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Gave Into The Woods (Rob Marshall, 2014) a whirl and have to say that I found it quite a frustrating watch as none of the songs were particularly memorable and some were downright awful, feeling to me like they were written more to show off a fondness for playing with words than imparting any level of enjoyment to the viewer. The acting was mixed, Meryl Streep was decent but not particularly Oscar nom-worthy imo, the story had some merit but took too many liberties even for a fairytale fantasy and the narration lacked any sense of drama.

I first fell in love with Into The Woods when I saw it on Broadway. I thought it was one of the most unique shows that I had ever seen. The first half was like watching a fairy tale where everyone lives happily ever after, but then we continued with the crazy second half, and it got even more interesting. I disagree about the music not being memorable. I loved the music, and I listen to the soundtrack a lot.

The movie didn't quite live up to the play, but it was still very good. The cast was okay, but not as good as the Broadway cast. Meryl Streep was good, but Bernadette Peters was much better as the Witch. I'm not a big fan of Johnny Depp, but I thought he did a great job as the Wolf.

If you want to give Into The Woods another chance, try watching the 1991 American Playhouse version. (I think it's on YouTube.) It's basically the Broadway show with some minor changes, with most of the original Broadway cast reprising their roles.
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I first fell in love with Into The Woods when I saw it on Broadway. I thought it was one of the most unique shows that I had ever seen. The first half was like watching a fairy tale where everyone lives happily ever after, but then we continued with the crazy second half, and it got even more interesting. I disagree about the music not being memorable. I loved the music, and I listen to the soundtrack a lot.

The movie didn't quite live up to the play, but it was still very good. The cast was okay, but not as good as the Broadway cast. Meryl Streep was good, but Bernadette Peters was much better as the Witch. I'm not a big fan of Johnny Depp, but I thought he did a great job as the Wolf.

If you want to give Into The Woods another chance, try watching the 1991 American Playhouse version. (I think it's on YouTube.) It's basically the Broadway show with some minor changes, with most of the original Broadway cast reprising their roles.
Always happy when someone else gets more out of something than I did Gbg

Many of the songs were written in a style that I simply don't find enjoyable or memorable, guess we just have completely different taste in that regard. For me Meryl Streep had the best song (when she sings to Rapunzel) but even only a couple of days later I coudn't even hum it to anyone let alone sing it Depp was ok but his role was hardly either large or challenging imo.

WARNING: "Not really spoilers per se - I just like using the tag :)" spoilers below
And what was with things like Rapunzel's hair - one minute it's sliced off not more than a few feet from her head but the next night it's fully grown again .... yet part of the witch's punishment later that day was to cut it off again - what's the point when it will grow another 60 foot or so in 24 hours anyway .... yet of course now it doesn't grow even an inch? And the tar/pitch on the steps of the palace - one minute Cinders walks into it and cannot move yet at the end of that scene she's running through it as if it was water? I know it's a fairytale fantasy so anything can happen (like being eaten but surviving) but that doesn't excuse things from being sloppily/lazily written/realised imo.


Thanks for the heads up on the Playhouse version but to be honest I doubt very much I'll be revisiting it. Sadly it proved to just not be my cup of tea. I do think that there was a tale worthy of telling in there but for me it needed better 'presentation' which is why I said it was a frustrating watch - again glad you enjoyed it far more than I and long may you continue to do so.



Watched La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016) and despite an opening number that did little for me personally I thought the human drama was quite relatable and whilst neither lead could be regarded as the best singer or hoofer in the world they both handled those aspects well enough and as a whole I thought it was a rather charming watch.



Many of the songs were written in a style that I simply don't find enjoyable or memorable, guess we just have completely different taste in that regard.
Yeah, I'm noticing that in the song tournament. Apparently almost everybody on MoFo has completely different taste in music than me.


Watched La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016) and despite an opening number that did little for me personally I thought the human drama was quite relatable and whilst neither lead could be regarded as the best singer or hoofer in the world they both handled those aspects well enough and as a whole I thought it was a rather charming watch.

La La Land has been on my watchlist since the first time I saw the trailer, but somehow I still haven't found the time to watch it yet. Maybe someone will nominate it in a HoF and I'll finally bump it to the top of my list.



Tanned Legs

Marshall Neilan
1929

Low-budget musical comedy-drama that has the feel of something cobbled together at short notice but even so does still manage to entertain a little in places.

