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Look up! Prepare the way for ANGELS IN AMERICA


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#1 of 75 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted December 02 2003 - 03:56 PM

HBO airs the first installment of ANGELS IN AMERICA this Sunday night.

http://www.hbo.com/f...angelsinamerica

The original plays--which won everything from Tony awards to the Pulitzer Prize--were subtitled "A Gay Fantasia on National Themes." In a nutshell, they're about AIDS and politics during the Reagan Eighties.

It's guaranteed to offend, so we should not get into the politics here. But having seen the plays on Broadway, I am looking forward very much to seeing how they transition to the small screen (well, the 65-inch HDTV screen, but hey. Posted Image )

Is anyone else going to check this out?

- Steve

#2 of 75 OFFLINE   Kevin Hewell

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Posted December 02 2003 - 04:31 PM

I'm definitely going to watch. I saw both plays a few years ago and they were extremely powerful. It looks like Nichols has assembled an amazing cast for this.

I've read a few reviews of this (Time, TV Guide, NY Times, Wash. Post) and they have been unanimous in their high praise for this production.

#3 of 75 OFFLINE   Steve_Tk

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Posted December 02 2003 - 04:42 PM

I thought it was an HBO movie, not a series. I'll definately be watching.

#4 of 75 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted December 02 2003 - 05:34 PM

Quote:
I thought it was an HBO movie, not a series.
Nichols has filmed it in two three-hour segments, which mirrors the way the plays were originally presented -- as two separate plays, each lasting over three hours. Part I is subtitled "Millennium Approaches" and ends with something of a cliffhanger; Part II is subtitled "Perestroika" and picks up exactly where Part I left off.

No one can know for sure, but I believe these plays will endure among the canon of great 20th century American plays, right up there with classics by the likes of O'Neill, Williams and Wilder. I read recently that, since they were first performed on Broadway, there hasn't been a time when there wasn't a production of one or both of them going on somewhere in the country.

Kushner adapted his own plays for the screen. I'm eager to see what he and Nichols have done with these works, which are so rich in character and incident that they're almost impossible to summarize.

M.
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#5 of 75 OFFLINE   PatrickL

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Posted December 02 2003 - 05:58 PM

I begged and begged but I couldn't manage to get an invitation to a screening of this last night. Some friends of mine who were invited are raving today that the movie does right by the two plays and then some, with praise for all the actors right down the line and shock that these dense, highly theatrical plays have been so well adapted for television.

I know what I'll be doing these next two Sunday nights.

#6 of 75 OFFLINE   BrianB

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Posted December 03 2003 - 12:33 AM

My wife is desperate to see this series, right since the first teasers for it appeared on HBO many months ago. It better be good or she'll be pissed! Posted Image
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#7 of 75 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted December 03 2003 - 12:55 AM

The first time I saw a teaser, I got chills. I had *no* idea they were making it into a miniseries. Indeed, I thought there would be no way they could *ever* film it--primarily because of the length. A miniseries solves this.

Reading a few of the reviews make me wish it were Sunday night already! I may have to go re-read the plays to make it through the week!

By the way, there will be multiple airings--IMO, the way to see this will be to mirror the 2-play structure, hence my next two Sunday nights are booked (even with the Fab 5 in town one of those nights). But HBO is also showing it in individual hours, and at one point will be showing all six hours on one night. The schedule at the link above has the details.

- Steve

#8 of 75 OFFLINE   RafaelB

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Posted December 03 2003 - 12:59 AM

This takes me back to seeing both plays in New York in one marathon day right after "Perestroika" opened. It was electrifying onstage and, after having seen a different theatre company's production of it 3 years ago, I'm incredibly excited about this mini-series.

The ads, at least, capture the look and feel of Mr. Kushner's words and I was doubly excited when I found out that Jeffrey Wright (reprising his Broadway roles), Emma Thompson and Meryl Streep will be playing multiple roles, as it was in the show. Posted Image

Rafael

#9 of 75 OFFLINE   Qui-Gon John

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Posted December 03 2003 - 02:06 AM

I caught a bit of a preview for this and was interested in seeing it. Although I am a little disappointed to read that it's about gays and AIDS, etc. Not that I'm specifically anti-gay or anything like that, just that I thought it was a much more supernatural/theological story about actual angels. You know, sort of like TAKEN, only about Angels insted of Aliens.

#10 of 75 OFFLINE   todd s

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Posted December 03 2003 - 02:18 AM

Can someone tell me what this movie is about?
Bring back John Doe! Or at least resolve the cliff-hanger with a 2hr movie or as an extra on a dvd release.

