Movies I enjoyed on my Vacation

Into The Woods - One of the least vocally taxing of Sondheim’s works, this felt much less like it was Hollywood stunt-cast than the last few movie-musicals. Streep and Kendrick were the power hitters of the cast, but Pine earned his keep by going full-Shatner and delivering the greatest performance of “Agony” I have ever seen. Edits to the second act reduce the death toll and make the show overall less miserable, though it still isn’t a feel-good movie by any stretch.

Mamma Mia! - On the other hand, nobody’s voice really delivers in Mamma Mia! (which I had seen before, way back around the time it came out), but everyone is having so much fun you hardly care. Pierce Brosnan’s singing is so, so terrible. The plot is so absurd. But the DVD comes with a sing-along mode, because they know exactly why you watch it—because like Donna when her friends cajole her out of a funk, you cannot resist cheerfully singing and dancing to ABBA. (I think a lot of the problem is that Sondheim writes musicals with the intent that different actors will fill the roles at different times and you need to make things learn-able and performable. Benny and Bjorn were writing songs for exactly four people’s specific voices, to be performed in concerts and the recording box.)

No Reservations - Jethrien and I are much more vulnerable to specific tearjerker dramabombs than we were three years ago. The movie is generally a standard romantic comedy, but it goes easy on the gross-out/embarrassment humor (which is good) and very heavy on the food porn (which is also good). It also features the only artfully-arranged plating of fish sticks you’ll ever see in a movie.

And a bonus:
The Emperor’s New Groove - We bought this at a garage sale for a dollar, and when gaming turnout was sparse last night, I was told we needed to watch it. I was familiar with the general plot and many of the bits that have become memes (“Why do we even have that lever?”), but hadn’t actually watched it and was amused with the movie as a whole. While I think The Road to El Dorado was a marginally better movie, this was clever and witty. And fourth wall? What fourth wall?

No comments: