Saturday, December 18, 2010

TV MOVIES this week

We viewed a few movies shown on TV this week - trying to make our cable subscription worthwhile! Until I got to listing these I hadn't realised they all have some musical content. We must be in a Venus cycle, Chez Twilight. An "astro-rating" is added, just to indicate the movie's general flavour.

The Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)Neither of us had seen this sequal to the famous original movie, it so we gave it a whirl. John Goodman took the place of the late lamented John Belushi, as Dan Ackroyd's bro. There were lots of familiar faces and voices popping up, especially in the last scene: Eric Clapton, B.B.King, Junior Wells, Jonny Lang, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Sam Brown, Wilson Pickett and others - names to conjure with.
The movie in general is pretty bad, but it's well worth sitting through for the music scenes alone.
ASTRO RATING ~ Uranus conjunct Venus.

A Matter of Time (1976) appeared on TCM -a premiere for this film on Ted Turner's channel - and possibly on TV. Vincente Minnelli directed it, and his daughter Liza starred along with Ingrid Bergman.
Bergman's role as an eccentric Contessa is definitely the gem of the piece, which followed a well-worn rags to riches, star-is-born-type theme. The movie, while not actually bad, tends to be ragged and uneven. It could have been excellent, and Ingrid Bergman was - but things just didn't hang together well.
ASTRO RATING ~ Uranus conjunct Venus in Leo.

My Blueberry Nights (2007) on HBO - Norah Jones' first stab at a dramatic role in a movie, this co-starring Jude Law. It was adapted from a Chinese tale and directed by Chinese director Kar Wai Wong - his first movie in English. Like A Matter of Time this proved to be a bit of an oddity. It was trying to be an arty-farty movie, whilst retaining an easily understood storyline - that kind of worked. I'm not sure that the movie's Chinese director had a true "handle" on the American way of life though. Characters came over as a wee bit phoney, over-exaggerated, comic-book-ish. But what am I saying - that is exactly what America seems like to a foreigner -I should know! We enjoyed this movie though. Norah Jones did a creditable job as a peripatetic and rather naive waitress trying to get over a love betrayal by wandering around the USA, meeting a variety of stereotypical American characters. Jude Law, an English immigrant running a cafe in New York struck a rather false note. He's pretty though, and it was good to hear a Manchester accent again, even one affected by a Londoner. Other characters the heroine meets on her travels are played by Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz and, best acting of the movie: David Strathairn - an actor who deserves a starring part - SOON!
Soundtrack has Norah Jones doing what she does best.
ASTRO RATING ~ Venus in Sagittarius.

A Diva's Christmas Carol (2000) appeared on Lifetime channel. We routinely avoid Lifetime because of the extra long yawning gaps of commercials they insert in movies they show. I was curious to see a modernised version of Charles Dickens' famous Christmas story, so we braced ourselves and watched. Instead of Victorian England the updated story is set in the USA with a cast of characters from the music business, led by Vanessa Williams as "Ebony" (Ebenezer - get it?) the bitchy, mean and miserly diva who terrorises her road crew, ignores her only remaining family, and walks all over her tour manager, played with a misty eyed down-trodden acquiescence by Brian McNamara, predictably named Bob Cratchett, with a sick son called.....yes, you guessed. Best turn of the movie comes from Kathy Griffin as Spirit of Christmas Past - she has some nice sarky one-liners (at a guess they're self-written). It's an entertaining seasonal movie, with its timeless message set in a context easily recognised in the 21st century. Best watched on DVD though, to avoid Lifetime's commercial breaks of duration long enough to test even the most tolerant viewer.
ASTRO RATING ~ Saturn in Sagittarius.


Wisewebwoman said...

Gave most of these a skip first time around but was sucked into My Blueberry Nights and this was my review:

"Kar Wai Wong should pick up some knitting. At least he'd be creating something other than this great big FAIL.

Was there a screenplay? Maybe I missed it as it flew by.

A road trip movie it ain't. the camera lens keeps getting smeared by a box of Crayola. And cream running over blueberries, oh pulease!!! Slo-mo in all the wrong places - does slo-mo ever work except to slow the battlefield down into manageable chunks? Nora Jones is pitiful, I hope she doesn't make any more movies and sticks to her fabulous singing. She has one acting style - 'deer in the headlights' just about covers it.

The best performances are from Rachel Weisz, David Strathairn and Natalie Portman, who though in fairly minor roles steal the 20% of the movie they're in. David particularly is amazing with the pitiful script he was given.

Jude Law phoned in his performance, all dragging on cigarettes and lounging in doorways with mussy hair with a 'look ma, I'm a big star larking as a Manchester waiter, see no hands!'

As to the café in New York, the scene of much crayony lighting and jerky leg movements, there were never any customers. And New York was eerily silent. Oh sorry, that was a back lot.

Ramping up the overall creepy-crawly factor are those scenes of a sleeping woman being assaulted (yeah, I call it that - she is supposedly unconscious) by one of the protagonists.

I've one huge regret - I didn't read any reviews before seeing this drek, I saw 'Cannes Opener' and thought, well they can't be wrong, can they? Can they! 1 out of 10. Abysmal. Avoid."

I do adore David tho....
PS Opinionated? Moi? Never!

Twilight said...

Well, at least we both liked David Strathairn!

Re that New York cafe - yes Himself kept complaining "where are the customers?" I took it that this was a neighbourhood cafe in a sleazy part of the city where there'd be a minor lunchtime rush of workers, then only dribs and drabs of accidental passers by. I've known city cafes just like that.... The emptiness of the cafe was supposed to add to the strange atmosphere and arty-fartiness I suppose. The pies looked good though.

Rossa said...

O/T. My post about Trifles is up today Twilight. Well you did ask :-)

There's also one about rice pudding that went up over the weekend and there's one about mince pies to come.

Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.


Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ Many thanks for the heads-up! I'll be along soon - drooling all the way! :-)