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Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

One of the things I love most about Christmas each year is being able to give out movies to my friends. Picking just the right movie for each person is something I enjoy, and some years, it's easier than others. For example, this Christmas, I gave out a number of copies of Fox's exceptional new MOULIN ROUGE DVD package, and it's because not only do I like the film, but the DVD itself is about as good a collector's edition of a movie as you could ask for. Once again, Fox has outdone themselves when putting together an archival record of all things related to Baz Luhrmann's grand and strange experiment.

The second disc, the one with the supplemental material on it, is a stunner. One hardly knows where to start to wade into the thing. If you click on the menu selection, "The Stars," you're rewarded with a beautiful short silent film montage, glamour shots of Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman taken from costume and makeup tests and rehearsals and from the film itself. It's ravishing, and these two stars will never look better. The two of them practically glow in the film, and you have to wonder if it's because of how much they enjoyed making it or if it's a mere trick of the lighting. Either way, it's a beautiful little bonus, lyrical and worth watching a few times.

The section itself is divided into a series of cards, each with a different actor on it. When you click the card, you'll see the actor discussing their work in the movie, and their work with Baz. There's behind the scenes footage, rehearsal tapes, clips from the film, and interviews all cut together, and it's quite informative. If you go to the Leguizamo card and push "up" on your remote, you'll be rewarded with a Green Fairy that leads you to the first of four Easter Eggs hidden on the DVD, a snippet of footage of Leguizamo trying out his magic sitar costume. It is great to see how they made him shorter for the film, and to get a look at the prosthetic legs he was wearing in the movie. Overall, "The Stars" has a wealth of material worth wading through.

"The Cutting Room" is also fascinating, and contains the second Easter Egg, a well-hidden red windmill. This is, in my opinion, the best of the Easter Eggs, a long take of Ewan and Nicole during the filming of "Your Song." She can barely keep a straight face as Ewan earnestly sings to her, and by the end of the take, they've given up all pretense of seriousness and are both doing the Batusi and the Swim together, dancing and lip-synching to Ewan's rough vocal track, fascinating in its own right. In this particular take, Nicole is about as beautiful as I've ever seen her on film, and her laughter makes her even more appealing. I don't understand how anyone can still call her "cold." The impression you get of her after watching all these supplemental materials is someone who comes to a set ready to play, ready to make a great film, and who enjoys her work completely. This section is made up primarily of footage that was edited, then discarded, and watching the evolution of the opening of the film is a great way of understanding exactly what it was that Baz was trying to do in that hyperkinetic 10 minutes. When I first saw the film, my one complaint was that the beginning might turn off some viewers, that it was too much too soon, and that the film didn't really find its legs until Satine (Kidman's character) made her entrance. Now that I've seen the ways the film could have opened, it's obvious that Baz did some smart and focused cutting to get the film to work, and that he made hard choices there. Anyone who thinks they want to direct should definitely follow the development of ideas as this project moved from story to script to screen. It's educational, to say the least.

The section about the evolution of the script is fascinating because you get to hear just how off-the-track Craig Pearce and Baz got at times. I need to see a film featuring Baron Von Groovy, a character who eventually became the Duke, but he would have overpowered MOULIN ROUGE and diffused the simple melodramatic love story that the collaborators were trying to tell. Pearce and Luhrmann are both flamboyant, exaggerated performers, and it's obvious they love to bounce ideas off each other during the creative process. I was exhausted just watching them describe their ideas about the film, but what comes through loud and clear is that they saw this as an opportunity they made the most of, exploring all the possibilities before finally deciding on the story of Christian and Satine that was finally presented.

"The Dance" is divided into two halves, really. There's "Dance" and "Choreography." There's another Green Fairy Easter Egg hiding on the "Dance" side of things, hiding near Baz's name. There's also a lot of material to dig into here. Several of the musical numbers were cut as extended scenes, then had dramatic material cut into them, disrupting the flow in the final film. This section allows you to watch the numbers as they were originally constructed, and my favorite scene in the film is even better in this context, the "Tango De Roxanne." It's a beautiful, emotional bit of song and dance, and having the option of cutting the scene myself using the multi-cam option on the disc was more fun than I expected. There's similar pleasures to be had with the other numbers here, "Can Can," "Coup D'Etat," and "Hindi," but for my money, the "Tango" justifies the purchase price all by itself.

Under "Choreography," you'll find an interview as well as a collection of rehearsal footage, and it's here that you're likely to learn real respect for the dancing in this film. If I have any criticism of the movie overall, it's that there is too much sound and fury at times, and some of the incredible work that was done gets lost in the barrage of imagery. Seeing the very first rehearsal where the dance numbers were performed for the full crew, you get to really watch the dances by themselves, without the distraction of multiple cameras and elaborate set-ups. These are remarkably well-staged numbers, even in a bland setting like a dance studio, and I found myself impressed all over again.

"The Music" discusses the evolution of some of the film's songs, but seemed a little light on substance, given over instead to a music video for a remixed "Come What May" that never sounds right to me and a segment on "The Lady Marmalade Phenomenon." Of all the bonus sections, I was surprised that this one struck me as the weakest overall. Still, if these are the standout numbers for you, I'm sure you'll find much to like in here. I thought "Design" was dense with stuff to look at and admire, and one of the sub-sections, "Graphic Design," is presented in a particularly striking manner, a sort of scrolling montage of poster art and background imagery created for the film. It's one of those things that doesn't really serve a function, but that you find yourself watching twice or three times anyway.

The final bonus section is "The Marketing," and they've certainly packed in as much as they can. There's photo galleries and poster designs and an "international sizzle reel," and hidden somewhere amongst all of it, you'll find the last Easter Egg on the disc. I won't say exactly where, but it's a bitch to find. Just keep looking for the last red windmill. I think my favorite of the "Marketing" extras is called "The Little Red Book," a sort of vintage postcard version of the entire film. I'd love to get an actual bound copy of this thing. It's enchanting, like so much of the film.

