The Tower and The Wall (Movie Thoughts: Under The Eiffel Tower/Berlin I Love You )

under-the-eiffel-tower-movie-posterThere are bad movies that you know are going to be bad, and there are some that are just so disappointing.  I did not know much about Archie Border’s ‘Under The Eiffel Tower’ except for its premise – a man proposes under the Eiffel Tower, and wouldn’t you agree that the idea just seems so romantic? But that plot point is used so ridiculously in this film, and the rest of it is even worse. I never believed in any of the story, specifically the love story between the two main characters. Matt Walsh and Judith Godreche try but the script is dead on arrival, and you can’t unbury the dead. I checked out of the story fairly early on and never got back in. Sure, the film is on the short side, but I probably could have better used my time napping.

0_cOR3jtwPN-PrbDloFrom France we go now to Germany, specifically Berlin. The city is host to the newest film of the “Cities of Love” series, and while it is an odd choice (Do you think romantic when you think of the Berlin Wall and Holocaust Memorial?) I can play teh game. The film consists of ten short films, all kind of connected by one story line of two people meeting cute , a street angel and a street musician. There are some interesting people contributing here – Neil LaBute writes one of them – but it’s all so disjointed that a nice little short about a trans woman (played by Diego Luna) and a teenager gets lost in all the other noise. I mildly liked most of it, except for one storyline (the LaBute one, starring Mickey Rourke, natch) that was kind of creepy. And my Gerald Nolan Funk is here, dancing, so it can’t bee too bad.

Love Begins With One Hello (Film Thoughts: Hello Again)

helllo_1507045388I remember seeing ‘Hello Again’ off-Broadway at Lincoln Center many years ago, and I remember disliking it. Even though I liked the performances (Donna Murphy! John Cameron Mitchell!) I really was put off by Michael John LaChiusa’s score. I have always been a purist when it comes to musical theater – I’m old fashioned, please don’t mind me – and it took me a long while to get adjusted to the ‘modern’ composers whose themes are more discordant, and tuneless.

So maybe it’s that maturity that made me appreciate the score now, more than twenty years later, and actually, it really has grown on me, and I even like it a lot now. Or perhaps it’s the MTV effect. Paired with the great visuals in the film, the music resonated more. The show was inspired by Arthur Shnitzler’s La Ronda, and features vignettes of people engaging in sexual acts, all done elegantly, so there’s nothing smutty here.

s592I loved this movie, and I had reservations. It was perfectly cast with a cast with blazing screen presences, voices that life the score, and sensuality that is needed to essay the score. I cannot think of anyone who is a weak link – everyone was perfect. To my eyes, the male cast was perfection – starting with Gerald Nolan Funk and Al Calderone. And has Cheyenne Jackson ever been sexier on film? I was mesmerized by Tyler Blackburn (Where has he been all my life?) and thought T R Knight was best with his scene from the Titanic.

And of course, Audra McDonald. She sizzles on screen as she does on stage. You cannot take your eyes off her, and when she sings, angels would take notes. I hadn’t known that Rumer Willis (of Demi and Bruce) was good like this good, and Martha Plimpton always delivers.

The vignettes, to me, played like music videos, and probably better suited for this medium. Some of the sexuality seems tempered, but I guess that wasn’t really the point of the film. But to me, the whole was very enjoyable, and when the credits started to roll, I wanted more.