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saw a few movies this weekend.


chris columbus told the cast that "this is going to be the most important film i'm ever going to make." sadly, chris' most worthwhile contributions to film remain the screenplays to 'gremlins' and 'the goonies.'

which is not to say that i didn't enjoy the film. rosario dawson did an amazing job, and actually made me wish that some of the other roles had been recast as well (roger). it just isn't right seeing 30somethings in these parts, whether they originated them or not. it's no longer a film about east village scrubs forming a family and trying to survive. with older actors, it becomes a comment on that existence, told by adults who were once those children. as a result, it loses much of its urgency and relevance. it was frustrating that for everything they got right, the other foot would fall, and slip. the split screen with roger and mark during 'what you own' placing a windblown roger in the santa fe desert? so lame. it just killed one of the best songs in the show. what i did like was 'tango maureen,' which effectively expanded the song in an interesting way - a large ensemble dance number with an intricate three way tango worthy of 'chicago.' also, 'la vie boheme' successfully transferred the energy of the theatrical staging to film. so, why did other numbers fall so horribly flat?

i think one big mistake, and rob marshall knew to stay away from this in 'chiacgo,' is to never have characters sing while walking from one location to another. just cut to the new location. it's a musical. we're already suspending disbelief, and using a verse as 'travel time' is a waste. the 'phantom' movie suffered deeply from this. in rent, 'out tonight,' and 'take me or leave me' became more about moving from room to room than communicating with another character. also, fade to black after every song? easy, uninspired, predictable, cliche, by rote, and very very far from what a director striving to make 'the most important film of his life' would conceive. i just want to picture for a minute what a visionary like darren aronofsky would have done. we needed a gritty world through which the optimism of the play can blossom - not a glossy faux east village that only compounds artifice upon artifice.

what's sad is that because of the drought of movie musicals, filmmakers are having to relearn the medium once honed to a science by the 50's studio system. study west side story, sound of music, wizard of oz. all surefooted and unapologetic. only rob marshall has been able to do it again. here's hoping bill condon can do it with 'dreamgirls.' i have little expectation or hope for 'the producers.'

anyway, i did cry. because 'i'll cover you' is brilliant and works on it's own merit, and jesse l. martin is great.

but like the first 2 harry potters - i rarely felt like i was watching real moments of communication. like 'evita,' i was watching the cast album 'acted out,' which is fine, because the cast album is good, but still. i want more.

it's interesting how none of the commercials give any hint that 'rent' might be largely about characters affected by aids. even in interviews, it seems the cast has been instructed not to discuss it. when rosario dawson was on the today show, she described the film as 'well, really, it's essentially, about, you know, measuring your life in love.' oh, rosario.

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