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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, July 01, 2006 - 05:52 pm:   

I've gone to a bunch of plays in the past several months, two after buying a three play subscription to the Roundabout company. Rick Bowes and another friend of mine subscribed and together we saw Entertaining Mr. Sloane with Alex Baldwin. Despite the negative reviews I read, I thought Baldwin excellent and enjoyed the play a lot.

The first time I saw the play was in the early 80s with Maxwell Caulfield as a very sexy Mr. Sloane in a small off-off Broadway theater.

Second play in the series The Three Penny Opera had a new, more obscene-than-usual translation (by Wallace Shawn) with Alan Cummings, Jim Dale,and Cyndi Lauper. Kind of a punk version that was interestingly fresh, although I didnt' like Nellie McKay's version of "Pirate Jenny."

Today I saw Shining City by Conor McPherson, the playwright who wrote The Weir, a pretty good ghost story. Shining City is about a widower who is haunted by his dead wife and goes into therapy. It has a terrific cast: Brian F. O'Bryne plays the therapist(he was briliant as a child killer in Frozen a couple of years back and who I heard was great in last year's Doubt. Also, Oliver Platt, as the widower, and Martha Plimpton (who I usually can't stand)as the therapist's girlfriend. Platt has some amazing monologues. I enjoyed the play enormously until the annoying ending.

On the movie front, last night I caught up with Toy Story (nope, never saw it) and Revenger's Tragedy, a fascinating sf rendition of Thomas Middleton's Jacobean play about...yup -revenge. Christopher Eggleston, Derek Jacobi, and Eddie Izzard were the best-known cast members. Weird and engrossing. Most of the text is obviously taken directly from the original so at first it sounds a little stilted to the modern ear, but stick with it, you'll get used to it.
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Jason D. Wittman
Posted on Saturday, July 01, 2006 - 08:49 pm:   

Ellen,

Speaking of complexity, have you seen a movie called STRINGS? It takes place in a world populated by string marionettes (in the opening scene, a king commits suicide by cutting the string that holds his head up). It's obviously a European-made film, because an American would have played the premise for laughs. I got the movie on DVD at Best Buy, so it should be available in your neck of the woods.

Hope all is well.

Jason
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, July 01, 2006 - 09:28 pm:   

Jason,
Thanks for the suggestion; I just added it to my queue at Netflix.
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Mary Robinette Kowal
Posted on Sunday, July 02, 2006 - 03:22 am:   

STRINGS has beautiful art-direction and world-building but the voice-acting was wooden. Ironic, that the puppets give better performances with the sound off. Still, I highly reccommend seeing it.

I just saw The Primer, which is a low-budget SF film, which gives no hint of its budget restraints. It's well done and the plot twists kept me with it the whole time. I was surprised and enjoyed it.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, July 02, 2006 - 08:17 am:   

Thanks, Mary. I've added that one to my queue as well.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, July 02, 2006 - 03:40 pm:   

I saw The Devil Wears Prada today. Terrific acting by Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, and Anne Hathaway (who is becoming an interesting actress--I thought she was very good as the rodeo wife to the Jake Gyllenhaal character in Brokeback Mountain).

The movie was enjoyable. Lots of bitchiness, pretty people (obviously, no one ugly or even unattractive lives in NYC). It's a fairy tale.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, July 05, 2006 - 07:47 pm:   

I saw The Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh Monday night. Wonderful grand guignol black comedy about the IRA and its various splinter groups. My friend and I could only comprehend about one third of the dialogue because of the strong Irish accents, but we caught enough of it.


I couldn't stand McDonagh's earlier play The Beauty Queen of Leenane but loved The Pillowman.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, September 01, 2006 - 10:56 pm:   

While visiting friends in Stallion Springs, CA we watched the entire 13 episodes of a tv show I'd never heard of (they already watched them): Wonderfalls, a charming, fantastic series about a recent grad of an ivy league college working in retail and living in at trailor camp. It takes place in Niagara Falls. After the protag loses out on her promotion to asst mgr of the store to the "mouth breather" toy animals start speaking to her and tell her things she "must" do. Whether she does or doesn't all hell breaks loose.
Apparently fox killed it after a few episodes.

The family dynamics and the various romances are cool (if you like that sort of thing--and I do :-) ). I loved it.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, September 08, 2006 - 10:45 pm:   

Well, tonight I took a break from editing and watched Sin City, which I liked. And I tried to watch the American family trilogy (with Cutting Moments, which I'd already seen and didn't want to see again)...I put on the second episode and just couldn't do it...Three family members at breakfast: young boy, his obviously miserable and probably abused mother, and the distant (obvious abuser) father...I watched for about 5 minutes and ejected the DVD. Nope. Not for me thank you.

Instead I watched Vera Drake, which I borrowed from Alice Turner. Another cheery movie --extremely well-acted by Imelda Staunton, who was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Actress category for her role as a happily married, middle-aged woman who "helped out young women"--ie provided (relatively) safe abortions for at least 20 years --the story takes place in 1950 and if you want to know what the country would be like for women needing abortions should the Conservatives get there way, watch this movie.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2006 - 07:00 am:   

Ellen, I watched "Cutting Moments" earlier this summer. It turned me off from any kind of violent filmmaking for quite a while. Your reaction to the second short film does not bode well for my future with Douglas Buck's films.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2006 - 04:57 pm:   

Kelly, I've been told the other two parts of the trilogy aren't over the edge in violence like "Cutting Moments." It's just the I could see that violence (verbal or physical) was about to erupt and I couldn't stand the idea of it. I don't really have any idea what did happen next.
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2006 - 06:17 pm:   

I throw up my hands with the both of you! :-)

Seriously, I think the actual on-screen violence in these films isn't anything beyond what you'd see in crap movies like SAW or HOSTEL. I think the reason it's so much more effective -- and disturbing -- here is that it's psychologically grounded in the characters. It comes with significant emotional freight, which heightens its power exponentially. And yes, these are quite depressing portraits of a home life rotted from the inside out. To me, that's what makes it truly horror, rather than an exercise in dark fantasy or fodder for gore fetishists.

Oh well. What are the chances you'd try the third (and best) ... ? :-)
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2006 - 06:53 pm:   

Well, I haven't seen SAW or HOSTEL and have no intention of seeing either, so there! :-)

Oh. I supposed I'll try them again. I probably should order it back into my queue and watch them with my friend, Linda --the horror movie aficionado (who hasn't seen any of them).
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2006 - 06:55 pm:   

Btw, Nathan did you get my email from last night with the (two) queries about "The Monsters of Heaven?"
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2006 - 07:06 pm:   

Yup. I'll have the fixits back to you tonight.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2006 - 07:34 pm:   

Great.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2006 - 09:33 pm:   

Nathan: I'll definitely give the latter two short films a shot. But, man, Cutting Moments was very, very nasty and unsettling, so it'll be a while before I get to them (though, I do get what you're saying about Buck's horror being grounded in the characters, which is why I didn't toss the DVD after Cutting Moments).
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Adam-Troy Castro
Posted on Sunday, September 10, 2006 - 01:57 pm:   

WONDERFALLS was terrific: an absolute classic, episode by episode.

(And my review of STRINGS was ecstatic.)
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Scott Benenati
Posted on Tuesday, September 12, 2006 - 09:19 am:   

Mary mentioned PRIMER a few months back and I think it deserves repeating. It is a unique time travel/paradox movie. It reminded me of a hard science fiction story, especially since it's only 70 minutes or so. It's more of an intellectual puzzle than an emotionally involving movie, but what a puzzle!
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, September 12, 2006 - 09:43 am:   

Thanks for mentioning it again, Scott. It's in my netflix queue...
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 08:26 am:   

I watched two movies last night (way behind on my netflix holdings): A Walk on the Moon with Diane Lane, Liv Schreiber, and Viggio Mortensen (in an early role) and boy, is it good. Diane Lane is a seemingly content housewife with two kids (Anna Paquin is the 14 year old and is excellent) who is actually feeling pretty stifled, having been forced to marry at 17 when she was preggers with her daughter.

It takes place in the Catskills over the summer of the moon landing. Some of it I can relate to: the dads leaving their families during the week to work in the city and coming back for weekends. The women playing mah jong (I even learned).

We only went to the mountains for a week or two to visit my grandparents. More often we went to Rockaway Beach for the summer, renting a bungalow or rooms in one of the big old hotels.

The movie is really about the cusp of the 60s and the summer of love and how everything changed--Woodstock takes place, the moon landing, free love. (I was in Wiesbaden with my aunt watching the moon landing) Missed Woodstock (not that I would have gone).
I really enjoyed the movie. Lane has been brilliant in whatever I've seen her in--including Hollywoodland which I saw two weekends ago and enjoyed quite a bit.


And then I watched the awful awful National Treasure. I knew it wasn't going to be great but I thought it would at least move fast. Too too long.... blchhh. Don't see it.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, October 10, 2006 - 03:44 pm:   

If you haven't watched LEMMING, give it a try.
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Dan Anders
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 01:27 pm:   

Have you seen the original "Wicker Man" with Christopher Lee (Lord Summerisle), Brit Eckland (the randy barkeeper's daughter) and Edward Woodward (plays the policeman/questing role)?

Far superior to the movie released this spring.

I like Nicolas Cage and if you want a movie of his in the horror genre, I recommend 8MM as a harrowing portrait of a man who looked at evil and was changed by the experience. "Leaving Las Vegas" was also a powerful performance - without the horror overtones, but still a dark story.

Are you into odd eastern cult flicks?

Mr. Vampire - Chinese vampires with kung fu and a nice female/ghost thrown in for free. The minor vampires hop with arms extended out in front. Hilarious.

Wild Zero - Japanese Punk Rocker (Guitar Wolf) fights zombies risen by aliens from another world - and toss in a transvestite love story with lots of cheesy gags. The DVD version even has a "drinking game" function when any character combs their hair, says "Rock n Roll" or you see shooting flames, a beer symbol appears which you are supposed to chug down drinks.

For the really bizarre
Tetsuo - there is no describing it because the only dialogue is screaming. It is a black and white nightmare of forward and backward flashes of someone morphing from human into a metal/industrial monster. Maybe taken on the concept level as a statement on the dehumanization of technology. There is a really strange sex scene which if not horrifying is almost comical. It has to be experienced to be explained.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 03:56 pm:   

I've got the original Wicker Man coming up soon on my netflix queue and am looking forward to it.
I saw Leaving Las Vegas when it came out--if only Cage moved on from there and grew as an actor....never heard of 8MM.

I saw Tetsuo and it didn't really do anything for me, I'm afraid.
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Mary Robinette Kowal
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 04:13 pm:   

We just rented The Winslow Boy and it's outstanding. David Mamet directed a really strong ensemble cast in this Edwardian drama. It was originally a stage play written in 1946 based on a true story. The basic plot is around expulsion of Ronnie Winslow, the fourteen-year-old son of an upper class family, from the Royal Naval Academy for allegedly stealing five schillings from another cadet. His father and sister take the case to trial although you see the entire case through the lens of the family's interactions.

The dialogue is beautifully written. The acting is transparent and extremely strong. It's ostensibly about a trial, but the movie deals much, much more with relationships and society.

I highly recommend this.
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PM
Posted on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 04:29 pm:   

I gave 8mm an ugh.
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Dan Anders
Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 09:56 am:   

I think "Mr Vampire" is on the NetFlix list - a friend ordered it. If you are not familiar with the Eastern Asian Horror stuff, this is a good introduction. It's not scary nor gruesome but plays with strong eastern comedic elements (the two clown assistants, the bungling peace officer, the wise master).

It's way more camp than gore.

8MM is listed as a drama, but I find a lot of horror in the story. My definition maybe broader than most and include horror as something that evokes powerlessness in the face of evil.

Under that unbrella, "1984" was a horror sci-fi story with Winston Smith at the end, broken, lost and clinging to the words of Big Brother as his hope of salvation.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, October 22, 2006 - 09:05 am:   

This weekend I watched Fight Club on DVD (I saw it when it came out in the movies) and relished Helene Bonham Carter's performance more than I did the first time. Knowing the maguffin this time around does (as Rick Bowes pointed out)make the whole movie totally unbelievable.
spoiler alert



















I just can't buy that a guy talking to himself ALL the time makes no impact on those around him. Yeah, the guys who join the "club" are verging and then over the edge themselves but still, c'mon. I just don't buy it.
end spoiler alert



I also watched a DVD of three episodes of Monk--I don't recall what season I'm up to but it's getting too schematic for me (it has been this way for awhile but the characters kept me going). And there were actually a few laugh aloud moments. I guess I'll continue watching the series on DVD but I'm not as enthusiastic as I was.


Rick Bowes and I went to see The Departed yesterday and liked it a lot, although it should have been about 15 minutes shorter and much tighter. I saw the original several months ago (Infernal Affairs) and enjoyed that, too.

I've always had this perception that Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon looked so similar that I wouldn't know which is which if I saw them in a movie together. Interestingly, this movie blew up that perception. And Wahlberg is the much better actor. I've seen him in a few things now and have been impressed. Damon is awful. DiCaprio is terrific in the movie and I liked the girlfriend/therapist Vera Farmiga. She's beautiful in an interesting way and it turns out she was in The Manchurian Candidate (I don't remember her in that at all).

I didn't realize Ray Winstone was in it till the credits. Jack Nicholson created a so-so role out of nothing. And as Rick Bowes and I agreed jumped the shark about three quarters of the way through the movie. Rick felt that the Boston milieu was well depicted although he thought the Martin Sheen character (the cop running the mole in the crime org)was too nice to be believable. Alec Baldwin was wonderful as the head cop. Now that he's slightly over the hill, he's been taking more and more interesting roles--such as the brother in Entertaining Mr Sloane--and having fun with them. (although he was excellent in Miami Blues, many years ago.
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Sunday, October 22, 2006 - 01:19 pm:   

I saw the Prestige last night, and loved it. Although, speaking of doubles, some of that was sort of hard to believe how they pulled things off, too, after the fact. Though, not as unbelievable as the Fight Club.
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PM
Posted on Sunday, October 22, 2006 - 01:57 pm:   

I can't talk about Fight Club :-)

But I hope that you'll watch Lemming (on DVD) and the Science of Sleep (at selected theaters)...and you'll probably like Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, October 22, 2006 - 04:35 pm:   

PM --Because you like it or hate it? ;-)

I do want to see The Science of Sleep.

