Author Topic: Across the Universe  (Read 11793 times)

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The Red Vine

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #30 on: September 15, 2007, 08:32:28 PM »
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I'm surprised at the release of this film. I was somewhat excited when viewing the trailer. Keeping in mind it could be pretentious style, but I was hopeful. Then the film opens with little publicitiy and receives mostly negative reviews. I expected the film to open with a bang, but instead it's opening with a thud.

Perhaps I will see it to satisfy my curiosity, but I assume it won't be on many ten lists.
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ponceludon

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #31 on: September 16, 2007, 10:04:56 PM »
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Crap like this really irritates me. It's like a fantasy pop version of what the 1960's was, turned all pretty and magical and painted, with a soundtrack that so disgustingly literally tells a story in Beatles songs. I didn't even have to look at the cast list to figure out that the girl's name would be Lucy. It's so staggeringly unoriginal and  honestly, when I first figured out who the Beatles were (I was 10), I had made up stories like this, lining up the songs in a linear-ish narrative with all my main characters having names like Jude and Lucy and Rita, and who had walruses and fools on the hill lying around.

I haven't seen anything by Taymor, so I can't judge the quality, but from the trailer and the poster, it just looks dumb. The psychedelic acid parts (I assume) look kind of neat, but I agree with the previous poster, that they probably won't be a large enough part of the film to save it from the otherwise formulaic drama that it seems to be.

go watch titus and frida...then you'll realize why:

1) anyone with marginal tastes in film would be going nuts over this
2) this post of yours that i quoted will make any of your future post (views) invalidated

i know i sound like a douche, but its fact


So, I still haven't seen Titus and Frida, but apparently my instinct counts for something because this movie was just as painful and annoying and embarrassing as I thought it would be. If my future posts are invalidated because I know my own taste well enough to predict how I'll feel about a movie without knowing the director's work, so be it.

Gold Trumpet

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2007, 10:28:22 PM »
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Crap like this really irritates me. It's like a fantasy pop version of what the 1960's was, turned all pretty and magical and painted, with a soundtrack that so disgustingly literally tells a story in Beatles songs. I didn't even have to look at the cast list to figure out that the girl's name would be Lucy. It's so staggeringly unoriginal and  honestly, when I first figured out who the Beatles were (I was 10), I had made up stories like this, lining up the songs in a linear-ish narrative with all my main characters having names like Jude and Lucy and Rita, and who had walruses and fools on the hill lying around.

I haven't seen anything by Taymor, so I can't judge the quality, but from the trailer and the poster, it just looks dumb. The psychedelic acid parts (I assume) look kind of neat, but I agree with the previous poster, that they probably won't be a large enough part of the film to save it from the otherwise formulaic drama that it seems to be.

go watch titus and frida...then you'll realize why:

1) anyone with marginal tastes in film would be going nuts over this
2) this post of yours that i quoted will make any of your future post (views) invalidated

i know i sound like a douche, but its fact


I liked Frida but hated Titus. I'm interested in the film, but the subject makes me sick to my stomach. What does that make me?

sickfins

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #33 on: September 16, 2007, 11:59:14 PM »
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Crap like this really irritates me. It's like a fantasy pop version of what the 1960's was, turned all pretty and magical and painted, with a soundtrack that so disgustingly literally tells a story in Beatles songs. I didn't even have to look at the cast list to figure out that the girl's name would be Lucy. It's so staggeringly unoriginal and  honestly, when I first figured out who the Beatles were (I was 10), I had made up stories like this, lining up the songs in a linear-ish narrative with all my main characters having names like Jude and Lucy and Rita, and who had walruses and fools on the hill lying around.

