He has a radio program on WXOU out of Oakland University
Wild At Heart
I’m back again after not getting the chance to finish up my blog yesterday. My dad just celebrated his birthday and I didn’t want to spend all day at the library. I have a few movie reviews to get out so let’s get started.
The first film is the latest from Woody Allen entitled “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”. While it has been quite awhile since he has truly written a movie that has been embraced by the masses (“Vicky Christina Barcelona” being the one exception), Allen at his worst is better that most directors at their best. Allen holds the distinction of having more screenwriting Academy Award nominations than any other writer (all are in the “Best Original Screenplay” category which is even more impressive) and while this film will most likely not be nominated for that award, there are touches of the brilliance that is Woody.
The story itself deals with what Allen works with best, a bunch of characters interacting with each other trying to find out how to discover oneself in relationships. We have the older couple Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) and Helena (Gemma Jones) who are getting divorced after he has a midlife crisis and marries a prostitute, Charmaine (Lucy Punch). Helena takes comfort in a fake fortune teller Cristal (Pauline Collins) who has her looking for romance. Meanwhile, their daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) has a troubled marriage with author Roy (Josh Brolin) whose once promising career is now floundering. Sally considers having an affair with her art gallery boss Greg (Antonio Banderas) while Roy falls for Dia (Freida Pinto), a musicologist he sees through his bedroom window in the flat across the way. In the end, all our characters are dissatisfied with their choices, except for Helena, who has found companionship in being a widower. The movie itself is chaotic at times which is disappointing considering how remarkable the cast is. Somehow, the script never seems to fully keep up with what is happening on the screen. That bit of magic (or passion) that one sees in films like “Purple Rose Of Cairo” or “Annie Hall” has brief moments, esp with Naomi’s character, but not enough to elevate this film to what the best of Allen represents. Still, there is enough present to allow me to recommend this film to those that still find Allen relevant in today’s cinema. My grade is a B-.
Next is the third film in the amazing Millennium trilogy by Swedish author Steig Larrson, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest” brings back the cast and director to finish up Lisbeth’s story. The third installment loses some of the steam of the first two films and plays more like an episode of Law & Order. Lisbeth is recovering in a hospital after the bullet injuries at the end of the second film. While recovering, she is also getting set to face trial for attempted murder on her eventual release. The reporter Mikael is determined to prove her innocence with the help of his researchers at Millennium magazine. However, powerful people in the government want certain things kept quiet and try to kill both Lisbeth and Mikael (along with his fellow coworkers). If they can stay alive until the trial, they need to find the evidence that will expose the conspiracy and get Lisbeth her freedom from the system she has been trapped by since she was 12. I love the back-story of the movie but I would like to see more interaction between Lisbeth and Mikael. They rarely meet in the third movie and I think things would have more impact if they shared more screen time together. Also, a lot of the plot is vague at times and not always clear cut and tends to make the film drag at times when we should keep building on what came before. Noomi Rapace shines as the lead character but I would have liked the film to have taken more advantage of her talents. While being uneven, the film still has some good moments like her fight with strong man Niedermann at the end of the film. If you have seen the previous two installments, you need to see this also. This is one trilogy you should watch in order. My grade is a C+.
The Millenium trilogy is being slated for an Americanized treatment with David (Fight Club) Fincher directing and Rooney (A Nightmare On Elm Street, Social Network) Mara as Lisbeth Salander and Daniel (most recent 007) Craig as Mikael Blomkvist. The film should be released in late 2011.
I would also like to mention that the Grammys are getting some early press and area musicians that qualify are invited to join and become part of The Recording Academy®. Academy membership will give you the ability to vote in this year’s GRAMMY Awards and you will be invited to attend the Awards show in Los Angeles on February 13th, 2010. If you are unable to attend the actual show in LA, there is a viewing party in Chicago every year where you can network with other members and music industry VIPs. To qualify, you need to have credits on 6 tracks of a commercially released album or 12 digitally-released tracks. You must be a member by November 30th in order to vote in the second round of the Awards process. To join, go to http://www.grammy365.com/join or call 312-786-1121.
Once again, have a good week and see you next Friday.