Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rent (2005)

RentI saw the movie in a beautiful theater in downtown San Francisco on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and was surprised to find so few people in the movie theater--maybe 75 of us, and the theater could have fit 500. I wonder if some of the lukewarm reviews haven't influenced people's decisions to go to RENT. Hope not, for I'm here to tell you, this movie is dynamite and IMHO much, much better than the play. For one thing, in the movie you can hear every word, even with the increased rock instrumentation, for hundreds of sound experts have worked their magic and made sure that even people underwater could hear every single syllable; whereas on stage, it depended from night to night what percentage of the lyrics were going to be coming across the temperamental sound system of the Nederlander (NYC).

I did miss Daphne Rubin-Vega who was incomparably sexy and chilling as Mimi, but I never believed her being in love, and Rosario Dawson looked like she was just 'playing' at being bad and underneath she was ready to fall in love as soon as she saw Roger through the window. Her scenes of addiction are captured in the movie effectively, in a rpaid montage that might disconcert some rentheads but will, I think, be easily understood by those new to the show.

Yes, some of the actors looked older than 20 somethings. But we forget that most of those who died of AIDS in the 1989-90 period were actually in their 30s. What's the big deal? To me, Angel's fate is all the more sad because he seemed to be healthy for so long and then, all of a sudden, well, any more would bring me into spoiler territory.

Idina Menzel is not as over the top as she is on stage, but there's still plenty of fire power there, and she's bigger than anything in the movies since the heyday of Betty Hutton! She looks remarkably beautiful and she doesn't miss a trick; and just when you think she'll overshadow Tracie Thoms as her attorney girlfriend, Joanne, the latter pulls off some memorable comic business and signals her disappointment and regret with her expressive brown eyes. Anthony Rapp is charming as Mark Cohen, he comes off as a tiny terror, I wonder how tall he is, the constant scenes of him snarking down the streets with his fists clenched in anger at his sides, but no one else around to reveal his true proportions--the old Alan Ladd trick. And Adam Pascal is suave and tormented in equal measures as Roger. His eyelashes are so long I expected them to have a special spotlights in the credits, but no.

I have to disagree with the posters who claim that Larson wrote all the best numbers for the men in the cast. Maybe that's personal pleading, but I find the best songs pretty much divided right down the middle. Mimi's "Out Tonight" isn't as exciting as on stage, but it is much more compellingly staged, as Rosario Dawson steps out of the Cat Scratch Club after her shift only to launch into the second verse, and seems to scale the wall of the loft to get to Roger like Catwoman in the third. ("I'll let you make me . . .") "Light My Candle" suffers a little without Daphne Rubin-Vega in it, and Adam Pascal acts as though he knows he's cheating on her with Rosario Dawson. Afterwards he gets his balls back. The ensemble singing of "Will I?" and "Another Day" are perfectly staged and rehearsed, and it's there that I started to lose it. I guess I must have spent the last seventy minutes of the movie in a continual rain of tears. By the end I had to sit through all the credits in a vain attempt to gather composure. The faces of those whom I lost to AIDS flashed before my eyes. Not all of them, but some of them. I did resolve to go out and try to practice love on a grand scale. They got me this time. "No other path, no other way, give in to love or live in fear."

These sentiments are vapid and, in the daylight, seem a little silly, but the beauty and power of the movie is to convince you of their truth. Good work all around. I hope the movie's an enormous success.

I was born to love "Rent." Having grown up listening to my mother's record of "La Boheme" playing as she did her housework, I anxiously anticipated seeing the Broadway production when I was in New York in 1999. Although, it was superb, the movie version was so much more enjoyable to me, mainly because the words to the beautiful songs were clear and much more understandable. I realize Broadway is a one-shot deal and a movie can have countless takes on a scene, so I'm not putting down the play I loved in any way, just saying the movie was an easier and more enjoyable viewing experience.

From the spectacular opening scene where the full cast sings the beautiful "Seasons of Love," the stage is set for a glorious celebration of life, living it to the fullest, and enjoying every moment. Yes, there is heartbreak on the screen and many moist eyes in the theater, but this is mainly a joyful story of friendship, love, and reaching out to your fellow man.