I haven't seen anything by Taymor, so I can't judge the quality, but from the trailer and the poster, it just looks dumb. The psychedelic acid parts (I assume) look kind of neat, but I agree with the previous poster, that they probably won't be a large enough part of the film to save it from the otherwise formulaic drama that it seems to be.

you summed it up perfectly without even having seen the film.

pumba

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #34 on: September 17, 2007, 12:33:19 AM »
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It really wasn't what I was expecting. I had no idea this was a gay musical type movie, because the trailer's really don't advertise it that way. I had this paradox irritating me the entire time. I guess that if I had to sit through a gay musical, it might as well be with Beatles songs. but on the other hand I really don't want to hear beatles songs "gay musicalized".

this movie never ended either.
Some of the psych visuals were really nice to look at though.
Ech,

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #35 on: September 18, 2007, 02:53:54 AM »
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Julie Taymor Soars Across the Universe
Source: ComingSoon

Julie Taymor has directed movies like Titus and Frida and she brought Disney's animated movie The Lion King to Broadway with a hugely successful Tony-sweeping musical. For her latest movie, Taymor combined her two passions to create Across the Universe, a movie musical based on the songs of the Beatles, starring Evan Rachel Wood and newcomer Jim Sturgess in a love story set during the turbulent '60s where hippie peace and love was countered with war and violent protests.

ComingSoon.net had a chance to talk with Taymor along with a small group of journalists at the Toronto Film Festival, and she was more than happy to field even the toughest questions about the movie, as well as drop a few tidbits about the impending "Spider-Man" musical she's working on with Bono, who also makes a cameo appearance in the movie singing "I Am the Walrus."

ComingSoon.net: Why did you decide to do this as a musical movie rather than doing something on Broadway and then converting it into a movie, which is the normal way these things go?
Julie Taymor: Well, I'll tell you exactly. First of all, I am so happy that it was a movie musical because it wouldn't have been written the same way if you did it on the stage. All the movie musicals we've being seeing have come from the stage, except for probably "Moulin Rouge!", I think. Most of them though, are going to have limited locations, range, a kind of epic palette if they're written for the stage first by the sheer limitations of theatre. The reason "Lion King" is the way it is, is because it was a film first, so then I was obligated to do the savannahs you know what I mean, big giant stampedes. I think that, first of all, when this came to me it was already a film. It was not my idea to make it as a film. I was hired, brought on very early when it was only a concept of a love story set in the '60s during this tumultuous period of time, and then I worked with the writers, Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement, and created the story, and I pulled the 33 songs and added the three new characters which were Sadie, JoJo and Prudence. I was asked to do it as a Broadway musical before this, six months before when Peter Gelb was at Sony Classical and he said, "Sony has the publishing rights, would you like to make a Broadway musical?" Absolutely, and it wouldn't have been this musical. I has a completely different concept and then Peter moved on to run the Metropolitan Opera House, and that was over and this movie, was happening and Joe Roth asked me to do the movie. It had to be, because I was in a Beatles time or something.

CS: Did you get any influence from the '70s rock opera movies like "Tommy" or "Pink Floyd's The Wall"?
Taymor: No, what I liked about "Pink Floyd's The Wall" was how it played with that incredible animation, and I've been told that probably that one scene "We Don't Need No Education" has reference or that it's to the "I Want You" I don't think we go, "I'm going to take that and do this." Yesterday, a producer friend of mine who saw the movie said, "Do you know that you did Romeo & Juliet in this movie?" And I went, "Well, it's a love story." He said, "No, No, No, don't you know that when Jude goes up on the roof and starts to speak to the world, "There's nothing you can do that can't be done" and then he turns around and she's on the balcony. Do you not know that that's "Romeo & Juliet?" I said, "I wasn't thinking about it," and he said, "Well, that's exactly what that is, where Romeo speaks his love to the universe and he turns around and there she is up on that balcony." It was my idea to stage it that way, but I never thought about "Romeo & Juliet" ever, but who knows what's inside my psyche and my life that knows "Romeo & Juliet"? We as artists, we end up, things filter through you and then they come out hopefully in a fresh way. You don't make everything up! (laughs)

CS: Can you talk a bit about the choice of songs? When you have to pick 33 of the Beatles' songs from such a vast library of great songs, it must have been difficult. Did you write the script and then put the songs into it?
Taymor: No, no not at all, it was a starter 3-page treatment then I became involved and expanded what the concept was and that it would have the war at home through the Detroit riots. It would have much more politics, much more craziness. It would have a double love story, or a triple love story.

