Monday, June 30, 2008

Still Chasing the Shadows Away

Thank God Almighty! "Mamma Mia!", the movie, is getting good reviews. Posted today on Yahoo Movies this review is full of praise. Meryl Streep's performance as Donna Sheridan is described as one of her best (and she has had many!) and also that "it is no stretch to think of her performance in Oscar terms". "Mamma Mia" is the kind of film that the critics just love to hate. It is a great, big, colourful, fabulous movie that many critics in the more serious press often tear apart, similar to the harsh treatment that "Sex & the City" has been getting. However, it's the audiences that make a film a hit and the film has a loyal but hopeful fan-base from the stage show and the various classic Abba songs on the soundtrack. The "must see" factor is something that is only obtained by good word of mouth and reviews. Good early reviews are a clear indication that the movie will be a very big hit. In the US, it is now the 6th week in a row that revenue has been up on this time last year. One reason for the record breaking box office figures in the US is that going to the cinema is still one of the cheaper forms of entertainment and also that you don't have to drive far to the nearest cinema. The other reason is of course that there are a lot of good movies out this summer. It's wonderful to see actresses like Julie Walters and Christine Baranski in a movie like this. They are two of the best comedy actresses in the movie business. They play Rosie and Tanya, the best friends of Donna Sheridan as played by Meryl Streep. I love the photo below, especially Julie in her fab Bangles t-shirt. The Bangles play in Dublin's Vicar Street, on Wednesday, I can't wait! Meryl looks fantastic in the trailer and publicity pictures and after the box office failures of her recent movies "Lions for Lambs" and "Evening", she is back on track. Meryl has appeared, narrated in or been a character voice in 11 films since "The Devil Wears Prada" in 2006, amazing. The male leads are played by Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard and their performances, both in acting and singing are all said to be great too. Thankfully, the word embarrassing hasn't been used in relation to their singing abilities yet. Amanda Seyfried plays Sophie, Donna daughter who decides to find out who her real father is, prior to her wedding, by inviting her mother's 3 ex-lovers to the Greek Island where they live. Amanda is still best known for her role as Karen in "Mean Girls" (as pictured below with Rachel McAdams and Lacey Chabert). The success of "Mamma Mia" this summer, will really boost her profile. Dominic Cooper, playing Sophie boyfriend, will also get a lot of media attention from his role in the movie. Dominic starred in both the stage and screen versions of "The History Boys" and is currently starring in "The Escapist". No matter how funny the performances are or how colourful and well scripted the film is the most important thing is the songs themselves. Below is a video of Amanda Seyfried singing "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man after Midnight)". This was a song that I thought was the most adult thing I ever heard when I was a child. Oh, the innocence! It is clever of the film's producers to release this as a publicity video as it is a song which is loved by Abba fans and also known by today's generation after Madonna used it for her "Hung Up" single. What is also good is that the musical production is similar to the original but at the same time not a karaoke version. Mamma Mia opens nationwide in both the UK and Ireland on July 10th. The premiere was tonight, Monday, in London where it is showing just in Leicester Square from next week on the 4th of July. Mamma Mia opens in the US on July 16th.