Mamma Mia reviews

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rain Bard
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Postby rain Bard » Tue Jul 01, 2008 3:12 pm

Yeah, but they've been overplayed. When I first heard them, I liked the overwrought, catchy sentimentality of their hits, and admired their pop craftsmanship, but after the 1000th listen (999 of them instigated by someone else pushing the "play" button), "Dancing Queen" has gotten old. It's enough to put one off of 1990s comedies from Australia, too.

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Postby Penelope » Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:56 pm

Why does ABBA engender so much wrath and hate? This is something I'll never understand. They were pure pop craftsmen/women, who combined classical training, incredible vocals, and brilliant musicianship to create some of the most shimmery, purely joyous music ever, and who influenced future musicians from Bono to Kurt Cobain. That's something that should be celebrated, not denigrated.
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Postby OscarGuy » Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:19 pm

I like Abba and think there are far more irritating bands out there...

I'm not so sure about the movie, but I'll probably have to wait for a screener to see it since none of my friends want to.
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Postby jack » Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:16 pm

If there was one band that I would drown it would be ABBA. I'd rather sit through an evening of Henry Rollins poetry than ever see this film.



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Postby Eric » Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:14 pm

I yield to almost no one in my love for disco, but I draw the line at a) The Village People, and b) ABBA. (Of course, ABBA weren't really all that disco, on the whole.)

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Postby flipp525 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:11 pm

Sabin wrote:septuagenerian estro-fuck

That sounds like it might more aptly describe that godawful movie The Boynton Beach Bereavement Club or, Cocoon: Electric Bugaloo.

Mamma Mia sounds like a blast. ABBA and Meryl Streep. It's like a theme night at the neighborhood gay bar. I love it.




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Postby Sabin » Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:48 pm

God, fuck this movie and all the grandparents who keep it afloat. It looks like a septuagenerian estro-fuck crime scene of a movie. That being said: $150 million - guaranteed.
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Postby Penelope » Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:41 pm

Mister Tee wrote:Let me say that if "the infectious, decades-old ABBA songs on which the film is anchored are the only thing keeping it afloat", I'm not coming within a country mile of this.

I'll be first in line! :D
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Postby Mister Tee » Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:36 pm

A less charitable take.

Let me say that if "the infectious, decades-old ABBA songs on which the film is anchored are the only thing keeping it afloat", I'm not coming within a country mile of this.


Mamma Mia!
Mike Goodridge in Los Angeles
30 Jun 2008 12:13

Dir: Phyllida Llloyd. US/UK. 2008. 120 mins.

What should have been the sunny feelgood event of the summer - the film version of popular stage musical Mamma Mia! - is merely a passably entertaining frippery which will generate revenues for Universal but maybe not "money, money, money".

Indeed, it's a case of Thank You For The Music, as the infectious, decades-old ABBA songs on which the film is anchored are the only thing keeping it afloat.

The long-running, hugely-successful stage production of Mamma Mia! is a curious hybrid – a good-natured comedy about a wedding on a Greek island constructed around some 20 ABBA songs. But while that kind of self-conscious artifice can prosper in theatre, a film requires some degree of authenticity of story and characterisation to engage an audience's emotions. The makers of this film, all drafted in from the original London stage production, instead try to reproduce the larger-than-life camp of the play on film, failing to take into account how unforgiving the medium is of two-dimensional characters, puerile comedy and narrative sloppiness.

Unable to settle on a tone from one scene to the next – it veers between so-bad-it's-good campfest, frantic farce, tearjerking melodrama and pantomime – the film is more exhausting to watch than amusing.

Last year's Hairspray grossed about $200m worldwide, $118m from domestic and $82m from international; Mamma Mia! will probably be able to equal that total but this time the balance will be tipped in favour of international territories, especially Europe where ABBA music has the greater pop-cultural weight. Critical notices and word-of-mouth are unlikely to be as strong as Hairspray, however.

Set on the Greek island of Kalokairi in 1999, the paper-thin story concerns a 20-year-old beauty called Sophie (Seyfried) who is planning her wedding to Sky (Cooper). The wedding will take place at the remote hotel Villa Donna (a more obvious stage set has rarely been seen in a wide-release studio film) run by her mother Donna (Streep), a former singer who has raised Sophie alone on the island, never revealing the identity of her father.

