Author Topic: Across the Universe  (Read 13360 times)

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B.C. Long

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #45 on: October 05, 2007, 01:48:34 AM »
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Actually the problem with the film is it isn't ambitious enough. Terrible, terrible script and uninspired musical numbers with lazy choreography that occasionally rips of Moulin Rouge with it's visuals. Particularly the scene with Eddie Izzard. In theory, the concept of Across the Universe is a promising one. But it just didn't turn out that way. When Prudence, the asian lesbian cheerleader started to sing "I wanna hold your hand" I was convinced the rest of the movie was going to suck. I felt like they used every single song half-assedly (that a word?).

Like they were listening to beatle songs as they wrote the script and went "hey this sorta fits, let's have the characters lip sync the lyrics in this scene." What would have been ambitious is if Prudence would of been a butch dyke singing I want to hold your hand.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2007, 03:06:31 PM by B.C. Long »

pumba

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #46 on: October 05, 2007, 01:08:51 PM »
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Well put.

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #47 on: October 12, 2007, 12:30:33 AM »
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Is this the next cult sensation?
Teenage girls could make "Across the Universe" a hit of "High School Musical" proportions.
By Chris Lee, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

"All You Need Is Love" may be an abiding principle in the gospel of the Beatles. But the Fab Four-inspired romantic musical "Across the Universe" -- in which winsome young actors and assorted rock stars sing 35 classic Beatles songs vividly re-imagined by acclaimed opera and theater director Julie Taymor -- needed a lot more than that after an uninspiring opening last month.

Then help arrived in the form of an audience whose parents were their age when the first wave of Beatlemania hit.
 
After three weeks in theaters, the PG-13 movie finally penetrated the top 10 by connecting with a zealous core constituency: teenage girls, who, anecdotal evidence suggests, are going to see the movie in packs, bonding with one another (and the film) through repeated viewings and popularizing it with their school chums via word-of-mouth.

Nicole Sacharow, 15, from Culver City, for one, ranks "Universe" among her "favorite movies ever." She's seen it twice and would already have notched up several more viewings were it not for scheduling conflicts with her friends.

"You go up to a group of people and say, 'Who wants to see "Across the Universe" this weekend?' " Sacharow explained. "The songs are addicting. Everyone who goes to see it has the soundtrack. I listen to it every day. I hear people singing the songs around school."

Matylda Kerry, 15, from Santa Monica, has also seen "Across the Universe" twice and feels the film's stylized depiction of '60s historical touchstones such as the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement -- as set to Beatles music and sung by good-looking young people -- has helped her and her friends make a more personal connection to the era.

"It puts it in a different perspective. It makes it more real," Kerry said. "It reminds me of today's issues. Our government, the war that's going on, how it affects people around us."

As of today, the $45-million film, which has taken in $8.5 million at the box office so far, is expanding from 364 to 953 theaters.

But "Universe's" commercial prognosis hardly looked promising at the outset. Released to mixed reviews -- many condemning the artistic liberties Taymor took with the Beatles' music -- the movie had been in the can for over a year before hitting just 23 screens in its first week of release. Taymor, the creative force behind the Tony-winning musical "The Lion King," famously battled her production company chief, Revolution Studios' Joe Roth, over final cut of the film after he took the unprecedented step of editing a version of "Universe" by himself. She ultimately won the right to assemble footage her way after threatening to take her name off the movie -- tantamount to an act of commercial seppuku in Hollywood. But word of "Universe's" troubled production prejudiced industry expectations.

Even at a time when music-driven fare such as "Hairspray" and "High School Musical" are striking a chord within the culture, capturing the hearts and allowance money of teen fans, "Universe" faced unique marketing obstacles. The movie's stars, indie trauma-drama princess Evan Rachel Wood and unknown British actor Jim Sturgess, weren't sure-fire attractions. And to judge by "Universe's" trailer, which began screening in front of "Spider-Man 3" in May, it wasn't immediately clear which genre "Universe" belongs to. Is it a coming-of-age story? A rock opera á la "Moulin Rouge"? A surrealistic period piece? (Answer: all the above.) Worse for marketers at Sony, the film's distributor, contractual obligations bound them from hitting home with "Universe's" primary selling point.

"Yoko Ono, Paul [McCartney], Ringo [Starr] and [George's widow] Olivia Harrison were all supportive of the film, but I couldn't use the Beatles name in any advertising," Taymor recalled. "That didn't make things easy. And you can't advertise that you have Bono, Eddie Izzard and Joe Cocker in cameo roles. We didn't have a real big push from Sony; they were stumped by it. So nobody was really sure who the film's audience was."

