6 of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Cinematic Dances

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’ve always loved to dance.  Before I embraced the movies, my life was about dancing.  I was going to be Prima Ballerina and my mom paid for several years of ballet class to help me reach that goal.  I obsessed on it the way that I obsess, today, on Lucio Fulci and Jean Rollin.  However, my brilliant career was cut short by two things — 1) I’m about as graceful as a Clydesdale and 2) I ended up tumbling down a flight of stairs when I was 17 and essentially shattering my ankle.  Actually, I guess those two things might be connected.  Anyway, I can’t complain because giving up my affected love of ballet allowed me to discover my very true love of film.  I was never really a great dancer (though I was, and am, very enthusiastic) but I’m very good at watching movies.

However, I still love to dance and I still love movies — even mainstream movies — that feature dancing.  That’s why I’m so looking forward to seeing Black Swan next month.  Until then, here’s 6 of my favorite dance scenes from the movies.

1) Giovanni Lombardo Radice and Lorraine De Selle in The House On The Edge of the Park

Let’s start off with one of my favorite “dance” scenes of all time, my man Giovanni Lombardo Radice and Lorraine De Selle breaking it down in Ruggero Deodato’s The House On The Edge of the Park.  The man in yellow is David Hess.

2) Joseph Gordon-Levitt in (500) Days of Summer

If anyone’s ever wondered why I was crushing on Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Inception (as opposed to Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, or Leonardo DiCaprio), it was largely because of this scene from (500) Days Of Summer.

3) The Cast of Murder Rock

Murder Rock is kinda sorta like my own personal Holy Grail — it’s a grindhouse dance movie directed by Lucio Fulci!  Plus, it costars Christian Borremeo, who co-starred in The House on the Edge Of The Park and Dario Argento’s Tenebrae.

4) The Metropolis Dance Sequence

From Fritz Lang’s silent, expressionistic classic, here’s the infamous dance.

5) Kate Hudson in Nine

Okay, so I think Nine was definitely the worst the movie of 2009.  Yes, even worse than Avatar.  However, I love this scene and I love the song featured in it, Cinema Italiano.  Yes, technically, it’s a really terrible song that displays an astounding ignorance of Italian cinema.  If anything, the lyrics appear to be describing the French New Wave.  True, the song do make reference to “neo-realism” but you get the feeling no one involved with Nine ever saw Open City or The Bicycle Thief.  But the thing is do damn catchy that I still find myself singing it in the shower.  Like me, Kate Hudson is obviously not much of a singer or a dancer but she’s very enthusiastic.

6) Jill Clayburgh in An Unmarried Woman

An Unmarried Woman was apparently very groundbreaking in 1978.  Seen now, it seems like a better title for it would be An Unmarried Woman Who Can Still Afford A Penthouse Apartment In New York City.  Still, the late, great Jill Clayburgh’s performance holds up well and I like the film if just because it’s still one of the few movies out there that’s willing to acknowledge that an unmarried woman can still be a sensual, happy woman.  The scene below captures perfectly the exhilarating joy of just surrendering to the music and dancing.  Plus, for me, this is one of those “Hey, I do that too!” scenes.  In fact, my ankle is still hurting as a result of rewatching this film last Friday.


Review: The Walking Dead (EP02) – “Guts”

[Some Spoilers Within]

The second episode of The Walking Dead just aired and while it didn’t have the emotional impact the Frank Darabont-directed pilot episode had it still more than held its own. It was an episode that more than lived up to it’s title and for zombie fans and gorehounds this episode should assuage any thoughts that the series will be heavy on emotional themes and scenes while lacking on any sort of zombie mayhem and bloody good horror (shout out to the Bloody Good Horror Crew). With an apt title of “Guts” the follow-up episode of this series looks to move the story forward now that we’ve gotten some of the basics of this new zombie apocalyptic world and its rules out of the way in the pilot episode.

When last we left our intrepid hero, Rick Grimes, he had gotten himself into quite a pickle. Mode of transportation was now chow for the zombies he had cantered into and he was now stuck inside a tank with no idea of how to get himself out of the situation until he hears a voice over the tank’s radio. One would think that we’d see the start of the second episode starting up from this very last moment in the pilot, but instead we get a quieter, but more disturbing sequence to begin the show. It involves Rick’s wife Lori out in the woods near their make-shift camp outside Atlanta. The scene is set-up to almost be a jump scare scene and for some I’m sure the pay-off in the end probably made them jump, but instead we get another glimpse into Lori Grimes’ current situation and expands on what she has been doing since leaving their Kentucky town with her son Carl and Shane Walsh, Rick’s partner. This opening scenes really paints Lori in a bad light and I’m not sure it needed to be handled so heavily. I’ll reserve a bit of judgement on this development on Lori and Shane as characters. The pilot episode seem to have hinted to something like this maybe happening already before the zombie apocalypse dropped in their laps which would definitely diverge this series from the original comic book source. Only time will tell if the planned triangle-drama will pay off in the long-run or ruin a major character’s growth with audiences in this show’s future.

