Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Angela's Dances

Ah, my seven followers. What would I do without ye? Welp, I'm making a half-way year's resolution to get back into the movie reviewing game! So why not start with Dancing at Lufthansa... I'm sorry, that's spelled Lughnasa. I don't feel so bad about getting that wrong, since I found out that Ballybeg is a MADE UP TOWN!!!! I feel strangely cheated. It's like finding out there wasn't actually a General Jack D. Ripper. Then again, Lughnasa's no Strangelove. Allow me to expand further upon this notion. And this will basically be the whole tone of the review should you choose to bail out now.
The time: 1936. The place: Ireland. And just like Scorsese was the right director for GoodFellas, director Pat O'Connor was more than perfect than this delightful tale of the land of Ire. And judging from his résumé, this just might be his GoodFellas. The January Man? Sweet November? Inventing the Abbotts? Not so much. Let me tell you something: this movie's so Irish, it hurts! It's more Irish than Red Sonja (1985) is Italian!
What else is in that list? The situation: four or five sisters live in a house together. The movie is narrated by the boy, Michael, and it's terribly reverential and nostalgic. 1936 must have been one hell of a time to be alive. You wouldn't know it from the movie by itself. But, as they say, if you remember 1936, you weren't really there, man! Something like that.. one of those years. Actually, it's a good segue into Michael Gambon's character, the brother of the Mundy sister clan. He's a minister returning from Africa, and I don't know how he was before, but he's returned lost in a haze of self-reflection. Or am I allowed to say that apparently, once he went black... you know.
If I may be so bold, Meryl Streep's always had a good career, but I think she might have been a little worried in the late 90s, with films like Music of the Heart and One True Thing. She's back in the audience's good graces now... I guess. The critics, anyway, and the Oscar voting block. Well, sometimes when one has a career like Meryl's, you gotta focus on your peeps. She does her usual fine work here, even though the material seems a bit beneath her.
Anyway, to make a long review short, the plot's not much to write home about, but I did like the cinematography and the music. And like the narrator has his memories, I remember a women comedy troupe on MTV doing a bit about this movie, and the general phenomenon in movies where either a) all women do in movies is dance, or b) dance is used as a surrogate for sex. Maybe both. Or maybe just a). Someone find that for me on YouTube, will ya?

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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