by Lidia Paulinska | Aug 28, 2015
Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies brought back to the big screen the most successful movie musical of all time- the story of the 1950’s – Grease. Ted Mankiewicz, host of the television program TCM, in his introduction to the Grease Sing-A-Long that went with the movie event, invited the audience to experience again the story of teenage sweethearts played by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. For those who ask for “Tell me more” and recognized the many hits songs in the movie, the fun in this out in public with a large group event, was the collective singing along in the theater. Grease boasted a world-famous soundtrack including “Greased Lightning’” “Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee,” “Summer Nights,” “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” “Beauty School Drop Out” most of which the audience had a good memory for the lyrics to sing along.
But Grease is not a concert film based on hit songs, it is also a love story and is filled with the dancing modernized but paying respect to the classic musicals of the Black & White film era. The film was an introduction to the world of singing and dancing for a new generation. As John Travolta explained in one of his interviews many years after the film was made, there was natural formula that actors in the 1950s that included singing and dancing. That is why he was able to quickly transition and continue to integrate acting, dancing and singing in his roles, in some memorable scenes as the batman dance with Uma Turner in Pulp Fiction.
It is interesting that Olivia Newton-John was an accomplished teenage singer prior to the film and that she first resisted to take a role in the movie. As she is an exceptionable singer who has her own show in Las Vegas, and until those days of filming the movie Grease, she was not that good of the dancer. The director who wanted her to play character of Sandy made things work. In the scene of vibrant, dynamic dance during the graduation event Sandy broke up with John for a moment and her side replaced some other female dancer.
Grease is fun to watch as the movie is like a glimpse of culture, fashion, hair style of 50s along with the singing-a-long with the stars. It was a full audience participation and group event, and experience that you cannot obtain on VOD at home or on a mobile device – somethings are meant for the collective energy of a group to enjoy, and a fun, light music filled film is one of them.
The Grease Sing-A-Long Deluxe Edition will be available on Digital HD later this summer, invite some friends over and try to recreate the theater experience on a small scale.
by Lidia Paulinska | Aug 28, 2015
Great cast, brilliant dialog and lively scenes fill the new Paul Weitz film “Grandma”. Grandma Elle (played by Lily Tomlin) and her granddaughter Sage (played by Julia Garner) spend the day trying to collect some money for helping resolve an unexpected incident that Sage got into. Unannounced visits to old friends and flames end up rattling skeletons and digging up secrets while they go about solving their situation.
Paul’s Weitz new movie proves that a cinema still can be attractive based on the compiling story and dialog instead of just special effects. The story deals with women and social issues with a lightness that makes the audience laugh sometimes while highlighting the issue at hand, but always leaves the audience waiting for the next scene. Lily Tomlin is wonderful in the seasoned role of grandma. In complement is Julia Garner who is a raising star in her acting career, in the role of the granddaughter.
What I liked about the movie, is that it is taking you on the journey through the back door of the experience by telling you up front what is an issue but leading you through the unexpected alleys and uncovering the secrets of the human relationships that lead up to that experience.
The film opens August 28 at Century 9 and Sundance Kabuki in San Francisco; opens September 4 at Landmark Albany Twin in Albany, Century 16 in Pleasant Hill, Landmark Guild in Menlo Park, Cinema 7 in San Jose and Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.
by Lidia Paulinska | Apr 20, 2015
Occasionally in life we have a rare opportunity to re-live some of the more exciting and memorable cultural experience of our past. And so it was this week when we had the unique opportunity to enjoy an extraordinary big-screen showing of selected historic performances by the incomparable Led Zeppelin, one of the most creative and influential rock bands of all time. This one-night-only cinematic extravaganza spanned the band’s incredible career from 1970 to 1979. The film that featured several classic live performances was cleaned up, converted to digital and had the sound track remastered under the oversight of Fathom Events.
Viewers were treated to a larger-than-life concert experience featuring the band’s legendary performance from London’s Royal Albert Hall in January 1970, their historic dates at New York’s Madison Square garden in July 1973, their triumphant five-night run at London’s Earl’s Court in May 1975, and their record-breaking shows at England’s Knebworth Festival in August 1975.
The genius of singer-lyricist Robert Plant, the shrieking guitar brilliance of Jimmy page, the unrelenting power-drive of drummer John Bonham all combine in a synergistic amalgam to create what is probably the greatest rock and roll band has ever known…a seamlessly unified whole that was the sum of its genius parts. And although Led Zeppelin is known as one of the progenitors of heavy metal, the influences that shaped them are varied as their music: acoustic folk ballads, pop guitar, James Brown, country, Motown, traditional riffs, and what’s been called the trance-inducing element of blues repetition, all resulting in such varied works as “Whole Lotta Love” (’69), “Kashmir” (’75), “Rock & Roll” (’71), “All My Love” (’79), and “Stairway to Heaven” (’71).
But their time of personal glory was not to last. In September 1980, drummer John Bonham died suddenly of asphyxiation as a result of alcoholism and the tragedy of that loss marked the end of the magical synergy that was Led Zeppelin. A press release at the time read, “We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deepest sense of undivided harmony by ourselves … have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were. “ Signed simply “Led Zeppelin”. The “undivided harmony” was shattered forever and the music fell silent; the combined effect of all their creative geniuses was essential to sustain the whole and suddenly that unity was lost, but their extraordinary legacy was alive for us this week on the big screen, four decades and a lifetime after its inception, and for that we are very grateful indeed.
by Lidia Paulinska | Sep 19, 2014
What is the reason for human existence? What brings us happiness? The latest Terry Gilliam film, “The Zero Theorem”, might not give us a definite answer, but searches for one with spectacular and remarkable visual images. Gilliam, as always, is funny, witty, provocative, smart and surprising.
In a futuristic London, Qohen Leth , a computer genius, works on a mysterious project. Qohen, who talks always as “we”, identifies himself as a non-separated part of collective in the world, where everything is controlled. Big Brother, here called “Management”, is watching every step and all activity.
Qohen lives in isolation, in a burnt-out chapel, but his solidarity is disturbed by visits of flirtatious Bainsley and Management’s son, Bob. Qoen is desperately searching for love and is anticipating a phone call that will provide him the definitive answer. The Zero Theorem was shot in Bucharest, and a few other places in Romania, and brings dark and wrecked Ceausescu dictatorship era memories.
Christoph Waltz, a two time Academy Award winner, gives another extraordinary performance. This time he plays, an eccentric programmer, Qohen Leth, who is consumed by existential fears and angst. The mysterious project that he has been frantically working on is delegated by Management (Matt Damon). The role of Qohen’s sexual desire, Bainsley, a young gorgeous seductress, is adoringly played by French actress Melanie Thierry, and the role of Bob is wonderfully acted by Lucas Hedges (Moonrise Kingdom) and reminds us of Michael J. Fox, from “Back to the Future”. The always superb Tilda Swinton also co-stars as Dr. Shrink-Rom, the computer psychologist.
The amazing thing about Terry Gilman is that he doesn’t need to search for well known actors to work for him. They want to work with him. He is a member of the Monty Python team, as well as co-director of their feature films , “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” (1975), “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” (1979); and the sole director of “Jabberwocky” (1977). His post Monty Python films include “Brazil” (1985) which was given two Academy Awards nominations, and “The Adventure of Baron Munchausen” (1988), which was given four Academy Award nominations. Gilliam made his next three movies in the US: “The Fisher King” (1991), “Twelve Monkeys” (1995), and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (1998). In 2000, he went to Spain and shot “The Man Who Kill Don Quixote” (2002) and “The Brothers Grimm” (2005).