#11 of 75 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted December 03 2003 - 02:19 AM

Quote:
I'm specifically anti-gay or anything like that, just that I thought it was a much more supernatural/theological story about actual angels

It's about that too. The yearning for transcendance is a major theme. (For that matter, so is most of American history.) If the dramatic structure of the film mirrors the plays, Part II opens with a lengthy conversation between a major character and an angel; there's a brief clip of this scene in the trailer.

One can't overstate the richness of material compressed into these plays. But like all great dramatists, Kushner always starts from particular characters at a specific place and time. So saying that Angels is "about" AIDS in the 80s is a little like saying that The Crucible is "about" witchcraft trials or that A Streetcar Named Desire is "about" a faded Southern belle. Such descriptions are accurate as far as they go, but they barely scratch the surface.

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#12 of 75 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted December 03 2003 - 02:56 AM

Quote:
Can someone tell me what this movie is about?
Difficult. It's a little like an Altman film in the way it juggles different plotlines that collide and intersect. The story by Associated Press gives probably as good an introduction as anyone can. Here's a link. WARNING: Points are revealed in the article that some might consider to be spoilers (I don't, but that's easy for me to say, as someone who saw the plays).

M.
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#13 of 75 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted December 03 2003 - 03:28 AM

Quote:
So saying that Angels is "about" AIDS in the 80s is a little like saying that The Crucible is "about" witchcraft trials or that A Streetcar Named Desire is "about" a faded Southern belle. Such descriptions are accurate as far as they go, but they barely scratch the surface.

Indeed...the one-sentence description, such as the one in my first post, is very limiting. The themes touched in the actual story--love, faith, betrayal, power--go far beyond the story on the surface.

- Steve

#14 of 75 OFFLINE   Mikel_Cooperman

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Posted December 03 2003 - 04:34 AM

I am really looking forward to this even though I dont have HBO. I am hoping the person who said they would tape it will in fact tape it.
I saw the first play about 5 years ago. Wonderful.

So they are doing both plays?

#15 of 75 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted December 03 2003 - 04:44 AM

Quote:
So they are doing both plays?

Yes. It's really one play with two "parts".

M.
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#16 of 75 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted December 03 2003 - 05:22 AM

Quote:
No one can know for sure, but I believe these plays will endure among the canon of great 20th century American plays, right up there with classics by the likes of O'Neill, Williams and Wilder.

High praise indeed Michael. I have not seen them, but we plan on watching on the small screen (and mine is small).
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#17 of 75 OFFLINE   Jeff Keene

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Posted December 03 2003 - 01:50 PM

This film will be shown in HD, which should be wonderful.

Right now it is only scheduled (as far as I can tell) for the next two Sunday nights. I'm sure it will be repeated, HBO fashion, a zillion times, but it makes me nervous since I won't be able to watch it on first run and I want to see it in HD (as opposed to just Tivo'ing it).

#18 of 75 OFFLINE   danak

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Posted December 03 2003 - 02:52 PM

Jeff,
> Right now it is only scheduled (as far as I can tell) for
> the next two Sunday nights.

It appears that Part 1 will be rebroadcast in 3 chapters on Mon, Tue, and Wed evening of next week. HBO will probably do the same for Part 2 after the next Sunday

Dana

#19 of 75 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted December 03 2003 - 03:08 PM

Correct. HBO is also pushing this for a DVD release, obviously, in relation to it's production expenditures Posted Image

I admit, I personally was never a fan of the plays, which I had both some political disagreements with but more then that some stagecraft disagreements with. However, I've always considered "Angels in America" one of the best plays, easily within the top 10, of the last two decades. Despite the differences I have with the story, the plot is well devised and powerful, and it is unabashed in taking it's viewpoint to it's logical extent. Angels doesn't meander and it fulfills the same role as some of the best social commentary, sticking with it's guns and being unafraid to propose advocacy.

I think even for those that may find the films politically disagreeable, the potential for performances as well as the craft of the story should make it very watchable. Many of the stagecraft issues that I have with the play, I'm sure, will change or be erradicated with the higher budget of HBO and the greater space then a stage. (In other words: I have always felt as though, in Angels, the stagecraft can feel very cramped on a stage and fails to properly make use of the venue in order to provide the backdrop it needed)

It's a brave move of HBO to spend so much money on any project, really, but HBO has become well know for taking chances. Kudos to them for taking this one.
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#20 of 75 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted December 03 2003 - 03:17 PM

Quote:
some stagecraft disagreements

I'd be very interested in hearing the details...although to be fair to those who are not familiar with the plays we might ought to keep it in spoiler tags until the show has aired.

I can imagine that not every theater can have angels crashing through the roof effectively, along with flying by Foy...


- Steve


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