Today I saw The Queen and I think it really gets you into the mindset of the Royals. I was very moved by it. There's no doubt that Helen Mirren will be nominated for Best Actress.
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Mary Robinette Kowal
Posted on Sunday, October 22, 2006 - 05:28 pm:   

I just came home from seeing The Queen as well. It is outstanding and brilliantly acted.
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PM
Posted on Sunday, October 22, 2006 - 05:42 pm:   

"I do want to see The Science of Sleep."

Going with one out of three recommendations isn't bad :-)

It sure beats the unfortunate other things that you've been putting yourself through :-)

The Queen has appeal...much more than facetime with Damon.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, October 22, 2006 - 06:47 pm:   

PM, I didn't mean to ignore you about Guide to Recognizing Your Saints--I just forgot to acknowledge your rec. It just doesn't sound like my cup of tea. Sorry ;-)
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PM
Posted on Sunday, October 22, 2006 - 07:01 pm:   

No problem...tea time some other time.
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Richard Bowes
Posted on Monday, October 23, 2006 - 01:09 am:   

I didn't think Damon was awful in The Departed. In the context of Irish Boston he was just the kind of choir boy psychopath who could get away with what he was doing. It wasn't just the Nicholson character. The script didn't give depth to anyone. The actors who chose to come on screen and try to bite the audience's collective nose off (Nicholson, Wahlburg, DiCaprio) created excitement which is what this film is about. Not that I object to that. But I think it was about 30 minutes too long.

I was surprised by how compelling The Queen was and by the intensity of the audience reaction when I saw it. Of course most of us in the audience were queens and I thought that might have had something to do with it.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, October 23, 2006 - 07:47 am:   

I was close to tears during many scenes of The Queen--the reaction of the UK populace to Diana's death was very moving. I hadn't really twigged to that when it happened, because I was attending a Worldcon.
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Mary Robinette Kowal
Posted on Monday, October 23, 2006 - 08:19 am:   

The scene in the river had me bawling. The decision to film it from the back was very, very smart.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, October 23, 2006 - 08:42 am:   

Um which scene is that? I'm completely blanking...
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Mary Robinette Kowal
Posted on Monday, October 23, 2006 - 09:12 am:   

Ah, I was trying to be all sly and not spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet.

It's when the Queen is driving out to where the boys are hunting and her car breaks down. As she's sitting there waiting for one of her people to come, she starts crying, but we only see her back. Just seeing her posture change and the one sob she vocalized, I thought, was very powerful.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, October 23, 2006 - 12:39 pm:   

Oh yes. That was excellent. I didn't remember that that was when she cried.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, October 29, 2006 - 05:49 pm:   

I tried to see The Prestige but couldnít get in, so instead went to see Infamous, the second movie about Truman Capote and the writing of In Cold Blood. Rick Bowes and I were very impressed, and agree that although we both enjoyed Capote last year this movie is much better on several levels. The big difference is that Philip Seymour-Hoffman and the whole production of Capote had to try so hard to make Hoffman look the part that all the acting was taken up with that. Toby Jones (who Iíve never heard of and never saw before) is already a dead ringer for Capote and is tiny and this means he could actually put more into creating the depths of the man. The acting overall was brilliant. Itís fascinating comparing Catherine Keener and Sandra Bullockís portrayals of Harper Lee. Keener was very good Ėuntil I saw Sandra Bullockówho is great! The swans: Babe Paley (Sigourney Weaver), Slim Keith (Hope Davis), Diana Vreeland (Juliet Stevensonóuncanny), and someone else ( I canít remember who Iím missing) were wonderful. Daniel Craig plays Perry Smith and is wonderful.



This movie provided the depth and used Trumanís homosexuality while Capote seemed to try to avoid dealing with it (Rick pointed this out, and I agree).

Iím very glad I saw both movies. If you saw Capote, donít assume you donít need to see Infamous. Itís very interesting to see how the same story told with many of the same characters, covering the same events, and from the same point of view can both be riveting. Iím afraid because of the attention Capote got last year, this one wonít get the attention it deserves.

Go see it.
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Espana Sheriff
Posted on Monday, October 30, 2006 - 05:20 pm:   

Have you seen Mirren's Elizabeth I? Highly recommended.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, October 30, 2006 - 05:44 pm:   

No-- Is that the made for tv movie? I don't get cable and don't watch tv so would have to wait for it to show up on netflix.
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PM
Posted on Monday, October 30, 2006 - 07:05 pm:   

Netflix has it.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - 02:15 pm:   

Thanks.
Did you all hear about the made for tv movie CRACKER? I can't wait for that one to get on DVD.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - 04:06 pm:   

I watched the new Cracker movie. The continual commercial interruptions were infuriating. Plus there were minutes that were cut. And those minutes are being shown in a director's cut which is available via BBC VideoOnDemand. How aggravating to watch blurbs for the director's cut during the actual movie and to know that I don't have access to BBC VideoOnDemand which is going to show a longer version without the commercials!

Anyway Amazon UK has the DVD (but you'll need a DVD player that handles Region 2 PAL discs). As far as I know the US release date has not been given but I'd speculate a US release within the next year...
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - 07:50 pm:   

My DVD player is multi regional but hopefully it'll show up on netflix eventually.
how was it? The review in the NY Times said it wasn't as good as the series, but hell, I'll take anything.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - 08:34 pm:   

I want to watch the director's cut without commercial interruption. It was enjoyable enough to watch it [mostly] again.

The performances were good. I'm withholding judgement on the writing/editing though with the hope that something substantial was lopped.

If you're a Cracker fan then by all means watch it.

"but hell, I'll take anything."

except my book titles :-)
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - 10:46 pm:   

LOL. Well, yes.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, November 11, 2006 - 10:51 pm:   

I watched the original Wicker Man tonight and wow! it was really good. It's a fascinating treatment of a clash of religions. Thank you those who recommended it.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2006 - 06:25 pm:   

And today I finally got to see The Prestige--very nicely done. The screenplay made everything crystal clear if you were paying any attention at all. And considering the complications of the plot that's no mean feat.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, December 09, 2006 - 09:51 am:   

Last night I watched May a movie about a very anti-social young woman who takes advice from her doll about love matters. I thought it was much older than it is (2002)because it feels more like an early 70s movie than a contemporary one. (although a cell phone is mentioned, so I knew it had to be later than I thought). It was pretty predictable but was a decent horror movie.

I also watche L.I.E., about a very smart, sensitive adolescent boy whose mother has recently died. The movie has excellent performances by everyone, but especially by Brian Cox, as a very complex pedophile. He should have been nominated for an Oscar but I'm assuming that because it was an independent film and because of the role he was not.