Sadly there isn't really that much to enthuse about this offering. The script does at least contain the odd moment of amusement (and is even a little risque in at least one place) but overall it's somewhat stilted which naturally affects the acting too - though to be honest I doubt even an Oscar-worthy script would have made any difference to Arthur Lake's performance.

The tale itself is rather hackneyed and even when it should be managing to evoke a little excitement unfortunately still feels rather mundane. There's nothing remarkable about the production either, it's all rather vanilla and workmanlike with little camera movement or flair on show, whilst the song and dance numbers are generally presentable but fairly routine too.

One aspect that certainly can't be faulted though is the title, proceedings containing enough shapely female 'pins' on display at various points to fulfil expectations on that front. Personally it was of interest with both June Clyde and Sally Blane in the cast, though rather surprisingly it was the lesser known (at least to me) Ann Pennington that actually most drew the eye.

Tanned Legs is a lightweight affair with a plot that could have been written on the back of a beer mat but there have been worse ways to spend an hour and a bit and I'll give it a slightly generous
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Watched Begin Again (John Carney, 2013) - a very predictable affair that plays it extremely safe musically (as many of these types of film tend to, in fairness) which makes it somewhat bland but the characters are reasonably well sketched and the dialogue manages to give proceedings a little heart even if there really is nothing new on offer.



Watched Begin Again (John Carney, 2013) - a very predictable affair that plays it extremely safe musically (as many of these types of film tend to, in fairness) which makes it somewhat bland but the characters are reasonably well sketched and the dialogue manages to give proceedings a little heart even if there really is nothing new on offer.

Is this the movie with Mark Ruffalo? If it is, I tried watching it a while back, but it was so boring that I turned it off after about a half hour. I like Mark Ruffalo, so I'll probably give it another try at some point, but sadly, it doesn't sound like it's worth it.



Is this the movie with Mark Ruffalo? If it is, I tried watching it a while back, but it was so boring that I turned it off after about a half hour. I like Mark Ruffalo, so I'll probably give it another try at some point, but sadly, it doesn't sound like it's worth it.
Indeed it is. It's certainly not the most exciting film and nothing you won't have seen before in one guise or another. Ruffalo plays his part pretty well imo.



Gave Marguerite (Xavier Giannoli, 2015) a whirl - Catherine Frot is a delight as the lead, and is generally well supported, in a tale that does contain a few nice blackly comic moments but sadly the focus of the film switches away from her at times which led to my interest in proceedings waning somewhat.
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I watched Mary Poppins Returns (2018), and I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. I didn't think it had a chance to live up to the original movie, but it was almost as good. It follows a similar pattern to the original movie, which may annoy some people the way the new Star Wars movies copied the pattern of the original movie, but I found that to be one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much because it gave it a familiar feeling.

Emily Blunt was wonderful as Mary Poppins, and I loved Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack, especially the way he tried to copy Dick Van Dyke's bad cockney accent from the original movie. I also loved Dick Van Dyke's cameo as Mr. Dawes Jr. He shows that he can still sing and dance with the best of them. While I liked Angela Lansbury as the Balloon Lady, it's a shame that Julie Andrews turned down the cameo appearance. It would have been nice to see both her and Emily Blunt's Mary Poppins on screen together.

The songs are good, although not quite as memorable as the songs in the original movie. My favorite song was "Trip a Little Light Fantastic".



The Great Gabbo

James Cruze & Erich von Stroheim
1929

Musical drama set in the vaudeville/revue world that's a bit of an oddity in terms of content and doesn't always sell itself particularly well but certainly does come alive in the final act.

Sadly even Erich von Stroheim can't always manage to rise above some of the dialogue on offer here but he does still manage to put in a performance worthy of watching and, though much of the supporting cast aren't really given much to work with and barely rise above workmanlike, Betty Compson also manages to put in a reasonably decent performance as his counterpoint.

Musically it's a bizarre mix, with a few of the songs being 'sung' by the ventriloquist's dummy and others presented as fully fledged show numbers. Those involving the dummy perhaps naturally come across a little flat whilst the show numbers are generally not that impressive and largely peripheral to the story which unfortunately does make some of them begin to feel a little like padding at times. One such show number does stand out though and that is the 'spider and fly' number which does at least contain some fairly impressive acrobatics making it more interesting to watch.

Dramatically whilst it does come alive in the closing stages sadly the whole does feel like it could have benefitted from a little more depth prior to that point, one result being that in places it lacks any real atmosphere. The ventriloquist act itself is in terms of material also rather unbelievable as a 'top billing' act - it's just far too lacking in entertainment and audience rapport imo.