Speaking of which... how is the sound and picture on the actual film transfer? Outstanding. This is one of those films that threatens to bleed right off your screen, so vivid and so colorful that it almost doesn't seem like a TV can hold it all. Fox has done an exemplary job of preserving the cinematography of Donald McAlpine, an old industry pro (PARENTHOOD, PREDATOR, MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON, BREAKER MORANT, PATRIOT GAMES) who seems to come to life when he's working with Luhrmann. His work on this and on ROMEO + JULIET is just remarkable, both cartoonish and emotionally honest. The soundtrack is amazing whether you play it in DTS or Dolby, and the numerous commentaries (one by the production team, one by the writing team) are informative and dense with observation. The overall effect of all of this, though, would be for nothing if the film itself didn't work, and as I was putting this together, I realize I never actually reviewed the film for the site. I never actually told you what I thought of the film.

It's a remarkable thing, completely artificial by design, but somehow filled with great, simple honesty. It's got two world-class movie star performances and is stuffed full of wonderful supporting turns. It's both incredibly overwrought and surprisingly direct. It would be an easy movie to hate thanks to the over-the-top touch that Luhrmann brings to all of it, and I can understand why the film's beginning would freak some viewers out so much that they had trouble seeing anything else in it. There are moments where it teeters on the verge of self-indulgence, something that Luhrmann has in common with some of his talented peers at the moment. I think it's that willingness to look ridiculous, to fail completely, that makes Baz so interesting, and that makes MOULIN ROUGE such a triumph in the end. This feels like a film that shouldn't work, that shouldn't add up to something affecting and real, but the basic charismatic connection between Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman cuts through everything else. They make the film glorious every time they lock eyes, every time they touch. They cut through all the clutter, and in some ways, I think that's the point. The film is loaded up like a mescaline-drenched vision of the most garish circus in the world, trying to emulate how it must have felt to step into the actual whirlwind of the Moulin Rouge at that point in time, and despite all the distractions, we are able to focus on this one love story. Would I have enjoyed the film so much if I hadn't taken along my own "sparkling diamond," someone to share it with? Who knows? Films like this are for those who are in love or those who believe in love, and they aren't interested in the hard-hearted, the jaded, the cynical. MOULIN ROUGE wasn't built to win you over to the idea of love if you're dead set against it, and it doesn't contain any great, secret wisdom beyond "The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return," but if you open yourself to the experience of it all, especially in the form of Fox's DVD version of it, you might find those words to be transcendent. I certainly did, and continue to do so still.

Before I go, I want to update this slightly. I just got an e-mail, one of many to point out that there are actually 15 Easter Eggs on this disc. This e-mail details all 15, though, and where to find them. If you want the fun of finding them spoiled, then here's a list for you. Me, I'm going to try not to look and head back to the disc in search of them for myself. Here's the letter:


Loved your review of the Moulin Rouge DVD, but I wanted to let you know that there are 15 easter eggs total, not just 4.

I've included them for your own viewing pleasure of if you feel like posting them as an update to your review. Either way: Enjoy!

Egg 1: In "The Stars" section, push up from John Leguizamo's segment to highlight the green fairy and push enter to see John showcase his magical sitar outfit. (0:12).

Egg 2: In "The Cutting Room Floor" section, highlight "main menu" and arrow left to highlight a red windmill and hit enter to see an outtake where Nicole can't keep a straight face. (1:59)

Egg 3: On the last main menu of Special Features, highlight the "Back" arrow and push right to highlight a red fairy and hit enter to see an outtake with Broadbent. (0:50).

Egg 4: In the "Dance" submenu, highlight "A Word From Baz" and arrow right to highlight the green fairy and hit enter to see Baz talking to actors at a rehearsal. (1:01).

Egg 5: In the "Choregraphy" submenu, highlight "main menu" and arrow right to highlight a windmill and hit enter to see Baz goofing around (0:20).

Egg 6: In the "Design" submenu, within "Costume Design" choose the gallery for "A Courtesan's Wardrobe" and go to the fourth page of the gallery. Push up to highlight a green fairy, and hit enter to see an outtake where Ewan's mic gets misplaced (1:30).

Egg 7: In the "Design" submenu, within "Costume Design" choose the gallery for "The Bohemians" and go to the fifth page of the gallery. Push up to highlight a red windmill and hit enter to see a video of the Bohemians messing around. (0:15)

Egg 8: In the "Design" submenu, within "Set Design" choose the gallery for "Gothic Tower" and go to the fifth page of the gallery. Push up to highlight a red windmill and hit enter to see a video of rehearsal where Nicole uses a persuasive tactic on Richard. (0:14)

Egg 9: In the "Design" submenu, within "Set Design" choose the gallery for "Spectacular Spectacular" and go to the second page of the gallery. Push up to highlight a green fairy and hit enter to see Baz take us to the ADR Studio doors. (0:40)

Egg 10: In the "Music" section, select "The Lady Marmalade Phenomenon" and arrow right from the 'Main Menu' option of this sub-menu to find a red windmill. Hit enter to see Baz & Dubsy in the car. (0:12)

Egg 11: In "Marketing" in the "Photo Gallery" section, highlight 'Mary Ellen Mark' and arrow right to find a red windmill. Hit enter to see John Leguizamo's costume test (0:38).

Egg 12: In "This Story Is About" in the "Old Storylines & Script Comparisons" submenu, push right at 'return' option to highlight a green fairy. Hit enter to see Baz & Craig goof around (0:25).

Egg 13: On the "Design" submenu, type '18' + enter, then '99' + enter to see a makeup artists dust some nipples (0:14) (Might not be what you are hoping for)

Egg 14: In the "Smoke & Mirrors" sub-menu, type '5' + enter, then '18' + enter to see the ol' Top Hats raised on strings gag. (0:15).

Egg 15: In the "Stars" sub-menu, type '9' + enter, then '17' + enter to see a fond farewell to Ewan with bagpipes on the last day of principal photography.


