resting face' that she makes... what I mean by 'resting face', is the mug that she makes when she's not speaking or substantially reacting to other dialogue/action... it's this sneer or snarl or something... allow me to demonstrate:

Anyway... I enjoyed it enough, I guess. Amy Adams was frickin' amazing. Honestly... I can attest right here, right now that there have been two times this year that my pants have been charmed clear off me... once back in May, c/o this Norse fellow I met, and this particular night watching Amy Adams as Princess Giselle. She played everything heartbreakingly earnest and will no doubt be a lock for Best Actress, Comedy or Musical, come Golden Globes-time.

I don't know as if I'd watch it again, however. If I do, it'll ONLY to check out the deleted scenes to see if one of them shows Prince Edward visiting a currency exchange.

2.) SWEENEY TODD, live, at the Princess of Whales Theatre

Regarded as the holy grail of haute concept musical theatre, Sondheim's Sweeney Todd has a following amongst musical theatre nerds that borders on fetishistic. I can remember it was introduced to me via my first year drama teacher, Tim Fort, and that's precisely how I'd describe his fascination with it.

At any rate - it tells the tale of a famously talented barber Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street in turn-of-the-century Londontowne, who's back from a wrongfully-served stint in jail and vows revenge on the general population of London via slitting their throats when they're in his barber's chair. He's aided and abetted in this by his landlady Mrs. Lovett who turns their bodies into meat pies that are being gobbled up like hot cakes. That analogy would have been so much smoother if she had in fact baked them into hot cakes and not meat pies. OR if the expression was "they're selling like meat pies". Either/Or.

It was good. Not reeeally my thing - when I go to the musical theatre, I tend to be money-shot oriented... a-la flashy dance numbers and big black diva belting big notes like their life depended on it. This had neither. But it did have hot bitch Judy Kaye - pictured to the right. She played Mrs. Lovett, fresh off the heels of playing her on Broadway.

Do you know who Judy Kaye is? She's the original Carlotta from "Phantom of the Opera" - she won the Tony for that. So I automatically loved her for that fact alone. But she was pretty fierce and really funny. At the curtain call, everyone else in the cast was taking their bows very solemnly with a piercing stare and stiff upper-lip, and she comes flouncing out and does this grand curtsy, mouths "thank you" several times and waves to the balcony... I was like "LOVE HER!"...

What I didn't love was the fact that the entire cast was on stage for the ENTIRE show. And what's worse? They were supplying the instrumentation for the show... yes... the band was the cast, and the cast, the band... holy fuck. It was amazing, don't get me wrong. I just felt annoyed for the actors. I can remember when I was in my last year of high school, I was in a Sears Festival play (those of you who did drama in high school in Ontario know exactly what I'm talking about) called "10 Lost Years". Holy fuck. Wow.

It was a play about the depression in Canada. And it was called "10 Lost Years". Don't you just wanna fucking see it right now?! Ug. It was a play comprised of a bunch of random monologues and vignettes about depression life and featured an enormous (like, 25+) company of 15-18 year-old Brockvillian (read: uniformly white) youth, dressed like fucking hobos. And when we were not involved in a vignette or monologue, WE HAD TO STRIKE A TABLEAU IN THE BACKGROUND. Which means that for upwards to and including 20 minutes at a time, you could be frozen in a position pretending to read the newspaper or scrub something on a washing board. Have an itchy ball sack? Well it's gonna be a long evening for you my friend. It was excruciating.

Side note: In one of the performances of "10 Lost Years", a chair I was sitting on explosively collapsed and I was sent barrelling across the stage. It was hilarious. And I know that video footage of it exists somewhere - I recall Paul Roy captured it with his digital camera (what I have to assume was the first digital camera ever made, seeing as it was 2000)... I'd really like to see that shit...

Anyballs - THIS is why I felt so uncomfortable for the company of Sweeney Todd. I was like "AHHHH!!! THEY MUST BE SO BORED!!! I'd shoot myself in the head if I had to do that!". But I guess some people who are really committed to 'the craft' will do anything. I certainly wouldn't. This is why I'm not an actor. I couldn't care less about contributing to the effect of a tableau... alls I care about the applause and the star-fuckers. It's a good life.

So yeah... I think Sweeney's out of here soon... so go check it out before it flies the coop... or just go see the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp movie when it comes out... whatevs...

Thirdly: 2 GIRLS, 1 CUP


Make no mistake about it.

For the few, privelaged members of the human race who have not seen this, DON'T.

2 Girls, 1 Cup is the newest viral-video sensation sweeping the cyber-nation. It involves one girl full-tilt shitting into a cup, then sexily dining on it with her best girlfriend. Yeah.

I'm not sure how this became the sensation that it has. People involving their own fecal matter in sexual lisasons is nothing new - Scat porn has been around for quite some time. I'm not so sure why this one has taken off the way that it has. I'm going to have to assume it's because of how regular that chick is... that shiz came out of there like chocolate soft-serve... shoooot...

Anyway - just thought I'd mention it. I'll probably talk about it tonight, as I'm at the Rivoli and it's all-new material night, and I have no idea what I'm going to talk about.

Anyballs... smell ya later,

--- Aj