CS: But were all the songs mentioned in the script?
Taymor: No, there were no songs yet--there were two that I remember that we kept in at that stage. It was that "Happiness is a Warm Gun" was set in a veteran's hospital. There was no "bang, bang, shoot, shoot" nurse and no mother superior dancing around, but there was that setting. "All You Need is Love" definitely, because the title of the movie before I became involved was "All You Need is Love". I wanted to change it because I feel, as I still do feel, you have to experience the dark side and go through all of the experience of those characters before you can say the words, "All You Need is Love." "Across the Universe" to me is much more appropriate because also this movie speaks to everybody in the world and the Beatles belonged to everybody in the world. I think, "All You Need Is Love" is a very deep statement, but it can be a very trite statement at the same time.

CS: Why did you decide to not use any of the Beatles performances?
Taymor: How can you use the Beatles performances? It's impossible. What are you going to do? Have these guys lip-syncing the Beatles? No, that's not this movie. I haven't met anybody who hated it, but I'm not saying they wouldn't. I'm just saying it hasn't happened to my face in my presence yet. I think you can object to certain things that you might not like or whatever, like in any movie. If you come in saying, "I don't want to hear other people singing The Beatles" then you've had 40 years of thousands of covers that you have not liked, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Fiona Apple. You know, it's absurd. What one has to really respect is that John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and with a little help from Ringo Starr, were great songwriters. That's why you never see the word Beatles in the main credits. Those are songwriters. That means their songs can be interpreted by many performers, and to limit it to being The Beatles is a mistake, because those are perfect performances, but that doesn't mean those songs can be re-interpreted, like all Mozart is or Sondheim. How many "Chicago's" are you going to have? You have different singers singing great artists work. I think people have to get over that hump. Then you can object about, "Well, I don't like this rendition or I don't like your version of this song, or I don't like musicals." (laughs) I don't like people taking Beatles songs and putting them into a literal context. That was always my biggest burden. The biggest fear is taking songs that are not abstract, but they're up for the personal interpretation of all you people who listen to them. But it's a musical, that was my job. It's a musical with a story, with a context and a thrust, so you just do it.

CS: Can you talk about working with such a young and fresh cast on this?
Taymor: Well, the joy in this project is that it had parts for really young people. Evan Rachel Wood is known, but she was growing up, no one had really seen her. She was 17 when we started the movie. Having these young people means you're going to have fresh faces, and they're not jaded in any way. We also had to do a month and a half of rehearsal and pre-record, so they got together and they called it "Beatle Camp." They were living together. Actually, I think a couple of them did move down to the Lower East Side and live together and the thing is that they bonded. They came together as a group from very disparate places and they were what you see in that film. The charisma and the chemistry is what you see on the movie.

CS: You said that the words "The Beatles" never comes up, but also the word Janis never comes up, although Sadie is clearly supposed to represent Janis Joplin.
Taymor: She is, and she is consciously so. I knew Dana Fuchs,; not as a friend, but I knew where she had done "Love Janis" off-Broadway and she did a demo for me for another musical movie that I'm working on and she had that raw…that is who she is. She's from the South, she's from a black neighborhood, gospel churches, she grew up on that music. She's a phenomenal singer. She and Martin Luther McCoy who plays JoJo, I wanted them to bring in the other sound of the '60s. Now you'll say he looks like Jimmy Hendrix, and he certainly plays the guitar and he does all of that, but there were other black performers who had that whole style with the band and the hippie shirts, but the way that Martin sings is actually closer to Marvin Gaye and it's his way of singing. They're both singers with their own careers. They've never acted before, so this was really a joy to see that they're both incredibly talented actors as well. That was an attempt to actually bring in the other kinds of sounds and voices that you would hear from that period.