I liked it so much that I watched again with Cox's commentary. If you haven't seen it, rent it!
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Saturday, December 09, 2006 - 10:53 am:   

L.I.E. was scary-creepy but, yes, with the most complicated pedophile character I've seen in film or literature for ages. Cox did an amazing job portraying it. I think because the movie is so downbeat and independent as well that it didn't get the attention it deserves.
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Richard Bowes
Posted on Saturday, December 09, 2006 - 09:44 pm:   

Ultimately the film flinches away from the full implications of the man/boy relationship. The Cox performance is an amazing piece of brinkmanship, threatening to but never going over the top. For me, though, the most effective part was the demonstration of how the kid got involved: in a completely dysfunctional setting only the pederest had time for him.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, December 09, 2006 - 09:55 pm:   

Rick,
What do you mean? I think Scotty (Big John's housemate) is the result of a previous man/boy relationship--you don't get a full view of the damage done but that's not whose story the movie is. It's really the kid's.
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Richard Bowes
Posted on Saturday, December 09, 2006 - 10:19 pm:   

Yes, the housemate is a boy who's made the mistake (in this context) of growing up. The classic situation is that the boy is desperate and only the pederast is willing to take an interest and that's what L.I.E. lays out very effectively.

Rick
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, December 09, 2006 - 10:49 pm:   

Right. But how do you feel the film flinches from the full implications of the man/boy relationship? What are the implications?
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Michael Kelly
Posted on Saturday, December 09, 2006 - 11:11 pm:   

L.I.E. sounds promising. How does it compare with The Woodsman, which has Kevin Bacon playing a complex pedophile?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, December 10, 2006 - 09:30 am:   

I haven't seen that one yet, Mike. It's in my Netflix queue.
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Sunday, December 10, 2006 - 01:18 pm:   

I think L.I.E. handles the man/boy relationship even more interestingly by showing us the "fringes" of it, just the front rooms of the house rather than the private areas, so to speak, and because of that it is more eerie and yet humane in this odd realistic way at the same time.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, December 10, 2006 - 02:54 pm:   

I wish Rick would post his emails to me--he says he's afraid of giveing spoilers but I told him to just warn everyone ;-)--then I could post my responses. It's a quite interesting discussion...Rick??? (you can edit them)
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Richard Bowes
Posted on Sunday, December 10, 2006 - 10:20 pm:   

SPOILER WARNING
(thought I had posted this)









The place where the movie flinches Ė I will not say ďchickens outĒ Ė is that the man and boy donít have sex at the end.



I can see why the director/producer didnít show that and I donít think Iíd have wanted to see it. But itís what the movie had been about and it doesnít happen. That and the shooting at the end make for a remarkably weak ending to what had been quite an honest movie.
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Michael Kelly
Posted on Monday, December 11, 2006 - 06:38 am:   

Thanks, Christopher!

I think the intesting thing about The Woodsman is that it didn't take sides, didn't get preachy. A lot of it focuses on the pedophile's burgeoning relationship with a new woman in his life, and how to impart his "dark secret" -- his own words -- to her. He's very conflicted, and Kevin Bacon handles it quite well. A very harrowing film.

Ellen, do let me know what yo think of it.

Btw, I had a chance to see the play "Wicked" yesterday, based on the Gregory Maguire book. It was fabulous. Highly recommended.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Monday, December 11, 2006 - 06:51 am:   

Rick: Have you seen Greg Araki's Mysterious Skin? It's quite a painful, unflinching, uncomfortable film about pedophilia. It's also evocatively directed and incorporates sci-fi and nostalgia in a way that serves as a counterpoint to the childhood fantasies of Spielberg.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, December 11, 2006 - 07:59 am:   

This was my response to Rick:
SPOILER









Ah. But I donít think that IS what the movie is about (and in fact, thatís in the commentary Cox provides). BJís character is changed by the boy. Yes Cox is a sexual predator and would always be one but in this case, because of certain aspects of the boy is transformed into a more innocently paternal relationship. In fact, the tension of will he or wonít he have sex with the kid is what provides a lot of the forward movement of the plot. I donít see that it weakens the ending at all. For me it strengthens it because Scott kills BJ out of a jealousy that is kind of misplaced (misplaced in the sense that the boy didnít take Scottyís place in the bed.) What Scotty doesnít overtly realizes is that the boy actually DOES displace Scotty in a more important way. I think it made for a more complex character in BJ. I had no problem with the shooting. Both cars were stopped.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, December 11, 2006 - 08:02 am:   

I've got both The Woodman and Mysterious Skin in my netflix queue.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Monday, December 11, 2006 - 09:48 am:   

I hope you like Mysterious Skin, Ellen. At the least, you will find it intense.
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Richard Bowes
Posted on Monday, December 11, 2006 - 11:01 am:   

I thought Mysterious Skin was very strong, much better than the novel. The problems with the film, for me, came in the sequences with the abused kid who has repressed the memories of his molestation and substituted alien abduction - a totally discredited psychological construct. The other narrative, the kid who knows what's happened to him and becomes a hustler was powerful almost beyond watching. The NYC sequence at the onset of the AIDS epidemic was absolutely real. And the actor delivered a performance as layered as Cox's in L.I.E.

Not a feelgood picture, I'm afraid, Ellen.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, December 11, 2006 - 11:27 am:   

Rick asked me to edit our email conversation about L.I.E. so I am:

Rick: I simply donít buy the ending. It was necessary because with man/boy sex and BJ not getting ďpunishedĒ at the end, the movie couldnít have gotten shown. I thought Scott was a remarkably clumsy plot device. I thought the innocent victim nature of the kidís situation was unrealistic.

That said, Iíve never seen the hawk/chicken situation explored as well in film or novel and what the erratic Brian Cox did with that character was extraordinary. The idea of character transformation which was in the original promo material was, maybe, necessary for him to be able to play the part.

Along with all other problems of finding an audience that L.I.E. had it opened around 9/11. When I saw it at the Union Square a couple of weeks later, the place was almost empty and the staff thanked everyone who showed up. As recently as that afternoon, management was thinking of shutting the theater for a month.

ED: That's ok...You know more about the psychology of such relationships. I know nothing but whatís presented on the screen. I do think the way itís done makes the movie richer for it.

Rick: think (sometimes) that by disagreeing you learn more about the subject and maybe yourself. With LIE, I realize that the real problem for me is the innocent victimhood of the boy. Heís not allowed the multifaceted nature of the man. This doesnít apply to small children but a teenage kid in these relationships is not sexually innocent. He or she is too young (in the view of the law) to understand what he/sheís doing. But itís a legal concept (with which I agree) not a psychological one. They get something they want (a daddy or a place to sleep in lots of cases). Itís just that what they give in exchange is not something an adult should take from them.

ED:DO think the boy is relatively innocentóhe has feelings for his friend Gary, but Iím not sure he either understands them or even acknowledges them. He is just ďlearningĒ about sex and sexuality. The scene where he suddenly turns the tables on BJ and BJ says ďare you seducing me?Ē is wonderful, because yes he isÖheís beginning to learn about his own sexual power.

Rick:Right. But I didnít believe that innocence. As I say, thatís not why a 15 (is that how old he is?) year old boy is protected. And BJ would have counted on something like that happening if heís been on the game for as long as he has.

ED: Ok. I did. Partly because he seemed to be an ďoutsiderĒ in that he was the smart kid and until mom died and dad got in trouble, he had a very comfortable middle class existence (unlike Garyówho was beaten up by his dad ĖI think that was mentionedóand was living in a hell hole. )

I realize that 1) boys are different and 2) I was 15 in a different era but I was extraordinarily innocent at 15. He seemed younger than 15 (he was uncomfortable with his bodyóremember the conversation with Gary in his room while he was in his underwear).