Thanks, and to all those who are going to keep looking like me, happy hunting.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 9, 2002, 7:53 a.m. CST


    by Blurredplacebo

    the moulin rouge dvd has been out for ages here in australia. i know it might be different from the reigion 1 disc to the reigion 4 one but it's nice to have it the other way around at the moment:).

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 8:18 a.m. CST

    Who did the original Lady Marmalade?

    by Lionel Cosgrove

    Damned if I can remember. I hated the cover version with Christina practicing her scales again; that's what put me off seeing this one. I'll probably rent the DVD and end up loving the film, cursing my own stupidity for not seeing it on the big screen.

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 8:31 a.m. CST

    Philbot will probably buy this...


    God knows when this dvd will come out in England! Not that I'm bothered at all...

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 8:39 a.m. CST

    fanboys and musicals

    by The Tao of Joe

    I remember when I went to BNAT 3 in the very nice town of Austin Texas, I could easily see that the people there were seriously devoted to the art of film. This guys were film freaks right, cheering and hissing, and lauging with the movies. These were some major FILM people. But when harry showed them the wonderful musical entitled Cabin In The Sky, I saw people walk up to Harry thinking that it was a mean joke, saying things like "YOU EVIL BASTARD, YOU ARE GOING TO HELL FOR THAT ONE!" Fanboys just dont like musicals. If you go onto the dreaded movie madness chat on AOL, you got alot of guys who just really really hate Moulin Rouge, and when I say, "BUT DO YOU EVEN LIKE MUSICALS?" they say, YEAH, "SOUTHPARK BLU" is one of my all time favorite movies of all time. But after serious inspection, I find that the same people who are just hog balls about "SOUTHPARK" have either not seen, or liked any other musicals. The thing is, when talking about Musicals, SOUTHPARK DOSN"T COUNT. Its like saying you like science fiction, when the only sci fi film you have seen is STAR WARS, or Horror, when the only film you have seen is SCREAM. All three of those films are the most palitable of their genres to the audiences of today. When I go to audition for film schools, I meet lots of people who are nuts about Tarrintino SPEILBERG, and LUCAS, but chances are, none of them like musicals. The modern musical is in dire straights, because the audience is ripped in half. There are people who were old enough to enjoy the golden era of musicals on the big screen, and then there are those who are simply too young to have, and instead, have been raised on the music video. Baz made a musical for the latter of those two groups,and the result was less than great financially, because the other half of the audience, the group who saw Reb TEVYE wondering what he would do if he were rich, while shaking his tummy in all of his mighty jewish glory were simply left scratching their heads. So now, the poor musical is like, well, lets see, how can I get you to understand this, hmmm. The modern musical is in many ways like freedom in the begining of Star Wars. There is alot of problems associated with the over comercialized musical empire who has deranged the general public's idea of both music, and musical performance, and those who remember the good ole days of musicals, or The Jedi's if you will, are simply too sparse and too old. Their ways, which were once mighty, and powerful, are not forgotten, and no longer appreciated, because these people's weapon of choice is simply much more refined than a petty laser pistol. So maybe that helped you guys. Maybe it didn't, but oh well. I am telling you guys, if you dare to call yourselves a film freak, you better go and find yourself an appreciation of fred astaire really fast. I pray that the american musical will return to its former glory. be cool. ToJ

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 9:27 a.m. CST

    re: Original "Lady Marmalade"

    by SutureSelf

    "Lady Marmalade" was originally done by Patti LaBelle in her trio called "LaBelle." It was around 1975 or so.

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Cosgrove Lady Marmalade was performed by Patti LaBell

    by MGTHEDJ

    She who introduced the southern gospel style singing with the scale runs and false stops and extended codas to pop music. Now I really like Patti and her style, but having Christina, Jessica Simpson, Mariah and Desteny's Child imitating her and not really singing a song has become annoying (Patti cuts loose only at the end--listen to any of her recordings.) The style is almost operatic, with the emphasis on the sound and not the lyric. It's the equivalent of all those progressive rock acts trying to do an album in the style of the Beatles "Revolver" and "Sgt. Pepper's". Very few can do it well and the market becomes over-saturated. It was those acts the Ramones were rebelling against. And it's the scale runners who Angie Stone, Alicia Keys, and Craig David are countering.-----later-----m

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 9:54 a.m. CST

    League of Ext. Gentlemen

    by Lujho

    What do people think of the hypothetical possibility of Baz directing the film version of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? I wouldn't want it to be a musical but the visuals and energy of Moulin Rouge IMO would suit LOEG a lot. The way Paris is presented in MR is just amazing.

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Tao of Joe you are so right

    by MGTHEDJ

    Many did not get this movie. It is the musical for a post 1981 world. It is the anti-Disney musical. The musical theater in the U.S. is mostly confined to the Northeast, the Boston to DC corridor, with an enclave in Chicago. There are certain rules to the genre. The bursting into song is equal to Faster than Light travel or Life existing on other planets in Science Fiction. Also I believe with the "Wizard of Oz", "Sound of Music", the Elvis movies, and "Grease" being the only musicals most males have been exposed to in the U.S. has skewed their perceptions. They like "South Park" because it is one, a parody and two, it is written from a heterosexual male point of view. An example for you. One of the problems in "West Side Story" is the dancing. Some of those steps and moves-weeelll?? I never have seen gang members move quite like that. But the music-LORD HAVE MERCY WHAT WAS BERSTEIN'S MUSE WHEN HE WROTE THIS. The overture will knock your socks off. Having the orchestra imitate TIMES SQUARE TRAFFIC still blows my mind. And the lyrics to "America"-with the cynicism of the males and the dead on attacks about racism in NYC. If you likes "South Park" check out "On The Town" with Sinatra, "Little Shop of Horrors", "The Muppet Movie" from 1979, and also "All That Jazz" (it has a bunch of naked women in it, and I'm talking beautiful too.)-----later-----m

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 10:18 a.m. CST

    That should be "if you LIKE South Park..."

    by MGTHEDJ

    Man, what was that? I think I was possessed by Jar Jar Binks?---m

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 10:37 a.m. CST

    A couple quick minor corrections for Tao...

    by KingCujoI

    I don't mean to be nitpicky but these are things that really irk me. First you called Star Wars Sci-Fi. WHY DOES EVERYONE DO THIS? It is most decidely not science fiction, it mostly falls in the Fantasy and Melodrama genres. There is nothing in it that is scientific. 2001 Space Oddysey, was a Sci-Fi movie. Let me put it this way, any movie where you can hear explosions and other sounds in space (a bloody vaccuum it is by the way) is not science fiction. Second Scream is Horror in a way, but it actually falls into the sub-genre of the Slasher flick. Can't blame you for that one though, recent crapmasters have totally diluted what was a pretty good genre. And I hate to tell you this but South Park, like it or not, is a revisionist Musical. Just some notes to help :-).

