Weekend Roundup: Addams Family Musical, Phantom of the Opera, Dark Shadows

Happy Monday all! 

Hope you had a nice weekend. Mine was quite busy but in a good way. For our anniversary celebration, we went to see the Addams Family play on Friday night at the Ordway Theater in St. Paul.

Truth be told, I’m not that familiar with the story nor have I seen the 1991 film version, but the trailer looks like a hoot so I thought, why not. Well fortunately, unlike what the critics think of Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, the show itself is as amusing and fun as the preview. Instead of Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth on Broadway, the touring cast of Douglas Sills and Sara Gettelfinger as Gomez and Morticia are both excellent. Sills practically stole the scenes every time he came on stage with his zing-y one liners and impeccable comic timing. I think I’d like him a lot more than Lane in the role.

I quite like musicals, and this weekend I also got to revisit one of my all time favorite musicals, The Phantom of the Opera. I have seen the stage performance twice and I could easily go a few more times as I’m just so in love with the doomed-romance story and its incredibly beautiful music. I even enjoyed the short-run sequel Love Never Dies when it was still playing in London’s Adelphi Theatre, but no, it still can’t hold a candle to the original. No wonder it’s still the highest-grossing entertainment event of all time!

THIS is the role why I’ll forever be a fan of Gerry Butler and remains one of my top five favorite GB roles. He’s been somewhat off my radar lately for one reason or another, but seeing him as the passionate, emotional tortured soul gets me every time. Now, I’m not a fan of Joel Schumacher’s work in general but I’ll always thank him for casting the then unknown Butler over John Travolta and Antonio Banderas who were vying for the Phantom role. I also like his idea of making it a young romance between Christine and the Phantom. Thus, having 16-year-old Emmy Rossum in her first feature film role is inspired casting. There’s certain beguiling innocence about her that makes it so bewitching to watch as she falls for the dark and irresistibly seductive musical genius.

The powerful combination of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s haunting music, the stunning set pieces and Butler’s sultry performance is why I’m an unabashed POTO phan for life. There are just so many favorite scenes that I may just dedicate a post for it one day, but this steamy rendition of The Point of No Return definitely takes the cake.

On Saturday, I got to see Haywire as well which I wanted to watch back in February but it was no longer playing in theaters. Soderbergh, Gina Carano and Channing Tatum was promoting the film at the Hall H panel in Comic-con last year, which piqued my interest. Review coming later this week but in the meantime, check out this guest review from FC contributor Cecilia Rusli:

DARK SHADOWS (2012)

Yes it’s the eighth film where a collaboration between Tim Burton as the director and Johnny Depp as the cast happens. I personally have only watched three of them, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and this Dark Shadows where Johnny Depp has his face painted white just like he did as Willy Wonka.
Dark Shadows is a fantasy film telling about the life of Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) which was cursed to be a vampire and buried alive by a witch whose heart is broken by him, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). As always, Tim Burton has this imaginary fantasy in creating characters and ambiance on a film. Fairytale-like, Dark Shadows offers a vampire storyline with a little Twilight-like at some points. However, the comedic scenes by Johnny Depp shows that he’s successful in bringing this vampire movie to a different level.
I personally put my high appreciation on the vintage stuffs I find on the film. First is the soundtrack. Bringing great 70s tunes to the movie is such a superb idea to connect the film which tells about Collins’ life in the 70s. Nights in White Satin by The Moody Blues and Top of the World by The Carpenters are the soundtracks I definitely will have on my iPod. Secondly is the wardrobe. I finally find the gorgeous Chloe Moretz back. I was a bit disappointed with her performance on Hugo, but she managed to look fabulous on vintage outfits and awkward personality on Dark Shadows. Lastly, the Collinwood house of the Collins family. The statues, paintings, and decoration at the house did a great job in creating the dark ambiance of the movie.
I still feels that Dark Shadows is not Tim Burton + Johnny Depp’s best collaborations. There are some absurd scenes on the film, some people may find it entertaining or just plain weird. But I actually find nothing special on the storyline, it’s hilarious, but not much… it’s dark, but not strong either. However, it’s still worth to watch for one looking for a light comedy film with great music.
– review by Cecilia Rusli 

3 out of 5 reels


So what did you see this weekend? Anything worth watching?

