Jonathan Sanger

Jonathan Sanger

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The Producers (2005) Review


Weak
I'll confess up front that I never saw The Producers on stage. Not that I didn't want to: I'm a huge fan of the original Mel Brooks film -- a movie I consider, bar none, his best work and one of the 10 greatest comedies ever made. (I even wanted to name my firstborn after Zero Mostel, but that's another story.) The Broadway show also earned critical praise the likes of which few stage productions have seen: 12 Tony Awards and a waiting list for tickets that spanned over a year.

In 1968, Brooks was at the top of his game. He was also at the very beginning of it: The Producers was his first feature film, and you can track the quality of his movies on a steady decline which stretches from the awesome Blazing Saddles (1974) to the middling Spaceballs (1987) to the awful Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), Brooks' last appearance behind the camera.

Continue reading: The Producers (2005) Review

The Producers (2005) Review


Weak
I'll confess up front that I never saw The Producers on stage. Not that I didn't want to: I'm a huge fan of the original Mel Brooks film -- a movie I consider, bar none, his best work and one of the 10 greatest comedies ever made. (I even wanted to name my firstborn after Zero Mostel, but that's another story.) The Broadway show also earned critical praise the likes of which few stage productions have seen: 12 Tony Awards and a waiting list for tickets that spanned over a year.

In 1968, Brooks was at the top of his game. He was also at the very beginning of it: The Producers was his first feature film, and you can track the quality of his movies on a steady decline which stretches from the awesome Blazing Saddles (1974) to the middling Spaceballs (1987) to the awful Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), Brooks' last appearance behind the camera.

Continue reading: The Producers (2005) Review

The Elephant Man Review


Excellent
Understated and masterful in its use of costumes, makeup, and low-budget camerawork, David Lynch's portrait of John "The Elephant Man" Merrick stands as one of the best biographies on film. From his discovery by Dr. Frederick Treves (Hopkins) in a carnival freakshow, to his rehabilitation in the hospital and acceptance into London society, to his ultimate demise by suffocating, John Hurt's vibrant portrayal of Merrick is an emotional tour de force that sheds much light on the man now best known for occupying Michael Jackson's mantel. Lynch may very well be the only director who could have done the subject justice, and despite a few forced scenes with Merrick meet-n-greeting various English socialites, the film stands as one of the highlights of his career.

Continue reading: The Elephant Man Review

Frances Review


OK
This fairly engaging (if over-long) biopic of infamous 1930s actress Frances Farmer is a showpiece for Jessica Lange, who I normally am not a big fan of. Unfortunately though the story glosses over some of the big details in Farmer's life. While we get her incarceration in a mental asylum and lobotomization, her various celebrity weddings barely get a mention. Similarly, her life after release from the loony bin gets covered only in a title card before the credits.
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