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 10:59 a.m. CST

    15 Easter Eggs

    by Sam-80

    A friend of mine does the final passes on DVD's before they are sent off to be burned, checking out all the functions to make sure they all work. She said there are 15 Easter Eggs hidden so....I guess you better get to work ther's more to be found.

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 11:13 a.m. CST

    King, you only prove my point.

    by The Tao of Joe

    I do know what a REAL sci fi film is. I also know what a REAL horror film is. What I was saying is that SOUTHPARK BLU is as much of a musical as Star Wars is a Science Fiction Film, as Scream is a horror film. SHould have taken the time to understand my point buddy.

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Damn, I love this movie.

    by Vegas

    For some reason, this movie refuses to budge from my top five of the year, and if it won Best Picture I'd be a happy man, as that would be a truly ballsy choice. Yes, it's over the top, yes, it's melodramatic, but the thing is that if you let yourself go with it, the film fucking WORKS. The Tango de Roxanne is so good I prefer it to the Police version (and the Police are one of my favorite all time bands), and Nicole and Ewan's singing throughout is wonderful. My favorite part of the film is towards the end, when Ewan is singing the reprise of "Come What May," and there's one moment where his voice just doesn't quite hit the note because he's just so overwhelmed with emotion, that to me is the perfect moment of the film. And the fact that the Oscars have ruled "Come What May" to be ineligible for Best Song, because it was written for Romeo + Juliet but never published, recorded, or even FINISHED, is just horribly wrong.

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 12:26 p.m. CST

    I do stand corrected..."buddy"

    by KingCujoI

    I read it the wrong way, It was an HONEST mistake given your wording. At least we are on the same page and can maybe spread the word that star wars was not sci-fi. Though I think South Park really could be classified as a musical, revisionist as it might be, still a musical. Quick note...Best revisionist musical of all time, (a small category if you don't county disney films in the past two decades) Would be All that Jazz, probably followed closely by Moulin Rouge. At least of the short list I can claim to have seen.

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 1:59 p.m. CST

    Best DVD I own

    by morris

    Agreed with the comments about Citizen Kane and Moulin Rouge fighting for control of my DVD. But the depth, the extras, and the fact that Moulin Rouge was made in an era when DVD's are planned in advance of the movie release makes this DVD my #1. Interesting side note: I got three DVD's for Christmas - Moulin Rouge, American Pie - Ultimate Edition, and Planet of the Apes. I was hoping most for Planet of the Apes, but the DVD revealed the movie to be a void of content as the movie really was. What a waste of extras - especially the wonderful multi-angle sequences. American Pie - a great movie in it's own right (never had seen it before - sorta a Fast Times at Ridgemont High for the under-30 set) with mediocre extras. Moulin Rouge - the real deal. A combination of a well-executed movie with complementary extras. For those who liked Moulin Rouge, I strongly suggest you run out and rent a copy of Strictly Ballroom, Luhrman's first "Red Curtain" movie and, in my opinion, his best movie.

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 2:03 p.m. CST

    I love the movie and dvd, but...

    by shaithis77

    ...where are the deleted scenes? I know it has the alternate edit scenes with some bits that are not in the movie, but what about more scenes involving Christian's father, and the Gothic Tower bondage dance scene, that they aluded to in the "Behind the Red Curtian" version of the film?

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 2:23 p.m. CST

    re: Walrus, on songs eligible for Oscars

    by Vegas

    I don't believe any songs from HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH are going to be eligible for an Oscar, as I think all of them are from the stage play. This is sad, that the two films who used music better than any others are out of the Oscar running. They need to create an award for Best Adapted Song in addition to the current Best Original Song, or else they need to shuck out their stupid rule book entirely. With "Come What May" ineligible, I am now hoping that Ministry gets a nomination for "What About Us?" from A.I., even though I know there's as much a chance of that happening as there is of Whoopdi-fucking-Goldberg being the slightest bit amusing as a host.

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 2:53 p.m. CST

    Jeffret Wells LOTR boycott

    by Rene Belloq

    Yes he's a pompous ass with poor taste in film, but this is ridiculous! Jeffrey Wells posted the following up on his column today: ( "The AFI's embarrassing no-show awards presentation last weekend named Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring as Best Film of 2001. I guess this means Rings is now being regarded as the prevailing-bulls**t compromise choice for Best Picture among Academy members. This hammy, over-praised fairy tale Now that the film's a huge success and the Warner Bros.-swallowing-up-New Line scenario has been discarded, it's probably time to bring out the heavy artillery and mount a full-bore campaign against Rings. I don't care what everyone else says

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 4:33 p.m. CST

    see, musicals DON'T have to suck.

    by stinkypoo

    bless you Bazzie!