The Flix List: Top Ten Favorite Scene-Stealing Bad Boys

To conclude the trilogy of our Movie Villains post, I’ve resurrected the post I did nearly 2 yrs ago after I saw Public EnemiesI found the Michael Mann movie to be rather disappointing, but one thing is certain, Johnny Depp makes for a charming bad boy, the notorious bank robber John Dillinger. Hollywood does this all the time, making a ‘hero’ out of otherwise shabby characters. These are the kind of bad guys (obsessive stalkers, con artists, psychopaths, what have you) that makes us root for them despite their wickedness as we’re mesmerized by them more than we should be. In many cases, they not only steal the movie, they steal your heart in the process. Yes some are popular picks but I decided to include ’em because their performances hold up well after repeated viewings. So here they are listed in random order (it’s hard enough to pick just ten, I spare myself the task of ranking them):

1. Ben Wade in 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
I don’t even like Westerns but I saw this one at the theater because of the cast. No doubt Crowe is a charismatic actor who is just as compelling as a hero or a criminal, but as a bad boy, he certainly looked like he had more fun. The Bible-quoting outlaw played by Russell Crowe is a complex yet sympathetic character. Even Dan Evans (Christian Bale), the good guy who escorts Wade to the 3:10 train to Yuma, can’t help being drawn to the guy. The battle of wills between the two of them is the essence of the film right up until the end, with Wade having the last close-up and the one we remember more long after the movie is over.

2. Castor Troy in Face/Off (1997)
This despicable character is fascinating to watch, played by both John Travolta and Nicolas Cage. When playing Troy, each actor get the best lines and both seem to have more fun playing that character than the good guy Sean Archer. I probably give Cage the edge over Travolta as Troy, he is so over the top with his crazy eyes and flamboyant swagger, he seems to truly relish being a deranged maniac. I do enjoy Travolta’s performance in the prison-visit scene though, torturing the utterly-deflated Archer with utmost glee… “Ohhhhhhhhweeee, you good-lookin.” Man, I love this John Woo flick!

3. Phantom/Erik in Phantom of the Opera (2004)
When I saw this movie back in December 2004, I had no idea who Gerard Butler was. But just one look at this seductive brooding ‘opera ghost’ and you’ll know why Christine’s lured by him. Despite being the world’s biggest stalker, the Phantom’s extreme obsession is beguiling, yes even tantalizing. “Touch me, trust me, savor each sensation…” The Phantom sings, and with that Christine is cast under her spell… along with practically every woman watching that scene. The half-deformed rogue is supposed to be an ugly creature not much to look at, but it’s hopeless to try take your eyes off this Phantom. He’s the kind of bad boy who makes it impossible to root for the suitor. Raoul who??

4. The Joker in The Dark Knight (2008)
The role that eclipsed the Dark Knight himself, The Joker steals literally every scene he’s in from the moment he appears on screen. With his maniacal laugh and strange gestures, the agent of chaos is obviously a scary creature but also pretty darn funny! That pencil ‘magic trick’ for example, it’s both comical but unsettling at the same time, and that interrogation scene with Batman when he’s got his head slammed onto the table, “Never start with the head, the victim gets all fuzzy.” I laugh so hard every time! The more I watch this movie, the more I become fascinated by Heath Ledger’s incredible performance, he was practically ‘lost’ in the quintessentially evil character that might’ve cost him his own life.

5. Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988)
The masterful performance by Alan Rickman always made the list of ‘best villain’ and rightly so. He’s cruel and ruthless but yet so refined, elegant and polite that I can’t help being strangely attracted to this ruthless criminal. Oh, there’s the voice, too, that silky smooth delivery that only Rickman could do. Gruber offers such a stark contrast to the crass and ‘everyman’ John McClane (Bruce Willis) and made the game of cat and mouse so much more fun to watch. Oh and that death scene, still one of the most memorable movie climax ever!

