Sunday, February 14, 2010
In honor of Valentine's Day, I made the inspired choice of Mrs. Lovett for our villain.
After all, she did it all for love.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has been around the block a few times, and Mrs. Lovett has been played by many a female come stage or screen - including Angela Lansbury and Patti LuPone.
But for all intents and purposes, I've chosen the recent movie version to focus on, with Helena Bonham Carter in the lead. Now I won't say she had the strongest voice ever to play the role (ah, hell no!) - but I could get behind the casting simply on looks.
She embodies what I imagine Mrs. Lovett to look like.
Anyway....Mrs. Lovett was simply put, love-struck over the dapper demon barber (and I would be too if the dude looked like Johnny Depp, even with the skunk hair).
She aspired to be his one and only, and helped him hide the evidence of his crimes just to get on his good side - or into his bed, I think. She conveniently had a room for him to stay in and set up shop, and she had kept all his barber straight blades as well. She even helped him find "customers"...
But her scheming got her what?
A hot date with a iron furnace grave.
When Sweeney finds out she's responsible for not only hiding the fact that his wife isn't dead (which she definitely led him to believe), but also - because she didn't tell him that his wife was actually the street beggar - that those repercussions led to him slitting his own wife's throat, there was nothing on this earth that could have saved Mrs. Lovett from his vengeance.
And we haven't even touched on the fact that she was using humans for those special, one-of-a-kind meat surprise pies! Covering up Sweeney's bloody habit, she used the bodies to benefit herself as well.
Really makes me consider becoming a vegetarian.
But alas, Mrs. Lovett's reign of terror - all in the name of love - went down in flames.
Buy it here.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Let me count the ways...
1) Johnny Depp. Anyone who even remotely knows me, knows I will watch Mr. Depp frolic in pig shit - it doesn't matter what he is in, I will certainly watch it. From his bloody bed-sucking demise in his first movie 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' to his eccentric role as our favorite scissor-wielding orphan in 'Edward Scissorhands to skittish Icabod Crane in 'Sleepy Hollow' to Captain Jack himself - he has always picked off-beat, unusal roles. Usually on the darker side (i.e. 'From Hell', 'The Ninth Gate' and among others, this title role) he makes the part his own, and has shown he is one of the best actors of this generation. And that's not to mention he's not too hard on the eyes, either!
2) The barber chair. Not to give too much away - but I think you've seen on the commercials and trailers this brilliant contraption that disposes of the corpses after ole Sweeney has given them the closest shave imaginable.
3) Meat pies. Now, I'm no vegetarian, but these meat pies make me want to run for cover somewhere close to PETA headquarters.
4) Burton. Always imagining the dark side of life - his bleak, atmospheric sets and morbid fascinations with somber stories is something I've grown accustomed to expecting from one of the masters of telling a macabre tale.
5) Music. What would a musical be without it? Duh. Just a silly script. And who knew Johnny Depp could actually sing that well?
Stephen Sondheim's music and lyrics have always been what is the driving force in the story. I actually much prefer the movie's soundtrack to any of the Broadway versions, which are -in my opinion- way over the top.
6) Set design, costumes and art direction. Whoever was in charge of these tasks should have won the Oscar (maybe they did but I don't feel like looking up those stats right now....). The bleak, dark, dripping with atmosphere London in this film is superior to most other dreck that passes in movies these days. You can just feel the Jack The Ripperish ambience of the streets. I love this kind of mood that Tim Burton is so famous for. Well done.
All in all, a fine turn by all involved. Depp and the movie itself won Golden Globes, and it's no wonder.
Poor Sweeney - he's lost his wife and daughter to the evil and scheming Judge Turpin. He was locked away for 15 years, in which time his wife was left for dead and his daughter was locked away in a room, hidden from the world for the Judge's own ulterior motives. But Sweeney's got a plan of his own, and he'll have a bloody good time bringing his agenda to fruition.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Lovett has come upon hard times making her meat pies, noticing that her competition is using morsels of a feline nature in her recipes...
Wouldn't it be something if.....
Naaahhh... I won't spoil it for ya.
Suffice it to say when these two schemers put their heads together, they really take the cake. Or should I say pie?