The division's president of domestic marketing, Valerie Van Galder, explained that movie musicals are notoriously difficult to promote. So rather than employ a traditional marketing salvo -- TV commercials, billboards, talk show appearances, etc. -- the studio posted numerous video clips and music videos to the Web that have collectively been streamed millions of times, popularizing "Universe" in cyberspace's most popular kibbitz rooms.

"We gave people the sense that they'd discovered it for themselves," Van Galder said. "On MySpace, YouTube and the message boards, there has been a passionate, vocal following. Young people are discovering the Beatles' music for the first time and Jim Sturgess has been a big draw. It's like fans are in love. There hasn't been a teeny-bopper discovery like this in a long time."

According to Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box-office tracking firm Media by Numbers, audiences are now finding their way to "Universe" thanks to Sony's textbook execution of what is known in the industry as a "platform release."

"The movie is so unique. It has an indie sensibility even though it's a Sony picture," he said. "So expectations were unknown. But Sony has handled it perfectly. They got big initial interest in limited release, then they've been capitalizing on that every week."

"They're taking their time. On a movie like this, that's what you have to do."

But while Dergarabedian heaps praise on the marketing plan, Taymor feels the movie has benefited from a kind of benign studio neglect. "In a funny way, young people found the movie because it wasn't marketed huge," she said. "Young people don't want to be dictated to about what's the new cool thing."

Curiously, just as the film's hunky-yet-sensitive male lead, Sturgess, has become the focal point of fan appreciation -- postings on various message boards have proclaimed him "the hotness," and "soooo cute" -- the actor's personal publicist has put him out of reach for "Universe's" new publicity push. Sturgess was made unavailable for an interview with The Times partially out of concern he be perceived as a "teen heartthrob" -- never mind Sturgess' scream-inducing appearance on MTV's "Total Request Live" on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the movie's soundtrack, distributed by Interscope Records in both a deluxe and standard version, has also helped drive the film's popularity. It peaked at No. 2 on the iTunes album chart and at No. 24 on the Billboard 200, selling a combined 110,000 copies. "I'm thrilled we can turn on a new generation to Beatles music," said Robbie Snow, Interscope Records head of marketing.

As Matylda Kerry sees it, "Universe's" reworking of the Fab Four songbook has allowed her to appreciate the Beatles more deeply. "Everyone I know is listening to [the soundtrack] again and again, comparing it to the old Beatles songs," she said. "I've heard people saying they're ripping off the Beatles, but it's also a tribute.

"Everybody knows those songs. It makes you like them all over again."
“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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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #48 on: October 12, 2007, 11:08:13 PM »
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I won't ramble since the point has already been made about this film. Except to say that Julie Taymor seems to have invented the meaning of "ham-fisted".

Let it fucking be.
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Gamblour.

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #49 on: October 22, 2007, 10:02:39 AM »
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Well put.

Coming from someone who called it a "gay musical" so much that I thought homosexuality actually might be part of the plot. You're a fucking idiot.

The movie is great. I mean, I don't understand what you guys want from a musical. The film echoes not only the 60s but the lives of the Beatles, and their music is intertwined with that era. But they're also timeless, otherwise the songs wouldn't be so classic. Critics have said it's dated, which is a pointless thing to say.

As for not providing any insight into the 60s, I didn't go into this movie to find a new perspective on Vietnam or radicalism. This film is about the brilliance of the Beatles' songs, emerging from the complex world of the 60s. It's an homage. The movie sets these characters inside the songs, and I think it works. I had a great time watching it. Some say it resembles "Hair" or it's a cliched version of the 60s, but really, a movie about the 60s that doesn't involve anti-war activism, drugs, sex, drugs, and Vietnam would be a boring fucking movie. This is not.

The sequences are really wonderful, especially "I Want You" and "I've Just Seen a Face." Oh, and "With A Little Help From My Friends." The actors have so much fun in these sequences. "Let it Be" is devastating. Julie Taymor's animated sequences, seen clumsily used in "Frida," finally find their home. They work so well. As for the songs being used too literally or references being too obvious. Well, I mean, how else do you make "I've Just Seen a Face" work so well without it being literal? That criticism seems nonsensical.

Oh, and "She's So Heavy." There you go. Literal as hell and fucking brilliant. There is so much to enjoy.
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ponceludon

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #50 on: October 23, 2007, 01:58:43 AM »
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The film echoes not only the 60s but the lives of the Beatles, and their music is intertwined with that era.

