a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Spiderman’

The Ghost of Heath Ledger Stalks the Earth

Poor late Heath Ledger. He challenged the gods, if there are any, with his iconic performances in “The Dark Knight” and in “Brokeback Mountain.” We all hoped he could rest in peace, but it seems that is not to be.

The horror that unfolded Thursday night in Colorado, just miles from where the Columbine tragic shooting occurred, was ignited by Heath’s indelible, but deeply disturbing performance of the Joker in TDK. He then died himself not long after. I often thought that that performance killed him. It made him go to a place so dark, he couldn’t come back. He went over the edge, and it was all captured on screen. And made millions and it killed him.

He was shockingly young, as were most of the victims of BOTH Colorado shootings. He was too young to die. His great talent wasted. Drugs were to blame. A lethal concoction of either prescription or illegal substances. We’ll never know. There was a 20-30 min. delay in reporting his death, wherein one presumes, the Tribecca Loft he died in was cleaned up of anything incriminating. But in any case, poor Heath was dead.

But he lives on, especially in those two classic film performances. As Ennis del Mar in “Brokeback” and as the Joker in TDK.

And now this homicidal maniac in Aurora ,Colorado told the police calmly when they came to arrest him, waiting for them casually,  in the Parking Lot of the megaplex where he had just killed a dozen people and injured dozens more, some critically, he told them HE was “The Joker.”

He died his hair orange. However, the Joker’s hair was green. And only red when he wore a red wig in drag with a nurse’s uniform.  The Joker set booby traps as the killer seems to have done in his apartment.

A Ph.d graduate student in neuroscience, it seems he booby-trapped his door and left it unlocked, so that presumably anybody could get blown up, too, if they entered it unknowingly. One woman, a neighbor, disturbed by loud “techno-music” blaring exactly at midnight, as the killer was set to begin his rampage at the movie theater, this woman unknowingly nearly did. But something told her not to try to go in, so she didn’t. And thus saved her own life.

And it’s not just an accident that it was THIS movie that he chose to kill at. There have been big blockbusters all summer long. “The Avengers”, “The Amazing Spiderman” etc. etc. but no. He chose this one. He had been planning this for months, starting to buy guns, legally, it seems, in Colorado, in May as he died his hair orange and began to drop out of school.

We don’t know what made his Phi Beta Kappa mind snap. But snap it did. We may never know.

But he seems obsessed, deathly obsessed with the Batman trilogy, and of course, the Joker in particular. The Joker was the embodiment of evil in a way that perhaps was never depicted on screen before.

How horrible, I kept thinking, for Michelle Williams and also Anne Hathaway, who stars in this film TDKR, which is now going to be linked in the publics’ mind forever with this horrible horrible tragedy.

Michelle has a beautiful little daughter by Heath, the now six-year-old Matilda, who looks EXACTLY like her late father. And Anne Hathaway knew Heath, too, from “Brokeback.” It’s soooo ironic that SHE, of all people, should be the star of this movie. I worry about them all, and my heartfelt best wishes and concern goes out to them.

And the families of the victims who are still identifying the dead.

Marshall Fine, the critic, who received death threats just last week when he wrote the first negative review of TDKR to appear on Rotten Tomatoes, had his website crash and caused Rotten Tomatoes to close their comment section on TDKR, the emails were so heinous, threatening violence. And we can be sure that this avalanche of hatred directed at Fine and Rotten Tomatoes did NOT come from one lone gunman in Colorado. What is going on here???

It’s SOMEthing about this movie that his driving all these people over the edge of sanity. Just like it did poor Heath.

What is it?

I wasn’t wildly a fan of TDK, but I LOVED Heath’s  towering, unforgettable, frightening performance. Filmed during the break-up of his relationship with Michelle Williams, his Joker seemed beyond description. Someone who was totally out of his mind. He was a nightmare come to life. Scary is a way that no other Hollywood villain has ever been. And in a movie based on a comic-book yet.

And hence the Colorado gunman’s identification with the Joker. He has doing in his mind only what the Joker did, I’m sure he thought. And in doing so he would become as famous as the Joker, as famous as Heath Ledger. And unfortunately, he has.

