December 5th, 2014
Movie musicals may be making a comeback – thanks to Baz Luhrmann’s latest all-singing, all-dancing foray Moulin Rouge.
Christian (Ewan McGregor), a struggling poet, goes to Paris to immerse himself in the Bohemian spirit. There, he meets a troupe of actors and writers who are putting up a new show Spectacular Spectacular, and offers his services as a lyricist. While marketing the show to the popular but sleazy theatre Moulin Rouge, Christian falls under the spell of Satine (Nicole Kidman), an enigmatic courtesan. Unfortunately, the rich and influential Duke of Monroth (Richard Roxburgh) has also fallen for Satine.
Unlike most modern movies with music, Moulin Rouge has its plot riding on a wave of delightful and instantly recognisable songs. Most notable in the song list is a refreshing take on the archetypical show tune The Sound of Music, a link to “tradition”, as it were. Incongruity rules the day, with songs like Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend seguing into Madonna’s Material Girl.
The main obstacle that modern musicals face is how to blend songs seamlessly into the storyline. Modern audiences are not used to seeing actors break out spontaneously into niftily choreographed song and dance routines. Moulin Rouge overcome this obstacle in a very stylish way, using the show-within-a-show format to introduce a number of songs into the plot. Let’s face it: the idea of actors starting to sing in the middle of a movie is an inherently corny prospect. But Moulin Rouge uses this fact to draw a few laughs, like in the scene where Christian sings, “The hills are alive…” Other musicals following Moulin Rouge can learn much from it.
A-list stars Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman prove to be top-rate singers. (Of course, modern sound technology can make almost anyone sound great these days, but these two are pretty good singers – especially Ewan McGregor.) The chemistry between the two leads shows itself in the duets they sing, especially in Come What May.
I disliked the way the overt content was handled in this movie. (Satine, after all, is a courtesan.) The number of references and innuendoes, plus songs like Voulez Vous etc etc, disqualify Moulin Rouge as a family movie. Thankfully, the second half of the movie plays down this aspect of the show.
August 7th, 2014
“Why start a website on movie musicals?” you ask. Well, why not?
There are tons of pages out there on the Internet on pop music, computer games and other “mainstream” fascinations. It’s a real pity that there aren’t many great websites on movie musicals.
Strange, because there are many people interested in these movie musicals. Many of us have literally grown up with movie musicals, and miss the innocence of the genre that modern movies can’t seem to capture (that’s putting it mildly). Other younger folk may have chanced upon this wonderful genre and have been captivated by it ever since. And many more fall into the category of “Why, yes, I have watched The Sound of Music” people.
Whatever it is, many people around the globe have had some sort of fondness for movie musicals, whether they’ve watched The Sound of Music ten times, or hummed Edelweiss in kindergarten.
Aiming to become the definitive online guide to movie musicals, Movie-Musicals.Com (yes, that’s just me) wants to encourage more people out there (yes, that means you!) to start creating pages on movie musicals. It doesn’t have to be something completely about movie musicals. Maybe a website on your favourite musical (on Broadway and Hollywood) or your favourite star (Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Julie Andrews…?) was what you wanted to create all along.
So what were you waiting for? Need a good reason to get started? Read on….
May 7th, 2014
At the launch of Movie-Musicals.Com, it seems fitting (and amusing at the same time) to look back on the rich history of this website. All right, it’s not much.
But it’s always nice to give visitors a sense of time and place, to make you feel welcome and comfortable in a website that’s been around for some time, albeit in a different form, at a different URL…
It’s also nice to see that I’ve worked on this website for almost 2 years. It didn’t seem like such a long time at all. I’ve written tons of reviews, developed loads of HTML and scripts, and most importantly, met a lot of fellow enthusiasts. It seems all so worthwhile, even though I’ve managed to keep the website completely non-commercial. (At one stage, I included affliate links on my website, but I don’t expect I earned any money.) To date, I’ve not made any money, but what an experience. One worth sharing with you.