Author Topic: Across the Universe  (Read 12002 times)

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pete

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2007, 07:24:09 PM »
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wow, that crappy article talked about taymore like she was the worst director ever, like she'd never directed Frida and Titus.
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Gold Trumpet

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2007, 01:11:24 PM »
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I'm more inclined to believe that the film is too long. When I watched the trailer, I wasn't very excited. The idea behind the movie is dumb and the story seems stupid. The visual effects were interesting, but I doubt it takes up enough of the film.

Frida is an excellent film, but Titus has to be one of the worst films I've seen. I'll argue against that film anyday so Taymour does not stand so beloved to me.

mogwai

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2007, 02:42:45 PM »
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Frida is an excellent film, but Titus has to be one of the worst films I've seen. I'll argue against that film anyday so Taymour does not stand so beloved to me.
why don't you like titus?

Gold Trumpet

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2007, 05:56:05 PM »
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Frida is an excellent film, but Titus has to be one of the worst films I've seen. I'll argue against that film anyday so Taymour does not stand so beloved to me.
why don't you like titus?

Generally, it lacks the imagination to be a true reinvention of the original play. It sets the play in a different time under a different protocol of living. Certain parts about it mirror modern day times, especially the 1930s and 40s with the clothing choices for some of the characters. Is it updating the play to Nazi times? Is there any specific idea? Is it saying that the period of the play resembled modern day fascism? I didn't see any.

The film seems to combine everything from early day Greeks to modern times and also to futuristic worlds. It also plays with fantasy a little bit with the opening scene of the child playing war with his toys in a kitchen and then being taken out to a coliseum. The addition of the child is used to make a point about the loss in war and feuding later on, but everything in the film is just so murky. The only definite things it has deals with the original drama by Shakespeare.

People liked it for the stylistic reinvention, but since none of the elements really go together, I wasn't so impressed because it seemed to combine little thought or direction. Everything that was thought of was just added in. Kurosawa updated Shakespeare to be high drama for Japanese culture and religion in Ran. Other films have tried to make sense of Shakespeare in our times, but Titus doesn't do anything. It doesn't even try to make sense of the style it is showing so I wasn't too impressed. And then I became annoyed when it became critically accepted.



MacGuffin

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2007, 03:00:37 PM »
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ponceludon

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2007, 03:50:02 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.

MacGuffin

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2007, 06:06:26 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.

http://imdb.com/title/tt0078239/
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noyes

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2007, 06:33:56 PM »
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totally looking forward to this.
doesn't bother me how unoriginal or tacked on it seems.
south america's my name.

MacGuffin

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2007, 09:50:58 AM »
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Across the Universe
Source: Entertainment Weekly

Lugging a Statue of Liberty through the jungle, gallivanting in fields with Bono, dancing in formation on the streets of Manhattan sporting business suits and briefcases...just another day at the office for Julie Taymor and her cast and crew as they filmed this mind-bending Beatles musical.

The reported $45 million production follows two young lovers, Jude and Lucy (Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood), as they travel from prewar innocence to '60s hippie radicalism. And, as is typical of Taymor — the creative force behind the movies Titus and Frida, as well as the Broadway production of The Lion King — the film mixes theatricality, surrealism, and over-the-top fantasy.

With only 30 minutes of dialogue, most of the story is told through 33 ''reimagined'' Beatles songs, which are all sung by the actors. It was up to Taymor's composer/companion Elliot Goldenthal and music producer T Bone Burnett (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) to make the Fab Four material work. ''The challenge was to create something fresh and new,'' says Taymor. ''If it was too close to the originals, we might as well have had the original people singing them.''

Taymor insisted that all the actors (including U2 frontman Bono, who cameos as the psychedelic Dr. Robert) perform their songs live, which was particularly challenging during several underwater sequences. ''This whole movie was: What the hell are we doing?'' says Wood. ''We're naked in a pool in New York and we're singing really fast underwater. We had no idea what was going on, but it made every day an adventure.''