The Great Gabbo is watchable and does build to a nice enough finale but leaves the impression that with more care and attention it could have been a fair bit better and I can therefore only give it a
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Gave the mockumentary Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping a spin and I'm clearly not the right audience for it as while it does manage to hit the odd right note (even if some of the sources of ridicule are all too easy to satirise) it's just far too heavy on the juvenile content for my liking.



Just finished Ricki And The Flash (Johnathan Demme, 2015), certainly not a great movie but Meryl Streep does help elevate what is in places some poorly written fare, even if imo she's not a great fit for her character.
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Just watched Half Marriage (William J. Cowen, 1929), a romantic drama that mixes in a little comedy along with a couple of songs (not enough to qualify it as a musical per se but I'm shoehorning it in here anyway) before getting far more serious in the closing stages. Unfortunately the sound quality is a little substandard at times and both the acting and dialogue could certainly have been better in places but for me the biggest problems the movie has are its mixed tone and a lack of any real 'spark' prior to events turning darker.
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Gave a viewing to Florence Foster Jenkins (Stephen Frears, 2016) which for me is a more agreeable, albeit unremarkable, offering than Marguerite - primarily because it neither transplants the tale nor overly embellishes it, but concentrates more on matters relevant to the titular lady and the absurdity of her rather distinctive warblings.
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Painted Faces

Albert S. Rogell
1929

Low-budget crime drama that may be something of a spiritual predecessor to 12 Angry Men but unlike the latter there's very little guile or subtlety on display in a tale that may ultimately prove interesting but contains a fair amount of padding in the telling.

Joe E. Brown is well enough cast as the lead and actually proves rather effective in combining both the comical and dramatic, though it does have to be said his affected accent does really grate during proceedings. Both Lester Cole and Helen Foster are quite suitable for their roles as well whilst the rest of the cast generally perform adequately.

The tale itself is somewhat disappointing in places though, especially in the earlier jury room scenes where one is waiting and hoping for some more meaningful and intelligent adversarial dialogue than that which transpires. Instead we get a sequence that may showcase Mr. Brown's circus origins and eventually help lead in to the backstory proper but is basically little more than filler really. That backstory itself is also somewhat bloated but does at least generally move along at a better pace.

The closing stages present the viewer with something of a moral dilemma but, as much as the Hays code might later disagree, imo that's not in and of itself a bad thing and to have ended it differently would have virtually nullified any impact the movie had to offer.

Painted Faces certainly has a level of curiosity appeal in terms of its narrative links to the likes of Sidney Lumet's masterpiece but sadly there really isn't that much meat on the bones here and it's difficult to justify granting it more than a



Watched Suspect (Peter Yates, 1987), a fairly routine crime thriller (with a little added heavy-handed social commentary) that both stretches credulity at times and has its contrivances (not that unusual in such films) but both performances and presentation are generally decent enough to keep it being watchable.



Struggling to find any more 'Silent Era' courtroom dramas to watch Gave Disorder In The Court (Jack White, 1936) a spin just to keep a little momentum going whilst I continue the search - a Three Stooges short where the expected typical madness and mayhem ensues involving a mix of slapstick and wordplay that does have a few amusing moments but there's nothing particularly memorable on offer imo.



Sally Of The Sawdust

D.W. Griffith
1925

Mix of comedy and drama that takes getting towards two hours to tell what is in essence a fairly simple tale and sadly one that ultimately fails to work particularly well on either front for me.

On the plus side the cinematography is generally nice, the basic dramatic premise one that will always find a level of favour with me and there are certainly moments where the comedy is nicely presented (especially so with some of W.C. Fields routines).

Unfortunately though there are more aspects that could have been better. Some of the scenes are grossly overextended (q.f. the early brawl) which also impacts on the overall pacing and flow. The acting has a tendency toward being over-the-top, which is fine in terms of the comedic but for me detracts from the dramatic. Some of what is obviously intended to be amusing also either falls rather flat (Ms. Dempster is certainly lithe and nimble enough for her routines but she does also have a tendency to 'mug' her way through them) or is presented in far too farcical a manner (q.f. the chase scenes). The switches between the comedic and dramatic also produce an oddly toned piece at times whilst the drama too often has a decided tendency toward melodrama.

Sally Of The Sawdust could have been quite a nice little offering had it been better balanced or perhaps more focused on exactly what it wanted to be, but as it stands it really feels to me like it is suffering from an identity crisis and I can't award it more than a
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