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JxSxPx

About me

I'm Jason. I'm a film, literary and pop culture enthusiast. Got a soft spot and deep love for animation, comics and nerdy things that go in tandem with them.

Lists

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Favorite movies (249 items)
Movie list by JxSxPx
Last updated 1 month, 3 weeks ago
Favorite Actors & Actresses (100 items)
Person list by JxSxPx
Last updated 2 months ago
Favorite music (101 items)
Music list by JxSxPx
Last updated 2 months, 1 week ago
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VH1’s 100 Greatest Women in Music (100 items)
Person list by JxSxPx
Published 5 years, 6 months ago 4 comments
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Favorite TV Shows (40 items)
Tv list by JxSxPx
Published 6 years, 8 months ago



Recent reviews

All reviews - Movies (596) - TV Shows (56) - Books (3) - Music (118)

An Evening with Lena Horne

Posted : 1 day, 23 hours ago on 1 July 2015 03:03 (A review of An Evening with Lena Horne)

An Evening with Lena Horne would prove to be the final live outing from Lena Horne, not that she retired after this 1994 Supper Club show (released as a live album the following year). Far from it, she would go on to do a GAP commercial, release another album in 1998, and retire from public life in 1999, before finally passing away in 2010. But here at age 77, and looking roughly twenty years younger than that, Horne is in exceptionally fine form.

Her voice is remarkably strong, and she’s still a lively performer. Her enunciation is still clear, and her phrasing impeccable. She may not be performing with the same energy and strength as in her 1982 Broadway show, but she was a smart enough performer to pick a group of songs that would be deeper and more introspective with her age and voice essaying them to life.

If she had retired, as originally planned, after The Lady and Her Music, Horne’s legacy would have been secured. An Evening with Lena Horne is a glorious extra, a fitting caper to a legendary and luminous career. It’s legacy work done right. It’s also a fitting way to say goodbye to one of the greatest performers of the twentieth century.

She doesn’t perform many of her biggest hits, and her signature song “Stormy Weather” appears to be missing from the set, but it doesn’t matter. Here we get to witness Horne performing a series of jazz standards and showtunes. “Mood Indigo,” “Old Friend,” “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me,” “Yesterday, When I Was Young,” and “We’ll Be Together Again” all standout as immediate highlights. “The Lady Is a Tramp” is always a welcome addition. Between “Tramp” and “I’ve Got the World on a String” Horne proves that she still has a kittenish side behind the grand dame persona of the rest of the set.

Thankfully, An Evening with Lena Horne survives as both an album recording and a DVD. Much like with The Lady and Her Music, she ended up winning two Grammys for the album version, much deservedly I say. An Evening with can also be viewed in YouTube in [Link removed - login to see] [Link removed - login to see]. This time around, they’re high-quality uploads with perfect picture and audio.

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Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music

Posted : 1 day, 23 hours ago on 1 July 2015 03:03 (A review of Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music)

On the Playbill for her one-woman show, Lena Horne looked like a lioness celebrating a major victory. Her mouth open in triumph, her arms raised high above her head, she looks like she’s letting out a roar, and alternately, as she’s dressed in a flowing blue gown, like a slightly crazy blue fairy. It’s a striking image, one that perfectly encapsulates the contents of her show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music.

It’s a shame that the only way to easily view this is as a less than stellar upload to [Link removed - login to see]. The show was filmed for broadcast as a part of PBS’s Great Performances series. This version looks more than a little like a well-loved VHS transfer, and the lack of a better one is a pity as The Lady and Her Music is perhaps THE essential document of Horne’s career.

Here she gets to tell her story, unfiltered, with moments of mischievous humor, deep hurt, headstrong tenacity, and iron grit. The show is arranged so that the songs are grouped to describe her life’s journey from the Cotton Club, to Hollywood, to her triumph on Broadway in Jamaica (for which she was Tony nominated), and finally ending up in her various cabaret acts and putting together this show. She pauses occasionally between songs to banter with the audience. She talks about the racism she endured in Hollywood, poking fun at her lack of dancing talent in the Cotton Club years, cracking jokes about how there wasn’t enough of a budget for major costume changes in this show, even admitting that she defers the stage to other performers on occasion to catch her breath between transitions.

