October 6: The Last of Mrs. Cheyney
Before watching this film, I never knew that Joan Crawford and William Powell starred together in a film. What a delightful discovery. This picture was a bit long and lacked a bit of something, but it was pleasant to watch over an extended breakfast. Joan plays Mrs. Cheyney, the widow of a wealthy American. She uses her wealth and influence to insert herself and her staff into the world of the British aristocracy. For the first hour this all goes swimmingly, but then there is a surprise twist. Joan and William and all her employees are actually a team of thieves! How marvelous! They weren’t there for a week of society, they a there to steal jewels! That’s a much more interesting way of passing the time, wouldn’t you say? Unfortunately, Joan’s character falls in love with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.’s character and that messes up her plot to steal. Strangely, the socialites and aristocrats find the whole situation rather amusing, so they keep her on, and then she blackmails them with a letter. It was all rather silly, but something different, not a rehash of the same story like so many films. [My Rating: 7/10]
October 7: An Evening at La Cage
When I found this laserdisc at the Half Price Bookstore, I let out a squeal of glee. I love drag queens. I adore them. I am a passionate supporter of all things drag. Someday, I don’t know when or where, but I’ll do drag, too. It would be amazing to be on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, the greatest reality show to ever grace the television. I love their campy humor, their willingness to embrace others, their overdone makeup, all the glitter, and all the love they have for their art. This film, was basically a recording of a show at La Cage in Hollywood. I never knew it existed and if it still does, I’m on my way. I must see this show. It was wonderfully 80s/90s: the hair, the shoulder pads, the music, the editing, all the sequins–I was obsessed. Zsa Zsa was obsessed too, she’s was in the audience. There were a lot of great numbers, but they seemed amateurish compared to the flawless queens of today. When Chad Michaels does Cher, he literally becomes Cher.
These queens, though, were parodies, not exact copies. One of them played Dolly singing “9 to 5” and it was funny, but mainly because she looked nothing like Dolly. One performer did Judy Garland and then seamlessly segued into Liza. That was rather great. But my favorite was a lipsync of Eartha Kitt’s “Champagne Taste.”
It was divine. I adore Eartha, pity we never had the chance to meet. She died in January of 2009, when I was sitting in one of my Parisian apartments. I didn’t know her as anything but the voice of Yzma inThe Emperor’s New Groove, but from that day my love has grown. Try to find copy of this and have some fun. [My Rating: 9/10]
October 8: Dreamgirls
Oh my sweet Lord Beyoncé, goddess of the Church Beyoncé, mother of the come-again savior, Blue Ivy, I worship the very thought of you. I am beyond obsessed with Beyoncé, I love her music, I live for her dancing, I am a passionate supporter of all her beliefs and projects, if she so much as suggested that she wanted to become president, I would go far out of my way to ensure that she got herself into that Oval Office. Beyoncé has never done a thing that I disapprove of. She’s a wonder and a marvel–a national treasure and the voice of a generation. My adoration of her knows no bounds and no limits. When I’m on the treadmill, I almost always become her–singing and snapping and trying to dance while running. On a flight to Europe last year, there was a concert film available to watch. So, as I flew over Maine and across the dark waters of the Atlantic, I was raising my hand in the air, a glass of red wine in the other, and lipsynching for my life. I don’t know why it took me so long to see this movie. I loved Cadillac Records, it was my very first MOVIE of the WEEK, and I think that there is every chance that this will be the top film this week. Jennifer Hudson thought she was the star, and she did a good job, but…yo, Jennifer, I’m really happy for you and I’m gonna let you gloat, but Beyoncé gave one of the best performances of all time! (That there was the only Kanye West reference I will ever make. We’re still not over our feud. He rudely doesn’t acknowledge our feud. Whatever. I ain’t even bothered, though. We go out of our way to avoid each other in Paris, I don’t need his drama.) Dreamgirls is an adaptation of a broadway musical of the same name that is loosely based on the rise of Diana Ross and the Supremes. Beyoncé’s character plays Deena, the Diana Ross role and she is flawless. Jennifer Hudson plays the chunky yet funky Effy, and some other girl, who does a tremendous job plays Lorreen,the naive one. All that they want to do is find success as recording artists and they have everything they need for it but a break. Finally, Jimmy Early, a hugely successful artist lets them sing backup and from there, their star is on the ascendant. The film deals with the racism in music community, betrayal, drug abuse, and all the usual elements that becomes drama. It’s a detailed and intricate movie, so I’m not going to get deep into it, I highly recommend you see it, though. There was a marvelous scene where Jamie Foxx’s character, Beyoncé’s husband in the picture, insults her something fierce by saying that he put her as the lead of the group because her voice is common and not expressive. Beyoncé was not amused by this and so she gets herself to the recording studio where she passionately belts out my new go-to karaoke ballad, “Listen.” Gurl, it is euphoric. There are no words to express the majesty of that song or that scene.
Wonderful movie. Beyoncé should have been given an Oscar for her amazing performance. See it. [My Rating: 10/10]
October 9: Parting Shots
[Couldn’t find a video. Sorry.]