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Thank God I got a DVD player for Christmas

    by PrincessFlavia

    and this was the first DVD I got. It is truly amazing. I saw Baz Luhrman speak after a screening of "Moulin Rouge" in Hollywood in November and he seemed really excited about the posibilities of the DVD medium. All of that excitement is reflected on this DVD. The multi-angle "Tango de Roxane" sequence IS in of itself worth the price. I was reading somewhere that some studios want to start cutting back on special edition DVDs because of the cost. I hope that's not true, because this one has spoiled me. I cannot accept a boring, bare-bones DVD after this. I'll have to check out the "Citizen Kane" disc; I was eyeing it at the store the other day and it looks amazing. I just bought "Fight Club", but haven't had a chance to watch it yet. AS FOR MUSICALS, I loved your post, Tao of Joe, but I disagree about "South Park". It IS a musical, just a post-modern, revisionist musical. I loved that movie and I am a musical fanatic. There were so many little moments, as in "Moulin Rouge", that you appreciate even more if you have a musical-viewing background. (In SPU, the revolution song sung by the French kid is a blatant reference to "Les Miserables". The opening number is a complete take-off on "Belle" from "Beauty and the Beast". In MR, one of the biggest smiles that crossed my face was when Ewan did the little Gene Kelly thing with the umbrella during "Your Song". Little moments, but so wonderful if you can appreciate where they're coming from.) To any who are willing to open up their minds to some musical education, I completely agree with ToJ's recommendations of "All That Jazz" (love the "Bye Bye Love" number), "On the Town" and "The Muppet Movie". I would also add "Singin' in the Rain" and "Cabaret" to the list. Maybe it's because I'm a woman, but I think there's room in everyone's taste to love some Tarantino, some Speilberg, some Lucas and some musicals. Saying "I hate musicals" is incredibly closed-minded. It's writing off an entire genre, like saying "I hate sci-fi", "I hate Westerns", "I hate comedies", etc. Like Baz says (somewhere) on the DVD, you just feel everything so much more intensely when watching a musical--you laugh and cry harder. It's because so much more is being put on the line, every emotion is so heightened.

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 4:55 p.m. CST


    by PrincessFlavia

    Meant to abbreviate "South Park: Bigger Longer Uncut" as "SPBLU", instead of "SPU".

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 5:34 p.m. CST

    MR DVD

    by tom_joad

    I loved Moulin Rouge when I watched it in the theaters and I love the DVD. It is one of the best I own, another dvd that is awesome is Untitled, the bootleg version of Almost Famous, its a great dvd to own as well.

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 5:53 p.m. CST

    South Park IS a musical.

    by trentonkyle

    To call it anything else is insulting. And don't give me this 'then you don't know musicals' shit. I've seen em all and own plenty on DVD. If South Park was just a musical parody, you could see right through it and it wouldn't last. However, the songs stand alone and you don't have to understand what they are referencing to enjoy them, i.e. they work on both levels (much like football to the groin).

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 5:57 p.m. CST

    Re: Lady Marmalade. Ta!

    by Lionel Cosgrove

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 6:01 p.m. CST

    Re: Lady Marmalade. Ta!

    by Lionel Cosgrove

    Bloody sensitive Enter key. Anyway, thanks for that, it's been bugging me all day (nobody at work knew that). Consider my musical knowledge expanded beyond the discographies of several bad Britpop bands.

  • Jan. 9, 2002, 10:50 p.m. CST


    by TheDiner

    I can't believe anyone is even considering this movie to be anything other than a big, steaming pile of crap. Baz Luhrmann is a poor man's Michael Bay. Pete Jones has more talent. Listen...I don't want to hear WHOOSHING noises whenever the camera is moving. I don't want to have every single Scene Ending Moment of Gravity in the movie punctuated by slow motion -- what is that all about? The plot was idiotically melodramatic, even for 2001 standards. This movie was an annoyance from beginning to end. Please, I know you people have better taste -- go back and watch this movie with a critical and intelligent eye. Give it the chance NOW to become the forgotten dungheap it will be in ten years. This is not a good film by any means. This is a film for thirteen year-old girls.

  • Give me drama, give me action, give me history, give me laughs, but dont, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, make me watch a movie filled with singing and dancing. Blaaaaaggh

  • The quick cuts are imitating the paintings of the impressionistic era. That is the point. Also, Ewen's character is high when he first visits the theater, so it was surreal and disjointed. He was the POV, not the audience.***** Now as to the issue of "Come What May", this is bad. Really bad. I smell severe politics on this issue. A song so good in the context of it's film, and in a musical, would likely get almost ALL of the votes from Acadamy members you started working in Hollywood before 1962. If it's ineligable, it opens up a slot and will increase the chances of Randy Newman finally winning his Oscar (when he should have won for Toy Story 2). In light of this, I give you my song nomination predictions: Newman for "Monsters, Inc.; Paul McCartney for "Vanilla Sky"; Sting for "Kate & Leopold"; Enya for "LOTR;FOTR"; and the fifth, oh God I hope not but it could be "PEARL HARBOR" (please let me be wrong).-----later-----m

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 12:01 a.m. CST

    Why can't I spell today

    by MGTHEDJ

    I need some serious sleep. That should be STRAIGHT men. --m

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 1:58 a.m. CST


    by RandomName

    You have no right to call yourself a film buff if you immediately generalize that ALL movies in a certain genre suck. Here are some of my favorite musicals: "Moulin Rouge", "Rocky Horror Picture Show", "South Park: BLU" (of COURSE this is a musical!!), "Little Shop of Horrors", "Willy Wonka", "The Muppet Movie"...Hm. I don't know. Can "Velvet Goldmine" or "Pink Floyd: The Wall" count as musicals? Anyway, open your minds! If you want to generalize about genres, generalize that ALL movies are "FANTASY", and get over it!

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 3:41 a.m. CST


    by Lazarus Long

    If you want to talk about "revisionist" musicals, or modern musicals, one should include Cabaret. Bob Fosse is definitely a revisionist/revoultionary, and his other landmark film deserves to be mentioned. Many of you may not realize this, but at the 1972 Oscars, The Godfather only won three awards: Picture, Actor, and if I'm not mistaken, Adapted Screenplay. Cabaret won everything else, including best director. That wasn't a mistake. It's before Liza Minelli became an annoying self-parody, and she won best actress for the film, well deserved. Joel Grey is disturbing. It's beautifully shot, and isn't as dated as All That Jazz (which is brilliant in its own right, to be sure). ** As for other great musicals, Guys and Dolls has to be on my list just because you get to see Brando sing (and not half bad), and because him & Sinatra are a bizarre pair. An American in Paris is about as perfect as a musical can be. Art Direction, cinematography, directing all top-notch, and with the music of the Gershwins. Plus, Gene Kelly, the guy that you first want to yell "Homo!" at, but eventually realize how some men can dance and be cool at the same time. A rare gift.

