I just recently watched two movies, "De Lovely" on DVD, and "The Phantom of the Opera" yesterday at the theater. Both were brilliantly executed, and I feel safe in assuming most everybody would enjoy them as much as I did. Here's what I liked about each:
-= De Lovely =-
For starters, it stars Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd, with a host of cameos. (dude, is that Alanis Morrisette singing?) I've never been one to pick apart movie elements (I simply like a movie or I don't), but I was struck by how tight the dialogue was in this movie. Not a line was spared, and I felt compelled even to scribble down a few of the more brilliant one-liners on a bit of scrap paper. Very very well written. Plenty of music, and it all fit into the context of the scene too, so it didn't just seem like the movie stopped for a musical number. Oh, and Ashley Judd is absolutely stunning.
-= Phantom =-
Fucking WOW. Since Webber was not only a screenwriter, but also a producer, he retained the vast majority of the creative control. The score was re-recorded using a real pipe organ and a full orchestra (instead of synth organ and pit orchestra), giving it a much more broad and full sound... basically kicking it up a notch and adding a lot more oomph
. Joel Schumaker was merciful in his sparing use of CG, instead relying on the time-honored techniques of constructing breathtaking sets, gorgeous costumes, casting talented actors and basically creating a thrilling piece of eye candy. What CG that was used, was subtle and tasteful. Had I the time, I'd've walked straight to the box office, bought another ticket, and sat through the whole damn thing again.
Speaking of eye candy, Emmy Rossum who played Christine Daae is a righteous babe to be sure, but whenever Meg Giry (Jennifer Ellison, who had regrettably little on-screen time) entered the scene, she was so hot I felt my internal organs liquefy. I'm not sure why, because I typically like brunettes over blonde cheerleader types. I'm much more of a Velma than a Daphne kinda guy.
I like watching Gerard Butler in movies. Speaking strictly from a sense of artistic appreciation, he has a beautiful face that could've come straight from the brush of Michaelangelo or Carvaggio. And for those of you who saw him in "Dracula 2000", I was in New Orleans last year. I tried that whole slow motion, head down, eyes up, sly grin, sexy strut down the center aisle of the Virgin Megastore. As fate would have it, instead of the women having their breath stolen by my mere passing presence (as happened in the movie) they just looked at me like "Oh, God... not another one. Nice try, doofus."
There's only one ticky little thing that I didn't like. When it comes to pop theater singing, I guess mastery of tone, vibrato and dynamics aren't enough to demonstrate professional skill anymore. Now they have to throw in these annoying grace notes at the end of phrases with rising melodies. Christine is constantly beginning her final notes at the end of a rising line at what seemed like well over an entire step flat and quickly glissing up to the correct note. Maybe my irritation with this harks back to when I was in choir in high school. Notes that started flat and corrected sharply indicated sloppiness. Or maybe it's because I've heard the Sarah Brightman recording twenty thousand times, and it's hard-wired into my head. Either way, just hit the note dammit! That is all.