CS: I noticed that you gave a lot of the love songs to women, and I realized how feminine those lyrics could be.
Taymor: Well, do you think any guy right now would sing "Hold Me Tight" or "It Won't be Long yea…yea..yea"? Those Beatles at that time were channeling fifteen-year-old girls. That's why the girls were going nuts, because they sang their feelings. Jude sings a love song. He sings "Something in the Way She Moves" and what's such a beautiful thing about that love song is how unsimple it is, how complex it is. "I could leave her now, you know I know how. Something in the way she moves attracts me like no other lover" So you know he's had other lovers. "There is really something in the way she moves me. You know I could leave her now, you know I believe in how..." (Forgive me if I got the lyrics wrong.) There are these love songs and they're poignant and they've got complicated twists and turns.

CS: At what point did Bono get involved with the movie?
Taymor: Bono entered because Elliott Goldenthal had worked with Bono, and I had met him a couple of times and then I had been working with Bono on doing "Spider-Man: The Musical." Did (Jim Sturgess) tell you what he did? He and Evan did the reading. Good, maybe that means he'll do the Broadway musical if he's talking about it. That's a good sign. He was phenomenal, the two of them. First of all, I love Jim and Evan and Jude and Lucy. I love their chemistry so much that I would cast them in a million movies together, because I think like Tracy-Hepburn, that once you get an onscreen couple that clearly connects like that, it's fun for audiences to see them. We don't do that these days. They used to do that. You'd have the paring, remember the old movies? They would have those actors who would pair. There would be pairs that would do many, many movies like Tracy-Hepburn & Bogart-Bacall.

CS: There's a real timelessness to the story and the music, such as the image of the soldiers trudging through the rice patties with the Statue of Liberty. It's so stunning and so "right now" and maybe it's because I'm looking at things through the prism of…
Taymor:Iraq?

CS: Yes, exactly.
Taymor: We were too. Absolutely, you wouldn't have Lucy's line in the laundromat when she says, "Maybe when bombs start going off in this country, people will listen." If you didn't have 9/11, you wouldn't have a line like that. And I think it's absolutely true. I think it took people in this country to get affected personally either on a national level or on a personal level like Lucy is where her boyfriend goes to Vietnam. I and the writers and all of the kids in the movie, we were very aware that this is not a nostalgic period piece. This piece is as important and as contemporary today as it was then. It is what is going on, that there is a war that is not a happy war, that isn't a war that we all believe in, that is a war that goes on and on and on, as she says, "Nobody's listening." Especially through Lucy as the activist, Lucy who's has had the personal trauma of loved ones being affected. She's right now. She's mothers, daughters, girls. Yet this movie, even with that image of the Statue of Liberty is fun. That is the fine line that we directors and writers have to tread. The Beatles are incredibly entertaining and moving and yet they did "Revolution," which was from John Lennon's heart. When he wrote that song, he was being pushed obviously to be much more activist, and he was on that line. That's exactly where Jude is when he comes into that office, not like he doesn't want to have the world change, not like he doesn't believe in violence. So, I think that they're songs which were simple love songs--"Hold Me Tight" and all of those--going right through their psychedelic, more druggie period, they're fabulously moving and entertaining, but they also were social statements. "A Day in the Life" was a social statement at it's time. Now, we don't use the lyrics, but everybody who knows, "A Day in the Life" knows, "I read the news today, oh boy…" That's all you need in the ghost of those lyrics are right there when you see this Vietnam veteran sitting in the hospital in a wheelchair with the other veterans watching the march on the Pentagon on television. Even "Sicko" was an entertaining movie. There's ways that I believe you don't have be mindless and stupid to be enjoyed. I LOVE good comedies. I mean, "Ratatouille" was one of my favorite movies this year and Ben Stiller's movies, I love them, butI think when you have the Beatles you have an obligation and the period to do both. It was a very, very chock-full time. People we both responsible and totally irresponsible.

