Saturday, January 24, 2015

Strange Magic, American Graffiti Meets Labyrinth






George Lucas has said for years that he wants to make small art films that would not be popular.
But he is a popular artist, and that is what he is so good at. He should be happy to be so good at something.

Mr Lucas has said that Strange Magic is for his daughters. He might even be the model for the overweight and protective king.


His daughters should probably love this film. And anyone with young daughters should go out to see it because it introduces in Marianne a character who does not pine for love, who learns to fight and  take care of herself and others before falling in love.

If anyone was ever bothered that Fiona had to turn ugly to be with Shrek or that Belle could not make love to a sexy beast and had to settle for a wimpy prince, this is the film for you.

Marianne and the eventually reformed villian of the film find romance. He is craggly, but they have much in common and  both sacrifice for each other. This is how love works and is miles away from the bathos in those later Star Wars films.

The look of the film is very Labyrinth. The feel of the film is American Graffiti, in that music is essential and constant. Is there anything as moving here as the Smoke Gets in Your Eyes dance scene in AG?   Yes, the love songs here all prove simple, direct and true and help move the story forward. Many of the folks in my screening were getting teary eyed.

There is also great voice work particularly by Bob Einstein.  I really liked this movie.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bill Cosby In Town

I should say a few words about Bill Cosby in film since this is a film blog and I saw him do stand up last night.

His TV and stand up seems rooted in reality. Oddly, the films that followed the huge fame of The Cosby Show were high concept silly films.  Leonard Part 6 and Ghost Dad are silly and not very good.  His Fat Albert film is a different story. It is high concept. Fat Albert and his gang go from animation to the real world. And yet there are good lessons about citizenship and how to be a good person. For instance, when walking with a woman, the man should always walk nearest the curb in case a car swerves or water is splashed onto the sidewalk.

If his stand up is to be believed, Cosby was not a good citizen as a very young child. He took money from the church donation box to buy a four scoop ice cream that he dropped. He killed his younger brothers imaginary friend!  Here is the image that greeted the audience until he hit the stage.
 
   
 
 

There were cops there
 
 
 
Everybody was there for a good time. My sister should up with her guy. It was nice seeing them. There was one lone protester outside, but I never saw her.
 
I did hear this exchange
 
Old Man (who came in a group of four others):  So what is this a play?
 
One of Group: No it's Bill Cosby.
 
Old Man: WHAT!!!
 
Old man aside, everyone seemed there to see Bill, and we all laughed. He did twenty mintues on football and how his grandson bet against New England because they win too much.
 
Mostly, he did routines about childhood, a very funny bit about his uncle and a stork, a bit about pinatas not coming with candy.
 
The only reference he made to current events is mentioning that he is no longer on the Temple University board of directors.  He ended with a story about being at a Temple ceremony that was a hilarious showstopper.
 
My favorite moment of the show:
 
"I don't understand comedians who say we were poor but didn't realize it. In my family, we realized it. We were informed."  It was a night of great comedy from a man who, ideally, will still be doing this for years to come.