See, I think this is a completely cartoonish and unrealistic view of the 60s. I am definitely not old enough to have been alive back then, but my understanding from the countless histories and biographies of the 60's that I have read is that it was not at all like that. The average person was not so colorfully affected by such things as the Vietnam War and sex and drugs, and it certainly wasn't peppered with such ridiculousness as genius musicians and sexy landladies on every corner. It's simultaneously such a sterilized and vulgarized view of the fantasy of the Beatles as imposed on American history. The film tries to be both Yellow Submarine and some trenchant social commentary at the same time, which cheapens both views of it. It can't be John Lennon vs. The United States AND The Magical Mystery Tour at the same time.

I'm also not entirely sure how much of the Beatles is IN the movie so much as their music is the backdrop. They surely were not laymen, nor were they Americans. The article that MacGuffin posted about how this movie is becoming the cutesy Rocky Horror for the new generation seems more to me like what the view of the 60s and the Beatles is turning into. When I first discovered the Beatles in 5th grade, I imagined creating stories about the people in the songs and making an entire life out of each album, which I'm sure many other people did. This is merely an expensive fairy tale of Jude and Lucy and Rita and Sadie and JoJo which is really no more sophisticated than me at age 10.

Gamblour.

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #51 on: October 23, 2007, 11:24:18 AM »
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OK I don't think the film ever said that it was gonna be a kitchen drama about the 1960s. They're obviously choosing to go with a romanticized version of the era, and I think any social commentary is only visited at the surface because I guess a musical is capable of this, but then again musicals are about the music, so why are we trying to make this movie something it's not? And who cares about what average people were colorfully affected by? These are characters in a musical, why does everyone want this film to be boring. "Let's make it with average people who had no direct interaction with Vietnam, drugs, or any of the hallmarks of popular 60s culture. Music, too. Get rid of the music." Jesus.
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The Sheriff

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #52 on: October 24, 2007, 04:53:21 AM »
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no it sucked, check again
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Gamblour.

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #53 on: October 24, 2007, 07:13:52 AM »
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hilarious. go get some fountainhead or get your atlas tugged. if you're gonna post something terse and without any actual points for effect, try harder.
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The Sheriff

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #54 on: October 25, 2007, 12:27:29 AM »
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everything about how it sucked has already been said. what else do you want me to say?
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #55 on: November 11, 2007, 06:21:50 PM »
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This completely worked for me in every possible way. Seriously. I don't know what's wrong with you people. I'm so depressed/horrified by the reactions I've read in this thread that I really have to end it there.
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Gamblour.

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #56 on: November 12, 2007, 09:42:56 AM »
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This completely worked for me in every possible way. Seriously. I don't know what's wrong with you people. I'm so depressed/horrified by the reactions I've read in this thread that I really have to end it there.

I mean, I guess you and I could discuss, being the lone dissidents.

I have to say, after seeing this and now Control, I really, really have a mancrush on Joe Anderson. He's something like Jared Leto and Sam Rockwell's baby, with a bit of Brad Pitt's acting style, but better.
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Redlum

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #57 on: January 11, 2008, 02:08:40 PM »
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I've put off watching the trailer for this for a long time, despite it's alluring title. Watching it, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck, but how much of this is down to the power of the songs? I particularly ask Gamblour and JB because I can think of a number of ways in which this film could fail. There has to be a very narrow line this film could walk to pull off what I saw in the trailer and I'm frightened to watch it.

Can you give me any comparisons? Impromptu song and dance numbers have never been anything but a hit with me but I'm concerned the love story might blow this one for me.
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Gamblour.

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #58 on: January 11, 2008, 02:36:21 PM »
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Talk about pressure. I'm not sure what to say considering people either think this movie works and they love it or they hate everything about it. I went into this movie not expecting some brilliant reinvisioned reworking of Beatles' songs, but with an open mind, and I got a film that encapsulated music, politics, visuals, youth, and energy and it was really fun to watch.

Better yet, read the bottom bold paragraph of this New York Times article:

January 6, 2008
The Oscars
A Mystery Tour More Menacing Than Magical
By STEPHEN HOLDEN
ONE of the most surreal moments in “Across the Universe,” Julie Taymor’s passionate ’60s fantasia set to the songs of the Beatles, is a three-and-a-half-minute sequence at an Army induction center in New York City. Here is where Max Carrigan (Joe Anderson), a spirited hippie rebel from an upper-middle-class family, reluctantly reports for his physical examination after receiving his draft notice. Because he was told that if he swallowed cotton balls they would show up on an X-ray as spots on his lungs, he quickly ingests one as he enters the building.

No sooner has Max arrived than an Uncle Sam recruiting poster stirs to life, and the eagle-eyed glare of the white-haired geezer in his top hat and parade outfit fixes on him. Growling the opening phrases of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” Uncle Sam reaches out a giant animated hand and grabs Max by the shoulder.