6. Vincent in Collateral (2004)
I’ve never been a huge fan of Tom Cruise, but reading the good reviews intrigued me to see this one. I’m sure glad I did, it’s a great thriller and Cruise is astounding as Vincent, a contract hit man on assignment one fateful night in L.A. The mega star rarely plays bad-guy roles throughout his career, but he really should do more of ’em. Sporting scruff, salt-n-pepper hair, and shark-gray suit, it’s a striking look on the naturally handsome actor. Vincent is meticulous with his craft but he manages to appear amiable on the surface. Even his victims fall for his charm… only to realize too little too late that the person right in front of them is pure psycho ready to take a life without a hint of remorse. Jamie Foxx is excellent as the ill-fated cab driver, but Cruise definitely steals the show.

7. Dr. Octopuss in Spiderman 2 (2004) 
Alfred Molina is one of my favorite character actors, so when he was cast as the villain in this movie, I was in for a treat. The biggest nemesis often start out as friends, and the same with scientist Otto Octavius and Peter Parker. In fact, Peter looks up to Octavius, but one devastating scientific experiment gone awry changes all that. I see Doc Ock as much a victim as he is a villain — he’s overpowered by those mechanical tentacles he helped create that despite his brutal shenanigans, I never quite despite his character. His fight scenes with Spidey is so awesome that it deserves to be on this list. I think Spiderman 2 is easily the best of the franchise largely because of the compelling villain.

8. V in V for Vendetta (2006)
I’ve written an entire post on this very character, giving my homage to Hugo Weaving’s spectacular feat of acting entirely behind a mask. As I said before, no matter how you look at it, V is a ruthless and dangerous terrorist. Saying that he’s morally ambiguous is putting it mildly, because no matter how you look at it, the masked vigilante is basically a radical extremist. But anyone watching the movie will be hard-pressed not to root for the other guy and be mesmerized by Weaving’s masterful performance. His inimitable speaking voice sounds even more distinct and hypnotizing under that Guy Fawkes mask. That self-introduction scene when he rescues Evey from the corrupt police is one of my favorite scenes of all time (see the clip on the V post above).

9. Elijah Price in Unbreakable (2000)
This is the movie that makes me believe M. Night Shyamalan is not a lost cause. Unbreakable is one of my favorite mystery thriller of all times and boasts not one but two of the most intriguing cinematic characters. Price is the ultimate tragic figure, a man disillusioned and embittered by his debilitating brittle bone disease to the point of becoming a mass murderer. But watching the comic book dealer, you can’t help being drawn to his sophisticated and cultured persona… it also seems customary that memorable villains are impeccably dressed and his fashion style isn’t just stylish, they say something about who they are. I enjoy watching both Samuel L. Jackson’s and Bruce Willis’ unusually nuanced performances as they’re sort of playing against type as polar opposite individuals who cross path under the most incredible circumstances.

10. Col. Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds (2009)
Quentin Tarantino’s got a knack for casting charming bad boys (Hello Mr. Blonde), but he outdid himself when he cast Austrian veteran actor Christoph Waltz as the villain that practically ‘dwarfs’ every other actors in the movie. He is such a nasty piece of work who only cares about his well-being. He’s not even loyal to the Third Reich because he firmly believes in its cause, he’s just in it because it benefits him at the time. If another leader with a totally different viewpoint comes along, I don’t think he has qualms about switching his allegiance so long as there’s something in it for him. He’s spine-chillingly sinister but yet so darn charming and quite hilarious, sometimes he conveys all three at the same time in just the way he delivers a line! The suspenseful opening scene stretched my nerves to their snapping point, but  Every award the film industry had that year for Supporting Actor, they gave ’em all to Waltz and rightly so. He’s one of the major reasons I was rooting for Basterds to win Oscar’s Best Picture!

