Raw, adjective: 5. crude in quality or character; not tempered or refined by art or taste

Everyone's buzzing over the Oscar noms today: who got snubbed, who was rightly included, what the implications of the Academy's choices are for the future of the planet (ref. Zacharek at Salon.com - always good for a strong opinion or seven). And the big snub on everyone's tongue, of course, is the lack of Best Picture OR Best Director nominations for Dreamgirls.

I finally had a chance to see it over the weekend, after hearing generally solid word of mouth. Of course, anyone would have had to be living under a rock to miss all the hoopla over Jennifer Hudson's star-making performance. So, I had high expectations, and generally found them met: Beyonce was solid, after being sort of invisible in the first half, and Hudson was excellent as expected, and I found myself pleasantly surprised by the costuming, the choreography and the music. Not a score or a libretto that I was particularly familiar with before going into it, but adequate, by all means. It reminded me of the recent movie versions of Chicago and Rent, though, in terms of being, well, exactly what you'd expect. And that's both a compliment and a caveat. Very little deviation from the original, whether in terms of plot or aesthetics; but at the same time, very little novelty or originality infused into the whole shebang. It was like eating a good solid Midwestern meal: meat, potatoes, and a green veg on the side; fulfilling, satiating, but ultimately lacking in spice or surprise. (I will say, though - at least this one didn't feature the intolerable Renee Zellweger flailing her arms around in an embarrassingly incompetent attempt at dancing. Holy momma goddess.)

And maybe that predictability is why it wasn't nominated for Best Picture. There are all kinds of theories out there right now - including what seems to be the pretty legitimate accusation that the Academy is not ready for a primarily African-American film to take the top spot - but we'll wait and see how things shake out.

On that musical theater note, there's a new musical version of the Reese Witherspoon movie Legally Blonde opening here in SF (today, actually). It'll run in previews for a month or so and then transfer to B'Way for an April opening. I have to say: ugh. I realize that this is probably a brilliant marketing move in terms of co-opting the teenage girl musical theater audience, but seriously? Can we please get some new material going here? Seems like B'Way lately is all movies-turned-musicals. Cash cows are great, but, really...do they have to involve a little dog the heroine carries around in a purse? (Dorothy notwithstanding). There HAS to be better source material out there somewhere.

Today's Chron had an interview with the actress who'll be playing Elle. It's here if you want to check that out. As for me, it's a solid wager that I'll have to be heavily intoxicated before I roll down to the theater district for this one.


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