a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Daniel Radcliffe’

Harry Potter FINALLY is Oscar-worthy! It’s an Oscar juggernaut! Watch Out!

What a shock to me, a Harry Potter under-whelm-ist, to find myself LOVING “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Pt.2”! I went to the final All Media Press screening expecting only good air-conditioning. (It was 105 in NYC ).)Imagine my shock and awe to find a magical screen classic that Oscar is gonna love all over the place!

You could hear a pin drop during the serious scenes. I’m not kidding. And grown men crying at the end. OSCAR BINGO!

I saw it in 2D. The Imax-3D screening was all booked out and I’m not a big 3D fan anyway. Those glasses make me sick. But the good Oscar news for “HP7” as it’s being called or HPATDHP2, is that it works JUST FINE in 2D! And that’s the Academy friendly level of perception, let’s face it.

That also means that the STORY is working. HP7 is like Harry Potter On Steroids. The action is WAY ramped out from the Opening Minutes til the end. And also Daniel Radcliffe has really grown as an actor, too, and he’s got to carry this mega-monster and HE DOES! Yes, I’m saying it, even HE could get a Best Actor nomination, teen-ager that he was when he made this a couple of years ago. Those special FX take a long time to sync in. And they are more elaborate and eye-popping than anything I’ve ever seen in this CGI world we all now live in.

And he’s got a great screen villain in Ralph Fiennes’ Voldemort to play off of here. And Fiennes’ his face all but totally obscured by CGI AND massive make-up out-acts or acts OVER the face mask to perhaps give what is the best performance in the film and very likely get an another Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He’s so genuinely scary that he recalls his Nazi Concentration Camp commandant in “Schindler’s List.”

THAT was his break-out role and I always thought he played BAD very powerfully, and he does so here, too.

It’s funny that he may be up against the sweet’n’sour turn of Christopher Plummer in “Beginners” but that’s what may shape up as The Race.

And Costume Design, Cinematography, Special Effects, Film Editing,  Sound Editing, Art Direction, it’s gonna score in all the below-the-line categories, as they are called here Stateside. The Brits call them The Technicals.

And what a roll call of British acting talent is on display in even the SMALLEST of supporting role. Main among them, Dame Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagle (sp?) and the aforementioned fabulous Fiennes, Julie Walters, David Thewlis, John Hurt, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Ciaran Hinds~ the list goes on and on.

I think the SURPRISE of its’ finally being as good as it should be is in its’ Oscar favor, too. Plus its the final adventure in the most successful film franchise of all time. And it’s beloved by the masses, who have taught their children to read by reading them the books until they were all on their way to college, where I’m sure Harry fans continued to read them.

My only disappointment was that once again the brilliant Helena Bonham-Carter had next to nothing to do. She’s got even less time as the Witch of Witches, Bellatrix La Strange than see did in the super-boring “Deathly Hollows, Part 1”.

I was not a Harry/Hogwarts fan, but “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Pt.2” is a grand entertainment in the old-fashioned Hollywood style, believe it or not. And yes, there’s a war in it, too. As there was in that other fantasy franchise that Oscar FINALLY embraced in its’ final installment, “Lord of the Rings:Return of the King.” So there’s a precedent for this one.

But ALLLLL the LOTRs installments were uniformly excellent, but Harry only got to hit a home run with this one. It’s an Oscar juggernaut in the Grand Manner. I kept being reminded of “Gone With the Wind” and we all know how many Oscars THAT won!

Go Harry!

I’m Going to Live Blog the Tonys tonight!

I’m going to live Blog the Tonys tonight! I’ve never done this before! We’ll see how this works! Stay tuned! It starts at 8pm on CBS.

7:42pm ~ Waiting for the Tonys to start, CBS’ “60 Minutes” is re-running its’ excellent piece on “The King’s Speech” with a new intro saying that yes, The Picture, Colin Firth, Director Tom Hooper and Screenwriter David Seidler all did indeed go on to win Oscars!

What a lovely surprise!

7:52pm – The exit line is now Colin Firth and the film with its’ Oscar win “has reclaimed History.” Bravo!

7:54pm – Daniel Patrick Harris promo “You have the best in the house.No. *wink*smile* No, this is the best seat!” And he pats his ass! How gay is this going to be?

8:03pm-Answer ~ VERY GAY! Opening number Neil Patrick Harris “Broadway is not for Gays anymore!”

8:07 pm – Alex Baldwin announces the first award of the evening. Best Featured Actress in a Play. Ellen Barkin wins! Great performance! Well deserved! Her Broadway debut! Great that it starts off with the awards so quickly! Nice black dress. She thanks Larry Kramer! A bit overlong, but impassioned. She got the “Wrap it up sign.”

8:13pm- First number of the nominated Best Musicals “How to Succeed in Business…” with Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette, “The Brotherhood of Man.” It looks smushed on this small(er)stage. Did they bump into each other? The crowd goes wild, anyway.