Rick:I donít remember that conversation or the underwear scene. I do remember that he wore white briefs which these days indicates either a very young kid or a very tamed kid whose mother still buys them for him. Or, on the other side, a gay kid whoís indicating availability. Otherwise no boy would be caught wearing them.

ED: Gary was kidding him about being small --or notóGary was watching him while he was getting dressedóI donít remember exactly what was said.

Rick:I remember that his friend obviously had the hots for him and that he was vaguely aware of this. I remember later on he tells Cox that heís substantially hung which was A) very unlikely given his size and relatively slow development B) something he would only be able to judge through seeing and being seen naked by lots of people. It would not be something an innocent kid would know about.

If what Gary was talking about was that he was still looked like a little kid, that certainly was true. Sixteen going on twelve would have been the expression for him when I was a kid. My memory is that I got away with everything short of murder.

ED: Aha your words prompted me to remember that Gary referred to his overall size (small) and mentioned that he shouldnít be worried by the size of his penis (not in so many words) ..or something along those lines. Cox asks him if heís bigger than six inches, challenging him. So the kid would have said yes, whether he was or not.

Rick: Obviously the film has multiple layers and a lot of power. Writing about it here, I do realize that what bothered me about it Ė and seeing it was really disturbing to the point that I donít think I could sit through it again Ė was that the kid wasnít as well realized as the man. Partly itís that a young actor canít normally develop a character like a veteran actor can and here does (have you seen Nobody Knows the Japanese film about abandoned family of children? There, through intense long term filming, the kidsí performances are layered). But I do think that LIE is a really good film and that it succeeds maybe 85% of the time in conveying an unpopular and painful topic. Touches like when Gary runs away from home he takes a stuffed animal with him stick with me
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Monday, December 11, 2006 - 11:40 am:   

"The problems with the film, for me, came in the sequences with the abused kid who has repressed the memories of his molestation and substituted alien abduction - a totally discredited psychological construct."

I can't argue there. But I thought it was a pretty cool cinematic construct. It also offered much needed tone variation from the NY scenes, as you rightfully pointed out were "powerful almost beyond watching." If both the boys' scenes were that heavy, the movie would be near unbearable to view.
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Monday, December 11, 2006 - 12:05 pm:   

I think the alien abduction material, though a discredited psychological concept works powerfully as metaphor. another question to ask is one of context in cases such as this: was alien abduction already discredited when the novel this movie was based on was written? i think it hadn't been just yet, people were still willing to believe in "repressed memories" and whatnot, very willing, I remember growing up in the eighties and nineties myself. I remember a kid using such a thing in high school and causing a lot of problems for a lot of people, family and strangers, because she had been making a story up and calling it repressed memory.

Another thing: I wonder, too, Rick, if sometimes there isn't generational differences in how teenagers are able to see themselves in comparison to others. In the past, I believe as you have described, a teenager would have had to had substantial experience in being naked around others his age and older to know how he compared or contrasted in terms of his development. Today, though, in the wired world we live in, I think teenagers can easily compare and contrast these sorts of things online. The internet has become a sort of shadow world which allows people to engage in various social activities and very private intimate sorts of experiences which I think might be something people who have grown up with the internet immediately "fill in" to narratives such as this one, where it's not shown how the kid would know anything about this sort of thing.

Along with this, I think a kid would say he's hung no matter if he was or wasn't in that situation. It's a mix of trying to assert himself and project himself as masculine and adult, but because it's done so overtly and with a challenging tone, you realize just how much he is still a young teen.

In all honesty, despite the film being fertile ground for all this discussion, I do remember it ending and me thinking that I would probably never watch it again. It was just too disturbing to me. And while I'm not one to look away from disturbing subject matter--in fact look towards its direction often--this one in particular was just one of those films where I felt queasy the entire time, because the kid was walking a balance beam between two worlds the entire time. The horror of it is having to wait through the entire film to see if he would fall off, and if so, into which world? That's true horror to me.
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Richard Bowes
Posted on Monday, December 11, 2006 - 12:10 pm:   

Absolutely. If both kids were in as dire a place, it would have been too painful. But what they might have done was make the alternative narrative about the cult of repressed memory - which caused lots of damage - rather than the cult of alien abduction which is simply idiotic. It would have been much more usefull and would have given the actor more to work with.
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Richard Bowes
Posted on Monday, December 11, 2006 - 12:15 pm:   

In terms of kids seeing themselves in contrast to what they see online in contrast to, say, gym showers which kids mostly don't take, it has caused in lots of young males as it earlier with young females to feel an enormous inferiority because they see only idealized images and not random everyday reality.

Thirty years ago it was a given that girls had body image problems and boys did not. That is no longer true. Whether because we recognize them or because they are new, I don't know.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, December 25, 2006 - 09:21 am:   

Saturday night I watched Blood Tea and Red String, a weird hour long animation (don't recall who recc'ed it) that was done with no words, was pretty primitive, but still affecting. Reminiscent of Svankjamar but not as good.

Also, Robert Altman's last movie, Prairie Home Companion, which tried a little too hard to be a Nashville. I didn't care for it although some of the acting was good.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, December 25, 2006 - 09:28 am:   

Oh, I almost forgot, the best movie watched Saturday night was I Capture the Castle, the UK adaptation of the Dodi Smith classic. It was very very good. Bill Nighy played the dad, who had one bestseller and hasn't been able to write for the past 12 years. Tara Fitzgerald plays the sexy stepmom, Henry Thomas (who I have a hard time watching) plays one of the two American brothers who come to claim their dead uncle's legacy, and Rose Byrne and Romola Garai play the two sisters.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2006 - 11:01 am:   

Last night I watched three movies from my netflix queue:
Red Lights, a french film about a longtime married middle class Parisian couple going to Bourdeaux to pick up their kids in camp and go on vacation for two weeks. The husband starts drinking (secretly) early in the day and continues through the road trip. At one point he asserts he's not an alcoholic but he's sure on one hell of a bender, for no apparent reason we the viewers can discern. Unfortunately, because he is SUCH a dick from the beginning that it took me a very long time to sympathize with him at all. All in all, interesting.

Inside Man by Spike Lee was terrific. Clive Owen, Jodi Foster, Christopher Plummer, and Denzel Washington all give good performances. I admit I especially liked Foster in a her gorgeous "bitch from hell" mode. Armed bank robbery on Wall street that is about a lot more than money.
Nice twists and for once a totally in control film by Lee. I usually can't stand his endings, but this time he pulled it together. Perhaps because he didn't write the screenplay? ( I don't recall if he wrote the script for the 25th Hour or Bamboozled).

And last, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, which I somehow never saw before. Wow! Bogie is such an effing psychotic jerk as Frank Dobbs.
Enjoyable. And that finished at 2am so I didn't get to bed till realll late.
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Matthew Ilseman
Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2006 - 01:48 pm:   

When my family and I saw Sierra Madre my dad mentioned that Bogart was completely different than in most of his movies. Normally he's the smartest guy in there, but not this time.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2006 - 06:23 pm:   

He's not only dumb but paranoid and psychotic.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2006 - 06:29 pm:   

Today I saw Children of Men, which had me on the edge of my chair through most of the movie. It's an intelligent, multi-layered sf movie and the acting is uniformly strong.

Bleak bleak but for some reason not depressing. Perhaps we don't have time to get depressed because so much is constantly happening in the movie. Great extrapolation from today's political situation (which wouldn't be in the 1992 novel by P.D. James).

