This Week(s) I Watched: Grease Singalong, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, The Kid Stays in the Picture, Some Like it Hot, Oh, Brother Where art Thou?, The Woman in Black, Easy Virtue, Art & Copy

The films I watched from January 23rd to February 11th.

With my recent invite to Letterboxd, I’m a bit afraid this column will go the way of the dodo. It’s clean, smooth, collaborative and a great way to keep a film diary. You guys who don’t have access however? I’ll keep this up, JUST FOR YOU. This post has turned into a biweekly bit so I want to change the name but have no idea. Any suggestions? This Fortnight and a Week I Watched? Films in a Fortnight or So? Fortuitious Fortnight? Hrm, I need to work on this…

This week had a lot of revisiting, some new documentaries and my review of The Woman in Black, the biggest yawn of 2012.

Grease Sing-A-Long
TIFF has done me in with their sing-a-long as of late. While I already had a ticket for the February 25th Grease Sing-a-long I was invited to attend the “practice session” with media and invited guests and belted along to Greased Lightning and Beauty School Dropout with the best of them. I was worried it would satisfy my appetite but no, if anything I’m even more excited for round 2! Join me on Saturday February 25th at 7pm. Tickets are still available!

The Eyes of Tammy Faye
As a Canadian who was a child when all of the Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker and the PTL Club went down, I just knew Tammy Faye as the evangelist with the eyelashes. My boyfriend grew up in North Carolina and insisted I watch this documentary. This was a very dark, but interesting documentary about a woman who suffered quite a bit of misfortune in her life. A woman I’d previously only recognized as a batty Christian. Tolerant and friendly to gays and lesbians, not afraid of perma-tattoos (her lipline, eyebrows and more) and in love with Jesus, she’s an enigmatic figure. I’m seriously glad they made this movie to at least try to explain some of the history of her madness.

The Kid Stays in the Picture
Robert Evans’s riches-to-rags-to-documentary is a great, if not narcissistic look at a producer who shaped some of America’s most iconic pictures of the sixties and seventies. From Rosemary’s Baby to The Godfather and Chinatown, Evans put the wheels in motion for some of the most successful and important American films of all time. All the historical stories are great, it’s just too bad he’s a sexist jerk. “Discovered” by Norma Shearer, one of the more sexually and gender progressive classic film stars, I’m sure she’d roll her eyes at the way he describes women in this documentary. Oh well.

Some Like it Hot
Probably my favourite movie about accidental drag queens of all time. Lemmon and Curtis as two musicians who somehow witness the Valentine’s Day massacre find love in Florida in a female band? Priceless. Lemmon as the creepy pervert and Curtis as the self-rightous stalwart is a lovely pair, especially when Curtis decides to impersonate a millionaire at the same time that he’s impersonating a woman. Also? Fat Marilyn! I love Fat Marilyn! The scene on the yacht with her dress that doesn’t do up in the back? Ugh, I love this movie.

Oh Brother, Where art Thou?
Probably my second favourite Coen brothers movie, although it depends on the day of the week. Sometimes it’s Barton Fink, sometimes I love No Country for Old Men, sometimes it’s Raising Arizona, but really? Lebowski is my first and this is my second. I really enjoyed the inanity this time around, I hadn’t actually watched it in maybe 3 or 4 years. Ulysses intentions are just as nefarious as ever, and boy did I feel bad for Pete this time around. Also? I may have sang my way through the film…

The Woman in Black
This was a whim, I’m not usually a contemporary horror fan because most contemporary horror is terrible. This was no exception. The Woman in Black may be a moving, creepy play but that does not translate onscreen. Instead of attempting to draw a dark atmospheric mood, the film instead just allows Radcliffe to play his character as somebody so desenstized to death and ghosts that he has balls the size of watermelons but the personality of a mop. I didn’t care about him, truly. He’s a broken man and that is all. The scares were paint by numbers or, paint by watch. At a certain point mid-way through the film, the “AAHHH” ghost screams, reminiscent of The Ring and other movies that use that fake-scream to spook you, was playing every two minutes without fail. I was so bored I wanted to cry. Nothing was unique, nothing rang true, nothing was actually spooky and I figured out the story and the twist half-way through. Skip it, go see The Innkeepers instead, do NOT waste your time or money on this piece. Remember Harry Potter as he was, not as he is.

Easy Virtue
The Kristin Scott Thomas/Jessica Biel/Colin Firth film pairing I never thought I’d see. A young heir to a large manse finds love in all the wrong places in a widowed race car driver, a lovely American woman from Detroit who doesn’t ride horses or hunt or play tennis. Biel is surprisingly charming and interesting as the ‘older woman’ and this movie is anachronistic but funny as all hell.

Art & Copy
Do you like Mad Men? Do you like advertisements? Remember Just Do It and Got Milk? Listen and learn the backstories from the advertisers, the outliers and business-types who made those ads happen. An engrossing film for anybody who likes art, design and copy, especially for advertising, marketing and communications students. If anything was ever going to make me want to shill for ‘the man’ more, it was this film. It’s available on Netflix so there is really no excuse.

On the tv front, I’ve started watching The United States of Tara which is amazing. There are no adequate explanations for why I hadn’t dedicated myself to this show yet, everybody on it is great, they’re fucked up, it’s subversive and it’s not TOO Diablo Cody-ified. I watched a few episodes when it first came out and just let it go for reasons unknown to me, but I’m obviously an idiot because this is great television.

Also rewatching? The Rose of Versailles, a late 70’s anime about the start of the French Revolution through the eyes of a female commander of the Royal Guard. Melodramatic but entertaining, it features a super strong lead female character and has a bit of historical fluffiness too.

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