What becomes abundantly clear is that Horne had an inner core of absolute steel, forged in hardship and adversity. She transforms even most blasé moment into a transcendent experience in which her survival becomes its own reoccurring theme. “I Got a Name” and “If You Believe” are recontextualized into songs about personal growth, and become intensely moving and engaging experiences.

Frequently, Horne’s artistic ambitions exceed her vocal ability, but it doesn’t matter. While not all of the notes in “Yesterday, When I Was Young” are perfect, she sings with more heart, soul, and passion than most others do. No matter if some of her belting isn’t in perfect pitch, it still hits you straight in the soul. In a show filled with transformative experiences, none may smack you harder than the reprise of “Stormy Weather.” Her first performance is a straight run-through, her honeysuckle vibrato wrapping itself around the torch song in a manner similar to how she performed it in the film of the same name. The second takes the song from a slow burn into a full-on belting spree in which she has turned a song about heartache into a gospel number. If you’re unmoved by it, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

This doesn’t mean that Horne doesn’t get flirtatious, spunky, or feisty. “Deed I Do” is a campy little number. It’s a slow seduction, building the number in a similar way that Peggy Lee delivers “Fever.” It’s a fun, cutesy moment in which Horne gets to let loose her jazz-tinged vocal tricks, and it’s completely charming. “The Lady Is a Tramp” is always a highlight with Horne’s tongue-in-cheek reading of the song.

In fact, all of her well-known numbers from her MGM days (“Love,” “Where or When,” “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man”) are given a thorough rendering here. It’s great to watch Horne perform this material, and, more importantly, enjoy herself while doing so. She earns the special Tony award she won for this show with every long note, every belt, and every drop of sweat. Here is an artist purging their soul for the audience, and an appreciative audience lapping it up.

This is footage that needs to be readily available on DVD or on a streaming site instead of a questionable upload to YouTube. Shame that the only way to experience the show as it was intended is on the album, which provides more than half of the show but prevents us from watching Horne in action. No matter, any which way you can experience The Lady and Her Music, do so.

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The Wiz

Posted : 2 days, 23 hours ago on 30 June 2015 02:48 (A review of The Wiz)

A musical seems like an absolutely odd choice for a director like Sidney Lumet, a director that was preoccupied with grit and realism. But that eye towards grit and realism made for a unique collaboration with The Wiz, which creates an imagined, fanciful New York, a New York in which graffiti comes alive and dances, and the yellow brick road extends from Harlem to Manhattan and beyond. And the film offers Lumet a chance to explore his favorite subject, New York City, in a new prism.

It’s a mystery to me why this film has such a terrible wide reputation, consider me part of the cult following. It’s not perfect, but it’s an excuse to watch Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Lena Horne, Mabel King, and numerous other great talents sing, dance, and deliver comedic bits. If that’s not enough entertainment value for you, what more do you need? The Wiz also has numerous sequences that are full of clever bits and details, or imaginative images, or memorable songs, this is what a musical needs to succeed, and it does.

Admittedly, Diana Ross is still too old for the role of Dorothy has written here. No longer a young schoolgirl making the transition into adulthood, but a teacher in her early twenties struggling in an extended adolescence. Ross is clearly in her thirties, but she does possess vulnerability as an actress, a quacking need, and wide-eyed sweetness that works for the role. It’s easy to forget just how talented an actor she really is.

Much like the beloved classic, The Wiz finds Dorothy swept away to Oz, it is hinted that Glinda the Good Witch summoned her there, and on a journey of rediscovering her personhood and inner strength. Along the way, she meets up with the Scarecrow (Michael Jackson), the Tin Man (Nipsey Russell), and the Cowardly Lion (Ted Ross, repeating his role from the Broadway show). With the help of her friends, she must battle the evil witch, Evilene (Mabel King, also reprising her Broadway role), discover the secret of the Wiz (Richard Pryor), and get lessons from two good witches, Miss One (Thelma Carpenter) and the beatific Glinda (Lena Horne).

