Category Archives: christine baranski

Mamma Mia!

This is a fun movie, a terrific and more than welcome step back into the age of musicals – and highly recommended. And don’t forget to stay through the credits for the cast doing a few more songs in full seventies ABBA-ish regalia.

How Ron Howard Stole My Christmas

A Video Review of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

In the immortal words of the Pet Shop Boys, “What have I done, what have I done, what have I done to deserve this?” What sick twisted demon from hell possessed Ron Howard and made him create this big budget major motion picture based on the wonderful Dr. Seuss work? Surely this could only be the work of the devil.

The 1966 half-hour cartoon by Chuck Jones narrated by Boris Karloff with that song by Thul (Tony the Tiger) Ravenscroft is perfect. Why was there a need to do this?

Jim Carrey in his hideous make-up as the Grinch is nowhere near as scary as the citizens of Whoville who all resemble the monsters from “The Twilight Zone” episode Eye of the Beholder. Ron Howard made this for his kids? Why haven’t the authorities taken those kids away for cruel and unusual treatment?

The real story has very few characters but apparently the writers felt this had to be fleshed out and added a dozen or so irrelevant characters including the Grinch’s old girlfriend (hello?). Screenwriters Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman (who also had a hand in destroying the big budget motion picture version of the brilliant Wild Wild West) should have their pencils broken, their typewriters smashed and their word processors melted down.

The ending is horrendous. Apparently Christmas doesn’t come in a box, it’s not about giving at all. It’s all about money money money, materialism and greed, gimme gimme gimme. I hate Jim Carrey. Damn you, Ron Howard. This is easily one of the worst three movies ever made.

And take off the frigging hat.

Rating -*

***** Must see
**** Worth seeing
*** So you have eight dollars you want to throw away…
** Is Adam Sandler in this mess?
* A bullet would be quicker.

The above previously appeared at Project Popcorn.



A Film Review of Chicago

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

So how much for the film rights to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Chess? Or how about his Aspects of Love? Because judging by the critical success of Chicago, bad musicals is what Hollywood wants and I want some of that free cash too.

I’m not saying Chicago is a bad movie, it’s not, by no stretch of the imagination – I just want to know how it has swept the Oscar nominations this year. Now I’m not going to argue with the supporting actor and actress noms. John C. Reilly is damned good here and Queen Latifah is always amazing – she’s deserved the Oscar back in 1998 for Living Out Loud. It’s the nominations for Gere, Zellweger and Zeta-Jones I have issues with.

Yeah, ooh, ahh, they can sing and dance, big deal. Back in the olden days of Hollywood there was prerequisite to acting ability. And acting ability is what the coveted Oscar is all about. These three walk through these roles and they are capable of much more. If we’re giving out Academy Awards for bodies of work rather than an individual film then these nominations are fine. To me, they just don’t deserve it for Chicago.

The film does deserve acclaim. It’s a good old fashioned musical as opposed to new wave rock versions like Josie and the Pussycats and Hedwig and the Angry Inch which were just as good but unfortunately failed miserably critically. As a matter of fact the only thing that removes Chicago from the ranks of classics like Singin’ in the Rain and West Side Story is the dizzying cut and run MTV camera angles and shifts. Not good in an old fashioned musical.

My other complaint is that the songs are a bit too telegraphed even for a musical, you can almost know when to look at your watch and say time for a song. I suppose that may be unavoidable but it doesn’t seem that obvious to me in other classics of the genre.

The rest of the cast are standouts especially Lucy Liu and Mya and best of all, Christine Baranski is marvelous as Mary Sunshine – her performance here almost makes up for her being in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Almost. I don’t forgive easily.

Now don’t let me talk anyone out of seeing Chicago, it’s excellent. There is a rule about movies about expectation. If a film is better than you expected when you went in – it’s a good movie. The hype for this one killed it for me. The critics and the Oscar nominations had me expecting a masterpiece. Just goes to show you what critics know. 🙂