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This Week's Review: "Sweeney Todd"

The same man has been cutting my hair since I was in high school somewhere around 25 years. Prior to that I always accompanied my mother to her beauty parlor where one of several elderly women would always want to do something fun with my hair (fun, not surprisingly, usually involved a putrid smelling styling gel). So around my junior year of high school I decided that I wanted to start going to a real barbershop a place where guys go to get their hair cut, not styled. My father took me to his barber where I met the son of the owner. He had just graduated from barber school, making me one of his first clients. Since that day, not one other person has cut my hair. Ive always enjoyed going to see my barber, not only because he cuts my hair just the way I like it, but because the experience, as a whole, is pure barbershop. Walk in and chances are there will be a lively political debate already in progress. If politics arent on the menu, sports definitely will be. And if youre curious about the latest city gossip, this is the place to get the real story. Of course, it wouldnt be a barbershop without a few off-color jokes thrown around as well. Like any good barbershop, this one is never empty. Theres always a line, but its never as bad as it seems since there are generally a few elderly guys hanging around just to pass the time. I get the feeling if I live long enough, Ill be one of those guys. Besides being accomplished at cutting hair, my barber is also a former Golden Gloves boxing champion. Hows that for a contradiction! This guy is as deft as a person can be with a pair of scissors coupled with the ability to destroy another man physically if deemed necessary. Thankfully hes also the nicest guy in the world not like the character cutting hair in this weeks feature, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. In Sweeney Todd, a recently released prisoner returns to London to start his life anew as a barber. He befriends a pie maker who shares his disillusionment with upper society and together the two embark on a heinous and deplorable crime spree. It all sounds dark and disturbing which it is except for the fact that the cast members are singing 75 percent of the dialogue. Sweeney Todd is based on the tremendously successful Broadway musical of the great composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Like all musicals that are adapted to film, this picture has a limited audience. Some people just dont enjoy the musical genre and therefore will find little worth in seeing them. This film, and others like it, appeals to a more discerning viewer, someone willing to have their storytelling delivered in a format inconsistent with mainstream ideals. Moreover, while the complexities of Sondheims music are fabulously displayed, this is not the kind of musical that will have you whistling after the show. Unlike Evita, Grease, or Oliver, where catchy songs will have you running out to buy the soundtrack at the films conclusion, Sweeney Todd relies on fancy wordplay and creative singing structures to set itself apart. To me, Sweeney Todds music was complex and creative but far from melodically memorable. There is also little doubt that Sweeney Todd was a brilliantly constructed film. Director Tim Burton is a genius at setting the tone and feel of his movies. And by dragging along his consummate leading man, Johnny Depp, as well as Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman, Burton assured himself of a first-rate manifestation of his vision. In the end, Sweeney Todd was a wonderfully creative film built on wonderfully creative music. However, on a personal level it failed to fully engulf me because of my inability to connect with the music. Check this one out if you love musical cinema or if you are a fan of the Broadway show. A warm-blooded B for Sweeney Todd.

Cant decide what to watch? Check out Doms
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Shampoo Some films are fun and interesting to watch because they immediately transport you to the time period in which they were made. Shampoo is that kind of film. Released in 1975 and starring Warren Beatty, Goldie Hawn, and Julie Christie, Shampoo was the perfect snapshot of the west coast lifestyle of the early 1970s. Beatty, one of the great sex symbols of modern cinema, was at the epoch of his popularity. He used this to his advantage in portraying George Roundy, a high-profile hair stylist that is sought after by all his female clients. This one can be easily categorized as a fluff piece, but a closer look reveals much more social commentary just beneath the surface. Check this one out if you are feeling nostalgic about your youth or you really want a taste of what life was like in 1975.

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