From “Carousel,” the musical about a carnival barker whose love for a sweet small-town girl ends in tragedy when he tries to steal some money to take care of her. He gets a chance to come back from heaven for just one day to see his daughter graduate from high school and let her know that she will never walk alone. The gorgeous music from Rodgers and Hammerstein is performed by Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae.
Can it be that YouTube is only five years old? It began in May of 2005 and was bought by Google for $1.6 billion just over a year later.
Now it has twice as many viewers every day as all three television broadcast networks combined. It has fundamentally changed the way we share our lives with each other.
Of course, YouTube celebrated by creating an anniversary channel for users to upload their tributes. “Guest curators” like Katie Couric, director Pedro Almodovar, and Conan O’Brien posted their all-time favorites. And fan favorites like the “Lonely Girl” are back with their thoughts and updates.
Here are a few of my all-time favorite YouTube classics. I’d be glad to hear about yours.
Think of this week as a sorbet to cleanse the palate between the last four weeks of spring blockbusters and the big, big movies coming our way throughout June and July. Sequels! Remakes! Romance! Explosions! That’s all ahead. This week it’s all about comedy. And all three have the same theme: a straight-laced character or characters meet a free spirit who turns their lives upside down. Sometimes literally, especially when Marmaduke is involved.
Three movies are opening on Friday, none likely to get in the way of last week’s “Prince of Persia” and “Sex and the City 2” or next week’s “Toy Story 3.” For the kids, we have “Marmaduke” is based on the one-panel comic strip that has had the same joke every day since the Eisenhower administration: this dog is really big! The most hopeful indicators for this movie from the people behind the Garfield films are the voice talent: Owen Wilson as the title pooch and the always-reliable Emma Stone, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kiefer Sutherland, Steve Coogan, George Lopez, and Sam Elliott as his animal pals. Human characters are played by three of my favorites, too: Judy Greer, William H. Macy and “Pushing Daises'” Lee Pace.
“The Killers” stars Katherine Heigel and Ashton Kutcher in an action comedy about a woman who finds out that her husband is a spy in a rather inconvenient manner. In a surprise move, the movie’s studio has decided not to show “The Killers” to critics in time for reviews. They said,
We want to capitalize on the revolution in social media by letting audiences and critics define this film concurrently. In today’s socially connected marketplace, we all have the ability to share feedback instantly around the world. In keeping with this spirit, Lionsgate and the filmmakers want to give the opportunity to moviegoing audiences and critics alike to see “Killers” simultaneously, and share their thoughts in the medium of their choosing. We felt that this sense of immediacy could be a real asset in the marketing of “Killers.”
Translation: We’re hoping a lot of people are willing to buy tickets before the word gets out that it is a stinker.
According to Christy Lemire of AP, “cold openings are “a tactic studios normally use when there’s a guaranteed niche audience, such as for horror movies or ones based on video games – the logic being that fans of the genre will show up, regardless of reviews. But “Killers” is a mainstream romantic comedy with two A-list stars and a production budget of about $70 million.” She notes, too, that refusal to screen for critics does not always mean bad reviews.
Bad reviews don’t always mean bad ticket sales, either. But I’m predicting both for this one.
Fans of the raunchy comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” will remember Russell Brand’s breakthrough role as bad boy rock star Aldous Snow. In this film, that character literally takes center stage when a shy recording studio executive (Jonah Hill) is assigned to make sure Snow makes it to an important concert performance. It looks outrageous, offensive, and pretty funny.
I’ll be reviewing all three, so stay tuned.
Almost 150 years ago Oxford mathematician Charles Dodgson published his wildly imaginative story about Alice’s adventures down a rabbit hole. And now the wildly imaginative director Tim Burton has brought Wonderland to the 3D movie screen. It is less faithful to the original story than many of the previous dozen or so movie versions, but I think Dodgson, better known by his pseudonym, Lewis Carroll, would approve of Burton’s bringing his own take to the classic characters.
He brings his own story as well. Carroll’s Alice is a little girl bored by her sister’s dull book, and her journey is episodic and filled with wordplay and references to Victorian society that fill the annotated edition of the book with witty footnotes.
To make the story more cinematic, Burton tells us that all of that has already happened in what young Alice thought was a dream. This is her return visit. Alice is 18 years old and has just been proposed to by a dull but wealthy lord with no chin and bad digestion. As she meets up with the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter, she is not the only one who is confused. Characters seem puzzled and unsure about whether she is the real Alice. The Mad Hatter peers at her perplexedly. She may be Alice, and yet not quite completely the Alice they are looking for. “You were once muchier,” he tells her. “You’ve lost your muchiness.” In Burton’s version, Alice’s adventures are about her finding her “muchiness.” Her visit to Wonderland is a chance for her to understand what she is capable of and how much she will lose if she makes her decisions based on what people expect from her. As in the Carroll story, she is constantly changing size, and Burton shows us that she is really finding her place. She believes she is once again in a dream but increasingly learns that it is one she can control. By the time she faces the Jabberwock, she knows that she is in control — and that her courage and determination can create the opportunity she needs to follow her heart.
Johnny Depp brings a depth, even a poignance to the Mad Hatter, and Helena Bonham Carter is utterly delicious as the peppery red queen, hilariously furious over her stolen tarts. There’s a thrilling battle, the visuals are dazzling, with references to classic book illustrations by Maxfield Parrish, and the 3D effects will have you feeling as though you are falling down the rabbit hole yourself. The frame story bookending the Wonderland/Underland adventure is tedious and, oddly, less believable than the disappearing cat and frog footmen. But Burton’s re-interpretation of the classic story is filled with muchiness and the result is pretty darn frabjuous.