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Old 08-31-2007, 10:13 PM   #31
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Pee-Wee is a classic; I enjoy it as much now as I did when I was younger.
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:11 AM   #32
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http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,311781,00.html

Last night we learned from director Tim Burton that Johnny Depp modeled his “Willy Wonka” hairstyle on Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

“He was trying to scare people,” said Burton, at a Film Society of Lincoln Center event held in his honor. The studio, Burton told questioner Richard Pena during a Q&A in front of a couple hundred guests, also asked that Depp’s skin color be darkened in the posters for “Willy” because they thought he looked too much like Michael Jackson!

Burton, who was dressed in a black jacket and pants, and black and white horizontally striped socks, also said that he thought Depp had never actually watched any of his movies, at least the ones they’d made together like “Edward Scissorhands,” “Ed Wood,” “Willy Wonka,” and “Sleepy Hollow.

But he may watch his performance in Burton’s new “Sweeney Todd.” It’s got Oscar written all over it.

Last night, at Rose Hall in Jazz at Lincoln Center, a lucky few of us got to see about 25 minutes of footage of “Sweeney Todd.” This is the long awaited film version of Stephen Sondheim’s magnificent 1981 Broadway musical, directed by Burton and starring Johnny Depp as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, his accomplice.

The Oscar race just got officially really, really interesting.

The three set pieces we saw were, in a word, spectacular. They were also just enough to light a fire and suggest that Paramount Dreamworks has a potential Best Picture nominee in “Sweeney Todd,” and maybe even a winner.

Both Depp and Carter sing, as do Sasha “Borat” Baron Cohen, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall and three important newcomers: Jayne Wisener, Jamie Bower, and Ed Sanders. Of the three, we only got to hear Bower besides Depp and Carter. But young Bower turns out to be a winner. His rendition of my favorite number from “Sweeney”—“Joanna”—just knocked out the crowd.

And just a hint of what Depp does in this film was demonstrated in a number called “My Friends,” in which Sweeney sings to his recovered barber tools after returning from 15 years in prison. The number was breathtaking.

Unfortunately we won’t know more about “Sweeney Todd” until November 29th. Burton told me last night that’s the first possible day he can screen it as the movie is still being edited! “We will deliver a ‘wet’ print straight to you,” he said.

This much I can now confirm: as Stephen Sondheim said in this column a few weeks ago, the film version is shorter and a little different than the stage musical. The main song, “Attend the Tale,” has been removed, as have a few others including some interstitial material. “I had to let the movie and the story stand on their own,’ Burton said. “Attend the Tale of Sweeney Todd framed it for a theater audience. And we’ve actually added a lot of music back into the show.”

Fans of the show needn’t worry, though. The instrumental score remains intact, and you can hear bits and pieces of the excised songs in it. As a “Sweeney Todd” buff, I can tell you that the movie seems very true to the stage version. There doesn’t seem reason for worry.

What there does seem reason for is celebration. Burton may have pulled off a great theater to film transfer. He’s retained the grisly aspect of the show, of course: Sweeney slits a lot of throats and ‘there will be blood,’ even more than in the movie of that name. It spurts and squirts in quantities.

But this is what we also got from seeing this footage: Johnny Depp can sing, and he makes for an impressive Sweeney. The look and attitude are right. The performance should earn him an Oscar nomination as well. Carter, who specializes in playing “off’ types, makes an excellent comic and romantic foil for him.
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:53 AM   #33
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Saw the full trailer this weekend. Holy. Freakin'. God.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:04 PM   #34
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Saw the full trailer this weekend. Holy. Freakin'. God.
I hope you mean that in the "Holy freakin' God, this looks absolutely horrible!" kind of way.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:09 PM   #35
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Much greater actors than Johnny Depp have failed to win an Oscar in their lifetimes.

If it's another one of Depp's typical emotionless, mannered performances, I'd rather see Daniel Day-Lewis (the actor doing the best work in the business right now) have another one.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:16 PM   #36
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oh and the man who would win the award for the sexiest voice IN THE UNIVERSE Mr Alan Rickman is in it. As the judge. The sexy nasty judge. Oh my.
OMG! YES!
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:30 PM   #37
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I hope you mean that in the "Holy freakin' God, this looks absolutely horrible!" kind of way.
Actually, nope, I think it looks great. I have a real weakness for musicals, and as such I've seen a lot of them. I wrote a 40something page paper on the construction of reality in musical film, and I have my own idea of what works and what doesn't. I think it'll be great. Just my opinion.

