"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Posts Tagged ‘Tony Kushner’

West Side Story

Tuesday, February 15th, 2022

WEST SIDE STORY – it’s very clear when you see it – is a film by Steven Fucking Spielberg. That’s why I saw it. Usually when I write about a remake of a beloved classic I like to be somewhat knowledgeable about the source material, but this late in the game you’ve had plenty of time to read reviews from people who know the musical or the earlier Robert Wise movie forward and backward, can tell you all the things that Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner (MUNICH, LINCOLN) added, cut, updated, etc., and the significance of those alterations. Or at least from someone who has seen the original. I have not. I would’ve, but Spielberg didn’t direct it.

I don’t really gravitate toward Broadway musical type stuff, but I do have a thing for great filmatism, so this thing knocked me out. As even I kind of knew, it’s the story of two gangs, the Jets (white guys) and the Sharks (proud Puerto Ricans) stubbornly fighting over territory in a dilapidated Manhattan slum that (this part is new, I believe) is on the verge of redevelopment. In the opening, Janusz Kaminski (COOL AS ICE)’s camera hovers over what remains of the neighborhood, climbs up the side of a structure under construction, past a billboard advertising the fancy apartment building and entertainment center it will become (featuring the sort of upper class white people who will inhabit it), then hangs out a while next to the wrecking ball waiting to get the process started. Meanwhile, the percussion section (David Newman [CRITTERS, ROVER DANGERFIELD, CONEHEADS, THE SPIRIT] arranging Leonard Bernstein’s music) playfully percolates like the build up to a heist sequence.

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Lincoln

Monday, November 12th, 2012

After the election on Tuesday, which brought us 4 historic gay rights ballot victories, the first openly gay Senator and the most women in the Senate ever, it was a no-brainer to spend Friday night watching Spielberg’s movie about Abraham Lincoln and his people’s fight to eke together a coalition to pass the 13th amendment to the Constitution, ending 400 years of slavery. Also, SKYFALL was sold out.
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Munich and Sword of Gideon

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

You know, MUNICH is almost the movie I was hoping SYRIANA would be. SYRIANA has alot to say about the complicated way the world works, but it doesn’t get you excited about it. You’re probaly not gonna be sitting on the edge of your seat. More likely you’ll be scratching your chin saying, “Interesting, interesting.” I’d rather see a movie that can be complex and political without sacrificing in the awesome department. A good balance of substance and badass. And that’s what this is.

Okay so maybe MUNICH isn’t as true to life as SYRIANA (in fact, some people think the real guy it’s based on made up the whole story and never worked for Mossad) but it sure is a more entertaining movie. Eric Bana (winner of the secret, recently declassified 2001 lead badass outlaw award for CHOPPER) plays Avner, a small time Israeli agent personally chosen by the prime minister to lead a team of assassins to kill 11 people believed to be involved in the planning of the massacre of the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. (read the rest of this shit…)