The most remarkable thing about this film is how old fashioned it is. Bill Condon has managed to “reinvent” the musical by simply ignoring MTV, and for that I guess many a purist are quite satisfied. The camera doesn’t move so much; the editing is not pushed to front and center; performers are allowed to sing and emote in full and medium shots. There is little razzle-dazzle (Krieger and Eyen ain’t no Kander and Ebb, that’s for certain and Bill Condon ain’t no Baz Luhrmann for that matter). Is it entertaining? Sure, in fits and starts. Continue reading Dreamgirls

Pretty Good German

The technical brilliance of Soderbergh’s latest, as you probably know a recreation of studio techniques–and some of the attitude/tone–from ’40s pictures, has been given lots of press, and deservedly so. The film’s a glorious collage of shadows and light, line and angle and shape. There are all these lovely sights: background lighting so fiercely overdeveloped that Clooney and Blanchett seem to lose their boundaries, fading into a glow; Blanchett running down a circular stairwell, top wall gone to reveal lovely artificial moonlit clouds and the silhouette of Clooney (in iconic army cap).

And you could watch it as a workshop in photography (all shot by Soderbergh). But I liked other elements as much, even more: Continue reading Pretty Good German