Film

Friday Film Focus - 4 April 2008

For the weekend beginning 4 April, here are the films in focus:

Shine a Light [rating: 7]

Shine a Light does deliver in a way few concert films can - especially given the timeless talents on display.

Who, exactly, are the Rolling Stones circa 2008? Considering that it's been 45 plus years since Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, and Brian Jones played ballsy blues badboys to the Beatles scrubbed and sanitized pop laureates, one has to challenge where a group of aging 60-plus-year-olds fit within the modern mainstream music scheme. Granted, they are legends, myths making noise long after many thought them relevant. True, it takes an intense amount of chutzpah to step on stage and endlessly recreate your greatest hits from three decades past while hoping to work in a few of your current composition. It's a concept that's bested other icons - David Bowie, for one - and yet the artists formerly known as the greatest rock and roll band of all time continue to soldier on. read full review...

Leatherheads [rating: 6]

You've got to give Clooney credit for trying, especially when most of Leatherheads is a jaunty, jazz age dream.

The media just loves to fawn over George Clooney. With his combination of classic Hollywood charisma and contemporary self-effacing nerve, he tends to enhance, and sometimes overwhelm, the projects he touches. From his early, ineffectual work in films like One Fine Day, to the critical acclaim accompanying his turns with the Coens, he's a student of the old studio system as well as a jester in his own idiosyncratic kingdom of considered cool. But what's most fascinating about this man's career is not his rise to mainstream prominence. Instead, his unique turns behind the camera - Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Good Night and Good Luck - indicate an artist willing to bend tradition in order to place his own unique stamp on cinema. His latest effort, the attempted screwball comedy Leatherheads, is no different. read full review...

Nim's Island [rating: 6]

Nim's Island is all too insular, lost in its own unique universe somewhere between Swiss Family Robinson and Joe vs. the Volcano.

It's becoming painfully obvious that modern moviemakers know nothing about making a true family film. Not just a movie aimed at a certain unsullied demographic, but an effort that sparks the imagination of anyone from ages eight to eighty. The latest attempt at finding the right formula is the undeniably uneven Nim's Island. As a work of whimsy and wonder, it offers too many unexplainable elements. We never fully grasp the reality - or unreality - of the situations we see. On the other hand, there are parts and performances here that illustrate the direction such a project could take, especially when not guided by studio pressures or focus group interference. read full review...

Under the Same Moon [rating: 5]

Maudlin and melodramatic when it doesn't need to be, but insightful and engaging when it counts, Under the Same Moon represents both the best and worst of the revelatory road trip narrative.

The story of America's immigrant past has been well documented by the motion picture. From the boat trips across the ocean to Ellis Island and the accompanying acclamation, our heritage has made for some memorable film. Yet it seems strange that the current migrant situation, dealing with undocumented workers and border crossing illegals gets short shrift. Part of the problem is politics. No one is eager to foist the problems of an already marginalized population on an uncaring and unforgiving public. The other issue is creative. Few artists have attempted to capture this element of the immigrant experience. While it stereotypes several of the circumstances surrounding a Mexican mother and son's day-to-day struggles, La Misma Luna - in English, Under the Same Moon - does a decent job of showcasing their specific plight. read full review...

A Musical Chameleon: An Interview with Morcheeba

One year since the release of Morcheeba's Blaze Away, the band unleash a special edition full of remixes, which leads to questions of how their process works, how some songs got remixes and others didn't, and what the next 20 years of Morcheeba look like.

Jose Solis
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