Perhaps The Wiz suffers from comparison to the classic 1939 film? No film should have to eternally live in the shadow of another, especially one with so radically different an approach and tone to the material. The Wizard of Oz created a world of pure fantasy and whimsy, a dreamscape for its heroine to ease into adulthood. The Wiz has a heroine who is afraid to leave home and strike out on her own, and her Oz is no less magical, but it’s a fantastical variation of her real world location. I think it works on its own terms, even if it does take a little too long to get where it’s going.

Once Dorothy lands in this topsy-turvy Munchkinland, here re-imagined as an inner-city playground with black-light graffiti people and a numbers running witch named Miss One, The Wiz is firing on all cylinders and propels forward towards its narrative conclusion. This is roughly thirty minutes into the film. It’s not that what has preceded it wasn’t engaging, but the tone was too sleepy.

After this awkward start, we’re treated to numerous memorable performances and moments. No moment hits with quite the same impact as “Everybody Rejoice/A Brand New Day.” Following immediately after the death of Evilene, again not a spoiler as this follows the basic story structure of The Wizard of Oz, this scene finds her various slaves removing the vestiges of her oppression and dancing with great abandon and joy, a joy that becomes infectious. The scene swirls around as chorus of bodies leap about the room, remaking themselves into clean slates and ready to return to their normal lives. It’s the kind of magical moment that only a musical could provide.

Other highlights include Jackson’s “You Can’t Win, You Can’t Break Even,” a song the Scarecrow is forced to sing for the crows over and over. Jackson’s pinned in one place, but his love of movement is clear. His ability as a dancer allows him to create a series of awkward, pained movements, as the Scarecrow doesn’t have complete control over his body. Jackson and Ross jubilantly skipping on the Yellow Brick Road and singing “Ease On Down the Road,” the musical’s most memorable song, is another highlight. And, of course, Lena Horne’s reprise of “Believe in Yourself” is a knockout moment. Horne’s Glinda is a glowing presence, and only an icon of her stature would have given the part and the song the gravitas it required. Ross’s elated crying is the only appropriate reaction to Lena Horne singing directly to you, telling you to believe in yourself, and offering encouragement and support.

The elaborate production and costume design refashions and recreates various landmarks and parts of New York City life into fantastical elements. The film also plays with color in various scenes to grand effect. The introduction of the Emerald City finds the denizens and large crystals decorating the area changing colors in the blink of an eye. This Emerald City owes more to Studio 54 than the metallic, massive one Judy Garland wandered into. It’s no surprise to me that these three elements were Oscar nominated, they’re pretty stellar.

It’s a little bloated, a little messy, but you’ve got a killer cast, a series of images that are always interesting, and a very pleasant score. It’s an endearing cult classic, and, dammit, I think it deserves to be better loved and embraced. Perhaps a reevaluation will be in order sometime soon.

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Death of a Gunfighter

Posted : 2 days, 23 hours ago on 30 June 2015 02:48 (A review of Death of a Gunfighter)

I think there’s more good than bad here, and the good is very good, even if what’s bad is highly distracting. Death of a Gunfighter tells the story of the passing of the Old West into mythology, through the literal death of the last symbol of the era. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, the title is exactly what the film is about.

Beginning production under the guiding hand of Robert Totten, a television director of the era on shows like Gunsmoke and The Legend of Jesse James, before problems with star Richard Widmark got him canned and replaced by Don Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers). Siegel finished the film within two weeks, and didn’t want to take credit for his work on the film, leading to the creation of the pseudonym Alan Smithee. This is perhaps the most enduring legacy of Death of a Gunfighter, an auspicious bit of trivia and importance, but Gunfighter deserves a little better.

Granted, the competing directing styles clash at times, and either of them would have been perfectly fine to shepherd the material to completion. Totten’s direction is prone to luxuriating on pastoral scenes and stretches without dialog, whereas Siegel’s aesthetic is more rapid, preferring to create tension through tightly edited action sequences. Both versions work separately, but occasionally make for an awkward blend.