Taymor has since encountered a few unexpected adventures of her own. After shooting wrapped, she found herself in the middle of a well-publicized fight with Revolution Studios head Joe Roth over Universe's final edit. Taymor now downplays the dustup, suggesting that her back-and-forth with Roth was just part of the usual filmmaking process. ''Almost no director has final cut anymore,'' she says. ''Not even Martin Scorsese.'' According to Taymor, she and Roth finally worked out a compromise edit that they both could live with. And at least one early viewer seems pleased with it: Paul McCartney. Taymor says she sat next to the legendary musician at a screening in London and ''he loved it. Under his breath he was mouthing the songs.'' Hmm, wonder if he could do that underwater.
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MacGuffin

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2007, 02:53:40 AM »
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Re-Meet the Beatles Through the Voices of a New Narrative
Source: New York Times

FOR most anybody who was over 12 and under 30 in 1964, the sound of the Beatles is immutably fixed in the brain, parked somewhere near the Pledge of Allegiance and two plus two makes four. With the opening on Friday of Julie Taymor’s new movie, “Across the Universe,” expect many of those brain cells to be all shook up.

Call it a jukebox musical, or a rock opera, or a long-playing music video. All those labels fit — and don’t. Ms. Taymor’s essentially unclassifiable film puts Beatles songs in the mouths, and sometimes in the heads, of newly invented characters just living their lives. A high school girl, Lucy, awaits her boyfriend’s return from basic training and sings “It Won’t Be Long.” Her college-student brother, Max, parties with Jude, a new buddy from Liverpool — of course! — to a rendition of “With a Little Help From My Friends.” Then Jude meets Lucy: “I’ve Just Seen a Face.”

As the ’60s become The Sixties, the proms give way to protests and the bowling parties to jungle patrols. Forty years after the Summer of Love, with Americans again fighting overseas, Ms. Taymor deploys the Beatles’ music to track the history, tell a love story and — this is where the shake-up happens — jettison the familiar contours of those long-ago hit tunes.

It’s not that she doesn’t like them the way they are. “The Beatles songs are perfect,” she says in her downtown Manhattan loft. “Perfectly arranged, perfectly sung.” That’s why the movie versions, she says, need to be complete departures. So “Let It Be” becomes a gospel hymn, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” turns into a ballad, and “I Am the Walrus” is the name of a book by a proto-hippie.

Ms. Taymor, 54, has never been timid about putting her own stamp on the work of others. Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus,” Mozart’s “Magic Flute” and the paintings of Frida Kahlo are among the classics she has scrutinized and reimagined for the stage or the screen. In her best-known act of transformation, “The Lion King,” she turned Disney’s animated fable into a Broadway extravaganza pulsing with African rhythms and theatrical legerdemain. But messing with the Beatles?

“It is a gamble,” Ms. Taymor acknowledges. “Everybody has their own interpretation.” A similar effort to match Beatles music to a story, the movie “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” faltered in 1978.

Still, when she was approached by Revolution Studios (which is affiliated with Sony, co-owner of the Beatles catalog), the idea proved irresistible. She enlisted two frequent collaborators, the composer Elliot Goldenthal (with whom she lives) and the choreographer Daniel Ezralow. And she got Bono, Salma Hayek (the star of Ms. Taymor’s film “Frida”), Joe Cocker and Eddie Izzard to do cameos.

She came at “Across the Universe” from two directions, she says: “What are my favorite Beatles songs? And what are the ones you just have to do?”

She dug into the material with the screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. “We had 200 unbelievably diverse songs to choose from,” she says, and she wanted them to fit the story “as if they were invented at that moment, for those characters.”

She knew some, like “I Am the Walrus,” would be trouble. “I haven’t a clue,” she says. “But you put it into the mouth of a California poet” — that would be Bono’s part — “and you don’t ask what it means.” Ignoring it was not an option. “I didn’t want people to say, ‘They did lightweight Beatles.’ ”

She decided to echo the range of the songs with a range of characters: women, black men, Asian-Americans. The story that emerged revolves around Max and Lucy, played by Joe Anderson and Evan Rachel Wood. Along with Jude, acted by Jim Sturgess; Martin Luther McCoy’s Jo-Jo, a guitarist from riot-ravaged Detroit; and T. V. Carpio’s Prudence, an Asian lesbian fleeing white-bread Ohio, they land in the sprawling East Village pad of Dana Fuchs’s rising soul singer, Sadie, and immerse themselves in the roiling ’60s stew of sex, politics and rock ’n’ roll.

“What we’ve shown on screen is coming out of an era of such trauma,” Ms. Taymor says. “It’s not different from now. But how we’re dealing with it is very different. Where are the protest songs?”

She knew from the start that Max would be drafted, but she wasn’t sure which tune to use. She was leaning toward “Hello Goodbye” when, listening to “I Want You,” she realized that it echoed the famous Uncle Sam recruitment poster. “Bang,” she says, snapping her fingers. “How could it be more perfect?”