CS: You talked about the differences in producing something for the screen vs. for the stage and when you choreograph the dance numbers, there's always the issue of things going on off-screen that we don't see because we're limited by the camera.
Taymor: I had a great DP, too! Bruno Delbonnel. You have widescreen, it's a wide format, so there are these wide shots where you have 200 people, especially the street where we do "Come Together." It's one of my favorite moments when JoJo is coming and you see the people shifting.

CS: And also the demonstration that incorporates a large number of people and the giant puppet characters seemed like something that couldn't be done on stage.
Taymor: I think this movie can be done on stage with a very serious…. it would be fun, but I'd have to really, really find a way that 30 people could play everything. You see, that's what's fun. The idea of the limitations of theatre, I enjoy that. When you say, "Okay, how are you going to have a stampede on stage?" Well, I used old-time theatre. I don't know if you ever saw "Lion King", but that I enjoy. If I had started this on stage, I don't think it would have had helicopters and bombs going off in Vietnam and riots in Detroit and then what we do in "I Want You" where we do the body parts. Going straight from full choreography? You can't do that in a theatre. The juxtaposition of theses scenes, the editing is so cinematic. You'd have to find a completely different language in a way to do that.

CS: The psychedelic scenes probably couldn't be done like that on stage either.
Taymor: Oh, you mean with Bono in the "Walrus" section? Mr. Kite and the circus? Well, the circus in a way with the blue people jumping. The exterior of the surface is pure theatre. I could do that on the stage. What I couldn't do is what happens in the circus. I can do it in a different way, that's very theatrical, but we use animation and we use all this kind of different dance, speed it up and all kinds of stuff. I can create an equivalent, but it won't be the same.

CS: I know there've been a few different versions of the movie, so did you end up getting your own edit at the end?
Taymor: Yes, that's my cut.

CS: Is there a longer version or other things that you wound up cutting out?
Taymor: No, what you'll see on the DVD extras, which will be a gas, is expanded musical numbers, which you always knew would be cut. You'll get those because we shot them, they're there, not necessarily the whole song, but you'll get more. When you get into the DVD extras is fun, because you'll see there is a huge dance number at the end of "Come Together" that we knew early on in the editing, it wouldn't work. The story just becomes performance, so that's something with my editor Francoise, who I adore--she did "Frida" and "Titus"--we go through. You have that material. So that's all you get. This is the director's cut, I'm happy to say, and very supported by the studio on that.
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noyes

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #36 on: September 18, 2007, 09:15:05 AM »
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totally looking forward to this.
doesn't bother me how unoriginal or tacked on it seems.

why did i say this?
south america's my name.

Pubrick

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #37 on: September 18, 2007, 10:11:44 AM »
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totally looking forward to this.
doesn't bother me how unoriginal or tacked on it seems.

why did i say this?

i know how you feel, man. probably.

i shoulda figured female directors have their sophomore jinx one film after dudes.
under the paving stones.

hedwig

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2007, 03:18:49 PM »
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Across the Universe
Nothing's gonna change my world


Release Date: 2007

Ebert Rating: ****
Sep 14, 2007
By Roger Ebert

Here is a bold, beautiful, visually enchanting musical where we walk into the theater humming the songs. Julie Taymor's "Across the Universe" is an audacious marriage of cutting-edge visual techniques, heart-warming performances, 1960s history and the Beatles songbook. Sounds like a concept that might be behind its time, but I believe in yesterday.

This isn't one of those druggy 1960s movies, although it has what the MPAA shyly calls "some" drug content. It's not grungy, although it has Joe Cocker in it. It's not political, which means it's political to its core. Most miraculous of all, it's not dated; the stories could be happening now, and in fact, they are.

For a film that is almost wall to wall with music, it has a full-bodied plot. The characters, mostly named after Beatles songs, include Lucy (the angelic Evan Rachel Wood), who moves from middle America to New York; Jude (Jim Sturgess), a Liverpool ship welder who works his way to New York on a ship, and Lucy's brother, Max (Joe Anderson), a college student who has dropped out (I guess). They now all share a pad in Greenwich Village with their musician friends, the Hendrixian Jo-Jo (Martin Luther McCoy), the Joplinesque Sadie (Dana Fuchs) and the lovelorn Prudence (T.V. Carpio), who loves women but doesn’t feel free to express her true feelings.