Honorable Mentions:

  • Neville Sinclair and Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton) in The Rocketeer and Hot Fuzz, respectively
  • Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) in The Matrix
  • Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) in Wall Street
  • Keyser Söze (Kevin Spacey) in The Usual Suspect
  • Dracula (both Gerry Butler and Gary Oldman) in Dracula 2000 and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, respectively
Please note that I decided to leave out female villains and those from animated features as they deserve to have on their own list.
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What do you think, folks? Any particular cinematic bad boy(s) stood out to you?

Gerry Butler Birthday Tribute from FlixChatter’s Friends

This is Part 2 of GB Birthday tribute, view Part 1: Top Five Gerard Butler Scenes

Prairie Girl

Once upon a time (sometime in 2006, actually), in an ordinary office building in the suburban midwest, I came to be a cubicle next-door neighbor with a girl who I thought was in love with someone other than her husband because she had wall-to-wall pictures (and one very special autographed picture) and posters of a tall, dark, hunky man everywhere you turned in her cube. Turns out the affair wasn’t torrid, he was an actor, from a foreign land far, far away (much like she herself) but then again, he was no ordinary actor.

The girl said he was so striking that in the very first scene she ever saw him in, she was overtaken with intense curiosity and immediately driven to know the dashing, masked stranger. Turns out the actor could sing as well, and was starring in a 2005 movie adapted from the famous stage play Phantom of the Opera when she was stricken and succumbed to his spell. Well, my proximity to her and her reverie left me vulnerable, and it wasn’t long before I was in Gerard Butler’s clutches too.
And so it was: rtm met Gerry. Then PrairieGirl met rtm. And without rtm, she may never have known Gerry the way she knows him now. And not so long after that a child (er, oh, I mean a movie blog) called FlixChatter was born. And as long as Gerry stays in the bright lights, keeps making movies, and stays his appealing, fun-loving self, we will all live happily ever after.
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Oh, and by the way, a very happy birthday to you, Gerry!
P.S. The girl has considerably “downsized” GB in her cube as of late, but that does NOT mean he’s been downsized in her heart, just on the walls 😉

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TheScarletSp1der

Every guy, including myself, loves watching movies starring the rough, rugged hero that beats the mess out of the enemy, still looks good doing so, and gets the girl (for the most part)! Enter Russell Crowe, Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman, even Harrison Ford, etc. But one guy in particular -Gerard Butler- seems to consistently be a part of that list. For me, it was the movie 300 that really boosted him to that level of “icon” status.

In commemoration of Gerard Butler’s birthday, I and a few other friends decided to have a “Gerard Butler Guys’ Movie Night.” The one thing it required  was to decide which movies to watch. Of course 300 is on the top of the list. But I began to look at other films that he has been in and realized just how much I had forgotten he had played in.

  • Didn’t know that he was in 007: Tomorrow Never Dies.
    (rtm note: In a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo in the opening scene)
  • Forgot about his role as Dracula in Dracula 2000.
    (rtm note: Atrocious film, but GB does make for a mesmerizing dark prince)
  • I’d like to forget Bounty Hunter and Reign of Fire.
  • Didn’t realize he could sing until I watched parts of The Phantom of the Opera.

None of those flicks made the list, by the way. But in addition to 300, the other movies that also made the cut for our list were: RocknRolla, How to Train Your Dragon, Law Abiding Citizen, and Gamer.

My personal favorite of his so far still has to be 300 and his role as King Leonidas. And here’s why…

  1. Butler completely embodied that persona as the capable leader of the Spartan nation and commander-in-chief of the Spartan warriors.
  2. His character inspired guys worldwide to hit the gym for their 6-pack abs. There are even several videos on the web on how to get abs like Leonidas and his army! haha.
  3. Plus, what other movie of Butler’s has as many repeated quotes and phrases? (“This is Sparta!” “Tonight we dine in Hell!” “Give them nothing, but take from them everything!” and “Prepare for glory!”) Quote ONE line from the film Dracula 2000? I thought not! haha.
  4. Recipient of 9 awards and 27 nominations.
  5. Every guy loves a movie loaded with awesome fight scenes! Blood, war, glory!!

