Some More Movie Reviews from Casa BrIsaacson

Emily and I just got back from Sweeney Todd, which I think should be renamed Swelly Todd or Sweeney Toddally Awesome! Okay, maybe not. But it was quite a good movie-- and I say that as someone who does not normally have much of a fondness for Stephen Sondheim musicals (I'm much more of a Oscar Hammerstein kinda guy, if you couldn't tell). But I am someone who generally really likes Tim Burton movies-- I know that they often seem like confections, style over substance, all that. But in a film, I can sometimes appreciate style over substance. And in some Tim Burton films, I can often find some amount of substance to appreciate. Big Fish and Ed Wood are both just lovely, as far as I'm concerned.

Sweeney Todd has all the style you'd expect from a Tim Burton film-- the costuming evokes a sense of grimy aristocracy, the main characters' hair disobeys certain laws of physics, and he's using that red paint for blood that he used in Sleepy Hollow to evoke those old Hammer Horror movies from the 60s and 70s. But there's also a surprising amount of depth here, too-- as Sondheim, Burton, and Johnny Depp present him, Sweeney Todd is a violent man whose rage consumes him to the point that he... Nah. That would be telling. But, needless to say, Sweeney Todd joins Atonement and No Country for Old Men as part of our recent trifecta of brutally violent movies that serve to illustrate a larger point about the role violence plays in our lives. I highly recommend seeing it.

The other movie Emily and I recently watched was Menham Golan's 1980 musical/ drug-induced celluloid nightmare The Apple. I know for a fact that at some point I wrote about wanting to see this movie very very badly on this blog, because I feel like Brian agreed with me that Nathan Rabin's review of the film made it sound like something everyone in the world needs to see to believe. Alas, a quick search of this blog does not turn up anything. I probably mentioned it in a comment or something.

Anyway, The Apple was everything I hoped it would be. And then some. Take a gander at this:

I know, right?

The movie tells the story of a not-too-distant future (1994, to be precise) where disco has taken over the world and people drive cars that look like they were first sold in 1978, but that have cool, futuristic looking "fins" on them. Oh, and the rock stars all rock so hard, they wear helmets adorned with glitter. 'Cause if you're gonna rock that hard, you want to protect yourself.

Our heroes, Bebe and Alfie (Catherine Mary Stewart and George Gilmour) are, as Rabin wrote, "so sickeningly wholesome that Donny & Marie would probably watch them perform and marvel 'God, what a coupla pussies.'” And their lame-ass accoustic folk sound poses a threat to the omnipresent, world government-controlling Boogalow International Music (BIM)... for some reason. So, the head of the the company, Boogalow (who also happens to be Satan himself) quickly signs Bebe up to be his next big star. Alfie smells a rat and refuses to sign the contract so he gets, like, beaten up and stuff while Bebe goes off the fuck one of the other rock stars in Boogalow's employ. It should also be noted that George Gilmour portrays Alfie with a certain Shakespearean flair-- and by "Shakespearean" I mean "like a dead guy." In fact, the acting in this movies is pretty across-the-board terrible, except for Vladek Sheybal as Boogalow, who seems to be the only performer in the film with any background in musical theatre. Or an intro to acting class.

(Interesting note-- as we watched the movie, Emily asked me when Sheybal appeared, "Who is that guy? He looks familiar." And he does. Actually, though, I think it's that he sort of looks like Peter Cushing or Vincent Price-- thin frame, sharp features, and that perfectly-sculpted, stiffly combed-back kinda hair. Emily and I have taken to referring to that hairstyle as "a hairline you can set your watch to," and we encourage you to do the same).

Anyway. I don't want to give too much away. Let's just say that The Apple is a disco/ glam rock retelling of the story of Adam and Eve, and that it Out-Xanadoes Xanadu. Emily and I watched it without the benefit of any type of mind-altering substances, but I imagine it would go quite well with any number of cocktails. Or plants or funguses or whatever.

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