And now 12 people are dead and countless lives maimed or destroyed by this one madman’s two-minute shooting spree, which movie goers all thought was part of the movie.

Until they saw people dying in the seats next to them.

I don’t know that I’ll ever see this movie now.

But anyone who does is not going to be able to shrik the horrible reality of what happened in Aurora, Colorado.

They are all haunted by the Ghost of Heath Ledger, who does not lie quiet in his grave.

“Spiderman” Turn Off the Musak! Act One Sucks, Act Two Works

Ok, so FINALLY I saw it tonight…”Spiderman:Turn Off the Dark” or as I like to call it “Gag Me!” Although that isn’t exactly accurate since there is not ONE JOKE in the entire Two Hour and 45 minute spectacle. And the music is REALLY, REALLY bad! Shame on Bono and The Edge! They didn’t deserve this mega-gig. I wish Elton John had written the score THEN you might really have had something to sing about. The Sets, yes, AMAAAAZING sets by sure-fire Tony Winner for Best Scenic design next season, George Typsin. But sets do not a great musical make. It’s the music, stupid, and the music is stupid. What a shame! 70 million dollars spent on this drivel!

I loved comic books as a kid. I even wrote them. But Spidey was not one of my faves. I never understood his/its’ appeal. But there it is smack dab on Broadway, in the biggest house, now called the Foxwoods that Broadway has got. Last thing I saw in there was “Young Frankenstein” another unsatisfying near-mess.

If only “Spiderman” could live up to its INCREDIBLE sets!

So this is Julie Taymor’s great vision??? Sad. Well, I still loved the “Lion King” which is still running. Another cartoon, but she had a great book, a great story(OK, it’s Hamlet, but…) underneath and the great Peter Schneider reigning her in while he reigned at Disney.

Here…well, she was out of control. So they fired her and all her offending inserts like the now-gone Geek Chorus and the almost-gone and unnecessary Arachne(an OK T.V. Carpio) have been ironed out…Arachne could have gone completely and no one would’ve missed her. Most of the audience seemed mystified by her and just what she was doing there.

“Spiderman”begins with a lecture on the history of Greek goddesses and their myths. It starts wrong because it’s all about Arachne and not about Peter Parker, Spiderrman’s secret identity, whom the focus should’ve been upon since the lights went up.

I like Tobey Maguire, but his presence was never enough to motivate me to see the “Spiderman” movies. And did I say this puppy is WAAAAAY overlong? They could’ve cut all the Arachne nonsense and saved at least half and hour.

The shorter a show like this is, the better. Cut to the spectacle. Cut to the flying. But they didn’t. More is not more in a muchness like this.

In Act One the aerial manoeuvres are minimal, if not measly, and the book, the dull, embarrassing,  plodding book is the focus. Julie Taymor, Glen Berger & even Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa(an out Gay playwright, who has real comic books in his resume, too) are too blame for boring us to death in Act One. Nothing is funny. Everything is flat. I kept longing for Douglas Carter Beane or a Charles Bussh to liven up this swampy scenario.

Jennifer Damiano, the world’s oldest, tiredest ingenue, as Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker’s love interest doesn’t help one bit. And Reeve Carney as Spiderman sorts of schemiel’s his way through Act One, too. It’s hard to work up any feeling for him.

Patrick Page as the science professor who is up to no good makes a stand on the side of “This show is a hit, goddamnit! And I’m going to play it to the hilt! This is my greatest role! My time to shine!” so he offers hope for the Second Act, when we know he’s going to go through a transformation of his own. He becomes the ghouls of ghouls the Green Goblin

And transform he does! His Green Goblin in Act Two really aces it, and kicks the whole show, and Reeve Carney’s Peter Parker, up a notch. Reeve now has something strong to play off of and the show becomes all about the scariest villain to terrorize New York vs. Our Hero Spiderman and guess what Act Two flies!

As well it should! As it must! And Act Two begins and SUDDENLY with the Green Goblin as now the central character, it actually picks up and has momentum that Act One sorely lacked. But it has to get over the hour and a half of a dry hump that was Act One. It takes time, too. But eventually everything this bloated, over-produced show should be kicks in. And it does become the Spectacle to end all Spectacles. Wish I guess is what it set out to be in the first place.

