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Weekly Mishmash: April 6-12

Bush’s War (Frontline, PBS). We finally finished watching this five-hour extravaganza last Sunday. Favorite moment: when a commentator notes Condi Rice’s “overjoyed” reaction to the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad, the producers show a photo of Ms. Rice in a characteristic sour-faced look.
Junebug (2005). I have so many movies on Netflix that they’re sending DVDs I first selected two or three years ago — including this one. I was expecting typical indie fare, but the movie’s slightly better and deeper than that. The Southern family gets a refreshingly non-cliché portrayal in a film that deals with how people perceive one another versus how they really are. Amy Adams was excellent, as was the entire cast.
Mrs. Harris (2005). A rental which grew out of a vague interest in Jean Harris and the Scarsdale Diet murder. I remember reading some of the mixed reviews which came after Mrs. Harris premiered on HBO, but I enjoyed it a lot. Set among ’70s New York’s country club set, the story is told in a kitschy and semi-farcical way that at times reminded me of the Bette Midler bomb Isn’t She Great? (though it’s not nearly as awful as that monstrosity). To be honest, the story is a bit ridiculous, but what keeps the film on terra firma is Annette Bening’s performance. She blew me away. Bening portrays Harris as a thoroughly selfish and unlikable person, but she still manages to give her a measure of sympathy for her motives — cool.
Sweeney Todd (2007). Having never seen Sweeney Todd onstage (or anywhere), I wasn’t sure how I’d react this this one — but I was utterly wowed. Tim Burton has made the musical over in his quintessentially gothic style, yet the material remains so faithful to Sondheim’s vision that I’d characterize it as more of a filmed Sondheim work than a Burton piece. I’d even go as far as ranking it the best of the Burton/Johnny Depp collaborations. Despite the imperfect singing voices of Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, they really inhabit their roles. The musical arrangements, costumes, and art direction are all top notch. See it, people!

2 Thoughts on “Weekly Mishmash: April 6-12

  1. With “Bush’s War”, were you entertained the whole time? I really want to see it, but I don’t have a very long attention span when it comes to movies, especially the long ones, of course. Is it good enough that you could sit and watch the whole thing?

  2. Yes. I wouldn’t want to see it in one five hour long sitting, but it is entertaining all the way through.

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