Simultaneously two uniformed soldiers clamp their hands on him from behind and roughly push him into a narrow corridor, lined on both sides with uniformed soldiers standing at ramrod attention, wearing prosthetic makeup that turns their faces into identical wooden masks. With their grim, expressionless features and jutting chins, they suggest a nightmarish corps of slit-eyed fascist troopers gazing ahead with a blank malevolence.

As Max moves down the line, their arms robotically reach out and snatch away his shirt and trousers, leaving him in his briefs. Attempting to elude their grasp, he executes a somersault that lands him in a row of nervous fellow recruits, also stripped to their briefs. The half-naked men face a grim herd of soldiers executing a mechanical calisthenicslike war dance that is all right angles, to a grinding metallic soundtrack punctuated with stomping cha-cha-chas.

“I want you so bad, it’s driving me mad,” voices shout on the soundtrack. Suddenly the ceiling, a grid of inverted boxes, lowers to the floor, trapping the recruits in rows of identical cubicles, each with a desk, a lamp and an interrogating officer. Lids crash down from above.

In a quick cutaway, stenciled crates of ammunition double as cramped examination rooms in which the recruits are processed like pieces of meat. A doctor, unseen except for a glimpse of his gloved hand, examines miscellaneous body parts: an arm, a leg, feet, teeth and gums, and an eye stretched wide open in a frightening image reminiscent of “A Clockwork Orange.” Urine streams into measuring glasses. Then, abruptly, the doors of the examining rooms are slammed shut.

In another quick cut the recruits are grabbed from behind by the officers and forced to fall into push-ups as the soldiers step over them without looking down. The humiliation of young men, still clad only in briefs, suggests a ritualized gang rape, after which the victims are yanked to their feet and forced to dance briefly with their abusers, then thrown onto the floor on their backs. Before they have time to stir, they begin to slide involuntarily across the room, their hands shielding their eyes.

They emerge in a miniature jungle to the sound of helicopters as the second half of the song begins. The camera pulls back from a close-up of their boots slogging through the mud, to reveal them still half-naked, lugging a giant model of the Statue of Liberty through the steaming forest. As they lumber forward at the laborious pace of a graduation march, the words “She’s so heavy,” sung on the soundtrack, suggest the collective groan of a chain gang.

Max is next seen plunking a tiny Statue of Liberty on the desk of a decorated officer.

“Any reason you shouldn’t be in this man’s Army, son?” he demands.

Max blurts out, “I’m a cross-dressing homosexual pacifist with a spot on my lung.”

Acting as though he hasn’t heard, the officer announces, “Long as you don’t have flat feet,” and stamps Max’s papers. The next moment Max is shown shrink-wrapped from head to toe and labeled 1A. He’s officially in the Army.

The sequence, like everything else in the movie, is charged with emotion, in this case fear. Other scenes use masks and puppetry, music and surreal choreography to evoke ecstasy, fury and sheer strangeness.

Anyone who experienced firsthand the tumult of the counterculture should recognize the volatile mixture of idealism and rage that runs through the movie and through Beatles songs like “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” which is used so ingeniously that it sounds as though it had been written for the induction scene.

Despite all their whimsy and cheek, the Beatles’ songs were rarely cynical. “Across the Universe” understands that behind the era’s experimentation with drugs and sex and political confrontation lay a fundamental innocence, a belief that somehow it would all lead toward a more enlightened world. The movie’s power lies in its refusal to offer a skeptical, revisionist take on the period. Its view of the counterculture is unabashedly romantic: Those were the good old days, fondly remembered, never to be recovered.
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Jeremy Blackman

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Re: Across the Universe
« Reply #59 on: January 11, 2008, 05:41:56 PM »
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I've put off watching the trailer for this for a long time, despite it's alluring title. Watching it, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck, but how much of this is down to the power of the songs? I particularly ask Gamblour and JB because I can think of a number of ways in which this film could fail. There has to be a very narrow line this film could walk to pull off what I saw in the trailer and I'm frightened to watch it.

Can you give me any comparisons? Impromptu song and dance numbers have never been anything but a hit with me but I'm concerned the love story might blow this one for me.

Like Gamblour, I entered the movie with zero expectations. I wouldn't pre-analyze it too much... just keep an open mind and a sense of humor.

Think of it this way. They basically picked through a bunch of Beatles songs and attempted to mash them together into a story. So yes, much of the movie's power comes from the Beatles music. But Taymor is in top form, and it's her cinematics and her interpretations of the songs that really did it for me.
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