But Gunfighter’s cast consistently makes it worth watching. Widmark is the clear and obvious star attraction. His work here is very good, creating a man who refuses to go quietly into the dying of the light. Surrounding him is a solid group of character actors, of whom Carroll O’Conner, Kent Smith, John Saxon, and Lena Horne make the largest impressions. Horne has second billing here, but her part is not big enough for that. It’s a large supporting role, but not large enough to be billed as a co-lead. We do get to hear her sing “Sweet Apple Wine,” and that is always a plus for any movie.

Death of a Gunfighter is a strange little film, at times tonally conflicting with itself. Yet there’s an entertaining western about the passing, through force and violence, from that older era to one that points toward modernity. It has a great central star turn and several solid supporting turns to keep your interest.

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Meet Me in Las Vegas

Posted : 1 week ago on 25 June 2015 03:54 (A review of Meet Me in Las Vegas)

Less a coherent film than a series of famous cameos, location photography, and a pleasing star turn from Cyd Charisse, Meet Me in Las Vegas is an overlong but cute diversion. The story is a dumb little trifle that gives up on itself by the halfway mark; pity there’s nearly another hour to go before it’s over. A country boy in Las Vegas meets a ballerina who he believes is his good luck charm, romance follows, as do various specialty numbers.

The main reason to watch Meet Me in Las Vegas is to see Cyd Charisse’s various dance sequences. Charisse as an actress is someone that I have typically found lacking, but she’s very pleasing here. No great actress, but here she finds an appropriate star vehicle to make for an appealing case to spend some time watching her. The film also keeps her dancing consistently, which is always a plus.

The various dance numbers show the full-range of her artistry. From the strong, athletic balletic dances to a flirty, drunken burlesque number, Charisse is magnetic to watch in movement. Surrounding her is a series of blink-and-miss-it cameos, many of whom I must have blinked and missed. Agnes Moorehead makes an impression, but when doesn’t she? Lena Horne, Sammy Davis Jr., a very young George Chakiris, Jim Backus, Frankie Laine, and Jerry Colonna all popped up in various moments making some kind of an impression. But in the end, Meet Me in Las Vegas doesn’t register as much, not even as a simple entertainment, once it’s over. Unless you’re a big fan of Charisse, I think it’s safe to skip it and look for her dance routines on YouTube.

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Words and Music

Posted : 1 week ago on 25 June 2015 03:54 (A review of Words and Music)

Throughout the 40s MGM released several of these thinly veiled revue films disguised as (highly fictionalized) biographies of famous composers. This one tackles Lorenz Hart and Richard Rogers, and the dramatics connecting the musical numbers is positively inert, which is a shame since Mickey Rooney could be a highly effective performer if utilized correctly. The one reason to check out Words and Music are the musical performers doing great variations on the Rodgers and Hart songbook.

Words and Music is an odd bird in this brief sub-genre of musicals, opening with Tom Drake in character as Richard Rodgers addressing the audience, breaking the fourth wall, and proceeding to narrate the film’s series of events. Drake, while tall and handsome, is a bland performer, saddled with an even blander character. Words and Music will never be accused of sticking too closely to the facts, but it’s full-scale inventions aren’t improvements or even dramatically interesting. Rodgers was an enigma of a man, intensely private, but here he’s a blank space, an empty vacuum.

In contrast is Mickey Rooney as Lorenz Hart, a better character, but Rooney needed a steady guiding hand to form his manic energy into a coherent performance. Moments here and there demonstrate how effectively he could be, but the whole is formless and vague. Granted, no one should expect a film from this era to tackle Hart’s homosexuality, but replacing it with a serious case of short-man syndrome is just another strange choice in the series of strange dramatic choices that the film makes. Clothing and hair styles, period accuracy, or an accuracy to the chronology of the works – none of that matters, and little attention is paid towards it.

No matter, Words and Music is still worth a watch for the various performers tackling the Rodgers and Hart songbook. June Allyson is pleasant and adorable in a version of “Thou Swell” that sees her being fought over by two handsome knights. A lovely ballet from Cyd Charisse and Dee Turnell to “This Can’t Be Love” is a dreamy confectionary treat.

Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland team-up for their final on-screen duet in “I Wish I Were in Love Again.” Rooney and Garland bring out the best in each other, and their duet is a playful symphony between two old friends. It feels like two performers trying to please themselves and each other by pulling faces and making each other laugh, and it translates to an absolute highlight for the audience.

High marks also go to Lena Horne in a nightclub sequence where she performs two numbers back-to-back. “Where or When” is all slow burning intensity, she gives the song a dramatic reading that made the song a very popular addition to later live shows. “The Lady Is a Tramp” is even better, a playful gas in which Horne does some nimble dance moves, plays with her dress, and delivers the lyrics with a knowing wink and a tongue planted firmly in her cheek. She looks positively radiant in this section, wearing a white gown adorned with pink and purple accessories, and proves that she didn’t need a lot of bells and whistles to make a large impression in a film loaded with top-tier talent.

While the dramatic passages are grandly indifferent, Words and Music gives us a grand climatic moment in “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.” One of the first grand, hyper-kinetic jazz ballets from Gene Kelly, “Slaughter” sees Kelly and Vera-Ellen dancing up a storm for seven straight minutes. It’s a grand bit of movie-making, reminding us of the power and punch of the movie musical. This is a little piece of cinematic heaven. No wonder Kelly highlighted this sequence in his career highlights.

But then the film goes one for another twenty minutes or so after this logical conclusion, without another musical sequence to match it. Words and Music is probably one of the better, maybe the best, of these weird, sanitized loosely biographical films about composers despite its numerous flaws. All of that lands squarely on the strength of the music and the various performers bringing them to vivid life. Shame something couldn’t be done about the wrap-around stuff.

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Swing Fever

Posted : 1 week, 5 days ago on 21 June 2015 01:22 (A review of Swing Fever)

As an excuse to watch a group of highly talented musicians do what they do best, Swing Fever has some merit, as a film it’s a bottom of the barrel offering from MGM’s musical department. In-between scenes of Kay Kyser leading his orchestra through a series of pleasing numbers, frequently with Marilyn Maxwell’s commendable lead vocals, there’s a plot with absolutely no stakes or sense of momentum. Mercifully, it’s only about 80 minutes and we get from one number to another as quickly as possible. Whoever told Kyser he had potential as a comedic leading man was lying though, but in his defense they did fail to give him a decent script or surround him with better distractions to hide his lack of acting ability.

About thirty minutes into Swing Fever, Lena Horne finally shows up to perform “You’re So Indiff’rent.” Normally, her musical numbers are bright, fun, high-energy affairs, her occasional ballads are typically point-and-shoot, but “You’re So Indiff’rent” marries the high-energy stylization to a ballad that she nurtures into a bluesy gut-punch. The song is a lovely, aching ballad, it’s filmed in an evocative manner like what a German Expressionist musical might look like, complete with a great use of angles, shadows, and Horne’s pained vocals to stop the show. Nothing else in Swing Fever comes remotely close to matching this powerhouse moment. Like many of her specialty numbers before and after this one, Horne steals the movie outright in her limited screen time, shutting everything else down.

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I Dood It

Posted : 1 week, 5 days ago on 21 June 2015 01:22 (A review of I Dood It)

Vincente Minnelli went on the record to state that I Dood It was his weakest effort as a director, and I’m not going to argue with him on it. I Dood It mostly spins its wheels around Red Skelton’s mugging for the camera, occasionally pausing from that action to view Eleanor Powell tap dancing up a tornado, before diverting into a third act plot twist that is improbable, unnecessary, and over before it even gets going. To summarize, this film is a huge mess.

Red Skelton is a presence that I don’t mind in smaller doses. Having just watched a large chunk of Esther Williams work, I can safely say that I prefer him as a supporting player like in Neptune’s Daughter than as a lead like in Bathing Beauty. When he’s given something funny to play, he can turn it into gold, but he typically just mugs to the camera, playing towards the balcony in the adjoining theater, and making various strained vocal noises. A film like Du Barry Was a Lady keeps him as a part of the ensemble, and his comedic styling plays better for me. I Dood It rest entirely upon your tolerance for Skelton.

