A Star is Born Alex Cullina Ali Zimmerman Arts cabaret Chicago daniella nichinson Enchanted Film grease Guru Ramanathan hairspray la la land lady gaga ryan mikel Surf

Staff Recs: Hollywood Movie Musicals

Staff Recs: Hollywood Movie Musicals
Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly in “Chicago.”

We collect right here at this time to rejoice the life, dying and rebirth of the Hollywood musical. For a protracted time period, the once-supreme style was unseen in theaters throughout the nation and overseas. Superhero franchises and Pixar diminished any probabilities of a musical’s success. However with Rob Marshall’s 2002 live-screen adaptation of Bob Fosse’s “Chicago,” the magic slowly made its return, with movies like “Rent,” “Hairspray,” “Moulin Rouge!” and, extra lately, “La La Land” following in its footsteps. At the moment, we’re seeing an unprecedented variety of musicals on each tv — because of NBC’s stay musicals — and the large display. Tomorrow, the most recent addition to the cannon makes its arrival within the type of Bradley Cooper and Woman Gaga’s reinvented fourth remake of the timeless basic “A Star Is Born.” To have fun the style’s imminent return, and to not point out the return of Mom Monster, listed here are our private favorites from the golden age and the golden revival.


Ryan Mikel, Arts Editor

If there’s anybody to thank for my inclination towards films, it’s my grandma. Each birthday, vacation or special day, she would bestow upon me a DVD from my childhood wonderland, Sam Goody’s. To this present day, the copy that I cherish probably the most is my two-disc, collector’s version of Rob Marshall’s greatest picture-winning “Chicago.” Arguably, this movie single-handedly revived the film musical style and never in the identical lavish, sensational strategy that oldies like “White Christmas” and “Singin’ In The Rain” took. No, Marshall took a really summary and darkish piece of Vaudeville-esque theater and gave it some of the progressive and sudden stage-to-screen variations in current cinema historical past. Like many different works in theater –– “Rent” and “Fences” to be actual –– the stage model makes use of barely any surroundings or props to drive its plot. It’s merely an on-stage orchestra, a dozen or so chairs and heaps of glitter and lingerie. In contrast to the aforementioned works that finally did not translate to the large display, “Chicago” took its minimalistic supply materials and created a 21st century selection show-like manufacturing, the place our antiheroes Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) convey their testimonies in jail by means of big-number flashbacks filmed reside on a stage or within the jail cells itself. (See “Cell Block Tango” for additional viewing.)

Apart from the groundbreaking manufacturing design and impeccably staged musical numbers, the forged is an absolute sight for sore eyes. Zeta-Jones and Zellweger are supported by a star-studded ensemble, together with Richard Gere, John C. Reilly, Taye Diggs, Christine Baranski and the movie’s most precious participant, Queen Latifah. This movie truthfully might have been an entire catastrophe, however its director led it straight to 6 Academy Awards, three Golden Globes and three Display Actors Guild Awards, which included probably the most deserving Excellent Efficiency by a Forged in a Movement Image acquired by an ensemble within the award’s 24-year existence.


Guru Ramanathan, Movie & TV Editor

All of us love Amy Adams. The actress has persistently confirmed to be top-of-the-line skills within the business at present and has been nominated for an Oscar 5 occasions for starring in heavy dramas like “The Fighter” and “The Master.” However the movie that propelled her into stardom was 2007’s “Enchanted,” a splendidly directed and acted musical movie that pays homage to and self-parodies basic Disney animated movies. Adams performs Giselle, an animated Disney princess who’s pressured to navigate the live-action world of New York Metropolis with the assistance of a cynical divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey). Whereas the film begins like a typical Disney animated movie, “Enchanted” efficiently subverts long-standing tropes of the naive Disney princess archetype and parodies a number of classics, notably “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Sleeping Beauty.” Disney has been producing trendy retellings of lots of their previous films like “Cinderella” and “Beauty and the Beast,” however to today “Enchanted” is among the few princess movies underneath their banner — alongside maybe “Tangled” and “Princess and the Frog” — that’s truly clever about the best way it improves upon the unique tales whereas nonetheless being enjoyable and wholly imaginative. Giselle’s fish-out-of-water state of affairs by no means will get previous because of a strong writing and the infectious chemistry between Adams and Dempsey. “Enchanted” additionally boasts numerous nice songs composed by Alan Menken, the maestro behind a number of Disney movies like “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” three of which have been nominated for Oscars.



