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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Double Feature: Toe Tapping Numbers

This weeks Double Features: Footloose and Cabaret

Footloose (Directed by Herbert Ross)


Starring: Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, Chris Penn, Sarah Jessica Parker

He Said:

This is a film that I have avoided watching for a long while. I have heard a lot of good things about it. (and actually would like to see the stage performance on the West End or Broadway) but it never really appeared to be anything more than a dated movie from the 80's. In a lot of ways that is the films largest strength. The film is so very dated in every aspect that the film is a laugh riot from beginning to end.

The main story of an outsider from the big city coming to a small sleepy town and making trouble by trying to wake it up, is not the most original concept but it works in this film very well. The fact that dancing and music with anymore rhythm or beat to it than Hymns are actually against the law is a very interesting comment on what temptation is.

There is a nod to Fahrenheit 451, when some of the towns leaders begin to take to extremes the "protection" needed for their town and their children. I think this film has a lot of depth and a strong message that would have very easily been glossed over and even ignored in other similar formatted films.

I really enjoyed this film and if you have a hankering for a good dose of 80's music (not to mention a Sarah Jessica Parker 26 years younger looking almost exactly as she does now.) you will enjoy it as well, I give it [[[4 out of 5]]]

She Said:

This is one of those films I am not really sure why I had never watched before. I think, like Fame, it was made in just slightly the wrong era for me. Made a few years before I was a born it was probably deemed either too adult or too eighties for my parents to watch it. Probably the latter.

Overall I found it enjoyable although a little slow in places. However, having watched a few classic eighties films recently, thinking that old films are slow is probably just a symptom of watching too many turn-of-the-millennium big budget films.

As James says the plot isn't the most original but it works. A town that sees music as a sin is the perfect setting for a coming of age film. And, while not a musical in the traditional sense, this film is driven by music and dance albeit very dated music and dance.

I was interested to see that the Billy Elliot 'angry dance' is almost shot for shot taken from Kevin Bacon's angry dance in Footloose. I got a real kick out of recognising this and perhaps other people will notice similar things that are a homage to this film.

Not the best film I have ever seen, but definitely worth a watch. There are some great characters especially John Lithgow who almost steals the show from Bacon... if it were not for Bacon's god-awful eighties dancing. The leg warmers in the intro did warn me though! I say this all with love. I give it {{{3.5 out of 5}}}

They Said: A fun film ideal for a random 80's night film fest. We'd be interested in seeing the stage version with some more updated dance style. We give it {{{7.5 out of 10}}}}

Cabaret (Directed by Bob Fosse)

Starring: Liza Minnelli, Michael York


She Said:

Cabaret is one of those films that sticks in your mind. I had seen a high school stage version of Cabaret when I was younger and was surprised to find I still remembered all the songs. The film will stick, I'm sure, for even longer.

The thing that this film really had going for it is basically Liza Minelli and her chemistry with the other characters especially Micheal York. Her performance is hyper, brash, witty and fantastic which is also, not coincidentally, my impression of the film overall.

The film has a lot in common with Chicago which was originally staged and choreographed by Bob Fosse just like Cabaret. The dancing style is very unique. It is provocative, sharp and has a 'contortionist' feel to it (if you have seen the stage version of Chicago you will hopefully get what I mean). Also like Chicago, Cabaret provides a satirical look at the time in which it is situated creating an ironic song and dance out of the beginning of Nazi Germany. Imagine the Sound of Music if Julie Andrews took speed, ditched the kids and donned a corset and fish nets.

Set in the Kit Kat Club (a cabaret, or variety show if you like) the other memorable performance is the 'master of ceremonies' who leads most of the numbers. His songs are performed to the audience which adds to the irony. All his numbers are making statements about, for example, the lure of money in 30s Berlin or the danger of relationships with Jews. But it is done with wit and vibrant expression.

Hey, 'life is a Cabaret', right? I give this film {{{4 out of 5}}}

He Said:

This film like Helen has said above has a very Chicago feel to it. Though I am certain if I had seen this prior to Chicago the same would have been true in reverse. Which makes sense as Bob Fosse is the creative force behind them both. This film far exceeded my expectations and will undoubtedly make me try even harder to see it on the West End.

Liza Minnelli really is fantastic in this film, every part of her went into this film and I honestly think only someone with as large a personality as her could take on the roll of Sally Bowles. The Master of Ceremonies repeatedly breaks the fourth wall of the film and largely plays as the Id of the characters, often voicing their hopes, fears desires and greed.

Michael York has had a very extensive career though most (like myself) will recognize him as Basil from the Austin Powers franchise. I feel that his character Brian often plays a second fiddle to Sally, though his development and growth far exceeds hers as the film progresses.

This is a fantastic musical and classic film, and unlike the very dated Footloose has proved to still be fresh despite it's test in time. A fun little side note to mention is how much A 26 year old Liza Minnelli resembles a similar aged Anne Hathaway. I really enjoyed this film and would suggest that it be on your DVD shelf at home I give it [[[4 out of 5]]]

They Said:

This is a film that will stick in your mind long after the disk has stopped spinning. If you like jazzy music and provocative dancing then this is for you. We give it {{{8 out of 10}}}

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