This pea-brained vanity production does not have the energy to remember from one scene to the next what it is about or why it is on screen. It is attention-deficit film-making. Famous-for-being-famous Paris Hilton is not only the star, but also the producer of the film, and it seems to have been entirely generated by whatever she thought would be fun to do in front of a camera, with no thought whatsoever to the misery it would inflict on those who might watch it.
Hilton cast herself as Cristabel, the “hottie,” a perfect beauty and object of universal desire with a heart of gold. She even gives her stalker a dazzling smile and a perky wave as she reminds him that he is required by a restraining order to keep his distance.
I have family-friendly DVDs to give away to the first ten people who send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and identify themselves as Beliefnet readers. If you let me know the ages and genders of your children, I’ll try to keep that in mind as I decide who gets what, but I can’t promise, especially for the last few who qualify. No need to send your address yet; I will notify all who win and get the info then. But as long as you are writing me anyway, let me know a little bit about the movies your families enjoy and what I can do to make this site more useful and entertaining for you. Thanks for visiting and I hope you win!
Yesterday I attended a meeting with Kevin Martin, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission to talk about media and family issues. It was arranged by the Parents Television Council, which has been very active on issues of non-family-friendly content and especially on “cable choice,” unbundling of cable channels so that consumers can buy only the channels they want.
Chairman Martin spoke frankly to us about his views and his frustrations. He, too, believes that consumers should not be forced to pay for channels they do not want to watch. But there is so much money at stake that industry is pouring a lot of money into opposition and it is not likely that legislative proposals will get much support. He has some hope that at the local level, as communities select their cable providers, they may be able to insist on unbundling. The Chairman also looks to local communities to oppose the licenses of broadcast stations that do not meet their commitment to the public interest. He pointed out that local complaints led to the largest fine in the Commission’s history, $24 million paid by Univision for claiming that it had three hours of children’s programming when what they were airing was a Spanish language soap opera. He said that what he found even more outrageous was something over which the FCC had no authority. “Sesame Street,” originally created with government funding and broadcast at no charge over PBS stations, will be moving to cable on an exclusive basis when television goes all-digital next year. This also slows down the creation of an all-children’s public television channel because they will not have access to the content. The Chairman feels strongly that programming created with public money should not be able to sell exclusive rights to channels that are not available to everyone.
PTC’s Tim Winter commented on the meeting and the issues he finds important.
PTC has pioneered activism that holds advertisers accountable for the programs they sponsor, and their website has a lot of very useful informtation about television programs and policy initiatives.
Director Julie Taymor is best known for Broadway version of “The Lion King,” which is itself best known for its visual splendor. And least known for its plot. There is visual splendor in this story of characters coping with the 60′s, to the tune of Beatles songs, but not much by way of plot. And the song covers by most of its stars are strictly with Beatles Night on “American Idol.” In one of those early episodes before much elimination.
For people who remember the 60′s, the movie’s look and sound will be poor competition for the kaleidoscopic visual and aural brilliance of the original Beatles creations and the story and characters will be superficial and simplistic compared to the kaleidoscopic upheavals of the era.
Those who know the Beatles’ work will find the movie’s references uninspired recreations rather than re-imaginings or responses. The character names say it all: Jude, Lucy, Max, Sadie, Rita, Prudence, JoJo, Dr. Robert, Mr. Kite, get it? Too on the nose. Max has a hammer. The singer and her band play on the roof until the police come to shut them down. People not familiar with the 60′s will wonder what the fuss was about.
There are some very clever touches in the staging of the musical numbers, as when at an induction physical, the Uncle Sam posters sing “I Want You” or in a couple of scenes where one song is played in sharply contrasting contexts. There are also some brilliant images, especially when the characters experiment with hallucinogens. But the story and characters are thin and so are the singing voices of most of the performers, with Eddie Izzard’s Mr. Kite, Bono’s Dr. Robert, and newcomer Dana Fuchs as a Janis Joplin-eque Sadie as welcome exceptions.
But they are supporting roles with too-brief appearances as the center stage goes to the featherweight story about a romance between blue collar Liverpudlian Jude (Jim Sturgess) and an American suburban princess named Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood) whose boyfriend was killed in Viet Nam. Lucy’s brother Max (Joe Anderson) and Jude move into one of those adorably Bohemian, summer of love, starving artist garrets in Greenwich Village, run by Sadie (Fuchs). They are soon joined by Jimi Hendrix-ish JoJo (Martin Luther) and unhappy-in-love Prudence (T.V. Carpio), who came in through the bathroom window, get it? Jude wants to be an artist; Lucy wants to protest the war. And everybody goes on a magical mystery tour and meets Dr. Robert and Mr. Kite.
It is overlong and under-written, visually vibrant but thematically transparent. The characters are more alive in the original Beatles songs than they are on the screen. And that leaves us nowhere, man.
Parents should know that the characters in this movie drink, smoke, and use drugs, including marijuana and hallucinogenics. They briefly use strong language and there are some emotional confrontations. The movie includes battle violence in Viet Nam, police brutality, and an offscreen explosion of a bomb built by protesters against the war. Characters are injured and there are sad offscreen deaths. Images include nudity, some stylized, and non-explicit sexual situations. A strength of the movie is the loyal and supportive relationships between characters of racial, gender, and sexual orientation diversity.
Families who see this movie should discuss some of their parents’ and grandparents’ experiences during the 1960′s. And they should listen to the original versions of the Beatles songs. Why are these songs so enduring and what groups today are producing songs that people will still want to hear in 40 years?
Comic-Con 2014: Costumes! [gallery ids="28926,28927,28928"]
About 10-25 percent of Comic-Con attendees come in costume and they are always willing to post for photos. I love the way there is total fluidity of age, race, gender, and body type. Everyone feels free to come as whatever they want to be, whether an iconic c
The Real Story: James Brown and "Ski Party" One of the highlights of this week's "Get on Up" is a scene where James Brown and his group appear in a teen movie set in a ski chalet. The fun of the scene is seeing the R&B performers so far from their usual milieu, wearing ski sweaters and performing for a bland group of white kids perkily c
Comic-Con 2014: Days 3 and 4 Want to know what it looks like inside the legendary Hall H, the biggest venue at Comic-Con, the one where people camp out for days in advance to see the biggest stars and the coolest advance previews? When LAIKA CEO and animator Travis Knight asked the audience to send get-well love to "The Boxtrol
Behind the Scenes Clip: Adam Levine in "Begin Again" [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/RhZTVijgpb8?rel=0" frameborder="0"]
I have one copy of the wonderful soundtrack to give away! Send me an email at email@example.com with Levine in the subject line and tell me your favorite song of the summer. Don't forget your
Interview: Thunder Levin of "Sharknado" and "Sharknado 2" One of the highlights of Comic-Con was the chance to catch up with Thunder Levin, screenwriter of the sensation, "Sharknado" and the sequel, "Sharknado 2," which premieres tonight on Syfy. The original was remarkable for its over-the-top storyline and even more for the Twitter-nado it inspired.
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