T'eyla Minh (teylaminh) wrote,
T'eyla Minh

  • Music:

Movie review, etc.

This was going to be posted last night, but I couldn't be bothered to go downstairs to turn the modem on, so I'm posting it now...

But before the review, an update as to my ever-interesting work life...

1) Due to offices moving upstairs/downstairs and the having to cram three people into a two-desk office, our Child Protection Unit fax machine has been relegated to the now-empty downstairs office, and it's not plugged in yet.  So that means we have to use the one in the admin office downstairs.  Which meant that I had to fax my timesheet to Tina H at Small Heath and ask her very nicely if she would fax it straight to the agency for me, because if she sent it back to the main fax machine, I probably wouldn't receive til about a week later...

2) If that wasn't enough, the photocopier ran out of toner.  And they won't buy any more toner because there's a new photocopier still to be installed, at some point in the future.  And considering that half of my job when I'm not typing is to circulate minutes - which requires making manymany copies - I couldn't actually do my job today.  Which meant I spent four hours sorting out the filing cabinet, first putting all the files back into alphabetical order, and then going through them to make sure they'd all been filed in the right order.  I got as far as the Ms and then my brain started to shut down.

3) An agency worker started yesterday to help Cynthia out.  She didn't come back, because she didn't like the work.  So we've asked the agency to stress, for future reference, that the job will be practically nothing but photocopying and typing/sending out of exceedingly boring letters.  We've got another one starting on Monday, even though we'd decided by this point that it was easier just for me to help as I know vaguely what's going on and it saves having to teach yet another temp the horrendously over-complicated procedures required...

So, that was fun.

What was really fun was going to the cinema with Aisha tonight.  We saw De-lovely, the biopic about Cole Porter.  Absolutely frelling wonderful film, and everybody has to see it...  On the same note, everybody has to see Finding Neverland when it opens - it's about J.M.Barry writing Peter Pan, and it stars none other than Mr Sparrow himself, Johnny Depp (who seems to have suddenly gotten very good at accents.)  The Depp fangirl must be unleashed and obeyed, dammit!!

There's also a war comedy called Churchill: The Hollywood Years which should be seen for the cast alone.  Rik Mayall, Vic & Bob, the skinny guy from "The Office"... and a whole lot more.  The tag line is "Based on an actual war..."

Oh!  And Vanity Fair, too, which seems to have an equally exciting cast including Jim Broadbent and Reese Witherspoon, and Julie Christie, which amuses me...

I'm also hoping to see Saw (sorry...) at some point, because it looks visually quite interesting from what I've seen...

Anyway.  De-lovelyThe plot centres around a director making a musical about Cole Porter's life, filmed as flashback and the play itself.  Kinda difficult to describe it really,  but it's very cleverly done.

One thing you should know: it's a musical.  I mean, I was expecting songs (seeing as it's about a song-writer...) but I wasn't expecting a full-blown musical.  And what's absolutely wonderful about it is that it doesn't look like a movie-musical, and it doesn't look like a stage musical that's just been filmed for the Hell of being filmed.  What it looks like is a stage musical put on the big screen in surround sound...  Um, okay, better explain that one better...  See, what annoyed me about Chicago was the fact that the songs were all performed 'on stage', which worked for some of them, admittedly, but not for others, since the whole point of songs in a musical is to tell the story, not just be tacked on as random points of interest.  A musical is not a cabaret show.  The songs should fit into the action.  Think of it like this: in a musical, the people aren't singing to each other, they're just talking as normal.  It just sounds like they're singing to us, right?  So the songs should blend into the action, not stick out like a sore thumb.  And that's what annoyed me about Chicago (amongst other things.)  What's so great about De-lovely is that the songs not only add to the action and make sense and forward the plot and all those nice things, but they look like enormous great stage musical numbers with dance routines and backing singers, without it looking like someone stuck a camera in front of a stage and filmed it.  It's reminiscent of the old Hollywood musicals, in that it's got a huge cast and is filmed on a large scale with lots and lots of extras, but the songs themselves sound like they do when they're in a stage musical, probably because - aside from a few exceptions that I'll mention in a moment - the majority of said extras are probably real stage actors and not cast because they're well-known and familiar and it has been suddenly discovered that they can sing...

The casting, then, is also excellent.  Kevin Kline (and it took me the entire film and actually seeing the credits to realise it was him) is fantastic as Cole, as is Jonathan Pryce as the director of the musical, but anything where Jonathan Pryce is allowed to sing is good in my book.  Aside from them, there's a plethora of seemingly random actors and popular singers in it to add interest, all of whom do really quite well...  First, there's Keith Allen (the bloke who did that "Vindaloo" song...) as Irving Berlin.  And then, singing various songs throughout the film, there's all this lot:  Robbie Williams, who I thought was just doing a cameo because of his "I-shall-sing-old-Frank-Sinatra-stuff-and-impress-you" phase and adding to his versatility; Alanis Morrisette (!) being utterly wonderful with her piece; Mick Hucknall, being less so, but being impressive just for being Mick Hucknall in a film; Peter Polycarpou, who used to play Chris in Birds of a Feather and whom I discovered could sing when he appeared in the concert of Les Mis; Fame Academy's Lemar (apparently); Caroline O'Connor, the annoying bitchy Cockney one from Moulin Rouge!, who it turns out is actually insanely talented; Sheryl Crow; and a whole bunch more I didn't notice and have forgotten.  So if you don't see it for anything else, see it for the random cameos.

I think I also spotted Femi Taylor, who did lots of backing dancing work for Lloyd Webber shows back in the day, and was in the Cats video as Exotica.  And yes, I did spent a lot of my time scouring the backing singers for Jeremy Finch. ;)

As for the film itself - wonderfully scripted, beautifully shot, and really pulls at the heartstrings towards the end.  It's so nice to see a film where everyone involved really cares about it, you know?  It's also really nice to see a movie-musical that's directed well, by someone who seems to understand this sort of thing.  It doesn't so much have a powerful overall message as it does lots of little ones through Porter's songs, though I will say that the strange set-up and relationship between Cole and his wife, Linda, and all other involved parties was filmed in such a way that it made sense, and Cole's indiscretions really didn't matter in the slightest  because Linda accepted that they were a part of who he was.

No violence.  No sex.  No blood and gore.  No exciting action.  Just lovely music, a talented cast, and pleasantly-toned filming, fuzzy around the edges, taken at a leisurely pace with a syncopated rhythm to carry it along.  Bloody wonderful.  Go see it.  Now.

It needs to win Oscars.  For everything.  And now I need to go buy the soundtrack.

And now for today:  today, I cooked a meal for three people.  Yup, that meal.  It all went quite swimmingly and was not only edible but actually very nice...  It was a meat pie (pork with onions, rice, and special hard goat's cheese) with filo pastry, and then diced herbed potatoes deep-fried like chips.  I'm incredibly impressed with myself, it has to be said. :D

Woo, meal!  We're going to be eating the damn thing for the rest of the week, though...
Tags: cooking: savoury, reviews: films, work: child protection

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