8:30pm- John Benjamin Hickey wins for Best Featured Actor in a Play! Awesome moment! I met him in 1984 when he was a waiter! This is before he went to Juilliard, even. And now he thanks his partner on National TV! Congratulations John! I always knew you would win! His performance, and Ellen Barkin’s too, were unforgettably powerful in “Normal Heart.” He got short shrift with his speech. Ellen Barkin was sooo long it’s cut into the others’ running time! Yikes!

8:34pm ~ Norbert Leo Butz’ is leading “Catch Me If you Can”s chorus in a semi-rousing “Break the Rules” number. Again the stage looks small, too small for this. Why did they take it out of Radio City Music Hall where it FIT!?!

John Leguizamo’s excerpt from his one man show “Ghetto Clown” worked the best so far because, well, it was just HIM. Being funny.  This stage, the Beacon, is NEVER used for this sort of thing. So, a one-person show works the best so far…

8:42 – During the commercial breaks, they are giving out awards. Like Best Orchestras which went to “Book of Mormon” and Kathleen Marshall for “Anything Goes” Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker win Best Director for “Book of Morman”!!! South Park Rules! Scott Rudin is shown laughing and smiling when thanked. Trey thanks “South Park fans!”

“War Horse” wins Best Direction of a Play. Marianne Elliot and Tom Morris. This probably means that “War Horse” is going to win Best Play. Oh well…It’s not a good play…It’s a great spectacle. A great production…but the writing…ugh…

Marianne Elliot gets played off….Droopy purple dress…

8:50pm-Don Cheadle introduces the long ago-closed, but worthy “The Scottsboro Boys,” which is also looking awkward and the sound…it’s not good…echoey…The audio even went off during Norbert’s number from “Catch Me…” for a bit! Yes, it did! Very SHORT number. Did not represent that really admirable musical very well at all.

The Musicals are allll looking bad.

Winner so far of Best Overall Presence and Presentation ~ John Leguizamo.

Stay Tuned for Tammy Blanchard! “How to..”s sexy Hedy La Rue!

Coming soon! On the “Stephen Holt Show”s You Tube Channel www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow, a brand new interview with “How to…” super sexy Hedy La Rue. Tammy Blanchard, the Emmy-Award winning actress who played Judy Garland so memorably a few years back in one of the best tellings of Judy’s life story thus far. It was a TV movie and Aussie actress Judy Davis played the older Judy, and Tammy Blanchard was the younger Judy.

Daniel Radcliffe Delights Bway! In “How To Succeed…”

Daniel Radcliffe is absolutely a delight and a revelation in the latest revival of Bway vintage musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” He is so successful from his Harry Potter decade of family film franchise stardom that he never has to do anything for the rest of his professional life. Unless he wants to. And he certainly didn’t have to take on the singing and dancing challenge that J. Pierpont Finch represents in “How To…” But he did! And he triumphs!

Surprisingly. When the tiny Radcliffe busts a movie(or rather) move in the “Groundhog” football dance number the teenage girls in the audience (yes! teenage girls in a Bway audience!) started squeeeeealing with delight. That’s just the first act! And by the “Brotherhood of Man” finale number that concludes this rousing revival,the diminutive Radcliffe has utterly proven himself as a bona fide Broadway singing and dancing sensation!

And his “I Believe In You” the famous Men’s Washroom song sung to an invisible mirror — Fawgeddabowit!

 “How To…”, a creaky curio at best, really needs that star power and charisma in the central role that Radcliffe dazzlingly provides, or it really is pretty much a bunch of nothing. And very sexist too boot. Its’ heroine Rosemary’s singing of the delights of “I’ll be happy to keep his dinner warm. Waiting for him to wearily come home from Downtown” as the other girls in the steno pool sing ” Don’t Cinderella! Don’t give up the Prince!” and the glories of the “New Rochelle PTA!”

Feminists in the audience will be cringing. But not so the teenage girls who were SCREAMING their way through one Radcliffe number after the other after the other. They were in Harry Potter cult heaven! I’ve never seen anything like this reaction on Ole Broadway before…It reminded me of what it must have been like when Frank Sinatra sang to the swooning bobby-soxers at the Paramount. Not that I was there, mind you. But I’m just saying…it’s VERY unlike OLDE Broadway to have this much young blood pumping wildy through its’ veins. But why not? It works! In spades!

“How to…” harks back, way back,  to the days when stars were expected to sing seven or eight numbers (at least!) all night long. And dance, too! And Radcliffe does all that to a fare-thee-well.

He has a very nice, serviceable singing voice, too, and an undeniable charm that makes his supposedly Machiavellian rise to the top be be absolutely and utterly believable. His character,  J. Pierpont Finch simply by reading this “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” book rises to the top of the World Wide Wicket Corporation by simply following the book’s simply laid out rules. Unctously read as an off-stage voice by narrator Anderson Cooper. Yes, THAT Anderson Cooper! It seems every body wants in on this successful boy’s new next act. Singing, and dancing and with a perfect American accent, too! I loved it!

This plot strangely mirrors Radcliffe’s charmed life in a marvelous way. The boy is so utterly disarming, as the book says, “without really trying”, he succeeds and succeeds again, as Radcliffe as Harry Potter has done in the decades-long franchise now about to reach its’ cinematic conclusion this summer. It’s been the most financially successful franchise series in cinema history.