I do have to say, though, that Daniel Day-Lewis is phenomenal and can never receive enough praise.
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Old 11-26-2007, 09:54 PM   #38
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Actually, this looks like it could be one of the better Burton films (I'm not really a fan), but every clip I've seen of Depp in full-on musical mode has been achingly awful. Could either be a pleasant surprise, or a balls-to-the-wall cinematic disaster.

I'm actually hoping for the latter. Those are always a lot of fun to watch.

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Old 11-27-2007, 12:33 AM   #39
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At best, it'll be his 2nd enjoyable, good film post-Ed Wood apart from Big Fish.

At worst... it can't be any worse than Planet of the Apes, right? Not if Alan Rickman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter, AND Giles from 'Buffy' are involved.

Rickman almost single-handedly makes Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves worth watching, which is truly a feat.

Johnny Depp... eh, he's a decent actor, but not the "be-all, end-all best actor around right now," you know? Then again, I always forget about the "he's so cute I'll see anything he does" crowd that go to every single one of his movies, even if they're pure shit (Pirates 2 and 3, por ejemplo).

Ditto on the D-Day love.
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:14 AM   #40
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holy... shit. alan rickman AND johnny?


I can't wait for this. Its not out in the UK until 28th Jan though.
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Old 12-04-2007, 01:30 PM   #41
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Variety review-Hollywood Reporter loved it too

Both sharp and fleet, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” proves a satisfying screen version of Stephen Sondheim’s landmark 1979 theatrical musical. Where much could have gone wrong, things have turned out uniformly right thanks to highly focused direction by Tim Burton, expert screw-tightening by scenarist John Logan, and haunted and musically adept lead performances from Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Assembled artistic combo assures the film will reap by far the biggest audience to see a pure Sondheim musical, although just how big depends on the upscale crowd’s tolerance for buckets of blood, and the degree to which the masses stay away due to the whiff of the highbrow. In all events, DreamWorks-Paramount and Warner Bros. have a classy and reasonably commercial delicacy on their hands.

The composer-lyricist’s bulging shelf of awards and peerless reputation notwithstanding, Sondheim’s own shows have never invited much bigscreen interest, no doubt due to the general feeling that they are works from and for the head rather than the heart. The two films that were made from his musicals, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and “A Little Night Music,” were, to put it kindly, hardly representative of the effect the shows had onstage.

Some Broadway purists will gripe about how the film of “Sweeney Todd” omits and abridges certain songs, reshapes the drama to a degree or just can’t measure up to their cherished memories of Angela Lansbury’s wondrous performance as Mrs. Lovett. But it will be hard to argue that Burton and his cohorts have not imaginatively reconceived the piece as a work of cinema; strictly in film terms, “Sweeney” is seamless, coherent and vibrant, with scarcely a trace of “Broadway.”

The flip side of these virtues is that the immaculately designed settings and lack of breathing room lend the film a claustrophobic feel that underlines its status as an art work. Other qualitative considerations to the side, this aspect makes “Sweeney Todd” most recall the much-debated “Evita” among screen versions of post-’60s musicals.

Eschewing trademark mannerisms and flights of fancy, and yet fully imprinting the film with his signature, Burton strongly delivers the dark core of this story of a lower-class London barber whose thirst for revenge against a venal judge gives birth to a prodigious serial killer. Yarn has questionable real-life origins in the 18th century, but came to prominence as a story and a stage drama in the mid-19th century, and in 1973 served as the inspiration for the Christopher Bond play that attracted Sondheim’s attention.

As Sweeney Todd (Depp) sails up the Thames with a young man, Anthony (Jamie Campbell Bower), having escaped from prison in Australia, his bitterly ironic commentary in “No Place Like London” firmly defines the side of the city the film will occupy; in production designer Dante Ferretti’s superb realization, it is a squalid place of narrow streets and dingy rooms. Evoking old Hollywood horror pics, Burton has made something very close to a real black-and-white film, as Ferretti’s sets, the extensive CGI backgrounds, Dariusz Wolski’s lensing, Colleen Atwood’s costumes and the pale makeup are synchronized to permit only traces of bold color -- mostly red -- to accent a world dominated by shades of gray, blue, white and black.