This brief interlude leads up to where we last left Rick and his mysterious friend on the other end of the tank’s radio. From the moment this scene starts the show puts the episode on high gear and never lets up. The pilot episode was all about quiet desolation and isolation for our main character. This second offering is all about adrenalin and desperation as Rick goes from one dangerous situation into another. We also get to meet his benefactor who had been helping him by way of radio. In a role that should make Steven Yeun a fan favorite at comic book and fan conventions starting now, we meet a fan favorite of the comic book.

The character of Glenn has always been one of the constants in the comic book series. He has been with Rick since the very beginning and while his character doesn’t have the emotional and/or dramatic gravitas as the others he does prove himself to be voice of reason when everyone around him seem to be on the verge of losing their minds from the constant barrage of danger not just from the zombies but from other people as well. It was good to see Glenn portrayed early on as the snarky character the original source material had him before he become just a tad domesticated as the series went along. The fact that he was the one who seem to know how to truly survive in this new world while those around him seem to be making mistakes after mistakes should make fans of his character very happy.

We meet the rest of Glenn’s group which includes original character from the comic book in Andrea with four new additions created just for the series. All these new characters almost have “red-shirt yeoman” tattoed to their foreheads with the exception of Michael Rooker’s blatant racist redneck role of Merle Dixon. Rooker takes this over-the-top character and drives it into the ground. I thought the character could’ve used just a tad bit of subtlely in how he was written, but Rooker definitely looked liked he was having fun with the character. In any other actor’s hand the character of Merle Dixon would’ve looked just foolish, but the Rook’s manic intensity in playing the role made me hope the situation the group left him in wouldn’t be the last we see of Merle. Rook needs to get some more screen time to either play his character’s racist personlaity to the very end or at least time to round him out a bit before he finally gets his just desserts.

Laurie Holden as Andrea seemed like she was still searching for her character’s main focus. We find out that her younger sister is back at the camp with Lori and Shane and that she’s very knowledgeable with firearms. Her Andrea also seem to be slightly prone to panicking (though with zombies having destroyed one’s world panicking seems like a natural thing to do). I hope Daradont and his writers (Robert Kirkman being one of them) don’t mess with Andrea too much, but just expand on the type of person she is and how it will grow in time to be the Andrea everyone who are fans of the comics see as one kick-ass lady.

Now, the aforementioned episode title and what it means. It literally means guts. One could see the word used metaphorically to describe Glenn’s character finding his inner courage to follow Rick into one crazy and dangerous plan to save everyone in the group. Or one could see it in the way everyone who saw the episode saw it. Rick, Glenn and their group hacking a zombie to pieces to use it’s guts to camouflage themselves. This sequence is in line with how the comic book handled it but was moved up in the story’s timeline. This slight adjustment tells me that Darabont and crew look to be mixing and matching some of the original source’s narrative to create something more dramatic on the tv screen. Either way the sequence was the best one in the episode. It had the gross out factor zombie and gorehounds love. It also had tension and white-knuckle terror as we wonder if their trick will fool the zombies and when nature throws a curvebal their way while their in the middle of a horde I could almost sense millions of viewers shouting at Glenn and Rick to drop their shit and run (for people in the same situation they may literally drop their shit before running).

While the second episode didn’t have the quieter and emotional moments as the pilot episode it did have the adrenalin boost some horror fans were missing from the first one. Some have called this episode a let-down from the pilot because it played off as your typical zombie siege story. From group members bickering to rehashing scenes from other zombie films to solve their problem. I can’t say I disagree with them, but I didn’t see it as being a bad thing. I understand some critics and non-zombie fans want something new and fresh to be done in the zombie genre. Again I wholeheartedly agree, but one also cannot forget that this is a zombie horror series and zombies will still be on the forefront of what makes the show tick. A zombie story with no guts and in-group bickering is not a zombie story. How they handled it in this episode show that the writers know how to take the usual zombie story tropes and do it well.

Now, if the series is just all about gore or interpersonal drama then it will lose people. The writers definitely have their work cut out for them about balancing what horror fans want and what fans of dramatic storytelling want. So far, they’ve done a good job, but with four more episodes left in this freshman season the question now is will they be able to pull it off and end the season on a high note. Official word that AMC has announced the series has been renewed for a second 13-episode season should make fans of the show happy and make the writers get somne of the burden off their shoulders. They now have some leeway in terms of time to go at their pace. I  do think even episode that skew more towards the dramatic need at least a couple exploding headshots and one gore scene just to keep the horror fans sated til the next gore-heavy episode.


This episode also had some memorable lines to remember and repeat…

Glenn: “He’s also an organ donor.” (right before Rick takes a fireaxe into one of the truely dead “walkers”)

T-Dog: “Yeah, dead puppies and kittens.” (after Rick tells a visibly sick Glenn to think of puppies and kittens to take his mind off the gore)

Rick: “We need more guts.” (realizing that he and Glenn need more zombie guts and viscera after already wearing almost a full body suit of it. Still best line of the episode.)