Jude and Lucy fall in love, and they all go through a hippie period on Dr. Robert's Magic Bus, where the doctor (Bono) and his bus bear a striking resemblance to Ken Kesey's magical mystery tour. They also get guidance from Mr. Kite (Eddie Izzard), having been some days in preparation. But then things turn serious as Max goes off to Vietnam and the story gets swept up in the anti-war movement.

Yet when I say "story," don't start thinking about a lot of dialogue and plotting. Almost everything happens as an illustration to a Beatles song. The arrangements are sometimes familiar, sometimes radically altered, and the voices are all new; the actors either sing or sync, and often they find a mood in a song that we never knew was there before. When Prudence sings "I Want to Hold Your Hand," for example, I realized how wrong I was to ever think that was a happy song. It's not happy if it's a hand you are never, never, never going to hold. The love that dare not express its name turns in sadness to song.

Julie Taymor, famous as the director of "The Lion King" on Broadway, is a generously inventive choreographer, such as in a basic-training scene where all the drill sergeants look like G.I. Joe; a sequence where inductees in Jockey shorts carry the Statue of Liberty through a Vietnam field, and cross-cutting between dancing to Beatles clone bands at an American high school prom and in a Liverpool dive bar. There are underwater sequences which approach ballet, a stage performance that turns into musical warfare, strawberries that bleed, rooftop concerts and a montage combining crashing waves with the Detroit riots.

But all I'm doing here is list-making. The beauty is in the execution. The experience of the movie is joyous. I don't even want to know about anybody who complains they aren't hearing "the real Beatles." Fred Astaire wasn't Cole Porter, either. These songs are now more than 40 years old, some of them, and are timeless, and hearing these unexpected talents singing them (yes, and Bono, Izzard and Cocker, too) only underlines their astonishing quality.

You weren't alive in the 1960s? Or the '70s or '80s? You're like the guy on the IMDb message board who thought the band was named the "Beetles," and didn't even get it when people made Volkswagen jokes because he hadn't heard of VW Beetles, either. All is forgiven. Jay Leno has a Jaywalking spot for you. Just about anybody else is likely to enjoy "Across the Universe."

I'm sure there were executives who thought it was suicidal to set a "Beatles musical" in the "Vietnam era." But this is a movie that fires its songs like flowers at the way we live now. It's the kind of movie you watch again, like listening to a favorite album. It was scheduled for the Toronto Film Festival but was previewed (as several Toronto films were) for critics in major cities. I was drowning in movies and deadlines, and this was the only one I went to see twice. Now do your homework and rent the DVD of "A Hard Day's Night" if you've never seen it. The thought that there are readers who would get this far in this review of this film and never have seen that film is unbearably sad. Cheer me up. Don't let me down (repeat three times).

bonanzataz

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2007, 03:32:04 PM »
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since he got better, has ebert reviewed a film that he didn't like?

ps, the more i hear about this movie the less i want to see it.
The corpses all hang headless and limp bodies with no surprises and the blood drains down like devil’s rain we’ll bathe tonight I want your skulls I need your skulls I want your skulls I need your skulls Demon I am and face I peel to see your skin turned inside out, ’cause gotta have you on my wall gotta have you on my wall, ’cause I want your skulls I need your skulls I want your skulls I need your skulls collect the heads of little girls and put ’em on my wall hack the heads off little girls and put ’em on my wall I want your skulls I need your skulls I want your skulls I need your skulls

Ravi

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #40 on: September 22, 2007, 04:15:39 PM »
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since he got better, has ebert reviewed a film that he didn't like?

He gave one star to Good Luck, Chuck.

Quote
ps, the more i hear about this movie the less i want to see it.