In recognition of the Beatles’ debt to American rhythm and blues, she created Jo-Jo, the Jimi Hendrix-like guitarist, and Sadie, the Janis Joplin-like singer (having seen her in the stage show “Love, Janis,” Ms. Taymor had Ms. Fuchs in mind) .

Ms. Taymor began with the assumption that she would use 15 or 16 songs; “that’s kind of the average,” she says. But she kept finding more and more that fit her characters’ emotional states, ending up with 31 sung tunes (and two more that appear only in the scoring). “Why bother talking when they can sing it?” she says.

How and when they sing it is what will most surprise moviegoers. Max is in a veterans hospital, waiting for his next shot of morphine, for “Happiness Is a Warm Gun.” The sexy nurses who administer the drug are all Ms. Hayek, multiplied five times and doing five separate cooch dances simultaneously. Jo-Jo picks out “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” during the long night after the murder of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ms. Taymor lets Ms. Fuchs sing the raunchy “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road.” “A man singing that — big deal,” she says.

Mr. Goldenthal’s job, in addition to composing some 20 minutes of additional scoring, was to rejigger the songs so they would fit the dramatic context. And rejigger he did. The movie’s opening moments will shock the ears of anyone who remembers the Beatles’ “Girl,” with its slightly raspy, world-weary vocal backed by simply strummed guitars. Alone on a beach, Jude turns his pensive face to the camera and sings, “Is there anybody going to listen to my story?” with only faint wisps of melody sighing in the background. “It’s composed silence,” says Mr. Goldenthal, who arranged about 20 of the songs. (The rest were arranged by Teese Gohl and T Bone Burnett.) He achieved it with the glass harmonica, the ethereal-sounding instrument invented by Ben Franklin, and four cellos playing harmonics.

As he worked to match each song’s arrangement to its dramatic function, Mr. Goldenthal, who scored Ms. Taymor’s previous films, “Titus” and “Frida,” and won an Oscar for the latter, added accordions, mandolins, slap bass, Asian instruments, tribal drumming or throat singing on some numbers. But sometimes he found himself subtracting. For Ms. Wood’s delicate rendition of “If I Fell,” he says: “I found the more produced it was, the more it detracted. The window into her soul was smudged. When I stripped down the arrangement, her acting started to sparkle.”

This scene, like some two-thirds of the film, uses the vocal track recorded on the set rather than the cleaner studio version, which is almost unheard of in today’s movie musicals. But Ms. Taymor wanted the singing to flow seamlessly from the acting.

Insistent as she was about keeping the narrative scenes as realistic as possible, Ms. Taymor also intended “to play with all the elements of film — all of the elements.” So “Across the Universe” regularly veers from naturalism to the surreal. Songs travel from one character to another, across time and space. In typical musicals the story often stops when someone starts singing. In “Across the Universe” the music propels the plot along.

The title song begins on the subway, but before it’s over Jude is in the midst of the Columbia University riots. Mr. Cocker is the sole lead on “Come Together,” but the number begins at a bus terminal (he’s a panhandler), continues in a coffee shop (he’s a pimp) and ends in the East Village (he’s a street singer).

Some of the movie’s songs travel through mindscapes rather than streetscapes. Built with animation, computer-generated effects and Ms. Taymor’s fluency with imagery, “I Want You” opens with Uncle Sam reaching out from that poster to grab Max; Bono’s “I Am the Walrus” takes a multihued excursion into psychedelia; and Mr. Izzard’s trippy “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” presents a hippie circus that pays homage to the Bread and Puppet Theater, with which Ms. Taymor worked in the early 1970s.

“I wanted ‘Mr. Kite,’ ” she says, even though she concedes that it was not absolutely central to the main story. “It’s part of that era, the stop-making-sense, magical mystery tour.” Choreography plays a crucial role in these scenes, but Ms. Taymor says: “I didn’t want the movie to be dancey. I wanted the choreography to come out of natural movement.”

Mr. Ezralow agreed, but he had to figure out how to “musicalize” scenes like Lucy’s basketball practice in “It Won’t Be Long” or the bowling sequence in “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” Eventually, he says, he found what he calls a “key” for each scene — in the gym, rhythmic dribbling; at the bowling alley, exuberant sliding — that allowed him to create dance moments without actual dance steps. In “Come Together,” dancers in business suits strut down the street in lock step. In “I Want You,” robot soldiers execute unison maneuvers while processing draftees. One of Mr. Ezralow’s most ingenious effects — arrived at after long hours in the studio — features Ms. Carpio walking dreamily through a football scrimmage without ever making contact with the colliding players.