Ali Zimmerman, Deputy Arts Editor

I blame “Hairspray” for my center faculty theater part. The 2007 movie model is nothing in need of a Hollywood masterpiece, stacked with superstars completely forged and musical numbers that stick in your head for weeks after viewing. Zac Efron is swanky and greasy haired as ever enjoying Corny Colin’s Present dancer and pretty-boy Hyperlink Larkin. James Marsden, Queen Latifah and Christopher Walken additionally show themselves as triple-threats, singing and dancing by means of a soundtrack that drips with ’60s bounce and early rock power. The story additionally tactfully addresses points surrounding magnificence requirements and racial inequality with out dropping the enjoyable. In lots of instances, when a musical is delivered to the large display and the magic of stay efficiency is stripped away, the result’s a lackluster. This isn’t the case with “Hairspray.” Pastel tinted visible results and grandiose units deliver the viewer on an actual journey of the sights, sounds and social panorama of the ’60s. The one factor I might do with out is John Travolta enjoying a lady in fats go well with. He’s creepy sufficient as it’s.


Alex Cullina, Books & Theater Editor

Liza Minnelli’s masterful Oscar-winning efficiency as the long-lasting character of Sally Bowles is the rationale many individuals know Bob Fosse’s 1977 basic. Minnelli effortlessly embodies by turns wide-eyed innocence, sly sexuality, and heavy world-weariness. However the remainder of the film ain’t dangerous both. Set in Weimar Berlin in the course of the rise of the Nazis, the movie follows the freshly arrived Brian (Michael York), a stiff, sexually confused Brit, and his friendship with Sally, a lovable American cabaret singer who performs nightly on the titular Package Kat Membership. Hosted with aplomb by the Emcee (a unbelievable Joel Gray, all the time with a Cheshire grin), the membership is a pleasant den of vice, extravagance and intercourse. The musical numbers like “Willkommen,” “Maybe This Time,” and “Cabaret” are a pleasant showcase for Minnelli’s and Gray’s immense vocal expertise, however Fosse’s deft course additionally injects the manic power of an evening in town. The movie revels within the griminess of Berlin’s underground, however that doesn’t imply it avoids heavier stuff. With plot factors involving Nazism, anti-Semitism, homosexuality and abortion, the movie’s mild, joyful parts are grounded within the darker outdoors world, with the top of the movie subtly hinting at what’s to return in Germany’s close to future.

“Bye Bye Birdie”

Ryan Mikel, Arts Editor

Image this: a freshly 21-year-old Ann-Margret crooning her goodbyes to America’s favourite rockstar-turned-drafted-soldier Conrad Birdie (Jesse Pearson) as she runs round giddily on a gargantuan, blue soundstage. This opening scene might not translate properly into phrases, however on display, it offered probably the most marvelous and memorable cinematic second for a flamboyant Eight-year-old rising up in rural Mississippi. From right here on out, my dream was to be onstage and really feel the magic I witnessed in “Bye Bye Birdie” in any potential capability. This nice American musical is the literal definition of an amazing American musical. The story mirrors that of Elvis Presley’s and follows a city’s response to the drafting of a Presley-like Conrad Birdie into america Military. It’s a very nuanced story, and the motion doesn’t simply revolve round one woman’s obsession together with her war-bound rock idol. As an alternative, it weaves collectively storylines related by basic Hollywood musical numbers filmed on a Columbia Footage soundstage in superb 35mm technicolor. Musical numbers like “The Telephone Hour” and “Shriner’s Ballet” have persistently impressed musical numbers all through the course of film historical past –– a newer instance being the opening scene of “La La Land.” Apart from the technical work, the performances (Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh) and choreography give each musical round this time (“West Side Story,” “My Fair Lady” and “The Music Man”) an absolute run for his or her cash. It’s a disgrace no more individuals find out about this iconic entry within the cannon of Golden Age film musicals.


Daniella Nichinson, Arts Editor

There’s one thing irresistible about John Travolta circa-1970s. Between “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease,” Travolta confirmed off his exceptional expertise for disco and dance, and that darkish elephant trunk hair. “Grease” is a movie I’ve watched with absolute delight since my adolescent years. The 1950s highschool setting serves as fertile floor for the start of cool. The greasers and the Pink Women rule the meals chain and exhibit their standing by means of quite a few catchy musical numbers. From “Greased Lightnin’” to “Beauty School Dropout,” “Grease” boasts a plethora of ranging melodies and emotions that convey feelings of heartbreak, hopefulness and adoration. Regardless of what number of occasions you’ve seen the movie, you’ll be able to’t assist however belt out the lyrics to “We Go Together” alongside the forged as you cheer for the inevitable reunion between Danny and Sandy.


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