And then they bring on the much more successful special effects and all the aerial stunts that they’ve been saving for the big finale. And I’m surprised to say it works. The sets start working too! And doing stunts in forced perspective that I have never seen theatrical sets do. And there’s TONS of visual effects in Act Two, and all this combines to give Reeve Carney something to respond to. And he wakes up as an actor in Act Two and really begins to make you root for him, and want his whiny Spidey to succeed.

And his performance keeps rising and oh  yes, he and the aerialists who play the flying Spidey, really do indeed rise to the occasion. By the end of the show, Reeve’s Spidey is really kicking as his now invigorated Peter Parker does becomes the triumphant hero this show needs him to be.

And the audience was going wild. Haven’t they seen aerial effects before? Did they see “Mary Poppins” who flies, umbrella in hand, over the audience? Or Mary Martin in “Peter Pan”?

Or Idina Menzel in “Wicked”? Well, in any case, the Second Act brings the goods the audience wants to see, culminating in an in-air fight with Spiderman and the Green Goblin(or rather the aerialist who play them when they’re Up In The Air).

Reeve Carney really wakes up in Act Two and in the end makes you cheer for him. Especially when he himself does the flying stunts without the head-covering mask, but still in his Spidey suit. The audience was going wild at the curtain call especially for him and Page(the GG).

Carney does in the end save the show. You FINALLY feel he’s someone you can identify with and root for. It’s certainly isn’t the book, or the music. He and the Green Goblin seem equally matched foes and equally matched actors.

With the paltry number of new musicals coming in next season, “Spiderman” believe it or not, might also triumph at the Tonys, and certainly Reeve Carney and Patrick Page are going to get nominated, in the leading actor and supporting actor in a Musical categories. Ditto the stupefyingly magnificent sets of  George Typsin. Lighting(and lightening) designer, Donald Holder and the masterful/scary monstrosities of Academy Award winning costume desginer Eiko Ishioka.

And with the audience cheering the way it was last night, it may just make it’s 70 million dollars back.

Second Half of Live-Blogging the Tonys!

9pm- The Second Half of the Tonys. They’ve hardly given out any awards and all the musical numbers have really, embarrassingly tanked. Oh, except Neil Patrick Harris’ Opening Number.

Best Featured Actress in a Musical! Nikki M. James! She’s hysterical crying!I am so THRILLED for her! She became a true star in that moment and this incredible, tearful speech!  The crowd! Goes! Wild! NOW SHE’s the WINNER of the night! Totally Surprised, she couldn’t stop crying! Very moving! I’m over the moon for her! I told her she would win! The Oscar messenger strikes again! You can go to see me telling her so  at www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow

Andrew Rannells brings down the house with “Book of Mormon’s “I Believe!” a wise choice, because it’s just a solo, so no crowded chorus bumping into each other. Rannells was better tonight than he even was in the show! And they said “Fuck” at one point! And of course it got bleeped! But they said it! IOW, they did the show as it was actually performed. The Melissa Leo effect.

9:18 PM – Brooke Shields got bleeped ! John Larroquette! Wins Best Featured Actor in a Musical!

9:21 Now, Bono and the Edge. What are THEY going to do??? Bono “We used to be members U2” Yikes! They mention the NY Post! Michael Riedel must’ve just jumped through the roof of the press room! “We just wanted to keep the excitement level high at the New York Post!” Lolol…Longest intro of the night! They sound apologetic. OH NO! They are going to do a number from “Spiderman” Oy!…Boring…OMG! The number was as boring as their intro! I haven’t seen it yet, but that’s their best number? At least it was just a duet, so no stumbling. No bodies falling. That was a very bad song, not well done. Ugh! I’m not looking forward to seeing this monstrosity. “Inept” is what Michael Riedel kept saying on “TheaterTalk” and yes, that’s exactly what that number was…”If theWorld Should End” If only that song would end. Oh! It finally did.

My battery ran out.

But I’m back ~ 10:04 ~ “War Horse” just won Best Play. 😦

Wish a play with great PLAYWRITING in it had won…My Tony Predictors Scott Siegel and Sherry Eaker got this right on my TV show. We also got Best Revival of a Play, “Normal Heart” right. “The Motherfucker With A Hat” which hasn’t won anything so far, was robbed.