Having read her mother's diary, Sophie discovers that the summer she was conceived Donna had sex with three different men, all of whom she secretly invites to the island for the wedding – New York architect Sam (Brosnan), adventurer Bill (Skarsgard) and stiff British banker (Firth). She is convinced that, once she has all three of them before her she will know the identity of her father. Mayhem ensues.

Director Phyllida Lloyd, a leading UK theatre and opera director, has trouble here with both the musical numbers and the actors. The staging, shooting and cutting of the numbers, in particular a jarring Dancing Queen, is clumsy, while the performances by a distinguished cast are wildly uncontrolled. Streep tries to bring some emotional heft to Donna and there are some touching scenes between her and the talented Seyfried, not to mention a gutsy interpretation of The Winner Takes It All. However, she is undercut by the supporting players, notably Julie Walters and Christine Baranski, hysterically hammy as Donna's childhood friends, and the three men, who try their best with underwritten roles.

The end credits are accompanied by the company dressed in ABBA stage garb singing Waterloo , and the audience should be cheering. But by then the film feels like it is demanding a goodwill it hasn't entirely earned.

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Postby Eric » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:17 am

Yeah, well adults lately have been praising the sophistication of "WALL*E" too.

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Postby Mister Tee » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:06 am

God help us, is this what passes for a grown-up movie these days? Hollywood Reporter:

Film Review: Mamma Mia!
Bottom Line: My, my, clear the aisles. This is the winner that will take it all!
By Ray Bennett
Jun 29, 2008


LONDON -- No matter how many blockbusters there are, Universal Pictures' screen version of the global hit stage musical "Mamma Mia!" is the most fun to be had at the movies this or any other recent summer.

Teenage boys may be glued to the latest action adventure, but the rest of the family will be having a rollicking good time and dancing in the aisles to Swedish pop group ABBA's irresistible songs. It's a delightful piece of filmmaking with a marvelous cast topped by Meryl Streep in one of her smartest and most entertaining performances ever.

After its world premiere in London on Monday, the film opens in the U.K. on July 4 and in North America on July 18. It will surely follow the stage show around the world in pleasing audiences and coining what one of the infectious songs celebrates: "Money, Money, Money."

Credit goes to the original show's creators, producer Judy Craymer, director Phyllida Lloyd and writer Catherine Johnson, for seeing their vision through to such a polished and enjoyable picture. Hanging a tale of a woman whose daughter might have been fathered by one of three attractive men on a bunch of ABBA songs sounds simple, but its simplicity is as deceptive as the masterfully crafted songs themselves.
Streep plays Donna, a former singer, who has raised daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) alone at a fading resort on a remote Greek island. Sophie finds her mother's diary from 20 years earlier and discovers that there are three men who might be her father. About to be married to boyfriend Sky (Dominic Cooper), she sends invitations to the celebration to all three on behalf of her mother but without telling her.

Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard, as the possible dads, show up on the island where Donna is readying the wedding, helped by her two best pals (Julie Walters and Christine Baranski). The scene is set for songs, dancing and romance, all staged brilliantly, with many energetic and colorful performers, and beautifully shot.

The Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus songs have memorably sturdy lyrics that the filmmakers weave with great skill into their story. All of the players perform with gusto including Skarsgard, ex-007 Brosnan and noted Mr. Darcy Firth who, far from embarrassing themselves, sing well and deserve high praise for being such good sports.

Seyfried (from TV's "Big Love") and Cooper ("The History Boys") make appealing juvenile leads while Walters and Baranski contribute greatly to the film's good-natured comedy. Each has a big solo number with Baranski belting out "Does Your Mother Know?" to a randy beach bum and Walters entreating a reluctant groom with "Take a Chance on Me."

Streep is sensationally good in rendering the whole yarn credible and in making dramatically moving songs such as "Slipping Through My Fingers," sung to her departing daughter, and "The Winner Takes It All" to a lost love. It's no stretch to think of her performance in Oscar terms, ranking with previous musical winners such as Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

And when Streep teams with Walters and Baranski for dynamic and crowd-pleasing numbers such as "Mamma Mia!" "Dancing Queen" and "Super Trouper," there's not an audience anywhere that won't be smiling.


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