Because of my undying love of all things British, especially all things related to British humor, and particularly all things that involve anybody who has anything to do with a Jennifer Saunders project, I couldn’t wait to see this film because it features Johanna Lumley, who plays my spirit animal, Patsy Stone, in Absolutely Fabulous. That was quite a sentence, wasn’t it? Harry Sterndale is a rather lame photographer who goes through the motions of life. He isn’t amused by much, doesn’t take much of an interest in anything, and just carries on after a number of tragedies that have happened in his life. After a doctor’s visit, it is revealed that he has a very advanced case of cancer and doesn’t have long to live, not more than a month. So, he decides to take revenge on all the people who hurt him in his life. The United Kingdom is much more evolved than we are socially, for the most part, especially when it comes to gun control. Not many people agree with me, but I hate guns. I want them banished. I don’t want there to be any grandfather laws that allow anybody to have them. I want hunters to cease their horrible activities, I want vegetarianism to become the national diet, I want lots of peace. I hate violence of any kind and am in complete favor with a giant smelting of the nation’s weapons. Aside from those in museums that have important historical significance, of course. Anyway, Harry can’t just go to Asda or Tesco and pick up a gun, he has to rent one off the black market. So, he goes to what is called a gun bar and borrows the gun from the barmaid, played wonderfully by Johanna Lumley. She can do no wrong in my mind. She plays a kooky new age hippy, we would get along great. Harry takes his new gun and his bullets and sets off for revenge. It sounds macabre and violent, but it’s a rather gentle comedy, really. There’s no blood or gore and all the deaths are amusing. He kills his wife, the man who stole all his money from him, an insane chef, and a man who bullied him in school. They all deserved it and be was very happy to do it. Along the way, he meets the love of his life, which annoyed him tremendously since he was about to die. The police are getting close to finding him out, do he decides that it is time to enact the final part of his plan, which is to let a hit man finish him off. If he dies violently, his insurance policy is worth considerably more and he will leave a nice sum for the woman he loves. Very romantic, that. The assassin has no end of difficulties in killing him, and accidentally kills a visiting head of state, landing him a prison sentence for life. This also makes the police believe that Harry hadn’t killed anybody, it had all been the hit man–they used the same gun. And, for a happy ending we could see coming from the beginning of the film, Harry really didn’t have cancer, it was a misdiagnosis! Happily ever after. [My Rating: 8/10]
October 10: Revenge of the Creature
Oh sweet lord! This was terrible, but in a good campy way. The only version I could find to watch was the one that was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Before this, I hadn’t the foggiest notion of what this was. I’m not sure how I’ve made it this far in life without knowing–hilarious! I don’t understand the premise, though. Why exactly are they on the edge of the universe? Are the creatures aliens or robots? Why didn’t they hire a better interior designer for their ship? Why is the espresso machine so big and the espresso so tiny? Theses were the things that I asked myself as I watched the film. They made it bearable, if it weren’t for the constant sarcastic commentary, this would have been another disaster. I loved the original Creature from the Black Lagoon. The creature was tragic and intriguing, it had a story, it had emotions. It longed for companionship and love. In this version, it was just a wild animal. It had no feelings and the costume was horrible. Why did they change it so much? In the original film, the costume was quite elegant, for a man in a rubber suit, that is. Here, it just looked like garbage. The film had no real plot, which sucked. Scientists capture the Gilman and put him in a Floridian aquatic center as an exhibit. Rude. He wasn’t amused, so he breaks free and kidnaps a lady scientist. Then everybody chases them down. It was not inspired. [My Rating: 3/10]
October 11: A Walk to Remember
This movie was ridiculous and predictable, but still somehow, I enjoyed it, kind of. Does Nicholas Sparks have any creativity at all? A four year old could have written this story. In fact, we watched this at school for a reward and the twelve year olds and I were predicting it all and basically quoting it before the lines were even spoken. I mean, really! Like this one: “I’m sorry she never got her miracle.” What could the followup line possible be??? You’re probably right. “She did. It was you.” HAHAHAHAHAHA! So cheesy you could almost smell the fondue. Lines like that are priceless for their camp value, I’ll be using it for years to come. The kids I was with kept up a constant commentary with me–it was basically a romantic version of Elvira’s show. Good fun. The movie is about Landon, who was supposedly a bad boy. He was more of a bore, but whatever. He was smart, dressed well, did his hair nicely, had a good sense of humor, and was easy to mold–not exactly bad boy material. He falls in love with a Jesus freak nerd and together they grow into better people. Then she has leukemia and they get married and she dies, but it was all worth it because they will have their love for all eternity!
Entertainment Weekly called it “A Walk to Forget!” Hahahaha, simple genius. Also, Mandy Moore can’t lipsynch to save her life. She would have #totes sashayed away. The children also think I look like the male lead, and I’m not sure if we were watching the same movie, but our faces have nothing in common.
Silly children. Watch it for a laugh. [My Rating: 5/10]
October 12: That Forsyte Woman
I oftentimes think it is a real crime that I wasn’t born in the Victorian era. Aside from a number of dreadful social issues, it was a marvelous time to be alive. Gentlemen wore hats all the time. You could go to the World’s Fair. New inventions were popping up every day. Homes were wonderfully garish and over embellished. It seemed easier to get rich and so much more. I would have been a fabulous Victorian gentleman in my dandy suit, hanging out with Oscar Wilde, taking tea in all the fashionable salons–by Jove, I would have been a sensation in London society! Many favorable marriages would be arranged for me, I’m sure, but I’d have none of that–nothing would stop my social successes! But this daydream has very little to do with the movie. It is about a doomed romance and it was very good. Better than I expected, anyway. Irene loves an artist/architect but is dogged by a wealthy fellow played by the 50-year old Errol Flynn. His mustache was much bushier here. Still enviable, though. Errol succeeds in marrying Irene, but she is not at all happy. Miserable years pass and then Jane, a younger relation by marriage, becomes romantically intrigued to the same architect! He isn’t in love with Jane, he just wants to become closer to Irene. They can’t deny their passion and flee to Paris. I didn’t do the movie justice, it was quite good. [My Rating: 7/10]
FILM of the WEEK: DREAMGIRLS! Rent it now. Buy it now. Dance and sing with Queen Beyoncé! I’m going to burn my copy out!