Strictly Ornamental (daasgrrl) wrote,
Strictly Ornamental

Merry... oh wait, not yet

Man, it's been a year. It started off pretty well (on a personal level - not even going to circle outwards) and went downhill from there. But still, I'm going to tidy up quickly with the stuff I've been seeing.

Blade Runner: 2049
- liked the original, although not with the same reverence as some. So I tended to watch this half as a stand-alone rather than a continuation, and on that level it worked well. Although I did really love that they extended the "future" already shown in the original, rather than making it too much about today, so that it had that feeling of carrying forward the preoccupations of the "past future" world, if that even makes sense. Retro and futuristic at the same time.

Loved seeing Harrison Ford again, the tension between humans and replicants and the blurry lines around their respective characteristics was interesting as always. One of the characters reminded me irresistibly of[personal profile] indybaggins, which was entertaining in itself. The "world" didn't make sense to me at times, like the deserted area and building around the "bubble girl" and how she fits into that society, but was vibrant and interesting. I do like science fiction that is by and large less flashy and blasty and more thinky, so I appreciated that.

Murder on the Orient Express - saw this mainly for Branagh and the amazing cast. It didn't work for me as a book adaptation - I think if you'd never read the book it would be somewhat unsatisfying in terms of clues and the piecing together of the actual mystery. But I love Branagh's extravagant eye for scenery and his general earnestness in storytelling. It's almost quaint nowadays, and I adore it. Cast of course were really fun to watch as well - Judi Dench, Olivia Colman, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad. The first 15 minutes or so, and its introductory "mini-mystery" was slick and super-flashy, imo much more inspired by modern Sherlock than in the spirit of Hercule Poirot. But nevertheless extremely entertaining.

Beautiful - The Carole King story - good script, great cast, so a pleasant enough experience, but the laziest jukebox musical I've ever seen. There was very little attempt to let the songs "tell" the story in any sense - generally it was King or one of her friends sitting at a piano and saying, "hey, listen to this song I wrote" or "let's work on a song!", sometimes segueing into bands reprising her songs on stage - which really isn't the most inspiring or cohesive way to present what's supposed to be a musical based on her life.  It was nice to see a tribute to a quiet songwriter, rather than a big flashy entertainer, but made the musical rather mousy as well. Was staged in a 2,000-seat theatre - may have suited an intimate space better.

Culture Club - hey, they still exist! I think Boy George is taking up residence in Australia, so I guess why not tour. I did/do really enjoy the songs, and had great company, so it was a really fun evening, and it's always interesting to experience a new venue (the 8,000-capacity ICC at Darling Harbour). However, the sound was very harsh on the ears, Boy George's voice isn't what it used to be, and I swear to you his ego was large enough to reach to the very back of the venue (where we were sitting). The rest of the band barely got a mention (the backup singers were introduced early in the show, and the band completely ignored until the end) so it was more "Boy George plus some other people who were also there". I still love the old songs, but came away rather actively disliking Boy George. Sad! *g*

The Bodybag - another Trevor Ashley and Phil Scott production, being a sendup of "The Bodyguard". Trevor Ashley still has a great voice and stage presence (he starred as "Rachel Marinade" and wore slinky sequins throughout), and I loved Gus Murray as the ex-ASIO agent turned Uber driver, but the script was a bit weak. Their first co-production, Fat Swan, was absolutely brilliant, but this one felt like they drafted it in a weekend and went, "okay, that'll do". It tried to play off the movie/musical without having its own clear internal storyline, which made it feel more like a series of skits loosely joined together. Was okay, but would probably hesitate to see their next production.

Muriel the Musical - :D This was one I walked away from thinking that I liked, not loved it, but in the past week the music has kept playing in my head, and I am going to buy the OCR once it comes out. Which means I really think I loved it after all *g*.

I don't know how well Muriel's Wedding is known overseas, but it's a defining Australian movie that was Toni Collette's breakout role. Muriel is an overweight, plain girl living in the little town of Porpoise Spit, who consoles herself by listening to ABBA and dreaming of one day becoming a beautiful bride. She tries to fit in with the popular girls who disdain her for her appearance, her lack of fashion sense, her general dagginess. Desperate to fit in, she steals her parents' chequebook (the musical is updated, so it's a credit card there) and books herself on the same holiday that her not-friends are on. They are predictably appalled to see her there. However, she bumps into an old classmate, Rhonda, who left Porpoise Spit the moment she was able, and finds a new friend.

It sounds like a feel-good show, and it is on one level, but at the same time the movie (and musical) are very, very dark, and not in the usual "surmountable" ways. Terrible things happen that there's simply no coming back from, and it's somewhat head-spinning that the movie and musical still manage to still be joyous and uplifting at heart. It also contains many lines that are imprinted on the Australian cultural consciousness: "You're terrible, Muriel" - "Who do  you think you are to call me that?! I'm married! I'm beauuuutiful" (screeched by the head mean girl) - "Goodbye, Porpoise Spit!". Anyway, I will bombard you with videos, because I love it so much. It is very, very Australian in tone - it deserves to go overseas, but I'll be very curious how it translates if it ever does. Hell, it's such a love letter to Sydney, I'll even be curious what Melbourne makes of it :D

Sunshine State of Mind
Here Comes the Bride

The Disaster Artist - Saw mainly for James Franco, who was unrecognisable. Not my usual kind of film, but thoroughly enjoyed it. Deserves the Golden Globe nomination, imo. In a way it's still a love letter to Hollywood, but more like the kind written by a crazed stalker.

Sucked in by all the hype around Call Me By Your Name, so planning to see it next week. The trailer still left me kind of meh, but James Ivory screenplay is a plus. I also want to see Downsizing and Pitch Perfect 3 *g*

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