For a Minnelli film, I Dood It doesn’t contain much of his typically lavish and grandiose filmmaking and production work. Hired as a last minute replacement to punch up the film, Minnelli’s touch seems entirely devoured apart from two sequences. The first comes from Eleanor Powell in the very beginning of the film, and involves her tap dancing and leaping through a succession of more difficult rodeo rope tricks. It’s an astonishing feat, and it’s a shot of adrenaline that the film quickly loses. The other dance sequences from Powell are entertaining, but many of them are spliced in from one of her older films.

The second noteworthy part is a sequence a little over an hour into the film in which Hazel Scott and Lena Horne show up to tear the roof off the joint. Scott arrives early with a large entourage in tow and performs a fabulous instrumental number for everyone’s enjoyment. She’s a sensational, sophisticated vision, revealing an attractive smile as she pounds on the keys with masterful precision and style. In addition, once Horne shows up, with some lines to spout (which she does fine with, landing her laugh) in full diva mode complete with a fur draped over her shoulders, it’s off and running.

Here is a chance to watch a massive ensemble of extremely talented and under-utilized black talent do what they do best. “Jericho” proves that Minnelli brought out the best in Horne out of all of her film collaborators thus far; making her diamond-in-the-rough qualities displayed in The Duke Is Tops shine their brightest. She looks fabulous, filmed with great tenderness and care, and she and Scott play off each other well. The film gets a massive dose of energy that it desperately needed, but it’s a pity that the moment the song ends that they’re shoved off and we’re back to Red Skelton mugging through a sleepy series of comedic set-ups. “Jericho” is one of the two sequences that make I Dood It worth watching, even if you’ll be fighting the urge to fast-forward through so much of it.

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The Duke Is Tops

Posted : 1 week, 5 days ago on 21 June 2015 01:22 (A review of The Duke Is Tops)

While it deserves a bit more credit and sense of historical importance than merely being the film debut of the luminous Lena Horne, it doesn’t deserve those things by much. It’s certainly not on the merits of its filmmaking or storytelling, the film’s B-movie origins and quick ten day shooting schedule are painfully obvious. No, The Duke Is Tops deserves a slightly better reputation because it sprang from the mind of Ralph Cooper and his independent production company, Million Dollar Productions.

Ralph Cooper would eventually go on to start Amateur Night at the Apollo, becoming the first emcee and possibly its longest running as he hosted the event from inception until just after a debilitating stroke. Cooper’s Million Dollar Productions specialized and focused on creating race films for the black film circuit. Million Dollar Productions was one of the first and major independent producers of black cinema, blazing the path for latter day movements like blaxploitation and artists like Melvin Van Peebles, Spike Lee, and Tyler Perry.

Yet The Duke Is Tops is a meager film, telling a mutation of A Star Is Born, only this time it provides its main characters with a happy ending. Cooper and Horne have tremendous star quality, but they’re in a youthful but rough form here. It would take the guiding hand of Vincente Minnelli in Cabin in the Sky to show what Horne was capable of as an actress, but her smile is magnetic and her musical numbers are all solid, if unremarkable.

The narrative is more to be endured than engaged with in The Duke Is Tops, while always keeping in mind that a new musical number is around the corner to delight. Granted, the shoestring budget means the scope and artistic ambition of these numbers has been compromised, but it’s still a chance to see little-known but supremely talented black entertainers strut their stuff. So while it may only be a middling movie, there’s some ambition behind it, some diamond-in-the-rough star power leading it, and enough musical numbers to more than recommend it (the medicine show, an appearance from The Cats and the Fiddle, and Horne’s “I Know You Remember” are all aces)

The Duke Is Tops has fallen into the public domain, and can be viewed on YouTube [Link removed - login to see].

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Easy to Love

Posted : 3 weeks, 3 days ago on 8 June 2015 04:35 (A review of Easy to Love)

Between 1952 and 1953, Esther Williams released three of her best films, Million Dollar Mermaid, Dangerous When Wet, and Easy to Love, which would also be the last great starring role for her. After this, her charm fizzled, but she made sure Easy to Love hit you with a bang.