Sweeney Todd returns with the single-minded intention of killing Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman, as deliciously sinister as fans know he can be), who locked him up on false charges so he could make off with the younger man’s lovely wife Lucy and young daughter.

Installed in a room above a dismal pie shop run by his slovenly long-ago landlady, Mrs. Lovett (Bonham Carter), Sweeney has his desire for payback sharpened by the news that Lucy killed herself out of distress and Turpin is now romantically inclined toward Sweeney’s now-teenage daughter, Johanna (Jayne Wisener), who coincidentally catches the eye of the naively romantic Anthony (Campbell Bower’s screen future seems assured, thanks to looks so striking that they distract one from looking even at Depp).

Sweeney’s murderous career commences to the detriment of a fellow barber, charlatan and con artist Adolfo Pirelli (Sacha Baron Cohen), following a public musical “duel” to determine who in London can administer the quickest, closest shave. Cohen, in his first screen appearance since “Borat,” makes the most of this brief but expansive supporting role, broadly playing the braggart showman with, as required, two different accents and highly colorful costumes.

Mrs. Lovett, a widow who signals her enduring love for Sweeney by having carefully kept his collection of gleaming razors through the years, makes a quick moral adjustment to her boarder’s bloody enterprise by using his victims’ flesh in her meat pies, which brings her business roaring back to life.

All the while, Judge Turpin and his malevolent henchman Beadle Bamford (an unctuous, gruesomely toothsome Timothy Spall) frustratingly elude Sweeney’s clutches; once they’re on to him and Anthony, the virtuous Johanna is thrown into an asylum, while Mrs. Lovett begins entertaining delusions of happily-ever-after domestic bliss with Sweeney.

Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler fashioned a darkly effective morality tale out of this descent into madness, one Logan has elegantly whittled down to two hours from three to satisfy the more concise specifications of the screen. Dialogue is present when needed, but the vast majority of the text and drama is conveyed via the songs, which themselves have sometimes been shortened -- with verses removed -- with little loss in impact.

Burton stages the singing sequences with precision and fluidity; as most of them are intimate one-or-two-person affairs and not production numbers in the traditional sense, he approaches them as he would dramatic scenes, in degrees of closeup and with an emphasis on content and forward movement. Music has always played a major role in his films (notably in his previous pic, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) and this represents one happy instance of a film made by a director without stage experience that genuinely serves the intentions of the original piece.

Heavy curiosity will center on how Depp, in particular, manages the vocals (all the actors performed their songs themselves). The answer is, perfectly well, thank you. The ever-resourceful thesp doesn’t take the half-measure of sing-speaking in the manner of Rex Harrison or Richard Burton, but puts across his many numbers with an agreeable voice that effectively registers the lyrics’ import.

The same goes for Bonham Carter, a similarly untrained vocalist, who works in the same vein of successfully acting her role through song. There is deeply buried emotion and charged motivations in both characters that Depp and Bonham Carter consistently express, and the eerie similarity of their looks -- the endlessly dark eyes, cascading black hair, delicate facial structure, sunken cheeks, exaggerated lips, slight stature -- accentuates the characters’ complicity; at one point, they are both so pale, they look like they’ve been done up in whiteface.

Another effective connection is made between Sweeney and his mortal enemy, Rickman’s hanging judge; both express the view, and justify their predisposition for meting out severe punishment, that all men have done something in their lives that make them deserve to die. It is certainly true of the two of them, no matter that one is the antihero, and the other the villain, of the piece.

The narrow, heavily deterministic and, yes, gushingly bloody nature of the show (more than enough to warrant its R rating) serves to mute the exhilaration to a degree, but producers Richard Zanuck, Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald (and Sondheim, who had approval of the director and actors) deserve credit for ensuring that everyone involved on the picture was the right person for the job.
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Old 12-04-2007, 05:31 PM   #42
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The music is streaming now

http://www.sweeneytoddmovie.com/
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Old 12-04-2007, 09:13 PM   #43
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I can't WAIT to see it. I know nothing about the musical itself, other than the bare bones of the plot.

I love a good musical at Christmastime.
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Old 12-04-2007, 10:21 PM   #44
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The good critical reception of this film just MIGHT be enough to convince me to see it.






...maybe.
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Old 12-05-2007, 09:04 PM   #45
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Cant wait for this movie! i just saw a commercial
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