The acting is superb, lovingly done by actors who obviously relate to their roles in a profound way. Wilson Jermaine excels as Angel, especially in the show-stopping "Today 4 U." Adam Pascal and Rosario Dawson are believable as the romantic leads and Jesse L. Martin will astound his "Law and Order" fans with his rich singing voice and dancing ability. All the cast is marvelous, the show is electric with its high-energy singing and dancing, and overall, the best movie I have seen in a long, long time. I will definitely get the DVD the day it is available.

Buy Rent (2005) Now

I have seen both the movie and the stage version of Rent. I love both of them. But, we're here to talk about the movie. I love the fact that most of the original cast is back for this. Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp are perfect as Roger and Mark. Adam shows the tortured soul that is Roger. Finding out he has HIV and dealing with his girlfriend's death puts him in a place he never thought he would be. Mark, Collins, Angel, and Mimi help him realize that he isn't dead yet. Adam takes you through that journey with all the emotions that entails. Anthony shows Mark's emotions throughout the piece. The look on his face when he sees that Roger has come out of the house, and come to the Life Support meeting shows you just how much he cares for his best friend, and how worried he was, and still is for him. Having them in two sepereate locations for "What You Own" also helps the characters and gives the actors a new way of playing the scene. When they come together on the roof and you see the emotion as they say "I'm not alone," that is when they both come to the realization that they aren't alone and they don't have to be. And I have both the OBC and Movie soundtracks, and I've got to say their preformances on the movie soundtrack have improved. How can you not love Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Angel? He is Angel. Jesse L. Martin blew me away as Collins. And if you have seen him in Law and Order, you will love him in this. Wilson and Jesse together are a terrific pair and to see them portray Angel and Collin's relationship is magic. I do think Taye Diggs was a little underused, but with having to condense the play to a movie time frame, Benny was the one who would have to suffer. Idina Menzel rules as Maureen, but neither she nor the actress who I just saw play the part will make me like Over the Moon. That is not my favorite moment in either the movie or the play. Now, to the new additions. In my humble opinion, Rosario Dawson blew Daphne Rubin-Vega out of the water. I thought Daphne sounded whiny as Mimi, Rosario brought life, depth, and fun to her. Tracie Thoms as Joanne was a wonderful addition. I did miss Fredi Walker's voice, but Tracie held her own and made the part hers. Another reviewer seems to think that Adam Pascal and Idina Menzel are suffering from detoriating voices. That is not the case. Adam's preformance, as I said before, exceeded the OBC version. If you don't like hearing his voice in Rent, then I recommend a change of pace, there is the OBC of Aida and his two solo albums, Model Prisoner and Civilian, that will give you a different prespective. Idina hasn't suffered from her preformance in Wicked, she has improved. I look forward to watching the DVD and the deleted scenes, which from what I understand will include the rest of "Goodbye Love" and "Halloween." Unfortunatly, "Contact" wouldn't have worked in the movie. Seeing Collins holding Angel in his arms at the hospital brought you to the same place emotionally as the end of Contact. I hope that the people who didn't see this in the theater will give it a chance on DVD. The story line is still relevant. There are still people living with, and dying from, AIDS. Jonathan Larson's vision still rings true. "There's only us, there's only this. Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road, no other way. No day but today."

Read Best Reviews of Rent (2005) Here

I was sooo dissapointed by the movie version of RENT and I am not a "renthead". I saw the Broadway show for the first time on the 10 year anniversary because I had to see it onstage before the movie came out. I am so glad I did. I didn't know the plotline before I saw it and I literally cried for twenty minutes in the middle of Times Square after leaving the theatre. I couldn't even listen to disc two of the cast recording, for weeks, without crying. The scenes that they left out of the movie should have been left in. It would have added a whole ten minutes to the running time but they were so important to telling the whole story. I don't think I can sit through another viewing of this movie. If you want to know what the Broadway musical was like, buy the original broadway cast recording. It is exactly how the show runs, with little talk and so much more singing. It also gives you the whole story with all the emotion that should be in the movie. If you haven't seen RENT in the theater, the whole show is done with only one set. It's great!!

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This movie is incredible, no doubt about it. From Taye Diggs to Rosario Dawson to Anthony Rapp to Idina Menzel, phenominal talent! I think though there is ONE performance that is worthy of at LEAST an Academy Award NOMINATION and that's Jesse L. Martin. Martin offers most of the laughs from the movie as well as makes the audience cry unlike any other performance this year. Martin's performance is exceptional and adds to the excellence of this incredible movie musical.

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