Bob Mondello Bob Mondello reviews movies and covers the arts for NPR and shares critiques and commentaries on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered.
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Enough of the news already! What's good to see at the movies? NPR's Bob Mondello has some reviews. I'm a big Maggie Smith fan, so that's where I might be headed. The Black Dahlia: Brian De Palma is the sort of director who can't seem to help coming at stories from all kinds of angles -- in this case, a few too many angles -- but it's still gorgeous visually. The plot's so convoluted -- an invented story about two cops and all sorts of conspiracies, threaded around a real-life, unsolved Hollywood murder case -- that when all the threads come together, they're just a tangle. But the tracking shots and the bravura location work (Bulgaria stands in for '40s L.A.) offer plenty to watch. K.D. Lang shows up in one of a pair of lesbian bars, singing Cole Porter and framed by some decidedly unusual chorus girls. Still, the acting is all over the map -- high camp, low vamp and a couple of really blank performances where the leads should be. Josh Hartnett squints boyishly and mumbles, Scarlett Johansson looks like a '40s sweater ad. They're bland and unreadable, so there's not much reason to care about them -- or what's happening...
DePalma's Disjointed 'Black Dahlia'
The American Film Institute has revealed its latest list: The top 25 movie musicals of all time. NPR's Bob Mondello sent along this musing about the ranking. Personal confession -- The Sound of Music can still make me cry. "There's a place for us… somewhere a place for us," unless that is, we have an ounce of camp. When the American Film Institute released its list of cinema's greatest musicals this week, who'd have guessed they'd skip the sort of musical that really gets musicals -- the satires, the goofs, the shows that indicate a real love of form. I mean, these lists are made to be argued over, and there were bound to be a few kvetches and cavils, but seriously, why so serious? I mean, no one's going to argue with choices like Singin' in the Rain (#1), Wizard of Oz (#3) and Mary Poppins (#6)...
Fall Film Preview: Grown-Up Movies Return