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Non-Review Review: Nine

I have to admit, I greatly enjoyed Nine, even if it never really felt substantial or fulfilling. I’m not convinced that the film works as a story, but it does provide director Rob Marshall the opportunity to put together setpiece after setpiece, each choreographed with impeccable skill. Indeed, given his ability to stage glitzy sequences and the sheer volume of talent in front of the camera, coupled with lavish production values and a mesmerizing setting, it’s easy to forgive Nine its faults – the most glaring of which is that nothing really happens for the first three-quarters of it, and then stuff happens which doesn’t necessarily feel earned in the last quarter. Still, it looks damn pretty and the soundtrack is quite catchy.

Now that's a showstopper...

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Chorus Lion: The Musical Magic of the Lion King…

Thanks to the ever wonderful Andrew who is running a mini-blogothon event this weekend. I’m delighted to have been asked to take part, and I’m sure there are some interesting choices being made.

When you mention “musical”, is it a cheat to think “Disney”? I’m not really sure. I mean, I could point to any number of iconic and important live-action musicals. The Wizard of Oz is perhaps the most enduring of these, but they run the gauntlet from quirky indie numbers like Romance & Cigarettes to bona fides Oscar winners like Chicago. There’s ones that have transitioned from stage to screen and those who have gone from cinema to theatre. However, for me, it has to be a Disney film. And not just because they own a monopoly on my childhood. And, if it’s going to be a Disney film, it has to be The Lion King.

Pride and joy...

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Non-Review Review: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Who would have thought that the writers’ strike last year would have been a blessing in disguise? Not only did the condensing down of seasons of House and Lost give the series a tighter narrative flow, but we also got the highest-profile “web original” series ever written. It may have been somewhat disingenous of Time to name this little musical masterpiece “one of the best inventions of 2008” – as there have been web-based series before – but what is astounding is how well this little drama stands on its own. Produced with a shoestring budget using favours called in from all over the industry as a means of artistic expression circumventing the studio system (which was being boycotted by the strike), Joss Whedon continues to demonstrate his cult credentials with another sure-fire geek hit.

The doctor will see you now...

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HMS Pinafore at the National Concert Hall

Myself and the better half had a very… theatrical evening last night. First we stopped by Trinity to check out the up-and-coming talent during their “directors’ debut” season (running for the next three weeks, if you feel like taking a chance with your theatre-going) and then we went on to catch a performance of the HMS Pinafore playing at the National Concert Hall from the Rathmines & Rathgar Musical Society (the people behind The Producers at the The Gaiety earlier this year). It’s rare that we get a Gilbert & Sullivan musical performed in full, so was it worth it?

Yes, this is the only photo we have...

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Non-Review Review: Sweeney Todd

Ah, the musical. The genre of choice for middleaged women everywhere. One of those glamourous shallow callbacks to the golden era of Hollywood. I was intrigued when Tim Burton announced his next project was a musical – an adaptation of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. I was familiar with the myth of the man, but not the musical. I ended up being served a treat almost as fiendishly decadent as Mrs. Lovett’s meat pies: a little flaky and suspicious in places, and a lot more filling than it should be. Magical, macabre, magnificent. It’s isn’t classic Burton, but it’s certainly vintage.

Get ready for a close shave...

Get ready for a close shave...

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