It isn't playing in that many theaters in NYC this week but the theater I went to had was a multiplex that had it in two theaters. The 4:40 show I went to was sold out and it looked like a big line for the next show as well. I'm curious to see how it does.

Highly recommended.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2006 - 11:38 pm:   

I heard CHILDREN OF MEN is opening in 1200 more theaters next week. Hopefully that means the Midwest, too.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, January 01, 2007 - 12:15 am:   

So today I saw Curse of the Golden Flower and enjoyed it very much. Total dysfunctional family and it makes Shakespeare look like a piker when it comes to body count of the principals. Not convinced the relationships all make sense (eg. not sure who the mother of youngest son was) but Gong Li and Chow Yun-Fat (the first time I've seen him in a historical movie) were fine as the Emperor and Empress who seem to loathe each other. Great ninjas jumping out of the air like bats out of hell. Violent, colorful. Entertaining.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 03:31 pm:   

I'm in the middle of the sixth season of The Sopranos--go Anthony go! Will finish up this weekend, when I get the last disc from netflix.
Also watching the first season of Buffy. I watched the first three episodes with my sister a couple of months ago and a friend has lent me the whole season. I like it so far, although I gather it doesn't really pick up steam for a few more episodes.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 04:57 pm:   

The first season of Buffy is like a trial run. If you enjoy it, there're many riches awaiting you in the pending seasons. I also find that there's little consensus amongst Buffy fans on which seasons are the best. For me, season six is the highlight of the series, and one of my favorite all-time pieces of TV.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, January 08, 2007 - 08:44 pm:   

I like it enough to continue, Kelly--at least over time.

I saw Volver tonight and liked it more than any other Almadovar I've ever seen. About 3/4 of the way through I realized that one of the older women was played by Carmen Maura, who has been in earlier pictures of his, including Matador, one or the first I ever saw. Volver is very satisfying. Penelope Cruz is excellent.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 09:06 pm:   

I had a chance to see Volver but I passed. I'll have to check it out...
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 09:35 pm:   

It's a ghost story --kind of...
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 09:51 pm:   

I have mixed feelings about Cruz and that was creating hesitation.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, January 13, 2007 - 06:22 pm:   

She's very good in her own language--I think she's still uncomfortable in American films--or maybe isn't directed well, I don't know. However, I remember seeing the first movie she was in: The Hi-Lo Country and thinking how gorgeous she was.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, January 13, 2007 - 06:29 pm:   

I saw Pan's Labyrinth today and it will be competing against Volver for Best Foreign Film. Several people warned me in advance that it was "dark" so I was at least partly prepared for the graphic violence. But it's also gorgeous and best seen on the big screen. The girl playing Ofelia was 11 while the movie was being made and is excellent, as is everyone else. Without the fantasy-which is itself very dark, the film would be simply--but unrelenting and less interesting--a war movie.
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 12:00 pm:   

I'm going to see it this week, in spite of the warning regarding graphic violence, which, the older I get, the less I can digest, it seems. Maybe becs my mind's filing cabinet is already over-full with horrific images. Anyway, it sounds very artsy, worth seeing.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 02:04 pm:   

Bronwyn, it's the visual details in this devastated brave new London (without children) that make the movie as much, if not more than its plot. If you look at the background, you'll see a lot of details reflecting the US/UK current ramp up of "homeland security" issues.
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 02:23 pm:   

I saw Children of Men today. It was simply stunning. You're right about the details, Ellen. It felt like a very familiar unfamiliar world to me, and very frightening because it evoked a sense that it could happen. The reflection of the current US/UK "homeland security" trend was made even more horrifying than it already is by placing it in the film's near future context. It felt like a real and possible "end of the world" story. I hope it gets recognized in this year's film awards. The film really deserves it.
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 03:21 pm:   

"details reflecting the US/UK current ramp up of "homeland security" issues."

Sounds grim. Foucault's terrifying panopticon, or whatever it's called, is surely the post 9/11world we're creating. The more we normalize stuff like armed security guards in train and bus stations, the less able we are to see them as restraints against our personal freedom. (I heard that in Van they just passed some law they will allow this very thing on Skytrain, and I'm waiting for the first murder to occur with gritted teeth.)

Anyway, I like those stories where the characters are trapped inside some horrible reality, so conditioned by the Draconian system ruling their lives, that they don't even realize what they've lost. Being braindead to your own suffering, so to speak. There's something really horrible about that, like those poor deluded kids on NAMBLA testifying on behalf of their abusers. Scary.

Now I'm really curious and will have to go see Children of Men, too.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 05:10 pm:   

Oh I think the people in COM know what they've lost, although it's really only from the pov of one of them and he's pretty dead to the world until he's chosen to help make a difference.
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 06:45 pm:   

Yeah, I expect a childless race would know that they've lost the most precious thing:even us self-occupied artists must concede that without future generations there can be no immortal fans. :-) I was actually referring to other stories. I am curious to the mundane and architectural visual effects of the movie, however.

The pov, dead-to-the-world character gets a life twist via participating in a "mission" can be very darkly funny and interesting, if it's handled well.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 08:32 pm:   

Well, it ain't a very funny movie.

Finished watching the first season of Buffy and the available discs for the sixth season of <i>The Sopranos." Will borror the second season (Buffy)from a friend for next weekend's viewing.

I also watched The Magus, something I wanted to see for a very long time because I loved the novel and thought Michael Caine would be great as Nicholas Urfe. Rick Bowes warned me that it's a stinker and I know it got horrible reviews when it came out in 1968 but I still wanted to see it.
And yes, it sucks big time--the music is terrible and totally spoils any atmosphere. Although the script (by Fowles) follows the novel (as much as I remember it) pretty well, there's something terribly flat about the whole enterprise.
I have to suspect the director Guy Green, who I've never heard of) is at least partly to blame, as even Caine is off his game (early in his career, but I believe Alfie was before this.
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Lucius
Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 - 09:45 pm:   

"It ain't a very funny movie."

Depends on your point of view. ;)
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Monday, January 15, 2007 - 03:13 am:   

Ellen, you'd be surprised what I find hilarious. I see irony everywhere, and in the damnest things.

I also have a really dark sense of humor. For example, when I heard about some guy lost in the wilderness who had chewed off his arm that was trapped under a boulder, I was beside myself with laughter. Out of about twelve people at the table, only one other person laughed as loud as I did. I don't know how I could laugh at such a horrible thing. Probly a reflex defense mechnism leftover from my dark childhood. :-) I could picture the scene of the footing quite clearly (I've seen trapped martin and wolves do it), and it just seemed so absurd for anyone to be in that position. I thought the poor guy must have thought, I came here to go hiking and wound up chewing off my arm to save my life. It's so dumbly cruel it's ridculous.

From the Soprano trailers I've seen it looks like an intense season. I loved The Magus, too. Been a long time since I've read it.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, January 15, 2007 - 10:25 am:   

Bronwyn, Sometimes horror/fear/hysteria/laughter are pretty close together.
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Bronwyn Elko
Posted on Monday, January 15, 2007 - 11:31 am:   

Ditto that! Those intense emotions/reactions are tightly wired inside the volcanic Id, I believe. They sure do run through me like a pack of rabid rabbits every time I read the news. :-)
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 06:32 pm:   

I saw Little Children last Monday night and thought it was good. Can't see it as best of the year, but excellent acting by Kate Winslet and Jackie Earle Haley, the latter playing a molester. Haley was a child actor who I vividly remember from Day of the Locust in which he's totally obnoxious and gets stomped by Donald Sutherland. It seems that he gave up acting for about 20 years and just started up again. He's very good in Little Children --both creepy and pitiable.

