A Great Movie About Eye Shadow: PeaceBang Reviews “Burlesque”

Oh, WOW! My friend and I shared a quiet, intimate Thanksgiving with her 2-month old son and my beagle and relished the relaxation. We had a lovely makeover, took naps and then decided to attend the new movie “Burlesque” starring CHER and Christina Aguilera.

The movie is GREAT!
The lipstick, first of all, is brilliant. In the early scenes when Xtina Aguilera is just a simple farm girl from Iowa, you know, before she gets that one-way ticket to Los Angeles to become a STAR? And she’s working as a waitress and she has a long ponytail that shows how unsophisticated she is, and how wholesome? Well, her lipstick in those early scenes is really pretty and pink and another thing that super-impressed me was how Christina managed to not close her mouth even ONCE for maybe the first half-hour of the picture. And I don’t mean because she was singing, I mean because she was mouth-breathing or just slack-jawed. It was a genius character choice, because what else could indicate wholesome, corn-fed innocence like keeping your mouth hanging open all the time?

Okay, so then Christina’s character (her name is Allie Rose, Allie is short for ALICE, isn’t that home grown?) gets to L.A. and she goes to this burlesque club called BURLESQUE CLUB, I think that’s it — and you will never guess who’s at the door taking cover charges? ALAN CUMMINGS! Oh my God, Alan Cummings of “Cabaret” fame! He played the Emcee in the celebrated Sam Mendes revival in New York and everything, remember that one starring Natasha Richardson who later tragically died after getting a head injury in a skiing accident? She played Sally Bowles in it. I also saw Alan Cumming play Dionysus in a fantastic production of “The Bacchae” in New York a few years ago and I’m telling you, he has serious acting chops. But the great thing is that in this movie he just basically gets to play the Emcee again, it’s just such a fantastic nod to his earlier work and he wears the same, exact eyeliner he wore in that role! He also cavorts around with two ladies, another direct reference to “Cabaret!” In fact, the whole film is like an homage to Bob Fosse’s work, and I use the word “homage” rather than “blatant, pathetic rip-off” because I just know it was all meant respectfully. I don’t think that Bob Fosse rolled in his grave or anything, I’m just pretty sure he sat up once or twice.

The music is amazing, did I mention that yet? It’s really, really loud – so loud that after the film was over my friend and I seriously worried that we had done permanent damage to her son’s hearing. He seems to be fine, thank God, and you can bet that at least two of the numbers in the movie will be playing repeatedly on Top 40 radio stations and in your local dance clubs for awhile! Until you want to smash yourself on the head with a brick to make them stop! SO catchy! And that Christina Aguilera can certainly sing LOUDLY.
She is a loud, loud girl.

So anyway, the movie gets interesting when Allie’s character shows the owner of the burlesque club, played by none other than the intensely fabulous CHER, that she can DO it, she can sing and dance, she knows all the numbers by heart, please just give her a chance! The kind-hearted, motherly owner (CHER!) does give her a chance. It’s such a shocking plot twist you would never see it coming. And another thing you won’t see coming is the totally LEGENDARY make-up on Cher. Because, I mean, this movie features the most astonishing use of lip gloss and glitter seen in any major motion picture and that includes “Cleopatra” and “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” AND “Moulin Rouge” put together. I would seriously just go see it for the eye shadow. Is there an Oscar for Best Eye Shadow? Because there really should be. They should create that category just so they can honor “Burlesque” with a special statuette. Special Achievement in Eye Makeup.

I’ll be honest with you. Cher has had so much plastic surgery that she exactly resembles the muppet Janis of “Sesame Street” fame but you know, she’s still CHER and therefore still phenomenally amazing and Stanley Tucci is simply adorable playing her adoring gay BFF. It’s like the producers called him and said, “Stanley. You know that delightful gay character you played in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ with Meryl Street? We want you to come do that exact same thing only this time with Cher! And much worse writing! We’ll pay you lots of money!” So dear old Stanley is up there again mincing his heart out. He is a charmer.