Gerard Butler, if you’re reading this, thank you for some great movies….especially 300! (We forgive you for Bounty Hunter and The Ugly Truth, but, from one guy to another, please stop with the rom-coms already.) I hope you have a great birthday! Here’s to you, sir!

-TheScarletSp1der

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Dezmond @ HOLLYWOOD SPY

GB Voted Hollywood Spy's Best British Gent

Dezmond runs a periodical poll on his massively entertaining and popular blog Hollywood Spy. Back in September, he ran THE BEST BRITISH GENT poll that garnered 2,650 votes! Well, Butler won in a landslide with 1389 votes, which like Dezmond said, is kinda expected.

Dezmond gave me permission to include his quote from his post:

Why do we love him so much – he’s charming, funny, talented, a great guy, often very royal (ATILLA, 300, BEOWULF), sometimes charmingly naughty (THE UGLY TRUTH, THE BOUNTY HUNTER), often dangerous (LAW ABIDING CITIZEN, GAMER, THE REIGN OF FIRE) but usually just smashing dashing (PHANTOM OF THE OPERA). It’s our Gerry Berry 🙂

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Sam @ BANANA OIL MOVIES

Check out Sam’s fabulous birthday tribute to Gerry, and she too fell for his funny and charming persona. Her fave GB role is Timeline and if you’ve seen the sci-fi, time-travel-themed movie, you’ll know why he should’ve been the lead instead of pretty boy Paul Walker. Check out the trailer below based on Michael Crichton’s novel:

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Thanks everyone for participating in today’s GB tribute!

My Top 5 Favorite Gerard Butler Roles

The Many Faces of Gerard Butler
The Many Faces of Gerard Butler

This post that’s been on my draft folder for a while, but today seems as timely as ever for five reasons: IMDB featured him on its Character Spotlight section on the main page on Thursday, he was on Kimmel last Friday, his actioner flick GAMER just opened this weekend, and today EW’s PopWatch blog just posted “Is GB a lover or a fighter?” article. I’ve been a fan of Gerry — as he preferred to be called as Americans can’t pronounced Ger-ERD for the life of them — for about five years now. Some of you loyal readers know it all started when I saw The Phantom of the Opera in Winter of 2004 and was mesmerized by his performance. I became a GB groupies for a while, even going so far as planning a trip to the Toronto Film Festival in ’05 after learning he might one of the celeb lineups to promote Beowulf & Grendel. As I’ve outlined in my previous TIFF post, I ended up “meeting” him, well if you can call it that, which was the highlight of my trip.

I think it’s great that ze Butler is on people’s radar lately, even though I’d rather focus on his work instead of on the relentless gossips written about him. It’s a pity however, that I’ve decided to skip two of his latest offerings at the theater, but given that I did see Rocknrolla earlier this year and looking forward to Law Abiding Citizen next month, I’d still get my ‘Gerry fix’ by year’s end. He’s a talented and charismatic actor IMO, despite what some of you may think after you saw The Ugly Truth. But think about it, what actor is entirely immune from making bad acting choices? Even thespian like Ralph Fiennes did Maid in Manhattan with JLo for cryin’ out loud, which practically made TUT look like an Oscar contender.

Just a couple of facts: he’s done 37 movies in the last 12 years, even though he’s a late bloomer in the business having entered the industry when he was already 27. He’s got a law degree from Glasgow University, so he’s more than a pretty face and that intellect definitely comes across on and off screen. He’s what you’d call a chameleon actor, being able to ‘disappear’ into a role and look very different from film to film. When I first saw him as the Phantom, I had absolutely no idea that I’ve seen two of his previous films (as Angelina’s boy toy in Tomb Raider 2 and playing archeologist Andre Marek in Timeline). As you can see in my collage above, he’s done multiple genres of movies ranging from biopic (Attila), action (300), rom-com (P.S. I Love You), musical (Phantom), thriller (Law Abiding Citizen), drama (Dear Frankie), horror (Dracula 2000), even a kiddie flick with Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island). That’s quite impressive for someone with no formal training whatsoever. With that said, I’m not going to sidestep the fact that when it comes to doing accents, he’s not as adept in that department as say, Christian Bale or Russell Crowe. My colleague even said the worst part about The Ugly Truth was Gerry’s horrible American accent, which was totally distracting as he simply didn’t buy his character as an American. That should be a critique any actor should take to heart and work harder at perfecting. Personally, it hasn’t bothered me to the point that I stop watching his movies, and that’s largely because he is so darn charismatic. Well hot too, obviously, but über hotness alone can only hold my interest for so long.

So without further ado, let’s get on my Top Five Gerry Butler’s Favorite Roles:

  1. Phantom (Phantom of the Opera)
    This one is obviously going to be the top of the list, being the role that won me over. Some critics trashed his singing, comparing it to Michael Crawford’s voice — the original Phantom on Broadway — which is unfair as he had no vocal training prior to doing this role. Besides, Gerry’s rock ‘n roll voice was what Andrew Llyod Webber wanted for the film and I could see why. The way he imbued each song with such genuine heart-felt emotion was beautiful and devastating to watch. In fact, he sort of ruined the stage version for me as I’d much prefer Gerry’s dazzling performance. Plus, he could swing that cape like nobody’s business, and even with a half deformed face, he was as sexy as ever.
  2. Johnnie Donne  (BBC miniseries The Jury)
    Every time people tell me he can’t act, I almost always tell them to catch a glimpse of this little-seen legal drama. Gerry played a recovering alcoholic juror who’s trying to get his life back on track in the midst of a grueling murder trial. Even early in his career, I was impressed with his intense dramatic chops. It’s all in the eyes with Gerry, and all the close-up shots throughout this series truly captured the inner struggle of his character. My favorite scene is when he learned the truth about the woman he’s in love with. I can’t watch that scene without tearing up. He made brokenness and heartbreak so utterly bewitching.
    ….
  3. King Leonidas (300)
    The world finally learns who Gerry is because of this role. It’s not one of my fave GB movies because of the genre, but the movie worked because the audience believed in him as the King. Gerry transformed himself physically which definitely helped the role, but his regal yet severe demeanor gave Leonidas that commanding presence. If you see GB in any interview or talk-show, we know he’s a gregarious and goofy guy, but there’s no trace of that in this role.
  4. The Stranger (Dear Frankie)
    This tiny gem of a movie won many festival film awards and remains one of my all-time favorites. GB’s only in it for merely 20 minutes or so, but every single scenes he’s in packs an emotional wallop. There’s probably only a page of dialog written for his character, which is why it calls for a very restrained and measured kind of acting. There’s a scene where the Stranger reacted to something Frankie’s mother Lizzie said. I can’t forget that look on his face: it was a mix of disgust, pity, anger and deep sympathy all rolled into one.
  5. Gerry (P.S. I Love You)
    GB’s new fans from 300 was flabbergasted to see his soft side right after such a bad @$$ role, but that’s exactly what I expect from him. He’s said in interviews that he shared some of the gregariousness of his ‘Gerry’ character and it shows. He plays him with such ease and is as convincing as a softie, goofy dude — complete with the shamrock-boxer-clad striptease — as he was as a tough-as-nail King of Sparta. Having to act opposite two-time Oscar winner must’ve been daunting but lots of people who’ve seen this actually thought it’s Hillary Swank who could be better cast here.

Honorable Mentions:

  • OneTwo (Rocknrolla)
  • Andre Marek (Timeline)

So to answer EW’s PopWatch question, GB can be both a fighter AND a lover. He can’t be boxed into one type of role, which I hope will always be the case. Oh GB & co., if you’re reading this, I think you’ve done enough share of rom-coms by now, how about doing BURNS or The Teacher Man? Those are definitely right up your alley!

Anyhoo, I’m looking forward to see him bring his raw intensity in Law Abiding Citizen. According to this site, the script sounds pretty solid, so it’s up to his and Jamie Foxx’s performances to make this one a classic thriller. Can’t wait!