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 4:11 a.m. CST

    I bet it's not as good as the POTA DVD, which everyone ignor

    by darthflagg

    Just saying, is all.

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 5:30 a.m. CST

    You nailed it, Moriarty. When I heard Home Theatre Forum rated


    ...I nearly shat myself. Not having seen the movie, but only recalling Knowles' repeated fanboy orgasms over it, I couldn't imagine why HTF went so gaa-gaa over the thing. But I figured what the hell and thought if I wasted $20 to buy the disc, I could still get about half of it back if I sold it later. So when I sat down and watched it with my girlfriend (hell, I even went out and bought new component video cables for my TV since I heard how "stunning" the colors were,) I was TOTALLY blown away. Just like Mory said, it's a film so over the top and unbelievably silly that you'd never suspect it would actually endear itself to you emotionally. But I guess the secret lay in going so far out to one extreme that you're blindsided when it switches to the other. And when Ewan starts singing "Your Song" to Nicole, and he BELTS OUT that fine first note, I looked at my girl and said, "Oh my God. This is the first musical I've ever seen where I *believe* the characters would actually break out into song, and it doesn't seem fake." It's weird; it's like a campiness that's too stylish and surreal to be campy. And I've hardly even gone into the supplement disc yet. I haven't yet had the time to check it out much, but Mory's given me fresh interest in doing so. At any rate... if my opinion is worth much, here it is: The movie rocks, the DVD is superb, and Ewan MacGregor is being WASTED in Star Wars. After seeing what he can do with a real opportunity, I actually feel sorry that he has to list Episode One on his resume'.

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 5:46 a.m. CST

    Flavia: "I was reading somewhere that some studios want to start


    Well, yes and no. They *might* cut down on them in general, but that's so far from being a good idea, I doubt they'll give much thought to it. Most likely what may happen is that they'll stop involving the stars so much with the discs. Filmmakers very often will work on Special Editions for little more than simply the love of the game, or just dedication to their work. Stars, on the other hand, want money for their time. As so many people have pointed out, Schwarzenegger was recently paid $75,000 for his audio commentary on the Total Recall disc, which is a sum higher than most SE's entire budgets. And since SAG contract specifications were re-written this past year, (remember that horrible, impending strike that was averted at the eleventh hour?) any "documentary" more than a certain length (30 minutes, I believe) entitles any actor who appears in it to a credit, and thusly, a fee. The studios have already figured a way out of this one, though... if, for example, you have six documentaries on a disc that are each ten minutes long, you don't have to pay the actors squat. At any rate, the money-hungry are once again screwing things up for us, the fans, so it's likely some changes will be made. However, I doubt that bare-bones DVDs will become the norm at this point. The only ones with a stronger sense of entitlement than Hollywood actors are the public.

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 6:08 a.m. CST

    The Easter Egg with Nicole giggling really put a smile on my fac

    by MentallyMariah

    It was refreshing to see her laughing in Ewans face like that, She must have had some pot brownies! MOULIN ROUGE IS THE BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR, It was heard deciding between Lords and Moulin, but I hold Moulin Rouge very dearly to my heart....I remember seeing it opening night, front row seat, center, alone, late show and walking out feeling like I had seen something so incredible and special, to this day I have seen Moulin Rouge over twenty times, YES just call me mental! This DVD was the best Christmas present ever! Baz you rule and I hope Nicole gets nominated for this or The Others! I hope she wins, Sissy is a great actress, but what a if I had to pick between Bland and Spice...I would add spice to my life anyday!

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 6:40 a.m. CST

    a fine drop of rouge vino.......

    by Wild At Heart

    I was blase about seeing this film on first release because of all the mixed press it was getting at the time, you know the score, many effusive"raves"counterpointed by equally vehement condemnations. After a few weeks went by I thought to myself "what the hell, I've been a longtime admirer of Baz's previous films and his approach to the cinematic arts in general", and so I dragged my somewhat skeptical carcass off to see MR. Now understand this, I am a VERY cynical individual and had I believed for a moment that I was being "played" by Baz and co. for the proverbial sucker I would have run from the theatre with foul sputum on my lips and murder in my heart. Yet I was not put in such a state by my experiences, rather I found MR to be a playful and exhilirating delight from start to finish. Having seen interviews with Mr. Luhrman in the months since, it has been reinforced to me that MR was always meant to be a profoundly simple tale, in the way that all myths are. Baz could have made it a deep, shaded morality tale but that was simply NEVER his intention. Many people have complained, still complain and doubtless will ever complain that MR had no emotional complexity, is stunted by insipid characterisation and is an empty vessel - loud, brash but an ultimately soulless and vapid exercise. I could not disagree more. IMHO MR is actually one of the most SINCERE films I have seen in many a long day. I mean come on , Mr. Luhrman's style was established long ago in "Strictly Ballroom", and kicked up several notches in the hyperkinetic and revelatory "Romeo and Juliet" ( an achievement which I consider nothing less than monumental, a little Aussie Johnny-come-lately selling ice cream wholesale to the eskimos, and showing Hollywood new and exciting ways to define the form ). So why the hell were people so SURPRISED by Baz's approach with MR. Myself, I cannot thank him more for having the guts to stick with his instincts and making MR the oh so spectacularly grandiose and goodhearted fillip to these cynical and mean-spirited times. Good to see that for all the incendiary and often quite prurient criticism there are a lot of souls who unabashedly profess their love of this skewed gem of a movie. Oh, furthermore I am a male in my 30's and a raving heterosexual so all you "queerbashers" can take a flying fuck.

