Day: March 2, 2008

The Road to Gold: The Oscars!

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The Oscars are famous for being prestigious, glamorous, and star studded. However, they’re notorious for being long, boring, and dull. You can’t really blame’ em, it’s an awards show, and awards shows all have those tenancies. This year, Jon Stewart hosted, what would normally be a predictable year, and brought spice, wit, and humor to the Oscars. His jokes are hilarious (After the montage on the voting process, Stewart beams and says, “And I thought it was up to the super-delegates!”). The show was much more engrossing than last year. Though, this year’s show had the lowest rating in history: only 32 million viewers. The last time it was that low, it was the 2003 show and Chicago won Best Picture. This year’s winners were exceptionally predictable. Best Picture went to No Country for Old Men. Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor were very predictable and they went to Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood) as a greedy oil miner in the west and Javier Bardem (No Country), as a hit man, respectively. Best Actress was a little surprising. French actress Marion Cotillard won Best Actress for her portrayal of French chanteus Edith Piaf and Tilda Swinton won for the court drama Michael Clayton. The Coen brothers won for No Country, and, unsurprisingly, Ratatouille won Best Animated Feature. “Falling Slowly” from Once won Best Original Song, trumping Enchanted‘s three nominated songs. The one surprise for me was that The Golden Compass won Best Visual Effects, and not Transformers. It was a pretty good show, other than it was 3 1/2 hours (which is actually an improvement from last year, it being 4 1/2 hours).

Grade: B+

Beatles "Revolution": Review for "Across the Universe" Soundtrack

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Across the Universe is a complicated film to recommend as is the soundtrack. The film’s entire soundtrack is comprised of of Beatles covers by the cast, with cameos by U2 members, Bono and the Edge, Joe Cocker, Eddie Izzard, and Selma Hayek.
The first song of the film is “Girl” which is very haunting. Jim Sturgess, though a relative newcomer to film, was in a rock band, and his Jude sounds original and new, yet at the same time somewhat old school Liverpool/Beatles style. His “Something”, “Across the Universe”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, and “All My Loving” are much in the same way. But his version of “All You Need is Love” is the real showstopper for him. The new version retain the formula, but adds a new element and at first, lacks the annoying “dum-na-num-na-num” after each “all you need is love”. But once the pattern is added, in an electric guitar, it sounds much cooler than the original.
Evan Rachel Wood’s Lucy is as girly as one would be in the ’60s, but her voice gets stronger as her character gets more radical. Her version of “Hold Me Tight” is cute and almost bubblegum like, yet has a Beatles-esqe class to it. Her rendition of “If I Fell” is heartbreaking and very sad and beautiful. The new version of “It Won’t Be Long”is very peppy. Overall, she’s very good.

Joe Anderson plays Max, whose voice has a Beatles like tone. His covers of “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” and “I Want You” are very well done and his version of “Hey Jude” is fresh and new and has a sound that is somewhat like an homage to the original but still sounds new.

Dana Fuchs plays Sadie and her voice is very reminiscent of Janice Joplin (which is kind of a coincidence, due to her starring in a stage biography of the rocker called Love, Janice). Her “Why Don’t Do It the road?”, “Oh! Darling”, “Dear Prudence”, and “Helter Skelter” are really good, my favorite being “Oh! Darling”.

Martin Luther McCoy plays Jo Jo, and his rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is enough to make you weep. A smooth rock and roll sound with a mix of saucy R&B in it.

T.V. Carpio plays shy Prudence and she sings pretty well, if soft, version of “I Want to Hold Yor Hand”, which, in my opinion, is better than the original. I always thought it was a corny song anyways, but Prudence’s shyness in the song and the film make it a little melodramatic.

Guest singer Joe Cocker, famous for his rendition of a few Beatles songs, is back as he sings a raspy hard core version of “Come Together”. A bold new sound to an already brave song that broke the boundries of cool.

Eddie Izzard (TV’s The Riches) speaks the lyrics to “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”. Where they got the original lyrics…a circus poster. I never cared for the original and this version is even worse, it sounds as if he is add libbing the entire thing and sounds very odd and discombobulated.

Bono and the Edge leave their mark on “I Am the Walrus”, which is perfect for them, a nice mixed version of a radical classic. His “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is okay, but it doesn’t match the original. Almost none of these beat the originals. A few come close, but the Beatles made some of the greatest songs in history, and no one can beat someone who has already won the game… a long time ago.
Grade: A-