This past Friday night I watched Super Size Me, the documentary about the guy who ate only food and drink from McDonalds for a month. He had to give it up at about day 28, I think because he got so sick. Fascinating.

Then watched the beginning of the second season of Buffy.


Saturday: Flight 93, which was very powerful. Boy, am I glad I didn't see it in the theater--I was in tears through most of it. Very well done and brought back feelings I'd pretty much buried.

I was ready for more Buffy to cheer me up after that. I'm enjoying it. I like the development of airhead Cordelia and the relationship between Buffy and Angel. I like Willow a lot and like relationship between Drusilla and Spike.And Giles is hot!
Not brilliant, but a very enjoyable series so far.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 06:08 pm:   

I went to see Babel with Rick Bowes today and we both loathed it. Not sure why --maybe the unbelievably stupid behavior of some of the principles? Maybe the way it all "hangs" together or the time jitter that just doesn't work? Some good bits but ick!
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PM
Posted on Saturday, February 24, 2007 - 08:44 pm:   

Watched VOLVER. Cruz is lovely, rather too much glamour for my taste in this role.

The singing was cringeworthy as it appeared to be the worst possible lipsynching imaginable. But all in all a generally fun film despite the dark moments.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 10:45 am:   

I had no problem with the singing. In fact, I liked it.

Just saw Equus with Richard Griffith and Daniel Radcliff yesterday here in London. Third time I've seen the play and I still like it--the depiction of the horses has always been imaginative and beautiful --metal masks worn by men standing on metal hooves.

The play belongs to the psychologist more than the patient. Griffith was sublime. Radcliff not bad in his first stage role.
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PM
Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 - 03:50 pm:   

If Cruz was really singing then that's fantastic.

Ah EQUUS, I'll never forget a friend and I were sitting in a library when we were approached by a woman. She started talking about the play out of the blue and then conversation quickly turned to bestiality. Yeah she was trying to solicit folk to help her achieve her horsey fantasy.

Well on that pleasant note...glad you enjoyed the play!
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 02:11 pm:   

PM, I don't think I saw your response.
I don't know if she was indeed singing, but I thought it sounded genuine :-) which is good enough for me.

I saw Talk Radio with Leiv Screiber a few nights before leaving for Florida. It's a revival of the play written and performed by Eric Bogosian and Schrieber is excellent in it. It prefigures reality tv --and is pre-shock jock Howard Stern. Or maybe the guy it's based on inspired the shock jocks. In real life the guy was assassinated. His real name was Allen something or other.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 02:17 pm:   

BINIBON - March 31
Composed/directed by Elliott Sharp with text by sci-fi author Jack Womack, BINIBON is a work of both musical theater and alternative
history based on a 1981 murder at Binibon, a cafe and 24-hour hangout in the East Village, a nexus for artists, musicians, neighborhood characters and bohemians true and faux. The music draws on Sharp's own compositional and performance language from that time, reflects on his many hours hanging out at the Binibon and reveals ties to punk, No Wave,electronic dance music, noise, and industrial sounds. The cast includes Mike Lubik, Latarsha Rose, Deian McBryde, and Jack Womack.

Composer/producer/sound artist Sharp leads Orchestra Carbon, Tectonics, and Terraplane and pioneered ways of applying fractal geometry, chaos
theory, and biological metaphors to musical composition and interaction.
His compositions have been performed by The Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Rezonanz and the Flux Quartet. Collaborators have included qawaali
singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, cello innovator Frances-Marie Uitti, jazz greats Sonny Sharrock, Jack deJohnette, and Oliver Lake, and Bachir
Attar, leader of the Master Musicians of Jahjoukah. Sharp's orchestra piece, Calling, was commissioned to open the 2002 Darmstadt Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik and the CD won the January 2004 German Critics' Prize.
His composition, Quarks Swim Free, was premiered at the Venice Biennale in September 2003 and his chamber opera, EmPyre, was premiered at the
2006 Biennale. Installations have been presented at the Chelsea Art Museum, Engine 27 Gallery and the Gallery of the School of Museum Of
Fine Art, Boston.

ROULETTE IS THRILLED TO ANNOUNCE OUR MOVE INTO OUR NEW HOME: 20 GREENE
STREET in SOHO. With this new space, Roulette will be expanding
activities to include over 100 concerts, sound installations, longer
runs of music theater and other large productions such as the "Avant
Jazz - Still Moving" festival and the annual "Festival of Mixology." For
our expanded events calendar go to: http://www.roulette.org/
<http://www.roulette.org/>
--
http://www.elliottsharp.com
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 02:47 pm:   

Alan Berg...

Read the NYT writeup for Talk Radio.

Did you see Madonna?

Guess that's the difference between reading about it and being there :-)

Culturally impressed, I am...
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steveberman
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 03:57 pm:   

Ellen, I recommend you go see THE HOST.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 07:28 pm:   

PM,
Yes, thanks. I saw the write up but skimmed it. I didn't see Madonna, but I was in the balcony so even if she was there the night I was, I probably wouldn't have seen her :-)

Steve,
I've read a review of The Host that definitely makes me want to see it.
Will see if I can get Rick Bowes to see it with me :-)
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Richard Bowes
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 09:05 pm:   

Oy!
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 09:58 pm:   

Congrads on your Neb nom! I think you'll both enjoy The Host.
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Richard Bowes
Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - 08:55 am:   

PM

Thanks on the congrads. Whoever it was who said there are no pleasant surprises after you're 60 was wrong.

Yes, I've written horror but I don't much like horror movies. I'm sure this will be an exception.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, March 25, 2007 - 07:50 pm:   

More Buffy this past Friday night (six hours worth of the third season).
Saturday was "video night" with some friends with our curator for the evening, Jack Womack. We watch Naked City (1947) directed by Jules Dassin. Films totally on location in New York City exteriors and interiors. Jack pointed out a lot of the streets where the action took place. Very cool seeing the city way back when. I hadn't realized that the tv show (on which my Uncle Mickey acted in one episode) was based, albeit very loosely, on the movie.

Today I saw Zodiac and enjoyed it a lot, despite its length. Great acting by Robert Downey, Jr. and Mark Ruffalo. Brian Cox as Melvin Belli looks more and more like the latter day Marlon Brando. I thought the editing terrific and think Fincher did a good job. Bravo all around.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 07:40 pm:   

This evening I saw an advance screening of the movie made of Neil Gaiman's Stardust. It's really enjoyable, with some great over the top but effective acting by Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfeifer. I liked Claire Danes in this (I usually am not fond of her) --she looks a lot like Gwyneth Jones in some of the scenes. Apparently Rupert Everett was also in the movie but I didn't recognize him at all, so missed him.
The movie opens in a couple of months and is quite charming, with some lovely humor and some nice fantasy bits. Some violence too, so it's not too schmaltzy.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 07:02 pm:   

I watched eight episodes from the 5th season of Buffy. Spike is becoming more and more fascinating.

