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Rent

Release Date: November 23, 2005
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Movie of the Day for Monday, March 14, 2005
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I was wrong. You don't look any better by candlelight.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
46/60 Les Winan Great for fans of the original musical, a bit dull for everyone else.
80/166 David Mumpower Offers the best music of the year but the movie itself is all over the place. Fans of musicals might enjoy it more, but I am on the fence about it.

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Based on Pucinni's La Boheme, tells the story of one year in the life of friends living the Bohemian life in modern day East Village New York. Among the group are our narrator nerdy love struck filmmaker Mark; the object of his affection his former lover, Maureen; Maureen's Harvard educated public interest lawyer lesbian lover Joanne; Mark's roommate HIV+ former junkie, Roger; Roger's lover the HIV+ drug addicted S&M dancer, Mimi; their former roommate HIV+ computer genius Tom Collins; Collins' HIV+ drag queen street musician lover Angel; and Benjamin Coffin III a former member of the group who married money and has since become their landlord and the opposite of everything they stand for. Shows how much changes or doesn't change in the 525,600 minutes that make up a year.

This is the film version of the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning musical about Bohemians in the East Village of New York City struggling with life, love and AIDS, and the impacts they have on America.

It's Christmas Eve in the East Village of New York City. Mark is a young filmmaker whose girlfriend has just dumped him for another woman. His roommate, Roger, is a songwriter and ex-junkie with writer's block. When their friend Collins shows up for a visit, he is mugged; meanwhile, their landlord is on the line demanding their rent. He used to be Mark and Roger's roommate, but he married into money and turned into the exact opposite of everything they stand for. Making matters worse, the electricity goes out.

In order to keep warm, Mark and Roger burn their past. Roger's rock and roll posters and Mark's screenplays are used as fuel to keep them warm. However, the past can't be beaten so easily, as Maureen, Mark's former girlfriend calls to beg help with a performance piece scheduled to take place later that evening in a vacant lot next door. Mark can do nothing but agree to give her his assistance.

Flash to an outdoor scene, and the aforementioned Collins is discovered beaten and bloody by the street musician Angel. Angel offers up bandages, comfort and an invite for a night out on the town. The pair is instantly attracted to one another, but those surface feelings grow to a tighter emotional bond when they realize that they are both HIV-positive.

Back in Mark and Roger's loft, Mark tries to convince his friend to come out with him for the night. Roger says no, and stays home alone to take his AZT (he, too, is HIV-positive) and work through his ambition to write one final song to make his empty life worthwhile. His work is interrupted by Mimi, a beautiful stranger who lives downstairs. She needs to borrow a match as her electricity is also out. Though Roger and Mimi are drawn to one another, Roger resists her because he realizes she is a junkie.

Soon, Mark returns home with Collins, who brings provisions and funds thanks to his friendship with Angel, who is dressed to the hilt in drag. Angel has $1,000 that he is more than eager to share with his new friends. More importantly, though, landlord Benny arrives looking to make a deal. If Mark and Roger can stop Maureen's protest performance that is taking place in Benny's vacant lot, Benny will forgive Mark and Roger's back rent.

And all that is just the first part of Act One.

Rent is based on the Puccini opera La Bohème, and even debuted on the 100th anniversary of the original operatic production. It was created by composer/lyricist/librettist Jonathan Larsen, who sadly died of an aortic aneurysm the evening of the show's final preview. He didn't see the musical's meteoric success. It swept all of the major awards of 1996, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Obie Award, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, four Tony Awards and three Drama Desk Awards. The film version will be adapted by director Chris Columbus, and will hope to follow in the footsteps of Academy Award winner Chicago. (Kim Hollis/BOP)


Vital statistics for Rent
Main Cast Rosario Dawson, Adam Pascal, Tracie Thoms
Director Chris Columbus
Screenwriter Chris Columbus, Craig Pearce
Distributor Sony/Revolution Studios
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/rent/
Rating PG-13
Running Time 128 minutes
Awards Awards page for Rent
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture


     


 
 

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