Larry Kramer moved me to tears with his beautiful SHORT speech. “Our day will come”….He really did the right thing. Short, sweet. Memorable. I’ll never forget it.

The musical numbers have been getting better.

10:11pm- “Anything Goes” probably just won the remaining awards with their concluding tap number that was very well done. Nobody bumped into each other.

But it’s now heading towards the 45 min. mark. Time left, I mean. I can’t believe I’m counting the time til it’s over.

Patina Miller shined it on with her choir of jiving and jumping nuns….They’ve really set up Sutton Foster to win…:( Still thinks she’s miscast as Reeno Sweeney, the bawdy barfly who’s the famous lead in “Anything Goes.” Ethel Merman haunts that role, those songs, those long-held notes. Patti Lu Pone was DIVINE in the ’80s revival at Lincoln Center, when it wasn’t THREE EFFING hours long, as it is now!

Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones just got a standing ovation. What are they doing here tonight? Oh, introducing an embarrassingly fast montage of scenes from EVERY SINGLE PLAY that opened on Broadway this year! Even “Elling”!?!?

10:24pm ~ Neil Patrick Harris does a VERY good rendition of “Company/Side by Side” with Patti LuPone, Stephen Colbert and Martha Plimpton in his chorus! Embarassing for Patti…

Best Revival of a Musical “Anything Goes” Boo! I enjoyed “How to Succeed” MUCH better. It was simply better done. “The truly magnificent Sutton Foster”…???? The passable, just OK Sutton Foster is more like it. Sheesh! Poor Patina!

Best Actress in a Play! Frances McDormand! In a jean jacket! I predicted this and so did Sherry Eaker. “I love my work!” No make-up a red-and-black striped dress under the jean jacket. I always heard she was a biker. This is her in her no bull-shit biker chick mode. She names and thanks every single member of her cast. Sincere. She burns a serious hole in the screen. Good for her. And she didn’t say “F**k” to do it, Melissa…

And Sutton Foster wins Best Actress, as expected and she reveals she’s going out with Bobby Cannavale! OMG! She breaks out crying thanking her dresser, “who’s leaving me” cries, sobs “AND IT’S A GOOD THING!” Well, if she’s with BC now…I’ll have to hold out hope for her, as an actress. I did totally like her in “The Drowsy Chaperone” and also “Young Frankenstein” but her Reeno Sweeny is more like Judy Moody.

God! What if it’s Bobby who wins Best Actor? As I predicted! Then they would be the first couple to win Tonys in the Same Night? Bobby has been right, front and center all night in the shots and cut-aways and he talked about “The Motherfucker with a Hat.” He’s a great actor. Period.

Paul Shaeffer of the David Letterman show introduced the original songstress of “It’s Raining Men” which he, I forgot, wrote. He comes out and this leads in to FINALLY a number from “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” which FINALLY won one award, Best Costumes, for the same two dazzling designed who won an Oscar for the same category.

Mark Rylance wins Best Actor in a Play. An incoherent speech about walking through walls.  Yuck. Sherry Eaker got this right, too! Bobby Cannavale and Al Pacino and Joe Mantello both lost to this jerk. Why? Why? Why? He’s not even the most famous person in this category. I guess his earlier performance in “La Bete” impressed the Tony Voters. That was earlier this season.

Norbert Leo Butz wins Best Actor in a Musical. Sherry Eaker and Scott Siegel BOTH got this right, too. Nice speech. Norbert’s second Tony. Also the second Tony in recent memory for Mark Rylance. Guess the Tonys just do NOT vote like the Oscar voters do, and take previous wins into account AGAINST the nominee. Like for instance, this year with Geoffrey Rush losing for “The King’s Speech” basically, I think, because he already won in the Best Actor category for “Shine!”

Chris Rock says that “Best Musical is like taking a hooker to dinner” LOLOL…Best line of the evening. Book of Mormon wins! Well, I got that one right. Josh Gad is nowhere to be seen.

It ran over by four minutes, according to my computer. See ya next year! I’m going away for awhile. Or rather next week! Give me the Oscars any day.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: