Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Worst Pies in London

So I finally made it and, frankly, it was well worth the wait. I should confess before we start that I'm not a huge (my italics) fan of Sondheim. Don't get me wrong, I like him well enough but I always think of him as a sort of musical Tom Stoppard i.e. clever-clever musical theatre for the chattering classes. I can never quite shake the feeling that everyone's sitting there thinking "look, look, how smart I am to actually understand this!" And I'm not necessarily bowled over by everything Tim Burton does either, so I approached this film with more than a little trepidation. But I was VERY pleasantly surprised for three reasons. First of all, the whole thing looks so gorgeous, beautifully designed with, naturally, Burton's signature surreal gothic touch. Secondly, it bowls along at a cracking pace. And thirdly, Helena Bonham-Carter turns in an absolutely TREMENDOUS performance, she is just wonderful in this - not what I was expecting at all. On the downside, though I love him and think he's a great actor, Johnny Depp looks a bit lost, as if he's not quite sure what he's doing here. Part Keith Richards, part Edward Scissorhands, the whole topped off with a Cruella De Vil wig, he flounders a bit with the acting (I've seen him do that intense yet slightly puzzled look too many times) and struggles with the singing. You need a big voice for Sweeney and Johnny just doesn't have one. But I'd see it again just for Helena's tour de force and a wonderful cameo from Sacha Baron Cohen as Adolfo Pirelli. Great fun.

8 comments:

Tin Foiled said...

Whatever. Your mom is the Tom Stoppard of musical theatre.

Signed, an irrationally devoted Stephen Sondheim fanboy.

rhino75 said...

haha, dear tin foiled, I can assure you that I am in no way related to Tom Stoppard. And I did like it, I really did. But maybe I'm not ready for "Follies - The Movie"?

Tin Foiled said...

That's what she said...

(I have to admit that Blogger ate my first comment where I effectively argued that Stephen Sondheim was more accessible than other forms of musical theatre, by virtue of not being boring.)

amy said...

Have to admit, SBC completely stole the movie for me.

maitresse said...

not-- a-- huge-- fan-- of sondheim?

sorry. that was hard to swallow. I think I need a moment.

Ok.

I think TS (much as I love him) is far more pretentious than my dear SS. I mean, I sort of hate to ask it but what's a rhyme for basket? The man's not afraid to sacrifice intelligence for a clever rhyme.

Then, too, SS may have produced Follies and Passion (clunk, clunk) but he also produced Sunday in the Park With George, which is the purest example of the sublime in musical theatre.

Tin Foiled said...

Yay, maitresse!

I just bought the 5 DVD Sondheim box set, but it only has Sweeney Todd in Concert, not the stage play.

rhino75 said...

Maitresse, I knew my Sondheim comments would get you and Tin Foiled going :-) I don't dislike Sondheim, though - "Anyone Can Whistle" was the first song I ever sang solo in concert and I'm very fond of "A Little Night Music".

jeromeuh said...

I really liked the movie, H.B.C. is great...
but every time I walk out of a movie with johnny Depp I wonder why people like him so much... His looks do nothing for me at all, his acting never convinced me all that much... and I always thought he had the charisma of a dead scallop...
if it wasn't for John Waters and Tim Burton I don't think anyone would care for him