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REVIEW: Across the Universe

September 10, 2013 14 comments
Across the UniverseDirected by: Julie Taymor
Produced by: Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd, Charles Newirth
Written by: Julie Taymor, Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais
Edited by: Françoise Bonnot
Cinematography by: Bruno Delbonnel
Music by: The Beatles (songs written by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr), Elliot Goldenthal (original score), T-Bone Burnett (music producer), Matthias Gohl (songs producer)
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther McCoy, T.V. Carpio, James Urbaniak, Bono, Joe Cocker, Eddie Izzard, Lisa Hogg, Robert Clohessy, Salma Hayek
Year: 2007

 

I remember being incredibly excited upon seeing the trailer for Across the Universe for the first time. Coming at a time when it looked like musicals were really and truly going to be the next big thing in Hollywood, here was a musical where I already knew I was going to love the music featured, so the movie already had me halfway. The promise of merging The Beatles’ music with a tale of two star-crossed lovers and friends getting caught up in the Sixties looked to be a promising experiment, if nothing else – some of the more visually engaging moments gave me visions of a Beatles-themed, live-action Fantasia with a narrative. While something of this nature has been attempted before, with the 1978 Peter Frampton/Bee Gees-starring Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band serving as a cautionary tale for just how badly something like this can go, Across the Universe looked to be going in the complete opposite direction with its tone, ditching the ridiculous fantasy world and the campiness by taking its era-spanning narrative seriously and The Beatles’ music with respect. Read more…

Review: “Yellow Submarine”

June 5, 2012 1 comment
Directed by: George Dunning
Produced by: Al Brodax, Mary Ellen Stewart
Written by: Lee Minoff (short story), Al Brodax (screenplay), Jack Mendelsohn, Erich Segal
Music by: George Martin, The Beatles (songs, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr)
Art Direction by: Heinz Edelmann
Starring: Paul Angelis, John Clive, Dick Emery, Geoffrey Hughes, Lance Percival
Year: 1968

 

I’ve always told people that I was a fan of The Beatles from before birth, with my mother having played music to me since that time. I remember when I was very little about 4 or 5, I had a red Radio Shack-branded kid’s portable cassette player that I would listen to The Beatles’ red and blue greatest hits albums on. I even remember the disappointment in putting these into Teddy Ruxpin, only to discover that, no, he would not sing along with my favorite song at the time, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” And I also remember a long time ago, when I was still quite young and at a party filled with boring adults, the generous host of the party noticed how bored I was, coming up to me, and asking me if I wanted to head into his room and watch this Beatles cartoon he had. “Beatles? Cartoon? Sure!” was likely my thought process at the time. This cartoon, of course, wasn’t the child-centric American TV production, but was, in fact, one of the weirdest but also most fascinating cartoons I had ever seen up to that point (a fact that likely still holds true): Yellow Submarine. Read more…

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