SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET

poster(As you can tell I’m still having some difficulties with formatting – so i need help… ) I’m guessing most of you would have seen Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by now. Its either one of those films you get really excited about before its released and rush out to see it in the first week or so its out OR you’ve decided that even though you generally love the work of the holy trinity* (the name my yits friend Tom gave to the combination of Tim BurtonHelena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp) but the idea of horror meets musical loosely regarding the topic of cannibalism didn’t seem like your cup of tea so you decided to sit this one out and salivate over the knowledge that Burton will be directing the latest remake of Alice in Wonderland (due for release in 2010). SO! A gold stars review on the film may be largely superfluous so I thought I’d just jot down some thoughts I had about the film, based on MY tastes and then fling open the floodgates for you guys to let me know what you thought of the trinity’s* latest offering.  Firstly, I really didn’t like the film. I joyfully acknowledge that it was rather spectacular and another fantastic film by Burton but it just didn’t suit my tastes (I will stop using words with food connotations in the remainder of this post). The combination of music (as in sing-song music), a possessed barber, and human meat pies is a combination only Burton could bring to the screen. And its done well, the elements of the mise-en-scene come together beautifully to create the overall effect and draw the audience in.The stand out performance for me was the young lad Ed Sanders playing workhouse orphan boy Toby, his singing was reminiscent of choir boys in an old cathedral (although I suppose all pre-pubity males sing that way) and he was so sweet and ultimately takes on a form of righteous anger to combat the increasing alienation the audience feels from the mad barber.  Well, that’s all from me on this one.

THIS FILM GETS 3.5 GOLD STARSNow what did you think? Come on now, I know most of you fitted into that first category I mentioned……spill the beans. 

* I hope no one takes offense at this reference. If you do, blame it on frezned

Advertisements

AUGUST RUSH

poster I had high expectations from seeing the trailer for this film months ago. It finally came out in Australia on Thursday and we went and saw it last night.

To say the film peaked at the trailer wouldn’t be an overstatement.

THE SET UP? Evan Taylor is eleven years old and he lives at a boys home in New York state. He doesn’t want to be placed with a family because he is waiting for his parents to find him, deep down he believes that they always wanted him. He stays sane in the face of rejection and bullying through music. He doesn’t have an ipod or anything but he finds music in everything, the wind, footsteps, etc etc. The audience soon learns the genesis of this budding music protege is his parents. A Juilliard trained classical cellist mother and a blue-collar irish rocker father. And their musical romance is a one-night-stand. Evan leaves the boys home and travels to New York to find his parents. The rest of the film is the journey of Evan, his mother and his father to finding each other, unsurprisingly, music is their guide.

THE CAST?
Freddie Highmore is Evan Taylor (a.k.a August Rush). The London native does well in a near flawless American accent and few actors of his age are able to encapsulate pure joy as Highmore does in most of his roles, but excellently in August Rush. Surprisingly for a young actor, even if he is the central character, Highmore gets top billing and it is well deserved.
cellistKeri Russel plays Lyla Novacek, the cellist. I’ve had a girl-crush on Russel ever since Felicity. Just to look at her onscreen is a joy, but in this she actually pulls off the Juilliard trained cellist well. And in most parts, the seeking mother is well realised too. On a side note, there is something ridiculously sensual about cellists that I find totally alluring (in a 100% platonic way).
I wish I could say the same for Jonathan Rhys Meyers. (I’ve had the opposite of a crush on him since Bend it but I’m not letting that little thing get in the way of an objective assessment of his performance). Meyers falls short as the irish front man, Louis Connelly, and love interest to Russel’s character. Something about him seemed like it didn’t fit – a round peg in a square hole type situation. It seems Meyer’s is trying his best but it just isn’t working for him. I personally believe they needed a slightly more masculine ‘leading man’ opposite Russel’s sweetness. But Meyer’s isn’t the only mis-cast actor in this film.
Another is Robin Williams. Though I haven’t mentioned his character in the set up, Williams plays Wizard – a kind of Fagin (from Oliver Twist) who fosters Evan’s budding musical gift (for his own gain). Its kind of hard to express how Williams is a mis-cast here, but saying he is ‘faganesque’ would lead you to see my point.
Terrence Howard with his beautiful, dewey eyes plays the child services officer handling Lyla’s claim. Howard is not a mis-cast here and brings great depth to the amount of screen time awarded to his character.

fagan and oliver WHY YOU SHOULD SEE THIS FILM? As to be expected the music is rather spectacular. There is some likable rhythmic editing around the better musical pieces. The performances, with the exception of Howard, all lack something, the something is less in Russell and Highmore than others. The characters are developed but Highmore’s character in the middle and towards the end seems to clash with what the audience has learnt thus far about him. Also SPOILER ALERT the ending is too abrupt, as the audience we have journeyed with these characters as they seek to find truth through the whole film and the moment where they find each other is over practically before it begins.
Its not a must see, let me put it that way. But it is a rather cute fairy tale style story of love.

WHO SHOULD YOU SEE IT WITH? Preferably someone not like me, who will laugh inappropriately and snicker at the tragic lines.

one night thangANYTHING TO KNOW ABOUT? Not really. Although, just on a personal note, it bugged me how they totally romanticised and glorified what was a one-night-stand between Lyla and Louis. -But this is true to the fairy tale template.

THIS FILM GETS 3 GOLD STARS.