A more complicated plot than most of her films, Easy to Love sees Williams being romanced by Van Johnson, Tony Martin, and John Bromfield. Add in a story that sees her as the star of an aquatic spectacle in Florida’s Cypress Gardens, and Williams being given the chance to play something other than “wholesome,” and you’ve got the makings of a top-notch entry in her filmography.

What really sells the film as one of the better variations on her formula is the ending, once again choreographed by Busby Berkeley. This time, it’s a stunt-heavy sequence which sees Williams leading the charge on water skis. Still demonstrating tremendous grace and poise in addition to her athleticism, this is a nice variation on her normal water ballets. Instead of a chorus of back-up swimmers (dancers?) creating swirling patterns for Williams to dive in and out of, we find her leading the charge in one of her most grandiose, eccentric, and enthralling numbers yet.

Normally a bit of a doormat in her movies, a nasty sign of the time has Williams continuously finding herself in love triangles in which she mindlessly gets passed back and forth, the recipient of the action instead of an active participant, it’s nice to see Williams finally lash out and show some moxie. A scene where she gets drunk and takes it out on Johnson is particularly pleasing, it’s nice to see Williams finally gain some agency and snap back.

Throw in some musical numbers from Tony Martin, John Bromfield’s beefy, hunky body on display (he and Williams engage in a particularly erotic and strange flirtation in a pool of floating flowers), and the numerous aquatic spectacles, and what you have here is distillation of brash movie making at its finest. This is pure escapism, in which the plot is the thin connective tissue between the big-bang-for-your-buck entertainments. It works like gangbusters, it is silly nonsense, but it’s gloriously silly nonsense.

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An Evening with Lena Horne

“An Evening with Lena Horne would prove to be the final live outing from Lena Horne, not that she retired after this 1994 Supper Club show (released as a live album the following year). Far from it, she would go on to do a GAP commercial, release another album in 1998, and retire from public life in ” read more

1 day, 23 hours ago

Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music

“On the Playbill for her one-woman show, Lena Horne looked like a lioness celebrating a major victory. Her mouth open in triumph, her arms raised high above her head, she looks like she’s letting out a roar, and alternately, as she’s dressed in a flowing blue gown, like a slightly crazy blue fair” read more

1 day, 23 hours ago
JxSxPx posted a review of The Wiz

The Wiz

“A musical seems like an absolutely odd choice for a director like Sidney Lumet, a director that was preoccupied with grit and realism. But that eye towards grit and realism made for a unique collaboration with The Wiz, which creates an imagined, fanciful New York, a New York in which graffiti comes ” read more

2 days, 23 hours ago
JxSxPx posted a review of Death of a Gunfighter

Death of a Gunfighter

“I think there’s more good than bad here, and the good is very good, even if what’s bad is highly distracting. Death of a Gunfighter tells the story of the passing of the Old West into mythology, through the literal death of the last symbol of the era. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, the tit” read more

2 days, 23 hours ago
JxSxPx added Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to have watched list
4 days ago
Swing Time
 Swing Time 9/10
4 days, 7 hours ago
The Wiz
 The Wiz 8/10
4 days, 23 hours ago
5 days, 22 hours ago
JxSxPx posted a review of Meet Me in Las Vegas

Meet Me in Las Vegas

“Less a coherent film than a series of famous cameos, location photography, and a pleasing star turn from Cyd Charisse, Meet Me in Las Vegas is an overlong but cute diversion. The story is a dumb little trifle that gives up on itself by the halfway mark; pity there’s nearly another hour to go befor” read more

1 week ago
JxSxPx posted a review of Words and Music

Words and Music

“Throughout the 40s MGM released several of these thinly veiled revue films disguised as (highly fictionalized) biographies of famous composers. This one tackles Lorenz Hart and Richard Rogers, and the dramatics connecting the musical numbers is positively inert, which is a shame since Mickey Rooney ” read more

1 week ago
1 week, 1 day ago
JxSxPx posted 5 images [View All]

