September 28, 2011

Flower Drum Song (1961)

Flower Drum Song is lesser Rodgers and Hammerstein - way lesser. The story is dated and dull (as is lead Miyoshi Umeki) and the music is only somewhat memorable. This is supposedly the least grossing Rodgers and Hammerstein film and deserves that reputation.

September 25, 2011

Orphan (2009)

Orphan needed a script parent to reel in some of the trite and ridiculous plot points but taut direction by Jaume Collet-Serra did keep me entertained and wondering how it would all play itself out. Vera Farmiga and most especially Isabelle Fuhrman are exceptional as the mother and titular child she and husband Peter Sarsgaard adopt; in fact, Fuhrman is so good she should have been rewarded with an Oscar nod. The ending is a tense-fest (with a classic line to end it all) but, when all is said and done, it seems more a lost opportunity than a good film.

September 23, 2011

Hello, Dolly! (1969)

Yes, she's too young, too pretty and too Jewish for the role Carol Channing performed but Barbra Streisand made the titular matchmaker her own using a timeless, pseudo-Mae West characterization and her trademark humor in this film version of Jerry Herman's Broadway hit Hello, Dolly! Yes, the production is overblown and the film is long (like these three lines) but the story moves along at a horse's clip, Walter Matthau shines (working up some chemistry with Streisand despite their reported dislike for each other), and the classic songs (including Just Leave Everything To Me, Before The Parade Passes By, Put On Your Sunday Clothes, and Hello Dolly - sung by Streisand with Louis Armstrong) are so catchy you'll be humming along even if you've never heard them before. So no, it's not a bad movie (although you might want to stay away if you're not a Streisand fan) and, contrary to popular belief, it brought in more money than the $26,000,000 it cost 20th Century Fox to make it.