 And when the last movie “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Pt.2” is released and Daniel Radcliffe will  still be singing and dancing his way into America’s hearts in this charming revival which will run and run as long as Radcliffe wants it to be in it.

 With, I’m predicting a “Best Actor in a Musical” Tony Award to boot!

Having seen Radcliffe naked and acting his heart out to the tune of a Drama Desk Award Nomination for Best Actor in a Play for “Equus” couple of seasons back, one knew he had the dramatic chops to sustain this startling career transition to serious stage actor and now morphing even further into a singing and dancing Bway phenom.

Justin Bieber, Look Out!

Daniel Radcliffe is now crooning and swooning in a Big Phat Bway Musical Hit!

I’m beginning to think that Radcliffe can do just about anything! Of course, he is fully supported by one great show tune from the pen of the late great Frank Loesser after the other.

This show won the Pulitzer Prize it was considered so timely, so edgy, when it first came out 50 years ago, but without the spiffy stealth updating by director Rob Ashford and an able supporting cast, including TV Vet John(“Night Court”) Larroquette in the Rudy Vallee part of J. B. Biggley, the boss of World Wide Wickets and the beauteous, ample heaving bosoms of the headiest of  Hedy La Rue’s of Tammy Blanchard, one wonders just how pertinent this dated story could possibly be today. In a post-Enron world, a mild satire of corporate shenanigans could go over like the lead balloon it proved to be when Matthew Broderick and Megan Mullaly (pre-“Will and Grace”) essayed it back in the ’90s. He and it were so boring and she was so grating, I walked out at intermission. But he won a Tony anyway.

But the rise and surprise of Daniel Radcliffe made me stay and stand and applaud! Aren’t we lucky to have him on Broadway delightfully re-inventing this war-horse and his own career at the same time! As far as I’m concerned Broadway has a new star! Daniel Radcliffe! Long may he shine!

Pee Wee spreads FUN whilst Harry Potter spreads utter boredom!

Well, there’s a clear choice for New Yorkers who really want a bit of genuine holiday joy this festive-approaching season. Either you take you and your loved ones to “Pee Wee Playhouse” now on Broadway in a magnificent re-incarnation of the television show, in which the magic word is FUN! Directed by the same wizard/director who has just given Broadway IN THE SAME WEEK, the wonderful “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson” Alex Timbers, “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” on Broadway is just a joy to behold! And to experience!

OR you can drag yourself to, or get dragged to, by Harry Potter enthusiasts, who will be the only ones who will enjoy the deadly 2 and a half hours of  utter stultification that consumes one as one enters “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part One”

 NOhO! Does that means there’s a PART TWO?!?!? When is this torture ever going to END?????

As Pee Wee Herman would scream, “HEEEEEEELP!”

I only went to see this one because the buzz was that it was one of the best Harry Pooters ever. And instead, what do I find out the hard way? It’s one of the worst!

Why is it so bad? Because it is so DULLLLLL. Virtually nothing happens. Though there are the requisite special effects, they seem small and dull.

WHO CARES?!?!

Yes, Harry and co. are no longer imprisoned in Hogwarts, though perhaps they should be. They are out of school and being thrown into the cold, cruel world of “Deathly Hollows” in which the operative word is “DEATH” as in dead boring. Or maybe it’s “Hollow” as in “There’s nothing there.”

Working with an extremely muted palate, Harry, Hermione and Ron Weasley and a group of real trees swathed in mist, are the only living things in Pooterville this time around. And although Danielle Radcliffe is turning into a first-rate, energetic young actor, as is Rupert Grint, they are not enough to kick-start this D.O.A. franchise back to life. IF it ever had any life to begin with.

It must be the experience of the books. Which I found unreadable and derivative. Because the movies started out as sort of OK and steadily got worse until I swore around #4 or so, that I would never see one again. And I didn’t til I got suckered by hype into this one. Which is something like #7, oh no!

Motto is “Don’t believe Hype, dear ones” dear readers, dear cineastes. Just don’t.Or do so at your own peril.

Harry, Ron and Hermione(whose acting deteriorated as the film dragged on. Emma Watson! Take some acting lessons, girl!) became insufferable, stuck-up little self-righteous bores as the film wore on and on and on and on….zzzz

How did this ever become a multi-billion dollar franchise? The biggest one in Hollywood History. This is the seventh and would’ve been the last, and it isn’t because of the dreaded PART TWO, which may have perhaps a smidgen more action than the dulldulldull Part One. It boggles the mind. Or rather numbs it, because it is totally incomprehensible. The triumph of mediocrity is the only way I can explain it.

Compared to “Lord of the Rings” this is utter…well, I was going to say, nonsense, but there’s not a dollp of fun or one laugh in it. Although it does have the witchiest witch imaginable Bellatrix La Strange. As personified by the She’s-EVERYwhere Helena Bonham-Carter who tries with whips and snakes to kill these unbearable urchins. But unfortunately after something like ten minutes, they defeat and kill her! Oh cripes!

Give me Pee Wee Herman any day! More on him soon!

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