…and the quest to see everything

To Maybe Watch Sweeney Todd

Jayne Wisener‘s Johanna is probably my reason if I was ever gonna rewatch Tim Burton‘s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Wisener wasn’t the next Kate Winslet, but she’s well-directed here no matter what her acting capabilities are. There’s something in the way she moves her head. June Thomas from Slate Magazine hasn’t been too kind on her rendition of the Sondheim-penned ‘Green Finch and Linnet Bird,’ but it’s my favourite rendition of the song, while most of the other renditions I’ve heard sing it with too much operatic force. Maybe I’m being cruel and that the other singers need to boom the song to the back of the audience, but I like Wisener’s softness.

ph. DreamWorks

There’s also something in the way she’s photographed here. High angle shot from the view of the birds. Through the window. My favourite POV of her is through the peep-hole from where the corrupt judge looks (Alan Rickman). The black spaces on the screen like that of silent cinema.

Should I watch a film just for two-minute intervals of a character watered down from the original source material and listen to her sing maybe twice? I don’t know why the film never fully connected to me the first time. Maybe I got bored by the ‘arterial spray?’ Or Helena Bonham Carter didn’t project her voice enough? Otherwise the film does look better on video. The thing about Sweeney Todd, and I can say this about at least one movie released every year, is that it’s either great in memory or in parts. There’s a reason why I was bored through half of the film, as if the scenes felt like the could have been played out better.

And those who know me will know that despite of 50-ish movies that I love – list coming up in never – I would rather get punched in the gut than watch a good or ok movie again.

There was also a small group of college-age kids near the front of the theatre who laughed at every other line of ‘A Little Priest.’ Like, we get it. You’re the biggest Sondheim fan ever. You’re so smart, you get all the jokes. I hated the Cumberland then. I said that I regretted not watching The Savages instead, but I’m not sure if that’s still true.

I might be going job hunting with my sister this afternoon. This movie’s gonna be at the Bell Lightbox at 9:30. It’s a Wonderful Life is playing at the Bloor. Black Christmas is playing at the Underground. I have time to think this through.

4 responses

  1. I found this post especially humorous, why not watch it again? (I do love HBC here, but then I always do) I too think that Jayne has the best rendition of “Green Finch & Linnet” bird, I especially dislike the Original Broadway Cast version. It just sounds awful to me.

    As a Sondheim-ite I fidn it so weird that your fellow audience found it THAT hilarious (the cut lyrics were the funniest parts) but they were probably posers. Reminds me of watching Shakespeare with some pseudo-intellectuals, laughing uproariously at all the humour. Douches.

    December 17, 2010 at 7:09 pm

  2. I saw this film the first time at the Cumberland. If you follow the Torontonians that I follow, they complain about the Cumberland especially its patronage. Although the people who watched the film were younger, mostly.

    One of the older audience members came out saying ‘It’s not the worst, but it’s not the best neither.’ With a fake British accent.

    December 17, 2010 at 7:14 pm

  3. Wow.. lucky you 슟_슟!.. Thanks for sharing the beautiful moment with us..

    December 18, 2010 at 4:43 pm

  4. Pingback: Things Go From Bad to Worse « The Charlie Bone Blog

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