Sunday, April 27, 2008

Shine A Light

Keith and Martin Scorsese
Originally uploaded by concertaholics
So many of my friends were excited about Shine A Light for the obvious reason, they would get to see the Rolling Stones in IMAX. I’m the dork that wanted to see Shine A Light because I wanted to see what Martin Scorsese would do with a Rolling Stones film. I was not disappointed.

What few people know is that Scorsese received his start in documentary as an editor on the documentary Woodstock; this film came out even before Boxcar Bertha. Scorsese was a natural fit for Shine A Light: who better to handle the legendary Stones than a person just as legendary in another field.

The best part about Shine A Light is that I felt like I was at a Stones concert. The amazing part about the film being in IMAX was that you’re surrounded by the sound of people cheering, singing along and clapping. It feels like you are a part of the concert with Mick and Kieth (and if you’re me worrying about the set list with Marty).

The film owes its beautiful aesthetic to the fact that Scorsese was able to get more than a dozen of the best cinematographers in the business to come out for a night and be camera operators. These cinematographers include Stuart Dryburgh (The Piano), David M. Dunlap (Shaun of the Dead), Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood), Ellen, Kuras (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Andrew Lesnie (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy), Emmanuel Lubezki (Children of Men), & Declan Quin (Breakfast on Pluto). To make these artists go back to being camera operators would only be possible for the incredible pairing of Scorsese and the Stones.

To sum up my review (as I know it’s rather incoherent) I decided I’d list the things I learned from Shine A Light:
1 – Mick Jagger is the only man who can look straight in a sequined shirt.
2 – Mick Jagger will burn if he stands in front of a light for too long.
3 – The Rolling Stones might be the only people alive who can question or argue with Martin Scorsese.
4 – The Stones & U2 do have something in common: 2 people are the front for the band, and the other 2 just like to wave, smile and be in the band.
5 – It shows when you’re doing what you love.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: The Rolling Stones

Friday, April 18, 2008


Leatherheads, 2008
Originally uploaded by Maulleigh

Since leaving ER George Clooney has spent an extraordinary amount of time working with Steven Soderbergh and Joel & Ethan Coen. These directors helped him not only ease from TV stardom to the filmic legend that he is now, but by working with these (and other) phenomenal filmmakers has turned George Clooney into a powerful director in his own right.

Clooney’s latest directorial turn is the throwback film Leatherheads which paints the picture of pre-NFL football where the men played for the love of the game and the majority of games ended in brawls between teams. As the trailer states: the game of professional football has come of age.

There are three primary stories the film tries to tell. The foremost is that of the love triangle between Clooney, Zellwegger, and Krasinski, and the rivalry that forms between the men based on football and their affection for Zellwegger. Also, there is Krasinski’s character who is the glorified college football star and former war hero whom all of America adores. This of course makes him the perfect target for Zellwegger’s ambitious journalist who is assigned the roll of dissecting his too perfect story. On top of all this is the complicated web of making the game of football into a professional (and legitimate) sport.

Leatherheads is a good movie, but it is not a great one. The problem is that this film tires to tackle too much and as such it suffers from pacing issues; it cannot decide exactly what to focus on and somehow manages to focus on nothing as much as it needs to.

However, this does not keep the film from being devoid of entertainment. The single most riveting thing about this movie (aside from the superb direction) is the witty banter and chemistry between Zellwegger and Clooney. Not since Carey Grant and Katherine Hepburn in The Philadelphia Story has dialogue been so sharp witted or enjoyable. The actors obviously enjoy the coupling and the dialogue flows like the perfect screwball comedies of the Hollywood golden age.

In the end Leatherheads deserved another trip to the writers room before landing on the big screen, but that doesn’t keep the tale from being one of the most enjoyable romantic, comedic romps in a long time.

Director: George Clooney
Writer: Duncan Brantley & Rick Reilly
Dodge: George Clooney
Lexie: Renee Zellwegger
Carter: John Krasinski