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 7:04 a.m. CST

    TB roundup

    by AggregateScore

    O.k. firstly, how has talk back discussed for this long without Oliver! being mentioned once. This is film musical at its best (and Ollie Reed is fantastic).-----------------------------South Park BLU is more revisionist musical then straight-forward musical. Your opinion of the film doesn't solely rest on liking musicals, however a knowledge of them does increase your enjoyment. Personally, I thought it was hysterical and I wonder if Princess Flavia noticed the genius spoof of West-Side Story's 'Tonight' number that blends 'Blame Canada' with 'La Resistance' and that song ny Stan.-----------------------------------------THE DINER's problems with Moulin Rouge seem to be, primarily, problems with the genre as a whole. It is by nature melodramatic and Baz Luhrman's swooping direction only reflects this fact. If you find the idea of people spontaneously breaking out into song to express emotions that are too powerful for mere words, then you are not going to enjoy musicals. Period.-----------------------------Do Disney films constitute an entirely different category, by the way, since they seem to get entirely ignored in any discussions, like this, about film musicals?-----------------------------------KING AND TAO. Star Wars is Sci-Fi. Sci-Fi is an extremely broad, inclusive genre and just as readily incorporates uber-camp sci-fi (Star Wars, Flash Gordon) as it does serious sci-fi (2001, Michael Chrichton). The notion that Star Wars is fantasy is debatable. Personally, I only consider classic Sword & Sorcery as Fantasy (LOTR, Willow, Dungeons & Dragons, etc, etc.).

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 10:07 a.m. CST

    On the subject of POTA....

    by morris

    You obviously have not read the entire set of postings on this talk back. I referred to it before, and I am more than happy to do so again, using MR as a counterpoint. Simply put, POTA's DVD is an extras-laden treat, but the extras do little more than reemphasize the point that POTA is a technical masterpiece that had little to no story depth. Great makeup, decent effects, excellent design insight from Burton, and no content underpinnings to rest upon. I learned more about Burton's frustrations with budget and the shooting calendar - and virtually nothing about his motivation for making the movie. He says early on that he stumbled into this movie when the studio folks were ready to greenlight the project and - essentially - he wan't busy at the time. Burton comes off as someone who made the movie to fill his calendar, not because he had any particular passion about the film. Bet you wouldn't get that feeling from an Edward Scissorhands or even a Batman commentary track. Don't get me wrong, the DVD has great extras showing how the effects money was spent, and fantastic mutli-angle shots, but there was something sorely lacking in the film itself. POTA is a commercially successful Red Planet - a beautiful movie where you know they spent a lot of money on a movie with no worthwhile story. ********** MR, on the other hand, is all about story - listen to the Lurhman/Pierce commentary, and how they weaved elements of classic story-telling into the movie. Made me appreciate the alleged "light" story/plot even more. The MR DVD also expanded upon the movie, for example using the outstanding dance and choreography sections to show off the great dancers telling a powerful story via means other than talking heads. ******* In summary, I was looking forward to the POTA DVD more than MR's DVD because of the technical wizardry hyped in the television promotion campaign, but I found the MR DVD much more satisfying. I like MR for the same reason I like Citizen Kane - nothing beats a good story from a person who is passionate about the work they're producing. ******* And, yes, I'm a 30-year old heterosexual.

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 11:28 a.m. CST


    by X-Girls

    btw Edward Scissorhands the SE DVD has a T.Burton commentary.. POTA's story is based around a revolutionary. Humans are revolutionaries and apes are people who hold them down. Burton is considered part of the 'goth' culture, and POTA has aspects that allude to Marilyn Manson's work. Manson had songs about him drifting through space as 'Omega' the human who fell to earth to change the world. In POTA, there is Delta and Alpha (the human pod). Alpha falls to earth to change their world (Alpha and Delta do not go together, in the Bible Alpha and Omega do). Religion is certainly not a half-assed sub-plot in POTA. Manson has a disc called Holy Wood (it came out around when the film was being made) which has lyrics regarding Evolution and 'The Monkey, The Man, Then the Gun'. In Burton's POTA, we first see a monkey, a man then later on a gun. Humans showing up at the end is like a concert or a film screening 'they all want to see this human that defies the apes'. And look back at the beginning that shows the news broadcasts from earth, all the images are visual symbols (clues) of oppression. DLoad Rule the Planet remix and think this through the next time you watch it. Charlton Heston is a member of the NRA and thusly connected to Manson's Guns, God and Government tour promoting Holy Wood... granted this may not make the film much better in your eyes.

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 12:40 p.m. CST

    "Come What May" inelligable?

    by Clownboy

    It should be able to qualify. It was the only ORIGINAL song written for this film whereas all the others are covers and therefore inelligable. And I hope this movie walks away from the oscars with a big smile on it's face.

  • I wish Burton would have made those points in his aimless commentary. Never heard a thing about Marilyn Manson - was he expecting me to share his cultural vocabulary? The only thing I took from it was that they had a tight budget, a short shooting schedule, a fascination with things round, and a sense of irony about people in ape costumes doing things that looked like what humans would do. ****** I liked POTA - the original movie. I liked the book. I appreciated the technical elements of the new movie. The soul of the new movie, however, was missing. ****** On Heston - I took it as irony, nothing more. I also figured that Charlton must've cost a lot of money to take a part where he had to come out against guns. ******* Glad you cared enough to respond and email me directly. I appreciate that in a movie fan. And I never saw Scissorhands on DVD, so I missed that commentary. Hope it wasn't as vapid as POTA's. ****** To keep on topic, I still think that Moulin Rouge is the best DVD I own.