But I meant to tell you about how the evolution of Christina’s character is expressed pretty much entirely though her lipstick, which becomes vampy cherry dripping glossy red when she’s being a STAR and morphs to a more subdued maroon red when she’s being Romantic. When she’s being Vulnerable she just wears a light pink gloss and it’s so touching you kind of want to cry. The same thing goes for her eye make-up, which is kind of nothing special until a very powerful scene that I think they’ll have to play at the Oscars when both Christina and Cher are nommed for Best Actress – a scene where the experienced, tough-as-nails-but-with-a-heart-of-gold character Tess (CHER) teaches Allie (XTINA) how to apply thick eyeliner.

Of course this scene was an absolute religious experience for me and it was all I could do to keep myself from running to Sephora immediately and buying a new Stila gel liner and pretending that it was CHER applying it for me and telling me that I’m a star, just like was happening in the movie. Oh, it just blew me away. By the time Tess (CHER!) was sweeping on a little bit of contouring shadow into the crease of Christina’s eyelid I was practically sobbing. This was the best movie I have ever seen about eyeshadow. It has no equal.

As Christina’s character keeps rising up the ladder to stardom, her eyeshadow just gets more and more smoky and intense until finally she’s just got LAYERS of black and green glitter SLATHERED on her lids and you can tell that she’s just an extraordinary talent. Anyone with that much eyeshadow on has just got to be a talent for the ages, is really what you begin to understand, and this fact is also underscored by the fact that Christina’s hair just keeps getting bigger and curlier. But meanwhile while this is all developing, Tess (CHER!) is having serious financial concerns and showing up in dark corners of the club looking like a kind of sexy spider in a black fright wig, enormous lips with supernatural amounts of lip gloss on them, and the most amazing glittery eyelids you will ever see on any leading lady anywhere, and that includes Las Vegas.

I just can’t get over it.
Needless to say this was one of PeaceBang’s most deeply satisfying cultural outings in a VERY long time and she can’t wait until someone gives her the soundtrack for Christmas so she can immediately re-gift it and share the love.

10 Replies to “A Great Movie About Eye Shadow: PeaceBang Reviews “Burlesque””

  1. I kinda love Kristen Bell and am hoping her non-mention in this review means she wasn’t terrible. [NO one was terrible! They were all fantabulously awesome and Miss Bell chewed scenery con mucho gusto! – PB]

  2. Fantastique movie. A movie about Burlesque with no skin — the only strip tease we saw was Ali’s roommate/boyfriend. The special guest cameo by Quinn Fabray was pretty special too.

  3. You crack me up.
    I’m so glad that dissertation business is over (or nearly so) so that you have time for these long and thoughtful BTFM posts. Very important stuff here. I’ll be smiling all day.

  4. This is a great review! I was thinking of going to see the movie based on the trailers but I don’t think I want to waste my time now. My husband and I usually have one word for this kind of film: root canal, as in “I’d rather give myself a root canal than see this movie.” I love your work. If you ever want to quit your day job, you should be a movie critic. I laughed so hard reading this.

  5. Your writing in this piece is amazing!!
    Love, love, love it.

    Now I’m going to send it to all my friends.

  6. Loved the movie – magnificent music & makeup! Great Fosse and Beyonce moves in there. And how about the costuming?! Script was corny and predictable, but just what I needed yesterday. Love your review!

  7. I went in expecting to be entertained and to bask in Cher, and I think I got my money’s worth.

  8. PB, you need to submit this to EW.com. Seriously. You could be the best TV recapper yet. I’m thinking “Dancing with the ‘Stars’.”

    I’m thinking I’m going to have to go see this with my best gay friend Zac.

  9. There is only one word for this review: FABULOUS.

    I had wanted to see this simply from the trailers, but now your review has me swooning. Dragging my aunts to this one for an Epic Girls’ Night Out.

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