Then I watched Notes on a Scandel with Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett. The movie itself is ugly and disturbing, but the acting is riveting: Dench is spectacular as a lonely, vampiric obsessive. Blanchett also excellent as an art teacher married to an older man (the ubiquitous --and really good-- Bill Nighy) with a sullen teenage stepdaughter and a twelve year old boy with Down's Syndrome.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 08:11 pm:   

Today, I went to the matinee of Moon for the Misbegotten with Kevin Spacey and Eve Best, and Colm Meany. The reviews highly praised Best and not so much Spacey (at least in the NY Times) so I wasn't expecting much from Spacey. I was pleasantly surprised. He was terrific.

I saw the Gabriel Byrne-Cherry Jones revival a few years ago and although I enjoyed it I had a difficult time with Byrne as Jim Tyrone. Probably because I have a crush on the actor and it's a pretty unpleasant role. Spacey though was, I thought, perfect: in turn, charming, passionate, self-loathing, and all in all a human mess. Colm Meany as Josie's father was very good as well, but seemed a little young for the role.
I wasn't planning on seeing it again so soon but the opportunity came up and I'm really glad I jumped at it.

I just reread the NY Times review of the current production and it seems as if Ben Brantley saw a different play than I did. He says:

"Yet even in the playís climactic scene, in which Tyrone reveals his love for Josie and the cancerous self-disgust that makes him drink, the audience keeps laughing. Mr. Spacey brings a stand-up artistís timing to Tyroneís reversals of mood so that they land like punch lines."

Perhaps the above took place in the performance Mr. Brantley saw but not today. Spacey was not racing through his lines (once in a while he did, but rarely) and no one was laughing at the extended, climactic scene. It's of course possible that the actor has grown into the role and modified his performance.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 09:06 am:   

I watched Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest Sunday. Awful. I was very disappointed because I enjoyed the first one so much. Johnny Depp seems to have shot his wad with the first one, calling in his performance in this one. Keira Knightly may claime she's not anorectic, but after watching this I don't believe her. Orlando Bloom is as bland as he was in the first movie.

Now I can save my money on the third, since I have no interest in seeing it.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 09:31 am:   

I've gone to a lot of theater in the past month.
The most recent plays I saw were both musicals: 110 in the Shade with Audra Macdonald and LoveMusik with Donna Murphy and Michael Cerveris.

110 in the Shade is based on The Rainmaker, which I might have seen as a kid with Burt Lancaster as a scam rainmaker and Katherine Hepburn as a spinster in a small drought-ridden town. Anyway, the book to the musical was fine but the music itself was boring--not one tune that I could remember five seconds after hearing it.

Audra McDonald was amazing. I've never seen her perform before and she's got a great voice and remarkable stage presence. The other actors were fine (the rainmaker is sexy as he must be) the Sheriff, kind of a stuffed shirt, is a thankless role; John Cullum, as her father, wasn't as good as in other plays I've seen him in (most recently Urinetown). Definitely worth the money (discount from TDF).

LoveMusik is about the relationship between Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya so to start, it's got GREAT music. Donna Murphy is marvelous as the sexy, teasing, faithless Lenya. Cerveris was very good as Weill (who I hadn't known till now died young, at 50, of a heart attack). The guy who plays Brecht is excellent as well. Brecht is played as a hypocritical jerk. Since I know little of his life, I don't know how accurate this is. All three were nominated (and lost) for Tonys.

Murphy's performance of "Sarabaiya Johnny" is heartbreaking, as is the duet by her and another character of September Song. This latter is performed by her and a gay character after Weill has died and the two decide to marry (presumably Lenya is exhausted from her prolifigate sex life, although we only know of the other character that he had a male partner at one time--so this seems to come out of thin air for him).

I was only disappointed that Murphy didn't perform the great "Pirate Jenny" from Three Penny Opera.
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Craig L. Gidney
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 10:14 am:   

Pirates 3 made me fall asleep. It had too many plots, was too long, and very silly. Ugg, I want 3 hours of my life back!
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 12:13 pm:   

Audra McDonald was Sarah in Ragtime, right? What a voice! She gave me goosebumps just from listening to the soundtrack.
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 04:21 pm:   

There's a song called "Wheels of a Dream" that I imagine must shake the house when done live. (I think it's the Act 1 finale.)
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 04:23 pm:   

BTW, if you're curious:
http://www.theatre-musical.com/ragtime.html
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steveberman
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 05:52 pm:   

Just bought my tickets for the Philly GLBT Film Fest. I thought it interesting that many of the flicks were billed as "thrillers" or having some dark, fantastical elements. Five years ago they were all dark or humorous romances.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2007 - 08:24 am:   

I saw Vanessa Redgrave in The Year of Magical Thinking Friday night and while I--as expected--thought Redgrave was a marvel--I didn't care for the one-person show itself. I haven't read the memoir and I'll bet that I might enjoy it more but putting a face and voice to the self-satisfied persona of Joan Didion didn't do it for me at all. I felt the show was about 15 minutes too long. (I think that about most dances I see). It was 90 minutes or a bit more with no intermission. One knows from the start the story: John Gregory Dunne, Didion's husband of 40 plus years, dies suddenly at home. During the period of several months before and after, their (only) adult child Quintana Roo is in and out of hospitals with a mysterious, horrible illness that she seems to recover from then relapses into. And then, a few months after Dunne's death and after Didion finishes her book about Dunne and Quintana--Q dies. It's a devastating story and one that a parent should not have to experience. And the double blow would shatter anyone. So why don't I feel the usual empathy I would have with someone who suffered so much loss? Perhaps it's something about the persona Didion has built up for herself all these years: smart and cool--the cool is what gets one--she always keeps her cool, no matter what. And it's offputting. She was obviously "mad" during that period and that must have been even more devastating for someone who prides herself on "cool"--but it didn't make me FEEL her tragedy. (when I read about it in the news yes--in the play, no).


Today I'm going to see Frost Nixon.

I watched one DVD of Buffy last night (6th season 5th disc) and also The Last King of Scotland--in wich Forrest Whittaker gave his oscar-winning performance --scary scary. The movie was amost too difficult too watch. There were a couple of slightly gruesome scenes, but it was the knowledge that so much worse had happened during Idi Amin's crazed reign in Uganda that made it difficult.

I also watch Assault on Precinct 13 with Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne, Drea de Matto,Gabriel Byrne, Maria Bello, and Brian Dennehy. Remake of the John Carpenter film (which I'd never seen)-nice idea although pretty unbelievable. New Year's Eve Detroit snowstorm and a busload of criminals (in particular arch criminal Fishburne) are taken to an old precinct that's closing down and has a skeleton crew of 3.
Someone comes to break Fishburne out..His crew? Nope. A bunch of corrupt cops with major firepower who know he'll rat them all out when he testifies in court. Very watchable --especially Fishburne and since I adore Gabriel Byrne in whatever he does it gave it an extra jolt.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2007 - 07:49 pm:   

I saw Hairspray yesterday and it was a hoot. John Travolta was wonderful playing the mom married to Christopher Walken. Michelle Phillips played a gorgeous bitch goddess, the kids were adorable, the music fun. I saw the original movie but never saw the musical. Now, I know I don't have to.

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