My "not wanting to see this" level is about the same as when I first saw the trailer ages ago.  This doesn't look very good.

hedwig

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #41 on: September 29, 2007, 02:07:35 AM »
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spoiler-free

- there were about two or three excellent scenes. too bad they were trapped in such a bad movie.
- i did not give a shit about any of the characters. in fact, i can't remember the last time i cared LESS about the characters in a movie.
- provides absolutely no insight to the social or political climate of the sixties. it's one cliche after another.
- "where did she come from?" "she came in through the bathroom window." jesus christ.
- the worst crime was the music. so mediocre. joe cocker, eddie izzard, and Carol Woods (who sings "Let it Be" beautifully) are the exceptions.
- bono looked like robin williams.
- i really can't wait for I'm Not There.

SiliasRuby

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #42 on: September 30, 2007, 08:13:19 PM »
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Let me first put by saying that I Love Love Love The Beatles. I grew up with their music.

This has all of the cliches and rediculousness that I thought it would and you either buy into it and enjoy it or you don't. I did. I recognized every single one of the songs that they sung and I even sang along to a couple. I too felt a bit detached from the characters but I didn't really care I loved it anyway. Bono, I felt, really fit into the movie and so did Joe Cocker.
The let it be sequence had me a bit emotional. I really can't wait for Dylan and Haynes "I'm Not There"
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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #43 on: September 30, 2007, 08:52:00 PM »
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i know it's weird to argue with you cause you love everything but i just wanted to point out that i also love the beatles, grew up with their music, and recognized every song in the movie... and my familiarity and affection for the music made me dislike the movie even more. i mentioned I'm Not There because i know THAT is going to be the definitive film about the 60s that this movie aspired to be.

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #44 on: October 04, 2007, 07:10:40 PM »
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across the universe interview
Director Julie Taymor subverts the musical.
Source: BBC.co.uk

The director of Frida joins forces with veteran British scribes Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (Porridge, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet) to create a late-60s-set movie musical built around 33 Beatles songs. Across The Universe, then, is nothing if not unusual. "There is no formula for this movie," says director Julie Taymor, who developed the project with Clement and La Frenais, creating an elaborate love story with a backdrop of Vietnam and social tumult.

It must have been quite a challenge, especially in the face of the protective passions of certain Beatles fans. "It's a very big burden to carry, an honour and a burden as well. One of those double things," says Taymor. "But for 40 years there's been some pretty brilliant, brilliant covers – Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin – of Beatles songs, and some horrendous ones."

Despite being an elaborate film with multiple set-pieces, special effects, and half a dozen key characters performing the songs (led by impressive relative newcomers Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood and Joe Anderson), the result are remarkably fluid. "It was very organic," says Taymor. "Where you become spontaneous is where you see what the performers can do… Where there's freedom I really go for the freedom. Like with Eddie Izzard in the recording studio he said, 'I'm not a singer', and I said, 'That's fine – learn the song as best you can and then improvise.' So we cut his track from ten extraordinary improvisations, and on set he did it live. Ninety per cent of this movie is sung live on film, it's not lip-sync."

As well as being a love story, the film is very politicised, with Taymor and co drawing parallels between the late 60s and today. "I feel like I'm on a soapbox," says Taymor, but continues: "We have a war going on, and people just live their lives normally while other young men and women - the poor - are fighting a war that nobody understands. And we shouldn't even be there, we should never have been there. A lot of lines in the movie - like 'if bombs start going off here, maybe people will listen' - are very pointedly post-9/11 and very present. That content in the film is as important to us as the fun, the love story and the beauty of the music and the imagery."

It's not every day that a big studio (Sony) releases a movie that features musical set pieces involving young men being processed into grunts for Vietnam, or a lesbian cheerleader singing I Want to Hold Your Hand while American footballing students balletically clash around her in slow-mo, or Bono and Izzard as counter-culture gurus (inspired by Leary and Kesey), or a supergroup that throws together fictionalised variations on Joplin and Hendrix. It's the most inventive, audacious film you'll see in years. Love it or hate it, you can't fault the ambition of Across The Universe.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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