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 1:53 p.m. CST

    For Aggregate...a mini lesson in genre...

    by KingCujoI

    How is Star Wars Sci-Fi? What is scientific about Star Wars? I hate to tell you this but Genres are not the things you see on the tops of racks at Blockbuster video (i.e. action, drama, sci-fi, kids etc) Genres are much more specific sometimes even falling into sub-genres. For example the aforementioned Scream movie, is in a sub-genre or arguably its own genre called the Slasher film, orginated (arguably) in the late 70's by John Carpenter's Halloween. Now Sci-Fi is a very tight genre. The best example is 2001. In that movie man ecounters something it doesn't understand, which is scientific in nature. They set out on a scienfitic journey to try to understand this. (I'm being broad I know) Now in Star Wars you have ships in space. But Space is merely a setting. It is not the determinent that makes the movie sci-fi. There is no attempt by the characters to find or discover some scientific process. In fact much of the films are spiritual (i.e. the force). The film IS a fantasy. It is derived directly from many archetypes (much like Lord of the Rings) that stem from myth and other types of literature(pulp novels, folklore, etc) which can be considered "fantasy" in nature. The story could perhaps just as easily be told in Imperial China. Whereas 2001 is a movie that is specific to space and the science that exists in its text. I too used to make the mistake of clumping Star Wars into the Science Fiction Genre simply because the setting was space. But when I actually sat down and thought about it I realized how specific all these genres were and how many actually exist. If you need further backing of my point you only need to go to a local university bookstore and pick up any textbook on beginning filmmaking. Most of the texts that I have seen take a good of space to explain the reality of the genre to student, and it is likely that you might see Star Wars and 2001 mentioned as examples of the Fantasy and Sci-Fi genres respectively. Thanks hope this helps.

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 2:57 p.m. CST

    There is a musical that ranks among the best films of all time:

    by BurninBullwinkle

    It's name? THE BLUES BROTHERS: Seriously, this masterpiece of a comedy epic would not be even close to the film it is without the incredible selection of R&B classics within (from back when R&B wasn't just people fluxuating their voices over rap beats). And there are other good musicals, too. *ahem* can you say South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut? How about staying in the Parker/Stone catagory and going for Cannibal: The Musical? The Muppet Movie? Disney films (where they are well used and fit the storyline)? Hell, what about Buffy: Once More with Feeling? I'm not a big fan of musicals, but I do know they have merit. The problem with Moulin Rouge is it's a shitty movie by an overrated director. Word.

  • Jan. 10, 2002, 9:01 p.m. CST

    Just an opinion

    by TheDiner

    Hey, it's just my opinion. I respect ya'll's. And I never said anything about "gay". I said "this is a movie for thirteen year-old girls". I did like a few things about it here and there -- the conductor in the very beginning was cool -- but overall I feel like the film was brutally flawed and I have this eery feeling that we'll get yet another terrible Best Picture winner this year. That sucks. There are a LOT of quite better movies out there.

  • Jan. 11, 2002, 8:36 a.m. CST

    The source

    by PhineasB

    Considering it was written by a guy that writes pissy cowardly emails to people and makes half-assed threats to "contact their office", who cares? It's not their fault your Star Trek X "scoop" was so poorly written.

  • Jan. 11, 2002, 11:56 p.m. CST

    no! not the flower animation!

    by SpacePhil

  • Jan. 12, 2002, 2:08 a.m. CST

    there is more talent, more suspence and more fun in this little

    by TheGinger Twit

    You guys need to get some talent before you knock this beauty.

  • Jan. 12, 2002, 5:30 p.m. CST

    My favorite musical is Hairspray

    by Videographer

    I haven't even seen Moulin Rouge yet, but, it will have to really be something to top Hairspray!! May have been John Waters best film. For me Ricki Lake's career has pretty much gone down hill since then. Jerry Stiller and Divine as a married couple. It's gold. I've been waiting for years for somebody to turn the 'Corny Collins Show' into a very low budget TV show. One set, old music, lots of goofy, truly weird, soap oprah stuff. Moulin Rouge is one of the reasons Kidman and Cruise split. Tom Cruise can't tolerate his wife making films that much better than his imitation art films. Cruise has made a hand full of decent movies and the rest are over-priced B-movie junk.

  • Jan. 15, 2002, 11:14 p.m. CST

    The Red Windmill

    by Usermaatre

    As a hunter/gatherer and omnivorous but educated male and someone who not only has been burned by love but almost literally set on fire by it, I wasn't expecting much from this film but as I like a tragic love story (Steve Martin said that love is a promise delivered already broken. Ultimately, if you believe that, they all are) and so I bought the DVD to entertain friends with on New Year's Eve. It seemed that it would go with the refreshments I served. I guess it could be the fact that I'm an Absinthe maker and drinker (a friend says user and abuser), that I'm a fan of La Belle Epoque and Impressionism or that I used to live in Paris and have been to the Moulin Rouge. Any one of those could be the reason I am enthralled by this movie but I prefer to think that it's because it allowed me to feel. Say what you will about the story itself. I grant you that Romeo and Juliet is just a step away but I haven't seen a movie done is such a way in a very long time. Minimal CGI, full attention to detail, none of the slight of hand, Trompe L'Oeil if you will pardon an elaborate pun, that characterizes American filmmaking. Although it may have appeared so on the surface, this was not a film that pandered to the lowest common denominator that is the American movie-going public. This was not something that was spoonfed to the droolers that populate action movies in order to keep the profits up. You had to think about and to know and to have felt what was represented. I doubt that it was made with the idea of simply saccarine coating a few tear ducts. I think that it was made to open up our feelings and not just our eyes and our pocketbooks. And that says nothing about the production value, the care lavished on production design and the risks taken in selecting the talents for the movie. I am unable to see how, for instance, anyone can say that the Tango de la Roxanne wasn't inspired. I was completely blown away at the first watching, on Absinthe at the time I might add. But I'm not now and I can't help watching it almost compulsively. And I'm listening to the soundtrack even as we speak. And set on fire by love once again. In a good way this time. Thank you Baz Luhrman and company.

  • April 4, 2002, 5:36 p.m. CST

    the DVD was Perfect

    by SparklingDiamond

    Thanks so much for telling me about the easter eggs, cuz I never would have found them without your help!! I loved theone where ewans mic is in his place! thats soo awesome!! he is such a cutie! the moulin rouge dvd is by far my fav dvd of all!! best birthday present ever!!!! =) heck anything w/ Ewan!is awesome sigh!! totally perfect!! A all the way