1 week, 4 days ago
1 week, 4 days ago
JxSxPx posted 2 images

1 week, 4 days ago
JxSxPx posted a review of Swing Fever

Swing Fever

“As an excuse to watch a group of highly talented musicians do what they do best, Swing Fever has some merit, as a film it’s a bottom of the barrel offering from MGM’s musical department. In-between scenes of Kay Kyser leading his orchestra through a series of pleasing numbers, frequently with Ma” read more

1 week, 5 days ago
JxSxPx posted a review of I Dood It

I Dood It

“Vincente Minnelli went on the record to state that I Dood It was his weakest effort as a director, and I’m not going to argue with him on it. I Dood It mostly spins its wheels around Red Skelton’s mugging for the camera, occasionally pausing from that action to view Eleanor Powell tap dancing up” read more

1 week, 5 days ago
JxSxPx posted a review of The Duke Is Tops

The Duke Is Tops

“While it deserves a bit more credit and sense of historical importance than merely being the film debut of the luminous Lena Horne, it doesn’t deserve those things by much. It’s certainly not on the merits of its filmmaking or storytelling, the film’s B-movie origins and quick ten day shooting” read more

1 week, 5 days ago
JxSxPx added 2 items to their collection
Esther Williams
Swing Fever

4/10


1 week, 5 days ago
I Dood It
 I Dood It 4/10
1 week, 5 days ago
JxSxPx posted 5 images [View All]

1 week, 6 days ago
JxSxPx posted 2 images

1 week, 6 days ago
JxSxPx added 2 items to their collection
An Evening with Lena Horne

have watched

The Duke Is Tops

6/10


1 week, 6 days ago
JxSxPx posted 7 images [View All]

2 weeks, 1 day ago
JxSxPx posted 43 images [View All]

2 weeks, 2 days ago
JxSxPx posted a image

2 weeks, 3 days ago
2 weeks, 3 days ago
JxSxPx posted a image

2 weeks, 3 days ago
JxSxPx posted 6 images [View All]

2 weeks, 4 days ago
2 weeks, 4 days ago

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Comments

Posted: 1 year, 8 months ago at Oct 26 17:23
Posted: 2 years, 2 months ago at Apr 8 14:36
hi friend check out my new list .
hope you like it and thanks for your
time
http://www.listal.com/list/love-these-posters
Posted: 2 years, 3 months ago at Mar 30 14:02
This might just sound schize, but thanks for re-writing my "Pocahontas" review-- saves me the trouble of figuring it all out *again* myself, a-hahahaha....
Posted: 2 years, 3 months ago at Mar 18 22:57
Thanks for participating in my lists.
Sorry, but you can't do another top, really sorry.
But thanks.
Posted: 2 years, 3 months ago at Mar 10 18:22
Thanks for taking part in my musicals list!

I also know how you feel, I found it hard to limit my choices down to 10.
Posted: 2 years, 5 months ago at Jan 19 23:47
hey friend check out my new list. hope you like it
http://www.listal.com/list/reflecting-beuty
Posted: 2 years, 6 months ago at Dec 21 16:14
Hello there! I enjoyed your review of Dracula and took myself the freedom to link it to my Universal Horror Films - Best to Worst list. Hope you're fine with that!
Posted: 2 years, 11 months ago at Jul 21 2:52
Thank u 4 your comment on the muses list. Suggestion added.
Posted: 3 years, 5 months ago at Jan 27 21:05
I'm working on a new project. Maybe you can check it out and help me. From which State are you from? and in which State are you living right now?

http://www.listal.com/list/around-usa-listals-members

(I may have asked you this already earlier, in this case, apology for the inconvenience!)
Posted: 3 years, 11 months ago at Jul 16 13:06
I'm working on a new project. Maybe you can check it out and help me. From which State are you from? and in which State are you living right now?

http://www.listal.com/list/around-usa-listals-members
Posted: 4 years, 7 months ago at Nov 18 1:19
O.O Thanks!!
Posted: 6 years, 5 months ago at Jan 12 20:17
cool reviews =]
Posted: 6 years, 7 months ago at Nov 15 17:51
Posted: 6 years, 10 months ago at Aug 12 18:48
Hey man, I see you're pretty new, I'm loving the reviews though! Great job.