Not everything he and Ms. Taymor worked on made it into the movie. She couldn’t find a spot for one of her favorite songs, “And I Love Her.” And she had planned to include “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” for the lesbian character, Prudence. “But we had to say, ‘O.K., the movie’s going to be too long.’ ”

She was not alone in worrying about length. Producers and directors often disagree about the optimal length for a project. Usually they iron out their differences in private. But the dispute between Ms. Taymor and Joe Roth, who leads Revolution Studios, became public in The New York Times in March, after he cut his own version of the movie and screened it for test audiences. (He had not granted her final cut.)

Both Ms. Taymor and Mr. Roth now pooh-pooh the episode. “It was a tempest in a teapot,” he says. “I was just doing my job.” Ms. Taymor is equally discreet, saying, “It happens on a million movies.” At 133 minutes, the film now runs closer to her original than it does to Mr. Roth’s cut.

Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison have all seen the film, Ms. Taymor says. But the director was present only when it was screened for Mr. McCartney. “I have never been so nervous in my life,” she recalls thinking. And then: “Even if it all ends here, at least I got to make this movie and sit next to Paul.”
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MacGuffin

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2007, 02:42:24 PM »
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Director Taymor spins Beatles in new film

Julie Taymor has conquered Broadway and won respect in Hollywood, and the groundbreaking director now risks rattling Beatles purists by adapting their beloved songs for a new movie, "Across the Universe."

The musical debuts at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, and Taymor told Reuters she was well aware of the wrath she may face when, for instance, Beatles fans see the bouncy pop tune "I Want to Hold Your Hand" sung slowly by one high school girl longing for another.

"That was the big danger," Taymor said. "Can we take these songs that belong to everybody -- and everybody has their own interpretation -- and can we put them in a context where they start to become specific" and different?"

The gamble is huge, but Taymor is considered a creative visionary, and she knows big risks reap big rewards -- as well as garner major scorn. In her career, she has known both.

Taymor, 54, created the stage play of Disney animated movie "The Lion King," which in 1994 earned $784 million at global box offices and two Oscars. Taymor's wildly imagined musical claimed six of Broadway's Tony awards and is in its 10th year.

Her opera of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" and her film "Frida," about the artist Frida Kahlo, met moderate success. But "Titus," her film version of Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus" earned mixed reviews and flopped at box offices.

Taymor defends "Titus" by saying it lacked adequate theater distribution, among other issues, and regardless of its popularity, Taymor undoubtedly put her own creative stamp on the Bard. She has done the same with the Beatles.

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE

"Across the Universe," which debuts in major U.S. cities this Friday, adapts Beatles songs into a love story between two young adults living through the turbulent 1960s.

"The main thing is these kids and how they move through the times," Taymor said.

From the decade's carefree early years to the stormy war protests in its latter period, Beatles songs from "Can't Buy Me Love" to "Revolution" helped shape and shift pop culture.

Jude (Jim Sturgess), a boy from Liverpool, travels to the United States where he falls in love with Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), a privileged kid from a suburban home whose brother, Max, has left Princeton and faces the Army draft.

The trio move New York where they become immersed in the counter-culture and anti-war movement. They are guided through their experience by characters like Dr. Robert (Bono).

Taymor and composer Elliot Goldenthal rearranged the melodies and instrumentation -- but not the lyrics -- to 33 Beatles tunes. "I Want You," for instance, transforms from a tale of sexual need into Uncle Sam's desire to draft men.

Goldenthal said he would visit the set, watch the actors perform, then rewrite the songs to fit the scenes.

Taymor said the songs are as relevant today as they were in the 1960s, and the new arrangements possess sounds and invoke feelings meant to reach a new audience.

"Their music doesn't date," she said. "Sometimes it's these new arrangements that ... allow the audience to hear the music as if they are hearing it for the first time."
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NEON MERCURY

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2007, 09:38:08 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

sickfins

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2007, 07:39:49 PM »
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stay far far away from this one
you'll dearly wish you had if you don't

matt35mm

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2007, 08:10:08 PM »
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Okay.

Thanks.

pete

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2007, 08:19:14 PM »
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how bad is it?  what if you're really dense and immune to shallow beatles references and metaphors within their songs?  what if your knowledge of the beatles was limited?
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
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